The Utter East lay on the isthmus joining the great continents of Faerûn and Kara-Tur in the north to Zakhara in the south. The Wu Pi Te Shao Mountains, the southern arm of the massive Yehimal Mountains, ran down the center of the isthmus like a spine. The Utter East lay on the western side, between the mountains the sea, in a narrow landscape less than 100 miles wide (160 kilometers). It was the only easily traversable land-bridge between the continents; the Sempadan Forest on the eastern side was much too dense.
They ruled over the indigenous Mar tribes. The Mar were once subjugated and enslaved by the Ffolk and Northmen, before they demanded their freedom following the Bloodforge Wars. Yet they still had no lands of their own or a say in the courts of the Five Kingdoms.
The Ffolk colonists spoke Waelan, the native tongue of the Moonshae Isles, but their Five Kingdoms dialect was heavily influenced by both its isolation and by Northmen settlers and by corsairs and merchants from across south Faerûn and north Zakhara.
For much of their history prior to the 14th century DR, the cultures of Faerûn and Kara-Tur saw the isthmus as only a bridge to nowhere, not seeing the lands of Zakhara to the southwest, and so, for the most part, turned their backs on the Utter East. The Utter East therefore marked the end of the Western Realms of Faerûn. Western folk saw instead the Shining Lands around the Golden Water as the last "civilized" realm before one ventured into the Utter East. Even so, as the Durpari people of the Shining Lands had acquired some cultural practices and weapon and armor styles from their Utter Eastern neighbors, they were seen as barely Faerûnian themselves.
Thus, to the West, the Utter East was a little-known and bizarre collection of lands, with only legends considered too fantastic and fanciful to be taken as fact filtering back to Faerûn. Even in the Hordelands, lying betwixt Faerûn and Kara-Tur, folk saw the lands beyond the Gate of Iron—Durpar, Ulgarth, and points further south—as a strange and incredible place, telling of mages without bodies and gods that lived like mortals, of islands that rose and fell beneath the waves and valleys filled with gems.
The first humans of the Utter East were the Mar, who settled along the coastline in past ages. Their histories told they had known only oppression since that time.
In time, the lords of the Circle of Order arose to govern the early nations of the Utter East, those east of the Great Sea. The Realm of Lands was ruled by the Lord of Lands, the Realm of Tides by the Lady of Tides, and the Realm of Fire by the Lord of Flame, who believed order brought progress. However, there was one other of the Circle, who engaged in chaotic plots in the belief that chaos brought challenge, change, and strength, and so was exiled and cast down, bound in a subterranean kingdom. In his imprisonment, he adopted the name Tartyron and was called the Lord of Chaos. Loathing this place, Tartyron constantly struggled against the wards, his rage bolstering his strength and spent on those who happened into his deep realm. He waited, knowing those of the Realms would grow comfortable, lazy, and weak, and then he would escape to spread chaos once again.
When the clans of these times warred, defeated champions were buried in barrow tombs, together with their weapons and magical relics like the Pearl of Power. The sensible living would shun such places.
In ancient times, a mighty city was built atop the high mountains. However, it later fell into ruins, was stripped of its wealth and resources, and was by-and-large forgotten, known only as Old Stone Keep. Nevertheless, it was part of a legacy of great mages, and rumored to hide secrets of arcane magic.
In the Year of Nineteen Swords, 621 DR, in the far Moonshae Isles, the Ffolk princess Bridget of Callidyrr was to marry the Northmen prince Scothgar of Rogarsheim, but she and her whole royal entourage vanished on the voyage to Norland. Ffolk and Northmen each blamed the other for the disappearance, which worsened relations between them. That same year, Moonshaes Ffolk arrived on the shores of the Utter East, where they chose to settle. They were later joined by Northmen settlers.[note 2]
The native Mar welcomed the Ffolk, who spoke of peace and brotherhood between the two races. Indeed, relations were friendly for the first few years. However, Ffolk soon turned greedy, and they seized Mar lands for their own, and then subjugated and enslaved the Mar tribes themselves. They carved these stolen lands into their Five Kingdoms.[note 3]
Invaders led by Rathgar the Raider overran Doegan, besieging the capital. To pacify his poor clansmen, Rathgar plundered the realm. Finally, he seized the crown itself, and the king was slain upon his throne, cursing that the dead would depose Rathgar. Escaping the invaders, the princess of Doegan sought a way to fulfil her father's prophecy. She went to Old Stone Keep and enlisted the aid of Aelric, a mage of Doegan and heir to the Keep's great magical legacy.
