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The Western Heartlands is a region located in West Faerûn. The Western Heartlands stretch west from Cormyr and the Dragon Coast to the east, and slowly blend into the coastal Sword Coast region at the Sea of Swords. The city of Baldur's Gate is the strongest city in the Western Heartlands and also Faerûn's most powerful, along with Evereska; due to a massive influx of refugees created by the Spellplague, the city has swelled and grown as big as half of Elturgard. Before the Spellplague, there were not any nations in the Western Heartlands, despite Amn's attempts. As of 1479 DR, Elturgard and Najara have grown to be powerful nations in the Western Heartlands; however, the city of Baldur's Gate could still best both of them in a hypothetical war.
Settlements and other featuresEdit
Baldur's Gate is a port metropolis on the north bank of the River Chionthar, to the south of Waterdeep and to the north of Amn. Between Baldur's Gate and Amn stretches the important merchant road, the Coast Way. It is well known for the presence of the powerful Flaming Fist mercenary company that keep the city generally peaceful and safe. There are many areas around Baldur's Gate that are considered part of Baldur's Gate and in its influence.
The fortress library of Candlekeep stands on a cliff, looking down upon the Sea of Swords. Currently ruled by the Keeper of the Tomes Ulraunt, Candlekeep and its enormous library contains every book and scroll of knowledge possible. To gain entry to the halls of wisdom, a visitor must gift the library collection with a new tome worth at least 1,000 gold pieces, while gaining entry into the keep only requires any literary work.
The Cimarine IslesEdit
The isles lie between the southern Sword Coast and the Moonshae Isles, and they are settled by genasi and Amn trade colonies.
Cloak Wood lies south of Baldur's Gate and north of Candlekeep, where its ancient overgrown forest looms along the shore south of the Sword Coast. Unlike the cliffs to the north, the Cloak Wood's shoreline theoretically allows a ship to moor and send a small boat to shore for water and supplies. In practice, only desperate mariners dare the wood's nasty population of beasts, monsters, and vicious fey.
The northernmost extent of Baldur's Gate goes up to the Bhaal-death sick-black winding water.
Hills north of Baldur's Gate that are home to Trolls and the Warlock's Crypt.
A large forest north of Baldur's Gate that is home to many Goblin gangs and Trolls from the Troll Hills.
A village just north of Trollbark Forest.
Wood of Sharp TeethEdit
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 (he served under Valarken) was in charge of the lycanthrope army here and he was going to invade Baldur's Gate with them for Duke (Lord) Valarken. This plan was later thwarted and the lycanthrope civilization of the forest was badly damaged.
Friendly Arm InnEdit
The Friendly Arm Inn is a stone keep which houses the titular inn and is surrounded by an outer wall, which also protects the Temple of Wisdom (a shrine dedicated to Garl Glittergold), a handful of houses, and stables. With its location on the trade way between Baldur's Gate and the town of Beregost, the Friendly Arm is a safe haven for travelers.
The keep was once the stronghold to worshipers of Bhaal, the Lord of Murder, but the gnome Bentley Mirrorshade, his gnome wife Gellena and their adventuring party cleaned out the keep and Bentley is now the current proprietor of the inn, while Gellena is the head priestess in the temple of Garl Glittergold. At the Friendly Arm peace is secured by both the guards as well as the barmaids of the inn who are said to be iron golems camouflaged as women by illusionary means.
The Western Heartlands first nation. It is also the Western Heartlands most peaceful nation with its inhabitants constantly bowing down to Torm.
Sitting atop a cliff on the banks of the River Chionthar, Elturel boasts one of the most effective and disciplined militias in the Realms: the Hellriders. Under the reign of High Lord Dhelt, Elturel has become one of the most prominent cities of the Western Heartlands, boasting control of much of the river trade between the Dragonmere and the major Sword Coast port of Baldur's Gate. Elturel grew to become the nation of Elturgard.
Also known as Caravan City, Scornubel is a major tradestop both for caravans heading north and south. Goods of all kinds can be found here virtually year-round. The city is also a hotbed of intrigue. Legitimate lords and those of a more shady kind, rulers of bastions of good, the masters of the Underdark, all come to Scornubel to engage in political actions or exchange secrets that might see their power stripped from them at home. Goods and information can both be found in Scornubel, but always at a price.
Once an independent city that realized it would fare better if under Elturgard. It joined the Torm worshiping city and is one of its major trading centers, as many caravans, traders and adventurers pass through it to go to the Reaching Woods to explore.
Halfway on the Coast Way between Baldur's Gate and Amn, the large town of Beregost receives many visiting merchant caravans, and town has a wide array of inns and taverns. Beregost was founded around a school of magic run by the wizard Ulcaster, but the school is now but ruins to the east of the town. The town is run by Kelddath Ormlyr, the high priest of the local temple to Lathander.
A large, monster-infested, open moorland in western Faerûn, the High Moor is bordered on the east by the Serpent Hills and on the west by the Misty Forest. It was created in about -10,500 DR when the fallen kingdom of Miyeritar was destroyed by the Vyshaantar Empire's magics during the Crown Wars.
