AD&D - Volo's Guide to Cormyr (2e) - Flip eBook Pages 151-200 (2024)

bor, or Amn. The shop stocks a wonderful selection of jewelry, art, glasswork, and fine silks from Mulhorand and locales even farther east. Among the jewelry, the delicate, locally made ladies’ pieces of everbright silver, set with sapphires, are particularly nice. The art is a mixed bag. It seems to consist mainly of romantic paintings of gallant plate-armored Cormyrean knights hacking at each other or fearsome monsters at dawn or at sunset somewhere in a deep forest that sports crumbling ruins and a chained, shrinking maiden or two. The glasswork is particularly exquisite, though. Fluted blown glass pieces are the order of the day, and they are almost worth the 40-gp-and-up prices! The proprietress, Amathaea Arryn, can identify most gems and fake gemstones at a glance. She and her two daughters make some of the jewelry and can skillfully retouch paintings to add a customer’s face to a knight or blushing maiden figure, a particular charge of arms to a shield, and the like. Syndair’s Cloth Fancies Weaver and Dressmaker Some folk come to Eveningstar to learn magic. The village’s only known mage besides Lord Tessaril is the kindly Syndair Thorn, who is also a weaver and dressmaker. She uses her minor magics to entertain and to tutor wizards.19 While she is not averse to short-term tutoring, she takes on no long-term apprentices. She prefers to make her living through her clothworking skills, and is locally renowned for her good eye for customtailoring gowns and her ability to pick colors and shades that exactly compliment the wearer of her designs. Taverns/Festhalls The Low Lantern This establishment is a tavern, dance hall, and theater all in one, and it is often noisy and crowded enough that it seems to be a stockyard, too! The Lantern is run by the pretty and spirited Maea “Iron Eyes” Dulgussir, who apparently keeps some discreet magic to defend herself and the Lantern with. The place is popular because it’s so cozy and welcoming, from the dark-eyed escorts to the crackling fires by the gaming tables. Traveling minstrels stop here often to provide music for dancers and melancholy midnight drinkers and often leave laden with extra coins thrown their way by appreciative listeners. The Lantern is thoroughly enjoyable. If this place served any food beyond smoked oysters and overly salty garlic-buttered biscuits, and if it were a little less crowded, it’d be top-rated. It is a pleasant surprise for the traveler in such a small village. Lovers of wine should ask Shareen to show them the cellars. They hold some pleasant surprises, ranging from ruby-and-gold elverquisst to alurlyath from distant Undermountain. I heartily recommend an evening out here. Rooming Houses Olff’s Rest Tethyr’s court Eveningstar has two rooming houses: 19Syndair is a CG hf M5 and an informant to the Crown. 150

Tethyr’s Court and Olff’s Rest. Tethyr’s restaurant. Inside, it’s warm and invitCourt is owned by the busy Arbold ing in a rustic roadhouse sort of way. Tethyr and run by his wife and eight live- Most of the villagers gather here to dine in maids. It is cheery and clean but unexciting. Olff’s Rest is even less inspiring. Guests can rent rooms at either house by the tenday or month for 1 sp per night, stabling included. No meals are covered in this fee, and there’s no singlenight rate. Travelers unable to get into the Tankard or Unicorn have to pay for a tenday even if they only intend to stay one night. Inns The Golden Unicorn Inn This cozy, quiet, back-street place run by Selda Imyara takes the overflow from the more popular Tankard and is often used by nobles who desire discretion. It has separate entrance stairs for some of its suites that open directly to the outside, and it offers its own private stables. Prices are slightly higher here than at the Tankard, and no provender is to be had beyond melted cheese sandwiches, ale, minted ice water, and house wine. But this is a pleasant enough place, quiet and luxuriously furnished—a hidden gem. every night or to chat over a quaff of ale later in the evening. The Tankard’s fame is increasing steadily as more and more caravan travelers discover it. It’s famous as a past base of the Knights of Myth Drannor and the former favorite stopover of the Ring’s Men when Azoun was a young prince-adventurer in that band. The Tankard is run by Dunman Kiriag, a jovial, kind man who’s deadly with a hurled dagger but seemingly a friend to everyone. Dunman has betrayed great strength from time to time: Regulars love to tell the tale of how he somehow sensed a brigand was outside with a crossbow. He raised a table to use as a shield just instants before a bolt burst in through a window, then hurled the table clear across the taproom and out that window to fell the foe outside in the night!20 The Tankard has two floors of guest bedchambers, a rentable private meeting and/or dining room off the main taproom, and no stables. Dunman rents stalls in the stables due west, across the road for the use of his guests. The Lonesome Tankard is an enjoyable—and very reasonable—place to The Lonesome Tankard stay in pleasant surroundings that is strategically located at the juncture of two major trade roads. As many caravan merchants have found, it’s an ideal stop. Caravans can camp due east of the inn, across the river, and use the Star- This busy and at times overcrowded inn water freely for bathing and watering and tavern also serves as Eveningstar’s their beasts. What could be better? 20For more about Dunman, see Appendix I. 151

Immersea This town of over 600 folk stands at the westernmost tip of the Wyvernwater, at the head of what’s generally known as Mistfisher Bay. The bay had many many names over the years, most of them related to the spectacular sunrises and sunsets visible over the water from the town. Another popular name is Immer Bay because the Immer Stream joins the Wyvernwater here. Immersea is a waystop on Calantar’s Way, where livestock and beasts of burden can be easily watered. The Starwater Road, Immer Trail, and Blister Trail all link up with that paved way here. Immersea is also a fishing village. The local fleet of “mist fishers” fares forth onto the Wyvernwater daily to catch freshwater eels, silverfin, trout, crabs, greenbacks, and other fish from the rich waters of Cormyr’s largest lake. Immersea is one of the few places in Cormyr whose citizens seem openly unhappy with their government. They are not unhappy with King Azoun but with his do-nothing, lazy overly cautious local lord, Samtavan Sudacar. Samtavan is a Suzailan investor and landlord of large holdings who spends his days fishing and reading old books in Redstone Castle, where he’s been given his own apartments. His work is done by his herald, Geldroon, one of the most weary men I’ve yet seen. Samtavan’s inattention has made Immersea a somewhat free and easy trade town in recent years. Weapons are worn openly by some, Purple Dragons are rarely 152

seen in uniform—though they patrol diligently in plain dress—and local noble families finance and provide manpower for much of the work of street-cleaning and keeping order. Immersea is the ancestral seat of the Wyvernspur noble family the Cormaeril clan, and the Thunderswords. The visitor is advised to respect anyone who looks arrogant, is richly dressed, or is clad in livery. Such people are probably associated with one of these three powerful old families and aren’t to be crossed. Landmarks Immersea is shaped like a fan.21 It fills the Immer Stream valley as the valley runs due east and opens out to meet the Wyvernwater. Farms surround the town; sheep, cattle, barley and corn are major local products. The most built-up area of the town centers on the waterfront and the arrow-straight Starwater Road running to meet it. An impressive stone statue of King Azoun III, armored and with sword drawn in the saddle of a rearing charger whose hooves are trampling a mound of dead brigands and foes, stands in a wagon turning yard behind the docks where the major roads meet. The sculpting of Azoun Triumphant is fine, but the eminence is much beset by incontinent local fowl. Azoun’s statue is one of the favorite meeting spots in Immersea and is easily found by newcomers. The other good local meeting place is Gaesthund’s Tomb, located at the meeting of the Starwater Road and Immer Street. Gaesthund was a local giant of a man who once lifted an excessively proud king of Cormyr up in the air and shook him. This caused a stir among the knights at hand because the king was on horseback. Gaesthund didn’t bother to separate the king from his saddle and hoisted both horse and full-armored man into the air with a growl! The resting place of this huge man is marked by a massive boulder that has been much scraped and scarred by the uneasy passage of poorly driven wagons. The boulder bears this charming inscription: IMMERSEA EARTH LIE HEAVY ON GAESTHUND, FOR HE IN LIFE LAID A PASSING HEAVY LOAD ON THEE. Immersea is an important stopover and boasts many rooming houses and provisioning shops. The most popular of its inns are the pricey Immer Inn and the more casual, but better, Five Fine Fish. The Five Fine Fish is the home of Elminster’s Choice, a dark, bitter, smoky beer brewed there almost daily.22 Its reek often fills the place and can guide even a hopelessly lost traveler to the inn door. The most prominent local building is Redstone Castle, the lofty castle of the Wyvernspurs. It is a fortified sandstone manor house perched on a high hill just south of town. It frowns down over Immersea from among its wooded lawns, its geographic prominence making it seem far grander than the larger, 21A map of Immersea can be found in the revised edition of the FORGOTTEN REALMS Campaign Setting box in the chapter on Cormyr or in the Cormyr game accessory. 22Elminster: I’ve forgiven the impudent wretch who was so bold as to borrow my good name for his second-rate ale. Eighty years as a stone toadstool is enough, I think. He sees things my way now and even lends a hand with things better not spoken of, but don’t make the mistake of believing I prefer this stuff. Never serve it to me unless (a foolish tactic, to be sure) you mean to insult me. 153

taller, many-towered pile of High Towers, the Cormaeril family home, which stands on a lower hill due east of it. The seat of the third noble family Thundersword House, is southwest of the Wyvernspur lands and hence remote from the town proper. It is newer and larger than either of the other castles but dominates only its own small valley surmounting a small knoll at the heart of the wooded basin. Interestingly the sons of both the Cormaerils and the Thunderswords all closely resemble King Azoun. All of them have also been quietly approached in their youths by veteran Purple Dragon officers who made them handsome offers of career sponsorship in the army ranks! Save for a few who tried adventuring careers, all of the lads accepted. Most remain in service to this day, posted all around the edges of the realm. More than one local citizen has remarked how curious it is that so many lads look just like the king and yet never see anything of the realm closer to Suzail than Immersea itself! I leave readers to their own conclusions on this delicate matter of state and continue my survey of Immersea’s sights.23 Prosperous farms and close-crowded townhouses are the order of things in Immersea. Growing things are valued— flowering vines are everywhere—and the mists keep everything lush. The wooded height of Spring Hill, where the Immer Stream rises, is just west of Redstone Castle. It is adorned with both a beautiful series of cascades, known as Selûne’s Stairs, and the House of the Lady, a temple to Selûne. West of that height is the wooded eminence of Graveyard Hill, topped by the Wyvernspur Crypt. The hill holds a complex network of catacombs. Brazen adventurers and thieves took to trying to loot the tombs so often that guardian spells and magical devices were installed. Visitors are advised to look upon the crypt gates from afar unless accompanied by a family member. Places of Interest in Immersea Palaces Redstone Castle This small, diamond-shaped fortress consists of a gate house, two outlying end towers, and the main manor house. The gatehouse contains stables, a carriage shed, a barracks used to house the watch contingent under the command of Lord Samtavan (and a private army in the younger days of the realm), dungeon cells, an armory, and granaries. The seat of the Wyvernspurs is a twostory house with a full basem*nt below that is given over to servants’ quarters. The house is surmounted by a tower with another four floors. It contains a manypillared reception hall big enough to hold the entire population of Immersea and still allow one to hold archery contests! To see this grand house, one has only to arrive and ask for an audience with the lord. While waiting for the servants to find or awaken the lord, the visitor can admire Samtavan’s collection of fishing rods. Temples The House of the Lady This open-air temple is a clearing in the 23Elminster: Azoun has always been concerned about making proper opportunities available to other noble relatives in his family tree—if ye know what I mean. He remembers with fondness the fruitful and carefree days of his adventure-filled youth and feels that other noble youths should be given the chance for such glorious martial pastimes. 154

duskwoods and shadowtops that is ringed by an unbroken, circular stone seat graven with many prayers to the goddess. At the center of this ring stands a stepped pyramid whose every stone is carved with a prayer. The pyramid is topped by a large statue of Selûne. The statue depicts the goddess as two backto-back women: a dusky-skinned, whitetressed maiden and a matronly middle-aged woman. The temple is tended by a priestess of Selûne, a middle-aged, kindly woman named Mother Lledew. She’s a skilled stonecarver; the temple is her creation. She dwells in a cell-like stone-lined room under one edge of the ring. Her room opens out onto the hillside below, and there’s a stark stone room beside hers for visitors. The guest room is fitted with its own hearth and chimney. Mother Lledew keeps firewood ready near the guest chamber’s chimney and a spring seeping through one wall provides visitors with drinking water. Shops Immersea’s shops hold a bustling array of weavers, netmakers, cordwainers, coopers, cratemakers, and hardware resellers who cater to every possible need of the traveling merchant. All of their shops are useful, unlovely places littered with broken crates, handcarts, and broken crockery. Everyone always seems to be too busy to tidy anything away, though there’s a fence of trash along the north edge of the High Common, the grazing fields on the northern edge of town that are left for the use of visitors. Exceptional among local establishments are the following: Alzael’s Cleaver Slaughterhouse This local slaughterhouse ends the life of many a cow and ewe. Alzael wields an expert cleaver and has both shearers and smokers on staff. He can convert an animal to bailed wool and smoked meat for a customer or buy the beast outright and send the results on to other local businesses. When King Azoun whelmed an army to fight the Tuigan Horde, Alzael slaughtered 600 cows in one day and over 400 on the next to get the meat hung in time for army quartermasters to pick it up and take it with the armed host. That feat earned Alzael the local title of “Thousandslayer” and made his name known in Sembia as well as all across Cormyr. Alzael’s trade has flourished since then. He’s bought an entire pig farm, and folk now travel to Immersea just to get a wagonload of his aged, smoked hams cured in cherry brandy. A wagonload is enough to last a year and have some to sell to one’s neighbors. Alzael, a beaming giant of a man with a nose that has been broken many times, loves his new-found wealth and dreams of being ennobled by a respectful king someday soon. Women who think their daughters would make the perfect mate for such a successful man have rapidly become numerous, and Alzael is quite willing to consider the merits of each prospective mate. None of the candidates who have shown up yet swing a cleaver to his liking, though, so if you’re a comely wench with a good sharp blade, a keen eye, and a strong arm . . . 155

