Lake Esmel was a famous lake in the nation of Amn, being the largest freshwater lake in the Lands of Intrigue.[5][1]


The waters of the lake were dark blue,[2][3][4] except where the mineral springs gave it a sea green color in the western shallows.[2] Esmel, as a whole, was unusually deep, so much so that its depth had never been successfully measured.[1][2][3][4] The deepest parts were near the eastern and southern shores; near the northern shores, the depth was close to 100 feet (30 meters), but after only a half mile, the bottom dropped severely.[2]

The waters of the eastern half of the lake were especially cold,[5] because of snow-melt from the mountains,[1] but the western shallows were fed by several hot mineral springs.[1][3][4] These springs were predominantly in Akarav's Bay and filled the air with a strong scent of sulfur.[2]

The lake was suitable for boating, swimming, and fishing. The waters were calm, as storms were relatively rare here.[5][1] The region around the lake was thus a resort area. To not disturb the tourists, most fishing was done away from the region of Esmeltaran.[2]

Where the Amstel River entered the lake, there was a great amount of red clay, which was used in making pottery or sculptures.[2]


Located on the eastern half of Amn and southeast of the city Esmeltaran, Lake Esmel was a way-point that connected the Sea of Swords to the Snakewood and the Troll Mountains.[6] It was directly fed by four rivers[5] from three sides[1] and indirectly by the waters of the Esmelflow,[7] rivers flowing down from both the Cloud Peaks in the north and the Small Teeth in the south.[5] It was also fed by hot springs on its fourth side.[1]

Flora & FaunaEdit

Because of the wide variety of temperatures in the lake, its waters were full of a wide variety of fishes.[1][2] One species of fish, the dunchow was only to be found in these waters. It was served as a special dish at most inns in Esmeltaran and was a delicacy throughout Amn.[5]

Notable LocationsEdit

There were many small farming and fishing settlements around the whole lake, each with no more than a couple hundred citizens.[2] Two-thirds of the population of Amn lived west of Lake Esmel, and the best estates in Amn were located on its shores.[8] The most notable locations around the lake were the following:

Akarav's Bay
This northwestern bay of the lake was where the greatest concentration of hot springs were found.[2]
Amstel River
One of the major rivers feeding the lake, the Amstel River carried with it much barge traffic from the east.[2]
Esmel River
This river was the outlet of Lake Esmel and flowed to the ocean.[2]
This was possibly the most beautiful city of Amn.[5]
This was the southernmost river feeding the lake.[2]
The Scimitar
This resort community is located on a scimitar-shaped peninsula on Akarav's Bay.[9]
This was also one of the four rivers feeding the lake.[2]

Rumors & LegendsEdit


A pair of boaters are passed under by "Esmelda".

A monster (or several monsters) were rumored to live at the bottom of Lake Esmel.[10][1][2][3] This creature was called "Esmelda" by the locals. Many had claimed to have seen the creature, and it was blamed for the loss of several boats over the years,[10][1][2] though most people did not believe the tales.[1] Some suspected that the supposed sightings were simply of the red dragon Balagos.[2][3]

While it was true that Balagos often bathed in Lake Esmel,[2] the "Monster of the Lake" was actually more than a dozen pythosaurs who lived in the deepest, coldest waters.[1][2] They had been living in the lake since the days of the Creator races.[2]

After the Spellplague, most people still did not understand that pythosaurs lived in the lake, and claims of a powerful dragon lairing there persisted. Some claimed that the dragon was red, while others said that it was copper.[4]



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Scott Haring (1988). Empires of the Sands. (TSR, Inc), pp. 16–17. ISBN 0-8803-8539-1.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 153. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 93. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Scott Haring (1988). Empires of the Sands. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 0-8803-8539-1.
  6. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition (Map). (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  7. Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  8. Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  9. Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Scott Haring (1988). Empires of the Sands. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 0-8803-8539-1.