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Wailing Dwarf

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The Wailing Dwarf was a 4,000 ft (1,220 m) stone sculpture of a dwarf named for the sound made by wind passing over and through the cavernous ears, eyes, and mouth.[1][2][3]


The Wailing Dwarf was located in the Troll Mountains of western Amn,[2][3] carved from the easternmost peak, Mount Batyr. The monument faced eastward toward Breakback Pass in the Giant's Run Mountains.[1] The southern slope of the mountain presented a rough climb to the shoulder of the massive structure. There, a 5 ft (1.5 m) wide path cut out of natural rock skirted across the front of the edifice, ran between the twisting stone columns that made up his braided beard, and eventually reached his mouth.[3]

Geographical FeaturesEdit

  • The braided beard was over 1,000 ft (305 m) long and was carved tucked into the Dwarf's belt.[3]
  • The Dwarf's hands rested on the haft of a spectacularly large double-bladed battleaxe.[3]
  • The giant helm was carved with dwarven runes in a forgotten language and may have been adorned with gems.[3]
  • The First Antechamber was a large cavern located at the end of a long throat-like passage.[3]
  • Another passage from the First Antechamber led to a large abandoned dwarven city carved into both sides of a great rift, crisscrossed by ancient suspension bridges, elevated roads, and stone paths of dubious safety.[3]


The first challenge to gaining entry was the exposed climb up Mount Batyr and along the narrow path to the statue's mouth. The breezes in and out of the eyes and mouth were erratic; from light zephyrs to gale-force winds. At their strongest, objects and creatures not securely fastened to stone were either blown out to plummet nearly 4,000 ft (1,220 m) or sucked down the 100 ft (30 m) throat to land unceremoniously in the First Antechamber.[3]

The First Antechamber was the station of the first guardian naga who reportedly had four trolls in chains, likely insane from centuries of captivity, used as a regenerating food source. Guardian nagas were known to be very inquisitive about spells, rituals, and esoteric knowledge, and acquisitive of new and interesting magic items. Therefore, it was theoretically possible to negotiate an escape from the jaws of death, but a guardian naga would never bargain for passage into the heart of the mountain.


In the Year of the Tankard, 1370 DR, the age of the Wailing Dwarf was estimated at over 6,000 winters.[1] According to dwarven oral tradition, the statue was a monument to Karlyn of House Kuldelver who led the dwarves in a mighty victory over the giants around -5350 DR (and anecdotally giving the Giant's Run Mountains their name). The statue was carved in his likeness overlooking the eponymous Karlyn's Vale, site of the final battle.[4] Estimates for its construction time range from decades[5] to two hundred years[6] and was completed circa -5200 DR.[5] The mountain complex with its colossal entrance was originally known as Fortress Kuldelvon,[7] but it has been known only as the Wailing Dwarf, even to the dwarves, since about the 7th century, DR.[6]

Inside the edifice and the mountain was a dwarven city that flourished during the age of Shanatar, but was abandoned to trolls and other monsters long before Dalereckoning began. Sometime during the Age of Humanity, trolls gained entry to the underground city by some unknown passage, either dug or discovered, and started to form a colony, kicking off a decades-long war with the guardians. The trolls were driven back, but not entirely eliminated.

Lancameth's Last ExpeditionEdit

. . . lost, past all hope of the return,
they perished, tombless and alone.
  — Lancameth's Last Expedition[3]

A ballad known as Lancameth's Last Expedition described the final adventure of Bryam Lancameth, a famous explorer from Amn, and his well-known companions, which came to a tragic end in the passages and rooms behind the Wailing Dwarf's facade. Captain Lancameth put up the gold to mount the expedition ostensibly to discover the source of the eerie sound for which the monument was named, but in all likelihood there were hopes of glory and treasure as well. There were no known survivors.[3]

Known expedition members were:

Rumors and LegendsEdit

Many have speculated about the cause of the sounds emitted from the towering Dwarf. The most common theory was that it was caused by the temperature differential between the air inside the structure and the air outside. However, anyone who experienced the mercurial nature and unexpected power of the Dwarf's "breath" was quickly disabused of any notion that the Dwarf's wail had a simple explanation.[3]

If Lancameth's Last Expedition was based on fact, then it stands to reason that the items and weapons of that ill-fated exploration party came into the possession of the guardian nagas patrolling the Wailing Dwarf. Each of the stalwart adventurers had a signature weapon that added to their renown. According to legend, they were:[3]

In the Year of the Worm, 1356 DR, the ogre mages Sothillis and Cyrvisnea discovered a history of House Kuldelver entitled Runes of the Wailing Dwarf in the abandoned home of the Horned Mage somewhere in the Small Teeth Mountains. This and other historical documents led the pair to plot and eventually attack Esmeltaran with the hope of finding the plundered and relocated Armory of Nedeheim.[8]


In addition to the guardian nagas and the trolls that managed to survive outside the naga's jurisdiction, the ancient dwarven dwelling was inhabited by spiders, oozes, slimes, fungi, and gloomy dwarven ghosts.[3]

In 1374 DR it was reported that the malformed maur Managg had taken up residence in the bowels of the Wailing Dwarf and was rallying the remaining troll tribes.[7]




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Bruce R. Cordell (2008-01-14). The Wailing Dwarf. Realmslore. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2014-12-17.
  4. Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 23. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book One: Tethyr. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 21–22. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 118. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  8. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 40. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.

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