Princes of the Apocalypse
The town of Red Larch is a waystop on the Long Road seven days north of Waterdeep, and is located at the intersection of three trails. One trail leads to the Bargewright Inn (Cairn Road), another to Kheldell (Kheldell Path), and the third runs into the hills to derelict, monster-infested keeps (Larch Path). The town was named for a stand of red larch trees that were chopped down about the time of the town’s founding.
Red Larch is known for its nourishing, though otherwise un-noteworthy food, called crumblecake. Crumblecakes are made into moist loaves from nuts, chickpea mash, chopped roots and greens, turkey and wildfowl scraps, all baked together and can be bought for 1-3cp around the town.
As well as providing services and hospitality for travellers and merchants, Red Larch is a centre for stonecutters quarrying slate and marble. It is also home to farmers and shepherds from the surrounding areas.
Leadership and the Law
The town is run by a constable and a group of five town elders. The town elders are wealthy business owners and their interests occasionally runs contrary to that of the constable, resulting in a stalemate and dysfunction. Should Red Larch be attacked there are plenty of skilled archers who can defend it.
Locations of Note
1. Allfaiths Shrine: A small shrine attended by priests of various faiths, who take turns coming out from Waterdeep to serve for a month. Currently administered by Imdarr Relvaunder, a priest of Tempus, and Lymmura Auldarhk, acolyte of Sune.
2. The Swinging Sword: This inn is a three-story stone structure, crowned by a steep slate roof that bristles with many chimneys. An inn yard with stables and outbuildings lies behind the building. While the Helm at Highsun is the place to hear Red Larchers unwind, the Swinging Sword is the polite social hub and neutral meeting ground of Red Larch. It is owned and operated by Kayless Irkell, a friend to adventurers. The Sword has a loyal clientele that goes out of its way to stop here. However, the inn also faces dark mutters from some locals, who think it attracts danger. There are rumors that a gate to another far-off place in Faerûn is hidden somewhere in or near it. The tales speak of connections with Moonshae, Vaast, and Tashalar.
3. The Helm at Highsun: A ramshackle, dirty two story tavern. Inside is a large, dimly lit, wood-paneled taproom where locals relax, gossip, flirt, and tell the stories of their working days or war days. It’s not a place for refined dining but it can be fun and open though occasionally rowdy and the odd fisticuffs are ably handled by the staff and other locals. Outside, an old bathing bucket has been strung up to a sign post, upside down and with two “eye” slits cut into it to make it look like a knight’s helm.
4. Mother Yalantha’s: A somewhat run-down boarding house operated by Mother Yalantha and her family. This three-story, dilapidated boarding house has a cheerful—though generally noisy—atmosphere.
5. Thelorn’s Safe Journeys: The foremost wainwright in the Dessarin Valley. Thelorn’s is a busy, always-bustling place. The quality of Thelorn’s wagons and wheels is well known.
6. Chansyrl Fine Harness: Purveyors of tack and harness, as well as a variety of other leather goods. The pungent smell of tanned and oiled leather fills this crowded workshop, whose walls display leather saddles and harnesses, as well as stylish leather jackets, caps, boots, leggings, and armor.
7. Helvur Tarnlar, Clothier: A fine tailoring shop, with a highbrow air somewhat at odds with the rustic locale. Tarnlar’s is the only place to buy quality clothing for a hundred miles around. The clothing, boots, and accessories sold here are all fine, warm, and sturdy.
8. Lorren’s Bakery: An excellent bakery operated by Mangobarl Lorren. This aromatic, tidy bakery always has fresh round loaves and buns for sale. Its specialty is cheese-topped buns with melted mushroom cheese from outlying local farms.
9. Tantur Smithy: A workshop where several smiths ply their trade. The din of forge hammers rings out late into most nights from this soot-stained building, whose skilled smiths can make or repair almost anything that requires no specialized alloys or treatments.
10. Drouth Fine Poultry: a large poultry vendor. This largest of the two Red Larch poultry shops is ever bustling thanks to thriving local farms and the endless appetite of communities along the Long Road.
11. Jalessa Ornra, Butcher: These four identical single-story stone buildings are the workplace, shop, and home of Jalessa Ornra and her husband Harburk Tuthmarillar, who serves as the town constable. The butcher’s cold room sometimes serves as a makeshift cell. Red Larch doesn’t have a jail or court, so Harburk employs four of Jalessa’s workers as assistant constables.
12. Dornen Finestone: This plain, dusty building is the business office of the busy Dornen quarry, run by Elak Dornen (male Tethyrian human noble). Dornen is a hard master to some twenty workers, and he insists on keeping careful records. While the town elders have no formal leader, if they did the arrogant, stern and inflexible Elak Dornen would be it.
13. Ironhead Arms: Run by former sellsword and caravan guard Ironhead (male half-orc veteran), this shop deals in arms and armor, both new and used.
14. Mhandyvver’s Poultry: A somewhat smaller, ramshackle poultry shop owned by Minny Mhandyvver. Turkeys, chickens, and clip-winged ducks are raised in sheds and runs as well. Boys are hired to shoot foxes, hawks, owls, and weasels approaching the runs. The practice they get gives Red Larch many skilled archers; orc raiders have learned to avoid the town.
15. Haeleeya’s: A large, well appointed home which serves as a bath-house and occasional dress-makers workshop, operated by Haeleeya Hanadroum, formerly of the southern nation of Amn.
16. Waelvur’s Wagonworks: A somewhat less than reputable wainwright. Ilmeth Waelvur operates a cheaper alternative to Thelorn’s Safe Journeys, making and selling replacement wheels and axles for wagons. Ilmeth Waelvur is one of the town elders.
17. Gaelkur’s: This seedy wooden building is a combination second-hand shop (no questions asked), barber, and unofficial watering hole popular with older residents, owned by Marlandro Gaelkur. It is frequented by shepherds and poorer farmers.
18. Mellikho Stoneworks: A quarry pit begins just behind this small house, which serves as the business office and the home of the quarry owner, Albaeri Mellikho. Albaeri is a town elder.
19. Luruth’s Tannery: This former warehouse reeks with an eye-watering, throat-closing stench that obliterates all other smells within a bowshot of the place. Ulhro Luruth is the tannery’s owner and proprietor, and also a town elder. Ulhro Luruth is reputed to be not too bright.
20. Bethendur’s Storage: Four identical, well-built warehouses stand here in ground covered in raked gravel and cinders. These are rented out to be used by caravaners to store and transfer cargo. The owner Aerego Bethendur is a town elder.
21. The Market: This muddy, well-used field is ringed with outhouses and rings of stones that have obviously been used as cook-fires or trash burn sites. Once a tenday, farmers drive in from homesteads miles away to sell all manner of in-season produce, cheese, cider and cider vinegar, and last year’s pickled beets in jugs. On the other nine days of the tenday, Grund (male half-orc thug) ekes out a living by making pickles in vats at the end of the field.
22. Vallivoe’s Sundries: Home of Endrith Vallivoe, a retired merchant who has all sort of oddities for sale, hidden among piles of gewgaws collected on his travels. Almost anything might be available to buy here, buried under heaps of other stuff.