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Hellgate Keep, originally founded as Ascalhorn, was an ancient elven city on the northeast edge of the High Forest that was overtaken by demonic forces and eventually destroyed in 1369 DR.[4] In the years following its destruction, the site of this Keep's ruins came to be known as Hellgate Dell.[9][10]


Hellgate Keep laid along the river Skull Creek, which fed into the larger Delimbiyr River.[2] It was close to the ruins of Myth Glaurach.[11]

After the explosion wrought by the Gatekeeper's Crystal an array of wild magic regions were left lingering throughout the surrounding area, as well as several layers of dead-magic zones nestled between them in the central ravine created by the explosion.[12] In particular, all magical times, potions, and spells that granted the ability to fly would not function in the area.[13]

Two miles to the south lay what some referred to as Hellgate Dell, a 70 ft (21 m) tall crag of debris that had been flung from the Keep during its destruction. Overtime it became overgrown with moss and small shrubs.[14][note 1] The hill was surrounded by a ring of twenty five, large oak trees, five of which were actually treants tasked with guarding the area.[9]

The southern cliff outcrop that the Keep was perched on had a wide rift open along it when the Gatekeeper's Crystal ravaged the surrounding area, turning it into what later became known as Razorthorn Rift. Treants blocked the area off to outsiders with sharp patches of brier and thorn that stood 30 ft (9.1 m) tall and stretched on across 50 ft (15 m) of land.[14]

The central ravine created by the destructive power of the Gatekeeper's crystal became known as Grintharke's Gulch, a name coined by a bard for the sake of alliteration. This inverted-pyramid shaped gorge was 600 ft (180 m) long on each side and around 400 ft (120 m) deep.[15]

On the western slope of this gulch stood a magical, thin pillar of water that rose hundreds of feet into the hair, stopping at one of the gulch's dead-magic zones. This was once the site of a public well/fountain that dated back to the days of Ascalhorn.[15]

Cross-section map of the layout of Hellgate Keep, Post-Destruction

Levels of Hellgate Keep[]


Following the destruction of the Keep, the treant forces of Turlang were determined to reforest the area and remove the corruption it had brought upon the land.[6] It gradually became overgrown with shrubs, small trees, and various forms of vegetation. Massive vines and an extensive network of invasive roots snaked all across what remained of the Keep, crushing stone and undermining its structures respectively. Some areas were chained shut by the roots, while others were linked together by bridges of vines and ivy.[14]

In 1370 DR, only three sites remained prominently above the ruins, though all were partially covered in vines like the rest and were fated to meet the same ruinous fate. The Tower Arcanatorus, the Three Torn Towers, and an armory.[14]

In that same year, all that remained of the central Keep was a large pile of teetering stone rubble at the bottom of Grintharke's Gulch, below which was an ambient glow visible to those above. Along the sides of the gulch were accessible paths to the Keep's many storage cellars, granaries, cisterns, sewers, and crypts - all of which could easily be seen from those looking down. Those storage cellars reached beneath the ground in varied depths of 6​ to ​25 feet (1.8​ to ​7.6 meters).[15]

The granaries, which reached depths of 20​ to ​30 feet (6.1​ to ​9.1 meters), dated back to the time of Ascalhorn. After the demons took the control of Keep they were utilized for corpse disposal. Following the Keep's destruction, the now-visible granaries were noted for being filled to the brim with bleached and crushed bones.[15]

Lesser Assemblies[]

Back during its days as Ascalhorn, a number of emergency shelters called the the "lesser assemblies" were built 120 feet (37 meters) beneath the fortress-town for citizens to hide in during attacks or times of martial law. These were linked to the town's crypts by a series of tunnels that were lit by continual light.[16] They were also linked to the crypt later known as "Deep Garrison 1" by a spiral staircase that originated from one of the Keep's storage cellars.[15]

In the corner of each assembly were small cisterns and granaries, stocked with bunkbeds and tables. When the demons took over the Keep they used these spaces for a variety of purposes, including the testing of magic and forced combat among their slaves. In 1370 DR, the granaries were noted as housing only bones and rotting corpses.[16]

