| Forgotten Realms Country|
|Government||Numerous city-states and strongholds|
|Races||Humans, elves, half-elves, halflings, half-orcs, gnomes, dwarves|
The Western Heartlands are a fictional region in the fantasy setting of the Forgotten Realms. Located in West Faerûn, the Western Heartlands stretches west from Cormyr and the Dragon Coast to the east, and slowly blends into the coastal Sword Coast region at the Sea of Swords. The Western Heartlands is in no way a state, but consists of numerous city-states and hamlets, with the metropolis of Waterdeep its most dominant city.
Baldur's Gate is a port metropolis on the north bank of the river Chiontar, to the south of Waterdeep and to the north of Amn. Between Baldur's Gate and Amn stretches the important merchant road, the Coast Way. It is well known for the presence of the powerful Flaming Fist mercenary company that keep the city generally peaceful and safe. Baldur's Gate lies right between the great cities of Waterdeep to the north and Calimport to the south, making it an important trade city.
Halfway on the Coast Way between Baldur's Gate and Amn, the large town of Beregost receives many visiting merchant caravans, and town has a wide array of inns and taverns. The town is run by Kelddath Ormlyr, the high priest of the local temple to Lathander. Beregost was founded around a school of magic run by the wizard Ulcaster, but the school is now but ruins to the east of the town.
In 1373, Beregost was the site of a battle between two metallic dragons, the copper dragon Chalintash and the mercury dragon Trinculo. These events are contained in Murray J.D. Leeder's short story "The Strength of the Jester," in the anthology Realms of the Dragons II.
The fortress library of Candlekeep stands on a cliff, looking down upon the Sea of Swords. The library contains every book and scroll of knowledge possible, and it was the home of the great seer Alaundo, who among other visions, foresaw the coming of the Bhaalspawn. Candlekeep is currently ruled by the Keeper of the Tomes, Ulraunt, and his assistant, First Reader Tethtoril.
To gain entry to the halls of wisdom, a visitor must gift the library collection with a new tome of immense value.
The village of Daggerford lies along the Shining River along the Sword Coast in Western Faerûn. It is a walled town with a population of approximately 900, with a number of outlying hamlets, farms and estates bringing the population to over 2000. The town is strategically placed along the High Road and fortified by the local duke's dwarven-crafted castle. It is primarily a farming community, but a desire to grow and be seen as an alternative to the northern city Waterdeep has caused the town to actively seek craftsmen and artisans.
History: The town takes its name from a 400-year-old legend about a boy who fended off a tribe of lizardmen with only a dagger. The first community was built along the shores of the river at that spot.
After the Fallen Kingdom of the elves retreated to Evermeet, the Kingdom of Man controlled the region and Daggerford's environs included all territory bordered on the north by Floshin, on the west by the Lizardmarsh, on the south by Dragonspear Castle, and on the east by the Misty Forest, although that territory is far reduced today. After the Kingdom of Man was ended by dynastic feuding, the people of Daggerford built a town proper near the shores of Delimbiyr, the Shining River. Eventually, the town and castle were walled in.
Government: Until fifty years ago, Daggerford was controlled by a Duke. A town charter was granted by Duke Conan, and the Council of Guilds now controls the town. Attempting to imitate Waterdeep, the guildmasters wear masks of secrecy when conducting official government business, but their identities are public knowledge.
The current Duke of the region is Pwyll Greatshout (sometimes called Pwyll Daggerford).
Originally called "The Keep of the Fallen Hills," the looming castle was built a millennium ago by giants as a summer capitol of the Giant Empires. When the Giant Empires collapsed, the Keep was abandoned and looted. It eventually became the home of the dragon Cryomantipelica and eventually, as the "Wild Hold," the base of operations for an adventuring company called The Wildmen of the North.
The castle finally became Darkhold when it was conquered and settled by the lich-queen Varalla until, in 1312 DR, the Zhentarim invaded it in an attempt to expand their organization westward. Darkhold was ruled by the wizard Sememmon until recently, when he and his consort Ashemmi vanished in response to the consolidation of Zhentarim power in the east by rival Fzoul Chembryl.
Darkhold currently houses approximately 800 warriors, and is headed by several commanders, whose sparring for position is actively encouraged by Fzoul in order to cull the weak.
Dragonspear Castle is a ruined castle on the edge of the High Moor in Western Faerûn. The castle, once the home of famed dwarven adventurer Daeros Dragonspear, contains both a portal to a hellish dimension and a passage to the Underdark and has for years been a launching point for raids by evil monsters and marauders. A subterranean river runs below the castle, which contains a detour to the Fountain of Nepenthe, a portal that attracts deceased souls and takes them to the Fugue Plane. About a decade ago, a concentrated effort by local municipalities including Daggerford, Waterdeep, and Baldur's Gate finally cleaned the castle out for good. A shrine to Tempus is now the distinguishing feature of the stronghold, as the army that has remained at Dragonspear now works to protect the castle from invading creatures.
