Heroes of Atroa
Fallcrest stands amid the Moon Hills at the falls of the Nentir River. Here travelers and traders using the old King’s Road that runs north and south, the dwarven Trade Road from the east, and the river all meet. The surrounding ridges shelter several small valleys where farmers and woodsfolk live; few are more than six or seven miles from the town. In general, the people outside Fallcrest’s walls earn their living by farming or keeping livestock. and the people inside the walls are artisans, laborers, or merchants. People with no other prospect can make a hard living as porters, carrying cargo from the Lower Quays (29) to the Upper Quays (2) (or vice versa).
Fallcrest imports finished goods from the larger cities downriver and ironworks from the dwarf town of Hammerfast, and exports timber, leather, fruit, and grain. It also trades with the nearby town of Winterhaven. The surrounding hills hold several marble quarries that once produced a good deal of stone, but the area has little demand for ornamental stone these days, and only a few stonecutters still practice their trade. Occasionally, airships from Sprohm find their way to Fallcrest, bringing many wondrous enchanted items to trade for raw materials and grain.
A small town built from the ruins of a larger city, Fallcrest is the crossroads of the Nentir Vale.
Population: 1,350; another 900 or so live in the countryside within a few miles of the town. The people of Fallcrest are mostly humans, halflings, and dwarves. Tieflings are a strong presence within the city with four or five families and a handful of individuals. One or two elves and eladrin live within the city and a handful of half-elves. Fallcrest’s populous doesn’t get much more diverse than that, but travelers of all races pass through on occasion.
Government: The human noble Faren Markelhay is the Lord Warden (hereditary lord) of the town. He is in charge of the town’s justice, defense, and laws. The Lord Warden appoints a town council to look after routine commerce and public projects.
Defense: On average the Fallcrest Guard numbers sixty warriors, who also serve as constables. Moonstone Keep (8) is their barracks. The Lord Warden can call up 350 militia at need.
Inns: Nentir Inn (4); Silver Unicorn (6). The Silver Unicorn is pricier and offers better service; the Nentir Inn sees a more interesting clientele.
Taverns: Blue Moon Alehouse (23); Lucky Gnome Taphouse (28); Nentir Inn taproom (4).
Supplies: Halfmoon Trading House (7); Sandercot Provisioners (27)
Temples: Temple of Erathis (13); Moonsong Temple- Sehanine (16); House of the Sun- Pelor (10)
Groups: The Last Legion, The Honest Few, The Fell Court, The Fallcrest Guard
Up until four centuries or so ago, the Moon Hills and the surrounding Nentir Vale were thinly settled borderlands, home to quarrelsome human hill-chieftains and remote realms of nonhumans such as dwarves and elves. Giants, minotaurs, orcs, ogres, and goblins plagued the area. Ruins such as those on the Gray Downs or the ring-forts atop the Old Hills date back to these days, as do stories of the hero Vendar and the Dragon of the Nentir.
With the rise of the empire of Nerath to the south, human settlers began to move up the Nentir, establishing towns such as Fastormel, Harkenwold, and Winterhaven. A Nerathan hero named Aranda Markelhay obtained a charter to build a keep at the portage of the Nentir Falls. She raised a simple tower at the site of Moonstone Keep three hundred ten years ago, and under its protection the town of Fallcrest began to grow.
Over the next two centuries, Fallcrest grew into a small prosperous city. It was a natural crossroads for trade, and the Markelhays ruled it well. When the empire of Nerath began to crumble about a century ago, a fierce horde of orcs known as the Bloodspears descended from the Stonemarch and swept over the vale. Fallcrest’s army was defeated in a rash attempt to halt the Bloodspears out on Gardsbury Downs. The Bloodspears burned and pillaged Fallcrest and went on to wreak havoc all across the Nentir Vale.
