The Lost Empires of Faerûn are part of the fictional fantasy setting of the Forgotten Realms. Nearly all of the lands and cities on Abeir-Toril are built on the ruins of lost empires, and throughout the Faerûnian countryside, terrible secrets of an age past lie in waiting.

Lost Empires of Faerûn[]


Ammarindar is a dwarven kingdom founded before Cormanthyr and Netheril.[1]


Athalantar, the Kingdom of the Stag (or the Stag Kingdom) is Elminster's birthplace. Its capital city, Hastarl, was located at the junction of the Unicorn Run and the River Delimbiyr, a site presently occupied by the village of Secomber.


Coramshan is the ancestor of Calimshan.

Deep Shanatar[]

Deep Shanatar was once High Shanatar, a mighty dwarven realm in the Underdark. Of the original eight kingdoms that composed it, the sole survivor is the reclusive Iltkazar.[1]


Eaerlann was an ancient elven empire located in the High Forest.

Eastern Shaar[]

Eastern Shaar was once the kingdom of titans, but is now nothing more than an extension of the Shaar. Its major feature is the Council Hills.


Guge is an ancient kingdom that existed in the Endless Wastes. It is apparently inspired by the real ancient kingdom of Guge in Western Tibet.[2]


What is now called the Fallen Kingdom used to be the grand elven kingdom of Illefarn (or Ilefarn), a forest stretching from the present-day Kryptgarden Forest to the Trollbark Forest, settled in approximately -22,900 DR.

The capital city, Aelinthaldaar, was located on the land where Waterdeep now stands. The city was founded in -8,500 DR and was razed in -1,100 DR. Few inhabitants of Waterdeep realize their city stands on the ruins of Aelinthaldaar, and only very little of the elven city remains, most notably as part of ancient crypts.

Illefarn was known for its portal networks, created by poet-mages and called song-paths. Very few portals still remain, but at least one, Voices of the Lost, is still active.

Constantly besieged by orcs and affected by the Crown Wars, the elves began abandoning Illefarn around -1,100 DR. In 342 DR, the last Council of Illefarn chose to retreat fully to Evermeet. A number of moon elves of Ardeep stayed behind, and proposed an alliance with the local shield dwarves of Dardath. This alliance, also called Illefarn, existed until 882 DR. This second Illefarn is sometimes confused with another kingdom, Phalorm, a human-elf-dwarf alliance that existed in the same general region from 523 to 616 DR.[3] During the time of the empire of Netheril, the high mages of Illefarn created a powerful being of pure magic to serve as a defender against the expansionist Netherese. When the Netherese mage Karsus inadvertently slew Mystryl in an attempt to usurp her position as god of magic, the Weave of Toril shut down for several minutes. In order to survive, the Guardian of Illefarn turned to the Shadow Weave for sustenance, and became corrupted by Shar's influence. When the high mages of Illefarn realised what happened, they made numerous attempts to destroy the Guardian, but perished in vain. The conflict led to the collapse of the fragile nation. In the DnD game Neverwinter Nights 2, the Guardian had become the King of Shadows, and is a primary foe in the game.


Ilythiir was the ancient elven empire of the dark-skinned, tropical elves who became the drow.


Imaskar was the first overpowering human empire, predating even Netheril. It was responsible for the creation of the oldest empires still in existence, the ancient empires of Mulhorand, Unther and Chessenta. They were the first astronomers and the first to give names to the planets. Their artificer-kings held tremendous power and respect, leading forays into other planes to bring back otherworldy slaves for use in building the cities of Imaskar (one such plane was Earth's). Later, Southern elves and the Shou (at least, people from Kara-Tur) helped them to improve their knowledge and expand their power, further strengthening the empire.

The empire was destroyed in -2488 DR by a cataclysmic uprising among their Mulan and Untheric slaves assisted by the incarnate gods of the slaves themselves. By this time it is suggested that the slaves in Imaskar numbered in the tens of millions. The war that followed was brief but catastrophic, and the destructive battles between the Imaskari artificer-kings and the slave's vengeful gods destroyed most of the empire, whilst the freed slaves looted and burned the once proud cities. The event led to the creation of the Raurin Desert.

Everyone thought Imaskari to be long dead, but a group led by the wizard-lord Ilphemon actually survived the cataclysm by descending into the Underdark and creating a hidden city called Deep Imaskar. The city was constructed to be magically self-sufficient and was concealed by a great magical seal. In -634 DR a cabal of necromancers overthrew the descendants of Ilphemon, ending his line of hereditary kings, and in -511 DR the necromancers were themselves overthrown by a champion named Chaschara. She established a non-hereditary system of government by three officeholders that continued to the present day.

