Elturel (pronounced: /ˈɛltɜːrˌɛl/ ELL-tur-ELL) was a city-state lying on the River Chionthar in the Western Heartlands. In the mid–14th century DR, it was a center for agriculture and trade in the region, and was renowned for its elite mounted defenders, the Hellriders. In the late 15th century DR, it was the capital of the realm of Elturgard, a theocracy of Torm the True and defended by its paladin knighthood, the Order of the Companion.
- 1 Language
- 2 Geography
- 3 Government
- 4 Relations
- 5 Defenses
- 6 Law & Order
- 7 Trade
- 8 Demographics
- 9 Culture & Society
- 10 Description
- 11 History
- 12 Notable Elturians
- 13 Appendix
In the mid–14th century DR, the people of the region spoke the Thorasta language, which was related to Chondathan. People and things from here were called "Elturian", while "Elturelian" was considered incorrect.
The city was situated atop a bluff or tor with a cliff dominating the River Chionthar. This was both a good defensive position and a good crossing-point, as the river below was narrow, shallow, and easily traversed by poling barges; the city was founded here for this advantage. The river linked it with Berdusk, Iriaebor, and Scornubel, and to Baldur's Gate on the Sword Coast.
The Skuldask Road ran through Elturel, linking it to Thundar's Ride in the Fields of the Dead in the northwest, and to Berdusk and Uldoon's Trail in the southwest. The lesser-used Dusk Road began at Elturel and went northeast to meet the Trade Way at Triel. It was a major stop on the trade routes through the Western Heartlands.
In the 1360s DR, Elturel laid claim to lands along the Dusk Road northeast as far as Triel, along the Skuldask Road northwest to where it met Thundar's Ride and southeast down to Windstream Lodge, and along the Chionthar upstream to Scornubel, and downstream to Stone Eagle Lodge. The border was distinct: within, the land was farmed and settled; without, wilderness reigned, the land covered in shrubs and scrub trees. Elturel's domain was characterized by agriculture, where cattle and sheep grazed, brush was cut back, and farms fenced by hedges and stone walls studded the landscape.
After the 1430s DR, a shining orb known as the Companion or "Amaunator's Gift" hung directly over the center of the city, never setting. Only the High Observer knew if this was truly a blessing of the sun god Amaunator. This second sun produced no heat but its light illuminated the city day and night, as bright as the natural sun and burned undead of all kinds. Creatures of darkness could not even bear to look at the city. It could be seen from virtually anywhere within Elturgard, though it faded with distance.
By 1356 DR, the city was ruled by its High Rider, Lord Dhelt, a paladin of Helm and former leader of the Hellriders. He remained in power through 1367 DR and past 1372 DR. His focus was on maintaining Elturel as the most efficient, secure, and well-policed city in the region, with interests in farming and trade. The Hellriders helped Elturel establish and maintain civilization in these harsh lands. His reign went unquestioned, but was seen as just and fair and wise and competent. He was vigilant on defense and preventing crime, and in keeping the city clean and lawful. He was known to be respectable and tolerant, as a leader who actively promoted trade while letting merchants getting on with business with minimum interference.
In the late 1400s DR, the city and Elturgard as a whole were ruled by the High Observer of Torm, a priest named Thavius Kreeg. Aided by a paladin knighthood, the High Observer made certain that order was maintained in the city and the realm, with the aim of bringing righteous judgment to all the Realms and "setting Faerûn aright". As in the past, they ensured the city and countryside remained safe and well-policed and that trade and agriculture were run efficiently. It was believed by some that Thavius ruled wisely and well for decades, yet he presided over harsh and rigid laws, intolerant attitudes, and inquisitions circa 1479 DR.[note 1]
While it remained an independent city, it was a firm member of the Lords' Alliance in the mid–14th century DR. Circa 1370 DR, a 30-strong squad of Lords' Alliance troops, contributed to mainly by Elturel and Baldur's Gate, were garrisoned in Port Llast to guard against attack from Luskan. By 1489 DR, Elturel, now a power of its own, was no longer a member of the Lords' Alliance.
In the mid-1300s DR, Elturel was a mutual rival of Scornubel, a city of comparable size and capability lying upriver. Lord Dhelt looked for ways to overthrow Scornubel's position as the major trading town between Iriaebor and Waterdeep and Elturians themselves endeavored to beat them in riches.
