Beregost: From Mage Village to City

Anyone who has ever played Baldur’s Gate 1 will likely have taken a step into Beregost. This small town on the Coast Way plays a central role in the game as a place for any party to sell goods, buy magic items, and recruit non-player characters.

Review of Sources

Most people who decide to have their adventure pass through Beregost have probably played the video game. The video game largely is consistent with what is written in the source material. The town, however, is portrayed as being a lot smaller in the game than the source material suggests. Going by the source material, the town should be closer to 3,000 people in size and have over 200 town guards.

As far as the literature is concerned, your best sources for Beregost are Volo’s Guide to the Sword Coast and then 2nd Edition Campaign Setting for the Forgotten Realms.

Volo’s Guide to the Sword Coast is probably the more useful of these, but it’s also got its fair share of fluff in it (like meal and drink prices for every inn and tavern in town). It does give a few really interesting possible hidden areas for a party to explore in town (ones that never made it into the video game)—for instance, a hidden passageway leading to the Underdark in the Red Sheaf Inn.

The 3rd edition campaign set also has a small section on the town. Other than stating that the town has around 2915 people in it, there is nothing here that you don’t get from the earlier sources.

Unfortunately, I don’t think subsequent official products covered Beregost.

The only other source of note is Heroes of Baldur’s Gate from DMSguild.com. Its author (James Ohlen) was the lead designer of the video game. However, I don’t think it’s worth it to pick up if you are looking for Beregost material (it just gives like five small paragraphs on the town).

Background

The town is a major trade stop for merchants travelling between Amn and Baldur’s Gate. The town is unavoidable for caravans travelling along the route. The town is aware of this, and its inns and taverns largely exist to cater to these clients.

The town also gets a few adventurers. Most are likely looking to visit the nearby Ulcaster ruins to find buried magical treasures there. Some may even be looking to travel to other places in the region like Durlag’s Tower and the Gnoll Stronghold.

What Makes it Unique Compared to Other Towns?

Beregost is your standard run-of-the-mill trading town.

Former Mage School

The town (at the time a farming village) was built next to a mage school led by the conjurer Ulcaster. It grew in power and prestige very quickly and was destroyed about 400 years ago by Calshite mages. Ulcaster’s ghost haunts the ruins.

High Hedge

The mage here, Thalantyr, is an extremely powerful conjurer (17th level in 2nd edition). He’s likely got more than a fair share of magical scrolls and items for any party who is willing to compensate him for them.

No walls

Historically attempts by the town to build walls have only brought attacks by others. So, despite being large enough to justify having them, it doesn’t bother having any walls.

What are the Town’s Issues?

Poor Strategic Position

The town is not located on any rivers or waterways. It’s not on any elevated position. It’s literally in the middle of a plains on a critical trade route. This makes it a really difficult town to defend and at the same time, a clear target. At the same time, it’s economy is entirely reliant on this trade route. If something were to happen to disrupt it, the town would seriously suffer. It’s not after all a town on a major waterway that can get supplies for many places. This one trade route is critical to the town’s success.

Defence

The town doesn’t seem to have too many invaders recently. However, it has no walls or defences against them. It’s claimed the reason for this is because having walls only brought attacks by others. However, I think having even basic palisade walls would be an improvement. Especially against organized monster attacks.

Undead

The presence of the ruins of a mage school so close to town could be a problem. Even if it is just from the restless spirits of the deceased (including a wizshade that throws spells at people and a wraithlike that tries to convince people to enter the ruins so it can possess them). Volo’s Guide to the Sword Coast also mentions that within the ruins there is a gate (which has been confirmed by Elminster). Where that gate leads to is anyone’s guess. But it potentially could be problematic for the town at some point.

How Can I Use It in My Campaign?

Beregost makes a great starting town. It’s small enough not to be intimidating, and if you are looking for a map for it you can even use the video game map. At the same time, there is enough going on around it that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find something for your party to do nearby. It’s small enough that there is always going to be the threat of bandit raiders, kobolds attacking outlying farms, or hobgoblin attacks on the town to give your party something to do.

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