By Robert Wiese
of Longsaddle, in the northwestern part of Faerûn, is a quiet town on
the main road from Waterdeep to Mirabar. Longsaddle sits in the center
of the Dessarin Valley, which is an area held by orcs until the rise of
Waterdeep. The orcs found themselves pushed back into the Spine of the
World Mountains, but they remain a threat. Not that the orcs could sweep
away the towns now, but smaller groups can still threaten the peace of
the inhabitants. And there are other threats as well. Longsaddle itself
has never had any extraordinary excitement, until recently.
at the edge of the town is a crumbling arch made of stone. Sages say it
has been there since the time of Illefarn, and possibly longer. It certainly
stood there when orcs held sway over the Dessarin Valley, because crude
orc runes have been added to the arch since it was constructed. The arch
is about 8 feet tall, and about 5 feet wide, with a section missing from
the top down to about 3 feet above ground on one side. The rest is weather-beaten
and crumbling. Sages say that the arch was a monument for some long-forgotten
people, perhaps a military victory or a sign of some covenant between
two groups. The many runes that adorn the arch seem to support these theories,
though they do not tell a clear story. No magical energies have been detected
in the arch. The people of Longsaddle have built the western edge of town
around it, so that it is a local village square with taverns and shops.
to say, the people were surprised one morning to find a hobgoblin standing
in the arch, looking over the town as a conqueror looks over a new prospect.
Then a second appeared, and witnesses fled in fear. The militia took care
of the creatures, but small groups of them appeared throughout the tenday.
For reasons that remain mysterious, the portal located in the arch
became active again.
came and studied the portal while the militia set up a permanent
watch on the arch, and the local residents were moved to parts of town
further away from the problem. The sages determined that the arch was
one part of a two-way continuously active portal that had its other
destination in the Gray Forest, all the way over in Impiltur. A circle
of stones nearly buried in dirt and underbrush is all that marks the portal
in the Gray Forest.
living in the Gray Forest are taking full advantage of this new opportunity.
Day by day they send forays into Longsaddle to test the strength of the
defenders there and to scout the town. Occasionally they steal, and once
they took a tavern worker from the nearby Tavern of the Arch. Troops from
Longsaddle rarely follow the hobgoblins back into the Gray Forest, for
they are not prepared for a protracted campaign there and dont know
if the portal will stop functioning again suddenly. The commander
of the town militia, Suka Hjilt, believes that containing the threat is
sufficient for now.
Hjilt: Female human Rgr1/Ftr8; CR 9; Medium-size humanoid; HD
1d10+3 plus 8d10+24; hp 86; Init +8; Spd 30 ft.; AC 16 (touch 12,
flat-footed 14); Atk +11/+6 melee (1d8+5/17-20, longsword) and +11
melee (1d61/19-20, short sword); or +11 ranged (1d8/19-20, light
crossbow); SQ Favored enemy (orcs); AL LG; SV Fort +11, Ref +4,
Will +3; Str 17, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 11. 5 feet
5 inches; 170 lbs.
and Feats: Climb +7, Craft (siege engines) +6, Handle Animal
+4, Knowledge (local -- North) +6, Knowledge (nature) +6, Listen
+8, Move Silently +4, Ride (horse) +10, Search +6, Spot +11, Wilderness
Lore +9; Alertness, Blind-Fight, Blooded, Combat Reflexes, Dodge,
Improved Critical (longsword), Improved Initiative, Track, Weapon
Focus (longsword), Weapon Focus (short sword), Weapon Specialization
Chain shirt, light crossbow, 20 bolts, longsword, short sword.
from Silverymoon, Suka moved westward to Longsaddle when her family decided
to move east. She loves the North and the hardy lifestyle that she finds
here. She is rather direct with people, and this trait has caused her
trouble when a little diplomacy would have been much better. However,
she is an excellent leader of troops, and the militia has thrived since
she took command. The infestations from the portal have her concerned,
as the small groups of hobgoblins are clearly the prelude to a larger
invasion. She is doing her best to prepare the town.
to Incorporate the Longsaddle Portal Into Your Campaign
- The hobgoblin raids
increase and the militias resources are becoming depleted. Hardy
adventurers could be a great help defending the town.
- The characters
are sent on a scouting mission through the portal by Commander
Hjilt to determine the strength of the hobgoblin forces on the other
side. They find more than they bargain for when they discover that the
hobgoblins are led by a more powerful monster that has heard of the
portal and has specific designs on Longsaddle. These designs
could be revenge or conquest, or merely to use it as a base to conduct
some actions against Waterdeep.
- A sage studying
the portal finds some runes that connect it with the Illefarn
Empire of long ago. Wanting to learn the origin of the portal,
he or she sends the characters to investigate various other historical
sites in the region. Naturally these are dangerous in and of themselves,
but there is also an ancient undead creature that does not want the
characters or anyone else to find out about the origin of the portal.
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