The Bloodforge WarsEdit
The bloodforges were discovered in the Year of the Dancing Daggers, 648 DR, first by King Grewe of Konigheim and within tendays by Ffolk across all the Five Kingdoms. These ancient devices of war could mass-produce entire armies of living golems, eliminating overnight the cost of mustering and maintaining armed forces. Losing all restraint, turning war-mad, the Ffolk rulers of the Five Kingdoms each manufactured great golem armies and marched them against one another, bursting into the Bloodforge Wars. They were drawn into battle by thoughts of conquest and revenge, rivalry and intrigue. The kingdoms throve on the arcane magic of the Bloodforges and were governed by military might. The Mar, meanwhile, could only be helpless witnesses, recording events for posterity.
A number of conflicts large and small raged back and forth across the Utter East, with all sides commanding bloodforges and basal golem armies. In the Howl of Vengeance, Aelric and the princess of Doegan raised an army of bloodforged undead in an effort to liberate their homeland. They were opposed by Rathgar's own bloodforged warriors. In the Harvest of Horrors, the monstrous Redfang the Reaper and his voracious kind in the Kingdom of Nix assaulted the town of Vanesci Hamlet, seeking to catch, cook, and devour the villagers, as the mage Haradan the Hermit led a desperate defense. However, the conflicts soon turned frivolous, with bloodforge battles taking the place of contests and duels. In the so-called Matchmaker Mayhem, Princess Roxanna and her would-be suitors fought bloodforge battles to choose her husband and decide who would rule Edenvale. The feuding, treasure-hunting brothers Garrulos and Wormskull unearthed a barrow tomb and found the Pearl of Power; their inventions and bloodforge battles laid waste to Konigheim in the so-called Nuts And !Bolts (sic) escapade. Finally, Tartyron himself broke free of his subterranean prison and into the world above, spreading chaos through the Realms of Lands, Tides, and Fire, opposed by the Circle of Order, in the campaign of Tartyron Unbound.[note 4]
A decade of unending warfare devastated the Utter East, leaving the defenses of the Five Kingdoms wrecked and the cities lying in ruins or rubble, while the ancestral lands of the Mar were despoiled. The Ffolk were at last growing weary of warfare, and utterly unprepared when another foe entered the game.
It transpired that every use of a bloodforge had steadily weakened the ancient prisons binding the fiends and undead beneath the Utter East. Finally, in the Year of the Nine Stars, 657 DR, the horde of antediluvian horrors escaped and rampaged across the ruins of the land, killing without regard for kingdom or race. This was the Plague of Fiends. The Ffolk sent ships out north and south, desperately begging for aid from their neighbors.
The Scouring of the Utter EastEdit
Grand Caliph Arash bint Sanjar of Zakhara answered the Ffolk's pleas for help, sending an armada of sambuk to the Utter East in early Mirtul of 657 DR. But the corsairs launched a surprise attack on the Five Kingdoms, swiftly overrunning and seizing their defenseless port cities. Then legions of askar, clad in djinn-forged lamellar and wielding killing katars, disembarked and marched across the land. With murderous efficiency, they razed every village and slew all they encountered, whether fiend or Ffolk, in what became known as the Scouring of the Utter East. The Grand Caliph saw the people as only heathens and barbarians, the land as infected and ravaged, which he had no plans to occupy. Their bloody work done by the time autumn fell, they boarded their sambuks and sailed home again.
They left behind a wasteland, of burned and ruined cities, of corpses rotting where they'd fallen. The Five Kingdoms were in chaos, but the Mar had, at least, survived. They stood up and demanded their freedom, and the Ffolk, weary and sick of warfare, yielded it, however reluctantly. Nevertheless, they still had no land of their own, nor were they heard in the royal courts. This state of affairs continued for centuries.
The Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, saw Shining Lands merchants journey to the Utter East, as well as to places as far-flung as Waterdeep, Zakhara, and even Maztica, in order to purchase wares for trade.
The "Utter East" was first mentioned in the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (1987), but where it actually lay has varied over subsequent sourcebooks, with earlier lore altered to refer to different locations. On page 81 of the Cyclopaedia of the Realms, it is said that ivory from the Utter East arrives in Suzail, but the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition: A Grand Tour of the Realms (1993), page 55, changes this to the Unapproachable East. Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990) on page 105 refers to the "mysterious Utter East", but says this is Kara-Tur. Page 45 of the Campaign Set's DM's Sourcebook of the Realms mentions the Blue Diamond, a flying ship created in the Utter East, but The Shining South (1993) associates these skyships with Halruaa. The Forgotten Realms Atlas (1990) finally located the Utter East, placing it beyond the far south and east corner of Faerûn, somewhere past Ulgarth, and joining Zakhara. The Shining South followed suit (but with a reference to Horde barbarians in the plains east of Ulgarth, it may have been referring to the Hordelands and Kara-Tur). Nevertheless, Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition (2001), page 209, still describes the Golden Way as connecting Faerûn and the "Utter East"—meaning Kara-Tur.
