Elsir Vale
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Elsir Vale is a hilly, sparsely settled region of the Barrens.


The Elsir Vale is a thinly populated frontier, stretching from east to west for almost 250 miles and averaging about 70 miles from north to south. Several small mountain ranges and dense forests form the Vale's boundaries.

Every town in the vale is surrounded by numerous farms. Beyond the civilized areas are vast rolling plains with frequent hillocks and copses of trees.

Borders


Elsir vale is bordered on the west by the towering peaks of the Wyrmsmoke Mountains, and on the east by the slightly smaller Giantshield Mountains. The vale's northern borders are the Endless Plains, Lake Rhestin, and the impenetrable marshlands of the Blackfens. Its southern borders are the Thornwaste and the vast, maize-covered prairies of the Golden Plains.

Climate


Summers in the vale are hot and dry (although punctuated by the occasional intense thunderstorm), but winters are cold and harsh. Large stretches of the area are quite arid, and the vale is flanked by the vast savannas stretching for miles. The forests that stretch across most of the vale's northern reaches are stifling and sweltering hot in the summertime, with not a breath of wind to relieve the oppressive heat.

History


Several civilizations have come and gone over the last thousand years in the Vale. The oldest of these was Krandahr; an ancient dwarf-hold that once colonized both the Wyrmsmoke, and Giantshield Mountains more than three thousand years ago.

The dwarves of Krandahr built most of the roadways and the fortresses in the vale. Over 1,000 years ago, for reasons unknown, the dwarf-hold was abandoned. Not long after, the renewed presence of goblins raiders and human brigands kept away travelers along the Dawn Way for many years; as few caravans dared to undertake the long and dangerous trek.

Few humans lived in Elsir Vale during those years, other than scattered settlements of primitive tribal folk who left behind little more than grassy barrows and stone circles on the hilltops.

About five hundred years ago, the Vaas Freehold of Rhestin, and its capitol of Rhest, came to control Elsir Vale, as well as a large swath of land north of the Giantshield Mountains. Soldiers from Rhest secured the roads all the way to Dennovar and beyond, creating a safe passage, and enabling a profitable trade.

Under the protection of the Freehold, the towns along the Dawn Way; Brindol, Drellin's Ferry, and several others, grew from tiny hamlets or lonely military outposts into flourishing human settlements. As the Dawn Way became an important route for trade, the Freehold of Rhestin grew wealthy on the tariffs exacted from passing merchant caravans.

Rhestin eventually collapsed under civil strife, goblin invasions, and natural disasters. Almost five hundred years ago, the city of Rhest was attacked by a savage goblin horde from the Wyrmsmoke Mountains. Although the warriors of Rhestin defeated the goblin invasion, the city was fatally weakened. When the rising swamps of the Blackfens overtook the region a century later, the city was abandoned forever.

Since that time, the various human settlements of Elsir Vale came to look after themselves, and the independent city of Brindol has emerged as the dominant power in the vale.

Points of Interest


  • Brindol: largest city in the vale
  • the Dawn Way: main roadway running through the vale, built by dwarves long ago
  • Dauth: (pop: 250)
  • Dennovar: (pop: 3,200)
  • Drellin's Ferry: (pop: 1,200)
  • Elsircross: (pop: 600)
  • Elsir River: largest navigable waterway in the vale
  • Endless Plains: vast, sweeping grasslands that form part of the cable's northern border.
  • Giantshield Mountains: small, weathered range that forms the eastern border of the vale.
  • Golden Plains: large, arid steppe region, covered in tall yellow fields of maize.
  • Hammerfist Holds: only remaining dwarven settlement in the region.
  • Hillwatch: small military outpost, garrisoned with soldiers from Brindol.
  • Lake Rhestin: shallow, marshy, fresh-water lake, which is the largest body of water in the vale.
  • Marthon: (pop: 350) sleepy farming hamlet
  • Niman Gap: small rocky passage where the Dawn Way threads through the vale.
  • Prosser: (pop: 450) small village
  • Red Rock: (pop: 700) mixed human and dwarven mining community.
  • Rhest (ruins)
  • Talar: (pop: 180) tiny village
  • Terrelton: (pop: 250) small town
  • the Thornwaste: vast, barren region of dry scrublands, dotted with deep ravines and thornbushes.
  • Witchwood: large, tangled forest, which locals believe to be haunted.
  • Wyrmsmoke Mountains