In the 1300s DR, the main threats in Elturel's domain were bandits preying on the traders and travelers, and orcs, trolls, and ogres from the High Moor raiding the farms of the Fields of the Dead.
In the late 1400s DR, Elturel was the capital of Elturgard, the Kingdom of the Two Suns, a realm that included Berdusk, Iriaebor, Scornubel, Soubar, and Triel, as well as many farms and villages along the roads of the Western Heartlands that were claimed and protected. Its chief rival now was Baldur's Gate, a completely contrasting city situated downriver. Elturel regarded Baldur's Gate as lawless and corrupt, and disapproved of its religious tolerance. Baldur's Gate started the feud by taking goods and coin from ships going to and from Elturel. Whenever Baldur's Gate attempted to claim more territory than Elturgard could accept, it imposed high taxes on shipments downriver. There was much animosity between them, but while Elturgard expected to have to deal with Baldur's Gate one day, neither was looking forward to an armed conflict.
The city was surrounded by a stout stone wall, shielding all but the southern river side. There were two gates, on the northwest and northeast sides. Inside the eastern wall, a canal served as a partial moat.
Elturel's main defense in the 14th and 15th centuries DR was the Hellriders, a 2000-strong elite unit of well-equipped, loyal, and close-knit mounted troops. For a city guard, they outmatched the armies of whole realms. They were not only the guards and police of the city, they also patrolled the River Chionthar and surrounding roads, and escorted caravans from Waterdeep to Iriaebor. They maintained guardhouses in the Fields of the Dead and warning beacons in the surrounding farmlands. As well as significant raids, expeditions, and punitive assaults on aggressive demihumans were commanded by Lord Dhelt, the High Rider, or by the High Watcher of Helm Berelduin Shondar. All Hellriders were required to give a tenth of their earnings to Elturel's coffers.
In the late 15th century, they were joined by the Order of the Companion, a well-armored mounted knighthood of paladins who defended the city and wider Elturgard, swore oaths to the realm and shared its goals, even if the members did not all share faith in Torm. Courageous, righteous, and zealous, they were proud of their dedication to the cause of good, their clear morals, even their intolerance. They were identified by the blazing insignia of the Companion that they wore. Many of the Hellriders now aspired to join the Companions. Both followed the Creed Resolute, swearing to serve the High Observer and the greater good, uphold Elturgard's law, and permit no difference in faith to come between them, nor to attribute the Companion to one god or another.
Law & Order
Well policed by the Hellriders in the mid-1300s DR, Elturel was a very safe city for travelers. Its dockside areas were among the safest in Faerûn, thanks to their organization, the loyalty of the handlers guild, and the alert Hellrider patrols. The main threat was theft by pickpockets, not mugging by thugs. Otherwise, there were no Elturian thieves' guilds—Lord Dhelt would not allow it. Just rumoring about a possible band of thieves was enough to see one interrogated by zealous Hellriders. Nevertheless, "Pinch" ran his own small gang there circa 1366 DR, and stole the amulet of the Dawnbreaker from the Temple of the Morninglord.
In the late 1400s DR, the city was much stricter and even bad language and irreverent humor could draw the ire of authorities. Elturgard's laws were rigid, intolerant, and persecuted evil with inquisitorial zeal, leading to a host of problems. Those who broke the law three times were sent to the Dungeon of the Inquisitor. Here, they were punished and set to work mining new tunnels. The inmate population was always being replenished. Nevertheless, it remained the safest city in the land.
The final verse of the ballad "The Knights of Dragon Down" was outlawed in Elturel by 1366 DR, because an evil archmage of the city made it the words of a summoning spell that quickly drew undead to those that sang it.
In the 1300s DR, Elturel was the farming center of the Fields of the Dead and thrived on the trade that passed through its domain. It was commonly rated as the second-most economically powerful city in the Western Heartlands after Scornubel and it was quite wealthy. Linking overland caravan and river barge trades, it also served as a market for farms on fertile Fields of the Dead and Chionthar banks. Thousands of cattle and sheep were assembled in Elturel every year for trade across Faerûn. Traders greatly appreciated the protection afforded them by the Hellriders; caravans and convoys of riverboats chose routes through Elturel's zone of control so they could relax their own security, if only for a day or two. Summer saw the peak of trade through the city.
