Introduction and Overview to the Port of Shadows
To the first time visitor Skullport is a dimly-lit, sinister, and confusing place. Rickety docks, catwalks, and ladders are everywhere. The streets are uneven ribbons of bare stone or hard beaten earth. Bats cluster under every cave, and everything is always damp.
What little illumination there is comes form driftlights in iron cages atop poles, or (rarely) drifting freely about. Light is also gleaned from luminous fungi of all sorts.
This is a place where vampires and mind flayers openly walk the dark streets, luminous fungi ooze and inch along until booted out of the way, and drow walk about openly in large bands.
The permanent populace of Skullport consists of outlaws, fugitives, and mongrelmen from the world above, reinforced by half-orcs, goblins, hags, and other beings not tolerated in the city of Bywater above.
They run shops in which potions, poisons, dungeon-delving hardware of all sorts, pack animals (lizards, mule and even trained pack turtles), and strong drink are sold. There are even weaponshops, some of which (it is whispered) sell the occassional magic sword or dagger, if a customer makes the correct approach -showing coins or gems enough to pay in advance.
Everyone in Skullport goes armed - all the time. There are always lurking monsters, from hungry carniverous mushrooms and centipedes to wandering crimson deaths and worse. "Worse" usually describes the neighbor drinking at your elbow, or the shadowed figure walking past you in one of the dark, winding alleys.
Many, of the most powerful figures of authority above (Duke Duncan, Anaximenes, Gondal, Ravenscar, etc.) believe Halaster is behind the skulls that keep order, and they also believe that trying to destroy Skullport in the face of his support will be futile. The truth is not known.
Many colorful charcters from the city above visit Skullport regularly, as do many pirates hated and feared up and down the Greyflood and South Sea. Runaways and missing persons also turn up here, hiding or looking for opportunities.
Many people come and go in Skullport, flitting about with deliberate stealth - and others don't last long. Businesses last slightly longer, though many owners find their profits do not merit the risks of life and limb common to long term inhabiants of Skullport. Despite the dangers, some establishments have remained constant and are favored by many races of the surface and deep realm
Rumors of a city in the depths of the Grund always whirl around Bywater, and the name Skullport even appears in some tavern drinking songs. Many simply regard the place as a legendary pirate's port filled with debauchery and danger. Most citizens of Bywater know nothing of this viper beneath their cellars. Unless directly shown the place exists, "you can't expect people to believe that the fabled pirates' haven of Skullport lies beneath their feet, can you?"
Slaves are the first thing most visitors seek, having fancies of creating sensual pleasure dens and or eerie laborotories where screaming unfortunates have monsterous limbs grafted onto them. Little of such things go on these days, as both extremes drive down the monetary worth of slaves.
Most slaves are kept on Skull Isle, the large island that serves as Skullport's main docks. Here the smell of crowded captives is as far as possible from the settlement and the slaves are kept close to washing and drinking water and to the ships that bring them or carry them away. They are also separated by from a chance to escape into the monster infested depths.
Skullport has always been home to "snatch bands" that can be hired to kidnap people. The premir professional slaver in Skullport is the yuan-ti abomination Zzstulk Ssarm. Of course, the greatest external supplier is the Eye, whose lair is not far north.
Of secondary importance to slaves in Skullport's illicet markets are the wide variety of substances used to alter the senses and sensibilities of many different beings of the realms: drinkables, potions, pain-killers and poisons. These are offered at every other dark doorway and corner, but the two sources with the largest stock and best (that's worst) reputations are Vhondryl and her rival Shaun Taunador. Two favorite drugs in Skullport currently are the Videssian zonga (hallucinagen which promotes lethargy and brain deteriorartion), and the latest from drow fungi-drugs, ajivin (roughly means great pleasure in drow). Ajivin causes waking hallucinations, for 1d8 hours, then save vs. poison with a -2 the first time or suffer an hour of izil elghinn (almost death in drow)
The next most important trade in Skullport is the brisk business in cadavers and body parts. Although many dabble in this sort of work, the present "powers" in the field are threefold; Mhaug, the Cryptkey mages, and Shradin Mulophor - "the Lord of Bones."