In the decades since the Bloodspear War, Fallcrest has struggled to reestablish itself. The town is a shadow of the former city; little trade passes up and down the river these days. The countryside for scores of miles around is dotted with abandoned homesteads and manors from the days of Nerath. Once again the Nentir Vale is a thinly settled borderland where few folk live. This is a place in need of a few heroes.
Illustrations by Mike Schley and Ralph Horsley info from the 4E DMG
The Tower of Waiting:(1) Built by Lord Markelhay III for his first wife 125 years ago, the Tower of Waiting was originally intended for privacy. Unbeknownst to the Lord Warden, his first wife was devoted to the demon prince Graz’zt. She used the tower for her twisted rituals and murders, until she was discovered by a group of adventurers. Unable to defeat her, they sacrificed themselves to seal her in the tower’s hidden sub-levels. Having occurred more than one hundred years ago, and swept under the rug by Lord Markelhay III, most current residents are unaware of the incident. And so it was that a group of adventurers were hired to investigate the tower and the demonic spirits were subsequently loosed upon the city. Many were injured and few were killed, and the property damage was kept to a minimum. The adventurers defeated the demonic horde. But, the Lord Warden lost his youngest son to the demonic spirits. The tower is now set to be rebuilt with the adventuring group’s coin.
Upper Quays:(2) Boats proceeding down the Nentir must stop here and offload their cargo, which is then portaged through the town to the Lower Quays and loaded onto boats below the falls. Likewise, cargo heading in the other direction is carried up to these quays and loaded aboard boats bound upstream. A surly dwarf pugilist named Barstomun Strongbeard runs the porters’ guild, and he takes a cut of any wages paid to laborers carrying cargo up or down around the falls. Barstomun and his thugs are trying to extend their reach by intimidating merchants who send their goods overland and forcing them to hire guild porters for any cargo handling in town.
Five-Arch Bridge:(3) Dwarf artisans from the citadel of Hammerfast built a fine stone bridge over the Nentir two hundred years ago. Although the bridge was destroyed when Fallcrest fell, the great stone piers supporting it remained intact, so a few years back the people of the town laid a new timber trestle over the old stone footings. A small toll house guards the western side of the bridge. Five Fallcrest guards under the command of Sergeant Thurmina watch this post. They collect a toll of 1 cp per head (and 1 sp per mount) making use of the bridge in either direction. Thurmina is a gruff woman who has been known to turn a blind eye to odd cargo moving over the bridge when paid to do so. The river current begins to pick up on the south side of the bridge. Boats (or swimmers) venturing far from the banks are in danger of being carried over the falls.
Nentir Inn:(4) A fine new building constructed of fieldstone and strong timber, the Nentir Inn stands on the west bank of the river. Merchants from Winterhaven or Hammerfast make up the clientele, along with travelers who happen to be passing through. A good room with two single beds goes for 5 sp per night. The Nentir Inn also boasts a lively taproom, which is popular with the folk who live in the vales on the west bank of the river. The proprietor is a charming half-elf named Erandil Zemoar who showed up in Fallcrest one day about two years ago, bought land, and built an inn. The money that Erandil used to set up the Nentir isn’t his; he charmed an aging noblewoman in the far south out of her fortune, and fled one step ahead of the authorities. One of the Nentir Inn’s current guests was an expatriate noble from the south named Serim Selduzar, who harbors ambitions against Fallcrest. This tiefling is clever and feigns good humor about his “present unfortunate circumstances,” and he has a wickedly sarcastic streak to his wit. It was recently discovered that Serim was in league with Amros Kamroth in his plot to overthrow the Markelhay family. Serim fled the city before the local adventurers or authorities could detain him.
Knight’s Gate:(5) Fallcrest’s northern city gate is known as Knight’s Gate, because the Lord Warden’s riders normally come and go from the city by this road. The gate consists of strong outer doors of iron-reinforced timber and an inner portcullis between a pair of small stone towers. The portcullis is normally lowered at sunset, and the gates close only in times of danger. The gatehouse barracks accommodates five Fallcrest guards plus Sergeant Nereth, who commands this gate. He is a stiff-necked fussbudget who rigorously enforces all rules; the guards stationed here can’t stand their sergeant. Recently installed near this gate was a leader-board meant to keep track of the number of kobold heads local adventurers collected from the surrounding area. The current leader is an adventuring group with the acronym; C.H.O.A.B. Not only have they brought in an amazing amount of kobold heads, but also goblin, hobgoblin, and three different dragon heads (white, green and black).
