|Council of Brindol, council of hereditary landlords and guildmasters.
|Urban: 6,700 Adjacent settlements: 1,000
|Temples: Erathis, Ioun, Pelor, Sehanine Shrines: Bahamut, Avandra
|Brindol Keep, Shrine of the Sun, Market Square
|Major guilds: prospectors; blacksmiths and smelters; teamsters and farriers; weavers; river bargemen
The town of Brindol is the largest settlement in the central Elsir Vale. It is the starting point of the Rescue at Rivenroar adventure.
The Dawn Way and Rhestilor
Long before living memory, a dwarven empire spanned the Elsir Vale and its surrounding mountain ranges. They constructed the Dawn Way, the Old North Road and the western Dwarfroad. But like so many others, the empire collapsed and the dwarves abandoned the Vale to monster incursions and nowadays the only reminder of their presence is their enduring stonework. For centuries the Vale was a dangerous place and few travelled through it, until the city of Rhest grew into the capitol of a new kingdom, Rhestilor, which included the Elsir Vale as well as lands north of the Giant's Shield. They imposed order upon the region and as settlements grew, prosperity followed. The Dawn Way once more became an important trade road, linking the heavily settled northwestern lands to the coastal cities in the southeast. But Rhestilor's success was also its undoing. While feuding noble families vied for the most coveted lands and influential positions, they were blind to the envy of neighbouring tribes. Rhestilor tore itself apart in a terrible civil war that culminated in the sack and subsequent abandonment of Rhest. Due to lack of maintenance, or perhaps through more sinister means, the cultivated flood plains around Rhest degenerated into swamplands, which to this day continue to slowly swallow the dead husk of once-mighty Rhest.
The Red Hand of Doom
With the protection of Rhestilor gone, the monsters that had skulked in the dark places for centuries grew bold once more. Ten years ago, an army of goblinoids calling themselves the Red Hand of Doom, attempted to take control of the region. The forces of the Vale - such as they were - banded together with adventurers in order to stop them. After cutting a swath of destruction across the Vale, the Red Hand laid siege to Brindol. Had they managed to conquer it, the road to Dennovar and final victory would be wide open. After a fierce battle, the Horde was repelled. Parts of Brindol were left in ashes, but the defenders held. All this would not have been enough, though, had not a small group of adventurers sought out the Red Hand's leaders in their temple. Only with the death of High Wyrmlord Azarr Kul was the Horde definitively broken, although it is said that even he was but a pawn in a much grander scheme.
Brindol lies on the south bank of the Elsir River, along the busy Dawn Way. Its three stone bridges form one of only three places where the Elsir can be crossed easily between the Witchwood and the Marth Forest, the others being Talar in the west and Elsircross in the east. On the north side of the river, a road leads via Witchcross through the narrow plain between the Witchwood and the Giant's Shield mountains, running steadily northwards past the sunken ruins of Rhest, to ultimately meet up with the Old North Road. In all other directions, grasslands stretch all the way to the Brown Hills and Wyvernwatch Mountains in the south, the Wyrmsmoke Mountains and Thornwaste to the west and the Golden Plains to the east, where the city of Dennovar sits on the shores of Lake Ern.
Before the War of the Red Hand, Brindol had a population of 8,400 souls, but many perished during the Siege and others left the town in the aftermath. The ensuing decade of relative peace has since brought new prosperity and new settlers to the region, as a result of which some 6,700 now live within Brindol's walls. Another 1,000 people work and live on the surrounding farmlands to the south and the famous orchards on the north bank. Finally, a number of halfling clans, know collectively as "the river people", occasionally grace the city with their presence. This temporarily boosts the population a few hundred, much to the delight of the dock area inns, taverns and shopkeepers. The city is predominantly human with small, but influential minorities of half-elves and dwarves. A breakdown of racial demographics reveals 81% human, 8% half-elf, 5% dwarf, 3% halfling (not counting the river folk), 2% tiefling and 1% elf. Other races may be encountered, usually merchants traveling on the Dawn Road, but these are considered rarities.