Skullport has always held an ample supply of swords for hire; from fully trained and equipped bodyguards to desperate outlaws. Deserters from surface armies, adventurers down on their luck, and "bravo's" (pirates too untrustworthy to serve as regular crew or who currently lack a seaworthy ship) are always plentiful. The presence of large, organized bands of professional warriors tends to keep open, widespread warfare outside of Skullport itself, though it won't prevent spontaneous brawls.
The nature of the work tends to make today's hired hand tommorow's fading memory, but two rivals currently share Skullport's hiresword stage; Rhaunagauth and Dalagor.
Perhaps the wisest inhabitants of Skullport are those whose prices are lower, but whose trade is of less danger and wider variety than others; the traders, shippers and moneylenders who arrange smuggling, build containers with false bottoms, or repack easily recognizable stolen goods so that they can be readily resold - back to their original owners as replacements, for instance. These beings must be shrewd to survive for long, for they cannot avoid Skullport's intrigues. Most powerful in this field at present are Misker the beholder and the drow Malakuth Tabuirr.
Barges come up from the depths to this place, via awesome gates that Halaster created. These magical marvels can move entire ships from level to level of Undermountain. If the ships move to certain locations in the Sargauth's placid flow.
These barges bring slaves from the Eye's lair at Skullport. They are often trade with the duergar, svirfneblin, and dwarves for mined metal wares, tradebar ingots, or finished goods (such as fine swords, helms, and mail).
Full-sized seagoing merchant ships come from above to Skullport, too. One reach of the Sargauth extending from the wide Skullport basin links with the Skull Pool by a great hoist, and thence to various destinations via various gates. The price for using the zombie-run hoist (all Shradin's creations) is 50 nobles per ship. This is a small price to pay for most captains, considering their cargoes and trading opportunities. These ships bring trade goods such as
food (especially fruit), fine textiles, and slaves of certain races - things unattainable in the Underdark. Many captains use Skullport to smuggle cargo to and from the drow cities as well as the settlements of darker beings who dwell beyond dark Skullport.
The great trading center of Bywater lies overhead, with all its services of ship and wagon repair, ready supplies of sell-sword bodyguards, and competitive distributors willing to travel to every known corner of Arik to make coins fill their pockets. However, some trading can't be done openly. That trade - the trade in slaves, the trade in cadavers and body parts, and trade with the Shunned Races (illithids, drow, orcs, kuo-toa, duergar, sahuagin, and others) -occurs here.
The Darkened Skyline
Skullport teems with colorful, dangerous folk, but what does the visitor actually see? Well, itís dark, too dark for a surface dweller's comfort. The map of Skullport can't show the criss-crossing and ever-changing network of rickety wooden catwalks that line the homes and shops on many levels. These provide space for hanging out washing - or the corpses of defeated foes, left as grisly trophies and warnings. They are also the many-leveled stages for fast-paced and aerobic sword fights.
The catwalks and the upper areas of Skullport cavern are home to a wide variety of fearsome creatures. Some very sly mimics lurk about these catwalks - and, in fact, are parts of the catwalks. The catwalks sometimes serve a strategic purpose. In years past, a gigantic grey ooze once lurked around Skullport, but soon became too great a problem; it was destroyed spectacularly by a group of wizards on a high and well-placed catwalk, after a long drinking bout, along with many of the nearby buildings, lower catwalks, bystanders, and some of the stone floor of the cavern.
Visitors to Skullport will also notice a lot of will-o'-wisps drifting about. These creatures never attack directly, but try to lure the unwary out of the settled area, to their dooms deep in Undermountain.
The streets also hold cages of monsters, which can be brought dead or alive (for spell or potion components, experimentation, sport hunting, eating, the pleasure of their company, or as guards). There are dung heaps where enterprising goblins grow exotic mushrooms favored by the Anorien nobility, and even shops where adventurers who can make it this far can purchase trophies and relics of Undermountain, such as dragon skulls, to impress the people back on the surface.
