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D&D: An Adventurer’s Guide to Elminster

4 Minute Read
Jul 15 2023

The man, the myth, the Mary Sue, it’s Elminster. The legendary Sage of Shadowdale has meddled in more affairs than most wizards.

If you were to hear half of the tales of things Elminster had done, you would think him as big a liar as Volothamp Geddarm. And yet. In spite of it all, this lone wizard has been through some of Faerun’s most troubled times.

Including, but not limited to, the Time of Troubles. He’s been an old wizard for centuries now, but every legend has a beginning. So who is the Sage of Shadowdale? And how has he survived through so much?

Elminster – Origins

Believe it or not, Elminster was born more than 1200 years ago, in the Year of the Awakening Magic, 212 DR. As a boy, Elminster had little aptitude for magic.

His parents, Elthryn Aumar and Amrythale Goldsheaf might have had enough on their hands, with their child’s roguish streak. Except they were both slain, and Elminster’s village destroyed by Undarl, one of the malefic magelords of the time.

He survived, rescued by one of the outcast Knights of Athalantar, Helm Stoneblade. There he lived as an outlaw like the rest of them. For a while, he lived under the name Eladar the Dark and committed many crimes in the capital of Athalantar. And it was here, during a fateful burglary, that Elminster’s life was changed forever.

During a burglary, he ran afoul of the Magister of Mystra, Dorgon “Stormcloak” Heamilolothtar, who offered to teach the boy magic. Elminster refused, and finding his hatred of mages renewed, he tried to take vengeance on the magelords and only the intervention of Mystra, the Lady of Magic herself saved him. She did so by transforming the boy into a woman.


Life as Elmara

Mystra transformed Elminster into Elmara. Her reasoning was that a) nobody was looking for her, and b) ELminster could learn a thing or two. And Elmara served as a priestess of Mystra in Athalantar and beyond.

This was a good life, so much so that it drew the attention of the goddess, who visited Elminster under the guise of Myrjala Talithyn, and it goes without saying that the two became lovers. Eventually, the pair took vengeance on the magelords, defeated Undarl Dragonrider, and cast down the oppressive mage-tyrants.

In the course of the battle, Elmarar almost foreswore the use of magic, but Mystra revealed her true nature, and Elmarabecame one of her Chosen. Here she fades out of history.

Elminster’s Return

But a few years later Elminster returns. For a time, he lived in Cormanthor, the city of the elves. There he learned elven magic and made friends with many elves. Mystra saw to it that Elminster was well treated.


While there, he met a being known as Srinshee, falling in love once again. And thus was Elminster not only permitted to dwell in Cormanthor, but welcomed with open arms as the first human able to live in and among the elves.

The rest of his history is much like that. Elminster as a charismatic young mage falls in love with women and powerful otherworldly beings that look an awful lot like women. They have phenomenal romantic affairs while also saving the world.

The Time of Troubles and Beyond

And so it goes until the Time of Troubles when Mystra was slain. Not long after, extraplanar beings like Undarl returned to take vengeance on Elminster, but through the careful plotting of his friends, the wizard and company were able to return the tablets of fate to their rightful place, giving Mystra the opportunity to return to life.

Not long after Elminster is sent to hell. He escaped, it couldn’t hold him long. And he managed to endure the Spellplague pretty well at that. He did it by hiding his consciousness in a blueflame weapon for the duration.

Now that he’s returned again, he has “retired” which means he hangs out in Candlekeep, waiting to help adventurers who need his aid.

Happy Adventuring


Author: J.R. Zambrano
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