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Dalelands.

The Dalelands was a region in north Faerûn of dense forests and bountiful, rolling farmlands.[1] It was comprised of a loosely-organized group of countries called dales located around the Cormanthor forest, west of the Sea of Fallen Stars.[4]

CultureEdit

While the various dales shared a similar culture, alike lifestyles and aligned relationships with nearby powers, they were not a unified nation like nearby Cormyr and Sembia.[4] Each dale was an independent territory with its own unique government, military, industry and culture. However, the people were largely independent, self-reliant and had collectively enjoyed an age-old alliance with the elves of Cormanthyr,[1] in thanks to the Dales Compact.[2]

Travelers visiting the Dalelands might see the folk as reserved, suspicious[1] or even as "country bumpkins".[6] They were a quiet people who typically preferred to remain civil, silent and deliberate about someone's character until they were well enough known to be accepted as a friend, or even an ally. Once this trust was earned, friends of the Dalesfolk would find them to be quite open and generous.[1]

Farming, craftsmanship and commerce were all highly valued throughout the dales.[1] Honest and hearty, the Dalesfolk had firmly-held beliefs that their industriousness and virtue would overcome and foreign schemes and exotic magic that attempted to sway their land.[7]

TradeEdit

Trade was an important, and often unifying, force among the various dales. The main exports of the Dalelands were raw products and materials,[8] such as timber and seafood from Archendale,[9] livestock, cheese and grain from Battledale,[10] or copper from High Dale. [11] The Dalelands were essentially considered the breadbasket of the Western Heartlands.[1]

The exception to this dynamic was Tasseldale, which was a land of primarily craftsmen and traders, taking a cue from their neighbor Sembia, and primarily exported fine goods like pottery and textiles.[12] Conversely, these fine goods, including metalwork, jewelry and finished products like paper, glassware and clothing were usually highest in demand within the other dales. These goods were procured from nearby cities such as Arabel, Suzail and Marsember in Cormyr, Hillsfar from the Moonsea region and Selgaunt and Ordulin, when it was still a city of Sembia.[13]

In addition, the Dalelands acted as a crossroads of trade.[13] Although their people cared little for foreign affairs, their strategic location between other powers in the region was undeniable.[14]

GovernmentEdit

First and foremost the Dalelands were a loose confederation of small towns.[8] The one thing they were not, and perhaps have never been, was a unified kingdom.[1] Each dale maintained their own militia[1] and government, whether a lordship like Shadowdale[4] or a republic led by groups such as the Swords of Archendale.[15]

However, representatives from each dale would meet together once a year in Midwinter to discuss issues related to trade, relations with other nations, and inter-border disputes at the Dales Council.[2] While the debates would often dissolve into pointless arguing and bickering, in the face of a common foe, such as attempted annexations by Sembia or the discovery of Zhentarim schemes, the dales would band together as a unified force. The council could also be called in the face of an emergency that threatened the region as a whole.[16]

HistoryEdit

OriginsEdit

The smattering of human settlers that huddled in small villages at the edges of Cormanthor and Cormanthyrian led by Coronal Eltargrim Irithyl came to an agreement known as the Dales Compact. The conditions of this pact gave the future-Dalesfolk non-forested, and non-elven claimed areas of land on which to settle and ceased any and all logging efforts deeper into the forest. Furthermore, the Standing Stone was erected as a monument to this new alliance between elf and man.[2] This turning point in both civilizations also marked the beginning of the Dale Reckoning calendar for centuries to come.[17]

In response to the growing threat of orcish tribes near the Dalelands, Aencar Burlisk was the Warlord of Battledale in 1030 DR. Over the next decade he would declare himself as King of the Dales, unite the Dalelands to defeat the common threat,[3] and vigilantly defend them from others. Most regrettably, he was slain in 1044 DR by a dracolich that was summoned while he feasted. The undead dragon, and its summoner Alacanther, were defeated by Aencar's officers, and his body was interred in his manor and set alight.[18] The Dalelands were split into independent communities that maintained somewhat an alliance[19] through the Dales Council.[16]

Civil WarsEdit

When the Dusk Lord of Sessrendale was suspected of corrupting the Dalelands with dark magic and pillaging caravans with monsters and evil marauders, the Dalesfolk of Archendale took action. The first civil war took place over three weeks in 1232 DR, when the forces of Archendale assailed, and eventually annihilated the Dusk Lord and his mages. The Three Swords then salted the earth of the dale so that nothing more could grow from its soil.[3]

The second war-between-dales fell under attempts of the Lord of Scardale, Lashan Aumersair to reunite Dalelands under a common banner in 1356 DR. His forces managed to defeat Featherdale, Battledale and Harrowdale but were eventually stopped Mistledale, by a coalition of Dales powers and united soldiers from Cormyr, Hillsfar, Sembia and even Zhentil Keep. This defeat resulted in over a decade of occupation and influence from the governments of these respective powers.[2]

in 1374 DR The Dales Compact was renewed between the crusading Seiveril Miritar of Evereska and the untied lands of Battledale, Deepingdale, Mistledale and Shadowdale.[20]

