|Silver Marches (Luruar)|
|Population:||1,090,800 (humans 40%, dwarves 20%, elves 20%, half-elves 10%, halflings 5%, gnomes 2%, half-orcs 2%)|
|Government:||Confederation of lords headed by Alustriel of Silverymoon|
|Religions:||Corellon, Helm, Lathander, Mielikki, Moradin, Mystra, Oghma, Selûne, Sune, Tymora|
|Imports:||Armor, books, manufactured goods, pottery, spices, wine|
|Exports:||Dwarven and elven craftwork, furs, heroes, precious metals|
|Alignment:||Lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good|
|Source:||Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd Edition|
The Silver Marches Confederation, usually just called the Silver Marches is a loose alignment of frontier states in the North, also known as the Moonlands of Luruar, or just Luruar.
Silverymoon is the Gem of the North, a city built as a center of learning and a symbol of the greatness that once shone out of the elven capital of Myth Drannor. Five years ago, the ruler of Silverymoon, High Lady Alustriel, reached out to the rulers of other human, elven, and dwarven strongholds north of the High Forest, west of the Evermoors, and south of the great mountains. After much debate, the diverse dwarfholds, human and half-elven settlements, and human cities decided to ally in a mutal defense pact headed by Alustriel, who stepped down as ruler of Silverymoon in order to oversee the new confederacy of the Silver Marches.
The present member settlements of the Silver Marches include Citadel Adbar (Large City, pop. 19,961), Citadel Felbarr (Small City, pop. 6,987), Deadsnows (Village, pop. 830), Everlund (Large City, pop. 21,388), Jalanthar (Hamlet, pop. 314), Mithral Hall (Large Town. pop. 4,991), Quaervarr (Small Town, pop. 1,111), Silverymoon (Metropolis, pop. 37,073), and Sundabar (Large City, pop. 14,259).
Table of Contents
Life and Society
The folk of the Silver Marches are confident, hopeful, and content. All around stands a wide and beautiful land, a promise of growth and prosperity for generations to come. Acting with care and respect, the humans hope to reap the riches of the forests and mountains without destroying what they touch, learning from elves and dwarves how to live with the land instead of bending the land to human whim. All people are free, all people may own land, and no one is guaranteed rights and privileges that are denied to others under the law. The Silver Marches represent the unfolding of a dream, a chance to forge a better Faerûn, and everyone from the poorest woodcutter to the riches city merchant senses the beginning of something extraordinary.
That said, the new confederation is not perfect. Just because humans, elves, and dwarves have set aside their differences in a few small cities in the North doesn’t mean that the barbarians, orcs, gnolls, giants, and dragons of this forbidding landscape feel constrained to join them. Deadly enemies surround Alustriel’s league and plot its downfall. The orc hordes of the high mountains grow strong again and arm for war. The drow of Menzoberranzan threaten the fledgling realm from the depths of the earth. And, as in most other places of Faerûn, the wreckage of ancient realms and the remnants of magical disasters wait under the forests and snows of the realm. Plagues and evils untold await those foolish enough to disturb them.
Major Geographical Features
The Silver Marches generally includes the lands west of Anauroch, east of the River Surbrin, and north of the River Rauvin. Vast stretches of the forests and mountains within these borders are unsettled wilds.
A pine, birch, and spruce forest unmarked by civilized settlers or foresters, the Cold Wood is home to some Uthgardt tribes, who never cut down living trees. Snow tigers, orcs, and ettins roam the wood.
Main Article: Moonwood
The large forest north of Silverymoon is blessedly free of orcs and other goblinoids. Unfortunately, this state of affairs has little to do with the efforts of Silverymoon’s rangers and much to do with the fearsome reputation of the lycanthropes who inhabit the forest’s northern quarter. Many of these evil lycanthropes are members of the People of the Black Blood, a sect of Malar-worshiping werebeasts who resent the civilizing influence of Silverymoon.
