Produced for the Daggerdale Project by the Northern Realms Projects Group. By Group Members Trevor Cooke and Mark Oliva. Copyright © 2000, Olson & Waters, all rights reserved.
This material may be used without permission on a non-commercial level and within the guidelines for derivative copyright material as set forth by TSR Inc., a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast Inc., Renton, Washington, U.S.A.
Adventuring in Daggerdale
According to official WotC/TSR material, the Zhentish troops and their allies who had occupied Daggerdale and turned much of it into ruins have been disorganized since the Zhentarim lost Dagger Falls to Randal Morn in the Year of the Gauntlet (1369 DR). Broken up into mostly leaderless bands of brigands and orcs and small, leaderless units of Zhentish troops, the former occupational forces continue to plague rural Daggerdale.
It's unlikely that Dagger Falls or Anathar's Dell will slip out of control of the Freedom Fighters, although not impossible. The Flaming Tower and the Temple in the Sky still are officially Zhentish domains, but they also are somewhat outside the perimeter of Daggerdale. The Gwathburg has its own special monster population, and Goldfields is a base for a dozen dopplegangers who had been serving the Black Network.
If your PCs are going to head to Castle Enneth, it could be that 20 or so orcs or Zhentish troops are attempting to overrun the small detachment of Freedom Fighters there, and your group comes onto this battle seen.
Villages of Daggerdale that still are populated by Dalesmen, such as Black Switch, Cold Springs, Green Orb, Nettle or Upper Nettle could easily have been taken over by orcs, brigands or Zhentish troops shortly before the PCs come on the scene, and your adventurers have a chance to free the village or settlement again. It also could be that some of these villages are being staunchly defended by the Dalesmen who live in them, and they attack the PCs, believing them to be brigands or Zhentish stragglers.
Likewise, Sunstone and the other ruins described here can easily be lairs or hideouts of brigands, orcs or Zhentish soldiers, and your PCs unwittingly run into a rat's nest when entering one of these sites. Whatever the case, when using locations other than Dagger Falls or Anathar's Dell, always remember that rural Daggerdale is anything but secure, peaceful and quiet. Danger and threats are everywhere, and they're seldom far away. No one truly controls Daggerdale!
The official TSR history of Daggerdale gives a thorough and detailed surface account of the history of Daggerdale but it leaves open to the DM at many critical points the decision why and how historical events occurred. The Northern Realms Projects Group has assembled a highly detailed history of the events that have taken place in Daggerdale and why they came to be as they did. The use of this history is, of course, optional. Ignoring this history will not make it difficult to use any of the other material or information offered here.
The central figure in this history is an unofficial NPC named Gwath, a female drow lich whose origins trace back to the now half-drow nation of Dambrath in the 7th Century by Dales Reckoning. For more information on Dambrath see FR16 The Shining South by Tom Prusa (TSR - 1993).
For the official historical details on Daggerdale you need a wide range of TSR products, foremost among them the basic 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Set by Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb (TSR - 1993), the Dalelands accessory by Richard L. Baker III (TSR - 1994), Volo's Guide to the Dalelands by Ed Greenwood (TSR - 1996), Doom of Daggerdale by Wolfgang Baur (TSR - 1993) and the Randal Morn trilogy of modules-- Sword of the Dales, Secret of Spiderhaunt and Return of Randal Morn-- all by Jim Butler (TSR - 1995).
In addition to these gaming products, the novels Cloak of Shadows and All Shadows Fled by Ed Greenwood (TSR - 1995) and Finder's Bane by Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak (TSR - 1998) also provide very valuable details not revealed elsewhere.
Our expanded history takes the revelations of all of these products into account, adding the ingredient of Gwath. Since her first appearance more than 600 years ago, Gwath's fingers - alive and later undead - have been deeply entwined in many of the evil doings involving both Shadowdale and Daggerdale, beginning at about the time the Twisted Tower of the drow arose in Shadowdale and continuing on through the vampire plague that caused Merrydale to change its name to Daggerdale, through the rise and fall and second rise and fall of the once chosen Sammaster and on through time, to this very day.
We think you'll find that this history together with the events and dates recorded therein not only are fully consistent with those of official publications, but also that they do not contradict or invalidate any of the so-called Forgotten Realms canon. Instead, they insert Gwath as an optional and unofficial explanation of Daggerdale's history. If we've succeeded, this history will add depth, color and dimension to your campaigning in Daggerdale and still allow you to go by the official book as much as you wish to. Our Gwath should add to your canon Daggerdale, not alter it.
In the Northern Journey adventure produced by the Northern Realms Project Group, Gwath is one of the key villains, and the PCs seek to find her and destroy her. After reading Elminster's disclosures on Gwath below, you and your PCs may wish to go on a similar hunt. If so, be our guests.
