Over the years, Dragonspear Castle has become a name equated with great evil, as dread a name as Hellgate Keep. Evil humanoids and infernal terrors have poured from the old ruins to threaten all civilizations of the central Sword Coast. The Lords’ Alliance twice marched on Dragonspear Castle with many regional armies and militias, finally breaking the unholy host and occupying the ruins. The two campaigns (the defensive stand in the open plains (1354DR Year of the Bow) and successful siege (1356DR Year of the Worm) shone brightly as the power of unity for the scattered and fractitious city states of the Western Heartlands. The castle, already in disrepair from decades of neglect, was rendered a ruin. The gates are gone and many breeches have toppled sections of wall. The remaining central keep is a blasted shell and the interior floors fallen in. A temple to Helm was erected over the abandoned Hold of the Battle Lions and consecrated on site for the garrison to pray. Volunteers, penitents, and dedicated soldeirs of the Lord’s Alliance still guard this dangerous ruin.
The following information Klein learned while serving in the temple.
The altar is dedicated to Helm but there are three active shrines around the altar – the Great Wyrm totem of Uthgar(CG), Talos Stormlord(CE), and Tempus Foehammer(CN)) though there are eight more shrines that are neglected (Ilmater Woundbarer, Red Knight Lady of Strategy, Torm Loyal Fury, Kelemvor Deadlord, Gorm the Eternally Vigilant, Havela Luckmaiden, Shevrarash Black Archer, and Gaerdal the Stern. Service at the temple is a calling that has compelled many priests from across Faerun to journey and pledge themselves at perhaps the most dangerous holy site Aber Toril has to offer. A single leader and battlemaster is chosen by physical combat from among the assembled clergy serving deities of war and strength. Any may declare Rite of Challenge for the position of Guardian Priest to wield command of the unified clerics of the temple and the garrison troops of the Lords Alliance at Dragonspear.
Guardian Priest of Dragonspear, the Temple Leader of Helm, Brother Zuvian is a Tehyrian Human from the Dragon Coast town of Ilipur. He is very young for a person of his responsibility and position. Observing him interacting with other priests and members of the garrison has revealed that he shifts personality and tactics with each person when he is one on one with them. Klein has witnessed him being blunt and threatening with the priests of Tempus, soft-spoken and chummy with the Talosians, condescending and high-handed with the Great Wyrm worshippers, calm and even-handed with garrison officers, and other gymnastics of character flexibility. None of these personalities matches the harried but supportive face Brother Zuvian puts on for Klein and Klein’s compatriots.
Most of the Helmites have distanced themselves from the Guardian Priest but continue their support with reminding the remaining clerics that if they have a problem with the current Guardian Priest then they can have a new candidate for leadership challenge, which no one steps forward to accept. Only Mhorram (Tethyrian Human) is known to be loyal to Zuvian. The leader of the majority in opposition is Norger (Illuskan Human) despite being the younger cousin of Vasterlo (Illuskan Human) who holds seniority and second status as Armiger Brother. Brother Savvides (Illuskan Human) is viewed as the fulcrum by the other Helmite priests who, so far, has acted as a roadblock for any actions against the Guardian Priest “because the laws are clear.” Soderheim (Tethyrian Human) is morally belligerent enough to confront any who challenge Helmite rule of the temple. Ostermar (Tethyrian Human) thinks there is a need for new ideas to realize the potential of the temple. Linrud (Tethyrian Human), Haggard (Tethyrian Human), Bodovik (Tethyrian Human), Berkoping (Tethyrian Human), and Ostlando (Tethyrian Human) are difficult to read.
The Speakers of the Great Wyrm (Uthgar) agitate for nullification of Zuvian because of “cheating” during the challenge battle. Wyrmspeaker Geelwo (Illuskan Human) told Klein there were magics at play in the duel between Zuvian and the former Guardian Priest, Thumly. Geelwo is adamant that he saw the magical auras though no one else seems to acknowledge that fact. Lowell (Illuskan Human) is in full enthusiastic support backing up his grizzled leader. Rory (Illuskan Human) and Bodj (Illuskan Human) are less enthusiastic, often reminding the Wyrmspeaker and his apostle that neither can stand before the might of Zuvian.
The followers of Tempus are split between abandoning the temple and staying around for the great brawls that are sure to break out if not the actual enemies who will come knocking on the door of the weakened garrison. Klein had been so repulsed by what he heard from the Talosians that he did not try to find out more about them.
