The Western Heartlands - Baldur's Gate (1368)
- Independent city
- Who Rules: The Council of Four (elected for life, or until resignation, by the populace). All council members take the title of grand duke or duchess. The present grand dukes are Entar Silvershield (LG male human Ftr21), Liia Jannath (CG male human Wiz16), the adventurer known only as Belt (CN male human Ftr19), and Eltan (LN male human Ftr20 of the Flaming Fist mercenary company, which he commands).
- Who Really Rules: The Council, backed by the Flaming Fist (who serve as unofficial secret police/enforcers). The current dukes are part of the Lords' Alliance (with Waterdeep, Silverymoon, and other cities. See Lords' Alliance)
- Population: Varies from 86,000 in the slow season to 115,000 at the height of summer (including a large transient merchant and seafaring population of all races except full orcs, illithids, and drow).
- Major Products: Fish, trade-coinage (25-gp-value merchant trade bars, used throughout the Sword Coast and the Shining Sea), lamp oil (rendered from fish and whales), dyes (from mollusks).
- Armed Forces: The patrol, 60 warriors strong (watchmen: Ftr3 x38 and Ftr4 x14;
Captains: Ftr6 x7; Warden: Bellarpar Windspur, LG male human Ftr11), and a navy of seven ships (crews 40+ each, all classes, levels 2-8).
The standing army of Baldur's Gate is the Flaming Fist Mercenary Company, one of the largest and most effect mercenary organizations of the heartlands. It numbers 1,700 soldiers under the generalship of Eltan. While units of the Flaming Fist will be found in scattered wars throughout the Realms, at least half the manpower of the Fist will be at home (at Baldur's Gate).
- Notable Mages: Brielbara (CG female human Wiz14), daughter of Briel: (author of Briel's Book of Shadows), devises many new spells.
Gondal (LN male human Wiz17, a studious individual, slain and replaced by an Ogre Mage.
Lanthalim (NG male human Wiz/Rog18), holds grudges.
The High House of Wonders, temple complex to Gond (High Artificer Thalamond Albaier, N male human Clr17; 21 priests, 397 followers).
The Lady's Hall, temple of Tymora; High Priest of the Lady's Favor Chanthalas Ulbright (CG male human Clr15); 24 priests, 69 followers.
The Water-Queen's House, temple of Umberlee; Storm-Priestess Jalantha Mistmyr (NE female human Clr16); 8 priestesses, 16 followers.
Shrines to Helm, Ilmater, Lathander, Oghma, and Waukeen.
Notable Rogues' and Thieves' Guilds
The Guild of thieves, assassins, smugglers, and fences (Guildmaster: Alatos "Ravenscar" Thuibuld, NE male human Rog19; current active membership: 560+). The Guild ruthlessly crushes rivals seeking to do business in the city, and possesses a large collection of magical items, such as a wand of displacement.
In rough order of preference: The Splurging Sturgeon inn (rowdy and threadbare, but good/cheap); Three Old Kegs inn (excellent/ moderate); The Blade and Stars inn (good/ moderate); and the Blushing Mermaid inn and tavern (very rough and noisy, the scene of much shady dealing: fair/moderate). The Gate has better inns and rooming houses, but adventurers (except single sailors not given to rowdiness) are not welcomed in such establishments.
Dabron Sashenstar, the famous explorer and discoverer of Sossal - Tarsakh of the Year of the Prince (1357). (CG male human Ftr23).
Haspur (CN male human Ftr1); a somewhat deranged seer or trance-prophet.
Jhasso (CN male human Ftr7); former owner of the fast-haul firm "Jhasso's Wagons," and a founding partner of the Seven Suns Trading Coster, whose regional base he runs here.
Krammoch Arkhstaff (NE male human Ftr3), Sage: monsters - local expert on basilisks.
Ragefast (NG male human Ftr1), Sage: magic, history, genealogy.
Ramazith Flamesinger (CG male human Ftr6), Sage: marine botany and zoology, in particular ixitxachitl and other intelligent sea life.
The Merchants' League, a brotherhood of merchants dedicated to exploration, mutual aid, and honest dealing, is based in the city. Prominent members include Irlentree (LN male human Ftr7, a very rich merchant and fleet owner); Zorl Miyar (LN male human Ftr7, caravan owner and wagonmaker); and Aldeth Sashenstar (LN male human F9, uncle of the famous Dabron and head of the wealthy Sashenstar merchant family, known for its fleet, mining concerns, and textile wealth).