Gwath - According to Elminster
Shortly after reconquering Dagger Falls in the Year of the Gauntlet (1369 DR), Randal Morn was visited quietly by Elminster of Shadowdale, who passed on information that he and the mage Rhauntides of Highmoon in Deepingdale had gathered concerning the great lich Gwath. Elminster told Morn that he and Rhauntides believed that Gwath was rising again, and that steps must be taken to destroy her, or his Dale easily might fall again or even be destroyed. The following summarizes information that Elminster gave to Randal Morn:
The first traces of Gwath in the Dalelands go back to the ill-named Year of the Kindly Lich (606 DR), when a traveling mage from ancient Cormyr named Garthur and his band entered the southeastern part of the Daleswood (unofficial), now known as Spiderhaunt Woods. The band had many difficult encounters with gigantic spiders in the forest, some of them believed by Garthur to be unnatural creatures. Garthur noted in his journal that the forest still had been peaceful and free of such spiders in a similar expedition some 10 years earlier.
He and his band also discovered new trails that had been made into the Daleswood, and they were following these trails when the many encounters with the giant spiders occurred. After a bit more than a day in the forest and with many hard battles behind them, Garthur and his band came upon an opening in which stood a larghe and evil-looking towre of great dimension. Furthermore, this tower was guarded by a band of four highly capable warryors of ye darke elven ffolk.
It came to combat with these four apparent drow, and after three of the dark elves and one of Garthur's warriors lay dead before the tower, a woman, in part of the drowe race, emergethed from the towre and identified herselfe as Gwath the mighty and she did saye, that she beeth a priest of Llolth. She then attacked us with magickes most powerful and evil, and only in the last minute was I able to use mye own magickes to remove myselfe and the last survivore of my group to safetye. And long it was that our wounds did healeth, before we again were of our known strengths.
Elminster noted that the description in Garthur's journal of Gwath being in part of the drowe race is a very interesting remark and also one that has led to differences of opinion between himself and Rhauntides. Elminster said his library in his tower in Shadowdale holds a number of texts taken from the drow chambers in the Twisted Tower after their defeat, and these texts prove almost conclusively that Gwath was a full drow who came from the dark elven cities beneath the Dalelands.
In his youth, Rhauntides spent a decade (unofficial) studying in Halruua, in the Shining South, where he claims that the name Gwath is known from ancient tales in which a purported half-drow named Gwath once had been active as a mighty priestess of Llolth where the half-drow nation of Dambrath now stands, and further, this Gwath vanished inexplicably from the South in the early 7th Century DR, at roughly the same time Garthur recorded first mention of the Gwath of the North.
At this time, Elminster said, Myth Drannor was rising to the height of its glory, and the drow race seemed determined to halt the expansion of the moon elves westward from the legendary city. As a priestess of Llolth, Gwath seems to have been in the forefront of this campaign. The ancient elves of Myth Drannor came to know Gwath as a powerful priestess of drow sapper bands that conducted guerilla warfare by night in Cormanthyr on the fringes of Myth Drannor, and Elminster said he has no doubt that Gwath played a major role in opening a gate for the Army of Darkness into Myth Drannor in the Year of the Lost Lance (712 DR).
Gwath did not escape unscathed from her attacks upon the elves of Myth Drannor. The rulers in the Elven Court learned of her tower in Spiderhaunt Woods, as the borderland forest had come to be known, and led many forays into the wood to attack and inflict damage upon the tower. With time, Gwath was forced to flee, and she sought refuge in the foothills of the Desertsmouth Mountains on the western border of Merrydale, where she began construction of the Gwathburg in the Year of the Scarlet Sash (679 DR), finishing it in the Year of the Lost Lance (712 DR), as the Army of Darkness began attacking Myth Drannor.
After the fall of Myth Drannor in the Year of Doom (714 DR), the drow controlled the entire surface valley of the Ashaba from present-day Ashabenford to deep within the Dagger Hills north of Shadowdale. The real goal of the drow seemed to be to gain the iron-fisted domination of the western Dalelands, from Spiderhaunt in the southwest to the Desertsmouth Mountains in the West and the Tesh Valley in the north. Again, all indications are that Gwath was the spokeswoman of Llolth and the leader of the drow movement.
Gwath's next goal was to destroy the growing human population in the western Dalelands. To this end, she summoned 15 great vampire lords from another plane to her Gwathburg, immediately exerted control over them, and ordered them to infect all of Merrydale with vampirism. These vampires first were seen in the Year of the Grey Mists (796 DR), when Merrydale began to be known as Daggerdale. It appears that Gwath turned over her Gwathburg to the vampire lords at this time and moved to a new, secluded tower in the Desertsmouth Mountains, one that has not been located to this date, although sages believe it to be in the northern part of the mountains, somewhere south of the old Tethyamar mines.
