Abridged History of the 10th Age
Gazeteer - Dragonfall Uplands
Rickton and the Dragonfall Uplands
Reynarius di Llun, Author and Sage of Renown
If you ever journey west of the Dorlish hills, you’ll find yourself in the quaint little land known as the Three Kingdoms. This region lies to the north of old Teral, west of Dorlan, and east of the haunted ruins of Caruel. Central to the Three Kingdoms is the peaceful little land of Agstowe. Ahhh, Agstowe! Verdant uplands and disgusting swamps, rivers and hills and rolling wood, all compressed into a valley-kingdom the size of a Dorlish province. You might think this little land has nothing to offer, but it is in fact the birthplace of several of the most famous adventuring companies of our time: the Red Drakes and the Silencers. Betwixt its peaceful (and scenic) woods and mountains, the land of Agstowe can be a surprisingly dangerous place! Besides being the location of the headwaters of the Old River, Agstowe is also home to one of the most vicious beasts of the north: the Wyrm (often called the Wyrm of Agstowe outside of the Three Kingdoms).
Have I piqued your interest yet? That’s right, there’s a great old Red Wyrm residing in the eponymous mountain at the heart of Agstowe: the Wyrmburg. He has a couch of treasure and has horded gold and gems from all over the Three Kingdoms and even farther afield. The very nearness of the thing inspires young lads all over the Three Kingdoms to take up sword and shield and march to their doom in search of magics and rubies.
To get a proper understanding of Agstowe you’re going to need know something about the people that live there. They aren’t Dorls or Teralians, or even Essadi. They’re an Eylic people that have mixed Valelan heritage, and they hold nearly every rick, farm, and stead throughout the Kingdoms. Some scholars will tell you that they’re Llyrian, but all you have to do to disprove this theory is to look at a map: Middlemark, the fallen Eylic kingdom, lies between the Kingdoms and Llyria. What is the likelihood that the descendants of Llyria or Llynder crossed all of Middlemark to go and settle somewhere in the north? Fairly slim, in this scholar’s opinion (which, after all, has rarely been proven wrong.)
The Gower speak Eylic, the language of ancient Middlemark. They are of mixed descent, and as such are not quite as short as the Karlungs nor as dark-haired as the Marklanders. They generally don’t grow as massive as the tree-chested Valelans, either. They’re a solid, sturdy people, with a love for the smallfolk. Halflings and gnomes live undisturbed amongst the Gower in great numbers. Gower have light brown to blond hair, and tend towards lighter eye colors. Their frames range from ropy to muscular, but rarely are they built in the hulking manner of the Valelan.
As this is not the place for history, I will give a brief overview of the Three Kingdoms, but I prefer to focus more on other elements (culture, geography, etc.) so this section will be necessarily short and to the point. The Three Kingdoms were originally under Essadi control; Essad demanded slave-tribute and dispatched governors over the region in pre-Teralian times. Then came the old Teralian Empire, which retreated from the region around X.285 when the Temulan rebellion began. Since the year of X.287, Agstowe has been a separate kingdom. Its name is derived from the Teralian name of the province (Avonus, the “new territory”) and the people who dwelled there (the Gower, as we discussed).
It is important to note the currency of Agstowe is minted in gold, silver, and copper like most of her neighbors. Golden wyrms, silver blades, and copper commons make up the three most commonly used coins in the region. When traveling in Agstowe, it is important to remember never to walk in the wild unarmed. Indeed, even their women wear daggers on their belts! It is a barbarous place, and the roads are not patrolled as they are in less wild places.
As I have been told to confine myself to one region alone, I will focus on the northernmost region between the Wyrmburg and the Serpent’s Tail Range. The Gower call this the Dragonfall, though in Dorlan it’s known as the Lash (as in, “Did you see that fellow from the Lash? He’s as backwards as they come! Wearing pants to a feast thrown by one of the Council!” etc.) While it may be synonymous for backwater living, it is also synonymous with adventure. It is a long stretch of narrow land that runs along an east-west axis, including a network of small valleys and vales as well as the source of several minor rivers that feed the Smalswamp at the foot of the Wyrmburg.
The two most important towns (and I use this term lightly) in the region are Upway and Rickton, both the seats of Agstowe erldoms. Upway stands at the eastern gateway of the Dragonfall and is the route normally used by merchants to approach the precipitous Gowern uplands. Rick is located in the heart of the ‘Fall, and serves as a central marketing town for the entire upland.
