Ascore was a port city of the dwarven nation of Delzoun on the northern shores of the Narrow Sea during the time of the Netherese Empire. However, by the 14th century DR, it was a lonely, windswept ruin on the edge of the Anauroch, near the Frozen Sea, reputed to be haunted by ancient evil.
In its heyday, Ascore was a wealthy and bustling port on the Narrow Sea, standing as the gateway to Delzoun. Here dwarves traded with elves of Eaerlann and Myth Drannor and humans of Netheril and Nimbral.
Trade goods from Netheril flowed constantly into Delzoun either through the stone docks of Ascore or via the Lowroad, a subterranean highway that connected to Ascore. Across the Bay of Ascore and the Narrow Sea, Ascore's stone ships went to Coldfoot, Harborage, and Zenith. Ascore received gold and silver from the Netherese mining community of Bandor Village (established in −2436 DR).
Flora & Fauna
By the late 15th century DR, the city was claimed as part of the domain of the ancient blue dragon Iymirth. Although the dragon was unable to watch over the city because of her own machinations, two of the dragon's offspring, Anaxaster and Chezzaran, had made separate lairs within a couple of the abandoned stone ships in the harbor. A number of gargoyles also inhabited the city.
A millennia-old road ran from the west and into a great door set in a hill, flanked by two massive stone statues of crouching griffons with grim aspect. The door opened into a black yawning passage that descended into the earth. Beyond, the road exited the hill and came to the ruins that lay about the base of the cliff that stood above Ascore.
The Stone Ships
The dwarves built their docks and even their ships wholly of stone, on a characteristically massive scale. These mighty vessels, designed for both trade and warfare and nigh indestructible, plied the Narrow Sea. Up to twenty stone ships could be docked in Ascore at any one time, with thirty or so more out at sea. In the ruined city, these were still visible, half-buried in the sand, with the stone docks standing proudly against the encroaching sea of sand, and the empty hulks of weird stone ships emerging from the dunes to the east. These were the remains of Delzoun's navy.
The Red Pyramids
Thirteen tall, pentagonal pyramids stood in a circle in the very center of Ascore, carved all of a strange red stone. This material was similar to the bleeding stone of Karse, (which was the remains of the momentary god Karsus,) From afar, these were a bizarre landmark for adventurers on the The Long Run journey along the edge of Anauroch. Closer to, these grim pyramids were used, so it seemed, by a hag covey as a focus for casting great spells or as a site for rituals enacted in worship of an evil god or a vast and terrible thing dwelling beneath the buried city.[note 1]
From 1372 DR, a mysterious pool of liquid shadow had appeared in the center of the ring of pyramids. This was in connection to the shade research effort.
The Hlaungadath Portal
Ascore was the primary, and official, destination of a lost portal from Hlaungadath, created to speed travel between the two cities. On a surviving wall in Ascore were inscribed the words of a brief dwarven chant that would activate the portal, only thirty lines long, ending with "that the halls of our fathers may stand for 10,000 years". Speaking this opened the portal in a ruined chamber.
In −3419 DR, the Netherese opened trade negotiations with the Delzoun dwarves at Ascore. It took three years, but at last in −3416 DR they came to agreements. The Netherese built the Lowroad, a trade route through the safest and most secure parts of the Underdark between Ascore and several towns in Netheril.
From −2197 DR, as archwizards grew to prominence in Netheril, the Arctic Rim outpost swelled and in turn saw regular desertions. Many of these Netherese deserters went to Ascore to work for the magic-suspicious dwarves rather than serve wizards.
After the collapse of Netheril (−339 DR), in the Year of Guttering Torches, −338 DR, Netherese humans fled the occupation of Runlatha and the death of their ruler. Led by a great wizard-warrior known as the Bey of Runlatha and aided by dwarf rangers from Ascore, they journeyed west, through the Lowroad and into Delzoun seeking safety. They continued to migrate west, hoping to settle beyond Delzoun's borders.
By 1370 DR, the Vigilant, a band of dwarf warriors in Sundabar, west of Ascore, reported that an evil force was rising within the ruined city. They also warned that growing numbers of monsters were coming through the Underdark from the direction of Ascore.
