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Skullport, also known as the Port of Shadows, was a subterranean city located far below 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]


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]

Exact divisions between regions was a matter of debate, but Skullport was divided into four generally accepted wards: Skull Island, the Port, the Trade Lanes, and the Heart.[7] Although no clear vertical boundaries existed, locals divided Skullport into three vertical tiers to aid navigation: the Crown, the Venter and the Dredge.[4]

Geographical Features[]

Sargauth, Portals, and Port[]

The portals in the cavern walls along the river Sargauth were said to have been established by Halaster Blackcloak himself.[8]

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.[8]


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]

Notable Locations[]


Overview of Skullport showing location of the "Snake Pit"

The Crown[]

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]

  • Crookspar Parlor: A gambling den in the highest part of the Crown.[4]
  • Dumathion's Jest: This establishment was run by the gem-appraiser Ygarra Urmbaalt.[9]
  • The High Tide: The largest alehouse in Skullport as of the Year of the Ageless One, 1479 DR.[4]
  • Nightshade's Caress: An apothecary shop run by the mummy known as Nightshade.[9]
  • Overflowing Urn: Listing to one side, this shop offered flasks and oil under the ownership of the shopkeep Garryth.[9]
  • Tanor'thal Refuge: The stronghold of House Tanor'Thal resembled a gargantuan upside-down spider that overlooked all of Skullport.[9]
  • Worm's Gullet: This restaurant was located within the hollowed-out carcass of a petrified purple worm.[9]

The Venter[]

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

  • Bat's Roost: What was formerly a particularly seedy tavern during the 14th century DR,[10] the Roost had evolved into a fighting den.[11]
  • Dalagar's Fortress: The former mansion of the malevolent warrior Dalagar was repurposed as a hideout by the Harpers.[9]
  • Keel Hall: This abandoned festhall had since been taken over by the Zhentarim.[11]
  • The Lanternlighter's: This specialty shop offered lanterns to the people of Skullport.[11]
  • Nine Bells: An enormous warehouse that served as a market in the late 15th century.[4]
  • Pick and Lantern: A rather successful tavern that was favored by the sailors and skulldiggers of Skullport.[4]
  • Poisoned Quill: The owner of this shop was a master forger and elderly archmage named Tasselgryn Velldarn.[11]
  • Sargauth's Bounty: This shop specialized in junk that had been salvaged from the waters of the River Sargauth.[11]
  • Twinbeard's Traps: Located in the center of the Venter, this building was the workshop of Thorvin Twinbeard master trapsmith of Xanathar's Thieves' Guild.[11]

The Dredge[]

The lowest level of Skullport was a dank slum,[4] whose streets were littered with garbage. Many of its buildings were completely abandoned.[12]

  • Black Tankard: This small, filthy tavern fell under the domain of Xanathar and his thieves guild.[12]
  • Blind Fish: a rowdy tavern by the riverfront.[13]
  • Dark Harvest market: A number of duergar sold food they had harvested from throughout the Underdark within this shop.[11]
  • Dead Man's Corner: Within this dilapidated shop, the sea hag Olive Stillwater sold zombies that had been formed from the corpses of humans.[12]
  • Feathered Rat: This peculiar pet store was run by the half-elven Harper spy Ulvira Snowveins.[11]
  • Flagon and the Dragon: Of a higher class than the nearby Black Tankard, this establishment was run by a particularly knowledgeable half-drow woman named Cal'al Claddani.[11]
  • The Grand Hoist: An unfinished, and possibly misguided project to build a hoist to transport goods from Skullport to Waterdeep.[4]
  • Guts and Garters: Run-down and grimy, this establishment was the last-known inn to exist in Skullport as of the 15th century.[11]
  • Gyudd's Distillery: This tall, three-story stone building featured a number of ales and wines of varying quality.[12]
  • Hired Horrors: A sturdy two-story warehouse that sold deepspawn to wealthy clients in the mid-to-late 14th century DR.[14]
  • Kreel's fishery: A group of buildings in the Dredge where fish were processed for sale.[4]
  • Scupperden: The only eatery in the Dredge featured a single dish of fish-and-mushroom stew.[4]
  • Sea Chest: This shop, which once sold a variety of chests and strongboxes, was abandoned following the untimely devouring of its proprietor's brain.[12]
  • Sword and Sextant: The halflings that run this map shop long sought to procure any maps that accurately portrayed the layout of Undermountain.[11]
  • Thimblewine's Pawnshop: Originally run by the cheerful fence Thimblewine,[15] this shop was taken over by his niece Krystaleen following his death.[12]

Skull Island[]

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]

The Port[]

The Port was located directly north of Skull Island and east of the Trade Lanes in Skullport's main cavern. It was the rowdiest ward of Skullport, hosting a large number of festhalls and buccaneers on shore leave. The cavern ceiling was nearly 100 feet tall. The Port had a lower (Dredge) and central (Venter) level.[16]

The Trade Lanes[]

The Trade Lanes was a ward that connected the Port ward to the west and the Heart ward to the east. It was a long corridor with fairly straight north and south cavern walls, containing the bulk of Skullport's trades and services. The ceiling rose from 100 feet to 300 feet as it angled up from the Port to the Heart. The Trade Lanes had three levels, Dredge, Venter and Crown.[16]

The Heart[]

The Heart was the easternmost part of the main Skullport cavern, opening from the Trade Lanes to the west to round off at the cavern's eastern wall. It was the primary residential ward and highest-class area of Skullport, and also contained some businesses. Its ceiling was 300 feet. It had a rougher, more natural cave-like appearance than the other wards due to the hundreds of overhanging stalactites.[17] Like the Trade Lanes, the Heart contained three levels, but due to its higher ceiling, its upper Crown levels were higher than the upper levels of the Trade Lanes.[16]

Other Locations[]

  • Hall of Mental Splendor: A small stronghold that housed a cadre of psionic spies that worked on contract, led by Vhondryl.[18]
  • Snake Pit: The Snake Pit was located in the heart of Skullport's mercantile district.[19]
  • The Threads: A series of tunnels north of the main cavern.[4]


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 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]

This section is a stub. You can help us by expanding it.


Inhabitants of Skullport were known as "Skulkers".[4]

Notable Organizations[]

  • The Keepers, hired mages who raised ships through the magical locks that led from the port to the sea caves south of Waterdeep.
  • Xanathar's Thieves' Guild, the infamous criminal organization helmed by the Xanathar.

14th Century[]

15th Century[]

Notable Inhabitants[]


  • 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]



Daughter of the DrowTangled WebsThe PaladinsDawn of NightTo Catch a Thief
Video Games
Referenced only
Descent to Undermountain
Board Games
Dungeons & Dragons Dice Masters: Trouble in Waterdeep


  1. 1.0 1.1 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. Corroborating this, Dragon Heist page 20 refers to events of Death Masks (set in 1491 DR) as being "last year". 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).


  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 4.27 Matt Goetz (March 2012). “Backdrop: Skullport”. In Miranda Horner ed. Dungeon #200 (Wizards of the Coast) (200)., 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. Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Elaine Cunningham (April 1996). Tangled Webs. (TSR, Inc), chap. 1, pp. 17–20. ISBN 0-7869-0516-6.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 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.
  10. Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 51. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 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.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 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.
  13. Matt Forbeck (2018-08-07). To Catch a Thief. (Candlewick Entertainment), p. 49. ISBN 978-1536200669.
  14. Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 39. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  15. Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 24. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  17. Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 45. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  18. Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 174. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
  19. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd, Darrin Drader (July 2004). Serpent Kingdoms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 134. ISBN 0-7869-3277-5.