The Hidden Kingdom
Rumors persist of a secret elvish valley-kingdom on the far side of the Serpent’s Tail. Normally I would discount the ramblings of the Agstowers in this regard as they are prone to be an exceptionally superstitious folk inclined to believe any such nonsense that comes their way. However, I give credence to this rumor as I myself have seen the strange elf-ruins that pepper the mountains. Where precisely this place is located is beyond even my extraordinary knowledge, but the profusion of elves in the region speaks to the truth of the matter.
Town, Seat of the Erldom of Dragonfall. Population: 4,353 people
Rickton is the largest town in the Dragonfall Upland, which really says a lot about Dragonfall. It is home to somewhere over four thousand souls, all of whom are the direct subjects of Erl Penda. There are other baronies scattered across the erldom, and many of them send delegates or tradesmen to Rickton. The erl Penda of Dragonfall rules the town from his manor, which sits somewhat removed from the hustle and bustle.
The town commands a good view of the Dragonfall, being spread out across a half mile near where the Drakefoam erupts from the mountains. The buildings are predominantly wattle-and-daub, though there are several with stone undercrofts or foundations. The marketplace, at the town’s heart, is always busy but it becomes flooded on market days (generally the central Haeros of every month) when farmers, herders, trappers, furriers, and miners from the entire region pour into Rickton to trade.
No walls obscure the miles-long view of the upland as it sweeps down to the Wyrmburg; Rickton has never in its history been the subject of attack from the mountains. Though orcs, goblins, trolls, and kobolds aplenty dwell in the nearby woods and hills, Rickton is removed from all of them. It is a pleasant town, and plays host to the baronial households of the great magnates of the Dragonfall as well as the knightly houses sworn to the Erl.
As it was once an old Teralian administrative center, the town actually has cobbles along most of its streets and the market also bears the remains of a stone tower that has since collapsed and is now overgrown with grass. This ring of tumbled stones is known as Lover’s Well and is often a site for trysts within the town.
Trade. There are several guilds within the town of Rickton. The most important is the Furriers Guild, which determines all the trade of furs and leathers that go downland to the cities of Agstowe and beyond to other lands. The guildmaster is a stout woman named Awaigne (human, level 1 Thief, NE) who always looks out first for the profit of her guild. The Furriers guild has a single large crafthall just off the main market on Wine Street.
The other important guild is Dorlander Provisions, which transports most of the Agstower goods that go into Dorlan. The Provision (as it is commonly called) maintains a guildhall outpost on Broadlane where it supplies its caravans and almost serves as a private inn for Dorlander merchants. The high merchant (the Provision’s highest ranking representative in Rickton) is a fat mage known as Gondowin the Sage (human, level 8 Wizard, LN) who runs a tight ship.
Religion and Law. As is the case in most cities, towns, and villages of the North there are no standing guards in Rickton. Rather, citizens are expect to raise the hue and cry whenever something unlawful is occurring (and, for those of you who are confused, the body of law is not a written document here but rather a customary law). These instances are adjudicated in part by the local sheriff (in this case, a knight named ) who takes the case to the local lord (the Erl). The Erl then holds a court with the aid of a Hierean priest from the Rickton temple, who passes judgement based on the custom of the land. This judgement may range from a fine (for light offenses) to execution (in which case, the lawbreaker is detained until the King may make his assizes to the town as he does each season and pass the sentence himself).
Amenities. Rickton has two competing inns which both vie for the larger share of incomers during market days. These are the White Birch and the Falconer’s Rest.
The White Birch. Owned by the former adventurer Eadwen Elf-friend (half-elf, 7th level fighter), the Birch is located on the main thoroughfare of Rickton, Broadlane, close to the outskirts of the town. It stands three stories high and encompasses nearly a quarter-acre of land. Like many buildings in the north it has an undercroft, half of which is dedicated stabling. The upper two stories of the Birch house a tap room, kitchens, and (above) a common room and private chambers for merchants.
Charges at the Birch: 2 commons/night (common room), 4 blades/night (private room); 1 blade/week (common room), 2 wyrms/week (private room). Food and drink is easy to come by and can be purchased at anywhere between 4 commons and 2 blades a meal (depending on quality).
