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Ylraphon (pronounced: /iʊlˈrɑːffɒnee-ul-RAFF-on[1] or: /iˈɪlrɑːˈfɒnee-IL-ra-FON[2] or: /ijɪlrɑːfɒnee-yil-ra-fon[5]), also known as Yrlaphon,[note 1] was a town in the Vast, lying on the eastern shore of the northern end of the Dragon Reach,[1][2][5][6] at the eastern end of the Hunt Trail.[14]

History[edit | edit source]

Elven Habitation[edit | edit source]

Elves from Cormanthor went beyond the River Lis to found Yrlaphon among the eastern woodlands in −1535 DR.[10][7][12] The elven community there built it into a city.[2][5][6]

In the city's first century (prior to −1435 DR), the silver dragon Pharyssolnyth dwelled in Yrlaphon. There she wrote the Tablets of Pharyssolnyth, which detailed how dragons learned and handled magic.[15][13]

The famous Srinshee also once made her home at Yrlaphon. As this was one of the few confirmed facts about her history, it proved her to be one of the longest-lived elves in the world.[16]

Drow raided Yrlaphon in the winter of −722 DR and weakened its defenses. The city fell to overwhelming orc hordes in the summer.[17][7][18] For her efforts, the Srinshee became known as the "savior of Yrlaphon's Survivors".[16] She took the Tablets of Pharyssolnyth with her to Srinshinnar.[15]

Vastar and Roldilar[edit | edit source]

Afterwards, an orc chieftain ruled from the ruins of the city.[5] With the rise of the orc nation of Vastar circa −700 DR,[17][18] the site became an orcish stronghold.[2]

At the beginning of the 600s DR, Aleratha Ilnatar, an elven sorceress of Ylraphon, assisted the dwarves invading Vastar in enchanting over a thousand orcslayer weapons with which to destroy the orcish realm.[19][note 2]

Vastar fell to invading dwarves in the Year of the Spellfire, 610 DR, who in turn raised the kingdom of Roldilar.[20][21][22][23] As Ylraphon was the northernmost port in the Vast, it was a valuable location and the dwarves developed a town there.[2][5]

Roldilar fell in the Year of the Bloody Crown, 649 DR.[2][21][22][24] The dwarves fled as orcs invaded and pillaged the town. Once more, they inhabited a ruined city but developed another orcish stronghold.[2][5]

Human Habitation[edit | edit source]

But humans began widespread settlement of the Vast, and Ylraphon's docks were again valued. They attacked, and following a bloody conflict amongst the ruins, the orcs were wiped out and the humans had conquered the place.[2][5] A loose council of merchants rose to govern Ylraphon.[5]

Around the middle of the 11th century DR, a band of treasure seekers from Ylraphon followed rumors of gold to the eastern rimwood of Cormanthor. They brought with them twelve aurumvorax to dig up the landscape and search out the gold, only to be attacked and devoured by them when they'd found rich veins in the hills. The aurumvorax fed and multiplied, and thus were introduced to Cormanthor.[3]

For a few generations prior to 1367 DR, Ylraphon took a great deal of the regular trade to and from the Moonsea, largely taking it from Harrowdale.[25]

Ylraphon's prosperity declined through the mid–14th century DR as it suffered a series of attacks and setbacks. Lord Lashan Aumersair of Scardale directed raids against Ylraphon as part of his campaign to rule the Dalelands,[5] until his fall in the Year of the Worm, 1356 DR.[26]

During the Time of Troubles of the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, orcs ventured out of the mountains to raid Ylraphon. The downfall in trade across Faerûn also hit Ylraphon hard.[5]

The neighboring city of Calaunt also competed aggressively with Ylraphon. Its agents employed intimidation tactics and a few careful murders to make certain that Ylraphon could not grow to compete with Calaunt or take its trade. The townsfolk were struggling and their town in decline by 1370 DR.[5]

Finally, amidst the Dracorage of the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373, on Hammer 23, a flight of dragons destroyed Ylraphon.[8][9]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

In 1372 DR, Ylraphon was a small town with a population of 1,666.[6]

Government[edit | edit source]

When under human rule, Ylraphon was governed by a loose council of independent human merchants. Some of them were possibly smugglers or pirates.[5][6]

In former days, Yrlaphon was ruled by orc chieftains.[5]

Relations[edit | edit source]

The city of Calaunt to the south worked against Ylraphon. Its rulers employed intimidation tactics and a few careful murders to make certain that Ylraphon could not grow to compete with Calaunt or take its trade.[5]

Economy[edit | edit source]

Ruled by a council of merchants, trade was important to Ylraphon.[5] In the 1300s DR, it grew off trade captured from Harrowdale,[25] but it suffered a series of attacks and setbacks through the mid–14th century DR, facing cutthroat competition from Scardale and then Calaunt. It was struggling by 1370 DR, but remained a favorite port-of-call for independent merchants and others looking for a discreet or covert entry or exit to the Vast. A great deal of gold was exported through Ylraphon, but as pirates lurked in the Dragon Reach hunting for ships out of Ylraphon, the gold-ships only went as far as Harrowdale and Hillsfar to shift their cargo onto other vessels.[5]

Culture & Society[edit | edit source]

A moonlit night on one of Ylraphon's harbor-side streets.

