Isle of Moray

Capital: Varies

Population: 29,000 (98% Human – Ffolk, 1% Human Various, 1% Dwarf – Shield),

Government: Monarchy, King Dynnegahl Kimball

Religion: Earthmother

Overview

The Isle of Moray is the most westerly island of the Moonshaes that is inhabited by the Ffolk. It is small, mountainous, cold, and stormy, with only a limited habitable belt of land in the central and eastern portion of the island.

The people of Moray are rugged and hardy, used to the harsh environment and hostile creatures nearby. They have endured centuries of raids from the warlike norl and this has turned them into an island of warriors, but it has also left a significant norl ancestry among its people.

Timeline

  • 191 DR: Year of the Broken Lands: The Kingdom of Moray is founded on the island of Moray by the Moray Dynasty of the Royal House of Kimball.
  • 201 DR: Year of the Student: The War of Moon and Shadow: Kazgoroth and his drathak hordes launch coordinated assaults against Synnoria, High Home, and the Kingdom of Callidyrr.
  • Kazgoroth is defeated, slain by King Cymrych Hugh. The High Kingdom of the Moonshae Isles is declared and Cymrych Hugh is crowned High King.
  • 218 DR: Year of the Dancing Lights: Baillen Horst (Isle of Moray) is attacked by a ffomorean. The creature slays 50 warriors and carries off a dozen captives including the sister of the King.
  • 256 DR: Year of the Thousand Snows: Norl sailors from Gundarlun and Tuern make landfall on the Moonshae Isles of Gorettir (Modern: Norland) and Gogettir (Modern: Norheim).
  • 285 DR: Year of Wasteful Pride: Lac Moray is polluted by the slaying of a ffomorean in its waters.
  • 299 DR: Year of the Vaasan Knot:  Norl marauders conquer the last ffolk settlements of Gorettir and rename their island Norland.
  • 467 DR: Year of the Four Winds: A large number of tethyrians migrate to the Moonshae Isles and settle among the ffolk. The migrants bring with them new religions, customs, and knowledge of modern advancements such as engineering.
  • 576 DR: Year of the Sunless Passage: The western arm of the Jotunspine Mountains collapse and create “the hole in the wall” (known as Canthrelloch). Fish populations in the Sea of Moonshae decline rapidly and remain low for many decades causing starvation among the norl and ffolk of the Moonshae Isles. The nations of Norland and Norheim are isolated from the former sovereign nations of Tuern, Gundarlun, and Ruathym for decades and become independent.
  • 582 DR: Year of the Deep Wound: Increased norl raids over the past few years climax in the capture of King Manays Kimball of Moray.
  • 620 DR: Year of the Mountain Crypts: Stromm Breggson unites the 14 Jarls of Norland behind his banner and is crowned Kunngr of Norland. Diplomatic envoys from the nations of Callidyrr, Gwynneth, Moray, Oman, and Snowdown are sent to establish peace with this new kingdom.
  • Manays Kimball is returned to Moray as part of a diplomatic exchange resulting in the betrothal of Princess Bridget of Callidyrr to Scothgar Breggson of Rogarsheim.
  • 621 DR: Year of Nineteen Swords: Princess Bridget of Callidyrr disappears en-route to her wedding with Scothgar Strommson, the heir of Norland.
  • 621 to 643 DR: The War of Prows: This war saw a peak in the conflict between the norl and the ffolk. The norl from Norland and Norheim send raids against the ffolk kingdoms for years, to slay rather than steal. Hostilities continued for many decades after this war, which officially lasted only as long as the reign of Kunngr Stromm Breggson.
  • 623 to 659 DR: The Usurper Wars: The return of King Manays Kimball from Norland caused a succession crisis in Moray as a replacement king had already been crowned. The sons of King Manays from his ffolk and norl wives warred with one another until they were finally united by a norl assault in 659 DR that saw a climactic battle between the warring ffolk and the invading norl. The MacBeldray were founded by the half norl sons of King Manays and became the Lairds of Cantrev Horst.
  • 659 DR: Year of the Hunting Ghosts: The embattled ffolk armies of King Daymh and the Usurper King Beldred fought over Caer Moray when a large invasion of norl raiders arrived to take advantage of the final battle of the civil war. The ffolk united and defeated the norl, but both kings were slain fighting side by side. King Euayn (grandson of King Daymh) was crowned and appointed the MacBeldray as Lairds of Horst.
  • 761 DR: Year of Laughter: The fortress of Caer Windlaur completely vanishes during a norl invasion of the island, allowing the norl raiders to land and ultimately conquer the island.
  • 764 DR: Year of Mistmaidens: Battle of Four Prows: The navies of Moray, Callidyrr, and Corwell battle the longships of Norland, Norheim, and Oman. The battle ends in defeat for the ffolk.
  • 944 DR: Year of the Animated Armour: The Treaty of Lillemaron: Following the death of High King Tanner, King Torgred Helmudson forces the ffolk kings of Callidyrr, Corwell, Moray, and Snowdown to relinquish any claim to territory on the northern Moonshae Isles.
  • 1087 DR: Year of Forgotten Anger: A landslide in the Orcskull Mountains causes the northwestern mountainside to collapse, levelling the settlement of Desoir. The druids begin growing trees atop the rubble which within a century is known as Screewood.
  • 1303 DR: Year of the Evening Sun: King Giordayn Kimball disappears during a hunt in Screewood. Moray is plunged into another succession crisis as Giordayn had no male heirs and there were none with a strong claim. King Alec IV of Callidyrr appoints King Martoil to the throne of Moray, claiming his right as High King (a long defunct title that none now acknowledge). In response the clans appoint King Swagdar and a brief civil war ensues before King Martoil is ousted and exiled from Moray along with his house.
  • 1324 DR: Year of the Grimoire: This year signals the start of a decade of exceptionally cold winters and short growing seasons.
    Raiding parties from Oman occupy large parts of the Isle of Moray.
  • 1335 DR: Year of the Snow Winds: The Bleak Winter strikes the North in the early months of this year, the harshest and coldest winter from a decade of freezing winters.
  • King Dagdar of Moray leads an assault against the norl settlement of Trondheim and is slain. King Dynnegahl is crowned King of Moray.
  • 1336 DR: Year of the Dark Dragon: Reprisal raids from Norland lead to large swathes of Moray being occupied by norl raiders. King Bryon Kendrick sends warriors from Corwell to help Moray fight back the invaders.
  • 1346 DR: Year of the Bloodbird: The Moonshae Chronicles is presented to High King Carrathal of Callidyrr.

Life and Society

The majority of the population of Moray is of ffolk descent and live according to ffolk traditions, the differences between traditional ffolk and those of Moray is noted below.

Ffolk

The Isle of Moray is like the other Moonshae Isles; a wild and rugged place to live. Arctic winds from the northwest blast the island with rain and snow, while creatures from the mountains, marshes, and woodlands prey upon the weak and the solitary. The ffolk of Moray inhabit settlements along the River Shannyth that flows through the centre of the island, sheltered from the worst of the weather by the mountains to the north and south.

The people of Moray subsist upon a diet of fish, supplemented by a meagre supply of sheep and root vegetables. The soil of Moray is thin and poor, and the growing season is short compared to the other islands so the agricultural yields of Moray are low (forcing Moray to import much of its food). However, the mountains of Moray have rich yields of coal and metals that are unclaimed by anyone else and provide much wealth to those able to mine them.

Most of the ffolk on Moray make a living from farming, fishing, or mining and spend the rest of their time fighting or practising with weapons. The people of Moray have born the brunt of norl raids over the centuries, and as a result almost everyone on the island can wield a weapon and fight with comparable ability of most men-at-arms in other lands.

Once a man or woman reaches 40 years of age (if they survive that long), they are experienced veterans of many battles, and it is expected that they leave the island and make their way as mercenaries on other islands or greater Faerun. By doing so they reduce the burden of providing food for ageing members of the population, and provide an economic boon to the island. The mercenary companies of the Isle of Moray are highly prized along the Sword Coast.

Nobility

The societal structure of Moray is most like the traditional tribal society of early ffolk civilisation. The clans hold almost all the land and power on Moray and provide their support to the king and his dynasty in return for the continuation of this model.

There are very few Lairds appointed in Moray, currently only one exists (although the king is the defacto Laird of Cantrev Moray), the Laird of Cantrev Horst, awarded as a gift to the newly risen MacBeldray at the end of the Usurper War. The title has been held ever since by the MacBeldray, tying this large and powerful clan to the crown.

Commoners

The ffolk of Moray are slightly larger and more muscular than their kin on Gwynneth, due to the significant norl heritage of most Morayans. This norl heritage also makes them more aggressive than other ffolk and this is most evident in the brawls and wrestling fights that break out during the evenings entertainment.

Slaves

The ffolk of Moray use the Oath of Bondage to allow the norl raiders a measure of freedom in return for atonement for their crimes (against the ffolk of Moray)

Typically norl are given the opportunity to pledge an Oath of Bondage when they are captured alive by the ffolk of Moray. In such an event the raider is given a choice to work off the damage he has caused to a particular clan or family (whoever captures him is the prospective owner) after which point he is free. The alternative is usually to have both hands removed and be thrown into the sea (often resulting in death).

