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Phlan is a fictional city in the Forgotten Realms fantasy world campaign setting for the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. The city was first described in adventure module Ruins of Adventure and the Pool of Radiance video game. It also appeared in the video games Curse of the Azure Bonds, Pools of Darkness, and Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor.


In Ruins of Adventure, Phlan is located in the northern section of the Moonsea region at the mouth of the Stojanow River on the fictional continent of Faerûn, which was detailed in the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, published in 1987 by TSR.[1] The Ruins of Adventure scenario and the basic outline of the city was created by TSR designers Jim Ward, David Cook, Steve Winter, and Mike Breault.[2] The city is said to have been founded over 1,000 years ago, and throughout its history a series of destruction and rebuilding has led to the city being walled off into a destroyed, ruined Old Phlan and a rebuilt, shining Civilized Phlan. Phlan is noteworthy not only for its stubbornness but also as the location of the fabled Pool of Radiance, source of power of the otherworldly Tyranthraxus, a major villain in the setting and one of the Seven Lost Gods described in 1998's Villains' Lorebook.[3] The town is described as currently rebuilding from the devastating dragon attack, known as the "Dragon Run", that is said to have happened in 1306 DR. In Ruins of Adventure, it is said the city is growing popular as a stop for caravans and ships due to recent troubles in the fictional city of Hillsfar, and adventuring is encouraged through the crumbling ruins of Old Phlan.

Local points of interest include the ruins of Valjevo Castle, once one of the largest castles in Faerûn. Although the idea of rebuilding the castle has been floated, most citizens are wary of the expense. Instead, a group of druids is attempting to recultivate the courtyard. Sokal Keep, a small fortress in the Bay of Phlan, is being rebuilt as a lighthouse. Valhingen Graveyard, north of the city, is rumored to contain powerful undead, and most fear to go there at night. Finally, the only temple in the city is The Waiting, a temple of Tyr. One of the closest settlements to Phlan is Zhentil Keep which is the home of the Zhentarim. Much of this is described in the 38-page Adventurer's Journal, which was included in the original Pool of Radiance video game and provides the game's background. The booklet features depictions of fliers, maps, and information the characters see in the game, most all of which details Phlan.[4]

Use in print[]

Phlan has appeared in an adventure module and the novelization of the original Pool of Radiance game, as well as two sequels.

Ruins of Adventure[]

Ruins of Adventure is a Dungeons & Dragons module that served as the basis for the popular "Gold Box" role-playing video game Pool of Radiance, published in 1988 by Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI). According to the editors of Dragon magazine, Pool of Radiance was based on Ruins of Adventure, and not vice versa.[5] The plot loosely tracks that of the video game. It is now out of print.[6]

Pool of Radiance[]

Shal Bal of Cormyr, Tarl Desanea, a cleric of Tyr, and Ren o' the Blade are brought together in Phlan by circumstance and encounter various threats in and around the city of Phlan, culminating in a faceoff with the Lord of the Ruins, Tyranthraxus.

Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (December 23, 1989) -

Pool of Darkness[]

Phlan, and several other cities across Faerûn have disappeared. Ren o' the Blade returns to Phlan to seek answers, while Shal and Tarl struggle to help keep the city from being overtaken by hordes of monsters.

Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (February 1992) -

Pool of Twilight[]

The conclusion of the "Pool" series. Kern, son of Shal and Tarl, and Daile, daughter of Ren search for the missing Warhammer of Tyr.

Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (November 1993) -

Use in video games[]

Pool of Radiance[]

Pool of Radiance took place totally in Phlan and the wilderness surrounding Phlan. This is the only game where the player characters visit all parts of the city of Phlan. Zhentil Keep makes an appearance as one of the missions in this game, but Zhentil Keep only plays a minor role in this game.[4]

Curse of the Azure Bonds[]

Phlan makes an appearance in Curse of the Azure Bonds but it's minimal. The player characters can enter Phlan but the player only gets a menu which allows them to enter shops, go to a dungeon, etc.

Pools of Darkness[]

Phlan makes an appearance in Pools of Darkness but it is very short lived. The player characters begin the game in Phlan. This is the only game other than Pool of Radiance where Phlan is shown in 3D. The player can purchase equipment, go to taverns, talk to NPC's, etc. but as soon as the characters leave Phlan, Bane removes Phlan and the other cities from the Moonsea region but leaves only the evil cities.

Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor[]

Phlan makes an appearance in Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor but Phlan only appears in the tutorial which shows people how to play the game.

The story is set in the city of New Phlan.[7]


  1. The Envelope, Please!, Dragon, p.20–21. September 1989. (Temporary fix for {{cite journal}}, please update to use {{cite dragon}} and similar templates.)
  2. 4.0 4.1 Reviews, Computer + Video Games, p.18–19, 21. October 1988. (Temporary fix for {{cite journal}}, please update to use {{cite dragon}} and similar templates.)
  3. The Role of Computers, Dragon, p.. July 1990. (Temporary fix for {{cite journal}}, please update to use {{cite dragon}} and similar templates.)
  4. Barnes & Noble, , p.. . (Temporary fix for {{cite journal}}, please update to use {{cite dragon}} and similar templates.)
  5. In battle against evil

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External links[]