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), as borders have changed and some towns and cities have fallen, whilst newer ones have risen.

A map of Mintarn and Orlumbor. Please click for a larger version.


  • Ruler: Dictator Tarnheel Embuirhan
  • Capital: Mintarn
  • Population: Unknown but mostly human with a small number of dwarves and merfolk
  • Area: 617 miles² (1598.02 km²)
  • Languages: Common, Illuskan
  • Religion: Umberlee
  • Exports: Ships, mercenaries, food
  • Imports: Moonshae wood, Mabadann oysters
  • Sources: Treasures of the Savage Frontier (video game, 1992), Passage to Dawn (R.A. Salvatore, 1996)


  • Ruler: Tulgar Wrightsson
  • Capital: Orlumbor (pop. 1600)
  • Settlements: Farr Windward
  • Population: Unknown but mostly human
  • Area: approx. 310 miles² (802.89 km²)
  • Languages: Common, Illuskan
  • Religion: Talos
  • Exports: Ships
  • Imports: Wood
  • Sources: Treasures of the Savage Frontier (video game, 1992)


Mintarn and Orlumbor are two small island kingdoms located in the Sea of Swords, between the Moonshae Islands to the west and the Sword Coast to the east.

Mintarn is the larger of the two nations and is also part of a wider archipelago also consisting of Ammargal, Rorn Rock, Skadaurak and Windstorm Isle, among several others. It has the larger capital and port, and greater facilities.

However, Orlumbor lies much closer to the coast itself. Due to the Sword Coast’s towering cliffs, there is no good, large portage on the coast at all between Waterdeep in the north and Baldur’s Gate over 500 miles to the south, a gap which Orlumbor eagerly fulfils. Being within sight of the coast also allows it to pick up trade from passing smaller ships. As it is closer to the mainland, it is also easier for Orlumbor to import wood, meaning it has more impressive shipbuilding facilities than Mintarn, who have to import their wood from the Moonshae Islands. However, the closest woodland area to Orlumbor is the forbidding Trollbark Forest, with the ill-omened Warlock’s Crypt to the south, dissuading all but the hardiest loggers.

Both nations are independent kingdoms, although Orlumbor is a member of the Lords’ Alliance, meaning that it has the friendship of powers like Baldur’s Gate and Waterdeep should it be threatened. Mintarn is more independently minded and sometimes a base for pirates, but caught between several members of the Alliance and the larger kingdom of Moonshae to the west, they generally tread lightly in local waters.

Mintarn Island is notable for the single mountain rising from its shores, where a small community of Ironstar dwarves have made their home and stronghold in secret caves under the mountain. The Cove of the Queen, a temple to Umberlee, can also be found on the coast. The inhabitants live in wary respect of the active volcano lying on Skaudarak Island just to the north, which occasionally threatens to erupt, and the red dragon Hoondarrh who dwells there, who often does erupt in fury.

Orlumbor has less geographic features of interest, though several smaller settlements dot the island, the best-known of which is Farr Windward, a former “insane asylum” turned into a free settlement. Stormhaven House, a temple to Talos, can also be found on the island.


The islands of Orlumbor and Mintarn may have been formed at the same time as Evermeet and the Moonshaes, during the Sundering of 17,600 BDR, when the Sword Coast was formed (and its unnaturally sharp, straight coastline in this area may be the most obvious sign of the cataclysm). Although the elven empires of Miyeritar and Aryvandaar controlled the mainland nearby, and later the kingdom of Synnoria arose on the Moonshaes, there is no evidence of the elves ever settling the islands.

Exactly when the islands were settled is conjecture, although it appears likely to have been somewhere in the middle of the first millennium of Dalereckoning, around the time that human settlement of the Sword Coast, the Moonshaes and other islands like Ruathym started to expand.

Mintarn enters history in 884 DR, when the great red dragon Skadaurak, the Red Terror, awoke from a long slumber and began terrorising the region. He encountered the younger red dragon Hoondarrh in the skies over Mintarn and challenged him to battle. Hoondarrh’s greater cunning won out over the elder wyrm’s experience and Hoondarrh triumphed, taking Skadaurak’s lair as his own. Hoondarrh expanded Skadaurak’s lair and initially terrorised the area in his stead, becoming known as the Red Rage, before boring of the effort. In 896 he offered Mintarn his protection in return for their tribute, to which they agreed and the dragon found far less effort.

