In this series I will be looking at each of the individual nations of Faerûn in turn, in alphabetical order. This series is based around the status of each nation as of 1371-72 Dalereckoning (at the end of D&D 2nd Edition and the start of 3rd Edition). The maps are drawn from The Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas CD-ROM and their respective 1st and 2nd Edition sources. They are not necessarily current for the 5th Edition of the setting (which is set c. 1496 DR).

A map of the nation of Damara. Please click for a larger version.

  • Ruler: King Gareth Dragonsbane
  • Capital: Heliogabalus (pop. 44,111)
  • Settlements: Bloodstone Gate (13,233), Bloodstone Town (7500), Brotha (400), Cutrock, Goliad (900), Daleport (125), Dunfee, Helmsdale (80), Hinterford, Ironspur, Kinbrace (4500), Kinnery, Merkurn, Morovar (4000), Newbelle, Ostrav (200), Portith (1200), Praka (11,000), Ravensburg (3500), Rolene, Samek, Steppenhall (70), Sudrav (600), Tellerth (2300), Thimble, Tokard, Tomrav (450), Trailsend (14,116), Valls (1300), Virdin (1500), Wassen (250), Windless (2500), Withermeet (100), Zarach (600)
  • Population: 1,321,920 (87% human, 6% dwarf, 4% halfling, 2% half-orc, 1% misc.)
  • Population Density: 7.38 people per mile², 2.85 people per km²
  • Area: 179,042 miles² (463,716.51 kilometres²)
  • Military: At least 4,000 troops in the standing army, more in mercenary companies
  • Languages: Damaran, Common, Dwarven
  • Religion: Ilmater, Silvanus, Tempus
  • Exports: Gems, gold, iron, silver
  • Imports: Food, livestock, wood
  • Sources: The Bloodstone Lands (Bob Salvatore, 1989)


Damara is a civilised kingdom located in the north-central part of Faerûn, north of the Easting Reach and east of the Moonsea. The kingdom extends from the retreating feet of the Great Glacier in the north to the Earthspur Mountains, River Lench and Rawlinswood in the south, and from the East Galena Mountains and Bloodstone Pass in the west to the Giantspire Mountains and Icelace Lake in the east. Damara shares borders with the civilised kingdom of Impiltur to the south, the loosely-allied tribes of Narfell to the east and the oft-hostile lands of Vaasa to the north-west.

Damara consists mostly of an immense plain watered by rivers running down from the Great Glacier and the Galena Mountains. These rivers – the Beaumaris, Goliad, Galena Snake and Icelace – meet at Lake Mogador before forming the immense Great Imphras River, which rushes south into the Easting Reach of the Sea of Fallen Stars, via the immense lakes of Bluefang Water and Oldwater, both in Impiltur. The bulk of Damara’s population is clustered in cities around Lake Mogador, and in towns and villages along the riverbanks. In Damara’s remotest regions, the population thins out to almost nothing and the borders claimed on map become somewhat nebulous, particularly in the north-east where sometimes nomadic Nar tribes from neighbouring Narfell cross the Icelace’s frozen fords to roam Damara’s far reaches.

Damara has a reputation as a freezing and frigid land, although this is somewhat misleading: most of Damara’s cities are on the same latitude as the Moonsea and northern Dalelands, and almost the entire nation bar its very northern strip is south of the latitude of Waterdeep. However, Damara is certainly colder than it should be for its southerly latitude, due to the imposing presence of the Great Glacier to the north. The glacier – actually an immense ice formation sitting on top of the frozen Cold Sea, with mountain ranges erupting through the ice pack – was created some 3,000 years ago through magical means and artificially cools all the lands around it. The glacier has been in retreat for some centuries, however, and the southern parts of Damara are fairly temperate.

Damara is a land famed for its recent bloody, militarist history, where the kingdom was locked in the Bloodstone Wars against the neighbouring land of Vaasa for some years. That desperate war came to an end over a decade ago with Vaasa’s armies being utterly destroyed and that nation collapsing, leaving Damara free of the threat of destruction. Since then, Damara under its new, vigorous king has been pursuing a policy of greater engagement with its neighbours, in particular restoring lucrative trade routes southwards to the ports of the Inner Sea via Impiltur, Damara’s closet neighbour and ally.


In the most ancient times, the lands today claimed by Damara were part of the great giantkin empire of Ostoria, which stretched across much of north-eastern Faerun. This was more than 30,000 years ago, before the great wars between the giants and dragons brought both species low and allowed the spread and expansion of the elves.

