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Ched Nasad, or the City of Shimmering Webs, used to lie in a great V-shaped cavern under the High Gap in the northern Graypeak Mountains. The grotto is nearly a mile high and a half mile wide at its largest. While the cavern roof is relatively flat, the grotto's walls are so steeply pitched as to make it impossible for creatures other than spiders or lizards to stand upright. The drow of Ched Nasad had built their city atop slender filaments of magically calcified webbing that endlessly danced and flickered with the radiance of faerie fire. Over one hundred major layers of webwork once stretched across the cavern, and hundreds of other near-vertical webs provide access from one level to the next. Individual dwellings, which resembled great hollow cocoons, were constructed both above and below the layers of 'Lolth' induced webbing. Along the cavern walls, endless sheets of water drained down from the mountains above, nurturing a veritable jungle of molds, lichen, and fungi tended by the city Houses' slaves. The narrow cavern floor was reserved for small herds of deep rothé tended by goblin shepherds. It is located in the Upper Northdark. With its destruction, and the huge debris field in this once pristine floors of Ched Nasad it will take many, many years to reclaim the floors. It will be far longer for the city to ever be rebuilt in some way, of its past glory, since in reality the worship of Lolth has ended there.
The city had different factions, or houses, all of which vied for power. It was under the indirect rule of House Nasadra which was governed by Matron Aunrae Nasadra, who succeeded her grandmother as Matron Mother in 689 DR. Recently, there was a revolt in Ched Nasad, which resulted in the near-total annihilation of the city's core, leaving only its outer chambers intact.
Before Ched Nasad's destruction (1374 DR) during the War of the Spider Queen, just under thirty thousand drow dwelled in the City of Shimmering Webs. That figure had declined slightly in recent centuries, due to the common in-fighting, politics, and intrigue of the drow. Approximately sixteen hundred drow were considered nobles, each of whom were a member of one of the many small, flexible noble houses. More than seventy thousand other inhabitants also lived in Ched Nasad, serving the drow citizenry as slaves. Commonly seen races once included dwarves, hobgoblins, orcs, quaggoths, svirfneblin, and thaaluud. No drow citizen of Ched Nasad were ever officially a 'slave,' but many were slaves in all but name. Only drow battle captives won from outside the city could be held openly as slaves. Upwards of two thousand visitors resided in Ched Nasad at any given time, including powerful creatures such as aboleth, deep dragons, grell, illithids, and fiends from the lower planes. Eye tyrants were the notable exceptions. The drow in the past had warred with the beholders of the Graypeaks Hive for centuries and did not tolerate their presence in the city.
The city is currently a ruined heap, with all of the central core, and those web structures that were connected to that core, having been firebombed by attacking dark dwarves. The calcified webs were weakened, shattered, broken apart. The web strands and what they held up fell to the bottom of the cavern. All that remains are parts of the ruined web strands that stayed connected to portions of the walls of the cavern.
Ched Nasad was founded by exiles from Menzoberranzan who sided with House Nasadra against House S'sril following the near destruction of Menzoberranzan by the wizards of House Thaeyalla. Afterward, House Baenre proposed a compromise that those under the rule of House Nasadra would found another city to the glory of the Spider Queen while those who sided with House S'sril would remain. Lolth herself appeared in avatar form and blessed the wisdom and forbearance of House Baenre. The Spider Queen then laid down the Way of Lolth, the basic laws under which both cities were to live, and decreed that the two cities must remain friendly to one another. Although Ched Nasad is only several weeks away from Menzoberranzan, the Nasadran drow wandered for decades before founding their new city. Eventually an avatar of Lolth led House Nasadra and its followers to the grotto where Ched Nasad now lies. Before vanishing, the avatar wove a great web from one wall to the other that then burst into flame. When the fires died down, the web had been transformed into stone, shimmering with faerie fire. Since the city's founding in -3843 DR, the Nasadrans had continued to expand this handiwork. Shimmering webs now encompass the entire cavern. Ched Nasad flourished despite centuries of fighting with the dwarves of Ammarindar, the beholders of the Graypeaks Hive, the phaerimm beneath Anauroch, and the fiends of Hellgate Keep.
While the rule of the Spider Queen's clergy and the noble houses was absolute, both wizards and merchants wielded influence and were in large part responsible for the city's prosperity. Much of Ched Nasad's fortune prior to its destruction came directly from its proximity to the caverns beneath ancient Netheril. Strong enough to hold their own against the phaerimm armies, the Nasadran drow periodically raided the phaerimm lands known as the Buried Realms (see Environs of Ooltul).