Crypt of the Black Hand[]

Hellgate Keep-Crypt Location.jpg

Encased in solid rock somewhere between the lesser assemblies and the first Deep Garrison was a secret burial chamber of an organization known as the Brotherhood of the Black Hand, whose members were interred within in a mummified state. It was connected to the former by means of a hidden, bi-directional gate that was warded against natives of the Lower Planes. This gate was activated by placing one's right hand inside of a hand carved into the floor of a cistern in the lesser assemblies, which had a matching hand carved into the center floor of a pool of water inside the crypt. This hand was a depiction of the symbol of the organization's god, Bane. Both the crypt and its gate would go unscathed by the Gatekeeper's Crystal.[17]

The walls of this crypt were basalt and lined with wall sconce mounted everburning torches that gave off smoke. The air within the crypt was constantly replenished and kept fresh by magical means. Hovering above the crypt's central pool of water was a holy Hand of Bane. This would attack anyone of good alignment that entered the crypt, as well as anyone who disturbed the crypt's sarcophagi by any means.[17]

The sarcophagi that lined the walls were, like the holy Hand of Bane, constructed from obsidian. Each was carved to resemble a human male in the vestments of the Church of Bane, though at least one was made to resemble Ederan Nharimular as a mocking jest. Within each sarcophagus was a secret compartment containing the interred's spellbooks and personal treasures. Known treasures of the crypt included a kiira that had belonged to House Aunglor, Jaluster's pipestaff, and three of the Scrolls Ardentym. Legends surrounding this crypt suggested the interred could possibly arise as mummies, spectres, or even liches if they were to be disturbed.[17]

Map of Dlardrageth Redoubt, Post-Destruction

Dlardrageth Redoubt[]

This small villa 170 feet (52 meters) beneath the Keep, predating it by over five thousand years, went completely undiscovered by the fortress's many inhabitants and was undisturbed until the incident with the Gatekeeper's Crystal.[16][18] The four surviving members of the demon-corrupted sun elf house Dlardrageth were imprisoned here with stasis magic and within that time they carved their cavern complex into its villa appearance.[16][18] All areas within it were lit by wall sconce mounted everburning torches, which emitted neither smoke nor heat and would become mundane once removed from their sconce.[16]

The only entrance to this level that was visible along the Gulch was a 4 feet (1.2 meters) wide window, haphazardly clawed and chiseled out of the stone. Anyone who entered this opening, or so much as deliberately peered through it, would set off magical alarms put in place by Sarya Dlardrageth that alerted its elven cambion inhabitants. It opened into an area they called the Hall of Ancestors Strength, wherein six highly detailed statues of tanar'ri were displayed on its southern wall, interposed with bas reliefs of elves and crossbreeds of the two. By 1370 DR, the three statues closest to the newly carved entrance were partially buried in rubble.[19]

This room opened into a circular chamber with polished floors that gleamed under the torchlight. Its walls rose 20 feet (6.1 meters) high, up to a dome with elaborate gold inlays that depicted a golden wyvern in flight (the seal of House Dlardrageth) against three red crossed swords. The chamber was an intersection between two other halls, as well as a wide downward staircase to the south.[19]

North of this chamber was a dining hall. It had a long table and chairs carved from duskwood, lined with silver serving dishes and utensils. Along its western wall was a wooden door with reinforcing bands of iron that lead into a kitchen. Shelves lined the eastern wall of the kitchen, while a fireplace with a magic self-rotating spit stood in its northwest corner. The kitchen's northernmost door opened to a 5 feet (1.5 meters) deep alcove where a gelatinous cube laid as a garbage disposal. It's westernmost door opened to a servants quarters, furnished with small straw pallets and chests for clothing. The southernmost door opened to a sloping passage that ended behind a secret entrance to the villa's lounge, which was meant to provide quick access for the staff. By 1370 DR, most of the dining hall was buried beneath rubble, while the kitchen was relatively unscathed.[19]