Silver Unicorn Inn:(6) For many years, the Silver Unicorn has billed itself as “the Pride of Fallcrest,” charging high rates for its attentive service and well-appointed rooms. The recent opening of the Nentir Inn put a big dent in the Silver Unicorn’s business, and the owner, a stern halfling matriarch named Wisara Osterman, strongly disapproves. She’s certain that there is something shifty about Erandil Zemoar, but can’t put her finger on it. A room in the Silver Unicorn costs 2 gp per night. A recent fire in Fallcrest damaged the Silver Unicorn substantially, though no-one was injured. Wisara is at a loss and is looking for help in rebuilding her inn and re-establishing its reputation.
Halfmoon Tradinghouse:(7) The Halfmoon family is a large, far-flung clan of halflings who keep small trading posts in several settlements throughout the Nentir Vale. This is the largest and most important of those establishments. It’s under the care of Selarund Halfmoon, a friendly halfling who dispenses a never-ending stream of advice to his customers, such as, “It never rains but as someone gets wet!” or “A nail ain’t afraid of a hammer with no handle!” No one knows what he’s talking about most of the time. The Halfmoon Trading House is an excellent place to buy any of the mundane tools, gear, supplies, or clothing mentioned in the Player’s Handbook.
Moonstone Keep:(8) The seat of power within Fallcrest, Moonstone Keep serves as the “palace” for the Markelhays and a barracks for the town guard. Its simple sturdy construction as well as its position makes it an ideal fortification. Within its walls the Lord Warden holds court; attending to legal matters and visiting dignitaries. Faren Markelhay is a balding, middle-aged human with a keen mind and a dry wit. He is a busy man and sees to local matters personally, so adventurers calling on him are likely to wait a long time for a short interview. However, he is eager for news of other towns in the Vale (and farther lands as well) and never turns away someone who brings him news or waits to see him. Lord Markelhay’s wife is Lady Allande Markelhay. She is a cool and reserved woman ten years younger than her husband. A student of the arcane arts, she uses her powers to advise her husband. They have three children (having recently lost their youngest); the eldest, Ernesto, is currently away in the south, living in the court of King Halfred of Dunthrane. There are a few rooms appointed for the use of visitors and, while not luxurious, they are comfortable. A small staff of servants sees to the needs of the Markelhays and their guests. The barracks and armory house the town guard. This spartan building was not built for comfort and provides the bare essentials. The armory, located under the ground floor of the barracks, holds the basic supplies needed to keep order in the city. Little to no magic items are kept within the armory. The courtyard holds the family stables, a small chapel devoted to Sehanine, several storehouses, and a devoted wheelwright and blacksmith.
The Tombwood:(9) Along the southern slopes of Moonstone Hill grows a large thicket that has never been entirely cleared. Within its tangled paths lies the old castle cemetery (now heavily overgrown), as well as a battle-mound dating back centuries. Back against the steep sided hill upon which sits Moonstone Keep lies a cavern that leads into ancient tombs. An adventuring group recently reported finding undead creatures, large spiders, cultists, and a black dragon within these catacombs. Many find this report hard to believe, but the group carried the head of the black dragon back with them, reinforcing the tale. Its now prominently displayed at the leader-board near the Knight’s Gate.
