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 the nations of Samarach, Thindol and Tashalar along the Chultan Peninsula. Please click for a larger version.

Samarach

  • Ruler: High Phantasmage (Archmage) Meleghost Zoaster
  • Capital: Samargol (pop. 105,731)
  • Settlements: Ahoyahoy, Dangwaru, Nimbre, Rassatan (10,936), Serl, Taruin (23,899), Torich
  • Population: 434,510 (98% human, 1% yuan-ti, 1% misc.)
  • Population Density: 4.44 people per mile² (1.71 people per km²)
  • Area: 97,937 miles² (253,655.67 km²)
  • Military: Local militias, can call upon the Knights of the Flying Hunt of Nimbral for aid
  • Languages: Common, Chultan, Tashalan
  • Religion: Leira, Set, Squamata the Black (Sseth)
  • Exports: Pearls, salt, spices
  • Imports: Weapons
  • Sources: Serpent Kingdoms (Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader, 2004), Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir (video game, Obsidian Entertainment / Atari, 2008)

Thindol

  • Ruler: The Council of Cities
  • Capital: Thindar (pop. 98,662)
  • Settlements: Aztul (4631), Deltar (2863), Delselar (76,412), Gurdeth (17,991), Lundeth (23,791), Narubel (11,301), Psamma (1936), Samargard , Tchinggult (3413),
  • Population: 1,263,413 (86% human, 7% gold dwarf, 3% kuo-toa, 2% lizardfolk, 1% yuan-ti, 1% misc.)
  • Population Density: 10.26 people per mile² (3.96 people per km²)
  • Area: 123,071 miles² (318,752.427 km²)
  • Military: Local militias
  • Languages: Common, Chultan, Tashalan
  • Religion: Lathander, Lliira, Malar, Savras, Set, Tymora
  • Exports: Gold, iron, seafood, tropical fruits and vegetables, weapons
  • Imports: Grains, wine, wood
  • Sources: Serpent Kingdoms (Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader, 2004)

Tashalar

  • Ruler: Merchant oligarchy council
  • Capital: Tashluta (pop. 51,522)
  • Settlements:
  • Population: 889,920 (94% human, 4% lizardfolk, 1% yuan-ti, 1% misc.)
  • Population Density: 46.38 people per mile², 17.91 people per km²
  • Area: 19,182 miles² (49,681.152 km²)
  • Military: Local militias, can call upon mercenary aid from Lapaliiya
  • Languages: Common, Chultan, Tashalan
  • Religion: Chauntea, Bhaelros (Talos), Malar, Savras, Sseth (Set, the World Serpent), Talona Waukeen
  • Exports: Calantra carvings, cheese, coffee, crossbows, dyed fabric, glass, olive oil, olives, perfume, seafood, ships, spices, wine, wood
  • Imports: Beef, calantra, fruit, kaeth, silver, slaves
  • Sources: Serpent Kingdoms (Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader, 2004)

Overview

The Chultan Peninsula is most famous for its immense jungle, covering a huge headland divided between forests and volcanoes where ancient creatures, extinct on the rest of Toril, still exist.

However, the peninsula is also home to more familiar forms of civilisation. Three significant nations stretch along its coasts: Samarach, Thindol and Tashalar (sometimes “the” Tashalar, from its time as a vassal of Calimshan, but this is somewhat insulting to its current status as a sovereign kingdom).

Samarach is located on the south-western coast of the peninsula, south-east of the immense volcanic chain known as the Peaks of Flame. The nation’s borders are defined as the Sanrach Mountains to the south and east, and the Great Sea to the south, with Snapping Turtle Bay to the west. Samarach is highly mysterious, and its borders are cloaked in illusions to protect it from yuan-ti invasion, which also make it hard for outsiders to stumble across it. As a result, it may be the least-known nation in Faerûn, with many doubting its very existence. Only neighbouring Thindol is certain it exists, apart from Samarach’s key ally and protector, the island nation of Nimbral which lies to the south-west.

Thindol, the Realm of Running Waters, is the largest of the three nations and spans the neck of the peninsula from coast to coast, with the Shining Sea to the north and the Great Sea to the south (making it the only nation of Faerûn with borders on both the western and southern oceans). The nation once tried to take advantage of this by building a canal across the neck of the peninsula, but the decision to build it underground proved ineffective, resulting in simple tunnel of churning water which is impassable to any vessel. The Sanrach Mountains form its border to the west, along with the Luo Peaks and the Chultengar, an arm of the great Jungle of Chult. To the east its borders are formed by the Hazur Mountains, Dolsel Gap, Guth Mountains and the forbidding Black Jungles.

