Heroes of Hillsfar
To learn the state of Phlan is to understand her many trials and tragedies.” – Lord Sage of Phlan, 1489 DR
Phlan is an ancient town, and has risen and fallen again countless times over the ages.
PFounded in 367 DR, ten years after Northkeep, the town of Phlan has been leveled or razed repeatedly; new buildings sprouting from the ruins of previous incarnations. This has led to extensive tunnels, vaults, sewers and other hidden places under and throughout the city as the sounds of construction echo throughout. Though still the lawless, brutal town of the northern Moonsea, the town expands, trade continues slowly, and Phlan is more populated than it has been in many years; though stability is far from certain.
The Recent Past
In 1306 DR, a dragon invasion known as the Dragon Run swept out of the North and fell upon Phlan. Due in part to the Moonsea War with Mulmaster, none of the other cities in the Moonsea region came to Phlan’s aid and so Phlan was once again laid to waste. As Phlan was rebuilt, the entity known as Tyranthraxus corrupted and possessed a bronze dragon named Srossar in 1340 DR, after convincing the dragon to bathe in a Pool of Radiance that was buried beneath the ruins of Castle Valjevo. Tyranthraxus would later be discovered and subsequently defeated by a group of adventurers, but in his flight, he would turned the Pool of Radiance into a pool of non-magical water and would later be sealed off during the rebuilding of the castle and its location lost.
Phlan would know over ten years of peace before the Flight of Dragons in 1356 DR when it was again decimated and its ruins occupied by a great wyrm which itself was later slain and the city reclaimed by Zhentil Keep in 1375 DR. Within half a decade, the city’s previous Council of Ten system of rule was replaced by the tyranny of Zhentarim Hatemaster Cvaal Daoran. Daoran’s ascension as the Lord Protector of Phlan saved the city during the Shadowbane War of 1383 DR. Forging an alliance with the fey of the nearby Quivering Forest, Phlan was spared from the destruction that came to Zhentil Keep and the Citadel of the Raven at the hands of the Netherese. After Cvaal slays one of the shade princes, he declares the position of Lord Protector as hereditary. This marked the beginning of the eventual separation of Phlan from direct control by the Zhentarim.
Almost a century later, in 1480 DR, barbarian attacks in the north led to an influx of refugees into Phlan, drastically swelling its population. By then, Lord Protector Daoran’s grandson, Anivar Daoran, had inherited the Cinnabar Throne. Lord Protector Anivar Daoran was a cowardly and pampered noble, and a paranoid and ineffective ruler; his concern for the responsibilities of his rule was only slightly less than that for his subjects. In 1488 DR, Lord Protector Anivar Daoran died unexpectedly in what, for all intents and purposes seemed nothing more than a construction accident during renovations on Castle Valjevo. The Lord Protector left no heir, so the Knight Commander of the Black Fist, Ector Brahms, was declared the Lord Regent of the Cinnabar Throne. However his rule was tenuous and his enforcement harsh. Phlan became a lawless, shabby remnant of what it once was and what it was struggling to become again. For over a millennia it has endured decimation at the hands of its enemies and it is decidedly ironic that it stood once again on the brink of ruin by its own hand. Despite the courage of adventurers and others, the Cult of the Dragon found this condition suitable for their own plans for Phlan to be ruled by a dragon.
Approximately 18 months ago (1490 DR) Vorgansharax, the Maimed Virulence (a green dragon), along with the Cult of the Dragon and many rogue Knights of the Black Fist (the local mercenary police in Phlan), violently took over Phlan, subjugating or killing much of the populace and forcing the rest into retreat. The dragon magically erected a huge, living thicket around the town, effectively blocking most travel in or out of the city.
Key citizens of Phlan allied with adventurers to stage a resistance for a time, but were eventually driven away. After one final rescue mission, the resistance retreated to ships and sailed across the Moonsea to Mulmaster. Since the events with elemental cultists in Mulmaster, as well as the extreme poverty in that town, many refugees have now relocated to other areas along the Moonsea, including Hillsfar (humans only), The Stop and Elventree.
The few who remain in Phlan live in a totalitarian state, with the dragon magically amplifying its voice to make “loudspeaker” announcements to the populace, and the Tears of Virulence (the rogue Black Fists) enforcing a citywide curfew.
Local points of interest included the ruins of Valjevo Castle, once one of the largest castles in Faerûn. Rather than rebuilding the castle, a group of druids were instead attempting to recultivate the courtyard. Sokol Keep on Thorn Island was a small fortress in the Bay of Phlan that was being rebuilt as a lighthouse.