Forgotten Realms Locations that Deserve to be Visited
Watch Episode 166 Live: 7pm EDT 4/12/20
Crit Academy discusses locations in Dungeons and Dragons' Forgotten Realms Setting that should be visited in your stories and campaigns! We cover the GameRant Article by Glenn Carreau and add a few of our own thoughts.
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Forgotten Realms Locations that Deserve to be Visited - Click for full article from Glenn Carreau at GameRant.com
One way to get players invested in their D&D campaign is the bring them to a place they already recognize from other D&D-related media. Case in point: Icewind Dale is famously the surface-world homeland of Drizzt Do'Urden, the drow folk hero of Faerun, and the main setting for the popular Icewind Dale video game series. Using that logic, Baldur's Gate would also apply, but that city already has a place in the official 5th edition sourcebooks.
Zhentil Keep is a notorious city in the Moonsea region, once the main base of operation for the Zhentarim organization before being razed in retaliation in the 14th century of Faerun's history. As of 5th edition, Zhentil Keep had been retaken by the Zhentarim leaving the city's few surviving unaffiliated inhabitants to try and withstand its dangers as best they could, while all others who tried to return to the city after its retaking were turned away. That means Zhentil Keep stands, but it is far from the bustling city it once was in previous editions of D&D. For parties affiliated with the Zhentarim, Zhentil's Keep could be the start of an adventure--or, for parties opposing the nefarious Zhentarim, the city could very well turn into a battleground.
The Lost Empires
The Lost Empires are an interesting element to add into a Forgotten Realms campaign because the currently established empires aren't set up next to them, they're generally set up right over the top of the Lost Empires' ruins. So, any DM looking to trap their players lost in some long-abandoned, probably cursed ruins can take a look at the fallen civilizations of Faerun's past.
Lots of seasoned DMs have likely heard of Netheril, the civilization whose downfall was hubris, brought crashing to the sands of the Anauroch desert when its own use of magic caused magic to disappear entirely. An adventure there could easily turn into a Netherese treasure hunt or another such scenario, and it's also just a great excuse to explore the dangerous and mysterious Anauroch. There's also other lost empires, like Eaerlann, the elven civilization once in the High Forest, or Coramshan, the predecessor to Calimshan. For those wanting to stay a little closer to well-documented present-day societies, there's the grand elven kingdom of Illefarn, its capital city once located right where the lands around Waterdeep now stand.
Remember the aforementioned Baldur's Gate game? Well, the actual city of Baldur's Gate is covered, but not every area explored in the series is. The land south of the Sword Coast, Amn, is the setting for BG II: Shadows of Amn (arguably the best of the Baldur's Gate trilogy), and it's ripe for exploration in a homebrew adventure. In previous editions, Amn's capital city of Athkatla had actually banned the use of magic without a license, which could give adventuring parties with arcane practitioners quite the challenge. It's a city even larger than the northern Baldur's Gate, wealthy but corrupt and perfect for political intrigue or encounters with the city's seedy underbelly run by the Shadow Thieves.
The Feywild isn't in Faerun, but it's Faerun-adjacent; along with the Plane of Shadow, the Feywild is a plane that echoes the Prime Material. That means the Feywild is much more connected to Faerun than other planes, so an adventuring party could just find themselves falling into a pond and coming out in the homeland of the fey.
Designing a campaign in the Feywild would be an interesting method of changing the rules of the world without actually changing campaign settings. The Feywild is a land governed by emotion and inhabited almost exclusively by fey creatures: pixies, gnomes, dryads, hags, eladrin, and the like. Time passes differently there, the forests themselves are magical and almost self-aware, and it's entirely possible for those who return from the Feywild to completely forget their trip upon leaving.
The World Serpent Inn
Sometimes a DM may think to themself, "how do I get my players from one plane to another?" There's no specified portal in any 5th edition sourcebook, or even any indication that the two planes in question ever connect in existing D&D canon--and yet, the party still needs to make the trip. There's an old location that first appeared in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons called the World Serpent Inn, and it's a place that exists everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.
Sigil isn't the only place in the cosmos with infinite doors; the Serpent essentially contains an endless number of labyrinthian hallways filled with portals, meaning that it gives any DM who uses it the freedom to take their campaign anywhere they please. The reason that the inn technically counts as a "Forgotten Realms" location is that it has entrances in many D&D campaign settings, and its Faerun entrance is right on the northern side of the city of Arabel, in Cormyr.
Sea of Fallen Stars
The Sea of Fallen Stars,, was the largest inland body of water in Faerun. Its major areas included the Dragonmere, also known as the Lake of Dragons, in the west; the Dragon and Easting Reaches in the north; the Alamber Sea in the east; and the Vilhon Reach in the south.
The sea served as a crucial trade way for the powers of central and northern Faerun and beyond.From Cormyr's Imperial Navy and Sembia's 15,000 sailors and corsairs in the west, to the small but hardy fleet of dozen Impilturan warships in the east, and the militia-navy of Turmish in the south, the waters of the Inner Sea were well-traveled by ships that flew the flags of coastal nations in central Faerûn.
