Impiltur - The Forgotten Kingdom
by George Krashos, cartography by Rob Lazzaretti - Dragon #346
Sages and loremasters throughout the FORGOTTEN REALMS often refer to the land of Impiltur as the "Forgotten Kingdom." Older than Cormyr but little known west of the Dalelands, this insular kingdom all but withdrew from the affairs of the East, as it dealt with political turmoil and the depredations of fiends, plagues, and monstrous humanoids. Seemingly a strong, stable realm, Impiltur never truly recovered from the terrible time of the Fiend Wars several centuries ago, and the suspicion and age-old fears wrought by that tumultuous event linger as its legacy. Sinister fiend cults, evidence of demonic possessions, and rumors of otherworldly subversion bedevil Impiltur, making it a kingdom that has in more recent times removed itself almost totally from the political landscape of the Inner Sea. The realm has been hesitant to place its trust in others, pursuing a policy of isolationism for the better part of eight decades. History has shown the people of this land that the clasped hand of a generous friend can all too often become the clutching talon of a grinning fiend.
Despite these attitudes, the people of Impiltur work to build a society in accordance with the faith and tenets of the Triad - the religions of Tyr, Torm, and Ilmater, which play a preeminent role within the kingdom. Impiltur and its people undertake acts of charity, believe in self-sacrifice, and champion justice and the furtherance of the common good. Impiltur retains a sense of the "frontier spirit" that drove its genesis as a nation over the many centuries, although this leads many observers to view it as less sophisticated than the jaded societies of Sembia, the rugged cities of the Moonsea, and the exotic lands of the Vilhon Reach. Those with dreams and ambition, however, judge it a land where fame and fortune can still be found at the tip of one's sword and where deeds of chivalry still combat the fiends of a tumultuous past.
The Lay of the Land
Cartographers usually roughly divide the land of Impiltur into three main regions, beginning with the lands south of the Earthfast Mountains stretching from the Gray Forest to Sarshel, known to all as the Easting Coast. Bordered by the Earthspur Mountains and the confluence of rivers and waterways that flow into the Fasting Reach lies the region known as the Uplands. As one travels north along the Herald's Road and crosses at the Narrows between Bluefang Water and the Old Water, they come to the third and final region of Impiltur, known as the Farwater. This territory can be described as Impiltur's true frontier. The lands north and west of the fortress-town of Ilmwatch are for the most part wild and lawless, dotted with trading towns, caravan rests, and other small, fortified inns and way stops that survive thanks to the trade with Damara and lands farther north.
The Easting Coast
The Fasting Coast holds the oldest settlements of Impiltur. Of these, the cities of Lyrabar and Hlammach dominate the landscape. Lyrabar, the capital of Impiltur and the kingdom's major population center, was built atop an abandoned dwarven delve by Impil Mirandor, a refugee from the lands of fallen Jhaamdath. Originally known as Impil's Tor, the steadily growing Lyrabar benefited from trade with the elves of the Gray Forest and the dwarves of Earthfast in its early days. The city boasts Impiltur's largest and most magnificent buildings, in the forms of the golden-domed Royal Palace and the Tower Pureheart, demesne of the Lords of Imphras II, the ruling council of Impiltur.
The Fasting Coast is fertile and green, benefiting from the many streams and creeks that run down the southern slopes of the Earthfast Mountains and flow into the Inner Sea. Many small settlements and hamlets dot the region. It boasts a sizable hailing population in the villages of Klandle, Mistrenpost, and Ondle's Spur, all located within a day's ride of each other, west of Hlammach. The lands between Lyrabar and Dilpur devote themselves in the main to agriculture, with fruit orchards, small-scale cereal crops, and root vegetable plots predominating. In fact, Impiltur is famous for its blackbeet, garsar, and spear tubers and exports significant volumes of such vegetables to the Moonsea cities and Sembia. Game and other edible fauna congregate in numbers across the lands of the Easting Coast, especially on the fringes of the Gray Forest and in the foothills of the Earthfasts where good numbers of red-striped deer and mountain goats gather.
Aside from agriculture, the lands of the Easting Coast also benefit from the large number of trade caravans that travel to and from the mines of the Earthfast Mountains to the north. The mountains contain lodes of iron, silver, and a rare metal - found only in small deposits - which the miners dub "whitesteel" (akin to a metal Elminster observes is named "tungsten" on other worlds).
Part of the Easting Coast, which borders the Inner Sea up and around into the Fasting Reach itself is dotted with small fishing villages with names such as Red Bluffs and Thelnarm. These fishing communities use small coast-runners to net the large schools of amhake, whitetail, and bolroth that teem in the waters close to shore.
The only other settlement of note in the region is the city of Filur, known to all as the Royal City. When Imphras the Great reestablished the realm in 1097 DR, he raised a tower in this small town and declared it his seat of rule so as to avoid any disharmony or jealousy between the former independent city-states of the Easting Coast. Filur was sacked in the Prince's Revolt of 1295 DR, so King Rilimbrar named Lyrabar as his capital and seat of rule upon resuming the throne. Regarded as something of a backwater since its demotion, the Lords of Imphras II and the Queen-Regent Sambryl continue to use Filur for their summer retreats.
