The city of Surthay was the capital of the tharch of the same name, located in northern Thay.[1][3] It was built within a great, natural harbor within Lake Mulsantir, north of the First Escarpment.[4][5] It has a long history as stronghold for the legions of northern Thay, guarding against the Rashemi barbarians of northeast Faerûn.[6]


Despite its lakeside location, Surthay was not constructed as a port city; few Thayan ships sailed beyond the southern shores of the Mulsantir.[1]

Surthay was crude stronghold with rutted streets, littered with dung and lined by simple wooden houses and thatch-roof shacks.[3] However, the eastern heights were home to much more pleasant mansions and towers, isolated from the rest of the city. Its massive stonewalls were dotted with fortified towers, armed with massive siege weapons and ballistae, reinforced gates and protected passageways used to funnel legion soldiers.[1][6][5]

Most of Surthay reeked of the fetid smell of pestilence, rotten vegetation and swamp water from the nearby Surmarsh,[6] particularly during the summer months. Disease-carrying insects often plagued the city, spreading plague and sickness throughout its streets.[5][2]


The capital lay outside of the enchantments of the Thayan Plateau that protected the nation from inclement weather. As such, it was much colder than other cities of Thay and experienced greater amounts of rain,[3] and became nearly unbearably humid in the days around Midsummer.[5]


The Red Wizards of Surthay remained in the secluded conclave of manses and estates in the eastern region of the city,[6] and was preferred among those who specialized in the school of abjuration.[1]

Due to its tremendous levels of poverty, Surthay was rife with criminal organizations. Several powerful thieves' guilds were well-entrenched within the city's power-structure, and paid regular bribes to continue their operations. Despite this, Tharchion Homen Odesseiron empowered his legions to seize and punish any suspected criminals on sight during his reign, which led the Thayan soldiers to assault, murder and wreak havoc however they wished.[5]

The legions of the greater tharch of Surthay kept garrison within the city's keeps and towers, and regularly depleted its stores of food and other resources. This left the commoners of the city to fend for themselves, earning their livelihood as fishermen and farmers who tilled the flood plain of Lake Mulsantir.[6][5]


Surthay was a city of poverty and rough living for those outside the city's aristocracy. While some of the local Thayans traded with merchants from the northern realm of Thesk, they generally only produced enough goods for their own sustenance.[6]


Surthay was a newer city of Thay, compared to those that dated back to the age of ancient Raumathar, built as a bulwark to the forces of Rashemen to the north. When the Rashemi failed to assail Thay, the city became the launching-off point for many Red Wizard invasions directed northward.[1]





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