At this point, however, Gwath and the drow had overextended themselves. Both the elves of Cormanthyr and the men of the western Dalelands and Cormyr arose against the vampires and the drow. The vampires had completely overtaken the village of Highstone in the Dagger Hills, turning its entire population into vampires. In a daring daytime raid, elves from the Elven Court attacked the village, which had come to be called Bloodstone (no connection to the type of chalcedony mined in the Cold Lands and called bloodstone), and before the sun set on that fateful day, a wooden stake had been driven through the heart of every vampire in the village.
At almost the same time, a band of 400 armed men from the southern Dales and northern Cormyr, led by a group of priests of Lathander from Cormyr, fell upon the Gwathburg shortly after sunrise. After a day's fighting that caused many losses among the men of the Dales and Cormyr, the last of the 36 drow soldiers defending the castle of the vampire lords was killed, and with less than 30 minutes remaining until sunset, the priests of Lathander drove stakes into the hearts of all 15 vampire lords.
This is believed to have taken place in the Year of the Patchworked Peace (802 DR). The vampires of Merrydale, now Daggerdale, had not been completely destroyed, but the vampire lords and their slaves in the village of Bloodstone were eradicated. The villagers of Daggerdale were able to track down and destroy the remaining vampires in the dale on their own.
Gwath returned then to Daggerdale, this time to enact her wrath upon her former servants. She cursed the spirits of the 15 vampire lords and of the population of Bloodstone to haunt the Gwathburg and their homes eternally, as ghosts. She cursed the 35 drow warriors of the Gwathburg to defend it forever, as skeleton warriors, and she cursed their drow commander to lead them forever, as a death knight. And other curses she placed too on the Gwathburg, to entrap those who would violate it.
At this time, the power of the drow in the Ashaba Valley had reached its peak, with the Marshall-Mage Azmaer commanding the Ashaba Valley from the Twisted Tower in today's Shadowdale (official). In the Year of the Leaping Lion (834 DR), men built Castle Grimstead on the border of today's Shadowdale as a defense against Azmaer's drow.
The castle stood for 30 years, until Azmaer's forces succeeded in destroying it in the Year of the Broken Branch (864 DR). But the days of the drow were numbered. It took another 42 years, but in the Year of the Plough (906 DR), Azmaer and his drow had been driven from the Twisted Tower, the human settlement of Shadowdale had been created, and Ashaba became its first leader.
For more than 100 years, the annals of the Dales had been written without a single mention of Gwath's name. It was as though she had vanished from the face of Faerûn. This is not what happened, however, Elminster assured Randal Morn.
Elminster said there are many signs that Gwath's break with the faith of Llolth had begun long years before the vampire lords were summoned to the Gwathburg, and this break was culminated definitively in the Year of the Patchworked Peace (802 DR), when the vampire lords and the vampires of Bloodstone were destroyed.
Gwath, according to Elminster, had become fascinated with magic, and she had abandoned her priesthood and her own drow race to turn to wizardry and to seek power. He believes Gwath may already have been a mage of low level at the time of Myth Drannor's fall, and that she ascended to lichdom when she revisited the Gwathburg for the last time in the Year of the Plough (906 DR).
By that time, the tale of the ghosts of the vampire lords, skeleton warriors and a death knight in the Gwathburg had circulated through the Western Heartlands, and adventurers sought out the castle, either in search of a fortune or, on religious grounds, to attempt to send the undead to their eternal rest.
In the Year of the Queen's Tears (902 DR), Gwath had battled a mighty beholder named Garnath, seeking to steal its magic. After a long and dangerous battle, Gwath succeeded in killing the beholder and binding it to her, undead. In the Year of the Plough (906 DR), after Azmaer's fall and with the increasing human population in the Dales, she placed the undead beholder in the Gwathburg, to eternally guard it and to bind those who enter the castle as undead into service guarding the castle. As far as is known, Gwath never again returned to the Gwathburg.
Having divorced herself from the drow and Llolth, Gwath now seemed to be determined to become a power in her own right, and to this end, she began turning her attention to organizations of power in the Realms. Gwath also moved covertly within the Dalelands, disguising herself as a seductive, dark-haired human woman, which hid both her drow heritage and her decaying, undead lich's body.
In the early 10th Century DR, there are records of Algashon, the Bane priest who swayed Sammaster, founder of the Cult of the Dragon for many years, often being seen in the company of a beautiful, dark-haired mage cult member who was known as Gwann. There can be little doubt, Elminster told Randal Morn, that Gwann was in truth Gwath. Details on Algashon and the history of the cult can be found in The Cult of the Dragon by Dale Donovan (TSR - 1998).
In these years too, cult annals record that Gwann gave birth to Algashon's daughter (unofficial). Elminster is convinced (unofficial) that she is none other than the demi-shade Gothyl, who captured the Sword of the Dales and Randal Morn in the Year of the Gauntlet (1369 DR), after taking up residence in Gwath's long abandoned tower in Spiderhaunt. Gothyl, according to Elminster, was a mage who was turned into a demi-shade when her attempt to ascend to lichdom went awry. For more details, see the Sword of the Dales Trilogy by Jim Butler (TSR - 1995).
