Adventurers across Faerûn have takem to calling every cellar and underground passage a dungeon, even places clearly never intended or used for incarceration. Some time ago, the word came to mean any place of old stone where monsters may lurk, treasure may lie hidden or has been feund, and adventurers go exploring.
By that definition, Faerûn holds thousands of dungeons, from landmarks to truly lost places remembered only in old tales and records. A very few of the most famous are listed here - because of their fabled wealth, sheer size, location near cities or trade routes, notorious history, or potential importance.
Ardeep Forest: This small forest, the remnant of an elven kingdom, lies close to the bustling city of Waterdeep. Ardeep Forest's pleasant verge conceals thickly grown woods whose interior is all ridges and breakneck gullies cloaked in thick vines and shrubbery where mists are constant, wild boars roam, and ruins lie hidden. Outlaws and a few lonely elves dwell in Ardeep. The occasional owlbear, wolf, or stirge lurks here as well, but nothing worse - except the mad undead elven hero Reluraun.
Reluraun's tomb at the very heart of Ardeep is guarded by at least three baelnorns (good liches; see Monstrous Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn), who keep the living away. Twisted by evil magic in his final battle, Reluraun is now a mad, aggressive flying pair of skeletal hands and eyeballs. Shrieking, he hacks with a magic sword at anyone who ventures too near.
Ardeep also holds the famous Green Glade, the Dancing Dell, and some ancient tunnels and storage cellars from the days of the lost kingdom of Phalorm, some of which may still hold treasure or link with the Underdark.
The Green Glade is named because within its protective ring of elms, no matter what the season outside, conditions are always springflke. Good-aligned creatures are welcome, and healing magic used in the glade has unusually strong effects. No trail to the Glade survives for more than one night.
The Dancing Dell is a small, smooth bowl valley of soft moss, short grasses, and ferns. The Ladystone, a needle of rock sacred to Eilistraee, stands at its center. Drow who worship Eilistraee often dance in the Dell on moonlit nights, sometimes led by Qilue Veladorn of the Seven Sisters. The Ladystone's powers guard the Dell and the goddess has been known to manifest here.
Castle Grimstead: This small, ruined keep lies in the woods of western Shadowdale, west of the River Ashaba and north of the Northride. Reduced to foundations overgrown with moss and creepers, its cellars are pierced with drow undertunnels that connect to the cellars of the Twisted Tower and descend through miles of passages to a huge subterranean lake, beyond which lies unmapped Underdark territory. The residents of Shadowdale wisely cede the castle and its associated caverns to the attention of traveling adventurers. None have deemed Grimstead's teetering walls, rotted timbers, and monster-haunted basements worth reclaiming for surface society.
Castle Krag: Jyordhan, Shadowdale's false ruler, claimed this ancient drow tower as his seat. He aimed to build the fort into a keep to rival Darkhold in the west. Fortunately for Shadowdale, Jyordhan's architectural skills were as flawed as his morals, and Castle Krag fell easily after the Zhentarim agent's death.- No one has openly claimed the ruins, but occasionally a rock slams into town from the north, apparently launched by one of the old catapults, within Castle Krag. Someone unknown keeps repairing the old siege engines and firing missiles into Shadowdale's outlying farms below. Few of Shadowdale's farmers are interested in rushing into Castle Krag to catch the sniper in the act.
Castle Spulzeer: Spulzeer Vale lies in eastern Amn, not far from the town of Trailstone. Elves and wild animals alike avoid the overgrown valley, even though all traces of its haunted keep, Castle Spulzeer, are now gone. There are wild legends about magical explosions, battles with liches, and a mythal-cloaked city visible only in moonlight. Whatever the truth of the matter, the activities (and vanishings) of local adventuring bands suggest that there's still something dangerous to be found where Castle Spulzeer once stood.
it should be noted that many other mythal-guarded ruins not listed, here are hidden in Toril (some underground, and some underwater), and most have a better than fair chance of holding both danger and treasure.
Cavern of Death: A small "natural" network of caves in the southern Stonelands, cut by the streams that still trickle through them. The former wizard Asbaron, now a lich, guards his home against intruders with a collection of monsters brought from all over Faerûn. He's reputed to have driven off several determined Zhentarim attacks, and on several occasions unleashed monsters to roam the Stonelands and imperil Zhent patrols and caravans.