Tales of the Past
Undermountain and Skullport are inseperable in all but name, though Skullport is one area of the Under Realms that Halaster Blackcloak, the Lord of Undermountain, doesn't include as part of his dominion. Granted, he has been known to gate in a few of his more fearsome "pets" now and again, but he himslef never overtly enters Skullport. This arrangement has been in effect for the last two centuries of Skullport's existance, all due to the power of the necromancer Shradin Mulophor, the unofficial ruler of Skullport.
Halaster and all his former apprentices honor a nonaggression pact with Shradin and his shady port, some out of respect for his power and some out of fear of the same. Strangely enough, Halaster honors the pact out of friendship. Shradin, an old comrade and contemporary from his ancient land, impressed his fellow wizard in his mastery of the necromantic art, becoming one of the few beings to have met (nay exceeded) Halaster's expectations. Shradin bided his time and soon found his way to the Blackcloak's domain in Undermountain. Upon finding the skull-infested caverns (see Heads Up!), he simply asked for Skullport as a personal demense and was granted it.
When Shradin and Halaster first discovered the cavern complex that would later house Skullport, the floating skulls were already there. Shradin's intensive investigations of these phenomena continued for nearly a decade, but how much the master necromancer learned is unknown. Halaster quit the place nearly 210 years ago and has returned only three times in the intervening years. Few pretend to know what the master of the Under-Halls thinks of Skullport, but many point to him as the architect of Skullport's macabre sentinels. The truth of the matter is known only to Shradin, Halster, and the skulls themselves, and none of them are quick to impart any information on the matter.
Shradin and Halaster, it is told, took to clearing out much of the rubble of an older city within the cavern proper, a task requiring one year alone. It is said that the only building that predates those of the current Skullport is Shradin's own, the tumbledown stone building that contains his zombie shop.
Shradin spent an additional number of years populating Skullport. Through Halaster's work, the river Sarguath was magically connected with deeper river to allow trade with the Underdark. Shradin set up trade routes and agreements with the svirfnebli and the Shunned Races of Grund - the drow, duergar, and illithids. A large number of Skullport's denizens were drow and other Deep races, until an increasing number of adventurers forged their way into Skullport, some tired of adventuring and others quickly seeing the potential profits involved here. The Port of Shadows grew by leaps and bounds, filling the cavern within 25 years. Buildings and homes were constructed from the rubble of the previous settlement as well as wood from the various shipwrecks out in the Sargaugth, hauled in by Shradin's undead and other agents.
Within Skullport's first eight years as an active port, Shradin and his undead engineered and constructed the massive hoist in Skull Pool to allow direct access to the port from the Greyflood and various other locales. With this construction came the notice of the powers above in Bywater. Having used the Underhalls as a place to banish certain prisoners, the lords above found Skullport a perfect place to punish unscrupulous merchants as well as aquire some rare and wonderous items not found on the surface of Arik. As a result, a number of truely dishonest Bywater merchants were exiled to Skullport's shady merchant quarter. Few lasted long, but a small number flourished in the darkness.
After a decade of venturing down into the Underdark, Shradin allegedly went mad from encounters with unknown horrors lurking far away from any civilized outposts. He returned to Skullport a very unstable personage and remains so to this day. (However, see his character notes under map entry 11). Shradin no longer commands the respect of the dwellers and traders of the Port of Shadows, though he still is given little trouble due to his powerful wands
Skullport has no government, and no police. An unwritten code holds hostilities in check - this is a "safe ground" for all traders and customers. This rule covers all beings, even protecting traditional enemies from each other, unless those involved think they can stick a blade into each other when no one is watching. Skullport's name is derived from floating, talking skulls that coldly tell individuals to desist from doing thus and so, or order others to kill this or that being immediately, and so on.
