Thunderstone was a village or small town in northeastern Cormyr. It lay along the southern bank of the Thunder River, close to the southern side of Hullack Forest, north of the Vast Swamp, and near to the western slopes of the Thunder Peaks. The Thunderway began at Thunderstone, before running through High Dale and ending at Saerb in Sembia. The Hullack Trail began at Thunderstone, and ran west through southeast Cormyr.
The town was named after the Thunder Peaks that rose nearby.
Many years before the late 1360s DR, an ettin of the Thunder Peaks assembled a band of orcs and goblins and sent them on raids against Thunderstone and Hultail. The attacks were ultimately thwarted and the ettin slain.
Thunderstone was one of a number of places captured by the Lost King Gondegal in the Year of the Dragon, 1352 DR. Like the others, his mercenary troops occupied and pillaged the town before being ousted by the Purple Dragons as Gondegal's eight-day kingdom fell.
Desiring lumber and game to fuel the expansion of the realm, the Cormyrean crown sought to exploit the primeval Hullack Forest. Thus, it encouraged adventuring companies and such groups to clear the forest of monstrous creatures and the many goblin and orc tribes dwelling there, and to investigate its secrets and quell the rumors of danger. To that end, the crown suspended many rules normally placed on adventurers. By 1367 DR, Thunderstone had become an oft-used base of operations for expeditions into the nearby Hullack Forest, by adventurers, Purple Dragons, and merchant groups.
By the late 1360s DR, a rumor circulated that an enterprising cloud giant dwelling in the southern Thunder Peaks had secretly contacted some merchants of Thunderstone, with plans to open regular trade with the human town. The merchants involved kept their dealings with the cloud giant secret.
In the Year of the Shield, 1367 DR, a sage in Thunderstone received from an explorer a deceased giant golden carp from a pond south of the Thunder Peaks. Examining it, this sage found the carp had died of a gill rot sickness and estimated that all the carp in the pond would die by year's end. This pond happened to be guarded by a red dragon, whom the sage feared would retaliate against nearby villages. However, the disease could be treated with an antidote brewed from the shells of popper shrimp.
In the late 1360s DR, the Wolfmasters adventuring company from Sembia came through Thunderstone on an expedition into the Vast Swamp. Lord Partic Thistle, the Registrant General of Adventuring Companies, hired a group of adventurers to pursue the Wolfmasters on a matter of unpaid dues.
At that time, over the course of a tenday, four young men of Thunderstone—Troyappa, Kenhart, Joelem, and Jonren—went missing. Some rumored they'd abandoned their betrotheds, others that they'd disappeared near the graveyard. In fact, they'd been kidnapped by hobgoblins from the Hullack Forest, and put to work smelting copper for the hobgoblin's fire giant mistress, Oghalis. Adventurers investigating dead escaped centaur and satyr slaves of the hobgoblins would eventually find and rescue the men.
Thunderstone had no lord of its own. Instead, in the 1360s DR, the crown's interests were represented by Sarp Redbeard, lord of the city of Wheloon. However, lying partway across Cormyr, his efforts were limited.
Closer to town, one Hurm Thiodor was the local official of the crown and the unofficial Herald. The clerk's primary duty was to handle record keeping and collect reports from adventurers on the state of the nearby Hullack Forest and the monster-clearing efforts there, though he could not have an accurate or up-to-date understanding. Local folk thought the crown representative was a poor joke, and that Thiodor was weak. He lived and worked out of the small, tidy Office of the Crown at the center of town.
Thunderstone boasted a 100-strong garrison of the Purple Dragons, all foot soldiers, but no War Wizards. Their duties included enforcing the laws of Cormyr, as interpreted by their commander; guarding the pass to Sembia; defending the town from threats from the Hullack Forest, Thunder Peaks, and Vast Swamp; and sometimes by necessity rescuing adventurers from monsters out of self-same areas. However, the Purple Dragons were only in town from spring to autumn, and left before winter. When in town, they were based out of the two-story Purple Dragon Barracks.
Around the late 1360s and early 1370s DR, this contingent was under the command of Oversword Faril Laheralson. Unfortunately, Laheralson and his troops had a bad reputation for causing trouble around town. The Oversword cared deeply for his men but was concerned more with their morale and spirit than their discipline. They were a rowdy bunch of veterans who enjoyed brawling and monster-slaying, and frequently got out of control. They were by-and-large undisciplined, unreasonable, and unpleasant and they harassed visitors and bullied locals. They seized a local tavern as their own hangout, roughly ejecting all civilians. Although Laheralson respected King Azoun IV, he paid only lip service to the Crown and thought little of the King's representatives, seeing them as soft bureaucrats not worth his time. He usually ignored the Crown clerk Thiodor. As the capital was so far away, they got away with a lot, and the Crown cared only that the town remained loyal. The folk of Thunderstone once petitioned Lord Redbeard, asking him to reprimand Laheralson over the behavior of his soldiers. Although Redbeard talked to Laheralson, the Oversword had the favor of King Azoun himself, and Redbeard was unable to force the issue.
The town had no fortifications, nor a militia. Eight Purple Dragons—veteran monster slayers all—were stationed on the Stag Skull Bridge at all times, guarding the way from the Hullack Forest.
Law & Order
The Purple Dragons were the law in Thunderstone; they both enforced it and interpreted it. All those who "got out of line" in their view were simply roughed up and warned against starting trouble. Those who continued were forcibly ejected from town. In fact, it was the Purple Dragons themselves who most often got out of control.
Thunderstone in the 1360s and 70s DR was a commonly used base of operations for expeditions into the neighboring Hullack Forest, used by adventurers, merchant groups, and Purple Dragons alike.
