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Sshamath was established in -4973 DR by the Lolth-worshiping drow house Sshamath. It was a standard drow city for nearly 2000 years. Then, in -2867 DR it was discovered that the city's local faerzress was fluctuating badly. Five years later it was gone and the city was greatly weakened.
Around three centuries previously, the Matron Mothers of the city had given birth to an unusually large number of male children. This contributed to a large increase in the number of wizards, and a decrease in the number of priestesses. Thanks to the lack of nearby threats, the house wizards set about plundering the ruins of lost civilizations, such as Netheril and Oghrann. They took and duplicated every magical item that they could find, using them to instigate a very short civil war that killed all of the house matriarchs and replaced them with wizards. Thereafter, practitioners of the art reigned supreme.
In 1379 DR, Q'arlynd Melarn was accepted into the Conclave with the School of Ancient Arcana. That same year, after the High Magic ritual that transformed those drow not tainted by Wendonai's blood and the followers of Eilistraee into their original dark elven forms, Seldszar, Master of the College of Divination, revealed that the College of Ancient Arcana and the College of Divination would be relocated to the surface City of Hope, which was ruled by the sharn.
Sorcerers, bards, and divine spellcasters are treated as secondary citizens because magic that is earned through work is much more respected than magic that comes naturally or from deference to another.
The city is now ruled over by the Conclave of Sshamath, an oligarchy composed of one representative from each of the 8 schools of magical specialization, one who does not specialize, and one who is elected from among the more esoteric arcane practitioners (Elemental Savants, Deep Diviners, etc). The conclave rarely meets, preferring communication via spells.
Nurissa Vyllshan wants to get users of the Shadow Weave accepted as an official school and thus eligible for a conclave seat. Unfortunately for her and her followers this would lessen the power of the already established members (which, obviously they want to avoid) and the majority of Shadow Weave users get their power from the worship of Shar which is frowned upon by other wizards. Still, some would prefer that the practioners of shadow magic operated with conclave support than if they went underground.
The city itself is a major trading center for all things magical. You can find nearly anything a wizard could possibly want in the Dark Weavings Bazaar and if you can't, it can be found for you. For an extra (large) fee it can be brought to you by adventurers (usually non-drow).
Slavery is also treated differently here than in other drow cities. Races considered capable of wizardry such as humans, elves, svirfneblin and deep imaskari are never kept as slaves by citizens, however visitors to the city are allowed to bring their slaves. Creatures who demonstrate an aptitude for wizardry are considered free in the eyes of Sshamath law and are allowed to live in a ghetto that is prevented from getting too big by the conclave.
At the bottom of the great cave lies the Dark Weaving Bazar, the marketplace of Sshamath. In hundreds of tents and small shops in stalagmites the visitor can buy almost everything. If he/she does not find what he is looking for, he can hire someone to find it for him, and even humans will go for the item in the World Above.  In the center of the bazaar lies the slave market. In most places such a market would consist of many tents and cages but in a city full of wizards it is housed in one building. Magical glyphs an each side try to encourage passants to buy one or more slaves. The slaves are held in magical clearstones, where they are magically shrunk to get into the fist sized cubes and can be easily stored in the shelves.
- The great pillar in the center of the city. it stretches from the floor of the cavern where travellers can access the city right to the roof which leads to the entrance cave above the city. Hundreds of bridges extend from this great pillar that lead to individual homes.
- The Stonestave
- This is where the conclave meets on the rare occasions that it needs to. It is heavily guarded and warded. Like Z'orr'bauth, it stretches from the floor to the ceiling of the cavern. It gets its name from its shape, that of a wizard's staff.
- The Darkspires
- The homes of the many artificers and smiths. Many of these are duergar who are indentured servants. Each smithy deals independently from the colleges as a whole and instead plies their wares to whichever college they prefer.
- The Quillspires
- A cluster of hollowed stalactites hanging from the roof of the cavern, northwest of Z'orr'bauth where the city's scribes and low-level wizards create scrolls for sale in the bazaar and deal with minor magical research.
- The Tower of the Masked Mage
- A stalactite temple to Vhaeraun suspended over the Darkwoods. Some of the Shadow Adepts not under the dominance of Shar reside here. They support Vyllshan's activities. Most residents of the tower are rogues though.
- The Web of the Spider Queen
- A cluster of stalactites and stalagmites that serve as Lolth's temple in the city. Only a token deference is given to the Spider Queen by the city's citizens outside of the Web and among the wizards, even less. The priestesses who reside here do good business with mages that require clerical spells to complete magical items.
