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Elminster Aumar (born in 212 DR) is a fictional character in the Dungeons & Dragons-based Forgotten Realms setting. Also known as the Sage of Shadowdale, he is a powerful wizard featured in many novels by Forgotten Realms creator Ed Greenwood. His appearance and demeanor in certain aspects seem to echo Merlin or Gandalf.

Elminster was one of the first characters Greenwood created for the Forgotten Realms; information about him can be found in virtually all game products, but The Elminster Series of novels by Greenwood are perhaps the most definitive sources of information. The series includes Elminster: The Making of a Mage, Elminster in Myth Drannor, The Temptation of Elminster, Elminster in Hell, and Elminster's Daughter.



Elminster appears as a gray-bearded man of weathered visage, gruff tone, alert, dancing eyes, nondescript attire and a hawk like nose. He is almost always smoking a meerschaum pipe that is spouting some vile blue or green smoke.[1]

In the later series after DND 3.0, Elminster was often portrayed with shorter hair and beard, and often with a sword at his side.


A natural storyteller, Elminster is normally a witty, clever, and very charming man. He can be imperious, grave, and terrible, however, and furthermore is a consummate actor. He rarely reveals the full extent of his true nature to anyone who is not an extremely close friend. He can portray himself as a trickster, a rake, a stern father figure, or any other stereotype he wants to assume, depending on what he wants to accomplish or what reaction he wants to elicit from those around him.


As of the end of "Elminster's Daughter" the information that Elminster has several daughters was made known. Besides Narnra Shalace two others are made known, one of them is Laspeera of the war wizards and the other is none other than the Dowager Queen Filfaeril of Cormyr.


The Harpers; the other Chosen of Mystra (especially the Simbul, his paramour); Lhaeo, his scribe; and good people everywhere. Since he resides in Shadowdale, the lord of Shadowdale is also his friend. The Knights of Myth Drannor are also his friends and confidants. Two or three knights are always in Shadowdale in case it is in peril.

Elminster interacts regularly with the other Chosen of Mystra through a telepathic link. As well as once sharing a bed with the goddess herself, he is currently conducting a relationship with the Simbul of the Seven Sisters. Elminster and Khelben have something of a rivalry, whilst Volo sorely taxes the old mage's patience.


The Making of A Mage[]

The first novel in the The Elminster Series, Making of a Mage [2] recounts the character's origin story, which explains why he has levels in so many different character classes (fighter, rogue, cleric, and wizard).

Elminster was born around 200 DR to Elthryn, the lord of the village of Heldon and a prince of Athalantar, and his wife Amrythale, in the kingdom of Athalantar. His family was killed by a malaugrym named Undarl, one of the magelords of the ancient kingdom of Athalantar.[3] Taking up his father's broken sword, the Lion Sword, the symbol of the great king of the Stag Throne (who was Elminster's grandfather), Elminster became a brigand and a thief at the ripe age of twelve.

He soon realized that he had no taste for killing, and gave it up when he went to become a burglar in the city of Hastarl, the capital of Athalantar. He met and formed a bond of friendship with a young thief, Farl, who knew Elminster as Eladar "the Dark"; they committed many acts of thievery and lived life fully, later forming the gang the "Velvet Hands" in opposition to the rival gang, the Moonclaws, who were servants of the magelords. Later, while evesdropping on a possible thieving mark, Elminster met that era's Magister, the wizard who bore the mantle of Azuth's power. When asked if he was interested in learning sorcery, Elminster refused, as he hated all mages because of the magelords.

After many adventures, Elminster was visited by Mystra, the Goddess of All Magic. She tarried with him and left the awestruck Elminster with the message that he should learn of magic and worship her. Soon thereafter, while he was still a young adult, Mystra transformed Elminster into a woman named Elmara to strengthen his bond with magic and to know what it is to be a woman. This change also allowed him to move within his enemies' circles without their knowledge that he was in fact the last surviving prince of Athalantar. For a few years, Elmara was a priestess of Mystra. Later, an avatar of Mystra (who went by the name Myrjala "Darkeyes") trained Elmara in the ways of a mage and brought her to an ancient Netherese arcanist who taught Elmara a spell that would transform her back into Elminster. In the time that followed, Elminster learned much about magic from Myrjala, reaching the point where he could finish taking his revenge against the evil magelords who had usurped the kingdom. After a terrific battle, Elminster persevered and assumed the throne of Athalantar.

However, no sooner had he gained the kingship than he passed it on to one of his friends, Helm Stoneblade, a knight of Athalantar. Elminster stated that he had wanted to avenge his family's death, not become a monarch. As he and Myrjala left the kingdom, the so-called Mage Royal, Undarl, attacked them, and the sorceress revealed herself to be Mystra. She offered to make Elminster one of her Chosen, and he readily accepted.

Elminster in Myth Drannor[]

A sequel to Making of a Mage, Elminster in Myth Drannor [4]

takes place shortly afterwards. In this novel, Elminster travels to the city of Cormanthor. The book details the ancient elven society and its people, as well as highlighting Elminster's continued magical studies, as he serves as an apprentice to a cruel and powerful wizard.