Chalasse’s Fine Clothing Nelzol's Notions Clothing Shop Hardware and Modes of Transport The lovely Chalasse is a graceful, soft-spoken woman almost 7 feet tall! Her height has made her a shy outcast, but in truth she’s so beautiful that I’ve seen young nobles literally lose their breath at the sight of her. She grew up in Suzail and always loves to hear news of what’s happening there. She runs a shop full of fine gowns, sashes, cumme*rbunds, pantaloons, halfcloaks, gem-bedecked hose, ruffs, slashed-sleeve tunics, and similar garb for the richest and haughtiest folk. She tries to bring in the latest fashions from Sembia and Suzail as swiftly as her buyers can send them, and locals and passing nobles alike are beginning to notice the selection she offers. After years of scraping by, this huge woman looks to be on the road to riches at last. This sprawling barn (well, former warehouse actually) of a hardware shop deserves mention here because it boasts a huge selection of goods: wagons, closed coaches, sleighs, and even boats stand ready in various corners of the shop. The visitor with coins enough can literally buy a ship to sail across the Wyvernwater to build a house and fill the ship with every last thing needed to do the building! Chalasse has also begun to deal in secondhand finery because so many Immer women just can’t afford her wares. Some Suzailans bring in their wives’ discards to sell off for a quick handful of coins as they travel through the town, and Chalasse always persuades them to pause a moment to give her news of her childhood home. From kettles to ladders, rope to coils of fine wire, kegs of nails to kegs of pitch paint, this is the place that has everything in stock. Want a siege ladder? Several can be found here; name your preferred length. Would you like to arrive in Suzail in a grand coach? Name your preferred color, seating capacity and number of horses to draw it. Would you like a barn erected overnight? A ready-to-be-assembled structure awaits you on its own cart with roof trusses and wall panels preassembled. Simply drive in the support posts, link them with the precut beams, raise the structure, and apply the shingles. With a crew of four or more, it can be done in a day! Chalasse’s purses have been filled for her over the years by two adventuring bands who looked upon her shop as a good investment. She can call on their aid by some secret magical means if robbed or attacked. They come to help her with all due speed because they’ve hidden substantial sums of coinage in and around Immersea, and she knows where some of it is. Thieves be warned! Nelzol’s isn’t cheap, but it really does seem to have everything needed for building things or going places. It’s a must-see shop. Taverns The Horn and Spur This is a welcoming, easygoing sort of family drinking house, well lit and clean, with a quiet atmosphere and discreet booths at 156

the back for those who wish to meet for romantic purposes or to talk business. The horn from the tavern’s name is a giant rack of peryton antlers over the bar, and the spur was a famous local stallion whose stuffed head now stares down impassively at diners with eternal calm. This is a great tavern in which to relax and watch visitors and nobles drop in. Some of the Cormaerils and Thunderswords, I’m told, come here regularly in their finery to dine and drink. They then go down to the Runner to get drunk and enjoy a good tussle with their own farmhands. The Mist Runner This sparsely furnished, well-worn dockside establishment is where the fisherfolk come to drink and engage in fisticuffs. The windows no longer have any glass, just shutters, and the tables are nailed securely to the floor to prevent them from being hurled—well, most of the time. Named for the local term for a smuggling ship,24 this tavern is only safe for those who can defend themselves and know how to avoid having to do so. Others—finely clad visitors in particular—are directed to the Horn and Spur instead. Rooming Houses The House of Nets Maela’s Rooming House Nulahh’s Rooming House Besides its inns, Immersea also has many rooming houses, most offering rates for a three-night stay, a tenday, a two-month “stretch,” or a four-month “long stretch.” They’re very much alike and have nothing to either recommend them or cause me to warn visitors away from them. All are large converted houses. The bestknown, perhaps, are Maela’s, Nulahh’s, and the House of Nets. Inns Five Fine Fish No longer a true tavern, this wayhouse now serves only its own beer, and that only with meals. The dining room has taken over the former taproom, and rowdy drinkers are encouraged to go elsewhere. This change of services has made the low-priced Fish the stopover of choice for families, the timid, and those carrying valuable and breakable goods. Its trade has soared, prompting two expansions of the inn in the last three years. Gables have been added fore and after, a new wing has been built, and the stables have been doubled in size. The Fish is vastly improved over its state when I first knew it, two decades ago. Fxpensive but permanent breeze-making spells have driven both chimney smoke and the smell of hops out of the inn to drift through the rest of town. The Fish’s beer is an acquired taste, but the food is steadily improving. The inn sports a menu lacking in surprises and devoted mainly to fried fish in various sauces and roasts in gravy with potatoes and greens. Nevertheless, with the 24Such smuggling ships have not seen use since the long-ago days when the lands to the east were separate kingdoms. Then, a ship on the Wyvernwater could make a hefty profit evading taxes with runs of spirits one way and pelts in the other. 157

ongoing improvements in atmosphere, fare, and service, I recommend the place. Halaband's Inn Halaband’s is the least-known of Immersea’s inns. It’s a dark, drafty old place of gray-haired servants and fine old wood paneling. Its dining room offers a wider selection of food than the Fish. This is a good thing, because the place is otherwise a sad second to its better-known competitor. Everything’s broken and mended or very well-used, and if you dress warmly or go in the hot days of summer, you can appreciate the comfortable feel of the place. Halaband’s offers suites suitable for large groups of travelers. The inn’s founder, long dead, was an adventurer, and he built this place as a base. One interesting feature of the inn is the array of halfling-sized laundry chutes that slope from each floor to the basem*nts. There’s also a dumbwaiter that takes hot food from the kitchens to each floor. Bells are rung to herald the arrival of the viands—and to drive off the bats that like to ride on the dumbwaiter itself. The staff can recommend local escorts and other locals who provide in-room service performing massages, tending to one’s pedicure or manicure, or dressing one’s hair. Halaband’s provides adequate accommodation, but could be improved. The Immer Inn The most snobbish and overpriced of Immersea’s inns, the Immer Inn is a place that has to be seen to be believed. It’s a former manor house that’s been ‘improved” with gilded columns everywhere and hanging brass pots bristling with ferns. Carved ki-rin wind charms and little plaster trumpet-bearing sprites have been worked into every corner. In short, the place tries to look like a palace. The Immer’s wine cellar is superb, the ales less so, and the kitchens here specialize in inventive things done to fish (trout stuffed with cheese? Why?) and in various seasoned sorts of cheese. Guests each have a personal server who waits on them for three meals daily if they wish to partake of food, and there’s a pair of chambermaids on each floor that one can ring for if any need arises. There are no single rooms at the Immer Inn. All suites have a bath chamber and receiving room linked to a wardrobe off of which opens either one or two bedrooms. Each receiving room has its own fireplace and window. The rooms are very nice and utterly soundproof. With the doors closed, you never know you aren’t alone in a private residence. All this luxury, however, easily costs upward of 30 gp per night. Ouch. 158

Jester’s Green This village of about 600 merchants stands just north of Suzail. It’s named for an inn that once stood at its center and burned down long ago, killing the innkeeper. The innkeeper was known as the Jester; he was a rogue wizard who defrauded one too many guests with his magic and was destroyed by a meteor swarm hurled by a Red Wizard of Thay traveling in disguise. The Green, a huge caravan campfield serviced by the inn, survives. It has become the traditional mustering camp of the militia and the marshaling ground for any army called up by Cormyr. It’s bordered by permanent Purple Dragon barracks. Among the barracks, an openair market has been permanently set up for the convenience of the troops. Once a tenday, a horse auction is held on the Green. Breeders bring their stock here so that citizens of Suzail, country folk who can get to the Green without enduring the crowding and prices of Suzail, and the soldiery can all bid on the horses, guaranteeing good prices. If you’ve got something to sell that warriors would want to buy, this is the place to come. The deceitful are warned that the troops dispense their own rough justice to those who cheat them. A Zhentarim agent once tried to decimate the defenders of Cormyr by selling poisoned wine here, and a war wizard inspector discovered this before anyone even fell ill by using poison detection magic. The 159

unfortunate Zhent was literally torn apart by furious soldiers! (The inspector was part of a regular duty detail; poisoners and wine vendors are hereby warned.) Places of Interest in Jester’s Green Gambling Houses The Lucky Dragon This dimly lit establishment rents out chairs at its gaming tables for 1 gp per hour; the time is governed by an intricate water clock that chimes at the top of the hour. Drinks of bad ale and worse wine served in generous clay cups are 4 cp per fill. Bets and the company of a few local lasses who cruise the place seeking to comfort and escort weary gamblers are, of course, extra. Purple Dragons play at half price in the Lucky Dragon. Some of the more popular games played in this house and elsewhere in Cormyr, especially where Purple Dragons are stationed, are described in the pages hereafter, in a short essay of mine on games. Shops The stalls in the market change rapidly, but Jester’s Green does have a few shops of interest: The Flame of Love Lutery Lutes and Romantic Trinkets Yes, this crammed shop does offer lutes, but it also sells love poems for smitten soldiers to send or declaim to their lighto’-loves as well as scented candles, lingerie, magically preserved flowers, keepsake gifts, “from a secret admirer” notes, bottles of wine, racy broadsheets, and er, indiscreet romantic pictures. The Maiden Said Maybe, High Ladies in Love, and The Elf Maiden and the Unicorn are a few of the broadsheets for sale. These masterpieces go for 1 sp each. The romantic pictures are priced from 1 sp to 10 gp; most are 6 sp. The Old Codpiece Arms & Armory Armory Named for the fearsome protuberance on a fat old suit of armor reputed to have once belonged to Dhalmass the Warrior King, but more likely once the property of the “Old Boar,” his stoutest baron, this shop is crammed with arms and armor. Over a dozen complete suits of armor stand among the goods, and thieves are warned that both magically animated flying daggers and battle horrors capable of flight guard the place against thieves. Secondhand arms and armor are what this shop deals in. The proprietors buy at half price (or less if the condition of the goods is terrible) and sell at twothirds to three-quarters the going new price. For instance, a short sword is typically 6 or 7 gp. Note that the three old dwarves and six retired Purple Dragons who run the place are expert at hurling weapons at any spot in the shop.25 25Consider them +3 to hit when throwing any weapon in the shop. All serve as eyes and ears of the war wizards; loose talk among patrons is reported to the authorities. 160

