Heroes of Hillsfar
The walled city-state of Hillsfar is on the southern coast of the Moonsea, just north of the Forest of Cormanthor where three major roads meet. What began as a convenient trade stopover under the control of the Elven Court has become one of the major powers of the Moonsea, a power based on free trade and brutal racism.
Adventurers, often cosmopolitan in their views and accepting of many races, often find it difficult to spend any time at all within the city limits and most avoid it entirely in favor of nearby Elventree or The Stop.
There is only one entrance into Hillsfar: a single huge gate in the southeast section of the city. All citizens of Hillsfar are required to carry passes that enable them to come and go (Marie still has hers), though each arrival and departure is dutifully recorded by the Red Plumes acting as city guards. Every visitor to Hillsfar is challenged by the Red Plumes, who demand to know the reason for entry. Names and descriptions of those given permission to enter are recorded in a huge book, called The Strangers. Log, that lies on a stone stand near the gate. The entry fee is 2 gp per visitor. Each visitor is allowed to stay in Hillsfar for a specific time, not exceeding the next occurrence of the lunar phase present at their arrival.. In other words, if someone enters Hillsfar during the full moon, she or he had better be out by the time of the next full moon. Offenders, as well as unauthorized visitors, wind up in the Arena.
While in Hillsfar weaponry must be peace bonded, and spell use (both wizardly and clerical) is carefully watched.
Population: There are 60,000 permanent residents, but the population rises to about 90,000 in the summer months.
Inns: Inns that cater to adventurers needs are forbidden. However, the Diamond in the Dung is an establishment that secretly does so. A room plus meal cost 5 gp per night.
Taverns: The Rats Nest is a noted Red Plume haunt. The Bugbears Cave is known for bad food and good gossip.
Supplies: There is a full range of supply shops in the city. Titys’s Emporium has everything an adventurer could use, and Titys is a fairly reliable fence.
Watch: The Red Plumes patrol the city. They have the power to dispense justice as they see fit.
Temples: The Vault of Swords (Tempus), the House of Happiness (Lliira), Lasholme (Chauntea), and small but well-kept shrines to Umberlee, Malar, and Torm. More info below.
Hillsfar is led by First Lord Torin Nomerthal is heavily involved with trade in the region, acting as a hub for cities and settlements in the surrounding area. All trade between the Moonsea and the Dalelands, Sembia, and Cormyr passes through Hillsfar. A person from Hillsfar is known as a Hillfarian.
The Two Great Laws which define Hillsfar:
- The Great Law of Trade: Do not interfere with any legitimate trade.
- The Great Law of Humanity: Only humans are allowed within Hillsfar.
The Great Law of Humanity requires further description – During his reign, the original First Lord of Hillsfar, Maalthiir, dictated that only humans were to be permitted within the city proper. With his death, the Second Great Law fell out of practice until recently when the current First Lord, Torin Nomerthal, revived the aged practice. Currently, the only non-humans inside the walls of Hillsfar are found within the Arena; fodder for the crowd’s pleasure.
Life in Hillsfar is harsh for nonhumans. There are only two ways to enter the city, via the Docks and the city’s sole gate. The Red Plumes interview everyone attempting to enter, looking for nonhumans in magical or mundane disguises. Those captured at the gate, coming off a boat, or found within the city are immediately sentenced to the Arena until such time as they die. Their lives are not often long. The bodies of nonhumans who die in the Arena are blessed by clerics of Tempus and then ground into fertilizer for the surrounding farms.
Law and Order
The Red Plumes are the local city guard and army of Hillsfar, and have been empowered by First Lord Torin Nomerthal to enforce the Great Law of Humanity both within the city and in the area surrounding it. They are considered little more than officially-sanctioned bullies by the populace. However, as Hillsfar is a rather wealthy city (due to the large amount of trade it conducts), they are many in number and exceptionally well-equipped; most trouble-makers know to leave them well enough alone.
Religion in Hillsfar
Religion is not the driving force in Hillsfar that it is in other Moonsea cities. Due to its tumultuous history with the Zhentarim, Hillsfar has no appreciable following of Bane. Instead, due to the city’s extensive brewing industry, the worship of both Lliira and Chauntea are much more popular.
The House of Happiness appears a lively festhall where ribbons and flowers decorate the walls and ale and mead are served by Lliira’s Joydancers. All are welcome in Lliira’s hall. Musicians and dancers performing for the intoxicated worshippers who leave their troubles at the door.
The temple of Chauntea is a modest building called Lastholme that is frequented by farmers. Home to much sought after mead, the Earthmother’s followers do a brisk trade in food and drink and operate a bustling orphanage; recently expanded to make room for Hillsfar’s growing flood of unwanted babies.
The followers of Tempus congregate at the Vault of Swords. While regular attendees of the games in the Arena, it is no secret that the Battleguards do not support the enslavement of nonhumans who are forced to fight to the death for nothing more than the crime of being born. The words from the Tempuran Litany “Disparage No Foe and Respect All” is carved above the doors to the temple; a silent protest for the wrongs done within the city.
Small unstaffed shrines to Umberlee, Malar, and Torm can also be found in the city.