Expedition to Undermountain
Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun
Powerful Arch-Mage of Waterdeep
Wizard 24/Archmage 3
Khelben is a 6-foot-tall, well-muscled, bearded man with a receding hairline, black hair with silver streaks, including a prominent one through his beard, and a distinguished, imposing manner. He usually dresses in nondescript robes and is never without his trademark blackstaff.
Often thought to be humorless and grave, Khelben is actually neither. He simply finds it easier to deal with people if they are intimidated by or even frightened of him. He has had numerous apprentices over the years and likes to encourage young people who display an aptitude for magic. Wielding the Art can be a gravely dangerous business, however, and Khelben tries to instill appreciation of that fact in his pupils by keeping up his “stern taskmaster” facade.
In private, however, he is quiet and keenly intelligent. With his lady love, Laeral Silverhand, he is gentle and loving. The few apprentices who, purposely or by chance, have been granted a glimpse of his private side via his roaring laugh, for example, have all been thoroughly unnerved by the experience.
The only side of Khelben that most are likely to see is that of the gravely wise tutor or stern archmage with much more important things to think about and do than deal with these younglings. If one brings news of a threat to Waterdeep, the North, or the Realms in general, Khelben will go into action, planning countermeasures, seeking the aid of allies, and likely asking the informer to continue in search of more information. Those who know Khelben well sometimes refer to him as a spider in the center of a massive web of information, schemes, plans, and counter plans. While his web is centered on the City of Splendors, Khelben has placed tendrils across the North and beyond. Just as he is noted as a collector of magic and magical items, Khelben also is a hoarder of information. He is a firm believer in the credo, “A secret isn’t a secret if you tell anyone.” He commonly manipulates people and events with this exclusive store of knowledge; he’ll never volunteer information that isn’t specifically requested of him, for example.
Khelben has spent his more recent time organizing (some would say manipulating) events in Faerûn and with the aid of his Moonstars, along with his beloved wife, Laeral Silverhand Arunsun of the Seven Sisters, whom he once rescued from the grip of the Crown of Horns and the part-dead god Myrkul.