Many norl join the clans or family they have served once their period of servitude has finished, becoming adopted members.

Customs

Sword Dancing: The ffolk of Moray are famous for the mercenary companies that operate throughout the Sword Coast, curiously however these mercenaries are referred to as Sword Dancers. Most assume the title refers to their fighting style, but in fact the term is in reference to a style of dancing employed on the Isle of Moray.

Lines of dancers face one another and hop from foot to foot towards one another swinging swords in a slow mock fighting movement, swapping sword hands as they dance. Dancers usually wear bands with bells on around the wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. The rhythmic movement of the bells with the clashing swords is in time to music, and the tempo of the music increases with each dance until the group are a blur of noise and steel.

The dance serves as entertainment and practice for warriors, but is dangerous when real swords are used (training swords are used by novices) and it is not unknown for sword dancers to be missing a finger or two. The mercenaries of Moray carry this practice of Sword Dancing to the mainland and have gained the nickname as a result.

Economy

The economy of Moray is many times smaller than the likes of Callidyrr, Gwynneth, or Snowdown. Moray operates mostly on barter rather than using coin (coin being a luxury only the clans and king can afford).

People farm and fish and hunt on a subsistence basis to feed themselves, with little to spare. Typically the men and children will perform such activities necessary to provide food for the family. The women of the household will spend their time crafting baskets, clothes, nets, etc to trade for other necessary household goods.

Those families that are part of a clan usually fare better as they work in communal groups to farm, herd animals, fish, mine, etc. These tasks are done on the most productive land and individuals are paid for their work in coin or kind (usually an agreed percentage of whatever they produce). When times are hard the clan collectively ensures all members have an equal share to survive on.

Exports

Kryne: Kryne is a highly nutritious reed plant that grows naturally all year round in the Breasal Marsh. It is easy to preserve by trying and is an important winter crop for many in the Moonshae Isles. It is farmed mostly at Cantrev Dynnegall and taken to Cantrev Moray where it is shipped to Gwynneth and beyond.

Mercenaries: Moray’s largest source of wealth is from the mercenaries it sends out to the other islands and beyond. The ffolk of Moray regularly deal with norl raids, which provides significant battle experience for most on the island.

Moray’s poor economy and limited resources have resulted in every generation producing a number of aged and battle hardened veterans that their families can no longer afford to feed.

The veterans of each Cantrev usually form mercenary companies and sell their services to the highest bidder (even to norl kingdoms warring among themselves) in return for most of the profit to be paid in goods to their home Cantrev.

The goods from these companies provide more food and tools and weapons to the clans and families to help them thrive on the otherwise hostile island of Moray.

Ore: Outside of the subsistence economy, Moray produces enough coal and iron ore to export to Gwynneth and the norl isles (who dislike mining themselves). The profits from these exports are usually used to buy grain and vegetables to supplement the poor diet of fish (and a bit of salted mutton).

Peat: The Moonshae Isles are cold, not as cold as Ruathym or the other northern isles in winter, but still cold enough to require a source of heating. Peat is an excellent winter fuel and is in abundant supply in the Breasal Marsh, where ffolk from Dynnegall collect it and export it to Gwynneth, Norland, Norheim, and the Korinn Archipelago.

Imports

Food: Moray’s largest import is food, needed to supply a large population on an island with a short growing season, heavy rainfall, and poor soil.

Government

The Isle of Moray is ruled by a monarchy. The current ruler is King Dynnegahl of the Caracas Dynasty. The King is the sole ruler of Moray and he claims duty over all lands on the island. It is the King’s responsibility to preserve and protect these lands and anyone who inhabits them.

In practice the King relinquishes this duty to individual clans and families in return for paying the King’s Head; a tax paid for every square mile claimed plus one for every inhabitant dwelling on that land, the tax is equal to the weight of the king’s head due every year and paid in whatever commodity the payer chooses (meat, fish, ale, iron, etc). The king does of course accept the monetary value of the chosen commodity as well but only the clans can afford to pay the King’s Head in coin.

The King has no castle or palace; Caer Moray was burned for the last time in 659 DR and has not been rebuilt since, instead the kings of Moray choose to roam their nation from cantrev to cantrev, staying at inns or with clan chieftains. By living among the people they rule, the kings of Moray are able to collect the King’s Head in person (reducing corruption), show the people that the King lives with the people and not above them, and more importantly allows the King to regularly reinforce the relationship between king and clan that is integral to the functioning of Moray’s society.

Whatever court the King maintains (usually just their family and trusted advisers) travels with him and constantly changes as he arrives in a new Cantrev and admits new people to his Court. There are few that trail the King constantly seeking his patronage because they are well aware that the King will arrive at their home soon enough and an audience can be easily sought in the local tavern or clan hall.

MacArtth: The MacArtth are regarded as the maddest and most brutal warriors in all of Moray. They claim the far western edge of the island centred upon Cantrev Farview, a land that is constantly exposed to the most extreme winds all year round, and have to deal with norl raids without much hope of assistance from the rest of the islanders (due to the Breasal Marsh separating the eastern and western halves of the island).

Every member of the MacArtth is renowned for their strength and brawling skills (honed in the fighting pits of the clan hall), and their willingness to throw themselves into personal combat no matter the odds. The MacArtth are relatively poor compared to the other clans, and have little political power in the rest of Moray, but there is no clan willing to even attempt to encroach upon the lands of the MacArtth

MacBeldray: The MacBeldray are a clan of ffolk with significant norl heritage, who claim descent from King Manays Kimball and his norl wife Tynvild. King Manays was taken prisoner and enslaved by norl raiders before being freed and taking a norl wife, he was later discovered alive by the ffolk of Moray and his return caused a succession crisis that led to the Usurper War).

The MacBeldray claim Cantrev Horst and the best mines of the Orcskull Mountains. The mining and their norl heritage makes them the largest (physically) of all the ffolk, even when compared to other ffolk from Moray.

MacHorsyr: The first king of Moray was of the MacHorsyr, his relation to the widely spread MacHorsyr gave this clan a premier position in society and even today the MacHorsyr hold a claim to half of the land in Cantrev Moray.

The gradual infiltration of norl blood into the ffolk of Moray has caused the decline of the racist MacHorsyr. First the creation of the MacBeldray (from King Manay’s half norl children) weakened and eventually replaced the MacHorsyr’s claim on lands in Cantrev Horst. Later (as even the MacHorsyr succumbed to norl interbreeding) the Moray dynasty was exiled and the rule of the Caracas Dynasty of House Kimball began, the Caracas’ were more closely related to the MacBeldray and have favoured that clan since.

MacKynkade: King Adom Kimball of Moray married the daughter of King Ellys Kincaid of Snowdown in 1123 DR amid a huge ceremony that was supposed to bind the two royal houses together, she brought with her an entourage of cousins and relatives from the Royal House of Kincaid (those few who noticed the strange affliction spreading among them which made them docile and passive).

The children of these visitors would go on to found clan Kynkade, a small clan with a habit of producing druids among its female children, who have ably led the Ring of Moray for many long years.

The MacKynkade holds a legacy of the War of Moon and Shadows in the taint of Kazgoroth’s bite. Ercade MacRhws served Cymrych Hugh ably under the Oath of Bondage and was bitten by Kazgoroth the Devourer while performing his duty. The Bite of Kazgoroth causes the males of the MacKynkade to enter a berserk fury not unlike the norl berserkers, in the female line it seems to have no effect, except during a full moon, when they become senseless with anger. Some have wondered what would happen to those Kynkade during a full Bloodmoon (which is seen by some as the sign of Kazgoroth).

The Royal House of Kimball

The Royal House of Kimball was founded by King Morayn Horsyr who took to bond the sister of High King Cymrych Hugh and chose the name Kimball to show kinship with the High Royal House of Cymrych. High King Cymrych Hugh blessed the bonding and the founding of the Kingdom of Moray, legitimising it in the tribal law of the ffolk.

