Mordenkainen (pronounced: /ˈmɔːrdɛnknɛnMOR-den-kay-nen[9] Loudspeaker listen or: /mɔːrdɛnˈknɛnmor-den-KAY-nen[10] or: /mɔːrdɛnˈknɛnmor-den-KIGH-nen[10]) was a prolific archmage from the world of Oerth who was responsible for many powerful and useful spells.[3]


Mordenkainen - Epic Level Handbook

Mordenkainen with his staff.

While imprisoned in Barovia, his hair and beard were both long, black and peppered with grey streaks. When mad, his eyes crackled with eldritch power.[5]

He later changed his hairstyle, favoring a bald head and a trimmed goatee. His stare was penetrating.[11]


Typically stubborn and one who did not suffer fools gladly, Mordenkainen could be difficult even with his friends.[5]

While suffering from his madness, he was convinced that enemies were everywhere and he was being constantly watched by evil agents.[5]


Mordenkainen was an acquaintance of Elminster Aumar; the two met on numerous occasions at Ed Greenwood's house on Earth to exchange spells and lore.[12]


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.[3]

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.[5]

In the Year of the Scarlet Witch, 1491 DR, Mordenkainen, still suffering from bouts of madness, was in Waterdeep, where Storm Silverhand and Elminster were helping him to recover from them.[1]

By the Year of Twelve Warnings, 1494 DR,[note 1] 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.[11]

Rumors and LegendsEdit

His toenails appeared to be a venerated item in some places.[13]


Mordenkainen's spells known in the Realms included:



  1. 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 in 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).


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External linksEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ed Greenwood (2016-06-07). Death Masks. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-6593-2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Andy Collins, Bruce R. Cordell (July 2002). Epic Level Handbook. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 308. ISBN 0-7869-2658-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 109. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  4. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4. ISBN 978-0786966240.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Christopher Perkins, Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman (March 2016). Curse of Strahd. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 39–40. ISBN 978-0-7869-6598-4.
  6. Robert J. Kuntz, Gary Gygax (1984). Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure. Edited by Frank Mentzer, Michael Dobson. (TSR, Inc.), p. 30. ISBN 0-88038-168-X.
  7. Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (August 2007). Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk. Edited by Penny Williams, Beth Griese. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 978-0-7869-4358-6.
  8. Wizards RPG Team (2014). Monster Manual 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 342. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  9. Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 28.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4. ISBN 0786966769.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins (September 17, 2019). Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 97–98. ISBN 0786966769.
  12. In the "Wizards Three" series in Dragon Magazine.
  13. Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak (August 1997). Finder's Bane. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-0658-8.
  14. 14.00 14.01 14.02 14.03 14.04 14.05 14.06 14.07 14.08 14.09 14.10 14.11 14.12 14.13 Mark Middleton et al (March 1998). Wizard's Spell Compendium Volume Three. (TSR, Inc), pp. 592–599. ISBN 978-0786907915.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 64. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 261–263. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  17. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 125. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  18. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 74. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
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