West of the circular chamber was a lounge room. Its walls rose 15 feet (4.6 meters) high, with wood paneling along the first 8 ft (2.4 m) that disguised two secret doorways, and its floor was carpeted. Set into the center of this floor was a shallow fountain pool, surrounded by divans and long couches. Unlike other rooms in the villa there were no wall sconces present. Instead, light was beamed down from the arched ceiling's illusionary enchantment, which gave the appearance of being underneath the roof of a glass greenhouse. However, the Gatekeeper's Crystal had absorbed some of its magic, leaving parts of the roof to show their true appearance.[19]

Close to the lounge's western entrance was an ascending, southern stairway of brightly polished stone. This lead up to a hallway where the five bedrooms of the Dlardrageth members were connected. Each of these were lavishly decorated. Of note is the rooms of Xhalth and Sarya Dlardrageth. The former had a small, dug out tunnel in his ceiling that connected it to the Lesser Assemblies. The latter had a secret entrance in their wardrobe, an angled 20 feet (6.1 meters) wide shaft that led down into the southeast corner of Ryvvik Dlardrageth's interrogation chamber.[19]

The final chamber of note in the villa was where intruders were held captive and interrogations were carried out. This room was entered by a descending staircase, hidden behind a wall in the western portion of the lounge. Each cell in the chamber had heavy padlocks and small barred windows. In 1370 DR, the cells were known to house the corpses of a Red Wizard and four members of the Host Tower of the Arcane.[19]

The cells were separated from the long, interrogation portion of the chamber by a curtain. Here ten small candles sat in reflective sconces along the wall. Along the western wall was a small bin where confiscated goods were kept. In the center of this area was a large, 2 feet (0.61 meters) deep depression. At the bottom of this small pit was a pair of blackened shackles, mounted to the floor by a rusty chain. Hanging over the pit was similar set of shackles, mounted to the ceiling by 9 feet (2.7 meters) long chains.[19]

Map of the first Deep Garrison, Post-Destruction.
• Blue = Dead-magic zone
• Red = Wild-magic zone

Deep Garrisons 1[]

The areas of the Keep known as the "Deep Garrisons" were once merely the catacombs of Ascalhorn and the crypts of House Dlardrageth, accessible only by secret doorways and stairways in their villa[16][20] as well as spiral staircases connected to secret doors in the Keep's storage cellars.[15] The first Deep Garrison was situated at a depth of roughly 210 feet (64 meters).[16] Its spiral staircase passed through the Lesser Assemblies.[15]

These crypts held twelve sarcophagi and dozens of wall niches in which coffins rested - following their discovery by the tanar'ri, these were repurposed as beds and bunks. Funerary statues, ancient heirlooms, and the bones of the dead were all tossed aside and left scattered across the floor never to be cleaned up. The only burial chamber that was left untouched by the demons was that of the elven family Toryvhallen (#12 on the map), which was alleged to hold secrets of Elven high magic. It was safeguarded by two crypt things that were capable of teleporting intruders to either outside the main gates of Ascalhorn or to where the pillories once stood in its central square. The latter action was only ever taken when an intruder displayed intent to vandalize or rob the crypt.[20]

Map of the second Deep Garrison, Post-Destruction.
• Red = Wild-magic zone

Deep Garrisons 2[]

The second Deep Garrison was situated at a depth of roughly 280 feet (85 meters).[16] The storage cellar's hidden spiral staircase that lead down into this crypt terminated in[15] a side tunnel (#13 on map) that subjected all who entered it to a complex magical aura of various effects. The tunnels began by severely slowing creatures down, an effect which only lesser wish or more powerful spells could overcome. Then a variant of haste would cause creatures to age two to twelve years per minute spent in the tunnels, which consequently led to a ravenous hunger upon exiting. The tunnel would also heal any wounds that a creature had.[20]

The magical aura of that tunnel was crafted by alchemists of Ascalhorn, who used it to age materials. They would pass items through the tunnel by means of one of several 16​ to ​18 feet (4.9​ to ​5.5 meters) long hooked poles. When the tanar'ri took control of the Keep the tunnel was repurposed, used to rapidly mature their young cambion and tanarukk forces.[20]

