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Narfell, also referred to as old Narfell or the Empire of Narfell,[3] was a once-great, albeit brief-lasting human[6] empire that arose thousands of years before the Era of Upheaval in the Cold Lands.[5][7] Its fiend-worshipping citizens were all-but annihilated in a terrific war with their neighboring nation of Raumathar,[8][9][10] leaving its survivors to eke out a new existence that was more in harmony with the natural world of Faerûn.[1] These strong-willed survivors lived hard lives,[11] free from the memory of their power-hungry ancestors for some time,[12][13] but still occasionally imperiled by the lingering effects of their wicked pacts with the Lower Planes.[14]

The name Narfell also referred to the country that remained after the empire's fall, a realm that encompassed the vast plains between neighboring nations.[15]

Description[]

As of the last years of the Age of Humanity, Narfell was a savage and inhospitable realm that attracted few outside visitors. It was home to migrant tribes of horse-riding humans known as the Nars,[16][13] scant few permanent settlements,[1] as well as numerous long-abandoned ruins dating back to the fallen empire.[14][7]

Geography[]

During the peak of its influence and power, Narfell stretched from the Giantspire Mountains eastward to Lake Ashane, and even the Endless Wastes beyond,[17] extending south and east into the Great Dale and the Unapproachable East.[7][9][18]

The great Underdark domain of Earthroot lay in part beneath the lands of Narfell.[19]

Geographical Features[]

Narfell was a dry, flat and infertile land, dotted with rocky outcroppings[16] that supported little plant life beyond scrub grass.[12] It was considered to be a relatively tame realm in the region, compared to nearby wildlands of say Vaasa.[11]

Bodies of Water[]

  • Icelace Lake, the once-bountiful lake[1] later became frozen all year-round following regional climate change.[12]
  • Teardrops, a series of lakes that provided a bounty of fresh food to the Nar tribes.[20]

Forests[]

Hills & Mountains[]

  • Giantspire Mountains, this massive yet sparsely-populated range separated Narfell from Damara to the west.[22]
  • Hark's Finger, a mountain formed from the ruined Netherese enclave of Jikisdur, that unceremoniously fell from the sky unto the plains of Narfell.[23]
  • Mount Nar, the massive snow-capped peak that lay in the lands of Narfell[24] could be seen from as far away as the crossroads village of N'Jast.[24]

Flora & Fauna[]

It was home to herds of reindeer, wild oxen,[16][25] as well as n especially large breed of horse known as the Nars, that was quite popular among horse breeders in the region.[26]

Tundra yeti were considered a distinct threat to the inhabitants of the land's grassy plains.[27]

Government[]

The empire of Narfell was ruled by Nentyarch Thargaun Crell, patriarch and founder of the Crell Dynasty. The reign of his descendants were succeeded by the Orgolath and Darakh dynasties, until the empire's collapse.[28]

Society[]

Following the fall of Narfell, the Nar people remained among the plains of the Cold Lands, forming tribes of nomadic horse-riders that spread across from the Rawlinswood to the southern stretches of the Great Glacier.[14] They gathered in temporary tent settlements known as "waymeets"[11] while following the migration patterns of deer and oxen.[25]

Few if any remnants of the ancient Narfell empire lived on in the Nar people,[15] unlike the legacy of the Raumathar that remained with the Hathran of Rashemen.[14]

Culture[]

The Nar demonbinders carried on the fiend-conjuring traditions of Old Narfell.

Imperialist Nar culture was wholly ingrained with the practice of conjuring and bargaining fiends, as evidenced by the summoning chambers that have been found in each uncovered Nar fortress. Using mere glyphs and wards as their protection, Nar conjurers frequently opened portals to numerous layers of both the Abyss and the Nine Hells.[7]

Magic[]

Rune magic was commonly practiced among the imperialist Nar people, having learned some of its secrets from nearby giants.[29]

Following the collapse of the empire, some Nar demonbinders carried on the old dark ways of conjuring and binding demons from beyond the Prime Material plane.[30]

Religion[]

