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Back to your graves...
  — Sammaster to an army of undead.

Sammaster was an immensely powerful human mage and a former Chosen of Mystra. Sammaster was known for founding the Cult of the Dragon and discovering the process which turns a dragon into a dracolich. After being killed in a great battle, he returned several hundred years later as a lich, but has since been destroyed once more.

AppearanceEdit

Sammaster was a tall handsome man with dark brown hair. His hair was usually long and straight. Mnethos recorded him, around 817 DR, as tall and thin to the point of being gaunt, with a nervous, excitable disposition, and a pale complexion. He had large, "somber" brown eyes.[3]

PersonalityEdit

Mnethos noted, around 817 DR, that Sammaster had a nervous, excitable disposition, with acute senses that often led to his agitation. He had an "uneasy stomach" and was ill often, from coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing, for which he received herbal treatments.[3]

He described Sammaster as a quicky study, having a fierce intellect, and Sammaster would often miss meals or sleep in order to fulfil his driving ambition to learn and master the art of magic.[3]

PossessionsEdit

As of 851 DR, Sammaster possessed a ring of protection, a ring of free action, and boots of striding and springing.[4]

By 855 DR, Sammaster had acquired a robe of the archmage and a staff of the magi.[5]

By 905 DR, Sammaster possessed a staff of power, a ring of human influence, a ring of wizardry, potions of evil dragon control, a pearl of power, and wings of flying.[6]

History Edit

Birth and early lifeEdit

Sammaster was born in 800 DR,[1][note 1] and not much has been discovered about his early life. He might have been born in Sembia, the Dalelands, or the North. It is believed that his parents were killed, circumstances unknown, when Sammaster was still very young. His father is said to have been a nobleman, a necromancer, or a pirate. His mother is said to have been a fiend from another plane, an escaped slave, a wood nymph, a priestess from Mulhorand, or an incarnation of Sharess.[7]

It is believed that after his parents' deaths, Sammaster was raised by relatives or friends, but that his life was not pleasant, contributing to his behaviours later in life.[7]

ApprenticeshipEdit

At age 17, Sammaster was taken on as an apprentice by a travelling mage named Mnethos. During this period, Mnethos visited Baldur's Gate, Berdusk, Iriaebor, Marsember, Nimoar's Hold, Saerloon, Scornubel, Silverymoon and Yartar. Not long into his training, Sammaster was introduced to the goddess Mystra, whom he soon began worshipping.[1][3]

After just 8 years under the guidance of Mnethos, Sammaster had learnt all he could and began a path of his own.[8]

JourneymanEdit

Sammaster travelled a lot during this period following his apprenticeship, and his own eccentricities led to chaotic behaviour. He is believed to have had many relationships and possibly borne children, but there is no record of who these individuals are.[3]

Prior to the age of 40 (prior to 840 DR), Sammaster had discovered, rediscovered, or improved a number of spells, including lower resistance and squaring the circle, and had advanced knowledge of metamagic. He began to refer to Mystra as the "Mother of All Magic".[3]

Chosen of MystraEdit

Not long after, he began travelling Faerûn in search of knowledge and wisdom. During this time he made numerous advancements in metamagic through detailed research.[9]

In 851 DR the goddess Mystra appeared to Sammaster in the Dalelands, not far from Myth Drannor,[3] and offered to make him one of her Chosen.[10] Sammaster fell to his knees and wept upon Mystra's feet. They ended up spending ten days together. This made him the first Chosen of Mystra since the Seven Sisters.[3] When he asked for the reason that Mystra had chosen him, she replied that she had foreseen that one of her Chosen would be killed in battle, and he would be the replacement. He left this encounter feeling as though he and Mystra were in love.[11]

ElminsterEdit

Sammaster began meeting regularly with Elminster, in order to understand his new powers.[10][12] Although both archmages worked together and Sammaster learnt from Elminster, the two did not get along well, as their personalities grated on each other, and Elminster repeatedly pointed out that Mystra's true love was Azuth, not Sammaster.[11]

During one lesson with Elminster, Sammaster had to defeat an army of undead without destroying a single monster. He was instructed to force them to return to where they had come from. Although he struggled at first, he ultimately succeeded. Mystra appeared to Elminster shortly after this, and Elminster expressed his distaste at having to "forge" Sammaster, but Mystra reassured him that it was something that must be done.[13]

Turning pointEdit

A few years later, Sammaster began researching the processes of life, death and undeath. This research lasted several years and resulted in the creation of several original necromantic enchantments.[14]

Sammaster encountered a Zhent caravan between Cormyr and the Dalelands, and saw that they were keeping slaves in cages. He engaged the Zhent forces, but when they began killing prisoners, he flew into a rage. He killed many of the Zhent, but his magic also killed many of the prisoners, and his psyche could not cope with having committed this act. He continued until he had killed all of the Zhent forces, but the prisoners were in a state of panic, many still confined, causing them further injury, and many would not leave their cages for fear of Sammaster.[15]

Sammaster was rendered unconscious from the exertion, but a Harper was present at this event, and carried him away to safety, giving him a place to camp, as well as food and water. The news of this event reached the Master Harpers, as well as Storm Silverhand and Elminster, who chose to do nothing about it. This single event is widely attributed as turning Sammaster mad, and turning him towards evil.[5]

The "Dark Path"Edit

Sammaster went on to learn to command and reanimate the innocent dead, forming relationships with vampires and liches. Mystra was only concerned with his furthering of the theories of magic, and did not prevent him from deeds perceived as evil. This is within Mystra's character as a much more neutral deity of the time, unlike the form she assumed later.[16]

