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His role was to advise and serve the ruling Council, especially in devising magics for the defense of the city, and to help the inhabitants of the city keep track of time in the lightless Underdark by casting a lingering heat enchantment on Narbondel. This duty, incidentally, kept him tied to the city and under the watchful eye of its priestesses.
The Archmage was almost always a wizard of House Baenre, who used their influence to ensure that one of their own occupied the position.