In 1303 DR the Moray Dynasty came to an end when 

NameBirthReignNotes

The Moray Dynasty
King Morayn Horsyr175 DR210 – 213 DRBondlaw brother to High King Cymrych Hugh
King Dyllan Moray196 DR213 – 238 DRSon of King Morayn. Slain by the Scaerandaga at Baillen Moray.
King Dand Moray220 DR238 – 245 DR Son of King Dyllan. Fortified Baillen Moray. Slain by the Scaerandaga on his own stake wall along with 45 of his best warriors.
King Evander Moray223 DR245 – 250 DRSon of King Dyllan. Dragged from the Great Hall of Caer Moray by the Scaerandaga.
King Caylean Moray

226 DR250 – 263 DRBurned half of Baillen Moray to drive off the Scaerandaga. Was presented with the Splintered Sword by the Ring of Moray, which he discarded. Slain by the Scaerandaga.
King Conall Moray245 DR263 – 279 DRSon of Caylean Moray. Hired norl mercenaries to fight the Scaerandaga. Died of Heartstop in a coracle flotilla off the coast of Baillen Moray.
King Tormynd Moray249 DR279 – 283 DRSon of Caylean Moray. First man to draw blood from the Scaerandaga using the Splintered Sword. Drowned in the River Shannyth by the Scaerandaga.
King Aidyn Moray256 DR283 – 333 DRSon of Caylean Moray. Weakling from birth. Slew the Scaerandaga using the Splintered Sword of Aidyn, polluting the waters of Lac Moray. Burned during the sack of Caer Moray by norl raiders.
King Manays Moray549 DR567 – 582 DR
620 – 623 DR
Son of Haymysh Moray. King Manays was captured by norl raiders in 582 DR and presumed slain. New kings were appointed from 585 DR onwards. King Manays survived on the Isle of Norland and was returned in 620 DR as part of a marriage alliance between the Isle of Norland and the High Kingdom of the Moonshae Isles. King Manays was reappointed king upon his return, but after his death a civil war ensued between the sons of King Manays and his first wife; Rhainna, and King Manays and his second wife Tynvild (of norl descent).
King Daymh Moray602 DR643 – 659 DRSon of Corran Moray. Gradually lost control of Moray to the Usurper King Beldred Moray. Slain in battle inside the walls of Caer Moray fighting back to back with Beldred Moray against norl invaders.
Usurper King Beldred Moray628 DR655 – 659 DRSon of Padrayg Moray. Last of the Usurper Kings. Took control of much of Moray using norl mercenaries. Attacked during the siege of Caer Moray by norl raiders (and his own mercenaries). Died fighting with King Daymh against the norl.
King Giordayn Moray1263 DR1281 – 1303 DROnly son of Nevyn Moray. Disappeared on a hunting expedition in Screewood, his body was never found. Declared dead, childless. The clans could not decide on a successor after his death.
King Martoil Moray1271 DR1303 DRDistant cousin of King Giordayn Moray. Appointed King by King Alec IV of Callidyrr under the High King’s Law. Ousted by King Swagdar Caracas, sent into exile.

Defence

Moray is one of the best defended islands in all the Moonshae Isles. With a history of constant raids from the norl of the northern Moonshae Isles, almost every single inhabitant on Moray is able to wield a weapon to a standard that would put most militia to shame, furthermore, by the age of 15 the average Moray islander is already a veteran of two battles.

With Moray being a small island in comparison to Gwynneth or Callidyrr, and the habitable land limited to a small belt in the middle of the island, all the easily accessible (by sea) coves, and beaches are already occupied by sizeable settlements of the ffolk. Whenever a raiding party comes to Moray, they must either land at dangerous coves in the more mountainous areas (and travel considerable distance to the nearest ffolk settlement), or they must brave a fortified beachhead with a well armed and battle-ready population a moment away.

Every settlement in Moray above 30 families boasts a stone gorwyr (a watchtower), with beacon light atop it, that can hold half the population (at a squeeze) and enough provisions for a week,. The gorwyr is constantly manned and on the lookout for norl raiders or wandering monsters and those on duty will ring a bell at the first sight of trouble to alert the locals who will then either fight the threat or retreat inside the watchtower. The beacon is only lit if retreat inside the watchtower is necessary to alert other nearby settlements that help is needed.

Militia: Every settlement on Moray boasts a militia equal to at least half the entire population of the town, as required by the King’s Law. The numbers are so high purely because every capable adult and child is required to defend the town from any threat and trained regularly to do so.

Every tenday, the locals practice the battle drill and their combat skills, ensuring everyone knows what to do in the event of a raid or monster attack. The old men (if there are any) tend to form the vanguard and rush to meet the threat first and buy time for the others. Younger men (and women if they wish) will rush to the gorwyr and arm themselves with weapons, armour, and shield. The women and children arm themselves with slings and harry the raiders from a distance, fleeing when threatened and regrouping when the men appear from the watchtower. The older women and mothers with young children secure the watchtower and remain inside.

A Morayan islander always carries a weapon of some sort (by King’s Law), in Green Groves this weapon is restricted to a staff or cudgel (by Clan Law). Outside of the grove it is most often a dirk or long knife for common-folk, or an arming sword for those who can afford it. At the watchtower are spears, small round (wooden) shields, and padded cloth armour, those tasked with using such equipment in defence of the town are skilled enough to not disgrace themselves in battle (accidental self inflicted wounds are almost unheard of on Moray).

Clan Fiern: The Clan Fiern are the warrior core of a clan, trained warriors who do not work fields or mines, and serve solely to defend a clan and enforce its will.

The Clan Fiern ranges in size from 10 warriors to over 100 for the largest and richest clans, while armament and experience likewise vary, with the richest clans arming their warriors in chainmail and deadly arming swords, while the most warlike clans can boast veteran warriors who have survived 50 or more battles with hardened norl raiders.

The Clan Fiern do not usually dwell in the Baillen and instead protect the clan chief and his family on their estate (although they sometimes venture into settlements to enforce the clan’s interest). For any sufficient threat the Clan Fiern will be summoned and are duty bound to answer, although sometimes they arrive far too late.

Religion

The ffolk of the Moonshae Isles do not put much faith in the concept of otherworldly beings such as gods, preferring instead to invest their time into something more substantial like the land and its animals. The people of Moray, isolated from the influence of Tethyrian migrants that travelled to Callidyrr and Snowdown, have remained devoted to the old ways and the worship of the Earthmother and the Balance.

The Earthmother: The worship of the Earthmother is represented by the Fidouyr (Great Grove of the Earth) which has a ring on Moray with a number of druids who care for the spiritual and pastoral needs of the ffolk while helping to the industrious humans to live within nature’s bounty rather than at the expense of it.

The ffolk gladly accept the teachings of the Fidouyr, for its members help teach herblore, animal husbandry, disease treatment and prevention and other secrets of the natural world.

The druids of the Fidouyr do not setup churches within ffolk settlements, instead they bless and preserve areas of natural beauty or significance all over Moray. The druids rarely seek out the ffolk to preach their beliefs to those who would listen, instead they wait at these sacred areas for the ffolk to request their aid, or instead come to the ffolk at important times (at planting or harvest time) to offer their assistance.

Magic

Magic is everywhere in the Moonshae Isles, or so the druids teach, it is in the tall mountains, the flowing rivers, the growing trees, and the myriad of creatures that inhabit these wonders both mundane and mystical.

The ffolk follow the guidance of the druids of the Earthmother, and remain wary of the misused magic utilized so often by humans elsewhere in Faerun. Instead, the ffolk trust to the mystical wonders of the natural world; the seeds of the pale-fire plant that can cure heartstop if administered promptly, the heart of a ridgeback boar wrapped in the leaves of the hearty oak that grants those who consume it great strength, or the song of the Moonwell that calms the mind of all who listen.

Moray, and much of the Moonshae Isles, have no “magic-users” as the rest of Faerun would recognize. The druids themselves rely upon herblore and knowledge of the natural world to work miracles upon all things that live and die, even the mighty Flamsterd practices his brand of magic by gently manipulation of the magical energies that swirl around everyone and everything.

Wizards and priests that cast spells do not exist on Moray, or if they do they practice in secret. Magical items are recognized merely items of significance that have proven exceptional at the chosen task, or are gifts from the Earthmother and the druids created through the mystery of nature.

Geography

Orcskull Mountains: This gently sloping mountain range covers the southern portion of Moray, rising slowly from the Shannyth Vale, gradually becoming rockier until it peaks at about 4,000 ft. The southern side of the mountains and the tallest peaks are covered in snow all year round, and there are many caves hidden by the snows from about 2,000 ft and upward.

The ffolk of Moray have many mining outposts among the lowland hills of this range in cantrevs Horst and Kork, where they mine the coal and metal ores that Moray’s economy relies upon.

The Orcskull Mountains are home to a tribe of mountain orcs several hundred strong that appeared suddenly sometime in the 11th century Dalereckoning and began raiding the ffolk settlements below. Since the arrival of the orcs, they appear to have wiped out the firbolgs that previously dwelled in these peaks.

The truly notable denizen of the Orcskull Mountains are the enormous birds known to the ffolk as Rocs. These 50 ft birds have lived in the mountains for millennia and appear to have had a relationship with the firbolg giants, often living symbiotically in settlements.

Karthvale: Named for a long ago winter fey, faeree lord of the region who had a reputation for hastening the deaths of the sick and the dying, and as a result was greatly feared and respected by all on Moray. The lord of Karthvale was always in direct opposition with the spring fey lord of Tarthwood (also named for its fey lord), and the two were said to be brothers.