Games of Chance Many similar games of chance and shady skill are played across Faerun. Knowing subtle differences of etiquette and play from place to place is an essential survival skill for travelers. Here are three gambling games played in Cormyr alongside chess and more familiar card and dice games. Toss the Dagger Played in cruder ways elsewhere, this game gets the full treatment at the Lucky Dragon: Two daggers are thrown upward simultaneously by A blindfolded maiden, who then steps back. She hurls them up into a hanging forest of old scraps of armor, fragments of blades, and the like that dangles from the ceiling on cords and chains. Both daggers must strike something on their upward trip or both must be thrown again. The floor of the throwing area is made of damp sand. Players bet on whether one, both, or none of the daggers will strike point downward when they reach the ground. Bets are placed before the daggers are thrown and continue until only one player can afford to continue or (by prior agreement) for six, seven, nine, or twelve bets. Traitor's Heads Five dice are shaken inside a skull and then dropped out of it onto a second skull that has been placed on A large dark cloak or velvet cloth. To count, a die must strike the second skull and come to rest on the cloth. Dice that miss the skull or roll off the cloth must be shaken and dropped again. Casting the dice alternately, players seek to reach an exact total. Doubles, triples, and quartets can be taken at face value or rerolled at the caster’s choice. One die or both may be rerolled in the case of duplicates, but if the player chooses to reroll a triple or quartet, all of the matching dice must be rolled. Any casting where all five dice land displaying the same number wins the game instantly. Bets are placed per game and sometimes modified by the number of rolls required to achieve the target total. Players who go over the needed total (usually 36) get A free roll of all five dice and drop from their over-total the number of points the dice show. Thereafter, they take their turn casting a single die only. When they approach the needed total, all rolls that take them over the total again are ignored, and they must continue to roll in their turn until the exact total is met. Swords and Shields This card game is played with two identical decks that may be of any sort, so long as they have at least 20 cards. One player chooses a single card from his or her hand and puts it face down

on the table. The other player puts an array (called a tableau) of 20 cards face down on the table with a coin atop each one. One of these cards must be the second player’s king or dragon or crown card, depending on what deck is used. (The sole top-value card of the deck.) The player who is dealt one card (a “shield”) tries to find the king by turning over cards. Each card turned over that isn’t the king costs him or her a coin to match the one atop the card, except the card that matches the shield card, which must then be immediately shown to the player who laid down the 20-card tableau. The match between the overturned card and the turning player’s shield card must be exact in suit and type. If so, the turning player pays nothing for flipping the card over; instead, the player who laid out the tableau pays the turning player double the value of the coin on the flipped card. If the king is discovered before only four cards are left, the player who dealt the tableau must pay the turning player double the value of the most valuable coin on any card on the table. This simple gambling game is sometimes enlivened in two ways: “calling the hounds” and “telling.” Calling the hounds is the practice of allowing the turning player to call out any two cards except the king by name, including suit and type, after all coins and cards are laid out in the tableau but before any card has been turned over. If these cards are in the tableau, the player who laid out the tableau must turn them over at this time. Neither player pays anything at this time, but the turning player’s odds are bettered. In telling, a favorite practice in Cormyr, the turning player must tell a joke, incident, or tale leading up to each card turnover. An example follows: ‘Tis said that the hero Ambrangarr of Tsurlagol once found a mirror in a wizard’s tower, boldly stepped through it, and found himself in the lair of a dragon. The dragon asked him a riddle: “Fits in my mouth but fills a cavern. What is it?” Ambrangarr, being a hero, and therefore not overly quick or keen of wit, knew not the answer (“smoke”), so the dragon tried to slay him. Ambrangarr swept up a chest from the dragon’s heaped, glittering treasure hoard, and jammed it into the dragon’s jaws. Then he slew it by plunging his sword deep into both its eyes. The dragon died, crushing the chest as its jaws convulsed, and out of the shattered chest fell—a card. At this point the turning player chooses a card and turns it over with a flourish.

Knightswood This tranquil wooded hamlet grew around several knights’ steadings (hence its name), but doesn’t seem to have developed all that much. Today, Knightswood consists of an arched wooden bridge over the Starwater; a sawmill beside it; a woodcarver’s shop where strongchests, stools, and chairs are made and sold; the cottages of foresters; and the Old Owlbear, a good (if rustic) inn. Local woodcarvers are licensed to cut a limited number of trees from the forest in specific clearings around Knightswood. A local circle of druids dedicated to Silvanus, the Knightswood Nine, ensures that no unlawful felling occurs. The circle’s ongoing efforts have made the forest around Knightswood rich in exotic plants, bustling with woodland creatures, and beautiful to the eye. They’re rumored to dwell in an underground home reached by climbing down into a huge hollow tree and to cultivate mushrooms in a vast series of caverns linked to their abode. These caverns are eerily lit by glowing fungi that grow among the ’shrooms and afford the druids several back door exits to the surface. The exits emerge in the woods all around the village. The Nine can be contacted by speaking to Aunglar the miller or his assistant Jaerith. The Nine are all old men. They are led by Draguth Endroun, a whitemaned, opinionated man who likes to cultivate an air of mystery and is known to wield a staff of the woodlands. Knightswood was home to the master bard Chanthalas, composer of the famous song “The Cormyte’s Boast” that is roared out in many a taproom and fireside when tankards have been emptied several times. I’ve included its lyrics on a succeeding page for travelers who don’t want to be left out when everyone else is bawling out the words more or less in time—though seldom more or less in tune. The tumble-down cottage of the master bard largely owes its present decrepit state to the efforts of many searchers who have tried to find his harp of charming in the 50- odd winters since he died. If anyone has found it, she or he has spirited it away and escaped detection. Knightswood was also home to the wizard Cauldigurn the Black, a mild-mannered war wizard known for the battle spells he devised, all of which combined harmful effects with an area of conjured darkness and were the origin of his nickname. Cauldigurn died in Sembia 22 winters ago, and his small cottage stands roofless and empty. Somewhere around it, locals insist, is an invisible gate to his real home, where his spellbooks, magical items, and wealth presumably still lie. Several war wizards have thoroughly searched the cottage and the woods around, but no trace of a magical way to elsewhere—or any magic at all—has yet been found. The most famous current resident of Knightswood is Baerelus the Bold, an aging satyr who’s an expert on the history and habits of beings of the King’s Forest and a confidant of many young folk. For 60 years he’s been giving wise advice for free to young lovers, runaways, and Cormytes whose problems trouble them deeply. Baerelus can usually be found near the Old Oak, a huge, gnarled old tree that stands alone in the first clearing north of the mill. He’s rumored to have magical means of protecting himself against those who offer him harm or try to kidnap him. At the Old Owlbear, they often tell of the time he was 163

drugged with doctored wine, caged, and smuggled to Sembia by merchants planning to sell him to a college of learning in Selgaunt. The second night of the journey found the captors camped near the Hullack Forest. They fled for their lives when they went to feed Baerelus and found no sign of the old satyr. The cage was open and an angry gargoyle was waiting for them in it. Places of Interest in Knightswood Shops Aunglar’s Mill Sawmill This cluttered old shed has a placid, duckhaunted pond and three small wheels in its millrace rather than the more usual single large one. Here Aunglar, his assistant Jaerith, and a half-dozen less skilled helpers cut timber into blocks, boards, beams, and spars. They’re not very skilled woodcutters, but they don’t charge much either. Inns The Old Owlbear The Owlbear is old, rustic, and comfortable. It is a relaxed place run by graybeards with a tranquility to match their pace. Beware their parsnip wine, as it is far stronger than it seems. This inn sports nothing spectacular and is simply a solid, honest place ideal for rest and recuperation. 164

The Cormyte’s Boast When Purple Dragons first rode the ways, Swording every monster seen, Then did adventurers’ mighty plays Hearten all in this land green. But now with farmer and merchant both I hearken more or lasting peace, And find myself increasing loath To welcome the weapons charter wreath. Chorus I’ll still be a Cormyte brave, sir. And in this land I’ll proudly stand Until my dying day, sir. For whate’er king o’er all command Now Sembian gold it piles up high, And men show the price of their hides. But there stand here folk you cannot buy Whate’er changing fortune’s tides. So let all dandies prance and preen, Doing anything for coins tossed their way. Here in this pleasant kingdom green I’ll steadfast unbending stay. Chorus Now other lands sing prouder songs, And their folk come swaggering our way. But if those lands are so free of wrongs, Why do their folk from home away? Oh, many boasts are empty boasts, And distant shores our hearts recall, But among all other glittering toasts There’s one that beats ’em all Chorus And in Cormyr none shall starve or thirst For so the fair law demands. But of all fair folk we are the first To strike down bad laws and commands. Some folk may live in layer halls Or wear cut gems on every toe. Such folk take greater and grander falls And so find harder rows to hoe. Chorus (Repeat the chorus if the company demands. Usually the last chorus is sung once and then again a second time at half speed and twice the proud, emphatic volume!) 165

Mouth o’ Gargoyles This village of 460-odd folk stands on the Starwater Road between Dhedluk and Immersea, where the road fords the Starwater River. Its name comes from a mage of long ago who dwelt in a cave here and used a flight of gargoyles to drive folk away and mount night raids on both cargoes passing on the river and encamped travelers. These fearsome flying monsters terrorized the region for years until mages could be hired in numbers enough to destroy them and confront their master. The resulting battle blew apart the cave, which had been known as the Mouth of the Gargoyles, and only its name remains today. The battle also left a more lasting legacy: a wild magic curse that makes the whole village an unreliable locale for spellcasting. Spells almost always go awry here, and magical item effects go wild most times they are invoked. Signs are posted to prevent magic use by the unwary. They clearly state that it is against Crown law to try to cast or unleash magic within the area bounded by the signs, which is the entire village. War wizards and Crown officers are exempted from this law, but they have their own rules against breaking it. The mere presence of magical items doesn’t awaken the curse, but any visitor who tries to activate even the most minor magic creates an immediate spellstorm of wild magic effects that spirals off in all directions. For example, trees turn blue, shrubs begin to levitate and drift about, leaves turn to glass and metal shards and fly about in all directions, stone turns to water, earth is hurled up into wavelike immobile shapes, and birds explode into fireballs here and there.26 The damage that such wild magic storms can do is considerable, and folk can easily be slain. Miscreants who willfully cause such effects are typically imprisoned for a tenday and lose all carried goods as a forfeit. If such storms are caused by adventurers, they have their charter revoked or suspended for a month or more. Those who accidentally cause wild magic surge spellstorms and can prove that their act wasn’t willful (not an easy thing to do) receive lighter sentences. Mouth o’ Gargoyles today is a village of woodcarvers, furnituremakers, and makers and sellers of oils. The oil producers are known as lighters. They glean flammable oils and less viscous amberglow27 by probing deep into rock fissures near the site of the now-destroyed wizard’s cave, where natural oils well up. They pump up the oil they locate, allow it to settle, and then filter it. From time to time, a spontaneous ball of fire or jet of flame bursts up from beneath the earth, hurling an unfortunate lighter or two into the air, and the air around the rocks has a heavy reek that makes most folk ill. Over the years, many folk have mysteriously disappeared around the village. Some locals believe the vanished folk have been swallowed up by magical gates opened up by the wild magic. Others credit a mad mage who uses gates to kidnap folk. Still others blame the disappearances on drow raiders stealing up from beneath the earth. The true cause of the disappearances is still unknown. 26The FORGOTTEN REALMS Adventures and Tome of Magic sourcebooks contain additional wild magic effects. 27Amberglow is used as a lubricant and to keep blades from rusting. 166

Places of Interest in Mouth o’ Gargoyles Shops Bendagar’s Barrels Cooper The hearty, beer-swilling owner of this shop looks rather like a barrel himself. In this cavernous former barn he makes and sells barrels of all sizes, from tiny herb kegs that fit in your palm—made for wearing around a lady’s neck to provide scent in odoriferous surroundings—to tuns that one can fit an intact horse or monster carcass into. Those very small kegs cost 1 gp each, and the largest cost 65 gp. The standard sizes vary slightly in price according to what woods they’re made of, how they’re sealed, if they have an inner liner or not, and how many bands hold them together, but they average as follows: A hand keg costs 2 sp and a cask 3 sp. A barrel of the size most folk are used to runs 4 sp for a simple sample and 1 gp for a heavy-duty banded one. A butt costs 12 gp for a plain sample and 20 gp for heavy-duty workmanship. At these low prices, merchants can afford to buy in bulk, and they do. The shop is usually a steam-filled madhouse of workers bending wood, clamping bands, and rushing hoops or semifinished barrels here and there. It’s not unusual for Bendagar and his staff to turn out 80 barrels or more in a day. Bendagar’s never without a pipe and tankard near him, and he likes to gossip about Cormyr’s politics and nobles. Bring him some good ale and you’re likely to hear some frank observations about the high and mighty of Cormyr that would shock some ears greatly! 167

Thaelin's Finework slightly larger coffers. They cost 6 to 200 gp, Small Boxes and Finework Coffers and they come with latches and rings for locks to be fitted to them. They are ideal for storing papers, coins, and the like. Exquisite! The quiet, careful Thaelin Althor is a retired warrior from Chessenta. He stands fully 7 feet tall. Two crossed two-handed swords hang near at hand on his shop wall. Locals tell me he used those swords to fell 17 orcs the last time a raiding band burst out of the forest and fell on the village. Apparently the goblinkin know about the wild magic conditions in Mouth O’ Gargoyles, and once or twice a year they take advantage of the forest cover and the fact that they’re unlikely to be met by defending magic. Thaelin makes and sells a wide variety of small, delicate, ornamentally carved boxes. Most of them are hand-sized boxes or Tavern/Inn/Festhall The Gargoyle's Perch Run by a dozen friends who hire out as escorts to interested guests, this old, sprawling, and ramshackle roadhouse has a poor wine cellar, a good selection of ales and stouts, and a rather poor dining room of the “we keep it dim so you can’t see what you’re eating—and for good reason” sort. Its sleeping facilities are a series of similarly dim, seldom-cleaned bedchambers. I was not impressed. 168

