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The Forlorn Hills was a hilly region in northwest Faerûn between the Dessarin Valley and the Delimbiyr Vale.[4] The hills were once the center of the ancient shield dwarven kingdom of Dardath[note 1]—one of the three kingdoms in Phalorm, the Realm of Three Crowns—and were then called the Dark Hills.[2] After the triumvirate collapsed in the Year of the Lamia's Kiss, 615 DR, the Dark Hills became known as the Fallen Hills[1] or, more commonly, the Forlorn Hills.[2] The people of Athalantar called them the Horn Hills.[3] Some folks mistakenly called them the Sword Hills,[5][6] confusing them with a smaller range of hills on the south bank of the Delimbiyr.[4][7][note 2]

GeographyEdit

The Forlorn Hills were located east of Ardeep Forest, across the swath of open land that contained the House of Stone and was once the realm of Elembar.[4] To the south was the Delimbiyr Vale and the River Delimbiyr. The Iron Road ran southeast from Womford, skirting the northern edge of the Hills, until it reached the village of Uluvin on the eastern edge. The town of Secomber was farther to the southeast. To the northeast was the High Forest and to the northwest was Gaustar's Creek, a tributary of the River Dessarin.[7]

IronRoad

Map showing the Hills south of the Iron Road, circa 1370 DR.

Geographical FeaturesEdit

The Forlorn Hills were once part of the great forest that included Ardeep Forest, but dwarves cleared portions of it[8] and then later humans from Athalantar put the western side of the Hills (known as the Halangorn Forest) to the torch in an effort to drive the remaining elves away from lands they wished to claim.[3] The hollows between the hills were often in the shadow of the surrounding peaks and thick mists typically obscured vision until highsun.[1]

By the time of Phalorm, the landscape was stony and the hills were isolated in places.[9] The line of hills that formed the northern border of the area were known as the Watchers of the North.[1][3][10] There was a high ridge that arced through a portion of the Hills near the center. It was here that the mansion known as the House of Taeros once stood before it and part of the ridge were destroyed in a spellbattle around the end of the 6th century DR, leaving behind the ruin known as the Crumbling Stair.[1][5][11]

HistoryEdit

Since the time of the First Flowering, elves held sway over the surface of the Forlorn Hills. Initially it was the moon elves and green elves of Illefarn and Ardeep,[12] then it was the gold elves of Aryvandaar during the Crown Wars.[13] The area saw a resurgence of Illefarn and Ardeep after the defeat of the Vyshaanti of Aryvandaar at the beginning of The Founding Time.[14]

Dwarves established settlements beneath the Forlorn Hills sometime in the early part of The Founding Time, if not before. At the very latest, they were there to take in refugees from Besilmer[15] when that above-ground dwarven realm was wiped out by hill giants and other creatures in −4160 DR.[16]

Illefarn -626DR

Map showing Dardath, circa −626 DR.

In the time leading up to the founding of Phalorm, the dwarves established their underground realm of Dardath, but above ground the human realms of Elembar (in the Year of the Risen Towers, 146 DR) sprang up on the west side of the Hills[17] and Athalantar (in the Year of the Murmuring Dead, 183 DR) on the east.[18] Athalantar had ambitions to take over the Hills and set fire to the Halangorn Forest between Elembar and the Hills to drive out any inhabitants.[3] Ultimately, this tactic failed when Elembar moved into the Halangorn uplands and established noble houses such as the House of Taeros and what became known as the Moon Tower.[1] The untamed portion of the Hills remained the habitat for bandits and monsters. In the Year of Many Mushrooms, 238 DR, the young Elminster was an outlaw, hiding from the magelords of Athalantar in what they called the Horn Hills.[19] Athalantar was destroyed by an orc horde in Year of the Cantobele Stalking, 342 DR[20] and Elembar suffered the same fate in the Year of the Fortress Scoured, 511 DR.[21]

Phalorm, the Realm of Three Crowns, was chartered in the Year of Trials Arcane, 523 DR, and the dwarves of Dardath became part of the triumvirate along with the elves of Ardeep and the humans from Delimbiyran (the last remnant of Elembar). The dwarven population of the Hills grew during this time as refugees from the Duchy of Hunnabar fled a troll incursion in the Year of the Supreme Duelist, 592 DR.[22][23] Phalorm lasted less than a century.[24] Dardath suffered the death of their king, Oskilar Ironaxe, in the Year of the Shattered Scepter, 614 DR, and the elves withdrew from the alliance, many leaving for Evermeet, the following year. Delimbiyran, under King Javilarhh II,[note 3] claimed all the lands previously belonging to Phalorm and named it the Kingdom of Man in the Year of the Ensorceled Kings, 616 DR.[2][25]

The Kingdom of Man was ultimately unable to stem the invading hordes in the face of internal strife after King Davyd was assassinated in the Year of the Triton's Horn, 697 DR.[26][27] The dwarves of the Forlorn Hills continued to drift apart after the death of King Oskilar and, in the Year of the Lamia's Kiss, 615 DR, the loss of most of their fighting forces. Dwarf holds became defensive and isolated, depleted further by emigration to Ammarindar.[1][2] They even went so far as to pretend a plague had swept through Firehammer Hold, hoping the ruse would keep enemies at bay.[10][28]

The Kingdom of Man devolved into lesser realms including the human Calandor, Scathril, Loravatha,[26][27] and Starshadow;[29] the halfling Duchy of Imristar;[30] and the gnomish Duchy of Gloraela.[31] Roughly, the northwestern quarter of the Fallen Hills was claimed by Loravatha, including the House of Taeros/Crumbling Stair.[5] Many of these small kingdoms fell one by one under the relentless assault of orc raiders until finally, in the Year of the Clutching Death, 702 DR, the Duke of Calandor was able to muster an army strong enough to defeat the invaders.[26][27][29]

WaterdeepEnvirons-ForlornHills

Map showing the Moon Tower of Elembar (22), the Crumbling Stair (23), and Firehammer Hold/Torstultok (25), circa 1372 DR.

