The Dungeon of the Hark was the name given to an underground bandit stronghold located beneath the ruined village of Moorsedge in the Delimbiyr Vale.[3][4][5][6][2]

Geography[edit | edit source]

The former village of Moorsedge stood on top of a cliff amidst rocky ridges on the northern edge of the plateau that was the High Moor, and south of a bend in the Hark River (the southern branch of the Delimbiyr River) east of Highstar Lake.[4][6][2][7]

Description[edit | edit source]

The surface ruins were all that remained of the once-fine village of Moorsedge.[4][2] These were extensive but, by the mid–14th century DR, very little was left save stones and masonry half-buried in damp earth and light-green grass. It was much overgrown and only the outlines of some of the old roads could still be seen and followed. Near the center of the village were the remains of a big iron statue of some king or chieftain that had, over time, lost its head and arms and fallen over, becoming half-buried.[2] However, some of the buildings had since been rebuilt and restored to be fit for habitation by the wererat bandits who later occupied the site.[4]

A few tunnels and several holes and pits among the ruins led down into the various underground warrens that were the main Dungeon of the Hark.[4][2] These comprised many subterranean spaces constructed while Moorsedge thrived and later linked by a vast network of tunnels dug by the wererats and others.[2]

It was often theorized that the Dungeon of the Hark joined to the Underdark, and the events of 1372 DR proved this correct.[2] There were a number of connections to the Undermoor region of the Underdark below the High Moor. These were the best way into the Undermoor for surface adventurers, but also the best way out of the Undermoor and onto the surface for its inhabitants.[4] One winding passage, known as Illithidszilt-Ervvaut (the Flayers' Corridors), stretched roughly 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest to a river cave near Shining Falls used as a secondary base by the wererats, commanded by the Hark's lieutenant, Hekkut the Molted.[8]

Inhabitants[edit | edit source]

In the mid–14th century, this was the base of operations of a band of wererat brigands led by the Hark.[3][4][5][6] Circa 1358 DR, they numbered sixteen, largely fighters and thieves,[3] and by 1370 DR their ranks had swelled to twenty-five, having gained recruits from those victims infected by their lycanthropy.[5] They were courageous and cunning. In hit-and-run attacks, but never the same way twice, they robbed travelers, caravans, and adventuring companies on the Delimbiyr River and fled back to the ruins. There they lived in the rebuilt remains of the village's former fine homes. When threatened, they escaped underground into the Undermoor and passed through the territory of its more dangerous denizens.[3][4][5]

These included around a dozen ogres and the roper Xuchallit, who was an agent of the Beast Lord,[3][4] and the occasional mind flayer.[4] It was suspected that these mind flayers somehow controlled the activities of the wererats.[9]

History[edit | edit source]

Named the "Dungeon of the Hark" after the first leader of the wererat bandits based there,[4] the site had been their stronghold for hundreds of years by the mid–14th century DR. For all that time, they were led by the Hark—to outsiders, a mysterious and undying figure who led cunning and wicked wererats on raids up and down the Delimbiyr Vale, vanished for a time, and then returned to raid again. In fact, "the Hark" was a title taken by the wererats' leaders, and never a single person.[2]

The stout halfling adventurer Cornelius Monadnock once delved deep into the Dungeon of the Hark and discovered the Imrisword and Coronet of the Shining Hart, which had once belonged to Corcytar Huntinghorn, the halfling duke of Phalorm. These were stored in nearby Cliffbarrows by 1371 DR.[1][note 1]

In the mid-1300s DR, the current Hark was a human bandit by the name of Hawk, which would cause some confusion. He was so successful his reputation started to supplant that of the Harks before him, and many thought instead that "Hark" was actually a corruption of "Hawk", a theory supported by words sounding the same in the thick accent of the people of Zelbross.[2] Thus, the site was also called the Dungeon of the Hawk for a time.[1] In any case, this Hawk disappeared abruptly circa 1369 DR.[2]

Shortly thereafter, a new and ambitious Hark took over: a fiendish goblin wererat planewalker hailing from Fury's Heart. In only two years, he proved to be a significant threat to the Delimbiyr Vale, terrorizing traders on road and river and gathering allies in a loose confederation, and even allying with the enigmatic Green King.[2]

The Enclave of Echoes, a well-equipped and renowned Waterdhavian adventuring company, decided to go after the wererat bandits. They posed as caravan guards and counter-attacked during a raid, before pursuing the wererats into the Dungeon of the Hark. They were not seen again, and in 1370 DR folk across the North wondered at their fate. Meanwhile, the wererats carried on their raids as normal.[5]

In 1372 DR, the emboldened Hark hatched a plot to kill High Lord Kalahar Twohands of Loudwater, by kidnapping his son Velvred in an effort to lure him into am ambush in the crypts beneath High Lord's Hall.[10] The Hark's lieutenant Hekkut the Molted disrupted trade between Loudwater and Shining Falls.[11] The Hark apparently even attempted to foment war between Loudwater and High Forest orcs who came seeking shelter in the city.[2]

In response to these outrages, Stedd Rein, leader of the Red Fellowship, swore to end the threat of the Hark and his wererats in an independent campaign. He mustered the Red Fellowship and was joined by members of the Green Scions and Order of the Jade Blade and other heroes, and attacked the Dungeon of the Hark.[2] The Fellowship killed most of its inhabitants and looted anything of value. The Hark at the time escaped into an adjoining underground outpost, where he met his end at the hands of adventurers who were acting as the Fellowship's rearguard.[12] They observed a mind flayer serving as his advisor[13] as well as Zhentarim emissaries.[14]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. This connection with the halfling aspect of the realm of Phalorm suggests that Moorsedge may have been a halfling settlement and part of Phalorm, but this is only circumstantial.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 177. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Stephen Radney-MacFarland (2004). Dungeon of the Hark (PDF). Legacy of the Green Regent (Wizards of the Coast), p. 3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 41. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 Tim Beach (October 1995). “The High Moor”. In Julia Martin ed. Elminster's Ecologies Appendix II (TSR, Inc), p. 11. ISBN 0786901713.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 slade, et al. (April 1996). “The Wilderness”. In James Butler ed. The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (TSR, Inc.), p. 64. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 174, 294. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Karen Wynn Fonstad (August 1990). The Forgotten Realms Atlas. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 978-0880388573.
  8. Stephen Radney-MacFarland (2003). Extermination (PDF). Legacy of the Green Regent (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 9, 13.
  9. Tim Beach (October 1995). “The High Moor”. In Julia Martin ed. Elminster's Ecologies Appendix II (TSR, Inc), p. 30. ISBN 0786901713.
  10. Stephen Radney-MacFarland (2003). Under High Lord's Hall (PDF). Legacy of the Green Regent (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 3, 12.
  11. Stephen Radney-MacFarland (2003). Extermination (PDF). Legacy of the Green Regent (Wizards of the Coast), p. 3.
  12. Stephen Radney-MacFarland (2004). Dungeon of the Hark (PDF). Legacy of the Green Regent (Wizards of the Coast), p. ?.
  13. Christopher Lindsay (2004). Humility (PDF). Legacy of the Green Regent (Wizards of the Coast), p. 3.
  14. Ed Greeley (2004). Denial of Resource (PDF). Legacy of the Green Regent (Wizards of the Coast), p. 3.

Further Reading[edit | edit source]

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