Silverymoon may be civilized, but its people will never grow soft as long as they have to contend with the yearly tides of monsters that tire of the hard life in the mountain snows and look to the lowlands for plunder. The pass between Silverymoon and Sundabar is closed about six months of the year by heavy snows
Goblin kingdoms and orc warrens infest these mountains. The River Rauvin passes through the peaks in a steep-sided, mist-filled gorge of roaring white water. A perilous trail climbs along the shoulder of the gorge through Dead Orc Pass to the north side of the Rauvins, but most travelers choose to pass around the mountains to the east, since the pass is the home of a particularly strong and aggressive orc tribe.
Although it’s not properly a part of the Cold Wood, this region is so wild and desolate that it is every bit as inaccessible. Between the southern caves of the Cold Wood and the northern slopes of the Rauvin Mountains lies an empty land of broken hills, swift cold streams, and mossy gorges. Old dwarf-paths that once led from Citadel Felbarr to Citadel Adbar wind among the boulders and thickets, but the stout folk have long forgotten these ways—caravans from one hold to the other take the roundabout route to the south of the Rauvin Mountains.
This is troll country, and bands of the foul creatures often lair in deep ravines and spray-filled gorges. The region is also home to a particularly large, clever, and vicious behir called Grimlight, who has a taste for dwarf-flesh as well as dwarf-gold.
The heart of the Silver Marches is the upper and lower valley of the River Rauvin. Winding for hundreds of miles in the shadow of the Nether Mountains and the Evermoors, the Rauvin marks a narrow ribbon of civilization and security in an otherwise inhospitable land. Along the Rauvin lie the farmsteads and settlements that feed Silverymoon and Everlund, and its swift cold waters carry trade from Sundabar all the way to Waterdeep.
The ancestral home of the Urhgardt Black Lion tribe, this is a huge pit containing their ancestor mound. The rough village of the Black Lions lies nearby. The Black Lions have abandoned their traditional ways and settled to farm, herd, and hunt the nearby forests.
Main Article: Citadel Adbar
The dwarves who populate this militarily powerful fortress live underground in miles of twisting, dwarf-sized corridors. Adbar’s aboveground citadel may he the mightiest fortress north of Amn, having withstood nearly a hundred major orc attacks over the centuries. Reaching Adbar is difficult: Merchant caravans generally travel through the Underdark from Mithral Hall or Mirabar. And caravans do come, to supply the dwarves with fruits and surface-grown vegetables and return with metals or fine dwarven craftworks.
Humans and elves find Citadel Adbar a difficult place to relax in: It’s too cramped and too cold, and the stench of the metalworks (placed aboveground instead of below, where the dwarves live) reminds the elves, at least, of nothing less than an orc siegeworks.
A former dwarven citadel given over to humans when the dwarves retreated into deeper holds, Felbarr fell to orcs three hundred years ago. Renamed the Citadel of Many Arrows by its new masters, it stood as an example of how orcs could conquer the weaker folk of the south.
Centuries later, in 1367 DR, a huge orc horde moving south against the settled cities paused in front of the orc citadel, held by a chief calling himself King Obould. Instead of pressing on to the human lands, the horde besieged their fellows inside. After a four-month siege, the invaders broke down the gates and entered the main keep, but a strong dwarven force fell on both tribes and seized the citadel out from under thc orcs’ tusks.
King Emerus Warcrown took control of the citadel, hanging on through the first bitter winter until six hundred shield dwarf reinforcements could march up from the south to join his forces. Warcrown’s people are now well-established and determined not to lose their citadel again.
Meanwhile, north in the Spine of the World, Obould, who escaped the fall of his citadel, is gathering forces for another assault upon the lands he once mastered. He is aware of the Silver Marches defense pact and is attempting to determine how best to strike through the alliance’s weak spots.
Main Article: Deadsnows
For the better part of its existence, the village of Deadsnows has been a small, unremarkable community like many others that dot the North. Its inhabitants braved the rigors of frontier life, including orc hordes, wild beasts, and harsh winters. These dangers have made the folk of Deadsnows both vigilant and determined. They have managed to prevail over the threats to their locale thus far, and to gain some measure of relative stability for their community. That is, until now.
