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).
- Ruler: Ayrar Thagr, chairperson of the Ayrorch
- Capital: Sambar
- Settlements: Anchoril, Baelrah, Darluj, Dtakkar, Illul, Lethtar, Sundrah, Sujjar, Tsan
- Population: Unknown but split between humans and rock gnomes, with a small population of sentient wombats and platypuses, plus 1 vengeance-obsessed cat (Silky)
- Area: 35,538 miles² (92,042.997km²)
- Military: A powerful, technologically-advanced navy, a strong militia, illusionists.
- Languages: Common, Gnomish, Lantanese, Alzhedo, Chondathan, Dwarvish, Ignan, Illuskan, Shaaran
- Religion: Gond, Azuth, gnomish pantheon
- Exports: Technology (mostly things that explode, or encourage explosions in others)
- Imports: Copper, gemstones, tin, wood
- Sources: Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood, Karen S. Martin, 1987), The Ring of Winter (James Lowder, 1992), Perilous Gateways: Portals of Lantan (Jeff Quick, 2004 web enhancement)
Lantan is an island nation in the Trackless Sea, located north-west of Chult and south-west of Calimshan, not far west of the Shining Sea. The kingdom consists of three islands: Lantan itself, Orlil to the east and Suj to the south. Lantan is famed as the home of most technological innovation in Faerûn, as it is the home of both human and gnomish worshippers of Gond Wonderbringer. Lantan’s innovations include the printing press, firethrowers, smokepowder, arquebuses, firesticks and armoured worms.
The islands of Lantan are all heavily forested, with a relatively thick jungle cover broken up by mountains and stone pinnacles. Inland, Lantanese settlements are built on stilts to be elevated above the jungle cover, with only the coastal settlements and ports being more traditionally-constructed. There are breaks in the forest cover where farming settlements can be found, as well as extensive fishing fleets that provide the island with the bulk of its food. Lantan also engages in trade with other nations of the Trackless Sea, Sea of Swords and the Shining Sea, although it regulates how much of its advanced technology can be traded away to outsiders.
Lantan itself is the largest island, although Suj has more favourable ports and thus more coastal towns. Orlil, a mountainous island with few good natural ports, is largely uninhabited apart from the bardic College of the Bards of Orlil and the Order of Fabulists. Located just off the coast is a small island home to the sentient species known as “wombats,” who are otherwise unknown on Toril. Some of the wombats have attended the College and even travelled more widely in Faerûn, where they are seen as a curiosity. The wombats claim to share their island with a “weirder” sentient species known as platypuses. Both species are believed to have originated on another world and come to Toril by means unknown.
Lantan used to be somewhat isolated, but since the discovery of Maztica, the island has found itself athwart the fastest shipping lanes to the western continent. As a result, Lantan’s ports have become busier and richer, and Lantan itself has sent colonists to Maztica, securing St. Ippen Island as a base of operations and building the Great Lighthouse to make the shipping routes safer.
As is typical, once they opened themselves more up to international trade, it was not long until the Lantanna decided that ocean travel was both inefficient and slow and set out to find a more efficient alternative. After much work and investment, the Lantanna have created stable portals leading from the vicinity to Lantan to other locations on Toril: the middle of the Raurin Desert near Mulhorand (the first prototype, meant to open somewhere uninhabited); the Lantan Embassy in Waterdeep; the north-eastern border of Samarach; and the vicinity of the Pirate Isles of the Sea of Fallen Stars. Using these portals and others, the Lantanna hope to make trade more efficient and speedier. It is believed they are considering opening a portal to the vicinity of St. Ippen Island off Maztica to allow for the speedy import of resources from the True World.
Lantan’s capital city is Sambar, located on the south coast of Lantan Island on the strait known as the Sambar Run. The other major cities of Lantan Island are Lethtar, Illul and Sundrah. The southern island of Suj is home to the city of Anchoril and the smaller port towns of Darluj, Dtakkar, Tsan, Sujjar and Baelrah.
Anchoril is Lantan’s open port for the use of outsiders, and Lantan’s wondrous technology is restricted in the city. Visitors are vetted carefully and spoken to at length before being allowed access to the rest of the nation.
An oddity in the middle of Lantan Island is the ruined settlement of Myth Iiscar. Since no elven presence on the island has ever been discerned, it appears that the city was an attempt by a non-elven civilisation to create a mythal (as the Netherese once did), which appears to have failed. Exactly when this occurred is unknown.
The history of Lantan is somewhat obscure; the island was likely formed in the Sundering, the great magical cataclysm in 17,600 BDR when the supercontinent of Merrouroboros was split apart into the modern-day landmasses. The continent of Katashaka was torn westwards and southwards, leaving the lands of Chult and Lantan behind.
The island is not mentioned at all in the histories of the ancient elven empires, suggesting it was never colonised. The island may not have been visited by humans at all until the days of the ancient Calimshan empires. It was during this period that Calimshan held many gnomes as slaves, and it may well be that escaped gnomish slaves fled to Lantan and began its colonisation. The gnomes’ mastery of powerful illusion magic may have simply made Lantan too hard to locate and the Calishites were never a particularly strong seafaring people. However, all of this is supposition.
