strokesRPG: Gray Vale
The Town of Loudwater
Loudwater offers a well-defended rest stop for caravans and riverboats. Nearby communities such as Llorkh and Zelbross lie in ruins, yet Loudwater survives, albeit with a diminished population, which holds steady at about 2,000. To the north stand the brooding trees of the High Forest. To the south is the High Moor, infamous for monsters that lurk in the mists, guarding the ruins of bygone kingdoms. Loudwater feels like a frontier town despite having once boasted a greater population. Its days of boundless prosperity are a century gone, and most of the town’s current residents, which include primarily humans and half-elves, are not old enough to recall them. Loudwater never fully recovered from the disruption of trade brought about in the wake of the disastrous Spellplague, yet unlike many towns, it at least still stands.
1. Town Gates
A large gateway leads under a tall wall and opens onto the streets of Loudwater. Several bored-looking guards stand watch at the entrance.
Two iron gates, East Gate and West Gate, comprise the town’s primary entrances. These gates stand open during the day, leaving a 20-by-20-foot path that leads through the wall and into the town. A walkway crosses over the opening, connecting either side of the wall. Two towers, which are part of the wall, rise 40 feet above a gate. West Gate and East Gate are closed and locked at night, though they are opened for people leaving the town. Each of the gates is staffed by a group of four guards.
2. South Square
Carts and tents surround a large communal well in the center of this plaza. The citizens of Loudwater bustle about the area, shopping for food, clothing, and crafts.
Caravanners and river merchants set up carts and tents along the southern wall near the town’s permanent shops. Player characters looking for food, supplies, and miscellaneous items might find what they’re looking for here.
3. Garwan’s Curiosities
A sign bearing the image of a unicorn horn, an hourglass, and the words “Garwan’s Curiosities” hangs at the front of this store. Windows provide a view of bizarre items, including a shrunken head, candy wrapped in colorful leaves, playing cards, smoking accessories, fancifully decorated tankards, and more.
Locals visit Garwan’s to find interesting gifts or to sell off junk in which Garwan sees value. Strange items lie tucked away in the dusty nooks of this shop, though few pieces are of any real value. However, sometimes rare items pass through Garwan’s, and a lucky customer comes away with a valuable treasure. Thus, a stop at Garwan’s Curiosities remains a favorite diversion among locals, especially Loudwater’s youth.
4. Starra’s Knives
This dimly lit shop smells of oil and steel. The southern wall has a large display containing hundreds of different knives and daggers.
No other place in Loudwater offers a better selection of knives, daggers, and other small bladed weapons. Many of the blades on display have accompanying names and stories, though the veracity of these embellishments is doubtful.
5. Green Tankard Tavern
A sign with a green-painted tankard of ale proclaims the nature of this establishment. The tavern’s large common room holds a gregarious group that includes townspeople, riverboat folk, merchants, farmers, and one or two individuals wearing the badges of the Loudwater Patrol.
Called simply “the Tankard” by locals, this roomy inn and tavern serves as the public house for the southern portion of Loudwater; the Fisher’s Friend pub (area 15) serves the northern part of the town, including the docks. The Tankard offers beer, spirits, and a variety of expensive wines. Meals are available throughout the day, and rooms can be rented for overnight stays. Regulars and travelers alike gather each day to drink, gossip, sing, and engage in games of chance.
6. Loudwater General
A hanging sign shows this large building to be Loudwater General. From other signs on the storefront, the place appears to carry everyday goods necessary to those living on the frontier.
A person can purchase tools, clothing, food, drink, simple melee and ranged weapons, ammunition, and adventuring gear at this store. In Loudwater General, characters can find items from the Player’s Handbookof 30 gp value or less.
The earthy scent of hay and manure is strong in this wide building. The whinny of horses and the snort of oxen indicates that the building houses many beasts of burden. Carts, wagons, and other transports are also parked nearby.
Mounts can be kept here for 2 sp per day. Riding horses can also be bought and sold at the stables.