According to legend, Daeros befriended a copper dragon and built his keep around him in mutual protection. Daeros was often seen riding his dragon friend while carrying a 40-foot long spear (hence the castle's name). The castle expanded to include several dwellings inside its walls, and a small dwarven village sprouted. Unfortunately, the dragon's hoard was coveted by outsiders, and a southern wizard's manipulations led to the creation of the planar portal, the death of Daeros and the dragon, and the ransacking of the castle. Hordes of monsters took over the fortress and for years until the recent cleansing. The magical gate has been sealed, but many expect it to open again at any time.
Physically, the castle is in shambles. Most of the walls have been destroyed and the skeletal remains of a dragon (either the original copper of one of many that attempted to claim its horde) still lies sprawled in the remains. An underground river flows nearby, although its waters are treacherous.
Adventurers still make treks to Castle Dragonspear, usually starting out from the nearby Way Inn. They are welcomed with open arms by the local garrison, who is always looking for reinforcements in holding back the tide of underground hordes and invaders from the High Moor. Many cities in the area look to rebuild the castle, while some evil organizations have their eye on it as a base.
Evereska is an elven stronghold in northern Faerûn. It is known as the Lasthaven of the elves, as it is the only elven stronghold left in Faerûn. The Common tongue translation of Evereska is "Fortress Home." It is a sanctuary to all Tel'Quess (Elvish, literally meaning "The People"), besides drow, who would hold a home for their race in Faerûn against the relentless tide of human expansion.
The city contains a mythal—a mantle of living magic that protects the city. This particular mythal bars magical transportation and allows the city's residents to climb walls and ceilings with the ease of insects. It is also known to bombard the city's attackers with golden meteors.
Very recently, in 1371 DR, the city was under siege by the phaerimm—an ancient and evil race who were inadvertently freed from their underground prison beneath Anauroch by the elf Galaeron Nihmedu and the Shadovar archwizard Melegaunt Tanthul. Through a long series of events, the phaerimm were eventually defeated, and the Evereskans began to rebuild their damaged city.
Friendly Arm InnEdit
The Friendly Arm Inn is a stone keep which houses the titular inn and is surrounded by an outer wall, which also protects the Temple of Wisdom (a shrine dedicated to Garl Glittergold), a handful of houses, and stables. With its location on the trade way between Baldur's Gate and the town of Beregost, the Friendly Arm is a safe haven for travellers.
A large, monster-infested, open moorland in western Faerûn, the High Moor is bordered on the east by the Serpent Hills and on the west by the Misty Forest. It was created in about -10,500 DR when the fallen kingdom of Miyeritar was destroyed by the Vyshaantar Empire's magics during the Crown Wars.
The High Moor contains numerous ancient ruins and structures, but the most familiar include Dragonspear Castle on the western edge, Hammer Hall, a dwarven keep near the banks of the northern Highstar Lake, and Orogoth, a large ancestral hall near the Serpent Hills. Forays into the High Moor are usually based in the town of Secomber, north of the region.
Also known as Caravan City, Scornubel is a major tradestop both for caravans heading north and south. Goods of all kinds can be found here virtually year-round. The city is also a hotbed of intrigue. Legitimate lords and those of a more shady kind, rulers of bastions of good, the masters of the Underdark, all come to Scornubel to engage in political actions or exchange secrets that might see their power stripped from them at home.
If you want goods, they can be found in Scornubel. If you want information, it can be found in Scornubel. But there's always a price attached.
Secomber is a small town of nearly 1,500 that acts as a de facto border town between the relatively peaceful Western Heartlands and the more savage North along the Sword Coast. It sits on the banks of the southern-running Unicorn Run river and the western-running River Delimbiyr. Directly south of the town is the dangerous High Moor.
The town, which sits atop three stone hills, is populated primarily by humans, but almost as many halflings call the place home. A small clan of dwarves lives in the area as well. Farming, fishing, and stonecutting are the primary occupations, but as the town has a large transient adventuring population, stores catering to such types are beginning to take hold. Some locals hire themselves out as guards or sellswords for expeditions heading into the High Moor or High Forest to the north. A couple of inns and taverns provide entertainment and lodging to the growing town.
History: Secomber is rumored to be a remnant of Hastarl, the capital of the ancient wizard kingdom of Athalantar, of which the only remains seem to be the Mage Ruins in the western part of the city. The rumors are given further credence by the overlarge gargoyle problem, caused by the expanding town's digging and freeing of the creatures from sealed underground chambers.
Government: Secomber is ruled by Trasker Selarn, a ranger who truly has the best interests of the townsfolk at heart, and he is seen as one of the people by his loyal subjects. A small garrison of about 30, provided by the Lord's Alliance, guards the town, and the local militia boasts over 100 members. Finally, about 20 elite soldiers form the Grey Unicorn guard.
Official Material Edit
- Elminster Ecologies
- More of the Western Heartlands!
- Caravans of the Western Heartlands
- Sneak Peek: The Forest of Wyrms
- Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast
- The Winding Serpent
- The Forest of Wyrms Portal
- Western Heartlands Portal
- The Labyrinth
- Fields of the Dead
- The Portal of Bones
- The Mishap-Prone Portal
Specific prestige classes Edit
- Evereskan Tomb Guardian (image)
Novels and Modules Edit
- Dragonspear Castle