Ostoria survived the war with the dragons, but much-reduced in size to the area today called the Cold Lands, stretching across the vast, inland Cold Sea and the lands surrounding it. Damara and the neighbouring lands of Vaasa, Narfell and the Moonsea were still part of the empire, but ruins from this time are rare and debateable.

In 2550 BDR (Before Dalereckoning), the god Ulutiu died and his body was placed at rest on a barge which sank to the bottom of the Cold Sea. His magical amulet froze the sea solid. Within a few generations the sea had completely iced over, becoming the core of the Great Glacier. Soon the glacier spread south, overwhelming the surviving realms of Ostoria and destroying them, forcing the survivors to flee. At its height, the Great Glacier covered all of Vaasa, Damara and Narfell under thousands of feet of solid ice, extending south and west into the Galena and Earthspur mountain ranges and south to the Giantspire Mountains and Rawlinswood, and south and east into parts of what is now northern Rashemen.

By 1038 DR, the Great Glacier had undergone a dramatic shrinkage, leaving the lands of Damara, Vaasa and Narfell completely free of ice and open for occupation. Explorers from the surrounding lands, particularly the Dalelands and Moonsea to the south-west, Impiltur to the south and Rashemen and the Great Dale to the south-east, ventured on the plains and found surprisingly hospitable lands.

By 1070 DR the glacier had retreated from the area known as Bloodstone Valley. In this narrow cleft in the East Galena Mountains, explorers discovered bloodstone, a semi-precious stone that became prized for its beauty. The presence of bloodstone and other precious metals encouraged immigration and exploitation of the region, whilst the network of rivers running across the land provided easy transportation to ports on the Inner Sea.

Feldrin Bloodfeathers, a nobleman of Sembian heritage hailing from the southern town of Ravensburg, travelled north and found a prime sport for a new settlement, where the River Beaumaris entered Lake Mogador. He founded the town of Heliogabalus on the lake in 1075 DR. He established trade routes leading to the mines in the mountains, with Heliogabalus providing onward transport for the rare metals. The town of Trailsend on the opposite side of the lake was also founded to facilitate this trade. The result was a rapid boom in prosperity for all concerned, with Feldrin respected for dealing with both the miners and the southern traders fairly and allowing all to prosper. Feldrin became the first King of Damara. His lineage ruled unbroken for almost three centuries.

Although Feldrin was responsible for taming Damara, he was never able to extend his rule into Vaasa. The neighbouring region was more hostile, with a harsher climate and much more forbidding terrain, including horrible bogs and stony plains where raising crops proved difficult. The southern part of the region, Sutherland, was more pliable and it was here the adventuring band known as the Tenblades rose to fame and fortune. Their stronghold of Darmshall became a rare beacon of civilisation in Vaasa and a rallying point for the region’s human population. Despite some negotiations, Darmshall prized its independence and resisted efforts to be absorbed into Damara.

For three centuries, Damara grew into a strong and prosperous realm. It forged good relations with neighbouring countries and regions, and despite its sometimes-harsh climate, it forged a reputation for justice and honesty which proved attractive for settlers, investors and adventurers.

Damara’s good fortune evaporated overnight in the Year of the Bright Blade, 1347 DR. The Thayan archlich Zhengyi, styling himself the “Witch-King,” set about a conquest of Vaasa. He created the fortress known as Castle Perilous in a demiplane and phase-shifted it onto Toril, making the castle appear out of thin air, immediately impressing the local goblinoid populations. Zhengyi set about winning over the locals, including White Worm barbarian tribe, the Grandfather of Assassins (the head of a school of assassins secreted in the foothills of the East Galena Mountains) and numerous giant, goblin and orc tribes. Zhengyi, a devotee of the god Orcus (who was very population on other worlds but had a limited following on Toril), also brought many devotees of his god to his banner.

After a year of preparation, Zhengyi invaded Damara via the Bloodstone Pass. His forces were delayed by the need to reduce both fortified gates to the pass and then regroup, allowing Damara’s armies to counter-attack. However, Zhengyi’s forces were numerically superior and backed up by powerful magic. Despite Damara’s stalwart defence, Zhengyi’s forces gained the upper hand and pushed Damara’s armies back deep into Damaran territory. Zhengyi was patient, enriching his followers with spoils from the Bloodstone mines.

