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Gromph Baenre

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Gromph Baenre by francis001
Gromph Baenre
Basic Information
Titles Archmage of Menzoberranzan
Home Menzoberranzan, Northdark
Gender Male
Race Drow
Dates
Born 670 DR [1]
Rules Information
Alignment Chaotic evil
3.5 Edition Statistics
Class
Diviner 18
Archmage 4

Gromph Baenre was a drow and the Archmage of Menzoberranzan, as well as a very capable diviner.[2] He was also the Master of Sorcere, the arcane school, and the eldest son of Matron Mother Yvonnel Baenre, which made him the most powerful male in the city.[1]

DescriptionEdit

Gromph was austere yet handsome.[3] He had amber eyes, like his daughter Liriel.[4] Despite his old age (he was old even by elven standards), Gromph appeared eternally youthful due to the effects of a magical amulet in his possession, which contains a piece of a unicorn's horn. As a powerful spellcaster and the archmage of the city, Gromph almost always wore the Robe of the Archmage of Menzoberranzan, a ceremonial garment that was heavily enchanted. He also displayed the badge of House Baenre at all times.[5]

Interestingly, by 1361 DR, Gromph had not been able to enter elven Reverie for many decades, nor sleep; presumably, only the power of his brooch of perpetual youth kept him alive.[6]

PersonalityEdit

Gromph was arrogant, surly, and temperamental, with the occasional tendency to focus on petty disputes.[1] He was cautious when his actions might affect his standing or involve the ruling matriarchy of Menzoberranzan, although he always kept an eye out for ways in which he might strengthen his power and influence. He was no fan of Lolth himself, but he understood her capriciousness.[7]

Although Gromph was always looking for ways to expand his power, he was generally conservative in his approach to the status quo. He had several opportunities to potentially bring down the matriarchy, but he decided to play it safe and not become a revolutionary. This was both in fear of the matriarchy and in fear of Lolth herself.[8]

Gromph viewed himself as the greatest wizard in the world.[9] Some consider Gromph the greatest archmage in all the Realms; Elminster, however, was more than eleven centuries old and Khelben a few centuries younger than that (both may have been greater mages than Gromph, as they had more time to study and perfect their mastery of the Art); as such, it may be more accurate to list him as a rival in power to the other archmages of the Realms.

HistoryEdit

BackgroundEdit

Gromph wandered for some time and adventured before becoming the "leashed" Archmage of the Council of Eight (the eight ruling houses), according to a decree by Lolth.[citation needed] It was only logical for the Council to keep close watch on the male wizards, who are their only real challengers for power; Gromph especially so, as he has many responsibilities in the City of Spiders. Foremost, he had to energize Narbondel, the huge "clock" pillar of Menzoberannzan. For most it seemed to be a ceremony of power and therefore an honorable task, but in truth it was a short chain that tethered Gromph to the city itself.[10] He was also tasked with minimizing the in-fighting of the potential students of Sorcere. After the failed invasion of Menzoberranzan by the duergar and the tanarukks, wizardly powers were in short supply.[citation needed]

War of the Spider QueenEdit

In 1372 DR, during the Silence of Lolth, Gromph disappeared at a time when the city most needed him. After a failed attempt by the Lichdrow Lord Dyrr to force Gromph to join sides with him and the Jaezred Chaulssin, he was attacked and imprisoned in a magical sphere. With the help of his familiar, a rat named Kyorli, he managed to utilize a faerzress to navigate down a river to Lake Donigarten, where he was discovered by a roaming illithid named Sluuguth. He tricked the illithid into bringing him to his quarters in Sorcere, where used "thought bottles" of his own design to trick and defeat Sluuguth, sealing his soul into a magical axe. Gromph left his quarters to find the city under siege by duergar and tanarukks. He aided in the defense of Tier Breche.[11]

Gromph then plotted to find one of the siege's instigators, Nimor Imphraezl of the Jaezred Chaulssin. With the help of Andzrel Baenre, he glued an enchanted light gem to Nimor, ensuring that it would take some time before he was able to leave the Plane of Shadow. In the process, Gromph was blinded.[11] With the help of his employed assassin Zillak, Jaemas Xorlarrin, and Kyorli, he received an eye transplant from a member of House Agrach Dyrr.[12]

