The River Esmel was a major river located in Amn. It was one of four rivers that connected Amn to the Sea of Swords.[2] It has been described as "the true backbone of Amnian riches."[3]


Esmel River was a peaceful and wide river that drained Lake Esmel at Esmeltaran and flowed west to the Sea of Swords.[1][2][3] At its source, the waters were warm from the hot springs of the lake,[1][3] but after a mile, they cooled to normal temperatures, though they still maintained their "chalklike", "irontang"[3] sulfur taste for a good distance from the lake.[1]

The Emsel River was full of barges, even more so than the Alandor River.[1][3] It was so full, that locals joked that one could walk across the river from barge-deck to barge-deck without ever touching the water.[3] The city of Purskul received much of its livelihood in grain and other goods from these barges.[4]

The Esmel is more easily walked across than swum.
— An old local saying[3]

Besides grain barges, the river carried fishing barges and pleasure barges.[1][3] These latter barges were double-decked vessels decorated with purple and gold silks[1] and full of dancers and musicians and wealthy merchants and customers.[1][3] The professional dancers often doubled as both cooks and barge crews.[3] It was popular for rich merchants to return from Esmeltaran on such barges, and village children would often cluster alongside the river when such barges passed, hoping that a kind merchant would toss them some coins[1][3] or buttered lake crabs from the boat.[3]

Because of the slowness of river travel, barges historically were easy targets for violent criminal activity. By the late 14th century DR, it was illegal to carry a strung bow or cocked crossbow with a half mile of the river banks. This rule was thoroughly enforced by Amnian troops. Notably, such troops were not immune from taking bribes from rich merchants.[3]

The river was crossed by King's Arch, a plain stone bridge constructed by King Esmel at the small town of Gambiton, southwest of Esmeltaran. It could also be forded at the town of Esford.[5]

Along the river were at least 20 small farming villages and hamlets, whose laborers took water from the river.[3]

Notable LocationsEdit


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