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D&D Burgoo (4.0): Remake the Realms II: Putting Fallcrest in its place

Fallcrest, as presented in the 4E Dungeon Master’s Guide, is a gem. Designed to be a campaign starting point, it’s got a handful of adventure hooks and can accommodate additional material of your own design easily enough.

At the least, it’s a good template for a town of your own design.

For me, I’m attempting to make the Realms my own before the official published setting is released. (See previous post [1]). So let’s find a way to put Fallcrest in its place. 

Home is where the monsters are

Mention the Realms, and a goodly number of folks will think (and rightly so) of Waterdeep. Others tap into the Dales.(1)

But for me, the best fit for Fallcrest seems to be the North (or, if your prefer, the Silver Marches). Maybe I’ve read too many of R.A. Salvatore’s novels, but the expanse of wilderness dotted with small, defensible towns (and the shining city of Silverymoon) has the most appeal.

Home is where the monsters are, and there’s no shortage of monsters in the shadow of the Nether Mountains, south-southeast of Hilltop, halfway between Jalanthar and Lhuvenhead on the southern shore of the River Rauvin. I’ll put the dot for Fallcrest right there.

I’ll also use a portion of the environs map that accompanied the Fallcrest description. But I’m going to disregard anything more than 10 miles north or south of Fallcrest and 25 miles east and west. Then I’ll turn the map on its side, so that the Nentir River can stand for the Rauvin, as it runs east and west past Fallcrest. This way the Trade Road goes to the High Forest, the King’s Road to Hilltop and the branch of the Winter River runs down from the Moon Pass.

Lots of options

Placing Fallcrest here allows me to use the Kobald Hall dungeon from the DMG, if I wish, as well as explore a good deal of wilderness. 

With Fallcrest as the centerpoint, I can run adventures in mystery-shrouded and magically enchanted woodlands, rugged snow-capped mountains, ruins (and accompanying dungeons), visit the gentler vale, the rigorous Moon Pass and incorporate all sorts of water- and marsh-themed encounters on and along the River Rauvin.

From the troll-infested Evermoors to the west to Delimbiyr Vale in the east, there’s a wealth of potential.

(1) The Third Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting made good use of this preference. For another excellent example of a base town for your adventurers, check out Ashabenford, the largest town in Mistledale, which also is within spitting distance of Myth Drannor.
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7 Comments To "D&D Burgoo (4.0): Remake the Realms II: Putting Fallcrest in its place"

#1 Comment By Patrick Benson On July 29, 2008 @ 8:50 am

I started my new D&D 4e campaign this weekend using the Fallcrest setting and I am running the Kobold Hall adventure for my players. It is a bit railroady as a very simple dungeon crawl, but I explained to the group that it would benefit us to learn the rules with this adventure and everyone agreed.

And I am happy that we decided to do so, because we spent more time in Fallcrest than in Kobold Hall. The players enjoyed visiting the different sites and what not, and I had plenty of good material to work with using what was in the DMG. We only played one encounter of Kobold Hall before we decided to call it a night, but no one felt cheated or got bored.

The new DMG is a great starting point for beginning DMs just learning the game. It is by far my favorite of the new core books as a GM. The section on Fallcrest also leads easily into Keep on the Shadowfell which I will be running soon. They did a good job of making it easy to start a campaign with the core books, while still giving you good hooks into other published adventures. I might have Keep on the Shadowfell on the shelf for a while, since my players have already shown interest in other things in the Fallcrest area.

#2 Comment By Martin Ralya On July 29, 2008 @ 9:25 am

I like your placement of Fallcrest, Troy. All my Realms GMing has been in the Dalelands or Moonsea regions — but I’ve always wanted to try the North.

It’s the most “points of light”-y part of the setting, which fits really well with 4e’s shift. I’m interested to see how they tweak the rest of Faerun to fit that mold — if they do.

#3 Comment By streebor On July 29, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

hi everybody, this is my first comment. i’ve been lurking for some time but this post made me register and comment 🙂

i just wanted to say that silver marches are my favorite realms setting. i always loved the fantasy atmosphere of borderland frontier communities: strong castles below high mountains and surrounded with dark forests filled with orcs and other monstrosities …thinking of that i just want to take my axe and go hunting. back in the days i ran a short campaign (with lots of energy spent into it) sat around sundabar – it was fun although it ended in TPK 🙁

anyway, it seems Troy your game will be lots of fun, i envy your players


#4 Comment By Kurt “Telas” Schneider On July 29, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

I’ve put just about every campaign in some kind of frontier town – even sci-fi settings. Tons of plot hooks, lots of unknown places, reasons for critters AND politics, etc.

BTW, I am a fan of the much-maligned “points of light” approach. A well-populated area won’t support a whole lot of top-level carnivores. (And please don’t use the “but it’s magic” excuse.)

#5 Comment By Scott On July 29, 2008 @ 9:33 pm

The 4e DMG is my favorite gamemaster’s manual precisely because it includes so much useful material. I wish I’d had it when I was starting out.

Fallcrest may be the single best chapter in the book.

It’s very well done. There’s a good amount of information, considering the limited page count, yet there’s plenty of room to make adjustments and slot your own creations into the town. The wider environment is sketched out in less detail, but filled with possible plot hooks and adventure sites. The whole thing reminds me of Hommlet, actually. (That’s a good thing.)

The adventure is very straightforward, but it does seem good for getting the rules straight. Be careful of that last encounter, though. It can be pretty tough.

#6 Pingback By Gleemax’s Failure and other thoughts at A Butterfly Dreaming On July 29, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

[…] Stew has a cool little article about placing the DMG’s Fallcrest into the Forgotten Realms.  I was hoping for a little more detail about the changes to be made, but I enjoyed the article […]

#7 Comment By Martin Ralya On July 30, 2008 @ 6:46 am

@Streebor: I liked the 3.x Marches sourcebook, but that’s another one I’ve never had a chance to try out — it does look like a lot of fun.

#8 Comment By supergnome On August 6, 2008 @ 12:08 pm

Ashabenford in the Mistledale is a reasonable match, though Fallcrest is larger. I’m a fan of the North, but always run there so I just happened to have run one out of Ashabenford for my last game.