House of the Sun:(10) When Fallcrest was a larger city, it supported several good-sized temples located in the Hightown districts. With the town’s depopulation, several of these were abandoned, including the House of the Sun, a temple dedicated to Pelor. The place also includes shrines to Kord and Bahamut. Recently, a zealous dwarf priest of Pelor named Grundelmar came to Fallcrest from Hammerfast and reestablished this old temple. Grundelmar is loud and opinionated, a real fire-breather who goes on and on about smiting evil wherever it might lurk. With the renovation of the Tower of Waiting, Grundelmar has learned that the adventurers intend on including a temple of Bahamut on the island. The dwarf is more than happy to concede his Bahamut shrine for the adventuring party’s use. He is considering installing in its place a shrine to The Raven Queen, but is worried it might attract the wrong element.
House Azaer:(11) A small, well-off trading company, House Azaer is owned by the tieflings of the Azaer family. They import goods (including arms and armor) from Hammerfast, Harkenwold, and the lands to the south, and organize caravans up to Winterhaven, Mistwatch and Wellspring several times a year. House Azaer is an excellent place to purchase nearly any mundane equipment from the Player’s Handbook, although its prices are a little on the high side. Amara Azaer is in charge of the house business in Fallcrest, and spends her time on the premises. Though young, the tiefling is quite sharp and doesn’t miss an opportunity for profit in running the Azaer business.
Nentir Falls:(12) Here the Nentir River descends nearly 200 feet in three striking shelf-like drops. On the small island in the middle of the falls stands the statue of an ancient human hero named Vendar, holding up his hand as if to challenge enemies approaching from downriver. Local legend tells that Vendar slew a dragon whose lair was hidden in caverns beneath the falls.
Temple of Erathis:(13) This large, impressive stone temple is finished with Fallcrest’s native marble. Its chapel is a large rotunda with a 30-foot-tall dome. The temple of Erathis is the largest and most influential temple in town. The place also includes shrines to Ioun and Moradin. High Priest Dirina Mornbrow oversees two lesser priests and several acolytes — townsfolk who spend part of their day tending the temple. Dirina is a woman of about sixty who is convinced of the superiority of Erathis’s dogma, and disappointed that more people in Fallcrest don’t pay proper reverence to “our city’s patron god.” She is familiar with several divination and restoration rituals and can aid adventurers with ritual magic at need—for an appropriate gift to Erathis, of course. With the recent rumors of cult activity in nearby Winterhaven, and the events unfolding in Fallcrest, Dirina has requested aid from her superiors. Two Erathan Templars and one Erathan Justicar have been dispatched to aid in Fallcrest’s defense on behalf of the church.
The Bluffs:(14) Fallcrest is divided in half by a great cliff snaking northwest to southeast across the town. The bluffs average 150 to 250 feet in height. They are not strictly vertical, but are too tall and steep to be easily climbed.
The Catacombs:(15) The limestone bluffs between Hightown and Lowtown hold a number of caves, which the folk of Fallcrest have used as burial crypts for centuries. As caves fill up, they are walled off and forgotten about. Naturally, stories abound in town about treasure hoards hidden away in the crypts, and the restless undead that guard them.
Moonsong Temple:(16) The third of Fallcrest’s temples is devoted to Sehanine. It also includes shrines to Corellon, Melora, and Avandra. The Markelhays regard Sehanine as their special patron, and over the years they have given generously to the temple. The temple occupies a commanding position atop the bluffs, and its white minarets can be seen from any corner of Lowtown. The leader of the temple is High Priest Ressilmae Starlight, a wise and compassionate elf who finished adventuring decades ago and retired to a contemplative life. He is a musician of great skill who happily tutors the local children, even those who are poor and can’t afford to pay for their lessons.
Fallcrest Stables:(17) Lannar Thistleton owns this business, providing travelers with tack, harness, stabling, shoeing, wagons, and just about anything dealing with horses, mules, or ponies. He keeps a larger corral about a mile outside of town, and at any given time Lannar has several riding horses, draft horses, or mules in his paddock near Wizard’s Gate. The halfling is an excellent source of rumors, since he sees the travelers coming or going by the roads. He is a friendly fellow of about forty, with a large brood of children at his home out in the countryside.
