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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1864 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2024 :  17:02:22  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
According to the Living City materials and, as far as I can recall, novels set there or nearby, explorers of underground ruins in or near Ravens Bluff keep encountering drow elves.

And there is a noble house in Ravens Bluff fabulously wealthy because they have a steady trade with underground drow (at least they were in the period I'm mostly concerned with, DR 1358-1375).

Where do these drow elves live and/or come from?

What gods do they typically worship?

Who are the major powers among them, the movers of shakers? Are there noble houses? Merchant costers?

In various sources, I've seen mention of several possibilities. There is, apparently, a drow city below Calaunt, called Nar'vheen. I don't know anything else about it and would like to know if it is a more-or-less typical Lloth-dominated city state or if it is one of the exceptions, perhaps with more than one god openly venerated.

Something called Nycanthandar may or may not be the drow city below Ravens Bluff. I don't know where I got this, but I made a note of it in my campaign notes, and further research has turned up zero.

Likely the same unknown source has the Darkflame Merchant Coster, worshippers of Vhaeraun, and apparently led by a Lathreeinor Darkflame.

Finally, according to the novel Prince of Ravens, Tower Chûmavhraele was a drow-controlled fortress in the Underdark below Ravens Bluff in the DR 1490s, but it may not have existed at all in the 14th century DR period I play in.

Anyone have more or better data?

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Werthead
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
157 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2024 :  19:03:23  Show Profile  Visit Werthead's Homepage Send Werthead a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nar'vheen was founded by the exiled Vhaeraun worshippers of Menzoberranzan, who were forced out of the city some centuries ago. They fled via a portal to the Underdark below Cormanthor and made their way east to found the city. Its precise location is noted on the map in Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. So it sounds like the city is dominated by Vhaeraun rather than Lolth.

https://web.archive.org/web/20161101074922/http://archive.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=fr/fx20020410rt

This article features some info on the Underdark below the Vast: https://web.archive.org/web/20161101074922/http://archive.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=fr/fx20020410rt

There's a region called the Fireflow located directly adjacent to NAr'Vheen, just south of Calunt, with a city called Grunthorlgard located immmediately north of Nar'Vheen. The nature of that city is unknown. There's also a large lake called the Reachmere located between the Moonsea and Inner Sea, extending east to west from almost the Earthfast Mountains to the Cormanthor Forest. The abandoned city of Multum is located just to the south of it. A bizarre building known as the House of Dark Consumption is also located just to the north, directly under the northernmost part of the Dragon Reach as it shrinks into the mouth of the Lis.

There's the great dwarven kingdom of Earthfast under Impiltur next door, and the well-known drow cities under Cormanthor to the west (most notably Maerimydra), but inbetween is a bit of a blank slate.

Edited by - Werthead on 12 Feb 2024 19:05:35
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1864 Posts

Posted - 15 Feb 2024 :  10:42:09  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As far as I can tell from the reference to the drow city of Nar'Vheen that you are referencing, nothing is said or implied about Nar'Vheen having been founded by Vhaeraunites.

The source you seem to have in mind says this:

[quote="The Underdark Below the North by Sean K Reynolds"]The city has recovered from its losses during the Time of Troubles and the attack on Mithral Hall, and it is again planning expansion and conquest of its neighbors and the surface realm. One of the primary targets is the city's Vhaeraunian drow that have migrated to the forest of Cormanthor via a gate once used to raid the rival drow city of Nar'Vheen. [/quote]

The way I read this is that in the DR 1370s, Menzobarranzan is launching attacks on surface-dwelling drow in Cormanthor and the Dalelands, through a portal which was created at some undefined time in the past, to raid the rival drow city of Nar'Vheen.

No Vhaeraunites are noted to have sought refugee in Nar'Vheen, neither in whatever ancient time the city was founded, nor at the time this was written, DR 1370s. Nar'Vheen is only mentioned because a gate created to raid it was near enough to Cormanthor and the Dalelands for Vhaerun-worshipping Menzobarranzan refugees to have fled there.

If they could be assured of a welcome in Nar'Vheen, I imagine they would have preferred that to entering the surface world. Especially as this is an area of the surface world where drow are probably already overcrowded, not to mention at war with a massive elven army.

So, I am in much the same situation as before, I have absolutely no idea what kind of city Nar'Vheen is. It is, or was, a rival city to distant Menzoberranzan and it does not seem to have accepted refugees from Menzoberranzan, at least not those who were Vhaeraunites.

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sleyvas
Skilled Spell Strategist

USA
11669 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2024 :  15:18:00  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just to mention some nearby Drow influences

There's the drow beneath the Galenas that follow Kiaransalee in a city that fell due to disease long ago (source Demihuman Deities section on Kiaransalee)

There's Narathmault/Dun-Tharos that would be in the Rawlinswood. This in theory led to the creation Undrek-Thoz the segmented city.

