Nelnfaen was the Master of Alteration in Sshamath and so a member of the Conclave of Sshamath. However, Nelnfaen broke with the Council, becoming a renegade for his wish to spread magic, especially magic not connected to faerzress. Nelnfaen considered the faerzress as an evil weakness that made the drow subservient to the rulers of their cities, usually clerics of Lolth.
He wandered the Underdark exploring many areas, especially the Upperdark. In his tenure as Magister, he befriended some priestesses of Eilistraee and even a few humans from Waterdeep. However, in truth, most human wizards of the surface never realized that there was a Magister in the Underdark and thought it was a time without a Magister.