The Unseen were a group of shapechangers, illusionists, assassins, thieves, and other evil creatures based out of Waterdeep.[5] They were led by a greater doppelganger known as Hlaavin, who masqueraded as the Masked Lord, Nindil Jalbuck circa the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR.[6]

Organization[edit | edit source]

This subtle but evil organization had designs on taking over Waterdeep and expanding its influence to other northern cities such as Luskan, Mirabar, and Silverymoon.[4][5] In 1372 DR, the membership numbered sixty-seven individuals of various races including greater and lesser doppelgangers, humans, wilora, changesteed leucrotta, phasm, and a malaugrym.[3] Their symbol was a featureless skull enwrapped in tentacles that symbolized their bond to the illithid Kingdom Below in Ch'Chitl.[2]

Activities[edit | edit source]

One of the Unseen's earliest efforts to place an agent in a noble family took place in the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, but resulted in the death of Flaern Cragsmere and probably some of their agents.[2][5][7] A decade later, they finally succeeded in replacing Lady Syleda Krimmevol with a mirrorkin as she journeyed to Waterdeep to become the consort of Lord Carn Manthar. "She" gave birth to fraternal twins, both also mirrorkin,[8] and then disappeared the day before the couple planned to wed, leaving the children (who were in line to become the head of the House) in the family's care.[9]

Other successful efforts included the import of the shapeshifting wilora,[10] the discovery of the identity of the leader of the Red Sashes,[3] establishing a foothold and fencing operation in Skullport,[11] and the placing of agents in the Dungsweepers' Guild,[3][4][11][12] the Wyvern's Rest inn,[3][4][11][12] the City Guard,[12][13] the City Watch,[4][12] Mask's Conscripts,[3][4] the Masquerade,[3][4] the Irlingstar noble family,[3] the Pantheon Temple of the Seldarine,[3] Riautar's Weaponry,[3] the Elfstone Tavern,[3] the Kothont family household,[3][12] the Hanging Lantern festhall,[3][12] the Golden Horn Gambling House,[3] the Red Sashes,[3] Xanathar's Thieves' Guild,[3] the House of the Moon,[12] and a number of other personalities around the city.[12][14] Perhaps their greatest triumph was the discovery (by betrayal), murder, and impersonation of Nindil Jalbuck, one of the Masked Lords of Waterdeep.[15]

Tactics[edit | edit source]

Pursuant to their goals, the Unseen eliminated and replaced various people in positions of power or influence and used the acquired abilities, resources, and authority to further increase their wealth and prestige. Their targets included criminal groups as well as legitimate city organizations. Unseen agents kept the chances of discovery a low as possible, typically maintaining a particular identity for no more than a tenday at a time, especially for underworld figures.[5] After the disastrous attempt at infiltrating the noble Cragsmere family, the Unseen took great pains to avoid involvement with adventurers[5][7] and only manipulated other humans to maneuver intended targets into a time and place where they could be safely removed with no suspicion falling on any member of the organization. Another rule was to never imitate someone who would seem out of place or chance being recognized in two places at once.[2][5]

Base of Operations[edit | edit source]

While they were under illithid control, circa the Year of the Bridle, 1349 DR,[2] the group operated out of the sewers of Waterdeep and the Rat Hills south of the city. They allowed themselves to be seen in the Rat Hills to give the impression that they were being kept beyond the walls, but this was only a ruse.[2][5] When Hlaavin took de facto control of the group in the Year of the Helm, 1362 DR,[note 1] they purchased the Hanging Lantern festhall in the Dock Ward and it became another base of operations. The Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors soon discovered that the escorts were doppelgangers but Hlaavin bribed them to keep it secret. In the mid-1360s, Volothamp Geddarm published his Guide to Waterdeep and included a passage about the true nature of the staff at the Hanging Lantern and it became too risky to use as a base.[2][5]

In the Year of the Shield, 1367 DR, the Rat Hills were set ablaze (the Rat Hills Conflagration) and the Unseen were forced to abandon the area and move completely into the city. They replaced and assumed the identities of thirty-seven people within a year[2] and through at least 1372 DR had set up bases in the Dungeon of the Crypt, the sewers, various dwellings, and the Broken Pike tavern in Skullport.[3][4][5][16]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

