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Lore:Undermountain

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Arcturia[edit | edit source]

Arcturia is one of Halaster’s apprentices and a master of transmutation magic. Long ago, she became a lich and has altered her form dramatically over the years, now seeming more alive than undead. She takes on the appearance of a gaunt figure with blue scales, bone spurs on her forearms and elbow, gossamer winds and a flowing gown.

Keeper and master of the Gatestaff, Arcturia assists Trobriand with his plan, using its power to capture and transport creatures with souls (or vessels) to Vanrakdoom.

Basilisks[edit | edit source]

A basilisk is an eight-legged, reptilian horror whose deadly gaze transforms victims into porous stone. With tis strong jaws, the creature consumes this stone, which returns to organic form in its gullet. Travelers sometimes find objects that look like pieces of remarkably lifelike stone carvings of wildlife. Seasoned explorers regard such relics as warnings, knowing that the basilisk that created them is likely to be nearby.

Catacombs[edit | edit source]

Catacombs is the first level of the vast Undermountain dungeon. It gets its name from the countless graves dug into the walls and sarcophagi that filled much of the floor space. Over the last hundred years, access to most of the level has been cut off by various cave-ins and deteriorating archways.

Among the giant spiders, undead and wandering monsters on might expect to find, two opposing factions of humanoids have settled in. The Undertakers, a tough gang of grave robbing bandits and a rather unsavory chapter of Xanathar Guild.

The Undertakers want the Guild out, to have access to the unspoiled graves on that side of the dungeon. The Xanathar Guild want to remove the Undertakers for their space and to have exclusive access to any adventurers that come down from the Yawning Portal.

Control Gem[edit | edit source]

Slaadi created by the Spawning Stone have fragments of the stone in their brain. These fragments take the form of a large magic gem. Another creature can use magic to draw forth a slaad’s gem and use it to subjugate the slaad. The slaad must obey whoever possesses its gem.

Durnan[edit | edit source]

Durnan is the owner and proprietor of the Yawning Portal. Although he looks li a middle-aged man whose best days are behind him, Durnan has a sharp mind and can still swing a sword when he must. Usually a man of few words, he doesn’t like talking about his past, and doesn’t reveal anything about his younger years as an adventurer.

If Durnan has any living family members, he doesn’t speak of them. He rarely says two words when one will do. He has a dark sense of humor and spares no pity on those who take the risk of entering Undermountain.

He keeps Grimvault, his magic greatsword, within reach behind the bar, and can chop tables in half with it if he so desires. He also can pull out a double crossbow (a heavy crossbow with reduced range that fires two bolts at the same target). Still, if he gets involved in a brawl, he prefers fighting with fists or a well-flung tankard.

Durnan doesn’t often venture far from the Yawning Portal, using his employees to run errands for him as needed. If he’s feeling charitable, he might gently discourage likable “nobodies” from venturing into Undermountain, if he thinks they wouldn’t survive. He can also direct adventurers toward tavern regulars who might be able to help them or offer useful information.

Ettercaps[edit | edit source]

Ettercaps are humanoid arachnids that tend to spiders the way a shepherd oversees a flock of sheep. Find strands of silk stream from glands in an ettercap’s abdomen, letting it shoot sticky strands of webbing to bind, entrap, or strangle its victims. It can also use its webbing to fashion an elaborate snares and nets, which often festoon its lair.

Green Slaadi[edit | edit source]

Green slaadi are surprisingly intelligent and possess innate spellcasting ability. A green slaad can change its shape to appear humanoid. If it was born of a humanoid host, the slaad usually adopts its host’s form.

Kuo-toa Archpriests[edit | edit source]

Kuo-toa archpriests are surrounded by fanatical devotees of their faith. An archpriest’s mad belief in its god is so fervent that it manifests the powers of a high cleric. The archpriest can also bestow spells to devout underlings called whips. One or more of these whips are also the archpriest’s children, and their primary role in kuo-toan society is to fight to the death to claim the throne when the archpriest dies.

Kuo-toa Magic[edit | edit source]

Kuo-toa worship gods of their own creation, but if enough kuo-toa believe that a god is real, the energy of their collective subconscious can cause that god to manifest as a physical entity. The form of kuo-toa god depends on the inspiration for tis divine image, and is usually random or nonsensical.

Neighborhood

Mattrim Threestrings Mereg[edit | edit source]

A good-hearted bard named Mattrim Mereg, known locally as Threestings, played a three stringed lute at the Yawning Portal and is a much more talented musician than he pretends to be. It truth, Mattrim is a Harper spy who uses this busking gig to establish relationships with the Yawning Portal’s unique clientele.

He has an understanding with Durnan and is free to work the Yawning Portal for connections, tips and occasional flagon of ale.

Myconids[edit | edit source]

Myconids are unique in their inherent ability to apparently think and act as one. The process is known as melding. To meld, myconids use rapport spores to bind themselves into a group consciousness. Hallucination spores then induce a shared dream that provides entertainment and social interaction. Each myconid considers melding to be the purpose of their own existence.

Purple Worms[edit | edit source]

The massive burrowing monster known as the purple worm terrorizes the creatures of Undermountain as it chews through solid rock in purusit of prey. A dim-witted, ravenous force of nature, this creature regards anything it encounters as food.

Terminus[edit | edit source]

Also called the Deep Mines, Terminus revealed it’s riches to dwarves and later the duergar. Once thought to be depleted of mithril, Trobriand uncovered a new and fruitful vein. Since then, the mines are back up and producing the precious and useful metal once again.