In 861 DR, after ending his research, Sammaster once again began travelling Faerûn. On his travels he met and began a relationship with another Chosen of Mystra, Alustriel Silverhand, who had been leader of Silverymoon since 857 DR. Sammaster's interest in Alustriel was to dominate and master her, and to unravel her secrets. The relationship lasted for a few years, but it came to an end, Alustriel particularly disturbed by Sammaster's interest in necromancy, and Sammaster's emotional and mental well-being were permanently damaged.[17][16]

Later lifeEdit

Sammaster soon met and befriended Algashon Nathaire, in or around the city of Baldur's Gate. Algashon was a mage and dedicated priest of Bane (Mystra's enemy). For the next few years the two mages traveled far and wide together, Sammaster converting to worship Bane, and Algashon, seeing an opportunity to create a powerful tyrant, slowly turned Sammaster more bitter, resentful and evil.[18]

Algashon began to instil in Sammaster the idea that all of his recent failings had been the fault of others, including the battle with the Zhents, and his relationship with Alustriel. He also began to encourage Sammaster to use his silver fire as much as possible, so that he could study it, for the benefit of Bane. Sammaster began to believe that all of his problems had began when he accepted his role as Chosen of Mystra.[19]

By 875 DR Algashon had convinced Sammaster to attack his former lover, Alustriel, in the Evermoors. Algashon aimed to steal Alustriel's silver fire rather than kill Sammaster to gain his. Although wounded by Sammaster's initial assault, Alustriel survived and summoned two more Chosen, Khelben Arunsun and Laeral Silverhand, to help her. In the ensuing battle, Sammaster was stripped of his Chosen powers by Mystra and would have been killed if not for Algashon. The battle destroyed what was left of Sammaster's sanity and from that point on, he fully embraced evil. He was also still in possession of limited powers of the Chosen of Mystra: the ability to heal very rapidly, and to avoid aging.[17][20]

He soon began translating ancient prophecies and distributing his findings, most notably his translations from the ancient text, Maglas's Chronicle of Years to Come, in 887 DR. The validity of these translations is highly speculated, and it is suspected that they were just a means for him to promote his new ideals. From his research he quickly became convinced that 'dead dragons' would one day rule over Toril.[2][12][21] He named this belief the Scaly Way.[citation needed]

Cult of the DragonEdit

In 902 DR, having set up in Chondathan (later to be renamed Saerloon) with Algashon and their followers, Sammaster successfully created the first Cult dracolich, named Shargrailar. He was not the first to undergo the transformation, but was the first known to have survived it. He compiled accounts of the rituals and components necessary to create a dracolich in a book entitled Tome of the Dragon. This holy relic is still used by the many members of the Cult of the Dragon to raise their own dracolich allies.[2][22]

By 905 DR Sammaster finished his principal work on the Tome of the Dragon, and copies started appearing all over Faerûn. His philosophy and beliefs of the Cult of the Dragon also began spreading across Faerûn, and it was at this time that the name "Cult of the Dragon" became widely adopted.[2][23]

The Cult began to spread from Chondathan and soon attracted enemies such as the Harpers. When they demanded protection money for Zhent caravans, they made enemies of Zhentil Keep, and the dracolich Shargrailar began to raid Zhent caravans between Shadow Gap and the River Tesh. This led to an influx of wealth for the Cult, and Sammaster went on to create more dracoliches in the following years.[23]

DeathEdit

In 916 DR Sammaster and a group of his followers were travelling to visit two green dragons in southern Cormanthyr, in order to convince them into becoming dracoliches. However they were ambushed by The Harpers and clergy of Lathander, near to Hap. Algashon had prior knowledge of this ambush, and instead of letting Sammaster know, he made plans to be far from the scene. A battle broke out and Sammaster was forced to fight an avatar of Lathander. During the chaos Sammaster was killed and seemingly obliterated. It also generated a holy relic of Lathander known as the Blood of Lathander.[2][24]

Resurrection and DestructionEdit

336 years later in 1282 DR, a lich calling itself Sammaster was found in the Desertsmouth Mountains. The creature began forming an army from humanoids, undead, and dragons.[25][26]

In 1285 DR an adventuring group of paladins known as the Company of Twelve attacked Sammaster's stronghold. Of the twelve, nine were killed, but the lich's physical form was destroyed. The survivors confirmed that this creature was in fact Sammaster.[25][26]

Almost another one-hundred years later in 1373 DR Sammaster (now a lich) completed his transformation of the Dracorage mythal binding his phylactery within. This precipitated a Rage of Dragons independent of the King-Killer Star.[27]

Under the alias of the Witch-King reborn, Sammaster then raised an army of orcs and giants in Vaasa. The army took the Bloodstone gates and flooded into Damara. Within the year, despite his immense power, Sammaster was destroyed along with his phylactery, and the Rage came to an end.[27]

GalleryEdit

AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 103. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 109. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 8. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  4. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 12. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  6. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 18. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  8. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 104. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  9. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 103–109. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  13. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 106. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  14. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 107. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  15. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), pp. 11–12. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 108. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  18. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), pp. 13–14. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  19. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  20. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), pp. 15–16. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  21. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  22. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), pp. 16–17. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 17. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  24. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 130. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 20. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 153–154. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.

NotesEdit

  1. Most sources give the date as 800 DR, but Cult of the Dragon p.7 notes that the exact date is lost, but that is it on or near 800 DR.

Further readingEdit

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