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Baldur's Gate, also called simply the Gate, was a metropolis and city-state on the Sword Coast and Western Heartlands border, on the north bank of the River Chionthar about 20 miles (32 km) east from its mouth on the Sea of Swords. It was located to the south of the great city-state of Waterdeep and to the north of the country of Amn, and was located along the well-traveled Coast Way road.
This wealthy port metropolis, whose population, according to many accounts, exceeded that of Waterdeep, was an important merchant city on the Sword Coast. Its strong watch and the presence of the powerful Flaming Fists mercenary company kept the city generally peaceful and safe.
A person from Baldur's Gate was known as a Baldurian.
In ancient times, the seafaring human hero Balduran returned from Anchorome with great wealth. Balduran used this wealth to build a wall at the end of the Chionthar river. Balduran later vanished, never to return. After Balduran vanished, local farmers took control of the wall and begin to tax sailors arriving. The sailors overthrew the ruthless farmers and the four eldest took control, calling themselves "dukes."
Eventually, the city came to be called Baldur's Gate and was led by the Council of Four, the Four Grand Dukes of the City. The inner portions of the city were divided into Bloomridge, where the wealthy lived, and the Twin Songs, the homes of the sailors and the clerics. The city became the most powerful force in the Western Heartlands and joined the Lords' Alliance. The city was only recorded to have been called upon by the Alliance once, in 1235 DR, when the Black Horde attempted to invade. They sent their top military general, Eldrith, to drive them off. While she experienced victory at first, she would eventually betray Baldur's Gate and be killed (but later resurrected) in the Marsh of Chelimber by Baldurian forces.
The Flaming Fists began operating in Baldur's Gate in the early 14th century DR. Midway through the century, in 1356 DR, the adventurers Drizzt Do'Urden and Wulfgar came to the city seeking their friend Regis. Then, in 1368 DR, the Bhaalspawn Sarevok Anchev orchestrated a major conspiracy to send the city to war with Amn. The plan failed and within two years all Bhaalspawn were killed due to the actions of Baldurian Abdel Adrian.
A guild of thieves, Xantam's Guild, moved into Baldur's Gate early in 1374 DR. Three adventurers, Vahn, Kromlech, and Adrianna arrived and defeated the thieves guild. Joined by the Harpers, they discovered the thieves guild to be only part of a larger plan involving Eldrith the Betrayer. After defeating Eldrith, they discovered the plan to have become more complex with the evil alchemist Mordoc SeLanmere getting involved. However, Mordoc too was defeated.
In the year 1384 DR, the Grand Duke Valarken, along with General Ikhal, attempted to usurp the leadership of Baldur's Gate. The failure of his attack led to the dissolution of the Baldurian police and the Council of Four. In its place, the Flaming Fists and the Baldurian Parliament came to rule. In the following year, the Realms suffered the Spellplague, a situation that would double Baldur's Gate's population and area.
Baldur's Gate was able to adapt to the change and experienced relative peace until the year 1437 DR when the elfsong returned to the Elfsong Tavern with an undead crisis, as well as worsening relations with Elturgard and the stealing of a Tome of Cyric. All of these crises were considered minor when General Ikhal returned with a lycanthrope army far greater than the army of Baldur's Gate. The Flaming Fists resolved the conflict. Following the death of the previous Flaming Fist Marshal and Duke at the hands of Valarken, Abdel Adrian replaced him in both positions.
By 1479 DR, Baldur's Gate was Faerûn's most powerful and important city, and it was once again stable. At this time, it was no longer bothered by Valarken and Amn. It maintained a positive relationship with the nation of Elturgard and the other regions in the Western Heartlands. However, the expansion proved to turn the city on its heels, threatening to send it into civil war.
Baldur's Gate contained a very effective thieves' guild, as well as a powerful and honest mercantile guild, the Merchant's League. Additionally, the Knights of the Shield and the Knights of the Unicorn were both active in the city. Various thieves guilds had risen and fallen in Baldur's Gate, including Xantam's Guild and the Hands of Glory. Since the fall of both in 1374 DR, new thieves' guilds arose.
