Fallcrest stands amid the Moon Hills at the falls of the Nentir River. Here travelers and traders using the old King’s Road that runs north and south, the dwarven Trade Road from the east, and the river all meet. The surrounding ridges shelter several small valleys where farmers and woodsfolk live; few are more than six or seven miles from the town. In general the people outside Fallcrest’s walls earn their living by farming or keeping livestock, and the people inside the walls are artisans, laborers, or merchants. People with no other prospects can make a hard living as porters, carrying cargo from the Lower Quays to the Upper Quays (or vice versa).
The city boasts three temples: the Moonsong Temple and its extensive gardens, dedicated to Sehanine and the other Elfen deities; the Temple of Erathis, dedicated to the goddess of civilization and Nerath’s patron goddess; and the House of the Sun, an abandoned temple of Pelor, god of the sun. The Tiefling merchant guild, House Azaer, is based in Fallcrest and manages their numerous branches from their headquarters in the upper city. Additionally, the Fallcrest Mercenaries Guild, a guild for adventurers and explorers, as well as mercenaries, is based in the city.
Fallcrest imports finished goods from the larger cities downriver and ironwork from the dwarf town of Hammerfast, and exports timber, leather, fruit, and grain. It also trades with the nearby town of Winterhaven.
The surrounding hills hold several marble quarries that once produced a good deal of stone, but the area has little demand for ornamental stone these days, and only a few stonecutters still practice their trade.
- Moonstone Keep – an old castle that sits atop a steep-sided hill overlooking the town
- The Bluffs and Falls – a great cliff snakes northwest to southeast across the town, over which the Nentir River falls
- Upper and Lower Quays – keelboats and similar craft put in here to trade and transport cargo past the falls
- Halfmoon Trading House – a large establishment governing and controlling Halfling trade
- Five-Arch Bridge – a fine stone bridge built by the Dwarfs of Hammerfast four hundred years ago
- Nentir Inn – a new building on the west bank, it mainly serves travelers on the Trade Road
- The Silver Unicorn – a pricey, but high-end inn, renowned for attentive service and well-appointed rooms
- Blue Moon Alehouse – heralded as the best tavern in Fallcrest; caters to merchants, farmers, and travelers
- Lucky Gnome Taphouse – a rough-and-tumble taphouse catering to the labourers of the lower quays
- House Azaer – the regional headquarters of House Azaer, the Tiefling merchant guild
- Fallcrest Mercenaries Guild – offices and armoury of the Fallcrest Mercenaries Guild
- House of the Sun – an abandoned temple dedicated to Pelor and housing a shrine to Bahamut
- Temple of Erathis – an impressive stone temple constructed of Fallcrest’s native marble
- Moonsong Temple and Gardens – temple dedicated to Sehanine; also has shrines to several other elfen deities
- Septarch’s Tower – a tall, seven-sided spire of pale green stone that was once the seat of a mages’ guild
The human noble Faren Markelhay is the Lord Warden (hereditary lord) of the town. He is in charge of the town’s justice, defense, and laws. The Lord Warden appoints a town council to look after routine commerce and public projects. The town council currently includes the leader of House Azaer, the prelate of the temple of Erathis, the head of the Fallcrest Mercenaries Guild, and the matriarch of the local Halfmoons, among other community leaders.
The Fallcrest Guard numbers some five dozen regulars, who also serve as constables. Moonstone Keep is their barracks and they answer directly to the Lord Warden. Additionally, the Lord Warden can call up a few hundred militia at need.
Fallcrest and the neighbouring countryside boast a population of three thousand. The majority of the residents are of Human or Tiefling descent, with the Tiefling population being more concentrated within the town. The Lowtown is home to a large Halfling population, particularly along the riverfront where their barges often form a floating market. Elfs and Dwarfs are common, though they do not comprise a large portion of the populace, and a few less common races like Dragonborn, Minotaurs, Genasi, and Shifters also live in the town.
Up until six or seven centuries ago, the Moon Hills and the surrounding Nentir Vale were thinly settled borderlands, home to quarrelsome human hill-chieftains and remote realms of nonhumans such as dwarves and elves. Giants, minotaurs, orcs, ogres, and goblins roamed the area for centuries after the fall of Saruun Khel. Ruins such as those on the Gray Downs or the ring-forts atop the Old Hills date back to these days, as do stories of the hero Vendar and the dragon of the Nentir.
With the rise of the empire of Nerath to the south, human settlers began to move up the Nentir, establishing towns such as Fastormel, Harkenwold, and Winterhaven. A Nerathan hero named Aranda Markelhay obtained a charter to build a keep at the portage of the Nentir Falls. She raised a simple tower at the site of Moonstone Keep seven hundred years ago, and under its protection the town of Fallcrest began to grow.
Over the next couple centuries, Fallcrest grew into a small and prosperous city, bringing order and civilization to the Vale. It was a natural crossroads for trade, and the Markelhays ruled it well. When the empire of Nerath began to crumble, Fallcrest continued to flourish -— for a time.
Two hundred years ago, a fierce horde of orcs known as the Bloodspears descended from the Stonemarch and swept over the vale. Fallcrest’s army was defeated in a rash attempt to halt the Bloodspears out on Gardbury Downs. The Bloodspears burned and pillaged Fallcrest and went on to wreak havoc all across the Nentir Vale.
In the centuries since the Bloodspear War, Fallcrest has struggled to reestablish itself. The town is a shadow of the former city; little trade passes up and down the river these days. The countryside for scores of miles around is dotted with abandoned homesteads and manors from the days of Nerath. Once again the Nentir Vale is a thinly settled borderland where few folk live.