Chambers Below[]

The audience chamber stood 70 ft (21 m) high, with a vaulted peak ceiling that had a broad hole roughly patched by rubble, and was largely empty. Hovering 10 ft (3 m) beneath that hole was an inverted purple pyramid, exactly 10 ft (3 m) per side, that illuminated the area with pulsing magical energy. It came into existence following the use of the Gatekeeper's Crystal on the Keep. The pyramid absorbed all magic that came in contact with it and nonliving items that weren't relics or artifacts would potentially be disintegrated.[21]

Every wall within this chamber was damp and occasionally dripped water.[12] In each corner of the audience chamber stood four cauldrons of oil, situated behind huge oil lamps. These provided a sense of warmth, minimal illumination, and a greasy aroma.[21] In the eastern half of the room was a series of cages, 20 ft (6.1 m) long and 10 ft (3 m) wide, that were so short prisoners had to rest on their knees.[22] Following the destruction of the Keep, there was a variety of furs and weapons scattered about the area.[21]

The main floor of the audience chamber was slightly sunken, with a slim 5 feet (1.5 meters) wide and 1 ft (0.3 m) tall ledge running around its perimeter. In the center of the audience chamber stood an eight-step dais, 20 ft (6.1 m) long and 10 ft (3 m) tall with each step being a 1 ft (0.3 m) deep, topped with a throne made from the bones of a red dracolich. Whoever sat in it was protected by a globe of invulnerability. There were also three steel rings in the dais, meant for chaining prisoners that were brought before Grintharke and the Keep's later demon rulers.[21]

Deep Tunnels[]

The lowest level of the Keep, the Deep Tunnels were artificially carved out by the tanar'ri over the course of centuries in an effort to escape from their magical imprisonment. Some parts of these tunnels once belonged to the dwarves of Ammarindar, who used them to engage in trade with Delzoun and other Underdark realms. Some of the tunnels lead to the Nether Mountains, while others lead to the Fallen Lands.[22]


Ascal's Horn[]

The fortress town of Ascal's Horn was founded in the Year of Owls' Watching, −372 DR by the Eaerlanni elves in the northeastern corner of the High Forest on a jutting peak. The town was named for Ascal Rachiilstar, the elf commander who led the construction efforts, and the peak itself later adopted the name of Ascal's Horn itself.[8]

Ascalhorn was generally thought to have been built by the Eaerlanni so as to protect the boundaries of their kingdom from the area's orc hordes. Though other scholars speculated that it may have been a preemptive defense against the rising human nation of Netheril, considering its walls were lined with wards designed to repel Netherese spells and quasimagical item effects while magnifying the elves' own magic.[8]

In the Year of Humbling Havens, −333 DR,[23] following the fall of the Netheril empire six years prior, the Eaerlanni elves took pity on the Netherese refugees and sheltered them.[8]


Thirty years following their admittance to the town, the human population had grown to become the majority and held most positions of office. The town's name had also been shortened to "Ascalhorn" and it was renowned as a center for magic, where human wizards could learn the more humane magic of the elves and the deity Mystra.[3]

The Eaerlanni elves had given it over to the humans under two conditions. The first was that they had to help defend the kingdom, for they felt the humans were better fit for dealing with guarding against the orc hordes, while the second was that they had to abandon the use of Netherese magic.[24] Those who defied the the second law faced the death penalty.[8]

When the city of Myth Drannor rose in 261 DR,[25] Ascalhorn was one of the first cities to ally with it and through this alliance their arcane nature grew even greater. Around this time the Ascalhi also cultivated close relations with Silverymoon. However, much of the arcane knowledge in Ascalhorn was hoarded by elitist, paranoid mages and wizards.[3]

In the Year of the Ominous Oracle, 694 DR, with divinations suggesting that some tragedy may befall Myth Drannor in the coming years the Circle of Flames and the wizards of Windsong Tower begin moving magical items and tomes to the cities of Ascalhorn and Silverymoon.[26]