Stag Steads Once a druid’s home, this isolated locale has been an ogre’s den, a brigand's stronghold, and finally a hunting lodge forfeited to the Crown when the last Goldfeather noble was executed for treason by King Dhalmass in 1191 DR. Ever since, it’s been used by the royal family, the three royal noble clans (the Crownsilvers, Huntsilvers, and Truesilvers), and by others (by invitation only). Some 70 years ago, lesser nobles fought for a chance to risk their necks hunting stags and boar through the trees with spears. A rare few had the pleasure of doing so from the enchanted flying saddle of Thamos before that useful item disappeared—stolen, ’tis said, by an impoverished noble hired by a Sembian mage, who hoped to make many of the things but failed. Now all the fashion conscious have already gone hunting. The rush of haughty folk has slowed to a trickle, though a hunting tour is still a coming-ofa*ge ritual of sorts for young male nobles. The Place This luxurious hunting lodge has been dug into hillsides, planted over with mosses, and bulwarked with saplings that have since grown into respectable trees until today it seems to grow out of the forest like a turtle half-hidden in a puddle. It’s hard to see the place until you’re almost at its doors. Inside, it’s cool, dim, and damp except in the circular dining room where a gigantic hearth suitable for roasting three whole deer or boars at once warms the chamber. If one’s not given to bone-ache from the damp, the Stead can be a secure den in the depths of one of the most beautiful forests humans can easily reach. The Prospect Attendance at the Stead today is still by invitation only, but since Vangerdahast began holding war wizard conferences here, and Alusair Nacacia and the wilder young Huntsilver nobles started to use the place as a retreat for trysts, many an untitled guest has hunted out of the Stead for a few days. It’s unusual to stay more than six or seven nights or a tenday at the outside. Nobles who try to take up residence here for longer are politely asked to leave—if necessary, by the Royal Magician himself, summoned for the purpose by message stone. (A teleport gate that links the place with the Palace of the Purple Dragon in Suzail is hidden somewhere in the dark back rooms of the Stead. It whisks royals, war wizards, their retainers, and flat stones with message parchments wrapped around them back and forth whenever necessary.) Despite the lodge’s continuous use for over two centuries, hunting in the area is still good. Local rumor has it that war wizards magically restock the King’s Forest in the vicinity.28 Bards—especially elves and half-elves—like to stop at the Stead because of its verdant surroundings. However, if royals or senior war wizards are in residence, bards arriving unannounced can expect to undergo a magically assisted interrogation by a war wizard, to find out just who they 28Elminster says this is true. A cavern south of the Stead is home to one of two deepspawn whose captivity is known to be sanctioned by Vangerdahast. The other is in a secret cellar of the Palace. Both have been fed on an exclusive diet of boar, stag, grouse, and pheasant. 169

are and what unadvertised powers they may wield, before they’re allowed to stay. The Provender Fare at the Stead is fern-and-fiddlehead soup, morels, and other forest vegetables flanking roast boar, venison, and grouse. Though the menu seldom varies, the wine cellar is excellent, the cook is a master of sauces designed to add a little variety to the meat, and—best of all — everything’s free. That is, it’s free to a guest. Bards aren’t paid for their entertainment, but they also stay for free. Travelers not allowed in can camp at a forest clearing not far from the Stead and buy meals from a serving window on one side of the Stead for a single night only. Purple Dragon hunters assisted by war wizards who dress like their fellow foresters firmly move all squatters on. Travelers who think to camp and sneak to the Stead later to eavesdrop are warned that concealed war wizards (perhaps magically using the eyes of local animals) keep watch over encamped folk to prevent just such unauthorized visits. The Places Travelers buying their meals through the window can expect to pay 1 gp per platter. A platter, a simple oval of metal with a raised edge to hold in sauce, holds a generous serving for a single hungry person. Wine is 4 gp per bottle, and ale—not the best—can be had for 2 gp for a hand keg. The platter, which is stamped with a fullface, heavily antlered stag’s head, is yours to keep. There’s a brisk trade in these souvenirs among socially climbing Cormyreans. Drinks are served in their containers, with nondescript clay cups provided on request. Travelers’ Lore Guests at the Stead can wander the woods by themselves, but unless they’re frequent visitors or of one of the royal houses, they’re strongly encouraged by the staff to hire one of the local hunters as guides. The strongest encouragements come from Bald Jhawn, the head huntsman, a massively muscled master wrestler with a plentiful fund of tall tales about hunting mishaps and “weirds of the woods.” The best of the badged foresters29 is generally acknowledged to be one Tlumbel Droun, a half-elf of pranksome ways. Calmer and more easily located for hire are Bald Jhawn himself and several taciturn individuals who go by the names of Ithaglor Bruensal, Dreth Milyntyr, and Doalogh Dultor. Their fees vary from 1 to 6 gp per day, depending on who one hires and what game the hunter is told to seek. All of these guides are expert hunters, trappers, and skinners, and all of them know the local trails, including the way to such landmarks as Oadal’s Stand and the Mushroom Dell. Oadal’s Stand is an eerie hollow ring of massive shadowtop trees, named for the mage said to have perished in its center in a sorcerers’ duel some centuries ago. The Mushroom Dell is a small, bowl-shaped depression in the woods where no trees stand. Always misty and shaded by huge trees around it, the 29Elminster: They wear a badge of 12 tiny green stars encircling a white mushroom on a brown field that signifies acceptance of their skills by war wizard inspectors. 170

damp dell is carpeted in mushrooms (many edible) and mosses. Some of the mosses and ’shrooms, locals insist, cover the bones of brigands slain here in a fight with Purple Dragons long, long ago. For an extra coin or two, all of these guides can take you off the trails to some overgrown ruins that are said to be the remnants of early, long-fallen noble families’ keeps. Local lore says they’re crammed with ghosts and treasure and liberally provided with monster-haunted underground catacombs—but then, local legend in Cormyr rarely says anything else. Most hunters are happy to leave the Stead with several hearty meals, some salted and barreled meat for their larders that they slew themselves (or, in the case of the more inept or weaker hunters, that they helped their guide slay), and perhaps a stuffed and mounted head of their kill to proudly display on some wall or other if they bagged a stag or boar of respectable size. Several locals dress these stuffed heads to finished form for 5 to 10 gp per head, depending on the size of the head and how quickly the finished piece is desired. The best is Old Martya, two cottages west of the Stead. Some hunters, however, come back year after year in pursuit of the elusive Ghost Stag, a giant white stag said to be able to vanish when cornered, fading into nothingness. Senior war wizards who often visit the Stead tell me that the Stag is a real beast with a natural teleportation power and perhaps other psionic talents that allow it to escape spells that seek it and not any sort of undead. 171

Tyrluk This village of 270 or so folk doesn’t welcome visitors except farmers from nearby, who come to market here once a tenday. Folk who must stop in Tyrluk for a night are advised to call on the local lord, the prodigiously fat, hard-drinking, roaring-old rip Suldag the Boar, and endure his boisterous hospitality. The villagers are apt to be almost hostile to strangers. Just why folk here don’t like outsiders is something I haven’t discovered, but I know they suffered at the hands of brigands and swindling merchants who were lords before Suldag for many years. There’s not much to see in Tyrluk anyway: a smithy, a carter, and cottages. Most locals work for Charn the Smith or Oglul’s Cartworks. At the south end of the village sits the pony ranch of Silturr Shadowshield, a producer of top-quality mountain mounts for the Purple Dragons in High Horn and anyone else with coins enough. His beasts typically go for 36 to 40 gp. As one can tell, Tyrluk’s businesses can be very useful to caravans in need of new horses, horseshoes, wheels, chains, or new wagons. Locals are happy to provide these things in return for good coin of the realm but still say firmly that they don’t like outsiders. Visitors are told to “camp over there,” with an abrupt arm gesture indicating the location of “there.” The place indicated is a moribund farm at the north end of town. It has four grassy fields, two good wells, and several old barns. Travelers are expected to keep to it. The villagers have provided firepits, ample firewood kept dry under cover, and privies, so why not humor them? One can go places more welcoming on the morrow. The only landmark of interest in Tyrluk lies in the trees just west of the campground the Bowshot Run, an arrowstraight track through the forest. This flat, grassy strip of land has been cleared of all shrubs and trees, and it mysteriously stays that way. It runs from nowhere to nowhere, beginning and ending in the forest without visible ruins, cairns, or anything under ground (folk have dug looking) at its ends or along its length. Its origins are unknown. Some sages hazard it might have been a ritual approach route to a now-vanished temple. Its name comes from the use made of it these days, since with trees along it marked for distances, it makes an ideal archery range. Visitors inclined to overstay their cool welcome are warned that most locals are very proficient with their bows and hunt to fill their cooking pots every few days. There’s one legend of Tyrluk that bears mentioning: The village is the reputed home of the Blue Blade. In Cormyr’s folklore, the Blue Blade is a famous gallant brigand who stole from rich travelers on all of the roads that traversed the King’s Forest but often gave gems from earlier hauls to pretty ladies when he waylaid them. If the Blue Blade were a single real man, he would have to be over 80 winters old by now. Although every fresh act of brigandry awakens fresh rumors of his involvement, there haven’t been any proven sightings of him for more than 25 summers. The Blue Blade was the original reason for war wizards being assigned to local guardhouses and ordered to accompany road patrols throughout the realm. Their seeking magic would make the career of a lone brigand foolhardy now. When I first visited Tyrluk, I assumed the village folk were trying to hide some 172

brigand-related secret or other from me. The more I see of Tyrluk, and of younglings who’ve grown up and left it to dwell elsewhere in Cormyr, the more I think the local attitude is one of “the world is an evil place and, except for folk in need of our goods, brings us only ill.” This encourages the folk of Tyrluk to have nothing to do with the outside world and to turn their backs on it whenever it comes seeking them. Places of Interest in Tyrluk Inns The Old Man’s Face The best thing about this cold, dirty roadhouse is its charmingly carved signboard, which displays a kindly, smiling old man’s face. There’s nothing kindly about the interior unless you’re a local. Outsiders meet flat, unfriendly gazes and are seated at a dark, cold corner table. The Old Face serves as the villagers’ restaurant and tavern, concentrating on bad but strong beer and simple, hearty roasts and boiled vegetables rescued from wretchedness by a variety of spiced sauces. The inn’s only regular paying customers are the 14 men and four women of the local Purple Dragon garrison. The chief amusem*nt of the locals in Tyrluk seems to be seeing which of the male soldiers will catch which of their fellow king’s women to be his wife. 173

Waymoot This town30 of 1,100 folk is the largest settlement inside the King’s Forest and represents one of Cormyr’s formerly secret defenses. Originally a muddy meeting of trails in the trees that was haunted by trolls who preyed on many travelers, Waymoot was enlarged by cutting back the woods to make a campground, and then a large compound, and later a trade center complete with a fortified keep and a cluster of horse farms that provide the Purple Dragons with quality mounts in plenty. As the local saying goes: “Ever seen a host of mounted Purple Dragons lower lances and charge? Well, they’re riding Waymoot!” That saying has in turn led to a Cormyr-wide phrase for a mounted charge or thunder of approaching hooves: “Waymoot come calling.” Waymoot is a busy travelers’ town. Its lifeblood is all the folk just passing through. Some of them don’t even know that Cormyrean legend believes this is the true heart of the realm. Cormyreans believe that the Obarskyr kings sleep in some spell-hidden grotto to which their essences steal after death. There they await the time when the land will need them again. When that fateful time draws down, they’ll rise, ghostly blades in hand, to ride the skies and smite the foes of the realm they loved and led. And somewhere under Waymoot is where the dead kings sleep. Where? Under the keep, some say, and point to the everpresent feeling of watchful menace that many folk feel in its lower levels as proof. This theory is supported by the occasional ringing clangs heard there, echoing from the deeps of the earth; folk say these are the stirrings of the restless blades of the kings. Whether this is true or not, there is a special feeling about Waymoot. The legend of the Sleeping Kings is overlaid with another tale, remembered in an old snatch of song that has become a children’s rhyme throughout Cormyr: Bring me the key from dungeons deep, Where undead knights a-rusting sleep, That doth unlock the dragon’s door And we’ll swim in gold forevermore! This rhyme refers to a collapsed dungeon labyrinth under central Waymoot—very real catacombs that were once the treasure vaults of a gold dragon that used its puny human form to store its gold in the abandoned undercellars of a long-vanished keep. The dragon was ultimately slain by a beholder who broke up into the cellars from a cavern below—and presumably still lairs there! Waymootans know these tales, but other Cormyreans and outlanders are more likely to have heard of the troll raids that forced earlier kings to create the great clearing that now holds Waymoot town and of the hero who almost single-handedly held off one troll attack the local lord, Filfar Woodbrand. Though he dislikes the nickname of “Trollkiller” he earned that day, Lord Woodbrand (now a seasoned warrior) remains prodigiously strong. He’s been known to hoist aloft two benches of seated drinkers at the Silver Wink, his favorite drinking spot, and carry them around the taproom without spilling a drop from anyone’s tankard. 30A map of Waymoot is found in the Geography chapter of the Cormyr game accessory, in the section on smaller towns. 174

