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Baldur's Gate, also called simply the Gate, is a metropolis and city-state on the Sword Coast and Western Heartlands border, on the north bank of the river Chionthar about twenty miles (32 km) east from its mouth on the Sea of Swords. It is located to the south of the great city-state of Waterdeep and to the north of the country of Amn, and is located along the well-traveled Coast Way road. A person from Baldur's Gate is known as a Baldurian.
This wealthy port metropolis, whose population, according to many accounts, exceeds that of Waterdeep, is an important merchant city on the Sword Coast. Its strong watch and the presence of the powerful Flaming Fists mercenary company keeps the city generally peaceful and safe.
In ancient times, the seafaring human hero Balduran returned from Anchrome 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 overthew 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 be called upon by the Alliance once, in 1235 DR when the Black Horde attempted to invade. They sent their top military general, Eldrith the Betrayer 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 early in the century started by 1300 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 would lead 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 would experience the Spellplague, a situation which 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 would return to the Elfsong Tavern with an undead crisis, as well as a tensing of 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 Grand Duke Portyr, famed adventurer Abdel Adrian was elected the new Grand Duke.
As of 1479 DR, Baldur's Gate not only became Faerûn's most powerful and important city, but it also once again become 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.
GeographyEditSince its founding, the city of Baldur's Gate has grown immensely. It has grown from being a couple of shanty huts aside a walled fortress to a sprawling city stretching across its neighbouring regions. The most remarkable feature of the city was the Black Dragon Gate, the original feature of the city, built by Balduran and withstanding time, albeit 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 is home to many buildings of wealth, including manors and a few temples, though most were in the Twin Songs. Bloomridge also houses 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.
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 3 major temples, (devoted to Gond, Umberlee and Tymora) and many shrines. Following the mass expansion of the city, though, 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. Giving 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 prefer 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 few middle class.
In 1368 DR, stone was usually imported from Mirabar via Luskan for use in construction, having been magically transported. This was an expensive process. By 1479 DR, with Luskan in disarray and with no functional port, along with the destruction caused by the Spellplague across the lands, it was unclear if this trade still occurred.
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 have 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.
Ruled by Grand Duke Portyr at the behest of the Baldurian Parliament, Baldur's Gate underwent a major revision after an attempted coup by former Grand Duke Velarken. Now, the Baldurian Parliament elects the Dukes. 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.
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.
Taverns and innsEdit
Bloomridge houses 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. However, the voice has since faded.[as of when?]
- 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
- Moneylender in the docks along the waterfront specializing in the trade of coins, gems, and valuables.
- Sorcerous Sundries
- A shop near the eastern gate that stocks all sorts of arcane supplies, from spell components to magical items.
There are many manors in Bloomridge as well. These manors are owned by the richest of Bloomridge's nobles and house many servants.
- Bloodmire Manor
- A spacious, gothic mansion that was overrun by monstrous experiments in the 1370s.
- 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 worshipEdit
Like most cities, Baldur's Gate has 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 are
- 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 is 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.
- Shack near the piers where the harbormaster resides.
Baldur's Gate has a large and busy harbor that opens up into the River Chionthar. The harbormaster resides in a small shack. The harbor is closed after sunset, after which no ships may tie up. Latecomers must wait out in the river until sunrise.
Though Baldur's Gate is a self-contained city-state, it holds limited influence over neighboring regions and settlements due to its wealth and power.
- This fortress of scholars and books was the single greatest center of knowledge in all of Faerûn and was also the home of the fabled hero Abdel Adrian.
- Cloak Wood
- Located south of Baldur's Gate, this aged forest was home to many terrible monsters - though its calm waters made it a tempting mooring spot for sailors in spite of this.
- The Cimarine Isles
- The Isles lay between the southern Sword Coast and the Moonshae Isles, and they were settled by genasi and Amn trade colonies.
- Trollbark Forest
- A large forest just North of Baldur's Gate that was inhabited by all sorts of monsters. It was also home to many bandits and thieves.
- Troll Hills
- The mountains just south of Trollbark Forest and North of Baldur's Gate. They were inhabited by many trolls.
- Warlock's Crypt
- A city located in between Trollbark Forest and the Troll Hills. Although it was primarily located on the Hills it did extend somewhat into the forest. It was the home to the Lich-Lord Larloch.
- Wayfork Village
- A growing village just North of Trollbark Forest. While it too was unaffected by the Spellplague, due to it not being a very large city, most of the Spellplague runners went to Baldur's Gate.
- The Werewoods
- A very large forest that homes many lycanthropes. After his defeat, Duke (Lord) Valarken retreated here and began to rebuild its ancient ruins. The villain Ikhal (who served under Valarken) was in charge of the lycanthrope army here and he was going to invade Baldur's Gate with them for Valarken. This plan was later thwarted and the lycanthrope civilization of the forest was badly damaged.
- Baldurs Gate: the Sword Coast Chronicles Online, A persistent world in the Neverwinter Nights 2 computer game (non-canon)
- ↑ 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 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 73. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 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.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 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.
- ↑ 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, Matt Sernett, Steve Winter (August 20, 2013). Murder in Baldur's Gate. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-6463-4.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (1993). Volo's Guide to the North. (TSR, Inc), p. 152. ISBN 1-5607-6678-6.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 148. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ Philip Athans (July 1999). Baldur's Gate. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1525-0.
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 24.6 24.7 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.
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 25.2 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.
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 26.6 Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), pp. 12–13. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1. - Page 12 is the Map & page 13 is the map-key
- ↑ BioWare (1998). James Ohlen, Ray Muzyka. Baldur's Gate. Black Isle Studios.
2nd Edition D&D
3rd Edition D&D
- 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.
4th Edition D&D
- 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.