Sword Coast Samba
Population: Humans, Elves, Half-Elves, Halflings, Half-Orcs, Dwarves.
Imports: ale, fish herbs, iron, rugs
Exports: gold, pottery, silver, wool
The Western Heartlands cover a vast area between the Storm Horns of Cormyr and the Sword Coast south of Waterdeep, from the Lizard Marsh in the northwest to the Lonely Moor on the fringes of Anauroch in the northeast, down to Beregost and Green Fields in the southwest and Easting on the border of the Dragon Coast in the southeast.
To the caravan drivers of Amn and Sembia, the Western Heartlands are known as “miles and miles of miles and miles” – windswept, grassy flats skirting impassable bogs, badlands, rolling hills, high moors, and lonely forests, all of which are filled with monsters. The farmers, frontiers folk, walled city-dwellers, and other hardy souls who live here and strong and independent enough to carve successful lives out of the frontier where skill and intelligence count for more than one’s bloodline. The Western Heartlands are home to dozens of separate walled cities, racial enclaves, farm towns, monasteries, fortified strongholds, and armed domains.
The Western Heartlands welcome ambitious adventurers. A dozen crumbled empires have sought to conquer and dominate the the region, leaving behind fortifications built upon waves of subsequent would-be monarchs. Others left behind treasure troves, high and perilous magic, or both. Unlike the densely packed regions in the Heartlands and the North, the Western Heartlands require long stretches of overland travel between destinations—but at least no one freezes en route.
Inhabitants of the Western Heartlands live in scattered wilderness settlements. The people of the west tend to be stubborn, independent, and proud of their ability to thrive in a challenging environment. Their frontier is complemented by a trader’s willingness to greet strangers as potential friends rather than potential enemies. Unlike some civilized people of the eastern nations, the folk of the west look upon adventurers favorably, viewing them as potential customers, good allies in a fight, and possibly even as neighbors.
Major Geographical Features:
Battle of Bones, Cloak Wood, Far Hills, Fields of the Dead, Forest of Wyrms, Forgotten Forest, Green Fields, Graycloak Hills, High Moor, Highstar Lake, Lizard Marsh, Lonely Moor, Marsh of Chelimber, Misty Forest, River Chionthar, Serpent Hills, Skull Gorge, Sword Coast, Trollbark Forest, Trollclaw Ford, Trollclaws, [[Troll Hills], Winding Water, Wood of Sharp Teeth, Yellow Snake Pass
Asbravn, Baldurs Gate, Berdusk, Beregost, Boareskyr Bridge, Candlekeep, Corm Orp, Daggerford, Darkhold, Durlags Tower, Elturel, Evereska, Hills Edge, Hluthvar, Iriaebor, Laughing Hollow, Scornubel, Secomber, Well of Dragons
The ancient history of the Western Heartlands reveals itself in the scattered tombs, broken statues, and shattered ruins of dozens of mighty kingdoms. As testified to by sites such as the Fields of the Dead and the Battle of Bones, few of those kingdoms dissolved peacefully.
Major wars in the region were rare in recent centuries, unless one counts the battle fought between the dieties Bhaal and Cyric at Boareskyr Bridge during the Time of Troubles. Cyric slew Bhaaland stole his powers, the portfolio of murder.
In the centuries before the rise of Waterdeep, the greatest kingdom in the Western Heartlands was Illefarn, a kingdom elves that rivaled Myth Drannor. Phalorm (the Realm of Three Crowns, or the Fallen Kingdom) and the Kingdom of Man ruled for a time in Illefarn’s wake, but since then no single power has controlled the entire area. The trading culture of Waterdeep, Amn, and the scattered members of the Lords Alliance comprise the longest-lived civilization to rise in the Western Heartlands since Illefarn’s fall.
The mercantile cities’ interests are sometimes aided and sometimes opposed by Zhent forces operating out of the fortress of Darkhold in the Far Hills. Aside from the weather, Darkhold’s changing fortunes are probably the single largest variable in the lives of inhabitants of the Western Heartlands.