Karthvale was sealed from access hundreds of years ago by an avalanche that created the Screewood. It is unknown what happened to its fey ruler, presumably he departed when his brother also departed Moray. Regardless of Karth’s fate, Karthvale is now a dark and wild place, filled with feral creatures that obey the commands of a shadowy creature hidden in its depths

Dusk Cave: Ancient legends among the llewyrr speak of a Lord of the Fey; a Winter Fey, that took the dead and the dying with him to his realm in the Shadowfell. His lair was rumoured to be somewhere on the Isle of Moray, where he held court in opposition to the Spring Fey of the Tarthwood.

When the People of the Black Blood first came to Moray they discovered the Dusk Cave and the glyph inscribed slab of obsidian which seemed to draw the very life-force out of individuals placed upon it (the Dusk King used it to peacefully hasten the death of the dying brought to him).

The thirteen Bloodmasters of the Black Blood now perform gruesome rituals on kidnapped individuals (humans, lizardmen, giants, orcs, they will take anyone within their means) in a shrine dedicated to Malar the Beastlord that they have erected in this cave. The Bloodmasters believe that if they sacrifice enough victims they can resurrect a being known as Kazgoroth whom they believe is trapped within the obsidian slab that forms part of their sacrificial altar.

Highpeak Castle: Situated atop the tallest peak of the Orcskull Mountains (rather unimaginatively as Highpeak), this castle appears to be made of frosted glass, although in actuality it is constructed from an opaque stone of unknown origin.

Highpeak Castle is built to enormous scale, large enough to fit a human 30 ft tall inside its lofty rooms and corridors. It is reachable only by a single wide bridge made of the same opaque stone that blends in to the snow covered rocks around it. The castle has a huge throne room and what appears to be an open air aviary for birds over 50 ft in height, there is even a landing platform adjacent to the aviary for birds to land and take off from.

Highpeak Castle was supposedly inhabited by the firbolg giants long ago, but the current savage giants that inhabit this range appear unable to build such complex structures and actively shun the castle (preferring the hills along the southern shore). Orcs also appear to shun the castle for unknown reasons (lairing in caves instead). The only known inhabitant of Highpeak Castle in human memory is the creature known as Scaerandaga (named in the norl tongue), a huge twisted monstrosity of a giant that plagued the early inhabitants of Moray.

Shannyth Vale: The Shannyth River flows from the Trollclaw Mountains in the north and the Orcskull Mountains in the south into Lac Dynnegall in the middle. Either side of this river is the river valley that contains the habitable lands of Moray.

The vale is named for a fey creature of legend that supposedly inhabited the river running through it and resisted the ffolk’s attempts to tame her and steal fish from her waters. She is thought to have perished long ago when the waters of Lac Dynnegal (then Lac Shannyth) were polluted by the slaying of the Scaerandaga there.

Breasal Marsh: The western half of the Shannyth Vale, divided by the Shannyth River, is dominated by the Breasal (meaning Lizard) Marsh. This freshwater swamp is icy and filled with slush around the periphery, although as one journeys to its centre the temperature rises dramatically until one reaches the Moonwell, where the sacred waters are positively steaming.

A tribe of lizardmen inhabit the Breasal Marsh, acting as caretakers of this inhospitable wilderness. Through careful tending they keep insects and vermin (and the diseases they carry) at low levels, and ensure that the ffolk are unable to do too much damage to the fragile ecology here.

Grove of Scales: Near the centre of the Breasal Marsh is a Lesser Moonwell. This Moonwell is (typically for Lesser Moonwells) surrounded by rings of mushrooms and bushes and a number of menhir.

In the middle of the rings is a large bowl shaped depression with a bubbling pool of iridescent water in its centre. Hidden amid the bubbling waters is a creature that the lizardmen worship as a god and refer to (in their guttural language) as the “Seeing Serpent”.

The Seeing Serpent resembles a vast serpent over 100 ft in length with scales that change hue with the iridescent pool it bathes in. The head of this serpent resembles that of an impossibly beautiful humanoid with pointed ears, white skin, and completely black eyes.

The Seeing Serpent acts as guardian of the Moonwell for the Ring of Moray. The druids sought out this creature to guard their Moonwell, but otherwise have no information on the origins or motives of this creature.

East Shore: The East Shore is; as the name implies, the eastern half of the Shannyth Vale, bordered on one side by the Straits of Leviathan and on the other by the Shannyth River. East Shore is the most prosperous part of Moray with the majority of ffolk living here among the many cantrevs and baillen along the shore to profit from passing trade.

The East Shore itself is a series of coves and shingle beaches along an otherwise rocky coastline. The best coves have been claimed by the ffolk and are well guarded and used by passing Calishite and ffolk traders, while the shallow beaches are used mostly by norl longships for their raiding.

Cantrev Moray (Population 1329): The capital of Moray, if this kingdom can be said to have a capital, is designated as such only because it is the home of the ruins of Caer Moray (long since burned and left to ruin), and not because the King resides here as he can be found ranging all over Moray (although he does spend the winters at Cantrev Moray. It is small compared to other kingdoms and is claimed by 3 clans who compete to earn the most from trade.

Baillen Moray is similar to all ffolk settlements, with a large area of green land known as the ” Green Grove” at its centre, used for musterings, fayres, markets, etc. All other buildings radiate outward from the Grove according to local geography (along roads and rivers).

There is a small but deep harbour at the foot of the cliffs, capable of docking the large Calishite galleons that stop here on their way to Waterdeep and the Sword Coast, during the return leg of the journey via the Vrail (a current that blows south down the west coast of the Moonshae Isles) many of these loaded galleons stop off at Moray to sell any remaining wares. West towards the Trollclaw Mountains sits the ruins of Caer Moray on a rocky bluff overlooking the Trackless Strait.

Baillen Moray is home to a number of blacksmiths, armourers, bowyers, and other weapon-makers who cater to the mercenary companies that are based here as well as providing for the more martial ffolk of Moray. For defence, the baillen is bordered on its southern, eastern, and western side by 3 stone towers known as gorwyr which are present in most cantrevs for defensive purposes.

The Darkening Moon: A tavern that caters to travellers and merchants. It has a home-brewed whisky that is famous for being fiery and warming, and a cards table.

The Silver Sword: An inn that has been favoured with royal patronage many times and is named after the legendary sword of Cymrych Hugh. The food is good quality for Moray (but little more than seasoned stews), the rooms are warm but bare, the beverage is Moray Black Ale; a thick and strong beer that is a favourite of the King’s of Moray.

Caer Moray: Situated a few miles northwest of Baillen Moray atop a bluff on the northern coastline of the island overlooking the Trackless Strait. Originally a wooden tower of ancient ffolk style, it was sacked and burned many times by the norl (and sometimes the ffolk). Finally it was rebuilt in the manner of a stone castle according to the style that spread throught the Moonshae Isles following the Tethyrian Migration of 467 DR. The castle was sacked one final time at the end of the Usurper Wars (a battle that brought an end to the conflict) and never rebuilt – the Royal House of Kimball deemed it too expensive a target.

The castle today is little more than rubble, after nearly a thousand years of neglect only sections of two walls remain standing on either side of a single tower. The tower is a hollow, burned shell, and many an adventurous youth has fallen to his death from the crumbling stone searching for the Blade of Moray and other treasures of the House of Kimball. The ruins are widely regarded as haunted due to the haunting howls that echo off the walls on certain nights of the year.

Many believe that the treasure horde of the Moray Dynasty was lost in the final battle of the Usurper Wars when the castle was sacked by norl and burned with many trapped inside. In truth the treasury of the kings of Moray was emptied fighting the Usurper Wars and almost nothing remained when the castle fell in 659 DR, however, one of King Daymh’s sons lost in the battle was last seen carrying the royal regalia as he attempted to hide in a well in the courtyard.

Cantrev Dynnegall (700): This cantrev is located on the eastern shore of Lac Dynnegall and is similarly named for the son of King Dagdar. It is picturesque and peaceful, but the inhabitants must work hard fishing, cutting peat, farming kryne, and any other number of jobs just to survive.

Cantrev Dynnegall has the Horse Road running through its centre and so sees much of the caravan traffic between Cantrev Moray and Cantrev Horst pass through, allowing the inhabitants to profit from trade.

Baillen Dynnegall is one of the few walled settlements in Moray (the ffolk having found that walls inhibit their ability to flee more than it protects them from the dangerous monsters that roam Moray), a log palisade surrounds the small town of 700 people and is even patrolled regularly by a diligent militia.

Cantrev Dynnegall repeatedly became home to King Dynnegahl and his court when norl raiders occupied large swaths of Moray at the end of 1335 DR. From this walled settlement, the warriors of the crown organised a stout resistance and fought back against the invaders until aid arrived from King Bryon Kendrick of Corwell.

The Crow’s Nest: The renaming of Dynnegall brought with it much political and financial investment from King Dagdar, it even became a second home for the crown when norl raiders occupied much of the rest of Moray.

The Crow’s Nest, otherwise known as the New Inn, was one of many such buildings constructed during this period of regeneration and stands proud today as a stout 3 story building

The Horse Road: Originally named Horsyr Road after King Morayn Horsyr who ordered the road to be cobbled to link Cantrev Moray with Cantrev Horst and all the ffolk in between. Work on the road was not begun until 5 years after King Morayn’s death, during the reign of his son.