The mage Gwann was a prominent cult member for many years, most certainly a Keeper of the Secret Hoard. Her base of operations seemed to extend from Shadow Gap to the Mines of Tethyamar. After the fall of Sammaster, Algashon and Drakewings left a vacuum in the Cult of the Dragon in the early years of the 13th Century DR, Gwann was one of the more powerful Keepers of the Secret Hoard to fill it.
By the end of the second decade in this century, Gwann appeared to be one of the leaders of Algashon's old faction within the cult, which had begun advocating that it should affiliate with the Untheric dragon goddess Tiamat. The remaining Keepers of the Secret Hoard in Sembia, the North, the Vilhon Reach and Sunset Vale were opposed to Gwath and the former faction of Algashon and supported the old cult faction of Drakewings.
When the Algashon faction attempted to wage war upon the Harpers, in the Year of the Horn (1222 DR), at the time the Harpers had come under the sway of the evil Harper King, Gwann led the attacks upon the Harpers, and the Drakewings-Faction withheld its support. leading to serious defeats of Gwann's faction.
The schism in the cult continued another 60 years or so and even deepened, until the Year of the Many Mists (1282 DR), when a lich calling itself Sammaster arose in the Desertsmouth Mountains near Shadow Gap. Gwann/Gwath was among the Keepers of the Secret Hoard who visited the lich's lair in this year, and they left convinced that the lich was indeed Sammaster.
They also left the lair abhorred over Sammaster's return as a threat to their own growing power and agreed that he must be destroyed. And it no doubt was Gwath, with alignment concealed, who contacted members of the Harpers identifying herself as Gwynna, Witch of the Desertsmouth Mountains, to tip them to the location of Sammaster's lich near Shadow Gap.
The Harpers arranged for the paladins of the Company of 12 to investigate the tip, and these did indeed find Sammaster's lich, which they, destroyed, without finding the phylactery, however. Interestingly enough, the name of the Keeper of the Hoard Gwann disappears from the annals of the Cult, simultaneously with the destruction of Sammaster's Lich
More than 20 years before Sammaster's ascension as a lich, in the Year of the Bright Dreams (1261 DR), the mage Manshoon had formed the Zhentarim and had risen to the leadership of Zhentil Keep. By the Company of 12 had destroyed Sammaster's lich in the Year of the Blacksnake (1285 DR), the Zhentarim clearly were the waxing power in the Dalelands, just as the divided Dragon Cult's power was waning.
It was in the Year of Spilled Blood (1315 DR), 30 years after the destruction of Sammaster's lich, that a beautiful, dark-haired human mage identifying herself as Gwenda appeared at the gates of Zhentil Keep announcing that she was seeking an audience with Lord Manshoon. The unfortunate Zhentilar guards at the gate laughed, and then literally died laughing. When the woman brushed aside other armed resistance by the Zhentilar and a few lesser priests of Bane, she was encountered by the high priest Fzoul Chembryl, and after a discussion with him was indeed taken in to meet with Manshoon.
The contents of those conversations are unknown, according to Elminster, but it was obvious that Gwath had found a new organization with which to ally herself, and that Gwenda was nothing other than a new manifestation of the lich Gwath. After the meeting with Fzoul and Manshoon, Gwenda returned unharmed upstream on the Tesh and traveled as far as Teshwave, where she had settled down.
It is said that Teshwave and other parts of Teshendale were struck with devastating magicks before the Zhentilar overran the Dale in their conquering wave in the Year of the Gulagoar (1316 DR). After their conquest, there was no further sign of Gwenda in the dale, dead or alive, but within days, a beautiful, black-haired woman named Gwenda showed up in Dagger Falls.
With considerable money in her pockets, she purchased the decrepit Broken Dagger Tavern inside the city walls, which soon become the center of discontent over the ruling Morn family's lack of action to help Teshendale when it was overrun by the Zhents. Gwenda the tavernkeep was one of the main supporters of a good customer of her bar named Malyk, who said he could protect Daggerdale better than the Morns.
Before the Year of the Gulagoar (1316 DR) was over, a popular uprising had unseated the Morn family in the Dagger Falls area and put - unwittingly - the Zhentarim puppet Malyk in the Morn family's place, although the Morns continued to be the predominant power in southern Daggerdale. Within a few rides after Malyk's assumption of power, Gwenda sold her tavern to a disabled Zhentarim tracker named Tharwin One-Eye, and nothing more was seen of her in Dagger Falls or elsewhere in Daggerdale for many years to come.
Elminster assumes that Gwath spent the next 40 plus years in her hidden tower in the Desertsmouth Mountains, perhaps receiving magical items or knowledge as payment for her service to the Zhents. There is no further trace of her in the history of the Dale until the Time of Troubles. In the Year of the Shadows (1358 DR), a Harper ranger spied a dark-haired skeletal creature he took for a lich dabbling around the abandoned cottages in the former village of Sunstone southeast of Dagger Falls.