Its primary exports were livestock and the products of them, namely meat, cheese, leatherwork, wool, and glues rendered from hooves and horns. Equipment shops in the city had moderate availability of goods. Elturel supplied fabric and leather to Aurora's Emporium, which traded clothing and shoes. Elturian Grey was the premier cheese of Elturel, and was also sold through Aurora's Emporium, though counterfeits under similar names were produced.
There was a guild of handlers who took care of loading and unloading goods, both on the wagons and on the docks. They were faithful and assisted the costers.
After the founding of Elturgard, the port officials who handled trade in the city circa 1479 DR were overly righteous and handed exorbitant taxes and penalties to traders who showed even the slightest impiety, even banning them from setting foot inside the city. The caravans and riverboat convoys now feared to pass through there. Despite this, by 1489 DR, travelers were once again relieved to set foot inside Elturgard and relax their guard for a time.
In 1358 DR, Elturel had a registered population of 26,778 citizens, but the real population fluctuated from 29,000 in winter to 33,000 in summer. Much of this population was transient, being traders and travelers just passing through. In event of war, plague, or orc horde, farmers of the Fields of the Dead could take refuge in the city; the warehouses and cellars could briefly shelter over 400,000 people. In 1372 DR, the official population was given as 22,671. In 1479 DR, it had a population of around 17,000.
Culture & Society
In the 14th century, it was said that every boy and girl of Elturel and the lands around dreamed of being a Hellrider some day, even those whose talents lay in the intellectual more than the martial arts. To call such a child a "hellion" was not an insult but a compliment, marking one as having the courage and drive to ride the Hellriders' destriers. Though they didn't all get special training, Elturians were practically raised in the saddle, learning how to ride and growing familiar with how horses behaved in any situation, even those that never became Hellriders. The downside was that, rightly or wrongly, some folk thought Elturians always smelled of horse.
In turn, all true warriors of Elturel were most likely Hellriders. Those who resigned were stripped of their gear, exiled from the city, and named a heretic in the eyes of Helm for abandoning their post. In the mid-1360s DR, there were no living ex-members of the Hellriders—too many had died in battle.
Elturian wizards, meanwhile, were safer in the saddle, being skilled at attacking from their mounts. They were much more capable of avoiding or resisting attacks while mounted than they on foot, being less able to react fast enough.
Often overlooked in the city's commercial success, Elturian rogues were themselves merchants and traders. They were charismatic, talented in subtle negotiations and driving slick bargains, and skilled in appraising items. However, fighting was bad for business, and Elturian rogues made poor and less-resilient combatants.
Instead, as a legal outlet for the poor, desperate, unruly, maladjusted, or just violent citizens, there was the High Moor Heroes' Guild. This adventuring band made regular expeditions to the High Moor "scouring" whatever they found. They also tutored each other and other adventurers.
In the late 15th century, Elturian citizens still often dreamed of joining Elturgard's paladin knighthood. This time, many succeeded. Inspired by the Hellriders and the Companions, the folk of Elturgard were typically devout in both their faith and the pursuit of justice. Both troops were loved and respected by the people. Elturel was known as a holy city.
Under the eternal day of the second sun in the 1400s DR, Elturians depending on bells tolling in the High Hall to know the beginning and ending of each workday. The constant light reduced typical nighttime activities; there was little brawling and muggings, while thieves were perforce extra cautious and cunning. It was especially hard for newcomers to adjust to life here. Inns and boarding houses covered windows with thick curtains to let patrons sleep.
The city was split into two districts: an upper city known as the High District and a lower city known as the Dock District. The High District spread over the slopes of a rising, defensible hill with a rocky cliff on its south side, where it met the Chionthar. In this crowded space, the buildings were constructed of stone, with tall narrow houses topped with spires and bedecked with balconies and windows, and the cobbled streets were narrow, steep, and winding. Their cellars were dug out of the solid rock. This area was home to the city's nobility. Atop the cliff overlooking the river was the High Hall, marked by its soaring turrets and its walls encircling the summit. This was where the High Rider and later the High Observer lived, government was based, bureaucracy was managed, political and religious leaders were housed, and large commercial meetings were held. On the northeastern flank of the hill was a ravine, crossed by two bridges in the late 1400s DR: the Torm's Reach in the north and the Torm's Blade south of it, each 20 feet (6.1 meters) and consecrated in the name of Torm by runes carved into them, and warded against fiends and undead.
