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Arvandor is the only civilized wilderness.
  — Elmoriel the Enchantress[1]

Arvandor was a realm in the first layer of the Outer plane of Arborea, according to the Great Wheel cosmology.[8] It was the home and shared divine realm of most of the Seldarine.[5] In the World Tree cosmology, it was one of the roots of the World Tree, together with Dwarfhome.[9] In the World Axis cosmology, it was considered an astral dominion and also the primary home of the Lords of the Golden Hills.[7]

GeographyEdit

Arvandor was a vast, infinite expanse of pristine wilderness covered in lush forests, massive mountains, perfectly clear streams, placid lakes, and an ocean called the Sparkling Sea. The realm stretched from the boundless mass of the Sparkling Sea to a range of snow-capped mountains.[2]

The deep woods of Arvandor possessed an unearthly beauty, which not only exemplified its home plane of Arborea, but also influenced it, as the long-term presence of elves in the plane had also somewhat changed it. The realm was full of secrets and mysteries that were known only to the elven deities.[10]

The thick canopy of the forests was divided in layers in many locations: an upper layer of sun-loving trees and a lower layer of shade-favoring vegetation. In some of the thicker forest areas, the undergrowth was nearly impenetrable, due to a combination of dense foliage and the trunks of dead trees. Those areas were dangerous and generally avoided by elves.[1]

The darkness of the forests was offset by the brightness of the meadows in Arvandor. They were characterized either by their perennial flowers or by the blue blossoms that grew above the snow during spring.[1]

Elf in arvandor-2e

An elf reveling in the deep woods of Arvandor.

The otherworldly beauty and passion of Arvandor could be overwhelming to non-elves. Those that could not resist it were overtaken by an irresistible desire to dance and commune with the elves, and had to be guided away, otherwise risking becoming lost forever. Not even half-elves were immune to this effect.[1][10]

Each one of the elven patron deities maintained a realm on this plane. None of these realms had a border and each one seamlessly melded into the other with absolutely no discernible borders apparent. While each deity claimed a portion of the realm, the majority was shared by the entire pantheon and with the celestial eladrin.[2]

Arvandor was also the destination of the souls of the elven dead, although sometimes it was called by a distinct name of Arvanaith.[10]

LinksEdit

Several connections existed between Arvandor and other planes, either naturally occurring or kept by different deities and inhabitants.[1][2]

GovernmentEdit

The deities of the Seldarine had little interest in governing the realm. They instead ruled through proxies that in turn sent emissaries to enforce the laws. These duties were taken with varying degrees of seriousness.[10]

The elven population was ruled by High Kings and Queens. There was typically one ruler for each elven subrace.[1]

TradeEdit

The small elven settlements in Arvandor produced goods of the finest quality. They were famous for their sweet trail rations, as well as their mead and venison. The musical instruments produced in Arvandor were clear-sounding, and the cloaks and boots produced in the realm were extremely durable. Metalcraft in the realm was also of extremely high quality, comparable to dwarven standards, although availability of armor was limited to chainmail or other simple armor. Weapons produced in Arvandor were exceptional, in particular spears and bows, but were very costly.[1]

DefensesEdit

Some of the portals that led into Arvandor from other planes were the focus of hostile invading creatures. The realm also was frequently attacked by raiding parties from the Unseelie Court, seeking to capture slaves at the command of the Queen of Air and Darkness. These attackers were repelled by knights and guards among the plane's petitioners, but they brought the winds of Pandemonium with them, provoking violent winds whenever they arrived or departed the realm.[1][10]

HistoryEdit

Arvandor was conquered by the Seldarine from the giant deities, as evidenced by the numerous ruins of giant architecture scattered through the glades and meadows of the realm.[10] The location was chosen by Corellon soon after the first primal elves were created, as a place where he could revel in their presence and appreciate their ideas.[15]

Rumors & LegendsEdit

It was rumored that Alfheim had once been a part of Arvandor, but gradually slid into Ysgard as its inhabitants began prioritizing honor and survival.[16]

Labelas Enoreth was known to stay in Arvandor,[17] but the location of his realm was a mystery. According to one rumor it was a tower that only could be glimpsed as an ominous sign (or sign for the emerging of new elven leader). According to another it was below one of Arvandor's mighty hills.[18]

Notable LocationsEdit

Forgotten Realms Comic - Arvandor - 6 - p15 - The Dragonreach Saga

Vartan Hai Sylvar witnesses Arvandor.

