Chronicle of the Flickering Flame
Long ago, the great seafaring adventurer Balduran and his crew traveled to many far flung and exotic locales beyond the Trackless Sea. The legendary hero was gone for many years and after encountering a host of dangerous foes, strange peoples and amassing a huge amount of wealth he returned to the small village of his birth on the Chionthar River. He oversaw the construction of a great, protective wall around the town and left the vast majority of his treasure behind before setting sail once more, never to be seen again. There are many conflicting stories of dubious veracity about the details of Balduran’s exploits, where he disappeared to and the exact circumstances of the city’s creation however. Most is chalked up to fanciful myth-making over the centuries but most historians can at least agree that Balduran actually existed.
In any case, the city became known as Baldur’s Gate and quickly became an important center of trade along the Sword Coast. Today, the city is divided into three major areas. The Upper City is the oldest portion and home to the city’s wealthiest “patriars”. The Lower City is the backbone of Baldur’s Gate that keeps commerce moving and the city thriving. The Outer City does not benefit from the great walls that protect the rest of the city and only the poorest of the poor live here. Little order is kept in the Outer City and it can be a dangerous place to frequent. It has also become the home of many refugees from Calimshan and other chaos-wracked nations across Faerûn.
Baldur’s Gate is also the home of two ancient societies that are diametrically opposed but have settled into a kind of equilibrium over the centuries. First, is The Flaming Fist mercenary company. It is a very old and proud order that both polices the city and defends it from outside forces. The other society is The Guild, an ancient order of organized criminals that have ruled the underworld of the city for as long as anyone can remember.
The city is ruled by the Council of Four. The Grand Duke, Ulder Ravengard, also serves as the leader of The Flaming Fist. Three other Dukes and Duchesses rule beneath him and make up the Council.