Falconer’s Rest. The Rest can be found on the market square just opposite the temple of Avauna. It is a massive building with two wings, a separate stone kitchen and stables. The undercroft stores barrels of ice from the peaks and copious stock of beverages from all over the nearby kingdoms, including a fine supply of elvish and dwarven wines. The taproom is reached by means of a set of stone steps on the outside of the building, and is only one of many dining areas, the others being reserved for private parties.
The inn is owned by Hollander Veck (forest gnome, 0 level commoner) who loves to chat with his custom. It is a common joke in Rickton that one should run if you see Hollander coming; the blond beard and curled hair is visible at great distance as is his traditionally bright gnomish clothes, and being drawn into a conversation with him may last hours (or more, his victims are adventurers and have stories to tell).
Charges at the Rest: 5 commons/night (common room), 8 blades/night (private room); 1 blade and 2 commons/week (common room). Food and drink is more expensive in the Rest as well, and runs between 6 commons and a wyrm for a meal.
There are three moderately sized temples in Rickton. The largest and most obvious one to any traveler will be the House of the Healers, a temple dedicated to Avauna and located on the market square. The other two are a Hierean temple and an Eleian temple, both nearby but not in quite as optimal a location. There is also a Vaelan roadshrine just outside the town and a small idol of Fortuna located in the center of the market and perched atop the town well.
The House of Healers. Attended by Healer Aethelthryth, the House is a large stone construct that describes a central courtyard where the medici of the uplands may gather for training. Its halls are dark and incense-filled, but only the inner cult are permitted to enter the rearmost sections of the temple. Healing and devotions are normally carried out in the grassy court where there stands an altar of stone gilded with gold and topaz. There are a good number of trestle tables stored in the pillared arcades in case surgery needs to be performed.
Twenty acolytes and three medici make up the staff of the temple, and some can always be found there to accept donations or to perform surgeries and healings (for a suitable price, of course).
The Temple of the Smith. Located just outside the town proper on the north road that leads into the mountains, the Temple of the Smith is the center of justice in the Dragonfall; it also hosts the Hierophant of the Dragonfall, Adalbertus the Good. This temple is a large stone structure sheathed in expensive Dorlish white-and-red marble and built in the local style: namely, a long low building with a gently curving roof and a dome over the inner sanctum.
The Harvest Temple. The Harvest Temple is located along the road to the Erl’s manor; It has no walls but rather only large stone pillars that support a triangular roof. The floor is made of mosaic tiles (most likely bought from elves or dwarves) and braziers march between the pillars, constantly sending off a stream of incense. The Keeper of the temple is an aging priest of the Goddess named Ozwyne. It mostly exists for the service of the farmers in the region, though a small idol is also kept there in honor of Eminiea, the Goddess of the Wild, so that hunters and trappers have somewhere to come and pray as well.
The earl’s daughter
It is said that Erl Penda’s daughter Ermengard is having a secret love-affair with a local commoner and that they meet by Lover’s Well. This story couldn’t be farther from the truth: this “commoner” is actually a minor magician! His name is Gherrod, and his stats can be found below.
Of course, should the Erl discover this he will order the affair broken off immediately and may go so far as to try to arrest Gherrod. This would result in a magical confrontation between the sheriff, a handful of Longsword knights, and the magician.
Trouble with Orcs
The Furrier’s Guild has been having trouble with some of its suppliers. The trappers that normally ply the Orcwood have noticed increasing aggression and numbers in the local orcish tribes. Several trappers have been captured as slaves, and the Guild is paying out premium coin to anyone who can help deal with the problem.
Rumor says that the ancient standing stones in the midst of the Uplands were erected by giants. Furthermore, rumor adds that there is a treasure buried somewhere beneath them. Anyone who goes to investigate the rumor has a 15% chance of stumbling upon a pair of hill giants visiting the place as though it were a shrine! If no one is there when the PCs arrive, they are free to explore the site.
The Wyrm wakens!
Whispers say that smoke has been seen curling from the Wyrmburg. The black fear grips many of those who have seen it: the ravages of the great Wyrm have not been forgotten in popular myth and legend. In truth, the smoke has been caused by goblins who dare to make their home on the great mountain, unaccosted by those too meek to venture up into the ancient Wyrmish caves.
Outlaws in the wood
Callaver wood is notorious for hiding bandits and outlaws who are attempting to escape from the Erl’s justice. Recently, large numbers of outlaws have been spotted attacking peasants on the road through the wood; the Erl has agreed to pay a bounty of fifteen silver pieces for every outlaw brought to justice (dead or alive). These men are desperate folk who have been driven out of their holdings in the mountains where orcs, goblins, and hill giants have begun to proliferate.
