The forest spread east of the River Chionthar and the border of Elturgard, south of the Trielta Hills, and some way west of the Far Hills. It was split in twain by the River Reaching between Hill's Edge and where it joined the Chionthar.
The northern part was called the Northdark Wood, but others named it the Dusk Wood or Reluvethel's Wood after the famed elf ranger Reluvethel who once hunted here. It thinned where the Dusk Road ran through the woods, before continuing as a minor sub-branch on the far side of the road. The village of Drawn Swords stood on a lone crag on the eastern side.
The forest was young and dense, populated with deciduous trees like beeches, elms, maples, and oaks growing in hardy stands. Pleasant and picturesque from the outside, the woods gave a feeling of peacefulness and serenity. There were a number of tranquil pools to be found amidst the trees. But this was believed to be a false façade in Elturgard.
In the Year of the Melding, 557 DR, hobgoblin tribes of the Reaching Woods made war against Phalorm, having been incited by yuan-ti infiltrators sent by Nejizar of Najara in the north. The hobgoblin horde march north, but Phalorm's own infiltrators stopped them in their tracks at the Battle of Notched Axes, then guaranteed their defeat in the Battle of Blunted Fangs by assassinating the yuan-ti provocateurs. The hobgoblins were repelled and the serpentfolk forced to withdraw into the Serpent Hills.[note 1]
Circa 1459 DR, the neighboring realm of Elturgard learned that shrines to "unapproved" gods and primal entities existed in the forest. These shrines were maintained by humans and elves as well as gnolls and goblins. The High Observer Thavius Kreeg, ruler of Elturgard, said the goblins were vicious and the gnolls known demon worshipers, and ordered the Reaching Woods barricaded and declared that no one could enter or exit the woods or they would suffer the death penalty.
Over the next two decades, the gnolls of the forest slaughtered all other humanoids and captured the survivors, keeping them alive only for food. Finally, in the Year of the Ageless One, 1479 DR, a single elf escaped and sneaked past the barricade to spread word to the outside world. She warned that only a few prisoners remained alive, and that the gnolls would surely soon look outside the forest for fresh sources of meat.
In the mid–14th century DR, the Reaching Woods were home to centaurs and hybsils, as well as satyr druids. Some powerful druids dwelled here in the 1360s DR. However, circa 1367 DR, some parts of the forest were overrun with goblinoids. They enslaved the native centaurs and satyrs.
In the late 15th century DR, the Reaching Woods were inhabited by humans and elves and by goblins and gnolls, but 1479 DR, the gnolls dominated the forest and kept the humans and elves as no more than food.
A curious, mobile landmark in the woods was the Walking Tower. It took the form of a massive statue, standing many stories tall, and it wandered the forest seemingly at random or as if seeking something. Believed to be a relic of ancient Netheril, it was the possession of a ranger named Alomystia in the mid-1200s DR, but his fate is unknown.
- Serpent Kingdoms places these events in 577 DR, but The Grand History of the Realms chooses 557 DR. This article adopts the earlier date as Grand History is more recent source.
- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 90. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 297. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 97. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. Edited by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 124, 125. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- Map included in Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 126. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- Rick Maffei (March/April 1998). “Training Ground”. In Christopher Perkins ed. Dungeon #67 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 34.
- Reynolds, Forbeck, Jacobs, Boyd (March 2003). Races of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader (July 2004). Serpent Kingdoms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 111. ISBN 0-7869-3277-5.
- Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader (July 2004). Serpent Kingdoms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 112. ISBN 0-7869-3277-5.