Not long after, Gromph was forced to confront Lord Dyrr once again. He was physically sent to the halfling sphere of heaven, the Green Fields. He returned with the soul of a dead halfing named Dietr, who became a huecuva. The huecuva was easily destroyed by the lichdrow. A terrific battle of magic ensued, destroying much of the Bazaar. Despite having a staff of power and ring of regeneration, Gromph very nearly lost the spell battle. He was backstabbed by Nimor and petrified by Dyrr. It was only after Triel Baenre, her clerical powers newly restored after the return of Lolth, turned him back into flesh that he was able to break the staff of power and destroy Dyrr's physical form.[13]

Once Dyrr's physical form was destroyed, however, it remained necessary to destroy his phylactery in order to prevent him from returning. Using subterfuge and many spells of disguise, Gromph infiltrated House Agrach Dyrr while it was under attack by House Xorlarrin and found Dyrr's phylactery in the house chapel. He was able to destroy the phylactery with the same axe that slew Sluuguth. The Lichdrow's soul was entrapped in the axe, Gromph inadvertently left the axe behind when his contingency evasion spell took him away from the scene when the house wards began to go off.[14]

Post-SpellplagueEdit

Gromph weathered the Spellplague and grew stronger. As of 1463 DR, he was likely the oldest drow in the city.[15] Presumably at the bequest of Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre, he helped instigate the Xorlarrin expedition to Gauntlgrym by "allowing" Ravel Xorlarrin to peer over his shoulder while divining information from a skull gem given to him by Jarlaxle.[16]

Gromph continued to consult on occasion for Jarlaxle, who paid him well.[17]

EquipmentEdit

Gromph wore a ceremonial piwafwi with many spell components inside. It was a sign of his high status.[18] He also had in his possession various powerful magical items, including: the Robe of the Archmage of Menzoberranzan, a brooch of perpetual youth, a brooch of lingering heat, a wand of viscid globs, a wand of acidic spheres, a brooch of number numbing, many contracts of Nepthas, a lens of speed reading, a talisman of memorization, numerous thought bottles, and a spider mask that allowed him to cross the House Baenre compound fence.[19]

After reciting a spell to allow him to become a fighter for a short time (probably a derivation of the spell known as Tenser's transformation), Gromph obtained a soul-stealing battle axe of duergar manufacture. The most important soul encased in the axe was that of the illithid Sluuguth, although duergar souls were also trapped within the blade.[14] In the battle for Menzoberranzan, when Gromph fought the Lichdrow Dyrr, he captured the lichdrow's soul inside the axe. This expelled the other spirits.[20] The axe was subsequently left behind when Gromph fled the destruction of the temple of House Agrach Dyrr. Its fate, however, was unknown.[21]

Gromph had access to Sorcere's storehouse of magical items.[1]

One of Gromph's more interesting items was Caer Gromph, a magical cube that turned into a black adamantine tower fortress lined with balconies and arrow slits. It was activated by the words "Caer Gromph." Jarlaxle used it in his assault on the home of Draygo Quick in 1463 DR.[22]

ResidenceEdit

Gromph had a mansion in Narbondellyn, the nicest district in Menzoberranzan, which allowed him time away from his family for his magical items and mistresses. The black mansion had been carved into stalactites and its walls were covered in shifting symbols. It was generally avoided by the residents of the city.[23]

Gromph also had his own quarters in Sorcere (although there was an unwarded access shaft located in its own extraplanar space).[24] These quarters had numerous protections, including an animated obsidian statue of a four-armed swordsman called Szashune[25] and sigils to protect the quarters summoned a fire elemental and cast the spell imprisonment. The room itself had no windows, a single door made of black marble with silver runes, and a floor made of marble. Inside the room was a desk of polished bone with extradimensional drawers with fronts containing different skulls, which only Gromph could open. Gromph's chair was plush, while the visitor's chair was made of hard wood. There were also many bookshelves with scrolls. The rooms were lit by perpetual red candles held in candleholders made of skeleton hands.[24]

RelationshipsEdit

KyorliEdit

Gromph had a rat familiar named Kyorli.[26] Gromph could communicate with her mentally.[27], and even concentrate to see through her eyes.[28] Gromph and Kyorli were relatively close and affectionate with one another,[29] and he was quite patient with her, even though she was easily distracted.[27][30]

Liriel BaenreEdit

Gromph's only daughter is Liriel Baenre.[31] His mistress for a time was Sosdrielle Vandree, Liriel's mother, but when Liriel was five, Gromph had Sosdrielle put to death.[32]. He then had Liriel's magical education and upbringing taken care of by House Shobalar, at least until she fled to the surface.[5]

