Heroes of the Ashford Valley (MicrOSR20)
Locations of interest in the Ashford Valley
The capital of the Ashford Valley and held by the lord of the valley, Sir Raphael, Ashford has a stable population of about 3500 but that swells to over 5000 during market and festival times. Citizens of the town hold themselves in high esteem because it is their lord who rules the whole valley and so some find them haughty to deal with.
The town is very old and many towns over the past millenia have been located here, mainly because of the ford across the Ash river. The town is build mostly of wood, stone and brick, as the nearby Deep Forest, Rolling Hils and the river Ash provide easily obtained building materials.
Tradetown is at the foothills of Rolling Hils along the Ash river and held by the dwarf knight Sir Hoel. Originally a trading post, the town expanded to it’s current size in fairly short order, adding furnaces and smelters to refine the iron, copper and gold found in the hills, and merchant houses to trade the metals. The dwarves, miners and halflings that started the trading post became fabulously rich and one of the dwarves had enough money to buy into the nobility. His family is still in charge, headed by Sir Hoel.
The construction of the town is all dwarf-built and of stone. It is impossible to build anything in town without a dwarf overseeing it. The town can be a fairly rough place, and is fairly down to earth but with a superstitious side. The ale and bar fights flow freely, with miners, dwarves and halflings comprising most of the population. Elves are little seen in the town, as it often disturbs their sensibilities.
The town of Sooton has a bad reputation, some of it deserved. Located on the ford of the Soot river, it is a ramshackle town, filled with thieves, criminals and con-men. Or at least, that’s the thought of the rest of the valley. You want dirty deeds, done dirt cheap? Go to Sooton.
The lord of the town, Sir Dagonet, wants to change that but it’s a hard row to hoe when the prevailing winds tell people to mind their own business and don’t stick your foot where it’s not wanted or you’ll get it cut off. Sir Dagonet lives in Firebrand Keep, originally a stone tower that has been added on over the years by an insane architect (or just a really bad one).
Clifton is located along the High Cliffs and the Twisted Road goes from the valley down to the lowlands. It’s the only official way into the valley (though there are some who say otherwise). It is the most cosmopolitan of the towns and many of it’s citizens see the rest of the valley as filled with unsophisticated rubes at best and stupid bumpkins at worst.
Sir Palomedes is lord of the town and from his castle the Two Towers he can see the world, both into the valley and deep into the lowlands. The Twisted Road switchbacks up from the lowlands through the town and ends at his castle. The town is home to many merchants and trading houses. All the goods from the lowlands flow through Clifton, much like all the goods from the rest of the valley.
The Deep Forest:
The Deep Forest stretches across the Ashford Valley from Ashford Town in the west to Sooton in the east and down nearly to Clifton in the south. The main road, the Deep Forest Road, crosses through the forest, connecting the three towns. Amid the trees are thriving but small communities of humans and demi-humans, as well as violent tribes of humanoids. Manors dot the forest, some held by knights of the valley, some abandoned and lost, and some the lairs of bandits or monsters. Runestones are plentiful in the forest and many have never been seen by human eyes for hundreds of years. Rangers and elves roam the forest, tending to the trees and animals and protecting the small farms and communities. Wild creatures of all types, including monsters, live deep within the forest and lost tombs, deep dungeons and rings of standing stones can be found by the fortunate one day only to never be found again.
- Linder Manor: Located off of the Deep Forest Road, Linder Manor was the location of a mighty battle between the heroes Jim Baggins, Quinn Quimby, Orin Copp and Giles Corey against the bandit chieftain Curran and his “Local Boys.”
- The Lost Manors of the Deep Forest: For the hundreds of years that men have dwelled in the valley, knights through the ages have built manors across the land. An unknown number of these abandoned and lost manors are buried in time and hidden from the view of mortal eyes in the depths of the wood. Some, like Linder’s manor, are found again and re-inhabited. Some become lairs of terrible monsters or evil men. Some, however, remain lost and time will tell whether they will ever be found again.
- The Laughing Unicorn: This popular tavern/inn provides food, drink, lodging, and relative safe haven for many a weary traveler along the Deep Forest road. It is located along the forest edge leading to Sooton. It is ran by Omar the Elder, Omar the Younger, and Omar the even younger.
The Elven Wood:
The Elven woods are south of the split in the Ash and Soot rivers and stretches farther south, almost joining the Deep Forest. These woods are held by a community of elves that keep to themselves. While friendly with other valley elves, they are standoffish with the other races. A rumor persists that a secret society of monks lives within the forest at the sufferance of the elves but no one really knows if that is true.
The Rolling Hils:
The hills above the towns are the Rolling Hils, a rough terrain of hills, canyons and caves that are home to the miners of Tradetown, monsters and bandits, and a large number of humanoid tribes. Iron, gold and copper are found in the hills and often one man’s stake is only his as long as he can defend it.
The High Cliffs:
The High Cliffs cut the valley off from the lowlands and are, as their name implies, very high. The only known way down (besides jumping which is completely suicide) is to travel through Clifton. There are rumors, however, of secret ways down into the lowlands and that several folk, Sir Palomedes included, know them.
The Ash river travels down the Ashford Valley to the High Cliffs and spills down into a deep pool before continuing into the lowlands.
Much like Ashfalls, Sootfalls is a high waterfall down the High Cliffs where the Soot river joins the lowlands.