The High Moor contains numerous ancient ruins and structures, but the most familiar include Dragonspear Castle on the western edge, Hammer Hall, a dwarven keep near the banks of the northern Highstar Lake and Orogoth, a large ancestral hall near the Serpent Hills. Forays into the High Moor are usually based in the town of Secomber, north of the region. The eastern High Moor has become part of Najara, but areas like Dragonspear Castle remain independent.
Homeland of the najas and the Yuan-ti, it is where the nation of Najara first sprouted.
Marsh of ChelimberEdit
A huge forest once inhabited by Green Dragons. After being conquered by the nagas, the dragons fled.
Evereska is a moon elven stronghold in northern Faerûn, protected by the Shaeradim mountains. It is known as the last haven of the elves, as it is the only elven stronghold left in Faerûn. The Common tongue translation of Evereska is "Fortress Home." It is a sanctuary to all Tel'Quess (Elvish, literally meaning "The People"), besides drow, who would hold a home for their race in Faerûn against the relentless tide of human expansion.
The city contains a mythal —a mantle of living magic that protects the city. This particular mythal bars magical transportation and allows the city's residents to climb walls and ceilings with the ease of insects, along with the free control of Evereska's weather and also prevents diseases from forming with the mythal. It is also known to bombard the city's attackers with golden meteors.
In 1371 DR, the city was under siege by the phaerimm —an ancient and evil race who were inadvertently freed from their underground prison beneath Anauroch by the elf Galaeron Nihmedu and the Shadovar archwizard Melegaunt Tanthul. Through a long series of events, the phaerimm were eventually defeated, and the Evereskans began to rebuild their damaged city.
Dragonspear Castle is a ruined castle on the edge of the High Moor in Western Faerûn. The castle, once the home of famed dwarven adventurer Daeros Dragonspear, contains both a portal to a hellish dimension and a passage to the Underdark and has for years been a launching point for raids by evil monsters and marauders. A subterranean river runs below the castle, which contains a detour to the Fountain of Nepenthe, a portal that attracts deceased souls and takes them to the Fugue Plane. About a decade ago, a concentrated effort by local municipalities including Daggerford, Waterdeep and Baldur's Gate finally cleaned the castle out for good. A shrine to Tempus is now the distinguishing feature of the stronghold, as the army that has remained at Dragonspear now works to protect the castle from invading creatures.
According to legend, Daeros befriended a copper dragon and built his keep around him in mutual protection. Daeros was often seen riding his dragon friend while carrying a 40-foot long spear (hence the castle's name). The castle expanded to include several dwellings inside its walls, and a small dwarven village sprouted. Unfortunately, the dragon's hoard was coveted by outsiders, and a southern wizard's manipulations led to the creation of the planar portal, the death of Daeros and the dragon, and the ransacking of the castle. Hordes of monsters took over the fortress and for years until the recent cleansing. The magical gate has been sealed, but many expect it to open again at any time.
Physically, the castle is in shambles. Most of the walls have been destroyed and the skeletal remains of a dragon (either the original copper of one of many that attempted to claim its horde) still lies sprawled in the remains. An underground river flows nearby, although its waters are treacherous.
Adventurers still make treks to Castle Dragonspear, usually starting out from the nearby Way Inn. They are welcomed with open arms by the local garrison, who is always looking for reinforcements in holding back the tide of underground hordes and invaders from the High Moor. Many cities in the area look to rebuild the castle, while some evil organizations have their eye on it as a base.
Originally called "The Keep of the Fallen Hills," the looming castle was built a millennium ago by giants as a summer capitol of the Giant Empires. When the Giant Empires collapsed, the Keep was abandoned and looted. It eventually became the home of the dragon Cryomantipelica and eventually, as the "Wild Hold," the base of operations for an adventuring company called The Wildmen of the North. 
The castle eventually became Darkhold when it was conquered and settled by the lich-queen Varalla until, in 1312 DR, the Zhentarim invaded it in an attempt to expand their organization westward. Darkhold was ruled by the wizard Sememmon until recently, when he and his consort Ashemmi vanished in response to the consolidation of Zhentarim power in the east by rival Fzoul Chembryl.
Darkhold currently houses approximately 800 warriors and is headed by several commanders (including the Pereghost), whose sparring for position is actively encouraged by Fzoul in order to cull the weak.
Secomber is a small town of nearly 1,500 that acts as a de facto border town between the relatively peaceful Western Heartlands and the more savage North along the Sword Coast. It sits on the banks of the southern-running Unicorn Run river and the western-running River Delimbiyr. Directly south of the town is the dangerous High Moor.
The town, which sits atop three stone hills, is populated primarily by humans, but almost as many halflings call the place home. A small clan of dwarves lives in the area as well. Farming, fishing, and stonecutting are the primary occupations, but as the town has a large transient adventuring population, stores catering to such types are beginning to take hold. Some locals hire themselves out as guards or sellswords for expeditions heading into the High Moor or High Forest to the north. A couple of inns and taverns provide entertainment and lodging to the growing town.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 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.
- ↑ 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. 226. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 222. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Black Isle Studios (2004). David Moldanado. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II. Interplay.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 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.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 224. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 294. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 227. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 222–229. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Rand Sharpsword (2001-08-22). Caravans of the Western Heartlands. Rand's Travelogue. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
- Rand Sharpsword (2002-07-03). More of the Western Heartlands. Rand's Travelogue. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.