Folk say Lord Woodbrand halted a wagonload of fleeing thieves once by blocking the two galloping dray horses all alone and then lifting them both off the ground to bring the wagon to a halt. Then the lord set the beasts down and straightway tore the reins apart like so many cobwebs to sever them from the wagon. The thieves drew steel and stabbed at him from out of the sides of their wagon, so the lord calmly picked it up and hurled it across a field, tumbling it end over end until it came to a halt upside down and the dazed men spilled out of it. In the course of collecting them, Lord Woodbrand bent the sword of one bandit who tied to hack at him into a halfcircle before picking the man up under one arm and going on to get the others. watch their lord show his strength: A favorite stunt of theirs is to play tug of war with all the visitors in the place. The lord stands alone at one end of the rope, his back to the door, and everyone else tugs against him. He usually drags everyone out of the place without any visible effort. 175 Once an adventuring band made the mistake of drawing weapons in a brawl in the Wink. The lord waded into the fray, plucked up each armed contestant, and hurled them over the heads of the brawling crowd and out the door. He neglected to open the door first. After that first brief and involuntary flight, a wincing local held the door open for the duration of the brawl, just in case. Many drinkers at the Wink love to The fortunate visitor may well witness Lord Woodbrand at play but should not

be tricked into arm-wrestling with him or with any Waymootan. (Any Waymootans asked to wrestle will profess weariness and ask a friend—the lord, of course—to take their place.) Needless to say, Waymootans love their lord. If you’ve seen him holding stallions at bay at stud sessions or helping with difficult foalings, as I have, you know why. Landmarks Waymoot today is the town of the horse. A seemingly endless supply of quality horseflesh is bred, reared, and trained here, and merchants come to Waymoot from far and wide to buy light, medium, and heavy war horses. All of the local horse farms are good: Llamskir’s is perhaps the most famous, but Tirin’s and Burilla’s are arguably better. Kryson is the fourth of the horse farms. Waymoot also produces wagons of high clearance, sturdy make, and nimble handling, well suited to bouncing over roots and around narrow bends on forest trails. These are popular purchases with visiting merchants. Finally, no less than two temples, the Sheltering Hand and the Sounds of Joy stand in this out-of-the-way manmade clearing in the heart of the King’s Forest. The Sheltering Hand is a temple of Tymora, and the Sounds of Joy is dedicated to Lliira. Places of Interest in Waymoot Palaces Lord Woodbrand’s Keep This small but soaring walled keep sports a jail built onto the outside of its north wall and a small forest of ballistae and catapults on its battlements. Within the walls, a stables and a barracks flank the keep. The lord and his guests inhabit the ground floor of the rather damp and gloomy central castle. In winter, winds howl through this place like agonized banshees, and Lord Woodbrand goes around carrying whole felled trees to break up as firewood! Few guests see the inside of the keep, but those who do can gaze upon stag’s heads as large as small cottages that are mounted on its inside the walls and protected by preservative spells that glow eerily! Temples The Sheltering Hand This temple to Tymora does a brisk business in healing and aiding those who risked danger and came up short, since the goddess believes all folk should face risks. The priests here are quite generous, often charging a stiff fee for healing magic and then dispensing a hot meal and a generous purse of coins to travel on with. They don’t much care what faith the folk they’re aiding profess; a person aided is a person who may well turn to Tymora again in need. The tall, dignified Chancepriest Gothric looks every inch a king as he leads his small staff of priests in worship or on Tymora’s business. Under his benevolent guidance, this temple has grown rich enough to purchase a guardian golem whose presence was revealed in the last troll raid. The Sounds of Joy This temple to Lliira is led by the fey and beautiful half-elven Queen of Joy (high 176

priestess) Jezarai Moonbolt, a bright, calculating lady who once led her flock in the veneration of Waukeen. The festivals mounted by this holy house are wild events of nightlong costumed dancing that are often attended in force by jaded Suzailan nobles and wealthy merchants. The goddess tells the queen of joy that a festival should be mounted a tenday hence by means of a vision, and a temple messenger is immediately sent to Suzail to spread the word. At sundown on festival night, Jezarai lies down on the altar, and Lliira signals the beginning of festivities to all by conferring a wild, continuous shape change on her high priestess. The dancing and carousing at these events often spills out over all Waymoot, but Lord Woodbrand always keeps a watchful eye out for thieves, perils of fire or injury, and unlawful mayhem. Shops Waymoot has few shops of note; they all seem to sell travelers’ gear, though there’s a good local bakery, too. None of the travelers’ shops is particularly bad, but none of them are particularly outstanding either. Because of the clientele who like to gather there, the most interesting of these shops is: Nightstar Guiding & Outfitters Travelers’ Gear This well-equipped shop sells ropes, cord, wire, maps, boots, and other travelers’ gear to all. Among the gear it stocks are blankets, packs, chests, candles, torches, lamp oil in rigid belt boxes, and tents. It is a popular gathering place for adventurers and foresters, who meet over brandy or herb teas here and tell of what’s befallen them. It’s widely—and correctly, let me attest—rumored that the proprietress, the ranger Liriel Nightstar, is a Harper.31 Taverns The Moon and Stars This large tavern is a gathering place for all sorts of colorful characters, from retired pirates who are now local horsebreeders to active adventurers. A smattering of centaurs, swanmays, and even faerie dragons are apt to be visiting on any given night. It was here that Florin Falconhand of the Knights of Myth Drannor first met his bride-to-be, the ranger Dove, and it was here that King Azoun was attacked by a Zhentarim mage who shapechanged into a beholder. The mage was slain by a ki-rin in disguise who’d been quietly playing cards in a corner with several old men. Order is kept in this potentially explosive mix of clientele by a veteran staff of rangers and ex-adventurers who are all allowed to bear weapons by the king’s decree. They always have a war wizard (or two) on duty to summon more powerful aid if need be. The “Moonstars” serves Cormyr as a meeting ground for the dangerous and the exotic. It is close enough to Suzail for citizens of the capital to reach it, and far enough away to avoid frightening them or starting unwelcome rumors. More 31Elminster: Sigh. She’s a 7th-level ranger, if ye must tell the world. 177

than once envoys from supposedly unfriendly realms and powers, such as pirate lords, Blades from Mulmaster, or agents of Thay, have quietly met with Vangerdahast or senior Cormyrean mages and nobles of Cormyr here to discuss matters of state and trade that neither side wanted made more public. Needless to say, the Moonstars offers private gaming and drinking chambers for those who need or want to be discreet. If you visit, you may see such exalted folk as are mentioned above. More likely though, you’ll just sit, watch the passing parade, and enjoy the pickles, hot buns spread with pâtés, diced fruit, and cheese-stuffed fried mushroom caps served here—all accompanied by your choice of the contents of a superb wine cellar and a substantial selection of brews. The Moonstars is one of the great taverns of the world, worthy of any land or exalted guest. It is not to be missed. Inns Beruintar’s Hone Warmer The least-known of Waymoot’s inns, this is the “overflow” inn where folk who can’t get rooms at the better places must stay. It’s also the chosen abode of exotic visitors such as lizard men or minotaurs who’re part of chartered adventuring bands (but are watched suspiciously nonetheless). The inn consists of warm but unexciting rooms, a hot communal bath on each floor, and a small, unvarying menu of soup, hot breads, and teas. Guests should be careful in the baths, as several folk have been surprised while unclad and near-weaponless in these chambers and have been murdered by rivals. Overall, I’d call this place adequate. The Cup and Spoon As its name suggests, this inn aims to be Waymoot’s largest and best dining spot, and it seems to be succeeding. In fact, on some nights its loud and crowded dining hall can bother overnight guests desiring a restful evening. Many locals come here to partake of the ever-more-exotic dishes prepared by the halfling chefs of the Whistletar family in their bid to overshadow the kitchens of the more famous Silver Wink. Three rentable reception rooms and a communal hot bath separate the dining hall from the guests’ chambers. The guest rooms are tidy and comfortably furnished. The lofty feather comforters on the beds in winter are a nice touch. The Cup and Spoon aims for a well-lit, clean, wholesome feel, discouraging escorts, adventurers, drunks, and sometimes just folk who look dangerous or disreputable from staying the night. If you like such security, this is the place for you. The Old Man The most traditional of Waymoot’s inns, this is a house of large fireplaces, old shields hung everywhere on dark, old, wood-paneled walls, and bald-headed men nearly as ancient snoring against them. I felt like I was stepping back in 178

time, but many folk love such places. The floors, stairs, and furniture are all smooth with age, no one speaks loudly, complimentary zzar and brandy sit on sideboards by every fire, and the servants are never seen. While I was there, two old ex-Purple Dragons were searching for secret passages with the excited glee of young children. They found some, too. The Silver Wink The Wink is the most famous of Waymoot’s inns and, as mentioned earlier, is Lord Woodbrand’s favorite. Its name comes from its signboard, which features a glowing silver sliver of a moon— not a winking lass, as some might think. This large establishment boasts an excellent dining room. (I recommend ordering the stuffed stream crabs or the succulent stag.) The inn’s tastefully furnished guest rooms vary in size from single warrior’s bunks to suites of six large chambers, but all quarters, even the singles, have attached garderobes and robing rooms. And the Wink’s taproom has drinkables unmatched in breadth and quantity this side of Waterdeep. Want to try wine from Evermeet? If you’re wealthy, it’s here. Ever wonder what they drink in Zakhara or fabled Shou Lung? Here too. Thirsty for royal Tethyrian vintages looted from castle cellars when civil war broke out? Plenty in stock. Want to try a precious bottle of ancient blackrun wine wrested from the claws of baatezu in lost Myth Drannor? There’s only one left, but for a mere 1,000 gp it’s yours. There’s even a ceramic bottle of sherry available for a “mere” 3,500 gp. It’s from a king’s tomb in Mulhorand and is reputed to confer magical powers on its drinker. While you’re making do with a far less expensive vintage, you can watch somewhat inebriated folk trying to impress each other on the dance floor to the accompaniment of skilled visiting minstrels or the surprisingly good house trio, the Silvershawms.32 And if you’re lucky, it will be a day when one of the Waymootan forest patrols has come back with a kill from the depths of the forest. If so, you can try a slice of mouth-watering roast whole boar basted in garlic butter and Arabellan dry (or some other ruby wine when a caravan has brought something from Calimshan or the Tashalar) for hours. Even if it is not a day for roast boar, the Wink always offers a green icerime dessert made of a sweet minty milk jelly that is set on ice in glass goblets to harden. It is fit for the gods! Festive dance evenings at the Wink end in a last bittersweet song to the gods for a brighter morrow, and then things break up into little groups of late-night talkers. A wakeful guest who takes care to look inconspicuous can hear a lot of very interesting things about goings-on in the realm. The floors at the Wink are soundproofed by thick, soft rugs and many tapestries to prevent late-night conversation from bothering sleepers. When one finally does go to bed, there’s a warm drink waiting in a towel-wadded coffer near the bed. In truth, this is a wonderful place! 32The Silvershawms are composed of Purple Dragons in the hundred-strong Waymoot garrison. 179


The East Reaches n ancient Faerûnian saying1 runs: “Every realm has a frontier, no matter how crowded or civilized.” The east reaches are Cormyr’s present frontier, and, some sages insist, its future. Others say the true frontier, the lands that Cormyr will look to after the east reaches are crowded and settled, is the west reaches. Still others give that honor to the Stonelands and Goblin Marches, seeing Cormyr ultimately as a realm stretching from the Far Hills to the Thunder Peaks, bounded on the north by Anauroch and on the south by everything on the south shore of the Lake of Dragons that Westgate can’t hold against the troops of Cormyr. An East Reach Overview There’s a saying in the east reaches: “We only have one lake in Cormyr, but it’s a big one.” This reference to the huge Wyvernwater is, of course, false. Cormyr has many lakes and ponds too small and remote to feature on most maps. In fact, it is hard to get far from the sound of water running or crashing on the shore in the Forest Kingdom. Still, the Wyvernwater dominates and divides the east reaches of the kingdom into the more settled and pastoral southern region between the Wyvernwater and the Way of the Manticore and the frontier wilderness of the northern region. This northern region is where Cormyr is likely to expand in years to come, filling in the unsettled territories between Tilverton and Arabel. Two large areas need to be tamed for that expansion to be a happy and prosperous one: Hullack Forest, a great hiding place for brigands and predatory monsters, and the Stonelands. Dragons also inhabit the Thunder Peaks. A sizable faction of war wizards, led by Vangerdahast, see the taming of a flight of dragons to be an essential part of securing the east reaches of the realm. They want to create an aerial strike force/patrol force of mages armed with wands on dragonback. A more realistic and immediate goal is to catch and tame some of the hippogriffs found in large wings2 in the Thunder Peaks. They’re most numerous near the source of the Immerflow, where lost mines lie in several high valleys. These mines were abandoned by humans and dwarves centuries ago after vicious attacks from hobgoblin clans that still lair in the area. Natural resources may yet draw intruders and Cormyreans alike into the east reaches of Cormyr. The Thunder Peaks are known to hold many valuable ores and some gem deposits. The spices ateris and bentilan can also be gathered up and down the east reaches3 in the foothills of both the Thunder Peaks and 1 This saying is probably Netherese in origin, as folk in Halruaa use it but can’t remember who said it. 2 Some use the word herds instead; others prefer the term scraveys. 3 For more on these substances, consult the Common Life in the Mountains chapter of The Thunder Peaks and Storm Horns booklet of the Elminster’s Ecologies boxed set. 181

