Princes of the Apocalypse
The adventure takes place in the Dessarin Valley, a lightly settled region of caravan towns, isolated homesteads, and uninhabited wilderness just a weeks journey from Waterdeep. Nothing of note to the wider world has happened here for hundreds of years. The frontier long ago receded further northward, leaving behind a quiet backwater littered with ruins. These days, the Dessarin Valley has little in common with the popular conception of the Savage Frontier. Winters are hard here, but the hordes of orcs and other hungry monsters are a long way off from these parts.
If the Dessarin Valley isn’t quiet as wild and lawless as it once was, it’s still lightly settled territory that serves as a route to distant lands. Residents in places such as Red Larch or Triboar boast that their humble settlements are “the Gateway to the North.” Through these lands pass hundreds of caravans and keelboats each year, linking the great ports of Waterdeep and Neverwinter with places such as Everlund, Mirabar, or Silverymoon. The steady caravan traffic breathes life into the towns of this area, supporting businesses in the settlements along the Long Road. Inns cater to travelers anxious to sleep safely within sturdy walls and enjoy good food by a warm fire instead of camping by the side of the road.
In addition to catering to caravans and travelers heading to or from the far North, the Dessarin Valley is a breadbasket for the hungry populations of Waterdeep and Neverwinter. The farms and pastures of the area produce grain, livestock, poultry, apples, and hops, then ship them downriver (or drive them down the Long Road) to the coast. Few people become rich from farming, but farmers in the region do well for themselves provided the weather cooperates.