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THAYAN ENCLAVES

 

 

small map of Faerun

Map © Wizards of the Coast, only altered to show enclaves, click for full view

 

The Enclaves in General

The Lords of Darkness is the primary resource for information on the inside workings of Thayan enclaves and is worth exploring. Its writeup about the Proskur enclave is a great example of how these compounds operate, and the map is a nice guide to how they can be arranged. Since enclaves are unique in Faerun and powerful springboards for adventures - and since the book could only go so far - they are also worth developing further here.

These walled embassies are the children of the Guild of Foreign Trade in Bezantur. One of the main reasons they were created was to generate profit from the sale of discounted magical goods and services across Faerun. Slave labor and other unscrupulous methods allow Thayans to offer reduced prices, but the deal can be too sweet to refuse, even for cities that abhor such practices. This provides contacts the Red Wizards would not have gained otherwise, along with obscene wealth. Of course, the lion’s share of the proceeds flows back to the zulkirs for their own plots and schemes, but others get their cut along the way.

The enclaves serve a number of other key purposes. They help to improve Thay’s image on the world stage, since they focus on trade rather than conquest. Foreigners become more comfortable with Thayan culture by sampling their unique food, music, and fashion. They also get used to Thay’s lawful evil structure through the Three Laws of the Enclave: First, they are considered Thayan soil and are run by Thayan laws, but those within can be held accountable if they commit crimes outside the embassy. Enclaves must be allowed to offer goods and services at 10% below normal local rates, but any trade in slaves must be in accordance with local laws. Lastly, enclaves will not sell goods that are easily used for crime or mass destruction, and all items they create are marked by the seal of the Red Wizards, as well as the place of origin.

These structures also grant access to Thayan diplomats and politics without overt fear of attack. A strongly enforced rule is that enclave dealings must remain peaceful, unless an outside influence forces a battle. House Volkos (which I created for the setting) has taken a lead role in bargaining for these embassies from the beginning in order to open up new routes for diplomacy. The enclaves are impressive in scope and scale, giving the country a strong face to present abroad. They provide a good deal of prosperity to host cities, which Thayans can use as leverage, when the need arises. Lastly, they provide bases for Thayan intrigue and exploration. All of these are selling points House Volkos has used to drum up support from other nobles.

Known Enclaves

Thayan embassies are spread throughout Faerun, with heavy concentrations in certain areas. There are important considerations when it comes to the placement of the enclaves, and chief among them is the alignment of the host city. Simply put, a lawful good city is unlikely to want Thayans in their backyard at all, let alone to support their evil enterprises through trade. Enclaves also tend to be erected in cities rather than small villages or towns; lesser locations might have small Thayan shops, but aren’t usually worth the resources for major buildings. Hubs of trade along key routes are the usual targets, along with settlements which grant access to major features (like lakes, mountains, and magical ruins).

For many years, I have had the 3rd edition Forgotten Realms map hung on my wall. As I prepped to start our evil campaign, I marked our map with the locations of all the enclaves I could find mentioned in various books. We referenced the map a lot because we started aboard a ship in the Sea of Fallen Stars, with the player characters going on slave-gathering raids along the coast. They decided to make major stops in Hlath, Hlondeth, and Westgate because they could easily see there were enclaves in those ports.

Since it helped us so much, I shared a digital version of the map on this site as a visual aid for those who wanted to visit enclaves in their games. Recently, however, I stumbled across a more inclusive list by Gelcur at Candlekeep (somehow I didn’t find it before) and realized that I had missed a number of enclaves. I also noticed that many enclaves did not have dates to tell us when they were established. I decided it was time to update the map and pin down dates for the rest of the embassies, because why not?

Additionally, since my game is ongoing and does not follow the canon timeline beyond 1374, I felt free to add two more recent enclaves, at Vaelan and Cathyr, respectively. Thay has not traditionally had as much of a presence in the southeast but these ports grant them access to new waterways, including The Great Sea. Likewise, it makes sense to me that enterprising Thayans would set their eyes on areas with interesting opportunities for trade, like the Jungles of Chult and The Shining Sea. To that end, I have also listed targets for future enclaves. These have not been established yet, but are in the sights of the Guild of Foreign Trade, House Volkos, and other Thayan groups.

Below is the updated list of enclaves. Canon dates are marked in bold. I looked up information on as many of the cities as I could find and have provided reasons for dates I have added. You can accept or reject these as you see fit, but for now, they will be guiding our game.


Established

Host City

Source or Rationale

1344

Procampur

Grand History of the Realms

1347

Raven's Bluff

Part of efforts in the area

1348

Yhaunn

Quickly followed Procampur's lead for resources

1350

Calaunt

Near Procampur and went along

1351

Telflamm

Grand History of the Realms; largest enclave

1356

Mulmaster

Said to have existed "for years" before the High Blade married Dmitra Flass in 1370

1357

Hillsfar

Courted along with Mulmaster

1359

Messemprar

Need in the wake of Gilgeam's demise

1360

Saerloon

Approached early as a major port and consented

1364

Hlondeth

Approached as a major port and slave country

1367

Hlath

Smaller than Hlondeth, approached later

1368

Cimbar

Grand History of the Realms

1368

Phsant

Grand History of the Realms; instant success along the Golden Way

1368

Proskur

Grand History of the Realms

1368

Tsurlagol

Grand History of the Realms

1369

Calimport

Efforts on the far coast went from south to north

1369

Innarlith

Moved inland after Hlondeth

1369

Scardale

After trade was reopened

1370

Iriaebor

Courted after Proskur

1370

Selgaunt

Grand History of the Realms

1370

Waterdeep

City of Splendors: Waterdeep

1370

Westgate

Grand History of the Realms

1371

Athkatla

After events of the games, in which there was no enclave

1371

Hill's Edge

Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting

1372

Baldur's Gate

After events of the games, in which there was no enclave

1372

Marsember

Approached as trade skyrocketed after a long slump

1373

Scornubel

Courted after Proskur

1373

Soorenar

Held out, didn't want to be seen like its enemy, Cimbar

1373

Triel

Courted after Proskur

1374

Kourmira

Grand History of the Realms; opened Mirtul 9th; Tuigan (not on map)

1375

Vaelan

in Durpar; coverage was needed in the area

1376

Cathyr

in Dambrath; coverage was needed in the area

Future target

Ithmong

More access to The Shining Sea

Future target

Mintar

More access to The Shining Sea

Future target

Yeshpek

More access to The Shining Sea

Future target

Tashluta

Access to the Jungles of Chult