Following the fall of Myth Drannor in 714 DR,[27] many refugees fled to the city of Ascalhorn. They were generally accepted by the populace, but the magic elite of Ascalhorn grew ever more paranoid and fearful of losing their positions in society.[3] Some Bane-worshiping wizards among the refugees would found an organization known as Brotherhood of the Black Hand. They would not be discovered until 765 DR, after which they would be exiled by the Ascalhi authorities. Following the death of many members in Silverymoon a year later, the survivors of the Brotherhood would flee back to Ascalhorn[17] and hide the magical items they stole from that kingdom within their safehouse.[4]

One such wizard that grew more paranoid was the Netherese arcanist Wulgreth, whose concern for power led him to summon baatezu to the city in 820 DR.[3][28] But Wulgreth could never fully control them and over time the baatezu steered Ascalhorn's wizards into more covert and open warfare with one another,[3] encouraging rivalries and misunderstandings.[2] It escalated to the point that they fought in the streets twice every tenday. The other citizenry, uncomfortable from the baatezu's unconscious influences and the escalating conflict between the arcane elite, gradually emigrated from Ascalhorn.[3]

In 856 DR, the last wizards of the Brotherhood of the Black Hand fell at the hands of both baatezu and rival wizards.[17] Their killers would confiscate whatever magical items they could find within their safehouse,[4] though the organization's crypt would go undiscovered.[17]

Fall of Ascalhorn[]

The baatezu's grew ever bolder over time until they eventually convinced their masters to accept lichdom. Through them they openly dominated Ascalhorn, torturing and devouring its citizens as they pleased.[2] In an act of desperation the few remaining wizards, under the guidance of fey'ri, summoned demons to the city in 880 DR to combat them.[3][29][30] This action alerted the Eaerlanni agents within the city to the existence of the fey'ri.[30]

Within two years the demons were triumphant,[31] though most life in the fortress had died in the process and demons claimed the area as their territory..[3][23][32] In the last months before Ascalhorn fully fell to the demons, Eaerlanni agents in the city trapped the fey'ri within the ancient armories of House Dlardrageth. Their captors tried to flee the realm, but died in the process, leaving the existence of the fey'ri and their involvement in Ascalhorn's fall to be forgotten.[30]

The balor Grintharke would go on to bring over more of his kin and ally with the nearby orcs to wage war against the kingdoms of Eaerlann and Ammarindar, bringing them to ruin as well.[3][23][32]

The few survivors of the massacre that occurred at Ascalhorn fled to Sundabar, Silverymoon, and Citadel Adbar.[33] One of these survivors, a bard by the name of Maerstar, would write a song in 882 DR that rechristened the fortress as Hellgate Keep.[34] He also carried with him the orizon of an Ascalhi wizard known as Jaluster, who was later said to have managed to kill three liches and five tanar'ri before being torn apart.[17]


In 883 DR, Wulgreth finally escaped the fortress and took refuge in the ruins of Karse[29] alongside his man-at-arms Jhingleshod.[35]

On the day of Midsummer,[36] in the Year of the Fell Firebreak, 886 DR, Elminster and Khelben Arunsun used knowledge from a collection of scrolls written by mythal designer Mythanthar,[34][23] The Srinshee's Specular,[36] in conjunction with the ancient wards the Eaerlanni architects placed in Hellgate Keep, to construct a near-mythal ward that would prevent the demons from using their gate abilities[34][23] and trap all greater or true demons inside.[36] These wards were then placed around the keep by members of the Harpers.[34][23]

In 890 DR, the demons began attempting to tunnel beneath the wards, in the process connecting many of Hellgate's cellars to its sewers.[31][4][37] In 898 DR, some of the first tunnels beneath the sewer are opened up, exposing ancient hidden crypts with magic that the demons plunder.[4] By 912 DR, the demons' tunneling efforts had brought them all the way to the Nether Mountains.[31][4][37]

