Ruathym located more than 200 miles north of the Moonshae Isles. It was a rocky island with rugged coasts, narrow coves, green hills, forested purple mountains, and a few villages. It was barely 100 miles long from north to south and not even half that wide at its widest point. Its coast was pockmarked with deep fjords and dotted by clear bays with the exception of the south coast which boasted white, sandy beaches. Some impressive stands of pine grew on the island, surviving only thanks to the preservation effort of the First Axe of Ruathym. Farms and a few small villages occupied the majority of the landscape but a couple of areas were left wild. A spine of tall rocks ran down the middle of the island which were occasionally snow-capped.
As an island in a subarctic climate, the sea played a large role in the environment. 8 months of the year, Ruathym experienced wintry temperatures with fog that clung to the island until quite late in the day (if it left at all). Seas were often stormy and waves pummelled the coast mercilessly when they flew in. During the winter itself, the sea froze all around the island and by Alturiak the ice could reach out a mile from land. On clear days in summer though, the sun could bake the southern beaches.
Supposedly one of the islands left above water after the First Sundering and originally called Arauwurbarak, the dwarves of Haunghdannar built a stone fortress they named Rethgaard on the island to serve as a naval base some time around −4600 DR. Less than three centuries after that realm fell, human mariners from across the Trackless Sea arrived and set up a colony on the island, which they called Ruathym. Many of these mariners continued their journey north and east, leading to the proliferation of the Illuskan people on the mainland of Faerûn but some decided to stay, creating a tribal kingdom on the island that lasted in peace for three millennia. Unfortunately, their numbers came to outweigh the resources that the rocky island could provide. To avoid fighting between the four tribal factions, many ships were sent from Ruathym laden with colonists who went on to found settlements on the other islands in the Trackless Sea as well as on the mainland.
And so the people of Ruathym endured, taking what they needed from the sea and neighbouring islands then raiding the Sword Coast or the Moonshaes for everything else. They were a barbaric people, seemingly constantly on the cusp of descending into true barbarism. However, in their raids they sometimes acquired powerful magic items. A collection of magical tomes was stored in the royal library known as the Green Rooms. One of these books, the Tome of the Unicorn, was stolen by a Calishite mage called Shond Tharovin in 1356 DR. Ignorant of the true culprit, the last foreign ship to leave the island -- a caravel from Luskan -- was attacked and sunk. In response, Luskan declared war on Ruathym. The Luskanites destroyed Ruathym's fleet and landed troops on the island.
In 1358 DR, during the Time of Troubles, avatars of Labelas Enoreth and Clangeddin Silverbeard battled on Ruathym. After the destructive battle, plantmen appeared in the streets, attacking residents and the crew of the Realms Master. Although the crew managed to escape thanks to the intervention of Labelas, many of the island's inhabitants died to the creatures' onslaught.
With help from the Holgerstead tribe, First Axe Ulphron Lithyl's forces managed to drive the Luskanites back into the sea after a few months of warfare. Luskan attacked again however the following year. This time they were much more successful, managing to conquer the entire realm save for scattered pockets of resistance. It was at this time that Aumark Lithyl, Ulphron's son and a member of the famous Knights of Myth Drannor, returned home. After his father died in battle just before the winter storms set in, he managed to unite the four tribes of Ruathym under his banner. Before the year was out, the Lords' Alliance threatened war against both sides unless they came to an accord. Realising that Luskan and the northlander island realms had more in common than any other coastal city, Ruathym, Luskan, the Whalebones, and Tuern declared an alliance called the Captain's Confederation (also known as the Captains' Alliance) the following summer and began raiding shipping and coastal settlements up and down the Sword Coast in concert.
Four years after that, in 1361 DR the Captain's Confederation was dissolved when Luskan attempted to conquer Ruathym a second time. Luskan, with the help of the Kraken Society, began a conspiracy (mainly involving pickled sea elves placed in Ruathen casks) intended to provoke Waterdeep and the Lords' Alliance against Ruathym, but the conspiracy was discovered by Liriel Baenre. The attacking Luskan navy, led by High Captain Rethnor, and a merrow army led by Vestress of the Kraken Society, was defeated by the Ruathen with her help. The mind flayer Vestress, self-proclaimed Regent of Ascarle, sent a merrow army against Ruathym but the Northmen managed to repel them. Threatened with war by Waterdeep, Luskan withdrew its forces.
Locations of interest
- Known for its berserker warriors. Until Aumark Lithyl united the tribes, Holgerstead was ruled by First Axe Wedigar Ruthmaald.
