Five hundred years ago, a merchant’s son armed only with a dagger stood in a shallow spot in the Delimbiyr River and fought off a lizardfolk raiding party, slaying six before his family and the rest of the caravan arrived to drive the lizardfolk off and retake the ford. Soon thereafter, the boy and his family decided to settle in that very spot. This may be pure fancy or exact truth or something in between. Either way, the small settlement soon grew into a hamlet and then into a village. Even today, the dukes of Daggerford claim to be direct descendants of that boy on the ford, and the arms of the duke are represented by a bloody silver dagger on a blue field.
When the elves of the Fallen Kingdom left for less crowded spaces, a new kingdom sprang up, known now as the Kingdom of Man. It was during that period that the dukes of Daggerford gained their titles and rights to all the lands bordered by the estate of Floshin on the north, the Lizard Marsh on the west, Dragonspear Castle on the south, and the Misty Forest on the east. At times, the dukes have actively controlled the entire area, but these days they do not.
About a century after the dynastic war which destroyed the Kingdom of Man, the duke’s subjects began building their shops and homes outside the castle proper, closer to the Delimbiyr (Shining) River. After a couple of problem-free centuries passed, the town became essentially independent from the castle, although a common wall surrounded them both.
For hundreds of years, the dukes of Daggerford controlled the town, but it was given its own charter by Duke Conan over a century and a half ago. The current duke, Dresden Greatshout, like his great-grandfather Duke Pwyll Greatshout, seems to have no inclination to revoke the charter.
The town itself is run by the Council of Guilds. In a self-conscious imitation of the Lords of Waterdeep, the members of the Council of Guilds attend meetings in masks and never reveal their identities to the populace. However, the population of the town is too small for true secrecy. Everyone knows that the guildmasters are the members of the Council of Guilds.
The guilds of Daggerford are not as formal as those of larger cities. There is the Smith’s Guild, Merchant’s Guild, Tanner’s Guild, Farmer’s Guild, Waterman’s Guild, Riverman’s Guild, Cellarers Guild, and Taverner’s Guild, among others.
The chief priests of the town’s three main religions (Chauntea, Amanautor, and Tymora) are also members of the Council of Guilds. By the wording of the town charter, the duke is not a member, but the head of the militia, who happens to be the duke’s master at arms, is a member.
Nearly six hundred residents live in the town’s forty buildings and in the duke’s castle. Most of them till the fields outside the town walls. There are about twenty farming hamlets within a day’s walk of Daggerford (15-20 miles), each of which has about five families of around twenty people. Each hamlet has a fortified town house to which the residents can retreat in case of a raid. There are also some isolated farms and a few estates of minor nobility. In all, there are about two thousand people dependent on the Daggerford market for goods they cannot make themselves, and who would retreat to Daggerford in case of an invasion.
The racial mix in the Daggerford area is predominantly human. Less than one sixth of the population consists of demihumans. However, a few of the dependent hamlets consist entirely of halflings. A couple of halfling families also live in Daggerford. There are very few dwarves, gnomes, tieflings, dragonborns, genasi, and elves (aside from the elves of Laughing Hollow), but the ones who do live here are rather prominent in the community.
The duke is served by a small militia, supplemented by hired adventurers who patrol the local farms and hamlets. Keeping the fjord clear for caravans and travellers moving along the Trade Way or headed east is one of the militia’s main tasks. Thanks to the constant traffic along the Trade Way, Daggerford has more than its normal share of shrines, temples, and powerful priests, including temples to Chauntea, Amanautor, Tempus, and Tymora.
Daggerford operates in Waterdeep’s long shadow. In Waterdeep, the expression “gone to Daggerford” is taken to mean “lying low outside the city”. Daggerford occasionally flirts with plans to expand its harbor and secure a portion of Waterdeep’s trade for itself.
Architecture in Daggerford
Daggerford is a walled town built against the side of a low hill. The town wall also surrounds the castle of the duke of Daggerford. The wall protects the town and castle from periodic flooding. Most of the town’s buildings are built on the low ground below the hill holding the duke’s castle. The area surrounding the castle is almost entirely given over to the commons, where horses and cattle graze in times of siege and when the river floods the lowlands around the castle.
Generally, most of the buildings in the town are made of wood and thatch. However, since Derval Ironeater’s (Male Dwarf) family brought their stoneworking skills to town nearly two centuries ago, people have built their homes in stone. It was Duke Pwyll who replaced the last wood in his castle with stone, while the wall towers were rebuilt in stone, and several important town buildings have been built or rebuilt in stone.
Most of the residences in the crowded living areas are still made of wood. Placement of these wooden buildings is sometimes rearranged due to the occasional fire. Fortunately, proximity to the river allows the Watermen’s Guild to quench fires quickly.
