The Dungeon of Death was a subterranean structure situated on the southern edge of the Lurkwood.[1] The Dungeon was originally a dwarven gem mine, until the original builders were driven out by a force of medusae, who in turn were killed by a tribe of trolls. It was under troll rule that the mine came to be known as the "Dungeon of Death", owing to the trolls' widespread kidnapping of humans for the purpose of producing children to serve as food. By the 1300s DR, a group of nabassu controlled the Dungeon, using it as a staging ground for their schemes across the North. By 1369 DR, only the adolescent nabassu Viscaris remained, hoping to use the dungeon to lure in able-bodied adventurers for him to feast on.[3]


The Dungeon was located on the southern side of the Lurkwood, slightly north-east of the source of the Shining Creek.[1][2] It was occasionally counted as part of the Frost Hills region.[4]


Above-ground, the Dungeon of Death was marked by a large, fortified stone tower, erected by the original dwarf builders to protect the entrance to their mine. By 1370 DR, only a ruined blockhouse remained standing, overgrown by the local flora, and surrounded by the debris of fallen fortifications. The area was notably devoid of all signs of life, and an eerie stillness surrounded the ruins.[5] The inside of the blockhouse served as the living quarters for members of the Blue Bear tribe of barbarians, servants of the nabassu, and even following their departure, leavings from their habitation lingered. Crude paintings covered the walls, showing the tribe's history and way of life, with one painting showing how the barbarians delivered victims to the nabassu within.

A wide, heavily ornamented stone ramp led deeper into the Dungeon, the design of which was intended by the dwarf builders to make transporting supply-laden carts easier. The ramp was originally fortified by a set of large, sturdy doors, but no other forms of defenses or traps, since the dwarves felt it was easier to deal with any intruders inside the Dungeon itself. Later in the Dungeon's history, the nabassu Viscaris concurred with the dwarven builders, leaving both the blockhouse and the ramp unguarded and undefended, and the ramp doors removed.[6]

The Shadow CurseEdit

Due to the innumerable evil acts perpetrated by the various inhabitants of the dungeon, the place carries a unique curse, a curse which permeates the stonework itself. It causes shadows to become deeper and more dense than one would normally expect and sometimes they move of their own accord. Any living creature who passes the threshold of the dungeon not protected from evil is afflicted by the curse, though they won't know it straight away. The curse saps the most useful attribute from those within its boundaries. Warriors become weaker, rogues get slower, wizards minds become hazy, etc. If the curse is allowed to sap the attribute from a victim completely, they fade and become a part of the evil that afflicted them.


Originally a Dwarven gem mine belonging to the Deepdelve Clan, established shortly after the Dwarven kingdom of Gharraghaur fell to constant invasions from orcs, bugbears, trolls and worse in -3611 DR. Most of the Deepdelve clan were killed by a band of medusae who, in turn were killed by a massive troll invasion. This history of death would continue unabated whilst the trolls occupied the place. The self-styled 'Troll King', a two-headed troll named Glarauuth sent out raiding parties to capture human slaves and bring them back. These slaves, when not doing forced labour, were imprisoned and made to breed as much as possible. The babies produced would then be sent straight to the troll's dinner tables. This was how the place earned it's current moniker.

Around 1280 DR a small band of dwarves from the Foehammer Clan attempted to retake the mines but their plans went awry, they disappeared and history does not record their fate. The place has claimed the lives of untold adventuring parties and those few that survive long enough to tell their tale speak of a curse and a toll of blood that is demanded just to pass the doors. Over the next 40 years or so though, the dungeon was inhabited by many different evil creatures who all perpetrated unspeakable acts of foulness.

In approximately 1340 DR a nest of nabassu began occupation of the dungeon. They too raided the area for captives, but not to use as slaves, for nabassu have no need for such things. Since nabassu eat to increase their infernal powers, everyone brought back was to become a meal. Their most numerous servants were members of the Blue Bear tribe of Uthgardt. Unbeknownst to them, they were under the direct control of an evil annis shaman named Tanta Hagara who, in turn, served the nabassu. Tanta Hagara provided the tanar'ri with all the humanoid food they needed and the barbarians who served her were none the wiser. In 1369 DR Tanta Hagara and the Blue Bear tribe were all killed in the destruction of Hellgate Keep. Without their most able servant and her minions, the nabassu decided to move on to a different location and start again. A single nabassu though, elected to stay behind and rule over the ruin by himself. His name was Viscaris and he saw his peers departure as an opportunity to spread terror and woe throughout the north. Unfortunately, very few of the tanar'ri who lived in the dungeon stayed with him and he was still a juvenile demon, not having devoured enough souls to mature. He complicated matters for himself by insisting that he would only eat someone who was 'worthy'.

By the next year, he only needed to eat four more. Viscaris sent his two alu-fiend allies, Anderia and Estellia to spread the location of the dungeon to adventuring parties and to say that it was unguarded now that the demons had left. Still, it's dire reputation dissuaded most from braving the place. As an added measure to ensure Viscaris only gets the best of the best, he will only eat those who get past all of the traps on the first level of the dungeon.

Rumors & LegendsEdit




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 slade (April 1996). The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (Map of Sword Coast, Luskan, and Ten Towns). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Jason Carl (May 2000). The Dungeon of Death. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 2. ISBN 978-1560761327.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jason Carl (May 2000). The Dungeon of Death. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 3. ISBN 978-1560761327.
  4. slade, Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend, Paul Jaquays, Steve Perrin (April 1996). The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (The Wilderness). (TSR, Inc), p. 45. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
  5. Jason Carl (May 2000). The Dungeon of Death. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 5. ISBN 978-1560761327.
  6. Jason Carl (May 2000). The Dungeon of Death. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 978-1560761327.

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