Chaos Scar in the Nentir Vale
Thunderspire Mountain lies amid a wilderness of pine forests and rocky hills. The mountain’s pinnacle is usually wreathed in gray, foreboding clouds, but on rare clear days, it can be seen from a great distance. This striking peak is the largest of the Old Hills.
Beneath Thunderspire lies the ancient minotaur city of Saruun Khel. The minotaur kingdom fell almost a hundred years before Fallcrest was established, when a struggle for succession led to a vicious civil war.
The Trade Road, an old dwarf-made highway, passes near the mountain. It links the human town of Fallcrest (about a two-day journey west of the mountain on foot) with the dwarf stronghold of Hammerfast (three days east of the mountain by foot). In years past, travelers and caravans hurried past Thunderspire to avoid attacks from monsters lurking in the ruined minotaur city.
In the upper halls of the minotaur city the mysterious order of wizards known as the Mages of Saruun have established a secretive stronghold; merchants passing along the Trade Road sometimes take shelter here. Today, this part of the Trade Road is reasonably safe thanks to the presence of the Mages of Saruun.
From the Trade Road, a steep cobbled path called the Vale Road turns north and then cuts into the mountain. The road rises through a valley with sparse vegetation and ends at Thunderspire’s base. Small waterfalls and brooks wash down from the rocks above. A few shepherds, woodcutters, and trappers live in the vale. Their humble houses are made of turf and fieldstone and are fitted with stout doors to repel predators, including bears, wyverns, and griffons.