The town of Riverbend started out as a small village made up of the craftsmen who worked on Gryphons Reach Castle and their families. The nearby quarries produced excellent stone, and as the local barons pushed their boundaries farther north, Riverbend became a convenient place to stop for a night.
The Castle was originally built a few hundred years ago by a group of adventurers who were retiring from that life. They decided that this location, then on the frontiers of settled lands, would provide some privacy as well as opportunities for the occasional exploratory trek. They brought with plenty of magic items, gold, and a pet gryphon, who had roost on one of the upper floors in a castle tower. The adventurers eventually passed away; two never returned from one of their treks, two died from a mysterious illness, and the last one, the mage, just disappeared one day. The locals eventually became brave enough to enter the castle, and it now stands as a local landmark and home to the local baron. Several secret doors and rooms have been discovered, but not all …
A main road lies to the north-west of the town, and a fairgrounds stands where the town road intersects that main road. The fairgrounds is used several times a year for festivals, and as a small market area for most of the rest of the year. The main income for the town are the quarries, located to the east and west. Both quarries produce excellent stone, much prized for building strongholds and monuments.
The river flows quickly here, but can be a good source of fish. Early mornings often find locals fishing from the bridge or along the steep banks. Only the foolhardy wade into the river due to the current.
Farms and a few small clusters of houses lie to the north and west. The land to the south and east is too rocky for agriculture, although the forests in that direction still house some wild creatures, including goblins, owlbears, and the occasional worg.
Locations in Riverbend
- (A) Shrine. Verinus, the local priest ministers to those in need.
- (B) The Gryphons Reach Inn. This is the oldest of the three inns in Riverbend. It is slightly more upscale than the others.
- (C) The Hammer and Staff. This inn caters to travelers and smaller merchants.
- (D) The Stone Tankard. The third inn is more of a tavern with a large attic where for a few coppers you can spend the night in your own sleeping bag, or for a few coppers more rent a blanket as well.
- (E) Harlan’s Place. A rough tavern where many masons stop on their way home from the quarries. Harlan, a retired mason, has only four fingers left (three on his right hand), but nobody messes with him.
- (F) Masons’ Guild Hall. While the quarries are privately owned, the Masons’ Guild makes sure the workers get a fair wage. Drewen Stonefoot, a dwarf, currently leads the guild.
- (G) Teamsters’ Guild Hall. The stone does not leave Riverbend unless it’s on a sanctioned transport, and Larissa Carter is the guildmaster who issues writs of sanction.
- (H) Cutters’ Corner. Many of the stonecutters live in close quarters in these buildings.
- (I) Strongbow Family. The Strongbows have recently bought out several other quarry owners, and now own the majority of the quarry rights.
- (J) Anithet Family. Until recently, the Anithets were the largest owners of quarry rights; they still own a significant share, and are not happy with the Stongbow interlopers.
- Gryphons Reach Castle. Once the home of a band of retired adventurers, the castle is now used by the local baron, Evgar Trewworthy, who is well-enough liked, although his daughter and heir, Adalia, has a bit of a selfish streak. She is known for going to town and stirring up brawls.
- More people than usual have been slipping into the river and drowning while they fish along the banks. Typically, someone goes in every couple of years, but so far this summer, three people have had accidents. All three bodies have washed up on a bank further east. This morning just before dawn, Rames Liftlever, a local fisherman and man-for-hire slipped and was carried away by the current.
- The Anithets have been under pressure to sell their quarry rights to the the Strongbows. The Masons’ Guildmaster worries that without competition, the Strongbows will be in a position to undercut the power of the Guild. The other day, Guildmaster Stonefoot was seriously injured by goblins on his way to a quarry, and two days later several masons at one of the Strongbow sites were injured or killed in an accident.
- Something has started “haunting” Gryphons Reach Castle, Baron Evgar has taken ill, and Adalia has disappeared.
Next time … a map of Gryphons Reach Castle