Author Topic: Forgotten Realms: Faerūn  (Read 5591 times)

Exordium

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Forgotten Realms: Faerūn
« on: December 21, 2011, 02:54:57 AM »


Introduction:


The focus of the Forgotten Realms setting is the continent of Faerūn, part of the fictional world of Abeir-Toril, usually called simply Toril, an Earth-like planet with many real-world influences. Unlike Earth, the lands of the Forgotten Realms are not all ruled by the human race: the planet Abeir-Toril is shared by humans, dwarves, elves, goblins, orcs, and other peoples and creatures. Technologically, the world of the Forgotten Realms is not nearly as advanced as that of Earth; in this respect, it resembles the pre-industrial Earth of the 13th or 14th century. However, the presence of magic provides an additional element of power to the societies. There are several nation states and many independent cities, with loose alliances being formed for defense or conquest. Trade is performed by ship or horse-drawn vehicle, and manufacturing is based upon cottage industry.[wikipedia]

This brief summing of the major points of the setting focuses on Faerūn.

Races:

The creatures inhabitating the Realms are wide and varied. Humans are by far the most common race, living in virtually every habitable area of Toril. Dwarves, elves, gnomes and halflings, with a stray half-orc, are also represented within human cities and in their own kingdoms and tribes.

The many subraces and planetouched races also borrow themselves as viable player characters; These include the aasimar, tiefling, drow, duergar, and countless others.

Perhaps the most archtypical enemy in the Realms is the dragon; The more common foes include different goblinoids, orcs, shapechangers, skeletons and zombies, kobolds, and so forth.

Geography:

Abeir-Toril consists five known continents; Anchrome, the equilevant of North America lays north of Maztica. Faerūn, perhaps the largest of continents, is east of Anchrome and Maztica and represents by most parts the late medieval Western Europe. Kara-Tur, analoguous to medieval East Asia, is located east from Faerūn, though connected by land, and west from Anchrome. Maztica - part of the same landmass as Anchrome - represents Mesoamerica at the time when Christopher Columbus first set foot on it's soil. Zakhara, part of same supercontinent as Faerūn and Kara-Tur is a peninsula in southern part of the mass of land.

Aside of these continents, roughly half of Abeir-Toril remains unexplored and unnamed. These include two continents, one between Anchrome and Kara-Tur, another south of Maztica, and several large islands.

Faerūn's geography is lined by snow-covered mountains in the north and arid steppes with an occasional desert to the south, with lust forests in the middle, that turn to highlands as one travels further east towards Kara-Tur. Both in the west and in the south the seas connected to the Western Ocean border the continent.

People & Culture:

The Common Folk:

Most of Faerūn's economy rests on the shoulders of the peasants, whose villages produce the major bulk of food and crafts consumed in the larger cities. The peasants are generally a fearful folk, who are death afraid of mages they do not yet know - at worst, this has lead to witch-hunts as a careless sorceress has flaunted her power in a roadside tavern of a foreign town.

Like all the folk of the realms, the villagers usually pay homage to one or more deities, usually linked to their source of livelyhood. A community of farmers living in the fringe of a dense forest full of wolves, might worship Chauntea in hope of a better harvest, and out of fear sacrifice to Malar in hopes that it keeps predators at bay. Another example could be a village of fishers, who like almost all seafarers of Faerūn, tribute to Umberlee to keep the bitch-queen's wrath away.

Magic:

Abeir-Toril is a world of high magic, but not nearly always does this transfer to the lives of the ordinary people. Most of the common folk have a mix of fear and respect towards mages. Publicly, it is known that only one market on the Sword Coast - the western coast of Faerūn - routinely sells items with permanent magical enchantment (and in this case, they are limited to +1 armors and weapons). The Red Wizards of Thay and several other organizations, however, often illictly sell various trinkets to ready buyers. Many villages have a hedgemage they have learned to trust over the years, to whom they turn in issues both small and dire.

In the cities, magic is oftentimes severly controlled and might require a license to perform. Mages almost always belong to some order or organization, at least nominally, and to many a lone mage of considerable power would be seen as a threat.

Religion:

In Abeir-Toril, the gods have walked on the land and are visible in everyday life: Granting not only subtle favors to those who pay respect to them, spells to those who worship them; But also appearing in their avatar forms to the devout servants in dire need and oftentimes changing the course of history itself.