The Dock District, meanwhile, covered the flatlands around. It was home to markets, stockyards, and warehouses, as well as wagon-makers and yards and officers of other trades associated with caravans. It was dirty, disorderly, and smelly, with buildings designed only for function and business. In the east side, it was known for hovels and warehouses clustered around the docks. In the west side there were tidier and more well-off homes and shops, and in the 1360s the area was more often being called Westerly to distinguish it as cleaner and more prosperous than the east side. Those in the east thought those in the west were lazy, soft, arrogant, and pretentious. In any case, by the late 1400s, houses in the lower town were for the most part of the same design as those on the hill.
The city was not all utilitarian. The Garden, also known as "the Winter Garden" in local songs and stories, ran right through the middle of the city along the ridge of the hill, long, straight, and narrow "like the blade of a naked sword", in the words of Elminster. It began at the High Hall, where a powerful freshwater spring rose in the cellars and fed a stream that wound through the Garden and guaranteed the city's water supply, before spilling over a cliff in the north called Maiden's Leap, forming cascades that joined the canal. The Garden was an open space of woods and flowers, crossed by paths and arched bridges but keeping a wild beauty in wintertime. Elturians enjoyed meeting one another here. The wealthiest citizens of the High District had their houses nearest the Garden.
The canal began at Maiden's Leap in the north and ran east and south within the walls before joining the Chionthar. It formed a partial moat for defense and a passage for barges servicing the eastern Dock District. Four bridges crossed it. The canal was crossed by Maiden's Bridge just north of the cascades.[note 2]
In the mid-1300s DR, Elturel was home to two major temples: Helm's Shieldhall and the High Harvest Home. Thanks to Lord Dhelt's patronage, the fortress-like Shieldhall was both the most influential temple in the city and one of the strongest temples of Helm, God of Guardians, in the North. High Watcher Berelduin Shondar ruled it with an iron fist and was aggressive in defense of the Helmite faith. The High Harvest Home, meanwhile, was dedicated to Chauntea, the Grain Goddess, and was managed by Raulauvin Oregh. Both provided aid and shelter to the faithful. Another was the Temple of the Morninglord, dedicated to Lathander, and the secret Temple of the Beast of Malar, which was eradicated in 1281 DR. There were also a few shrines, to Ilmater, the Crying God; Tempus, Lord of Battles (the Hand That Swings the Sword); Tymora, Lady Luck; and Waukeen, the Merchant's Friend, which was rededicated to Lliira, the Joybringer, by 1367 DR after Waukeen's absence in 1358 DR. In the late 1400s, the city's official faith was in Torm the True, the state religion of Elturgard, and it was ruled by its high priest, the High Observer of Torm. However, the people commonly worshiped Torm, Helm, Lathander, Amaunator, and Tyr. The "grand cemetery" lay in the westernmost past of the city, within the walls. Surrounded by a brass fence and gate 10 feet (3 meters), it held gravestones, statues, monuments, and mausoleums for the departed; a ossuary below ground; and a chapel dedicated to Lathander, Torm, Helm, and Tyr. It was a beautiful place, being filled with grass and flowers.
Lord Dhelt decreed that inns and taverns could not operate under the same roof, nor could inns serve drinks, so in Elturel these were distinctly different businesses. The better inns stood in the High District, but were simply converted houses and often several neighboring houses linked into one. Those in the Dock District were simpler, not to mention noisier, but were usually the only accommodations available in summer during the trade season. Inns and taverns were generally good in quality. A Pair of Black Antlers was the best-known tavern, and a favorite of adventurers.
The Dragoneye Dealing Coster had a way-base in Elturel around 1356 DR. This was a large warehousing and shipyard area in the eastern Dock District beside the Chionthar, close to the docks.
The Dungeon of the Inquisitor, where lawbreakers were sent in the 1400s, was a maze-like subterranean complex lying beneath Elturel. It covered excavated passages and natural caverns.
