The Cites of the Moonsea – Hillsfar, Melvaunt, Mulmaster and Zhentil Keep

There are four major city-states on the Moonsea. Generally these city-states are in a perpetual trade war. Hostilities do break out form time to time both on land and sea, though there hasn’t been all out war for a long while.



Hillsfar is a powerful city-state led by the wizard Maalthiir. Located on the southern coast of the Moonsea, the city is heavily involved with trade in the region, acting as a hub for cities and settlements in the surrounding area. A person from Hillsfar is known as a Hillfarian.


Although the city of Hillsfar is ruled by the iron fist of Maalthiir, there are two standing great laws.

  • Great Law of Trade: Do not interfere with any legitimate trade.
  • Great Law of Humanity:Only humans are allowed within Hillsfar.


Although Hillsfar is a walled city, fortified with a steel gate, it is the military force of the Red Plumes who ensure the city’s security from foreign forces. Although they technically operate autonomously, they are in fact another extension of Maalthiir’s reach.


Although trade in the Moonsea is typically carried out through rivalries and competition, almost all the goods of the region pass through Hillsfar in the hands of middlemen and intermediary merchants.


Hillsfar was once under the extended rule of the Elven Court but in 1357 DR Maalthiir overthrew their representatives using blackmail and fear of violence. He then declared himself the First Lord, a position with absolute military power, which he retained through the violent mercenary group known as the Red Plumes. Extending his own xenophobic tendencies, Maalthiir then banned all non-humans from the city, the few who remain are assumed to be slaves that permanently live within the city.

Imports: Raw ores, uncut gems, untreated furs, grain

Exports: Fine cloth, faceted gems, fine furs, dragon’s breath (brandy like liquor distilled only at Hillsfar)


Melvaunt is a city that sits on the northern coast of the Moonsea, adjacent to Thar. It is a city of smithing and mercantile services, serving as the port of entry to many travelers coming to the region. The city itself is cold and gray, with a mist that rises from the Moonsea seeming to cover it entirely.


The Council of Lords rules over the city of Melvaunt, though they are more often concerned with affairs that can line their coffers. There are currently 21 members of the council

Notable Leaders:

  • Lord Chancellor Ghunduilith Leiyraghon
  • Lord of the Keys Halmuth Bruil
  • Lord of the Waves Meldonder Nurian


Guilds hold much of the power within the city, primarily through legitimate trade but also as a front for criminal organizations. This has caused many foreign traders to become apprehensive about underpricing the local merchants.

Ships from Melvaunt constantly trade goods to Mulmaster and Hillsfar, where they can be more efficiently distributed around the region. Legitimate trade with Zhentil Keep is dangerous and rare, but the black market is alive and well.

Imports: Grain, leather, livestock, ore, timber, vegtables

Exports: Armor, arms, slaves, and finished metal goods of all types


Mulmaster is a city that is located in the rugged area west of the Earthspur and Galena Mountains in the eastern part of the Moonsea region. After years of opposition, the city has finally joined the Zhentarim, becoming a decadent sprawl riddled with crime and corruption. The buildings nearest the docks are the most dilapidated and dangerous, full of poverty and rife with crime. The rich area of the city resides further up the mountainside, imposing its will over the rest of Mulmaster. A person from Mulmaster is known as a Mulmasterite.

The lands surrounding Mulmaster are treacherous to cross and boast many dangers to its inhabitants. The majority of the land traffic through Mulmaster comes from the south, intersecting with Cormanthor The Vast and the eastern region of the Dragon Reach. With the exception of Ironfang Keep, there are few settlements near Mulmaster in the eastern Moonsea.


The grand city of Mulmaster is ruled by the governing council known as the Blades, lead by High Blade Rassendyll Uoumdolphin. Other Blades on the council, along with the nobles of the city, have either been threatened or otherwise influenced into supporting the High Blade in some manner. The forces of the Blades are roughly 6000 strong.


