Elminster Aumar (born in 212 DR), also known as the "Sage of Shadowdale" and the "Old Mage", is one of the most famous and powerful wizards in all of Faerûn, as well as a fair fighter and thief.
As a high-level wizard, Elminster is capable of taking on almost any appearance imaginable.
In his natural state Elminster appears as a gray-bearded man of weathered visage, gruff tone, alert eyes, and nondescript attire. He is almost always smoking a calabash pipe that is spouting some vile blue or green smoke.
Elminster's most distinguishing physical feature is his hawk-like nose.
A natural storyteller, Elminster is normally a witty, clever, and very charming man. He is a consummate actor, however and can be imperious, grave, and terrible as the situation demands. He rarely reveals the full extent of his true nature to anyone who is not an extremely close friend. He can portray himself as a trickster, a rake, a stern father figure, or any other stereotype he wants to assume, depending on what he wants to accomplish or what reaction he wants to elicit from those around him.
Elminster interacts regularly with the other Chosen of Mystra through a telepathic link. As well as once sharing a bed with the goddess herself, he is currently conducting a relationship with the Simbul of the Seven Sisters. Elminster and Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun had something of a rivalry, whilst Volo sorely taxes the old mage's patience.
The Making of a Mage
The first novel in the The Elminster series, Making of a Mage recounts the character's origin story, which explains why he has levels in so many different character classes (fighter, rogue, cleric, and wizard).
Elminster was born in 212 DR to Elthryn, the lord of the village of Heldon and a prince of Athalantar, and his wife Amrythale, in the kingdom of Athalantar. His family was killed by a malaugrym named Undarl, one of the magelords of the ancient kingdom of Athalantar. Taking up his father's broken sword, the Lion Sword, the symbol of the great king of the Stag Throne (who was Elminster's grandfather), Elminster became a brigand and a thief at the ripe age of twelve.
He soon realized that he had no taste for killing, and gave it up when he went to become a burglar in the city of Hastarl, the capital of Athalantar. He met and formed a bond of friendship with a young thief, Farl, who knew Elminster as Eladar "the Dark"; they committed many acts of thievery and lived life fully, later forming the gang the "Velvet Hands" in opposition to the rival gang, the Moonclaws, who were servants of the magelords. Later during a burglary, Elminster met the Magister of the time, the wizard who bore the mantle of Azuth's power. When asked if he was interested in learning sorcery, Elminster refused, as he hated all mages because of the magelords.
After many adventures, Elminster was visited by Mystra, the Goddess of All Magic. She tarried with him and left the awestruck Elminster with the message that he should learn of magic and worship her. Soon thereafter, while he was still a young adult, Mystra transformed Elminster into a woman named Elmara to strengthen his bond with magic and to know what it is to be a woman. This change also allowed him to move within his enemies' circles without their knowledge that he was in fact the last surviving prince of Athalantar. For a few years, Elmara was a priestess of Mystra. Later, an avatar of Mystra (who went by the name Myrjala "Darkeyes") trained Elmara in the ways of a mage and brought her to an ancient Netherese arcanist who taught Elmara a spell that would transform her back into Elminster. In the time that followed, Elminster learned much about magic from Myrjala, reaching the point where he could finish taking his revenge against the evil magelords who had usurped the kingdom. After a terrific battle, Elminster persevered and assumed the throne of Athalantar.
However, no sooner had he gained the kingship than he passed it to one one of his friends, Helm Stoneblade, a knight of Athalantar. Elminster stated that he had wanted to avenge his family's death, not become a monarch. As he and Myrjala left the kingdom, the so-called Mage Royal, Undarl, attacked them, and the sorceress revealed herself to be Mystra. She offered to make Elminster one of her Chosen, and he readily accepted.
Elminster in Myth Drannor
A sequel to Making of a Mage, Elminster in Myth Drannor takes place shortly afterwards. In this novel, Elminster travels to the city of Cormanthor. The book details the ancient elven society and its people, as well as highlighting Elminster's continued magical studies, as he serves as an apprentice to a cruel and powerful wizard.
The Temptation of Elminster
The Temptation of Elminster moves the time line ahead several centuries. At the outset of the novel in 759 DR, Elminster emerges from a dusty tomb, after being trapped there in stasis for many years.