the Storm Horns. Bentilan berries are worth 2 sp per pound; the short-lived ateris buds bring only about 3 cp a pound. Moreover, the trees in the depths of Hullack Forest hold future mast spars and roof beams that are growing increasingly valuable as monsters make logging the untouched parts of the Elven Court more and more perilous. Small Settlements Setting dreams aside, it’s clear that the east reaches just north of the Wyvernwater are fast being settled, and places like Redspring may soon grow to prominence. The land is rolling hill country, with scrub woods and gorse growing in profusion. Small ravines hold tiny, tinkling brooks that run down, ultimately, to the Wyvernwater. Of old, wyverns were numerous in the area (hence the lake’s name), but they were largely exterminated centuries ago. Yet, other perils remain. Monsters of all sorts raid the area from the Stonelands and from Hullack Forest. They have been bolstered in recent years by brigands and orc and goblin bands sponsored by the Zhentarim of Darkhold.4 As a result of such perils, settlements in the reaches tend to be small and stockaded. Though settlements in this area are few in number and can be of crucial importance to a lost or harried traveler, I’ve left significant discussion of several of the less remarkable places out of this book. For travelers’ reference, notes on a few of these communities follow. Bospir The quintessential sheep market town, this dusty gathering of cottages stands at a trailmoot in the midst of many sheep and cattle ranches clustered around three deep wells. The only good road to it links it with the East Way to the north. The stink of sheep dung is everywhere. Bospir isn’t an inspiring place to visit unless you love wool, fancy lamb on your table, or want to buy and sell the beasts. The Drover’s Inn is the only place to stay overnight, though there are plenty of rooming houses that let rooms by the tenday. The Nightbleat Tavern is regularly rocked by drunken brawls, as sheepshearers let loose on each other. The Nightbleat’s name is a shining example of Bospiran humor. Ghars Standing just within raiding reach of the Vast Swamp, Ghars boasts a respectable Purple Dragon garrison. The garrison is regarded by all in the town as an impartial and incorruptible police force. Its presence has led to the growth of this village into a town of some 1,200 folk. It serves the farmers for miles around as a market town, and many a wagon of radishes or fruit that arrives in Suzail as “Hultail’s best” actually came from the stalls here. Fruits and vegetables from the farmers’ market must be rushed by 4 This long-held belief has been proven through magical questioning. It is also supported by the many “black” rings (amulets of proof against detection and location) worn by the members of such bands, rings they would normally not have the resources or luck to obtain in quantity. 182

fast coaches, changing horses many times along the way, to get the goods to Marsember or Suzail before they spoil. Ghars has wells but no plentiful water; its grist mill is ox-driven. Its largest exports are oats, barley, and wheat, which can be shipped slowly to Hultail and thence by barge5 to Wheloon. The arrival of the Purple Dragons brought other services to Ghars, notably a smith of some skill named Aunsible Durn. Folk come for miles to buy his tools, plowshares, scythes, and horseshoes. Its all the rage among the wealthier farmers to equip their laborers with halberds, bills, or pikes from Durn “so that we can do our bit, if the realm should—gods on their thrones forbid— be invaded.” Many locals think these squires really just want an excuse to parade around in grand-looking armor at every wedding and festival day while “protected” by a ramshackle honor guard. Visitors should note that Ghars has two forgettable, but not dreadful, inns: the Sheaf of Wheat and the Silver Scythe. It also host a rather pleasant, if rustic, tavern, the Bold Bard. Griffon Hill This eminence is a rocky height adorned with little more than an inn that has been burned down repeatedly by orc raiders and a few fortified cottages inhabited by hardy shepherd folk. The cottages have good wells, and there’s rumored to be a cavern in the heart of the hill that the villagers can all retreat into if necessary, so folk stay despite the danger. (Legend whispers that the cavern goes down into the Underdark and that the villagers know how to retreat there if in dire straits.) Three priests of Chauntea dwell at Griffon Hill, and they’re the only healers of consequence for miles around. One of the Chaunteans is also now powerful enough to defend the settlement by conjuring earth elementals or controlling the weather. To bring in extra cash, these priests sell holy water and, on occasion, heal for hire. They order needed goods from Arabel by means of several loyal messengers. Brigands have tricked the folk of Griffon Hill before, and so their initial hospitality is rather thin. They leave the worst cottage open for visitors, a faerie fire glow marking its open door. Within are firewood, a bar for the door, straw cots, hitching rings for horses, and several stoppered jugs of water. The traveler reaches Griffon Hill by following the Stonebolt Trail. It is located due east of the fabled goblin burial ground at the spot on most maps where the trail is shown changing direction. It’s not a place many nonadventurers ever see, though peddlers make it a regular stop to sell their wares, buy wool, purchase travel pots of spiced mutton stew. The griffons the hill is named for are long gone. Halfhap Halfhap was located on the edge of Cormyr until the annexation of Tilverton. 5 As always, road transport costs about four times what it does to ship by water, and more if there isn’t much of a road linking the source with any other important place. 183

This walled town is growing in importance as Cormyr expands into the northeastern lands. It is a no-nonsense, bleak place that exists to supply prospectors, traveling merchants, and outlying ranchers operating in region surrounding the upper Immerflow and the Stonelands. Halfhap is protected by keeps at either end of its oval—well, giant-potatoshaped—ring of walls, wherein Purple Dragons dwell in strength. These Purple Dragons have hippogriff steeds, and their keeps sport numerous ballistae that are backed by a huge subterranean armory of ballistae ammunition reached by a winched lift. Over a thousand of Halfhap’s roughly 2,200 folk are soldiers. Monsters and Zhent-sponsored forces out of the Stonelands have attacked this area often. They still do so, especially each spring, when orcs who’ve grown restless and short of food over the winter boil down from the heart of the Desertsmouth Mountains and raid across northern Cormyr. Hillmarch Patrols out of Halfhap travel the Moonsea Ride regularly as far as Mootpost, halfway to Tilverton, and Gnollpost, in the heart of Gnoll Pass. At Mootpost the garrison at Tilverton takes over patrol duties, and at Gnollpost, the forces from Castle Crag assume these duties. Halthap’s patrols do a good job keeping the road safe, but the town they’re based in has the feel—and the welcoming charm—of an armed camp. Travelers stay here because they must take shelter while on the road or they have dealings with the shops here that supply food, tools, remounts, weapons, rope, and other supplies to folk using Halfhap as a base. (These shops need endless resupplies to keep their shelves full.) Travelers don’t come to see the scenic sites of Halfhap because there aren’t any. For those who must stay here, I recommend the Marching Myrmidon inn, the Doffed Cloak festhall, and Eversheld’s Embers tavern. I hear an enterprising halfling clan, the Blacknee family, has set up shop in Halfhap with an eye to building a large inn with luxury baths, a dining room to be proud of, and suchlike. I await news of so welcome and unlikely an establishment opening. Travelers through Halfhap in the year ahead are asked to keep me posted. This is the closest thing to a mining town to be found in eastern Cormyr. Copper and a little silver, zinc, and nickel are the metals taken out of the Gnoll Peaks north of Hillmarch. The old Cormyrean expression “Ye’ve as much brass as all Hillmarch” reflects the town’s chief product. Though there is a farmers’ market here and a Purple Dragon garrison in tiny Hillmarch Keep to guard the vital local brass industry from brigands, most of the town is given over to smoke-belching smelters, the shops and warehouses of brasscasters, and heaps of slag and leavings. An everpresent stink hangs over the town, and it’s not a healthy place to live: The Grave Hills, south of the town, attest to how many locals die young—or just die, period. None of this stops rowdy miners from drinking themselves into a state of rage 184

and brawling in, atop, and around just about every building in town that isn’t shuttered and barred against them on their rare days off. It’s a fearsome sight, I’m told. War wizards have often been called in to use spells to control the struggling men. Even the direct threat of leveled Purple Dragon halberds and blades hasn’t make them falter in their mayhem on several occasions. Such bold disrespect for authority is unthinkable elsewhere in law-abiding Cormyr. Located not far east of Castle Crag, Hillmarch is within easy reach of either the East Way (a day’s ride) or the Mountain Ride. However, I can’t recommend a visit to Hillmarch unless you wish to deal in brass castings. Local crafters make exquisite lamps, candelabras, thuribles, household ornaments, and small, useful everyday items. Those with a taste for adventure are advised that the mines of Hillmarch tunnel ever northward—and deeper—into the Gnoll Peaks, whose gnolls were exterminated long, long ago. The miners have failed to turn up anything of more interest than an underground river. Its inky flow—so far unexplored—rises in one place and descends in a subterranean falls in another, presumably into the Underdark. No monsters of note have yet been reported, though there are persistent rumors of the weird creatures known as executioner’s hoods attacking miners. The miners all live in boarding houses or mining company barracks. The mining companies all have prosaic names: High Pick Delvings and Motherlode Ores are the best-known. In truth, the mining companies have all long since been bought up by the various large trading costers based in Cormyr’s cities and elsewhere, and so they have little independent identity left aside from their colorful names. Hillmarch has seven or eight taverns but only one inn. The number of taverns varies, depending on how badly they’ve been damaged in recent brawls. The inn is called the Shovel of Sparkling Stones. It’s a converted smelter that hasn’t been converted all that much, if you know what I mean. Those desiring luxurious accommodations shouldn’t travel to Hillmarch. Redspring Iron in the soil around Redspring colors the springs that rise here a rust-red and makes the water taste like old blood. The water does nourish, however, and it never fails, even in the iciest winter weather, so Redspring is one of the most reliable sources of water around. The Sunset Stream flows from it to feed the Starwater near its source. Redspring has always been a shepherds’ moot. Though it was abandoned for long periods when the Stonelands made these northern moors too dangerous to enter, Redspring is a booming center of expansion today. Like Dawngleam far to the south, it’s been chosen by the Crown for new construction. A Purple Dragon garrison has been installed in its own tiny keep. It is guarding work crews who’re throwing up earthen ramparts as fast as they can in a wide ring that will enclose, it is hoped, a respectable town in the future. Many merchants are taking advantage of the Crown boon (moneys pro185

vided by the royal treasury for the building of shops and establishing businesses) and are rushing up to Redspring. Most of them have brought their own hired bodyguards, obviously not trusting the Purple Dragons to defend them against raids from the Stonelands. This trickle of traders turned into a steady stream when the Crown installed four war wizards in a newly built mansion in the center of Redspring, and the locals have watched in disbelief as each day brings new faces. Redspring is a place of golden opportunity, but I can’t recommend it as a destination for travelers yet. There’s no inn, the tavern is no more than a serving window where patrons must stand out in the weather to place their orders, and there’s nary a building stone to be had for miles. Workers are digging deep pits just outside the earthen walls to get more construction stone. Redspring has a muddy morass rather than roads, and many unfinished buildings are sited here, there, and everywhere, so the chaos of transport may well continue when all building is complete. Moreover, a very hard winter or renewed Zhentarim strength may yet sweep Redspring away into rubble. (Folk have reported seeing mages flying over the growing town, observing the activities below while mounted on the fearsome beasts known as feywings.) Still, if you follow the way of Tymora or merely like to gamble, this is a place where fortunes may soon be made. Watch for a comprehensive entry on Redspring in a future edition of this guidebook.6 Slingdyke This defensive earthworks stands on the west side of the Mountain Ride at the spot where the Dragon Trail to Hillmarch (and thence, the East Way) meets it. Originally the site of a hilltop fort overwhelmed by orcs in the early days of the realm, Slingdyke has been held by many forces over the years. It is named for the courageous last stand of a Purple Dragon patrol against a huge band of orcs. The Cormyrean soldiers used their slings and the rubble of the long-destroyed fort to heap the corpses of their foes around the dike by the hundreds ere they fell. Today, all stones large enough to build with are gone, and the steep-sided hill is bare except for a beacon that Purple Dragons light to warn all who see it that orcs or other invading forces are nigh. A deep well of clear water is set into a cleft on the side of the hill that faces the Dragon Trail (the southeast side), and below it stands a lone duskwood tree. An inn once stood on the northeast corner of the trailmoot here, but it burned down almost a decade ago. It hasn’t been rebuilt by royal decree, which is something of a mystery. The reasons for the decree are rumored to have something to do with a curse or unresolved peril lurking in or above the burnt, tumbled stones of the inn. (One tale talks of an invisible door high in the air.) A Purple Dragon guardpost is located in a rather ugly little walled compound, complete with a small keep, just east of the ruins, but they refused to discuss the demise of the Slingdyke Arms with me. The guard I spoke with sug6 Elminster: Future edition? Ye should live so long! 186

gested my curiosity would be “better employed poking about elsewhere in the realm.” Interestingly, the only two farms within sight of Slingdyke’s ring of earthen ramparts are inhabited by one family that I’m sure are Harpers and another that look for all the world like a war wizard with a bodyguard of poorly disguised Purple Dragons. Some mystery sleeps at Slingdyke—and the whole realm may learn its secrets yet. Though no inn or tavern remains at this place, the easternmost farm houses a competent blacksmith who’s probably a Purple Dragon. He makes a living shoeing beasts that pass on the road. The stables and paddock that once belonged to the inn, located in the southeast corner of the trailmoot, have been maintained by the Purple Dragon detachment stationed here as a campground for passersby to use for free. There’s a huge horse pond at the back of the stables, several fire pits, and ample stored straw and firewood at the ready. A half-day’s ride south of Slingdyke is the Laughing Head, a stone marker of forgotten origins that stands just west of the road in a thicket of young felsul trees. About 12 feet tall, it is capped by a sculpted, mirthful human head and shoulders. Legend says folk present at just the right time—when the rays of the rising moon on a particular night of the year first touch the head—hear the head laugh and speak. Its words are said to be a cryptic challenge. They be combined with an inscription that appears on the front of the marker only at that special time. The words and the inscription combined to give the directions to something or some place hidden. This thing or place is something war wizards and agents of the Crown won’t talk about but which legend insists is far older than the Sword Heralds.7 In fact, it may have something to do with the dragons who inhabited the lands in the area before there was a Cormyr. Sunset Hill Sunset Hill is named for its gold tinge at sunset, when it holds the light of the sinking sun long after the lower land around it. This high, grassy hill east of Bospir is a natural spot for a fortress, but its crown holds only sheep, though long ago gibbets stood on the hill. It is no great surprise that Sunset Hill is haunted. Ghostly apparitions of floating, upright, dangle-headed human corpses appear on its summit on some nights. Local farmers’ lore insists that any sheep on the hill at such times are transformed into the leathery-winged monsters known as dark horrors. The dark horrors fly off to attack lone folk and livestock all over the countryside, and they change back into their bewildered sheep selves in the morning—if they survive that long. Water is plentiful around the base of the hill. No less than three ponds are scattered about, fed by springs welling up from the heart of the hill. Many cottages cluster around the ponds, so Sunset Hill could be said to be a settlement —a far-flung hamlet without any center or governor—of about 1,000 folk. 7 For more about the Sword Heralds, see Appendix II of this guidebook. 187

