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Lost Empires of Faerûn

Introduction

Faerûn is littered with the wreckage of the past -- shattered castles, ruined cities, forgotten dungeons, nameless strongholds, shunned temples, and other ruins too decayed to identify. But what were these places in their days of glory, and what forces brought them low? Each crumbling edifice has a story to tell -- a tale of glory and power followed by slow decline or outright destruction through betrayal, war, or catastrophe. When heroes explore such a site, they venture into its story and become part of it, adding their deeds to a tale that may have begun thousands of years before their birth.

Like our own world, the land of Faerûn has been sculpted and shaped by the merciless winds of history and time. Ancient wars, terrible catastrophes, personal tragedies, and great triumphs have all given rise to consequences that in turn caused other wars and disasters. Thus has the endless cycle of cause and effect been propagated across thousands of years and hundreds of cities and kingdoms.

Lost Empires of Faerûn offers rationales for how and why the ruined places of the past may demand the attention of the player characters in your game. In a Forgotten Realms campaign, no ruined castle should be a nameless mound of rubble filled with random monsters. Was it once the stronghold of a Netherese lich who outlived his land by centuries? Or the fortress of an evil warlord who dreamed of carving out his own kingdom from the chaos following Phalorm's fall? Or could it be the secret retreat of a sinister Nar conjurer who bound a demon within its walls some fifteen centuries ago? An adventure site with links to the past offers a wonderful opportunity to ground your adventures in the setting and immerse your players in the fantastic world that their characters inhabit and explore.

The Ruin-Based Campaign

The history of Faerûn's lost empires is a tale of unparalleled magical might, lost imperial majesty, and age-old, cataclysmic wars involving numerous realms and many races. It is also an incomplete chronicle replete with overlooked arcane wonders, untold entombed evils, and long-forgotten gods. In ancient vaults and ruins, legacies both foul and fair lie patiently in the dark, awaiting the right moment, the right adventurer, or the right sign to herald their return to the light.

Campaigns in Faerûn can embroil characters in ongoing events occurring throughout the continent. From the plots and schemes of ambitious rulers to the hidden agendas of rival churches and secret societies, the adventuring landscape of Faerûn is an ever shifting backdrop whose precise nature varies with the successes and failures of numerous factions. Lost Empires of Faerûn adds to this rich tapestry of deeds and machinations by returning to present-day Faerûn some of the lore and magic of the civilizations gone by.

The history of Faerûn is the foundation upon which the current-day world rests. To most people, the overt signs of history are meaningless, and old ruins and empty mines are places to be avoided. To a sage or adventurer, however, such locations serve as windows into the past. A fallen realm or forgotten empire may seem to exert little influence in the here and now, but it holds great potential for both dire perils and marvelous wonders.

The historical realms described in Lost Empires of Faerûn are not meant to be intriguing destinations for time-traveling characters. Rather, adventures and even entire campaigns can be designed around an ancient kingdom that the heroes know only from stories. For example, addressing a threat from the vanished past might require adventurers to explore an ancient empire's culture, learn its history, and understand its magical nuances. In so doing, characters could acquire a particular mastery necessary to survive a disaster or solve a problem that began long ago. At that point, the way is open for them to rediscover spells created by long-dead mages, recover lost swords of legend, learn the secrets of forgotten gods, of fallen empires.

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