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Vast Swamp

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The Vast Swamp was an area of swampland that acted as a de-facto border[1] and separated Cormyr to its west from Sembia to its east.[1] It was flanked to the north by the Thunder Peaks mountains and to the south by the Dragonmere, a body of water. The terrain was dominated by undergrowth and bogs with precious little clear, dry land to be found anywhere within its borders. Cypress, black gum, water ash, water birch and willow trees choke the region, making it appear more like a flooded forest than an actual swamp while stunted oaks and blueleaf trees surround the swamp as well. Fog from the Dragonmere coast rolled inward towards the swamp constantly, whether in the depths of winter or the height of summer, forever shrouding the place with a murky fog. Even on the sunniest days the entire swamp was coated with a thin mist, making it difficult to see more than a mile in any direction (assuming you could find a vantage point high enough to stop the trees obscuring your vision). Other features of the swamp were the disease-carrying insects, noxious clouds of gases, patches of quicksand and the bone-chilling rain that falls thereabouts. The borders of the swamp were forever expanding towards the Way of the Manticore, albeit slowly but when it finally reached that far it might halt all overland travel from Sembia to Cormyr. The Vast Swamp was the source of the Darkflow, a river which flowed from the Vast Swamp south into the Lake of Dragons and formed part of the border between Cormyr to its west from Sembia.[2]

Cormyr - 1479 DR copy

Cormyr in 1479 DR.

Sites of interestEdit

The Skull StaffEdit

Just outside the swamp on the SWW border was a 30' high log jutting out of the ground at a steep angle. Its base was surrounded by a many and varied number of skulls and more line its sides, held in place by spikes and wooden stakes. It was constructed in 1274 DR by an orc tribe to warn other creatures away from their territory. When they were chased from that land, it's new occupants used it for the same purpose, adding the orc's skulls to it. It was adorned with skulls of orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, trolls, lizardfolk, crocodiles, hydras and dire boars and was under the control of the Shadowscale lizardfolk tribe in 1374 DR who felled trees to make a muddy path for their sharran allies to take ensorcelled magic-users to.[citation needed]

The Lost RefugeEdit

The Lost Refuge was a Cormyrean keep placed near the border of the Vast Swamp. It supported a town as well but nearly a hundred years ago the combination of the expanding swamp and an orc attack killed the garrison and Cormyreans subsequently forgot all about the place. It was shortly thereafter conquered by hobgoblins but more recently fell into the hands of Sharran cultists. Legend has it that the Dusk Lord of Sessrendale opened up a planar rift to the Plane of Shadow in this keep after fleeing from his former homeland.[citation needed]

Orvaskyte KeepEdit

Sages agreed that this keep, discovered in the 1360s DR by adventurers seeking missing comrades in the swamp was built by members of the kingdom of Orva.[3] The keep was believed to have been built some two thousand years ago, but was reported to be (in 1374 DR) occupied by fiends and other monsters which abruptly ended all considerations of exploring the place further.[3]

Elven ruinsEdit

Many years ago the last surviving member of Moon's Twelve, an adventuring group who went into the Vast Swamp looking to find their fortune, Sylara, returned to civilized lands ranting and delirious about an elven ruin as extensive as Myth Drannor but her group was run off by mind flayers and beholders. She died of a swamp fever before she could elaborate further and no one knows if what she saw actually existed.[citation needed]


The Vast Swamp was known to be inhabited by; Gnolls,[1] Gobliniod types (Hobgoblins, etc),[1] various Lizardfolk,[1] Trolls,[1] catoblepas,[citation needed] and will-o'-wisps,[citation needed] a rare few hydras,[citation needed] small black dragons[1] and grells[citation needed] and there are rumours of mind flayers,[citation needed] beholders[citation needed] and liches[citation needed] amongst other things[4][1][3]. This myriad of monsters made the Vast Swamp the most dangerous place in Cormyr and neither Cormyr nor Sembia had any particular interest in laying claim to the land.[1] Thankfully, the monsters were content to war between themselves rather than raid the surrounding lands. The Vast Swamp is the most common place to find Meazels.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 112. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  2. Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 84. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 151. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  4. Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.
  5. James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 66. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.


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