Lowrock Keep: The Next Generation
A brief history of Lowrock Keep
The first thing component to address is a little history about the area in which the game will take place. Attached is a map of the subcontinent of Faerûn, on the world of Abier-Toril. Cormyr is north-middle on the map. Attached to this is also the basic laws of Cormyr.
(Side note: when looking up information about there areas, which I encourage, be aware that 4th edition did some terrible things to the history, culture and topographic so make sure your looking at 3.5 (or 3.0) edition info. If are reading a wiki, or what-have-you, and you see the word Spellplague stop reading)
Between the nations of Cormyr and The Dalelands, in the year 1398, as the Dalelanders reckon (DR), lies a pass between the Thunderpeak mountains and the Desertmouth Mountains. This pass, commonly referred to as Tilver’s Pass, serves as home for the Moonsea Ride, a trade road running from Arabel, a major trade city in Cormyr, to the “racially pure” trade hub Hillsfar on the shores of the Moonsea. Tilver’s Pass has long been a semi-disputed territory. While technically half of the pass came under the protection, officially, of the Cormyrian crown as of 1357 DR when Tilverton, now know as Tilver’s Scar, was fully occupied by Cormyr, the Purple Dragon knights have long had a presence in the pass. The other half belongs to the Dalelands, but with the destruction of Sessrendale in 1368 no Dale claimed responsibility for the other portion of the pass till 1390. The humanoids of the surrounding mountain chains aslo view the pass as disputed territory. The Orges and Ogrillions of the Desertmouth Mountains and the goblinoids of the Thunderpeak Mountains consider this lush valley a DMZ of sorts, largely due to the Purple Dragon patrols throughout the pass; they quickly learned the best way to fight men on horseback is to do so from high up a mountain side.
In the middle of this 40(ish) mile pass sits Lowrock Keep, the home of our would-be campaign. Lowrock started out as a military camp, est. 1283 DR, a half-way point for the various patrol groups to help defend the realm from increasing humanoid activity. In 1285 DR when the Company of Twelve defeated the lich Sammaster deep in the Desertmouths, the land around what would be Lowrock was granted to Lothar Goldhelms’s, the paladin of Tyr who sacrificed this life to the lich, infant son Clothar Goldhelm. In 1304 DR construction began on the keep, with the help from the Order of the Knights of Holy Judgment under the guise that Lowrock would bring “Law to a lawless land” granting the order a permanent place in the keep.
Clothar’s goal, according to his journal, was to make Lowrock “a beckon of purple light in the heart of an inhuman land” and he spared no expense. The keep was designed less as a practical fortress than as a way to display opulence and might. Built overtop hot-springs with a large dinning hall/throne room, spacious guest rooms, a three-tiers private chamber for the lord of the keep and plenty of room for trophies, Clothar seemed to think his keep would be grand destination for traveling nobles. He commanded the mortar for the granite walls be mixed with a rare powder to give the rock a purple sheen. Considering the size and scope of this dream, and the distance from proper quarries, it’s no wonder the construction, and considerable upkeep cost, of Lowrock nearly bankrupted the Goldhelm’s and the Cormyrian Order of Holy Judgment.
In 1325 DR Clothar and his eldest son Sigilbert were killed in a skirmish with hobgoblins while attempting to find a closer quarry. 16-year-old Theudebald, a bookish autocrat, took the reigns of Lowrock. For the next 26 years, thanks to some impressive financial tricks and marriages to then prominent families like the Crownsilvers, before their Treason dissolved the family, Lowrock enjoyed a steady increase in its fortunes. When Sigilbert died, at same age, on the same day, as his father while out on a routine patrol, his son Chlodoer took over in 1351 DR.
In just 8 years Chlodoer turned the prosperous borderland keep into a financial quagmire, and if half the rumors are true, a debauched wasteland. Whatever the truth of Chlodoer’s activities, the Order of Holy Judgment, in 1359, threatened to revoke their support of the Goldhelms unless Chlodoer Quested to recover this honor. When the Tuigan horde attack in 1360 Chlodoer had little choice but to join Azoun IV in defense of the kinddom. Chlodoer died at Thesk with no known heirs, killed by his own men as he attempted to flee the battlefield. Lowrock keep remained lordless until 1379 DR.
After the Goblin Wars, and the decimation of both the Purple Dragons and nearly a generation of nobility, the College d’armes was ordered by Regent Alusair Obarskyr to scour the genealogical charts to find those “worthy of Cormyr’s call”.
