Murder in Baldur's Gate
Baldur’s Gate was a metropolis and city-state on the Sword Coast and Western Heartlands blend, on the north bank of the river Chionthar about twenty miles (32 km) east from its mouth on the Sea of Swords. It was to the south of the great city-state of Waterdeep and to the north of the country of Amn, and was located along the well-traveled Coast Way road. A person from Baldur’s Gate is known as a Baldurian.
This wealthy port metropolis, whose population, according to many accounts, superseded that of Waterdeep, was an important merchant city on the Sword Coast. Its strong watch and the presence of the powerful Flaming Fists mercenary company kept the city generally peaceful and safe.
In ancient times, the seafaring human hero Balduran would return from Anchrome with great wealth. Balduran would use this wealth to build a wall amongst the end of the Chionthar river. Balduran would later vanish, never to return. After Balduran vanished, local farmers would take control of the wall and begin to tax sailors who would come in. The sailors would overthrow the ruthless farmers and the four eldest would take control, calling themselves “dukes”.
Eventually, the city would be called Baldur’s Gate and would be led by the Council of Four, the Four Grand Dukes of the City. The inner portions of the city would be divided into Bloomridge, where the wealthy lived, and the Twin Songs, the homes of the sailors and the clerics. The city would become the most powerful force in the Western Heartlands and would join the Lords’ Alliance. The city would only be recorded to be called upon by the Alliance once, in 1235 DR when the Black Horde would attempt to invade. They would send their top military general, Eldrith the Betrayer to drive them off. While she would experience victory at first, she would eventually betray Baldur’s Gate and be killed, but later resurrected, in the Marsh of Chelimber by Baldurian forces.
The Flaming Fists would begin operating in Baldur’s Gate early in the century started by 1300 DR. Midway through the century, in 1356 DR, the adventurers Drizzt Do’Urden and Wulfgar would come to the city seeking their friend Regis. Then, in 1368 DR, the Bhaalspawn Sarevok Anchev orchestrated a major conspiracy to send the city to war with Amn. The plan failed and within two years all Bhaalspawn were killed due to the actions of Baldurian Abdel Adrian.
A Guild of Thieves, Xantam’s Guild, would move into Baldur’s Gate early in later 1374 DR. Three adventurers, Vahn, Kromlech and Adrianna would arrive and defeat the Thieves Guild. Joined by the Harpers, they would discover the thieves guild to be only part of a larger plan involving Eldrith the Betrayer. After defeating Eldrith the Betrayer, they would discover the plan to have become more complex with the evil alchemist Mordoc SeLanmere getting involved. However, Mordoc too would be defeated.
In the year 1384 DR, the Grand Duke Valarken, along with General Ikhal, would attempt to usurp the leadership of Baldur’s Gate. The failure of his attack would lead to the dissolution of the Baldurian Police and the Council of Four. In its place, the Flaming Fists and the Baldurian Parliament would rule. In the following year, the realms would experience the Spellplague, a situation which would double Baldur’s Gate’s population and area.
Baldur’s Gate would be able to adapt to the change and would experience relative peace until the year 1437 DR when the elfsong would return to the Elfsong Tavern with an undead crisis, as well as a tensing of relations with Elturgard and the stealing of a Tome of Cyric. All of these crises would be considered minor when General Ikhal would return with a lycanthrope army far greater than the army of Baldur’s Gate. The Flaming Fists would resolve the conflict. Following the death of Grand Duke Portyr, famed adventurer Abdel Adrian was elected the new Grand Duke.
As of 1479 DR, Baldur’s Gate not only became Faerûn’s most powerful and important city, but it also once again become stable. At this time it was no longer bothered by Valarken and Amn. It maintained a positive relationship with the nation of Elturgard and the other regions in the Western Heartlands. However, the expansion proved to turn the city on it’s heels, threatening to send it into civil war.
Since its creation, the city of Baldur’s Gate grew immensely. It came from being a couple of shanty huts aside a walled fortress to a sprawling city stretching across its neighbouring regions. The most remarkable feature of the city was the Black Dragon Gate, the original feature of the city, built by Balduran and withstanding time, albeit reinforcements and renovations. The main part of the city, comprising the old “city core” was commonly referred to as Bloomridge. The center of Baldur’s Gate’s prominent aristocracy, it was one of the regions confined inside the Black Dragon Gate. Bloomridge was home to many buildings of wealth, including manors and a few temples, though most were in the Twin Songs. Bloomridge also housed various taverns for adventurers to drink in and inns to accompany them in a motel fashion. The Temple of Ilmater and the Temple of Helm were two of the well known temples within Bloomridge, though the latter hosted the deadly Crypts of Ilmater and the former likely dissolved following the fall of Helm.
Also within the Black Dragon Gate was the Twin Songs temple district. Although some temples were in Bloomridge, most were in the Twin Songs. The Twin Songs hosted temples to virtually any god, even evil gods like Bhaal and Bane. Baldur’s Gate had many places of worship. Before the Spellplague, in 1369 DR, there were 3 major temples, (devoted to Gond, Umberlee and Tymora) and many shrines. Following the mass expansion of the city, though, the three religions, although still prominent, were no longer the dominant temples, with smaller (and some malign) religions gaining more and and more influence. The Twin Songs was the only place inside the Black Dragon Gate that unified the cultures of all of Faerûn. These were all found in the Twin Songs District.
The final district within the Black Dragon Gate was the Wide, which, mixing in with the city Outskirts, proved to extend outside of the gate as well. Giving a horrible stench due to the various cultures coming together in its blend with the Outskirts, only part of the Wide was hospitable to those who prefer a finer way of life. This area was a marketplace where produce was purchased alongside other objects. The Outskirts, however, were often regarded as the slums of the city and were largely populated with the poor and few middle class.
Baldur’s Gate was the greatest center of trade along the entire Sword Coast, having out-competed both Waterdeep and Amn as of 1479 DR.
In 1368 DR, stone was usually imported from Mirabar via Luskan for use in construction, having been magically transported. This was an expensive process. By 1479 DR, with Luskan in disarray and with no functional port, along with the destruction caused by the Spellplague across the lands, it was unclear if this trade still occurred.
Baldur’s Gate contained a very effective thieves’ guild, as well as a powerful and honest mercantile guild, the Merchant’s League. Additionally, the Knights of the Shield and the Knights of the Unicorn were both active in the city. Various thieves guilds have risen and fallen in Baldur’s Gate including Xantam’s Guild and the Hands of Glory. Since the fall of both,a new thieves’ guild arose.