It is known that Lantan remained isolated and aloof from the affairs of the rest of Faerûn, rarely being mentioned in histories until less than a thousand years ago, when in the years after the fall of the Shoon Imperium, limited trade between Lantan and the mainland (and other, relatively nearby islands like Tharsult and Nimbral) began in earnest.
It is known that in the 8th Century DR (Dalereckoning), Captain Imbryn Ultal of Lantan forged a trade route from the island kingdom to the port of Haunvaerune, which was said to lie on the continent of Arandron to the far south-east of Faerûn, across the Trackless Sea. Whether Arandron is an alternate name for Katashaka or one of the very large islands off its east coast, or an as-yet unknown landmass beyond Katashaka, is unclear. This enriched both realms.
Around 1246 DR, Lantan first tested bombards as part of their early experiments to find more efficient weapons.
In 1358 the Time of Troubles struck Faerûn, and the gods were exiled from the heavens to live as mortal avatars. The avatar of Gond Wonderbringer washed up on the shores of Lantan. The locals rescued him and tended him back to health, and gave him a safe refuge on the island far from the chaos and infighting between the gods afflicting the mainland. After the end of the crisis and the restoration of the gods, Gond bestowed great gifts on Lantan in return for their fealty, including the secrets of smokepowder, leading to the invention of the arquebus.
In 1360, the Golden Legion of Amn, led by Captain Cordell, discovered the continent of Maztica across the Trackless Sea, opening the way for trade and (limited) settlement. The most favourable currents and winds for travel from Faerûn to Maztica lay close to Lantan, allowing the island to capitalise on passing traffic. Several years later, the Lantanna settled on the island of St. Ippen off the north-eastern coast of New Amn and built the Great Lighthouse to guide ships through the treacherous rocks infesting the waters between the islands known as the Green Sisters.
Lantan is ruled by a twelve-member council known as the Ayrorch. The head of the council is the Ayrar, who acts as chairperson and spokesperson. Another senior member is the Lantar, who travels to other realms as an ambassador with extraordinary powers of negotiation. The remaining ten members are known as the Santar and represent various interests in the nation, such as the High Artificer of the Church of Gond and various mercantile and military interests. The council is notable for its mixed-race composition, with both humans and gnomes represented.
Lantan enjoys mercantile trade with many of the Trackless Sea, Shining Sea and Sea of Swords powers, and even with nations in the Great Sea. As noted elsewhere, Lantan has been pioneering the use of freestanding gates to conduct trade at great distance with tremendous speed, although the long-term viability of the plan has yet to be confirmed.
Lantan has good relations with most nations, although they have been accused of stealing the secrets of the printing press from Halruaa, leading to strained relations between the two powers.
Although more interested in the practical and peaceful applications of technology, Lantan has not been idle in arming itself with new inventions to ensure its security. Lantanna warships patrol the waters around Lantan and, it is whispered, below it through some means not yet known. Lantanna ships are equipped with firethrowers and bombards, and Lantanna sailors are equipped with arquebuses, a technology not yet widely replicated elsewhere in the Realms. Lantanna mages specialising in illusion magic stand ready to assist, if needed, and a small but devastatingly-equipped militia is ready to repulse any invasion if required.
Lantan is the centre of Gond-worship on Toril. The largest and most significant temple to Gond Wonderbringer, the High Holy Crafthouse of Inspiration, is located on Lantan outside the city of Illul. The head of the temple, the High Artificer (currently Danactar), is nominally the head of the Church of Gond for the entire planet, although in practice his word outside Lantan carries only nominal weight. The High Artificer also sits on the Ayrorch council.
Unusually, Gond is worshipped in Lantan by both humans and gnomes. The gnomes worship him both in his human aspect and a gnomish form known as Nebelun, in which shape Gond took refuge on Lantan during the Time of Troubles.
Although Gond is, by far, the most popular god in Lantan, he is not the only one. Leira, as the goddess of illusions, the most favoured school of gnomish magic, also had a following on the island until her demise at the hands of Cyric a few months after the Time of Troubles. Cyric absorbed her portfolios. The Lantanna showed little enthusiasm for worshipping Cyric, and turned their affections to Mystra and Azuth. As on Nimbral, a few diehards insisted that Leira was still alive and had faked her death as part of some elaborate and needlessly obscure (and thus very Leiran) stratagem, and found their prayers were still answered.
After Gond, Azuth is the most respected and popular deity on the island, although it is a distant second place. The gods of knowledge, particularly Oghma, are also revered in small numbers, and Lantanna farmers also offer prayers to the gods of nature and the harvest. Shrines to many of the Faerûnian pantheon can be found in the Visitors’ Vale surrounding the city of Anchoril on Suj Island.
The rest of the gnomish pantheon also have small followings among the island’s gnomish population.
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