The sparsely populated Uplands of Impiltur stretch from the coast of the Easting Reach west and north to the Earthspur Mountains and the border with Damara. The two great fortresses of Ithfell and Mal dominate the region, and a small cluster of homes, businesses, and trading posts cluster around them. Ostensibly part of the Fasting Coast lands, the city of Sarshel on the Fasting Reach acts as a trade hub for the Uplands, as well as a point of transport and market center for its products. As a result, most of the settlers residing in the region recognize Sarshel as the "capital" of the Uplands.
Aside from the major settlements, the Uplands contains the small city of Outentown, located at the crossroads where the Herald's Road meets the Prince's Road, and some two-score farming communities known as thaedar. Once common in the lands of the northeastern Inner Sea, thaedar are organizations created by several farms for common defense, transportation of goods to market, and a pool of labor for harvest time. They range in size from the equivalent of a thorp up to a small village. The most well-known and prosperous of these communities, the Red Ram, Silver Plough, and Three Horns thaedar, focus their efforts on agriculture and herding. They command competitive prices for their goods and wield power and influence in the region much like Goldenfields near far-off Waterdeep. T'haedar throughout the Uplands usually maintain their own security against bandits and other marauders, although occasionally they commission hireswords and adventuring bands for particular tasks or needs.
Other smaller settlements in the Uplands include the two mining hubs of Laviguer and Vordric Dun, which compete with each other for the natural resources of the Earthspur Mountains. These settlements are rough and wild, notwithstanding the fact they sprawl within the shadow of the great Tower Ithfell. Hard men and women dominate the mining trade and the Lords of Imphras II and the Warsword of Impiltur police them and the towns, cracking down on unlawful behavior and often declaring them under "daggerbond," a type of martial law that forbids wearing weapons openly in the towns proper. The authorities grant the hard-drinking and even harder-working miners some leeway, however, for their unstinting toil delivers much wealth into the coffers of the realm in faraway Lyrabar.
The town of Songhal, west of Sarshel, and various monasteries and abbeys dedicated to the Triad, including the Grimjaws Seminary (Tyr), the Towers of Lamentation (Ilmater), and the Hall of Loyalty (Torm), can also be found in the Uplands. Sages consider Songhal something of a center of learning, for it houses one of the largest and most prominent churches of Oghma in Faerûn, known as the House of Many Tomes. In the last year, the town achieved even greater prominence due to the naming of a new High Herald of the Realms, the first such post in the Inner Sea lands since the founding of the Heralds in the Year of the Watching Helm (992 DR). The High Herald Silver Stag, a former scribe and loremaster of Tsurlagol by the name of Ilvarthaele Everstone (LN female Damaran human bard 7/loremaster 4), established her office at the Stormspire, in Songhal's central district in the waning days of the Year of Rogue Dragons (1373 DR). The other High Heralds tasked her with the maintenance and administration of heraldry in the lands east of the Sea of Fallen Stars, as well as providing support to the heraldic structure already in place in Impiltur, Thesk, Damara, and other independent cities of the region.
Named for its location beyond the swirling eddies of the Great Imphras River, the Farwater boasts only one settlement of size and significance: the fortress-city of Ilmwatch. This city provides protection to the many trade caravans that take the Merchant's Run to Damara and escorts those traveling south into Impiltur as far as the Narrows, where the Herald's Road crosses Bluefang Water. At least one-third of the kingdom's standing military, the Warsword of Impiltur, can be found in and around Ilmwatch, protecting the realm from foes who make their homes in the Rawlinswood and Giantspire Mountains. Aside from Ilmwatch, the only settlement of size and significance in the Farwater is Bay Town, located on the shores of Bluefang Water. Unlike the other towns in Impiltur, Bay Town houses a plethora of thieves, smugglers, and pirates. How and why the Lords of Imphras II tolerate such a settlement in the kingdom baffles most observers, but in truth the lords realize that rogues form a part of every society, no matter the strictures or laws put into place to curtail their behavior. The Lords of Imphras II police Bay Town by means of many covert agents, and its two major thieves' guilds, the Silent Poniards and the Red Masks, house agents loyal to Queen-Regent Sambryl. Bay Town also serves the authorities as a useful source of information regarding shady dealings and cult activities throughout the kingdom, due to its role as a contact point for the underbelly of Impilturan society. The regard of the Lords of Imphras II falls only lightly upon the settlements north of Ilmwatch. The Council concedes that they fall more into the sphere of influence of resurgent Damara and, from a military point of view, prefer Ilmwatch as their first line of defense rather than the scattered trading towns of Cairnpur, Maracrath, and others further north. Uncivilized and majestic, the Farwater boasts territory ripe for farming and settlement. The close proximity of the Giantspire Mountains and the ever-present threat of the hobgoblins, however, coupled with the recent corruption of the Rawlinswood by the Rotting Man. Many settlers hire adventurers to safeguard and protect their fledgling settlements or to hunt out and slay the lurking dangers that abound.
Sites and Landmarks
Impiltur contains several sites and landmarks of significance, from the great Crowned King mountain-top carving near the Fortress of Mal to the majestic grove of ancient weirwood trees known as Alithyn's Copse in the Gray Forest. Adventurers should pay heed to the locations detailed below.