To everyone’s surprise, in 1376 DR, hidden in a religion text about Tymora, a young scholar discover a lost write, signed by Azoun himself and witnessed by the Order of Holy Judgment, legitimizing one of Chlodoer’s bastard sons, a half-orc, a member of the Angrywolf clan to the north, one Andrè.
Much to the chagrin of most of the Cormyrian nobility, the Steel Regent granted the barbarian Andrè Lowrock Keep and all associated land where he has ruled, albeit uniquely, for the past 19 years. Lord Andrè cares little for politics and less for sycophants. In fact, it was strongly suggested that Lord Andrè was no longer welcome at any Nobleese Coteries, largely due to a “small incident” with a fire. While not as belligerent or tumultuous at the age of 40 at he once was, Lord Andrè is hardly an idol lord. His 7’0” 400+ lb. frame may now be accompanied by a well-earned gut and balding pate, but his martial prowess is still the stuff of legend. From the stuffed red Colossal red dragon he shew, mounted behind his throne, to his 10 champion bets from the arena of Hillsfar (how he managed to get into the human-only city is a tale much speculated upon), to his multitude of victories defending Lowrock, to the tales of his prowess adventuring with the Mithril Warriors, the legacy of Andrè continues to inspire his high and low-born soldiers alike. This does not mean he is popular with diplomats or dignitaries. Andrè’s propensity to drink heavily, challenge at the sight of weakness, and wear little in the way of clothing (though what he does wear is considered ostentatious at best) has caused all but the most adventurous to shun Lowrock.
The keeps charge is to protect the pass, and those within, from harm. Historically, this was taken to mean, “protect the road and those traveling”, i.e. itinerant merchants. Lord Andrè has expanded this definition to ensuring that the humanoids within the various mountains have no desire to irk the keep thereby keep travelers reasonably safe. He has also expanded the purview’s to include the allies Lowrock has made to include the rebuilt Ashbenford (Archendale and many Cormyrians have issue with this), to the dwarves of Clan Khandar in the Deasertmouth Mountains, to Freedale to the north, to Tilver’s Scar to the south. Some in Cormyr consider this expansion to be, at least, an overreach of power, at worst, treason. But considering Cormyr is only now able to field any sort of army to defend itself, the Crown has, to this point, considered Andrè’s work to be exemplary.
The denizens of Lowrock, and some of its features, may be even more unique than Andrè. The most notable of these are:
A two way portal to Ashbenford in Lowrock’s basement, used primarily for the transport of people and goods. Ashbenford itself has a much larger portal connected to Rutawwa near the Forest of Mir.
Right outside the keep is a mansion-sized library. The story is that it simply appeared one day. As two two stone golems stand outside as guards, most fear to go anywhere near it.
Only one other original Mithril Warrior is still within the keep, Rillifane Silveran, an El’Tael [bladesinger] and Olin Gisir [secret keeper] serving as librarian and purveyor of “book bullshit”, as Andrè calls it. Of the others: Ardin Ravenspur, the half-celestial, lives with the elves of the Elven Court as wielder of Namara ‘the sword that never sleeps’; Badmunster Westfallen resides in the High Forest trying to raise a force to retake the Ralinswood and Forest of Lethyr in the Great Dale; Alexander Crownsilver and Ragnorok were killed in action.
Lord Andrè always keeps a bard among his personal retinue and strongly encourages adventures to work for him.
The Keep Intendant is a modron (a small, box-shaped creature with wings) named Eidolon that Lord Andrè stole from the Plane of Mechanus.
The soldiers of keep are made up of various forces from Cormyr (Purple Dragons, chevaliers, pikemen and a warwizard), the Dalelands (archers and skirmishers), Clan Khandar (mountaineers, delvers and berserkers), an elvish group calling themselves Akh’Slaugh’sha (a commando squad) and various adventurers all under his field marshal, a half-orc named Ivar of the Bad Moons.
A trading partner with Lowrock, on Arrin Yongi, who trades up the Golden Way, set up an Inn for those wishing to stay at Lowrock called Rèqíng de lóng, Shou for the Welcoming Dragon.
The idea behind whatever character you come up with is that you were sent or have chosen to come to Lowrock Keep so whatever reasons normally motive people like you: money, adventure, duty, etc. The campaign will start with your inclination to Lowrock. You may consider, or not, with any other PC that you wish as far as background or communality is concerned. Background are strongly encouraged (you’ll get xp for them) as well as sketches or the like. If you need names, places or the like I will be happy to provide them for you (or I may even suggest some after looking at your background drafts).