Baldur’s Gate is a city of opportunity and fair laws. By some accounts, it has swelled to become the most populated city in all of Faerûn.
BALDUR’S GATE REGIONAL BENEFIT
You know one additional language of your choice, you add the Streetwise skill to your class skill list, and you gain a +2 bonus to Streetwise checks.
Baldur’s Gate has seen a recent restructuring of its government. After the city nearly fell to Grand Duke Valarken and an external force of lycanthropes called the Band of the Red Moon, surviving Grand Duke Portyr instituted a parliament to better balance city power. One can hardly spend an hour in the city without seeing one or more members of the Flaming Fists. This mercenary band is so ensconced in the city that it now serves as Baldur’s Gate semiofficial patrol.
Somehow, Baldur’s Gate was the only place on the face of Faerûn that was unaffected by the Spellplague, although the countryside around it was affected, Candlekeep even moving into the ocean to form an island fortress. The lack of Spellplague brought many refugees and their families, settling outside the walls and expanding the city tenfold. By some counts, this makes Baldur’s Gate the most prosperous and populated city in Faerûn.
Although Baldur’s Gate is a self-encompassed city-state that thrives on trade, it has many nearby features that make it a prime location from which to launch adventures. The city stands on the edge of the Sword Coast, halfway between Faerûn’s other two western hubs of commerce, Waterdeep and Athkatla.
This amphibian city rises out of the waters and onto the western island of 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. The Branestrians are water-manifesting genasi who have recently expanded their cities onto land and initiated trade with Baldur’s Gate and other nearby settlements.
This well-defended fortress preserves a great library of lore, learning, and prophecy. Its presence in the area is well known, and it is often sought out by those who wish to learn more about a particularly vexing problem. It is said that visitors are allowed so long as they are civil and pay the fee of one book.
The expansion of Baldur’s Gate created a tremendous demand for timber. Numerous villages and logging camps arose along the perimeter of the Cloak Wood, but recently production has come to a halt. At first, only those who ventured into the forest disappeared, but now, townsfolk are vanishing in the night to some unseen menace that most people assume lurks in the forest.
The Sword’s Teeth
The sheer cliffs of the Sword Coast extend for miles. Sailors who pass near these daunting shores tell tales of enormous caves that lead deep into the ground, perhaps even into the Underdark. Many folk believe that Balduran, the founder of Baldur’s Gate, hid a cache of his enormous wealth in one of these sea caves.
Formerly the Wood of Sharp Teeth, this forest is reviled by all in the region. It is said that after Grand Duke Valarken’s failed coup, he and his lycanthropic mercenaries fled into this forest. Many believe that the group has begun rebuilding the city of Vehlarr in an attempt to refashion the former werewolf nation.
People of Baldur’s Gate
As long as one obeys the laws, anyone is free to walk the streets of Baldur’s Gate. The city prides itself on being an open place where anyone can become a citizen or start a new life, regardless of race or background. Still, one is unlikely to see many trolls, orcs, ogres, or drow walking the streets. The city’s population is mostly human, with significant numbers of eladrin and elves as well. The city’s rapid expansion has given rise to several new neighborhoods, though the older neighborhoods persist. Many of the newer neighborhoods are organized around the inhabitants’ original region or their race, whereas the older boroughs remain composed of racially mixed original citizens.
Baldur’s Gate has an active thieves’ guild, though it is kept in check by the Flaming Fists, mercenaries who act as city guards. Ultimately, the true power in Baldur’s Gate lies with the merchants.