The Dragon's Jewel
The Sword Coast
An adventurer-cursed scrap of land along the eastern edges of the Sea of Swords, dotted with powerful city-states such as Waterdeep, Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter, but whose hinterlands swarm with malfeasance and monsters of terrifying mien. The region’s trade routes with the Heartlands and the southern nations are very profitable but danger stalks every caravan and every expedition. Settlements north of Elturel are prey to all manner of monstrous creatures and human machinations, full of savage intrigue between the cities of the Lords’ Alliance and nefarious skulkers such as the Zhentarim or the Shadow Thieves. The Sword Coast is currently under attack by armies of the Cult of the Dragon from without and occulted infiltrators from within, leading to panic, the abandonment of many smaller settlements and extreme measures on the part of some city-states. Elturgard has declared a holy crusade and is putting all lizardine creatures to the sword, with summary execution for anyone accused of aiding the Cult. It is said that even Darkhold, a Zhent stronghold, has fallen to the dragon worshippers.
The Port of Shadows has benefitted tremendously from piracy and slavery in the past, and is now benefitting even more from laundering the Cult of the Dragon’s stolen loot and piles of bric-a-brac. The Mandible and Lowfellows gangs are quite busy converting silver candlesticks and cutlery stolen from across the Sword Coast into valuable jewelry via the greasy merchants of Waterdeep, while The Ring Reforged sells thousands of hapless slaves captured during the war to customers in Amn, Luskan and Calimshan. Recently the dragon cultists were dealt a severe blow to their trafficking operations when their base of operations in Skullport, the Shadow’d Lodge, was assaulted, ransacked and burned to the ground. It is thought the adventuring party which did this – the Ring of Adventurous Men – perished in the flames of that magical conflagration.
Jewel of the North, City of Splendors, primus urbanum among the great city-states of the Sword Coast, Waterdeep has been the centre of cosmopolitan civilization in the North for at least 2 centuries, and remains one of the most advanced metropoli – in culture, magic, technology and war – in the whole of the North. Its only rival is Baldur’s Gate, which survived the devastation of the spellplague better than it’s northern sister but remains deeply corrupt and more brutally militaristic. The Masked Lords have rebuilt, with Open Lord Neverember at the helm of state, and reforged the bonds of friendship with Cormyr, Silverymoon and Neverwinter that mark the Lords’ Alliance but politics and intrigue dominate court affairs at Castle Waterdeep. Recent events have, however, turned for the worse: a Masked Lord was kidnapped (believed assassinated in public) by the Cult of the Dragon and taken prisoner in Skullport; the Spires of the temple of Lathander have been struck by arson; new draconic gangs have sprouted in the city like maggots; and there is unease and suspicion among traders as to whether the city can defend itself after a long period of peaceful slumber. There are rumours of open war in the south, of ancient dragons burning citadels and towns as close as Daggerford, and all the while the corruption and debauchery of the noble houses of Waterdeep proceeds apace. Some old grognards long for the decisive days of Blackstaff and Lord Peirgeiron, but those times are more than a century past.
Perched in the middle of a 4-league magical cloud island, Skyreach Castle is a spinning orb of ice carved into a citadel by Cloud Giants aeons ago and currently inhabited by a clan of cloud giants lead by Blagothkus. The cloud island contains a feathery forest of immense, 200-foot-tall redwoods, sequoias and other, unknown trees as well as giant fruit orchard, vegetable gardens, a crystalline lake and a druidic stone circle. The fabric of the cloud island is perilous to traverse, as some of it is solid spongy cloudstuff, some of it sticky, morass-like cloudstuff and some of it as insubstantial as vapor, making long distance journeys a mere step away from plunging 2000’ below to the Silver Marches or the Spine of the World mountain range. There are other inhabitants of the cloud island than giants, among them Dances Beneath the Moon (a cloud dragon asleep on a giant quartz crystal), a harpy nest (now conquered), some smaller fortified towers to the east inhabited by humanoids and strange dancing lights found in the depths of the enchanted forest.
A small agricultural town in the Golden Fields region of the sword coast, recently raided by the Cult of the Dragon army under Frulam Mondath. Greenest is best known for its Chauntean temple-farms, large halfling population and pleasant Arcadian climate. The town’s small fortified keep is being rebuilt after being damaged by the blue dragon Lennithon and mercenary reavers.