- The Fountain of Endless Elixirs
- A shop where any magical or non-magical liquid can be bought.
- The Genie's Wish
- A high-priced shop for new visitors to the city. It is a stalctite shaped like a Calishite minaret so it is easily recognizable. Any visitors asking for help buying something are directed here where they are normally tricked into buying cursed or nearly depleted items. Those who are experienced enough not to be fooled can utilize the shop's large inventory and item location and retrieval service for a large non-refundable handler's fee. Prices are usually doubled on top of that for items found this way.
- The Jacinth Rose
- can be found right in the middle of the Dark Weavings bazaar. Here, you can buy gemstones from all over Faerûn and some parts of Kara-Tur. Magical gems are also sometimes available but non-drow will have a hard time buying them.
- The Great Elixir
- The most famous tavern in the city. It is rumoured that you can get any alcoholic beverage from the realms above and below here. A pool in the centre of the open-air court is filled by the slow drip of a stalactite above. Patrons try to convince gullible visitors that it has magical properties but all it contains is guano runoff.
- The Lukhorn's Gullet
- Located on the south edge of the bazaar and is famed for its excellent meals. They can cater to any sentient being, regardless of palate. It is a series of ring platforms, one atop the other, two of which are enclosed with Walls of Force and flooded with water (one salt, one fresh) to cater to aquatic patrons. Another houses flame-dwelling creatures. Drow servers use Levitation to quickly access each of the rings and serve customers.
- The Shattered Scepter
- Located far from the center of Sshamath in the west. The building was formed from a stalactite that fell and split in two parts. One part is used as a stable, while the other is the main building. The inn has over a dozen rooms for paying customers but the building is known as a place of ill-repute.
- The Gloura's Wings
- A small festhall on the western edge of the bazaar. It is famous for a song written about the place that is popular among bards north of Amn. Three Glouras run the place, calling themselves the "Deep Queens" and is staffed by beautiful minstrels and dancers.
- The Spider's Kiss
- A large festhall named after the practise of some drow females of killing their mates after breeding with them, much like some spiders. This place is known for selling a variety of poisons.
- The Darkwoods
- is a petrified forest in the south east of the city that is home to the worst residents (and a few monsters). The conclave has done nothing to get rid of them, whether they want to or not.
Sshamath's ruling conclaveEdit
- Masoj Dhuunyl (md, Abj - *Abj) Master of Abjuration
- Shurdriira Helviiryn (fd, Tra - *Tra) Master of Alteration
- Urlryn Khalazza (md, Con - *Con) Master of Conjuration and Summoning
- Seldszar Elpragh (md, Div - *Div) Master of Divination
- Malaggar Xarann (md, Enc - *Enc) Master of Enchantment and Charm
- Felyndiira T'orgh (fd, Ill - *Ill) Master of Illusion and Phantasm
- Krondorl Waeglossz (md, Inv - *Evo) Master of Invocation and Evocation
- Tsabrak of the Blood (md vampire, Nec - *Nec) Master of Necromancy
- Guldor Zauviir (md, M - *Wiz/Acm) Master of Mages
- Antatlab of the Shaking Stones (md, EleE - *Wiz/ElemSav) Master of Elemental Magic
- Alak Faerzhind (md, Tra) Master of Apportation and senior member of the school of Alteration
- Calimar Arkhenneld (md, lich Enc), Master Emeritus of the School of Enchantment and Charm, premier creator of magical items in Sshamath, follower of Mystra
- Q'arlynd Melarn (Wiz,High-mg) College of Ancient Arcana
- Nym Mlezziir (md, F/M - *Ftr/Wiz) Battlemaster of the Eastern Marches & the ruins of Oghrann
- Nurissa Vyllshan (fd, *Ill/Sha) Mistress of the Shadow School
- Ilharess Laele Zauviir (fd, P) leader of the Spider Queen's temple,FU
- Wildstorm (md, WildMage) leader of the Cult of Malyk, FU
- Pharaun Lhalabar (md, P) leader of the clergy of Vhaeraun
- S'feria Ranul (fm, Cl of Selûne)
- ↑ Lisa Smedman (June 2008). Ascendancy of the Last. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 219. ISBN 978-0-7869-4864-2.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 176. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ Lisa Smedman (September 2007). Storm of the Dead. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-0-7869-4701-0.