There's only a small handful of people who do not worship a deity or several deities, and are usually considered - with a good reason - as insane. Some could regard the peasants as supersitious for believing that wind is creation of elementals moving air over the surface of Toril, or that lightning is the result of escaped force from the elemental Plane of Lightning. This, however, by all means is the truth in the Realms.

Afterlife:

Those who have followed a deity and did well in regards of the deity's dogma are called the Faithful. They end to the Fugue Plane, where Kelemvor's city is located. From there, a servant of the deity the person worshipped will come to take them to the realm of the said deity.

Faithless are those who have not followed a deity during their life and their sentence is simple when they arrive to the City of Judgement in the Fugue Plane: They are bound to the Wall of the Faithless and eventually become part of it if they aren't taken by demons to Abyss.

The worst fate waits the the False, those who have failed their deity to a considerable degree. They will be judged by Kelemvor and punished for all eternity, ranging from becoming the servant of Kelemvor to horrendous, ever-lasting tortures.

This information is not necessarily known to majority of mortals in all it's details. Most people simply believe they will be taken by their patron deity, being blissfully unaware of the Fugue Plane of grey.

The Major Powers:

The realms is divided into nations and city states; Whilst in the present day of 3th edition there's only a minority of of cities that have managed to stay independent amidst wars, they often serve as important locations for traders and many organizations; And indeed, the amount of factions in the Realms is huge.

Some of the most powerful organizations are:

Harpers, semi-secret group that seeks to oppose evil organizations, keep nations from waging war, and to some degree, maintain balance between civilization and nature.

Zhentarim, The Black Network, an evil faction that seeks - quite simply - to assume power over most of Faerūn. Their base of operation is the Zhentil Keep, and most of their members revere Bane.

Lords' Alliance, Council of Lords, an influential partnership of many merchant cities. It was formed to oppose the influence of Zhentarim.

Red Wizards of Thay, the organization of evil mages of Thay. Currently, they traffic a wide variety of illicit goods ranging from magic artifacts to drugs in order to assume more power all over.

Lords of Waterdeep, a secret memberhood that rules over the city of Waterdeep, which due to it's size in housing a million people within and in it's close vicinity, has strong influence over much of Faerūn.

Some of the largest, most influential, or most notorious countries or city states known to all, are Amn, the wealthiest of regions; Calimshan, large country in south, rich with merchants; Cormyr, in mid Faerūn, known for it's prosperity, it's Purple Knights, and War Wizards; Luskan, the northern most of large cities, and with a notorious reputation as being smuggler haven; Thay, a powerful nation and the origin of Red Wizards. Slavery is openly practiced; and finally, Waterdeep, in all likelihood the most important and influential of all cities on Faerūn. It is nick named the City of Splendors, housing within 130,000 people and up to a million in it's immediate vicinity.

Pantheon:

Forgotten Realms has a vast pantheon consisting of hundreds of gods, further divided regionally. Above all gods is Ao the Overgod, whose existance is known by very few and doubted by virtually all. However, Ao has the power to ascend mortals to godhood and strip gods from their powers - In fact, no god exists in Forgotten Realms without the quiet approval of Ao. Unlike the other gods, Ao doesn't grant spells nor in any way supports his followers. The rare few scholars who do follow him, are generally regarded as insane and upon death count as Faithless.

Aside of gods, certain fiends have cults of followers and are able to grand them a limited amount of spells.

The 3rd edition deities are divided to different groups depending on their power. Of these, the most notable Greater Deities and known to some degree by practically everyone, are:
Bane, The Black Hand, strongest evil deity whose portfolio mainly revolves around Tyranny;
Chauntea, The Great Mother, goddess of life and agriculture worshiped by almost every peasant;
Lathander, The Morninglord, god of birth and creativy, whose temples and priests have a wide presence;
Mystra, the Mother of All Magic, who oversees the Weave, ensuring it is not misused;
Tempus, Lord of Battles, revered by most mercenaries and soldiers, his priests being found often on both sides of conflict.


History:

Days of Thunder: From -35000 DR to -30000 DR, this was the time of the fabled Creator Races, of which very little is known. For most of the era, there exists no mentions of dwarves, humans, elves or similar races. In the very end, gods come to be known by the mortal races and many more such races are born.

