A Short History Of Phlan


Themes: Corruption, Martial Law
Population: 18,000 (plus 2,000 in outlying farms and homesteads)

The Beginnings

Phlan was founded in 367 DR, about ten years after Northkeep was established. However, whereas Northkeep was destroyed and ultimately sunk into the sea, Phlan was merely leveled. The residents of Phlan simply brushed themselves off and rebuilt. This would be a recurring theme with Phlan. More often than not, new construction would be performed atop old. This was the unfortunate effect of a number of sinkholes and collapsed structures, but more than one hidden chamber has been discovered in the ruins of Old Phlan; sometimes with buried riches and sometimes with things of a more wicked disposition.

Recent History

In 1306 DR, a dragon invasion known as the Dragon Run swept out of the Moonsea North and fell upon Phlan. Due in part to the Moonsea war, none of the other Moonsea cities came to Phlan’s aid. As a result, Phlan was once again laid to waste. As always, Phlan rebuilt.

Decades prior to this, an entity known as Tyranthraxus corrupted and possessed a bronze dragon named Srossar after convincing it to bathe in a Pool of Radiance buried beneath the ruins of Castle Valjevo. Tyranthraxus would later be discovered and subsequently defeated by a group of adventurers. Tyranthraxus, in his flight, turned the Pool of Radiance into a pool of non-magical water.

After the defeat of Tyranthraxus, work began on rebuilding Phlan. Progress was slow, but steady. Phlan would know over ten years of peace before the Flight of Dragons in 1356 DR. In the ensuing attacks, Phlan was decimated and its ruins occupied by a great wyrm. The wyrm was later slain and the city reclaimed by Zhentil Keep in 1375 DR, and within half a decade, the city’s previous system of rule was replaced by the tyranny of Zhentarim Hatemaster Cvaal Daoran. Daoran’s ascension as the Lord Protector of Phlan may have saved the city, however. During the Shadowbane War of 1383 DR, Daoran’s alliance with fey from the Quivering Forest spared it from the fate of Zhentil Keep; which, along with the nearby Citadel of the Raven, would be ultimately destroyed by the Netherese.

In 1480 DR, barbarian attacks in the north led to an influx of refugees into Phlan. 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.

Phlan Today

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 Knight Commander Ector Brahms was declared the Lord Regent of the Cinnabar Throne. The Knight Commander’s grasp on the throne is tenuous at best, however. The Lord Regent still acts as the Knight Commander of the shrinking Black Fist and has declared martial law upon the city. For now, the citizens are kept in line if by nothing but fear. The chaos is barely contained by the diminishing forces of the Black Watch. Shortly after Daoran’s death, the Lyceum of the Black Lord was looted and burned. A blackened husk remains, and was rededicated and is currently being renovated by an up-and-coming lay cleric of Lathander. She does what she is able to provide a place of solace and refuge from the tumultuous city.

Trade has all but stopped in Phlan. The guilds now vie for control over the city to compensate for their lost incomes. Wages have plummeted, prices of goods and services have skyrocketed, and worst of all—construction has stopped. The Welcomers have shifted their goals, and now lash out against the guilds who, in their greed, have abandoned the citizenry. In turn, they have been declared outlaws by the Black Fist, and any person with a missing ear is imprisoned, tried and hung. Each day, more bodies swing from the Stojanow Gate.

Phlan is a lawless, shabby remnant of what it once stood for. For over a millennium it has endured decimation at the hands of its enemies; it is decidedly ironic that it now stands on the brink of ruin by its own hand.