For centuries thereafter, the dwarves maintained a relatively low profile in the Forlorn Hills, but the story about a plague-devastated Firehammer Hold eventually became an attraction for adventurers instead of a repellent. The clerics of Haela Brightaxe that controlled what they called Torstultok, the Hall of Grand Hunts, had little choice except to try and redirect these would-be tomb raiders by hiring them to seek out and clear other dwarven holds that were known to have been taken over by orcs. Eventually, the old Firehammer Hold became a nexus for dwarves and other races looking for glory and treasure. By the Year of the Unstrung Harp, 1371 DR, the priests had spread rumors and placed clues around the region to lure more adventurers to spend their money and sell their loot at Firehammer Hold. The most well-known example was a map scrawled on the wall of a small room in the Singing Sprite inn.[28][32][33][34] By the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, there were a number of dwarf clans making their home in the Forlorn Hills.[35]

In the late 15th century, Firehammer Hold was conquered by duergar from the Underdark in a plot instigated by the Red Wizards of Thay.[36] The evil wizards also began building a small fortress called Bloodgate Keep on the west side of the Forlorn Hills, far from any large settlements, for use as a base for invading the Sword Coast via a portal from Thay.[37]

Notable LocationsEdit

InhabitantsEdit

The Forlorn Hills were prowled by leucrotta and wyverns that subsisted mainly on wild sheep.[1] There were also hill giants and ettins that managed to eke out a living in the scrub. The highest peaks were usually inhabited by copper dragons that rummaged around in abandoned dwarf holds.[8] Various tribes of goblinoids lived in the Hills. At least three orc tribes—the Fanged Moon, Gory Maul, and Jagged Scythe—also called the Forlorn Hills home in the late 15th century.[39] Brigands and bandits often used the Hills as a base for raiding caravans and holdings around the area.[5][40]

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Dardath is referred to as both a duchy and a kingdom in Lost Empires of Faerûn and other sources.
  2. A possible reason for this confusion is presented by Eric L. Boyd in his unpublished work Under Illefarn Anew: Fallen Kingdoms of the Shining Vale (see External Links). After the fall of Phalorm, the humans in the region under King Haryd I (not Javilarhh II as noted in other sources, including Boyd's own work) expanded Delimbiyran, claiming all the lands that were once the Crownlands of Phalorm, and called it the Kingdom of Man. He also assumed the title of "Shining Lord of the Sword Hills" and referred to the Dark Hills as the Sword Hills to help legitimize his claim. See pages 22, 23, and 151.
  3. As previously noted, there is a discrepancy between canon sources and Eric L. Boyd's unpublished work which states that it was Haryd I and not Javilarhh II that founded the Kingdom of Man.

AppearancesEdit

External LinksEdit

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the following links do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of this wiki, nor does any lore presented necessarily adhere to established canon.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Eric L. Boyd (2006-05-03). Environs of Waterdeep (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 6. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 144. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Ed Greenwood (April 1996). “The Athalantan Campaign”. In Pierce Watters ed. Dragon #228 (TSR, Inc.), p. 37.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Eric L. Boyd (2006-05-03). Environs of Waterdeep (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 3. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Ed Greenwood (September 2000). “The New Adventures of Volo: The Crumbling Stair”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #275 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92.
  6. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 293. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Tito Leati, Matthew Sernett and Chris Sims (February 2014). Scourge of the Sword Coast. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Christopher Perkins (September 6, 2016). Storm King's Thunder. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 85. ISBN 978-0786966004.
  9. Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 56. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 69. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  11. Ed Greenwood (September 2000). “The New Adventures of Volo: The Crumbling Stair”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #275 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94.
  12. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  13. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  14. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  15. Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 53. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.
  16. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 27. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  17. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 63. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  18. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 66. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  19. Ed Greenwood (April 1996). “The Athalantan Campaign”. In Pierce Watters ed. Dragon #228 (TSR, Inc.), p. 33.
  20. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 71. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  21. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 88. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  22. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  23. Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 138. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  24. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 267. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  25. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 93. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 97. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 139. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Eric L. Boyd (2006-05-03). Environs of Waterdeep (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 7. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 98. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.
  30. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 177. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  31. Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
  32. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 70. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  33. Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 85. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
  34. slade (April 1996). The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (Cities and Civilization). (TSR, Inc), p. 64. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
  35. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 20. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  36. Tito Leati, Matthew Sernett and Chris Sims (February 2014). Scourge of the Sword Coast. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 44.
  37. 37.0 37.1 Tito Leati, Matthew Sernett and Chris Sims (February 2014). Scourge of the Sword Coast. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 3, 10.
  38. Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 106. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  39. Tito Leati, Matthew Sernett and Chris Sims (February 2014). Scourge of the Sword Coast. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37.
  40. Ed Greenwood (April 1996). “The Athalantan Campaign”. In Pierce Watters ed. Dragon #228 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 31, 37.
  41. Erik Mona, Eric L. Boyd, and Keith Baker (2005-07-26). Age of Worms Overload (PDF). Paizo Publishing. p. 27. Retrieved on 2019-10-31.
  42. Erik Mona (2005). Dungeon #124 Map & Handout Supplement (PDF). Paizo Publishing. Retrieved on 2019-10-31.
  43. Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 302. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
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