A short while later Elminster and the ghost of the Witch of Shadowdale Syluné, among others, came to the same spot to destroy several malaugrym (shadow masters) and the newly established gate through which they had come. The details on this encounter can be found in Ed Greenwood's novel All Shadows Fled (TSR - 1995). Elminster has little doubt that the skeletal figure seen by the ranger was anyone other than Gwath, in the process of opening the gate.
After the Time of Troubles and this one incident in the former village of Sunstone, nothing more was seen of Gwath in Daggerdale. Elminster had assumed that Gwath's physical essence as a lich was beginning to degenerate and that she most likely was preparing to move on to existence as a demi-lich.
Only recently, he said, was his mind rather abruptly changed on this point, although he still does not know how Gwath hopes to maintain her physical essence. Harper spies have reported that a beautiful, dark-haired human woman who calls herself Gwannet has been quietly visiting with important merchants in Sembia who are believed to be associated with the secret Iron Throne. Furthermore, according to the Harper spies, Gwannet has been presenting genuine looking documentation to the Sembian merchants which identifies her as a special ambassador of Randal Morn's.
She also is telling the merchants that once he has established firm control over all of Daggerdale and has destroyed the Flaming Tower, the last Zhent bastion in the Tesh Valley, that Randal Morn wishes to enter into an alliance with the Iron Throne, giving the organization the exclusive trade rights along the old Zhent trade routes through the Tesh Valley.
Lad, ye can be sure that Gwath isn't making these promises without some good idea of how she can make them come true, El told Randal. I think the next problem ye're going to have to take care of is Gwath herself!
Most of the official sources on Daggerdale talk of small villages and settlements, many in a state of ruin, that dot the countryside of Daggerdale. However, few of these villages have been described in any detail in official products, and only Dagger Falls had been mapped until recently.
There are several villages that were developed and mapped by Bill T. Breeze Murton, Bill Howard, Shawn Lewandowski and Ian R. Malcomson, volunteer mappers for the FR Interactive Atlas CD (TSR - 1999).
Eric L. Boyd, author of a number of Realms products, contributed the very interesting Castle Dunbarton in southwestern Daggerdale to the Forgotten Realms Mailing List. This contribution is distributed in Internet by Craig Sefton's Best of the Forgotten Realms Mailing List web site. The URL is: http://sefton.tradepage.co.za/Realms/Lands/adventur.htm. (Editor's note: That webpage no longer exists. I don't know if the original post by Eric Boyd is still available on the internet, but a quick Google search turned up no trace of it. -Admin) Christof Wuttke expanded upon and mapped Castle Dunbarton for the Daggerdale Project.
Our own Northern Realms Project Group produced an updated overland map of all of Daggerdale. It shows the location of all of these new sites and adds several other villages, settlements ands ruins produced by the Northern Realms Project Group, as contributions to the Daggerdale project and for the Backlands chapter of the Northern Journey adventure.
Daggerdale - Notes on the Overland Map
This short summary may help you get a good idea of what kind of places the villages, settlements and ruins on the overland map are. Many of these locations also have been mapped, and these maps can be downloaded here in the FCW format used by Campaign Cartographer 2 (Version 6.0 and higher) by ProFantasy Ltd. in London, the CC2 Viewer, which can be downloaded free from ProFantasy's web site at http://www.profantasy.com and the Campaign Mapper element of TSR's Core Rules 2.0 CD (TSR - 1997). To use any of these programs, your computer requires a 32-bit version of Microsoft® Windows®. For users of other systems, conversions of the maps also can be downloaded in the universal GIF-format.
Anathar's Dell. Above the surface a beautiful farming community, beneath the surface, the mines of the Brightblade Dwarven Clan who mine minerals and semi-precious stones. The only inn is also called Anathar's Hall and is run by a female dwarven innkeeper named Kharva. The village has a shrine to Chauntea and the halls of the Brightblade clan have temples to Moradin and Dumathoin. This is an official location. For more information see Volo's Guide to the Dalelands by Ed Greenwood (TSR - 1996), the novel Finder's Bane by Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak (TSR - 1997) and the FR Interactive Atlas CD (TSR - 1999).
Black Switch. A farming village of 11 farms, with a blacksmith, a millstream, mill and a small, newly remodeled inn and brewery, called the Ruse's Mage and shrines to Chauntea and Lathander. This and the town's name go back to an old tale of a farmer who scared off an orc band by holding an ordinary black switch in the hand, pretending that it was a wand and he was a mage, and threatening to blow the orcs all the way back to Gruumsh, if they didn't disappear. They did. Black Switch is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group.
