On fall break from teaching alchemy, Lhynard instead studied comparative biology, focusing on some of the strange mollusks of the Realms, including the dangerous stalactoids—the simple piercer and its magical and more highly evolved cousin, the darkmantle.
The mysterious Plane of Shadow was a dark and twisted analog of the Prime Material Plane that was discovered by the ancient Imaskari, forgotten for thousands of years, then rediscovered by the first Netherese Empire. Areas of deep shadow on the Prime Plane, especially subterranean darkness, could become a focus for a vortex to the Plane of Shadow, allowing travel between the planes while the vortex remained open. Upon entering the Plane of Shadow, the dim surroundings looked oddly familiar, but the similarities diverged rapidly as one moved away from the entry point, making mapping the plane impossible. Skilled practitioners of the Art could cast the shadow walk spell, and either enter the Shadow Plane or traverse great distances very rapidly by skirting along the border between the planes before stepping back into the Prime.
Despite its forlorn appearance of abandonment, the Plane of Shadow was home to a wide variety of creatures. Over the millennia, all manner of animals and monsters either wandered into or fell through a vortex and got lost or became trapped. Those that survived eventually became dark creatures imbued with shadowstuff, often with unique abilities. A nearly immortal race of shapeshifters known as the Malaugrym were also quite at home here. Probably the most dominant inhabitants were the descendants of the ancient Netherese enclave of Thultanthar which escaped the Fall of Netheril by shifting the entire floating city into the Plane of Shadow. Over centuries, each generation adapted to the new environment a little better as it replaced part of their humanity with shadow essence, until they became shades.
At some point in its history, the deities Mask and Shar carved out their dominions on the Plane of Shadow. When Shar choreographed the demise of Mystra, precipitating the Spellplague, she managed to inject some of the energy from the Negative Energy plane into the Plane of Shadow, which changed its fundamental nature. Suddenly, the souls of the dead were drawn here first on their way to the afterlife. Shar named the altered plane the Shadowfell.
Not even the mightiest mage, working spells that remain utterly reliable, can hope to prevail against dozens of tireless, ruthless UNDEAD who suffer no pain and can be distracted by nothing.
Every creature on Faerûn has its dark mirror in the undead—from the ghosts of ancient warriors to the rune-scribed skeletons of dragons. And in a world with as rich and bloody a history as the Forgotten Realms, they are legion—outshining the living in variety and number.
Here are a dozen of the most terrifying tales of the haunted Realms.
Centuries ago, in the city of Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders, the City of Drow, nestled deep in the unmerciful Underdark of Toril, a young weapon master earned a reputation far above his station or that of his poor house. The greater nobles watched him, and one matron, in particular, decided to take him as her own. She connived with rival great houses to secure her prize, but that prize was caught for her by another, who came to quite enjoy the weapon master. This was the beginning of the friendship between Zaknafein and Jarlaxle, and the coupling of Matron Malice and the weapon master who would sire Drizzt Do'Urden.
R. A. Salvatore reveals the Underdark anew through the eyes of Zaknafein and Jarlaxle—an introduction to the darkness that offers a fresh view of the opportunities to be found in the shadows and an intriguing prelude to the intriguing escapes that lie ahead in the modern-day Forgotten Realms. Here, a father and his son are reunited and embark on adventures that parallel the trials of centuries long past as the friends of old are joined by Drizzt, Hero of the North, trained by Grandmaster Kane in the ways of the monk.
But the scourge of the dangerous Lolth's ambitions remain, and demons have been foisted on the unwitting of the surface. The resulting chaos and war will prove to be the greatest challenge for all three.
A fantastic treasure trove is yours for the taking in this adventure for the world's greatest roleplaying game.
Famed explorer Volothamp Geddarm needs you to complete a simple quest. Thus begins a mad romp through the wards of Waterdeep as you uncover a villainous plot involving some of the city's most influential figures.
A grand urban caper awaits you. Pit your skill and bravado against villains the likes of which you've never faced before, and let the dragon hunt begin!
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