This arrangement has remained in place ever since, and a key reason why Mintarn has retained its independence despite its proximity to Moonshae and Waterdeep.

Orlumbor’s history is believed to be similar (sans the dragons), with settlements on the island developing into a modern town and port by several centuries ago. The earliest historical note about the island is from 310 DR, when a six-legged horror from the Lower Planes named Gorathil was reported to have decimated the halfling community of Marrduin on Orlumbor.

Orlumbor is noted for its greater focus on diplomacy and alliances, hence its membership of the Lords’ Alliance and its close economic ties with Waterdeep, particularly taking outsourced shipbuilding contracts whenever Waterdeep’s own harbour grows too busy.

In 1358 DR, warships flying the flag of Waterdeep unexpected surrounded Orlumbor. The island’s ruler, Tulgar Wrightsson, sent an adventuring band, the Heroes of Ascore, to investigate. The Heroes discovered the ships were actually Luskar pirates flying the flag of Waterdeep in an attempt to sew confusion and possibly annex the island. Once the deception was discovered, Luskan withdrew from the area.

Later that year, the Heroes of Ascore were contacted by Ougo of Farr Windward, a small village which was serving as allegedly an asylum for the insane. However, Ougo indicated that some or most of the inhabitants were not insane and had been sent there from other lands more for political or nefarious reasons, or not conforming to certain societal or religious ideals. The Heroes assisted Ougo in making his case to Tulgar, somewhat forcefully. Tulgar agreed to rescind the guards around the village and allow it to become a free settlement and ally of Orlumbor.

In 1364 the Sea Sprite under Captain Deudermont arrived on Mintarn during an attempt by the Companions of the Hall to find the mythical island of Caerwich. Learning that the infamous drow ranger Drizzt Do’Urden was on board, Dictator Tarnheel Embuirhan, accounted by some as the greatest swordsman of the Sword Coast, was eager to fight a duel with Drizzt to prove who was greater. Drizzt refused, not wanting to contributed to Embuirhan’s legend and vanity. However, Embuirhan persuaded him by confirming the duel would be fought in private between just the two of them. Drizzt proved victorious, but Embuirhan made a good accounting of himself, which contributed almost as much to his fighting reputation.


Mintarn is, somewhat paradoxically, a society that has declared itself free and unencumbered by rules, but is ruled somewhat strictly by a single ruler, whose official title is even “Dictator.” The current Dictator is Tarnheel Embuirhan, who rose to power through cunning and strength. Unexpectedly, after becoming Dictator in 1357, Embuirhan took a more conciliatory view, improving relations with Orlumbor and the Lords’ Alliance and allowing other parts of the island to rule themselves autonomously if they kept up their payments to the capital and their contributions to the tribute for the dragon Hoondarrh. In 1364 Embuirhan fought a duel against Drizzt Do’Urden to test his sword skills and, although defeated, still dined out on the story for many years afterwards.

The post of Dictator on Mintarn traditionally changes every five to six years, but Embuirhan’s even-handed rule has kept him in place for fourteen years and counting, so far.

Orlumbor’s government is hereditary, with the island’s current ruler being Tulgar Wrighttson, the son of a simple shipwright who rose to authority over the island through means unknown. Tulgar appears to be a stubborn but ultimately fair-minded ruler.


As islands in a sometimes-stormy sea, both islands pay homage to the darker gods: Umberlee has a large temple on Mintarn and Talos one on Orlumbor. However, such worship is driven by fear and respect rather than love. As with most homes to sailors, Valkur has a following on the islands and some of the other Faerûnian gods are also worshipped.

The sea elven god Deep Sashelas has an interest in the region, with his martial order, the Knights of the Killer Whale, operating from a fortress known as the Citadel of the Seven Seas, built into an undersea volcanic plug north of Mintarn.

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