Wizard’s Gate:(18) Fallcrest’s eastern city gate is known as Wizard’s Gate, because it’s the gate most convenient to the Septarch’s Tower. The road to the east travels a few miles into the surrounding hills, linking a number of outlying farms and homesteads with the town. The gate resembles Knight’s Gate in construction, and is similarly watched by a detachment of five guards and a sergeant. The leader of this detachment is Sergeant Murgeddin, a dwarf veteran who fought in the Bloodspear War and was present at the Battle of Gardbury, where Fallcrest’s army was defeated. A friendly drink goes a long way toward loosening Murgeddin’s tongue about that long-ago war.
Naerumar’s Imports:(19) Considered the finest of Fallcrest’s retail establishments, Naerumar’s Imports deals in gemstones, jewelry, art, and magic trinkets. The owner is Orest Naerumar, a tiefling who displays impeccable manners and discretion. Orest corresponds with relatives and colleagues in several towns and cities outside the Nentir Vale; given a few weeks, he can order in low-level magic items or other items of unusual value. Similarly, Orest purchases interesting items such as these, since other dealers in distant towns or cities might be looking for them. Orest doesn’t ask questions about where characters in his store found the goods they’re selling to him, but he is not a fence — if he knows that something was obtained illegally, he declines to purchase it. The recent fire in Fallcrest did a fair amount of damage to Naerumar’s shop, but any looting of the shop was staunched by an erstwhile adventurer. Repairs are already underway, Orest managed to get members of the Swiftwater clan to do the carpentry work, and his stock continues to grow.
Kamroth Estate:(20) Until recently, this site was the home of the self-styled “lord” Armos Kamroth, a wealthy landowner who collected rents from scores of farmers and herders living in the countryside nearby. Armos was a brusque, balding man of about fifty who made a show of loaning money in good faith and exacting only what the law allows—but somehow he had quietly bought up dozens of free farms over the years and turned their owners into his tenants. Armos was a miser of the worst kind and was secretly a devotee of Tiamat. He led a small circle of like-minded folk who met secretly in hidden vaults beneath his comfortable estate. Any news of treasure discovered by itinerant heroes inflamed his avarice and led him to begin scheming for ways to part the adventurers from their wealth. For all his scheming, Amros lacked a degree of discretion, and eventually his plots were uncovered; In collusion with the now fugitive Serim Selduzar, Amros had coerced a handful of powerful chromatic dragons from the surrounding area in aiding his vie for the title of Lord of Fallcrest. A group of intrepid adventurers threw a rather large wrench in his plans, however, finding and killing two of the dragons Amros had coerced; first a white dragon in Kobold Hall that led a tribe of kobold bandits, and then a green dragon that had assembled a small army of goblins and hobgoblins in the surrounding countryside. When the news of his connection to these dragons was uncovered and made known to the Lord Warden, Amros seemingly fled the city with all of his valuables. The adventurers, not to be tricked so easily, discovered him in his underground complex and defeated him, causing a contingency dweomer to activate and destroy the Kamroth Estate. Amros’ plots, however, seem to continue without him; Already the same adventuring group has found another chromatic, this time a black dragon within the city limits. It is unknown how far flung Amros cast his plans or what other latent schemes will be uncovered.
Moonwash Falls:(21) A small, swift stream known as the Moonwash flows through Fallcrest to meet the Nentir River. The stream is rarely more than 20 feet wide or 5 feet deep. The town’s children love to play in the pool at the base of the falls in the summertime. A cave just below the summit of the falls was recently discovered by a group of adventurers while tracking down the evil Amros Kamroth beneath his estate. Within the cave was a rather opulent temple devoted to Tiamat. Steps are being taken to dissolve the temple and sell-off any valuables to pay for recent damages to the city.
