welcome banner

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 and accept slaves as payment. (However, many governments require people to be consenting adults or condemned criminals, if they're to become slaves.) 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.

It's important to note that while enclaves must be allowed to take slaves in payment, that doesn't grant them permission to claim slaves in any other setting, and selling them is another matter. If local laws forbid it and are actively enforced - and if public sentiment is heavily against it - there's little point in trying to sell slaves that customers can't keep. But not all cases are so clear cut: In Sembia, slavery is officially forbidden, but nobody stops wealthy nobles from bringing slaves to their private estates. In places like Proskur, slaves are traded but kept mostly out of sight to avoid upsetting the townsfolk, who aren't used to seeing their conditions. In a few special cities, what is illegal aboveground is practiced openly below (such as in Raven's Bluff and Waterdeep).

For quick reference, here is a list of slaving regions, according to the 3rd edition Forgotten Realms Campagin Setting book: Tashalar, The Dragon Coast, Calimshan, Chessenta, Mulhorand (from Thay specifically), Unther, Thay, and The Underdark import slaves. The Nelanther Isles, Chessenta (to Thay in particular), The Shaar, and The Vilhon Reach export slaves. Additionally, the Cormanthor drow take slaves, as do the Zhents, and there are bandit groups across the Realms that engage in the practice.

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 an updated list of enclaves, and most of them are from official 3rd edition sources. Canon dates are marked in bold with a black background and come from Grand History of the Realms or City of Splendors: Waterdeep. If I came up with a founding date on my own, I explain my reasons for choosing it. Those mentioned in Lords of Darkness are "well-established enclaves of at least fifty Thayans." I have added information about whether or not slavery is allowed in the city for quick reference. Enclaves that I've added entirely on my own are in red.

I went through different sources looking for whether or not slavery is legal in these places, but I didn't keep track of them. In some cases, the books tell us the city's stand on slavery; in other cases, I made my best judgment based on a swift review of the area's history, practices, and alignment. You can accept or reject these entries as you see fit, but for now, they will be guiding our game.

 

Established

Host City

Source or Rationale for Date

Slavery in the City

1344

Procampur

Grand History of the Realms and Lords of Darkness

Illegal

1347

Raven's Bluff

Lords of Darkness; part of efforts in the area

Illegal (but they secretly trade with the drow beneath the city)

1348

Yhaunn

Lords of Darkness; quickly followed Procampur's lead for resources

Illegal (but they secretly supply local noble estates)

1350

Calaunt

Lords of Darkness; it's near Procampur and went along

Illegal

1351

Telflamm

Grand History of the Realms and Lords of Darkness; largest enclave

Allowed (but discreet)

1356

Mulmaster

Lords of Darkness; said to have existed "for years" before the High Blade married Dmitra Flass in 1370

Allowed

1357

Hillsfar

Lords of Darkness; Courted along with Mulmaster

Allowed (human only)

1359

Messemprar

Lords of Darkness; needed help in the wake of Gilgeam's demise

Allowed

1360

Saerloon

Lords of Darkness; approached early as a major port and consented

Illegal (but they secretly supply local noble estates)

1364

Hlondeth

Lords of Darkness; approached as a major port and slave country

Allowed

1367

Hlath

Lords of Darkness; smaller than Hlondeth, approached later

Illegal

1368

Cimbar

Grand History of the Realms and Lords of Darkness

Allowed

1368

Phsant

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

Allowed (but discreet)

1368

Proskur

Grand History of the Realms

Allowed (but discreet)

1368

Tsurlagol

Grand History of the Realms

Illegal (but done with local pirates)

1369

Calimport

Lords of Darkness; efforts on the far coast went from south to north

Allowed

1369

Innarlith

Lords of Darkness; Thayans moved inland after Hlondeth

Allowed

1369

Scardale

Lords of Darkness; after trade was reopened

Allowed

1370

Iriaebor

Lords of Darkness; courted after Proskur

Ilegal

1370

Selgaunt

Grand History of the Realms

Illegal (but they secretly supply local noble estates)

1370

Waterdeep

City of Splendors and Lords of Darkness: Waterdeep and Lords of Darkness

Illegal (but done beneath the city in Skullport)

1370

Westgate

Grand History of the Realms and Lords of Darkness

Allowed

1371

Athkatla

Lords of Darkness; set after events of the games, in which there was no enclave

Illegal

1371

Hill's Edge

Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting

Allowed

1372

Baldur's Gate

Lords of Darkness; set after events of the games, in which there was no enclave

Illegal

1372

Marsember

Lords of Darkness; approached as trade skyrocketed after a long slump

Illegal

1373

Scornubel

Lords of Darkness; courted after Proskur

Allowed (but discreet)

1373

Soorenar

Lords of Darkness; held out, didn't want to be seen like its enemy, Cimbar

Allowed

1373

Triel

Courted after Proskur

Illegal

1374

Kourmira

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

Not Interested

1375

Vaelan

in Durpar; coverage was needed in the area

Illegal

1376

Cathyr

in Dambrath; coverage was needed in the area

Allowed

Future target

Ithmong

More access to The Shining Sea

Allowed

Future target

Mintar

More access to The Shining Sea

Allowed

Future target

Yeshpek

More access to The Shining Sea

Illegal

Future target

Tashluta

Access to the Jungles of Chult

Allowed

 

long decorative bar

Resources are free for personal use; please do not offer them for sale or claim them as your own work.

Please do not repost material elsewhere; link to this site instead. Thank you, and happy gaming!

long decorative bar