Rise of the Fallen God
View of the Star Mounts from the town wall.
Loudwater (see map & index), offers a well-defended rest stop for caravans and riverboats. Nearby communities such as Zelbross lie in ruins, yet Loudwater survives, albeit with a diminished population, which holds steady at about 2,000 people living within its walls. To the north stand the brooding trees of the High Forest. To the south is the High Moor, infamous for monsters that lurk in the mists, guarding the ruins of bygone kingdoms. Loudwater feels like a frontier town despite having once boasted a greater population. Its days of boundless prosperity are a century gone, and most of the town’s current residents, which include primarily humans and half-elves, are not old enough to recall them. Loudwater never fully recovered from the disruption of trade brought about in the wake of the disastrous Spellplague, yet unlike many towns, it at least still stands.
(NB While much of this material has been lifted out of the D&D 4th edition FRCG and FRPG, the town geography itself is customized from an old AD&D 2nd edition town run back in the ’80s. As such the town map is totally different from the published materials, because quite frankly how nearly 2,000 people can live in a town of the size as published is beyond me, unless there were 30-35 people living in in each abode.)
1a & 1b). Town Gates
A large gateway leads under a tall wall and opens onto the streets of Loudwater. Several bored-looking guards stand watch at the entrance. Two iron gates, East Gate and West Gate, comprise the town’s primary entrances. These gates stand open during the day, leaving a 20-by-20-foot path that leads through the wall and into the town. A walkway crosses over the opening, connecting either side of the wall. Two towers, which are part of the wall, rise 40 feet above a gate. West Gate and East Gate are closed and locked at night, though they are opened for people leaving the town. Each of the gates is staffed by a group of 6 guards and 1 mage. Lone travelers and small groups can enter and exit for free; traders and merchants pay 5 sp per wagon or cart. Monsters and creatures that resemble monsters are refused entry (this prohibition does not include any races from the Player’s Handbook 1&2).
6 & 9.) Citadel Garrison
The symbol of a crossed sword and axe is blazoned high on this building. The clangs of metal and shouts from within indicate a fight might be underway.This building is the headquarters for the Loudwater Patrol, and it is where Loudwater’s militia comes to train. The members of the militia practice twice per ten-day with their fellow volunteers; members of the patrol practice with greater frequency. On average about four patrol members are on duty at any one time. Loudwater’s patrollers are not well trained. Each patrol is commanded by one of four leaders. All are under the purview of Lieutenant Harrowleaf.
Lieutenant Harrowleaf: The “head” of the Loudwater Patrol is easygoing and remains calm and confident even in the midst of a crisis.This elf ranger is among the few residents of Loudwater who dwelled in the town at the time of the Spellplague. He is glad to talk about Loudwater as it once was, and he makes it clear that he views the town’s reduction in size as a blessing.
Roleplaying Opportunities: Harrowleaf is unaware of the extent of the Lady of Shadows crime organization, and thus he has not taken action to stop her. If Harrowleaf learns that the PCs are going after the Lady of Shadows, he provides them with five patrollers. However, if the PCs’ actions result in the death of any patrollers, Harrowleaf takes an instant dislike to the characters. If the PCs provide evidence that implicates Zark in a slave ring, Harrowleaf and a patrol arrest the dwarf, who is then exiled.
The earthy scent of hay and manure is strong in this wide building. The whinny of horses and the snort of oxen indicates that the building houses many beasts of burden. Carts, wagons, and other transports are also parked nearby. Mounts can be kept here for 2 sp. per day. Riding horses can also be bought and sold at the stables. Darden, Dred, and Drer: These three dwarf brothers own the stables. They are the sons of Garwain, who owns Garwain’s Curiosities. They manage the facility and employ several assistants who feed, water, brush, clean, and care for the animals.
Roleplaying Opportunities: The brothers often grouse about their cousin, Zark. Darden in particular wonders how Zark has come so suddenly into money when he never appears to work and has no skill at cards or luck with dice. Darden expresses concern that Zark has gotten mixed up with Loudwater’s criminals, possibly with the Lady of Shadow’s gang.
