Sembia was a young country of considerable wealth and prosperity governed by its merchants. It was located on the north-western coast of the Sea of Fallen Stars in central Faerûn, which put it in the path of many trade routes.[6] Although they suffered over a century of subjugation at the hands of the returned Netherese Empire, with only the cities of Urmlaspyr and Daerlun maintaining their independence,[2] they once again became wealthy, independent collection of city-states following the second collapse of the imperial magocracy in 1487 DR.[7]

Sembians were not particularly war-like, preferring to pursue mercantile endeavors and work as mercenaries or adventurers.[4] Their long tradition of commerce and trade unified Sembia during their entire existence, particularly while as a vassal-state of Netheril.[2]

Government[edit | edit source]

From the 10th to 14th centuries, Sembia was governed by the Overmaster, a leader who was elected by the nations merchant's council.[5]

Laws[edit | edit source]

As of the 1359 DR, it was illegal for an individual to receive payment for the removal of a spell's effects, if they were that spell's caster.[8]

This section is a stub. You can help us by expanding it.

Military[edit | edit source]

During the latter half of the 14th century, the military of Sembia was supplemented by the personal army of Miklos Selkirk, known as the Silver Ravens.[5]

Navy and seafaring[edit | edit source]

Sembian vessels were all named after types of coin, like Bicentan Sail, Three Falcons Volant or Yulthaari Hunter.[9]

Society[edit | edit source]

A person from Sembia was known as a "Sembite" or a "Semmite". Sembite was used more commonly in the areas north of Sembia and the Dragonreach, whereas Semmite was more common in southern locations.[10] The term "Semmar" was used derisively outside of Sembia to describe ostentatiously wealthy Sembian merchants, but the term fell out of common usage by the 1370s DR.[11]

The people of Sembia were natural traders, haughty and sometimes cutthroat, they thoroughly enjoyed any opportunity to make a deal for power and hold onto what they earn. They religiously observed contract law and always paid their debts, with full interest. As a nation they had a young, aggressive attitude when it came to foreign relations.[1] Unfortunately the zeal of the nobles turned to intense competition with one another, and they were never truly able to unite under a singular vision of their future.[12]

Corruption was rampant in Sembian society, so as long as it did not interfere with the business at hand. Shady dealings were celebrated and the nation exhibited a vague racism, turning away outlanders that "looked different" than the lighter-skinned families that had long-established businesses within the realm.[12]

Culture[edit | edit source]

City life dominated the lifestyle of the Semmite people. Their culture was seen as superior to those of other cities from across the Realms.[12]

They did not share the lavish lives of other mercantile nations, such as Amn in the Lands of Intrigue, but its abundant wealth attracted desperate people from across the Realms, usually in the form of secret cabals or villainous cults.[12]

Food and drink[edit | edit source]

As of the mid-14th century DR, it was known that gnomes living in western Sembia brewed mint ale, which was available throughout the Realms.[13]

Economy[edit | edit source]

Those fishing in Sembian waters were required to pay the local authorities.[citation needed]

During the Netherese rule of the 15th century DR, Sembians were required to give the Shade empire a percentage of their earnings by trade, primarily done through Sembian ports.[citation needed]

Trade[edit | edit source]

Sembia did not keep a national trade outfit, but sponsored a number of large trading costers such as the Firehands, Iron Throne, Six Coffers Market Priakos and the Seven Suns to move their goods overland to both their own port cities and farther destinations such as Waterdeep to the west or the Moonsea to the north.[14]

The currency of Sembia was considered a common coinage in Faerûn as of the 15th century DR, owing to the far-reaching ambitions of its merchants.[15]

History[edit | edit source]

Main article: History of Sembia

Settlers from Chondath arrived to the region where Sembia would grow in 884 DR, after gaining their independence following the Battle of the Singing Arrows.[5] The nation Sembia was founded in 913 DR by Rauthauvyr “the Raven”, a human war-leader who gathered and commanded a standing army to police the roads of the fledgling human territory from the Tel-quessir of the Elven Court.[16] He formed a government led by a merchant's council, who elected an Overmaster that served 7-year terms.[5]

