Fables of the Borderlands
Harrow is a rural county in the Kingdom of Bretón. Harrow’s rolling hills and temperate forests border the Cerulean Sea and straddle the River Nem. Harrow’s main thoroughfare, the East Road also known as Castle Road bisects the region proceeding eastward to the infamous Keep on the Borderlands, and beyond that the holy pilgrimage site of followers to Saint Cuthbert, the St. Cuthbert Monastery.
Harrow is famous for Castle Greyfaun, a unique academy where wealthy, naturally noble families send a child who is not set to inherit land or title but is still seen as worthy enough to deserve academia over banishment. Castle Greyfaun has a reputation of honest renown, however sustains growing debate for teaching spells, incantations, and potion making. Many alumni live successful lives as learned scribes or sages in specialized fields. Though not all adhere to the mainstream, some of this academy becoming wizards or alchemists instead.
Protecting the Castle academy, the grounds and inhabitants are layered domes and fields infused with protective magic. Beyond the protective means of the arcane, is the Greyfaun Patrol; a comradeship of four mounted Griffin riders who scout all of Harrow, a castle guard of four heavy footmen, who maintain the gatehouse and patrol the castle at night, and a Wizard Adept (3rd Level/Circle), who can be found anywhere usually via teleportation spells. There is always a staff of armed men protecting the Greyfaun Bridge & Lockhouse, a main toll along the road/river.
The East Road crosses a distance of approximately 10 miles through Harrow. On foot, and staying on the clear and flat path of the road, walking this distance takes three to four hours. By horse or carriage travel time reduces to one hour or less. Of equal distance, the broad River Nem may carry a boat through Harrow in two hours or less. The river is approximately 60m wide throughout the region, and twice as wide where it meets the Cerulean Lake. (For Travelers See: The Dungeon Dozen p.114)
Harrow wilderness is a mixture of deciduous woodland and coniferous forest. The Woodland is divided by name into Harrow’s North Wood, and Harrow’s West Wood. The settlements of Harrow lie amidst the coniferous forest Raven Pine in the low lands between the Setting Hills (west) and Rising Hills (east).
A swath of the Roth Mountains stretches across a 5 mile section south of Benhaste and Thorne. At one time the Roth Mines were what earned Harrow acclaim from the peasant class. Now Roth Mountain is Orc territory, and Harrow’s official population is decreasing.
Several summits to the North called The Spires, enclose the mouth of the River Nem and vast territory for wildlife.
The river itself passes through a ravine created by the Spires called Clara’s Ravine, it is the legendary spot where a prospective Greyfaun professor fell to her death while crossing through the Spires enroute to Greyfaun. Pupils from Greyfaun enjoy rebelling against school strictures to sneak out to the Spires for mischief, and perhaps to search for Clara’s ghost.
The Spires overlook a vast water feature named The Cerulean Lake, from this body of water flows the River Nem. The freshwater lake is home to various schools of fish, Giant Gar, and reportedly some River Trolls.
Other Features of Harrow
Adventurers have told tales of a forgotten dungeon filled with treasures, hidden (supposedly) in Western Harrow. Without any knowledge of it’s builder, history or purpose, it simply goes by the name Harrow’s West Dungeon.
There is an old mine in Roth Mountain, however the Duke of Bretón closed it down in the year 1026 (presumably) so that no one would be able to obtain freeman status by working for the Miner’s Guild there. Taxes have been slightly increasing per year ever since.
There is a temple shrine seen from the East road overlooking the river Nem. It is beholden to the cult, the way of the shroud. It is a place best avoided.
Karth Barbarians have settled in the plain lands south of the River Nem. They camp by an enormous sinkhole, which they use to sacrifice their captives. Namely, beasts of the field like steppe orcs or beastmen, and perhaps unlucky human travelers from the East road.
The Glimmer-Shy is a large pond near the hamlet of Thorne. It is said the fair folk will curse those who touch its waters without first offering a gift to the fey.
The people of Harrow are very reticent to welcome visitors to Glimmer-Shy, the pond within the Raven Pines, which has a magical healing reputation. Inhabitants of the area have become ugly, and downright rude to those who press their welcome and seek out the pond, but they do not approach within a stone’s throw themselves, without first preparing a basket of gifts, or handful of coins for the fair folk.
The Silver Throne is a Coaching Inn standing at the fork of the East Road, and the trail to Benhaste & Thorne. The proprietor Clem Shirestock moved the business from the failing Hamlet of Thorne to the East Road in hopes of keeping coffers filled with coin, and his children enrolled in Greyfaun. He had since saved the ailing business, and the livelihoods of their employees, of which there is a cook, scullion, two barmaids, a gateman (doubles as smithy), and three guardsmen, all residents of Thorne.
That is until one fateful night during which a barbarian and two thieves robbed several guests and gruesomely murdered a guardsman. It is believed that this event precipitated the release of the Hound of Harrow. Sheriff Erol Ariston placed a bounty of 300 silver pieces each, to be awarded to the capturer(s) of these criminals; dead or alive.