Pool of Radiance takes place in the Forgotten Realms fantasy world. The main setting is the city of Phlan, located on the northern shore of the Moonsea, situated between Zhentil Keep and Melvaunt.
The party begins in the civilized section of “New Phlan” that is governed by a council. This portion of the city hosts businesses, including shopkeepers who sell holy items for each temple’s worshipers, a jewelry shop, and retailers who provide arms and armor. A party can also contract with the clerk of the city council for various commissions; proclamations fastened to the halls within City Hall offer bits of information to aid the party. These coded clues can be deciphered by using the Adventurer’s Journal, included with the game.