In 919 DR, the demons are forced to abandon their deeper tunnels due to the Morueme clan of blue dragons.[4] Eventually they resumed their tunneling efforts and in 1221 DR had managed to connect with the deep tunnels of fallen Ammarindar and later the Nameless Dungeon in 1356 DR.[31][4][37] In the years that followed they would establish a network of outposts throughout Ammarindar's Underdark, consequently coming into a great deal of conflict with the drow of nearby Ched Nasad and the beholders of the Greypeaks.[38][32]

In 1355 DR, Mintiper Moonsilver stormed inside Hellgate Keep and managed to escape it alive. He later went on to write an epic about the experience, entitled Hellstorm, during his last year of residence with the Druids of Tall Trees.[17]

In 1365 DR, Grintharke faced seven Evereskan elves his forces had caught spying on the fortress a year prior in a gladiatorial arena for sport. Using the artifact Shattering Swords of Coronal Ynloeth, the elves managed to slay grintharke, losing three of their own in the process, and then killed his vrock lieutenant before dying themselves. The other demons flew into a frenzy of in-fighting, each wanting to assume control over the keep, and by the end of the day only seven of the greater and true tanar'ri remained. The most senior officers among them - the mariliths Ssaarn, Mulvassyss, and Amassyra - agreed to a truce and formed a triumvirate.[39][40] Among their first actions following Grintharke's death was to recall the Keep's forces from their ongoing warfare in Ammarindar and to abandon their outposts there.[38]

In 1366 DR, Amassyra was assassinated by her two partners. In 1367 DR the mad wizard Radoc, a long time foe of Grintharke, assaulted the keep with a monstrous army after learning of his death. Both sides suffer casualties, but the demons ultimately prevailed by crushing Radoc and his siege engines with torn bits of masonry.[40] A deepspawn that had been part of Radoc's forces and sneaked into a subterranean cave, close to the Keep's audience chamber, would go unnoticed until years later.[21]

Mulvassyss took this moment to slay Ssarn, leaving her the sole ruler of the Keep. Meanwhile her son Kaanyr Vhok snuck away with a small troop of human slaves to meet with the annis hag Tanta Hagara, an ally of the Keep for over two decades, seeking her aid in overthrowing his mother.[40]

In 1368 Kaanyr marched into Hellgate Keep alongside Hagara and her forces, the Blue Bear tribe, and slew Mulvassyss. He then married the hag, desiring a permanence to their alliance, and allowed her to be viewed by the Keep as its "leader" whilst he held the real power. Her tribal barbarians would become introduced into the Keep's breeding program and they strove to bolster their tiefling forces.[13]

Fall of Hellgate[]

In 1369 DR, two Harpers - Cryshana Fireglen and Spellviper - infiltrated Hellgate under the guise of Blue Bear tribesmen and exposed Hagara's existence as an annis hag. They believed this would cause a riot among the tribesmen, but it did nothing to destroy their respect for her. Instead, the tribesmen viewed the hag's transformation as a gift from their god meant to cement their alliance with Hellgate.[13][41] With this plan having failed and their cover having not been blown the two Harpers began spreading rumors of gates and various magical items, hoping to draw them out of hiding and trick them into overextending their forces.[13]

Their deception ultimately worked, provoking Kaanyr and Hagara to send out scouts, reconnaissance parties, and eventually small armies.[13] In the summer of that year they sent expeditionary forces against Sundabar, Silverymoon, and the High Forest under the mistaken belief that they contained gates which would allow them access to the Abyss and therefore reinforcements.[41] Sundabar suffered heavily during this campaign of aggression, losing  14 of its population, though the tanar'ri made little headway in their other battles due to the magics of Alustriel Silverhand and the Mistmaster respectively. The latter of which was also being aided by the treant forces of Turlang.[13][41]

The final major rumor to reach the ears of the Keep's leaders in 1369 DR was that the legendary Gatekeeper's Crystal, an artifact that could finally destroy the wards surrounding the Keep, was hidden within the Citadel of the Mists. Sensing that something was amiss, Kaanyr decided to lean on the side of caution and sent many of his forces down through the Keep's secret tunnels and into the Nameless Dungeon.[13] Meanwhile, Hagara assembled a fighting force of 100 cambions and 400 members of the Blue Bear tribe.[13][41] In the latter half of that year, following the month of Eleasias, she commanded her forces to march upon High Forest and the Citadel within it.[41]