A natural stronghold, this site had long been one of the few defensible locations between the Sword Coast and where the Chionthar met the River Reaching. At one time, it was occupied by trolls, with a stronghold on the hill home to a troll lord. They were later driven out by ogres, and their chieftain ruled from a crude stone fortress. At one point, it was also held by orcs. The ogres were in turn replaced by humans, who settled and built a castle here to guard against the trolls, ogres, and others. Over time, it became the possession of one lordling after another but remained as a refuge for human settlers.[note 3]
Great battles were once fought on the neighboring Fields of the Dead, and the folk of Elturel and their Riders stayed armed and vigilant, patrolling and protecting the farms.
In the Year of Slaughter, 1090 DR, Elturel was among the many communities and realms that contributed forces to the alliance against the massive exodus of goblins and orcs that had left the drought-stricken High Moor. They clashed and all were massacred in the infamous Battle of Bones.
In the Year of the Cold Soul, 1281 DR, a beast-cult of Malar smuggled caged monsters into Elturel and unleashed them in the streets one night. Then they launched a Wild Hunt, hunting and killing the monsters, common folk, and Officers of the Watch alike. The next day, the Malarites were themselves hunted down in revenge. Captured Malarites, living and dead, were examined with magic to locate their lair: the Temple of the Beast, in a secret under-cellar in the city. It took several days of bloody fighting to eliminate the cultists. As authorities finally reached the unholy altar, the high priest—with the Book of Fangs and Talons in hand—escaped with a blood teleport powered by the lives of sacrificial victims. The justiciaries were left frustrated.
Shandril Shessair, future spellfire wielder, was born in Elturel circa 1341 DR to Garthond and Dammasae. They lived there quietly for a brief time, waiting eight more months for the babe to be old enough to travel before leaving again.
Elturel's modern history is tied with that of its famous Hellriders, though there are different accounts of their founding. In all, it was said that a company of Riders had once ridden into the Hells themselves—namely Avernus, the first layer—and from this story, the Hellriders were named. The earliest known version told that it was to rescue one of their own, such was their great loyalty to each other. A later version said that they rode through a gate to hunt down and slay devils that had been harassing the good people of Elturel. A third account expanded on this. Fiends roamed the Fields of the Dead north and west of Elturel, stripping fields bare, slaying livestock, burning houses, and dragging folk away to an unknown yet horrible doom. As people lived in fear, Elturel's cavalry fought the fiends, riding wherever they must and enduring great casualties, but the fiends kept appearing in greater number. The High Rider of Elturel implored the people to pray to the gods for help. Surprisingly, help came—the rogue angel Zariel (desiring to destroy devils and demons and to have a mortal army to fight for her in the Blood War) came to Elturel the next day, declaring she'd found the gate in the Fields of the Dead west of Elturel through which the devils were pouring, and that she would lead the cavalry through to defeat them where they mustered. She rallied and trained an army of thousands, among them Yael, Haruman, Olanthius, and Jander Sunstar. One early battle was to relieve Idyllglen from attack by Yeenoghu, gnolls, and demons. When she thought them ready, in the Year of the Bow, 1354 DR, Zariel, riding her golden mastodon Lulu, led them out of the city, with the cheers and good wishes of the Elturians behind them, and embarked on the Ride, a glorious mounted charge through the gate into Avernus. Only a very few returned, sealing the portal behind them. Grief-stricken, they told that Zariel and her army had been defeated, but they were all glorified as the Hellriders.[note 4][note 5]
One night in the mid-1360s DR,[note 6] the High Rider of Elturel, Lord Dhelt, and local mage Baranta Chansil were attacked in his bedroom by a supposed assassin, who instead stole Dhelt's holy symbol of Helm. Key de Effer, of Dhelt's personal guard, responded immediately and, together with Beatrice, pursued the assassin to the woods.[note 7] Confronting and slaying the wounded assassin, they found a note explaining he was seeking the "Holy Symbol of Ravenkind" to destroy Strahd von Zarovich of Ravenloft. Before the heroes could return, they were spirited to Barovia, in the Demiplane of Dread.
Some time after, the city was visited by a mysterious magical veil, stretching from the land to the sky, so Lord Dhelt sent a couple of Hellriders to investigate. Meeting the captain of the Hellriders, they peered through and saw a desert land, but as they ventured in, Elturel disappeared behind them and they were trapped in Har'Akir, once again in the Demiplane of Dread.