The Cormanthor War of the same year resulted in the invasion of Battledale and Shadowdale but ended with a hopeful outlook for the latter. Lord Mourngrym Amcathra was freed and lordship of the dale was passed on to Alazar Falconhand.[21]

Conflict with SembiaEdit

Throughout 15th century DR, the Dalelands had become a focal point for several neighboring nations, all vying for control over its land and people. Tasseldale was overrun, Featherdale was annexed and the government of Archendale was discovered to have betrayed their people to Sembian coin.[4]

OrganizationsEdit

Considering how the Dalelands were located at a crossroads between a number of different powerful human nations, city-states and even the renewed kingdom of the elves the fact their lands were brought to the attention of a several of the Realms' most influential powers came as little surprise.[14] Among these groups were:

Cormanthyr
The elves of the forest north of the Dalelands helped forge a friendship the flegling alliance of nations long before the latter were a semblance of an impactful society.[2] The Dalesfolk and the elves have maintained a respectful friendship over the centuries, even following the Retreat.[16] Even though the Dales Compact did not stand for centuries between its initial iteration and its reformation in the 15th century,[15][4] the men of the dales knew to not challenge the ancient elven laws regarding the sanctity of the forest.[16]
Harpers
The typically-secretive group of benevolent spies and agents shared an similar outlook of the world with the Dalesfolk. The Harpers could operate more freely in the dales than they could usually get away with. They also counted many local leaders among their ranks including Mourngrym Amcathra, Storm Silverhand and even Elminster,[14] who was famously known as the Sage of Shadowdale.[citation needed] Shadowdale indeed was home a great number of Harpers.[14]
Furthermore, one of the most famous milestones in Harper lore occurred in the Dancing Place within High Dale on Flamerule 26, 720 DR.[22] This was the Gathering of the Gods, a celebrated event where good-aligned deities spoke directly through their respective priests on Toril. This event would lead to the Harpers being reformed after all but 12 members were killed in the Weeping War, just 6 years prior.[23]
Zhentarim
The Black Network were arguably the most infamous and deadly of groups that the Dalelands would collectively declare as their enemy. Throughout the ages, the Zhentarim have spied on, maneuvered against, raided and outright invaded the dales, resulting in no small feat of the outright destruction of Teshendale, and intermittent occupations in Shadowdale[14] and Daggerdale.[24]

Along with these larger groups the Dalelands were home to a few more localized ones such as the pegasi-mounted Flying Auxiliary that guarded High Dale,[25] the Silver Ravens of Sembia who led operations from Scardale Town,[26] and the Stellar Fellowship, an adventuring society based out of New Velar.[4]

EcologyEdit

Flora and faunaEdit

In addition to their verdant valleys, rich with wheat, oat and a variety of vegetables, the Dalelands were abundant with wildlife including game, fish and fowl. Sheep, pigs and cattle were often raised in the farmlands and the fields and forests were rich with rabbits, deer, bears and even woodchucks and porcupines.[27] Regions located further out from settlements, along the fringes of the dales, contained trolls and bands of bugbears.[28]

Geographical FeaturesEdit

The Dalelands neighbored by the kingdom of Cormyr to the southwest, Sembia to the south, the forest of Cormanthor to the northeast and the Anauroch desert, over the Desertsmouth Mountains, to the northwest.[29]

Arch Wood
Rumored to be haunted, thus dark, dense forest was full of oak, ash and elm and home to ferocious owlbears.[30] Its trees spanned the borders of Archendale, Deepingdale and Tasseldale and featured a major role in their the lives of their people, both socially and economically. Woodcutting was almost always prohibited, despite the constant pleas of Archendale during the annual Dales Council.[31]
River Ashaba
This massive river flowed from the Storm Horn mountains, through nearly half the dales, over Feather Falls and into the Scar before emptying into the Dragon Reach fjord off the Sea of Fallen Stars.[32] A number of villages and towns, including Feather Falls,[33] Chandlerscross,[34] and Scardale Town[35] rested on or straddled this river and attributed at least part of their economy to its prominence throughout the dale, pespecially Featherdale.[32]
Thunder Peaks
These massive mountains spanned the southern border of the dales, separating them from the nation of Cormyr. They were rich in copper and iron and mostly uninhabited, save for a few tribes of hobgoblins, hill giants,[36] and the family of wyverns who took roost in one its tallest peaks.[37] The mountains received their names from the year-round thunderstorms[36] that would close Tilver's Gap and Thunder Gap with snow during the winter.[38]

The DalesEdit

Trading dalesEdit

These large, densely populated countries featured large cities that often had dealings with foreign powers. Their citizens were notably more urbane than their cousins from the rustic dales.[39]

