Harrowdale (formerly Velarsdale and Halvan's Dale) was the oldest of the surviving Dalelands. It mainly consisted of human inhabitants, as well as some elven and half-elven people. Its main town was also known as Harrowdale.
Harrowdale was originally known as Velarsdale, after its founder. At some point before the 1180s DR, under the rule of Orimmon, it was renamed to Harrowdale and then, by Elmaer Oraun, back to Velarsdale. When ruled by Halvan the Dark in the 1180s DR, he renamed it to Halvan's Dale, but it was changed back to Harrowdale after the fall of Halvan.
The dale comprises a river valley, although the river, as of 1372 DR, had long since disappeared, thought to have been lost during Underdark mining. The marshy areas in prior times had, by 1372 DR, mostly been consumed by irrigation of agricultural lands in the dale, although, at that time, many small creeks and ponds remained.
The land of Harrowdale was suited to berries and vines. Although some wooden stump and rail fences existed as of 1374 DR, there was an abundance of hedgerows, which were generally pruned well, and some Harrans kept small lots for the growth of trees. These acted as ideal sites for the cultivation of mushrooms, shade for livestock and also for lumber if the need arose.
Many farm plots in Harrowdale had a separate storage cellar which was constructed from stone and lined with mud. This was to store items for merchants working Harrowdale routes, in exchange for a fee to supplement the farmer's income. This (and the felling of trees from the forests being forbidden) led, by 1374 DR, to the area between the Velarwood and the edge of the forest of Cormanthor to be filled with smaller woodland plots.
Most cottages in Harrowdale were sealed with mud cement and then whitewashed, with a thatched roof, sometimes covered in a layer of earth.
Due to the fear of disease in Harrowdale following the second inter-dale war with Scardale in 1356 DR, paddocks and inns, around 1374 DR, typically had a horsepond, and all incoming animals had to be led through it before being allowed to stable overnight. Inns also typically had a bed of sand or mud that visitors must scrub in, before a pond in which they must wash, and sometimes local temples (who also had such baths for their clergy and guests) would cast purifying magic on these waters.
As of 1368 DR, Harrowdale was ruled by the Seven Burghers, who were the wealthiest people in Harrowdale, and each held his or her position until death or opting to step down. This system of burghers was introduced after Halvan the Dark's rule ended.
The burghers levied a "small" tax upon the people and used this money for road and port maintenance as well as other community services. They were also bestowed with the power to pass new laws, although this was rare: as of 1368 DR, the dale was under the same rule of law used in Halvan's time.
In 1368 DR, the council was made up of:
- Alosius Grimwarrow
- A human silver merchant.
- Captain Durana Shaleel
- A half-elven female.
- Erethun Rivenstave
- A human wizard.
- Gunderman Brewmaster
- A half-elven male brewer.
- Halfgar the Strong
- A human sea captain.
- Helena Treskeden
- A female merchant.
- Sheera Goldenleaf
- An elven ex-adventurer turned stable owner.
The Grey Riders (also Gray Riders) were a group of around 20 rangers on horseback who, around 1368 DR, were used to guard against bandits or monsters in the woods of the dale. In 1368 DR, the Riders had no authority to make arrests, but by 1374 DR, they had been granted the power of arrest, to keep prisoners in captivity, and transport them to Harrowdale Town for justice from the Council.
The inhabitants of Harrowdale have always had the right to burn or bury the dead. This is in order to prevent the spread of disease, but has been used to cover up many murders.
The felling of trees from the edge of the forest of Cormanthor or the Velarwood was forbidden as of 1374 DR.
Between 1120 DR and the 1180s, the dale, then known as "Velarsdale", was often invaded by adventurers and hireswords, often coming north from Sembia, who would proclaim themselves "Lord" of the dale. During these years, it was held by:
- Thaundass Rahr
- Feltaern Urnsarr
- Imbar Thaelwood
- Elzar Darth
- Harlstakh Kethtor
- Known as Harlstakh "Har-Stag" Kethtor, who was murdered by Elmaer Oraun.
- Elmaer Oraun
- A war captain from Sembia, ruled for "almost twenty seasons", building relations with neighboring dales, and making peace with the elves.
In the 1180s, Halvan the Dark seized the dale, and renamed it "Halvan's Dale". Halvan then hired Durl Halfaxe to construct a road from Harrowdale through the forest of Cormanthor and join up with the Moonsea Ride, known as the Halfaxe Trail, to attract trade from that major route, but in doing so, decided to attempt to loot Myth Drannor, and both Halvan and Halfaxe, as well as their work force, were killed by powerful magic from the ruins.
In 1356 DR, Lord Lashan Aumersair of Scardale invaded and conquered Harrowdale in the second inter-dale war, but his forces were soon defeated. After the misfortunes of the neighboring Scardale, which was in a relative state of chaos after the war it started, Harrowdale started to strive and became one of the biggest ports into the Dales.
- Dead Oak
- A hamlet on the Harrow Ride.
- A hamlet on the Harrow Ride.
- New Velar
- Harrowdale Town prior to 1428 DR. As of 1368 DR, the dale capital, and one of only two ports in the Dalelands.
- A market town in the north of Harrowdale, west of the Velarswood, and as of 1368 DR, the center of logging and carpentry trades.
- A hamlet marking the north western end of the Harrow Ride and the start of the Halfaxe Trail through the forest of Cormanthor.
Inhabitants of Harrowdale were known as Harrans (sometimes also Harrovans or Velarr), and, as of 1368 DR, were primarily farmers and foresters. Cormyreans and Sembians would sometimes use the term Harrowdalesmen, but this was frowned upon by its inhabitants.
As of 1374 DR, inhabitants were generally tolerant to outsiders. including new goods and ideas. They were usually tight-lipped around stangers, however, often giving outsiders the impression they were dim-witted. Inhabitants would use the phrases "up Green way" or "deep in the Green" to refer to someone who was in the newly wooden part of the dale between Velarwood and Cormanthor.
Despite being invaded in the years prior to 1374 DR, by this time, the dale still mostly kept its "oldblood" farming families from its founding days, such as Brondas, Dyzur, Mumfyrd and Routhgaer.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ed Greenwood (January 1996). Volo's Guide to the Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 129. ISBN 0-7869-0406-2.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 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.
- ↑ Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 30. ISBN 978-1560766674.
- ↑ 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 4.16 Ed Greenwood, The Hooded One (2004-05-25). Questions for Ed Greenwood (2004). Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2016-12-09.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 978-1560766674.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 978-1560766674.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 39. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- ↑ Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 978-1560766674.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (January 1996). Volo's Guide to the Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 151. ISBN 0-7869-0406-2.