The Turbulent North
Places x Silver Marches
Capital: [[Places – Silverymoon | Silverymoon]].
Population: 1,090,800 (humans 40%, dwarves 20%, elves 20%, half-elves 10%, halflings 5%, gnomes 2%, half-orcs 2%).
Government: Confederation of lords headed by Alustriel of Silverymoon.
Imports: Armor, books, manufactured goods, pottery, spices, wine.
Exports: Dwarven and elven craftwork, furs, heroes, precious metals.
Alignment: LG, NG, CG
Silverymoon is the Gem of the North, a city built as a center of learning and a symbol of the greatness that once shone out of the elven capital of Myth Drannor. Three years ago, the ruler of Silverymoon, High Lady Alustriel, reached out to the rulers of other human, elven, and dwarven strongholds north of The High Forest, west of the Evermoors, and south of the great mountains.
After much debate, the diverse dwarven holds, human and half-elven settlements, and human cities decided to ally in a mutual defense pact headed by Alustriel herself, who stepped down as ruler of Silverymoon in order to oversee the new confederacy of the Silver Marches.
Life and Society
The folk of the Silver Marches are confident, hopeful, and content. All around them stands a wide and beautiful land, a promise of growth and prosperity for generations to come. With care and respect, the humans hope to reap the riches of the forests and mountains without destroying what they touch, learning from elves and dwarves how to live with the land instead of bending the land to human whim.
All people of the Silver Marches are free, all people may own land, and no one is guaranteed rights and privileges that are denied to others under the law. The Silver Marches represent the unfolding of a dream, a chance to forge a better Faerun, and everyone from the poorest woodcutter to the richest city merchant senses the beginning of something extraordinary. That said, the new confederation is not perfect. Just because humans, elves, and dwarves have set aside their differences in a few small cities in the North doesn’t mean that the barbarians, orcs, gnolls, giants, and dragons of this forbidding landscape feel constrained to join them. Deadly enemies surround Alustriel’s league and plot its downfall.
The orc hordes of the high mountains grow strong again and arm for war. The drow of Menzoberranzan threaten the fledgling realm from the depths of the earth. And, like most other places of Faerun, the wreckage of ancient realms and the remnants of magical disasters wait under the forests and snows of the realm.
Plagues and evils untold await those foolish enough to disturb them. The New Settlers In the long history of the settled lands of the North, few civilized humans have dared establish permanent dwellings outside walled cities and towns such as Silverymoon and Everlund. That has begun to change in the first few years of peace brought by the creation of the Silver Marches.
Immigrants from all over Faerun have moved into the north lands, drawn by the new alliance that promises to stand strong against the orcs.
To the surprise of the citizens of the Silver Marches, the new immigrants include retired Zhent soldiers and their families. They’ve been cashed out of active service with the Zhent forces, provided with enough gold to buy seed, a plow, and possibly even some land, and asked to move somewhere far away from the Moonsea.
Most of the Zhent retirees can’t wait to move as far away from Zhentil Keep as possible, since few of them wish to risk being called back to active service. Or at least that’s the story they tell the citizens of the Silver Marches. The Zhent retirees group together inside newly established stockade communities of between one and three hundred souls. They know that the cities in the Silver Marches alliance view them with suspicion. Even so, they have brought their families and their dreams of a better life and ask only to be allowed to contribute to the area’s growth and peace.
The new communities have chosen simple names like Newfort, Hilltop,and Winter Edge names calculated to sound friendly instead of threatening. As a group, they refer to themselves as The Free Towns
As of 1372 DR, the Free Towns total population numbers around four thousand. Roughly 33% of the newcomers are evil in alignment. The rest are mostly neutral, though some 10% are good. The degree of Zhentarim involvement in the newcomers lives remains to be seen. Few of the retirees care passionately for the Zhent cause, but covert agents, religious obligations, old feuds, and untrustworthy leaders embroil them in conflicts with the other inhabitants of the Silver Marches and with each other.