The Utter East became the site of the Blood & Magic computer game in 1996, which set a rather typical European-style fantasy setting in the area, rather than the expected Eastern-style setting that would fit with surrounding cultures. The Utter East was developed further in 1998, with the novels Faces of Deception, the Realms of Mystery short story "Darkly, Through a Glass of Ale", and the Double Diamond Triangle Saga all published in that year and set in and around the Utter East. These all made efforts to use details from the Blood & Magic game and to incorporate Asian elements so it better suited the area.
With no further development or appearances, the area was later forgotten and remained little known to fans. Eventually, however, discussions on the Wizards of the Coast forums (now deleted) rediscovered the area. Following the popular "Kara-Tur Redux" thread, interest grew in the Utter East, prompting Mark "Markustay" Taylor to start the "Utter East Campaign + MAP!!!" thread for research, speculation, and homebrew development, with the goal of producing a fan-written netbook. No netbook was produced, but some related articles were written for Candlekeep Compendiums. The thread was long-running, being active from June 2007 to June 2009. The thread produced a great deal of speculation and fanon on the Utter East, and author Brian R. James used some of this in The Grand History of the Realms (2007), marking an instance of homebrew fanon becoming canon lore.
- ↑ This history of the Utter East is pieced together from various sources, including the uncertain continuity of Blood & Magic and accounts from more conventional Forgotten Realms sources. Some events have unknown dates and uncertain correspondences to other events. Therefore, except where specified and dated, much of the following chronology is hypothetical and the links between similar events speculative.
- ↑ Although there is no explicit connection between these events, the implication is clear that Bridget's entourage was somehow transported from the Moonshaes to the shores of the Utter East, and that the Northmen followed. In fact, author Brian R. James borrowed this from an article entitled "Perilous Portals: The Sea Gates" written by Mark "Markustay" Taylor in Candlekeep Compendium Volume IX, a fan-written netbook, making it an example of fanon turned canon. Taylor's story tells of a pirate who tried to attack Bridget's treasure-laden ships, until a Northlander fleet intervened. Both Ffolk and Northlanders pursued the pirate into a sea portal, before all three were wrecked in a storm on the Great Sea. This itself derived from speculation and homebrew lore developed in the "Utter East Campaign + MAP!!!" thread.
- ↑ By "Ffolk" here, Mar historians may be referring to both Ffolk and Northmen. The Northman kingdom of Konigheim was established in all the novels as being heavily involved in slaving.
- ↑ The events of Blood & Magic are only dated to "before the Time of Troubles" (1358 DR) in game. It is assumed these are a part of the Bloodforge Wars described in Faces of Deception and dated in The Grand History of the Realms to 648–657 DR. It is possible the novel and sourcebook give an alternate (simplified and more serious) version on the events of the game.
- ↑ As noted above, this may have been intended to refer to Kara-Tur, but it is not unlikely that the Utter East practices a different form of magic.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Thomas M. Costa (1999). “Speaking in Tongues”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #4 (TSR, Inc), pp. 26, 29.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Brian R. James (2008-01-10). Grand History of the Realms: The Moonshaes. Dragon Features. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2009-06-02. Retrieved on 2016-04-12.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 93. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 95. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Karen Wynn Fonstad (August 1990). The Forgotten Realms Atlas. (TSR, Inc), pp. vii, ix, 11. ISBN 978-0880388573.
- ↑ Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), p. 53. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Karen Wynn Fonstad (August 1990). The Forgotten Realms Atlas. (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 978-0880388573.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), p. 73. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 175, 179. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Peter Archer (June 1998). “Darkly, Through a Glass of Ale”. Realms of Mystery (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-1171-9.
- ↑ Troy Denning (November 1998). Faces of Deception. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 10, 16, 20. ISBN 0-7869-1183-2.
- ↑ Tom Prusa (1993). The Shining South. (TSR, Inc), p. 53. ISBN 1-56076-595-X.
- ↑ Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ David Cook (1990). The Horde (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 50. ISBN 978-0880388689.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 Tachyon Studios (November 1996). Designed by Brian Fargo. Blood & Magic. Interplay.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Tachyon Studios (November 1996). Designed by Brian Fargo. Blood & Magic. Interplay.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 Tachyon Studios (November 1996). Designed by Brian Fargo. Blood & Magic. Interplay.
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 (1996). Blood & Magic Interactive Demo README.TXT , link:. (Interplay).
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 Tachyon Studios (November 1996). Designed by Brian Fargo. Blood & Magic. Interplay.
- ↑ Tachyon Studios (November 1996). Designed by Brian Fargo. Blood & Magic. Interplay.
- ↑ Tachyon Studios (November 1996). Designed by Brian Fargo. Blood & Magic. Interplay.
- ↑ Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 119. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
- ↑ Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 153. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Steve Perrin (1988). The Magister (sourcebook). (TSR, Inc), p. 2. ISBN 0-88038-564-2.