Lava flows through the enormous caverns dividing the traversable surface relentlessly. Dwarven ruins tower above canyons and mountains of rejected stone. For those who survive the demons that prowl the area, Fazrian the planetar sits in his court passing judgement on all who enter it.

The Gatestaff of Undermountain[edit | edit source]

Created and enchanted by Halaster Blackcloak himself, the Gatestaff of Undermountain is a marvelous and supremely useful magical item. Exquisitely carved from dragon’s bone, wrapped in red umberhulk hide and enhanced with two red crystal dragon heads, its forked design is like no other.

When put to use by a most powerful mage, the staff creates portal gates that lead to anywhere within the realm of Undermountain. These gates can be fleeting or effectively permanent, depending on the power of the user and their attunement to the weave. It takes great control and awareness to use the Gatestaff, and Halaster has only entrusted its use to his apprentice, Arcturia.

The Yawning Portal[edit | edit source]

The Yawning Portal is a famous inn and tavern located in the Castle Ward of Waterdeep. Adventurers can meet all sorts of colorful character there. It derives its name from a 40-foot-diamter well that descends into the first level of Undermountain. Located in the center of the taproom, the well was once the outer shell of Halaster’s mighty tower, which was demolished long ago. Its sheer walls are made of old mortared stones.

Next to this gaping orifice hangs a winch with a rope-and-pulley mechanism that Durnan, the proprietor, uses to lower adventurers down the shat and (sometimes) pull them up again. The walls of the well are crumbly but have abundant handholds and footholds, so they can be scaled without climbing gear.

Trobriand’s Constructs[edit | edit source]

Trobriand has brought forth many twisted creations, but his latest constructs are his most diabolical. Forged from raw mithral ore in the mines of Terminus, a wide range of armored creatures and humanoid forms are brought forth in countless numbers.

The humanoid constructs are powered by trapped souls and produced in a range of sizes. Some are merely the size of humans while others approach towering stature of Trobriand himself. Each one is lesser version of Trobriand’s own supremely armored body, powered by a sentient trapped soul.

In combat, all of them employ a devastating shock attack, but the larger constructs bring greater strength and endurance to the fight. With an almost endless supply of mithral and souls, this variety would make for versatile and unstoppable army.

Twisted Caverns[edit | edit source]

Below Catacombs, Twisted Caverns is a vast natural system of caves and tunnels with rivers, its own weather, tides and ecology. The mineral content of some caves has produced large pockets of crystalline shards with interesting properties. The humidity and lack of ventilation has promoted the growth of fungi forests as well.

The high level of moisture also makes the cavern ideal habitat for amphibians, crabs, slaadi and a large community of Kuo-Toa. These simple-minded ‘fishmen’ have lived here for longer than anyone can remember, but are not responsible for the architectural ruins that can be found on the island of Bulba-Slopp.

Recently, the relatively quiet nature of the Twisted Caverns has been disturbed by the presence of and aboleth and some uncharacteristically violent Kuo-Toa.

Twisted Caverns: Fungi Forest[edit | edit source]

Some of the varieties of fungi in Twisted Caverns are edible. Bluecap and Ripplebark are considered quite tasty. Large spores can be processed like grain while over-sized fungi are important for their hard and woody stalk. They are one of the few sources of timber in Undermountain; it is used to make furniture, containers, bridges, and rafts, among other things.

Twisted Caverns: Purpleworm Tunnels[edit | edit source]

A burrowing purple worm creates new tunnels throughout Undermountain, which are quickly made use of by other creatures as corridors and highways. Because a purple worm rarely returns to its own tunnels, such passageways are a good place to avoid these monsters.

Umber Hulks[edit | edit source]

Burrowing in to the wall of a cavern or passageway, and umber hulk lies in wait for creatures to pass by on the other side, its hair-like feelers sensing any movement around it. When it explodes out in a shower of earth and rock, its unsuspecting prey turns to face the oncoming threat – and is entranced by the umber hulk’s bewildering eyes, forced to stand helpless as its mandibles snap shut.

Undermountain[edit | edit source]

The largest and deepest dungeon in all of Faerûn sits right under the Yawning Portal. Its only practical entrance has been Halaster’s Mighty Tower, which fell into ruin long ago. The Yawning Portal tavern was built around it by Durnan, who has become the keeper of that passage. People come from all round to try their hand at Undermountain, and many never to return.

It is no wonder, since all manner of vile creatures dwell within the depths of this seemingly endless subterranean maze. With the come great treasures; lost fortunes, gems and crafter items that would bring a lucky adventurer wealth and power.

Vanrakdoom[edit | edit source]

Corrupted by pockets of Shadowfell, Vanrakdoom is like no other dungeon, with towering walls of ancient stonework and plunging drops to deeper and deeper levels. Entering a Shadowfell zone removes what little light there is with motes of despair choking one’s vision like ash from a nearby bonfire.

The Shar cultists draw power from the Shadowfell to thwart the progress of intruders and to server Halaster’s apprentice, sealing souls into Trobriand’s constructs.

Under a great guardian’s watch, a powerful object awaits bold enough to claim it. Lair of the Mad Mage

Wyllowwood[edit | edit source]

When one enters Wyllowwood for the first time, they cannot believe their eyes. There is lush grass beneath towering green trees. Clouds drift through a blue sky lit up by what can only be called a small sun. It is hard to believe that this bright and beautiful forest is a vast cavern, so deep underground.

The nourishing light and the illusion of the sky were created by Halaster himself and the effects often fool adventurers into believing that they have escaped the hopelessly dark and dangerous labyrinth of Undermountain. Complete with insects, birds, weather and even changes in seasons, it is a wondrous display of Halaster’s power as a mage.