Faerûn is a major continent on the planet of Abeir-Toril. The majority of official Forgotten Realms material covers this continent, and it has had more attention than any other area of the planet.
The continent includes terrain that is as varied as any other. Besides the exterior coastline to the west and south, the most dominant feature on the continent is the Sea of Fallen Stars. This is an irregular inland sea that keeps the interior lands fertile and serves as a major trade route for many of the bordering nations.
Next in significance is the Shaar, a broad region of grasslands in the south that, together with the Lake of Steam, separates the area around the inland sea from the coastal nations at the southern edge of the continent. To the east, Faerûn is bordered by a vast regions of steppe from Kara-Tur, and in the north are massive glaciers (Pelvuria and Reghed) and tundra. South of the continent, separated by the Great Sea, is the sub-tropical land of Zakhara. The continent includes the following geographic and political regions:
A region of wilderness, difficult winter weather, orc hordes, and barbarian tribes, this region is generally referred to as "The North". It is a mostly untamed region that lies between the large Anauroch desert in the east and the expansive Sea of Swords to the west. This area is one of the most popular regions for role-playing campaigns set in Faerûn, and has been the setting for a number of popular computer role-playing games. This area contains:
- The High Forest—a traditional home of the elves.
- Icewind Dale—site of Ten Towns and the setting for the Icewind Dale computer game.
- Mithral Hall—the ancient dwarven stronghold rediscovered and reclaimed by Bruenor Battlehammer in the writings of Drizzt creator R.A. Salvatore.
- Neverwinter—a northern town and the initial setting of the Neverwinter Nights computer game.
- The Silver Marches—a confederation of humans, dwarves and elves, with the city of Silverymoon at its heart.
- The Sword Coast—a rich coastline of trade, piracy and adventure.
- Waterdeep—the "City of Splendors": a huge and richly detailed city on the Sword Coast.
- Anauroch—a huge desert, setting of the expansion Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide.
- The Dalelands—an area of rich farmland and human civilization. Home to the famous wizard Elminster.
- The Moonsea—a large northern body of water with shores in many politically unstable areas.
- The Ride
- The Vast
This remote area begins in the cold, forbidding lands along the great ice sheets and continues south toward the northeastern shores of the Sea of Fallen Stars. It is bordered on the west by the mountain-hemmed land of Vaasa and stretches east to the vast steppes of the Hordelands. This region also contains:
- The Great Dale
- The Hordelands
- Rashemen—home of the hamster-loving Minsc from the Baldur's Gate games and novels.
- Amn—the huge, relatively new human nation of great wealth and prosperity.
- Baldur's Gate—the city from which the Baldur's Gate games and novels take their names.
- Evereska—the crumbling final stronghold of the elves on Faerûn.
- Lantan—the mysterious island nation.
- The Moonshae Isles
- The Nelanther Isles
- The Western Heartlands
With the exception of the Shining Plains, these lands lie along the irregular coastline of the western Sea of Fallen Stars. In the north, the Dragonmere arm of the sea extends far to the west, ending close to the Western Heartlands. To the south, the Vilhon Reach forms a second arm leading to the southwest. The notable areas within this region include:
- Cormyr—a feudal nation of humans living on former elven and dragon territory.
- The Dragon Coast
- The Pirate Isles
- The Shining Plains
Most of the nations in this region border the eastern expanses of the Sea of Fallen Stars. Here the sea forms a long arm that travels to the east before turning south to become the Alamber Sea. The northern nations of this mysterious area are termed the Unapproachable East and the southern nations the Old Empires. This region includes:
- Thay—home of the notorious Red Wizards.
Many of these nations allow slavery, and depend on slaves for much of their economy.
This region lies along the great Chultan peninsula that juts out toward the west. The waters to the north are named the Shining Sea, a body bounded by Calimshan to the north and joined to the Lake of Steam through the Straits of Storm. To the south of the land is the Great Sea. Located in this area are:
This land lies to the south of the regions around the Sea of Fallen Stars, being somewhat isolated by the Lake of Steam in the west, and the vast length of the Shaar. It is bordered along the south by the Great Sea; to the west by the Chultan peninsula region, and in the east by Luiren. The south includes:
- The Border Kingdoms—an area of ever-changing mini-nations and fluctuating borders.
- The Great Rift
- The Lake of Steam
- The Shaar
The immense complex of caverns and passages that lie beneath many parts of the continent of Faerûn. It contains:
- Ched Nasad
- Llurth Dreir
- Menzoberranzan—the famous drow city and original home of Drizzt Do'Urden.
- Map of Faerûn at Wizards of the Coast (7MB .jpg)