“Baldur’s Gate is a city divided by walls…walls that cut the Gate into three distinct cities: The rich live atop the bluffs protected from the bourgeoisie clinging to the slopes by barriers that literally prevent the middle class from rising above their stations, and beyond the protection of the city’s walls its many outcasts live with no law but the daggers of thieves.” – from Murder in Baldur’s Gate.
For your gaming pleasure – three scenarios that make up an epic story-arc revolving around the famed city of Baldur’s Gate. If you have ever wanted to run a swords & sorcery themed Fate game, now’s your chance. You’ll find the scenarios at the bottom of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. There’s more than an occasional nod to French literary classics like A Tale of Two Cities or even The Three Musketeers; not to mention Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar stories – with their colourful characters and cut-throat thieves’ guilds.
You’ll find they’re compatible with all of your 5th edition books like the Player’s Handbook or the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide if you play D&D. In fact, you’ll find that the 5th ed. write-ups for spells and monsters are easy to emulate using the guide-lines on this blog or those found in the Freeport Companion.
Uluvathae! (fortune bring you joy – in elvish).
What do we need to play Fate in the Forgotten Realms? Well, firstly if you haven’t already done so familiarise yourself with the game – fate-srd.com. The Fate Core System hardback is well worth investing in, trust me and it’s a handsome little tome that will sit well on any wizard’s shelf. Much of the rules on this site are based on the Fate Freeport Companion, which is presumed essential reading for play in the realms. You can pick it up on Drive-Thru RPG. You will need some reference material for the world you are about to run. You could feasibly get by using the Forgotten Realms Wiki, a very decent online library of realmslore but you’ll be missing out if you neglect acquiring a good sourcebook.
There are currently four editions of the Forgotten Realms, by far the most focused and atmospheric are the earlier iterations. The first edition, the old grey box is cherished by many gamers, mostly for it’s conciseness but it’s light on detail compared to later texts.
The second edition, either the gold box or the revised edition expands greatly on the world, however it is a world recovering from some turbulent ‘realms shaking events’. These r.s.e.s are questionable, undeniably included to trumpet the arrival of a new edition but frustratingly they are taking something from the DM, the privilege to shake up the world as she sees fit to. It is ten years from the Time of Troubles, when avatars of the gods schemed and fought against each other on Faerûn. More on the gods later. It is perhaps the definitive vision of the realms though and I would strongly recommend you get a copy, with a little luck a .pdf might be found online.
The third edition is praised for it’s high level of detail but it also introduces a major player in the returned Netherese Archmages, transforming the great northern desert in the process where there had previously been endless sand, warring bedine tribes and mysterious ruins. That’s an impactful event and changes the whole tone of Faerûn. It wouldn’t be to my taste. If you like the idea of a desolate desert hiding ancient secrets you might want to exclude the returned archmages and everything they bring. Still, it gets high marks and can be picked up online at sites like dmsguild.com.
Finally, since our campaign is set on the swashbuckling stretch of waters known as the sword coast, the adventure module Murder in Baldur’s Gate would make an excellent resource, if only for it’s superb setting book. The city depicted here is larger and more colourful than earlier representations of Baldur’s Gate but it can be easily fitted to any 14th c. arc. In fact for any DM planning on running games in one of Faerûn’s city-states I would suggest that it’s among the best places to start. It’s big and detailed without being too big and detailed.