Places of Interest in Daggerford
The Happy Cow Tavern
This pleasant tavern resembling most taverns in the Realms is owned and operated by Sheldhon Seathor (Male Human). His family has owned the tavern since Fulbar Hardcheese died nearly seventy winters ago and left no mention of a next of kin.
The Happy Cow caters mostly to the local populace but welcomes adventurers. The food is fair and so are the drinks, although The Happy Cow is best known for brewing Daggerford, (3 cp per mug) a rich and roasty beer popular with the locals and travelers alike.
Morningfeast: Fried perch, Curds, Duck eggs, Currants, Rice (cost 3sp)
Highsunfeast: Beef cutlet, Sharp cheese, Peas, Strawberries (cost 8sp)
Eveningfeast: Broiled fish, Succotash, Cabbage, Flatbread, Spice bread (cost 5sp)
Snack: Curds, Currants, Oatmeal (cost 2sp)
Lady Luck Tavern
This two-story structure was once a warehouse for a trading concern which was wiped out by an orc raid. Darryl Orcslayer, an adventurer who helped destroy the orcs, was given the warehouse as a reward by the survivors of the trading family.
Darryl died well over a century ago, but his great-grandson, Owen, presides over the tavern and encourages the patronage of soldiers and adventurers. It is also popular as a gambling hall. On many nights, Camryn Wynn can be seen ‘paying homage’ to Tymora in games of chance.
The walls are decorated with weapons, armor, and trophies various patrons have brought back from their battles and quests. It’s whispered that Owen had paid an adventuring wizard years ago to enchant the weapons into fighting on their own accord in defense of the tavern should any in Owen’s family say the magic words.
One interesting feature is a large stone column set in the middle of the floor. On it are inscribed the unique symbols of patrons who have died in battle or disappeared on a quest. Any toast given in the tavern must include a libation to those who have fallen before them.
Owen is always eager to hear tales of adventuring and to repeat tales he has heard from others, but the only adventuring he has done has been with the militia.
Breakfast: Beef steak, Chicken eggs, Sharp cheese, Raisins, Coarse rye bread (cost 6sp)
Lunch: Rabbit stew, Sharp cheese, Potato, Dates (cost 8sp)
Supper: Lamb chop, Lentils, Spinach, Oatmeal, Spice bread (cost 1gp)
Snack: Curds, Raspberries, Rice (cost 4sp)
River Shining Tavern
This is the main entertainment center for the nobility of the surrounding lands and the major notables of Daggerford. The duke can be seen occasionally eating here, and the main hall of the tavern doubles as the meeting room for the Council of Guilds.
The richly decorated tavern once belonged to the Delimbiyr family who took their name from the river and named the tavern after it too. The River Shining Tavern is the longest established tavern still operating in Daggerford and claims to date from the towns founding. Certainly, the wooden building’s architectural style matches that of the oldest buildings in town. It is currently owned and operated by the Merryyots, a prominent halfling family who’s said to own several inns and taverns across much of Faerûn.
The first Delimbiyr was a half-elf known as Kelven. He married a human woman and their children were human, as is the norm in the Forgotten Realms. Still, the family treasured its elven heri- tage and used a forest motif throughout the tavern, which has remained constant despite the last remaining Delimbyr male, Garth, died over a century ago.
Only the most successful adventurers with much gold to spend are welcomed at the River Shining Tavern, though no one is turned away as long as they have the money for their drinks and meals. Meals—which changes depending on the season and availability—starts at 1 gp, though some cost as much as 5 gp. The guest rooms, consisting of a large private room with a large bed, private bath with hot water on request, snacks on request, and private chamber pot in a separate chamber, in this two-story structure are generally available only to the most noble and influential patrons. The normal price for a room is 2 gp per day.
The Daggerford Militia
By agreement with the duke, the town maintains its own militia, trained by Duke Dresden’s soldiers. Every healthy human resident between 15 and 35 is required to be a member of the militia. Halflings between 22 and 60, dwarves between 35 and 120, gnomes between 50 and 250, and elves between 150 and 500 must also serve 20 years in the militia. Only pregnant women and mothers with young children are excused, and then only until the children are five years old. The territory around Daggerford is occasionally besieged by evil invaders, and everyone must be ready to defend their homes and lives.
Even transients of the right age find themselves either training with the militia or asked to leave the town. If a person stays longer than two weeks, a militia soldier shows up at his residence to induct him. Of course, the person can try to evade this duty, but in a town the size of Daggerford, this is difficult. Anyone can avoid the duty by paying the expenses of another militiaman, but most residents would rather spend the time than the money.
Those living in outlying areas are also expected to have militia training and duty. This is mainly accomplished by local musters, usually at the estate of a local baron or the common of a hamlet. Representatives of the Daggerford militia ride out to the muster and help with the training.