The Knights of the Shield, a secretive group of nobility and merchants, aims unknown, are active in this important free port. (See Knights of the Shield._
Baldurian Knights include the silk-and-spice merchant Kestor (NE male human Rog8) and the adventurer Tuth (NE male human Ftr13).
The Knights of the Unicorn, a romantic, whimsical group of high-born adventurers who worship Lurue, the Unicorn, can also be found in Baldur's Gate, although they are more common across the Sword Coast North. Lurue is a beast cult deity, the CG queen of talking beasts and intelligent creatures, also known as "Silverymoon" after the city she is most connected with. Her followers are dedicated to helping the needy, underdogs, and dreamers, and rescuing all who need aid. Seven known knights reside in the city, including Javalar Roaringhorn (CG male human Ftr19), Balanta Whiteshield (CG female human Ftr16), and Jolboss "Stoutguts" Twylar (CG male human Ftr14, of impressive girth and pompous manner).
Important Features in Town
The temple of Gond buys the rights to many inventions. Enterprising merchants have settled in the city to better exploit such innovations (upon payment of licensing fees to the temple).
Worshippers of Gond and the curious (who pay a small admission fee) can see many wonders of artifice in the temple's Hall of Wonders. Currently on display are a mechanical scribe (handset-type printing press), a steam dragon (crude steam engine), a pump of gond (bicycle-like man-powered pump for farm irrigation and filling bilges and reservoirs), a system of self-filling oil lamps (fed from a central oil tank), and other wonders. The temple sells specimens of all displayed devices, at very stiff prices. Baldur's Gate is one of the largest, busiest harbors on the western coasts of Faerûn. Its independent status and tolerant nature make it home to more independent sea-captains than any other port, and result in its handling a wider variety of cargoes than anywhere else but Calimport and Waterdeep.
Many pirates regularly tie up in The Gate to fence their latest prizes (and sometimes find former owners waiting, with ready swords or coins, to regain the lost property).
Visitors often remark on the harbor's sheer size and crowding, and the massive cranes, scoops, and cargo carts (which run along the docks on rails of steel!) that can make loading or unloading here a swift, if expensive, process. The dock equipment is run by the Harborhands' Guild, but was devised and built by the priests of Gond, who receive a 1-copper fee for every usage of a cart or crane. (Elminster mutters darkly that "divine inspiration" in this case came from merely looking at a harbor or two on a certain other world. This may well be true.)
Like Waterdeep and far-off Suzail, the Gate is tolerant and quietly well-policed. As a result, it is one of the most popular ports-of-call in the seafaring Realms, and home to many eccentrics, adventurers, and freewheeling entrepreneurs. The city is named for the legendary seafaring explorer Balduran, who long ago sailed past Evermeet in search of the rich, fabled isles of Anchorome (pronounced "Ang-kor-OH-may"). Balduran returned with tales of strange, vast lands across the seas. He also brought back much wealth, and scattered it about his sparsely-settled home harbor, commanding that some of it be spent on a wall to protect the harbor from orc and barbarian raids (still an annual problem in the area, in those, long ago days). Then he set sail again for the wondrous lands he had found. Balduran never returned. Some say he sails still, finding new lands in the endless reaches of the far sea, or even that he sailed off the world and fares now among the stars! Others whisper that he met with misfortune and perished in the deeps, while still others believe he lived to a ripe old age in his new-found home. Whatever Balduran's true fate, his money was spent on a splendid city wall.
Within its protection, building went on at a great pace, soon growing out past the wall. The wall was built by several farmers, who put it around their own holdings, excluding the actual harbor from its protection. This allowed them to tax all carts coming up from the docks to the protection of the walled city. The colleagues of Balduran, sea-captains to whom the harbor was home (an ideal place for beaching and repairing ships, without local fees or crowding), angrily insisted that the gate by which southern trade and the harbor traffic entered the city was "Baldur's Gate," and refused to pay for entering by it.
The strife ended in the overthrow of the enriched farmers and the seizure of the city (which came to be called Baldur's Gate) by the sea-captains. The four oldest captains, their days at sea drawing to a close, turned over their ships to younger sailors, who in turn supported their installation as rulers of the fledgling city. The four called themselves Dukes as a joke, but the titles proved useful when dealing with other rulers, and were later glorified by the appellation "grand."
Retired grand dukes live in honor, supported by the city and welcome at all feasts and temple functions (unless dismissed in disgrace and banished).
- 1. Duchal Palace ("The High Hall")
- 2. "The Wide" (open market area)
- 3. The High House of Wonders (temple complex to Gond)
- 4. Hall of Wonders (admission: 4 sp)
- 5. Elfsong Tavern (adventurers' drinking-place and hiring house)