Hope it helps.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1864 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2024 :  15:56:31  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Under the Galenas is quite interesting, as some of the drow elves I'm wondering about the origin of are accompanying PCs to those mountains.

Basically, I'm trying to figure out where six warriors who made their way to the temple of Eilistraee in Ravens Bluff originally came from and how they made their way to Eilistraee's faithful.

All six of them do not really suit the Eilistraee faithful in Ravens Bluff, where the clergy is trying very hard to fit in among humans. They have been employed as temple guards, but some of them have reacted to bigoted demonstrations with violence, which the clergy opposes, while others have duelled humans over personal issues or otherwise done something that makes the clergy afraid they would be political liabilities.

Some of them are former Vhaeraunites, maybe from Cormanthor. Others come from Lloth-dominated cultures, maybe when they were younger, and then joined groups where Vhaeraun was venerated, before making it to Eilistraee's faithful and asking for shelter.

So, I'm wondering, before rolling or otherwise deciding for each of the six, what are the most populous drow cities within walking distance of Ravens Bluff?

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TBeholder
Great Reader

2362 Posts

Posted - 01 Mar 2024 :  09:33:23  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

According to the Living City materials and, as far as I can recall, novels set there or nearby, explorers of underground ruins in or near Ravens Bluff keep encountering drow elves.

And there is a noble house in Ravens Bluff fabulously wealthy because they have a steady trade with underground drow (at least they were in the period I'm mostly concerned with, DR 1358-1375).

Where do these drow elves live and/or come from?

Obviously, they come from tunnels, and since there was both an abandoned dwarven city (Sarbreen) more or less under Bluff, and indeed an abandoned drow city deeper than that, so there must be tunnels all over the place. Also, the explosion from elf-planetouched war (which was strong enough to create the bay) most likely caused cave-ins in some, but also created more cracks, if not to the same extent as Telantiwar incident (Great Rift).
Various drow factions poking their noses around the place (if only to see whether something could be plundered or even better, re-settled) are to be expected.
Also, there were also drow mercenaries. Who participated in the big Bluff war (first on one side and then on the other).


quote:
Something called Nycanthandar may or may not be the drow city below Ravens Bluff. I don't know where I got this, but I made a note of it in my campaign notes, and further research has turned up zero.
Likely the same unknown source has the Darkflame Merchant Coster, worshippers of Vhaeraun, and apparently led by a Lathreeinor Darkflame.
Finally, according to the novel Prince of Ravens, Tower Ch�mavhraele was a drow-controlled fortress in the Underdark below Ravens Bluff in the DR 1490s, but it may not have existed at all in the 14th century DR period I play in.

And The City of Ravens. Not that it handled the lore gently either, but there were earlier hints at powerful and troublesome artifact of some sort (similar to the Guardian's Tear in effects) below Sarbreen, so in light of much drow activity and lack of other Underdark related oddities it makes sense.

Under Impiltur there was Narathmault... which the drow had to leave very soon after Descent and very fast, and it probably remains a great legend in Undrek'Thoz. See also: "Narfell and Undrek'Thoz links".
To the North, there was V'elddrinnsshar on an island in the Moondeep Sea (wiped out, later resettled by priesthood of Kiaransalee as a base for raids on the worshippers of Orcus). See also: [url=topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=16024]Maerimydra and V'elddrinnsshar[/url].
There was also a drow outpost (under command of Azanza Mizzrym) near Sulasspryn, used as a base for vendetta, then (after Sulasspryn collapsed into sinkhole) eventually abandoned, if not immediately.
So, no major drow cities marked nearby, but perhaps significant traffic adds up.

quote:
In various sources, I've seen mention of several possibilities. There is, apparently, a drow city below Calaunt, called Nar'vheen. I don't know anything else about it


quote:
Originally posted by Icelander


The source you seem to have in mind says this:
quote:
"The Underdark Below the North by Sean K Reynolds"
The city has recovered from its losses during the Time of Troubles and the attack on Mithral Hall, and it is again planning expansion and conquest of its neighbors and the surface realm. One of the primary targets is the city's Vhaeraunian drow that have migrated to the forest of Cormanthor via a gate once used to raid the rival drow city of Nar'Vheen.

The way I read this is that in the DR 1370s, Menzobarranzan is launching attacks on surface-dwelling drow in Cormanthor and the Dalelands, through a portal which was created at some undefined time in the past, to raid the rival drow city of Nar'Vheen.