The Talosian leader, Thundercaller Crehdeeoon (Chondathan Human), is restless and espouses the idea of breaking the seal to battle directly into the Hells. Vahgger (Illuskan Human) is bored with the temple work and wants to see bloodshed. The younger Talosians are the brothers, Mehad (Calishite Human) and Mehmehd (Calishite Human), as well as Dakhel (Chondathan Human), Maraja (Calishite Human), and Qatjel (Calishite Human) who chafe at not being allowed into the underground with the monks. Crehdeeoon is pressuring hard for their demands to be met or at the least that a bloodletting festival of combat occupy a passage of the gibbous moon (3 nights) to mollify them for now. The followers of Talos were responsible for bringing a storm that was recently used for armies on the move (see adventure 2: Wrong Place, Wrong Time).
Krillic is the leader of a dozen pilgrim monks who go below to monitor the choked portal and finish anything which comes close to it. The monks have been silent on all matters regarding the many disputes within the temple walls that all sides consider them to be a total non-presence to any possible conflict. Klein’s attempts at interaction have been rudely snubbed due to a vow of non-communication with outsiders by the monks (not just silence). Rohbez (Calishite Human), Miksik (Chondathan Human), Janata (Chondathan Human), Adamek (Chondathan Human), Bradayc (Chondathan Human), Serveny (Chondathan Human), Kochy (Chondathan Human), Pelc (Tethyrian Human), Piskor (Tethyrian Human), Kobza (Tethyrian Human), Vasily (Tethyrian Human) all do respond to their names and will do official tasks within their obligations when so called upon.
Outside of the temple is the Alliance garrison housed in the outer ring of the ruined central keep. Bunking and partitions had been set up to accommodate 400 soldiers though less than half of that number are currently stationed at Dragonspear. Troops from different locales are segregated into different sleeping areas. The rough bunks and simple chests allow for decent rest in a warm, clean, and vermin free environment. The committed troops of the Lords Alliance are a mixed bunch of volunteers, conscripts, and duty bound warriors of varying degrees of training and competence.
Doler (Illuskan Human) and his retinue of Waterdhavian freebooters were pressed into service after their great adventure together to delve Dragonspear’s depths got them in over their heads against a swarm of wights. Zuvian demanded 6 months service for the rescue of this gang of disaffected city boys. Emil (Chondathan Human) has already proven himself handy with axe & shield but thunders with bravado. Cristof (Chondathan Human) is strapped with civilian steel (rapier). Antone (Chondathan Human) is a ball of energy who shoulders his way into crowds. Jody (Tethyrian Human) is the voice of reason but flashes the distinctive Waterdhavian two-weapon fighting style when danger rears up. Etterwall (Tethyrian Human) is the barracks philosopher and lawyer. Filser (Tethyrian Human) spends more time than the others in the temple and constantly compares the oral histories with a notebook he always has wet with fresh ink. Currently they are working the East Tower.
Easily the most polished and professional appearing troops at Dragonspear are the Iriaeban Shields. Heavy infantry from the Overland City of Iriaebor in the land of the Sunset Vale far to the South, the Shields are suffering a schism. Klein has witnessed the near fight between its ranking members. The Starshin (Lieutenant Spellcaster) Sarl wants to lead his cadre home now while his Sungars (ranking NCOs) Bickel (Chondathan Human) and Danner (Chondathan Human) are adamant about fulfilling their duty. The Shields lead the reserve on standby and work the walls and fields of the outer ward.
The mounted infantry from Elturel are actually a happy bunch. These troops are pulled from several units of the Hellriders. Ooly “Frog’s Breath” Oolridge (Chondathan Human) nominally leads this group but they act more like brothers than a military unit. Laudna (Chondathan Human), Colgen (Chondathan Human), Ohditch (Chondathan Human), Notar (Chondathan Human), Jorjy (Chondathan Human), Senmack (Chondathan Human), Forster (Chondathan Human), Kanzeel (Chondathan Human), Deter (Tethyrian Human), Valtskan (Tethyrian Human), Gungen (Tethyrian Human), Stattun (Tethyrian Human), Gallair (Tethyrian Human), Hwepner (Tethyrian Human), Cutaris (Illuskan Human), Den (Illuskan Human), Haut (Illuskan Human), Hahnspet (Illuskan Human), Dalton (Illuskan Human), & Livman (Illuskan Human). Somehow, they always have liquor and an infectious enthusiasm for life. In battle they sing and after battle they pray. They work hard and pick each other up. Oolridge, Laudna, Colgen, Ohditch, and Notar make it their business to chat up outsiders for cross-training their less experienced members.
