A New Map of Faerûn

Here it is, after an unprecedented amount of work (easily far more than any of my previous fantasy maps to date) this is my new, fully-labelled map of Faerûn, the principle continent of the Forgotten Realms fantasy world.

FAERUN 2020

A detailed map of the Forgotten Realms, circa 1371 Dalereckoning. Please click for a (much, much) larger version, but please don’t blame me if your device crashes or, indeed, explodes in the attempt.

This map reflects the status of Faerûn in approximately the year 1371 Dalereckoning, at the end of the 2nd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons (1989-2000) and the setting and just before the launch of 3rd Edition. This period is thirteen years after the Time of Troubles, at a moment in time when Luruar, the Kingdom of the Silver Marches, has just been founded in the North and the long-running Tethyrian Civil War has ended with the restoration of the kingdom, and just before the long-feared return of the Netherese Shades to Anauroch and the outbreak of war between the elves of Evereska and the phaerimm of the Underdark.

I chose this time period because the subsequent period of history, covered in the 3rd Edition of Forgotten Realms products (2001-07), utilised significantly altered maps of Faerûn which shrank the continent for “gameplay reasons” but resulted in an extremely cramped landmass. Where possible I have brought 3rd Edition locations and lore into these maps where it chronologically made sense to do so, but in some cases the changes (such as the swapping of two rivers in the Great Dale) made it impossible to reconcile them. The 4th Edition of the setting (2008-13) moved the timeline much further into the future and destroyed much of the prior setting in a cataclysmic event known as the Spellplague, which to be frank I was not a fan of. 5th Edition (2014-present) has reversed many of these changes but, so far, no new map fully depicting the continent has been published revealing the state of Faerûn in 5th Edition. What is clear from the partial maps published so far that 5th Edition has reversed not just the changes of 4th, but also 3rd Edition, meaning that the maps of Faerûn dating from 1st and 2nd Edition are once again useful.

This map attempts to be exhaustive, and those regions outside the Heartlands of the Realms have had as much detail added as pretty much exists in canonical sources. With the Heartlands area, however, it was simply impossible to add every single named hamlet, dungeon, mountain peak and road at this scale and have the result be anything legible. Some other areas of the continent had the same problem (most notably the North). I may revisit these areas in a future, much larger-scaled map.

(Note: the Heartlands is the area extending from Waterdeep in the north-west to the Cloud Peaks in the south, and from the islands of Orlumbor and Mintarn in the west to the Earthfast Mountains and the Pirate Isles in the east, incorporating Cormyr, Sembia, the Dalelands, the Moonsea Region, the Western Heartlands and the High Moor).

This map is a monster, weighing in at 10,000 pixels wide and about 20MB in size. Some people may find it doesn’t load correctly on some mobile devices. Those using computers may find it easier to save the entire map and load off a hard drive for fast scrolling and detail.

Creating the map required the use of many dozens of reference sources spanning all 33 years of the Realms in print as D&D campaign setting. The most prominent resource was The Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas (1999) by ProFantasy and Wizards of the Coast, the most extensive mapping project ever undertaken for the Forgotten Realms (and probably any fantasy world, ever), utilising over 800 maps to cover the entire planet of Toril in exacting detail. Alas, this product is long out of print and I was very lucky to still have a copy that worked after 21 years in service.

Any errors in locations are altogether my own.

 

Further Maps

You can find the blank version of the map here, a map of the entire planet of Toril here and a map of the nations of Faerûn here.

Toril Final

A map of the entire planet of Toril. Please click for a larger version. Note that some of the smaller names have not been 100% verified by Ed Greenwood (Tabaxiland, Aurune, Myrmidune and Braaklosia are still in some debate).

Errata

Whilst completing the map, a few known errors crept in that I was aware of, but correcting them would be a huge effort. The big one is that I used a large-scale map of Faerûn as as the base of the map, but when checking in close-in maps of the same area, some differences crept in. These were not major, but in a few cases were noticeable (a small peninsula present on the big maps but not the small ones, an area listed as forest on one scale but bog on another).

The Uthangols are depicted as low-lying hills on the 1E and early 2E maps, but as a mountain range on late 2E and into 3E maps. I left them as hills, pending further investigation.