13.) Manor House
This grand manor house is a jewel of dwarven craftsmanship. The building includes its own stable, buttery, and servants’ home. The manor appears to be over two hundred years old, and it looks as though it might weather another two hundred.
Built by a dwarf artisan for a self-styled elf lord, this manor house was the seed from which Loudwater grew. The mansion is currently home to a family of half-elves descended from the original lord.
Lord Haermond II: This half-elf warlock is the head of the town. His duties include paying the town officials, collecting property taxes, and overseeing the conduct of the Rivermaster and his dockhands. However, Lord Haermond II prefers to leave these obligations to others. He is more interested in throwing grand balls and social events to which he can invite rich merchants, caravan captains, well to do Loudwater citizens, and famous visitors.
Roleplaying Opportunity: If PCs defend the town from the goblin raiders, Lord Haermond II soon hears of it and sends invitations to the PCs. On white cards with inlaid gold script, he entreats them to attend the next grand ball, which is to occur in two days. The invitation indicates that the ball is a costume party, and no one will be admitted without a mask. If PCs take advantage of this invitation, they have the opportunity to mingle with Loudwater’s important personages and hear stories of trade, travel, and far off places, such as Waterdeep, Amn, and Netheril. Lord Haermond II makes an effort to speak with the characters while they are there.
24 + 25.) Temple
A temple is separated from the shops, homes, and tenements of Loudwater by a small hedge. The vine-covered walls of the temple rise high above the walls of Loudwater, and the spire’s tip appears to reach a full 100 feet above the ground. The temple is holy ground, and characters might find its quiet interior a calming respite from the cares and concerns of adventuring.
24.) The symbol of a seashell gleams with its own ivory light above the archway leading into the temple. This temple is sacred to Melora, though worshipers of other benign faiths are also welcome.
25.) The symbol of a gauntlet gleams with its own silver light above the grand archway leading into the temple. This temple is sacred to Torm, although worshipers of other kindred faiths are also welcome.
35.) Loudwater Smithy
The clank of metal on metal, the hiss of steam, and the roar of flames issues through the open door of this establishment. A hammer and anvil decorate a sign hanging over the door. Here characters can purchase a variety of metallic wares, including weapons and armor. The smithy doesn’t have any martial weapons in stock, but custom requests can be fulfilled within several days.
Meghan Nistral: The head smith is a brawny human female as broad as a dwarf. Meghan’s hearty laugh competes with the hammering beats of her great mallet. She employs several apprentice smiths who are in awe of the woman’s stature and blacksmithing ability.
Roleplaying Opportunities: When Meghan meets the PCs, she sizes them up. She is especially drawn to any male PC whose height is equal to or greater than her own 6 feet, 2 inches. She buys the character drinks, engages him in cards, and seeks ways to express romantic interest.
47.) Loudwater Apothecary
A sign displaying several oddly shaped bottles hangs over the door of this shop. A dozen different scents waft through the doorway, including tangy musk, cinnamon spice, orange peel, baking bread, and gunpowder. Although the apothecary advertises as a perfumery, the proprietor has recently started selling oddments and charms, much to Garwain’s ire. In the apothecary, one might find powdered unicorn horn, dragon claws, and burnt-out Ioun stones. However, the worth or authenticity of many such products is questionable. The apothecary also carries more mundane products, including herbs, roots, and spices, which are mainstays of Loudwater’s cooks and hedge wizards. He also has a number of low-level rituals available for purchase here.
Brosha Manx: The apothecary’s proprietor, a half-elf named Brosha Manx, is a thin and listless individual. His face is scarred, and his hands shake from ill-conceived attempts to brew potions in his youth. He is curt and doesn’t enjoy small talk.
Roleplaying Opportunities: Brosha doesn’t pay for protection from the Lady of Shadows (Area 80) because he is one of her gang members. If the PCs ask Brosha about Loudwater’s shopkeepers being forced to pay protection money, he shrugs and says some might pay, but not him. He won’t take any action the PCs propose, and he informs the Lady of Shadows that vigilantes could be after her if he suspects that the PCs might take action. See the Lair of Shadows map (Area 80).
