1: a body of men selected to perform a perilous service
2: a desperate or extremely difficult enterprise
This is an Adnd 2e campaign The players start at first Level. Demihuman PCs with underground skills (dwarves, gnomes, and halflings) will be helpful. The party should contain at least 1 priest with major access to the healing sphere. At least one mage with serious firepower potential will be a major advantage. The party should include at least one elf, if possible. and party cooperation is likely to be essential.
The Forgotten Realms are a world very similar to the Earth of the 13th and 14th centuries. Most of the area under discussion here has until recently been covered by wild forests and unsettled
grasslands. Civilization is still a novelty in much of this world, even the oldest of cities on the Inland Sea, or the founding of Waterdeep, the greatest City of the North, are within the memory of the oldest living elves of Evermeet.
The people of these realms (including man, dwarf, elf, gnome, and halfling) are similar in mindset and advancement to the men of the 13th century. City-states are common, and nations on the increase as more of the wild lands are pushed back and gathered under a single king or government. Skills such as metalworking, farming, and craftindustry are common in the civilized lands, so that swords and heavy metal armor are all-too available to the warrior. Literacy and the quest for knowledge is on the rise, with the recent introduction of printed hand-bills in Waterdeep. The merchants-class is increasing in both wealth and power as more markets and resources open up. Faith, while not as dominant as in Europe of this period, is a major force in the lives of the people.
There are great differences between that world and this as well. Great beasts and evil humanoids wander the wild (and not-so-wild) country of the Forgotten Realms. Ruins of ancient cities and towers may be found among the underbrush, old lands and names that are lost to memory and the past. And there is magic.
Some individuals of the Forgotten Realms have the ability to channel magical energies, allowing them to perform mighty tasks. Others receive such abilities with the blessing of extra-planar beings known as Powers. These magic-users and clerics can reshape the face of the world, and indeed have done so over the millennia. Hills and forests may appear where there have been none before, and mountains may move several miles. A great sandy waste has been moving further south in the heart of the Realms, matched by a sheet of ice, equally relentless, to its east. Neither of these may be the fault of nature alone, but the meddling of spell-casters, human and otherwise.
Finally, the Realms are a land of adventure, and therefore adventurers. It is the time of heroes, when one man of pure heart (or with a powerful artifact) may hold his own against enemy hordes, where legions of evil forces may muster and be destroyed by the actions of a few, where the nations rise and fall on magical tides which mere men can control. It is a time when the bold and the lucky may make their fortunes and gain great power over their worlds.
The information presented herein is as known to myself, those about me in the lands north and west of the Sea of Fallen Stars, and those I have encountered in my travels. On my word as a sage nothing within these pages is false, but not all of it may prove to be true. All stories presented are as I have heard them and had them recorded, all information is checked as best as possible given the limited resources of an old man in a small town (even if that old man has the power to flatten mountains, mind you). As you adventure in this fantasy world, be warned that not all things are as they appear, and trust to your wits, your weapons, and your common sense in surviving and profiting from the Forgotten Realms.
As recorded by Lhaeo, Scribe to the
Sage ELMINSTER OF SHADOWDALE,
30th and last day of Nightal, Year of the
Prince, 1357 Dalereckoning