Rangers of the North
Nothva Rhaglaw (Er. “Regent’s Refuge”)is a small town lying just southeast of the Witbeamwyd, at the head of the Rhaglaw Gorge (Er. “Safin Rhaglaw). The peculiar history of the town has given
it a special character unlike any other northern town. It was being used as a settlement even back into the Second Age, when as now its site provided shelter, water and a plentiful supply of both wood and stone for building. The land around is also rather more fertile than much of Rhudaur or the Lonely Lands (S: En Enedoriath). When the Kingdom of Arnor was established at the beginning of the Third Age, Nothva Rhaglaw was a prosperous town well situated for communication and trade with the northern provinces and eastern settlements. It lay on an old road which ran from Amon Sûl to the Ettendales and then north to Angmar, formerly farmed and mined by Dunedain and Northmen. The road eventually led to Dwarvish delvings in the far north of the Misty Mountains. The Dunedain brought much to the town but the ”/wikis/tateshalla" class=“wiki-page-link”>Tateshalla in the nearby Witbeamwyd was already there. Most of the buildings were built of a combination of styles, utilizing the stonework of the Dunedain and the woodcraft of the Northmen. The town is built on the northeast side of the river, up the slopes of the ridge called Scandric Edge. The houses are huddled together but, on the whole, neat. An unfinished Arthadan wall in two sections partially encompasses the town to the south and north. Gatehouses guard the road across the ford and through the north wall, although they are little used in these times.
Lately fell creatures have emerged from the Misty Mountains: Trolls, Orcs and Wargs. Rumours abound of a preparation for a new invasion from Angmar.
Around two thousand years ago, a champion of Northman descent named Gerse won great reknown as a fighter for slaying scores of Orcs and other beasts of the Darkness. He led bands of local men and women in defense of the region and single-handedly slew the cold drake Corostal. A shrine dedicated to his memory may be found to the north of the town.
Most of the inhabitants of Nothva Rhaglaw are frontiersmen. Traditionally, there was no trade through the town and little enough to it, as it was so divorced from the peoples both to the north and to the south. The reason for this was perhaps Nothva Rhaglaw’s strangest attribute. When Arnor divided into the three Kingdoms of Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur, Nothva Rhaglaw elected to owe fealty to the Kings of Arthedain rather than the men of Rhudaur, within whose realm they should have fallen. Despite the rise in might of the Witchking’s realm in Angmar and the fall of Rhudaur and then Cardolan to his evil might, the town survived without even being attacked once by the armies which have left Arthedain the last Kingdom of the Dunedain in the north. No one can quite explain the Witch-king’s avoidance of this outpost of good and homely civilization, but most locals put it down to the Tateshalla and the threat of the King Who Sleeps: King Gotshelm and his supernatural knights who have rested sinced the Second Age, and legend has it, will awaken in their people’s time of greatest need.
Nothva Rhaglaw is one of the largest settlements outside of Bree and The Shire, with maybe more than a hundred crumbling stone abodes, and dozens of small farms surrounding the crumbling, old keep. Although Rhaglaw fell into decline at the same time as the rest of Eriador, the comparable peace enjoyed by escaping both the Wars in the North and the Great Plagues left Rhaglaw mainly untouched. Rhaglaw is now desperate for commerce, and there is no longer any Thegn, official law or authority. This has been capitalized by the bandit chieftain Iron-Eye – named so for a metal ball where his left eye should be – has ensconced himself in the ruins of the fortress, holding a mock court. For this reason, the people of Nothva Raglaw feel threatened to remain, and as such the town is bustling in a way, though obviously not happy.
The brigands are said to traffic with Orcs and other dark creatures, and may or may not be under orders from some nefarious entity known as The While Hand (this may be rumour).
A lot of smuggling goes through Nothva Raglaw, including the Smuggler’s Highway, and as such there are contacts to Cormac the Northman‘s former organization. Most of it goes to Dwarven settlements north of the Misty Mountains, but also to the North Downs, and to more lugubrious sites such as Camteh Brin. The brigands do not seem to be concerned with who buys as long as they pay. There are very good blacksmiths and armourers here, outfitting Iron-Eye’s “army”, often repairing or customizing old weaponry found in the ruins. With the threat of death over them, the quality is excellent, and much of the ancient weapons they find and adapt are of superior design.
Like in most of Eriador, horses are almost impossible to gain hold of as those who possess them refuse to give them up.
- Tateshalla – a large hall, barred with stone and timber.
- Smith’s Row – a whole street of armourers, weapon-smiths and general craftsmen.
- Trade Hall – a hall standing off from the middle of the town square; it is here Iron-Eye holds court. Iron-Eye and his men keep away from Tateshalla, which is barred and closed down.
- Black Cauldron – once a sizeable inn, now barracks for Iron-Eye’s Hillmen.
- Dapper Dove – another, former inn; it is still possible to rent rooms from the current proprietor, Daglof, who normally rent out rooms for storage.
For more information on Tateshalla and the legends of King Gotshelm and Gerse, consult Phantom of the Northern Marches for MERP. Iron-Eye and his brigands are created for this campaign.