Elminster remains in Cormanthor for over two decades, and is present when the mythal is raised and the city is renamed Myth Drannor.

The Temptation of Elminster[]

The Temptation of Elminster [5] moves the time line ahead several centuries. At the outset of the novel, Elminster emerges from a dusty tomb, after being trapped there in stasis for many years.

During much of this book, magic becomes unreliable, and Elminster must again learn to survive by his wits and the skills he picked up earlier in his life. He later undergoes further magical training under the tutelage of a wicked sorceress who seeks to tempt him away from Mystra's path.

Following the events of The Temptation of Elminster, Elminster served as a foster parent to three other of Mystra's Chosen: Laeral, Storm, and Dove. It is also suspected that he had something to do with the founding of Waterdeep, or at least with the organizing of the city's lords.

Time of Troubles[]

Elminster was instrumental in forming the Rangers Three, who aided him in recurring battles with the mysterious Shadowmasters during this time. Elminster also took time out to defend Shadowdale from an army of Zhentarim led by the avatar of Bane. Bane and Elminster battled, and both were caught up in the spell that Elminster had called upon to dispose of the avatar. Elminster was originally thought to have been destroyed, but when he later reappeared it became apparent that he had merely been transported to another plane of existence for a time.

Shadow of the Avatar Crisis[]

In Elminster's absence, the foes of good tried to rally, but the other Chosen, the Knights of Myth Drannor, and the Rangers Three held them at bay until he returned. With the present crisis averted, all seemed calm, but the Shadowmasters had other ideas. Elminster and the Rangers Three, along with their allies, managed to frustrate and foil the plans of this race of shapeshifters.

Elminster also confronted the overgod, Lord Ao, over his instigation of the Time of Troubles while innocents were being killed. As the critical moment of the Time of Troubles approached, Mystra knew of what was to come and she shed most of her power into Midnight the human wizard, so that all of her essence would not cease to exist. Since Elminster obtained his power from Mystra, this change left him personally powerless at a critical juncture.

He recruited one of the Rangers Three, Sharantyr, and they equipped themselves from Elminster's cache of magical items, which would still function. The two of them were later reunited with the other two members of the band, Itharr and Belkram, but even the Rangers Three could not prevent Elminster from being wounded in battle. Despite this setback, Elminster and the Rangers, along with their allies, not only freed High Dale and defeated Manshoon of the Zhentarim, but they also outlasted the Time of Troubles, and Elminster regained his magic.

Elminster in Hell[]

[6] When the floating city of Shade Enclave was returned to Faerûn after their exile in the Plane of Shadow, the Shadovar—the immortal rulers of the city who were themselves Shades— attempted to attack Shadowdale. Elminster thwarted their plot by blasting one of the shadow princes with his silver fire. Since Shadovas are living shadow magic, and silver fire is pure weave magic, the collision tore at the fabric of reality, created a rift to the Nine Hells. Elminster realized that the only way to close the portal before legion of devils spilled forth into Toril was to close it from the other side.

In the opening of Elminster in Hell, Elminster entered the portal and narrowly managed to do so, but at the expense of much of his magical strength. Once in Hell he was abducted and enslaved by an outcast Arch-Devil known as Nergal, who wished to discover the secret of Mystra's silver fire. In the most graphic scenes of the The Elminster Series, Elminster was subjected to brutal tortures, surviving only because of his exceptional endurance and ability to heal himself with silver fire. While the arch-fiend plundered Elminster's thoughts and memories, Mystra became aware of her favorite servant's plight and entered Hell herself to find him. Realizing that her presence in Hell was less than inconspicuous, Mystra retreated and dispatched more subtle agents to find him; first Halaster Blackcloak, the Mad Mage of Undermountain (who was defeated) and then the Simbul. After much searching, the Simbul found him, and together they defeated Nergal and returned home.

Elminster's Daughter[]

[7] Elminster's Daughter takes place a few years after Elminster in Hell (and is also a sequel to Death of the Dragon). A relatively light-hearted book when compared to the more violent Elminster in Hell, it focuses primarily on the life of one of Elminster's children, Narnra Shalace.

Narnra leads the life of a loner thief in Waterdeep, with no one to depend on but herself. Following an old man through an alleyway and into a portal, she emerges in Marsember. The old man she follows is none other than Elminster. Because of her curiosity, Narnra quickly finds herself involved not only in the intrigues of the Cormyrean nation, but also with Elminster, who turns out to be her father, whom she has never known.

Elminster Today[]

Elminster is currently secretly helping a small group of adventurers near Westgate at the Reddansyr Village, investigating the destiny of the clone of Manshoon, and unmasking the real leader of Night Masters of Westgate, the Night King known as "The Faceless" (the Manshoon clone, now know as Orbakh), three years after the Manshoon Wars in the year of 1373 DR. He has also aided the protagonist of the Baldur's Gate RPG series and his/her companions, making occasional appearances in the game; both to check on their progress, and to impart wisdom in regards to their quest in the Bhaal crisis.


  1. Baker, Richard, Ed Bonny, and Travis Stout. Lost Empires of Faerûn. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005.

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External links[]

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