Located several miles north of Sarshel, the Barrowlands are a remnant of the dark realm of Narfell and feature scores of earthen mounds devoid of any plant life save for the small, black-leafed shrubs known locally as widow's tears. The local populace shuns the area, for the feared balor Ndulu appeared in the Barrowlands when he returned to wreak his vengeance on Impiltur in the Year of the Moaning Gorge (786 DR). Since that time, stories have circulated that the warrens beneath the Barrowlands house a cabal of Narfelli demonbinders who escaped the Great Conflagration and embraced lichdom. Supposedly, they seek to lay waste to the land with an army of fiends and reestablish their ancient homeland. Over the years, many adventuring bands who entered the earthen mounds of the Barrowlands failed to return. The adventurer Yargildas, prior to his untimely demise in the Year of the Worm (1356 DR), reported that the Barrowlands contains a series of interconnected, underground chambers, many featuring a permanent darkness effect that rendered most mundane light sources ineffective. He reported no obvious signs of the presence of fiends or undead but noted the existence of what he described as "rune circles" which he postulated operated as a sort of portal system and provided access to hitherto undetected chambers, isolated from the others.
The Citadel of Conjurers
This dark and forbidding tower of black stone lies at the foothills of the Earthfast Mountains at the mouth of the Moaning Gorge, a place known for the peculiar sound the rushing wind makes when it blows through it. Constructed during the waning years of the empire of Narfell as a last bastion against the forces of Raumathar, it served as a site for summoning all manners of fiends to bolster the battle-strength of Narfell in the final days before the cataclysm known as the Great Conflagration ruined that tainted nation. The great demon prince Eltab first trod the soil of Faerûn at this site. Sages believe many demonbinders of Narfell fled here after the fall of that realm and that the last Nentyarch of Narfell, Rheligaun "the Horned," retreated here as well, although his final fate remains a mystery. Many believe the Narfelli who fled here were hunted down and slain by vengeful Raumathari battlemages who sealed off sections of the tower and the labyrinth of chambers and catacombs beneath it. Over the many years since the fall of Narfell, some of Impiltur's greatest heroes - including King Sarshel "the True" and his great-grandson King Nord - walked its gloomy halls and returned to tell the tale, confirming that entry to this citadel is not prohibited or prevented. All sages agree that the citadel is a site of great evil (a Class 5 evil node), while those with knowledge of matters infernal talk of phenomena such as demon cysts and postulate on the many fiends that must lie there still, trapped until freed or bound to service. Other loremasters talk of the artifacts of Narfell that rest within the dark depths of the tower, taken there by fleeing mages of that empire and awaiting discovery. The rulers of Impiltur actively dissuade adventurers from approaching the Citadel of Conjurers, fearing the release of some powerful fiend or host of fiends due to their blundering. Powerful magic in the form of a mighty spellward rings the citadel, preventing the physical escape of creatures from the Lower Planes, but its efficacy is routinely weakened and diminished by the evil nature of the Citadel of Conjurer's environs. As added security, an outpost of the Warsword of Impiltur lies atop a hill overlooking the citadel and the entrance to the Moaning Gorge. Small groups can easily bypass it with one of the many other tracks leading to the citadel In practice, the military presence concerns itself more with keeping creatures in rather than keeping them out. The Warsword's presence has become all the more vital in past months with the rise of fearful rumors hinting of the demon Eltab's return to the region.
Located more than a week's ride southwest of Tower Ithfell, this cave network in the Earthspur Mountains is the last recognizable remnant of the great hobgoblin realm of Haekrukkha, which dominated the Uplands of modern Impiltur in the time following the spread of the Great Glacier and the forced migration of many creatures and races southward. The hobgoblins of Haekrukkha were led by a great warlord known as the Dargrath, or "Great Slayer" in their tongue, and he enjoyed the support of a powerful cabal of shamans who wove vile sorceries to bring power and might to the hobgoblin warrior caste of that realm.
Following the final battles that saw the demise of the realm of Haekrukkha, the Dargrath and his shaman supporters fled to the cavern network that bears his name. A cave-in of their own making sealed them off from the surface lands. No one today knows of their fate, but miners of Impiltur broke through into Dargrath's Caverns several years ago while following rich seams of silver ore. They discovered ancient altars, weird pictographs, and at least one intact skeleton hinting at illithid activity, prompting further exploration by such adventuring bands as the Knights of the Elder Flame and the all-woman, Loviatar-worshiping, Spiked Sisterhood. Neither party has returned. Adventurers have yet to reveal what lies in the depths of Dargrath's Caverns, but sages speculate on the possibility that the Dargrath and his followers live on, their longevity tied to evil rituals, or that illithids have enslaved them and wait to unleash them on the unsuspecting lands above.
