The High Forest was a remnant of the days of old, when all of Faerûn was covered in green and elves, giants and dragons ruled the world. The forest was a vast region of old forest growth bounded by the Nether Mountains in the north and the High Moor to the south. To the west was found the Evermoors and to the east the vast desert of Anauroch. The eastern border of the High Forest lay against Delimbiyr Vale[2][1] through which flows the Delimbiyr River.

What lay within this deep forest was somewhat of a mystery, and few travel there to explore its depths. The more notable locations in the forest included the majestic Star Mounts—providing the headwaters of the Unicorn Run and the Heartblood River; the Lost Peaks in the northwest that form the headwaters of the Dessarin River; the fabled Grandfather Tree; the Dire Wood in the east; as well as many dungeons, ruins, abandoned settlements, and mysterious locales.[citation needed]

The southern slopes of the legendary Star Mounts contain the Endless Caverns, which are said to be home to dragons and to connect to the Underdark. To the south of the caverns is the Stronghold of the Nine, an abandoned dwarven site now apparently claimed by elves. East of the mounts and south of the Heartblood River, is the ruined Netherese city of Karse. The region of forest within the wide bend of the Heartblood River is called the Dire Wood, where a great massacre once took place. Strange supernatural phenomena originate from this place, and it is home to two liches by the name of Wulgreth. At the northern end of the High Forest is an area called Turlang's Wood, a place where the forest is continuing to expand thanks to the tending of a band of treants. At the northeast tip of the forest, their efforts have sealed off Hellgate Keep, the site of a deadly battle with a powerful demon named Kanyrr Vhok.[citation needed]

Geographical featuresEdit


  • The Star Mounts
Main article: Star Mounts

These impressive and forbidding peaks are located in the centre of the High Forest, though on clear days their snow covered summits, which are higher than even those of the Spine of the World can be seen from beyond the Forest's borders, as far away as the Stone Bridge, or the mountains around the Shining Falls, north of Loudwater. This puts the Star Mounts among the highest, if not the highest, of Faerûn's mountain ranges, only being rivalled by the Yehimal range, which themselves may not strictly be considered a part of the continent of Faerûn.[citation needed]

  • The Lost Peaks
Main article: Lost Peaks

These two small mountains at the northwest corner of the forest are home to centaurs, satyrs. and other fey. The Fountains of Memory located on the high plateaus reflect views of the past instead of their normal surroundings. As far as anyone can tell, beings who enter the pools in an attempt to return to those past time instead teleport to random destinations.[citation needed]


  • River Dessarin
Main article: Dessarin River
  • Heartblood River
Main article: Heartblood River

This tributary of the Delimbiyr finds its source on the north face of the Star Mounts and winds its way east and south through the Dire Wood, where it gains its name from the red tinge its waters take on as it passes the ruined city of Karse. By the time it joins the Delimbiyr, its waters have returned once more to a normal hue. It is said that drinking from the waters when they still flow red can grant an increase to magical powers, or help stave off adverse magical effects.[3] The red colour has been attributed simply to soil deposits picked up as the river passes through the Dire Wood. However, other sources mention contamination from the blood of the still beating heart of the dead god Karsus.[citation needed]

  • Unicorn Run
Main article: Unicorn Run

Flowing down from the Star Mounts in the High Forest to the valley of the River Delimbiyr, the Unicorn Run is known for its hundreds of waterfalls, whitewater rapids, the fey communities that migrate along its banks and the occasional sightings of the creatures that gave the river its name.[citation needed]

Other Notable AreasEdit

Tall Trees by Ralph Horsley

The region Tall Trees in the High Forest, by Ralph Horsley

  • Turlang's Wood
Main article: Turlang's Wood

This region is one place where the forest is continuing to expand due to the efforts of a band of treants.[citation needed]

  • Dire Wood
Main article: Dire Woods

A ring of completely albino oak trees surrounds the hills in the eastern High Forest. Inside the outer ring of pale oaks stands a thicker ring of blackened and petrified trees. Within the rings, normal trees and heavy undergrowth are mixed with petrified trees, all sprouting from reddish soil.[citation needed]

  • Shadowtop Cathedral
Main article: Shadowtop Cathedral

A closely packed stand of towering shadowtop trees lies in the High Forest. The dark canopies of the trees form a high roof that permits only hints of sunlight to touch the ground beneath. Shadowtop Cathedral is an important meeting place for the Emerald Enclave.[4]


Long ago, when the elves truly ruled Faerûn, the kingdom of Eaerlann held sway in the High Forest. Eaerlann fell in 882 DR when Ascalhorn became Hellgate Keep. Soon after the elves began to slip away from the High Forest, embarking on their Retreat.[citation needed]


Among the known inhabitants of the woods are the aarakocra among the Star Mountains, centaurs, dragons, drow, a few elves and humans, gnomes, korreds, gnolls, orcs, pegasi, pixies, satyrs, treants, and unicorns. The few humans who dwell here are generally rangers, druids, or adventurers used to surviving in wild environments. Trade with the outside world is infrequent, as the forest is self-sufficient and its resources provide for the inhabitants.[citation needed]

The forest is not ruled by any one group, but instead contains many forces and groups in competition. The most powerful of these are the treants led by Turlang. Wood elves are growing in numbers and seek to reestablish the kingdom of Eaerlann. Standing in their way, however, are the innumerable tribes of orcs, gnolls, and an alliance of demon-spawned elves from Hellgate Keep.[citation needed]

Referential IrregularitiesEdit

In the The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier, the High Forest is recorded as being up to 500 miles across, and is considered the greatest forest in Faerûn, covering nearly 20% of the lands of what is called the "Savage Frontier". However in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, due to the 'squishing' of the original realms map, the High Forest is shown as being about 160 miles across.[citation needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 165–168. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  2. Ed Greenwood (1993). Volo's Guide to the North. (TSR, Inc), p. 189. ISBN 1-5607-6678-6.
  3. Paul Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 50. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
  4. Christopher Perkins (September 6, 2016). Storm King's Thunder. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 107. ISBN 978-0786966004.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit