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The Nentir Vale

“Far to the north, sitting like an anvil beneath the hammer that is the Realm of the
Shadow Princes, lies Nentir Vale. While never a strategically important domain, Bael
Nerath nevertheless took great pains to protect this region. For a time it was quite
prosperous. But like all former imperial provinces the deepening shadows threaten to
strangle it.”
--An Examination of Iskandria and its Wonders, by Aldayn Rotebinder, Sage and Advisor
to the Lord of the Grinding Peaks, Governor of the City-State of Telain

Nestled in the northern realms, the Nentir Vale is a quiet and isolated land. It is a place
of stark beauty and stunning natural wonders. It is home to sparse communities of
humans and, in all reality, sits on the edge of a knife. All around the darkness grows.
Some think it will only be a matter of time before the vale falls to the depredations of the
local evils.
The vale is now mostly empty, with a handful of living villages and towns
scattered over this wide area. Abandoned farmsteads, ruined manors, and broken keeps
litter the countryside. Bandits, wild animals, and monsters roam freely throughout the
vale, threatening
anyone who fares
more than few
miles away from
one of the
settlements. Travel
along the roads or
river is usually
safe—usually. But
every now and
then, travelers
come to bad ends
between towns.
The Nentir Vale is a northern land, but it sees relatively little snow—winters are
windy and bitterly cold. The Nentir River is too big to freeze except for a few weeks in
the coldest part of the year. Summers are cool and mild.
Up until four centuries or so ago, the Moon Hills and the surrounding Nentir Vale
were thinly settled borderlands, home to quarrelsome human hill-chieftains and remote
realms of nonhumans such as dwarves and elves. Giants, minotaurs, orcs, ogres, and
goblins plagued the area. Ruins such as those on the Gray Downs or the ring-forts atop
the Old Hills date back to these days, as do stories of the hero Vendar and the dragon of
the Nentir.
With the rise of Bael Nerath to the south, human settlers began to move up the
Nentir, establishing towns such as Fastormel, Harkenwold, and Winterhaven. A Nerathan
hero named Aranda Markelhay obtained a charter to build a keep at the portage of the
Nentir Falls. She raised a simple tower at the site of Moonstone Keep three hundred and
ten years ago, and under its protection the town of Fallcrest, originally known as Fallrath,
began to grow.
Over the next two centuries, Fallcrest
grew into a small and prosperous city. It was a
natural crossroads for trade, and the Markelhays
ruled it well. When Bael Nerath began to crumble
about a century ago, Fallcrest continued to
flourish—for a time.
Ninety years ago, a fierce horde of orcs
known as the Bloodspears descended from the
Stonemarch and swept over the vale. Fallcrest’s
army was defeated in a rash attempt to halt the
Bloodspears out on Gardbury Downs. The
Bloodspears burned and pillaged Fallcrest and
went on to wreak havoc all across the Nentir
In the decades since the Bloodspear War,
Fallcrest has struggled to reestablish itself. The
town is a shadow of the former city; little trade
passes up and down the river these days. The
countryside for scores of miles around is dotted
with abandoned homesteads and manors from the
days of Nerath. Once again the Nentir Vale is a
thinly settled borderland where few folk live. This
is a place in need of a few heroes.

Races of the Nentir Vale

Here are some of the races that can be found in
the Nentir Vale:

No dragonborn are native to Fallcrest, but
travelers occasionally pass through and take up
work for a time, especially as bodyguards or
caravan guards.

A fair number of dwarves live in Fallcrest, so a
dwarf character could easily be a native of the
city. If not, the nearest dwarven homeland is
Hammerfast, a week’s travel distant. Merchants
and crafters from Hammerfast travel to Fallcrest
to trade or work, lodging in one of the local inns
for a few weeks.
Eladrin are not often seen in Fallcrest. Some of the old manors in the Moon Hills and the
nearby parts of the Vale were once the homes of well-off eladrin families. A few make
their home in the Feywild, primarily dwelling in fortresses along the Winterbole Forest or
Dawnforge Mountains.

Elves are also scarce in Fallcrest, but a small number reside in and around the town.
Elves from outside Fallcrest might belong to the Woodsinger clan from the Harkenwold

A small number of half-elves reside in Fallcrest or the vicinity. Most are well-off farmers
or herders living in the Moon Hills near the town; the rest are expert artisans—jewelers,
tailors, or woodworkers— in the town.

Halflings are the second most abundant race in the Nentir Vale, next to humans. A
number of halflings live in Fallcrest, managing merchant houses or providing other
services to travelers. Quite a few are well known scouts and guides.

Humans in the Nentir Vale come from two major racial bloodlines, the Nerathians and
the Ugashtan.

