A Primer on Vastian Geography
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Ylraphon
Page updated on Sun, 01 Aug 1999 21:49:36 EDT

From the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting: A Grand Tour of the Realms by Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb:

Ylraphon (Ee-IL-ra-FON) is a small, Dale-like town on the northern end of the Dragon Reach. Its people are similar in looks and disposition to the Dalesmen, and they may be an early settlement of the same ancestral stock that did not cross the River Lis and settle at the edges of the trees of the Elven Court. Ylraphon is the birthplace of a number of powerful wizards and rich merchants, but none of them has chosen to remain in the city, instead heading off to other lands and other adventures.

In its eldest days, Ylraphon was an elven community, then an orcish stronghold, then a dwarven town, then an orcish stronghold again before finally being conquered and settled by humans. Now it boasts a small port and a great many ruins to its east. Ylraphon often attracts adventurers seeking ancient tombs and ruined temples to lost gods.

Ylraphon has a small temple to Selûne, the Moonwater, presided over by Catalan Bree (LG hm P8) and four clerical followers. In addition, there are shrines to Chauntea, Umberlee, and Tymora in town. Rumors continually speak also of destroyed temples of Gruumsh, Moander, and Bane in the Flooded Forest to the north of town.

From Cormanthyr: The Empire of Elves by Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka:

Year (DR)Events of Import
-1535Yrlaphon established on the eastern woods across the River Lis
-722Elves of Yrlaphon suffer drow attacks in winter, and the orc hordes of summer overwhelm them, causing the fall of the city.
c-700sThe orcs rule Vastar across the Dragon Reach.

From The City of Ravens Bluff by Ed Greenwood:

Pronounced "Ee-yil-ra-fon," this small port was once an elven city. Overrun by orcs, it became a ruin where an orc chieftain ruled. Then the dwarves drove the orcs out of the lowlands and dwelt here for a time; as the most northerly port in the Vast, Ylraphon was important to them. When the kingdom of the dwarves fell, orcs rushed in again and laid waste to the rebuilt town-so they found themselves living in ruins once again.

When humans arrived in the Vast in numbers, the docks of Ylraphon caught the eyes of many, and there was bloody battle through the ruins until all the orcs were dead. From that day to this, Ylraphon has been ruled by a loose council of human merchants. In recent years, local prosperity has been hurt by raids directed by Lashan of Scardale, who sought to become King of the Dales; by the Time of Troubles, when the orcs came down out of the mountains to do some raiding of their own and trade all across Faerûn suffered; and by the rise of Calaunt further to the south, whose agents conduct careful murders and intimidation to ensure that Ylraphon never grows to rival Calaunt or harm its trade in any way.

As a result, Ylraphon is struggling today, a town in decline but still popular with independent merchants and with those who want to enter or leave the Vast quietly, avoiding the large cities of the coast. A lot of gold is spirited out of the area from its docks - but wise captains only cross the Dragon Reach to Harrowdale or go up the Lis to Hillsfar to unload the gold for other ships to take on later voyages; pirates wait and watch in the Reach for ships putting out from Ylraphon.

The forest is quickly reclaiming northeastern Ylraphon, and the ruins there offer shelter to vagabonds, pirates, and brigands of all sorts. Among the overgrown ruins are several tombs, some of them above-ground stone crypts large enough to shelter a dozen people and their horses. Adventurers come here often hoping to find magic and riches, but Elminster says they're wasting their time: the orcs got here first. Unless a desperate brigand has recently stuffed a few coins into a casket while fleeing from treacherous business partners, every tomb has been cleaned out of everything except scattered bones and the occasional undead.