Note this only phrase in The Underdark Below the North is the only bit of lore about Nar'Vheen in "common" sources, AFAIK. It turned out to be from RPGA materials.
As to the portal, it could exist longer and for other reasons, but once it exists, someone is going to find and use it.
Also, it seems Azanza Mizzrym came from Menzobarranzan, which already pointed at a portal between some place near Menzo and some place near Eastern Moonsea, as more likely than an expedition via wild Underdark through most of the continent with a big hook around the Phaerimm territory, on lizard back, with whichever food they could catch as they move.

edit: found it.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 02 Mar 2024 08:04:31
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6629 Posts

Posted - 02 Mar 2024 :  06:27:51  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Narathmault isn’t under Impiltur. It’s Dun Tharos.

— George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6629 Posts

Posted - 02 Mar 2024 :  06:37:11  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I abhor lazy design that sees the drow of the center of the world, Menzoberranzan [insert bigggest eye roll emoji you can find on the internet], looking to raid drow half a continent away. What logical purpose does that serve? Ludicrous.

That said, it doesn't follow that Nar'Vheen was a city of Vhaerunites. Only that the Vhaerunites fleeing Menzo were aware of the portal. As Eric Boyd has just told me, it's an illithid city.

So it has to be Ithilaughym and Grunthorigard, the nearby duergar city, that explain a Realms conundrum for me and my Realms: where did the drow and duergar in “rare alliance” who engineered the Dark Court Slaughter in -4400 DR come from? And it neatly explains why they wanted to destroy Sarphil, their neighbor and rival/threat to the north.

— George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus

Edited by - George Krashos on 02 Mar 2024 13:31:28
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6629 Posts

Posted - 02 Mar 2024 :  07:01:51  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I abhor lazy design that sees the drow of the center of the world, Menzoberranzan [insert bigggest eye roll emoji you can find on the internet], looking to raid drow half a continent away. What logical purpose does that serve? Ludicrous.

Nar’Vheen and Grunthorigard, the nearby duergar city, explain a Realms conundrum for me and my Realms: where did the drow and duergar in “rare alliance” who engineered the Dark Court Slaughter in -4400 DR come from? And it neatly explains why they wanted to destroy Sarphil, their neighbor and rival/threat to the north.

— George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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TBeholder
Great Reader

2362 Posts

Posted - 02 Mar 2024 :  10:22:05  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I abhor lazy design that sees the drow of the center of the world, Menzoberranzan [insert bigggest eye roll emoji you can find on the internet], looking to raid drow half a continent away.

Well, the usual groaners are usual for a reason.
But at least simple opportunism is a more sensible hypothesis than making a permanent portal just to raid some city Grumbar-knows-where. In that it's serious investment and risk.

quote:
Nar�Vheen and Grunthorigard, the nearby duergar city, explain a Realms conundrum for me and my Realms: where did the drow and duergar in �rare alliance� who engineered the Dark Court Slaughter in -4400 DR come from?

Maerimydra is under Western Cormanthor, and IIRC Twisted Tower was their outpost?

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 02 Mar 2024 10:23:41
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ericlboyd
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
2060 Posts

Posted - 02 Mar 2024 :  13:01:00  Show Profile  Visit ericlboyd's Homepage Send ericlboyd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Looking some Living City docs I only recently received access to ...

1) Grunthorigard is a duergar city.

2) Nar'Vheen should be an illithid city. (Although the WoTC web article contradicts this.) (Led by 3 ulitharids, one of whom is named Yagol. They regularly war with the drow and githyanki. Forge an alliance with humans of the Ravens Deep settlement.) (Few lines in the adventures "The Mines of Sarbreen" and "A Meeting of Brains.")

3) Ithilaughym (not on map) is the drow city under the Vast. (City of Lolth-worshiping drow. One-line mention in the LC adventure "Dark Maiden.")

--
http://www.ericlboyd.com/dnd/

Edited by - ericlboyd on 02 Mar 2024 13:01:51
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6629 Posts

Posted - 02 Mar 2024 :  13:50:12  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
But as Eric point out above. If Nar'vheen is an illiquid city then my theory doesn't work. Ithilaughym might though.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6347 Posts

Posted - 02 Mar 2024 :  17:20:51  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Could be that Nar'Vheen was founded by drow (it certainly sounds like a drow name) as an outpost that was later secretly taken over by the Ulithariads that keep the drow as slaves and operate in secret (like the phaerimm with Ooltul) so that outsiders are unaware of the true masters of Nar'Vheen.

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TBeholder
Great Reader

2362 Posts

Posted - 03 Mar 2024 :  03:38:10  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd


2) Nar'Vheen should be an illithid city. (Although the WoTC web article contradicts this.) (Led by 3 ulitharids, one of whom is named Yagol. They regularly war with the drow and githyanki.

And the name is obviously drow. But if they are regularly at war there, it could change hands once or twice?

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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