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Dragonspear Castle was a dwarven fortress built upon the High Moor during the 13th century DR. It had a long and storied history within Western Heartlands. It served as home to monstrous humanoids, became the battleground for two wars between Faerûnians and devils from the Nine Hells,[1] and was even the stronghold for an angelic Shining Lady and her crusade[5]

The first 100 years or so of the castle's history was chronicled in the book, A Historical Treatise of Dragonspear Castle.[5]

GeographyEdit

It was built across three low hills[7] on the southwestern edge of the High Moor, east of Trollbark Forest and just north of where the Coast Way joined the Trade Way.[8]

Within the Misty Forest was a small cave that connected to the subterranean waterway that passed under the castle.[9]

Underground

Extensive tunnels were dug under the keep, connecting with the subterranean Nepenthe River,[10][11][12] the abandoned city of Kanaglym, and the greater depths of the Underdark.[13]

The caves and tunnels beneath the castle housed colonies of giant, incandescent fungi,[9] some of which released clouds of deadly mold.[5] The water that passed through the underground river was ice–cold and moved at a lazy place.[9] It was also home to a number of water elementals.[5]

One route of the underground tunnels led to a buried labyrinth. At the very center of this twisting maze, enveloped in an arcane field, rested the powerful artifact weapon, the castle's namesake Dragonspear.[14]

Gates

It became infamous for the inter-planar portal located in the dungeon beneath its keep. This portal was linked to Avernus in the Nine Hells and granted baatezu and other fiends an entrance to Toril.[15]

StructureEdit

Outer Walls
SOD Dragonspear

The castle at night circa 1368 DR

The outermost walls of the keep held the Great Gate and nine grand towers encircled the castle's outer ward.[16][17]

Inner Walls

The six sides of castle's walls were arranged in a shape of a coffin with a head that pointed westward.[18] They stood 30 feet (9.1 meters) above the hill on which they were built, and built 10 feet (3 meters) underground.[19] Four large turrets, 40 feet (12.2 meters) in height, were positioned at the easternmost and middle points of the hexagonal figure.[20][21] The two barbican turrets, of similar height but smaller width, sat at the two western points flanking the inner gate.[22]

Courtyard

Within the courtyard, in front of the main keep was a ruined shrine dedicated to Tempus, the Hold of Battle Lions. It was destroyed once and rebuilt after the end of the Second Dragonspear War.[23] Although the building itself was destroyed, its altar held a holy relic that allowed the castle's portal-sealing wards to be replenished.[24]

Also outside the keep were several large iron cages that dated back to the hobgoblins that held the keep prior to the First Dragonspear War. Since they have been used by the soldiers of the Shining Crusade,[5] and the group of vampires that dwelled within over a century later.[25]

Main Keep

Perhaps the most notable feature feature of the castle's keep was the skeleton of a colossal red dragon that draped over battered rooftop. The structure itself was in great disrepair, with glaring holes and cracked stones.[26]

Keep InteriorEdit

Ground Floor

The ceiling of the keep was 30 feet (9.1 meters) above its stone tiled floor, at the highest point of its vaulted ceiling.[26]

Standing in the keep's anteroom were four marble statues depicting human champions wielding swords and shields inlaid with the images of dragons.[26]

The walls of the main hall were adorned with several tapestries, decorative shields, and six gargoyles. Its floor comprised stone tiles that were laid in a diagonal orientation.[26] At the back of the hall was a smaller chamber containing stairs that led to the castle's basement.[5][26]

The northern wing served as the castle's original barracks. Despite its disrepair it offered decent shelter,[26] and was even used as a makeshift boarding house for Coalition forces decades after its original occupants.[5]

While it was later destroyed,[27] the southern wing once served as the castle's library and held a private study.[5]

Basement
Siege of Dragonspear logo

A rendition of the mosaic depicting Daeros and Halatathlaer

Like the keep above, the basement of Dragonspear Castle comprised a long, central area connecting several smaller chambers along its north and south–facing walls. In the center of the basement's stone floor was a large, circular mosaic depicting Daeros Dragonspear, mounted atop Halatathlaer wielding his iconic lance.[17] Hidden beneath the mosaic was a secret compartment that held Daeros's personal suit of armor.[5]

