ShadowdaleShadowdale has a central town of about 2,000 people and the rest of the population, ten thousand or so more, farm the surrounding lands. It is ruled by Lord Mourngrym Amcathra, who has ruled for some time now.
Shadowdale has belonged to many. In recorded history, the Drow held first possession and began the building the Twisted Tower, home to the rulers of the land. In 907 the Water Wizard Ashaba freed the Human population of surface slaves from the Drow and became ruler. The river is named after him.
Syluné, the Chosen of Mystra, made her home here for many years. She was the unofficial ruler for a time until she willingly stepped down. War raged for uncounted years across Shadowdale. The Zhents looked greedily at it as a little pleasant morsel, perhaps a valuable one. The farmers and defenders repelled them with astonishing stubborness and resiliance. On their own they would not have been enough but fortunately for Shadowdale the great sage Elminster took up residence there and, too, the Knights of Myth Drannor lent the protection of their swords and spells.
The Fall of Shadowdale 1374
Mourngrym Amcathra ruled from 1352DR. He led the dale against several invasions, including Zhents, until recently. But not so very far away, the great bastion of Elvendom Myth Drannor was in ruins. One of the greatest hearts of the Eladrin on Aber was Myth Drannor. It fell from glorious civilization into tragic and then terrible ruin and became a lair of the most powerful and malevolant creatures and spirits. At last, efforts were made to retake it and the Knights left to aid the retaking of Myth Drannor. Elminster alone supported and protected the strong and individualistic people of Shadowdale, but a most powerful sage he was too.The surrounding enemies circled and plotted and then, they acted. What happened to Elminster is a matter of some mystery. There were some signs of a magical battle taking place and then a massive explosion, with no sign of Elminster after. Some hours after this, the Drow launched an assault on the Twisted Tower from the Underdark, and the Zhentaril marched in from the north. Caught between two hostile forces, and with its main defences stripped, Shadowdale was extremely vulnerable. In addition, arcane magic leakened and in some cases failed to work as the Weave in the area began to unravel quite quickly, turning the area into a Dead Magic Zone. An effect quite painful to most mages and grievously wounding to any strongly connected to magic such as the Chosen of Mystra, forcing them from the area.
Committing the bulk of his forces to repel the Drow, Lord Amcathra sent word to the approaching army and announced that the Zhentarim were now the allies of Shadowdale and that they would help maintain the law and the safety of its people.
The Town at Present
With the Zhentarim in control the worship of certain dark Gods such as Bane and Shar was made legal, though the worship of Gods such as Cyric is still expressly forbidden. Temples to Mystra and the Lady of Luck have been closed.
The Zhentaril set up camp. While a small force is based in the barracks and patrols town the majority of their forces patrol the borders ready to repel any external threat. This they have been called upon to do a few times already and have done so effectively. To aid them Skymages based in the Twisted Tower itself patrol the skies over Shadowdale and its surroundings regularly.
Since the night of the attack the Weave has mostly repaired itself, though there are times when arcane magic is still unstable. The cause and whether the damage will reoccur is as yet unknown.
Shadowdale's laws have mostly remained the same, though Lord Amcathra did raise taxes to help maintain the Zhentail army that was now protecting his land.
As for the Zhentaril, their alliances excepting with Shadowdale are kept well hidden. To reveal those would be to jeopardise all they have worked for here. Though one of the High Priestesses of Shar has been seen walking the town, aiding the Zhentaril on their behest, and often has a Zhentaril contingent protecting her as befits a visiting dignitary.
And unsurprisingly, the Drow do not openly walk about Shadowdale. There are certainly none patrolling with the Zhentaril despite what people say.
CrimesThe Laws and Ordnances of Shadowdale, as laid down by Lord Mourngrym Amcathra.
These Laws are to be observed throughout all of Shadowdale. They are considered just and have been overseen in their writing by the church of Tyr the Evenhanded. Ignorance is no excuse in his eyes.
Capital crimes are very severe, and usually punishable by hanging by the neck until dead. More severe punishments can be proscribed for the most heinous criminals. Should someone executed for Capital crimes be returned to life by any means, they are no longer protected under Shadowdale's laws. Therefore any act against them that would normally be considered unlawful shall go unpunished.
1 Any act against Lord Mourngrym Amcathra, the Twisted Tower or harmful to Shadowdale shall be considered treasonous.
2 The murder of any sentient being protected by the Laws and Ordnances of Shadowdale is considered a Capital crime. Such beings are those derived from Humans, Halflings, Gnomes, Elves and Dwarves, excepting those of evil races such as Drow or Duergar.
3 The performing of any act that causes severe physical or mental harm to any sentient being unable to resist, and protected by the laws of Shadowdale is considered torture, and thus a Capital crime, except when warranted for the safety of Shadowdale and with the permission of a ranking official.