Although more than half of all raiding bands never returned, the plunder recovered by those that did return was unmatched. For centuries, Nasadran drow traded remnants of Netheril's faded heritage. Merchant caravans plied regular subterranean trade routes beneath the northern and southern ends of the High Forest to trading partners in Menzoberranzan, Gracklstugh, Ch'Chitl, Eryndlyn, and points beyond.
During the War of the Spider Queen the city was attacked and eventually destroyed by a large force of dark dwarf mercenaries, led by Captain Khorrl Xornbane. These duergar employed alchemical 'stonefire' bombs, which weakened and finally shattered the upper web strands, which collapsed onto and destroyed strands underneath them. Eventually the whole central core collapsed, taking with them all of the dwellings, buildings, roadways, and shops that had been built or connected to the web strands.
What used to be Chad Nasad now lies in a gigantic debris field on the floor of the cavern. It will take many years to clean up this mess, and many more years to rebuild the destroyed city of Ched Nasad.
Following the Spellplague that ravaged the Realms Above, Ched Nasad is still nothing but a small settlement, populated by the descendants of the survivors of the city's destruction in 1374DR. There are a few noble houses that remained, reformed, and filled the void of power, but the government of this small settlement is 'run' by the Jaezred Chaulssin, whose leader is known as the 'Revered Grandfather Mauzzkyl'. There are two joint leaders in the city, 'Patron Father Zammzt' and 'Patron Father Tomphael,' with assistance from other, lesser sect members. However, even under their leadership, the city has not recovered even a fraction of its glory a century after its fall.
The city has had to protect itself from multiple attacks by numerous Underdark forces that have heard of or were witness to its destruction. The city has also drawn attention from various other quarters. These years have also been very fluid, and the Jaezred Chaulssin are finding out that their hold on Ched Nasad is tenuous at best.
The Council, composed of the matron mothers of the twelve highest-ranking noble houses, were the rulers of Ched Nasad before its destruction. That roster included Aunrae Nasadra of House Nasadra, Umrae D'Dgttu of House D'Dgttu, Drisinil Melarn of House Melarn, Shyntlara Auvryndar [a vampire of House Auvryndar], Inidil Mylyl of House Mylyl, Jyslin Aleanrahel of House Aleanrahel, Talabrina Claddath of House Claddath, Ulviirala Rilynt of House Rilynt'tar, Lirdnolu Maerret of House Maerret, Nedylene Zinard of House Zinard, Pellanistra Ousstyl of House Ousstyl, and ShriNeerune Hlaund of House Hlaund.
All of these leaders were either destroyed or scattered when Ched Nasad was shattered, and the Jaezred Chaulssin now rule the remnants.
The Jaezred Chaulssin are in reality a very long-lived, very formidable group of dragons that can transform into humanoid forms of their choosing. This group is against Lolth and all other sects, agendas, and alignments. They are a sect unto themselves, live in the shadows, and form a 'hidden' group that is secretively active in spreading their power, by any and all means. This group has a rigid, formal hierarchy, led only by males, which bodes ill for those that come into contact with them. They also do not treat failures as a positive thing, or as a valid option.
The Jaezred Chaulssin are now the real rulers of Ched Nasad, in their drow and other humanoid forms. With all other previous leaders killed or having fled the destruction, with very few survivors (under 5,000 drow, and around 2,000 slaves), it will be many, many years before Ched Nasad will be able to reclaim even a fraction of its former glory. But the new 'hidden' rulers are patient and have all the time in the world to build, and wait.
Prior to destructiuon
- The Dangling Tower
- House Nasadra
- House Melarn
- House Aleandrahel
- House Auvryndar
- White Spider Company
- Arcanist Conservatory
- The Glowing Goblet
- The Lizard's Kiss
The environs of Ched Nasad were largely unworked. The stores of metal left after the fall of Ammarindar obviated the need to dig for more. The surrounding Underdark does bear the scars of countless spell battles, however, for the drow of Ched Nasad waged wars against beholders, dwarves, fiends, and phaerimm, with only brief interludes of peace.
Although the existence of Ched Nasad is still largely unknown in the Realms Above, its inhabitants are widely feared and hated throughout the Underdark of the North.
With the Jaezred Chaulssin, this city, if it ever gets truly rebuilt in their image, will be reviled and hated even more. However, with the heap of all that fell to the bottom of the caverns, the floors of what was Ched Nasad will take many years to dig through, move, and reclaim.