Major Geographical Features
The Silver Marches generally includes the lands west of Anauroch, east of the River Surbrin, and north of the River Rauvin, although vast stretches of the forests and mountains within these borders are unsettled wilds.
The Cold Wood. : A pine, birch, and spruce forest unmarked by civilized settlers or foresters, the Cold Wood is home to some Uthgardt tribes whose members never cut down living trees. Snow cats, orcs, and ettins roam the wood.
The Moonwood: The large forest north of Silverymoon is blessedly free of orcs and other goblinoids. Unfortunately, this has little to do with the efforts of Silverymoon’s rangers and much to do with the fearsome reputation of the lycanthropes who inhabit the forest’s northern quarter. Many of these evil lycanthropes are members of the People of the Black Blood, a sect of Malar-worshiping werebeasts who resent the civilizing influence of Silverymoon.
Nether Mountains: Silverymoon may be civilized, but its people will never grow soft as long as they have to contend with the yearly tides of monsters that tire of the hard life in the mountain snows and look to the lowlands for plunder. The pass between Silverymoon and Sundabar is closed about six months of the year by heavy snows.
Rauvin Mountains: Goblin kingdoms and orc warrens infest these mountains. The River Rauvin passes through the peaks in a steep-sided, mist-filled gorge of roaring white water. A perilous trail climbs along the shoulder of the gorge through Dead Orc Pass to the north side of the Rauvin, but most travelers choose to pass around the mountains to the east, since the pass is the home of a particularly strong and aggressive orc tribe.
The heart of the Silver Marches is the upper and lower valley of the River Rauvin. Winding for hundreds of miles in the shadow of the Nether Mountains and the Evermoors, the Rauvin marks a narrow ribbon of civilization and security in an otherwise inhospitable land. Along the Rauvin lie the farmsteads and settlements that feed Silverymoon and Everlund, and its swift, cold waters carry trade from Sundabar all the way to Waterdeep itself.Beorunna’s Well (Large Town, 2,139): The ancestral home of the Uthgardt Black Lion tribe, the well itself is a huge pit containing the Black Lion ancestor mound. The rough village of the Black Lions lies nearby. The Black Lions have abandoned their traditional ways and settled to farm, herd, and hunt the nearby forests.
Like the rest of Faerun, the Silver Marches is built over the ruins of lands that existed long before. In this instance, the old kingdoms are the elven realm of Eaerlann formerly based in the High Forest, the dwarf realm of Delzoun underneath Ascore, and the human empire of Netheril. None of these three occupied all of the land now accounted part of the Silver Marches, but their settlements and borders overlapped in this region in various eras.
The city ofSilverymoon is the heart of the Silver Marches and the bright hope of the North. Founded on a place sacred to the nature deities Mielikki and Lurue the Unicorn, Silverymoon developed around the Moonsilver Inn. The holy groves at Silverymoon Ford lie near where the River Rauvin is shallow and so could be forded in high summer and easily bridged to allow crossings year-round. Silver Village grew very slowly into Silverymoon town. Silverymoon became a city in 637 DR when its first set of walls was completed and the first of twelve high mages to rule the city thus far was elected.
Ecamane Truesilver and his nine apprentices established a school and a library and set about educating the local warriors, trappers, loggers, and fisherfolk. From that day forth, successive high mages have pursued the goal of making Silverymoon the Myth Drannor of the North—a beacon of culture, learning, sophistication, and racial harmony.
Alustriel became the first high mage of Silverymoon unanimously chosen by the people, and she ruled long and well until 1369 DR. She stepped down, appointed Taern Hornblade as High Mage, and set about creating a new realm in the Sword Coast North with Silverymoon at its heart.
Silverymoon is a rich, sophisticated, and exciting place to live, truly the Gem of the North. Plots and Rumors Generations of adventurers come to the Silver Marches to advance the cause of civilization by scouring the land for monster lairs, cleansing dangerous ruins, and driving orc raiders back to their mountain lairs. Silverymoon’s growth and prosperity have brought new enemies, though—the merchants and proud lords of cities like Luskan or Yartar who grow jealous of the riches that flow through the Silver Marches.