In 1368 DR, Volo was visiting the city of Elturel once again. The he engaged in a table dice game with a severe-looking northern barbarian. Coincidently, exactly at that time, the goddess of luck Tymora was affected by Iyachtu Xvim's plot to steal the powers of the goddess and her sister Beshaba. The city of Elturel, like many other places in the Realms became awash with good luck and its disruptive consequences. Volo ended up rolling a multitude of doubles, enraging his opponent and fleeing for his life through the streets of Elturel.
In the Year of Three Streams Blooded, 1384 DR, divine conflict saw Helm, God of Guardians, slain by Tyr, God of Justice, leaving the Hellriders, the High Rider, and Elturel itself without their favored god. The following year, catastrophe struck Toril in the form of the Spellplague.[note 8]
By the late 1430s DR, through a variety of excuses, Elturel had laid claim to the lands of its neighbors, placing them within "Elturel's Guard" as they called it, making itself a petty regional power.
Then, shockingly, in the Year of the Seductive Cambion, 1444 DR, the High Rider himself was discovered to be a vampire, with a vast network of vampire spawn, charmed minions, undead allies, and sycophantic collaborators that surprised even the Hellriders. Now exposed, the undead infested Elturel, and whatever victories the Hellriders won during the days, they lost sorely in the nights. It was said the Elturians prayed to the gods each night just for the dawn to come sooner. Then, one night so devastating it felt like the end, it did. A second sun appeared in the sky, turning night to day, and blasting the vampire lord and his spawn to ashes while the remaining undead cowered from its light. Elturel was swiftly liberated from their dead grip. A priest of Torm, Thavius Kreeg, took the credit and was acclaimed as the savior of Elturel, and few would doubt his goodness or his intent. Only he knew the true origin of the mysterious second sun.
The Companion, as it became known, remained where it was, for days and years after. Over time, the miracle brought pilgrims: the sick, the curious, and the devout of many faiths, including many paladins. After them came hundreds of people who'd fled the menace of undead of one kind or another, who came to Elturel for protection and settled there. The best of the paladins was appointed ruler of Elturel, titled the High Observer. The High Observer then established the Order of the Companion and the Creed Resolute to keep the paladins of different faiths in order.
Some years later, there was a crisis of leadership in Elturel and the likely successor to the post of High Observer, Tamal Thent, and her whole retinue disappeared near Boareskyr Bridge. Despite an investigation, no trace of any of them could be found. Thus, soon after, the post of High Observer was filled by Thavius Kreeg himself, incidentally Thent's rival for the role. One of Kreeg's first acts as High Observer was to order Fort Tamal built and named in her honor. While this might've been an honor, in later years a posting to Fort Tamal was apparently a punishment for insubordination by young agitators and zealots in the Order of the Companion. Nevertheless, Kreeg would reign for decades and set Elturel on the road to becoming the nation of Elturgard. By the late 15th century DR, Elturel served as the capital of the realm now known as Elturgard.
In the 1480s DR, Leosin Erlanthar and adventurers working with him traveled to Elturel to meet with Ontharr Frume, a paladin of Torm and representative of the Order of the Gauntlet, to discuss recent actions of the Cult of the Dragon.
Around 1489 DR, Kreeg was aging and another leadership transition was expected soon. He eventually made all Elturians swear the Creed Resolute, binding them by oath to defend the city. Incidentally, his title also changed to High Overseer.
In the Year of Three Ships Sailing, 1492 DR, over a few months, Kreeg coaxed Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard of Baldur's Gate to come to Elturel to resolve several disputes that had troubled the two cities for some time. After greeting the Baldurian delegation, Kreeg escaped Elturel in secret, shortly before the Companion changed into a black orb that tore the whole of Elturel and its populace from the Material Plane and spirited it away to Avernus, first of the Nine Hells, with only a crater left behind. It would transpire that, to rid Elturel of the vampires fifty years before, Kreeg had made a deal, not with the god Torm but with the now-archdevil Zariel. She'd provided the Companion—in truth, an infernal device powered by an imprisoned planetar—but at the cost of the whole city and its oathbound defenders, to be claimed after only fifty years, with the intent that they should serve as her army in waging the Blood War.
