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The Baldur's Gate coat of arms
Baldur's Gate
Size Metropolis
Area Sword Coast
Western Heartlands
Government Oligarchy
Ruler Grand Duke Portyr
Baldurian Parliament
Formerly: Council of Four
Founder: Balduran
Population Somewhere between 120,000 and 140,000 (as of 1479 DR)
42,103 (as of 1372 DR)
Religions Gond, Tymora, Umberlee

Inhabitants of Baldur's Gate
Locations in Baldur's Gate

Baldur's Gate is a metropolis and city-state on the Sword Coast on the north bank of the river Chionthar about twenty miles east from its mouth on the Sea of Swords. It is to the south of the great city-state of Waterdeep and to the north of the country of Amn, and is located along the well-travelled Coast Way road. A person from Baldur’s Gate is known as a Baldurian.

This wealthy port metropolis, with over 42,000 inhabitants (although that almost doubles in the summer months), is an important merchant city on the Sword Coast. Its strong Watch and the presence of the powerful Flaming Fist mercenary company keep the city generally peaceful and safe.

AppearanceEdit

Baldur’s Gate has grown enormously over the past century and as a result is almost two cities in one. The old core of the city, now known as Bloomridge, lies within the old city walls. This portion is, however, surrounded by a much larger portion taken up by suburbs and shantytowns established over the years by refugees. It is the population located here that makes up the majority of the city’s impressive population and unlike the core of the city, which has a distinctive architectural style, these outskirts are often a meshing of styles from all across Faerûn, a hint at the cosmopolitan nature of the city.

BloomridgeEdit

Bloomridge’s unique shape, curved around its harbor, gives the city the poetic appearance of a crescent moon. The docks and shipping facilities are among the most efficient in the land, a testament to the importance of shipping to the city. A large open marketplace, called The Wide, dominates the northeast portion of the walled city, and other large structures include The High Hall, seat of the city government, the High House of Wonders, a large temple to Gond and the Seatower of Balduran, a small fortress in the center of the harbor.

To keep vermin from spreading too much into the city proper, cats are bred and encouraged to roam the city.

HistoryEdit

The city takes its name from the great seafaring hero Balduran. Long ago, Balduran sailed to the fabled Anchorome and returned with great wealth which was used to build the wall around what became Baldur’s Gate. He left the city again, presumably to return to Anchorome, but never returned.

It is now (as of about 1368 DR) an insult to misuse Balduran’s name. This can be done easily when attempting to describe a person who inhabits Baldur’s Gate (the correct term is "Baldurian").

At the time, the growing town was controlled by local farmers who mercilessly taxed incoming shipments. This infuriated ship captains, who believed that since the harbor wasn't walled in, its traffic should not be taxed, and they eventually overthrew the farmers. The four eldest captains ruled the city together, and jokingly called themselves "dukes," which stuck.

Baldur’s Gate was mysteriously untouched, at least directly, by the Spellplague and, in fact, has prospered in its wake. Baldur’s Gate was not completely unaffected, however, and in fact many changes to Baldur’s Gate were a result of the events that followed the disaster. The city, due to its undamaged infrastructure, became a major target for refugees from less fortunate lands, swelling the population more than three times. How Baldur’s Gate survived this population boom is something of a mystery and is known as the "Baldur’s Gate Miracle."

The city suffered a major crisis during the Hundred Years of Chaos when the treacherous Grand Duke Valarken used a band of lycanthropes known as the Band of the Red Moon to try and seize complete control of the city. He was defeated by the current Grand Duke Portyr who subsequently dissolved the Council of Four and replaced it with a parliament. Some time in this period the Flaming Fists, formerly a mercenary force, became the official militia of the city-state.

TradeEdit

In 1368 DR stone is usually imported from Mirabar via Luskan for use in construction, having been magically transported. This is an expensive process. By 1479 DR, with Luskan in disarray and with no functional port, along with the destruction caused by the Spellplague across the lands, it is unclear if this trade still occurs. Baldur’s Gate has, however, become the greatest center of trade along the entire Sword Coast, outcompeting both Waterdeep and Amn.

