The WEST COAST
The Baron of Aragond is the most powerful noble between the lower Gondmar and Andural rivers, ruling the land for three day's ride around the city. The taxation of merchants is the barony's greatest source of revenue, and the Merchants' Guild of Aragond has an influencial voice in the affairs of the city.
The best known inn in Aragond is The Braying Cartman, a large three-story hostelry, tavern, and waystables surrounded by a low, gated wall, standing beside the King’s Road heading north. Aragond is famous for its annual High Summer Fair held in a great open field outside the city, which becomes covered with colorful tents and crowded with visitors from all over Anglamar. The Fair’s tournament features the Knights of Aragond and their rivals, the Knights of the Gryphon, in fierce competition, though the Knights of Arandor always make a showing.
Locations within the Barony of Aragond:
Across the harbor from Windover Bay rises a steep, rocky island. Atop it stands an ancient stone abbey, said to have been built before the founding of Anglamar. This is the Abbey of Ever Burning Light, run by a clerical order of Mythas, sworn to poverty and dedicated to quiet study and prayer. The only access to the island is by boat and a narrow winding stairs carved into cliffs. Once a month, a handful of monks take a small boat to Windover Bay to buy food and other supplies.
Folk are welcome to visit the abbey, to consult with the Abbot or seek sanctuary and healing. Those who stay for any length of time are expected to live as the monks do – to work at common everyday chores and spend much of their time in quiet contemplation and prayer. The Abbey is also known for its extensive library of ancient books and scrolls, and scholars and bards often come here in search of obscure lore. Offerings for the maintenance of the library are expected.
A village on the King’s Road, between the Gondish Hills and Harrowood, unremarkable except for a small abbey of Mythas nearby. There is a smith, stables, a wheelwright and a comfortable roadhouse called The Green Way Inn, known for its fine stews and ornate fireplace. The fat old Abbot, Eolmer, was once an adventuring companion of the arch-mage Falkard and Mordendan the Swordsmaster in Westhaven. Once known for his heavy-handed approach to offering absolution (with one hand raised to heaven and the other gripping a mace), he now trains young adherents to the New Faith - when he's not at the Green Way guzzling ale and reminiscing of his adventuring days.
The trade town of Riverdale sprawls on both sides of the Andural River, three days' ride south of Aragond. Its center is Green Bridge Tower, which stands on the middle span of the ancient stone bridge across the river built by dwarves, centuries ago. Traffic moving back and forth passes beneath the tower’s arch, which can be closed off with a massive iron portcullis at either end. The Lord Mayor of Riverdale also holds a King's Commission as Warden of the Bridge, with the authority to seal the bridge and call upon local militia and baronial forces in time of war. His garrison usually consists of no more than a score of men commanded by a captain-at-arms.
This small town sprawls along the shores of a circular bay on the coast southeast of Westhaven. It is walled by green hills to the north and east, through which a spur of the King's Road runs. The town is spared from the worst storms off the sea, though it sees much rain in Spring. The people are fisherfolk and tradesmen, used to a quiet and uneventful life. The bay is not suitable as a port for large ships. Though wide, its waters drop when the tide goes out, making it possible to walk nearly the entire way across to Clerists' Isle.
Windover Bay is best known for its tall, white lighthouse standing on a rocky promontory to the south, and for the unique and picturesque inn, the Foundered Duchess. A century ago, a southern merchant ship was driven into the bay by storms, went aground and was abandoned. Eventually, a local entrepreneur, Hadur Welgrin, took possession of the hulk, shored it up and refurbished it as a seaside inn and tavern. The Duchess is famous for its tavern and open air common area on the upper deck, accessible in fair weather. Like Dunadain and Everune in the Gondish Hills, Windover bay is known as the residence of some former members of the Old Guard.
Northern iron comes to Beregond down the Winterborne by boat, and the city is known for its ironsmiths. The red glow of forges lights the city at night and hammering echoes constantly through the streets. Weapons and armor of Beregond steel are of the finest quality, second only to dwarven steel, and Kordane’s Arms and Armor Shoppe is the place to buy them. The famous blacksmith employs dwarven craftsmen in his business.
The Stormhaven Inn is the only establishment of note in Beregond, a rough and raucus place that provides one of the few escapes from the general gloom and poor weather. Locals, visitors and members of the guard mingle here to drink, dice and share their tales. For those looking for something or someone in the city, the Inn is the place to go. But, be wary. Intrigue is always afoot and the proprietor, ----, maintains a precarious position of trust between the Baron and the independent folk of the city.
