Expedition to Undermountain
The Mad Mage
Wizard 25/Archmage 5
In his youth more than a thousand years ago, Halaster Blackcloak was known as Hilather, though where he spent his youth is the source of great speculation. Some sources place him in the ancient Imaskari Empire. Whatever his nation of origin, it is known that he was more gregarious as a young man, creating and hosting magefairs and spellmoots, and taking many apprentices. However, as his power grew, he became more interested in aberrations and the Outer Planes, which led to growing paranoia and viciousness. In 168 DR Hilather, now calling himself Halaster Blackcloak, arrived at the foot of Mount Waterdeep with his apprentices, called “The Seven”. Halaster summoned demons and other outsiders to construct Halaster’s Hold and claimed the nearby lands as his own. Most likely he chose the location because of Sargauth Enclave, an abandoned Netherese outpost buried deep beneath the surface.
Halaster refused to release the monsters and demons after they constructed his Hold, instead sending them into the caverns to explore. This began Halaster’s Hunts, a long series of journeys into the area now called the Underhalls, driving out the drow, duergar, and various monsters that lived there. By 309 DR Halaster had complete control over the near-endless tunnels and caverns and began constructing the largest and most deadly dungeon imaginable, Undermountain.
By now, Halaster had become completely mad and wanted nothing to do with the outside world. He left his hold to live in Undermountain itself, allowing the keep to fall into ruin. Several of his apprentices came looking for him; he slew two before demanding the rest help him fortify his dungeon even more. One refused and managed to escape. Jhesiyra Kestellharp would later become Magister and would provide what little history there is about Halaster, the Mad Mage.
While the term “”/campaign/call-of-the-mad-mage/wikis/halasters-heirs" class=“wiki-page-link”> Halaster’s Heirs" formerly referred to the surviving apprentices of Halaster, it currently refers to an arcanist academy on the Dungeon Level of Undermountain formed by Trobriand the Metal Mage and Murial the Misshapen.
Shortly after dawn on Eleint 30, 1375 DR, an earthquake struck Waterdeep. Though the city suffered little damage, many people throughout the town saw visions of Halaster screaming, his eyes ablaze with rage, sorrow, and swimming stars. Arcanists who saw the visions also reported scenes of destruction in the vast maze of Undermountain: pillars cracking and crumbling, chasms and rifts opening, and explosions of sparks.
While in Undermountain, Halaster seems constantly distracted, always chuckling and muttering to himself over people and happenings only he can discern. He also has difficulty holding the thread of any conversation.