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The Dungeon of Death is a subterranean structure located under a grassy hill just within the southern edge of the Lurkwood near the headwaters of Shining Creek, one of the tributaries of the River Surbrin.
Its story is one of the darkest of any dungeon in Faerûn.
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.
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.