Aerie
The divine realm of Aerdrie Faenya and Syranita.[19] Located at the boundary between Arborea and Ysgard, it randomly shifted between Arvandor and Alfheim.[20][21] It was an archipelago of floating islands, floating trees with two crowns, and a glittering palace of clouds that floated above the clear skies of both layers.[2][19] It was inhabited by celestial eagles and rocs, as well as elven and avariel petitioners, celestial elves, and angels.[2] In the World Axis model, which interpreted Aerdrie Faenya as an aspect of Akadi, the realm was also connected to her realm of Sky Home.[22]
Crescent Grove
Also known as "Gwyllachaightaeryll", meaning "the Many-Splendored" in the Elven language,[23] the great palace was the center of Arvandor and home to Corellon Larethian and Sehanine Moonbow. Originally a giant tower, the palace was an ever-changing blend of nature and art, combining an architecture of white marble pillars and walkways with enormous white-barked trees. At the center stood the Overlook, the palace's tallest tower, which offered a breathtaking view of the entire realm and was a favorite destination for visitors. Many petitioners of Arvandor spent their time here, reflecting in quiet contemplation and enjoying some undisturbed solitude.[2]
Elavandor
This palace, built of coral, gold, and veined marble at the bottom of a chasm in the Sparkling Sea, was the home of the Dolphin Prince, Deep Sashelas. It was home to celestial dolphins, whales, and great schools of fish. Populations of tritons also shared the realm with the realm's sea elf petitioners.[2] In the Great Wheel cosmology, it was considered a separate realm that extended into the second layer of Aquallor as well.[17]
Erevan's changing palace
When the trickster Erevan Ilesere stayed in Arvandor between his exploits it was in a palace made from different materials. Its details changed according to the deity's whims and were never the same twice for any visitor. The palace held much of Erevan's treasures, ready for the taking of an enterprising soul - if they could prevail against the multitude of traps set to test the skill of any intruder.[24]
The Gnarl
A village of elves and ratatosk near one of the roots of an immense tree, which was interpreted as Yggdrasil in the Great Wheel model and as the World Tree in the World Tree model. The village neighbored Erevan Ilesere's realm.[2][25][26]
Hanali Celanil's Crystal Palace
The elven goddess of love and beauty resided in a magnificent structure of pure crystal within a lake.[2][8]
Evergold
The Fountain of Youth and Beauty was the centerpoint of Hanali's palace (part of the time).[18][27] Melira Taralen was found here so often that the Evergold was considered her divine realm by some.[28]
House of Glowing Stars
The realm of Araleth Letheranil, the Prince of Stars, the House of Glowing Stars is permanently illuminated by a many stars slowly drifting around it.[28]
Lolth's Grove
The former realm of the exiled drow goddess Lolth was a ruined and forlon grove of blacked, uprooted or broken trees, crawling with spiders and haunted by banshees.[26][29]
Pale Tree
This grove, surrounding a wondrous white tree with silver leaves, was the realm of Solonor Thelandira.[2]
Golden Hills
The realm of the gnomish pantheon was considered a part of Arvandor in the World Axis cosmology.[7]

InhabitantsEdit

The realm was inhabited by all types of elves, including fey eladrin and even a few drow. The native elven inhabitants of Arvandor differed from elves from other planes by the intensity of their passions. All emotions ran stronger there, and were also more fickle.[5]

Arvandor and the Gates of the Moon were the divine realms with the largest populations of celestial eladrin. Although not servants of the Seldarine, the eladrin respected and generally cooperated with them in both everyday and urgent matters. However, when an elven deity required a more powerful representative to travel to another plane, an angel was usually called upon, rather than an eladrin. For that reason, a multitude of angels made their home there.[2] Gwynharwyf was also known to wander between this plane and the Gates of the Moon.[30]

The several canopy layers teemed with wildlife, such as giant squirrels and bats. They were home to tribes of aarakocra and elves who never set foot on the ground, considered impure by some of the elven tribes. The dangerous undergrowth in the thickest areas of the forests was home to ettercaps, shadows, and spiders.[1]

Hunting was a common practice among the inhabitants of Arvandor. They were typically held during elven holidays, and the quarry was always meant to be eaten during feasts, since the hunts were meant for more than sport. On rare occasions, a High King or Queen ordered a special hunt for a larger or more dangerous creature, usually a monster that wandered into the realm from neighboring Olympus or a rogue beast. Despite the celebratory character of these events, they were taken seriously by the population. Failure to catch an intended quarry was usually seen as a bad omen.[1]

PetitionersEdit

All petitioners of Arvandor, whether they were elves in their mortal lives or not, acquired an exaggerated elven appearance upon arrival at Arvandor. These petitioners spent their time enjoying the eternal tranquility of the plane.[2]

AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), pp. 41–43. ISBN 1560768746.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 143–144. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  3. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
  4. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-0786965622.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 48. ISBN 978-0786966240.
  6. Jeff Grubb, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan (September 2001). Manual of the Planes 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 144–147. ISBN 0-7869-1850-8.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 62. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc), p. 94. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  9. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 140. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc), p. 94. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  11. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 147. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  12. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 150. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  13. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 158. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  14. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  15. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 36. ISBN 978-0786966240.
  16. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 109. ISBN 1560768746.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc), p. 173. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc), p. 98. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 39. ISBN 1560768746.
  20. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 107. ISBN 1560768746.
  21. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  22. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 66, 130. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  23. Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc), p. 95. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  24. Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc), p. 96. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  25. Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc), p. 98. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Colin McComb (1996). On Hallowed Ground. Edited by Ray Vallese. (TSR, Inc), p. 97. ISBN 0-7869-0430-5.
  27. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 43. ISBN 1560768746.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Chris Perry (December 1996). “The Seldarine Revisited”. In Pierce Watters ed. Dragon #236 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 11–17, 25.
  29. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), pp. 41–42. ISBN 1560768746.
  30. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 189. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.

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