Soon after the return of the City of Shade at the start of the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, the Shadovar sent an expedition to Ascore. Though it was unclear what they were doing or why, the Shadovar seemed to be studying the red pyramids. A strange pool of liquid shadow appeared between the pyramids soon after. The shades drove off curious adventurers; a survivor reported on what they'd seen. They remained there for years, until at least 1375 DR.
Rumors & Legends
Even in the 14th century DR, rumor still claimed that Ascore held much treasure, but also some weird evil that had apparently lingered there two thousand years. It was even whispered that an enormous and wicked entity abided somewhere far under the ruined city.
- Video games
- Tear of Ascore
- The thirteen pyramids are not mentioned in the Ascore write-up in Netheril: Empire of Magic, suggesting they appeared during or after the dwarves' abandonment of the city after Netheril's fall.
- Fans have speculated on the origin and purpose of the thirteen pyramids and the evil below for a long time. Designers are under a non-disclosure agreement to not reveal the information (George Krashos (2006-01-17). Pyramids under Ascore. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2017-05-18.). One common theory is that the thirteen shadevari (not to be confused with the Shadovar) were imprisoned there (Eric L. Boyd (2006-01-18). Pyramids under Ascore. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2017-05-18.); however, at least three of the shadevari were summoned and destroyed in the Crypt of the Shadowking and the Curse of the Shadowmage novels, making this theory improbable. Moreover, official sources seemed to deny the theory (George Krashos (2009-07-19). Pyramids under Ascore. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2017-05-18.). As recently as 2015, the truth has still not been revealed (George Krashos (2015-01-09). Pyramids under Ascore. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2017-05-18.); however, Ed Greenwood did admit that the pyramids were possibly related to the thirteen dire oaks found in Karse (Jackson Starky (2010-04-16). Pyramids under Ascore. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2017-05-18.).
- Warning: book within boxed set not specified for Netheril: Empire of Magic
- Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 40. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
- slade, et al. (April 1996). “The Wilderness”. In James Butler ed. The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (TSR, Inc.), p. 61. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
- Ed Greenwood (November 1991). Anauroch. Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 63. ISBN 1-56076-126-1.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 175. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. Edited by Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 89. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- Beyond Software, Inc. (1991). Designed by Don L. Daglow. Gateway to the Savage Frontier. Strategic Simulations, Inc.
- Greg A. Vaughan, Skip Williams, Thomas M. Reid (November 2007). Anauroch: The Empire of Shade. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-4362-9.
- Ed Greenwood and Jason Carl (July 2002). Silver Marches. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 0-7869-2835-2.
- Warning: book within boxed set not specified for Netheril: Empire of Magic
- Ed Greenwood (October 1990). Dwarves Deep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 55. ISBN 0-88038-880-3.
- Christopher Perkins (September 6, 2016). Storm King's Thunder. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 73. ISBN 978-0786966004.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 166. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Robert Wiese (2003-06-04). “Portals of Anauroch: The Lost Portal at Hlaungadath”. Perilous Gateways. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2003-07-04. Retrieved on 2016-07-16.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 126. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. Edited by Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 97. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 54. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
- Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. Edited by Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 98, 107. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 49. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. Edited by Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 84. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- Jackson Starky (2010-04-16). Pyramids under Ascore. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2017-05-18.
Dwarven Valley • Eartheart • Earthfast • Far Hills
Gracklstugh • Iltkazar • Ironmaster • Mithral Hall • Underwatch
Alatorin • Ascore • Citadel Sundbarr • Citadel Yaunoroth • Gauntlgrym • Halls of the Hammer
Hrakhamar • Rrinnoroth • Sarbreen • Splendarrmornn • Tyar-Besil • Tzindylspar • Underhome
Ammarindar • Besilmer • Bhaerynden • Dareth • Deep Kingdom • Delzoun
Gharraghaur • Haunghdannar • Hollowbold • Ironstar • Oghrann • Roldilar • Sarphil
Shanatar (Barakuir • Drakkalor • Holorarar • Korolnor • Torglor • Ultoksamrin • Xothaerin) • Thunderholme