Into the Shadow
The town of Loudwater sits at the confluence of the Delimbiyr and Greyflow rivers. The forested shoulders of the Star Mounts rise above the town in the north-western sky. These cloud-veiled peaks remind the townspeople that beyond the town’s walls stretch wild lands, where deadly monsters threaten the unwary.
Merchants, caravan guards, local craftsfolk, hunters, farmers, and retired adventurers treat the Green Tankard Tavern in Loudwater as a second home. In the tavern’s common room, talk turns to tales of hostile tribes and barrows glimpsed through mists; folk speak warily of goblins in the Southwood, of the serpent folk of Najara, and of ancient, ruined kingdoms. The tavern attracts young and old with its warm company and tall tales. But before buying an ale for one of the inn’s regulars, a visitor should think carefully. Many adventures have started from stories exchanged over cheap ale and greasy food, but not all have ended with the glorious exploits of which bards sing. An old story or a wrinkled map could be the doorway to adventure—or the path to a quick death.
Loudwater offers a well-defended rest stop for caravans and riverboats. Nearby communities such as Llorkh and Zelbross lie in ruins, yet Loudwater survives, albeit with a diminished population, which holds steady at about 2,000. To the north stand the brooding trees of the High Forest. To the south is the High Moor, infamous for monsters that lurk in the mists, guarding the ruins of bygone kingdoms. Loudwater feels like a frontier town despite having once boasted a greater population. Its days of boundless prosperity are a century gone, and most of the town’s current residents, which include primarily humans and half-elves, are not old enough to recall them. Loudwater never fully recovered from the disruption of trade brought about in the wake of the disastrous Spellplague, yet unlike many towns, it at least still stands.