Yeoman Bridge This hamlet is a cluster of farms centered on a covered bridge that gives the community its name. Yeoman Bridge carries the Immer Trail over the Sword River (also known as the River Arabel). The Sword River flows southeast from the rocky height known as Arabel Springs, just south of the city of Arabel, to join the Wyvernwater just below the bridge. The bridge itself is an impressive stone structure adorned with sculpted stone shields displaying the arms of families ennobled for their service to the Crown in battles long ago. The bridge is composed of two 200-foot-long spans that rest on a massive natural plug of rock, an islet once crowned by an evil wizard’s tower. The destruction of the tower caused a wild magic area that survives today. It forms a sphere englobing the entire bridge. The north span of the bridge is covered with log walls and a board roof, and this shelter is often used by caravans whose wagons must stop over for a night in rain or snowstorms. The roof over the southern span collapsed some years ago under the weight of heavy winter snows, and it remains open to the sky. Local Purple Dragons disagree with most locals as to whether this roof should be rebuilt. They say its presence would make the bridge a firetrap and provide invading forces with cover from the arrows of defenders on the southern riverbank. Some farmers also oppose the restoration of the south span’s roof. They say restoring the roof would allow all travelers to shelter in the bridge overnight, bringing the scant business done by the local inn to an end. The local inn does little trade because it’s a dreadful, dirty shack whose owner, a retired Purple Dragon called Thorm Ultigar, is too large and aggressive for anyone to dare to tell him how lousy his cooking really is. He also hasn’t cleaned out the chimneys since he bought the place, so smoke from the kitchen fires fills the entire roadhouse constantly. This stellar house is called the Water Witch’s Rest. The unmarked grave of a locally legendary sorceress, Aierann Yurlann, is said to lie beneath the main hearthstone in the inn’s common room. Thorm takes a very dim view of guests who try to lift the stone to take a look. There’s said to be a curse on the witch’s coffin that causes anyone touching it to shapechange slowly and constantly, one limb at a time. Thorm has, however, been known to change his mind when offered a sufficient amount in gold coins (several hundred at least). The witch’s spellbooks are reputed to lie at the end of a flooded tunnel leading down from her coffin towards the lake. They are said to rest in the lair of some water monster that’s slain over 20 adventurers since Thorm started counting— and burying—them in his yard. The adventurers keep coming because Aierarm Yurlann is said to have perfected a contingency shapechange spell that she wore constantly and that saved her life in many sorcerous duels. There’s little else in Yeoman Bridge to tempt the traveler except fresh eggs and the occasional goose to be had from local farmers. The farmers may in turn wish to buy good boots (a constant need on the muddy Wyernwater shores), tools, and other goods not made locally. 188

Hultail This village of 360-odd folk is the largest port on the Wyvernwater. It is the home of the Trindar Shipyards, where almost all of the vessels that ply the vast Wyvernwater are made. It is enriched by all the trade that flows between Cormyr and the Dalelands along the Thunder River and through the High Dale. (This water route has long been the best way to enter or leave Cormyr unseen.) Vangerdahast has been increasingly concerned about this, and a war wizard, one Fractus, recently retired to study in his own tower just east of Hultail. Few doubt that he’s in regular spell communication with the powers in Suzail. Hultail is reputed to be the site of a fairy ring atop a hill, where elves dance once or twice a year. The elves dwell or sleep in the heart of the hill the rest of the time.8 Another colorful local legend concerns the Ring of Swords: nine black blades that rise, dripping, from the lake and flash out at Hultail’s foes. It is said only a worshiper of Tempus can call them forth, and once each blade slays something, they all sink down again and cannot be found or called forth until at least nine days have passed? Hultail is both a fishing village and a fish hatchery and it never seems to run out of fish. I’ve discovered what few Cormyreans know: A monster called a deepspawn, which spews forth lesser creatures more or less constantly, is kept close-guarded in the Spawnhall by the docks. It churns out fish for local tables and to sell in Suzail. Excess fish are plowed into local farm fields to enrich them. All fish that spoil are milled into fish meal and sold to Sembian farmers. Places of Interest in Hultail Unique Sites Spawnhall This imposing structure, with its arched roof, houses Hultail’s fish hatchery tanks and is guarded by no less than 40 Purple Dragons armed with hand crossbows that fire darts envemoned with sleep poison. The economic prosperity of Hultail is obviously seen as crucial to the Cormyrean hold on the sparsely settled eastern lands of the realm! Visits to the view the interior must be arranged with Lord Redbeard in Wheloon or at the Court in Suzail. Only fish meal is sold to private merchants here, at 60 gp per wagonload (wagon not included). Shops Trindar Shipyards Boats, Ships, and Rafts This famous complex of docks, sheds, cranes, and slipways looks like the aftermath of a battle, but out of its noise, piles of scrap lumber, and reigning chaos comes boat after boat of sturdy usefulness (if not beauty), used by fisherfolk on the Wyvernwater. Surdan is the senior shipmaster now, and he can turn out a small sloop in two tendays at a cost of 500 gp or 8 Elminster: They do no such thing. This mistaken belief got its start long ago when Myth Drannan elves chose this site for a hilltop meeting with other elves and arrived via gates that seemed to humans watching from a distance to open into the hill. 9 Elminster: This one’s true, but anyone who knows the word of activation can call the swords up. No, I’m not giving it here, but it’s graven in stone somewhere in Hultail, for those who care to go looking. They act as nine separate blade barriers. They fly up to half a mile from Hultail’s docks and continue to strike until each blade has dealt 66 points of damage, claimed a life, or all the foes of Hultail are gone, whichever befalls first. I don’t know why Tempus enacted this here. I suspect there was once a temple to him where the docks now stand. 189

a large raft in half that time but for the same price. He can complete a good-sized fishing boat suitable for a crew of two (can sail with up to 12 on board) in a month for 1,200 gp or more. The price goes up as the fittings and size increase. Restaurants The Plate of Eels I’ve never taken to plates of fresh, slithering freshwater eels the way coast folk in Cormyr do, but this place also serves other dishes that are not quite as revolting: roasted chicken with almonds, crayfish, clams, and freshwater fish. They serve good strong beer here, and there is not a bad view over the water, either. Taverns The Blue Dragon’s Bones Named for the destruction of a blue dragon on this site at the hands of a longago wizard, this is a typical dark-anddirty tavern. It’s rowdy but has good ale. Inns The Sixcandles Inn looking a little frayed and worn around the edges. But, it is the only place in town to stay unless you buy—yes, buy—a house! 190 The Sixcandles is old, and these days it relies too much on its reputation. It’s

Juniril This little village10 of 700 has to be the blandest place I’ve visited. Folk spend their days fishing and weaving rushes from nearby marshes. Don’t expect to find excitement, though trade can be brisk if you’ve useful wares to sell. I could find only two local things of interest: the High Helm and the ruins of Helm’s Everpresent Shield, a temple of Helm. The High Helm is a landmark inn, tavern, and festhall. As one local put it dryly, “They decided to store all the excitement in one spot so’s we can sleep in the rest.” The ruins of the temple are considered sacred, so don’t enter or disturb anything there. The High Helm stands at the south edge of Juniril, and the walled stables, barracks, and jail of the Purple Dragons lie at the northern limits. The Purple Dragons keep a seven-sword contingent in the village; most are veteran female officers. All around Juniril are fruit farms among bogs. The only local peril is doppleganger attacks from the bogs. Officers pursuing the dopplegangers into the bogs have thus far fallen afoul of mimics and traps. The temple’s never been rebuilt because of the Curse of the Blood Royal. Centuries ago, brigands waylaid the Princess Kathla Obarskyr here. Pinned to the temple doors by a sword, the dying princess choked out her curse. The temple erupted in beams of light that struck each brigand, and each beam became a sword, transfixing its victim. The curse kept the bloodthirsty fools alive, writhing in agony. None dared touch them for fear of the curse, and they staggered about Cormyr until wolves, hunger, or winter cold felled them. Tales are still told by the fireside on cold winter nights of skeletons seen stumbling around the backlands with glowing blades through them, though it always seems that friends of the taletellers saw the skeletons, not the speakers themselves. 10The location of Juniril and the villages and geographic features that surround it can be seen on the map found in the entry on Gladehap, in the Coast chapter of this guidebook. 191

The High Helm Tavern/Inn/Festhall As one rides into Juniril from either road, one is immediately struck by the sight of a huge warrior’s helm looming above a bend in the road. As one draws nearer, rusting rivets can be seen holding down a mazework of edges under the silvery paint. Finally, it becomes obvious that the helm is actually an old glass-firing oven encased in cobbled-together scraps of armor just for show. It’s an impressive landmark nonetheless, and many a traveler who’s never laid eyes on it before finds it with ease. The Place Warriors think of the Helm as home, a place where they’ll be welcomed and recognized. It’s a warm, strangely cozy place despite the rough-hewn decor and wellused benches, tables, and chairs. The regular patrons, who are fighting men from all over the Dragonreach, love it and try hard to keep it a neutral, safe ground where feuds are set aside and all can relax. Old shields and scraps of armor are hammered to the pillars and walls to keep the risk of fire to a minimum, and the floor is a mix of gravel, marble scraps, and flagstones for the same reason. Lighting is by candle and candle lantern, with candle wheels11 overhead. No less than three rather rustic staircases ascend from the sprawling, labyrinthine taproom to the floors above. I heard several Purple Dragons use the rather charitable term “wandering” to describe the stairs. The taproom is where all meals and drinks are consumed, unless one pays 5 gp per night for one of the private dining/meeting rooms behind the kitchens. There are two floors above the taproom, and they are a regular warren of bedrooms, twisting passages, broom closets, and little bowers or alcoves where patrons can relax (perhaps in the company of a professional escort on staff). Only the gods know how the staff members find their ways around. I know I wasn’t the only guest to go blundering into someone else’s room (interrupting several interesting trysts— but those are tales for another time) and wander the place for quite some time, trying to find a stair back down. The Prospect The Helm is a good place to settle down for a tenday or so and just relax. No one bothers you. In fact, talk in the halls is discour11A candle wheel is an old wagon wheel fitted with a ring of candles in metal bowls to catch the wax. It hangs from ceiling pulleys on chains and can readily be lowered to replace, light, or extinguish the candles. In rowdier establishments candle wheels are often lowered abruptly down atop the heads of foes as weapons. 192

aged; boisterous merrymaking is to be kept to the taproom or behind closed doors. The rooms and food are simple but dependable. The place feels like home, especially after one traverses an upper passage and sees a man snoring in a chair with his feet in an adjacent chair and his boots shucked onto the floor beside him, or when one goes down to the kitchens of a morning to be passed by yawning warriors who’re wearing not much more than boots and sleepy expressions! Like home, too, service is casual and friendly. However, it is only available downstairs. If you want something, you must go and get it, not ring a bell or call for a passage servant. Priests of Helm and Tempus are on staff (as quartermaster and stablemaster, respectively) to administer to the hurts and spiritual needs of warrior guests. They tolerate not only each other but a small chapel to Tymora that opens off one end of the taproom hard by the doors to the jakes, behind the unmarked blue curtain at the south end of the room. The Provender Food in the Helm is apt to be of the roastsand-stews variety, with much emphasis on beer and mustards as marinades. Small fowl on spits can be had at any time of day, and they are always good. Morningfest usually features frybread (lovely) and bacon (too salty). The rest of the day, ask for the fried potatoes in mushroom broth (superb, even cold). A cold platter of salt fish, strong cheese, and radishes can be had at any time in the kitchens (3 cp, paid on the spot). Not surprisingly the drink is plentiful and cheap. The usual ales (bitter black, Elminster’s choice, and suzale) are supplemented by Vilhon cider, clarry, and a small selection of wines comprised of whatever the proprietors can get in from ships calling at Suzail. There is, of course, house ale and wine, too. Both are made in the stables, but it’s best not to dwell too much on this. The taste of both is fine. The Helm features a thoughtful touch that many grander houses would do well to adopt: In every room, covered clay pots hold sliced nutbread, a spreading knife, and jars of nut-and-berry jam, so that one never wants for a bite. Covered jugs of mint water also stand by every bed. These touches are simple but satisfying. The Prices Any meal is 1 sp per platter or 2 sp per skewer. A skewer typically holds three goodsized roast fowl and as many onions or sprouts. Drinks are 4 cp per tankard or 7 sp per bottle for wine. A few, rarely available vintages can be as expensive as 12 gp per bottle. Most guests stick to the house drinks, which cost 3 cp per tankard for the ale (robust and even nutty—not bad at all) and 5 cp per tallglass or 4 sp per skin for the wine. Rooms are 5 gp per person per night, or 3 gp per person if one shares a room with others. This price includes a house tankard or tallglass and a hot bath. Stabling is 1 gp per person extra, and there is an additional fee if a single person brings more than three beasts. The company of one of the Helm escorts is 12 to 16 gp per night. Travelers’ Lore The Helm has become known as a good place to hire or make contact with warriors. It’s also long been rumored to house many hidden caches of found treasure or accumulated pay left behind by those who did not live to return. 193

