Up until four centuries or so 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 plagued the area. 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.
Nentir Vale is now mostly empty, with a handful of living villages and towns scattered over a wide area. Abandoned farmsteads, ruined manors and broken keeps litter the countryside. Bandits, wild animals and monsters roam freely throughout the Vale, threatening anyone who fares more than a few miles away from one of the surviving settlements. Travel along the roads or river is usually safe – although travellers sometimes come to bad ends between towns.
Most of the Vale is covered in large stretches of open meadowland, copses of light forest, gently rolling hills and the occasional thicket of dense woodland and heavy undergrowth. The Nentir Vale is a northern land, but it sees relatively little snow – winters are windy and bitterly cold. The Nentir River is too big to freeze except for a few weeks in the coldest part of the year. Summers are cool and mild.