The original cobbles have long since worn away, been stolen, or sunk into the mud and replaced many times over by subsequent kings. It is now called the Horse Road due to mispronunciation of the Tethyrian inhabitants of the Moonshae Isles and the few foreign visitors who speak the Common Tongue and have misappropriated the name. Moray is home to several hundred working ponies, but relatively few horses (the King owns 11 horses and a few of the richer clans have one or two in their stables) exist on the island to wander this road, which confuses visitors.

The Horse Road today is little more than a poorly maintained caravan trail that sees little traffic for most of the year. 

Cantrev Horst (Population 800): The oldest cantrev on Moray was founded many years before the Kingdom of Moray was established, part of the lands of the MacHorsyr (a large, successful, and wide ranging clan with lands on most of the Moonshae Isles in the distant past). Cantrev Horst was famous for its role in the Usurper War when a clan of ffolk with significant illuskan heritage rose up against the King of Moray. Since the ending of that war the elder of the MacBeldray has been entitled the Laird of Horst.

Baillen Horst is the second town of Moray (second in size and importance), situated atop a hillock with a dry moat around its base and an earthen bank atop the hillock with a wall of stakes embedded into the base of the bank. The cantrev has two Gorwyr, one atop the hillock and another 6 miles walk north of the town, these are used to defend the town from norl raids (rarely) and orc attacks (growing more common with every decade).

This cantrev is the primary mining centre of Moray (the Trollclaw Mountains in the north are too dangerous to mine), and teams of miners regularly make forays into the Orcskull Mountains to spend the summer seasons plundering the mountains for iron and coal (and the occasional gemstone). The growing threat of orcs in these mountains (causing the name to be changed a century ago) has gradually increased the risks of mining and reduced the yields of ore and coal which is weakening Moray’s economy.

Cantrev Kork: Cantrev Kork is a minor fishing cantrev on the far eastern shore of Moray that overlooks the Strait of Leviathan (opposite the settlement of Storaad on Gwynneth). The only large settlement in Kork is located on the coast on a shallow, shingle beach that offers limited facilities to passing traders from Gwynneth and Oman (only longships, curragh, and other shallow berthed vessels can sail through this strait).

Kork is a popular place to live for the aged and the invalid of Moray, as it is far from the Breasal Marsh and the Orcskull Mountains, and has little of value for norl raiders to take, thus it is the safest place in Moray to live.

The Tarthwood: This woodland (known locally as the Goldwood for its treasure) is one of the few remaining wooded areas on Moray, the rest having been felled long ago by the ffolk (and norl raiders). Once the great Shannyth Forest (also known as the Veiled Forest) that covered this land was ruled over by proud faerie lords who lived in great castles (or so the legends say), until the halfling known only as the Trickster came and stole a large crystal from the castle. The wood is almost perpetually shrouded in mist emitted from the  Moonwell at its centre.

The Trickster was cursed and forever bound to the crystal where he supposedly remains tempting other intruders to touch his “gift” and become his servant forever. The faerie lords were said to have departed Moray following the theft of the crystal and supposedly none now remain on Moray (or anywhere else in the Moonshae Isles).

The Tarthwood has a fell reputation because it is home to many creatures known as the loibargibhn which try to curse the unwary by having them touch a treasured item that they possess. Most ffolk give the wood a wide birth, but norl raiders occasionally stop along the shore nearby to repair their ships.

The Eye in the Mist: The Eye in the Mist is the name of the Moonwell located at the centre of the Tarthwood. It is classified as a Lesser Moonwell by the druids, but it’s size and mythology identify it as having been a Greater Moonwell in the past, and the presence of concentric rings of menhir, trilithon, and dolmen all surrounded by a ring of great oak trees, support it once being a Greater Moonwell.

The guardian of the Moonwell is none other than the “Trickster” himself, but he will only appear from his tunnels at the request of the druids, and only in exchange for a suitably valuable treasure to add to his hoard.

The Eye in the Mist is so named because misty vapours constantly pour from the pool and bathe the surrounding wood in a dense fog, many believe this Moonwell is broken somehow as though it is missing something.

Those animals that venture into the confines of the Moonwell are turned feral, and wander towards the nearest settlement to find victims to attack, fey are similarly affected, becoming dark and shadowy and hostile. The Druid are investigating these mysterious transformations and have taken to calling them the Shadow of the Beast.

The Golden Castle: The legendary home of the Lords of Faeree that ruled over Moray in millennia past before humans ever arrived on the Moonshae Isles. The “castle” (the LeShay do not build castles, and instead grow their homes out of the rocks and brambles and trees) was named for the golden leaves of the trees at the centre of the Tarthwood, it has long since vanished back to the region of Faeree known as the Feywild and only tunnels dug by the Trickster remain at its former site.

The Vaults beneath the Moonwell are the home of the Trickster that he has spent millennia fashioning into a maze of tunnels and chambers filled with traps and creatures to entice people inside (searching for his treasure). 

The Trickster does not bother with attacking intruders, in fact he welcomes them into his underground lair, leaving his treasures around to entice them (and curse the greedy), or waits for them to reach his hoard where he challenges them to competitions of wit and skill (the winner can choose an item from his hoard and become cursed forever having failed the last test).

Lac Dynnegall: This lake has been known by many names over the centuries. First it was Lac Shannyth when it was the home of Shannyth the River Queen. Following the slaying of a brutal ffomorean by King Aidyn Kimball, the waters turned a straw yellow and acquired an unpleasant taste and became known thereafter as Aidynsgall (Aidyns debt).

It took many centuries for the waters to clear, and the price was the life of Shannyth the River Queen. The lake has since been restored to its crystal clear, sweet water, and the lake is so picturesque that King Dagdar even named his son in homage to this beauty spot.

Shannyth River: This crystal clear, ice cool river is the wonder of Moray, unsullied by any pollution or hint of human spoil. It is known to be home to a number of fey creatures of water given form, they are said to be the children of Shannyth the River Queen (whose name is given to the river and vale that she once inhabited), and have a mischievous and sometimes cruel attitude towards the ffolk, occasionally capsizing coracles and tipping their occupants into the icy waters.

West Shore: The western side of the Shannyth Vale is a bare land filled with little more than scrub grass and sheep, and a few hardy (or insane) individuals that can resist the howling, rain filled, gales that sweep across the land on a daily basis.

Cantrev Farview (Population 400): Cantrev Farview is the most westerly inhabited land of Moray, occupying the southern half of the West Shore. It is a land of driving winds and freezing rain, barely sheltered by the Trollclaw and Orcskull Mountains.

Only the mad MacArtth are crazy enough to live in this harsh, frontier land of Moray, where they survive against the odds, constantly battling the weather, the monsters, and the norl raiders. The MacArtth make a living as shepherds and as a source of the greatest fighters in the ffolk kingdoms (rivalling even the norl berserkers).

Screewood: This rocky woodland was erected atop the rubble of a collapsed mountain slide that levelled an entire town of the ffolk. The druids grew this woodland from the last remnants of Shannyth Forest atop the rocks of the mountain at the behest of unknown whisperings that sought to keep some wild evil contained. Most still refer to this woodland as the Shannyth Forest, although in truth that sparse woodland was chopped down long ago.

The Grove of Rolling Rocks: This Lesser Moonwell once sat in the foothills of the Orcskull Mountains, it fell into disuse around 1100 DR after several druids went missing in the mountains (slain by orcs), and became corrupted shortly after.

The landslide and the actions of the druids have covered the Grove and its Corrupted Moonwell, preventing anyone from using it. In recent years however, a few feral creatures from the Faeree Plane have dug their way out of the ground and are finding allies among the orcs in the mountains.

Trollclaw Mountains: The Trollclaw Mountains, as their name suggests, is home to bands of rock trolls. This mountain range is a rugged wasteland of sharp peaks and crags that rise suddenly out of the northern end of the Isle of Moray. It reaches heights comparable to the Orcskull Mountains of the south, but its mountainous peaks are often little more than pinnacles of razor sharp rock that are perpetually covered with snow and ice from the freezing arctic winds that blow from the north.

The Trollclaw Mountains are generally avoided by the ffolk, although there are mines at its base that attempt to reach lodes of precious metals and gemstones. The trolls infest the upper reaches, but their numbers are kept low by the lack of available food, and their highly territorial nature (especially with other rock trolls), and also by the hidden dwarven outpost high in the Trollclaw Mountains that regularly thins out troll numbers.

Dennin’s Delve: A dwarven surface outpost constructed long ago by the surviving dwarves of fallen Ahrrune, the dwarves here have lived in relative isolation for over 3,000 years, and in that time their numbers have dwindled almost to extinction in the face of constant attacks from firbolgs, goblinoids, and trolls.

Dennin’s Delve is so named for the shafts connecting the surface hold with the original cavern of Sarmaksrin where the dwarves fled from as the Empire of Ahrrune collapsed. The dwarves have long sealed the shafts, but at their terminus is one of the Capstone Gates that connected the different and far flung settlements of Ahrrune.