The role of tribal shaman was held high within Nar society. These spiritual leaders solely drew upon blessings from their singular deity Tempus.[31]

Trade[]

Trade with outsiders was minimal among the tribes of Narfell,[4] and they often exchanged goods with one another by means of barter.[27]

Traders occasionally passed through Narfell by means of the Long Road, through the Giant Gap pass in the Giantspire Mountains. They would often continue on to the Cold Road, passing by one of the country's few crossroad villages on their way to neighboring nations, such as Rashemen.[24]

Defenses[]

The realm was defended at sea by the Narfell Armada.[32]

History[]

As the nation's history was long tied to that of neighboring Raumathar, it was only fitting that the two nations shared a common origin. Both realms were founded by mercenaries from the Old Kingdoms of Mulhorand and Unther, following the decline of their first respective empires,[33] after they relocated north as bands of independent warriors.[34] The collective fate of the Nar kingdoms were wrested from their control in the −970 DR, when the malevolent Thargaun Crell, Nentyarch of Tharos, forged the artifact known as the Crown of Narfell.[35] Granted immense power by the crown, Thargaun established his seat of power at Dun-Tharos and began his campaign of conquest. Within a quarter century all of the kingdoms fell under the emergent empire of Narfell, beholden to Tarragon[5][9][36] and his demon lord patron Orcus, Lord of the Undead.[18]

Just as Narfell became a preeminent power in the Cold Lands in the centuries that followed, so to did the burgeoning power of Raumathar. By the −900 DR,[8] the two emergent nations had significantly risen in power and engaged escalating conflicts with one another.[5][33][37] In the Year of Oaths Forsaken, −626 DR, Narfell and Raumathar entered into a struggle for control over the lands surrounding Lake Ashane.[38] Undeterred from this conflict, Narfell led a failed invasion of Mulhorand and Unther just a few years later.[5][8][9]

Having seen the first sign in the failure or decline in their power, the priest-kings of Narfell maintained their power through horrid blood-pacts with powerful demons,[39] gaining terrible and mighty sorcerous powers.[18][9] These demons assailed communities across the region, including the gnome settlement of Songfarla, in the Year of Furtive Magics, −555 DR.[40]

Collapse of the Empire[]

In the Year of the Stone Giant, −160 DR, Narfell and Raumathar entered into what would become their final war,[5] known centuries later as the Great Conflagration. It raged on for ten years,[note 1] ending with one final battle that saw the fall of two magnificent and terrifying civilization,[8][9][10] along with the summoning of demon lords Kostchtchie[41] and Eltab to the face of Toril.[42] Ultimately it was the avatar of the deity Kossuth that incinerated each of the warring armies and each of the empires for which they fought.[41]

Some empire's few survivors fled back to individual enclaves in Narfell,[43] vowing to rebuild their mighty realm.[15] In the century that followed, neighboring powers carved out Narfell's outer territories for their own, such as the Suren barbarians from the east[44] and Impiltur from the southwest.[45] Other refugees sought refuge in the forests and entered into a pact with a great nature spirit, transforming themselves into the beings known as volodni.[46]

Legacy[]

The horrific actions taken by the conjurers of the ancient Narfell empire left a lasting strain between the ongoing relationship between mankind and elves that monitored events in the region. The elves could not forget the atrocities committed by the ancient Nars[3] or their corrupt magic[6] as readily as the empire's own descendants.[14] Tiefling lineage was not uncommon among the emergent Nar tribesfolk,[12] and some ethnic Damarans gained sorcerous powers from the bloodlines of their ancestors.[47] Additionally, small remnants of the Abyss itself known as demoncysts remained buried beneath Narfell and the surrounding landscape for centuries, holding onto horrific beings and previously enthralled fiends.[42] [48]

Fiendish influence over the realm was made worse in the mid–9th century DR, when demons that remained in Rawlinswood following the Fiend Wars were driven away from the forest, inadvertently unleashing a horde upon the tribespeople of Narfell.[49]