Thunderstone This village of 900-odd folk swells to thrice its usual size in summer, when travel through the High Dale picks up and all manner of folk arrive to hunt or explore the Hullack Forest. (In recent years, tales have arisen of ruins in Hullack’s depths, and one has been identified as the legendary Tethgard.) The inns and taverns in this frontier holding change each season, I’m afraid, and so aren’t spoken of here. Thunderstone has a 100-sword Purple Dragon garrison, most of them wild boys who love brawls and monster-slaughtering. The hardened troops are here to stand against the perils of the forest, the nearby Thunder Peaks, and the Vast Swamp. They’re under Oversword Faril Laheralson, who largely ignores the local Crown clerk, Hurm Thiodor. So, watch your step around the Purple Dragons. They are the law, and there’s no chance to appeal to Suzail. Prosperous local farmer Del Geery, whose lands adjoin the swamp, is making a name as a hydra hunter by sponsoring expeditions into the swamp. He gleans many useful wares from hydra corpses. The infamous Stag Skull Bridge spans the Thunder River12 here, and a permanent Purple Dragon guard on the bridge prevents monster incursions south of the river. Many foresters owe their lives to these soldiers. When pursued by monsters, they collapsed—exhausted—on the bridge as the guard butchered what had been following them. Needless to say, soldiers on this duty are veteran monster slayers. 12Old maps call the Thunder River the Thunderflow. 194

Tilverton This fast-growing town of 12,900 folk is still officially a protectorate of the Forest Kingdom. It is ruled by a Cormyrean noblewoman, Lady Regent Alasalynn Rowanmantle,13 and a nominally independent, locally elected Council. No one in Faerûn expects to see Cormyr’s grip on Tilverton loosen voluntarily, however, and the town has a standing Purple Dragon garrison of 850 swords. They patrol constantly against monsters, brigands, and Zhentish forces. A typical Purple Dragon patrol consists of 40 seasoned warriors commanded by a veteran officer. All ride medium war horses, wear field plate, and wield lances, maces, long swords, crossbows, and daggers. They are accompanied by one to three war wizards and 10 to 20 archers. The archers practice firing from the saddle and wear leather armor. Each has a long sword, throwing daggers, a long bow, and four quivers that each hold 21 flight arrows.14 The wizards each carry full spell complements, several scrolls, and as many as a dozen potions of healing in steel vials, but they don’t bring their spellbooks out on patrol. Tilverton’s streets are policed by foot patrols of 10 to 20 Purple Dragons armed with slings (instead of bows and lances) and accompanied by one or two mages. No archers accompany these patrols, but 26 are always on call at one of the three city gatehouses. When Tilverton is threatened by an attack in force, the Council may vote to call out the militia. (The lady regent and Purple Dragons lack the authority to do so.) Its maximum muster is 470 members, including local adventurers, trappers, and hunters who know the countryside well. The militia is trained in riding and arms. If all this seems more like an armed camp than a settlement, that’s not far wrong. Tilverton is Cormyr’s armed bastion in the northeast, shielding the Forest Kingdom against unhampered raids from all sorts of foes. Tilverton is imperiled by the Rogues of Tilverton, a mysterious group known as the Fire Knives, and Zhent agents from within and threatened by orc hordes, marauding monsters, large brigand bands, and Zhentilar armies and hired mercenaries from without. Tilverton’s longtime use as a base for those prospecting, logging, hunting, and exploring in the wilderness around continues, and it has always been an important supply center for travelers using Tilver’s Gap. Today, Tilverton exports local pottery, gems, furs, and hardy hill horses. The gems are mined in the mountains to the south and (especially) the northwest, and the furs come from beasts trapped in nearby forests. The hill horses are medium war horses bred, trained, and doctored locally. The beasts bred by the ex-Purple Dragon Brieth Tanalar are famous. Tilverton is a roughly circular walled town with concentric streets that follow the general shape of the city wall. This overall pattern is transected by the Moonsea Ride, which passes through the city east and west. The overall concentric pattern is also broken by the road that becomes the Northride, running out of the 13Alasalynn Rowanmantle is also a former Purple Dragon officer. 14One quiver is worn, and the other three are attached to the saddles of the horses that the archers ride. 195

city to the north to Shadow Gap. It meets the Moonsea Ride at a market in the city’s center. In the market stands the slender Council Tower, a useful navigational landmark for newcomers. The southwestern third of the city rises above the rest and is separated from it by an internal wall. It occupies a fortified knoll, where the oldest part of town stands, and is accessed from the rest of the town by four entrances: three staircases and a gate. Not long ago, Tilverton was a small, muddy town of drovers’ stockyards and caravan campgrounds around a knoll crowned by a few grand homes, a ruined keep, and the temple of Gond (then called Gharri’s House). Old, battered stone houses and many leaning wooden shanties ringed the stockyards. Then Cormyr came. Faced by Lashan’s expanding empire and increasing orc and Zhentilar raids, Cormyr moved to secure Tilver’s Gap, sending unrequested aid to the beleaguered town in the form of a permanent garrison. The stockyards and grounds were torn down in favor of new construction and relocated outside a hastily built earthen ridge and ditch (which is now a stone wall), the shanties were replaced by stout stone buildings, and opportunistic Cormyreans by the hundreds settled in. Locals who grumbled then about being “stamped under Azoun’s boots” have largely fallen silent as the influx of Cormyrean soldiers, merchants, and trade has enriched them and the wall has (at last!) afforded protection against 196

raiding brigands and monsters. Other Artur “the Fat Man” (believed deceased). citizens, such as Gharri (of Gond), were Lhaerae, who possesses incredible dexterity unhappy under the iron hand of Duke and acting ability played no open part in Bhereu, the cousin of Ring Azoun who the Rogues until recently. Instead she used was sent to govern the town, and left. her beauty and wits to infiltrate the local However, soon after Lashan’s fall, Bhereu clergy of Gond and then the Cormyrean returned to his normal duties. A restless garrison to gather information for the Suzailan noblewoman was made regent, and some of those who had left returned. Rogues—and to gather the occasional gold coin or magical item for herself. Tilverton has always been a dangerous frontier town of adventurers and ready magic, where the lost hoards of adventurers who went on one expedition too many and never came back have been hidden Landmarks It is unlikely that most visitors to Tilverton will to cross paths with Lhaerae and over the years. Now, it’s a bustling town of fast-gathering coins and growing culture. Two prominent mages call Tilverton home: the respected sage Filani of Tantras and Gahlaerd Mossmere, a researcher of new spells who is rumored to aid the Rogues of Tilverton (the local thieves’ guild).15 The Rogues are now the only local outlaw band. The organized Zhentarim and Dragon Cult agents have all been slain or driven out. In recent years, the Rogues did face competition from the sinister Fire Knives, but they have reportedly now all left or been destroyed. The Knives were linked with the fallen her ilk,16 and so they can warily tour this city-to-be. The most interesting part of Tilverton is the Old Town. In Old Town, things aren’t as crowded as elsewhere in Tilverton, and new construction is forbidden except by special vote of the Council. Old Town can be reached by climbing the Cormyr Stairs, the Market Stairs, the Tilver Stairs or by entering through the Upper City Gate. The Cormyr Stairs are located in the west by the Cormyr Gate. They feature a covered landing with an Altar of Shields consecrated as a shrine to the god Helm. The Market Stairs connect directly with the god Moander and dwelt in the town sew- market in the center of Tilverton and have a ers. The Rogues inhabit the sewers now, covered landing containing the Rose Altar, and their group is believed to number consecrated as a shrine to the god Lathover 70 thieves, aided by local merchants. ander. The Tilver Stairs on the east17 carry These merchants escape heavy thefts by the Street of the Sorceress into the Old providing cooperation and information. Town. They sport a garden-ringed Green The Rogues have been led by the Gross- Altar landing that is consecrated to Silvanus. man family for decades. At present, their Those who don’t like steps or halting leader is the beautiful and wily Lhaerae “the to worship can take Gateguard Road off Lithe” Grossman, daughter of the notorious the Street of the Sorceress and journey 15Both of these wizards are detailed in Appendix I of this guidebook. 16However, one is advised to beware the company of stunningly beautiful women who want to dance at the Flagon Held High—their fingers may be lighter than their feet. 17They are actually located in the southern part of Tilverton but are easternmost of all of these staircases. 197


1 . 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Tilverton Map Key The House of the Wonderbringer (temple of Gond Wondermaker; formerly Gharri’s House) The Windlord’s Rest (inn) Tower of Wits and Work (Filani the Sage) The market (with the Council Tower at its center) Tilver’s Palace (ruined keep) Cormyr Stairs and Altar of Shields (shrine to Helm) Market Stairs and Rose Altar (shrine to Lathander) Tilver Stairs and Green Altar (shrine to Silvanus) Upper City Gate and the Hand of Chance (shrine to Tymora) 10. Dundar’s Fine Blades 11. Grimwald’s Revenge (inn) 12. Whispering Witch (inn) 13. The Flagon Held High (tavern) 14. Jonstyl’s Banner (rooming house) 15. Knights’ Ride 16. Street of the Sorceress 17. Gateguard Road 18. Drakar Lane 19. Phorn’s Lane 20. Haddock Row 21. The Northride 22. Tanalar’s Fine Mounts 23. Undreir Facilitations 24. The Cormyr Gate along the city wall, entering the Old Town through Upper City Gate along the south wall of the city. There they can easily push past the Hand of Chance shrine of Tymora if they’re not of that faith. Once inside the gardenlike Old Town, the visitor should look at the ruined Tilver’s Palace in the northwestern corner of the heights this district occupies. This former abode of Tilvara remains undisturbed largely because of its Medusa’s Garden, a forest of petrified people and monsters that animate like gargoyles to attack any intruders. Weird spell lights drift and flash about inside the ruins, and few who steal in survive to see the outside of the crumbling walls again. One warrior claims to have fought off a watchghost to gain his freedom; he says he also saw beholders or other spherical, many-eyed beings floating about in the depths. Powerful wards prevent all known divination and scrying magics from penetrating the ruin. The next street east of the ruined keep, reached by taking the short curving avenue of Knights’ Ride, is the wide arc of Gateguard Road, which goes around the keep grounds in a sharp dogleg. On the outside (east) of this bend stand the house of Filani the Sage, which she wryly calls the Tower of Wits and Work, and the former site of the Windlord’s Rest inn, now a rooming house. In the angle of the dogleg is the House of the Wonderbringer, the town’s large temple of Gond (formerly Gharri’s House). Those who follow Gateguard Road along toward the Upper City Gate pass the new Windlord’s Rest inn. They should appreciate that in its new location it’s about as isolated from the bustle of Tilverton as it can get. Knights’ Ride also links up with the Street of the Sorceress, which runs in a rather tortured loop inside Gateguard Road from the Market Stairs to the Tilver Stairs. The dead-end spur of Phorn’s Lane runs off the loop just west of the Tilver Stairs, and on this lane stands the Flagon Held High, Tilverton’s only tavern—though there are plenty of drink wagons that travel the streets and alleys each night. Many visitors and citizens alike hasten here every 199

AD&D - Volo's Guide to Cormyr (2e) - Flip eBook Pages 151-200 (2024)
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