4 Any use of forceful magic to control the mind of another sentient being protected by the laws of Shadowdale is considered a Capital crime.
5 Anyone harbouring or offering aid to a criminal, particularly those charged with Capital crimes shall be counted as if they had committed the same crimes by association, and as such will have the same punishment levied upon them. Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of Tyr.
6 Attacks on Churches. Any unlawful attack on the churches of Shadowdale, and their clergy is a Capital crime. Shadowdale is a God-fearing place, and any act that brings upon us the Gods' displeasure shall be considered a treasonous act.
7 Evil races are not tolerated in Shadowdale. Any member of one of these races found within the borders of Shadowdale shall be dealt with accordingly. In most cases this shall be killed by the guard, or forcibly ejected from the Dale. Such races include, but are not limited to, Orcs, Drow, Duergar, Illithids, Lycanthropes and any Unliving.
Serious crimes are still severe, and shall be punishable by considerable time in jail, or exile. Repeated offences of Serious crimes shall be tried as Capital.
1 Any person or persons conspiring against Lord Mourngrym, the Twisted Tower, or to cause harm to Shadowdale shall be considered guilty of seditious behaviour and thus of Serious crimes.
2 Any attack on a lawful citizen by calling upon power drawn from the Weave, or granted by a Deity shall be considered a Serious crime.
3 Any attack on a lawful citizen with a weapon capable of lethal force or grievous injury shall be considered a Serious crime.
4 The burning of any home or field is a threat to Shadowdale and is thus considered a Serious crime. Dependant on the extent of the danger to the population, and damage caused, this crime may be tried as Capital.
5 The theft or destruction of crops or livestock is a Serious crime. These are necessary for Shadowdale's survival, and as such shall be punished severely. Anyone found guilty of this, in addition to other punishments, shall initially be branded in a visible place so that all may bear witness to the criminal's shame and sins. Should the crime be particularly severe, further punishments may include loss of limbs such as a hand, before the crime becomes charged as Capital.
6 Any person or persons waylaying people protected by Shadowdale's laws on the roads or surrounding countryside shall be considered bandits, and as such, guilty of Serious crimes. Banditry cuts off Shadowdale from trade, and as such, depending on the severity may be tried as a Capital crime.
7 Any individual resisting arrest by law enforcement officials shall be found guilty of serious crimes. Those who are innocent have nothing to hide and shall surely be released. Only the guilty have reason to resist arrest. Should someone resist using lethal force or be guilty of Capital crimes, the officials are authorised to respond in kind and this crime shall be charged as a Capital offence.
8 The worshipping, summoning or drawing upon the power of any Fiend, be it Demon or Devil is hereby expressly forbidden. Should a being of considerable power and threat to Shadowdale be summoned, this crime shall be charged as Capital.
9 The dead are worthy of respect and peaceful rest. Therefore, any act that defiles a corpse, particularly the raising of the dead as unliving is hereby expressly forbidden. Should a being of considerable power and threat to Shadowdale be created, this crime shall be charged as Capital.
10 Anyone found to be impersonating a duly appointed official of Shadowdale shall be considered guilty of Serious crimes. In addition, the reason for said impersonation shall be investigated, and may increase the severity of the crime to Capital.
11 Anyone attempting to bribe someone for the purposes of unlawful acts shall be considered guilty of Serious crimes. In addition, an investigation into the reason for the bribery shall be conducted. This may affect the charge.
12 Anyone attempting to coerce a lawful citizen of Shadowdale through blackmail, ransom or outright threat shall be considered guilty of Serious crimes. In addition, an investigation into the reason for the coercion shall be conducted. This may affect the charge.
13 Anyone refusing to cooperate with a law enforcement official with regards to their investigation, or offering up false or misleading information is guilty of Serious crimes. Such investigations may be critical to Shadowdale's security
14 The abduction or forceful detainment of any lawful citizen of Shadowdale is considered a Serious crime. The charge may increase to Capital, in the case of particularly vile intent on the part of the abductor, or if the person abducted is of significant importance.
Minor crimes, though less severe, are still punishable by a short period of time in jail, time in the stocks, to be reviled by the good and lawful citizens of Shadowdale, or in some cases, a simple fine.
Repeated offences of Minor crimes may raise the charge to Serious.
1 The assault of any person or persons protected by the laws of Shadowdale, not involving magic or weapons of any kind.
2 Any insult or blasphemous action to any Deity is a Minor crime, though the frequency or severity of the crime shall affect the charge. Though the final punishment in this crime, lies in the hands of the relevant Deity.
3 The act of creating a false copy of any item is a minor crime at least. Copying items of great value is a Serious crime, and any act of forging coinage, or the seal of Lord Mourngrym Amcathra or any other ranking official is deemed treasonous, and thus a Capital crime
4 The act of spying upon another is a Minor crime, unless the accused is spying on people or matters of great import. Then the crime shall be charged accordingly.
