MYTH DRANNOR, city of glory. We shall not see its like again
PERHAPS YOU'VE HEARD ITS SHINING STORY.. of a time when elves and dwarves, gnomes and halflings and men lived and loved together, striving to create beauty and right wrongs. Magic was brighter then, in the City of Song. Folk were richer then, in the City of Wonder. Once this proud city stood as the highest jewel in the glittering crown of civilization.
THERE CAME A DAY when it was overwhelmed by evil, thrown down, despoiled, and left a ruin in the heart of its encircling wood, as all things of beauty are. Evil spawned and crawled there, and the elves kept watch around it, that evil might not spread. Centuries passed, but the tales let few forget the powerful magic, the great treasure--and the deadly horrors that lay waiting within its walls.
Now the elves are gone, and adventurers from a hundred lands and cities are rushing to Myth Drannor to seize what they can of the long lost glory. If the bards and sages are right, power lies there for the claiming that could change the face of the Realms, rule kingdoms or lay waste to them.
The Ruins of Myth Drannor (1993), by Ed Greenwood, is a campaign setting and adventure for the Forgotten Realms. It was published in February 1993.
Origins (I): Onward from Eveningstar. In Ed Greenwood's original Realms campaign, the Swords of Eveningstar adventuring company got their start in FRQ1: "Haunted Halls of Eveningstar" (1992). After their success there, they were given the lordship of Shadowdale. But they grew tired of rulership and granted the town to Mourngrym, a junior member.
Then, it was onward to new adventures …
Origins (II): The Original Ruins. Enter Myth Drannor, an ancient, ruined elf city. It had long been guarded by elves, but The Retreat of 1344 DR left it vulnerable. The Swords of Eveningstar decided to take over its guardianship, to protect the ruins from "the wrong sort of folk". They took on the name Knights of Myth Drannor to signify their new task of defending the Ruins from "rapacious plunderers from Zhentil Keep, Sembia, Hillsfar, and even Red Wizards and Cult of the Dragon agents, not to mention various mercenary adventurer bands" — most of whom were engaging in a "gold rush to gain elven magic and wealth".
Unfortunately, they were to fail. A War Wizard slipped in a troop of Purple Dragons, spying on the ruins for Vangerdahast; he was soon followed by Sembian-sponsored bands. Meanwhile Zhentarim assaulted the magical gates of Myth Drannor, leading to the summoning of demons and devils.
Decades later, Greenwood still has fun with the Ruins on a regular basis. For example, he notes that a silent elven ghost followed that initial intrusion of Purple Dragons out of the ruins, and his players still don't know who it might be spying for …
Origins (III): The Novel Ruins. Though many more media depictions of the ruins would follow, before the publication of Ruins of Myth Drannor there was only one of note. In Ed Greenwood's initial Realms novel, Spellfire (1987), Shandril briefly visits Myth Drannor. She describes it as a "ruined city where devils rule the daylight" and sees many of their kind "some black and glistening, some blood-red, barbed and scaled, and some mauve or yellow-green".
She wonders, as do we, how the Dalelands have not been destroyed by this infernal incursion.
Origins (IV): The TSR Ruins. Greenwood was given a daunting task when asked to write The Ruins of Myth Drannor: he was allocated just three weeks and a total of 160 pages. He admitted that the result could "only be an introduction to Myth Drannor".
Greenwood knew that he wouldn't be able to depict the intricate multi-level ruins, where pits in the forest floor led to lost cellars and further realms below them. So instead he created an overview of his Myth Drannor, which GMs could use to fashion an adventuring sandbox. In the wake of the failure of the Knights of Myth Drannor, the already dangerous Myth Drannor has become home to devils and any number of adventure companies seeking loot. And that's the chaos that TSR's Forgotten Realms players discover.
The Media Crossovers. The release of Myth Drannor corresponded with SSI's newest D&D video game, Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor (1993). This was SSI's third Black Box release, a series which had led off with Eye of the Beholder (1991); it combined first-person perspectives with D&D play. Though these Black Box games didn't tend to offer as many details on the Realms as their Gold Box predecessors (1988-1993), Assault on Myth Drannor may have been the best of the bunch, even including a short story by Ed Greenwood, "Moonrise Over Myth Drannor" (1993). Assault largely takes place in the Mages Guild and the Temple of Lathander in Myth Drannor.
Expanding D&D: Mythals. Myth Drannor introduces the idea of a mythal; they'd rather suddenly be everywhere in the Forgotten Realms line afterward. A mythal is described as a "webwork of living magic". There are extensive rules on the various prohibitions and augmentations that the Myth Drannor mythal places on magic in the city, as well as notes on power surges, dead zones, secret powers, and more.
A few other mythals are mentioned: Myth Nantar, which would appear in Sea of Fallen Stars (1999), and Myth Glaurach, which rather surprisingly doesn't get mentioned in Hellgate Keep (1998), and would instead have to wait for the novel, Forsaken House (2004). Many more mythals would appear in the years to follow.
Adventure Tropes. Myth Drannor doesn't even try to detail Myth Drannor as a whole. Instead, it's presented as a sandbox and the few adventures in the box are little more than lairs.
Exploring the Realms. Myth Drannor provides a wide overview of Myth Drannor, a fallen elven city in the Cormanthor Forest. It also provides extensive details on the history of the area.
Monsters of Note. A variety of interesting Realms creatures appear in Myth Drannor.
The baelnorn had the oldest pedigree as they were designed by Greenwood around 1979. Nonetheless, this was the first print appearance of the good (yet dangerous) undead elf guardians.
The phaerimm debuted in FR13: "Anauroch" (1991) and were another holdover from Greenwood's original Realms campaign. Though this evil Underdark race was fully detailed in the previous book, Myth Drannor expands on them by detailing their spells and their lairs.
We also get extensive details on the alhoon, an offshoot of mind flayers introduced in Menzoberranzan (1992); and of course Myth Drannor is full of baatezu (devils).
Whoops! Though the Dawnspire, a Temple of Lathander, gets considerable detail in the adventure … there's no information on where it actually is! Dragon #208 (August 1994) takes on the problem, saying to place it "in the Westfields area, just south of the Burial Glen".
Future History. Myth Drannor has continued to be important in the years since the publication of this supplement. The Fall of Myth Drannor (1998) RPG sourcebook went back into its history. Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor (2001) then offered another computer game take on the setting, which was reflected in the 3e sourcebook, Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor (2000). Myth Drannor also been well-featured in novels including Elminster in Myth Drannor (1997) and The Herald (2014), both by Ed Greenwood, as well as the Last Mythal trilogy (2004-2006) by Richard Baker.
About the Creators. Ed Greenwood is, of course, the creator of the Forgotten Realms.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to the Acaeum for careful research on Monster Manual printings.