This March, Power of Faerûn releases, bringing with it a trove of information regarding high-level campaigns within the Forgotten Realms. Players interested in carving out their own kingdom of the Realms can find no better place than the Border Kingdoms, where--according to Ed Greenwood--"a wayfarer can find just about anything."
In his Power of Faerûn spotlight interview, Ed stated: "I chopped and hacked at my prose until I faced up to it: I just couldn't fit all of the Border Kingdoms into a 160-page book, even if we'd put in nothing else and shrunk the text down to tiny, tiny size--so for the "complete" Border Kingdoms, readers will have to visit the Wizards of the Coast website."
Presented here is the start to this "complete" information on the Border Kingdoms (as complete as anything can ever claim to be!), updating--and at long last concluding--details originally appearing in Polyhedron's Elminster's Everwinking Eye column. Be sure to return every week, for the latest entries on these incredible lands!
Adaerglast, the Land of Mages
This pastoral-looking realm of coastal farms is one of the most prosperous--and dangerous--in the Borders.
Adaernen farmers work hard every day, hauling in and spreading manure, rooting out weeds, and digging the soil for ever-more-efficient irrigation. Once they led more sedate lives, knowing their crops always brought good prices in the nearby city of Yallasch from the citizenry and merchant captains who docked there to buy food for many hungry mouths in Calimshan.
That all changed when two young, close-mouthed and very observant mages from Murghôm arrived. Deeming the Adaern farmlands ideal, they built a castle in Myrinjar. Safe behind its stout walls, defended by many animated or conjured guardians, they began to work magic on the surrounding lands.
Their keep became known as "The Castle of Dark Dreams" because spells they devised sent dream-visions to all Adaernen, revealing the two mages as the rightful, gods-chosen rulers of Adaerglast. Soon brutally officious mercenaries appeared in the land, commanded by constructs (animated empty suits of armor) controlled by the wizards from afar. Bodyguards of helmed horrors accompanied the two mages at all times, protecting Lord Iraun and Lord Srivven against possible treachery from their own hirelings.
The mages (to quote an Adaernen merchant who fled and never intends to return) "gave commands as if they were gods," and all who stood against them were blasted down or torn apart by magic. The goods and property of such "traitors" were seized, and their relatives and servants sold into slavery.
It wasn't long before the wizards were absolute rulers of Adaerglast, holding court in Myrinjar and seeking to control affairs in Yallasch. It took an open alliance of all Yallaschan wizards and temples against the two, backed by threats of aid from Halruaa and Waterdeep, to--thus far--dissuade the Lord High Mages from trying to conquer the city.
The sinister pair turned to crafting new and more powerful spells, and to driving their subjects to farm ever more efficiently. Unfortunately for would-be rebels and wizards who foolishly visit the realm, magic works all too well in Adaerglast. The two wizard-kings scry their land often--and suspicious or hostile beings are attacked by long-range spells that cause their heads or extremities to explode. Anyone magically shielded is repeatedly attacked by mounted mercenaries, the Mailed Hands of the Lords ("the Hands" to Adaernen), augmented by summoned monsters. Once intruders are disabled, a projected image of one of the Lord High Mages may appear to interrogate them. Defeated beings who know the whereabouts of magical treasure may be transformed into beast-shape until their knowledge can be best exploited.
Adventuring bands hired to destroy the Lord High Mages by fearful neighboring Borderers, by merchant traders based in the Vilhon Reach, and by Calishite merchant interests, have all met with bloody failure. The wizard-kings have destroyed Zhentarim and Red Wizards, and rebuffed an emissary from Halruaa. Calishite envoys tried to foster a rivalry between the two with magical attacks crafted to appear to be the work of one Lord High Mage against the other, but this also failed.
Adventurers and especially wizards are advised not to enter Adaerglast, and to beware when in Yallasch: the wizard-kings are thought to scry that city often, and to command increasing numbers of hired agents in its backstreets.
The Adaernen rulers (Iraun: NE male Mulan human Exp2/Wiz17, Srivven: NE male Mulan human Wiz18/Arch2, both: many magic items) slay and burn all wizards who fall into their hands after seizing all magic such unfortunates possess. Their castle in Myrinjar is said to be crammed with seized magic, linked by spells that cause one item or spell to erupt against intruders if another is disturbed.
Iraun and Srivven hail from easternmost Murghôm, where a school of wizardry was destroyed in a battle between renegade students and the masters. It is thought that these two, survivors of the ill-fated school, have plundered mages' tombs far and wide across Faerûn, and seized spells from living wizards in Mulhorand. Their strength in open spell-battle may not unassailable, but in Adaerglast, protected by the weavings of many spell-webs, they are formidable indeed.
"The Garden Coast" remains a glittering prize for anyone who can defeat the wizard-kings (which is no doubt why greedy satraps--who stay safely in Calimshan and send hired warbands, assassins, and adventurers--keep trying). The bustling farms of Adaerglast are among the most productive and efficient in all Faerûn.
The badge of this realm is a wickerwork basket full of rounded red fruit (tomatoes, most folk think) on a white circular field whose border is a purple ring of lightning bolts arcing out in all directions, on a green background.
About the Author
Ed Greenwood is the man who unleashed the Forgotten Realms on an unsuspecting world. He works in libraries, writes fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and even romance stories (sometimes all in the same novel), but he is still happiest churning out Realmslore, Realmslore, and more Realmslore. There are still a few rooms in his house with space left to pile up papers in . . .