Forgotten Realms: Birthright
The Vilhon Reach
This region shares its name with the body of water called the Vilhon Reach, a long southern arm of the Sea of Fallen Stars. The region encompasses much of the southern shore of the Sea of Fallen Stars, from the mouth of the Reach west and north to the mouth of the Wet River, and south to the Golden Plains. It is a fertile, rich land divided up into quarreling city-states and petty nations. For all its unrest, the Vilhon remains vital to the whole of Faerûn: It forms the trade link between the Lake of Steam, the Shaar, and the rest of the world through its ports on the Sea of Fallen Stars.
With the subtropical and humid weather of the Vilhon Reach, winter temperatures rarely reach the freezing point, snowfalls are rare, and heavy winter rains are common. Spring arrives early, and summer comes hard on its heels with scorching temperatures and oppressive humidity. Autumn brings cooler weather and lower humidity, but an autumn day in the Vilhon can be as warm as high summer in more northerly regions.
The three important nations of the Reach are Chondath, Sespech, and Turmish. In addition, a large number of independent city-states and minor local authorities occupy the region.
Most sages recognize the Vilhon Reach as the cradle from which waves of humans spread forth to conquer and inhabit Faerûn. Something of this adventuresome spirit is still present in the Reach: many of the locals leave their homeland to seek their fortunes as mercenaries. The folk of the Vilhon Reach tend to welcome visitors as bearers of news or potential trading partners.
Spellcasters are well advised to keep a low profile in the Reach, where mages have a reputation for capricious use of power. The folk of the Reach have no patience for displays of flashy magic, nor any tolerance for those who use their spells carelessly.
For such a civilized and sophisticated populace, the folk of the Vilhon Reach show a remarkable respect for nature. This is partly due to the history of the area, which is marked by plagues and volcanic eruptions, and partially due to the influence of the Emerald Enclave. This druidic organization, founded in 374 DR and headquartered on the island of Ilighôn at the mouth of the Vilhon Reach, strives to hold human civilized development to a pace that nature can endure.
To look on Chondath now, a scattering of allied city-states and towns strung along the southern shore of the Sea of Fallen Stars, it’s hard to believe this is the same nation that produced the merchants who settled the powerhouse country of Sembia. Most other cities in the Vilhon were once part of its empire or suffered under its cruel armies. Now, Chondath is a land darkened by its fall from glory, by the grasping ambitions of its rulers, and by foes all around it.
Trade keeps a constant flow of folk leaving and arriving in Chondath from afar, and leads to more tolerance of varying ways and outlanders than visitors expect.
Chondathans are generally slender, tawny-skinned folk with brown hair ranging from almost blond to almost black. Chondathans have green or brown eyes. Elves and half-elves are tolerated but not loved, and nonhumans in general are a quiet minority here.
Most Chondathans spend their lives engaged in intrigue, covert manipulation, and trade with distant lands (or at least investments in trade conducted by others). Chondathans strive to perfectly control their voices, faces, and mannerisms to reflect only those emotions they desire to display.
Chondathans distrust wizards and the bold use of magic. Folk in Chondath assume that Arrabar still holds deadly plague-hurling magic for a future lunatic to unleash. Chondathans are warlike, indulging in hunting games from an early age. They dress in a wide variety of fashions drawn from all over Faerûn, though leather armor and head coverings are common, thanks to the warm, damp climate.
Sespech is a barony located at the southwest end of the Vilhon Reach. Once a part of Chondath, Sespech maintains its independence through naval power and diplomacy.
The people of Sespech are tall and olive-skinned like the Chondathans to the east. Some keep their beards short, but most men shave regularly. The warriors of Sespech are skilled riders, and their cavalry is second only to the riders of Lheshayl. Due to the constant danger from Chondath; all young men of Sespech enter military service for at least six years and can be recalled at any time. Sespech needs all the soldiers it can impress into service.
Magic is more deeply suspect in Sespech than it is elsewhere in the Vilhon Reach. Anyone using magic to harm another can expect a quick execution.
Open rule has always been important in Sespech. Twice each month, the cities of Sespech hold communal gatherings to discuss recent political developments and other matters of public concern. A minister from the court of Baron Thuragar attends every gathering. In rare cases, Thuragar himself attends.
Turmish lies in the northwest of the Vilhon Reach. It is a rich, fertile, farming land of villages and few cities – peaceful, civilized, and well managed. Turmish features rolling fields divided by hedges or dense rows of trees, with ample room for wild creatures. The mountains to the west harbor orcs, kobolds, and other monsters, but few raid Turmish thanks to well-organized mercenary bands that serve as local militias.
Turmish’s natives have an excellent reputation as fair traders, welcome throughout the Inner Sea. The area is remarkably popular with adventurers despite its lack of monsters. Buried treasure abounds (at least according to bards’ tales), and the area offers plenty of ruins and wild lands to explore.
The people of Turmish are tall, mahogany-skinned, and comely. The men of the trading class wear long beards with the ends carefully squared off. The phrase “square as a Turmian beard” signifies any thing well or carefully done.
In addition to its farms, Turmish is known for its ornate and finely crafted armor. This armor is embellished with embossing, spires, and raised, fluted curves, mixing elven and human styles. It is sometimes hard to know which is more important to a Turmian fighter, his armor or his beard.
The Turmians have a variety of customs, both quaint and bizarre. Among the best known is the tradition of the guest dish. Anyone visiting a Turmian home, even on business, is expected to present a fine dish of food. Snails in an ornate bowl made from a skull are a perennial favorite.
Chondathan, Turmic, Dwarven, Draconic
Weapons: Rapier, Dagger, Kukri, Crossbow (all), Battle Axe, Spear
Armour: Studded Leather, Chain Mail
Suric’s Swift Perusal
Single Weapon Fighting Style; Two Weapon Fighting Style
Eldath, Helm, Liira, Malar, Nobanion, Silvanus, Talos, Dwarven Pantheon, Draconic Pantheon