While these forces were far away from the Keep, distracted by the heat of battle, the Mistmaster set off his plan. Cryshana and Spellviper, the two Harpers who had infiltrated the Keep months prior, each possessed a shard of the Gatekeeper's Crystal and positioned themselves atop its eastern and western towers respectively.[13][41] Once signaled by them, the Mistmaster teleported to the nearby cliffs south of the Keep while invisible and hovered there under heavy protection as he activated his own shard of the crystal.[13] Blazing beams of purplish energy shot out from the crystals and illuminated the skies,[41] forming a triangular field of energy.[13]

Once activated, the Mistmaster willed the Gatekeeper Crystal to compress the wards that surrounded the city, stripping them away from their anchor places and absorbing them into the energy of the pyramid that marked the Crystal’s area of effect. All other magic present was transformed into wild magic. The triangular field of energy around the Keep then contracted towards a point farthest from the crystal's shards and unleashed an implosion, followed by a brutal explosion of wild magic.[13]

For over a 100 mi (160,000 m) around the ground shook from the force of this explosion and every building within the Keep was leveled, both above and below ground.[13][41] The implosion destroyed magical supports of many subcellars, causing the over-mined and overburdened structures to crumble. The explosion of wild magic destroyed more of these supports and its blast launched much the fortress city high into the air. The two Harpers were flung from their respective towers and crushed beneath scattering debris, while the Mistmaster himself was flung 3 mi (4,800 m) away but suffered no serious injuries. The jutting peak cliff upon which the Keep once stood was transformed into a deep gulch.[13]

The stasis magic that had imprisoned House Dlardrageth beneath the Keep for centuries was stripped away by the Gatekeeper Crystal and allowed the daemonfey and fey'ri to be released out into Faerûn once more.[18][42][43] The resulting tremors also destroyed a gem that had imprisoned the spectre of Dosal Marnath, one of many Ascalhi wizards who summoned baatezu and then fought back against them, who proceeded to torment the tanar'ri and tanarukka that were in Deep Garrison 1.[20]

The deepspawn that had been trapped beneath the Keep since Radoc's siege tried to rally some of Kaanyr Vhok's remaining forces against him. This led to a series of unsuccessful negotiations, culminating in Vhok collapsing the entrance to his cavern. A single troll was trapped in the cavern with the deepspawn, who would utilize its regenerative body to sustain itself for years to come.[21]

Hellgate Dell[]

In the years following its destruction, many factions in Waterdeep, Silverymoon, Evereska, and elsewhere mounted expeditions into the ruins. Many did so in hopes of finding ancient elven artifacts, while the dwarves of the North were interested in recovering lost treasures plundered from the ancient dwarven city of Ammarindar.[44] Vendariiq Memtyn was one of many people known to have sent expeditions to scavenge the Keep's catacombs.[45] And the Morueme clan occasionally ventured from their mountain territory to investigate what happened to the tanar'ri out of a sense of curiosity.[22]

However, adventuring into the ruins was a difficult prospect, for within a few weeks following its destruction the forces of Turlang moved in and occupied the ruins. They sealed off many entrances into the Keep and sought to keep out anyone who would dare venture down into its depths.[6]

By the Year of the Tankard, 1370 DR, the ruins of Hellgate Keep had come to be known by some as Hellgate Dell[9] and this new alias for the location would continue to be used well into the 15th-century DR.[10][note 1] That year a member of the Arcane Brotherhood named Eligar Nhos took it upon himself to scout the ruins.[20] Around the same time, Alustriel Silverhand tasked a group of adventurers with going down into the depths of the Keep with the magical object Mythanthar's Orb and activating it in order to permanently seal within whatever evil still remained there.[44][46] While inside the Keep's second Deep Garrison those adventurers came across the corpse of Eligar Nhos.[20] When they escaped from the Keep, the adventurers gave a report of their findings to the Harpers, making them aware of the actions of House Dlardragerh.[47]