The Hill of Tombs
This rocky, isolated prominence studded with granite outcroppings is covered with yellow-leafed fuldar bushes for much of the year. Called "Thatchskull" by local farmers, the Hill of Tombs holds strategic importance in the lands of the Easting Coast and features the remnants of several watch towers and hill forts dating back to more warlike times. Aside from these ruins, a few of which date back to an age when the moon elves of Larlotha held sway in the region, the Hill of Tombs is best known for its use as a burial site by the kings of early Impiltur. Beginning with the death of King Tharaun I in the Year of the Wild Roses (269 DR), the southern side of this peak saw the construction of the first of a dozen bidden tombs that over the following two-and-a-half centuries would house the remains of the last monarchs of the ruling Mirandor Dynasty, Impiltur's first. These resting places are thought to have all been pillaged long ago, although rumors persist that at least one tomb, that of King Meldath the Magnificent, remains undiscovered and inviolate to the present day. Tales recount that King Meldath, a mighty warrior and conqueror of nearby lands, had rich treasures buried with him, including the royal regalia of the vassal city-states of Proeskampalar and Chessagol, and the "Shining Destrier," a magic warhorse of solid gold created by artisans of Myth Drannor. Tales of vile undead and ghostly hauntings deter most treasure hunters from exploring the Hill of Tombs and its environs. In truth, a secret temple to the gnome deity Baravar Cloak-shadow, known as the Vault of Seven Mysteries, is located in the hill's heart, and its clergy use their mastery of illusions to scare off the inquisitive and the overly bold.
This rocky basin surrounded by a copse of stunted and frost-rimed pine trees stands near the banks of the Icehilt River, in the far northern reaches of the realm. The Shimmerglade marks the site of a titanic magical battle fought many years ago between Elminster of Shadowdale and some half-dozen malaugrym led by Ultharos. The shapeshifters sought to lure Elminster to this remote location to trap and slay him. For their audacity, they met their doom here. A consequence of this failed ambush, which devastated much of the surrounding wilderness, brought forth many small, drifting patches of wild magic and established a larger, fixed area of dead magic centered on the spot where Elminster reduced Ultharos to a blood spatter. Strange magical effects plague the area while warped and twisted creatures of all types congregate at the site. The wandering patches of wild magic cause a rippling effect in the air which the naked eye occasionally observes and which gives the Shimmerglade its name.
Nouméa Drathchuld, the former Magister of Mystra, placed a warning rune at the site several winters ago, which appears before any creature with higher-than-animal intelligence that approaches within a half-mile of the Shimmerglade. The rune of the Magister, a "hook" of seven stars, appears in mid-air as a tracery of silver and speaks in a pleasant but firm tone, warning creatures by saying "Be wary of perils ahead and do not trust overly in the power of the Art." Despite this caution, adventurers continue to brave the dangers of the Shimmerglade. Rumors state the malaugrym hid a cache of magic there ere their destruction. Some sages and loremasters maintain that these rumors speak truly and the legendary Artstave of Authar, the greatest crafting of one of the foremost archwizards of Netheril, lies hidden somewhere in the Shimmerglade, waiting for some brave soul to claim it.
People and Society
Since its founding in the Year of Splendor (-72 DR), Impiltur has been ruled by a hereditary monarchy, save during the handful of years when the Fiend Wars raged and during the Kingless Years following the demise of the Elethiim Dynasty. The Heitharn Dynasty, the current ruling family, is the fourth in Impiltur's history. The dynasty has worn the Crown of Narfell since the Year of the Dawndance (1097 DR) and the accession of King Imphras the Great. The Queen-Regent Sambryl (CG female Damaran human aristocrat 5/wizard 4) wields authority in the realm under the aegis of the Lords of Imphras II, a council of advisers created by her father, King Rilimbrar. Despite her advancing years, Sambryl retains her vitality through use of longevity magic, causing many outside the realm to question what will become of the Heitharn Dynasty when she dies. What few outside Impiltur know (and within the kingdom only a few more), is that the Queen-Regent's tenure on the Golden Throne quickly draws to an end.
The young King Imbrar II (LG male Damaran human paladin 7 of Ilmater/ Triadic knight 1), descendant of Imphras II through his son Velimbrar and the rightful king of Impiltur, shall claim the throne on his sixteenth birthday in the waning days of the Year of the Lightning Storms (1374 DR). His authority extends to dissolving the Lords of Imphras II, allowing him to rule unfettered by dynastic machinations, hidebound tradition, and the strictures of the past. Many modern scholars and thinkers believe Imbrar's accession will invigorate the realm and that the focus of the realm will turn outward as it wakes from somnolence. A few even believe that Impiltur will once again achieve a preeminent position in the doings of the East, which it once enjoyed around the time of the raising of the Standing Stone.
For now, the kingdom remains under the hand of the Lords of Imphras II, known also as the Council of Lords. Originally made up of twelve paladin descendants of Imphras II through his fourth and sixth sons, the council was invested with authority by the ailing Rilimbrar to prevent the acquisition of power by his nephew and son-in-law, the conniving and detested Crown Prince Imphras IV. Five new appointments to the council due to death from old age or misadventure have occurred since this decree. Seven out of the original twelve children of the Dowager Aunts remain on the council.
