History

In a time when the North was always warm and the seas of the world were deeper, the lands of Toril were dominated by empires of inhuman peoples. In the elven oral tradition, these were the days when cruel lizard, amphibian, and avian peoples (known as the Iquar'Tel'Quessir, or creator races) tamed the dinosaurs, built towering cities of stone and glass on the shores of the warm seas, spanned the wilderness with shining roads, and fought wars of extermination - such was their hatred toward each other. These were the Days of Thunder.

Magic in those days was more raw and potent. These ancient peoples experimented endlessly with magic more powerful than today. Mages hurled devastating bolts of seemingly godlike power, leveling armies and mountains. Like gods, they played at creating life, wryly choosing to release their monstrous mistakes rather than destroy them. The wizards who created this new life considered their creations unnatural horrors, unlike anything that walked the land. Most died in the cruel jungles, yet many lived and - as thought awakened in them - they hid from their creators. When the end came at last, it was they - not the surviving creators - who seized control of the suddenly colder realms. And so it was that the first of the elves, the dragons, the goblin races, and an endless list of creatures of a new age took possession of their heritage. Their creators - the ancestors of the lizardmen, bullywugs, and aarakocra - declined into endless barbarism, never to rise again.

Sages speculate about the "overnight" destruction of the creator races. There are wildly diverging theories, but all agree that a rapid climate change occurred, creating a world unsuitable to them. Many believe the change resulted from a cataclysm the races unleashed upon themselves. Proponents of this theory point to the Star Mounts in the High Forest, whose origins are most likely magical and otherworldly. The elves believe that around this time the greater and lesser powers manifested themselves, aiding the new races and confounding the survivors of the creator races. There was civilization in the North during this time period, yet little more than tantalizingly vague myths survive.

The First Flowering

For millennia, gold elves dwelt in Illefarn (where Waterdeep now stands) and Eaerlann (along the River Shining). From their ornate forest cities, they traded with emerging human nations like Netheril and Illusk and repulsed the attacks of the goblin races.

Meanwhile, dwarven clans united as the nation of Delzoun, named for the dwarf who forged the union. The nation, existing primarily underground, extended from the Ice Mountains to the Nether Mountains. Silver Moon Pass was its western border and the Narrow Sea its eastern shore. Orcs came from north of the Spine of the World but were turned back in great slaughter by the elves. To this day, this is the homeland and stronghold for orcs and similar races.

The Crown Wars

Humans immigrated in bands from the Shining Sea and up to the Sword Coast. They became seafarers, striking out across the waves to the Moonshaes, Mintarn, Ruathym, and the northern islands. Elves engaged in an unceasing war against each other with the humans and orcs taking over the resulting ruins. Perhaps the greatest calamity to befall the Fair Folk was the Dark Disaster, a killing magic that took the form of a dark, burning cloud. It enshrouded the kingdom of Mieyritar, and when it faded away some months later, not an elf lived•nor were trees left; only an open, blasted moor: the High Moor.

All was not dark for the elves. Although in retreat, as barbarian humans and orc hordes grew in strength, their power rose in Evereska (remaining a stronghold today) and in the Elven Court. They conceived of cooperation between dwarves, kindly humans, and other elves for mutual survival against orcs, marauding humans, and the tide of beasts (ogres, bugbears, trolls, goblins, gnolls, and other nonhuman creatures) led by the rising power of giants. Astonishingly, in at least three places•the Fallen Kingdoms and the cities of Silverymoon and Myth Drannor•they succeeded with shining grace.

To the east, on the sandy shores of the calm and shining Narrow Sea, human fishing villages grew into small towns and then joined together as the nation of Netheril. Sages believe the fishing towns were unified by a powerful human wizard who had discovered a book of great magic power that had survived from the Days of Thunder - a book that legend calls the Nether Scrolls. Under this nameless wizard and those who followed, Netheril rose in power and glory, becoming both the first human land in the North and the most powerful. Some say this discovery marked the birth of human wizardry, since before then, mankind had only shamans and witch doctors. For over 3,000 years Netheril dominated the North, but even its legendary wizards were unable to stop their final doom.

The Elven Exodus

This era left behind elven strongholds ripe for pillaging by humans and orcs. When elves chose to leave the North and travel to Evermeet, their works quickly disappeared, leaving only places like the Old Road and a ruined port in the High Forest to mark Eaerlann's passing. And yet it was not only the elves who would disappear from their long-held homes. The human nation of Netheril also stood on the brink of history.

Doom for Netheril came in the form of a desert, devouring the Narrow Sea and spreading to fill its banks with dry dust and blowing sand. Legend states when the great wizards of Netheril realized their land was lost, they abandoned it and their countrymen, fleeing to all corners of the world and taking the secrets of wizardry with them. More likely, this was a slow migration that began 3,000 years ago and reached its conclusion 1,500 years later.

