Most of what follows is taken from the “Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting”, published by Wizards of the Coast (item # WTC11836). This book, among others, is used extensively in the development of this world, and we highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the Forgotten Realms, and as a reference when fleshing out your character.
This module takes place along the northernmost edge of The Vast –
north of the River Vesper and into the Earthspur Mountains.
A verdant farming and hunting area on the eastern shore of the Dragon Reach, the Vast is best known for its thriving ports: evil Calaunt, ever-changing Tantras, the adventurers’ haven Ravens bluff, and regimented Procampur. Orcs and dwarves vie for supremacy over the nearby mountains, and while orc raids on the lowlands are rare, they are troublesome enough to keep the human population concentrated along the coast. Intrigues between rival factions, and a wealth of dwarven ruins beckon to adventurers.
Owing its mild climate, with long cool summers and short mild winters to the Sea of Fallen Stars, most of the Vast is rolling farmland dotted by small wooded areas. Dozens of brooks and streams cross the lands of the Vast, but they seldom join with the major rivers, instead ending in pools that drain into subterranean rivulets, eventually flowing into the Inner Sea. The jigsaw water table owes its existence to broken and tilted layers of rock that lie under the deep soil of the vast. Small sinkholes, caves, and rifts are plentiful throughout the land.
The folk of the Vast have a pioneering spirit and see themselves as one with the land they inhabit; their loyalties lie with the local communities. While they tend to keep to themselves, minstrels and bards are welcomed everywhere – the Vast folk delight in well-sung ballads and news of other lands. Deer, boar and bear roam the forests and mountainsides of this land where hunting is a way of life, especially in the high country.
Travel inland north of the River Vesper, and south of the northern, west-reaching arm of the Earthspur Mountains to a rich hunting land, where you may just as easily become quarry to the tribes of orcs and ogres that come out ot the mountains to the north, be hunted by the goblins and bugbears that lurk in the woods, or fall prey to opportunistic human bandits looking to slit your throat and rob you of your gold. Never let it be said that life in the Vast is not as rewarding as it is dangerous.
The origin of the name “the Vast” is lost in antiquity, but sages agree the name is derived from the orc kingdom of Vastar, which once controlled the entire eastern shore of the Dragon Reach. The orcs of Vastar fought with the elves of Myth Drannor, launching several invasions against the western shore of the Reach in crude wooden ships and by land across the northern end of the Reach. In time, the orcs reduced the dense forests of the Vast to the grasslands and isolated stands of timber that remain today.
Vastar eventually fell after a series of defeats at the hands of the elves, though mounting pressure from dwarves pushing in from the west contributed to the orcs’ downfall. Most of the dwarven expansion took place underground, and the Vast boasts a wealth of abandoned dwarven delvings to this day.
After the fall of the orcs, the dwarves established Roldilar, the Realm of Glimmering Swords (610-649 DR). When the resurgent orcs prevailed above and below ground, humans were quick to exploit the power vacuum left by the collapse of the dwarven kingdom. They came from the crowded Vilhon Reach and established a foothold south of the Fire River. From there, they expanded and pushed the orcs back from the lowlands. The city of Ravens Bluff was established over the ruins of Roldilar in 1222 DR and has grown steadily ever since.
The Gods of The Vast
Following is some information about the major gods that are typically worshiped by those living in the region.
Chauntea, the Great Mother, the Grain Goddess, Earthmother (Alignment: NG/Portfolio: Agriculture, Farmers, Gardeners, Summer) – Domains/Clerical Alignments: Animal, Earth, Good, Plant, Protection, Renewal/CG, LG, N, NG
Clangeddin Silverbeard, Father of Battle, Lord of the Twin Axes, the Rock of Battle – (Alignment: LG/Portfolio: Battle, War, Valor, Bravery, Honor in Battle) – Domains/Clerical Alignments: Dwarf, Good, Law, Strength, War/LG, LN, NG
Eldath, Goddess of Singing Waters, Mother Guardian of groves, the Green Goddess – (Alignment: NG/Portfolio: Quiet Places, Springs, Pools, Peace, Waterfalls) – Domains/Clerical Alignments: Family, Good, Plant, Protection, Water/CG, CN, NG
Mystra, the Lady of Mysteries, the Mother of All Magic – (Alignment: NG/Portfolio: Magic, Spells, the Weave) – Domains/Clerical Alignments: Good, Illusion, Knowledge, Magic, Rune, Spell/LN, N, NG
Tempus, Lord of Battles, Foehammer – (Alignment: CN/Portfolio: War, Battle, Warriors) – Domains/Clerical Alignments: Chaos, Protection, Strength, War/CE, CN, CG
Torm, the True, the True Deity, the Loyal Fury – (Alignment: LG/Portfolio: Duty, Loyalty, Obedience, Paladins) – Domains/Clerical Alignments: Good, Healing, Law, Protection, Strength/LG, LN, NG
Tymora, Lady Luck, the Lady Who Smiles, Our Smiling Lady – (Alignment: CG/Portfolio: Good Fortune, Skill, Victory, Adventurers) – Domains/Clerical Alignments: Chaos, Good, luck, Protection, Travel/CG, CN, NG
Waukeen, Merchant’s Friend – (Alignment: N/Portfolio: Trade, Money, Wealth) – Domains/Clerical Alignments: Knowledge, Protection, Travel, Trade/CN, LN, N, NE, NG
For more information on these and the other gods of the Forgotten Realms, we suggest you read, “Faiths and Pantheons”, the Forgotten Realms Campaign Accessory reference book published by Wizards of the Coast.