The Gost family was one of the many noble houses of Waterdeep as of the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, but were direct descendants of the Ruldegosts who could trace their lineage all the way back to the ancient kingdom of Uthtower in the 2nd century DR. At first, they were interested in obtaining quick wealth through illegal means, but over the years the family turned to more stable businesses such as caravan mastering, general trading, and armor smithing.
The patriarch of the Gost clan in the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, was Lord Djarrus, the eldest son of Lord Bhaedulph (recently deceased) and his consort Aurora. Djarrus had no consort at this time, and the heir to the family title was his younger brother, Dundald. At this point in history, there were seventeen members of the noble family.
In the early days of this noble house, the members focused on high risk, high reward schemes to generate wealth, such as looting the tombs of other nobles, cheating various guilds, and even kidnapping. They even worked and consorted with yuan-ti, so some members of the Gost family exhibited a snake-like agility and were fairly resistant to poison.
Base of Operations
The Gost family villa was located in the North Ward on the northwest corner of the intersection of Golden Serpent Street and Geltoon Street. Directly across the alley behind the residence was the Grinning Lion tavern. Inside the walled compound was a four-story mansion, a courtyard with some green space, and a three-story gatehouse that served as stables and quarters for most of the guards.
The Gost family once owned an underground complex (eventually known as the Fireplace Level) beneath their villa and an adjoining warehouse (on the site where the Grinning Lion was eventually built) that they used for smuggling, hiding illicit treasure, and quick movement of goods through portals to undercut their competitors. It was built by Lord Geldirth Gost in the Year of Prideful Tales, 1219 DR, but was abandoned in the Year of the Catacombs, 1308 DR. Filled with the ghosts (both literally and figuratively) of their past transgressions, the (known) entrances were sealed, and the Gosts expunged all mention of it in the family records. By 1372 DR, the only hints of the existence of the subterranean structure were in private diaries and none of the living members knew how to access the mythical vaults even if they were real.
The Gost family were descendants of the Ruldegost line that split off in the Year of the Sundered Shields, 1197 DR, when two sons and a daughter were excommunicated for worshiping Mask and advocating building wealth more rapidly by illegal means.
The Gosts had an agreement with the Gundwynd family to use their hippogriff couriers when the portal network was unreliable. The Gosts were also early backers of the Shadow Thieves. During the upheaval caused by the Guildwars in the mid–13th century, Lord Geldirth Gost II terminated the agreement and sent hired agents to storm the Gundwynd villa, kidnap as many of the noble family as could be taken alive, and ransack the family's treasure. The captured Gundwynds were caged and left to starve to death in the Gost's underground lair. When the Gundwynd ghosts made the complex unusable, Geldirth II had to relinquish the family's stake in the Shadow Thieves in exchange for help in containing the revenge-driven ghosts. A member of the Gundwynd family that lived elsewhere returned to Waterdeep and managed to rescue the family's business and their name from oblivion. After this sordid incident, the two noble families eyed each other with suspicion and distrust.
In the early 14th century, the family dungeon was abandoned and eventually forgotten as they turned to more legitimate businesses and began revering Lathander and Siamorphe. In the Year of Maidens, 1361 DR, Lord Djarrus became an anonymous patron of the Foes of the Fang adventuring company primarily because his half-sister Corinna Lathankin was a founding member.
The Gost family split off from the Ruldegost clan in 1197 DR but retained their nobility under their new name. They were of Illuskan stock and venerated Mask, the Lord of Shadows. Their "get rich quick" schemes included tomb raiding and swindling whatever guilds they could dupe. In 1219 DR, Lord Geldirth built a secret underground complex using slave labor and set up a portal network to quickly move goods to destinations normally served by caravans. In 1233 DR they expanded the network with branches to new destinations to bring in exotic beasts and monsters for illicit sale to local clients. Keeping a series of portals secure and operational proved to be challenging, so Geldrith's son, Lord Harthar, negotiated a deal with the Gundwynd family to move goods by hippogriff whenever deliveries were delayed.
