While most border towns are little more than militia forts or farming villages with delusions of grandeur, Northbridge is the last bastion of civilization in the northern territories. Built on an island in the middle of the Nekrine river, it was founded a little over a century ago by Duke Duncan Redclaw as an outpost to defend local settlers against bandits, goblins and lizardmen. Since then it has grown into a thriving town with its own temple, tavern, gladiatorial arena and marketplace, as well as being a key trading station linking the southern realms to the northern settlements.
At the heart of Northbridge is the Keep, home of Duke Duncan Redclaw, and the last line of defence should raiders from the Wildlands to the north attempt to invade the town. Its walls withstood several attacks during the town's early days, but in more recent times an impressive fortified wall has been constructed around the entire town centre, reaching down to the river on all sides.
The Keep is the first port of call for visitors to Northbridge, as the town Marshall can usually be found in the throne room, where he will inform you of the local laws (which are strictly enforced by his town guard) and answer some of your questions. Outside the Keep itself you will find the main square, a common meeting place for townsfolk and newcomers alike, with its marbled chessboard-design paving and ornate fountain.
The Temple Of Galgesh
Crossing the main square and climbing the ramp beyond will bring you to the town's main temple. Within its imposing stone walls, travellers may seek the blessings of Galgesh from the high priest. As the most popular god in the borderlands, Galgesh and his followers have much influence in Northbridge, and their temple overlooks the rest of the town, its bells ringing out each passing hour.
A wide range of healing services and potions are available from the temple's priests, in return for a suitable "donation", while study rooms flank the main hall, offering scholars the chance to study some of the ancient texts housed in the temple's library. Gathered by adventurers and archaeologists from ruined cities in the Wildlands over the last century, the collection is considered the best of its kind in the northern territories.
The Traveller's Tail
At the other end of Northbridge's cultural life is the Traveller's Tail, a rowdy tavern which is popular with passing adventurers and those who want to hire them. The Traveller's Tail was built soon after the founding of Northbridge by Josiah Brown, himself an adventurer and a figure of some mystery. It is said that the pub is named after him, but the exact meaning of the name is uncertain.
The tavern's shadowy tradition has been continued by Josiah's reclusive son, Sandy Brown, the current owner. Few people have seen him, and most of the tavern's day-to-day business is run by the bartender, who will gladly exchange stories with passing adventurers and is reputed to be the town's leading gossip, a charge which he will naturally deny. Whether you are in search of adventure or merely looking for a place to rest up and enjoy a few drinks with your companions, the Traveller's Tail is, as the bartender would say, "as fine a tavern as you'll find in the borderlands".