Baldur's Gate was once ruled by four grand dukes, the Council of Four. Shortly before the Spellplague, the rulers included Duke Eltan, the then leader of the Flaming Fists; Belt, a powerful warrior and divine spellcaster; Liia Jannath, a mage; and Entar Silvershield, the richest man in Baldur's Gate at the time, but also a strong warrior in his own right. The Council was also part of the Lords' Alliance, which included Waterdeep and Silverymoon, among others.
After an attempted coup by former Grand Duke Velarken, Baldur's Gate's government underwent a major restructure and the new Baldurian Parliament elected the Dukes. In the late 15th century DR, it was ruled by Grand Duke Portyr at the behest of the Baldurian Parliament.
- Grand Duke Dillard Portyr 
- Duke Belynne Stelmane 
- Duke Abdel Adrian 
- Duke Torlin Silvershield 
- During the Tyranny of Dragons
- Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard
- Duke Dillard Portyr
- Duke Thalamra Vanthampur
- Duke Belynne Stelmane
At present, Grand Duke Portyr and the Baldurian Parliament are uninterested in involving Baldur's Gate in the affairs of others. For the most part, the city is respected as a neutral power in relation to the other states of the Sword Coast and the Western Heartlands, a reputation it earned in part through its open door policy towards refugees during the fallout of the Spellplague. Perhaps more importantly, Baldur's Gate, while undoubtedly a rich prize, is so well-defended by its massive walls and well-trained Flaming Fists protectors that few would ever seriously consider invading and occupying the city.
Historically, Baldur's Gate has had a long enmity with its southern neighbor, Amn, which nearly resulted in war during the iron crisis of 1368 DR. In 1479 DR, however, the only major threats to Baldur's Gate were the pirates operating out of the ruins of Luskan or the merchants of Waterdeep, who resented the city's growing wealth and power. Baldur's Gate had allies in the Lords' Alliance and the nation of Elturgard.
Since its founding, the city of Baldur's Gate grew immensely. It grew from being a couple of shanty huts aside a walled fortress to a sprawling city stretching across its neighboring regions. The most remarkable feature of the city was the Black Dragon Gate, the original feature of the city, built by Balduran. It withstood the effects of time, albeit with reinforcements and renovations. The main part of the city, comprising the old "city core" was commonly referred to as Bloomridge.
The center of Baldur's Gate's prominent aristocracy, it was one of the regions confined inside the Black Dragon Gate. Bloomridge was home to many buildings of wealth, including manors and a few temples, though most were in the Twin Songs. Bloomridge also housed various taverns for adventurers to drink in and inns to accompany them in a motel fashion. The Temple of Ilmater and the Temple of Helm were two of the well-known temples within Bloomridge, though the former hosted the deadly Crypts of Ilmater and the latter likely dissolved following the fall of Helm.[speculation]
Also within the Black Dragon Gate was the Twin Songs temple district. Although some temples were in Bloomridge, most were in the Twin Songs. The Twin Songs hosted temples to virtually any god, even evil gods like Bhaal and Bane. Baldur's Gate had many places of worship. Before the Spellplague, in 1369 DR, there were three major temples, devoted to Gond, Umberlee, and Tymora, and many shrines. Following the mass expansion of the city, the three religions, although still prominent, were no longer the dominant temples, with smaller (and some malign) religions gaining more and more influence. The Twin Songs was the only place inside the Black Dragon Gate that unified the cultures of all of Faerûn. These were all found in the Twin Songs District.
The final district within the Black Dragon Gate was the Wide, which, mixing in with the city Outskirts, proved to extend outside of the gate as well. With a horrible stench due to the various cultures coming together in its blend with the Outskirts, only part of the Wide was hospitable to those who preferred a finer way of life. This area was a marketplace where produce was purchased alongside other objects. The Outskirts, however, were often regarded as the slums of the city and were largely populated with the poor and a few of the middle class.
Taverns and innsEditBloomridge housed many taverns often used by adventurers or nobles:
- Blade and Stars: A quiet inn known for its high-quality foodstuffs.
- Blushing Mermaid: Located in the north-eastern section of Baldur's Gate, the Blushing Mermaid was an establishment known for its status as a hub of illicit business.