Eventually Harthar's son, Lord Geldrith II, took over the reins of the family business and, being a Mask worshiper, formed an alliance with the newly created Shadow Thieves crime syndicate in 1255 DR or shortly thereafter. This new association meant the Gosts were no longer dependent on the Gundwynd hippogriffs and, under cover of the chaos surrounding the Guildwars in 1262 DR, Geldrith II hired thieves to kidnap or kill every member of that noble house that resided in Waterdeep and bring the survivors to the underground complex. There, he left them in cages to starve. Many of the prisoners returned as ghosts that sought revenge on the Gost family, which made life in the villa above extremely dangerous. Geldrith II was forced to turn to the Shadow Thieves for help in containing the ghosts. In exchange for the Gost's stake in the syndicate, the necromancer Marune the Masked put ghost-proof barriers and traps around the portal nexus which allowed the family to sleep securely again.
The Gost clan resumed their shady commerce, but entering the underground complex was still very dangerous and the risks caused a slow decline in traffic through it. With the wealth plundered from the Gundwynd villa, the Gosts rebuilt their overland trading business, giving them even more incentive to avoid the ghosts. The last straw occurred in 1308 DR when a purple worm came through one of the portals and was trapped in a temporal stasis field. The sheer size of the creature cracked and crumbled most of the stonework in that area and (unbeknownst to anyone at the time) opened up a fissure that connected to the flue of a fireplace located in the Dungeon of the Crypt. The Gosts calculated that it was not worth the cost of removing the beast, so they sealed up the passage from their villa and removed all mentions of it from their family records.
Artor Morlin, the Master Vampire of Waterdeep, had his primary lair in the Dungeon of the Crypt and used the fireplace flue as a way to reach the surface world. He soon discovered the new connection to the Fireplace Level (as it was dubbed by the Company of Crazed Venturers) and made it his secondary lair. In the Year of the Gate, 1341 DR, the Crazed Venturers fought the Baron of Blood in the Dungeon of the Crypt and he fled up the flue to the Gost complex. The Company followed him and explored the place, but never discovered Morlin's coffin. After the danger had passed, Morlin made the Fireplace Level his primary lair while assessing the threats to his existence from the surface dwellers. Eventually, he created a new secondary lair in the basement of the Gost villa and took on the persona of Delinth Oberlin, the seneschal for the noble Gost family. In this guise he was able to prevent any of the Gost clan from discovering the mythical entrance to the large underground complex that was hinted at in the private diaries of their ancestors.
Lord Bhaedulph Gost became too crippled and infirm to fulfill his duties and responsibilities as patriarch of House Gost in the Year of the Sword, 1365 DR, and his heir, Djarrus, was the de facto head of the family until it became official in the Year of the Tankard, 1370 DR, when Bhaedulph passed away. Unbeknownst to anyone in Djarrus' public life, he was under the thrall of Artor Morlin and worked to rid the cities of the Lords' Alliance of all vampires other than Morlin by gathering information and feeding it to his half-sister Corinna. In 1372 DR, the next in line for leadership of the family was Djarrus' younger brother, Dundald. Dundald occupied his time by making forays into Undermountain with the Deep Delvers adventuring company.
- Djarrus Gost: Patriarch in 1372 DR. Under control of Artor Morlin.
- Bhaedulph Gost: Father of Djarrus, Tasmia, and Corinna. Died of the sweet sickness.[note 1]
- Aurora Gost: Consort of Bhaedulph and mother to Djarrus and Tasmia.
- Tasmia Gost: Sister of Djarrus. Moved to Silverymoon with her consort, Motryth Bladesharp, to explore trade opportunities.
- Corinna Lathankin: Half–moon elf half-sister of Djarrus. Famed vampire hunter and member of the Order of the Aster.
- Dundald Gost: Younger brother and heir of Djarrus. Member of the Deep Delvers adventuring company.
- Geldirth Gost: Split (or expelled) from the noble Ruldegost family in 1197 DR. Worshiper of Mask and builder of the Fireplace Level.
- Harthar Gost: Geldirth I's second son and heir. Negotiated pact with the Gundwynd family for delivery of goods by hippogriff in 1233 DR.
- Geldirth Gost II: Son of Harthar. Allied with the Shadow Thieves and betrayed and murdered most of the Gundwynd clan in 1262 DR.
- The sweet sickness is a Realms name for diabetes.
- Ed Greenwood (1987). Waterdeep and the North. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 0-88038-490-5.
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- Eric L. Boyd (November 2005). “Vampires of Waterdeep: The Fireplace Level”. In James Jacobs ed. Dungeon #128 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 74.
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- Eric L. Boyd (November 2005). “Vampires of Waterdeep: The Fireplace Level”. In James Jacobs ed. Dungeon #128 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 91.
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