Riches are more likely to lie hidden in the inhabited part of Ylraphon. Local legend whispers that many rich treasures have been buried in Ylraphon over the years by fleeing dwarves, orcs who had to stash booty hurriedly in order to defend themselves, and humans who couldn't see any way to elude waiting pirates or brigands if they tried to leave Ylraphon laden with bags of gold. Elminster reminds us that the elves held Ylraphon first and almost certainly left treasure behind: the local temple of Selûne, the Moonwater, houses several moon-related magic items donated by departing elves in recent years. Elven treasure here is likely to be jewelry with minor magical powers or enchanted weapons hidden by being magically transformed into stone shapes or encased in stone. Typical elven jewelry takes the form of necklaces, ornamental bracers, or rings linked with fine chains.

Many such treasures may sleep within the walls, chimneys, and roofs of buildings near the docks in Ylraphon. Hopeful explorers are cautioned, however, against searching the harbor or coastal shallows for treasure- many searchers have scoured such areas already, and pirates and smugglers take a dim view of strangers poking around their drop points. Persistent local tales speak of ghostly activities at mined temples of Gruumsh, Moander, and Bane just north of Ylraphon, in the buggy woods leading into the Flooded Forest; some even whisper of their reoccupation by living worshippers. Certainly bands of evil men and orcs often provision in Ylraphon before plunging north into the woods; many locals suspect they use the ruined temples (which tend to be on raised areas in the heart of the swamp) only as places to store treasure. According to this theory, the occasional screams heard from these spots are merely a ruse to dissuade the curious or perhaps the results from thieves' quarrels. Some of these folk are no doubt merely smugglers and others who wish to keep their business private, but rumor has it that others serve the master of the Flooded Forest, whoever and whatever that mysterious being is; around Ylraphon he (or she, or it) is called "the Mage Who Never Dies."

An adventuring band from Turmish, the Six Spiked Rings, recently came to Ylraphon to investigate one such temple: the fallen House of Moander. They were beset by a greater darktentacles that laired in the temple, but two of them escaped, each bearing a large bag of gems-and the power to guard them, too: they also brought out a sack full of magical metal wands of great power and antiquity! More treasure obviously lies in these temples-and there are of course wilder tales of the depths of the Flooded Forest, of half sunken cities, strange mirages, vampiric pixies, circles of spellcasting giant frogs, and worse...

From The Everwinking Eye: Treasures of the Vast, Part Five by Ed Greenwood (Polyhedron #93, March 1994):

This small port was once an elven city. Overrun by orcs, it became a ruins during their rule. Then the dwarves drove the orcs out of the Vast lowlands and dwelt here for a time. As the most northerly port in the Vast, Ylraphon was important to them. When the kingdom of the dwarves fell, orcs rushed in again and laid waste to the town. So the orcs found themselves living in ruins again.

When humans arrived in the Vast in numbers, the docks of Ylraphon caught the eyes of many, and there was a bloody battle throughout the ruins until all the orcs were dead. From that day to this, Ylraphon has been ruled by a loose council of human merchants.

Recently, local prosperity has been hurt by raids directed by Lashan, who sought to become King of the Dales; the Time of Troubles, when the orcs came down out of the mountains to do some raiding of their own, and trade was bad all across Faerun; and the rise of Calaunt, whose agents conduct careful murders and intimidation to ensure that Ylraphon never grows to rival Calaunt or harm its trade in any way.

As a result, Ylraphon is struggling today, a town in decline but still popular with independent merchants and with those who want to enter or leave the Vast quietly, avoiding the large cities of the coast. Much gold is spirited out of the area from its docks, but wise captains only cross the Vast to Harrowdale or go up the Lis to Hillsfar, to unload the gold for other ships to take on later voyages. Pirates wait and watch in the Reach for ships putting out from Ylraphon.

The forest is quickly reclaiming northeastern Ylraphon; the ruins there offer shelter to vagabonds and brigands of all sorts. Among the overgrown ruins are several tombs, some of them above-ground stone crypts large enough to shelter a dozen men and their horses. Adventurers come here often hoping to find magic and riches, but Elminster tells me they're wasting their time: the orcs got here first. Unless a desperate brigand has recently stuffed a few coins into a casket while fleeing from treacherous business partners, every tomb has been cleaned out of everything except scattered bones and the occasional undead.