The Skirmishers from Daggerford are a hodgepodge of militia with Ironeater Clan dwarves, elven servants of Elorfindar, human peasants of Crommhold, and halfling cityfolk. Sanak Hardcheese leads this militia detachment, an oddity for he is a Lightfoot Halfling. Gomgrin Ironeater (Shield Dwarf) and Lictus Floshin (Moon Elf) are his subordinates. The whole lot are a surly bunch often overheard complaining about things they are missing by being “stuck here” when off-duty. They are upset to have been left behind when the call to arms summoned the other half of their contingent back to Daggerford. All are very respectful of Klein and his friends as those chosen by “the Heroes of Daggerford.” On duty they are deathly quiet and deadly accurate with spear and bow. They often surge as a team out of shadow against unexpected intruders. Currently part of the reserve under the command of the Shields (a point of contentian between the Shields and the Daggerfordians). Rumin Floshin (Moon Elf), Yarb Ironeater (Shield Dwarf), Caleb Ironeater (Shield Dwarf), Kibben Bandoson (Lightfoot Halfling), Kobben Bandoson (Lightfoot Halfling), Rori (Gur Human), Lowell (Ffolk Human), Bron (Gur Human), Gregor Filvinderson (Sun Half-Elf), My (Chondathan Human), Raily (Chondathan Human), Reily (Tethyrian Human), Stig (Illuskan Human), Powell (Illuskan Human), Upton (Illuskan Human), Belved (Illuskan Human), Reed (Illuskan Human).
The Berduskan Pikemen are due to rotate out at the start of spring. A few of their number are still on the mend from the close encounter with several devils that attacked the outer ward one dead of night. Felder Wildroar (Tethyrian Human) is the First and he has Marcohn (Chondathan Human) and Jahm (Chondathan Human) as his loyal seconds. They drill their men in shield wall tactics, melee with the halberd, and knife-fighting. Ederborn (Tethyrian Human), Galindo (Chondathan Human), Gozwam (Chondathan Human), Henthorne (Chondathan Human), Hillyard (Chondathan Human), Lenox (Tethyrian Human), Litt (Chondathan Human), Onofer (Illuskan Human), Ossi (Illuskan Human), Teel (Illuskan Human), Tinson (Illuskan Human), Wale (Illuskan Human), Vilbon (Tethyrian Human), Cantrell (Tethyrian Human), Cizek (Illuskan Human), Devor (Illuskan Human), Dike (Chandathan Human), Allard (Chandathan Human). The Pikemen seek others out for games, sports, trade, or conversation. Well equipped and motivated, these men are professional soldiers. Currently they are working the South, Southeast, and West watches which gives them eyes on the road but keeps them busy with the lumber work.
Baldurian Swordsmen are a mixed bag of mercenary scum (Chondathan, Illuskan, and Calishite Humans). Scarred and distant, they talk among themselves about fights up and down the coast, of great battles when pirates and naval vessels locked bows. The tales mysteriously leave out on which side these men fought. However chummy they may get with each other they keep the rest of the garrison at arm’s length. “A ‘hey, you’ in our direction will get our attention just like a ‘hey, you’ in your direction will get yours,” is all the greeting they give. None of them use their names and are openly disrespectful of all ranks excepting Guardian Priest.
On night watch is a platoon of Waterdhavian Guard who swagger about the other garrison contingents like they are superior. Klein learned that Waterdeep is the most powerful member of the Lord’s Alliance and if Waterdhavian control is exerted over Dragonspear then that would be all but an open declaration of Waterdhavian supremacy over the Lord’s Alliance. The jingoism of these troops have grated on the nerves of the other garrison forces for a variety of reasons. Even the Waterdhavian Freebooters on day shift want no association with the Guard.
There are more skirmishers from Bowshot (5) and The Way Inn (10), and a mixture of halflings (40) and humans(20) of a grain coster that is working the garrison for pay by the winter costars until spring comes. Night shift and day shift have very little overlap as one group relieves the other at their posts and their leaders give situation reports to the Guardian Priest in the temple. Klein learned little of the night troops