Daggerford and the North
The North, known also as the Savage North and the Savage Frontier, is a wild, untamed, and dangerous land located north and east of Waterdeep. The very definition of the North depends on the definer to a merchant from Calimport, everything north of Tethyr, including all of the Heartlands, is the Barbarian North, while to a native of Silverymoon, the North begins beyond that reasonable citys walls.
The North is a land of barbarians and goblin tribes, and is dotted by walled cities and ancient dwarven fastnesses. The highest mountains in Faerûn, the Spine of the World, form the Norths
uppermost border. Most of its forests are still virgin and untrammeled by human settlement.
As such, it attracts both adventurers and settlers. Adventurers seek the wreckage of the lost kingdoms, the abandoned dwarf holds, and the wizard towers. The settlers look for new lands to
farm and new opportunities. As in the Western Heartlands, the region is dotted with the small holds and settlements of this retired adventurer and that petty lord. Some, like Loudwater and Leilon, grow into full-fledged cities, while others perish quietly, leaving ghostly reminders of humankinds passage this way.
When the first civilized humans emigrated into the Savage North, they found the land already inhabited by humans. These were a dark-haired, blue-eyed people, a large and hardy folk descended
from savages, outcasts and refugees of Netheril, and early explorers. These people took their name from their legendary founder, Uthgar, and call themselves the Uthgardt.
The Uthgardt roam the North in the land between the citadels and fortress towns. Civilization is viewed as a weakness among these people, and magic – as opposed to priestly spells – a sin. They maintain a nomadic life, living by hunting (and among evil tribes, by plundering). Leathers and furs are common dress, and male warriors tattoo the image of their totem, the symbol of their tribe, on themselves.
The Uthgardt venerate Uthgar, their founder, who in their mythology is the son of Tempus and the husband of Chauntea (both of whom they also venerate). However, the Beast Cults are also very strong within the Uthgardt tribes, such that each tribe has its own totem and individual quasi-power.
Relationships between the Uthgardt and the civilized towns vary according to season and whim. Civilized people and unprotected caravans are often considered fair game by the Uthgardt barbarians.
A large and powerful dwarven community in the North, Adbar (properly, Adbarrim) is the last shard of the dead dwarven kingdom of Delzoun. Only the gate tower is visible above the surface,
for this is an underground city, with miles of granite corridors snaking beneath the Ice Mountains.
Citadel Adbar is ruled by King Harbromm, son of Thalbromm, who has held his community together in the face of threats from the orcish tribes and the rising power of Hellgate Keep.
Of old, the elven kingdom of Eaerlann founded the tower of Ascalhorn on a jutting crag commanding the valley below. The elves purpose was to protect their lands from orcish invasions and the refugees created by the fall of Netheril. Ascalhorn served its purpose well, for it guaranteed the peace for a century. Ascalhorn developed into an awe-inspiring city of magic and wonder, rivaling even Myth Drannor in power and majesty.
In the end, Ascalhorn fell victim to an assault from within. A foolish and/or evil mage opened a gate to the lower planes and welcomed the forces of darkness in. Creatures of the Abyss infiltrated the city, and in one hellish night slew the majority of the inhabitants in their beds. The remaining people fled to Sundabar, Silverymoon, and Citadel Adbar, and told of the horrors that had visited Ascalhorn. Hellgate Keep was born.
Hellgate Keep is a foulspawn city, and its patrols and minions regularly threaten its neighbors. Its commander is Grintharke, a tanar’ri of great power who is served by magically altered dinosaurlike creatures.
The greatest forest in the North is the High Forest, and it has remained untouched by woodcutters blades for centuries. It is the home of powerful druids, half-elves, and elven refugees. Treants dominate the northern quarter, known as the Woods of Turlang. Drow and orcs are said to dwell in the earth deep beneath the forest. Aarakocra nest in the high mountains at the center, which are known as the Star Mounts. A series of escarpments and gorges created by the flow of the Unicorn Run, called the Sisters, lies to the south of the Star Mounts.
