Phanlinksal was a ruined illithid settlement located in the Northdark.[1]


Phanlinksal was located in the Upper Northdark beneath the Lurkwood,[1] a few weeks' march west of Menzoberranzan.[3]


The settlement was located in a long, narrow cavern and built in the form of a castle centered around a stalagmite tower, which served as living quarters for prominent members of the community. Inside the tower, balconies lined the walls, overlooking the central elder brain, which was constantly attended to by nimble-fingered slaves.[4] Other structures in the city included the Axial Plaza, a capture pit, thrall barracks, a gladiatorial arena, and birthing pools.[3]

Just outside the city was a rothe-inhabited "herd island" surrounded by gorges with a narrow, magical bridge connecting it to the settlement.[5]


Before its destruction, Phanlinksal was home to an elder brain and up to 120 illithids and three times that number of thralls.[1][3]


The city was founded in 491 DR by the elder brains ruling illithid society. They chose a defensible cavern close to the surface to allow for easy raiding of Uthgardt tribes in the Lurkwood. One of the elder brains was relocated to the site. Despite this, the settlement always remained small.[3]

In 568 DR, illithids from Phanlinksal attempted to invade the drow city of Menzoberranzan from the Eastways. The mind flayers were defeated and 80 of them were executed by a vampiric illithid (kept as a "pet" by House Oblodra) in a location later named the Cavern of the Severed Tentacles.[6]

The illithids continued to be a nuisance to Menzoberranzan. In 1328 DR, the ruling House Baenre grew tired of illithid raids and armed themselves to destroy Phanlinksal. The city was spared when Methil El-Viddenvelp, one of the more prominent mind flayers, agreed to serve Matron Mother Yvonnel Baenre as her secret advisor in exchange for her sparing the city.[3]

In 1339 DR, the renegade drow Drizzt Do'Urden and his companions, Belwar Dissengulp and Clacker were captured and enthralled by illithids and taken to serve as slaves in Phanlinksal. They were released when the astral panther Guenhwyvar attacked and killed the elder brain.[7][3] In the confusion, many illithids were killed by their thralls or by the zin-carla inhabiting the body of Zaknafein Do'Urden, which was seeking Drizzt. The few surviving illithids abandoned the city and fled to their kin in Gauntlgrym.[1]

The abandoned settlement was then inhabited by a neothelid.[1] The Sept Ill'Ghact (founded by Methil El-Viddenvelp in 1340 DR) began using the ruined city as their base. The sept's intention was to create a new elder brain and rebuild the city, but their progress was slow, particularly after Methil was severely injured in 1358 DR. The sept remained inactive for several decades until it was taken over by the ulitharid Galgast El-Venken.[2]

By the time of the Spellplague, the sept were firmly entrenched in Phanlinksal and had tamed the neothelid to serve as a guardian. However, to the outside world, the settlement still appeared abandoned.[3]

Notable inhabitantsEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Brian R. James, Eric Menge (August 2012). Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 74–76. ISBN 978-0786960361.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Brian R. James, Eric Menge (August 2012). Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 112. ISBN 978-0786960361.
  4. Warning: edition not specified for Exile
  5. Warning: edition not specified for Exile
  6. Brian R. James, Eric Menge (August 2012). Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 99. ISBN 978-0786960361.
  7. R.A. Salvatore (March 2006). Exile. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3983-4.