Whatever the truth, wizards no longer dwelled in Netheril. To the north, the once-majestic dwarven stronghold of Delzoun fell upon hard days. Then the orcs struck. Orcs have always been foes in the North, surging out of their holes every few tens of generations when their normal haunts can no longer support their burgeoning numbers. This time they charged out of their caverns in the Spine of the World, poured out of abandoned mines in the Graypeaks, screamed out of lost dwarfholds in the Ice Mountains, raged forth from crypt complexes in the Nether Mountains, and stormed upward from the bowels of the High Moon Mountains. Never before or since has there been such an outpouring of orcs.

Delzoun crumbled before this onslaught and was driven in on itself. Netheril, without its wizards, was wiped from the face of history. The Eaerlann elves alone withstood the onslaught, and with the aid of the treants of Turlang and other unnamed allies, were able to stave off the final days of their land for yet a few centuries more.

In the east, Eaerlann built the fortress of Ascalhorn and turned it over to refugees from Netheril as Netherese followers built the town of Karse in the High Forest. The fleeing Netherese founded Llorkh and Loudwater. Others wandered the mountains, hills, and moors north and west of the High Forest, becoming ancestors of the Uthgardt and founders of Silverymoon, Everlund, and Sundabar.

The Spread of Humankind

The adaptable humans made use of magic they could seize or learn from the Proud Peoples to defeat all enemies, breaking (for a time) the power of giants and orcs. Waterdeep was founded. The last of the pure blood elves died out, a result of continued marriages with humans.

In the far west, men also dwelled - wise, clever primitives called the Ice Hunters. They lived simple lives on the coast since time beyond reckoning, countless generations before Netheril's first founders set foot on the Narrow Sea's western shore. Yet this peaceful folk fell prey to another invasion from the south: crude longships that carried a tall, fair-haired, warlike race who displaced the Ice Hunters from their ancestral lands.

This race, known as the Northmen, spread farms and villages along the coast from the banks of the Winding Water to the gorges of the Mirar. Northmen warriors drove the simple Ice Hunters farther and farther north, forced the goblinkin back into their mountain haunts, and instigated the last Council of Illefarn. Within 500 years of the Northmen's arrival, Illefarn was no more•its residents had migrated to Evermeet.

From the Coast, Northmen sailed westward, claiming and establishing colonies on the major western islands of Ruathym and Gundarlun, eventually spreading to all the islands in the northern sea. Others migrated northward, past the Spine of the World, and became the truly savage barbarians of Icewind Dale.

In the centuries that followed, Ascalhorn became Hellgate Keep when it fell into the hands of fiends, and Eaerlann collapsed under the attack of a new orc horde. The elves fled southeast, joining with Northmen, Netherese descendants, and dwarves to form what would later be known as the Fallen Kingdom. This realm was short-lived and collapsed under the next orcish invasion•though in dying, it dealt the goblin races a blow from which they have yet to recover.

DR

Happenings

-1088

First record of trading at the future site of Waterdeep; annual trade begins between ships from the southern and northern human tribes.

1

The Standing Stone is erected; Dale Reckoning begins.

20

Peace agreements are made in Faerûn; the importance of Shieldmeet dates from this year.

50

Almost no growing season, many ice storms, and great loss of life.

52

First permanent farms in Waterdeep area.

75

Plague racks the civilized lands.

350

Creation of Northkeep.

400

Northkeep sinks beneath the waves.

715

Monsters run wild in all the Realms this year.

720

The gods gather at The Dancing Place; the Harpers are founded.

882

Nimoar's Hold is erected at Waterdeep's bay.

893

War threatens much of Faerûn but is averted.

900

Widespread war; strong leaders emerge.

932

First Trollwar. After a number of attacks, Nimoar's forces clear the Evermoors of trolls, burning miles of land to slay the everlasting ones.


The Might of Men

Along the coast, in what was once the elven community of Illefarn, humanity was once again rising in power. Merchants from the south, tribesmen from the North, and seafarers from western islands had created a village around a trading post on a deep-water harbor, first known as Nimoar's Hold after the Uthgardt chieftain whose tribe seized and fortified the ramshackle village. Nimoar and his successors, known as War Lords, led the men of Waterdeep (as it had become known to ship captains) in a slowly losing battle against the trolls. In a final, climactic battle, the trolls breached the aging palisade and all seemed lost - until the magic of Ahghairon of Silverymoon turned luck against the trolls, destroying and scattering them.

