The cult was well connected in Neverwinter prior to the Ruining of 1451 DR, and was even better connected as of 1479 DR, having infiltrating the ranks of the New Neverwinter organization. In the years prior to Neverwinter's destruction, the Ashmadai worked as agents of Thay, although since the cataclysm there the Ashmadai broke free of their indentured alliance with Szass Tam.
The Ashmadai had the ability to summon devils from the Nine Hells. However, whenever they summoned a fiend, they bound its essence to the body of a mortal. Because of this the Asmadai kidnapped residents of Neverwinter in order to make them vessels for summoned devils.
Years before the cataclysm of Neverwinter, cultists of Asmodeus allied themselves with Thay. The exact nature of the bargain between the cult and Szass Tam was unclear. What was known was that Thay's regent, Valindra Shadowmantle, possessed a staff that the Ashmadai considered precious, Ruby Rod of Asmodeus. The Ashmadai served Thay loyally, though all they simply desired was the staff. When control would be given to Sylora Salm, the Ashmadai would continue to serve loyally. After destroying Neverwinter to create a Dread Ring, the Ashmadai would again attempt to wreak havoc with Salm by trying to use the primordial of Gauntlgrym to destroy New Neverwinter. But the interruptions of Drizzt Do'Urden and his companions would result in the death of Salm and the transferring of leadership to Valindra Shadowmantle once again, under whom the loyalty would waver. The cultists would stick with Valindra when she would show her possession of the staff, and though they had not seen it since, they assumed her to still have it. Though in reality, Szass Tam had reclaimed the staff.
A huge part of the Shadovar–Thay War was the conflict between the Ashmadai and the Abolethic Sovereignty. Mordai was determined to make sure that the aboleths made no advances in Neverwinter. To do this, Mordai wanted to undermine the Chasm in southeast Neverwinter, a place of interest to the Sovereignty. The cultists constantly hampered the aboleths' attempts to make people mindless slaves, under the belief that all belong to the Ashmadai, and took special note in killing or driving out abolethic agents. However, the Ashmadai were relatively unsuccessful, thus the aboleths did not take the Ashmadai as a threat and have not wiped them off the face of Neverwinter.
The Ashmadai's other dealings in the war were relatively minor. It mainly consisted of planning to dispose of Thay and sporadically working with the Netherese against their former masters.
In the years before 1479 DR, the Ashmadai now ran in two groups, one slavishly loyal to Asmodeus, led by the dwarf Favria. Her faction consisted of older and less studied cultists who still served Thay in belief Valindra was the staff's holder. This sect was little more than thugs and brutes loyal only to Asmodeus and Favria.
The other sect, led by Mordai Vell, was populated by cunning and manipulative individuals who cared more about the acquisition of power rather than paying homage to their god. Vell was credited for bringing about the rise of the Ashmadai into New Neverwinter's shady and secretive powerhouse. Although Vell's sect still paid lip service to Thay, their true goal was to advance their own agenda.
However, as Vell lacked the numbers and individual power to control Dagult Neverember and his most trusted allies and officers, he used a pod system to shroud the Ashmadai from the eyes of others. The highest ranking members of the sect were unaware of each other and each reported only to Vell. Each of those members had their own pod, and the members of that pod reported to that individual and so on down through the ranks. Mordai readily encouraged his followers to mark shellacked buildings and corpses with the symbol of Asmodeus. This was to intimidate others into joining the ranks of the Ashmadai. The symbol was effective as it managed to scare the townsfolk into co-operating with the demands of the Ashmadai. Although Favria disagreed with the plan, she did not deny it's effectiveness.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Matt Sernett, Erik Scott de Bie, Ari Marmell (August 2011). Neverwinter Campaign Setting. Edited by Tanis O'Connor. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 98–99. ISBN 0-7869-5814-6.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 R.A. Salvatore (July 2012). Neverwinter. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-6027-2.
- ↑ Daniel Marthaler (August 2011). “The Gauntlgrym Gambit”. Dungeon #193 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4.
- ↑ Greg Bilsland, Mike Mearls (2011). Forge of the Dawn Titan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 3–11.