New militia recruits are taught to ride, use a spear and short sword. Each militiaman is given one spear, a short sword, and one suit of studded leather armor. If the armor or sword is ruined in any way, the militiaman must replace it. Spears are replaced free.
Militia duty is actually quite light, except in times of trouble. Militia members must show up for training at least one day per month. Some come more often and gain proficiency earlier than their peers. The militia is split up into various troops, and these troops meet on different days. Generally, one of the soldiers will be training while more experienced ones are on guard duty. Militia troops must stand guard three days out of the month, acting as both street patrol and wall guard. Usually, at least two veteran troops are on duty on any given day, while the new troops train and help the veterans.
Any militiaman who can afford such weapons as maces and swords is trained in their use by the duke’s master at arms, Sir Kindel Stronghart. He also provides advanced training in swords and riding to the minor nobility. The duke’s master of the hunt, Martyn Trollhunter, gives instruction in bows and other hunting weapons to those with talent.
All militia equipment aside from spears and armor must be supplied by the militia member. The militia has the use of light warhorses owned by the town. The town must be repaid for the loss of a horse, either with money or with extra militia service.
Militiamen who participate in combat or other hazardous missions are entitled to split any loot they obtain among
Important People in Daggerford
There are four places of worship in Daggerford. The largest is the temple of Chauntea, the Lady of the Harvest. Priestess Genoa presides over this temple. Those who worship other deities also worship at small shrines maintained by Genoa and her acolytes. Genoa instructs novices in the ways of religion and the soil.
The temple of Amanautor is on the hill next to the duke’s castle. The duke himself worships here, as do most of the castle’s residents. As the highest ranking priest in town, Alec Brightray (Cleric 8, human, male) ministers to all who need him.
There is also a shrine of Tempus in the town. Its priest, Sebastien Greyspear (Cleric 6, half-elf, male), recently arrived from Waterdeep.
On the other hand, the shrine of Tymora has been a part of the town for centuries. This patroness of adventurers has a regular number of worshipers, but not enough to warrant construction of a temple. The current priest/attendant, Camryn Wynn (Cleric/Rogue hybrid 5, human, female), has tended the shrine for the last fifteen years.
Before the Spellplague, druids of the Misty Forest tended a grove outside the town walls. Now, the grove stands silent. Its trees are dead. It is not known why the druids left, but no druid has been seen in Daggerford in well over a century.
The main teacher of magic in the area is Marlan Spellson, a mage who lives in a small tower on the wall of Daggerford which used to be the home of Daggerford’s famous mage, Delfen Yellowknife. Marlan takes in apprentices, and generally has two or three at any one time. He is contracted to the town of Daggerford to provide training in magic and to provide special spell casting. He also trains his apprentices in staff fighting.
Marlan Spellson is also Duke Dresden’s personal mage, and teaches magic to a couple of the younger children of minor nobility.
Adventure Hooks in Daggerford
- Recently, there has been an increase in activity from a long-standing threat of assassins. To date four Council Members have been found murdered at their homes or place of business. All attempts at finding their killer or killers have failed. This obviously has many locals concerned. There are many rumors about who may be responsible, but none know the truth. There is a standing reward of 50 gp for information leading to an arrest, as well as additional accolades as heroes of Daggerford.
- A group of young boys, while playing near the Shining River east of Daggerford, spotted a body floating near shore. After calling for help, the body was discovered to be that of a male drow with multiple wounds to its body. The drow seemed to have been stripped of everything he carried and may have been dumped into the river by people unknown.
- Rumors of Sir Elorfindar Floshin’s long abandoned estate as being haunted persists. Recently a group of late night revelers reported seeing strange lights and mysterious shadows skulking about the grounds of the long-dead elf’s estate.
- There’s been recent talk that Garth Delimbyr may not have died without leaving an heir to the Delimbyr fortune and legitimate claim to the duke’s throne. Some speculate that a Delimbyrian may be living in Daggerford or in any one of the nearby hamlets, although supposedly the heir-apparent is not aware of his heritage for safety reasons. With Duke Dresden having no heir, the unknown Delimbyr heir can claim his or her rightful place as the next Duke or Duchess of Daggerford.
- Recently, the drow Gaerd De’Barronn, who over a century ago helped save Daggerford from an evil plot to throw the town into chaos, was seen by several guards fleeing the Duke’s castle after an attempt to assassinate His Grace failed. Sir Stronghart, the Duke’s Master-at-Arms has ordered everyone to keep vigilant for the deadly drow and has ordered the militia to capture Gaerd dead or alive. He was reported entering the sewers along with Sergeant Carric of the Daggerford Militia and a young woman said to be Gomorrah Entreri. Both are assumed to be in league with the drow. A reward for their capture, dead or alive, is being considered.