Great Rift (Forgotten Realms)
|Race(s)||Dwarves (gold, shield), gnomes, halflings|
|Notable locations||Eartheart (capital)|
The Great Rift is the traditional home of Faerûn's gold dwarves, though there is also a human city nearby, called Khôltar. The country of 1,300,000 dwarves, gnomes, halflings and humans is ruled by a monarchy from the capital of Eartheart.
The wide canyon known as the Great Rift lies near the western end of the Eastern Shaar, not far from the Landrise. The bottom of this chasm lies more than 1,000 feet below the plains, surrounded by sheer cliff walls on every side. The arid, hilly ground that serves as the floor of the Great Rift is split down the middle by the Riftlake, a deep, icy-cold body of clear water that is often shrouded in morning mists.
The lake is fed by the numerous small streams and rivers that flow throughout the Great Rift, as well as some very deep springs, which rumors suggest are fed by portals from the Elemental Plane of Water. The lake in turn drains into the River Shaar, which snakes along the valley floor before disappearing into a spray-filled gorge on the north end of the canyon. From there, it winds along a subterranean mutt more than 170 miles long before merging in an impressive waterfall from a cave set into the side of the Landrise.
Despite its high cliff walls, the Great Rift is wide enough that a person standing on the shore of the Riftlake can't actually see the walls on the other site. Thus, in many places, the valley floor seems more like open ground than the floor of a deep canyon.
The weather inside the Great Rift is somewhat wetter than it is on the surrounding plains, though the ground is far from damp. The grasses that grow on the valley floor are a bit thicker and greener than the sparse, coarse weeds native to the rest of the Shaar, and plenty of animals - some herded by the dwarves for food - graze on this lush abundance.
The Great Rift is but a fraction of the territory controlled by the gold dwarves, who also inhabit miles of underground caverns,tunnels, and fortifications connected to the surface in and around the canyon. Known as the Deep Realm, these hidden regions cover twice as much area as the canyon alone, mostly to the east and northeast. The Deep Realm is considered a place of wonder that features hanging spiral staircases, waterfalls and cascades operated by mechanical pumps, glowing, ever-shifting sculptures of magically radiant metal, and similar marvels.
The Deep Wild (Great Bhaerynden)
Beyond the reach and control of the gold dwarves lies a portion or the Underdark called the Deep Wild. Known as Great Bhaerynden to the rest of the inhabitants of the subterranean realms, the Deepwild stretches outward beneath the Shaar in all directions, well beyond the boundaries of the Deep Realm. Included in this territory is the accursed drow city of Llurth Dreier, where Ghaunadaur reigns supreme.
The ancient home of the dwarves, the city of Bhaerynden, once sat where the Great Rift is today, but deeper beneath the surface. Millennia ago, when the drow first descended into the Underdark, they invaded and conquered Bhaerynden and renamed it Telantiwar. Some time later, the great caverns that made up the heart of their new domain collapsed. Billions of tons of earth and stone came crashing down, crushing a dozen drow cities and forming the Great Rift on the surface. Though the settlements in the center of the realm were destroyed, the leagues of tunnels around the periphery of the Great Rift remain intact and in use by various denizens of the Underdark.
- Dwarves Sneak Peek
- Shining South
- Elminster Speaks Articles on Khôltar and surroundings from page 58 to 88
- More of the Shining South!
- Great Rift Portals