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Ironfang Keep

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The Ironfang Keep

Ironfang Keep was an ancient keep in northern Faerûn.


The stronghold lay in the northernmost parts of the Earthspur Mountains at the cascades where the White River fell into the Moonsea.[1]


The Keep was so old, that even the oldest elves remembered their grandparents talking about it. There were legends among dragons which indicated that Ironfang Keep already existed around -25000 DR[2] It got its name due to massive iron deposits near the Keep. But no one dared to mine them, because most feared the presence of the Keep and its inhabitants.[1]

Ironfang Keep was originally one of twelve fortresses constructed by the fire giants of Helligheim on its southern border. During the Thousand Year War between Ostoria and the draconic forces of Garyx, Ironfang Keep was the only one of these fortresses to survive being destroyed by the dragons before the First Rage of Dragons ended the war.

The Keep was sealed by giant runecasters when the inhabitants of Helligheim decided to retreat to the north a century or two after the end of the war. It stood empty until -981 DR when a greathorn minotaur named Haask claimed it as the capitol of his burgeoning empire called Grong-Haap. Grong-Haap fell after Haask disappeared in -350 DR and after it dissolved, Ironfang Keep was forgotten.

Legend claims that an arcanist from fallen Netheril was the next creature to enter the Keep but he was supposedly later found wandering Thar, utterly insane. Orcs from Vastar told tales of entire orc tribes in the area being abducted by shadowy creatures. Myriad elves, giants and even some dragons also disappeared in the region. Beastly hybrid creatures were encountered in its vicinity, which led credence to rumours of someone experimenting on living beings within the Keep. Ibixians, first noted near the Keep in 703 DR, were thought to be one of the results of these experiments.

Ironfang Keep became a place of mystery to the peoples of the Moonsea. In 1288 DR, the barons of Mulmaster organized an expedition to investigate and loot the keep. As if in response, the local gnoll population rose up against Mulmaster in a fifty year campaign of raids against the city which only stopped upon the last baron's death[3]. Mongo, Blood of Ghellin claimed to have ventured inside and met its inhabitants when he appeared in Suzail In 1367 DR, badly beaten. Delirious, he was put to bed, but the next morning, his remains were found splattered all over his room with no clear signs of violence.


It was suspected that mysterious mages lived within Ironfang Keep. But it was unknown who they were and what objectives they had. They were thought to be so powerful as to keep the Cloaks of Mulmaster and even the Red Wizards of Thay from disturbing them. If asked about the keep, the mighty wizards, Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun and Elminster, only shook their heads and said nothing. From time to time caravans stopped at the door of the Keep and brought cargo, but not one of the merchants saw any of the inhabitants.[1]

Some surviving visitors to the Keep remarked that the mages seemed to practice their magic during the night, however it was hard to tell what kind of magic they used or to even try to dispel it. Some thought the inhabitants were a school of users of the Shadow Weave or shadow adepts, maybe even both.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 John Terra (February 1995). The Moonsea (Reference Guide). (TSR, Inc), p. 59. ISBN 978-0786900923.
  2. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  3. John Terra (February 1995). The Moonsea (Reference Guide). (TSR, Inc), p. 60. ISBN 978-0786900923.
  4. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 160ff.. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.


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