Karsus's Folly: At -339 DR, this event saw the fall of Netherese empire as a wizard by the name of Karsus attempted to summon worth the goddess of magic, Mystryl, and steal her mantle of divinity. As Karsus failed to control the surge of power that hit him, magic itself started to become instable and in an attempt to fix the Weave, Mystryl sacrificed herself. This caused all magic to cease functioning for a short period - as a result, almost all of the floating cities of Netheril empire plunged into the ground, destroying the civilization.

Soon after a new deity of magic was born, Mystra. After re-establishing the Weave, she managed to save a few of the cities of Netheril from destruction. To make sure nothing like this could ever happen again, most powerful of magic was forbidden to be used by the goddess herself.

Time of Troubles:
1358 DR, Ao the Overgod, enraged at the neglect of gods towards their worshipers and their constant pursue for more power, banished all deities from their divine homes save for Helm, forcing them to walk with the mortals on Toril. As a side-effect, all divine magic ceased to function and arcane magic became dangerously unpredictable. Many gods saw their deaths, and few more were born during this period. Eventually, Ao allowed the gods back.

Forgotten Realm's 2nd edition's advancement of time line starts from the event. From here on, the power of gods would depend on their servants and a god would wither and die if he wasn't worshiped.

Spellplague: 1385 DR, Mystra, the goddess of magic, is assassinated by Cyric and Shar. The Weave starts to grumble, eventually breaking and utterly stopping to function; Many wizards were driven insane and died from relevant causes, thousands of magical artifacts grumbled to dust or ceased to function, and Toril itself was reshaped. By 1395 DR, arcane magic had finally returned close to normal, though many areas continue to be affected by the event.

Forgotten Realm's 4th edition's time line starts from the Spellplague.

The "Present Day" of Different Editions:

1st: 1357 DR
2nd: 1367 DR
3rd: 1372 DR
4th: 1479 DR

Miscellaneous

Calendar: Faerūn uses Calendar of Harptos. It is split into twelve months, which all have three tendays (30 days); Indeed, instead of weeks, Faerūn uses tendays.

Marking Years: Years (often 'winters') are always named consistently across the realms, and are referenced to by their corresponding names. The most common numerical system in Faerūn though, is Dalereckoning, or DR, marking the time from when elves started to allow humans settling (to a degree) in uninhabited forest regions.

Astronomy: Abeir-Toril has a single moon, named Selūne, who is also a goddess in the Realms. The solar system and visible space is called the Realmspace and in appearance is similar to Earth's night sky.

False Stereotypes and Defining Points:

Level of Magic: It is true that Forgotten Realms can be considered high fantasy. However, magically enchanted items are decently rare. Most unique artifacts don't reach +5 in any enchanment, and such weapons are generally only found in the hands of Greater Deities. Typically a level 9 adventurer might have all around +1 gear, perhaps a family artifact or very rare blessed item might be up to +2.
Respect and Fear of Mages: In large cities mages often serve in high positions as advisers, enforcers, and researchers. However, the common folk hold a mix of fear and respect towards mages they do not know.
Presence of Religion: As mentioned, practically everyone in Forgotten Realms follows one or more deities. Those who don't, generally end up to Abyss or their souls are permanently destroyed or become part of the Fugue Plane.
Final Authority: In general, neutral and good alignmented cities have clerics of Torm, Tyr, Helm, or similar deity in charge of criminal justice. Paladins, in particular, are usually always believed in and are often entitled to capture - sometimes, to slay - any person they deem as evil. Evil cities and nations are usually ran tyrannically by mages, warlords and priests of evil deities.

On-line Resources:

Forgotten Realm's Wikia, detailing most deities, concepts, nations, history, calendar system and so forth.
List of FR books
Map of Abeil-Toril
Map of Faerūn
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 03:12:17 AM by DM Exordium »

Exordium

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Forgotten Realms: Lore on major regions and nations (Cormyr so far)
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2012, 03:33:05 PM »
Cormyr



Recommended minimum read for all Cormytes: Phrases and words subsection under 'Life and Society', King section, Law section.

Capital: Suzail
Population: 1 360 000 (85% human, 10% half-elves, 4% elves, 1% other (mostly halflings and dwarves))
Government: Monarchy
Religions: Chauntea, Deneir, Helm, Lathander, Lliira, Oghma, Malar, Milil, Selūne, Silvanus, Tempus, Tymora, Waukeen
Imports: Glass, ivory, spices
Exports: Armor, carved ivory, cloth, coal, food, swords, timber
Alignment: LG, LN, NG, with Lawful Good leadership

Cormyr is a strong nation that lies at the western end of the diminished Sea of Fallen Stars. The kingdom is ancient but remains vigorous. Old forests dominate the landscape and national character. Humans predominate in Cormyr, and they are justly proud of their country's long and noble traditions. The dragon, the stag, and the unicorn are prominent in Cormyrian folk tales, ballads, and heraldry.

Founded over a thousand years ago, the kingdom of Cormyr benefits from an enlightened monarchy, hard-working citizens, and an advantageous location. Cormyr is a civilized land surrounded by mountains, forests, and settlements of evil humanoids. Known for its well-trained military and its active group of government-sanctioned spellcasters, Cormyr boasts fine food, honest people, strange mysteries, and abundant contacts with other parts of the world.

Recently challenged by treacherous noble families, armies of goblins and orcs, famine, a marauding ancient red dragon, and the death of its beloved monarch, Cormyr is now struggling to maintain its holdings.


Life and Society

Though there are strong reasons why it shouldn't be, Cormyr is a steadfist and prosperous land. Despite an often-violent past, constant armed vigilance against beasts and border perils, and frequent treasonous intrigues, Cormyrians remain loyal, content, prosperous, and peaceloving folk. While the serious reverses of the last two years have shaken the kingdom, Cormyrians expect better days ahead and are willing to work to achieve that goal.

The Obarskyr family rules Cormyr, assisted by wise Royal Mages. The long reign of Azoun IV, aided by former Royal Magician Vangerdahast, gave the realm a legacy of stability and prosperity that's the envy of much of Faerūn.

Beneath the royal famfly is a wealthy, sophisticated, often fractious group of noble families of long lineage, influence, and demonstrated loyalty to the crown. The War Wizards - a force of battle-mages under the command of thoughtful wizards such as Caladnei - temper both royal and noble excesses. As the sage Bradaskras of Suzail put it, the Obarskyrs, the nobility, and the War Wizards "form three legs of a stool on which the common folk sit."

Most Cormyrians are farmers, ranchers, horse-breeders, foresters, or craftsfolk. The country also maintains a large, capable army, the Purple Dragons - not to be confused with Azoun IV, the king who was called the Purple Dragon, or the Purple Dragon Thauglor, long the largest and mightiest wyrm of the Dragon Reach.

Phrases and sayings:

Forms of address and titles:

Commoner - Goodman/Goodwife or Maid
Knight - Sir/Lady
Mayor, Official - Lord/Lady
Baron, Count - Milord/Milady
Duke - High Lord/High Lady
Grand Duke, Prince - Highness/Highness
King, Queen, Archduke - Majesty/Majesty
Various forms of greetings and farewells persist, but the simple phrase "Well Met" is almost universal for both.

Commonly a person from Cormyr is referred to as Cormyrean or Cormyrian. However, king Azoun IV always preferred the term Cormyte.


King

The loved leader, Azoun IV, was poisoned by an abraxus, a magical bull-like creature, on a hunting trip in 1369 DR. As a result, he fell to a coma-like sleep, and as he later woke up from it, he fought the devil dragon Nalavarauthatoryl the Red and died in the battle in 1371 DR.

In the 3rd edition's present date of 1372 DR, when Azoun IV's grandson, Azoun V, is still an infant, Regent Alusair Obarskyr and Dowager Queen Filfaeril Obarskyr are ruling Cormyr until Azoun V comes of age. Azoun V is cared for by Alaphondar, Royal Sage of Cormyr and lover of Filfaeril. The utmost care are given to keep Azoun's whereabouts a secret, as there are many ambitious malcontents who would wish to do him harm.


