Forgotten Realms, Not In the Ghetto

One of the things I like about the Forgotten Realms setting is that unlike so many other settings the non-human races are not ghettoised.

Take middle earth for example, if you are looking for a dwarf then they are pretty much allowed to live in Erebor or the Iron hills. Need and elf? That will be Lorien or Rivendell. If Hobbits are your problem then head to the shire.

Pretty much the entire planet is human with just these little nature reserves or enclosures for the non humans. Greyhawk was not much better with elves being found in Celene, Highvale, the Lendore Isles, Sunndi, the Duchy of Ulek, the Valley of the Mage, the Vesve Forest.

Faerun is more cosmoplitan and racially integrated than either of these and more than most other settings. Take Waterdeep as an example, the city itself holds almost every inteligent race capable of living in a civilised society and that includes races normally associated with the tag ‘monster’. As long as they are kept in check there is no reason not to employ Orcish bodyguards.

This integration does not only extend along racial lines. Your magic users are not all holed up in their towers. Every spell caster who can manipulate fire or water can find a place in the cities version of the fire brigade. It is one of the ways that spell casters can make their living if they are not the adventuring type.

From an adventuring perspective what this means is that for the starting player every race is available without having to come up with some tenuous reason why they are where they are. If you want to be from foreign lands then great but if you want to be local but still be a dwarven berserker then that is cool too. If you need someone who can read dwarven runes then chances are there is going to be a dwarf in your local tavern at some point. Whether that causes more problems than it solves is one of the day to day hazards of adventuring. (Getting a dwarf to translate the runes of a grave piece from a noble dwarven family can be a bit dicey!)

The whole Dwarves don’t like Elves and Elves being patronising to Dwarves is a bit cliched and totally unnecessary in an integrated society.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t get ‘homelands’ for these races. In fact within Faerun you get elven homelands that have been abandoned (Myth Drannor), those that are in their ascendancy (Evereska) and those timeless lands that have always been and always (to the inhabitants perception) will be elven lands.

The same is true with the Dwarves. There are enough dwarves around that are looking for clues of their lost family halls that they are almost queuing up to repopulate former dwarven halls and strongholds.

So when you are adventuring in the Realms just remember there is no place for ‘human supremacists’.

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