House BaenreEdit

Gromph was the eldest son of Yvonnel Baenre, making him the eldest male of House Baenre. He had a number of siblings, all children of Yvonnel Baenre, but most notable of these were his sisters Triel Baenre, later Matron Mother of House Baenre, and Quenthel Baenre, Matron Mistress of Arach-Tinilith. He had a particular vendetta against Quenthel, who was Triel's main advisor in addition to him, and attempted to have her assassinated multiple times in 1372 DR.[33] She later became matron mother of House Baenre.[15]

Gromph had at least two brothers (in addition to the rogue, Jarlaxle) but both of them met their end in some way. The second son of Yvonnel Baenre and weapons master of the house, Dantrag Baenre, was cut down by Drizzt Do'Urden in his escape from the house.[34] After Dantrag's death, Gromph's younger brother, Berg'inyon Baenre, became weapons master for the assault on [[Mithral Hall]. After that disaster, Berg'inyon joined Bregan D'aerthe and was later struck down by Drizzt's rival, Artemis Entreri.[citation needed]

Males of MenzoberranzanEdit

Gromph's high-born heritage and high standing in the city served to make him the most influential males in Menzoberranzan, with the possible exception of Jarlaxle, leader of the mercenary band Bregan D'aerthe and also his younger brother (though from the 1350s DR onward, Jarlaxle was rarely seen in the city).[35] Jarlaxle and Gromph remained in communication with each other even after Jarlaxle left the city.[17] Gromph was also able to summon all major wizards in the city to his side with the help of vials bearing the House Baenre insignia; upon being broken at a certain time, the vials would bring the bearers to his audience hall.[36]

Gromph did not spend much time with all of the other powerful wizards of Menzoberranzan. In 1372 DR, he had not spoken with Lord Dyrr (whom he feared) in more than 400 years.[37] However, he did work extensively with Pharaun Mizzrym, whom he believed aspired to be the next Archmage of Menzoberranzan.[38]

AppendixEdit

AppearancesEdit

NovelsEdit

Short storiesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Philip Athans (2008). A Reader's Guide to R. A. Salvatore's the Legend of Drizzt. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 57. ISBN 0-7869-4915-5.
  2. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 160. ISBN 0786932023.
  3. Elaine Cunningham (November 2003). Rite of Blood (The Best of the Realms). (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-3024-1.
  4. Elaine Cunningham (May 1998). Tangled Webs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 104. ISBN 0-7869-0698-7.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Elaine Cunningham (July 2003). Daughter of the Drow (Mass Market Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 978-0786929290.
  6. Elaine Cunningham (July 2003). Daughter of the Drow (Mass Market Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 207. ISBN 978-0786929290.
  7. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0786932023.
  8. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 29. ISBN 0786932023.
  9. Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 249. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  10. Warning: edition not specified for Windwalker
  11. 11.0 11.1 Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  12. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  13. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Paul S. Kemp (February 2006). Resurrection. (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-3981-8.
  15. 15.0 15.1 R.A. Salvatore (August 2012). Charon's Claw. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN 0-7869-6223-2.
  16. R.A. Salvatore (August 2012). Charon's Claw. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 2. ISBN 0-7869-6223-2.
  17. 17.0 17.1 R.A. Salvatore (October 2010). Gauntlgrym. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 221. ISBN 978-0786955008.
  18. Elaine Cunningham (November 2003). Rite of Blood (The Best of the Realms). (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-3024-1.
  19. Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 63. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
  20. Paul S. Kemp (February 2006). Resurrection. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 299. ISBN 0-7869-3981-8.
  21. Paul S. Kemp (February 2006). Resurrection. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 356–357. ISBN 0-7869-3981-8.
  22. R.A. Salvatore (March 2013). The Last Threshold. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 305. ISBN 0-7869-6364-6.
  23. Elaine Cunningham (July 2003). Daughter of the Drow (Mass Market Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 5–7. ISBN 978-0786929290.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 142–146. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  25. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 166. ISBN 0786932023.
  26. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 26. ISBN 0786932023.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 79. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  28. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 185. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  29. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 82. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  30. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  31. Elaine Cunningham (November 2003). Rite of Blood (The Best of the Realms). (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-3024-1.
  32. Elaine Cunningham (November 2003). Rite of Blood (The Best of the Realms). (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-3024-1.
  33. Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  34. R.A. Salvatore (July 2006). Starless Night. (Wizards of the Coast) ISBN 0-7869-1606-0.
  35. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 212. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  36. Elaine Cunningham (July 2003). Daughter of the Drow (Mass Market Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 23. ISBN 978-0786929290.
  37. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 87–88. ISBN 0786932023.
  38. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 27. ISBN 0786932023.

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