Of the current Lords of Imphras II, the leaders are the Lords Limbrar (LG male Damaran human paladin 12 of Ilmater/monk 5), Helimbraun (LG male half-elf cleric 5/paladin 1 of Torm) and Oriseus (LG male Damaran human cleric 6/paladin 8 of Helm). Their voices speak out most often in council, and they often decide among themselves what is "best for the realm" on any particular issue. Lately, Lord Helimbraun has become almost puritanical in his zeal to "root out evil" in the kingdom, urging less tolerance from the council in matters of lax morality and when dealing with questionable attitudes and occurrences. Lord Lirnbrar opposes Helimbraun's newfound zeal, pointing to a looming breakdown in their formerly strong triumvirate. Of the younger members of the council, Lords Silaunbrar (LG male half-elf paladin 14 of Torm), Engarth (LG male Damaran human ranger 2/paladin 9 of Torm/ Triadic Knight 7), and Pelimbrar (LG male Damaran human paladin 7 of Tyr/Triadic Knight 5) are considered the "next generation" among the lords as they curry favor with young King Imbrar II, playing a role in his upbringing and nurturing as a paladin. The older lords, Soargilm (LG male Damaran human cleric 9/paladin 7 of Ilmater) and Rilimbraun (LG male Damaran human paladin 10 of Tyr/monk 6) long ago adopted the role of sagely advisers to the Queen-Regent, speaking seldom in public or even in council, but having the ear of Sambryl - who relies on their wisdom and abundant good sense. The two female Lords, Rilaunyr (LG female Damaran human paladin 13 of Sune) and Idriane (LG female Damaran human paladin 7 of Ilmater/Triadic knight 4) usually act in concert and consider themselves something of a moderating influence on the extremes of some of the other members of council. They urge consensus and cooperation in all matters pertaining to the safety and welfare of Impiltur
The remaining Lords, Simgar (LG male half-elf paladin 10 of Tyr/Triadic knight 7) and Haelimbrar (LG male Damaran human ranger 3/paladin 4 of Torm/Triadic knight 7) are the wily, battle-hardened veterans of Impiltur and the realm's first choice in any military endeavor of note. They care little for diplomacy, statecraft, or the court and spend most of their time leading the Warsword of Impiltar in military exercises or mounting demon and orc-scouring expeditions into the nearby mountains and forests. Effectively distancing himself from his advisory role on the council, Lord Simgar spends more and more time away from Impiltur's civilized regions, relishing the martial role he has whole-heartedly embraced. A recent foray into the Giantspire Mountains produced a report on the safety of the kingdom's northern borders with all the weight of his authority, despite rumors of another hobgoblin horde forming there in secret, led by a mysterious "dark knight" of fearsome and menacing power.
After the Queen-Regent and the Lords of Imphras II, the nobility of Impiltur wields a modicum of power. Since the reestablishment of the realm, the nobility of Impiltur has comprised only a relatively small but influential section of Impilturian society. This social strata numbers some two-dozen houses, mixing "old blood" families - those nobles tracing their bloodlines to the days of the realm's founding - with more recently ennobled clans. The burgeoning middle class supersedes the nobility in terms of wealth and business interests in modern Impiltur, yet the nobility still retains a certain status in the realm the middle class only aspires to and often attempts to marry into. Of the older noble families, the Forgecrowns and the Relindars are the strongest and most influential in the realm. Controlling extensive property holdings in Lyrabar and Hlammach, as do most old blood families, they also own country estates bordering the Gray Forest. Their leading spokesperson is Lord Eldrar Forgecrown (CG male Damaran human aristocrat 5/fighter 4), a sprightly, canny graybeard who benefits from unfettered access to the Queen-Regent and usually provides a rather different perspective on matters of policy than the Council of Lords. The newer noble families, such as the Starsunders, Wellhavens, and Dintersans, that rose to prominence after the Kingless Years, have eclipsed most of the old blood families and concentrate their businesses in the cities of Dilpur and Sarshel, with larger property holdings in the Uplands of the realm.
As with most goodly realms, the common folk of Impiltur form the general backbone of life and society in the kingdom. Impilturan commoners are known for their self-reliance, martial aptitude, and piousness. A prosperous middle merchant class buttresses a large and increasingly prominent farmer class, as agriculture and animal husbandry prove more and more lucrative.
Urban Impiltur shines as an example of how benevolent rule, coupled with a religious focus toward combating poverty and disease, makes a difference in the life of the common people. No city or town in Impiltur save for the shantytown of Bay Town, contains anything that observers would describe as a slum or beggars' quarter. The efforts of the priests of Ilmater to alleviate the suffering of the urban poor has seen a general trend toward better health and increased wealth for the lower classes and a realization from the upper classes that with their wealth and power comes significant responsibility to those less fortunate.
In addition to the more mundane activities of farming, laboring, and herding, the common folk of Impiltur, have always readily acted as a source of manpower for martial activities in and around the lands of the Inner Sea. Along with Chessenta and some of the lands of the Vilhon Reach, Impiltur has historically furnished well-trained fighting men for "just and noble causes that pay well," as the mercenary leader Helingar "Threeswords" Lornim once commented. Since the Kingless Years, the authorities regulate mercenary companies in Impiltur, requiring them to obtain royal assent in the form of a Lord's Charter and a binding oath of service to the throne and realm when called upon.