The skulls of Skullport are the sentinels of order in an otherwise dangerous place. Shradin, being the first settler and merchant here, set up an unwritten code that is told to anything arriving in Skullport; "This be safe haven to all traders and customers; keep thy weapons and thy uncivil tongue sheathed lest thee find the grinning skull of Death smiling in thy face". Only a few actually believe or remeber this tale; many believe the skulls set up this law even before Shradin arrived. The skulls enforce this beneficial code of behavior as well as their own code. The Skulls stand at all entrances to the Port of Shadows, telling every visitor their edict, as well as periodically ordering beings to perform seemingly random, pointless tasks. Such tasks in the past have included climbing to the ceiling and shouting a certain name 12 times, going to the Crock and Helm and polishing the bar, venturing north of the city
and into the caverns to retrieve 10 rocks of a certain color, or buying a slave of a certain name and setting him loose in the Sargauth. The skulls' demands often seem illogical, but the power they appear to wield keeps few from ignoring their requests. They rarely make requests of clearly powerful beings, though troublemakers and braggart adventurers often find themselves subjected to the most degrading of tasks ("Go help that poor goblin harvest his mushrooms. Surely a hero such as you can handle that.")
If the rule of safe haven is broken or a being refuses to follow the dictates of one of the skulls, they fade away and summon a wizshade 1-4 rounds later to escort the offending from the Port of Shadows. If met with spell or steel, the wizshade will attack in kind, removing the lawbreaker from the port dead or alive.
Longtime natives of Skullport, few as they are, also tend to deal harshly with those who do not follow the law of Skullport. They have learned by example how much destruction and lost profit comes from having the wizshades arrive. Many merchants, as well as some frequent customers, will escort wrongdoers away from their businesses - if not out of Skullport altogether - to prevent damage to their goods when things get out of hand.
The Rumor Mill Turns
A lone adventurer was fished out of the Sargauth a while back. He died soon after being rescued, muttering about "gold awash with blood, and thousands of eyes, horrible green eyes!"
There are rumors of a cave under Skull Isle - a cave with walls and floor of solid mithril! Local dwarves have laid claim to it, despite a number of threats from powerful foes. The cave is apparently reached through the Skullpool river basin, and only small demi-humans can fit through the tunnel that surfaces into the cavern. No mithril has been mined yet, though a few
nuggets have found their way into Skullport.
A sect of drow have taken over the temple complex to the northeast of Skullport and dedicated it to a good drow demi-goddess, Eilistraee (Selune?). Sources tell of their growing numbers, not only from new worshippers but also from soldiers and slaves. Their purposes are mysterious, and they guard their temple fiercely. There are fears abroad that this growing temple may disrput the delicate balance of power within Skullport.
Iljrene, a purported witch, has stunningly executed one of the Hired Horrors in plain sight on the streets of Skullport with various pyrotechnic spells. To everyone's surprise, the Skulls didn't respon in any way whatsoever.
Of late, an assemblage of silent human phantoms has been wandering the streets and catwalks of the port. Ephemeral, mute, and totally oblivious to their surroundings, these phantoms are dressed in ancient battle armor, rich court clothing, or drab muslin robes. The figures seem to be from all walks of life with no connection to each other at all. No one has successfully communicated with these phantoms, and they disturb the patrons of Skullport,
absently walking through buildings and people.
A recent adventurer entered Skullport with a wild story regarding the Skulls of the port. He claimed to have stumbled across a cavern in which he saw, as he put it, "a whole ring of these skulls there! They were talking low so I didn't hear much, but they were talking fast and furious. There were even a couple of fresh skulls hanging there, still having beards and flesh, but talking just the same!" When the Southron mercenary moved and made some noise, the lights went out and the skulls disappeared. The fighter claimed to have seen this "Council of Skulls" somewhere on Level Seven of Undermountain. This can't be confirmed, since from the night he told this to patrons of the Burning Troll, the adventurer has been missing.
"Do ye and yours tire of this dangerous port and plan to tread a path back to Undermountain? Some advice for ye then, Avoid the passage known as Taglath's Gap, which is named for the ghost that lurks there, where he was murdered." - This is common advice; unfortunately, queries as to the location of this gap are met with the smug reply, "Oh, but that would be telling!"
Skullport Map & Encounter Key
D = Dwelling; I = Inn; M = Merchant/Business; T = Tavern
1 Mhaug's (M)
Mhaug is an annis (Hag) who spends most of her time watching events from the doorway of her grusome shop at the edge of the docks. She hangs corpses by their necks as ornaments until sold; the floppy-headed undead created from them are derisively called "Mhaug's hogs."