In the 300 years that followed, the Great Glacier receded from the Cold Lands, unearthing much of northern Narfell and offering more lands to be settled. The lands of Narfell experience waves of immigration from surrounding regions,[4] and by the Year of Spreading Spring, 1038 DR,[50][note 2] During this time, fiends continued to run rampant over the countryside of Narfell, remnants of the former empire's lust for power.[7]

Starting in the 11th century DR,[51] the Knights of Imphras II of Impiltur devoted their service to the Triad by destroying the demons and devils that continued to blight their neighboring lands, including Narfell.[48][52]

Emergence of the Tribal Nar[]

The dream of rebuilding the Narfell empire had long since faded by the 14th century DR.[13] By then, Narfell was a frigid land of approximately 20 barbarian Nar tribes,[11] nearly all of which had little or no knowledge of their ancestors' sinister past,[14] merely preoccupied as they were with simply surviving though the bitter winters that wracked their homeland.[11]

When the undead hordes of the Witch-King Zhengyi marched across neighboring lands in the 1350s DR, the tribes of the Narfell endured collective peril and prepared for war. They were spared the horrors of warfare however when the forces of Gareth Dragonsbane intercepted the Witch-King's armies and wrought victory for the region during the Bloodstone Wars.[11]

During the mid–15th century DR, changing weather conditions led to increasingly harsh and more frigid climate for the Nar tribes. Some desperate members sought out the powers once-wielded by those in the Narfell empire, establishing permanent homes near ancient ruined fortresses and once-again engaging in the art of demonbinding.[12][53]

Notable Locations[]

Settlements[]

  • Bildoobaris, or Trade Fair, the unofficial capital of post-imperial Narfell was a vast plain that turned into a bustling city consisting of over 30,000 Nars for one tenday every summer.[1][11][12][54]
  • Jiyyd, a small village that attracted outlanders passing through Nar land.[12]
  • N'jast, another small village, one nestled at the intersection of the Long Road and the Cold Road.[12]
  • Peltarch, the fishing town on the shore of Icelace Lake that predominantly comprised folks of Ulyoon tribe.[12]

Ruins[]

Fortresses[]

  • Fortress of the Half-Demon, an fortress built of ice-cold stone that appeared to originate from beyond Toril.[7]
  • Fortress Narder, a ruined stronghold near the Forest of Lethyr used by Nar forces to launch assaults on Raumathar.[7][55]
  • Immilmar, the capital city of Rashemar was built around a long-ruined fortress of Narfell.[56]
  • Jastaath Castle, the site whereupon the priest-kings of Narfell first communed with the fiends of the Abyss.[7][53]
  • Val Murthag, an ancient castle that once served as a spiritual center for the Narfell demon-worshippers.[7][57]

Settlements[]

  • Dun-Tharos, the once-great capital of the Narfell empire languished as ruins for centuries, drawing strange and powerful beings to dwell within.[7][58]
  • Shandaular, a former capital of the Nar kingdom of Ashanath later came to be known as the City of Weeping Ghosts.[7][37]

Inhabitants[]

Narfell was predominantly home to groups of humans, originally emigrants from Mulhorand and Thay to the south. Its people came to be known as the Nar (or Nars), an ethnic group of tribespeople that migrated across the lands.[16] Some of the more prominent tribes included the Harthgroth,[1] Abordabe, Dag Nost,[59] and Qu'encesta.[60][61]

Some of old Narfell's ruined strongholds were home undead in the form ghosts, wraiths, and even dread wraiths.[7]

Notable Inhabitants[]

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition states -160 DR as the date where Narfell collapsed.
  2. Page 34 of the 2st edition source The Bloodstone Lands states that the Great Glacier covered all of Narfell as of 300 years before 1359 DR. This appears to be retconned in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), as this timeline is pushed back an additional 300 years. The FRCS 2e timeline is corroborated in the Great Glacier sourcebook and subsequent 3rd edition material.

Appearances[]

Card Games
Spellfire: Master the Magic

External Links[]

References[]

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  2. Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck, Sean K. Reynolds (May 2003). Unapproachable East. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 119. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6.
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  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Running the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
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