During much of this book, magic becomes unreliable, and Elminster must again learn to survive by his wits and the skills he picked up earlier in his life. He later undergoes further magical training under the tutelage of a wicked sorceress who seeks to tempt him away from Mystra's path.
Following the events of The Temptation of Elminster, Elminster served as a foster parent to three other of Mystra's Chosen: Laeral, Storm, and Dove. It is also suspected that he had something to do with the founding of Waterdeep, or at least with the organizing of the city's lords.
Time of Troubles
Elminster was instrumental in forming the Rangers Three, who aided him in recurring battles with the mysterious Shadowmasters during this time. Elminster also took time out to defend Shadowdale from an army of Zhentarim led by the avatar of Bane. Bane and Elminster battled, and both were caught up in the spell that Elminster had called upon to dispose of the avatar. Elminster was originally thought to have been destroyed, but when he later reappeared it became apparent that he had merely been transported to another plane of existence for a time.
Shadow of the Avatar Crisis
In Elminster's absence, the foes of good tried to rally, but the other Chosen, the Knights of Myth Drannor, and the Rangers Three held them at bay until he returned. With the present crisis averted, all seemed calm, but the Shadowmasters had other ideas. Elminster and the Rangers Three, along with their allies, managed to frustrate and foil the plans of this race of shapeshifters.
Elminster also confronted the Overgod, Lord Ao, over his instigation of the Time of Troubles while innocents were being killed. As the critical moment of the Time of Troubles approached, Mystra knew of what was to come and she shed most of her power into Midnight the human wizard, so that all of her essence would not cease to exist. Since Elminster obtained his power from Mystra, this change left him personally powerless at a critical juncture.
He recruited one of the Rangers Three, Sharantyr, and they equipped themselves from Elminster's cache of magical items, which would still function. The two of them were later reunited with the other two members of the band, Itharr and Belkram, but even the Rangers Three could not prevent Elminster from being wounded in battle. Despite this setback, Elminster and the Rangers, along with their allies, not only freed High Dale and defeated Manshoon of the Zhentarim, but they also outlasted the Time of Troubles, and Elminster regained his magic.
Elminster in Hell
When the floating city of Thultanthar was returned to Faerûn after their exile in the Plane of Shadow, the Shadovar came to Shadowdale to ambush Elminster. In the confrontation spells were thrown, and Storm blasted one of the shadow princes with a ball of silver fire. Since Shadovar are living shadow magic, and silver fire is pure Weave magic, the collision between the two tore at the fabric of reality, creating a rift to the Nine Hells. Elminster realized that the only way to close the portal before legions of devils spilled forth into Toril was to close it from the other side.
In the opening of Elminster in Hell, Elminster entered the portal and narrowly managed to do so, but at the expense of much of his magical strength. Once in Hell he was abducted and enslaved by an outcast archdevil known as Nergal, who wished to discover the secret of Mystra's silver fire. In the most graphic scenes of the The Elminster Series, Elminster was subject to brutal tortures, surviving only because of his exceptional endurance and ability to heal himself with silver fire. While the arch-fiend plundered Elminster's thoughts and memories, Mystra became aware of her favorite servant's plight and entered Hell herself to find him. Realizing that her presence in Hell was overly conspicuous, Mystra retreated and dispatched more subtle agents to find him; first Halaster Blackcloak, the Mad Mage of Undermountain (who was defeated) and then the Simbul. After much searching, the Simbul found him, and together they defeated Nergal and returned home.
Elminster's Daughter takes place a few years after Elminster in Hell (the novel also acts as sequel to Death of the Dragon). A relatively light-hearted book when compared to the more violent Elminster in Hell, it focuses primarily on the life of one of Elminster's children, Narnra Shalace.
Narnra leads the life of a loner thief in Waterdeep, with no one to depend on but herself. Following an old man through an alleyway and into a portal, she emerges in Marsember. The old man she follows is none other than Elminster. Because of her curiosity, Narnra quickly finds herself involved not only in the intrigues of the Cormyrean nation, but also with Elminster, who turns out to be her father, who she has never known.
Elminster then secretly helped a small group of adventurers near Westgate at the Reddansyr Village, investigating the destiny of the clone of Manshoon, and unmasking the real leader of Night Masks of Westgate, the Night King known as "The Faceless" (the Manshoon clone, now known as Orbakh), three years after the Manshoon Wars in the year of 1373 DR. He has also aided Abdel Adrian and his companions, making occasional appearances to the party, both to check on their progress, and to impart wisdom in regards to their quest in the Bhaalspawn crisis.