In 1357 DR, Vaasa gained the upper hand at the Battle of the Ford of Goliad, where King Virdin Bloodfeathers was slain in battle. Zhengyi established control over all of northern Damara, leaving the southern half independent but a vassal, taxed heavily under threat of invasion.

This situation was unstable, with civil war threatening to erupt in the “free” baronies of Damara between those who wanted to fight on and those who felt that doing so was futile and dangerous. Just two years later, Gareth Dragonsbane, a young noble of Damara and a paladin in the Order of the Golden Cup, and a group of six companions, was persuaded to help defend Bloodstone Village from an army of bandits led by the Grandfather of Assassins. Gareth was successful, securing the valley and then recapturing the Bloodstone Mines from the duergar who’d been allowed to run riot through their depths. During this adventure, Gareth and his companions allied with a svirfneblin (deep gnome) community led by King Ruggedo and retook the former gnomish city of Deepearth, which had been seized by the duergar and an Orcus cult. Gareth then established an alliance with the dwarven stronghold of Hillsafar Hall to the south-west and the dwarves of Ironspur in the east.

With the mines reopened and trade with Deepearth established, the Barony of Bloodstone declared independence from Zhengyi’s control. The Bloodstone Gates were re-fortified and Gareth, now declared the 6th Baron of Bloodstone, sent out a call to rally all of Damara against the Witch-King. However, some Damaran politicians had benefited from the current arrangement. These factions, led by Duke William of Arcata, conspired to have Gareth killed, but their attempt was defeated. Dragonsbane then defeated the army of Carmathan which likewise entered the fray piecemeal. The Vaasan puppet baronies of Ostel, Morov and Polten sent armies against Dragonsbane, but Gareth defeated them as well.

Gareth’s victories were partly down to his superior stratagems but were also fuelled by the immense wealth he had attracted from the Bloodstone Mines, which allowed him to attract mercenary support from across much of Faerûn. The Vaasan rulers and their Damaran puppets were also not very popular in Damara, and many Damaran soldiers simply surrendered, often going over to the other side for a promise of freedom and glory. The Grandfather of Assassins tried to lure Dragonsbane into a trap but the tables were turned and the Grandfather slain.

Furious, and aware he had allowed the situation to unfold for too long, Zhengyi assembled a new army and marched south through the Galena Mountains, outflanking the too-heavily fortified Bloodstone Pass via other routes through the eastern peaks. His army rallied in Helmsdale and marched on central Damara. Gareth’s army fought him to a standstill in the Second Battle of the Fords of Goliad, but was unable to destroy his army, which was easily reinforced by undead. However, Zhengyi found expending his power to command his undead legions to cross the Beaumaris to be impossible, due to the great distance from his source of power in Castle Perilous.

Zhengyi was content to allow a stalemate, since time was on his side, but Gareth Dragonsbane was not. With his original six allies, Gareth slipped behind Vaasan lines and launched a daring strike on Castle Perilous itself. A legendary running battle erupted in the castle, with the adventurers slaying demons and the white dragon Arctigis before finally confronting Zhengyi in his throne room. They slew the Witch-King, but were then approached by a messenger from the god Bahamut who revealed that Zhengyi’s plans had been all part of a scheme to allow Orcus to incarnate in the Realms. To prevent this, they embarked on an epic quest across the planes which involved defeating Orcus in his domain of Thanatos in the Abyss, and slaying an avatar of Tiamat in the Nine Hell. Orcus was not only defeated, but barred from manifesting an avatar or communicating with his followers in the Realms. This led to Zhengyi’s undead army crumbling into dust.

Gareth Dragonsbane rejoined his army and marched on Heliogabalus. By now Dragonsbane was the toast of Damara and it was proposed that he be named King of Damara by popular acclamation. However, Dimian Ree, the 27th Baron of Morov and de facto ruler of Heliogabalus, opposed the move. He expended considerable political capital to try to seize the throne himself but was ultimately unsuccessful. Gareth was proclaimed King of Damara in 1359 DR and Ree was forced to do homage to him.

Over the next dozen years, Gareth Dragonsbane rebuilt Damara’s army and economy, which boomed massively. To forestall another threat from Vaasa, Dragonsbane sponsored adventurers and mercenaries to raid into Vaasa, pushing back goblins and orcs, slaying dragons and either destroying or allying with local tribesmen. This process remains ongoing, and is so far successful. Trade in particular has boomed since the rulers of Damara and Impiltur agreed to use both magical and mundane moves to remove the rapids along the Great Imphras River, allowing small cargo ships to navigate all the way from Heliogabalus to the Easting Reach.