While Impiltur is noted for its worship of the Triad and commitment to the tenets of the faiths of Ilmater, Torm, and Tyr, the nation as a whole exhibits a liberal and open attitude to the worship of nonevil deities. The Triadic religions place an emphasis on the power of faith and the expectation of sacrifice or service when called upon. No group of faithful better embody these tenants than the Knights of Imphras II, a group of holy warriors devoted to their deities and the crown of Impiltur. The veneration of saints and holy martyrs of the church constitutes a cornerstone of worship in Impiltur and the region generally. Other faiths, such as those of Chauntea, Tymora, Selûne, and Waukeen enjoy significant followings in Impiltur. The martial nature of the realm sees the faith of Tempus receive more than just lip service. The establishment of open, organized temples and shrines for darker powers such as Bane and Cyric is illegal, although the actual worship of such deities is tolerated to some extent. Most Banites and Cyricists who flaunt their religion in public are subject to close scrutiny from the authorities, and many therefore keep their faiths and places of worship secret. Similarly, the myriad fiend cults that worship the demon lords and princes of the Lower Planes are forbidden, and such cultists are slain on sight more often than not. Nature deities, such as Silvanus, have seen their faiths wane as the realm has become more civilized, but since the Time of Troubles the worship of the deity Shandaukal, especially on the windswept open plains of the Uplands, flourishes among itinerant traders, caravan guards, and drovers of all types.
Given its long history, many ruined temples and shrines of dead or forgotten deities litter the landscape of Impiltur. The curious and the sagely flock to Impiltur annually to study the influx of Jhaamdathi refugees who came to this region before the erection of the Standing Stone. They seek to uncover the secrets and mysteries of this fabled realm of the Cradlelands and gain everlasting scholarly fame.
As well as temples to fallen deities, the discovery of vile altars and sacrificial pits dedicated to demonic powers occurs with frightening regularity. Only recently, authorities discovered a cult to the demon prince Orcus operating in the village of Borgar's Mill, located on the banks of the Great Imphras River north of Bay Town. This fell legacy of the lost realm of Narfell still evokes a sense of rabid fear in the average Impilturan, and many outlying regions of the kingdom practice a measure of rough justice against perceived fiend worshipers or other tainted individuals. Despite the efforts of the authorities, "witch" burnings still take place in the Uplands on an infrequent basis and many individuals suffering from mental illness or exhibiting anything considered "strange behavior" are hunted down and slain by mobs of fear-driven commonfolk. Attempts to curtail such behavior meet with constant failure, given the entrenched and deep-rooted fears and prejudices of the population.
In Impiltur, the use of magic is commonplace. Many mages call Impiltur home, and the authorities see no need to regulate their activities. Impiltur boasts a Mage Royal, currently the wizard Selarbrin (LG male Damaran human wizard 18/archmage 2), a direct descendant of the famed archmage Velgarbrin of Baldur's Gate, one of the heroes of Imphras the Great's defeat of the hobgoblin horde. In fact, the post of Mage Royal has developed into something of a family affair in Impiltur, for Velgarbrin's descendants have held this office since the Year of the Gleaming Crown (1097 DR). The Mage Royal is responsible for maintaining the magical defenses of the realm and oversees the Warwands, the spellcasting branch of Impiltur's military.
Some famous wizards who call Impiltur home are Arasmas "the Cowled" (CG male Damaran human wizard 14) the powerful evoker Shoval of the Many Thunders (CN male Damaran human evoker 16), and the mysterious archmage and scholar Orauzalar (N male Mulan human wizard 15/loremaster 3) - regarded as the foremost authority on the history of Impiltur and said by many to covertly oppose the feared Red Wizards of Thay. Orauzalar often criticizes the Lords of Imphras II over the establishment of Thayan Enclaves in the cities of Lyrabar, Dilpur, and Ilmwatch in recent years, believing with some justification that the council conceded to the wishes of the merchant class and lined its members' coin purses all in one action.
In addition to solitary wizards of power, Impiltur also contains two wizard schools of note. The better known of these, called the Towers of the Wind, is located in Lyrabar. By the standards of other lands, folk describe this wizard school as small, although its head teacher and founder, Broargar "Windcloak" Iringil (LN male Damaran human wizard 12), would in his pride probably disagree. It trains wizards for service on merchant ships making the dangerous run to Sembia and up to the Moonsea that often fall prey to the pirates of the Inner Sea. Most merchant ship captains don't want to fight the pirates, they just want to avoid them or outrun them, so a windmage often proves very useful. A few of the merchant groups in Impiltur (such as the Five Sails, Brass Coffers, and Moonchasers) sponsor the school and require many of the school's graduates to serve them for a year following their "graduation" as a type of indentured servitude. Commonly, the wizards receive good pay and experience for their labors and so do not consider the period of service an imposition.
In the last year, the wizard Pelathyon Hawkryn (N human Damaran male wizard 11) has opened a new wizard school in Hlammach, teaching a group of select pupils and focusing on the mysteries and possibilities inherent in the connections between the Art and gemstones, specifically moonstones. Some cynical observers state that because Pelathyon's family owns rich moonstone mines in the Earthspur Mountains, he simply seeks to use his school to enrich his family further, Others state that his research resounds with the favor of Mystra herself and that Moonstone Manse will in time become a center for innovative wizardry in the Easting Reach lands.
Law and Order
Impiltur operates a system of laws known as the "King's Code" which dates back to the time of King Bellodar Ill, who reigned from 642 DR to 673 DR. This monarch, known as the Sage King, set down the first unified and coherent body of law for the realm, drawing upon the customs and practices that had developed over centuries, beginning with the ancient tribal laws of the original Narfelli humans. Today, it remains the foundation of Impiltur's system of laws, modified by successive kings and dynasties of the realm.
