What are the five worst places in the Forgotten Realms? Come with us as we journey to Faerun to find out all the places that aren’t even nice to visit.
The Forgotten Realms are home to untold wonders beneath the glimmering sky of Toril. Whether you’re looking out at the vast stretch of shire-like green country of the Dalelands, or the windswept coastline of the sea of swords, there’s no end to places full of natural beauty and wonder to visit. Or if you’re more interested in the urban splendor of Faerun, fret not, for cities like Neverwinter and Waterdeep and Baldur’s Gate stand tall and welcome in visitors from all walks of life. The sights! The smells!
It’s also home to places that are just the worst. Like these!
Do you like Red Wizards? Trick question, nobody does. Whether they’re populating some kind of doomvault fortress with backup phylacteries, or just waging a war of conquest upon those parts of the realms that haven’t decided to elevate mages to the highest rulers of society, the Red Wizards of Thay are never going to top the vacation destination charts.
Like any society hell bent on elevating one class above the others, their kingdom is kind of terrible if you aren’t a member of the ruling class. And with red wizards, it’s doubly so because even if you *are* a member of the ruling class you are still kind of forced to deal with the autocratic, megalomaniacal desires of a Lich for a boss, which means you don’t even have the paltry hope that one day they’ll die.
Deserts are already not the most hospitable environment, though life, uhh, finds a way even in the harshest climes. But the Anauroch isn’t just a desert. It’s a magical desert that was created during the explosive collapse of one of the mightiest and most malevolent magical empires Faerun has ever known. The Anauroch is what remains, not of Edith Finch, but rather the Netherese Empire. Once called the Empire of Magic, this empire once spanned Faerun and was divided into High and Low Netheril, which is not a metaphor but the people in High Netheril lived in giant floating enclaves.
Naturally it all came crashing down when they decided that their mastery of magic wasn’t enough, so they greedily overreached and attempted to seize the divine mantle of magic from the goddess Mystryl and it basically broke everything. And now this desert is basically a radioactive magical wasteland where monsters hang out and the ancient cities of Netheril are also kinda trapped in the plane of shadow.
The Drow city is also not a fun place to be. I mean, yeah it’s another weird oligarchy where a powerful cadre of magic users, priestesses in this case, oppress everyone. But like, look at the art for it.
Even the drow who rule over the area don’t want to be there. Why would you want to visit? Sure it’s cosmopolitan. The de-facto capital of the Underdark, Menzoberranzan is a place where you can find drow and duergar and mind flayers all mingling under the same roof and oppressing the heck out of those less fortunate than they.
Zhentil Keep is the home to the Zhentarim, a network of lawful “definitely not” evil merchants and mercenaries. But don’t let the name or the fact that the Zhentarim are an excessively wealthy mercenary and mercantile organization fool you. This city is a cess pit. Zhentil Keep was lost relatively recently as far as the official timeline of Faerun goes. The Zhentarim, greedier than they are wise, allied with the Phaerimm.
The Phaerimm, for reference, are basically big magical leeches that want to feed on magic, fly around, and would be all about erasing everyone from existence (which they can do) except then there wouldn’t be anyone to slowly torture-murder, so they are about being evil, torture-murdery abominations instead. But only just. Naturally the Zhentarim’s alliance with these backfired, and Zhentil Keep was destroyed by evil shadow wizards from the plane of shadow, and only now, about a hundred and twenty years later, have they retaken it.
And they still won’t let most folks in, on account of how dangerous it is.
Skelkor is a place so bad that it could only come from another world. The area known as Skelkor was once part of the world of Abeir, which if you go way back in Forgotten Realms history, is sort of a sister planet to Faerun. Only in the distant past, when the gods and titans warred, Ao, the overdeity sundered the two planets, leaving the gods and all the cool life forms to Faerun, and all the titans and their strange, corrupt creatures to Abeir.
And on Abeir, Skelkor had a reputation–it is ruled by an evil empire, is called the Evil Dragon Empire (I mean come on it has evil in the name), and the area, as a whole, is trapped between massive mountain ranges and trackless seas, so even if you wanted to do anything like “leave this dragon-ruled hellscape” you couldn’t. Not without being a powerful adventurer in your own right, but those tend to get gobbled up by the Dragon Queen of Skelkor
Now we turn it over to you? What is the worst place in the Realms? Let us know in the comments!