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Halaster Blackcloak (formerly Hilather pronounced: /ˈhɪlɑːθɜːrHILL-a-thur[5]) was a very old and insane wizard who resided within his lair: Undermountain.


While in Undermountain, Halaster seems constantly distracted, always chuckling and muttering to himself over people and happenings only he can discern. He also has difficulty holding the thread of any conversation.

If he is ever removed from Undermountain, he regains his lucidity. At these times, Halaster is fastidious, meticulous, and quite proper, though still thoroughly evil. Halaster can be honorable, and even noble in a way. He brooks no insolence in any case, and remembers any slight or aid given him. He also tries to get his own way in everything, caring not for the harm he does to others in the process. Blackcloak's interests include collecting new monsters and magic, but after thousands of years, nothing is really new to him. Whilst waiting for such delights, he amuses himself by manipulating events and politics to suit his whims.


Magic Items and Spells[]

Over many centuries, numerous magic items and spells have been created by or attributed to Halaster Blackcloak.

Magic Items 


Halaster's Apprentices[]

Several of Halaster's apprentices would become extremely powerful in their own right, though all would become infected with his madness.

Shradin Mulophor 
Shradin was a powerful Netherese necromancer who had survived the collapse of his civilization. In 1148 DR he learned of Sargauth Enclave and petitioned to become an apprentice to the Mad Mage. For reasons perhaps unknown even to him, Halaster agreed and also allowed him to take the Enclave as his own. Shradin, calling himself the "Lord of Bones" (not to be confused with the god of the dead who also used that title), turned the Enclave into Skullport, a neutral way-station in the Underdark, permanently linking Undermountain to the Lands Below.
Called "the Metal Mage", Trobriand has a gift for building metal constructs and monstrosities. Perhaps the most lucid and focused of Halaster's apprentices, he nonetheless has moments where sanity fails him.
Called "the Misshapen", Muiral was originally a great warrior who served as Halaster's bodyguard. He later became an apprentice to the Mad Mage and used his growing power to augment his considerable strength and fighting prowess. Finally, as the madness of Undermountain overcame him, he changed himself into a centaur-like creature, but with a scorpion for a body. Though he is now a monstrosity, Muiral remains Halaster's most enthusiastic apprentice.
Much like Muiral, Arcturia's madness leads her to experiment with bodies, both hers and others. Perhaps Halaster's most ambitious apprentice, she is known for her cruel experiments with polymorphing others to suit her whims.
Jhesiyra Kestellharp 
For reasons unknown, Jhesiyra transformed herself into a living wish spell to attempt escape from Halaster, but was brought back to Undermountain by Halaster. She currently rules over other living spells in Undermountain's Citadel of the Bloody Hand. Driven half mad by her transformation, she rules over the living spells the Mad Mage forced her to create, and it is uncertain whether she is truly aware of Halaster's demise.[13]
An apprentice who was lost to time and history, all that is known of Maeryln is that she was a human who specialized in absorption of arcane powers, memories, and souls. It is rumored that Halaster took her on due to her resistance to the Spellplague that he somehow knew was coming. She was consumed by her own experiments when she summoned a lifedrinker specter that slowly drained away her memories and life-force. She existed only as a ghost for a long period of time and was tortured by said specter until recently "freed" by adventurers.[14]
Ibbalar Thrul 
A willing apprentice to the Mad Mage after being disgruntled and becoming a pariah of Waterdeep. The merchant Red Wizard's lair was filled with rare magical items and he once plagued the City of Splendor with an army of spectators he tasked with "guarding" magical items of the influential citizens of the city, including Khelben Arunsun's Blackstaff.[15]

Halaster's Heirs[]

While the term "Halaster's Heirs" formerly referred to the surviving apprentices of Halaster, it currently refers to an arcanist academy on the Dungeon Level of Undermountain formed by Trobriand and Muiral.[16]

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Halaster's Progeny[]

As part of his myriad preparations to ward against his death, Halaster created a number of clone-bodies to receive his consciousness, which he kept locked in protective stasis and located throughout Undermountain and the lower reaches of Waterdeep.

When Halaster was slain prior to the Spellplague, it is possible that one or more of these clones was activated and set free, although this was never confirmed. Adventurers claiming to be Halaster's clones appeared 100 years after the Mad Mage's death, but none achieved notoriety enough to be recorded elsewhere.

Supposedly, many of these self-proclaimed clones looked very different to Halaster, ranging from being the wrong age to the wrong gender to the wrong species to any combination thereof. It is unclear if these were the results of the touch of the Spellplague, which is believed to have forcibly prevented Halaster from claiming any one clone's body for himself, or if they were the result of Halaster tinkering with the clone-bodies for his own whimsical purposes, or due to other factors entirely.

