Loudwater & Beyond
Notable locations - Grey Vale
Gray Vale’s borders are soft, shifting with the ambitions of prospectors and settlers, but all who live in this rich valley regard the Star Mounts as its northern boundary, the rugged Graypeak Mountains as the eastern border, and the High Moor as its southern perimeter. The Vale stretches west, following the Grayflow out to the Sword Coast, though the influence of the area thins as one draws closer to the Western Heartlands.
Loudwater: Easily the largest settlement in Gray Vale, Loudwater is encircled by a wall of timber and stone more than 20 feet high. The fortifications and the determined but personable people living here make Loudwater an attractive stop for travelers of all kinds.
Llorkh: Ever an unsavory place, Llorkh has sharply declined in recent years. A string of incompetent rulers drove off most of the honest residents, and now the ruined city serves as a haven for a self-styled bandit king and his lackeys.
Dire Wood: The Dire Wood is a circle of forest bordered by a ring of albino oaks. The outer ring is 60 miles in circumference, and just inside the circle of albino oaks is a ring of blackened, petrified trees. Within both rings are miles of broken hills that lie under a canopy of living and petrified trees.
Zelbross: This small town has been left in ruins since the spellplague. The only discernable feature being the ruins of the former temple of Tyr, the area is rife with bandits and monsters.
The Fallen Lands: Sages, cartographers, and explorers once wrote extensively regarding the area long known as the Fallen Lands—a last remnant of Netheril that once lay along the western edge of the desert known as Anauroch. Then the Spellplague came, thrusting this area into great upheaval and leaving much of this territory shrouded in mystery. Although the lands of the Gray Vale beyond the Graypeak Mountains, including the towns of Loudwater and Llorkh, stand as an island of civilization in the vicinity, the Fallen Lands remain a forbidding place.
The Star Mounts: This ancient range of mountains marks the southern boundary of the High Forest and takes its name from the queer lights that shine from its heights. Legends claim that these mysterious mountains are home to dragons, elves, strange birdfolk, and more. Perhaps the most unusual story is that in the upper reaches, great crystal towers grow out of the rock. It is uncertain just who or what lives inside these towers (if they even exist), because clouds blanket the peaks year round and few have the courage to ascend the heights.
The High Forest: From the northern slopes of the Star Mounts and stretching for miles to the north is the High Forest, an ancient wood notoriously haunted by fey creatures, gnolls, and drow. Infrequently, wood elves of the forest trade with the people of Loudwater, but they are tight-lipped about what goes on in their sylvan homeland.
The Graypeak Mountains: Sheltering the people of Gray Vale from the distant doom of Netheril is a range of old, rugged mountains known as the Graypeaks. Barren and capped in ice and snow, these mountains are said to be home to giants and vicious wild and unnatural creatures. Adventurers who have braved the peaks report ancient dwarven ruins buried beneath the stone, and their claims are supported by old dwarven coins, weaponry, and other antiquities that have been recovered.
Southwood: This young forest separates a portion of Gray Vale from the Highstar Lake and the serpent people of the High Moor. Local woodcutters occasionally take timber from this forest but do so at great risk, for a large tribe of goblins has staked its claim here.
Highstar Lake: Locals tell tales of the vast mysteries that lie beneath Highstar Lake, from drowned temples of forgotten gods, to sunken Netherese airships, to lost civilizations. And while most stories are false, a splinter of truth might lie within some of the tales.
Everlund: Located on the banks of the Rauvin River, Everlund is an active mercantile community. A thick stone wall is pierced in five places by the city’s gates. Like the spokes of a wheel, straight streets lead from each gate to Bell Market at the city center. City architecture was designed to accommodate the needs of trade caravans — hostelries feature stables and wagon parking, and streets are well cobbled and in good repair.