The city of Mulmaster is firmly entrenched in the politics of the Moonsea. As Rassendyll Uoumdolphin is married to the Red Wizard Dmitra Flass and the city that once stood as a bulwark against the spread of the Zhentarim has struck an alliance with the group they previously opposed, Mulmaster is caught in a power play by both organizations, while recieving the benefits of an alliance with both.


The nobles in Mulmaster are called zor for males and zora for females. The head of a noble house, regardless of gender, is a lord.

Notable locations

  • Tower of the Blade – Home to the ruling family of Mulmaster, as well as their patriarch Rassendyll.
  • House of the Black Lord – A temple of Bane that was constructed in the High Blade’s deal of allegiance with Fzoul Chembryl.

Imports: Foodstuffs, cloth, liqour, luxury Items

Exports: Arms, Armor, ships, jewelry

Zhentil Keep

Zhentil Keep was once the most powerful city in the Moonsea region as well as the main base of operation for the Zhentarim. Click Here for a map of Zhentil Keep pre Siege


Zhentil Keep was initially controlled by the Council of Lords which consisted of 12 seats, with the head seat belonging to the First Lord. Over time the council grew to 17 seats, with the head set belonging to the Watchlord of the Council and around 40 to 45 lesser seats consisting of a sort of “parliament” of minor lords who managed the more mundane day-to-day issues of the city’s administration.

Following the destruction of all but the foreign quarter in 1368 DR, Zhentil Keep was run by the only lords to survive, Lord Fzoul Chembryl, Lord Manshoon, Lord Orgauth, Lord Payr’adar, and Lord Halaster (although one lord, Lord Orgauth was actually a pit fiend who began impersonating Lord Orgauth after his death in 1368 DR). Of the five, Lord Orgauth was ultimately the one to take the reigns as High Lord of the Keep since Manshoon was busy heading the Zhentarim in the Citidel of the Raven, Fzoul focused most of his attention on church duties, and Lord Payr’adar and Lord Halaster were effectively puppet lords to begin with.

In 1370 DR Fzoul Chembryl killed Manshoon and then purged the city of all Manshoon’s supporters including Lord Payr’adar and Lord Halaster. A few years later, Lord Orgauth was killed by his underling Scyllua Darkhope. Fzoul, being the only lord left, declared himself “Tyrant” and took complete control of the city. Following the return of Bane, Fzoul ran the city along with the Black Network as a theocracy in service to Bane until its complete destruction by the Shadovar.


As of 1374 DR, there existed a gate fee when entering or leaving the city, imposed by Fzoul Chembryl. A writ permitting an individual free passage within the city for the period of one tenday could be bought, upon entering, for five gold pieces. The valid writ was required on exiting the city, else a fee of 100 gold pieces was imposed. This measure was intended to prevent most citizens from migrating away from the city, since this fee is beyond the reach of most citizens.

Notable Locations

  • Temple of Bane – Once serving as a grand palace of Lord Orgauth and before that as home to a Thayan ambassador, this temple dedicated to the Black Lord is home to some of the high-ranking members of the Zhentarim.
  • Tower of the Art – This tower is the home to a local wizard’s guild that is led by Thagdal.
  • Zhentarim barracks – This building, constructed not long before 1374 DR, contains the command leadership of the Zhentarim, with only a small portion of the group’s standing army. It also posesses a large armory to equip the cavalry and 500 infantry housed there, along with a brig of prison cells to hold traitors and those who break their military oath.
  • The Tower High
  • The High Hall
  • The Roaring Dragon


The church of Bane is considered, for all intents and purposes, the state faith of Zhentil Keep. Worship of a select few other deities is tolerated within the city’s walls, as evidenced by their scattered temples. Among these shrines and churches are those dedicated to Tymora, Loviatar and Tempus. Any followers of Cyric are officially unwelcome, with a tendency to disappear under mysterious circumstancees if they by some chance make it within the keep.


  • The Black Altar
  • The Dark Shrine
  • The Circle of Darkness
  • The High House of the Hunt and The Lodge of the Great Hunt
  • The Tower of Pain Exalted and The Palace of Sweet Pain
  • The Jagged Rocks
  • The Holy Hall of Good Fortune
  • Battlehall