The Swords of Beregond, a tough, grim legion of experienced men-at-arms, serve as the city guard as well as the Baron’s personal troops. In addition to patroling the city, the shores of Beren Bay and the King's Road for a day's ride, they man 10 catapults and some 25 heavy balistae on the walls of the city, many of them trained on the harbor and river beyond. The Guard keep in practice by firing at the hulks of old boats and barges on the river.
The Baron of Westhaven, who resides at his ancestral castle of Aquilore (a day's ride north of the city), rules all of the land north of the Gondar River and south of Elderwood, and from the Gondish Hills to the coast. Looming above the city is massive Westhaven Castle, the seat of government housing the Lord Mayor of Westhaven as well as the City Watch. The Baron leaves city administration in the hands of the High Council, made up of the Lord Mayor, the Knight-Commander of the Watch and the Merchants' League. The Baron has, traditionally, had little interest in city affairs, as long as trade continues uninterrupted and crime is kept under control ... The fact is that His Lordship has never been very popular in Westhaven, though he is quite well-regarded by the rural folk throughout the rest of the barony.
The seaside castle known as Admiralty Keep is the headquarters of Anglamar's navy, commanded by the King's Lord Admiral. There are at least a half-dozen warships (heavy carracks armed with ballistae on their forcastles) stationed at Westhaven harbor. From Spring to Mid-Autumn they patrol as far north as Beren Bay, south to Sundered Strait, and west to Kinnoch in the Storm Isles.
Several famous personages live in Westhaven, including Falkard, Arch-mage of the Order of the Blue Star (in a spell-guarded tower on the city’s north wall) and the swordmaster Mordendan, who owns a large manse outside the city walls on the landward side. In Docks Ward, the wealthy merchant Erron Dumar deals in wines, silks and linens, spices and other exotic goods from the south. The man is known to have contacts throughout Anglamar and even into the Inner Sea. Turlond Hesk, who runs the Olde Gull and Anchor, is rumored to be a fence and one of the main contacts of the Shadowguild.
Locations within the Barony of Westhaven:
This small town on the southern edge of Elderwood is a quiet cluster of cottages and small businesses, with a single tavern and inn. The old merchants' road that crosses the Gondish Hills eastward comes to Hamling and continues on west to join the King's Coast Road at Whispering Bridge. The people are friendly and hardworking. They hunt game in the forest and are well known as woodworkers and carpenters. The town is famous for its rustic charm - it is difficult to discern where the forest ends and the town begins. Ancient oaks, maples and elms grow undisturbed throughout the village, many of them incorporated into the buildings themselves. The Whispering River borders Hamling on the south, and is crossed by an ancient stone bridge that has been rebuilt several times over the centuries. At night, large torches in iron sconces are lit at both ends of the bridge.
The Whispering Oak tavern is a rambling two-story structure with a giant oak tree forming the corner anchor of one wall. The ancient tree towers above, shading the inn in Summer and nearly burying it in leaves in Autumn. Inside, a wooden stair winds up the massive trunk of the tree to the rooms on the second floor ... The douty Mistress Helga runs the Oak on a daily basis, serving both locals and travelers with even-handed hospitality.
Hamling also has the greatest concentration of witches, healers, minor mages and other practitioners of the Art of any place in Anglamar. Bronagh, the herb-mistress, is also known as something of a seeress. Lansalon the Green Mage, a known ally of the Old Guard and the Northern Rangers, lives in the Wood nearby and considers himself the town’s – and the forest’s – protector.
This coastal town sits atop the cliffs overlooking the sea. It is a small, rain-soaked fishing burg with a tall, gray stone lighthouse. The town docks are reached by winding wooden stairs that lead down to the water. Large ships cannot dock here, due to the lack of a harbor and the treacherous rocks. Seacrest is famous for its tavern, the Storm Lantern Inn, run by a grizzled old one-eyed sailor named Valgray.
Off of Seacrest’s point are the Windspurs, a chain of jagged rocks rising up out of the sea which are a hazard to ships. Sailors steer clear of Seacrest, but storms sometimes drive ships onto the rocks and the townsfolk are always ready to salvage the wreckage.
In the midst of the wood stands the ruins of an old castle, Blackharrow Keep. Legend says that the noble family who once inhabited the castle and ruled the land around it died out a century ago as the result of a dark curse. The ruins are considered unhealthy or haunted and the local folk avoid it, rarely venturing that deep into the forest.