Along the northern wall of the basement were a few smaller chambers, containing an underground well, a small shrine and one that held massive sealed doors. Behind these doors was a small cave that held the portal to Avernus, whose repeated opening plagued the people of the Sword Coast.[5]

The southern rooms of the basement contained a small storage area, the castle's larger and its kitchen. In the chamber beneath the keep's southern barbican turret was a shaft that led down to the underground warrens.[5] This "passageway" was originally used for waste disposal by the castle's original inhabitants.[11]

Warrens

The Warrens was a name given to the cavern directly below Dragonspear's cellar. Attached to the cavern was a narrower passageway that opened up the underground Nepenthe River. The warrens were used by the Shining Crusade a staging area for moving supplies and troops in and out of the castle.[5]

Labyrinth

Somewhere beneath the castle was vast labyrinthine maze. For some time it was various subterranean monstrosities and malicious fiends, including a greater guardian daemon.[28] Hidden within its center was the artifact known as the Dragonspear,[14] which was recovered and destroyed during the Second Dragonspear War.[29]

HistoryEdit

Year of the Raging Flame, 1255 DR
Daeros Dragonspear emerged from Kanaglym, bearing a fortune in gems. He built Dragonspear Castle around the lair of his copper dragon companion Halatathlaer, above the dwarven kingdom.[2][7][30] The castle became a safe haven for dwarves within the region and their martial prowess helped ensure its security.[17]
Year of the Whelm, 1290 DR
Ithtaerus Casalia created the first portal to Avernus in Dragonspear Castle.[31] He bound the dragon Halatathlaer and tricked Daeros Dragonspear into entering the portal, an act that claimed his life.[17] Afterwards, Ithtaerus lured other dragons to the castle with vision of a free dragon hoard. Three hopeful dragons arrived and battled each other, slaying Halatathlaer and demolishing most of the fortress. The surviving dragon, Sharndrel, was incensed by the deception and slayed Ithtaerus.[3][32] Halattathlaer's spirit remained connected to the castle, and later its ruins, for nearly a century.[5]
The ruins were soon claimed by bandits and humanoids.[7][33]
Year of the Creeping Fang, 1305 DR
Hobgoblins seized Dragonspear Castle and raided the Trade Way and surrounding lands.[32][34]
Year of Spilled Blood, 1315 DR
Armed expeditions from Waterdeep and Baldur's Gate finally swept through Dragonspear Castle. Unable to destroy the portal they established the Hold of Battle Lions, a fortified temple of Tempus.[7][32][33][34][35]
Year of the Bow, 1354 DR
Devils took Dragonspear Castle, arriving through the portal that could not previously be shut.[7][11][33][36][37]
Year of the Worm, 1356 DR
The First Dragonspear War began as a mist cloaked the ruins of Dragonspear Castle, said to have been resistant to even the dispelling efforts of Khelben "Backstaff" Arunsun.[38] The forces of Waterdeep and Baldur's Gate once more converged on Dragonspear Castle, setting fire to its structures and defeating the devils within.[7][33][39]
Year of Shadows, 1358 DR
During the Time of Troubles, Midnight, Adon and the rest of their part teleported to the castle seeking out the second Tablet of Fate.[40] They were assaulted by the night riders of Myrkul[41] and were forced to flee by jumping into the Nepenthe River.[42]
Year of the Wyvern, 1363 DR
The Second Dragonspear War began as devils led by Baazka retook Dragonspear Castle and built an army of humanoids and a dominated black dragon. This fiend-led army destroyed The Way Inn and attacked Daggerford before being defeated by a motley force of combatants led by a handful of adventurers.[4][43] The castle was cleansed of any demonic forces and the wards and shrine protecting its underground portal were reinforced.[35]
DragonspearExt