GovernmentEdit

Main article: Baldurian Parliament

Baldur’s Gate was once ruled by four grand dukes, the Council of Four. Shortly before the Spellplague, the current rulers included Duke Eltan, the then leader of the Flaming Fists, Belt, a powerful warrior and divine spellcaster, Liia Jannath, a mage and Entar Silvershield, the richest man in Baldur’s Gate at the time, but also a strong warrior in his own right. The Council was also part of the Lords' Alliance, which includes Waterdeep and Silverymoon, among others..

Since the attempted coup by Valarken, however, the government underwent a major revision and the only grand duke today is Portyr, who rules at the behest of the Baldurian Parliament.

Baldur’s Gate contains a very effective thieves' guild, as well as a powerful and honest Merchant’s League. Additionally, the Knights of the Shield and the Knights of the Unicorn are both active in the city. Various thieves guilds have risen and fallen in Baldur’s Gate including Xantam’s Guild and the Hands of Glory.

Places of interestEdit

DistrictsEdit

Bloomridge
The old "city core," Bloomridge is the center of Baldur’s Gate’s prominent aristocracy.
Twin Songs
One of the so-called "temple district," Twin Songs hosts temples to virtually any god.

TavernsEdit

Elfsong Tavern
Splurging Sturgeon
The Blushing Mermaid

InnsEdit

Purple Wyrm Inn
The Blade and Stars
The Helm and Cloak
Three Old Kegs

ManorsEdit

Bloodmire Manor
Firewind Manor (formerly House Felldane)
Mandorcai’s Mansion
A beautiful manor located in Bloomridge and owned by the tiefling Mandorcai.
Omduil’s Manor

Temples and ShrinesEdit

For a complete list refer to Baldur’s Gate (Places of Worship)

Baldur’s Gate has many places of worship. In 1369 DR there were 3 major temples, (devoted to Gond , Umberlee and Tymora and many shrines.