King Gareth Dragonsbane rules over all of Damara, splitting his time between the capital at Heliogabalus and his preferred stronghold of Bloodstone. Starting as a village before swelling into a town, with every sign of further expansion into a city, Bloodstone is located in the valley of the same name on the border between Damara and the neighbouring region of Vaasa. Dragonsbane has noted that he hopes one day to unite Vaasa and Damara into one kingdom ruled from Bloodstone, if circumstances allow.

Damara is divided into eight provinces: Arcata, Bloodstone, Brandiar, Carmathan, Morov, Ostel, Polten and Soravia, each ruled by a senior noble house. Each province has a degree of autonomy and latitude, although they are expected to pay their taxes to Heliogabalus and defend the nation. King Gareth recalls that there were those who preferred to collaborate with the Vaasan invaders rather than helping oppose them. He remains highly suspicious of Dimian Ree, whose political opposition skirts dangerously close to open treason, but not quite over the line.

Damara enjoys a strong relationship with Impiltur to the south, although Damara remains disappointed that Impiltur did not contribute more enthusiastically to its war against Vaasa. The two nations cooperate in areas of mutual interest. Damara also enjoys cordial relations and limited trade with the Nar tribes to the east. Damara’s strongest asset is its economic resources, which has led to it exploring the possibility of opening new trade routes with the Moonsea (via Vaasa and Thar, and possibly over the Glacier of the White Worm and down the White River Valley) and Rashemen via Narfell, although the distances are significant.

The dwarf-holds of Hillsafar Hall and Ironspur in the Galena Mountains, and the svirfneblin settlement of Deepearth below the same mountains (with connections to the Bloodstone Mines), are all autonomous, but enjoy strong trade links and a political-military alliance with King Gareth.

Damara is defended by a strong standing army numbering at least 4,000, which can be significant expanded through levies. Thanks to the ten-year war between Vaasa and Damara, most adult Damarans have recent combat experience and are ready to fight again, should it be needed. Damara lacks significant number of mages, but it enjoys significant support from priests.


Damara does not have a patron god as such, but Ilmater is probably the most widely-worshipped deity in the realm. The Monastery of the Yellow Rose (formerly the Citadel of the White Worm) is one of the most famous centres of Ilmater worship in fall of Faerûn, and is located in the far south-west of the kingdom. Silvanus and Tempus also have strong followings in Damara and, in a regional quirk, the draconic god Bahamut, hitherto only worshipped in Unther and surrounding lands, has a small but growing cult in Damara following Bahamut’s assistance during the Bloodstone Wars. Waukeen also has a small but growing following as trade becomes more important to Damara’s future.

Provinces of Damara

Arcata (duchy)

  • Capital: Valls
  • Ruling House: Horgath
  • Present Ruler: William, 8th Duke of Arcata
  • Family Crest: Diving Dagger & Mountains Three

Bloodstone (barony)

  • Capital: Bloodstone Town
  • Ruling House: Tranth
  • Present Ruler: Gareth Dragonsbane, 6th Baron of Bloodstone
  • Family Crest: Crossed Pick & Sword

Brandiar (duchy)

  • Capital: Goliad
  • Ruling House: Brandebury
  • Present Ruler: Steward Dormythyrr
  • Family Crest: Spear-tipped Windmill

Carmathan (duchy)

  • Capital: Ravensburg
  • Ruling House: Devlin
  • Present Ruler: Helmont the 15th, 22nd Duke of Carmathan
  • Family Crest: Bloodied Scythe

Morov (barony)

  • Capital: Heliogabalus
  • Ruling House: Banacath
  • Present Ruler: Dimian Ree, 27th Baron of Marov, Mayor of Heliogabalus, Presider of the Market, Overlord of the King’s Road, Successor-in-Line to the King of Damara
  • Family Crest: Stones and Scales

Ostel (barony)

  • Capital: Praka
  • Ruling House: Praka
  • Present Ruler: Baroness Sylvia, 23rd Noble of Ostel
  • Family Crest: Drawn Blade

Polten (barony)

  • Capital: Trailsend
  • Ruling House: Bel Maris
  • Present Ruler: Donlevy the Young, 20th Baron of Polten
  • Family Crest: The Open Palm

Soravia (duchy)

  • Capital: Kinbrace
  • Ruling House: None
  • Present Ruler: None
  • Family Crest: Ice Mountains

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