The Ironfang Invasion Adventure Path begins in the sleepy Nirmathi town of Phaendar, nestled alongside the only major crossing of the Marideth River within 50 miles upstream or down. The campaign begins as artisans, farmers, miners, shepherds, traders, and trappers from across the region gather for the seasonal Market Festival to send their raw materials to market in the “big city” of Tamran and trade for those essentials—finished goods, clothing, magic, and alcohol—that make surviving the next season easier.
Phaendar is vanishingly small, but also one of the largest settlements in southern Nirmathas, perfectly characterizing the nation’s spirit of individualism. The town grew around the tumbledown ruins of an old Chelish bastion, and now a citizenry of 400 makes up its permanent population, spread between the town and outlying farms. An informal town council oversees the community, largely to organize festivals and collect funds for repairs, but the people of Phaendar generally resent anyone assuming too much control over the community, and they steadfastly refuse to elect anyone to positions like sheriff or mayor.
Phaendar’s central square consists of a few small businesses: the Taproot Inn, the Trading Company, and an auction house and theater, as well as two dozen small family homes that double as workshops for leather- and woodworkers. Most of the town consists of wood and thatch structures, plus a few canvas-walled pavilions. Monsters, bandits, and even the occasional Molthuni raid destroy property too often for most Phaendari to feel the expense of long-standing stone buildings to be worth the investment.
Trade comes through the town over Phaendar Bridge, the only suitable place to traverse the swift, rapid-coursed river for 50 miles in either direction. The town of 400 residents rarely sees any excitement, making the Market Festival a major source of news, entertainment, and revenue. The 2-day affair, held once every 3 months, gathers farmers and herders from across the Nesmian Plains, as well as woodcutters from the nearby Fangwood and prospectors from the Hollow Hills, to trade for supplies and raw materials. Even traders from the “big city” of Tamran make their way to the event, swelling the town’s population to half again its normal size…