Based on conversations a visitor might overhear at the
Stumbling Giant, the residents of Restwell Keep rank
arguing about the keep’s history right behind gossip
and ahead of the weather when it comes to topics
of conversation. Everyone agrees on the basic gist
of its origin and most notable inhabitants, but those
agreements serve as little more than a common battleground
for long debates on the veracity of a legion
of rumors and legends.
The long list of the keep’s residents is a rambling
collection of heroic crusaders against the Chaos Scar,
would-be dictators eager to carve a fiefdom out of the
wilderness, and monsters seeking a defensible lair
(including, for a time, the blue dragon Fafnar). The
keep has stood empty for years at a time, claimed by
wild animals, weeds, and little else. While the world
around the keep shifts and changes, its walls abide.
Origin of the Keep
The keep’s first known inhabitant was a hobgoblin
king known as Grim Eye for the few carvings of his
scowling, angry visage found here and there in bas
relief carvings above some doorways in the keep.
His true name and the stories of his deeds are lost to
antiquity. Yet, the keep’s craftsmanship is obviously
of dwarf manufacture. Most folk believe that Grim
Eye enslaved the dwarves, but a few believe that free
dwarves originally built and used the keep.
That fact—that dwarves built Restwell Keep—is
now unquestioned. No other race could build a stone
edifice that could last as long. Aside from wooden
structures inside the keep, nearly every stone structure
remains from the original construction. The
dwarves’ talent for stonework is also plainly evident in
the secret doors found in some chambers. Rumours abound that secret chambers and passageways may exist beneath the keep that
have yet to be uncovered.
The next resident, the famed dwarf bandit Greysen Ramthane was
a scourge of the area's borders for many long years.
He and his coterie of thieves looted untold wealth
from the empire. Eventually, a small army was dispatched that tracked Greysen to the keep. After
an extended siege, the soldiers stormed the keep
and slew the bandits to a man. But what happened
next became the source of countless rumors and legends.
The task force’s commanding officer, a half-orc
named Bertak, claimed to find only a tiny portion
of Greysen’s stolen wealth within the keep. Stories
claiming that Bertak and his cronies pocketed much
of the treasure persist to this day, but others believe
that Greysen’s wealth is still hidden somewhere in the
keep, protected by traps and mechanical guardians.
For several years, Restwell Keep served as the base
of operations for a band of evil adventurers known as
the Six Blades of Fortune. While the Blades fought
monsters in the Chaos Scar, they also preyed on other,
weaker adventuring bands, and even raided a few
caravans. As they were content to keep their depredations
far from their base of operations, in time the
keep became a small outpost of civilization. Wanderers,
refugees, and other folk in search of a safe harbor
settled within the keep.
The Blades saw a benefit in the growing
within their walls. The taxes they collected
paid the mercenaries who guarded the keep,
and within five years, a small village stabilized
within its walls and became a center for adventurers
heading to the Chaos Scar. Despite the Blades’
nature, they believed the safe harbor and profit
offered by the keep was worth preserving.
In time, though, the Blades’ criminal ways caught
up with them. After stealing a holy icon of Erathis,
they were tracked to the keep and defeated by Lord
Peridin Drysdale, a human paladin of Erathis. Lord
Drysdale and his followers slew four of the Blades
and drove off the remaining two survivors. While he
had planned to leave the keep and its inhabitants to
their own devices, he saw that doing so would leave
the inhabitants vulnerable without the Blades’ protection.
Assessing the threat posed by the Chaos Scar, he
decided to remain in the keep as its new ruler. The
guards and administrators who ran the village under
the Blades’ rule are still in place, and Drysdale plans
to organize expeditions into the Scar to defeat the evil
that dwells there.
While Drysdale’s battle with the Blades never
involved the common folk or even the bulk of the
mercenary guards, the transition to his rule has
caused some friction. The Blades were content to give
the folk of Restwell Keep free reign of the place, as
long as they kept out of the Blades’ business. Drysdale’s
approach, while far from tyrannical, is more
involved. He plans to turn the keep into a bastion of
Erathis, much to the disgust of the freebooters, adventurers,
and merchants who populate the place. They
find his morality tiresome and his intent on meddling
in the Chaos Scar alarming. He has irked those of
the keep’s many inhabitants who pay little mind to
religion. Those who are of a religious mindset tend to
favor Avandra, whose love of freedom stands in stark
contrast to Drysdale’s push for order and civilization.