The vast expanse of Anauroch
Geographical information
Capital Thultanthar /
none for the Bedine
Societal information
Humans (Bedine and D'tarig) 77%
Asabi 17%
Gnolls 5%
(excludes the Shades and Krinth)

Population 115,000, excluding Thultanthar in 1372 DR
Imports Livestock, wooden goods
Exports Salt, spices
Political information
Government Magocracy (Shade Enclave) /
Tribal (the Bedine)

Inhabitants of Anauroch
Locations in Anauroch
Organizations in Anauroch
Settlements in Anauroch

Anauroch (either Ah-NOR-ach[1] or An-OAR-ock-hh'[2]), or The Great Sand Sea, is a magical desert in northern Faerûn. It holds the remnants of the once-powerful Netherese Empire, their flying enclaves having crashed to the ground nearly seventeen centuries past when their greatest mage Karsus, in a desperate bid to end the war against the phaerimm, challenged the goddess Mystryl for her divine mantle, causing the Weave to falter and all magic to fail. For generations since, Anauroch, the greatest desert in Faerûn, has encroached relentlessly on border nations, burying them beneath the sands.

The only people to call Anauroch home are the nomadic Bedine tribes and a small Zhentarim garrison, tasked with patrolling and defending a line of oases along the Black Road, the trade route that winds west from the ruins of Teshendale to Llorkh at the foot of the Graypeak Mountains. A diminutive, degenerate people called the D'tarig[3] are the only other major inhabitants, who live along the borders of the desert and interact somewhat with peoples from surrounding countries.

Finally, on 20 Nightal in 1372 DR, the enclave of Thultanthar (also known as Shade) of the ancient Netherese Empire re-emerged from the Plane of Shadow in the skies above the Dire Wood, before drifting into Anauroch, settling above the Shoal of Thirst, bringing the evil and warped Shadovar into the Realms.

Life and SocietyEdit

The Bedine nomads are simplistic in nature who survive by raiding and guiding caravans through the hidden passes, making their home on the surface of the wastes, traveling from oasis to oasis. They are divided into a dozen or so minor tribes lead by sheiks, whose wealth is measured not by gold, but by the size and well-being of their herd. The Bedine are good-natured and noble, and the encroachment upon their home by the Shadovar has trapped them in an exposed position. Suspicious of magic at the best of times[4], they are now having to deal with a vastly superior magical force altering their environment around them.

The Zhentarim, always eager to make a profit, have fought long and hard to secure routes for their caravans through the desert. The northern routes across the High Ice are plagued by monsters too numerous to fight and in the south humanoid raiders and interference from the Dales and Cormyr hinder their efforts. After years of painstaking effort the Zhentarim have created a caravan route via oases in the Sword, the sandy southern portion of Anauroch. The garrison constantly fights to defend it's territory, but despite years of bitter fighting with the Bedine, the Zhentarim hold little more land than that on which they stand in Anauroch.

Below the dunes of Anauroch lurk what remains of the evil phaerimm, a race of reptilian-spellcasters with near-unrivaled mastery of the Art, long imprisoned in a magical shell called the Sharn Wall under the desert. The phaerimm were forgotten by all but the wisest of sages until the barrier holding them was broken. Since fighting the combined armies of most of Evereska, Evermeet, the Heartlands, the Chosen of Mystra and the Shadovar - all at once - the remaining phaerimm are now scattered beneath the surface.

The returned masters of Anauroch, the ancient Netherese wizards of Thultanthar, warped and twisted by their long exile in the Demiplane of Shadow, are determined to not be denied what they consider their birth-right, longing to restore the barren wasteland that is now Anauroch to the once fertile land that was the Empire of Magic. The Shadovar have a regimented society, ruled by The Most High and his Princes of Shade, all working in unison, toughened by centuries of hardship in the Shadow, to accomplish their common goal. So far they have all but ignored the Bedine and Zhentarim, considering them beneath their notice.


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Important SitesEdit

Empire of ShadowsEdit

Thultanthar (Metropolis, 25,000+): Returned in 1372 DR, the “City of Shadows” is a floating mountaintop, sliced off and inverted, with a city built upon it. It was built centuries past, before the folly of Karsus and no magic like it survives in Faerûn to this day, as the reincarnated Mystra restricted mortals from ever again creating such potent spells as the ones that created Shade's mythallar.

Ruins of HlangadathEdit

Main article: Hlaungadath

Hlaungadath: About forty miles east of the ruined city Ascore on the northwestern border of the desert, another abandoned city rises from the sands. Hlaungadath is one of the three floating cities that Mystra saved during the destruction of Netheril. It is a city that landed near the High Ice and was eventually abandoned. Old but largely intact, the ruins are inhabited by a clan of lamias. The lamias stalk the nearby oases, preying on careless Zhentarim or unwary Bedine - but anyone knowledgeable of the desert knows of the evil of Hlaungadath and give the ruins a wide berth.

The drow in the War of the Spider Queen series of novels arrive here by means of a portal. They were forced to flee after they are set upon by the lamia and their legions of asabi thralls.


-461 DR 
The Phaerimm start casting spells in the Netheril (region)[5]. These spells are the magical cause of Anauroch
10 DR 
The Netheril (region) is renamed Anauroch[6] to reflect the great desert that the region had become.
1372 DR 
The arrival of Thultanthar[7] heralds the beginning of the end of Anauroch
1479 DR 
The end of Anauroch is complete and only occasional dustbowls remain as a reminder of the once great desert[8].

Important PersonagesEdit

See AlsoEdit


  1. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, p. 99. Wizards of the CoastISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  2. Ed Greenwood (1991). Anauroch, p. 3. TSR, IncISBN 1-56076-126-1.
  3. Ed Greenwood (1991). Anauroch, p. 31. TSR, IncISBN 1-56076-126-1.
  4. Ed Greenwood (1991). Anauroch, p. 20. TSR, IncISBN 1-56076-126-1.
  5. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, p. 268. Wizards of the CoastISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  6. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, p. 269. Wizards of the CoastISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  7. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, p. 271. Wizards of the CoastISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  8. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, p. 164. Wizards of the CoastISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.


3rd Edition D&D