The Fringe is the collective term used to describe the portion of Dark Faerun east of the Char. Within the Fringe you will find the last Free Cities, the free peoples of Dark Faerun, and the vestiges of the society that was.
The Fringe hosts the triumvirate of the last Free Cities; Ironspike, Harn’s End and Valderin’s Gate. While a motley assortment of towns pepper the Fringe, these three cities stand as the last large urban areas outside the Empire of Twins, and bastions of light and civilization in the wilderness. They maintain a loose alliance that has, as of yet, never been tested against the Empire of Twins, and thus mostly keep to themselves, outside of inter-city trade.
Ironspike, in the north, is nestled into the mountains and boasts a larger dwarf population than anywhere else in Dark Faerun, and finds itself one of the main sources of iron for the Fringe, mining extensively into the mountains surrounding their home. Having learned from days past when such endeavors attracted worms of terrible power, the dwarves of Ironspike mostly eschew the currency of gold and silver, bartering their iron and services for other finished goods and favors.
Harn’s End, a human settlement, sits south of Ironspike in the foothills of the Kragspeak mountains in a blind canyon. Legend has it that Harn, a warrior of days past, led his people there while pursued by demon hordes, and fought a great battle to push them back. Viewed as the most defensible of the three cities, its inhabitants are often considered backward for their reticent attitude toward travel outside the safety of the city; inside the city, they take pride in their utter self-sufficiency and ability to rely solely on their own resources and protection if need be.
Valderin’s Gate is the most diverse of the Free Cities; humans, halflings, gnomes, half-orcs, dwarves and a small population of half-elves all make their home inside the Gate. Known for its sprawling markets and proximity to the Char, Valderin’s Gate is a place of excitement and adventure. Taverns and cheap thrills thrive alongside antiquities dealers and mage’s towers; charlatans and vigilante rangers step side by side through its streets and crime can expect swift street justice as likely an outcome as a job offer. Situated in the plains east of the Char, Valderin’s Gate casts a searching eye in every direction with its Winged Patrol, knowing that its prosperity through trade comes at the price of increased vulnerability.