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Skullport, also known as the Port of Shadows, was a teeming hive of evil lying deep beneath Waterdeep within the 3rd level of Undermountain known as the Sargauth Level.[6][2] While rumors of this subterranean domain of villainy persisted throughout the surface world, few of its inhabitants had any knowledge of any points of entry.[1]

DescriptionEdit

Built on an ancient Netherese ruin, within an immense subterranean cavern, the shadowy port was a dark reflection of the City of Splendors above. Its structure was built in three tiers, interconnected by narrow catwalks and rickety scaffolding. Creaking houses built on stilts were haphazardly built in a dense network that formed a near shantytown.[1][4]

Geographical featuresEdit

Sargauth, Portals, and PortEdit

Skullport lay along the subterranean river Sargauth, which was used as a trade route to the outside world. Over the centuries, several magical portals large enough for entire ships to pass through were built in the cavern walls along this waterway.[citation needed] These portals were said to have been established by Halaster Blackcloak himself.[7]

One such portal, about 400 feet (122 m) east of Skull Island, was only faintly visible as a scratched outline in the stone. Triggering the portal required no special key, just extraordinary confidence on the part of the ship's pilot, since the vessel had to be steered bow-first into the wall. When the bowsprit made contact with the portal, the vessel and all its contents were transported instantly to the middle of the Lapal Sea.[citation needed]

Passage through the locks that separated Skullport from the sea caves of Waterdeep required permission from the Keepers. However, a talented mage could "piggyback" another ship passing through the portal at the same time.[7]

GovernmentEdit

As of 1479 DR most control over day-to-day activities was managed by gangs such as the Lowfellows or the Mandible.[4]Within a few decades,[note 1] Skullport came under the domain of the being known as Xanathar and became the base of operations for his thieves' guild.[5]

However, the Skulls of Skullport, magically transformed remnants of the original Netherese mages who settled in the cavern, watched closely over trade within the town. Any activities that interfered with the town drew the attention of the Skulls who would impose seemingly random punishments for minor infractions and enslave or destroy offenders for serious crimes.[4]

OrganizationsEdit

  • The Keepers: Hired mages who raised ships through the magical locks that led from the port to the sea caves south of Waterdeep.

14th centuryEdit

15th centuryEdit

InhabitantsEdit

Considered part of the Underdark,[citation needed] it was a lawless place of slave traders, pirates, and demihumans, which trafficked with illithids, drow, beholders and other less savory creatures beneath the surface.[citation needed] Inhabitants of Skullport were known as "Skulkers".[4]

Notable InhabitantsEdit

Skulls of Skullport
These thirteen ancient flameskulls defended the town of Skullport since its founding. They were remnants of the ancient Sargauth Enclave of Netheril, having lost all touch with reality over their millennia spent beneath Faerûn. Their consciousness could not differentiate their current existence with that of their past and considered themselves the rulers of Skullport.[5]

Notable locationsEdit

Skullport-Zstulkk

Overview of Skullport showing location of the "Snake Pit"

The CrownEdit

The upper tier of Skullport, this area was home to pirate captains and wealthier merchants prior to the city's abandonment after the Spellplague.[4]

The VenterEdit

The cramped middle tier of Skullport that contained most of its buildings.[4]

The DredgeEdit

The lowest level of Skullport was dank slum,[4] whose streets were littered with garbage. Many of its buildings were completely abandoned.[11]

Skull IslandEdit

Located south of Skullport proper, within the Sargauth River across the Murkspan Bridge, this small isle was a well-defended fortress held by Xanathar's Thieves Guild. Its seat of power was the Tower of the Seven Woes, which served as the home to the half-ogre commander Sundeth for some time.[5]

Other locationsEdit

HistoryEdit

Skullport's history dated back centuries to a group of Netherese mages known as the Sargauth Enclave who settled in Skullport's cavern. These mages fashioned the Mantle, a mythal that protected their settlement. When Netheril fell in -339 DR the Mantle was ripped apart by wild magic which killed most of the inhabitants. Thirteen Netherese mages were absorbed by the magic and turned into disembodied skulls.[4]

In the Year of the Angry Sea, 1148 DR Shradin Mulophor obtained permission from Halaster Blackcloak to settle in the ruins of the Netherese enclave.[3] For several centuries Skullport prospered as one of the main trading ports of the Underdark.[4]

However, in the late 14th century DR just prior to the Spellplague a slaad named Azriim weakened the Mantle so that it could no longer support the cavern's weight and large sections of the cave collapsed. During the Spellplague in 1385 DR the Mantle shot off bursts of wild magic and then disappeared.[4]

Skullport

Skullport in 1479 DR

After the Spellplague, most survivors fled Skullport. At some point in the second half of the 15th century DR a young explorer named Miriam Sequora began showing off chunks of mithral she claimed she found in Skullport's ruins. She convinced a small number of miners to join her and soon a few merchants and miscreants settled in the town.[4] By the Year of Three Ships Sailing, 1492 DR, Skullport had come under the control of Xanathar, who made it a haven for his namesake criminal organization. The businesses and shops in the city all came to him for protection, lest they be shut down permanently.[5][note 1]

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TriviaEdit

  • The people of Skullport measured time in 'bells' of approximately four hours each.[4]
  • The town was bathed in dim light from phosphorescent fungus known as the gloam.[4]

AppendixEdit

AppearancesEdit

Novels

NotesEdit

  1. Canon material does not provide a year for the events described in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, but Christopher Perkins answered a question via Twitter and stated the year was 1492 DR. Unless a canon source contradicts this assertion, this wiki will use 1492 DR for events related to this sourcebook and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (which is referenced on pages 5 and 98 of Dragon Heist).

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 303. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 108. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 Matt Goetz (March 2012). “Backdrop: Skullport”. In Miranda Horner ed. Dungeon #200 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 65–74.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 304. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
  6. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 179. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Warning: edition not specified for Tangled Webs
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 309. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
  9. Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 51. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 308. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Christopher Perkins (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 306. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
  12. Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  13. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 174. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  14. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader (July 2004). Serpent Kingdoms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 134. ISBN 0-7869-3277-5.

SourcesEdit

ConnectionsEdit

Netherese enclaves
Flying enclaves AkintaerAquessirAnauriaAsramDeliaDoubloonEileanarHlaungadathHlondathJethaereJiksidurJocktelegKolthunralLatheryLhaodaMaunatorNegarathNhallothOrbedalPalterPhylornelSpielSakkorsOpusSynodTanathrasThultantharTith TilendrothaelUndrentideXinlenal
Other enclaves CuulmathFarenweyQuaeluuvisQuesseerSargauthWerapan