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The Shining Crusade was an quasi-religious army that formed in the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR, in the Sword Coast region of the Western Heartlands. It was formed and led by Caelar Argent, the charismatic individual that united many people under the shared faith of their cause.[1]

Their ultimate goal was to descend into Avernus through the portal beneath Dragonspear Castle, slay the devils within, and bring back to Faerûn those who died during the Dragonspear Wars. Caelar Argent misled her followers to believe the souls of the dead would be restored during the Crusade. In truth, she sought the return of one soul that mattered to her, that of her uncle.[1]


Many souls were lost during the Dragonspear Wars. I will see justice done and restore them to the light.

The Shining Crusade was led by Caelar Argent, a paladin within the Order of the Aster. Her divine heritage and zealous nature made her something of a saint to those that followed her. She was served by several spiritual leaders and field commanders, who were drawn from many walks of life.[3]

The crusade attracted a few different, distinct types of people from the Western Heartlands within its ranks. Many of those who fought in the first and second Dragonspear Wars were eager to join Caelar Argent's cause and undo the damage they inflicted upon the region. Supplementing the experienced soldiers were mercenaries, taken from a variety of humanoid races such as gnolls, hobgoblins and half-orcs.[1] [1][2]

Beyond those that were skilled in combat, many common folk took up arms for the crusade. Quite a few some were pressed into service, either through intimidation or as a replacement for their livelihood that had been taken by the army's destruction. Yet others joined by virtue of the charisma and zeal that Caelar Argent displayed.[2]


To recruit new members, the crusade distributed pamphlets across the lands through which they marched. They promised gold and glory to anyone that joined their ranks.[1]

They celebrated an event called The Lightning that involved a large bonfire and collective chanting led by a priest. During the event, participants claimed to have "seen the light" or felt a "fire" in their chest.[1]


As the crusade moved across the Sword Coast, many settlements were raided and devastated by loss. While some townsfolk offered them resources as tribute, the crusade used to force to get what else they wanted – weapons, supplies, and even recruits. The Shining Lady's zealous and charismatic cult of personality even attracted enthusiastic conscripts from among the towns destroyed by her crusade.[1]

Despite their perception as a divine cause, the leaders of the Shining Crusade were not above employing assassin-like agents wielding poisons.[1]

Base of Operations[]

The Shining Crusade garrisoned at Dragonspear Castle

The crusade established itself within Dragonspear Castle, located on the southern edge of the High Moor.[1]


As they operated as an army did, crusaders were expected to wear a certain uniform. Members in high–standing were given rings that signified their devotion to Caelar and her movement.[1]


This is madness! The crusade has offered us the opportunity to walk away from this alive if we surrender the fort. Those who have actually made this place their home seem willing to accept the terms. But those refugees who've taken shelter here the past weeks refuse to listen to reason. They've lost their lands to Caelar Argent's mercenaries and their families to her charm.
— Excerpt from the diary of Kelef Rhon, Knight of the Everwatch.[1]

Surprisingly, the crusade held a complication relationship with the people of the Sword Coast. While their actions cause great destruction and chaos in the region, Caelar was often seen favorably by those she "conquered".[1]


See also: War of the Shining Crusade

The crusade began with Caelar and a mere few followers that appeared around the High Moor in month of Eleasis, in the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR.[4] After growing in numbers rather rapidly, they garrisoned themselves in Dragonspear Castle. They extended their territory and took hold of the surrounding lands, from the Serpent Hills to within the Trollbark Forest, as far south as the Winding Water. As they expanded further, hundreds were killed and tens of thousands were sent fleeing from their homes for shelter.[1]

In early Uktar, member-states of the Lords' Alliance – including the Lords of Waterdeep, the Grand Dukes of Baldur's Gate, and the mayor of Daggerford – rallied soldiers from their respective armed forces and formed a coalition army, to march upon Dragonspear Castle and meet the threat of the crusade.[1]

The Shining Crusade and the Coalition engaged in a number of battles over the following weeks. After crusade besieged the walled settlement of Bridgefort, the Flaming Fist countered and marched their mercenary soldiers north and rallied with the Waterdhavian guardsmen and Daggerford militia.[1]

Although Caelar Argent attempted to broker a truce with a coalition representative at Dead Man's Pass, negotiations failed and the crusade took up arms once again. They launched a failed assault on the Coalition war camp and were forced to retreat to Dragonspear Castle. The Coalition forces quickly recuperated and launched their own offensive on the castle. They breached its walls, laid siege to the fortress and forced the Shining Lady, her top advisor Hephernaan, and a mere handful of crusaders to retreat to the castle's basement.[1]

Just as the Hero of Baldur's Gate, their companions, and the Coalition soldiers closed in on the pair, the Revered Brother revealed his true intentions. He placed everyone in temporary stasis and stole some divine blood from the famous Bhaalspawn in order to open the portal to the Hells. He sought to open a path for his master Belhifet and his army of devils to invade Faerûn. Caelar Argent led her crusaders in quick pursuit, and the Hero and their companions followed shortly after. While it was unknown exactly transpired in Avernus, Belhifet was permanently slain on his home plane and the Shining Crusade was put to an end.[1]

Notable Members[]




Video Games
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

External Links[]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 Beamdog (March 2016). Designed by Philip Daigle, et al. Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Beamdog.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Dee Pennyway (2016-04-01). Siege of Dragonspear: Field Report (PDF). Beamdog. Archived from the original on 2017-10-22. Retrieved on 2017-10-22.
  3. Dee Pennyway (2016-04-01). Siege of Dragonspear: Field Report (PDF). Beamdog. Archived from the original on 2017-10-22. Retrieved on 2017-10-22.
  4. Dee Pennyway (2016-04-01). Siege of Dragonspear: Field Report (PDF). Beamdog. Archived from the original on 2017-10-22. Retrieved on 2017-10-22.
  5. Dee Pennyway (2016-04-01). Siege of Dragonspear: Field Report (PDF). Beamdog. Archived from the original on 2017-10-22. Retrieved on 2017-10-22.