Over the next few days, hundreds of refugees, both citizens who'd escaped Elturel or been outside at the time, and folk from wider Elturgard, made their way to neighboring Baldur's Gate, with some blaming Elturel's rival for the city's loss. However, they were barred from the city and the resident Flaming Fist began arresting Hellriders on sight, fearing they would cause trouble, but this only led to fighting. Those who did get in, like Hellrider Reya Mantlemorn, relayed news of the catastrophe and enlisted heroes who could investigate and ultimately pursue the stolen city into Avernus, thwart Zariel's foul scheme, and return it to Toril by some means.
They found Elturel a quake-wracked, war-torn city suspended in the air around 500 feet (150 meters) over the River Styx, anchored by massive chains and spikes of infernal iron driven into the ground and steadily being dragged down to its doom. Torn from the land, the city was fractured in twain along the ravine that ran through the city. The black Companion still hung malevolently over the city, raining down lightning that raised ghouls, ghasts, and zombies. While devils besieged the city, demons attacked them in another battle of the Blood War, and the surviving Elturians fought off both or simply hid in the ruins. Many people died in the devastation, to the demons and devils, or to thirst and starvation. With the city's leaders lost, none other than Grand Duke Ravengard rallied the defense. The High Hall was the center of the defense effort, and also the focus of the devil assault.
Eventually Elturel was returned to its rightful place in the Heartlands of Faerûn. While the exact specifics of its return to unknown, there were ramifications that were felt far and wide. Many if not all the city's tieflings were exiled from the city, thanks to a new wave of misplaced fear and newly-formed prejudice.
- Government Buildings
- High Hall • Dungeon of the Inquisitor
- Temples & Shrines
- Helm's Shieldhall • High Harvest Home • Temple of the Beast • Temple of the Morninglord • Hand That Swings the Sword
- Black Gryphon • Dwarf's Pot Inn • Gallowgar's Inn • Hondakar's House • Phontyr's Unicorn • Oar and Wagonwheel Inn • Symbril's House
- A Pair of Black Antlers • The Bent Helm • The Glowing Goblet
- Maidensbridge Street: turns westward to cross Maiden's Bridge, running around the northern central heights to Westerly
- Baerth Lane
- While this religious zealotry and inquisitions are made explicit in the write-up of Elturgard in the 4th-edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, they are not mentioned at all in the more extensive and very positive description in the 5th-edition Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. The two versions are difficult to reconcile. As such, this more positive vision may reflect a retcon, either out-of-universe or in-universe with the Second Sundering; the narrator for this section, Aedyn Graymantle, being mistaken or unaware of the extreme elements; or propaganda one way or the other. Regardless, this wiki endeavors to present both versions for the reader to make their own judgement.
- The exact name of the bridge is unknown; it's only known that Maidensbridge Street is named for it. Comparison with Maiden's Leap suggests "Maiden's Bridge" as the original name.
- Forgotten Realms Adventures page 95 reports the site was occupied by trolls, then ogres, then humans, while Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast page 94 says it was trolls, then orcs, then humans.
- The date 1354 DR coincides with devils occupying Dragonspear Castle, some way north of Elturel, also via portals from Avernus. However, a connection between them, or even which came first, is presently unknown.
- The story of the Hellriders has changed and evolved significantly in each edition. The 1st- and 2nd-edition campaign settings mention "the story" of a small rescue mission of a single person "in the past" from the perspective of 1356/1357 DR, but Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide and Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus expand this into a major campaign only two years before the 1st-edition account, which seems contradictory. It may be that the story has grown in the telling over 140 years and that elements have been misremembered or propagandized. Meanwhile, the change from rescue mission to major campaign suggests a case of "mission creep".
- The date of Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession is unknown; this date is assumed based on other works published at the same time.
- These woods may be Elturel's Garden area.
- This is included for context. Events in Elturel at this time are not known, but Helm's death or absence should be presumed to have had a significant impact on such a Helm-dedicated city.
- King Pinch • Realms of Infamy: "Gallows Day" • Tymora's Luck
- Hoard of the Dragon Queen • Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
- Infernal Tides
- Video Games
- Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession • Ravenloft: Stone Prophet • Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms
- Referenced only
- Icewind Dale • Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter • Baldur's Gate III
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