Tashalar, located on the north coast of the peninsula, is the smallest of the three nations, stretching from Cape Talath in the west to the Dolphingulph and the Delphin Mountains in the east, which form the border with neighbouring Lapaliiya. Tashalar is small but densely-populated, and in fact is the most densely-populated nation in Faerûn, with scores of small villages and thousands of farms and hamlets crammed into the narrow coastal plain, the Tashan Gap and the Tashalar Basin, a wide-open area of countryside between the Black Jungles and Delphin Mountains. The nation only boasts one large city of note, the capital at Tashluta.

One of the major concerns of the three kingdoms, along with Lapaliiya to the east, is the threat posed by the yuan-ti of the Black Jungles and Mhair Jungles. The three nations have developed different ways of dealing with the problem, with Samarach cloaked by powerful defensive magic and the other two vehemently trying to avoiding contact at all or root out yuan-ti whenever they are found.

History

The entire region of south-western Faerûn was once the domain of the Sarrukh, one of the legendary Creator Races. They controlled the empire Mhairshaulk which extended along the southern shore of the Pourounkorokale (the modern Shining Sea) some 36,000 years ago. The Sarrukh declined and then vanished, either rendered extinct or departing Toril for some other plane. Their creations, the yuan-ti, inherited their empire circa 33,500 BDR (Before Dalereckoning). The yuan-ti kept to themselves even as the great elven empire of Ilythiir arose to the east.

Around 17,600 BDR, the elves enacted the ritual known as the Sundering, which split the single supercontinent of that time into the configuration we are familiar with today. As a result of this, the continents of Maztica and Katashaka were torn apart from Faerûn, moving east across the Trackless Sea and south-east across the Great Sea. The massive peninsula of Chult became a remnant of these lands, still attached to Faerûn. The yuan-ti empire collapsed in the chaos, but the serpent folk eventually were able to reconstitute their power in the Black Jungles and Mhair Jungles. They enslaved the human tribesfolk trapped on the peninsula during the Sundering, the Lapal, and forced them to become their slaves.

In 2809 BDR, several human tribes arrived in the west of Chult, having been guided to Faerûn by couatls out of Katashaka. The Eshowe, Tabaxi and Thinguth were proud and free peoples, defending themselves from yuan-ti attack and even defeating them in some battles thanks to their skill at arms and magical skills. The Lapal people were inspired to begin their own rebellions and, by 1732 BDR, had won their freedom and established new domains along both coasts of the Chultan Peninsula, north along the Shining Sea and east into the Shaar.

By 700 BDR, the peninsula had become divided between several distinct tribal groupings: the Eshowe and Tabaxi largely remained within the Jungles of Chult along the head of the peninsula in the west and north-west, whilst the Thinguth spread over the mountainous lands between the south-eastern edges of the Jungles of Chult and the western edge of the Black Jungles. The Lapal established control of the north coast and the lands to the east of the Mhair Jungles, which in later centuries unified with refugees from Netheril to become Halruaa. In 690 BDR, the Lapal tribes and townships allied to become the first realm of Lapaliiya. The city of Tashluta to the west was founded by Lapal explorers and Calishite merchants in 583 BDR, and the realm of Tashalar was formally founded in 553 BDR.

A golden age flourished along the shores of the Shining Sea from 553 BDR to 375 BDR, when Tashalar and Lapaliiya traded with Calimshan. This period ended in 375-370 BDR, when the Empire Plague wiped out a third of the population of Lapaliiya and almost half the population of Tashalar.

The yuan-ti established their empire of Serpentes in the Mhair and Black Jungles in 304 BDR and invaded both Lapaliiya and Tashalar, conquering both kingdoms by 189 BDR. In 10 DR, the yuan-ti Emperor Sseth vanished without a trace. Tashalar launched a massive rebellion which, by 34 DR, had liberated the coasts of the Shining Sea. The Confederation of Tashtan was formally inaugurated in 34 DR, uniting both Tashalar and Lapaliiya into a single polity. However, the rogue Magister Ergith “Kingslayer” Klavulgrun slew a dozen of the ruling merchant-lords of Tashtan in 276 DR, triggering a state of civil unrest. The Shoon Imperium took advantage of the chaos to annex the entire region, a process completed in 285 with both Tashalar and Lapaliiya under Shoon occupation.