68.) Market Square
Carts and tents surround a large communal well in the center of this plaza. The citizens of Loudwater bustle about the area, shopping for food, clothing, and crafts. Caravans and river merchants set up carts and tents along the southern wall near the town’s permanent shops. Player characters looking for food, supplies, and miscellaneous items might find what they’re looking for here.
Several log structures in the southeast section of Loudwater store the goods of merchants doing business in the town. By day, people bustle about the area, transferring barrels and crates between the storehouses and trade ships. Some of the docks are small and allow only a limited number of ships to moor. Several small fishing boats vie with larger ships for space along the docks. By night, raucous noises issue from the pub situated along the west wall.Between the docks, storehouses, boats, and pub, this district is active regardless of the time.
Rivermaster Sarl: The rivermaster sees to it that ships are loaded and unloaded, fees are levied and collected, dock space is reserved and transferred, and the docks are managed efficiently. Sarl is a thin, weathered man who has more gray hair than brown; however, his energy never seems to ebb.
Roleplaying Opportunities: Rivermaster Sarl is quick to notice newcomers to the docks, and he wastes little time in accosting them and asking about their business. Sarl is suspicious of those who don’t have jobs, and he doesn’t regard “adventuring” as a profession. He sizes up the PCs and offers any strong-looking characters the opportunity to work as dockhands for 6 sp per day. PCs might also encounter Old Barnaby along the docks. Old Barnaby is an elderly former fisherman who likes to recount tall tales. He tells a story of a ring of albino oaks that surrounds an area of blackened, petrified trees. He says that folks call the area the Dire Wood. If the PCs decide to investigate Old Barnaby’s story, he can tell them where the Dire Woods is located (see the large scale area map).
75.) Garwain’s Curiosities
A sign bearing the image of a unicorn horn, an hourglass, and the words “Garwain’s Curiosities” hangs at the front of this store. Windows provide a view of bizarre items, including a shrunken head, candy wrapped in colorful leaves, playing cards, smoking accessories, fancifully decorated tankards, and more. Locals visit Garwain’s to find interesting gifts or to sell off junk in which Garwain sees value. Strange items lie tucked away in the dusty nooks of this shop, though few pieces are of any real value. However, sometimes rare items pass through Garwain’s, and a lucky customer comes away with a valuable treasure. Thus, a stop at Garwain’s Curiosities remains a favorite diversion among locals, especially Loudwater’s youth.
Garwain: Garwain is a white-bearded, wizened dwarf, and he is happy to let customers browse while he sits at the counter puffing on a prodigious pipe. If asked about a particular item, he remains where he is and points it out from among the clutter. If he doesn’t have the item, he shakes his head sadly. If asked about an item’s origin, he tells the inquirer who sold him the piece and any story behind it. If the PCs ask who sold him the horn totem, he says that the wizard Curuvar the Brazen recovered the item from a goblin barrow to the south.
Items of Note: If a PC is looking for something outlandish, Garwain’s is the best place to find it. If the item is not particularly rare or valuable, the character should find it for sale at a reasonable price.
Horn Totem: When the campaign begins, the horn totem is on display in the window.
Maps: Garwain has several maps of dungeons and ruins, though the pieces are of questionable accuracy.
76.) Loudwater General
A hanging sign shows this large building to be Loudwater General. From other signs on the storefront, the place appears to carry everyday goods necessary to those living on the frontier. A person can purchase tools, clothing, food, drink,simple melee and ranged weapons, ammunition, and adventuring gear at this store. In Loudwater General, characters can find most items from the Player’s Handbook of 30 gp value or less.
Calla Maran: The proprietor runs the general store with the help of her stockboy, Raumandar. Raumandar is a foundling discovered on the shores of Highstar Lake who has an eldritch quality to him. Raumandar is quiet and keeps to himself as he obediently goes about his duties for Calla. When Calla speaks of Raumandar, she lauds him for his strength and his devotion to her store. The middle-aged woman regards him as an adopted son. If a PC requests an unusual item, Calla says she might be able to obtain the item at a 20 percent premium over the normal price, but only after a tenday or two.