- A village led by First Axe Glammad in 1361 DR.
- Inthar (also Ithnar)
- A ruined fortress located 35 miles (56,000 meters) south of Rethgaard. It was avoided by all sailors who knew of it due to strange phenomenon that occurred there at night, and because of a legend it housed an entrance to Baator.
- The ancient dwarven naval base still stood nearly 6,000 years after it was originally built. Until Aumark Lithyl's efforts to unite the tribes, Rethgaard's inhabitants were somewhat antagonistic of Ruathym.
- The name of the largest settlement was confusingly named after the island itself. A town of about 6,000 inhabitants, this was the seat of Aumark Lithyl and his descendants after the Luskan/Ruathym war. The famous Green Room library of magical books was located here. It was also where you could find the only true temple on the island - the Hall of Black Waves which, although a proper temple, was still run by a tribalistic shaman named Uther Jeroggean in 1358 DR. 
- Yggdrasil's Child
- A tree of incredible power that grew from a seed of the World Tree Yggdrasil. Individuals who carved their name on the tree would grow in power as the tree grew.
Ruathym had little to trade although a few merchants in Ruathym became very rich selling magic items acquired by raiding parties and, rarely, dug up from the ground. Industries were restricted to hunting seals and whales, farming and ship-building due to the lack of natural resources on the island –- though Northlander dragonships were some of the fastest boats to sail the Trackless Sea –- the making of which was a skill passed down from thousands of years of tradition. Most of the islands income came from raiding minor or independent vessels plying their trade along the Sword Coast. Ruathen raiders were known to operate from the Sea of Moving Ice all the way down to Calimshan and occasionally to Nimbral. Though such efforts obviously suffered when Luskan destroyed their ships during the wars.
The people of Ruathym were known as the Ruathen or the Northmen.
An unnamed Waterdhavian mercenary recruiter once described the people of Ruathym as "two steps up from barbarians" and with the possible exception of First Axe Lithyl, this would be a very good description of them. After all, out of Ruathym came Uthgar Gardolfsson, the father of the various Uthgardt barbarian tribes, the Reghedmen barbarians of Icewind Dale and the barbarians of Dambrath. However, the island also spawned many of the civilised settlements of the Sword Coast as well as the runecasters known as the Rus so they do have the potential for greater things. They are an ancient, unpredictable people.
The Ruathen were said to be ancestors of the Rashemi people. They were generally tall and fair with light blue eyes. Ruathen women wore crude jewelry, fabric boots, brightly colored embroidered cloth.
The Ruathen had their own language, which was a dialect of Illuskan, although most spoke Common. Dock-alfar meant dark elf. Hamfriggan (literally "shapestrong") referred to the shapeshifters of Ruathym.
- Vok Dorrg, First Axe of Ruathym.
- Aumark Lithyl, First Axe of Ruathym.
- Dagmar, daughter of Ulf and twin of Ygraine; betrayed her people to the Kraken Society and died in 1361 DR.
- Hrolf the Unruly, pirate captain of the Elfmaid.
- Ulf the Shaman of Ruathym town.
- Wedigar Ruthmaald, First Axe of Holgerstead; married to Alfhilda; hamfriggan shapeshifter.
- Ygraine, daughter of Ulf and twin of Dagmar; prophesied to be the one to return the magic of hamfriggan shapeshifters to Ruathym.
- Ed Greenwood (August 1992). “The Everwinking Eye: Words To The Wise”. In Jean Rabe ed. Polyhedron #74 (TSR, Inc.), p. 14–15.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 243. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
- 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, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 149. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 172. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Jeff Grubb (December 1990). “Mad Gods and Paladins”. In Elliot S. Maggin ed. Forgotten Realms comics #16 (DC Comics).
- Jeff Grubb (January 1991). “Divine Rights”. In Elliot S. Maggin and Kim Yale ed. Forgotten Realms comics #17 (DC Comics).
- Elaine Cunningham (March 2003). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-2959-6.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 182–183. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 283. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
- slade, et al. (April 1996). “The Wilderness”. In James Butler ed. The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (TSR, Inc.), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
- Shawn Merwin"Backdrop: Moonshae Isles" Dungeon #196. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, November, 2011.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 176. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 177. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 233. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Thomas M. Costa (1999). “Speaking in Tongues”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #4 (TSR, Inc), p. 28.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 179. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 183. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Christopher Perkins (September 6, 2016). Storm King's Thunder. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 106. ISBN 978-0786966004.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 180. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 337. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 266. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
- Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 252. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.