What is confirmed is that each of these apparent clones had their own individual personality, to match their unique appearance, but each also reported the presence of Halaster's mind occupying their subconscious, occasionally fighting for dominance over their body. Many of these clones actually took to adventuring in hopes of finding some way to expel this shade of Halaster from their mind, striving to preserver their individual existence.

A universal trait of these "Plaguetouched" clones was that, due to the influence of the Spellplague upon the stasis magic that had preserved them, each had a unique relationship with time. The clones did not physically age, and were impressively resistant to diseases, growing more immune as they grew stronger. Those that sought to develop their powers eventually gained limited abilities to manipulate time, a trait that manifested in unnatural speed and reflexes. More unusual manipulations of time were seen in the hands of some clones, but were not a universal power. Likewise, some clones displayed more resistance to mental assaults than others, which they attributed to the need to frequently engage in mental struggle with Halaster's mind within their own.

The ultimate fate of these supposed clones upon Halaster's return is unknown.


In his youth more than a thousand years ago, Halaster Blackcloak was known as Hilather, though where he spent his youth is the source of great speculation. Some sources place him in the ancient Imaskari Empire. Whatever his nation of origin, it is known that he was more gregarious as a young man, creating and hosting magefairs and spellmoots, and taking many apprentices. However, as his power grew, he became more interested in aberrations and the Outer Planes, which led to growing paranoia and viciousness.

In 168 DR Hilather, now calling himself Halaster Blackcloak, arrived at the foot of Mount Waterdeep with his apprentices, collectively called "The Seven". Halaster summoned demons and other outsiders to construct Halaster's Hold and claimed the nearby lands as his own. Most likely he chose the location because of Sargauth Enclave, an abandoned Netherese outpost buried deep beneath the surface.

Halaster refused to release the monsters and demons after they constructed his Hold, instead sending them into the caverns to explore. This began Halaster's Hunts, a long series of journeys into the area now called the Underhalls, driving out the drow, duergar, and various monsters that lived there. By 309 DR Halaster had complete control over the near-endless tunnels and caverns and began constructing the largest and most deadly dungeon imaginable, Undermountain.

By that time, Halaster had become completely mad and wanted nothing to do with the outside world. He left his hold to live in Undermountain itself, allowing the keep to fall into ruin. Several of his apprentices came looking for him; he slew two before demanding the rest help him fortify his dungeon even more. One refused and managed to escape. Jhesiyra Kestellharp would later become Magister and would provide what little history there is about Halaster, the Mad Mage.

Elminster in Hell[]

Main article: Elminster in Hell

In 1372 DR when Elminster was inadvertently sent to hell while defending the Dalelands from the Shadovar. Mystra made a bargain with Halaster, that she would try to cure his insanity if he rescued Elminster from hell. Halaster agreed, and entered Avernus. Though he was unsuccessful, and had to be rescued in turn by Alassra Silverhand, Mystra kept her word, and managed to partially cure him. (She then proceeded to blast Asmodeus with Halaster's insanity.)[17]

Halaster's Higharvestide[]

On Higharvestide of the Year of the Gauntlet, 1369 DR, two members of the Twisted Rune managed to kidnap Halaster Blackcloak from inside Undermountain. The lich Priamon "Frostrune" Rakesk and the alhoon Ralayan the Ocultacle used a ring of multiple wishes to summon the Mad Mage to Stardock where they could scrape the secrets of Undermountain from his mind. Halaster's kidnapping allowed the madness of the dungeon to escape. Gates began randomly transporting creatures from Undermountain to places throughout the Realms, causing havoc and destruction everywhere. A group of adventurers hired by the Lords of Waterdeep managed to reach Stardock and free Halaster. The Mad Mage immediately returned to Undermountain, which quelled the chaos of the dungeon and ended the terror of Higharvestide.


Shortly after dawn on Eleint 30, 1375 DR, an earthquake struck Waterdeep. Though the city suffered little damage, many people throughout the town saw visions of Halaster screaming, his eyes ablaze with rage, sorrow, and swimming stars. Arcanists who saw the visions also reported scenes of destruction in the vast maze of Undermountain: pillars cracking and crumbling, chasms and rifts opening, and explosions of sparks. Those brave enough to investigate quickly discovered that Halaster had inadvertently killed himself while attempting a powerful ritual; as he died, he hurled desperate visions and compulsions to people all across the continent.[2]


After the Second Sundering, it was revealed that Halaster's ritual had not slain the Mad Mage, but instead scattered his essence across the planes, with the warping influence of the Spellplague preventing it from being reformed within Undermountain. With the Spellplague finally ended and magic restored to its former stability, Halaster was able to recorporate himself and returned to Undermountain, resuming his normal activities as if he had never been gone.


