My players primarily operate in and around the Sword Coast. I have only really used weather a few times. I considered everything south of the Spine of the World to be temperate. The players are heading up to Icewind Dale from the city of Waterdeep.

After reading Frostburn one more time, I set out to find a list of Forgotten Realms cities or locations and their climate.

After going through every edition I own, I finally found a reference in ADnD's The North: The Wilderness:

Beyond the Spine of the World, arctic conditions prevail. From the Spine to Waterdeep, subarctic weather is found. The coastal areas as far north as Port Llast are temperate climates...

Have I overlooked or missed something? If not, does this information seem about right to you for a 3.5 campaign?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why do you think official sources would be wrong? There were no meaningful changes in geography or axial tilt between 2E and 3.5E to my knowledge. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 22, 2021 at 1:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowRanger If this question was tagged 5e, I think that there'd be more room for discussion given the geographic changes during the transitions into 4e and 5e, but it's not. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Dec 22, 2021 at 2:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowRanger Perhaps I was unclear. I am trying to figure out if the 2E information has been superseded or even confirmed by a later publication. \$\endgroup\$
    – Randy
    Dec 22, 2021 at 10:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Randy: Like I said, there were no changes that would affect the climate that I'm aware of. They cut the amount of fluff dramatically in the 2E to 3E move (to the bone in the 4E move), so odds are if there is any newer information, it's far less detailed. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 22, 2021 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


The Spine of the World for a truly arctic climate, but still fairly harsh until you get to the lower Dessarin valley.

The 3.5e Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting Book states the following on page 78 under the Climate section and beneath the heading "The Northwest":

In its northernmost reaches, the Sword Coast is a forever frozen, wind-blasted waste that becomes the Endless Ice Sea overlying the continent as far east as one can go and still find land. A mountain range, the Spine of the World, holds back this polar ice cap from cloaking the Sword Coast North, but only on-shore breezes make Icewind Dale habitable at all--and that settlement lacks a growing season entirely.

South of the mountains is the crag- and lake-studded "Savage Frontier" of the North. These alpine valleys know only a short, fierce summer, and see icy water, chilling mist, and snow-capped mountains year-round. A little farther south, in the lower valley of the Dessarin, or the vales of the Gray Peaks, the land is rich and blessed with a long enough growing season to support great cities.

The northwest portion of Faerun is generally well watered and humid, with heavy snowfalls in the winter and a great deal of rain in the spring and fall. Along the Sword Coast, folk exaggeratedly complain that it never stops raining.

The book does not contain a climate map, nor a table giving specific temperature ranges for each month, but this detailed textual description gives a fairly comprehensive 3.5e account of what the weather at the Northern end of the Sword Coast is like.


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