Roleplaying Opportunity: If the PCs have successfully defused the goblin threat, either by heading to the barrow and destroying the creatures or by negotiating with High Shaman Sancossug, then Calla asks the PCs for help dealing with Loudwater’s local crime gang. If PCs are amenable to Calla’s plea, then refer to the Lair of Shadows.
80.) Former Rundown Tenement — now former Character Base of Operations
This decrepit, abandoned tenement building sits dejectedly in Loudwater’s northwestern corner. No doors or windows keep out the elements or the squatters. Everyone in the neighborhood ignores this building because the abandoned tenement stands over the subterranean lair of the Lady of Shadows. Members of the Loudwater Patrol were bribed to overlook the gang’s presence, and the locals have no one to turn to for help. If PCs learn of the Lady of Shadows and come here to investigate, see the Lair of Shadows map.
After having cleared out the the house and catacombs below the town, the party bought it (at a steep discount) and fixed it up. This is their current base of operations.
The party’s headquarters here in Loudwater has been detroyed. The Lady of Shadows had looped a portal out of the Elemental Plane of Chaos from the Grandfather Tree through the teleportation circle in the sub-basement. The party did get its revenge by killing her and her green dragon mount. See in the 09/12/10 game session notes.
107.) Fisher’s Friend Pub
The overwhelming odor of spirits and smoke wreathes this tavern. Calloused dockworkers and fishers drink and gamble away their pay. Wizened old men and women sip their ale in silence, waiting for an opportunity to tell a tale of the river. This pub attracts a rougher crowd than the Green Tankard does. Most folks come to the Fisher’s Friend to drink and gamble rather than to socialize.
Roleplaying Opportunity: Bar fights are common in the Fisher’s Friend, and characters looking for a brawl don’t have to wait long before one sparks up. One particularly notorious brawler, a halfling named Karzon Kul, might even pick a fight with a PC. Karzon is a crony of the Lady of Shadows, so if the PCs humiliate him in a fight, they could draw unwelcome attention from Loudwater’s criminal gang. Karzon has a shaved head and wears tattoos across his body. Another notable regular of the Fisher’s Friend is Kyos, who was a pickpocket before the Lady of Shadows had his eye and hand removed for refusing to join her gang. PCs interested in locating the Lady of Shadows or learning more about her can speak to Kyos.
119.) Green Tankard Tavern
A sign with a green-painted tankard of ale proclaims the nature of this establishment. The tavern’s large common room holds a gregarious group that includes townspeople, riverboat folk, merchants, farmers, and one or two individuals wearing the badges of the Loudwater Patrol.
Called simply “the Tankard” by locals, this roomy inn and tavern serves as the public house for the southern portion of Loudwater; the Fisher’s Friend pub (area 107) serves the northern part of the town, including the docks. The Tankard offers beer, spirits, and a variety of expensive wines. Meals are available throughout the day, and rooms can be rented for overnight stays. Regulars and travelers alike gather each day to drink, gossip, sing, and engage in games of chance.
Marsh Laval: This loud, talkative halfling is the Tankard’s proprietor. He enjoys sitting back to tell a long story, even to the exclusion of other patrons who are waiting for his service.
If asked about a particular NPC, Marsh indicates that person’s location in the tavern if he or she is present or gives the time of day that the person will likely turn up.
Roleplaying Opportunity: Many of the NPCs described in the “Key Personalities” section show up in the Tankard at some point during the day. These NPCs provide opportunities to engage the player characters in one or more adventures.
These dwellings crowd together within the walls, taking advantage of all available space. The buildings vary in quality; some appear well kept and house only one family, while others contain many families that have squeezed in together. Hundreds of people live within the protection of Loudwater’s walls. Some live in multi-tenant apartments, while more affluent folk possess small houses. The apartments mostly hold farmers, fishers, laborers, and craftspeople who are too poor to own land.