The High Forest was a remnant of the days of old, when all of Faerûn was covered in green and elves, giants and dragons ruled the world. The forest was a vast region [note 1] of old forest growth bounded by the Nether Mountains in the north and the High Moor to the south. To the west was found the Evermoors and to the east the vast desert of Anauroch. The eastern border of the High Forest lay against Delimbiyr Vale[2][1] through which flows the Delimbiyr River.[3]

What lay within this deep forest was somewhat of a mystery, and few traveled there to explore its depths. The more notable locations in the forest included the majestic Star Mounts—providing the headwaters of the Unicorn Run and the Heartblood River; the Lost Peaks in the northwest that form the headwaters of the Dessarin River; the fabled Grandfather Tree; the Dire Wood in the east; as well as many dungeons, ruins, abandoned settlements, and mysterious locales.[3]

The southern slopes of the legendary Star Mounts contained the Endless Caverns, which were said to be home to dragons and passageways that connected to the Underdark. To the south of the caverns was the Stronghold of the Nine, an abandoned dwarven site now apparently claimed by elves.[citation needed]


East of the mounts and south of the Heartblood River, was the ruined Netherese city of Karse. The region of forest within the wide bend of the Heartblood River was called the Dire Wood, where a great massacre once took place. Strange supernatural phenomena originated from this place, and was was home to two liches, both by the name of Wulgreth.[citation needed]

At the northern end of the High Forest was an area called Turlang's Wood, a place where the forest was continuing to expand thanks to the tending of a band of treants. At the northeast tip of the forest, their efforts have sealed off Hellgate Keep, the site of a deadly battle with a powerful demon named Kanyrr Vhok.[citation needed]


Among the known inhabitants of the woods were the aarakocra among the Star Mountains, centaurs, dragons, drow, a few elves and humans, gnomes, korreds, gnolls, orcs, pegasi, pixies, satyrs, treants, and unicorns. The few humans who dwelt there were generally rangers, druids, or adventurers used to surviving in wild environments. Trade with the outside world was infrequent, as the forest was self-sufficient and had plentiful resources for its inhabitants.[citation needed]

The forest was not ruled by any one group, but instead contains many forces and groups in competition. The most powerful of these were the treants led by Turlang.


Long ago, when the elves truly ruled Faerûn, the kingdom of Eaerlann held sway in the High Forest. Eaerlann fell in 882 DR when Ascalhorn became Hellgate Keep.[4]

In 1344 DR the elves began to slip away from the High Forest, embarking on their Retreat.[4]

During the mid-14th cenuty, wood elves were growing in numbers and sought to reestablish the kingdom of Eaerlann. Standing in their way, however, were the innumerable tribes of orcs, gnolls, and an alliance of demon-spawned elves from Hellgate Keep.[4]

Geographical featuresEdit


  • Star Mounts: These impressive and forbidding peaks were located in the center of the High Forest. On clear days their snow covered summits, which were higher than even those of the Spine of the World could be seen from beyond the Forest's borders, as far away as the Stone Bridge, or the mountains around the Shining Falls, north of Loudwater. This put the Star Mounts among the highest, if not the highest, of Faerûn's mountain ranges,[3] only rivaled by the Yehimal range, which themselves may not have strictly been considered a part of the continent of Faerûn.[citation needed]
  • Lost Peaks:[3]


  • Heartblood River:This tributary of the Delimbiyr found its source on the north face of the Star Mounts and wound its way east and south through the Dire Wood. It gots its name from the red tinge its waters took on as it passed the ruined city of Karse. By the time it joined the Delimbiyr, its waters have returned once more to a normal hue. It was said that drinking from the waters when they still flow red, granted an increase to magical powers, or staved off adverse magical effects.[5] The red color has been attributed simply to soil deposits picked up as the river passes through the Dire Wood. However, other sources mentioned contamination from the blood of the still beating heart of the dead god Karsus.[citation needed]


Tall Trees by Ralph Horsley

The region Tall Trees in the High Forest, by Ralph Horsley

Notable locationsEdit

  • Shadowtop Cathedral: A closely packed stand of towering shadowtop trees rested in the High Forest. The dark canopies of the trees formed a high roof that allowed only hints of sunlight to touch the ground beneath. Shadowtop Cathedral wass an important meeting place for the Emerald Enclave during the 15th century.[6]


External linksEdit

Further readingEdit


  1. In the The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier, the High Forest is recorded as being up to 500 miles across, and is considered the greatest forest in Faerûn, covering nearly 20% of the lands of what is called the "Savage Frontier". However in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, due to the 'squishing' of the original realms map, the High Forest is shown as being about 160 miles across.[citation needed]