The Town of Enrae's Crossing
by Steve Williams
Well met traveller, and welcome to this sleepy corner of Sembia that we here call home. Please allow me to introduce myself, I am Tarnus Broadblade, long-time resident of the town of Enrae’s Crossing. Like many of my fellow residents, I was not born of this community, but as I’m sure you will find, its peoples and pleasant character have caused me to take it into my heart.
As well as your humble guide, I also have the honour of serving as the town’s Chronicler, a role which I gladly accepted just over two decades ago, having settled here to rest my weary bones from a life in pursuit of adventurous stories and tales of daring. A companion and friend of His Lordship Armin Doonrak, I seldom venture forth to find excitement these days, but it still lights my soul to meet new travellers such as yourselves, to trade a tale or two at The Deep Cup, and pass on the ins and out’s of this fair town and it’s folk.
But enough of me, let me tell you a little of our town, its inhabitants, and the surrounding countryside.
Fellaren-Krae \ Enrae's Crossing environs
Click to enlarge
Location and Background
The town of Enrae's Crossing is located approximately 20 miles south-east of the city of Fellaren-Krae, near the centre of The Crowswood.
Enrae’s Crossing is a small, but busy little town, with logging and travellers as the prime resources of the townsfolk. It tends to have many visitors that are simply passing through due to it’s location, though it is still a popular end destination for sports hunters due to the surrounding woods.
It sits on the southern bank of the river known to the locals as Weeping Creek, one of the small and less significant tributaries that makes its way across the nation of Sembia. Weeping Creek is no more than thirty feet or so across at any point within half a mile of the town, which sits next to a conveniently shallow point, allowing easy access to the northern part of Crowswood.
The town forms a rough semi-circle with its flat edge against the river. An eight feet wide, shallow ditch runs round the outer edge of the semi-circle, effectively turning the town into a small island. The ditch was dug some thirty years ago, and serves as an added defence, as well as helping supply the few buildings outside the town proper with a convenient water source. Immediately inside the ditch a wooden palisade rises and runs round the entire island’s edge. At both points where the semi-circle meets the river, the palisade extends out into the water by about ten feet, effectively cutting off access to the ford by any route other than through the town. . There are two gates, one immediately adjacent to the ford, and the other in the western most point of the palisade. A simple narrow wooden drawbridge allows access across the ditch at this point, though it is rarely raised, as both gates are heavily constructed in timber and iron.
All the town’s building are timber framed, and of modest design, with only a handful being more than one storey high. See town map for detailed locations.
Enrae’s Crossing was founded just over a century ago (1270DR) by a less than sociable woodsman named Enrae Filibuss. A former resident of Fellaren-Krae, he, along with his wife, three sons, and two daughters in law, settled at the fording point in an effort to develop a logging operation. He also reckoned on the ford being a potentially lucrative toll point to future loggers moving further up into the Crowswood.
Whilst his logging business thrived, his idea to charge a toll failed miserably, most of the area’s new arrivals and visitors in the course of his first five years simply refusing to pay, or finding an alternative route. This did little to endear him to people, and it was only when he died in 1276DR, that substantial numbers began to settle in the area. His eldest son Holthar immediately ceased the practice of attempting to levy a toll, and set about encouraging some of his old friends from Fellaren-Krae to join the new community. In 1284DR Enrae’s Crossing got it’s first Inn, “The Deep Cup”, built by a half-elven friend of Holthar’s, Trista Kellahshorn, who, though now in old age, still runs it today.
By 1300DR the population had reached over 200 souls, many of them good friends of Holthar’s, and on his sixtieth birthday, he was given the title of Townsmaster. He held the position for a further 13 years, till his death in 1313DR, by which time his skills as a leader, and efforts to increase the town’s attractiveness had boosted the population to around 300 residents. Little stood in the way of the town’s development for many years thereafter. The role of Townsmaster was made into an elected post, that was considered a lifetime role unless the holder of the title choose to retire sooner.