Dragonspear Castle occupied by the Shining Crusade

Year of the Banner, 1368 DR
The aasimar Caelar Argent gathered an army of zealous warriors and mercenaries, calling it the Shining Crusade. They occupied Dragonspear Castle and led a campaign against the Bhaalspawn that saved Baldur's Gate from the machinations of Sarevok. Once again the armies of Baldur's Gate and Waterdeep came together, and along with the armed forces of Daggerford, formed a Coalition that fought against the crusade at the siege of Bridgefort and again at the castle itself.[5]
Following the battle at Dragonspear, the portal to Avernus was briefly opened by an imp masqueraded as the human cleric Hephernaan. No fiendish forces escaped from the Nine Hells however, due to the efforts of the Bhaalspawn and their fellow adventurers.[5]
Before the Year of the Ageless One, 1479 DR
The castle came under control of undead horrors that were led by the entity known as Born.[1][12][note 1]
Circa the Year of the Iron Dwarf's Vengeance, 1485 DR
The rakshasa Nadir convinced the Szarlnaxi vampires to open the weakened seal that shut away the portal beneath Dragonspear, so that they could free the soul of their former leader, Voltan Szarlnaxi.[44] In truth, Nadir sought revenge on his arch-nemesis, the paladin of Lathander Sir Isteval.[6] The portal to Avernus was briefly opened once again, but closed in short order thanks to the efforts of Sir Isteval and the adventurers that accompanied him.[45]

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

  1. The 4e Campaign Guide omits all mention of fiends; it maintains that the shrine of Tempus was overwhelmed by undead arising from the Nepenthe River, despite Volo's Guide specifically saying (a) it was a temple and (b) it was destroyed by baatezu.

AppearancesEdit

Adventures
Hordes of DragonspearWaterdeepGhosts of Dragonspear Castle
Novels
Spawn of DragonspearWaterdeep
Video Games
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

GalleryEdit

External LinksEdit

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the following links do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of this wiki, nor does any lore presented necessarily adhere to established canon.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 83. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 127. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 132. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 146. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 Beamdog (March 2016). Designed by Philip Daigle, et al. Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Beamdog.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 129. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 39. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  8. Karen Wynn Fonstad (August 1990). The Forgotten Realms Atlas. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 978-0880388573.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 William W. Connors (1992). Hordes of Dragonspear. (TSR, Inc.), p. 20. ISBN 1-5607-6333-7.
  10. Tim Beach (October 1995). “The High Moor”. In Julia Martin ed. Elminster's Ecologies Appendix II (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 0786901713.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 75. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 36. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  13. Karen Wynn Fonstad (August 1990). The Forgotten Realms Atlas. (TSR, Inc), p. 148. ISBN 978-0880388573.
  14. 14.0 14.1 William W. Connors (1992). Hordes of Dragonspear. (TSR, Inc.), p. 22. ISBN 1-5607-6333-7.
  15. Tim Beach (October 1995). “The High Moor”. In Julia Martin ed. Elminster's Ecologies Appendix II (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 0786901713.
  16. ProFantasy Software Ltd. (1999). Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas. TSR, Inc.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 73. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
  18. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 120. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  19. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 119. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  20. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 124. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  21. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 125. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  22. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 121. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  23. Tito Leati, Matthew Sernett and Chris Sims (February 2014). Scourge of the Sword Coast. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 20.
  24. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 122. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  25. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 123. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 125. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  27. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 127. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  28. William W. Connors (1992). Hordes of Dragonspear. (TSR, Inc.), p. 23. ISBN 1-5607-6333-7.
  29. William W. Connors (1992). Hordes of Dragonspear. (TSR, Inc.), p. 27. ISBN 1-5607-6333-7.
  30. Dee Pennyway (2016-04-01). Siege of Dragonspear: Field Report (PDF). Beamdog. Archived from the original on 2017-10-22. Retrieved on 2017-10-22.
  31. Tim Beach (October 1995). “The High Moor”. In Julia Martin ed. Elminster's Ecologies Appendix II (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 0786901713.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 74. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 91. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  34. 34.0 34.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 134. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  35. 35.0 35.1 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 294. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  36. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 124. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  37. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 140. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  38. Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  39. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 142. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  40. Ed Greenwood (1989). Waterdeep (adventure). (TSR, Inc), p. 27. ISBN 0-88038-757-2.
  41. Ed Greenwood (1989). Waterdeep (adventure). (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 0-88038-757-2.
  42. Ed Greenwood (1989). Waterdeep (adventure). (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 0-88038-757-2.
  43. William W. Connors (1992). Hordes of Dragonspear. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 1-5607-6333-7.
  44. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 126. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  45. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 130. ISBN 978-0786965311.
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