Meanwhile, the Thinguth had established control over much of the south-western part of the peninsula, but faced continuing skirmishes with lizardfolk, slaves of the yuan-ti who had escaped to plague the region. Eventually the Thinguth withdrew to Guthland, a defensible central area they heavily fortified against attack, ceding the lands to the west to the lizardfolk. Thus, when the great Tabaxi-Eshowe War started (438 BDR), the Thinguth retained their independence, with the lizardfolk tribes forming a buffer between themselves and the Jungles of Chult. In 289 BDR, the Thinguth were defeated in battle and enslaved by the yuan-ti of the Sseradess and Sauringar tribes and dispersed over much of the lands later claimed by Thindol and Samarach.

In 293 DR, the Shoon Imperium invaded the Thinguth region, driving back the yuan-ti and their lizardfolk slaves. The Thinguth were effectively liberated, but then made vassals of Shoon. However, they found the Shoon a preferable alternative and gladly accepted their support and protection in return for being their vassals. For over a century and a half, the Shoon ruled the Thinguth, Tashalar and Lapaliiya regions as one province, leading to much internal migration and the mixing of the Thinguth and Lapal peoples.

In 450, the Shoon Imperium collapsed with the Sack of Shoonach. The Imperium withdrew all its forces from the Cities of the Seabreeze, as the southern province had become known, and as a result it split in three: Tashalar, Lapaliiya and the new realm of Thindol. However, Thindol’s independence was threatened by yuan-ti infiltrators. In 605 DR it was revealed that the King was a yuan-ti imposter, sparking the War of Unmasking as the realm was gripped by paranoia, fear and chaos.

Thousands of refugees fled Thindol into the south-west, seeking the fabled island of Nimbral which was said to lie in that direction. However, many of the refugee ships ran aground on the Beacon Rocks. The Nimbrese came to their rescue, but could not host so many refugees on their island. Lord Samar decided a more direct intervention was necessary. He led the Knights of the Flying Hunt and Nimbral’s finest mages in a cleansing of the western part of Thindol, destroying yuan-ti and their slaves by the hundreds and forcing the remainder to flee. Then great illusions were cast to protect the entire realm. By the end of 606 DR the refugees had settled this new land and named it Samarach. Neighbouring Thindol soon also stabilised under the rule of the Council of Cities.

In 1142, the Coiled Cabal of yuan-ti mages invaded both Lapaliiya and Tashalar, sparking a complicated three-way war known as the Rage of Wizards. At the end of the war, in 1147 DR, the yuan-ti had been defeated, Tashalar had reasserted itself and Lapaliiya refounded in its modern form, with each city dedicated to a civic deity.

Government

Each of the three kingdoms has a different form of governance.

Tashalar is ruled by a merchant oligarchy, which takes the form of a council based in the city of Tashluta. The council organises the realm to best benefit their coffers and they loathe spending money on public works. However, they do see the value in defence against possible yuan-ti infiltration. Tashalar has a strong trading relationship with Lapaliiya to the east and the two realms share a common history (and indeed are often still mistaken for a single realm). It also maintains trade ties with Thindol to the south, the relatively nearby island kingdoms of Tharsult and Lantan, and Calimshan to the north across the Shining Sea.

Thindol, the Realm of Running Waters, is ruled by the Council of Cities, with each city granted semi-autonomy but sends a representative to the Council in Thindar. The nation is paranoid about yuan-ti infiltration and expends considerable resources in rooting out yuan-ti interlopers.

Samarach is ruled by the High Phantasmage, a highly capable illusionist favoured by the goddess Leira and appointed by the Nimbral Lords, who effectively control Samarach as a vassal in this manner (although, for day-to-day purposes, Samarach is effectively autonomous). Samarach’s borders are still cloaked in illusion magic, making finding the realm difficult. A few merchants from Tashalar and Thindol have found magical ways to cross the Sormarl and Narubel passes and trade with the reclusive kingdom, and Lantan has established a magical portal into the north-west of the country that bypasses the protection altogether.

Religion

The three kingdoms are open to all faiths, with Tashalar having a particularly cosmopolitan mix of deities and Samarach having the least broad base of worship, with Leira being the paramount god (a result of nearby Nimbral’s influence). The three nations are also notable for their yuan-ti influence, especially Thindol and Tashalar, which sees secretive cults worshiping the yuan-ti gods, most notably the World Serpent (in his guises as Sseth or Set).

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