Septarch’s Tower:(22) This lonely structure is a tall, seven-sided spire of pale green stone that doesn’t match anything else in the town. In the days before the Bloodspear War, this was the seat of Fallcrest’s mages’ guild, an order of a dozen or so wizards and arcane scholars. Defensive enchantments prevented the orcs from sacking the tower, but the guild’s members died fighting for the city or fled to safer lands. The tower is now the property of Nimozaran the Green, an elderly wizard who was once apprenticed to the last of the old guild mages. Nimozaran considers himself the “High Septarch of Fallcrest” and master of the guild, whose membership now includes himself, and eladrin swordmage named Olan Llaumnua, and a rather unpromising male halfling apprentice named Tobolar Quickfoot. Nimozaran expects any potential new guild members to pay a hefty initiation fee, and so far only one of the few other arcanists living in or passing through Fallcrest has seen reason to join. Currently, Nimozaran has taken in a boarder within the tower; A drow named Arkriel who was injured fighting kobolds just outside the city. Neither the Silver Unicorn nor the Nentir Inn wanter to harbor a drow tenant, so Nimo lent Akriel the spare room under the stairs. The drow has since proven his good intentions, traveling with the adventuring group that has done so much for the city lately. Lord Markelhay has personally thanked Akriel, and the Nentir Inn has loosened their policy on drow. Though, the Silver Unicorn is still likely to turn them away (once its back up and running).
Blue Moon Alehouse:(23) Owned by the Brownbottle family of halflings, and run by their matriarch, Kemara, the Blue Moon Alehouse is the finest tavern in Fallcrest. The building consists of the main public area and a larger brewery area in back. Kemara leaves the bar-tending to her trusted employee, Par Winomer. Par is a fidgety and nervous gnome, but helpful and quite knowledgeable on the subject of ale and spirits. Two to three waitresses also tend to the patrons regularly. Its local knowledge that harassing the wait staff can get you banned from the tavern. All of the waitresses are Brownbottles and do not take kindly to groping or sour language. The pub has a cozy home-like feeling that brings to mind halfling warrens. The round, blue and white pane windows let in adequate amounts of mood lighting, supplemented by a large hearth and modest candelabra. Comfy booths line the walls and there are chairs and tables built to accommodate both halfling and human sized patrons. The Blue Moon brews a few house ales a year. Some are regular favorites, like the Half Moon Blonde, and some are seasonal, like the Blue Fir Spiced Ale. Kemara orders regional ales from the surrounding areas like Hammerfast and Dunthrane, as well as spirits like the dark red wine from Aranholm called Aaradt Black and the bourbon-aged dark ale from Hammerfast colorfully called Dragon Piss. The Blue Moon is popular with halfling traders whose boats tie up along the Lower Quay, well-off town merchants, and the farmers who live in the countryside south of Fallcrest. The old dwarves Teldorthan (area 24) and Sergeant Murgeddin (area 18) hoist a tankard or two here on frequent occasion. When the mood strikes him, Bartomun, leader of the town porters, will hold a drinking contest at the Blue Moon. He puts to shame anyone who tries to go drink-for-drink with him, and these contests often lead to a brawl outside.
Teldorthan’s Arms:(24) The dwarf Teldorthan Ironhews is the town’s weapon-smith and armorer. He is a garrulous old fellow who spends his time trading stories with his customers with a pipe clenched in his teeth, while his apprentices (two of whom are his sons) do the work. Make no mistake — Teldorthan is a master armorer, and under his supervision his apprentices turn out work of exceptional quality. Teldorthan has in stock (or can soon manufacture) just about any mundane weapon or armor found in the Player’s Handbook, although he advises beginners to try a hammer: “If you can drive a nail, you can kill an orc! You can drive a nail, can’t you?”
King’s Gate:(25) Fallcrest’s southern gate was destroyed in the attack that devastated the city long ago, and it still has not been entirely rebuilt. One of the two paired towers is nothing but rubble, and several large gaps remain in the town walls south of the bluffs through which anyone could enter the city. Despite its lack of functionality, the King’s Gate is still used as a guardpost by the Fallcrest guards. Sergeant Gerdrand is in charge here; he is a tall, lanky man who doesn’t say much, answering questions with a grunt or a shake of the head.