The Plaguewrought Land
The Plaguewrought Land is the name given to what was once the state of Halruaa and a large area south of Chondalwood that continues, as of 1479 DR, to be wracked by the effects of the Spellplague. Inside this plagueland the ground heaves like waves on the ocean and pieces of land levitate randomly to form earthmotes. The vegetation that grows here is strange and twisted and may sprout, mature and then die in a matter of minutes. Most people who travel into this region are killed very quickly by the wild magic.
The border has been more or less stable for nearly a hundred years. Pilgrims, encouraged by the Order of Blue Flame, often travel to the Plaguewrought Land in the hopes of acquiring a spellscar. Following the Second Sundering, the Plaguewrought Lands were eliminated by Halruaa's return to Toril.
Revolutionize your game with this collection of 28 villainous NPCs, from small fry to world-ender, eight of which include maps and details of their lairs. Sinister side-quests, terrifying overlords, bounties, one-shots and more lie in wait for you inside. Villains and Lairs II
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Unearthed Tips and Tricks: New and reusable D&D content for you to bring with you on your next adventure.
The Drill Sergeant
This grizzled war vet is tired of training a bunch of worthless maggots and wants to get back to the field. That does not mean that they will hesitate to tell his party members when they are not following proper combat doctrine. Often when they are trying to uphold even basic discipline they may be perceived to be acting as control freaks when in reality they want everyone one of their brothers and sisters in arms to come back home in one piece.
Monster Variant: Galeb Duhr
These remorseless dwarven creatures of living stone, often serve earth titans or powerful mages. Their rock hard nature is harsh and unrelenting. Much like their fire cousins the azers, they no longer serve their masters of the elemental chaos. Choosing instead to slip away to the material world. They have a pencient to disguise themselves as boulders and ambush their victims.
Origin Statblock- Ogre
Size becomes medium.
Changed to elemental
Javelin becomes Rock Throw
Greatclub becomes Slam
Burrow 30 ft.
Damage resistance bludgeoning, piercing and slashing from non magical weapons
Earth Glide. The elemental can burrow through non magical, unworked earth and stone. While doing so, the elemental doesn't disturb the material it moves through.
False Appearance. While the Galeb Duhr remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from an ordinary boulder.
Charles Koontz Patron
Man in a Shell:
While traveling near the sea you hear a weak voice call for help. His voice is hoarse and ragged. When you inspect him it seems he has become trapped in a large shell clamped down on his leg.
The party needs to figure out a way to get the shell to release him from his grip. A straight strength check will be almost impossible with the power this shell clamps down.
The shell will release on a DC 15 party check. If all but 1 successfully meet the DC they can wedge it open enough to pull his leg out.
Other possibilities include a sleep spell to lower the DC to 10. They can try to break the shell but AC 20 immunity to piercing and slashing weapons.
Liches are one of the most feared creatures and for good reason. Even a mere piece of them can be dangerous. Some alchemists have capitalized on this by extracting the fluids from one of these undead beings and turning it into a dangerous weapon to drive their enemies mad.
Flask of Dark Horrors
Wondrous Item, Rare
A purple and black smokey vapor leaks from the stoppered mouth of this onyx bottle, which weighs 1 pound. When you use an action to remove the stopper, a cloud of the thick smoke pours out of the bottle in a 15-foot cone. A wave of hellish images assaunts the minds of those in the area. Each creature in the area must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or roll on the short-term madness table (DMG). You cannot use this property again until the next dawn.
Dungeon Master Tip:
Creating Fantasy Names: Hello. I'm doing two home-brew campaigns with maps, towns, people, the works. But it's almost tiresome to create so many exotic names, and places. So, I just let Google Translate do the work for me. For example: In one of my campaigns, I had my player visit this very Southern-like town, accents and everything. But I couldn't come up with a cool name. Then I went to Google Translate, found a very unfamiliar language, typed in the word, South, and the word that I got back was "Syden." Therefore, I knew what qualities the town had, and my player was none the wiser. This could go for anything, to NPC's, to monsters, and etc. Plus, I drew lines for different regions in my map for different languages. Therefore, its more coherent, and it feels like the world has variety.
Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick! You can avoid dickitude by...
The Joke Name
Corruption has spread across the land. The establishment and the theologians twisted forms of what they once were. Though a shadow of their former glory, a scion of the Law family has come of age, sworn his divine oaths, and shall take up his ancestral blade to smite the wicked until they are purged from the land. His name is Law, Marshall Law.
There are many that frown upon joke names since they feel that those who do so are not taking things seriously enough, too light hearted or just plain trolling. There are those who do enjoy them appreciating them for what they are. Sometimes they even help create a focus or archetype for what the character is to be built off of. You never know where they may lead. Closing: Please join us on our next episode we will discuss Legendary Bestiary: Legendary Actions for Low-Level Monsters!
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