2 The Hired Horrors (M)
This is a company run by several gentlemen mages. They breed Deepspawn (beasts that produce other monsters see Dwarves Deep) in a secret location and have developed spells to teleport such creatures into desired areas. When hired, they deliver a Deepspawn directly to the home or headquarters of a client's rival or enemy - in the cellar of an Anorien noble's manor, for example, or the sewers near an important warehouse. Until destroyed, the
deepspawn will produce many lesser but still deadly monsters.
3 The Burning Troll (T)
(infamous meeting and brawling spot; fair/expensive; a "place to
4 The Black Tankard (T)
(poor/moderate) Bernardo the Bartender presdies over this seedy establishment, which, more than the other taverns, is a den of thieves. If asked discreetly, he leads patrons to a back room, where a trapdoor leads down to area 25, the temple of Mask.
5 Skullport Island Registry (M)
6 Gyudd's Distillery (M)
7 The Crowing Cockatrice (good/expensive) (I)
Vhondryl's chief rival in the drug/poison/potion business is Shaun Taunador, who has lower prices but a far more sinister reputation. Shaun does business from a barge on the River Sargauth moored just off the docks, or in short- rented rooms at the Crowing Cockatrice. A mind flayer of awesome powers and a titan among here own kind, Shaun is always surrounded by a trained bodyguard of human thugs and loyal monsters of controllable sorts.
8 Cryptkey Facilitations (M)
Cryptkey Facilities is a tomb-robbing organization active in the City of the Dead and in the countryside around Bywater, procuring exhumed-to-order corpses and body parts. The organization's members (estimates range from six to ten in number) wear masks and rarely, if ever, speak. For those who wish to create undead, the mysterious mages who run Cryptkey sew up wounds, wire bones together, and fix bones and joints with magic, such as mending and Nulathoe's Ninemen spells. Their shop in central Skullport is guarded by many undead,
including an impressive skull-headed ettin and a scuttling legion of crawling claws.
9 Misker's Mansion (D)
Misker is called the "Pirate Tyrant" (though not to his face), because he is an old, wart-covered, very large beholder who wears an eye patch over two of his eyes. Those who have dwelt in Skullport a long time warn newcomers that Misker's eye patches do not conceal missingor damaged orbs; instead, he bears unique eyes whose destructive blasts are powerful enough to easily rend dragon's hide, magic armor, and adamanitite alike! The wise place no bets on the success of anyone stupid enough to challange Misker, something that those who are wild for entertainment - or wish to learn more about his powers - have been known to hire fools to do.
Misker is not the only beholder regularly found in Skullport, but the other two, Seirtych Xantaun, and Uthh, keep to the shadows and operate in much greater secrecy. Beholder rivalries are legendary for cruel one-upsmanship and cordial face-to-face relations, with much death and maiming between servitor underlings in dark alleyways and the depths of Undermountain. Misker is clearly the victor over his rivals in Skullport, but some say Misker only lives so long as the Eye does not come to town.
10 Guts and Garters
(rough and tumble, with dancing and a floorshow; good/expensive) (I)
11 Shradin's Excellent Zombies (M)
Shradin's Excellent Zombies is a dingy, run-down shop in the inner reaches of Skullport; parts of it seem more ruined than usable. The haughty Shradin Mulophor is the seemingly unstable archmage who has developed necromantic spells far beyond what most mages know. He is heavily armed with wands. He sells or rents out "claws" of controllable zombies for guarding, carrying, and loading work. A claw consists of four normal zombies linked to the control of a ju-ju zombie leader. Shradin's scepters, each topped with a severed hand, enable
clients to control particular leader zombies. The Lord of Bones himself is said to have a master "Skull-Staff" that can override all the scepters he wills.
Shradin Mulophor AL NE, AC 2 MV 12, human necromancer M20, hp 38, THAC0 14, AT Dmg by spell or weapon (dagger), ML 18, C 16, I 18, W 17.
To all appearances, Shradin Mulophor is an unstable, doddering old mage who many believe stays alive only because of his marginal usefulness with undead. In truth, Shradin is the Lord of Skullport, though he makes sure no one realizes that fact. He fakes his insanity and instability to promote his foes' underestimation of his power and ability. Without having to openly show his power, he is left in peace by the many unscrupulous inhabitants of the Port of
Shadows. If there are any foolish enough to steal from Shradin's own shop, there are none left to brag of it.
