The Dark Army of the Night was formed by Lord Vanrak Moonstar, a minor noble of Waterdeep, after his father was killed by a mysterious, incurable wasting disease that was possibly brought back with him after Vanrak returned from an expedition to the Black Jungles of Tashalar. Vanrak, his body and mind weakened by his arduous travels, was overcome with grief and blamed the priests of Selûne from the High House of Stars for his father's death. Engrossed in his grief, Vanrak was an easy convert to Shar's worship.
Vanrak assumed leadership of his family and quietly started converting family members and servants to his new faith. Twenty-six years later, he openly declared his faith and organized a small mercenary army, led by Sharran priests, which he used to terrorize Waterdeep's harbor.
In 1130 DR, Vanrak's sister, Lady Alathene Moonstar, took refuge, with the rest of her Selûne-worshiping family, in the High House of Stars and petitioned the courts to strip her brother of his title and banish him, providing evidence of numerous heinous crimes. The City Watch came to apprehend him but, unbeknownst to them, Vanrak had caught wind of their plan and taken his followers through a secret portal to Undermountain.
After 41 years, Vanrak and his followers had conquered a sizeable portion of the part of Undermountain that they lived in. It was called Vanrakdoom after its master and eventually they would hold the entire sublevel. The Dark Army used it to attack Selûnite targets on the surface whilst Vanrak himself consolidated his power base and pursued his personal goal of immortality.
Eleven years after that, in 1182 DR, the Dark Army scored its greatest victory to date, managing to infiltrate the High House of Stars, kill its inhabitants and burn it to the ground with darkfire. The loot that they plundered was enough to fund Vanrak's ascension to a death knight.The Dark Army wasn't nearly as successful since. The High House of Stars was rebuilt as the House of the Moon (which they failed to consign to the same fate) and all of their major plots against Selûne's faithful were foiled. However, Vanrakdoom was safe enough and their ranks had swelled, most recently from about eighty krinth refugees from Thultanthar.
During the Time of Troubles of 1358 DR, a false avatar of Selûne appeared in Waterdeep. She was invited to a party at Castle Waterdeep, but a trio of the Dark Army broke in, intent on kidnapping her. Lord Piergeiron confronted them and the City Guard fought them. They unleashed darkness, which Khelben dispelled with light, made blindingly bright by the effects of the Troubles. Unhindered, the Dark Army kidnapped the avatar, but she stole their rope and apprehended them with a bind spell, and they were taken into custody by the Guard. Ironically, the avatar was not Selûne at all, but Shar herself in disguise.[note 1]
Apart from the krinth, the Dark Army of the Night consisted of many clerics (as Vanrakdoom was mostly just a giant temple to Shar), rogues, sorcerers, and their fighter guards. The elite members were usually of paths that revolved around shadow, such as shadowdancers, nightcloaks, and shadow adepts. The Army also had control of many monsters native to or affiliated with the Shadow Plane, like nightwalkers, nightshades, and a pack of twelve shadow mastiffs led by a shadurakul.
The Dark Army declared they were servants in body and soul to Shar. They trained to fight without needing to see, whether in darkness or when blinded. They moved with stealth, like the night.
The three members who invaded Castle Waterdeep in 1358 DR carried longswords and wore black pants, boots, bandannas, and belts crossing their bare chests and arms. They painted their faces with black vertical stripes over their eyes and on their chins.
- ↑ The irony of the Dark Army kidnapping their own goddess is unmentioned in the comic, but it is possible this was a ruse to lend credence to Shar's disguise as Selûne and draw attention elsewhere. Khelben is briefly more inclined to accept she is Selûne, while the heroes are convinced other opponents are really Shar. This is supported by the Dark Army only kidnapping, not trying to kill, Shar.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dan Mishkin (July 1990). “Dark of the Moon”. In Elliot S. Maggin ed. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #20 (DC Comics).
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Eric L. Boyd (2005-07-12). Vanrakdoom (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 2. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 45. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
- ↑ Eric L. Boyd (2005-07-12). Vanrakdoom (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 3. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
- ↑ Dan Mishkin (September 1990). “Total Eclipse”. In Elliot S. Maggin ed. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #22 (DC Comics).