The Feywild

The Material Plane co-exists with many other planes that mirror places of significance. One of those co-existent planes is the Plane of Faeree, and the Moonshae Isles exist in a parallel version on that plane in a region known as the Feywild. deep beneath the Feywild, is an analogue of the Underdark region of the Deepshaes (or Deep Earth Caverns) known as the Shadowfell. The two analogue regions of the Feywild and Shadowfell border one another and the Planes of Faeree and Shadow.

The Brokenstone Vale: Moray’s analogue on the Feywild is a vibrant forest bordered by towering, forested mountains filled with wild creatures of great stature and vitality.

High in the mountains in a Faeree approximation of the Material Plane geography known as the Orcskull Mountains, but located precisely at the point of the Screewood, is a valley in the Feywild known as Brokenstone Vale. This valley was walled off by the LeShay who rule this land because its inhabitants turned feral many centuries ago (time travels faster on Faeree but its inhabitants are immortal). The valley is in truth home to a creature known on the Material Plane as the Grimmulf; a shapeshifting wolf that long ago attacked one of the High Kings of the Moonshae Isles and fled into exile from the Darkmoon.

The Grimmulf made his way to Moray tracking his ancient foe Tristram Greystone. After hiding out in the Feywild, the Grimmulf attracted the attentions of the Faeree Lords here and became imprisoned, but his feral followers are able to escape to the Material Plane deep in the bowels of the Orcskull Mountains where they have found allies among the orcs.

Important NPCs

Carreigh MacUmail (Good, Human – Ffolk, Warrior 3): Carreigh MacUmail is a renowned sailor of the seas of Faerun, having spent over a decade sailing the Sea of Fallen Stars as a pirate and later being one of the few humans to have sailed across the Trackless Sea to Evermeet (and back).

Carreigh was born on Moray and thought lost when he and his family were captured by norl raiders and sold to a passing calishite galleon as slaves. Carreigh ended up on the Sea of Fallen Stars in a slave galley bound for Thay, fortunately the galley was sunk in a storm and Carreigh washed up on one of the Pirate Isles, he was not even ten years old.

After a decade on the Sea of Fallen Stars, Carreigh was a fearsome (albeit unusually merciful) pirate, the price on his head was so considerable that Carreigh was forced to flee. He landed at Westgate and travelled overland to the Sword Coast, joining up with an elven druid named Aerilaya along the way.

Carreigh helped Aerilaya on many adventures and ultimately helped her return to Evermeet, becoming one of the few humans to ever travel to that fabled isle (and survive). Today Carreigh specialises in secretly ferrying elves and elf-friends to Evermeet and back, and in the process makes money as a merchant trading rare goods between Evermeet and Faerun, he is based out of the Isle of Moray and rumour is that he has his own ship in a secret cove in the mist filled Trackless Strait.

“Mad” Cillyan MacArtth (Good, Human – Ffolk, Warrior 3): The chieftain of the MacArtth is a sprightly 35 years old, and renowned for his almost berserk fury when angered.

Cillyan MacArtth is by far the fiercest warrior of the MacArtth, and at any sign of orcs, wandering monsters, or norl raiders he dons his colours and charges bare chest (the MacArtth are also known for wearing very little despite the fierce almost freezing winds they are constantly exposed to) into the fray. Cillyan has led the vanguard for every mustering of the Clan Fiern for the past 14 years, and his clan will follow him anywhere.

Cillyan’s madness is seen as benign, he is often seen talking with himself although he claims to be conversing with the Earthmother, and his attitude towards people is friendly (if slightly aggressive) but eccentric. He is quick to anger over any perceived slight, quicker to use his fists, and quick to make friends again once his opponent regains consciousness and apologises.

Cillyan carries an axe he calls his “knife”, any disagreements over the naming of this item will result in a brawl. The axe was recovered from the lair of a troll near the Trollclaw Mountains during the adventurous days of his youth, he does not know its origin or make but it is still in pristine condition even after 10 years of heavy use.

King Dynnegahl Kimball (Neutral, Human – Ffolk, Warrior 3): King Dynnegahl is every bit the son of King Dagdar the Bear; broad of chest and arm, with great appetites for food, ale, and women.

King Dynnegahl loves being King of Moray, he loves travelling the island and visiting its cantrevs, he loves drinking with his subjects in the taverns and clan halls, listening to their problems and besting them in shows of strength.

The Caracas Dynasty is relatively new (having seized the throne in 1303 DR), and King Dynnegahl is currently the only adult member of that royal line, but he has done his royal duty and is father to his son and heir; the infant Eberard Caracas, and his teenage daughter Mayleve Caracas, as well as a rumoured host of bastard children.

Hyll the Princess Hag: Hyll was once a winter fey (not the fragile, beautiful kind, but the wart ridden, rotting, and malformed kind), branch of Urphania, a powerful and respected leader of her kind. When Urphania was cast out of Karador, Hyll was cursed as well and banished, and she fled to the Isle of Moray (as far from Karador and Urphania as she could manage).

Hyll’s curse was to assume the form of a Spring Fey; youthful and beautiful, and full of energy and life. Her nature will eventually follow her form and she will become one of the Spring Fey completely (a fate she has long fought against by mutilating herself and other creatures).

Hyll has lived in a variety of place in Moray, but she finds herself homeless, having been driven out of her home by the evil in Karthvale. Hyll detects the hand of her “mother” Urphania, and is trying to work against the one who betrayed the LeShay (in the hopes of undoing her curse). Hyll has moved into the edges of the Tarthwood, where she makes bargains with wayward youths that ultimately cost them their beauty. She is monitoring the Shadow of the Beast and trying to find a weakness and someone to slay or banish it.

Kauth the Shadow of the Beast: Kauth was once a LeShay of winter’s disposition, a fey that sought out death and the end of things (so that life might be reborn in spring). He resided in a a valley in the Orcskull Mountains known today as Karthvale, and while he was not a cruel or evil lord, he did bring death to many thousands of individuals (a peaceful and dignified death for the sick, the injured, and the aged).

Kauth was ever opposed to Tarth, the Spring Lord of Tarthwood, but once Tarth was forced to leave the Material Plane by the theft of the crystal at the heart of the Eye in the Mist, Kauth also had to leave for his home in the Shadowfell.

There Kauth remained until the Grimmulf came and devoured the fragile and unsuspecting faeree lord. Kauth was not destroyed by the Grimmulf, instead he was changed into a spirit of shadow and rage known as the Shadow of the Beast.

Kauth has left Karthvale, driven on by some ancient hag able to speak to him in the Shadowfell. He has chosen to settle in the Eye in the Mist where he plans to possess a suitable host druid and spread his shadowy, rage-fuelled madness to as many creatures as possible.

Llyssa Kynkade (Neutral, Human – Ffolk, Expert 5): Llyssa Kynkade is one of many in a long line of Kynkades that have joined the Fidouyr and the Ring of Moray. Llyssa Kynkade is a senior druid in the Ring of Moray, and like all Kynkades she has an unsurpassed mastery of Skinwalking, allowing her to assuming over 18 different animal forms.

Llyssa is aware of the curse that afflicts the Kynkade, and joined the Fidouyr (like most of her female relatives), in order to discipline her mind and learn Skinwalking; which her family believe helps keep the curse under control. Llyssa Kynkade is certain that the Shadow of the Beast is a spirit of some ancient monster, that is trying to return to the Material Plane by finding a suitable host to inhabit.

The Seeing Serpent (Neutral, Ha-Naga, Magic User 5): The Seeing Serpent is one of the few survivors of a sarrukh nation that was destroyed by the time altering effects of the Sundering before it began. The Empire of Alssherkamill occupied the land of the Western Heartlands and now vanished land off its coast which went to form Evermeet and the Moonshae Isles.

Altering time is not clean and a few beings survived, including an attempt to merge sarrukh and LeShay into a single being. The process succeeded, although not to the satisfaction of its creators. With the sarrukh erased by the magic of the Sundering, the Seeing Serpent was free, and gathered about it other survivors such as the lizardmen of the Breasal Marsh.

When the LeShay enchanted the Moonwells, the Seeing Serpent volunteered to become the Guardian of the Grove of Scales. It has dwelt inside the Moonwell ever since, being gently soothed by the music it emits, and using its magic to amuse itself and monitor beings in other lands.

The Seeing Serpent desires only a peaceful eternity (for it appears to be immortal without the aid of the Moonwell), it will gladly entertain courteous guests and give advice for a time and will drive off hostile intruders, but otherwise is content to remain apart from the rest of life on the Moonshae Isles.

Stradidar MacFinnyan (Neutral, Human – Ffolk, Warrior 3): Stradidar claims to be the last of the MacFinnyan, a clan from the western side of the Isle of Moray that suffered greatly in 1324 DR when large numbers of norl raiders occupied the island for over 8 months.