Shradin's shop takes the majority of the space in his building, the laboratory and main sales room occupying more than half of the total building. There is a small room in the back with Shradin's sleeping pallet and a small chest, but this is simply a front. Concealed behind a lethal yet impressive array of deadly magicks is a secret trapdoor that leads to a dungeon beneath Skullport. The main dungeon covers two different levels, both extending to the north and west under the port, and was formerly a temple to a lost god of the kuo-toan race (an incarnation of Baldur no doubt.) Shradin has here created a luxurious palace filled with magical and monetary treasures. He has shared these secrets with only four people in the past 200 years: Halaster, Raella Hiess (of the Deepfires), Irusyl Eraneth, and Vhondryl. He trusts these people enough to drop the facade of the idiot when in private (though he wonders
where Irusyl's loyalties lie), and they are privy to many secrets that many spies from the city above would give their souls to hear.
Shradin, despite his unassuming role as a fool, carries an impressive and daunting collection of magical paraphernalia on his person at all times. In full view, he wears a cowl of warding, bracers of defense AC5, a cloak of the bat, a wand of fire, wand of paralyzation, a ring of protection +3, and a ring of the ram. Hidden from view, Shradin also habitually carries a blast scepter, a wand of fear, a wand of size alteration, and a horned ring, a gift from Halaster. His spells are numerous and deadly; his spell books contain every known necromanric spell in Arik.
12 Crock and Helm (I) (dirty, cold, and crowded; poor/cheap)
This is the favorite hangout for orcs, hobgoblins, and humanoids of all types.
13 The Thrown Gauntlet (T) (good/moderate)
14 The Deepfires (quiet; excellent/expensive) (I)
Vhondryl has a permanent room at the Deepfires (some believe she secretly owns the place; she has access to its bodyguards and secret passages). She is a thin, silent, mysterious lady with chalk-white skin, knee-length blonde hair, and rather plain features. Her eyes are straw yellow, and she is known to ardently worship Loviatar. She can supply any drink, poison, or potion (and all antidotes) known in Arik on short notice, commanding fabulously high prices. She also has magical powers.
Vhondryl AL LE, AC 6, MV 12, human Psi 13, hp 52, THAC0 14, AT 1, Dmg by weapon (scimitar); W 17, C 18.
Vhondryl is one of the top dealers of potions in the Port of Shadows, though she keeps a low profile on this by working through intermediaries. Only buyers of rare or dangerous concoctions deal directly with Vhondryl. The petty poisons are not worth her time away from managin the Deepfires. This quiet and cryptic lady can supply and drink, poison, or potion known on Grund, but commands fabulously high prices; many find the prices reasonable given the rarity of some requests. Never one to be cheated or threatened, she has strong
powers of the mind.
Her psionic powers are as follows; PSPs 171; psychortation: banishment (14), teleport (15), teleport other (12), dimensional door (17), dimension walk (16), teleport trigger (15), time shift (16), time/space anchor (14), psychometabolsim: energy containment (16), body control (14), cell adjustment (15), psychokinetics: detonate (15); telepathy: contact (17), false sensory output (14), identity penetration (14), psionic blast (14), defense modes: all.
Vhondryl has rooms at the Deepfires as a secret gift from Raella Hiess, the inn's behind-the-scenes proprietress. Vhondryl lets people believe she owns the establishment, while Raella, a lawful-neutral 8th level mage, acts a simple barmaid. Raella and Vhondryl have been companions for years, having saved each other's lives numerous times. Vhondryl knows Raella uses the Deepfires as a place to collect information for the Duke above, but this secret is kept between the two of them. Raella has numerous contacts among the Black Sashes, who have several agents here. Raella and Irusyl Eraneth are relatively close acquaintances, and exchange information often. Irusyl describes Vhondryl as a "powerful but vain and petty potion peddler."