Strangely, rumors about a garden of statues made from local animals and hunters have begun to circulate in most of the towns of the Uplands. The exact location of the Statuary is unknown; it may, in fact, be a hoax.
There are several local foods that are popular in Rickton and the surrounding towns that do not enjoy such popularity in the rest of Agstowe. The first is a stew of leek and moose spiced with Ralashar pepper imported through Dorlan; this is known as an Angry Stew (most likely due to the Dorlish term for spicy food as “angry.” Can’t these Agostwer think of anything on their own?). The thin onion and potato soup that is dismissed in most of Agstowe as being fit for peasants is also commonly enjoyed by all classes in the Uplands.
8th level Fighter; S 11, D 15, C 8, I 10, W 12, CA 10; hp 38; MV 12 (60’ C&T); #AT 2 (dagger), 3/2; THAC0 13 (2 (specialized in dagger), by weapon; Speed 2 (dagger); AC: 10; Magical Items: ; Languages: Eylic, Varan, Solë; WPs: dagger (specialized), scimitar, longsword, shortsword, two weapon fighting; NWPs: ; CG
Erl Penda Longsword
The Erl of Dragonfall is a thirty seven year old man with close cropped brown hair and a well-groomed mustache. He has ruled the erldom since his own father was killed by trolls twenty years ago in the shadow of the Wyrmburg. He is a man who knows his domain well and while no one would call him kind, he is certainly generous to those who have earned it.
It is unlikely that any adventurers will get in to see him without first going through his steward, Selmun Stonefoot (gnome, level 0 Scholar). Even if they do get to see the erl, he is a busy man and likely has little interest in conversation with common adventurers unless they have a very good reason for coming to see him. Penda will deal with anyone who has won their reputation on the field (particularly against trolls or other tough opponents).
The erl has a wife (Elda Longsword), two daughters, and three sons, the youngest of which (Arcan) is apprenticed in Longlaird to the wizard Tanner the Conjurer.
2nd level Fighter; S 10, D 9, C 13, I 12, W 14, CA 12; hp 12; MV 12 (60’ C&T); #AT 3/2 (longsword), 1 (dagger); THAC0 19 (3 (specialized in the longsword), 1d4+1 (dagger); Speed 5 (longsword), 2 (dagger); AC: 10(4/6/8 chainmail); Magical items: Dragonfall Ring of Striking (grants +1 to-hit and damage on all attacks); Languages: Eylic, Dorlish Varan; WPs: longsword (specialized), dagger, shortsword; NWPs: riding (land based), rope use, etiquette, dancing; LG
Rock gnome, male
Selmun is an intensely loyal servant of the Longsword family who has served them for over fifty years. A grey-haired rock gnome, he is around one hundred and fifty himself and is intensely dedicated to the work of recording and organizing the affairs of the Dragonfall Uplands. He is a dour little gnome and will not admit anyone to see Penda without very good reason.
0 level Scholar; hp 6; LN
Sheriff Tonberct of Rickton
1st level Fighter; S 15, D 12, C 10, I 11, W 9, CA 7; hp 8; MV 13 (65’ C&T); #AT 1; THAC0 20; Dmg (by weapon); AC: by studded leather; Languages: Eylic; WPs: Longsword, sword and shield style; NWPs: rope use, etiquette, blind-fighting; NG
4th level Mythos Priest (Healer of Avauna); S 8, D 6, C 11, I 14, W 17, CA 12; hp 17; MV 10 (50’ C&T); #AT 1; THAC0 20; Dmg (by weapon, mace); AC: 10; Languages: Eylic, Varan; WPs: mace; NWPs: healing, herbalism, ancient history (Old Teral and Agstowe), religion (avauna), musical instrument (lyre); CG
Hierophant Adalbertus the Good
2nd level Mythos Priest (Peaceward of Haeron); S 7, D 8, C 10, I 10, W 11, CA 10; hp 36; MV 12 (60’ C&T); #AT 1 (mace, warhammer); Dmg (by weapon); AC: 10; Languages: Eylic, High Varan; WPs: mace, warhammer; NWPs: healing, religion (Hieriean), religion (Agstowe), spellcraft, law; LG
Gherrod the Conjurer
The Barony of Callaver — Osred Callaver
Stockley, Callaver, Stonestand, The Writhing Tower
The Barony of Westneck — Irminric Othbart
Perton, Deeram, Fisher’s Rock, Dram’s Mine
The County Seat
The Barony of Ryddon — Wulf Ryddon
Wyrmshadow, Rydock, Scraedown, Haeda’s Mine, Aelfham, Stonewick, Buram, Arx Celonus, Greatstones
Aelfham: On the far side of the Stonebottom, Aelfham plays host to an ancient elvish watchpost that once marked the southernmost border of their hidden kingdom in the region. It has since been granted over to Agstowe, and the tower has been rented out to the elf-mage Alandaryn.