In 1351DR the first ever case of Lycanthropy struck the town, (an occasional problem in the Crowswood vicinity). For about a decade after, occurrences were fairly regular, causing an influx of adventuring types, which actually served to boost the town’s population. Some stayed and settled, including Lord Armin Doonrak, former resident of Selgaunt, who chose to make his home in the town on his retirement from life as an adventurer. Many others failed to return from quests to rid the area of its scourge, others simply passed through. By 1362DR the reports of Lycanthropic attacks had all but ceased. The Time of the Troubles in 1358DR had little direct effect on the community, other than immediately afterwards, a temple to Lathander was consecrated in the town, by Mandel and Saria Lorne, brother and sister clerics of that faith who had chosen to settle locally.
There are currently (1372DR) still 17 townsfolk who carry the name Filibuss, including the current Townsmaster Randal, Great-grandson of the town’s founder, and grandson of Holthar.
Government and Law
Officially, The Crossing is a democratic community, headed by it’s Townsmaster who is elected by the adult populace and thereafter has a lifetime position. In practice, much of the day to day running of the town is managed by Townsmaster Filibuss himself, with Trista (the towns longest resident) and Lord Armin dealing with a number of duties for him. The Townsmaster is titular head of the town’s military and police force, though he usually leaves the day to day operation of it to Captain Silas Gorndell, a lifetime resident of The Crossing and capable soldier and Administrator. On the rare occasions when the Militia is unable to deal with a disturbance, the more powerful members of the community are quick to rally round and offer assistance to Captain Gorndell.
Laws are kept to a minimum in the town, minor crimes being dealt with by Captain Gorndell himself, and more serious offences such as murder, (a rare occurrence) being tried before the Townsmaster. National Sembian laws are enforced, though locals tend to prefer to keep their business local. There is a small town prison, within the militia barracks, which usually houses no more than three or four residents at any one time. Banishment is a common punishment for criminals, (after exacting hefty fines). There have been only two sentences of death in the last ten years, both for murder, a sentence that Filibuss is uncomfortable about setting, but in both cases the criminals concerned were habitually violent and lawless.
Whilst tolerant of others, and open to visitors, the townsfolk are swift to act against outsiders who attempt to upset the way of life here or offer violence to the inhabitants.
“Self Defence” is a perfectly acceptable justification for dealing with violent outsiders, and will rarely even go to trial should a troublemaker be slain. This does not mean people of The Crossing draw their blades easily, it is a peaceful town, but its folk will not hesitate in fighting to keep it that way, and do not relish outside interference.
There is a standing bounty on the head of proven Lycanthropes, and these creatures are given no quarter if discovered. Most other races are welcomed, and their actions used to judge them rather than their appearance. The town even has a smattering of goblinoid and goblinoid half-breed residents. Whilst the appearance of a dragon in downtown Enrae’s Crossing may provoke alarm, seeing a haf-orc go about his business would barely raise an eyebrow.
Membership of the Militia has been a full-time occupation for the last twenty years. The men and women are well-trained and capable soldiers. Approximately 200 further combatants can be gathered and armed from within the community should the need arise, and the townsfolk take this responsibility very seriously.
There are a small number of rogues operating within the town. Mainly involved in activities such as theft and fraud, but a small amount of violent activity still occurs. When uncovered, the financial penalties for these crimes are harsh, though some still slips through the net. Most of the town jail’s inhabitants tend to be outsiders, hunters stopping over in town who over indulge in the pleasures of the hostelries, and excitable youngsters, too quick to raise a fist to an insult, imagined or otherwise.
Harnel Doonrak, son of Lord Armin has seen the inside of the jail on a number of occasions, an impetuous and somewhat hot-headed young man, he has caused his father some embarrassment, and not a little financial concern in the past. With his small group of rowdy young friends, and hangers on, he is a small but often uncomfortable thorn in the side of Captain Gorndell. Gorndell has made noises to the Townsmaster that Harnel may have to find residence elsewhere should his behaviour not improve and this has been passed on to Lord Armin, who is considering sending his son away to Fellaren-Krae for an ‘education’.
Use of aggressive magic within the town is illegal unless representing the town in an official capacity, though it’s use in privacy, for practice etc is acceptable. There are two wizards of reasonable power resident in town, three apprentices, and one other minor practitioner, so spells firing off in the streets are not common. Whilst not scorned, mage-craft’s use is seen as unnecessary by most of the townsfolk, and tends to be met with some suspicion.
The carrying of weapons is commonplace in town, though this will rarely consist of more than a personal weapon and often a bow. Hunting for pleasure is a popular sport here, though excessive killing of the animal population is an activity that some of the town’s Rangerfolk take a dim view of.
Whilst most religions are tolerated in The Crossing, open worship of evil aligned deities is not permitted. Many religions are commonly worshipped, though most prominent among them is Lathander, The Morninglord.
Lathander is the only Deity to have a temple within the town, which is headed by Dawn Priest Mandel Lorne, with the assistance of his sister Saria. Both have been lifetime members of the Morninglord’s church, and see the whole of the town’s populace as their flock, regardless of the peoples own considerations. The worships here are popular, as Mandel is not a ‘fire & brimstone’ cleric, but sees himself more as a fatherly guide to his flock. Two further clerics serve the temple, Dawn Priest Luria Gell, (hf lvl 1 cleric) and Nethan Browde (hm lvl 2 cleric). Mandel counts many of the town’s richer inhabitants among his patrons, including the Townsmaster himself.
Lathander’s temple is responsible for many good works within town, including tending to the sick and needy. A small hospital attached to the temple offers free healthcare to the townsfolk, though richer users are politely asked to make a donation for any services rendered, as are travellers, or passing adventurers. It is managed by a group of lay-worshippers, and one of the lower level Dawn Priests is usually in attendance.
1 The Deep Cup Inn
· Militia/Town Watch (31 warriors)
Approximate population: 651
70% Human (455)
Town Chronicler, Level 7 Male Half-elf Bard aged 53. (NG)
Tarnus was a former adventuring companion and good friend to Lord Armin Doonrak and chose to settle in Enrae’s Crossing upon his friend’s retirement from adventuring. Tarnus himself is only in a state of semi-retirement, and has been known to disappear off for a few weeks leaving little or no information as to his whereabouts to those around him. Though he speaks fondly of the town, and to all around him seems to have settled here for good, he sees it as a pleasant interlude in his life, rather than a permanent resting place.A popular figure among the locals, with an uncanny knack for remembering a good tale, he took pleasure in learning all there was to know about his new home, and gladly accepted the role of town chronicler from the people when it was offered.He is comfortably wealthy, with a number of the town’s business’s secretly having his money behind them. He has become particularly good friends with Trista Kellahshorn, and can often be found sharing a meal with her at the inn, or taking long rides into the countryside together. It has become their habit on these rides to discuss the deeper issues of the day, and any problems the community may have, so that those around them affectionately named these jaunts as ‘town-meetings’.
Owner of Tibbs Tavern & Festhall. Level 3 Male Halfling Rogue aged 47 (NG)
Adolphus has lived in The Crossing for thirty years, having travelled from Waterdeep with a merchant caravan upon which he made a considerable sum of money gambling with his fellow travellers. By the time he reached The Crossing, all thoughts of adventure had left his head, and he put his profits to work by buying a dilapidated building that was formerly a boarding house. After a few months work, Tibbs Tavern & Festhall was opened. Quickly it became popular with visitors to the town, due to its more boisterous atmosphere than The Deep Cup, (and the extra services the Cup does not offer). Tibbs is a clever Halfling, never slow to spot a quick coin to be made, and a master at playing host to the common man and those of high birth. He has had occasional run ins with the towns authorities, mainly over the behaviour of his patrons, but is always careful to treat town officials with as much deference as is required to get what he wants. To a casual observer Tibbs comes across as a gossipy genial fellow of simple tastes, but his reputation as a gossip hides the fact that he is a master of information gathering, and knows when to keep his mouth tightly shut. Most people who meet him take him at face value, and he’s quite happy to keep it that way. It is rumoured that Captain Gorndell once remarked that “If Tibbs ever took a mind to pursue a career as a blackmailer he would become rich indeed”. A fact of which many of the townsfolk are only too aware.
Townsmaster, Level 4 Human Ranger (retired) aged 62
Owner of “The Deep Cup” Level 7 Female Half-elf Ranger aged 118.
Wealthy former adventurer, Level 5 Male Human Paladin aged 61.
Lord Armin’s wife, Randal Filibuss’s daughter. 0 Level NPC aged 41.
Son of Lord Armin, fledgling adventurer. Level 2 Male Human Fighter aged 18.
Cleric of Lathander, Level 5 Male Human Cleric aged 44
Cleric of Lathander Level 3 Female Human Cleric aged 37.
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