15 Malakuth Tabuirr's Townhouse (D)
Malakuth Tabuirr is a scheming drow who worships Vhaeraun and uses fellow
worshippers as thieves and spies in his service. He trades poisons, deepwine, drow armor, weaponry and magic items in return for slaves, whom he takes into the depths (presumably to drow cities). Beautiful human and elven females command his highest offers.
16 Thaglar's Foundry (M)
Thaglar is a gruff, foul-mouthed dwarf whose drinking bouts and crude pranks are local legends. He makes customized armor and alters or repairs armor and weapons, specializing in fitting both with spring barbs, poisoned needles, and other traps.
17 Drake's Apartment (D)
This small second story apartment is luxuriously appointed. A plush purple couch dominates the room, as does a rack of fine Minoan vintages. The door has several locks as well as a metal bar, and the shutters are heavy steel and lock together, leaving a small slit suitable for arrow fire or observation below. Here the supremely self-confident Drake resides when he's in Skullport. Acting as the red dragon Brazzemal's messanger to powers in Undermountain, Drake is here about 1/4 of the time. This well-outfitted warrior is invariably accompanied by a woman. His favorites are the seductive drow beauty Zesstra Seldszar of the now-defunct House Arkhenneld (she fled drow city Sshamath after House Everhate's consolidation of power), Freydis (long blone haired Thonian slave-girl captured by Thaar orcs), Kerensa (green-eyed brunette barmaid at Deepfires), and the exotic Halzunthra (female mind flayer - tentacles tied up, quite drunk.) Drake is usually here to bring a message from Brazzemal to either Suul the Lich, Thaglar, Vhondryl, or Shradin. He may be here to make
trade contacts with the drow, whose tongue and customs he knows well.
18 Magooan's Base (D)
Magooan's band is based in the building, and takes up the entire three story edifice. It is not as run-down as the nearby buildings, and has no catwalks. It appears a normal, if better-than-average, apartment. Here Magooan sleeps when not raiding; there is room for his crew as well. The famous freedom fighter dislikes the evil that roams in Skullport, but he can't
help but love the roguish atmosphere of the place (he is after all a pirate.) Magooan does much of his recruiting here, and is currently considering purchasing a second sloop to complement the formidable Liberator. This building is guarded at all times and his mages always have protective magicks active.
19 Zzulkk Ssarm's Slave Office (M)
This is the base of Skullport's most prominent professional slaver, Zzulkk Ssarm, a yuan-ti abomination who heads a small well-trained band of pureblood warriors and half-breed "whips" (jailers). Zzulkk's yuan-ti have extensive merchant contacts back in Serpant's Isle, and some are skilled in doctoring, for steep fees.
20 Ahmaergo's Secret Office (M)
The Hand, a snatch band of slavers who serve the Eye has an agent in Skullport: the dwarf Ahmaergo. He can be contacted through various "mouths and runners" at the Black Tankard. His office, somewhere under Skullport, is reached through dark sewers from this entry point and is guarded by several undead beholders under the Eye's control and under orders to defend the office. Ahmaergo's horn-adorned black armor, which he never seems to remove, harbors many magical weapons.
21 Aekyl's Cartographic Services
Aekyl Dafyre AL N, AC 8, MV 12, human T4, hp 15, THAC0 19, AT 1, Dmg by weapon
(dagger, short sword), D 17, C 15, CH 16.
Aekyl Dafyre is a short, dour human with thinning brown hair pulled back into a poneytail, a pencil-thin moustache, and a dark complexion. His mood is almost always bad; most people hear only grunts and grumbles when they speak to him. Eight years past, Aekyl was the premeir cartographer and guide through Undermountain's uppermost levels, guiding thrill seeking adventurers through Undermountain's uppermost levels, guiding thrill-seeking nobles (the precursors to the Deep Delvers) and Watch patrols through the twisting tunnels of Halaster's lair. His sense of direction and skill at mapmaking were legendary until the corridors and his luck took a wrong turn.
Escorting a trio of nobles through the northwestern passageways of Level Two, Aekyl took an unfamiliar path, thanks to Halaster's teleports, and he failed to recognize the warning signs of active monsters. Soon after, the party was ambushed by two owlbears. Aekyl and one of the nobles escaped with their lives, but Aekyl lost the use of his left arm due to severe clawing. Once safe in the Yawning Portal, the noble ordered him arrested for the murder of the their companions. In a panic, Aekyl fled back into Undermounatin and made his way to Skullport.