- Elfsong Tavern: A tavern in the southeast near the eastern gate known best for its strange haunting, a ghostly elven voice of unidentified origin that could be heard singing quietly at night. The trademark song faded in 1374 DR, only to return in 1437 DR with regular administration.
- Helm and Cloak: An expensive but well-rated feasting hall popular with both locals and travelers alike. Its upper floor was also rented out to the vast majority of the Knights of the Unicorn.
- Purple Wyrm Inn and Tavern: A tavern much compared to the Elfsong, but it was more commonly used by merchants and those seeking adventure.
- Splurging Sturgeon: Located a bit south from the Blushing Mermaid, the Splurging Sturgeon was a small but well-known establishment.
- Three Old Kegs: Highly comfortable but only slightly expensive, the Three Old Kegs was perhaps the most highly rated establishment in Baldur's Gate.
- Counting House: A moneylender on the docks along the waterfront specializing in the trade of coins, gems, and valuables.
- Sorcerous Sundries: A shop near the eastern gate that stocked all sorts of arcane supplies, from spell components to magical items.
There were many manors in Bloomridge as well. These manors were owned by the richest of Bloomridge's nobles and housed many servants.
- Bloodmire Manor: A spacious, gothic mansion that was overrun by monstrous experiments in the 1370s DR.
- Firewind Manor (formerly House Felldane)
- Mandorcai's Mansion: A beautiful manor located in Bloomridge and owned by the tiefling Mandorcai.
- Omduil's Manor: A stately manor owned by the aged Harper sage Omduil.
Places of worshipEditLike most cities, Baldur's Gate had many places of worship. Untouched by the Spellplague, Baldur's Gate swelled in size and diversity. An impact was the formation of Twin Songs. Here temples and shrines to a great diversity of gods existed. All temples and shrines were accepted. Even shrines devoted to the worship of evil were ignored by the Flaming Fists. Although home to many temples, the city's most renowned and well known were:
- High House of Wonders: Temple of Gond located in the northern part of the city not far from the High Hall.
- Water Queen's House: Temple of Umberlee located in the northern docklands along the waterfront.
- Lady's Hall: Temple of Tymora located in the northern part of the city.
The city was also home to several shrines. The most renowned and famed are:
- The Watchful Shield: Shrine of Helm
- Shrine of the Suffering: Shine of Ilmater
- The Rose Portal: Shrine of Lathander
- The Unrolling Scroll: Shrine of Oghma
- The High Hall: Palace of the Grand Dukes in the northern section of the city. Also known as the Duchal Palace.
- Seatower of Balduran: Defensive structure on an island in the harbor.
- The Wide: An open green space in the northeastern part of the city.
Baldur's Gate had a large and busy harbor that opened up into the River Chionthar. The harbormaster resided in a small shack near the piers. The harbor was closed after sunset, after which no ships could tie up. Latecomers had to wait out in the river until sunrise.
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Geno and R.A. Salvatore (November 2009). The Shadowmask. (Mirrorstone), p. 113. ISBN 0-7869-5147-8.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 225. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 8. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 225. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 76. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 226. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 73. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 77. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Snowblind Studios (2001). Chris Avellone, Ezra Dreisbach, Ryan Geithman. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Interplay.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 82. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Black Isle Studios (2004). David Moldanado. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II. Interplay.
- ↑ Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 82. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 Ed Greenwood, Matt Sernett, Steve Winter (August 20, 2013). Murder in Baldur's Gate. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-6463-4.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (1993). Volo's Guide to the North. (TSR, Inc), p. 152. ISBN 1-5607-6678-6.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 75. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.
- ↑ Snowblind Studios (2001). Chris Avellone, Ezra Dreisbach, Ryan Geithman. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Interplay.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 45. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- ↑ Philip Athans (July 1999). Baldur's Gate. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1525-0.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 13. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 23.7 Philip Athans (2008). A Reader's Guide to R. A. Salvatore's the Legend of Drizzt. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 145. ISBN 0-7869-4915-5.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 95. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), pp. 12–13. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- ↑ BioWare (1998). James Ohlen, Ray Muzyka. Baldur's Gate. Black Isle Studios.
- Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), pp. 8–26. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 228. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-0786965809.