Bloodstone (earlier Highstone, also known as Undead Castle). Not a lot is known about the ancient ruins of this village high in the Dagger Hills. It is said that Highstone was one of the first settlements of Merrydale to be completely taken over by vampires in the Year of the Gray Mists (796 DR). It supposedly was destroyed two years later by high elven mages and powerful elven warriors from Cormanthor. The stone walls of windowless, roofless buildings still stand in some places, as do remnants of the low city wall, but all is heavily overgrown with moss, weeds and trees. By day, the site leaves the viewer with a discomfiting eerie feeling. By night, the ruins are said to be haunted by ghosts and worse. More historical information can be found in Section 24, entitled Gwath. A map of the still existent dungeon beneath the ruin was published in the module How the Mighty Are Fallen and republished in Update 2 (March 2000) of the Fr Interactive Atlas CD.
Castle Daggerdale. This mountain fortress was the traditional seat of the ruling family Morn. The Zhent usurper Malyk gutted the castle in the Year of the Wandering Wyrm (1317 DR), after driving the Morn family from rule and taking over Daggerdale himself. Randal Morn and his Freedom Fighters destroyed the castle themselves in the Year of the Arch (1353 DR), when they killed Malyk. The castle is devastated today and fully in ruins. This is an official site. There are more details in the Dalelands accessory by Richer L. Baker III (TSR - 1994). We are aware of no floor plans.
(Editors Note: According to The Dalelands supplement, Castle Daggerdale is still intact, but large sections have been gutted by fire. Using this information, I have drawn my own set of plans for Castle Daggerdale, which can be downloaded here. There are three maps, which show: 1) a view of the area around the castle; 2) the castle grounds with the walls, the ruined out-buildings, and the keep; and 3) the floorplan of the keep with its basement. I have also written a general description of the maps that can be viewed here. --Erskine Fincher)
Castle Dunbarton. For years, the castle was an all but forgotten ruin in southwestern Daggerdale, until the Kingdom of Cormyr took an interest in it, quietly refurbished it and just as quietly planted a contingent of Purple Dragons in it. Zhentarim agents still at large in Daggerdale have begun taking an interest in Castle Dunbarton because they have become aware of the Purple Dragon presence there. Randal Morn also has begun taking an interest, because the Zhents are interested, although he's not yet aware of the Purple Dragon presence. Castle Dunbarton is an invention of Eric L. Boyd. His original texts can be downloaded free from the Best of the FR Mailing List Internet site. Christof Wuttke of the Daggerdale Project expanded upon and mapped Mr. Boyd's invention.
Castle Enneth. A small walled city with a small castle or manor house, Enneth supposedly still is in good condition. Economic plight caused the city to dwindle during the Zhent reign. The last regular residents are believed to have left Enneth in the Year of the Prince (1357 DR). However, the Freedom Fighters used it after that time as a base of operations. Much of Enneth still is in good condition. The city could be revived, if new residents can be found. Sufficient Freedom Fighters remain in Enneth to keep it free of monsters. Castle Enneth is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group.
Cold Springs. The village is at the source of a stream that flows into the Ashaba. It consists of a dozen farms, a smithy and a tavern (no accommodations) called the Waters of the Dales. There also is a mill about a mile downstream from the village and a small shrine to Chauntea near the mill. Cold Springs is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group. Cold Rush Creek, which has its source in Cold Springs, also is an invention of the same group.
Dagger Falls. This is the largest town in Daggerdale and in more modern times its seat of government. For quite a number of years, it was under the control of the Zhentarim, and in the NJ adventure in Backlands it has fallen again into the hands of Zhent renegades, who are being besieged by the followers and allies of Randal Morn. Dagger Falls is an official location. We offer a custom-made map. Other maps and details can be found in The Dalelands and Volo's Guide to the Dalelands. Considerably more material can be found in the TSR modules Doom of Daggerdale by Wolfgang Baur (TSR - 1993) and the Randal Morn Trilogy by Jim Butler (TSR -1995). Doom of Daggerdale introduced the subterranean Crypt of the Mage King, Colderon the Razor, an evil ancestor of Randal Morn, and the Eagle's Eyrie, once an outpost of the Brightblade dwarves. Both the crypt and the dwarven ruins also are mapped on the FR Interactive Atlas CD. The third module of the Randal Morn trilogy, Return of Randal Morn, and the FR Atlas CD also have floor plans of the Dagger Falls garrison.
Dagger Springs. Ruins of an abandoned old village with the remains of 14 farms, a smith's shop, a grain storage facility and a small tavern, none with roofs and some with only foundations still remaining. Zhents or orcs may at any time be temporarily holed up here. Dagger Springs is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group. It has not been mapped or further detailed.
Flaming Tower. A Zhentish garrison just outside the borders of Daggerdale on the Tesh. It now is run as an enclave of the Xvimist faction of the Zhentarim. The tower was mapped in the boxed set Ruins of Zhentil Keep by Kevin Melka (TSR - 1996), republished in Update 2 (March 2000) of the FR Interactive Atlkas CD. This map corresponds to the tower before it was destroyed by the Knights of Myth Drannor. It is inconsistent with the description of the reconstructed tower in the novel Finder's Bane by Jeff Grubb and Kate Nowak (TSR - 1998), which we used as the basis for our map.
