Ruins of Adventure
Phlan is a city in the Moonsea region of the continent of Faerun. It has had a long history of rises and falls.
Layout and Landmarks
Most of Phlan sits on a peninsula formed by the Barren River and the Bay of Phlan. Most of the older parts of the city are on this natural “finger”, though during the Rebirth period wealthy citizens often chose to build their new manors across the river on its right bank. Vahlingen Graveyard, repository for the city’s dead, lies across the river on the left bank. The areas watered by the Barren were once excellent natural farmland, and many ruined steads can be found up and down its length outside the city proper.
Human settlement is largely confined to the tip of the peninsula, though the Council has been attempting to encourage the clearing and settlement of areas further inland.
Phlan has several major landmarks:
- New Phlan: Once the waterfront area of the Old City, New Phlan’s defensible location made it an ideal starting point for retaking the town.
- Sokal Keep: The keystone of Phlan’s harbor defenses. It was the last part of the city to fall when the Dragon armies invaded, and was abandoned for many years. It has recently been cleared and reoccupied.
- Kuto’s Well: Fed by a natural underground spring from Lake Kuto to the north of the City, Kuto’s well is one of the few reliable sources of fresh water in Phlan.
- Podol Plaza: Formerly the heart of Old Phlan’s financial district, Podol Plaza now serves as a residence and neutral auction place for some of the most powerful monsters in the city.
- The Old Temple: Once a magnificent temple to Tyr, this sadly run-down structure now serves as a temple to Bane.
- Mendor’s Library: Formerly one of the most prestigious depositories of knowledge in the Moonsea, the Library lies abandoned in the monster-controlled Old City.
- Vahlingen Graveyard: The graveyard has been recieving Phlan’s dead since the founding of the city. Recently, however, undead have been emerging from the old cemetary to cross the Barren river and raid the human settlements.
- Valjevo Keep: Cut off from the rest of Phlan by a dike through which the poisonous water of the Barren River flows, this cornerstone of Old Phlan’s land fortifications has been unexplored since DR 1306.
Main Article: History of Phlan
Phlan was founded in DR 367 as a trade town where the local humans, the Elves of Myth Drannor, and the Dwarven communities in the Dragonspine Mountains could meet and exchange goods. The city’s strategic location on the Bay of Phlan at the mouth of the Stojanow River (now known as the Barren), and at the pass through the Dragonspines to Thar and The Ride allowed it to prosper, and Phlan soon grew under the protection of Northkeep to become the Moonsea’s major trading port.
The humanoid armies that sank Northkeep in DR 400 pillaged Phlan thoroughly as well, razing the city almost to the ground and scattering its people. The remains of the city remained occupied only by monsters until DR 712, when Milsor Valjevo and his companions arrived to clear out the ruins and re-establish Phlan as a center for trade in the Moonsea. Valjevo was successful, and founded a long dynasty of Princes who ruled the again-prosperous city of Phlan.
All seemd to go well until DR 907, when the Red Rust spread throughout the Moonsea’s croplands, causing widespread famine. Though Phlan was able to feed its population via importing from lands further south, the days of prosperity were over, and an attempt to recoup the city’s fortunes by cutting a road through the Quivering Forest lead to the death of Randir, last of the line of Valjevo Princes, throwing the city into chaos and civil war for three years as various factions vied for power.
Order was re-established under the Phlan Council, but it was clear that the city would never regain its pre-eminence and it was quickly eclipsed by powers such as Zhentil Keep and Mulmaster. The Dragon Run of DR 1306 found Phlan weak, poor, and isolated from its neighbors and the city was destroyed and occupied by monsters for the second time in its history.
Phlan was ruled entirely by the monsters until DR 1361, when Ulrich Eberhard, a descendant of one of the original Councilors, led an expedition to reclaim the city. Though unable to retake the entire city, Eberhard’s force did manage to hold the waterfront area, opening it to settlement. Since then, Phlan’s star has slowly begun to rise, and the city has become a magnet for traders and treasure-hunters hoping to cash in.
- Pool of Radiance (SSI, 1988)
- Ruins of Adventure (TSR, 1988)
- Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2nd edition) (TSR, 1993)
- Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3rd edition) (Wizards of the Coast, 2001)
- The Grand History of the Realms (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)