His injured arm prevented him from safetly adventuring, and, being left-handed, his mapping career ground to a halt. With his meager savings, he secured a room at the Deepfires and began drowning his sorrows for days and nights on end. The skulls took notice of him, sending him into the caverns east of Skullport to find a "dragon's tooth." Aekyl returned to Skullport unharmed with a magic short sword of dancing (with "Dragon's Tooth" carved into the blade in Dwarven runes), a pouch full of emeralds, and a pair of boots. The skulls simply nodded and let him keep his spoils.
Aekyl now operates his new mapping shop close to the Deepfires, his customers keeping him well-fed and clothed in style. His magical boots of guiding now do the mapping for him, though his customers don't know this. All Aekyl does is walk through the dungeons with slow, careful steps. After covering the areas required by his contracts, he returns to the shop and remove his boots; on a command word, they shrink to the size of rice grains and
retrace the previous day's steps in permanent marks on vellum or parchment. His maps are well known as "Aekyl's bootprints," and their accuracy on a map made for the Watch is such that Duke Duncan has ordered the charges for Aekyl's alleged crime dismissed. Now, Aekyl prefers the intrigues and profits of Skullport, and he plans an indefinite stay in the area.
22 Rhaunagauth's Efficient Hireswords
Rhaunagauth is a gallant, dashing, handsome former pirate who leads his band of jolly, prank-playing, hard-drinking bravos into action as guards or ambush and sabotage teams in Undermountain.
23 Dalagor's Undead Mercenaries
His colorful, swashbuckling style stands in sharp contrast to that of Dalagor "the Cold," a calculating, vicious man who provides the same service with an army of juju-zombies and reckless, feared curst.
24 Temple of Mask
This small complex lies underneath the Black Tankard. A tunnel winds down, filled with all manner of traps. A low ranking cleric must lead the penitant down the stairs and winding corridors if they wish to avoid the traps. At the tunnel's end is a huge bronze door. Within is a 100' long, 50', and 50' high temple with huge gilt altar. The room is lit by torches on pillars that
march down the temple in two's toward the altar. Their light is insufficient, however, and so the entire room is shrouded in shadows, which is how it should be. At this point, the Grand Demarch Thalos steps forward; his face lies barely seen behind a cowl with a sheer covering in the front. "I am Thalos, chosen of Mask, the Grand Demarch of Skullport and the city above; who seeks worship at this holy place of the Lord of Shadows? Behind the altar, in a large font shaped from two outstretched stone hands, lies piles of gold and silver. After Thalos introduces himself, shadowy forms step from behind the pillars and put down their shortbows.
25 Madam Diakka's House of Dark Delights
This place is run by the aging human mistress Madam Diakka. Her best prostitutes are the Southron female Angel (blonde, buxom), huler Salana, half-orc Gripple, drow Rilrae, mind flayer Zebeyana. The various rooms of this three story exquisitely built building are all richly appointed. Some have beds, other whipping posts and instruments of torture. In fact Madam Diakka is an ardent follower of Loviatar, and always carries her whip. Several half-orc guards are always on hand. There are also several undead prostitutes for half price, who do whatever is told; however, if the option to disembowl is taken, prices are full to compensate for repairs.
A Shadow Pass
B Herald's Meet
C Slaver's Market
Several auction blocks for slaves exist here.
D Skull's Square (pillory and stocks)
E Trade Way
F Illithid Way
G Taglath's Gap
This gap is haunted by the adventurer who died here.
Prices in Skullport
Normal Human 300
Note: charismatic females can as triple or more the price Great abilities, str, dex, etc. can double or triple the price adventurers multiply their level/2 to normal price
Zonga 500 per dose
Ajivin 200 per dose
Deepwine 200 per bottle
Healing potion 300 per dose
Grafting gargoyle wings 5000
Zombie 200 each
Claw of undead 1000
Prostitution (entire night)
Note: undead are half price, beautiful (CH 16+) whores are double