This state of affairs shifted abruptly when, just a few months ago, an unsuspecting hunter discovered gold in the waters of a nearby stream. The settlement’s remote location proved no hindrance to the spread of news and rumor related to the gold strike, which ignited the interest of prospectors and adventurers. Deadsnows is now the destination of choice for explorers seeking their fortunes in the dangerous highlands above the town. Hard on their heels have come those not interested in hunting for gold, but intent on exploiting the situation. Some hope to earn coin by providing goods and services to the prospectors and others with less savory activities such as confidence scams and outright thievery.
A walled city of humans, elves, half-elves, and halflings, Everlund is a caravan trading city and a solid ally of Silverymoon. Its Council of Six Elders is part of the Lords’ Alliance.
Everlund faces threats from all sides. The trolls who used to occupy the Evermoors could be counted on to be stupid and predictable. Not so the giants who have replaced them. To the city’s south, the huge trees of the High Forest are growing closer and closer to Everlund’s walls. The great treant Turlang is expanding the High Forest to the north, ostensibly in order to bury the remains of Hellgate Keep off to the east. No one thinks that taking an axe to the trees is a good idea, but urban human pursuits are substantially less relaxed in the shadow of the great trees.
Jalanthar is a collection of two hundred or so human trappers, hunters, and rangers who inhabit both the ruins of their former village and a network of caves in the hills. At first glance, visitors assume that Jalanthar is a dying community, crushed by its wars with the orcs. Nothing could be further from the truth. By both necessity and aptitude, the locals have become expert orc fighters, trackers, and guides. Instead of sticking to their original clan ties, all the humans of the region cooperate in defense, hunting, and magic. Jalanthar rangers are proud to be in demand throughout the rest of the Silver Marches.
Mithral Hall was once the greatest of the northern shield dwarf holds. Around 180 years ago, it fell to a shadow dragon named Shimmergloom, let loose from the Shadow Plane into Faerûn when members of Clan Battlehammer dug too deeply in search of mithral. Shimmergloom slew most of the dwarves and took possession of the hall along with his entourage of shadow monsters and duergar. Things were not set right until 1356 DR, when Bruenor Battlehammer returned from Icewind Dale to slay Shimmergloom.
Bruenor drove out the duergar and retook the hall, proclaiming himself the Eighth King of Mithral Hall. Shield dwarves from all over the north, particularly children of the Thunder Blessing generation, have marched to Bruenor’s side to mine mithral and finish cleaning out the Underdark beneath the hold. Mithral Hall’s resurgence has strengthened the Silver Marches by providing Silverymoon with an energetic sister city and staunch ally in war.
Main Article: Quaervarr
A junior partner in the Silver Marches, Quaervarr is a woodland town of humans and half-elves. Wits in Silverymoon joke that Quaervarr is worth having in the alliance simply to preserve its fine inn, The Whistling Stag.
Main Article: Silverymoon
The city of Silverymoon is a beautiful place of ancient trees and soaring towers, with curving lines in its stonework and garden plantings adorning every nook and balcony. Aerial steeds carry riders on high, magic and learning is revered, music and laughter are heard often in the streets, and the city contains fascinating shops brim-full of maps, books, minor magic items, and beautiful things.
Even more so than Waterdeep, Silverymoon is built on the spirit of cooperation between the races. Humans, elves, and dwarves all maintain dwellings in the same areas of the city instead of dividing into separate wards. A human home might be built around the base of a tree, with elves using the tree above as part of the walkway to their central tree home, and dwarves caverns beneath the surface.
Silverymoon is considered the foremost center of learning and culture in the North. It is noted for its musicians, its cobblers, its sculptors, and its stonemasons—as well as the mages, who are gathered here in greater numbers than in any other city of the Sword Coast lands except Waterdeep. Their might alone keeps the Arcane Brotherhood of Luskan and other evils of the North at bay—were these mages to vanish tomorrow, the civilized North might well be swept away in blood and ruin.