The human inhabitants of Ylraphon resembled those of the Dalelands, and had similar dispositions. They were likely to be descended from the same ancestral stock as those who settled the Dalelands, but did not cross the River Lis into Cormanthor.[1][2] It was sometimes thought of as part of the Vast but others categorized it amongst the Moonsea settlements.[6]

Several wealthy merchants and powerful mages were born in Ylraphon, but none stayed there. Instead, they quickly went to other lands to make their fortunes or seek adventurers, and rarely came home. On the other hand, adventurers from outside regularly came to Ylraphon to explore the old tombs and temples found in the ruined parts of Ylraphon and the neighboring Flooded Forest.[2] In addition, a variety of pirates, bandits, and wanderers came to Ylraphon for sanctuary.[6]

With strange monsters increasingly prevalent around the Flooded Forest by 1370 DR, local hunters around Ylraphon grew well-armed and gathered into large bands. They did not dare camp in local woodlands overnight, instead returning to their homes warily in the evenings.[5]

Description[edit | edit source]

Ylraphon was a small town similar to those of the Dalelands.[1][2]

It also had a small port,[6] once of the six primary ports of the Vast.[11] A ferry operated on the River Lis, crossing between Ylraphon and Elmwood thrice-daily.[4]

The town was home to the Moonwater, a small temple of Selûne. There were also shrines to Chauntea, Tymora, and Umberlee.[2]

The town was originally a much larger city, built by elves, but its eastern outskirts were all in ruins by the 1360s DR.[2][6] The Flooded Forest encroached on its eastern side, and was in the process of reclaiming its north-east. These overgrown ruins included several large, aboveground tombs and crypts, large enough to house a number of people and even horses, and provided shelter and hiding places for wanderers, bandits and pirates.[5][6]

Recurring local stories told also of ruined temples of Bane, Gruumsh, and Moander within these parts of the Flooded Forest, north of Ylraphon. One was the House of Moander. They tended to be built on raised and drier areas of the swamp.[2][5][27]

Legends & Rumors[edit | edit source]

The ruins and tombs circling the town were a common target of adventurers seeking treasure or magic, but they'd been entirely robbed by orcs by 1370 DR, leaving little bar a few undead. However, with adventurers finding treasure in the House of Moander shortly before that time, more wealth was thought to lie hidden in the temples.

But remaining treasure was more likely to be found in the town itself; local tales reckoned that the dwarves and orcs had left theirs behind, or that, more recently, a few humans had hidden their gold in the town when they could not leave without attracting bandits or pirates. These treasures were thought to be hidden inside walls, chimneys, and roofs, particularly near the docks. However, the harbor and coastal shallows areas had already been regularly explored, and were also used as drop-off points by smugglers and pirates.

What elven treasure did remain found its way to the temple of Selûne. The Moonwater housed a number of magic items related to the moon, mostly gifted by elves leaving the area in the 14th century DR or dating back to when Ylraphon was an elven city. These were usually in the form of jewelry—typically necklaces, rings linked with fine chains, or ornamental bracers—with minor powers, or they were magic weapons disguised by either being encased in stone or magically transformed into other stone shapes.

Folk in Ylraphon told of ghostly presences and screaming in the ruined temples of Bane, Gruumsh and Moander, and a few feared that they were being reused by living cultists. Many, however, suspected that smugglers, bandits, or orcs simply stored their loot in these places, and that they made the screams to scare people off, or that they'd had a falling out. Still, some rumored that such bands served the mysterious Mage Who Never Dies, master of the Flooded Forest.[5] With the resurrection of Bane in 1372 DR, it was thought quite likely that his temple would be secretly renovated and reopened, perhaps to direct the church's influence into the Vast.[27]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. The spelling of the name of this town has varied between "Ylraphon" and "Yrlaphon" over the years. However, the majority of sourcebooks, including all those that actually detail the town, adopt the original "Ylraphon" spelling. Furthermore, pronunciations are only known for the "Ylraphon" spelling. This suggests that "Yrlaphon" is a misspelling. Thus, "Ylraphon" is adopted as the primary spelling in this article. Coincidentally, references to the settlement in the past are more likely to use "Yrlaphon" while descriptions and references in the main setting period of the 1300s DR tend more towards "Ylraphon", suggesting that the name may have changed over time. Simply by following the source material where appropriate, this convention has arisen in the History section.
  2. This event is difficult to place against the existing history of Ylraphon. Ylraphon was conquered by orcs thirteen centuries prior to this date, and implied to still be occupied by them at the time of Aleratha's work on the orcslayer blades, making her origins in the city difficult to explain. Aleratha may have come from some still-elf-held portion of Ylraphon, or lived there prior to the orc conquest. This last implies that Aleratha is over 1327 years old, an extraordinary age even for an elf, or that there was a later, more recent phase of elven occupation and orcish conquest of Ylraphon.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 92. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 77. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  3. 3.0 3.1 James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Cormanthor”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
  4. 4.0 4.1 John Terra (January 1995). “Reference Guide”. In Allison Lassieur ed. The Moonsea (TSR, Inc.), p. 51. ISBN 978-0786900923.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 Ed Greenwood (November 1998). The City of Ravens Bluff. (TSR, Inc), p. 158. ISBN 0-7869-1195-6.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 162. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 126. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  8. 8.0 8.1  (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  9. 9.0 9.1  (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 153. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  10. 10.0 10.1  (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 34. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
  11. 11.0 11.1  (1999). Sea of Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-1393-2.
  12. 12.0 12.1  (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  13. 13.0 13.1  (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  14. Map included in  (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  15. 15.0 15.1  (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 160. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
  16. 16.0 16.1  (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 122. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
  17. 17.0 17.1  (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 35. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
  18. 18.0 18.1  (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 40. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  19.  (November 2000). “Bazaar of the Bizarre: Soargar's Legacy”. In  ed. Dragon #277 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 90.
  20.  (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 42. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
  21. 21.0 21.1  (November 1998). The City of Ravens Bluff. (TSR, Inc), p. 143–144. ISBN 0-7869-1195-6.
  22. 22.0 22.1  (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 128. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  23.  (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  24.  (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  25. 25.0 25.1  (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 34. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  26.  (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 140. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  27. 27.0 27.1  (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 159. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
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