Law and order throughout the realm is maintained by the various Royal Constables located in every settlement of small town size or larger. These Royal Constables hear and try minor matters and levy punishments such as fines, confiscation of property, or public censure (usually by placing an offender in stocks in the local marketplace). The Lords of Imphras II deal directly with more serious matters such as crimes of violence, arson, and kidnapping in the legal forums known as Lord's Courts. Such forums feature members of the Council of Lords, who sit in judgment on matters heard on a bimonthly basis in the major cities of the kingdom. In practice, however, the Lords of Imphras II delegate this responsibility to the local Heralds, whose roles also include administrative work and tax and revenue collection. Only the most serious crimes, or those that require the special intervention of a member of the Lords of Imphras II, merit a hearing before a member of the Council of Lords.
Punishments for serious crimes include exile, hard labor at the prison mines of Vordric Dun, incarceration at Graycliffs (the prison island off the coast of Hlammach) and detention for periods of less than three years at any of the Royal Gaols located near Lyrabar, Dilpur, and Ilmwatch. Capital punishment exists in Impiltur but is reserved for the crimes of willful murder, treason, and a rather unique wrong named in the Code as "consorting with fiends." Legal scholars of the realm believe this punishment would extend to wizards who summon creatures from the Lower Planes, even for the purposes of study or to gather information, but Impiltur's legal history is yet to decide on such a matter. Wizards who summon fiends with any regularity carefully conceal such activities from the authorities.
The Lure of Adventure
Adventurers do not rest idly in the realm of Impiltur. What follows are some local events that DMs might incorporate into their campaigns.
- The adventurers of the Brightshield Company have fled east into the Rawlinswood from the city of Ilmwatch after a swords-out confrontation with the Warswords of Impiltar. Rumor has it that the Brightshields recovered an ancient blade of the realm in their recent foray into the Giantspires and refused to part with it. The sage Galathril has stated that from descriptions given by patrons of the Silverjack Inn, the blade is none other than the legendary Bornath, "the Banesteel," one of the lost trove of swords known to most scholars as "Soargar's Legacy."
- The senior Warwand Ilbrar has been found slain in his tower in Hlammach, his headless body torn and mutilated by the claws of some fearsome beast. Ilbrar was known to have been working on a powerful spellward he called the "Fiendmantle," building upon the work and teachings of the legendary archmage Soargar of Lyrabar. The library located within his residence was totally empty. Following the discovery of his body, authorities posted a reward for any information that leads them to his murderers, while privately voicing concerns that the Cult of Eltab rises once again.
- The mad blue dragon of the Bluefang Water has struck again, sinking a flathull coaster enroute to the city of Sarshel. The leader of the consortium, the gruff Faerdrin "the Stonehound" Talathril, has offered a sizable reward for the head of this young wyrm and the recovery of his cargo, believed to now lie at the bottom of Bluefang Water. Faerdrin's representative can be contacted at the Sleeping Siren festhall in Bay Town.
History of Impiltur
The history of modern Impiltur is reckoned to begin with the events of the Fiend Wars and the subsequent Triad Crusade which wrested the realm back from the clutches of the Scaled Horde. Since that time, Impiltur's influence in the lands of the Easting Reach has waxed and waned, culminating in its current insularity and political somnolence due to dynastic difficulties. A brief historical timeline of the realm of Impiltur from this pivotal point in its longer history follows.
|-160||Year of Stone Giant||Eltab first summoned at the Citadel of Conjurers.|
|726||Year of Dowager Lady||Impiltur is overrun by the Scaled Horde, an army of demons, from the western fringes of the Rawlinswood and Forest of Lethyr. King Forvar II of Impiltur is slain in the fighting, bringing an end to the Durlarven dynasty of Old Impiltur.|
|729||Year of Twisted Horn||Triad Crusade: An army dedicated to Tyr, Torm, and Ilmater led by the paladin Sarshel Elethlim travels by sea to ravaged Impiltur and brings the Scaled Horde to battle.|
|731||Year of Visions||paladin army of Sarshel Elethlim defeats the last demon army, led by the balor Ndulu, at the Citadel of Conjurers, bringing the Fiend Wars and the Triad Crusade to an end.|
|732||Year of Proud Father||Sarshel is crowned king of Impiltur and establishes the Elethlim dynasty.|
|786||Year of Moaning Gorge||three Paladin Princes of Impiltur defeat the returned balor Ndulu and an army of fiends at the Citadel of Conjurers, at the cost of the lives of Crown Prince Essys and Prince Araln. Nord, the youngest of the three, is named Crown Prince and heir to the throne.|
|788||Year of True Believer||Nord is crowned king of Impiltur and begins a campaign to ferret out and hunt down all fiends and fiend-worshipers throughout the kingdom. This campaign lasts for the better part of two decades and is known as the "Harrowing of Nord."|
|850||Year of Empty Throne||King Beldred of Impiltur leads "the Scouring," a year-long campaign into the western parts of the Rawlinswood that slays and drives forth pockets of demons that survived the Fiend Wars, the Battle of Moaning Gorge, and the Harrowing of his grandfather.|