Stradidar was one of the few Clan Fiern (although he was only 14 when he joined) who survived the initial raid and spent the next few months with his fellow survivors launching counter attacks against their former home of Baillen Finward. Stradidar was the last survivor of his group of freedom fighters when reinforcements from the Kingdom of Corwell arrived, during the final attack on the village of Finward he watched the last of the norl retreat from the beach taking with them the remains of the MacFinnyan as slaves.

Stradidar spent the remainder of his youth among the neighbouring MacArtth of Cantrev Farview, joining their Clan Fiern and learning all he could from the mad warriors of the MacArtth.

Now a man grown Stradidar has spent time among the mercenary company known as the Moray Reavers, and spent several seasons raiding the norl trying to locate any surviving MacFinnyan. Stradidar has since left and joined Riordayn’s Renayr; a group of woodsmen across the Moonshae Isles that specialize in retrieving lost ffolk (whether in the wilds of the islands or in a norl raid).

The Grimmulf (Evil, Human – Ffolk, Lycanthrope – Werewolf 5): The Grimmulf is a creature of legend among the ffolk (and norl) of the Moonshaes; a great black wolf that devours peasants and kings, evil and just alike. His legend depicts him attacking one of the High Kings, another devouring one of the kings of Norheim, and appearances at many other pivotal events in Moonshaes history as a harbinger of doom.

In truth, the legend of the Grimmulf is based upon a cadre of shape-changing assassins known to a rare few as the Darkmoon. One particular individual, however, did attack High King Byron II, but failed, and fled into exile (otherwise he faced death at the hands of the Darkmoon). The grimmulf was cut by the fabled Sword of Cymrych Hugh during this failed assassination attempt, and was changed by the blade, becoming imbued with a portion of Kazgoroth’s taint that remains part of the blade.

The Grimmulf stalked the person that foiled his assassination attempt (Tristram Greystone), following him to Cantrev Greystone, and later to the Isle of Moray. Wherever he went, the Grimmulf spread a form of shapeshifting akin to lycanthropy, and he caused rage in those creatures who dwelt near him.

The Grimmulf is currently hiding out in the Feywild region known as Brokenstone Vale, deep in the bowels of a cave known as the Dusk Cave which borders the Shadowfell. He has been imprisoned in this vale by the Lords of the Fey nearby, and is trying to influence the Black Blood Tribe that have made their home in the Material Plane analogue of the Dusk Cave to open up a portal (by sacrificing thousands) and allow him to escape

The Trickster (Evil, Halfling, Expert 5): The Trickster is a creature of legend among the ffolk of Moray, known as the being who stole from the Lords of Faeree and caused them to abandon the Moonshae Isles. For his transgression he was cursed into the form of a tiny, wrinkled, old man, bound to the grotto that was the site of his crime until someone can take his curse from him.

The Trickster is all too real, and his insanity has led him to create a hundred or more slaves over the millennia by passing his curse on to those who steal from his ever growing treasure hoard. The greatest prize of his hoard is the Haunting Crystal, a head sized rough crystalline tear drop shape that emits a constant haunting tone.

Vondal Greyhammer (Neutral, Dwarf – Shield, Warrior 2): Vondal is a staunch defender of the dwarves of Dennin’s Delve, a veteran of many battles against the goblinoids, firbolgs, and rock trolls. Vondal is chiefly in charge of organising the defence of Dennin’s Delve, although many look to him for leadership in these embattled times, Vondal does not like making decisions, preferring to fight and obey. Vondal does not believe the dwarves can hold Dennin’s Delve for much longer, but he will continue to fight until the decision is made to abandon it.

Important Organisations

Black Blood Tribe: Long ago the Stalker wandered the realms in the shadow of the Dark Three, trying to steal their power. He never caught up with those would be divine anti-heroes, but he did leave a trail of victims who were afflicted by an evil curse that caused them to assume the form of vicious animals. The People of the Black Blood are said to be those unfortunate children descended from the victims of the Stalker.

In 1299 DR, the first malarites of the People of the Black Blood landed on Moray following a great conclave of Malar in Easting the previous year. These cultists have established themselves in the Dusk Cave and are kidnapping suitable loners and sacrificing them or infecting them with the Curse of the Black Blood.

Greystone Trading: Moray has few trade opportunities that would attract the large trading costers from Calimshan that make their way here on their return journey from Waterdeep and other coastal cities of the Sword Coast North (it is often safer for them to swing around the Nelanther Isles to the west and approach the Moonshae Isles from the sea, then restock and pick up additional goods and continue on north, although this route adds at least a week to the journey).

Iron and coal are the primary trade exports of Moray, and most of that is carried away by the Calishites. The leftover trade is too small for big trading companies and that is where the likes of Greystone Trading and other small traders of the Moonshae Isles make their living.

Greystone Trading moves weapons, fish, grain, vegetables, and other small volumes between Moray and Corwell or between Moray and Norland (Greystone Trading is one of the few trading companies that dares to and is able to trade with the norlwithout being raided).

Moray Reavers: One of the many mercenary companies that springs up with every generation on the island of Moray. The Moray Reavers has its headquarters in Cantrev Moray and specializes in taking contracts that involve fighting norl (or illuskan islands like Tuern, Gundarlun, Ruathym, etc).

The Moray Reavers have been especially successful in their recruiting efforts which have allowed them to survive as a mercenary company for over 40 years, this success was driven by the increased activity of the norl following a decade of harsh winters beginning in 1324 DR.

The Leaky Mermaid: The north and south coast of Moray are outside the ability of the ffolk of Moray to monitor or patrol, and so have repeatedly become home to pirates and raiders over the centuries. With the end of the Bleak Winter ten years ago, the norl raiders were forced out of Moray by the ffolk (who pursued them back to the beaches beyond the mountains and burned their longships).

These mountain coves are now becoming home to pirates from other lands who are increasingly striking against trading vessels as they enter or leave Moray. The Leaky Mermaid is one such pirate vessel, a dual masted ship of Nelanther that is becoming famous as a merciful (they take captives) plague upon shipping in Moray.

Important Items

The Biting Blade: This foot long shard of steel is part of the remnants of the original Sword of Moray. The shard encompasses only the blade without any hilt or cross-guard. The Biting Blade possesses an enchantment such that whenever anyone grasps the steel in hand (thus drawing their own blood), it increases the wielder’s strength at the expense of their own vitality.

There are rumours of such a blade making the rounds among norl raiders from Norheim, where it was presumably taken after being discovered by a norl raider during a foray into Moray.

The Broken Sword: This sword was once the Sword of Moray, wielded by King Morayn Horsyr and the subsequent kings of Moray until King Tormynd Kimball snapped the blade on the hide of the Scaerandaga before he was drowned by it in the River Shannyth.

The sword was crafted in the typical arming sword style of the ffolk, just over 2 feet in length with a simple square cross-guard and circular pommel. The blade and hilt were lost in the flowing waters but there are rumours of a half sword (the blade snapped a foot along it’s length) that makes the wielder harder to strike. Those sages of Moray history suspect the Broken Sword is one half of the original Sword of Moray that inherited some lingering enchantment from its encounter with the Scaerandaga.

The wielder of the Broken Blade gains a +1 bonus to Armour checks.

The Knife: This single bladed battle-axe is in permanently in the possession of Cillyan MacArtth; the chieftain of the MacArtth, he even sleeps with it in hand. Cillyan recovered it at the age of 25 from the lair of a troll that he and his fellow Clan Fiern tracked and slaughtered to stop it plaguing the clan shepherds around Farview.

The axe is made of a black metallic alloy so hard that it cant be damaged by any steel the ffolk or norl possess, the haft has been cut short so it can be used with a single hand. Unknown to Cillyan, this axe was once owned by the dwarves of Dennin’s Delve but was lost in one of the many marauding troll attacks over the last few thousand years.

Moonwells: Moray is unusual in having only Lesser Moonwells upon the island. The Eye of the Mist, the Grove of Scales, and the Grove of Rolling Rocks are located in the Tarthwood, the Breasal Marsh, and the Screewood respectively. There are no known Greater Moonwells, but legends speak of a castle of the Faeree Lords that guarded a pool of great power and significance to the fey until the castle and the Faeree Lords vanished.

Splintered Sword: Crafted by the druids of the Ring of Moray at the request of Queen Maifilde; Bond of King Caylean Kimball. The sword took 12 winters to craft from the heartwood of the oldest Whitethorn tree on Moray, soaked in the blood of a rock troll and frozen in the ice of the tallest mountain.

The Splintered Sword resembles a wooden training sword commonly found among ffolk adolescents, but with a thorned vine motif carved along its blade and a heart etched into the pommel. Any who touch the sword (be it blade or handle) are pricked by a splinter which resembles a long thorn when pulled out.

The sword seems of little value in combat, capable only of bludgeoning an opponent, and far less weighty than a club or cudgel. However, anyone pricked by a splinter of the sword finds themselves vulnerable to its power no matter what resistances or immunities they may possess. This vulnerability takes time, usually 3d10+2 days after being pricked by a splinter, but once the magic takes hold and the sword has absorbed the blood of its victim, the victim becomes vulnerable and the sword strikes as if it were made from sharpened steel. These strikes overcome all resistances and immunities, as well as slicing through armour like it were paper.