Following this adventure with Mythanthar's Orb, the forces of Turlang acquired the assistance of the Druids of Tall Trees. Together they spread the treants' rootwork atop the plateaus, causing the upper layers of rock to crumble. This both widened Grintharke's Gulch and further buried the bottom of the area's inverted-pyramid shaped gorge. The druids then carefully used the transmute rock to mud spell several times in order expand Razorthorn Rift's southern opening, further opening the ruins up to be terraformed into a proper gulch. By the summer season of that year, they had managed to bury most of the shafts that lead further down into the Keep beneath soil and rootwork.[48]

In 1374 DR, the forces of Turlang and the Druids of Tall Trees were still working together towards reforesting the area. The druids were known to be providing them assistance in the form of magic, protection, and the nurturing of new tree spouts.[49]


Over the centuries the tanar'ri that inhabited Hellgate Keep under Grintharke's reign would capture and enslave nearby barbarians and orcs, forcing them to breed with either each other or the demons. This led to the birth of many alu-fiend, cambion, tanarukk, and tiefling servitors.[3] The tanarukk that inhabited the Keep would overtime form nine distinct tribes and serve as a company within its army, known as the Scoured Legion.[50] Only  110 of the cambions and tieflings that were within the Keep during its fateful destruction, specifically those that were in its lower levels, survived.[13] Around 300 tanarukk also perished in the destruction of the Keep.[51]

Other times, the humans they captured were simply turned into ghouls and set loose across the Savage North.[3] This latter fate usually befell human house slaves who became disobedient.[2] The Shining Falls were one of many locations in which the Keep hunted for humans.[52]

The undead who were regularly sent out of the Keep were known to wear everbright adamantine armor that had been stolen long ago from Ammarindar.[52]

Within the first few weeks following its destruction the treant forces of Turlang quickly moved to occupy the ruined Keep.[6] Several kinds of birds also took up residence in the cellars and exposed areas of the ruins, while ghouls and ghasts laired in the exposed granaries.[15]

During the destruction of the Keep a number of Blue Bear tribesmen became trapped within the Deep Tunnels. These men became revenants and zombies, who desired to one day escape and kill the Mistmaster. Trapped alongside them was several crawling claws, created from the hands of tanar'ri.[22]

Most of the Keep's demonic half-breed servitors abandoned the site and wandered across the North.[5] Four of the Keep's nine tribes of tanarukk abandoned Kaanyr Vhok, emigrating to the Nether Mountains[50]. Those that stayed and rallied behind Kaanyr's desire to reforge the Scoured Legion would emigrate into the Underdark, around Ammarindar.[53]



  1. 1.0 1.1 The sourcebook The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (1996) details on page 55 of the Wilderness section that Hellgate Dell is the remnants of Hellgate Keep. The adventure module "Hellgate Keep" (1998) makes reference to that book on page 18, but retcons it that Hellgate Dell is a separate location. Explaining the discrepancy as, "...a few tall tales told by an overly excitable bard..." However, the later published Champions of Valor and Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide corroborate the view of the first sourcebook.



Hellgate Keep
Referenced only
The Summoning
Referenced only
Dragon #187, "The Lonely Harpist and the Lady Rogue"Final GateGhostwalker
Video Games
Treasures of the Savage Frontier
Referenced only
Baldur's GateNeverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide
Card Games
Spellfire: Master the Magic


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  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Steven E. Schend (March 1998). Hellgate Keep. (TSR, Inc), pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-0786907861.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Steven E. Schend (March 1998). Hellgate Keep. (TSR, Inc), p. 8. ISBN 978-0786907861.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Steven E. Schend (March 1998). Hellgate Keep. (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 978-0786907861.
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  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Steven E. Schend (March 1998). Hellgate Keep. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 978-0786907861.
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  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 13.13 13.14 Steven E. Schend (March 1998). Hellgate Keep. (TSR, Inc), pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0786907861.
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  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 Steven E. Schend (March 1998). Hellgate Keep. (TSR, Inc), pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0786907861.
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