|893||Year of Raised Sword||An army of Nar horsemen led by the chieftain Galush attacks north-eastern Impiltur but is defeated at the battle of Twelvepikes on the banks of the Soleine River by an army led by Duke Lantigar Deepstar.|
|924||Year of Cracked Turtle||Plague causes the death of King Peverel of Old Impiltur and his two male heirs. His sole remaining issue, the Princess Aliia, is deemed too young to rule by the senior nobles at court and a new king is sought by way of royal marriage.|
|926||Year of Fearless Peasant||Princess Aliia of Old Impiltur dies at sea while en-route to wed her betrothed, Prince Rhiigard of Cormyr, bringing the Elethlim dynasty to an end. Impiltur fractures into a seething cauldron of rival city-states as powerful nobles attempt to gain the vacant throne. Beginning of the Kingless Years.|
|1038||Year of Spreading Spring||retreat of the Great Glacier leaves the lands of Narfell, Vaasa, and Damara fully free of ice. Large-scale immigration begins to these lands.|
|1095||Year of Dawndance||war-captain Imphras Heltharn of Lyrabar unites the city-states of the Easting Reach and leads them to victory over a hobgoblin horde from the Giantspire Mountains.|
|1097||Year of Gleaming Crown||Imphras the Great is crowned king of refounded Impiltur and establishes the Heltharn dynasty. End of the Kingless Years.|
|1110||Year of Bloody Fields||Thay marches on Phent, but the combined forces of Impiltur and Thesk, led by King Lmphras the Great, defeat the Red Wizards' army.|
|1127||Year of Luminar Procession||King Imbrar of Impiltur leads an army into the Giantspire Mountains to eradicate the hobgoblin menace. His warriors are murdered and the succubus Soneillon corrupts the king into a death knight. Imbrar's sister llmara is crowned queen.|
|1167||Year of Parchment Heretical||Queen Ilmara of Impiltur marries Rilaun of Sarshel, a young warrior half her age.|
|1169||Year of Earth Shaking||Imphras II is declared king of Impiltur at birth in accordance with the law, and his father Rilaun takes up arms to seize the throne. He is defeated and Ilmara rules as Queen-Regent until Imphras II attains sixteen years of age.|
|1185||Year of Immoral Imp||Queen-Regent Ilmara relinquishes the rule of Impiltur to her son, King Imphras II.|
|1204||Year of Private Tears||King Imphras II begins to exhibit the first signs of madness.|
|1208||Year of Gamine||Crown Prince Talryn of Lyrabar, heir to the throne of Impiltur, attempts to have his ill father declared unfit to rule and have himself crowned king. His conniving younger brother Lashilmbrar and other unscrupulous nobles at court succeed in forcing Talryn to flee into exile and thwart his efforts. He takes refuge with the pirates of the Inner Sea.|
|1212||Year of Ocean's Wrath||Talryn returns to Impiltur upon hearing of the death of his father, Imphras II. The news of king's death is a ruse engineered by Prince Lashilmbrar, who succeeds Talryn as Crown Prince when his brother is executed for treason.|
|1225||Year of Winged Worm||death of Imphras II sees Lashilmbrar crowned king of Impiltur.|
|1253||Year of Beckoning Death||Impiltur suffers the effects of the devastating Great Plague of the Inner Sea.|
|1294||Year of Deep Moon||A bandit raid on the king's summer residence sees the death of King|
|1295||Year of Ormserpent||Prince Thaum of Telflamm raises a mercenary army and sails across the Easting Reach, sacking Sarshel and then marching inland to seize Filur and the throne of Impiltur. Prince-Regent Kuskur and young King Rilimbrar are forced to flee to Aglarond for sanctuary after their army is defeated west of Dilpur at the Battle of Five Heads.|
|1296||Year of Black Hound||Queen Ilione of Aglarond intercedes on King Rilimbrar's behalf and sends the Simbul, her heir and apprentice, to slay Thaum with magic. Rilimbrar is restored to the throne despite attempts by treacherous nobles to have Thaum's son Imphras (the future Crown Prince Imphras IV) crowned king in Rilimbrar's stead. Imphras is placed under house arrest for life in Filur.|
|1336||Year of Highmantle||With no direct male heirs of his own, King Rilimbrar has his daughter Sambryl wed her second cousin Imphras IV. Rilimbrar establishes the Lords of Imphras II, a governing council to control the realm on his death, until such time as his line and that of Imphras IV has died out. In this way he seeks to have the throne pass to the line of his now-dead uncle Velimbrar, fourth son of King Imphras II.|
|1338||Year of Wanderer||King Rilimbrar of Ilmpiltur dies in a fire at Filur. Crown Prince Imphras IV also perishes in the conflagration, making his wife Sambryl Queen-Regent of the realm. The infant Prince Soarimbrar, a descendant of Velimbrar, is crowned king but cannot rule until his sixteenth year.|
|1351||Year of Crown||King Soarimbrar and his entire retinue are slain at the hands of unknown assassins while riding through farmlands outside Lyrabar. He is succeeded by his infant nephew Imphras V and Sambryl remains Queen-Regent.|
|1363||Year of Wyvern||King Imphras V dies of a wasting disease before he can properly claim the throne of Impiltur. He is succeeded by his younger brother Imbrar II (age five). As before, Sambryl remains Queen-Regent of the kingdom.|
|1373||Year of Rogue Dragons||Impiltur is assailed by a Rage of Dragons caused by the machinations of the Cult of the Dragon and their leader Sammaster.|
|1374||Year of Lightning Storms||Current year.|