The Chaos Scar
At 300 years old, Starfall Keep is as old as the Shield Wall itself. It was built to guard the sole entrance into the Chaos Scar. It, along with the Shield Wall, was built by the dwarves of Mirabar nearly a decade after the meteor struck in order to contain the evil creatures that had since gathered there in large numbers. It was agreed that the outpost would be manned by members from each of the nation-states. Unfortunately, as other threats arose among each of the respective nations, and with most of the monsters of the Chaos Scar seemingly content to prey only upon those foolish enough to enter the valley itself, they began the steady withdrawal of their soldiers. Eventually, Starfall Keep was completely abandoned.
Over the next few centuries the list of the keep’s resident grew to include 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 even a blue dragon for a time). Some believe the place is cursed, as no one has been known to maintain control of the Keep for more than a few decades at most. Eventually they are either repelled, slaughtered, starved, or simply disappear altogether.
The keep’s first known inhabitant after it was abandoned was a hobgoblin king known as Grim Eye for the few carvings of his scowling, angry visage found here and there in carvings above some doorways in the keep. No one knows what happened to him and his people.
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. Detectable only by an expert dungeon explorer, secret chambers and passageways may exist beneath the keep that have yet to be uncovered.
The keep’s other notable, past resident lends an added layer of intrigue to such rumors of hidden chambers. The famed dwarf bandit Greysen Ramthane was a scourge of travellers along the Long Road between Mirabar and Waterdeep for many years. He and his group of thieves looted untold wealth from the two cities.
Eventually, Waterdeep dispatched a small army 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, Starfall Keep served as the base of operations for a band of morally questionable adventurers known as the Six Blades of Fortune. While the Blades fought monsters in the Chaos Scar, it was not out of some sense of altruism, but purely for the purpose of amassing treasure. 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 community 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.
However, the Blades’ greed eventually got the best of them, when they stole a holy icon of Erathis that was being transported on the Long Road as part of a pilgrimage. Soon after, Lord Peridin Drysdale, a tenacious human paladin of Erathis, tracked them to Starfall Keep. He and his men were able to infiltrate the keep and slay four of the Blades, the other two having escaped through some unknown passages. 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. Assessing the threat posed by the Chaos Scar, he decided to remain in the keep as its new protector. The guards and administrators who ran the village under the Blades’ rule are still in place, and Drysdale has begun to organize small expeditions into the Scar to defeat the evil that dwells there.