The Lords of Waterdeep were a primary target and a major threat to the Unseen. On the shady side, organizations such as the vigilante Red Sashes were opposed to them. The Arcane Brotherhood had similar ambitions to become a dominant power in the North so they were direct competitors that the Unseen infiltrated.[1] Other rival criminal organizations included the Kraken Society and Xanathar's Thieves' Guild.[2][4][5]

Although the Unseen became mostly independent, as of 1370 DR, Hlaavin maintained contact and was generally allied with the illithids of the Kingdom Below. The mercenary group known as the Masquerade was effectively under their control, being led by the doppelganger Gonehl.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

The Unseen were originally a group of doppelgangers controlled by illithids, known by that species as a druuth, and formed sometime around 1349 DR. The mind flayers used them to infiltrate Waterdeep and return intelligence about persons, places, and things of interest to the Underdark city of Ch'Chitl. When the elder brain of that city died in 1362 DR,[2][17][note 1] control of the druuth was lost. One of the doppelgangers, Hlaavin, was secretly a half-illithid[3] and was able to keep the others together, calling themselves the Unseen.[10]

Originally based in the city sewers and the Rat Hills, Hlaavin boldly purchased the Hanging Lantern festhall, turned it into a high-class brothel that catered to the nobility and the wealthy, where they used their abilities to glean secrets from their clientele. It was their primary base until they were revealed in Volo's Guide to Waterdeep (although he gave it a rating of 4 coins[18] and the flow of customers actually increased).[2][5] When the festhall became too exposed, Hlaavin moved to a secret location in the Dungeon of the Crypt beneath the City of the Dead.[3]

In 1367 DR, the Rat Hills Conflagration forced the group to abandon their base there and move completely into the city. Within a year they removed and replaced thirty-seven people[2][5] in various positions around the city.[13] The group spread out, creating several bases, safehouses, and outposts in Waterdeep's sewers,[3] Skullport,[11] and Waterdeep proper, in addition to the one in the Dungeon of the Crypt.[19]

Notable Members[edit | edit source]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Canon sources are contradictory when describing the year in which a githyanki raid fatally wounded the elder brain in control of Ch'Chitl. Two later sources, including The Grand History of the Realms, place it in 1250 DR, but three earlier sources place it in 1362 DR. Because this event has repercussions in the history of the Unseen and Waterdeep, this wiki will use 1362 DR as the accepted date. You can read the relevant discussions here and here.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Eric L. Boyd (October 2005). “Vampires of Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Crypt”. Dungeon #127 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 78.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Steven E. Schend, Sean K. Reynolds and Eric L. Boyd (June 2000). Cloak & Dagger. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 99. ISBN 0-7869-1627-3.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 58. 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 Steven E. Schend, Sean K. Reynolds and Eric L. Boyd (June 2000). Cloak & Dagger. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 100. ISBN 0-7869-1627-3.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Who's Who in Waterdeep”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 87. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  6. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 54. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ed Greenwood (1991). “Undermountain Adventures”. In Steven E. Schend ed. The Ruins of Undermountain (TSR, Inc.), p. 19. ISBN 1-5607-6061-3.
  8. Steven E. Schend, Sean K. Reynolds and Eric L. Boyd (June 2000). Cloak & Dagger. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-1627-3.
  9. Steven E. Schend, Sean K. Reynolds and Eric L. Boyd (June 2000). Cloak & Dagger. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-1627-3.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 57. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 23. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Who's Who in Waterdeep”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 88. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Jason Bulmahn, Eric L. Boyd, Keith Baker, Philip Larwood (October 2005). Dungeon #127 Map & Handout Supplement (PDF). Paizo Publishing. p. 7. Archived from the original on 2009-07-11. Retrieved on 2020-11-17.
  14. Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Secrets of the City”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  15. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 54. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  16. Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 41. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  17. Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
  18. Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 171. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
  19. Eric L. Boyd (October 2005). “Vampires of Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Crypt”. Dungeon #127 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 85.
  20. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  21. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 117. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  22. Eric L. Boyd (October 2005). “Vampires of Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Crypt”. Dungeon #127 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 64.
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