Galders. A small abandoned village of four farms in decrepit condition. Orc bands sometimes hole up here. The last residents vanished from Galders in the Year of the Highmantle (1336 DR). Galders is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group. It has not been mapped or further detailed.
Goldfields. A once prosperous village of rich farming and freshwater fishing, only dry lake beds, 20 abandoned farms and a dozen cottages remain. Many of the buildings still seem to be in reparable condition. The last of the local residents left the village in the Year of the Spur (1348 DR), after foolish Zhentish magical experiments caused the spring-fed lakes to dry up. Zhent records found in Dagger Falls claim that a substantial colony of dopplegangers in the service of the Zhentarim lairs here, but the Freedom Fighters have not yet verified if this still is the case. Goldfields is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group.
Green Orb. This is a rather prosperous village for Daggerdale, but one that the Freedom Fighters keep their eyes on. A good 25 farms are scattered across the countryside here, along with several miles of fruit orchards. The village has a smithy, a schnapps distillery and a tavern (no accommodations) called the Schnapps Queen, which has two separate guest rooms, one for locals and one for strangers. People in Green Orb are suspicious of and rather unfriendly toward natives of other parts of the Dales. This village produces fruit schnapps of very high quality with a good reputation in much of the Heartlands.
The Zhents, soured on by a fanatic priest of Bane, managed to persecute and financially abuse the farmers of Green Orb to such an extent that the last of them at last left, and the highly profitable schnapps industry collapsed. Realizing the mistake that was made, financially wiser Zhentarim saw to it that loyal farmers from the Moonsea and Zhentish spies from elsewhere were brought into Green Orb to revive the schnapps industry.
The majority of these folk had been followers of Bane until the Time of Troubles. In the intervening years they rejected Cyric. Three different priests sent to Green Orb by the church of Cyric simply vanished, and their takeover of Bane's temple was a short-term matter. After the Time of Troubles and the Destruction of Zhentil Keep, the people of Green Orb turned to the worship of Iyachtu Xvim.
A low level priest, Ruinlord Radargh from Xvim, came to Green Orb in the Year of the Gauntlet (1369 DR) and reopened the Banite temple there, but it was destroyed in the same year by Randal Morn's Freedom Fighters. Radargh vanished - into the hills behind Green Orb, where he maintains a small, makeshift cave chapel for the villagers.
The main Zhent agent in Green Orb is the town councilor Heldarm Dernesch, who also owns the tavern. Dernesch and other village leaders have been debating just what position they should take in the future. They are beginning to believe that Daggerdale is lost to the Zhentarim. However, they do not want to lose their rich farms.
Randal Morn's deputy governor, Captain Mestin Troll Durmark of the Freedom Fighters, in her last visit to collect taxes in Green Orb, made it quite clear that the villagers have very little time left to integrate themselves as loyal Dalesmen, or they will be deported back to the Moonsea. Dernesch and the others are looking for no new conflicts at present. The PCs will not receive a welcome in Green Orb, but they also will not be harmed if they keep their noses out of village secrets.
Green Orb is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group.
Gwathburg. This ancient castle, now filled with undead, is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group. It is detailed below and in the history above.
Hadreth's Glen. This village was created by Bill T. Breeze Murton, one of the volunteer mappers for the FR Interactive Atlas CD and is thus an official location. A village map is available on the CD.
Irythkeep. The ruins of this small fortress are described by Ed Greenwood in the novel Cloak of Shadows (TSR - 1995). The tale of the rise and fall of Irythkeep is recorded on lost pages of history, but it appears that the castle once defended broad farmlands that spread across the surrounding area. The Tethyamar Trail to the west of the keep dips in this area, becoming even a bit swampy in places, and parts of the trail itself are in poor.
Foundations and occasionally partially standing walls of old farms still can be seen through the brush and young forest that it is taking roots where fields once were tilled. The first that one sees of the keep itself are two fingerlike, stone pillars arising from the overgrowth. The walls of the keep show signs of being battered in from without, and what remains of the walls shows signs of fire. A careful search will reveal a ragged stone ring outlining the outer walls, a few overgrown outbuildings and stables still clinging here and there to their roofs and those fingerlike remnants of towers.
Fast growing duskwood, pine and shadowtop saplings are taking root everywhere within the keep's grounds. In the Year of the Shadows (1358 DR), when the avatars came to Faerûn, a band of Malaugrym had established a powerful gate in the ruins of Irythkeep. They were hunted down by Elminster of Shadowdale and three Harpers who later became known as the Rangers Three: Sharantyr, then a member of the Knights of Myth Drannor, and two of Storm Silverhand's students, Belkram and Itharr. A battle followed in the ruins of Irythkeep in which mighty magic was hurled both by Elminster and the Malaugrym, who were slain before they could return to Shadow Castle on the Plane of Shadows. Irythkeep has not been mapped or further detailed.