Some locations were named from Ed Greenwood’s extensive discussion with fans on Candlekeep and other forums. They have never been named on the “official” maps of the setting, but given Greenwood’s contract with Wizards of the Coast, they form part of the official Realms canon.

FR Collection

Some of my home Forgotten Realms collection used in the researching of this article.

Reference sources

  • Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (1988) by Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew & Deborah Christian
  • The Bloodstone Lands (1989) by R.A. Salvatore
  • Old Empires (1990) by Scott Bennie
  • The Forgotten Realms Atlas (1990) by Karen Wynn Fonstad
  • The Horde (1990) by David Cook
  • Anauroch (1991) by Ed Greenwood
  • Pirates of the Fallen Stars (1992) by Curtis Scott
  • The Great Glacier (1992) by Rick Swan
  • The Shining South (1993) by Tom Prusa
  • Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, 2nd Edition (1993) by Ed Greenwood & Jeff Grubb
  • The Dalelands (1993) by L. Richard Baker III
  • Elves of Evermeet (1994) by Anthony Pryor
  • The Moonsea (1995) by John Terra
  • Spellbound (1995) by Anthony Pryor
  • Giantcraft (1995) by Ray Winninger
  • The Vilhon Reach (1996) by Jim Butler
  • Blood and Magic (1996) by Interplay
  • The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (1996) by slade, Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grub, Julia Martin, Steven Schend, Jennell Jaquays & Steve Perrin
  • Lands of Intrigue (1997) by Steven E. Schend
  • Empires of the Shining Sea (1998) by Steven E. Schend & Dale Donovan
  • Baldur’s Gate (1998) by BioWare & Interplay
  • Sea of Fallen Stars (1999) by Steven E. Schend
  • Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas (1999) by ProFantasy Software Ltd.
  • Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000) by BioWare and Interplay
  • Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, 3rd Edition (2001) by Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams & Rob Heinsoo
  • Silver Marches (2002) by Ed Greenwood & Jason Carl
  • Unapproachable East (2003) by Richard Baker, Matt Forbeck & Sean K. Reynolds
  • Underdark (2003) by Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel & Jeff Quick
  • Serpent Kingdoms (2004) by Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd & Darrin Drader
  • Shining South (2004) by Thomas M. Reid
  • The Grand History of the Realms (2007) by Brian R. James & Ed Greenwood

A large number of fan maps were useful in the creation of this map, including extensive mapping work on the 3E version of the Realms by “Markus Tay” and “Handsome Rob” via the Candlekeep forum.

My friend Michael Klarfield, who is working on his own, considerably more impressive, map of the Realms (and beyond) for 5th Edition, provided some useful inspiration and feedback during development.

 

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11 thoughts on “A New Map of Faerûn”

  1. Damn, Adam this is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patrick Halverson said:

    Amazing work. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  3. amazing

    Like

  4. Wow. I’m just starting an open campaign and was hoping there was something like this. This is an amazing amount of work that you’ve done and the results are spectacular. Thank you!

    Like

  5. This is outstanding.
    Just came back with my old group after 23 years and this is what I return to . This is an insane project. Bravo !!

    Like

  6. Duane Nutley said:

    Hi Adam, I think I first stumbled upon this map when it was posted to the Sages of the Forgotten Realms facebook group. Reason for reaching out, is do you mind if I use a portion of your map for capturing the lost dwarven kingdoms borders as per FR11 Dwarves Deep? Using Snagit to capture the Sword Coast/Silver Marches down to the bottom of the Greypeak Mountains and then free-hand drawing the known borders as per Dwarves Deep.
    Thank you, Duane

    Like

  7. Victor Stout said:

    Can’t imagine how much work this must have been! It’s insanely impressive and much appreciated. This will help a lot of future games 😀

    Like

  8. Rory Griffin said:

    This map is amazing! However, is it possible to redo the blank map? It is missing certain elements from the world (like the Great Sand Sea is missing the Plain of Standing Stones and a few hills lands around certain areas in the desert.

    I was thinking of using this to create an interactive travel map for campaigns I’m doing, and the blank one is great for the players to see.

    Like

  9. You really make an amazing work!

    Like

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