  • Archendale: This large, mercantile autocracy was among the most aggressive and militaristic of the dales.[31] Long-governed by the Three Swords, this ruling body was found to be under Sembian influence in 1440 DR. The Archendalesmen cast out those responsible for this treachery and cast into a common cause with the dales fighting to remain independent.[4]
  • Scardale: The ancestral home of the Aumersair dynasty was home to a stalwart, resilient people who have endured over a century of war,[40] foreign occupation by forces such as Sembia, Hillsfar and Zhentil Keep, as well as a disease that all-but wiped out their formerly-shining-jewel of a capital city.[41]. The dale within the Scar finally fell to Sembian influence in 15th century DR and by extension fell under rule of the Shadovar of returned Netheril.[4]
  • Tasseldale: Long-standing rivals of Archendale, this collection of a dozen small towns of proud and politically-savvy craftspeople have always been influenced by the merchant nation to the south.[42] Neighboring dalesfolk long-worried that Tasseldale would succumb to foreign influence and secede from the Dales Compact, or annexed as Moondale was in the 11th century.[12] On the contrary, the dale was overran by mercenaries from Yhaunn in 1420 DR.[4]

Transitional dalesEdit

These straddled the line between the larger, more influential dales and the more rural ones.[39]

  • Deepingdale: A prosperous and welcoming land[43] that best exemplified the unity and bond that was possible between humans and elves.[44] The dale earned its name from a vision of the Deeping Princess, Imryll Eluarshee, where humans and elves could unite and live in appreciation of the lore and culture of Cormanthor. It served as the de-facto home for elves on the mainland of Faerûn following the Retreat.[45]
  • Harrowdale: This independent republic, the oldest and one of the wealthiest of the dales,[46] saw increasing wealth and affluence as its rival Scardale furthered in decline.[11] This prosperity led to a formal alliance with Myth Drannor in 1428 DR, marked with the renaming of Harrowdale's capital city to New Velar.[4]

Rustic dalesEdit

These lands were quiet, often pastoral lands, that held true to their farming roots. They featured freeholds of large harms, small hamlets and quaint villages.[39]

  • Battledale: Home to many of the Dales' grandest battles,[10] the sparsely-populated lordship of Battledale remained fairly peaceful throughout the 14th and 15th centuries.[47] They were forced to evacuate their long-standing capital city of Essembra after several trade conflicts with Sembia.[4]
  • Daggerdale: Originally famous for its hospitality, the land formerly called Merrydale had longstanding conflicts with Zhentil Keep, had developed a weary and suspicious demeaner. That is, until the famed rebellion of Randal Morn and the Freedom Riders.[48] Even with the Zhent threat neutralized, community of farmers has continually had to contest with monstrous humanoids, lycanthropes,[4] and vampires.[48]
  • Featherdale: This quant and peaceful stretch of farmland along the River Ashaba,[45] had repeatedly maintained its independence and avoided annexation by Battledale, Scardale and thrice by Sembia.[6] It finally fell to the merchant nation in 1418 DR after Sembian investors systematically bought out businesses and other interests.[4]
  • High Dale: A self-sufficient and lawful republic nestled at a strategic pass within the Thunder Peaks on the route to Cormyr. The dale's remote location allowed it stay free from Zhent and Sembian influence,[11] but isolated it from the support and aid of the Dales Council. As such, High Dale reached out to Cormyr and aligned themselves with the Forest Nation in the early 15th century DR.[4]
  • Shadowdale: Humble in size, but heavy with power, this lordship-nation was perhaps most famous for being home to the archmage, Elminster Aumar. Many retired adventurers took up residence in the pastoral village that shared the dale's name[50] and defended its borders from drow invasions, agents of the Zhentarim and would-be conquerers.[50]

Fallen dalesEdit

  • Moondale: One of the first dales to join the Dales Compact, Moondale expanded rapidly and the booming nation readily allied itself with the Sembia. They were peacefully annexed by the merchant nation[1] in 1070 DR.[51]

AppendixEdit

Further readingEdit

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 116. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 118. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 108. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  5. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 109–112. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ed Greenwood (January 1996). Volo's Guide to the Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 117. ISBN 0-7869-0406-2.
  7. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 2. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  9. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 120. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 131. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 140. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 118. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  17. Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 22. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  18. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 122. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  19. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 156. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  20. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 155. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  21. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 158. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  22. Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.
  23. Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 22. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.
  24. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 137. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  25. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  26. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 137. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  27. Ed Greenwood (January 1996). Volo's Guide to the Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-0406-2.
  28. Ed Greenwood (January 1996). Volo's Guide to the Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-0406-2.
  29. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 117. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  30. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 55. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 119. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 130. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  33. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 130. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  34. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 136. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  35. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 135. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 58. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  37. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 132. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  38. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 112. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 11. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  40. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 135. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  42. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 141. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  43. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 128. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  44. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 22. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  45. 45.0 45.1 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 129. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  46. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 30. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  47. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 127. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  49. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 132. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  50. 50.0 50.1 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 138. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  51. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 59. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  52. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 270. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  53. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 978-1560766674.
  54. Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 48. ISBN 978-1560766674.

ConnectionsEdit