5 Small acts of petty theft are a minor crime. Repeated counts, or the theft of a considerably valuable item shall be charged as Serious.
6 The town of Shadowdale is a peaceable place. Weapons therefore, are not to be wielded openly about the town, excepting when acting in the town's defence. This law excludes staffs for the elderly or infirm, and for mages, as long as they are not used for violent purposes within the town's borders. Those who do bear weapons in town are to receive one warning, and one alone. Should they refuse to sheath said weapons, then they are guilty of this crime.
7 Certain areas are deemed private property. Anyone found in one of these areas without the proper authorisation are guilty of trespassing, and shall be treated accordingly.
8 Anyone found disturbing the peace of Shadowdale and its citizens shall receive a warning to desist from such actions. Should they refuse, they are to be arrested and placed in the stocks for the citizens to show their displeasure.
9 Any acts of public indecency such as excessive language or lewd acts shall be asked to desist. Should they refuse, they are to be arrested and placed in the stocks for the citizens to show their displeasure.
Additions to the Laws since the arrival of our new allies, the Zhentarim.
1 The Zhentarim, Zhentaril and their forces are welcomed as allies, and thus are under the protection of Shadowdale's Laws. Acts against them threaten the safety of Shadowdale, and are thus considered treasonous acts.
2 The Zhentaril are hereby appointed as Law Enforcement officials and Tax collectors.
3 The worship of Bane and Shar are now legal in Shadowdale. Thus any member of these faiths is under the protection of Shadowdale's Laws.
4 Due to the recent spree of treasonous acts, anyone asked to remove their hood or mask by designated Law enforcement officials must do so or be considered to be a threat to Shadowdale and guilty of Serious crimes.
Notable People and Places
Lord Mourngrym Amcathra
The Lord of the Dale living in the Twisted Tower. Many wonder at his apparent cooperation with the Zhentarim after such a long history of opposing them and even defeating them.
Captain Westscar of the Zhents
A cigar smoking veteran who has taken over from Captain Roh. None are saying why the old Captain has been recalled.
The civilized face of the Zhent oppression. He upholds the laws but has been known to step in to aid adventurers and others and even look the other way over minor infringements of the law, and check some of the worst excesses of the common soldiery
High Harvestmistress Glamerie Windbough
A calm introspective woman who sees all things as passing cyles like the seasons, including the occupation. She spends a lot of time hearing the complaints of the dalesfok and attempting to soothe their anger and fears. She also meets regularly with the commanders of the Zhentarim army, who tolerate the Temple as long as it can encourage bumper harvests. Some see her as a collaborator; others believe she is working to preserve the Dale and its people until the day comes it can be liberated from the tyranny of the Black Network.
One of the most famous people in all of Faerún. He was the Guardian of Shadowdale for a long time. What has happened since is unknown.
Syluné was one of the Seven Sisters, Chosen of Mystra. She married a ruler of the Dale but was slain in the end by a Red Dragon though such an extraordinary woman is hard to wholly eradicate. Old Skull Inn Nearly a thousand years old, until recently under the owner Jhaele Silvermane the inn was known for the honesty of the staff, the quality of mead and drink and for relative safety. Under the Zhents new-come brutish mercenaries now rent rooms and fill the common room, their hands and manners a danger to all bar-girls. There have been deaths in brawls.
There are rumours of the cellars under the inn extending into sinister caves further down.
House of Plenty
The Zhents have left this beautiful open temple untouched though the gardens have been raided, on condition that the harvests continue to be plentiful beyond measure so that the Army of Darkhope will be well-fed. The previously well-staffed temple has had a number of priests find themselves suddenly feeling called to administer to further-flung farms in the Dale.
The Old Skull Inn
Once famous for its honesty, safety and good ale food and cheer, the Old Skull inn is now the home to various mercenaries who are brutal and unpleasant. There have been deaths in bar brawls and all the young attractive serving girls have long left. The quality of ale, food and entertainment has badly diminished and the cellars, no longer kept in good order, are home to increasing numbers of rats.
There are rumours that the cellars go back a very long way and that worse things than rats lurk deeper in.
The Twisted TowerThis is the seat of the Lords and Ladies of Shadowdale. Also known as the Twisted Tower of Ashaba in honour of the Water Wizard who was the first Lord of the Dale, a building has stood on this site for well over two thousand years. Long ago it was an outpost of the Drow, a Temple to Eilistraae, and now for the last hundreds of years a human habitation.
Elminster, Syluné and other NPCs:
Captains Roh and Westscar: Forums; and In Game events
Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land, WotC Campaign Adventure; http://dalelandsbeyond.forumotion.com/t497-shadowdale; http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Shadowdale