−2488 DR 
Lord Hilather, one of approximately three surviving Imaskari artificer lords, escapes the fall of Imaskar at the hand of the Mulhorandi and Untheric pantheons by entering a temporal stasis vault in a secret military stronghold beneath the present-day Giant's Belt Mountains.[citation needed]
128 DR 
Hilather (Halaster's real name) awakens from temporal stasis after 2,620 years. Inhabits abandoned tower in Emirate of Torsil between Cloud Peaks and Candlekeep along the Sword Coast.
168 DR 
Halaster and the Seven construct Halaster's Hold.
171 DR 
The beginning of Halaster's Hunts. They last until 308 DR.
275 DR 
Halaster discovers the Lost Level of Undermountain.
307 DR 
The Seven abandon Halaster's Hold for the Underhalls, leaving it to fall to ruin.
309 DR 
Halaster establishes complete control over Undermountain.
326 DR 
The Mad Mage finds the Crystal Labyrinth and begins reshaping it to his own ends.
1150 DR 
Halaster grants Sargauth Enclave to Shradin Mulophor.
1325 DR 
Events of Escape from Undermountain.
1369 DR 
Members of the Twisted Rune kidnap Halaster, causing Halaster's Higharvestide.
1372 DR 
Events of Elminster in Hell.
1375 DR 
Events of Expedition to Undermountain.
Eleint 30 
Halaster attempts a ritual of unknown purpose but great power. The ritual backfires, costing him his life and collapsing parts of Undermountain.


See Also[]


  • The majority of the first chapter of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, the second expansion pack to the PC game Neverwinter Nights, takes place in the 3 deepest levels of Undermountain. Halaster (along with a clone of Halaster) makes an appearance at the very end of the chapter, and rhymes in all his lines, much to the annoyance of the drow passing through his lair (and perhaps the player).
  • Halaster is briefly referred to by name in the PC game Icewind Dale 2 by an npc, Nickademus, who claims to have been one of the mad wizard's pupils.
  • Apart from Elminster in Hell, he is also mentioned in Ascendancy of the Last[18] in relation to his apprentice, Trobriand, and the Undermountain. It is stated that Qilué Veladorn, the high priestess of Eilistraee, led the priestesses of her temple in a song of rejoicing when Halaster perished.


The Ruins of UndermountainUndermountain: The Lost LevelUndermountain: StardockExpedition to UndermountainWaterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Escape from UndermountainOnce Around the RealmsRealms of the Underdark: "A Slow Day in Skullport" • SilverfallElminster in HellThe Paladins
Video Games
Descent to UndermountainNeverwinter Nights series (Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the UnderdarkNeverwinter Nights: Infinite Dungeons)Neverwinter: Undermountain
Board Games
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Referenced only
Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Begins


Further Reading[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 180–181. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 158. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  3. Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Who's Who in Waterdeep”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 76. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  4. Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 310. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
  5. Ginny Loveday (2018-11-06). A Wrinkle in the Weave (DDAL08-04) (PDF). D&D Adventurers League: Waterdeep (Wizards of the Coast), p. 12.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  7. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), pp. 85–86. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  8. Dale Donovan (July 1998). Villains' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), pp. 129–130. ISBN 0-7869-1236-7.
  9. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 151. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 153. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  11. Dale Donovan (July 1998). Villains' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), pp. 139–140. ISBN 0-7869-1236-7.
  12. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 155. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  13. Eric L. Boyd, Ed Greenwood, Christopher Lindsay, Sean K. Reynolds (June 2007). Expedition to Undermountain. Edited by Bill Slavicsek. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7869-4157-5.
  14. Erik Scott de Bie (Summer 2010). Undermountain: Halaster's Lost Apprentice. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 51.
  15. Interplay (December 1997). Designed by Chris Avellone, Robert Hanz. Descent to Undermountain. Interplay.
  16. Eric L. Boyd, Ed Greenwood, Christopher Lindsay, Sean K. Reynolds (June 2007). Expedition to Undermountain. Edited by Bill Slavicsek. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7869-4157-5.
  17. Ed Greenwood (May 2002). Elminster in Hell. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-2746-1.
  18. Lisa Smedman (June 2008). Ascendancy of the Last. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7869-4864-2.