The Realms of Adventure
Beneath the mysterious Star Mounts, at the southern edge of the ancient High Forest, the Gray Vale straddles the river Delimbiyr in the North. A prosperous region thanks to river traffic, merchant caravans from distant lands, and other travelers looking for treasure amid the wreckage of lost kingdoms, Gray Vale is a land ripe for adventure.
Gray Vale has grown into a trade center in the North in large part due to the success of Loudwater. This small town has an advantageous location at the confluence of the Delimbiyr and Grayflow rivers. Rich and arable farmland enables the community to thrive. Most merchants in the vicinity use the river to transport goods, making Loudwater an ideal nexus for nearly all commerce in this part of the world.
Although Loudwater and other small settlements enjoy some prosperity, the threat of danger checks their growth. Displaced savages from beyond the High Forest are a constant peril. Goblins infest the Southwood, snatching cattle, supplies, and the occasional child before retreating to the dim shelter of their foreboding forest. Whispers of Najaran serpentfolk fill the taprooms as locals peer suspiciously at strangers, ever watchful for these sinister infiltrators. All of these dangers and more cast a pall of fear and mistrust over Gray Vale.
Gray Vale’s borders are soft, shifting with the ambitions of prospectors and settlers, but all who live in this rich valley regard the Star Mounts as its northern boundary, the rugged Graypeak Mountains as the eastern border, and the High Moor as its southern perimeter. The Vale stretches west, following the Grayflow out to the Sword Coast, though the influence of the area thins as one draws closer to the Western Heartlands.
Unlike other areas of the North, the people of Gray Vale are decidedly mixed, blending cultures from all over the region. But humanity has a slight edge, and most humans have fair skin, hair that ranges from blond to light brown, and the full range of eye colors (though hazel is dominant). A proud people, they are self-reliant, tough, and grizzled, accustomed to the hardships that press against them. Most folks are farmers, though plenty of miners try their hand at coaxing more out of the old mines of the Graypeaks.
Half-elves comprise another large group of the Gray Vale population. Like the humans of this area, the half-elves have fair skin and light hair. Although most retain signs of their elven heritage, years of human and half-elf marriages have diminished these traits until most half-elves could pass for human.
In addition, one can find a number of dwarves, drawn to Gray Vale to reclaim their lost holds. Halfling fisherfolk work the river, living alongside their human allies. The region even has a smattering of eladrin and elves, though most members of those races encountered in the Vale hail from the High Forest to the north.