SOW Introduction

Campaign Background – Introduction

sinruth

“We are mercenaries, all of
us, but only a precious few have honesty enough to admit it. Whether we sell
ourselves for coin, for honor, or ideals, we all have a price whose continued
payment leads us inevitably to our end. But when that end comes, will you admit
to your balance sheet? Or will you lie when you claim that the blood on your
hands was spilled for just cause, not simply your hunger for glory?”

 



introduction


T

 

 

he world has never been a safe place. Bastions of
civilization populate a dark, menacing world—islands of order and reason exist
in a land otherwise overrun by dark cults, vile monsters, creatures from the
dark edges of the imagination, and worse.

Elsir Vale painting One such point of light is the Elsir Vale, a quiet frontier land bordered
by mountains. It is inhabited by farming communities and various small cities
and towns. No monarch or ruler holds sway over the Vale; each city is run by a
council and manages its affairs in a state of relative peace with its
neighbors.

The vale
stretches almost 250 miles east to west and averages about 70 miles north to
south. Several small mountain ranges and dense forests form the vale’s borders.

Though
the borders of the vale are mostly hills, mountains and forests, the heart of
the vale is grassy plains for the most part. Every town in the vale is
surrounded by numerous farms. Beyond the civilized areas are vast rolling
plains with infrequent hillocks and copses of trees.

Text Box: The Elsir Vale has many vistas like this one, painted by a local Brindol artist.Elsir Vale lies
in the subtropical latitudes. Summers are hot and dry (although punctuated by
the occasional intense thunderstorm), and winters are warm and rainy. Large
stretches of the area are quite arid, and the vale is flanked by the vast
savannahs stretching for mile after dusty mile. The forests that stretch across
most of the vale’s northern reaches are stifling and sweltering hot in the
summertime, with not a breath of wind to relieve the oppressive heat.
The largest town in the Vale is Brindol, located roughly at its
center. Brindol is a thriving trade community and the starting point of your
adventures. It has seen its share of excitement over the years, most recently ten
years ago when it was the center point of a war.

At the northern edge of the Vale, a week’s journey
roundtrip from Brindol, the city of

Overlook
and
its fortress of Bordrin’s Watch command the only pass across the Giant’s


Shield

Mountains

and keep the Vale safe from the occasional Orc incursion from the wild, lawless
lands to the north.

Running west and east, along the Dawn Road, lies a
number of smaller towns that serve as market centers for outlying farming
communities and host various trade fairs.

The towns of Elsircross and Marthton lie to the east
of Brindol, and further yet Dennovar represents the last sizable population
center as the Vale spreads outwards into the Golden Plains.

To the east, across the Golden Plains (at least some
of the time) lies the Eladrin city of

Astrazalian
,
known to residents of the Vale as the City of


Starlight

. This magnificent city strides the
border between the mortal realm and the Feywild, and exists as Solinari rests in
each cycle of the new moon. Residing a few hundred miles to the east of the
Vale and is the source (or destination) of a significant amount of the trade
that flows through the Vale.

To the north and west lies the Witchwood, a ancient
woodland inhabited by the savage, xenophobic tribal elves that jealously guard
the wood, quick to anger and dangerous to cross. 

Further north, beyond the Giant’s Shield Mountains, outside
the borders of the Vale lie the ruins of the city of Rhest, once the center of
a kingdom that spanned the entirety of the vale, but now a long crumbled
remnant inhabited mostly by Lizard folk and other creatures best left
unmentioned.