The High Forest was part of the old elven kingdom of Eaerlann, but great stretches of it have never seen a ruler of any race. The woods are regarded as magical, and wizard weather is relatively common within their bordersblood-red snow, boiling rain, and explosive hailstones being not unknown occurrences. It is said that the Dire Wood, an enchanted section of the forest that once housed ruined Karse, is responsible for the destructive weather.
The most northerly civilized area in the Realms, Icewind Dale is literally at the end of the earth, pressed hard against the Spine of the World and the Sea of Moving Ice. It comprises a collection of trading communities known as Ten Towns that trade with the northern barbarians
and in local crafts. The Icewind Dale also has a reputation as a hide-out for those seeking to lose themselves or other pursuers.
Each town is has its own government, but all look to Cassius as their spokesperson. The best-known native of Icewind Dale, however, is the hero Wulfgar, son of Beomegar.
Formerly a sleepy mining community, Llorkh has become a base of Zhentarim operations in the Savage North. The old lord of the community was mysteriously murdered, and the wizard Geildarr installed himself as the new ruler.
Most of the inhabitants have thrown in with the new regime (though they have no great affection for its leader), and the town is the endpoint of caravans up from Darkhold. Geildarr has multiplied his personal wealth several times over. He has been known to hire adventurers to loot the remains of Netheril, looking for magic to improve his standing in the Black Network.
Geildarr is served by a force of 400 purple-cloaked Lords Men who protect the town from orcs and protect Geildarr from townsmen who think they can do the job better than him. The greatest threat to the Black Networks growth in the area is another evil force in the region, Hellgate Keep.
Llorkh has a thriving temple to Bane. It is presided over by Mythkar Leng.
The City of Sails is, with Neverwinter, the dominant coastal city north of Waterdeep. It is the home of fierce, proud, and warlike Northmen who engage in trade and raiding up and down the Sea
of Swords. It is a pirate haven for raiders, under the direction of their captains. Luskan ships have been involved in conflicts with Ruathym, Mintarn, and Orlumbor. They give the ships of Amn
and Waterdeep a wide berth, and have unsuccessfully attempted to raid Lantanese ships on a number occasions.
Luskan is ruled by a council of five high captains, all of whom are assumed to be former pirates. There are temples to Auril, Tempus, and Umberlee within the city walls.
Mirabar is the mining center for the Sword Coast, sending its forged metal bars, fine gems, and exquisite metalwork south to Waterdeep or overland to Luskan. It is home to a combined population of humans and dwarves living in relative harmony. The area around Mirabar is littered with mines, open quarries, and discarded talus.
Mirabar is ruled by a marchion, but the true power is in the Council of Sparkling Stones, an assemblage that meets each fall to plan out the amount of metal and stone to be hauled out in the
next year, and more important, who those materials will be sold to. Many a petty tyrant building his own empire has discovered that his supplies have dried up if the miners of Mirabar do not
approve of his attitude and actions.
Shrines to Tymora and Chauntea can be found in Mirabar, but most of religious sites, and all of the temples, are underground in the dwarven communities, and are dedicated to the dwarven
Neverwinter is a bustling city located further north along the coast from Waterdeep along the High Road. It is a friendly city of craftsmen who trade extensively via the great merchants of
Waterdeep. Their water-clocks and multihued lamps can be found throughout the Realms.
Neverwinter gained its name not from its craftsmen, but from the skill of its gardeners, who have contrived ways to keep flowers blooming throughout the months of snowa practice they continue with pride.
By the clocks of Neverwinter is a watchword for accuracy and delicate precision. The water-clocks produced here are accurate to within five minutes over a year, provided that sufficient
water is available. These clocks sell for 150 gp each, can be carried by a single person (using both hands), and are quite in fashion in city and town homes of the more civilized regions.
The multihued lamps are the result of carefully mixed and blown glass, and are designed to produce pleasing colors against the walls at night. These lamps sell throughout the Realms, and
are usually priced at 5 gp each.
Neverwinter is ruled by Lord Nasher, a retired adventurer known to have stockpiled a great deal of magic in his time. An amiable and fearless balding man who enjoys news of the outside world, Nasher is protected by his own personal bodyguard, the Neverwinter Ninenine 5th-level fighters packing as much magical protection as he does.