Thunderstone had a relatively small economy, relying mostly on the caravans, adventurers, and travelers passing through. It served their needs with a range of inns, taverns, and stores selling supplies and equipment. There was also a trade in loot and relics of lost civilizations recovered by the lucky adventurers who returned from the forest and swamp and typically bought up at One-Armed Magurk's.
The town did however have a local industry for fishing and logging and a thriving pelt trade. Animal pelts from the Thunder Peaks and the Storm Horns did very good business in Thunderstone as of 1368 DR. In particular, there was a fashion in making clothing from bear hides, sold to travelers on their way through to Cormyr or High Dale. Local humans and demihumans hunted brown bears in ever-increasing numbers.
Farmers in Thunderstone, like their peers in nearby Kulta, raised the domesticated yak, declaring it to be a superior beast of burden, thanks to its placid nature. The yak's habit of turning its furry hindquarters towards the wind in a blizzard led to a common saying in both towns: "to go yakward" or similar, meaning to avoid a hazard or discomfort by turning away. Farmers used it in regard to town leaders they felt were ignoring problems or would not see from their point of view; thus they spoke of the "yaks" in office.
Thunderstone had no major merchants of its own in the 1360s DR, but there was a branch office of the Six Coffers Trading Coster, which dominated trade in town. Managed by Adris Colebriar, the Six Coffers office sold all standard, non-magical weapons, armor, and equipment, typically at higher-than-normal prices.
A group of gnome alchemists established themselves in Thunderstone by 1372 DR, making and selling alchemical supplies to the adventures. Their most popular wares were flasks of acid, tanglefoot bags, and especially the deafening explosives known as thunderstones.
The center of town life was the Assembly, a hall used to hold a variety of civic, private, and religious gatherings. In poor weather, it became an under-cover town square or marketplace, and occasionally public bouts were hosted. The Assembly was also a destination for folk seeking news, rumors, jobs, or to meet people.
The Thunder Stone was a mysterious boulder standing in the center of town. It was about 3 feet (1 meter) in diameter and was composed of a kind of rock not found for miles around. A local legend told that it had been magically transported from the highest mountain in the Thunder Peaks to its current home when the land was nothing but wilderness. Certainly, there was no mundane explanation. The stone itself had no known magical properties and otherwise appeared to be just a strange rock. Nevertheless, a superstition flourished among adventures that kissing the Thunder Stone before setting out would bring luck and that they would win more treasure and suffer less deaths. It seemed to work, but by boosting confidence and morale. Mages like Tiztor the Great were convinced it had a deeper secret, however.
Another local landmark was the Stag Skull Bridge, a grandly built old stone bridge that spanned the Thunder River and led the way north into the Hullack Forest. The bridge gained some notoriety for the number of foresters and adventurers that came running out of the Hullack Forest with monsters hot on their tails. The Thunderstone garrison would let these folk pass safely before engaging the monsters on the bridge, and so virtually every Purple Dragon on duty here was a veteran monster slayer. From dusk to dawn, a lantern was kept burning on either side of the northern end of the bridge, to let adventurers and foresters know which way to flee to safety. The local saying "between the Stag's lights" came to refer to being "almost out of danger". Despite the name, the bridge was not adorned or otherwise decorated with any stag skulls, but the Purple Dragons did mount on the railing posts the heads of monsters that dared try to cross the bridge.
Inns and taverns in Thunderstone tended to change hands and names more or less every season, so much so that Volo declined to list them in Volo's Guide to Cormyr. Active in the late 1360s DR were the inns The Bear's Den and The Sign of Thunder (favored by adventurers) and the taverns The Dragons' Den (favored by Purple Dragons) and The Furniture's Fate (favored by adventurers).
- Official buildings
- Assembly • Office of the Crown • Purple Dragon Barracks
- One-Armed Magurk's • Wangle's Livery • Six Coffers Trading Coster
- The Bear's Den • The Sign of Thunder
- The Dragons' Den • The Furniture's Fate
- Shrine of Tempus • Kelemvor's Garden
In the late 1360s DR, Thunderstone had a settled population of around 900 in winter. However, through spring, the town's population swelled dramatically, reaching thrice its normal size during the summer months, and dropping off through autumn. In 1372 DR, it averaged at about 1800 people.
This seasonal population came as merchants and caravans moved through Thunderstone on their way to and from High Dale in the Dalelands and Wheloon in central Cormyr. Adventurers, explorers, Purple Dragons, hunters, trappers, and other such folk also flocked to the town and used it as a base from which to launch their expeditions into the Hullack Forest to the north, which was rumored to contain the ruins of the storied realm of Tethgard. A good deal of traffic remained in winter, however, as merchants and smugglers came through, after the Purple Dragons had departed.
Rumors & Legends
Sitting on the frontier, populated by adventurers, Thunderstone could be rife with rumor and hearsay, but it was hardly the hotbed of intrigue some claimed. A few locals imagined there were all kinds of spies in town—Crown and Harper, Zhentarim and Sembian, paladins and druids, and others. This was not entirely true, but there were such people either passing through or keeping an eye on affairs there.
In the late 1360s DR, some in Cormyr claimed that followers of the Lost King Gondegal, the usurper of 1352 DR, were based in the region around Thunderstone. However, this was not true—they were nowhere near Thunderstone. At the least, a rebellious lord and former supporter of Gondegal had a spy of his own in Thunderstone.
There were also many stories about the surrounding wildernesses for adventurers, some of which could be useful, but there was also a great deal of misconceptions and misinformation that could prove dangerous or expensive. For example, in the late 1360s DR, some said that there was a 10,000 gp bounty on red dragons of any size or age, with bonus land grants for slaying old dragons—this was dangerously mistaken.
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- James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “The Thunder Peaks and the Storm Horns”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- John Terra (November 1997). Four from Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 118. ISBN 0-7869-0646-4.