8. Loudwater Smithy
The clank of metal on metal, the hiss of steam, and the roar of flames issues through the open door of this establishment. A hammer and anvil decorate a sign hanging over the door.
Here characters can purchase a variety of metallic wares, including weapons and armor. The smithy doesn’t have any martial weapons in stock, but custom requests can be fulfilled within several days.
9. Loudwater Apothecary
A sign displaying several oddly shaped bottles hangs over the door of this shop. A dozen different scents waft through the doorway, including tangy musk, cinnamon spice, orange peel, baking bread, and gunpowder.
Although the apothecary advertises as a perfumery, the proprietor has recently started selling oddments and charms, much to Garwan’s ire. In the apothecary, one might find powdered unicorn horn, dragon claws, and burnt-out Ioun stones. However, the worth or authenticity of many such products is questionable. The apothecary also carries more mundane products, including herbs, roots, and spices, which are mainstays of Loudwater’s cooks and hedge wizards. There are also a small number of low-level rituals available for purchase here.
10. Patrol Headquarters
The symbol of a crossed sword and axe is blazoned high on this building. The clangs of metal and shouts from within indicate a fight might be underway.
This building is the headquarters for the Loudwater Patrol, and it is where Loudwater’s militia comes to train. The members of the militia practice twice per tenday with their fellow volunteers; members of the patrol practice with greater frequency. On average about four Patrol members are on duty at any one time.
11. Tenements and Homes
These dwellings crowd together within the walls, taking advantage of all available space. The buildings vary in quality; some appear well kept and house only one family, while others contain many families that have squeezed in together.
Hundreds of people live within the protection of Loudwater’s walls. Some live in multitenant apartments, while more affluent folk possess small houses The apartments mostly hold farmers, fishers, laborers, and craftspeople who are too poor to own land.
A temple is separated from the shops, homes, and tenements of Loudwater by a small hedge. The vine-covered walls of the temple rise high above the walls of Loudwater, and the spire’s tip appears to reach a full 100 feet above the ground. The symbol of an oak leaf gleams with its own emerald light above the grand archway leading into the temple.
This temple is sacred to Silvanus the Treefather, though worshipers of other benign faiths are also welcome. The temple is holy ground, and characters might find its quiet interior a calming respite from the cares and concerns of adventuring. The interior walls are painted to resemble the sky, and the main floor is one expansive area dominated by a grassy hill around which a crown of trees gently sways in an endless breeze.
13. Docks Gate
An inner wall, smaller than the walls surrounding Loudwater, separates the town’s northern dock district from the rest of the town. The gate between the two areas stands open and unguarded.
This gate remains open unless the town is attacked from the river, in which case it is closed and protected by guards.
Several large log structures in the northeast section of Loudwater store the goods of merchants doing business in the town. By day, people bustle about the area, transferring barrels and crates between the storehouses and trade ships. The docks are small and allow only a limited number of ships to moor. Several small fishing boats vie with larger ships for space along the docks. By night, raucous noises issue from the pub situated along the west wall.
Between the docks, storehouses, boats, and pub, this district is active regardless of the time.
15. Fisher’s Friend Pub
The overwhelming odor of spirits and smoke wreathes this tavern. Calloused dockworkers and fishers drink and gamble away their pay. Wizened old men and women sip their ale in silence, waiting for an opportunity to tell a tale of the river.
This pub attracts a rougher crowd than the Green Tankard does. Most folks come to the Fisher’s Friend to drink and gamble rather than to socialize.
16. Manor House
This grand manor house is a jewel of dwarven craftsmanship. The building includes its own stable, buttery, and servants’ home. The manor appears to be over two hundred years old, and it looks as though it might weather another two hundred.
Built by a dwarf artisan for a self-styled elf lord, this manor house was the seed from which Loudwater grew. The mansion is currently home to a family of half-elves descended from the original lord.
17. Run-Down Tenement
This decrepit, abandoned tenement building sits dejectedly in Loudwater’s northwestern corner. No doors or window keep out the elements or the squatters.
Everyone in the neighborhood ignores this building because of its decrepit state and are reluctant to speak of it.