LoreEdit

First, the street that runs along the inside of the city walls from the Stormkeep (the fortress at the westernmost end of the walls) to Black Dragon Gate is known as ‘The Run.’ The street that runs along the edge of the docks from the Seatower of Balduran (feature 6 on the Volo’s map) to The Water-Queen’s House (8) is ‘the Western Wet,’ and the street that runs along the docks from the two ‘keel-slips’ (boatbuilding drydocks) east of The Counting House (29) around the ship-basin and along the wharves as far as Waendel’s Wharf (the centermost protruding dock protruding from the east side of the harbor, that has three [and only three] ‘legs’) is ‘the Eastern Wet.’ The wharf to the south of Waendel’s (that has four ‘legs’) is Stormwynd Dock. The wide, legless wharf north of Waendel’s is Athcaulyr’s Stand. The small wharf between Hethkantle’s Jetty and the Seatower of Balduran is Glaezel’s Dock (it’s had several owners and different names in the past; Manthuran Glaezel is the very wealthy head of a prosperous, long-prominent Baldurian family that owns many city businesses and properties), and the street that runs roughly northwest from its ‘dry’ (land) end, right out to the city wall (parallel to, and immediately south of, Caundorl Street), is Black Eel Street. The street that begins at Black Eel Street one block in from the Western Wet, and curves northeast near Krammoch Arkhstaff’s house (21) to pass along the front of The Lady’s Hall (7) and then in front of Black Dragon Gate (10) right to the city wall, and thereafter curve south along the wall to The Rose Portal (27), is Wendserpent Street. Belltoll Street (9 on the Volo’s map) runs from The Wide (2) west to join another street just north of the home and office of the sage Ragefast (a fascinating fellow who tries to trace the whereabouts of magic items and dragon treasures, among other things; this building is map feature 22). The street that Belltoll joins, that curves east from that moot to end at its moot with Wendserpent, and west from that moot to the Stormkeep, is Sornbanner Street. Another street, Long Lane, can be found by tracing the way that passes the walls of the Blushing Mermaid (map feature 19) and Manycoins House (20) to curve to the eastern city gate. The northern end of Long Lane is a small triangular open plaza (often crowded with wagons loading and unloading crates, coffers, and barrels destined for, or fresh come from, city shops). This open space is called ‘the Thulgrave,’ because the tall, narrow fountain at its heart (a pillar of stone carved into the likeness of a waterspout, with the hands of Talos and of Umberlee rising out of fierce waves around its base to direct the waterspout higher; its water falls back down into the waves and drains away through holes bored at their lowest points) is Thulgrave’s Fountain. Ilgrar Thulgrave was a wealthy merchant fleet shipowner (and yes, he’s buried in the base of the fountain, so it’s literally ‘the Thulgrave’). It should be noted that “plaza” is a word unknown in the Realms. In Baldur’s Gate, such an open space is called a ‘strake.’ Immediately east of Long Lane, paralleling it on its path from the city gate to the Thulgrave (and running right past the doors of map feature 5, the Elfsong Tavern), is Lorammor Street. Many small shops line Lorammor (sometimes three establishments to a building, in cellar, on street level, and in the upper level). The street that passes Manycoins House (20) on its west side, and curves around to the southernmost city gate, is Nuthkhal’s Way. The street that encircles The Wide (2), running from The Counting House (29) north past the doors of Flamesinger House (23), and then south again to pass the doors of The Rose Portal (27), is Manyspears Lane. Its run is dominated by three- and four-story tallhouses that have been divided into many small apartments; many Baldurian shopkeepers, crafters, and shop assistants dwell along Manyspears. Lastly, three moots (street intersections) have names that visitors to Baldur’s Gate would do well to know, because locals use them as everyday landmarks (e.g. “He dwells seaward of Three Spires”). They are: Three Spires, Fox Bottom, and Lionsmoot. Three Spires, named for the spired towers of three ornate private mansions that tower above the moot, is the six-way intersection just west of map feature 21 (Krammoch Arkhstaff’s house). On the Volo’s map, it’s directly above the numeral “2” of the “21.” The north-south street that passes between the “2” and the “1” is Hauth Lane, and the other two streets involved in the moot are Wendserpent Street and Blackraven Lane (Arkhstaff’s house actually fronts on Blackraven, and it runs west through the moot to end in a moot with Chalsendace Street, a curving street lined with the mansions of the wealthy, that runs from the city wall to end in a moot with Stormcanter Street. Years ago, Fox Bottom was a wooded hollow where a vixen denned under rocks and bore brood after brood of hungry foxes. Now it’s the closest thing Baldur’s Gate has to a slum: a moot surrounded by crowded, run-down rooming-houses where rats scurry, washing hangs on high everywhere, and beggars and maimed old sailors are watched warily by well-armed patrols. Fox Bottom can be found a mere two blocks south of Manycoins House (20), where Long Lane crosses Hulkael Street. Hulkael begins in the Lathdell (the small open strake where the Shrine of the Suffering, Volo’s map feature 26, stands), and winds south through Murl’s Rest (the strake where Sorcerous Sundries, map feature 14, stands) to pass along the east side of The Blade and Stars inn (map feature 18), before hooking around west and northwest to the docks. Lionsmoot is just southeast of Stormkeep. From the fortress, one takes Stormshore Street (feature 11 on the Volo’s map, and yes, it runs clear across the city, not far north of the docks, through where the numeral “11” appears on that map, and beyond) to the end of Stormcanter Street. That threeway moot, where Stormcanter begins its run across the city, is named for The House of the Lion, a luxurious festhall that stands in its eastern angle. For some years, it’s been the habit of young ‘blades’ (men of youth, style, and coin) and ‘lacethroats’ (daring young women of style and coin enough to dress fashionably) of the city to gather on pleasant evenings to duel, gamble, flirt to choose bedpartners for the night, and parade their fashions and attitudes. When things grow too rowdy, the ‘waycudgels’ (bouncers) of the brothel go out and drive many of the couples indoors to the Lion to continue their revelry, scattering the rest to continue their fun elsewhere. Pronunciations: “WAYNe-del” and “Ath-call-EER’s” and “THULL-gray-ve” and “Lore-AM-more” and “NUTH-call’s” and “Chall-SEN-dace” and “Hull-KALE”



Related LocationsEdit

Though Baldur’s Gate is a self-contained city-state it holds a limited influence over neighboring regions and settlements due to its wealth and power.

Candlekeep
This fortress of scholars and books is the single greatest center of knowledge in all of Faerûn.
Cloak Wood
Located south of Baldur’s Gate this aged forest is home to many terrible monsters though it’s calm waters make it a tempting mooring spot for sailors in spite of this.
The Cimarine Isles
The isles lie between the southern Sword Coast and the Moonshae Isles, and they are settled by genasi and Amn trade colonies.

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