Ahghairon, heir to the heritage and learning of Netheril, stayed in Waterdeep, and in his 112th year he again saved the city - this time from itself. In so doing, he created the Lords of Waterdeep. The city grew into the greatest in the North, possibly in all Faerûn. With Waterdeep as a firm anchor, civilization forged cautiously into the wilderness. Illuskan (now Luskan) was taken from the orcs. Loudwater, Llorkh, Triboar, Longsaddle, Secomber, and other towns were settled by pioneers from Waterdeep, sponsored by Waterdhavian merchant families.

Though it's been centuries since the last orc invasion, there's still constant strife. Barbarians harass merchants, travelers, and towns; the seas fill with Northmen pirates; and wars have marred the land in recent years. Luskan, now a fierce merchant city known to harbor - and support - pirates, waged a war with the island realm of Ruathym over an act of piracy against one of the few legitimate Luskan merchant ships. The war raged for nearly a year, with Ruathym slowly losing ground. When it appeared Luskan would finally win the naval war and land on the island itself, the Lords' Alliance entered the fray. They threatened war against Luskan if the skirmishes didn't stop immediately. Unable to fight a two-front war efficiently, Luskan canceled its invasion plans.

Tensions between Luskan and Ruathym are still high, and their ships are often seen taking potshots at each other as they pass, often just a wave or two away from each other. The government of Ruathym has recently been sending adventurers into the hills of its island realm, looking for mercenaries who are killing merchants, farmers, and woodsmen. Ruathym believes Luskan still has a presence on the island, trying to win through subversion and terrorism what it could not accomplish through war.

To the far north, the Ten Towns have finished rebuilding after being nearly destroyed by the monstrous forces of Akar Kessel. With help from the tundra barbarians living nearby, they've built and repaired their cities, replanted the sparse foliage, and - most importantly - replenished the morale of their citizens. A recent trader who passed through the area carrying 17 wagons of rare oak lumber said that it was nearly impossible to determine who's a barbarian and who isn't. "They're living together!" he reported in amazement.

DR

Happenings

940

Second Trollwar. Troll raids and strife begin, lasting more than a decade. The name "Waterdeep" comes into common usage. Six War Lords of Waterdeep die in battle against the trolls. Waterdeep grows in population, as tribes gather within her walls for safety.

952

Ahghairon becomes premier northern mage and the advisor for the War Lord of Waterdeep. This year marks the end of the Second Trollwar; trolls remain nearly extinct around Waterdeep for 100 years.

974

Castle Waterdeep built.

992

Heralds of Faerûn created.

1032

Raurlor announces his plans to establish the Empire of the North. Ahghairon defies him, causes his death, and takes the War Lord's seat, declaring himself the first Lord of Waterdeep. Year zero in Northreckoning.

1099

Trade routes are established, linking the Heartlands with rich, legendary lands far to the east and south (Kara-Tur and al-Qadim). These routes, in some cases, are later forgotten for a time.

1116

Heralds split off from the Harpers.

1150

Plague ravages throughout the Sword Coast.

1182

Harpstars Wars begin; the Malaugrym appear in Faerûn.

1222

Harpstars Wars end with the destruction of "The Harper King" (a lich).

1235

The largest orc horde ever sweeps from the north; many lands overrun. The orcs reach Calimshan before they're scattered by hastily gathered wizards and local armies. Waterdeep besieged; Calimshan threatened.

1241

A respected noblewoman of Tethyr is slain by raiding orcs; many dedicate a year of orc-slaying to her memory. Orcs are purged from some southern lands and reduced to paltry numbers in the North.

1244

The now-lost human fortress of Illusk held off an orc horde for most of this year but eventually fell.

1248

Guilds are formed in Waterdeep.

1252

Vines were blighted this year; no wine!

1254

Rising power of thieves' guilds in Waterdeep, Baldur's Gate, Amn, and Tethyr results in many assassinations.

1262

Guild Wars in Waterdeep.

1273

Magisters founded. Waterdeep's population reaches 100,000.

1297

First recorded mention of Drizzt Do'Urden.

1300

Thieves' Guild destroyed in Waterdeep.

1302

Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun is born.

1308

Lhestyn becomes the Open Lord of Waterdeep; Palace of Waterdeep completed.

1314

Piergeiron becomes the Unmasked Lord of Waterdeep.

1322

Monster population reaches a 50-year high.

1325

A year of unrivaled plenty; the ale brewed this year is legendary.

1345

Jyordhan slain by Khelben Arunsun of Waterdeep.


Time of Troubles (The Godswar)

This era is the shortest of all the eras, yet stands as the most earth-shattering. Ao threw the gods from their lofty perches to punish them for transgressions against Toril. Gods were murdered and replaced, chaos reigned supreme, and continents shuddered under divine footsteps.

DR

Happenings

1358 - 1365

Time of Troubles begin and the gods walk Faerûn; Destruction of Bane, Bhaal, Myrkul, and other gods; Ascendancy of Cyric and Midnight/Mystra; Dead magic and wild magic areas appear on Faerûn.