The Halls of the Beast-Tamers was the former guildhall of the Guild of Naturalists of Myth Drannor. It flourished during the years before the first collapse of the city in the 8th century DR, but gradually fell into ruin in the years that followed.
The hall served as the home for the naturalists of Myth Drannor, a secluded space where they could rest, regroup and study the beasts and monstrosities they had captured throughout the Realms. Much of the knowledge gained by their examinations within the walls of this sanctuary had been passed down as naturalist lore among the rangers of Faerûn.
The hall was a subterranean complex located beneath a tall stone building, comprised of a single room, located in the eastern side of Myth Drannor. Within the small tower was a large throne, plain in appearance and entirely unadorned. Behind the stone seat was a large 10' (3.0 m) diameter shaft, adorned with handholds, which went down 200' (61.0 m) beneath the surface of Toril.
At the bottom of entrance well was an 80' (24.3 m) hallway, that extended north to an intersection, connecting the east and west wings with the northern chamber. The entering passageway had vaulted ceilings, 30' (9.1 m) high, supported by ornate archways atop smoothed granite pillars.
From the central junction north of the entrance, the eastward hallway featured massive iron torch sconces set upon both of its high walls. The eastern wing featured a small storeroom containing casks of water and oil, boarding rooms, a privy (which as of 1357 DR had been taken over by an otyugh), a number of specimen rooms and two connected, partially-submerged chambers that received fresh water that was brought in via pipes connecting to an underground spring. In the 14th century a vampiric ixitxachitl came to reside in these pools. Within the specimen closets were many glass jars and containers that contained a variety of substances and portions of creatures including an unidentified cloudy, yellow fluid, preserved tentacle segments (that were previously capable of paralyzation), a pair of pickled beholder brains, large griffon feathers, troglodyte scent glands, webs collected from a giant spider and various eyeballs, many of which were too large to have come from any known humanoid.
The westward hallway from the main intersection came to a dead end after 60' (18.3 m), but had a side passage, whose archway was decorated with scrollwork, that extended from the southern wall, behind an iron-barred door. This passage included a steep stairwell that rose 30' (9.1 m) as it led through 12' (3.7 m) tall iron-barred wooden doors into a massive chamber, the north side of which connected to a series of holding cells. The viewing area was a 40' (12.2 m) tall room with a floor that was covered in a thick layer of sand, the southern side of which had an elevated viewing area complete with stone seats. The "Keeper's Room" wrapped around the northeast corner of the viewing area, and included keys to each creature's cell, and a number of peepholes to observe their activities.
The viewing chamber was used by the Naturalist's Guild to observe creatures and study their habits as if they were out in the wild. The naturalists took notes on how beasts would connect with one another in social contexts, how they stalked their prey, the flying patterns they exhibited and how they built their nests (so long as the required materials were provided). The cells on the northern end of the viewing chamber at one point included a few shriekers, an owlbear, a hippogriff, an ettin and a gorgon.
The central junction opened north, through a set of massive double doors, into the diamond-shaped council room of the Guild of Naturalists. The primary draw of the room was a magnificent, pentagonal-shaped sandalwood table, finished with a glossy black veneer, that was surrounded by 33 rather plan wooden chairs. On the north wall was a 10' (3 m) mosaic of the guild's sigil, an emblem that was matched by another mosaic inlaid within the tiles of the chamber's floor, around which the table was placed. There were doors extending out from the east and west sides of the room.
Beneath the council table, near the bottom center-most chair, was a 4" wide (10 cm) raised stone block that could be depressed with a simple step. Doing so would activate a series of machinations, along with a winch that lowered the mosaic on the floor, by means of four chains. A second step on the stone would cause the hidden elevator to raise again, complete with a series of metallic squeaks and rattles. This conveyance extended deeper into the ground to the hall's undercells.
The room east of the council chamber was another large chamber that contained a wide, but shallow pool of water, within which lived a scrag. On the southern side of the eastern wall 7' (2.1 m) high dark-framed, oval mirror and the northern side of the wall connected to a series of smaller, inter-connected rooms.
The first of these chambers was a storage room of sorts, containing a number of sealed jars, weighted nets, spools of rope and 10' long (3 m) catchpoles. A hidden door on the northern side of this room opened into a slightly smaller chamber that acted served as a treasure cache. On one of the walls was hung a large map of Faerûn (circa the 8th century). Placed in the southeast corner was a wooden table that served as the desk of Neziiral. Within its drawers was a small, locked, silver coffer that contained an obsidian talisman, the reverse of which was inscribed with the word "Naeloth". When uttered aloud, it was a command word that would summon forth a hellcat, whose name was presumably carved into the talisman. West of this office was a final room, within which was a magically-imprisoned xorn, who had been placed in magical stasis.
The mirror within the pool chamber reflected as any mundane mirror would, but was in fact a one-way portal that, when struck, would teleport the assailant to the Noble Court of Waterdeep. It could not be destroyed, or otherwise damaged, by normal means.
West of the council chamber, across a north-south-facing hall, was the naturalist's dressing room. The northern side of the robing room had a secret door, which opened up to a hidden office. Within the small room was a chest of valuables, which included a scroll of Phezult's sleep of ages and a ring of water walker, and a circular table, upon which was set a crystal ball that had a xeg-yi trapped inside. If the crystal ball shattered, the incorporeal outsider would be released.
While the southern length of the hall connected to the "Keeper's Room", the path north opened up into a second meeting chamber. Set upon the floor was a floor mosaic of the guild's sigil, matching that in the larger council chamber. The entire mosaic in this room was affixed to a single, large ovular stone that when stepped upon would slowly levitate above the ground, having been permanently enchanted by a permanent levitation spell. It was used as a mobile conveyance, and could be pushed through the air, and willed to lower by any spellcaster with enough concentration. On the north-facing wall of this room was another mirror-gate, whose point of destination was unknown.
The east and western walls of this chamber each had two locked-doors, which opened into four additional holding cells. A female tabaxi, whose name sounded like "Miiyeriial", was held in the northwestern cell, while the northeast one had a gorgimera.
Beneath the council chamber were the hall's undercells, a large primary dungeon lined with 18 iron cages, with two smaller rooms, obscured behind large stone blocks, offset on the wings. The stone slabs were in face movable doors, the controls of which were located in the council chamber in the level above. Behind the slab leading into the eastern room was a rather plain holding chamber, used to confine beasts in a solitary environment. The room beyond the western-facing slab, was a cloister that held 16 stone coffins, where the deceased naturalists of Myth Drannor were interred. An inscription over the wall read:
|“||"Here lie the 'Beast-Tamers', Naturalists Most Noble, Resting From Their Labors".||”|
The mirror-gate in the pool chamber was built during the height of Myth Drannor's glory. It served as a means to connect the guild, along with the elves that aided their efforts, with the growing settlement of Bloodhand Hold. The elves of Myth Drannor used the coastal settlement as a connecting port when they traveled to the island of Evermeet.
While this hall saw much use during the age when Myth Drannor was a shining beacon of life and civilization, it had fallen to great disrepair over the years. By the 14th century, the undercells were flooded, the iron gates rusted over, cloth decor were obviously deteriorated and even certain areas of the stone floor and walls were weakened and crumbled to the touch. A number of creatures had broken out of their cells and burst through the less-reinforced doors of the guildhall.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 46. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 48. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 51. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 49. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 52. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- ↑ 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 (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 50. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 53. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.