The Market Green:(26) The majority of Fallcrest’s folk live above the bluffs in Hightown and walk down to do business on the streets of Lowtown, which bustle with commerce. This wide square is an open, grassy meadow where Fallcrest’s merchants and visiting traders do business in good weather. The town’s children gather here for games of tag or kick-stones.
Sandercot Provisioners:(27) The largest general store in Fallcrest, Sandercot’s deals in just about anything — food, clothing, stores, rope, tools, gear, leather goods, and more. Compared to the Halfmoon Trading House, Sandercot’s has slightly cheaper prices but goods of somewhat lower quality. The owner is Nimena Sandercot, the widow of the late and unlamented Marken Sandercot. Marken associated with brigands and ne’er-do-wells, making a tidy sum by buying up goods stolen from his neighbors.
Lucky Gnome Taphouse:(28) The Lucky Gnome is widely regarded as the cheapest and coarsest of Fallcrest’s drinking establishments. It caters to the porters and laborers who work the nearby docks, and fistfights are a nightly occurrence. The former owner of the Lucky Gnome was an unsavory character named Kelson. Kelson ran the River Rats, a small street gang that used to haunt Lowtown. The Rats got a little too big for their britches recently and Lord Markelhay had no choice but to crack down on them. The thugs were scattered to the various smaller gangs who systematically weeded each other out. Its unknown what exactly happened to Kelson, but its likely he’s laying low, biding his time. The current owner of the Lucky Gnome is none other than Orest Naerumar, though he spends little time at the taphouse. The tiefling entrepreneur hired a staff to run the Lucky Gnome while he tends to his curio shop. Concerned about the rough clientele, Naerumar made certain to hire a bartender that could hold his own and settle disputes; towering over the patrons he serves, Brinjin the bugbear bar-back is the current local curiosity. Fights within the Lucky Gnome have dropped considerably and business has spiked sharply. The whole enterprise has an air of genius to it and the regulars are waiting to see what Naerumar adds to the Gnome next.
Lower Quays:(29) Keelboats and similar craft put in here to unload their cargo and portage it up to other boats above the falls. As described above for the Upper Quays, the porters’ guild jealously defends its monopoly on moving cargo around the falls, and it frequently attempts to intimidate local merchants into paying for portage services—whether needed or not. In addition to the porters’ guild, another gang of troublemakers lurks around the Lower Quays: The Honest Few. These street toughs and thieves look out for the chance to pilfer from the warehouses or roll a drunk in a dark alleyway. Boats belonging to a number of different travelers tie up here, the most common of which are the keelboats of the halfling Swiftwater Clan. The Swiftwaters carry cargo all the way down to the Nentir’s mouth, hundreds of miles downriver, through Fairhaven all the way to Dunthrane. They’re more than willing to take passengers for a small fee. Irena Swiftwater is the matriarch of the clan. She is a sharp merchant who passes herself off as an absent-minded reader of fortunes and maker of minor charms.
Catseye’s Shop:(30) A slim, middle-aged human woman known as Catseye runs this small curio shop near the Lower Quays. To the observant, Catseye’s easy movements and fearsome demeanor — the product of years spent prowling dungeons and slaughtering monsters — reveal her as more than a simple shopkeeper. She moves with a grace and bearing more suited to a veteran duelist, and her eyes track her customers wherever they go. Reticent and curt, she despises chitchat and disdains those who press her about her past. Her shop stands on a side street, facing some ruins and the bluffs beyond. Although Catseye keeps irregular hours, she usually opens for business sometime after lunch and closes just before dusk.
Her shop is a plain building with barred windows and a single, stout wooden door. Shelves and display cases laden with trinkets, baubles, and curios crowd its interior. Although most of her merchandise is of little interest to adventurers, Catseye keeps a few common magic items on hand, along with the occasional special find.
From Fallcrest the PCs may venture out into the wider world: