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The Moonsea (2e)

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Its waters are the deep purple of the most precious amethyst; its shores hold some of the most dangerous locations in Faerun. It is the Moonsea, home to Zhentil Keep, the Citadel of the Raven, and thousands of ordinary folk who merely want to make and honest living.

Hark to the words of Melandryll Belarod, the bard whose writings form the bulk of this material. He has experienced firsthand the horrors of ruined Hulburg, he desolation of Sulasspryn, and the stench of Mulmaster. His travels aboard the Devawing have produced this chronicle of the towns and people of the Moonsea, including both havens and dangers. Belarod knows of the Citadel of the Raven, a ten-mile-long series of fortresses and barracks, site of a terrifying betrayal. He also has evaded the Zhentilar, the crack forces garrisoned at Zhentil Keep.

Product History

"The Moonsea" (1995), by John Terra, is part of a continuing series of Forgotten Realms sourcebooks. It was released in January 1995.

Continuing the Forgotten Realms Setting Books. For many years, the geography of the Forgotten Realms setting was through the "FR" sourcebooks (1987-1993), followed by just one book in the "FRS" series: FRS1: "The Dalelands" (1993).

After that TSR continued with some sourcebooks like "Cormyr" (1994) — which probably would have been "FRS2". They also produced an increasing number of boxed sets that included background material and (sometimes) adventures. The Ruins of Myth Drannor (1993) and City of Splendors (1994) were among the earliest.

"The Moonsea" split the difference between the formats. It was issued as a folio containing a 64-page DM's book, a 32-page player's book, and a map of the area. At some point, it might have intended as "FRS3", but it showed how the Forgotten Realms supplements were growing without the labels (and constraints) of the specific series.

Writing Tropes. The player's book of "The Moonsea" is written entirely as an in-character description of the area, mirroring the technique that Greenwood was then using for the Volo's Guides (1992-2000). This sort of narrative was uncommon in TSR's RPG books at the time.

Expanding the Realms. Most players of D&D in the late '80s and early '90s learned about the Moonsea region of the Realms through SSI's earliest D&D computer games: Pool of Radiance (1988), Hillsfar (1989), Curse of the Azure Bonds (1989), Secret of the Silver Blades (1990), and Pools of Darkness (1991).

FRC1: Ruins of Adventure (1988) and FRC2: Curse of the Azure Bonds (1990) converted these adventures to AD&D. They were the first major look at the region from a tabletop perspective, but their geographic details were still pretty limited, as they were adventures not sourcebooks. Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990) also offered a brief look at some of the "cities of the heartlands" that surround the Moonsea.

Meanwhile, the nearby regions of the Sea of Fallen Stars and the Dalelands got much more attention in books like FOR3: Pirates of the Fallen Stars (1992) and FRS1: "The Dalelands". The Moonsea was increasingly a blank land in what had otherwise become one of the Realms best-described locales.

"The Moonsea" resolved the issue with an in-depth look at the region. It contains new details on the major locales of Hillsfar, Melvaunt, Mulmaster, Phlan, and Zhentil Keep, as well as the first look ever at many of the smaller towns and villages in the region.

Future History. Ruins of Zhentil Keep (1995) followed just a few months later, providing even more detail (and antagonists) for the area.

The Moonsea region has also received a surprising amount of attention in recent years. During the 3e era, this included the Sons of Gruumsh (2005) adventure and the Mysteries of the Moonsea (2006) sourcebook; while the 4e era saw Richard Baker's "Blades of the Moonsea" novels (2008-2010).

About the Creators. "The Moonsea" was Terra's first major work set in the Realms. He also coauthored Ruins of Zhentil Keep.

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

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (0)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Nicholas M September 11, 2022 5:50 pm UTC
Wizards could care less about putting the map back in. There's no map with this product, so buyer beware!
Customer avatar
Mark G March 01, 2022 1:53 am UTC
No map?
Customer avatar
Roger B March 13, 2014 8:56 pm UTC
I just purchased the Moonsea PDF and immediately noticed that the poster map is missing! Please restore the poster map to this product.
Customer avatar
Matt W March 08, 2015 1:36 am UTC
Agreed; please add the map.
Customer avatar
Enrique B May 15, 2015 8:01 pm UTC
They left the map out. Here is a high-rez version of it.
Customer avatar
Nicholas M September 11, 2022 5:51 pm UTC
Thanks for providing it!
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File Last Updated:
February 17, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on February 18, 2014.