Mordenkainen (pronounced: /ˈmɔːrdɛnkeɪnɛn/ MOR-den-kay-nen listen or: /mɔːrdɛnˈkeɪnɛn/ mor-den-KAY-nen or: /mɔːrdɛnˈkaɪnɛn/ mor-den-KIGH-nen) was a prolific archmage from the world of Oerth who was responsible for many powerful and useful spells.
Mordenkainen had a hawk-like face, with a permanent frown that gave the appearance of alertness and almost anger, and a penetrating gaze. He kept a close-trimmed beard and wore grey, high-collared robes. His voice was deep and melodic.
He later changed his hairstyle, favoring a bald head and a trimmed goatee, but lost none of his penetrating stare.
Typically stubborn and one who did not suffer fools gladly, Mordenkainen could be difficult even with his friends.
While suffering from his madness, he was convinced that enemies were everywhere and he was being constantly watched by evil agents.
In addition to many scrolls and potions, Mordenkainen was known to possess a bag of holding, a set of bracers of defense, a crystal ball, a +1 dagger, an efreeti bottle, a wand of cold, a wand of fear, and three pearls of power.
Mordenkainen was the leader of the Oerthian group of wizards known as the Circle of Eight, which included many spell inventors whose names were well known on Toril, such as Bigby, Drawmij, Nystul, Otiluke, Otto, Rary, and Tenser.
Mordenkainen was a good friend of Elminster Aumar; the two met on numerous occasions at Ed Greenwood's house on Earth to exchange news from each other's worlds, as well as spells and lore. On occasion, the two were also joined by Dalamar of Krynn.[note 1]
Although Mordenkainen resided primarily on Oerth, by at least the Year of the Shield, 1367 DR, his spells were not uncommon among spellbooks in Faerûn. He often traveled to Waterdeep with his friends for revelry in a city where he would not be recognized.
Following the demise of the Circle of Eight at the hands of Vecna during the lich's first failed attempt at obtaining greater deity status, a grieving Mordenkainen was consoled by Elminster, as the wizards reflected on the fragility of their good deeds.
Mordenkainen later traveled to Barovia in an attempt to free the local population from its vampire darklord Strahd. However, he underestimated Strahd's power and, after barely surviving a confrontation with him, he lost his spellbook and his staff, eventually losing his memory and being driven to the brink of madness. He became known by the locals as the Mad Mage of Mount Baratok.
By the Year of Twelve Warnings, 1494 DR,[note 2] Mordenkainen inhabited the Tower of Urm, a dwelling that he used as a vehicle to travel through the multiverse. He occasionally visited Avernus to study the effects of the Nine Hells over the schools of magic and to ensure the balance of the universe.
Rumors and Legends
His toenails appeared to be a venerated item in some places.
Mordenkainen's spells known in the Realms included:
- Mordenkainen's celerity
- Mordenkainen's defense against lycanthropes
- Mordenkainen's defense against nonmagical reptiles and amphibians
- Mordenkainen's disjunction
- Mordenkainen's electric arc
- Mordenkainen's encompassing vision
- Mordenkainen's faithful hound
- Mordenkainen's faithful phantom defenders
- Mordenkainen's faithful phantom guardian
- Mordenkainen's faithful phantom shield-maidens
- Mordenkainen's force missiles
- Mordenkainen's involuntary wizardry
- Mordenkainen's lucubration
- Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion
- Mordenkainen's penultimate cogitation
- Mordenkainen's private sanctum
- Mordenkainen's protection from avians
- Mordenkainen's protection from insects and arachnids
- Mordenkainen's protection from slime
- Mordenkainen's sword
- See also other articles in the Wizards Three series in Dragon Magazine.
- Canon material provides two distinct dates for the events described in Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus: the adventure itself, described in chapters 1 through 5, takes place "fifty years" after 1444 DR (1494 DR), according to events mentioned in pages 7 and 47, while the Baldur's Gate Gazetteer describes the city as of 1492 DR (p. 159). It is possible that the designers made an approximation for "fifty years", even though it is stated in an infernal contract. The lead writer for Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus later confirmed that the adventure takes place in 1492 DR, and the sequel to the adventure, Baldur's Gate III, also claims that the current year is 1492 DR in multiple places.
- Mordenkainen article at the Greyhawk Wiki, a wiki for the Greyhawk campaign setting.
- Mordenkainen article at Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
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