On 15 Nightal 1374 DR, Sharran agents attempted to steal the Ebon Diadem from Elminster's tower. Due to the essence of the artifact and the sheer power of Elminster's wards, on whose power the artifact fed, the Sharrans defeated Elminster (though not without losing most of their number) and a contingency spell whisked Elminster away, while his tower itself was blasted into ruin and transported to another, unknown plane.
After the Spellplague, Elminster returned to Shadowdale and took up residence on Storm Silverhand's farm, still immortal, but no longer a chosen since the death of Mystra. He still wields considerable arcane power, but using it drives him insane. He is one of 3 Chosen of Mystra known to survive the Spellplague – the others being the Simbul, who went insane, and Storm, who now lives with and cares for Elminster – she is the only one who can cure his insanity after using magic. 
He has become much more reclusive, asking many more people to leave him alone than he used to.
Whenever magic one doth weave
Methinks ye shouldst take what is given when proffered by an elf. They have secrets aplenty, as well they should, and take care ye don't pry too hard. Inquisitiveness is admired by the People, but rude investigation is not, and ye'd crack the shell of a dragon turtle with your teeth sooner than gain secrets from a slighted elf.
I am Elminster of Shadowdale, called by some the Old Sage, and called far worse things by others. I've walked these realms for over a thousand years. Yet, I am far from the oldest, wisest, or mightiest being to walk the ground of Faerûn with my well-worn boots—and that is truth. But if ye learn the long history of my deeds, ye'll know precisely what I stand for and what I am. And that's a rare and precious thing, knowing yourself. Do ye know exactly what ye stand for?
Adventurer, I am Elminster, and I say to ye that these forgotten realms are yours to discover, reforge, and defend, yours to make anew in winning your own crown. Go forth and take up arms against the perils that beset us!
Ye, I, and all gathered here now, are dangerous. Should we then be destroyed out of hand because of what we might do? Nay! It is the right and the doom of all creatures who walk Faerun to do as they will; it is why we of the art frown so at those who charm often, or in frivolous cause. Not even the gods took unto themselves the power to control ye or me so tightly that we cannot walk or speak or breathe save at another's bidding! It is their will that we may be free to do as we may. Slay a foe, sure, or defend thyself against a raider - but to strike down one who may some day menace thee? That is as monstrous as the act of the usurper who slays all babies in a land, for fear of a rightful heir someday rising against him!
- According to Lyra Sunrose, Elminster is skilled with a needle and thread, having sewn a blouse for her.
- Elminster is a poor horseman.
- Elminster snores loudly while sleeping, although mutes this magically if it will disturb friends. It should be noted that as one of Mystra's Chosen, Elminster does not need to sleep. 
- Elminster has penned a number of books in his time including Songs of the Wind: The Holdings of Windsong Tower.
- Trusting in Lore, Part One
- Eltargrim and kiwidoc. Sha'Quessir Istar: Elminster, Elf Friend and Wizard. Archived from the original on 2006-04-27. Retrieved on 2008-06-12.
- ↑ Warning: edition not specified for Cormyr: A Novel
- ↑ Troy Denning (Mar 2001). The Summoning. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 07-8691-801-2.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 88. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (December 1995). Elminster: The Making of a Mage. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-0203-5.
- ↑ Dale Donovan, Paul Culotta (August 1996). Heroes' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-0412-7.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (December 1995). Elminster: The Making of a Mage. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-0203-5.
- ↑ Troy Denning (Mar 2001). The Summoning. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 314–316. ISBN 07-8691-801-2.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (June 2011). Elminster Must Die (Mass Market Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0786957996.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (February 2005). Spellfire. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 205. ISBN 0-7869-3599-5.
- ↑ James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Cormanthor”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 2. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Ed Greenwood (November 2003). Elminster at the Magefair (The Best of the Realms). (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3024-1.
- ↑ Richard Baker, Eric L. Boyd, Thomas M. Reid (July 2007). Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 5. ISBN 07-8694-039-5.
- Andy Collins, Bruce R. Cordell (July 2002). Epic Level Handbook. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 291–292. ISBN 0-7869-2658-9.