The Cowled Wizards were a secretive cabal of wizards in Amn formed in the 13th century DR. While they were originally guardians of arcane knowledge and lore, their years of obsessively monitoring foreign mages who traveled to the Merchant's Domain, caused them to gradually transform into a autocratic authority over magic in the nation.
Overall, the Cowled Wizards detested unsanctioned uses of magic in Amn and either censured or otherwise eliminated the offenders to protect the practice of the Art. Some Cowled Wizards wielded their power for their own gain, eliminating their political and financial rivals and securing agreements that were not sanctioned by the organization as a whole.
When they were not undertaking official business, the Cowled Wizards worked as merchants, librarians, apothecaries or other similar professions. While anonymity was paramount to their operations, members were allowed to reveal their identity to immediate family, and typically knew the identity of two or three fellow Wizards.
Each Cowled Wizards cell was assigned to each town or city in Amn, isolated in their operations and led by the most powerful arcane spellcaster in the region. Save for times when politics between leaders arose as an issue, individual Cowled Wizards met in the capital of Athkatla in a series of hidden chambers beneath Jann Lane. From these secret rooms, members could organize their operations and reach out to other cells, whether to communicate or join forces with one another.
They Cowled Wizards were formed by Alisar of Esmeltaran in the 13th century DR. Alisar and the mages wanted to preserve magical lore and saw themselves as saviors of the Art, as servitors of Azuth and Deneir. Moving underground, they became librarians of lore and teachers to those with potential. The Cowled Wizards also kept an eye on foreign wizards passing through Amn, keeping rogue spellcasters in line to protect Amnians while preserving their own secrecy.
One of the more politically ambitious wizards was Thayze Selemchant, one of the founders of the Council of Six who ended the Trade War in Amn in 1333 DR. He was killed in Marpenoth 1362 DR when other members of the Council found out that he was a Cowled Wizard.
The most dangerous member to join their ranks was Lady Varytha Gheldig's elven apprentice, Zallanora Argentresses of the Mystics' Academy. On the day the gods were banished to Toril light-hearted and jovial elf was ambushed by the Calishite wizard Shond Tharovin and possessed by the spirit of Shoon VII, one of the most ruthless and ambitious necromantic dictators to ever come to power within the Realms. While inhabiting the body of Zallanora, Shoon VII began to subvert the Cowled Wizards to his own ends and gain access to their accumulated arcane power.
Around 1368 DR Lady Varytha Gheldieg of Eshpurta was one of a trio of wizards who attempted to place another agent among the Council of Six. However, the group was unaware that the council had observed them through Pommarch Tyrda Q'Helvor. By 1370 DR the Cowled Wizards' activities were overseen by Meisarch Thayze Selemchant, who presided over the internal defense of Amn as a whole.
By 1369 DR, the Cowled Wizards of Athkatla had gone from outlawed to becoming a government agency, and apprehended the rogue mage Jon Irenicus and the young Bhaalspawn Imoen in Waukeen's Promenade and confined them within the island asylum, Spellhold. Irenicus proceeded to take over the magical prison and tortured Imoen, removing her divine essence and setting her companions in Spellhold's subterranean dungeon. Control of the prison was eventually taken back by the Cowled Wizards.
By the 15th century DR the Cowled Wizards were essentially servants of the Council of Five, under the leadership of House Selemchant, represented by the council's Meisarch. The Cowled Wizards served as assassins and spies for the Amnian noble house, devolving into little more than arcane mercenaries. They were openly opposed by the Emerald Cabal, another order of mages that arose in response to the Cowled Wizards' tyrannical grasp on magical arts.
- Alisarhold: The great library of the Cowled Wizards, nestled within the Snowflake Mountains
- Spellhold: An offshore asylum found on the island of Brynnlaw
- 14th century
- Khollynnus Paac: Leader of the Athkatlan cell
- Zallanora Agentresses: A new member of the Cowled Wizards (as of 1370 DR)
- Purgan of Riatavin: Master of Alisarhold
- Tolgerias: A Cowled Wizard who sought to gain control of Lavok's planar sphere
- Video games
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), p. 8. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 81. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 18. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 19. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 BioWare (September 2000). Designed by James Ohlen, Kevin Martens. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. Black Isle Studios.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- ↑ Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 80. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.