The Deep Imaskari dabbled with expanding their territory into the elemental planes, but an invasion from the elemental plane of Air in 799 DR led them to give that up and seal the portals there. For the next five hundred years the Imaskari chose to live in isolation, but recently they have decided to break the seal on their underground city and began sending adventurous individuals to explore the outside world. The location of Deep Imaskar remains a closely held secret, however, and is magically erased from the minds of the adventurers that leave it.[1][4]


Jhaamdath was a militaristic psiocracy (government by psionicists), one of the few on Toril. This ancestor of present Chondath was founded circa –5800 DR and destroyed in –255 DR by elven high mages of Nikerymath. Their tutelar divinity was Auppenser.


Miyeritar was an ancient elven empire comprised of Dark and Green Elves. At its height, it was the center of Elven art and High Magic, but was destroyed by the evil Empire of Gold and Moon Elves, Vyshaantar. Recently, a small portion of this realm was brought back by the wizard Khelben, in the novel Blackstaff, by Steven Schend.


However powerful humanity can be, there is one opponent it can never face and win: hubris.

The magocracy of Netheril was one of the ancient human empires of Faerûn that lie in what is now the (magical) desert of Anauroch. Netheril was also the home of the most powerful wizard who ever walked on Faerun, Karsus, who could cast 12th level spells (although he cast such a spell only once, and it was his last spell ever). The Netherese also created powerful artifacts known as mythallars, which allow mundane objects to become magical, dramatically changing the face of the Empire (or better said the face of the upper side of the empire, as Netheril eventually became twofold: the "have", High Netherese, and the "have not", low Netherese).

People in Netheril used magic carelessly. Great wizards used spells to turn the mountains upside down, made them float on the air and built cities on them. Netheril was destroyed by Karsus's Folly: an attempt to become an avatar of Mystryl (who sacrificed herself and was replaced by Mystra), in a last ditch effort to save Netheril from the invading Phaerimm. When this happened all magic ceased to exist for a time. Since Netherese cities floated above the surface, when magic ceased to exist there was nothing to hold the cities up. Netheril was completely obliterated in one fell swoop. This also lead to the creation of the King of Shadows, an Illefarn Guardian who is featured in the computer game Neverwinter Nights 2. The remnants of Netheril was destroyed by the phaerimm, who would have destroyed the rest of Faerûn had it not been for the intervention of the sharn. The only surviving city is Shade Enclave — a floating city which is home to the survivors of ancient Netheril who fled into the shadow plane before Karsus's folly. The citizens of Shade — the Shadovar — returned to Faerûn on 1 Hammer, the Year of Wild Magic (1372 DR), with the help of the Evereskan elf Galaeron Nihmedu.

Three Netherese successor states (Asram, Anauria, and Hlondath) survived for a while, but all were eventually destroyed by the encroaching desert. Some Netherese culture persists in the country of Halruaa, in the Shining South, which was founded by Raumark, a Netherese wizard who led a group of refugees south after foreseeing the destruction of the empire.

Undrentide: Recently, a wizard tried to reawaken ancient magic by capturing one of these cities, called Undrentide. This is the scenario of the Neverwinter Nights computer game expansion Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide.

Return of the Archwizards: Even more recently, a millennia-long exiled Netherese city called Shade came back from the demi-plane of Shadow. Its tremendous power is changing the fate of the Realms as it is already creating the Empire of Shadows.


Pelvuria, also known as The Great Glacier, is a great, magical glacier created in -2550 DC that was once Ostoria, the kingdom of Giants (the city of Gharreil is a testimony of it). It is presently home to several kingdoms: Alpuk, Angalpuk, Nakvalicach and Novularond.


Raumathar was the great eastern empire that once included Rashemen and Thay. It is over two millennia old and almost a thousand years dead, perishing in battle with its foe Narfell. Its people were known as powerful battle-wizards, and their art of fighting is still known by some.[5]


An ancient empire of Giants located in the North, that was divided up into separate kingdoms for each of the giant races. A falling between the giants and giant-kin led to the destruction of the empire and the creation of the Great Glacier (Pelvuria).

Shantel Othreier[]

Shantel Othreier was an ancient elven empire.


A country that had occupied the once fertile lands of the current Quoya desert, in the Endless wastes.

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cordell, Bruce R.; Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (2003). Underdark. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5. 
  2. "The Horde" (ZIP). Wizards of the Coast. 
  3. Boyd, Eric L. (2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2. 
  4. "Deep Imaskari". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2006-11-12. 
  5. Baker, Richard; Matt Forbeck, Sean K Reynolds (2003). Unapproachable East. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2881-6. 

Official material[]


Specific prestige classes[]

Regional feats[]

Novels and Modules[]

  • Illefarn
    • N5 - Under Illefarn.

External links[]