The sword was chiefly responsible for the defeat of the Scaerandaga, allowing King Tormynd Kimball to draw its blood using a splinter and later King Aidyn Kimball slew the now vulnerable monster. The Splintered Sword was lost after the death of Shannyth the River Queen, many believe the sword was used to kill the Faerie Lord, but the druids of today deny that they would allow their legacy to be used in such a manner. Some propose that the Splintered Sword may have cleansed Lac Dynnegall and so may now possess the full potency of the blood of the Scaerandaga that polluted its waters. Whatever the truth, the location of the sword is lost to history.

Sword of Moray: The Sword of Moray is the third of its name, crafted after the destruction of the first sword at the hands of the Scaerandaga, and the loss of the second sword after the final sack of Caer Moray in 659 DR.

The latest incarnation of the Sword of Moray is a long sword crafted in imitation of the style of the Sword of Cymrych Hugh. It has elaborate runes etched into the blade, with a stags head on the pommel and the U shaped cross-guard in the style of antlers.

The blade is almost purely ornamental, possessed of no known enchantment or special quality, made from the steel of the ffolk, and crafted far too light for a sword of its size.

The Trail Throne: The Trail Throne refers to the royal carriage that the King of Moray travels around his country in. It is an enormous, former trade caravan re-purposed to accommodate a king and his finery. The king usually travels alone during his endless tour of the realm (his family staying at one of the royal lodges around Cantrev Moray or Cantrev Horst), but the caravan has room enough for 3 people in relative comfort.

Wolf’s Claw: Found on the floor of the Dusk Cave, this serrated bone-blade has been fixed into a pommel shaped like a wolf’s head. It is used by agents of the Black Blood Tribe that are operating as spies and saboteurs among the ffolk of Moray.

The dagger was created using the shaped dewclaw of the Grimmulf, who has been hiding in the Shadowfell analogue of the Dusk Cave and trying to influence the Black Blood Tribe into opening a portal to allow him to return to the Material Plane.

Fauna

Lizardmen: The presence of lizardmen on the Moonshae Isles is unusual given the cold climate and isolation from mainland Faerun. The lizardmen appear to be isolated to the Isle of Moray and the Breasal Marsh in particular, and many scholars assume their presence is due to a portal or they were brought here by ship, however, the llewyrr elves noted a reptilian humanoid presence when they arrived millennia ago.

Rather surprisingly the lizardfolk of Breasal Marsh are fairly placid compared to most of their kind. They rarely venture outside their home, and unless disturbed, are happy to leave the ffolk alone, even trading with those who come bearing gifts. Hostile intruders soon find the lizardmen can be vicious when pressed and still retain their carnivorous nature.

The lizardfolk of the Breasal Marsh worship the naga in the Moonwell near the centre of the marsh; which they refer to as the Oracle in their own guttural language. A number of their hunters and foragers have been disappearing from the marsh, causing strife between the normally peaceable lizardfolk and their human neighbours (whom they suspect of killing their kin).

More recently a few of these hunters have returned to the tribe, claiming they got lost in the mists, these returned lizardfolk are different than their calmed brethren, aggressive, larger, more warlike. They vanish at the full moon, and are becoming a vocal minority among their community advocating war with the humans.

Morhounds: One of the few surviving breeds of dog that came with the Tethyrian migrants centuries ago to the Moonshae Isles. Unused to the cold climate of the islands, most of the hunting dogs perished within a few decades and the remainder died out later due to predation or diseases specific to this environment; notably pawrot.

The Morhounds (so named for the Isle of Moray) descend from a group of dogs presented to King Bhaltayr as a gift for his coronation. The hounds were of particularly robust build and their descendants are even larger after centuries of selective breeding. The Morhounds have a proven history as hunting and guard dogs, and have been exported to the other Moonshae Islands wherever the ffolk (and sometimes norl ) dwell, where the name has been corrupted to Moorhounds.

Morhounds bred on Moray have a grey or tan colouration that is unique to the island. Morhounds bred elsewhere usually adopt a spotted pattern or in rare cases pure black (especially those dogs from Kimball Moor).

Firbolg: The Ffirboleg on the Isle of Moray are of the twisted, malformed, savage variety that are found only on the Moonshae Isles, and indicate breeding with the abhorrent creatures known as Ffomoreans. The monsters roam the Orcskull and Trollclaw Mountains in small groups and emerge only to raid the ffolk settlements for food and treasure.

Leprechaun: Known to the ffolk of Moray as the Loibargibhn; the vile gift, this diminutive fey creature resembles a small (2 ft tall), wrinkled, old humanoid, often adorned with fine materials and shiny baubles to distract from their disturbing appearing.

Loibargibhn are known for their attempts to persuade unwary travellers to pick up one of their “gifts”, and in so doing pass on their accursed appearance and purpose. These attempts involve leaving the gift in plain sight on well trodden paths, or luring travellers to its location using mimicry and ventriloquism to sound like someone in pain or needing help to draw people near, sometimes the loibargibhn will offer the item in trade for a bargain price. A loibargibhn can not venture far (20 ft at most) from their “gift” without suffering a wasting malady that proves fatal over time.

Anyone touching the “gift” becomes accursed and will gradually find his form twist and shrink until he joins the loibargibhn. Meanwhile the former loibargibhn is now freed and gradually returns to his original form.

Loibargibhn are only found on the Isle of Moray, and scholars believe they are all cursed by the same legendary being known only as Dreiache (the trickster). This fell creature is supposed to have stolen a boon from the faerie lords of Moray and become accursed for it, he is said to still live in the faerie castle to which his boon is eternally bound.

Nereid: One of the Nimfea (a classification of mostly benign fey creatures), the Muir Nimfea are water borne fairies found on almost all the Moonshae Isles. The nereids of Moray are said to all be children or servants of a legendary queen known as Shannyth the River Queen. Shannyth dwelt in the crystal clear waters of Lac Dynnegall and was often seen gliding through the waters of the River Shannyth.

Shannyth the River Queen was supposedly driven mad by the pollution of her lake and subsequently slain centuries ago by King Tadhg Kimball, she has not been seen since that day. The Nereid who remain are decidedly cool in their interactions with the ffolk of Moray (although they can be playful with attractive maidens), they frequently capsize coracles that attempt to navigate the river, and on rare occasions attempt to submerge and drown men who venture into the waters.

Scaerandaga: The Scaerandaga is a name given by the ffolk to a huge and misshapen creature known as a ffomorean which relentlessly attacked the settlements of Moray, presumably for trespassing upon its land or perhaps for pure hatred of every living thing.

Scaerandaga roughly translates as Grudge’s Weapon, a name that signals all the ffolk felt about the creature. It had plagued the ffolk of Moray since they settled the island, but as Morayn Kimball founded a kingdom and more settlers arrived, the Scaerandaga grew ever more aggressive, attacking settlements rather than just isolated ffolk. It carried off the sister of an early king of Moray, and slew or caused the death of many subsequent kings until it was slain by Aidyn Kimball with the Splintered Sword.

The death of the Scaerandaga caused another peril that plagued the ffolk, as Shannyth the River Queen was driven mad by the ffomorean’s blood and started to attack any who ventured near her waters, and bore a special grudge against the House of Kimball. The subsequent slaying of Shannyth saw the reappearance of the Scaerandaga with many sightings of a huge ffomorean in the Orcskull Mountains (although the Scaerandaga is notably less aggressive than before).

Local Lore

Pirates!: The Isle of Moray has become a target for a persistent group of pirates operating out of mountainous coves along the north and south coast of Moray. So far these pirates have only struck at small curraghs and longships from ffolk and norl kingdoms in the Moonshae Isles, but it is only a matter of time before they strike one of the bigger calishite galleons.

The pirates are soon to incur the wrath of the norl for the attacks on their raiders (that is if they dont mistake it for Moray aggression first), but more dangerous is a potential attack on a calishite galleon, which could result in a wealthy calishite pasha taking notice (and seeking vengeance) of the Moonshae Isles if his interests are disrupted.

Plague Fishing: The settlement of Storaad, on the far western coast of Gwynneth has reported aged sailors from Moray landing in a confused state covered in bumps, warts, and growths on their arms, chest, and head. The fishermen were all swiftly put to death and burned (to stop a plague from spreading). All the fishermen were found to be carrying a single item of some worth (ancient gold coins, jewellery, gemstones, etc), which the norl discarded into the sea believing them cursed.

In truth the fishermen are from Kork and hatched a plan to steal the treasures from the Tarthwood by using a magical bag (acting as an extradimensional space) to place the items in without touching them (the bag was placed atop the items and pushed down and the treasure was forced into the bag). Unfortunately when the fishermen took the treasures out of the bag when they returned to Kork they gradually began to undergo the transformation into loibergibhn, taking effect the next day while they were out fishing. The bag containing further treasures is left at the house of one of the fishermen and is waiting for someone to take the treasures.

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