Despite Sembia's aversion to outright war, they did engage in a drawn out conflict with the Dalelands and Elves in Cormanthor, allied with the Moonsea city-states Hillsfar and Zhentil Keep. In the middle of the war however, they switched sides and fought with the elves against human and infernal armies alike, a shift brought on by the leader of the Silver Ravens, Miklos Selkirk.[citation needed]

A civil war was fought in the mid-1370s which weakened Sembia considerably. The Netherese took advantage of the situation and claimed the realm as a free protectorate. By 1400 DR, the Netherese had fully consolidated Sembia into their empire.[2]

In 1484 DR, cracks began to appear in the shroud of darkness that covered Sembia. This was due to the destruction of the Ordulin Maelstrom which had covered Sembia in darkness since the end of the Twilight War.[17] After the fall of Netheril, Sembia regained its independence and swiftly began building itself back up to the economic power it once was.[7][4]

Geographical features[edit | edit source]

This section is a stub. You can help us by expanding it.

Notable locations[edit | edit source]

Settlements[edit | edit source]

  • Daerlun: This free city state of 40,000 souls gained its independence from the Netherese in 1439 DR due to their long-standing and strong relationship with nearby Cormyr. Rather than become a part of the Forest Nation, the Daerlunians declared themselves a free state. One of its most notable features was a magical 500' (0.2 km) tall curtain wall erected by the Netherese.[12][2]
  • Ordulin: Formerly the capital of Sembia, the centrally-located crossroads city of Ordulin was obliterated when a planar rift tore away part of the Shadowfell. The area where the city stood became a swirling black whirlpool of shadow material. A Shadovar citadel on an earthmote hung over the city during the reign of Netheril.[12][18]
  • Saerloon: A port city of over 50,000, this city was considered to be the least politically stable of the Sembian cities. It was home to many thieves' guilds and demonic cults.[2]
  • Selgaunt: The large coastal capital, with a population of over 60,000,[2] was governed by merchant lords called the Old Chauncel, comprising of prosperous households such as the Uskevren, Foxmantle, and others.[citation needed]
  • Urmlaspyr: Suffered greatly under the Netherese, the city resisted the Netherese ban on non-Sharran faiths and was brutally punished for its recalcitrance. Conditions improved since the city threw off the Netherese yoke, freedom of religious practice and commercial prosperity returned to the city, largely in thanks to Cormyr's influence.[18]
  • Yhaunn: Previously a wealthy and celebrated mining-city, Yhaunn was nearly annihilated by the Spellplague when the cliffs towering over the city broke away from the land and were transformed into floating earthmotes. The Netherese rebuilt the city, using the earthmotes to create the city's exclusive Air District in the sky.[18]
  • Yuthgalaunt: A settlement on Tilbaryn's Ride between Ordulin and Yhaunn.[19]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Referenced only
The Ring of Winter

Sources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 188. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 176. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  3. Ed Greenwood (August 1992). “The Everwinking Eye: Words To The Wise”. In Jean Rabe ed. Polyhedron #74 (TSR, Inc.), p. 14–15.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 190. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  6. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 196. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 12. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  8. Ed Greenwood, Tim Beach (1995). Pages from the Mages. (TSR, Inc), p. 95. ISBN 0-7869-0183-7.
  9. Steven E. Schend (1999). Sea of Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), p. 15. ISBN 0-7869-1393-2.
  10. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 73. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  11. Ed Greenwood (April 2001). “The New Adventures of Volo: The Urge to Hunt”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #282 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 71.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 189. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  13. Ed Greenwood, The Hooded One (2011-09-01). Questions for Ed Greenwood (2011). Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2018-02-24.
  14. Rand Sharpsword (2001-09-05). Caravans and Trading Companies in Sembia. Rand's Travelogue. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
  15. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 19. ISBN 978-0786965622.
  16. Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  17. Warning: edition not specified for The Godborn
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 177. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  19. Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb (April 1998). Cormyr: A Novel (Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 157. ISBN ISBN 0-7869-0710-X.
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