Silverymoon boasts a conservatory of music, a great library, parks, castle-like residences of many noble folk, and temples and shrines to such deities as Helm, Lathander, Mielikki, Milil, Mystra, Oghma, Selûne, Silvanus, Sune, Tymora, and the dwarven and elven deities. Perhaps the most famous structure is the University of Silverymoon, a school of magic composed of several formerly separate colleges. Member schools include The Lady’s College (serving both sorcerers and bards), Miresk’s School of Thaumaturgy, and Foclucan, a legendary bard’s college that has reopened (having taken a century off after being overrun by orcs).
The city’s army, the Knights in Silver, numbers over five hundred and patrols the city constantly. Harper scouts and mages assist them, and when they must turn back orc hordes, awesome mage-might gathers to fight with them. Silverymoon is also protected by a number of wards that detect the presence of evil beings and the use of magic in certain areas. Even long-time Silvaraen know little about the properties of the permanent magical field that augments some magic, turns other spells wild, and negates still others, protecting the city east of its great open market. Certain areas in the palace (a place heavily guarded at all times by mages of the elite Spellguard) have an Inner Ward that requires possession of a token to allow entry at all.
The city's peace and goodwill is due to the influence of powerful local mages and the Harpers. Silverymoon’s folk feel safe—and that’s due to the vigilance of the mages and agents trained and established by Alustriel.
In 1369 DR, the Lady Alustriel stepped down as High Mage, yielding up the Silver Throne to Taern “Thunderspell” Hornblade. Alustriel is the High Lady, or Speaker, of the Silver Marches and leads the league councils.
The area around Sundabar is occupied only by obsessed miners, howling orcs, and citizens of Sundabar who should know better. The double-walled city was built for war. Sundabar’s ruler, Helm Dwarf-friend started his career as a member of the Bloodaxe Mercenary Company, rising to command both the mercenaries and his chosen city. He has turned our to be a wise ruler, taxing his people fairly and using the proceeds to ensure his City’s defense against orc invasions, which flood in every two or three years and break on Sundabar’s sturdy walls. The Everfire, a zealously guarded volcanic rift beneath Sundabar, is the source of some of the finest magic weapons of Faerûn.
Like the rest of Faerûn, the Silver Marches is built over the ruins of lands that existed long before. In this instance, the old kingdoms are the elven realm of Eaerlann formerly based in the High Forest, the dwarf realm of Delzoun underneath Ascore, and the human empire of Netheril. None of these three occupied all the land now accounted part of the Silver Marches, but their settlements and borders overlapped in this region in various eras.
The city of Silverymoon is the heart of the Silver Marches and the bright hope of the North. Founded on a place sacred to the nature deities Mielikki and Lurue the Unicorn, Silverymoon developed around the Moonsilver Inn. The holy groves at Silverymoon Ford lay near where the River Rauvin was shallow, and could be forded in high summer and easily bridged to allow crossings year-round.
Silver Village grew slowly into Silverymoon Town, and Silverymoon became a city in 673 DR, when its first set of walls was completed. The first of twelve High Mages to rule the city thus far was elected. Ecamane Truesilver and his nine apprentices established a school and a library and set about educating the local warriors, trappers, loggers, and fisherfolk. From that day forth, successive High Mages have pursued the goal of making Silverymoon “the Myth Drannor of the North,” a beacon of culture, learning, sophistication, and racial harmony.
Alustriel became the first High Mage of Silverymoon unanimously chosen by the people, and ruled long and well until 1369 DR. She stepped down, appointed Taern Hornblade as High Mage, and set about creating a new realm in the Sword Coast North with Silverymoon at its heart. Today, Silverymoon is a rich, sophisticated, and exciting place to live, truly the Gem of the North.
Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, p. 171-175. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.