The riches are more likely to lie hidden in the inhabited part of Ylraphon. Local legend whispers that many rich treasures have been buried in Ylraphon over the years by fleeing dwarves, orcs who had to stash booty hurriedly in order to defend themselves, and humans in recent years who couldn't see any way to elude waiting pirates or brigands if they tried to leave Ylraphon laden with bags of gold.

Elminster reminds us that the elves held Ylraphon first, and they almost certainly left treasure behind. The local temple of Selune, the Moonswater, was given several moon-related magical items by departing elves in recent years. Elven treasure here is likely to be jewelry with minor magical powers, or more powerful enchanted weapons, hidden by being magically transformed into stone shapes or encased in stone.

Typical elven jewelry takes the form of necklaces, ornamental bracers, or multiple rings linked with fine chains. Such items might have one of the following powers:

  • Cloaks the wearer in shadows at will, giving a 70% chance of hiding in shadows as a thief does (thieves gain a +70% bonus to a maximum chance of 99%)
  • Can fire two magic missiles per day
  • Can heal the wearer once every three days
  • Can cure light wounds twice a day (wearer only)
  • Can turn the wearer invisible for four rounds, once per day
  • Allows the wearer four rounds of levitation once per day
  • Allows the wearer to move with absolute silence, always levitating an inch above the ground or floor, and also confers feather fall as needed
  • Blink once a day for one turn (was intended for use in dancing, and may be accompanied by drifting dancing lights, faerie fire bursts, and/or music)
  • fly once a day at MV 14 (A) for a single three-round period; can lift a maximum of 600 lbs (average human wearer can carry at least one other person of typical human size)
  • Hold person by touch (single target only, saves at - 3, effects as if the spell were cast by a 10th level wizards except that it affects undead and lasts only four round for living beings, eight rounds for undead; broken if "frozen" target takes damage from any attack), once per day
  • Light once a day (stationary where evoked; does not move with jewelry) and/or dancing lights (a cluster of one to four circular balls, hue, size, brightness, and number as the jewelry-wearer wills) once per day; these wink out when desired, or seven rounds after creation, whichever comes first
  • Purify food and drink once a day, by touch, acting on all chosen items to a total volume limit of no larger than the wearer's own body) that can be touched in a three-round "active" period
  • Spider climb whenever desired, to a maximum extent of one turn per day
  • Warmth (as a ring of warmth) twice a day for up to six rounds each time (a property often used to walk unclad from house to outhouse on winter nights, or to attend winter parties in very flimsy attire)
  • Water breathing once per day, for up to one turn
  • Wraith form once a day, for up to one turn

Elminster says that these minor powers are common to much elven jewelry across Faerun, but he cautions that most elves of rank or power wear jewelry that commands far greater powers.

The elven weapons likely to be encountered in Ylraphon, according to Elminster, are longswords or daggers with various minor powers and bonuses of up to +3. Some may be alignment-oriented, conferring 2d6 electrical damage per contact (or round of continued contact) to all wielders or targets of different alignments.

Chaotic Good and Neutral Good are likely to be favored alignments, with those who are of true Neutral and Lawful Good alignments being allowed to touch and use the weapons without damage. However, people of those alignments are not empowered to use any special blade powers.

Elminster suspects that many such treasures sleep within the walls, chimneys, and roofs of buildings near the docks in Ylraphon. He cautions against searching the harbor or coastal shallows for treasure. Many searchers have scoured such areas already.

There are also persistent local tales of ghostly activities - or even reoccupations - by living worshippers of ruined temples of Gruumsh, Moander, and Bane just north of Ylraphon, in the boggy woods leading into the Flooded Forest.

Certainly bands of evil men and orcs often provision in Ylraphon before plunging north into the woods; many locals suspect they use the ruined temples - which tend to be raised areas in the heart of the swamp - only as places to store treasure.

