The Dalelands

The Dales are broad forest vales with rolling farmlands, linked by narrow trade roads running through beautiful woods. Blessed with fertile soil and a temperate climate (aside from the extremely harsh winters), the Dales are the breadbasket of the Heartlands. The Dales’ independent spirit and age-old alliance with the elves of Cormanthor have made them the historic birthplace or favored home of many of Faerûn’s greatest heroes.

Eleven separate dales exist today, each with its own territory, government (or lack of it), militia, trading pacts, ambitions, and character. Archendale and Harrowdale value trade over all else. Tasseldale values industry and craftsmanship. Daggerdale stands alone against a powerful enemy, while Scardale struggles to recover its independence after years of occupation. Meanwhile the other dales respect the old Dales Compact and prefer to be left alone.

Although they share common traditions, cultural practices and religious allegiances, the Dalelands are not a unified kingdom like Cormyr or Sembia. Instead, they are an enigma to the rest of Faerûn. How can small and disorganized groups of stubborn, back woods farmers and craftsfolk maintain control of the coveted lands surrounding the great elven forest?

In the past, the forest itself was a major reason for the Dales’ continued existence, as the presence of the Elven Court deterred most foes. Now that the elves are a secondary power in Cormanthor, Dalesfolk rely upon the gifts they’ve always had: heroism, self-reliance, and a strong, almost clannish sense of community.

To an outsider, Dalesfolk seem close-mouthed, suspicious, and reserved. Until newcomers are identified as friends or foes, or vouched for by a trusted friend, Dalesfolk prefer civil silence to empty pleasantries. Once a person is accepted, Dalesfolk are generally open and giving, especially in the common defense. Once accepted by Dalesfolk as a friend, a stranger is expected to contribute to the defense of the community.

Most dales maintain at least an informal militia. The training levels and professionalism of such groups varies, but all are capable of providing some training with a melee weapon and a good Dales longbow. The archers of the Dales might be the finest human archers of Faerûn, which gives would-be invaders pause.

Cormanthor:

The great forest is a living testament to a forgotten green age, a time in which humans were an afterthought instead of the dominant society.

During the Elven Retreat, the vast majority of the elves who called Cormanthor home left for Evermeet or moved west to Evereska. A few remained, particularly in the Semberholme area near Sember and in the communities of Bristar and Moonrise Hill in Deepingdale. Others, who had human mates, human friends; or half-elf children, stayed on in other parts of the Dales.

As the elves left Cormanthor, they set traps and magic wards to discourage humans and others from moving into their ancestral lands. The defenses were particularly strong in the area surrounding the former Riven Court. Queen Amlaruil’s followers must have known that their efforts would not keep non-elves out forever. But it is doubtful that they guessed that their ancient enemies, the drow, would be the first to slip past the defenses and claim the forest

The formal life of the Riven Court has given way to the hunting of the ranger and the steps of the druid. Though Cormanthor is still beautiful, and still very much a high forest worthy of bards’ songs and poets’ flights of fluttering adjectives, it now shudders at the felling of trees in its fringe and the sounds of stealthy battle in its heart.

Cormanthor is also home to the ancient city of Myth Drannor. Its failing mythal has hidden many secrets over the centuries, and it is no secret that demons dwell at its heart. During the scouring, the ancient portals within the city disgorged whole armies or infernal creatures. Although the forces of good succeeded in banishing the majority of the hellish monsters, some lingered. Today, some twenty five years later, a potent darkness still dwells there, obfuscating its intentions and movements. The city of Myth Drannor remains extremely dangerous, and none that enter ever emerge the same.

War is brewing in Cormanthor as humans, elves, drow, and gnolls struggle to carve their settlements from the green fastness and establish strongholds and borders they can defend against their rivals and other darker horrors. The old Riven Woods stretch for hundreds and hundreds of miles. They may prove expansive enough for all the competing powers and settlements. The drow, the elves, and the occasional human settler can go days and even tendays within the forest without running into signs of each other’s existence. But even Cormanthor might not be large enough for all of these races to share.

BENEFITS:

Languages:

Chondathan, Elven, Drow Elven

Equipment:

Weapons: Bows (all), Spear, Quarterstaff, Rapier, Hand Crossbow
Armour: Leather, Studded Leather, Chain Mail
Mounts: Horse, Pony, Giant Spider.

Spells:

Ghost Harp
Expeditious Retreat

Fighting Styles:

Missile Fighting Style; Two-Handed Weapon Fighting Style, Finesse Fighting Style

Favoured Deities:

Chauntea, Lathander, Mielikki, Oghma, Shaundakul, Silvanus, Tempus, Torm, Tyr, Eilistraee, Vhaeraun, Elven Pantheon.

The Dalelands

Forgotten Realms: Birthright Avanpallandt