Interspersed among the fortresses of the dwarves and the settlements protected by the Lord’s Alliance are significant sites that have no collective character, except that they exist largely outside the protection or purview of the great powers of the region. Even the civilized locales among these places, such as Elturgard, exist, at best, in an uneasy tension with the denizens of the wilder lands within and just outside their borders, and survive only through constant vigilance and the steady recruitment of new defenders.
A great variety of independent nations and notable locations is encompassed within the wild lands of the North. Among them are the great library of Candlekeep, home of the greatest collection of written lore in Faerun; the imposing, giant-scale castle of Darkhold; the fortified abbey of Helm’s Hold; sites of great battles such as Boareskyr Bridge and the Fields of the Dead; realms of some security, such as Elturgard and Hartsvale; and the yuan-ti realm of Najara. The lands of the Uthgardt, the towns of frigid Icewind Dale, the quiet Trielta Hills, the cutthroat city of Luskan, and the legendary Warlock’s Crypt, dominion of the great lich Larloch, are all independent realms, as are the High Moor, the Trollclaws, and the High Forest.
There is much danger and adventure to be had in the free places of the North, and a great deal of wealth and treasure. as well. The ruins of ancient kingdoms and countless smaller settlements litter the countryside, waiting for the right explorers to happen upon them.