Law

The most important laws, posted publicly to noticeboards in the nation, are:
  • All persons entering Cormyr must register with the officials of a border garrison.
  • Foreign currency can only be used in certain locations. Please exchange your coins for Cormyrean golden lions at your first opportunity.
  • Adventurers must acquire a charter before undertaking any operation as a group.
  • All weapons must be peace-bonded. The only persons exempt from this law are members of chartered adventuring groups and members of mercenary groups that can offer proof of employment.
  • Harming cats is forbidden.
  • Bow your head to royalty and the local nobility.
  • Purple Dragons have the right to search you upon request.
  • Hunting on private land is forbidden.

The reasoning why harming cats is strictly forbidden has two sides: It's often believed in Cormyr, that cats are divine creatures, the eyes and messengers of gods themselves. What the people also say, is that cats are the spies and familiars of the War Wizards. The more learned people may be more prone to believe the second explanation.


Important cities

Suzail (Metropolis, 47,009): The royal capital and richest city in Cormyr, Suzail is home to the important nobles and merchant houses of the country. The center of the city is the royal palace which is surrounded by gardens and the buildings of the Royal Court. The city maintains a large barracks for the Purple Dragon, plus stockyards, shipyards, and dozens of inns, taverns, and festhalls. Tymora's is the most prominent temple, though shrines to LLiira, Oghma, Malar, Milil, Tempus, and Waukeen are also found here. The famous ivory carvers of Suzail buy exotic ivory from many lands, shape it into new and decorated forms, and export it at a greatly increased value.

The lord of the city is Sthavar, a confident and a loyal man who also commands the Purple Dragons. The presence of the Purple Dragons and War Wizards has been more visible since the death of Azoun, as the Princess Regent wishes to assure the common people of their safety and simultaneously be prepared for riots or rebellious activities instigated by contraty nobles. She makes regular appearances with the heir in order to or make herself available to the people and to show that she is not afraid for her life or for Cormyr's future.

Marsember (Metropolis, 36,007): The second-largest city in Cormyr, Marsember is a seaport constructed on a series of islands connected by bridges and cut with canals. Originally built on a swamp, Marsember grew to include nearby terrain, but it still often smells like a marsh. Known as the City of Spices for the local trading companies that procure those goods from far natians, the city relies on trade. Small boats crowd the canals, and many dealings are done in secret to avoid the law.

Flat, hard ground is hard to find here, and only the wealthy can afford large paved areas, usually on top of buildings. Marsember's single large temple is to Lathander, though it also has small shrines to Tymora, Umberlee, and Waukeen. Bledryn Scoril has taken over as lord of the city since the untimely demise of the previous lord. A twelve-ship detachment of the imperial navy is stationed here

Arabel (Metropolis, 30,606): During the goblin war, Arabel was evacuated to Suzail with the help of magic, and the city was occupied for several months by an army of orcs and goblins. The trading company outposts were looted, the mercenary groups that. were not slain fell back to other cities, and the great temple to Tymora was burned (as were the shrines to Chauntea, Deneir, Helm, Luira, Tempus, and Waukeen) Arabel's lord, Myrmeen Lhal, known as the Lady Lord, swore to reclaim her city. Despite the loss of her left arm and its subsequent restoration by powerful magic, she spent the last few months collecting mercenaries, rangers, scouts, and adventuring bands for that purpose, then forced the orcs from the city. The orcs fled to the Hullack, King's Forest, eastern Storm Horns, and the plains to the north of Arabel. While routing the humanoids from the open farmlands may go easily, clearing the forests of their presence will be far more difficult.

Tilverton (formerly Small City, 9,002; now empty): This city was occupied for many years and was formally absorbed into the nation of Cormyr last year. Once a valuable piece of territory overlooking one of the three passes through the Thunder Peaks, Tilverton suffered an attack of unknown origin in Mirtul of 1372 DR. Now all that is left is a dark, concave space filled with shadows and flitting regions of deeper darkness. A force of fifty Pnrple Dragons has been stationed nearby to ward off visitors, for those who enter the area become dim and eventually vanish, never to return.

A triad of wizards from Waterdeep has been studying the site from a distance, but so far has reported only that a great deal of powerful magic has been used in the area. It has caused a disruption in the Weave to such an extent that it greatly limits their ability to investigate further. A dirt road has been cleared around the strange ruin to allow caravan traffic passing through the area.



For more, including history, please check:
Cormyrian Society @ Myth-Weavers
Cormyr @ Forgotten Realms wikia