Kellet. This small walled city was destroyed by a red dragon during the Flight of Dragons in the Year of the Worm (1356 DR). It had been turned into a Zhentilar garrison city, and the Zhents incurred heavy losses during the destruction. The foundations of Kellett's buildings still stand, but that is all. The city wall also is mostly rubble. Kellet is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group. It has not been mapped or further detailed.
Liethen's Hills. The village consisted of four farms and three garden cottages, that continued in use until the Year of the Worm (1356 DR), when the same red dragon that devastated Kellett totally destroyed Liethen's Hills and all of its residents. Zhentilar used to claim these ruins are haunted, but that claim has not been substantiated yet. Liethen's Hills is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group. It has not been mapped or further detailed.
Nettle. The richly fertile valley between the green hills in this area makes Nettle the foremost vegetable and grain basket of Daggerdale. The small Nettle Creek flows down from Upper Nettle through Nettle, driving the recently rebuilt grain mill there - the biggest in all Daggerdale - which also is joined by a newly rebuilt brewery that produces Nettle Beer, already a secret tip among beer drinkers in Shadowdale, Mistledale and Tilverton. Jhael Silvermane of the Old Skull in Shadowdale is considering closing her own small house brewery and serving Nettle Beer instead. There are about 30 farms in Nettle, along with a large shrine to Chauntea. The small inn (6 beds) is a house operation of the Nettle brewery. Nettle is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group.
Serpentsbridge: One abandoned farm has been rebuilt here, along with another enclosed house that is said to belong to a reclusive mage who recently came to the area from the Scardale area. Both Randal Morn and Captain Durmark have met with the mage and afterward told their followers he will "be an asset to the Dale." Little more is known about him. This is an official site introduced in TSR's Randal Morn Trilogy. It has not been mapped or further detailed.
Shraevyn's Tomb. Shraevyn was an ancient mage lord in Daggerdale who created the magical Sword of the Dales to protect his native Merrydale. He and the sword are documented in the first module of the Randal Morn trilogy, Sword of the Dales, by Jim Butler (TSR - 1995). The tomb has been looted and now is empty. The floor plan can be found both in the module and on the FR Interactive Atlas CD.
Stonehome. A totally decrepit village ruin of a dozen quarry workers cottages and a broken down tavern, abandoned in the Year of the Grimoire (1324 DR). Goblinoids are almost always holed up here. Stonehome is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group. It has not been mapped or further detailed.
Sunstone. Once a combination of four garden cottages belonging to wealthy merchants of Dagger Falls and five small farms, Sunstone was abandoned by the Year of the Dragon (1352 DR) at the latest. During the Time of the Troubles (Year of the Shadows - 1358 DR) the Malaugrym had established a powerful gate in the ruins of Sunstone, which was destroyed in that year by Elminster of Shadowdale and the Rangers Three. The buildings here range from somewhat decrepit to hopeless, but some could be restored with sufficient money and hard work. Sunstone is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group, based upon descriptions of abandoned, Malaugrym-infested villages in the novels Cloak of Shadows and All Shadows Fled by Ed Greenwood (TSR - 1995).
Temple in the Sky. Once a great temple of Bane where the Voice of Bane spoke, the temple now is occupied by gnolls and fire giants who are members of a beast worship cult. The beast they worship is the beholder Xulla, who lives with them inside of the rock. That's what the temple is, a huge, tunneled rock that floats in the air above the Flaming Tower, held in place by a huge chain that prevents its drifting off. The temple floats and has for ages now as a result of ancient Netherese magic. The temple was mapped in the boxed set Ruins of Zhentil Keep by Kevin Melka (TSR - 1996) , republished in Update 2 (March 2000) of the FR Interactive Atlkas CD. This floor plan is inconsistent with the description of the temple in the novel Finder's Bane by Jeff Grubb and Kate Nowak (TSR - 1998), which we used as the basis for our map.
Teshmere. This village was created by Bill Howard, one of the volunteer mappers for the FR Interactive Atlas CD and is thus an official location. A village map is available on the CD.
Tethyamarside. This village was created by Ian R. Malcomson, one of the volunteer mappers for the FR Interactive Atlas CD and is thus an official location. A village map is available on the CD.
Upper Nettle. Although only six miles (8 km) upstream from Nettle on Nettle Creek, the village of Upper Nettle has considerably less rainfall in a year's time than Nettle. The result is little farming land but rich grazing for cattle. The village consists of eight spread-out ranches and no other businesses, shrines or temples. The Zhents had tried to starve the cattle ranchers with high taxes, but those days now seem to be past. Upper Nettle is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group. Goldfields is an invention of the Northern Realms Projects Group.
White Chalk Hollow. This village was created by Shawn Lewandowski, one of the volunteer mappers for the FR Interactive Atlas CD and is thus an official location. A village map is available on the CD.
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