An adventuring band from Turmish, The Six Spiked Rings, recently came to Ylraphon to investigate one such temple: the fallen House of Moander. They were beset by a Greater Darktentacles (an awesomely powerful version of the monster detailed in the Ruins of Undermountain boxed set) that laired in the temple. However, a few of them escaped with two large bags of gems - and the power to guard them, too.

More treasure obviously lies in these temples. And there are, of course, wilder tales of the depths of the Flooded Forest, of entire half-sunken cities, circles of spellcasting giant frogs, and worse.

From Ravens Bluff and Environs by Ed Greenwood (LC2: Inside Ravens Bluff, The Living City):

Ylraphon, pronounced "Ee-yil-ra-fon," was once an elven city, then a ruin where an orc chieftain held court, then a dwarven city, then orc-controlled ruins again. Now it is a small port whose north-eastern reaches are ruins, fast overgrown by scrub and saplings. Local lore speaks of rich treasures buried in Ylraphon by raiding orcs and fleeing dwarves.

From A Fistful of Drachmas by David P. Santana:

This LC module details a number of aspects about Ylraphon:

  • The Grapes of Mortimer Inn is a comfortable place to stay. Mortimer (CG hm W8) has retired from his wizardly career to maintain this establishment with a group of six women. The women are all thieves of at least 5th level, but they use their skills only for defense. Mortimer and the employees all wear silk robes and other apparel characteristic of the lands of Calimshan.
  • Anyone wishing to search the ruins around the town or adventure in the immediate area must become a member of The Adventurer's Guild of Ylraphon. Guild membership costs 500 gp per year, plus 10% of all gold acquired on any guild-sponsored adventures. Alexander Gordon (LN hm F12) is 3rd prelate of the Guild and interviews new members. The guildhouse is guarded by at least a dozen 8th level fighters at all times.
  • The marketplace is quite busy. Among the shops are:
    • Frieda's Fish Emporium - Frieda is a tall, large redhead who sells a variety of fresh and fried fish.
    • Makkon the Barber - cuts hair and sells herbal medicines.
    • Alphonse and Appointments - a tailor who also stocks a variety of imported clothing from Waterdeep, Amn, Teshyr, and Calimshan.
    • Incredible Edibles - delicious muffins and cookies.
  • A rarely used, overgrown, and dangerous road travels north through the Flooded Forest.
  
 Contents

Ravens Bluff Mossbridges New Hope Hidden Hollow Arbonne Tavilar The Mage's Tower Adhe Wood Brynwood Three Trees Pass King's Reach Glorming Pass Maerstar Sevenecho Tsurlagol Procampur Sarbreenar High Haspur Portsoy Burrowbluff Tantras Orlimmin Highbank Forest Dragon Falls Dark Hollow Dead Tree Hollow Fallentree Bambryn Hlintar Sword's Pool Sendrin Thindilar Blanaer Maskyr's Eye Kurth Ylraphon Calaunt Glacier of the White Worm Beluar's Hunt Elvenblood Pass Viperstongue Ford High Country River Vesper River Vesper Fire River Fire River Flooded Forest  Introduction
 Maps of the Vast
 Overview of the Vast

Locations

 Adhe Wood
 Arbonne
 Bambryn
 Beluar's Hunt
 Big Moe
 Blanaer
 Brynwood
 Burrowbluff
 Calaunt
 Dark Hollow
 Dead Tree Hollow
 Dragon Falls
 Elvenblood Pass
 Fallentree
 Fire River
 Flooded Forest
 Glacier of the White Worm
 Glorming Pass
 Hidden Hollow
 High Country
 High Haspur
 Highbank Forest
 Hlintar
 King's Reach
 Kurth
 Maerstar
 Mage's Tower
 Maskyr's Eye
 Mossbridges
 New Hope
 Orlimmin
 Portsoy
 Procampur
 Ravens Bluff
 River Vesper
 Sarbreenar
 Sendrin
 Sevenecho
 Swords Pool
 Tantras
 Tavilar
 Thindilar
 Three Trees Pass
 Tsurlagol
 Viperstongue Ford
 Ylraphon

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