Nerathians: Stout, resolute, and determined; the Nerathians aren’t really a clearly defined
racial group. Instead they represent a host of people subsumed into Bael Nerath when the
empire was at its height. Pragmatic to a fault, the Nerathians feel secure with their hold
on the land and are confident that they can continue to maintain order in the years to
come. Since they are from such disparate backgrounds a Nerathian can take on just about
any appearance.

Ugasthan: Tall, powerfully built, and enigmatic are the most common ways to describe
an Ugasthan. Today they live in scattered tribes along the edge of the Dawnforge
Mountains but at one time the Ugashtan ruled a vast kingdom centered in the grand city
known as Umeshti, Scion of the Glittering Peaks. Lying deep in the Dawnforge
Mountains, Umeshti was home to such sophistication that even the gods envied its
grandeur. Legend states it was the gods that brought the city low, smiting it with a
starstone that decimated the metropolis of 500,00 and left only a treacherous crater in its
The Ugashtan are tall, often exceeding 6 feet in height. They have blond hair,
pale skin, and green or blue eyes. All Ugashtan wear masks, usually half-masks that only
cover the upper face. An Ugashtan never takes his mask off willingly, unless he is with
family or remarkably close friends. Since the destruction of their ancient city the
Ugashtan maintain a clan structure, with each clan differentiated by the style of mask
they wear. They have no organized kingdom or government.
Two tiefling houses, the Naerumars and the Azaers, call the Nentir Vale home. Both of
them are descended from ancient Bael Turathian dynasties and both maintain major
businesses in the region.

Three faiths maintain predominance in the Nentir Vale and a bulk of the residents follows
their tenets.

Pelor is the God of the Sun and Agriculture. Obviously he is quite popular amongst the
farmers in the region but he also commands a fairly serious following amongst soldiers.
His temple in Fallcrest also contains shrines to Kord and Bahamut.

As the Goddess of the Moon, Sehanine has a strong following amongst women but the
local authority, the Markelhay family, considers the Moon Lady their personal deity. Her
temple in Fallcrest also contains shrines to Corellon, Melora and Avandra.

Once the patron of Bael Turath, Erathis now represents glory lost but not forgotten. The
faith of Erathis is still very popular but as the strands of civilization continue to unravel
many question the power of the god. Erathis has the largest temple in Fallcrest and it
contains shrines to Moradin and Ioun.

The Town in the Mists

Population: 1,350. Another 900 live in outlying farms no further than 7 miles from town.
Government: Lord Warden Faren Markelhay
Defense: A group of guards totaling no more than 60 men at any one time.
Inns: The Silver Unicorn and the Nentir Inn
Taverns: Blue Moon Alehouse, Lucky Gnome Taphouse, Nentir Inn taproom, Eagle’s
Supplies: Halfmoon Trading House, Sandercot Provisioners
Temples: Temple of Erathis, Moonsong Temple, House of the Sun

Located at the juncture of the King’s Road, the Trade Road and the Nentir River,
Fallcrest rests at the foot of the Nentir Falls. The town is constantly surrounded by a
misty haze produced from the nearby falling water, earning it the suitable moniker of The
Town in the Mists. More than 400 years ago this area was wild; thick with goblins,
kobolds, and minotaurs. While some brave souls established towns in this area the land
truly didn’t come under Nerathan control until the hero Aranda Markelhay obtained a
charter to establish a town at the base of the falls.
Fallcrest grew into a rich and
prosperous city. Most of the Nentir Vale
was ruled of the Markelhay family, uniting
the region under the banner of the Grand
Duchy of Nentir. Even during the Decade
of Entropy, after sky grew dark and the
land no longer produced the bounty it once
did, the city of Fallcrest grew and the
duchy consolidated its power. But this
prosperity was short lived.
Roaring out of the north like a fell
wind the orcs of the Bloodspear tribe
decimated much of the Nentir Vale. The
army of Fallcrest was crushed in the Battle
of Gardbury Downs and the orcish army
marched straight for the wealth of the
undefended city. The bloodshed was horrific. Those that did survive were taken as
slaves, dragged screaming into the north to meet a fate worse than merciful death.
In the decades since the Bloodspear Wars Fallcrest has struggled to maintain a
presence in the north. It is a pale shadow of its former glory, a frontier town built on the
ruins of greatness. Little trade makes it way from the south any more. The shattering of
Bael Nerath has pushed the knowledge of Nentir Vale from the minds of many who dwell
in lands that once constituted the core of the empire. The few merchants who do make
their along the decaying King’s Road do so to obtain dwarven goods from Hammerfast
rather for anything that Fallcrest has to offer.