Arx Celonus: An old Teralian fortress that overlooked the Wyrmburg before the Red Wyrm came to roost there. In those days the Wyrmburg was called the Outlaw’s Retreat and the Teralian governors waged constant wars with outlaws in the region.
Buram: Situated on the Drakefoam River, Buram lies beneath the menacing spires of the Wyrmburg. A small farming and hunting community, many Buram trappers cross the Stonebottom to and brave the dangers of the Orcwood rather than attempt to earn a living beneath the nearer and more horrifying cliff-faces of the Burg.
Callaver: The seat of the Barony of Callaver and the location of Baron Osred Callaver’s manse, this is a cozy little community half-lost in Callaver wood. Old Teralian marker-stones delineate the edge of the village, and a large minority of the inhabitants of Callaver are forest gnomes.
Deeram: A town comprised mostly of hunters and located on a steep slope leading to the Dragonfall Uplands, Deeram is rarely visited by outsiders but provides for a large amount of the meat consumed in the northern Uplands.
Dram’s Mine: An iron dwarven settlement that is somewhat smaller than a folkhall, Dram’s Mine has been abandoned for nearly a half century. It was once a source of iron, but the deposits have all been mined out. It is said that dangerous creatures have begun to make use of the old dwarvish buildings and caves.
Fisher’s Rock: Standing above the Upwater, Fisher’s Rock is named for the large stone in the center of the town. Like most backwoods places, even the smallest landmark is enough to earn a name in the Dragonfall (though it is, to be honest, a huge rock that is more like a solid stone hill).
Greatstones: A collection of standing stones that are far too massive to have been raised by human hands. There are some scholars who believe they were once carved in the blinding detail common to giants, but today they look like the worn teeth of an old woman.
Haeda’s Mine: The center of the Barony of Ryddon’s wealth, Haeda’s mine is a mixed rock-gnome, iron dwarf, and human community that pulls iron and silver from the guts of the Serpent’s Tail.
Perton: Located just on the edge of Westneck and the Erldom as a whole, Perton is often used as a ranging-point for expeditions to Longlaird that do not wish to pass through Upway. It is also of note that a fairly straight path from Perton crosses to the lookout point on the Wyrmburg known as the Eye.
Scraedown: The baronial capital of Ryddon, Scraedown is smaller than Rickton but rivals it as a central place in the region. Housing nearly nine hundred people through the year, that number swells during the harvest and market seasons.
Stockley: North of Callaver Hall and in the armpit of the mountains, Stockley doesn’t have much to recommend it to strangers. The folk there are all insular and prefer to stick to their two major tasks: mining, and fetching ice from high up in the Serpent’s Tail and selling it in Rickton.
Stonewick: The northmost emporium of the Stonebottom River, Stonewick is a stopping point for ships poling up from the marshlands to buy Dragonfall goods. It is a dangerous place, as many people gather there but it generally finds itself beyond the lawful purview of the Barony due to general neglect on the part of the baron.
Stonestand: The crossroads of Callaver, Stonestand is a gnomish town along the main route to Rickton from Upway. The important inn and waystation known as The Baron’s Boar is located in the center of the little town, dominating it in both physical and social size.
The Writhing Tower:
Wyrmshadow: Beneath the very Burg itself, Wyrmshadow is said to have been the last place visited by the old Erl before he died fighting a troll near Arx Celonus. It is a small unwalled town that will probably be the first thing the wyrm consumes if it ever wakes again.
WILDERNESS ENCOUNTER TABLE, DRAGONFALL UPLANDS
D100 Roll Creature
23-33 Forest Gnomes
34-44 Kobold Hunting Party
45-55 Orc Raiding Party
56-66 Goblin Hunting Party
83-86 Rock Gnomes
87-88 Hill Giants
100 Stone Giant