Neverwinter features temples of Helm, Tyr, and Oghma. Helms Hold is presided over by its founder, Dumal Erard. The Hall of Justice, the temple of Tyr, is controlled by Reverend Judge Olef Uskar, who aids Lord Nasher in civil cases. The Halls of Inspiration venerate Oghma, and their chief priest is Sandrew the Wise.
The Gem of the North and its largest inland city, Silverymoon is an echo of lost Myth Drannor. It is a beautiful city of ancient trees and beautiful towers that crouches on the northern shore of the River Rauvin. It is the center of learning and culture in the North. Elves, dwarves, humans, and representatives of other races live in peace and exchange ideas freely.
The city is ruled by High Lady Alustriel, a powerful force in the North and a senior member of the Harpers. Alustriel is a powerful spellcaster, but her greater talents are in her natural kindness and graceful diplomacy, talents that have served her well in preserving her city against the ravages of the North and, in particular, the rising power of Hellgate Keep.
Silverymoon is protected by a number of magical spells and wards, including the Moonbridge, the main span across the Rauvin. The bridge is made of invisible force, and its crest may be turned off, sealing the city from attack in that direction.
Silverymoon has temples to Helm, Lathander, Milil, Oghma, and Selûne within its walls, along with a shrine to Mielikki. It is also home to a temple to Shiallia, the Golden Oak Inn and
Temple, tended by Izold, proprietress and high priestess. In addition, Silverymoon holds a music conservatory and a school of thaumaturgy within its gates.
Sundabar was an abandoned dwarven hold resettled by human refugees from Ascalhorn, which is now Hellgate Keep. The city is known for both its excellent woodworkers and its extensive trade with various dwarf clans. It is also the home of the Bloodaxe Mercenary Company. Sundabar is ruled by Helm Dwarffriend, a former member of the Bloodaxes.
Sundabar has temples of Helm (the god, not the ruler of the city) and Tyr within its walls.
Anauroch (A-NAW-rock) is a barren wasteland that dominates the North, a huge mass of steppeland, rocky wastes, and true desert that runs from the uttermost north almost to the Lake of Dragons.
The Great Desert was not always so huge, and has grown remarkably in the past millennium, driving savages, goblins, and other evil creatures farther south into the lands of humankind.
Many human and elven kingdoms were swallowed by the wastes, and their ruins remain buried beneath the sands. Netheril, Asram, Hlondath, Anauria, the city of Orolin, and the great goblin
kingdoms now all lie below its shifting dunes.
The area of the Great Desert is in fact a collection of different types of deserts, and includes hot sandy wastes similar to the Dust Desert of Raurin, rocky badlands with very sparse scrub and no available water, basins filled with salt flats and prickly cacti, windswept sandstone mountains carved by the breeze into bizarre shapes, and polar steppes and icy wastes in the north that rival found those of Vaasa. In general, it is as inhospitable a place as can be on the surface of Toril.
Science, at least as it is currently understood, does not explain the reason for this advancing desert, and great magical or godlike powers may be involved. On the positive side, the encroaching desert has forced trade south through the bottleneck the wastes create into the realms of Cormyr, Sembia, and the Dales, making these regions the wealthier for the loss of such great cities as Orolin.
For the longest time, the wastes of the Great Sand Sea were considered to be totally uninhabited. However, Zhentarim activities along the deserts edge (including an attempt to create a cross-Anauroch trade route) have brought to light a number of intelligent people who make the desert their home. The human Bedine are a nomadic race of desert riders and sheikhs, and seem to be the Black Networks chief obstacle in their goals. The Dtarig are a quasihuman,
quasi-dwarven race of thieves, spies, and bandits who are (sometimes) allies of the Zhentarim. Races are also said to live beneath the sands in their own Underdark: warrior lizards called laertis, lamias, beholders, illithids, and dark, magical creatures unseen in the South who sit on the buried thrones of the ancient Netheril cities.
(SOURCE – Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting)