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There are a variety of campaign settings for fourth edition, and (at least to begin with) I’m going with the “Points of Light” setting which is the default for 4E. The primary location to begin with is the area called the Nentir Vale. The official compendium information for the Nentir Vale is as follows:

THE NENTIR VALE

Nentir vale player map

Up until four centuries or so ago, the Moon Hills and the surrounding Nentir Vale were thinly settled borderlands, home to quarrelsome human hill-chieftains and remote realms of non humans such as dwarves and elves. Giants, minotaurs, orcs, ogres, and goblins plagued the area. Ruins such as those on the Gray Downs or the ring-forts atop the Old Hills date back to these days, as do stories of the hero Vendar and the dragon of the Nentir.

With the rise of the empire of Nerath to the south, human settlers began to move up the Nentir, establishing towns such as Fastormel, Harkenwold, and Winterhaven. A Nerathan hero named Aranda Markelhay obtained a charter to build a keep at the portage of the Nentir Falls. She raised a simple tower at the site of Moonstone Keep three hundred ten years ago, and under its protection the town of Fallcrest began to grow.

Over the next two centuries, Fallcrest grew into a small and prosperous city. It was a natural crossroads for trade, and the Markelhays ruled it well. When the empire of Nerath began to crumble about a century ago, Fallcrest continued to flourish – for a time. Ninety years ago, a fierce horde oforcs known as rhe Bloodspears descended from the Stonemarch and swept over the vale. Fallcrest’s army was defeated in a rash attempt to halt the Bloodspears out on Gardbury Downs. The Bloodspears burned and pillaged Fallcrest and went on to wreak havoc all across the Nentir Vale.

In the decades since the Bloodspear War, Fallcrest has struggled to reestablish itself. The town is a shadow of the former city; little trade passes up and down the river these days. The countryside for scores of miles around is dotted with abandoned homesteads and manors from the days of Nerath. Once again the Nentir Vale is a thinly settled borderland where few folk live. This is a place in need of a few heroes.

doin thangs in and around Fallcrest

The module will start off with everyone at level 1. You are a recent group, all united in a common task. Traevus, a dwarf merchant, had posted notices around the town of Fallcrest asking assistance from able-bodied adventurers. Your reasons for being in Fallcrest, as well as your motivation for seeking out Traevus, can be your own – for the greater good, for the promise of money, for bloodlust, or some other reason. Upon meeting Traevus, he explains to you that he had been travelling west along the King’s Road, from the Barony of Harkenwold into Fallcrest. When nightfall came, and not a few hours out of Fallcrest proper, he was ambushed by a pack of goblins – “short, ugly creatures with green skin and fang-filled mouths,” as he tells it. His guards fell in combat with the creatures, and Traevus himself barely made it out alive; his bruised and bandaged body bearing immediate witness to his story. He goes on to explain that the goblins stole something from his wagon – a small, locked wooden box. He offers to pay you for your troubles, but asks only that you do not attempt to open the box; the contents, he says with a small blush, “are personal.” He also offers the following bit of information: while he was fleeing from the attack, he noticed what appeared to be a human on the back of a jet-black horse, watching over the ambush with interest. After the goblins had grabbed the box and started to retreat, he says, the rider turned and galloped off to the southwest, toward the Moon Hills. He suspects that you will find the culprits there. In addition, he says, you could examine the ambush site, which might still contain clues as to where exactly the goblins went following their attack.

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