Caverns of the Claws: A notorious troll-hold in the Stonecliff (the cliff-face that adjoins the High Road, east of Eveningstar) in Cormyr. Despite repeated scourings by Purple Dragon,patrols, trolls from the Stonelands lair in this simple cavern complex over and over again.
Crumbling Stair: This broken marble spiral staircase rises out of overgrown foundations on a ridge in the Sword Hills east of Waterdeep, between Ardeep Forest and Uluvin. It was once the mansion of Taeros, home to the sorcerer Ybrithe, who founded a wizards' school for young women here. Their fading spells hold aloft the fragmentary stair (which apparently leads up to nothing), where a will-o'-wisp lurks. The staircase is also haunted by a murderous ghost: a floating, glowing sword, helm, or human form.
Its other end descends into extensive underways, haunted by such apparitions as a disembodied human hand cupping a glowing selection of (sometimes whirling) gems; a dark, shadowy, and swift gliding cowled human figure that points, beckons, or waves a sword; and a wild-eyed, finely gowned lady elf in chains, who screams soundlessly and gestures imploringly to be rescued. Their origins and purposes are unknown, but some of them lure intruders into deadly traps. The cellars are prone to ceiling collapses, and may harbor beholders.
Crypt of the Wondermakers: Located in a tavern cellar in Scornubel, this crypt is said to hold liches, along with the many magic items they collected, crafted, and now wield in undeath. Guardians under their control include helmed horrors, strange golems and other animated automata, and an eater of magic (nishruu) in a stasis sphere.
Dragonspear Castle: This famous ruined fortress dominates the long, lonely run of the Trade Way south from Daggerford (past the High Moor). The once-mighty castle of the adventurer Daeros Dragonspear has become home, over the centuries, to a succession of fell beasts and monsters, from orc armies to dragons and dark fiends. Scoured out repeatedly by intrepid adventuring bands, its crumbling, plundered halls are taken as a lair by brigands or monsters, only to be cleansed again.
A decade ago, armies from. Waterdeep and the other trading towns of the west mustered to purge Dragonspear of fiends who had slipped into Faerûn via a portal in the castle's lower levels. Priests of Tempus erected a shrine within the castle walls to keep a lid on Dragonspear's monstrous emigrants, but the shrine exists in a state of perpetual siege against bugbears, chitines, devils, drow, orcs, quaggoths, and other beings that find a way into Dragonspear through the Underdark. Adventurers who visit Dragonspear to assist the Tempuran defenders will be gratefully received and allowed any plunder they can wrest from the castle's unwelcome denizens.
Dread Lair of Alottair: In northeastern Shadowdale, not far south of the farm of the famous Harper and adventurer Storm Silverhand, is a forest-cloaked and cave-riddled limestone cliff-face known as Fox Ridge. One of the caves in its northern face has long been reputed to be haunted, and leads to an ancient tomb. The tomb in turn connects to an underground chasm known in legend as the Grinding Gulf, beyond which is said to lie great magic. This is the abode of the lich Alokkair, Wizard-King of lost Hlontar, and although adventurers are known to have penetrated its chambers, there's great debate about the fate of Alokkair himself - even if all or most of his treasures yet lie undisturbed.
Dungeon of the Crypt: This fabled dungeon complex lies under Waterdeep's City of the Dead burial district, reached by a secret stair descending from one of the crypts. The Company of Crazed Venturers, famous adventurers of Waterdeep, spoke of battling vampires, nagas, and nasty traps, notably around a fireplace. The Dungeon of the Crypt connects underground with the uppermost level of fabled Undermountain - but since the Crazed Venturers retired from adventuring, no one else has (yet) been able to find a way into it.
Dungeon of Death: A onetime gem mine of the Deepdelve dwarven clan, this subterraoean complex gained its present fell name from its use by the troll king Glarauuth as a prison for human slaves destined to become troll meals. It lies under a grassy hill just within the southern edge of the Lurkwood in the Sword Coast North, near the headwaters of Shining Creek. Glarauuth perished centuries ago, and the latest news about this locale is that "imps and fiends" have been seen atop the hill.
Dungeon of the Hark: Somewhere in the rocky ridges on the northern edge of the High Moor is a set of ruins and a subterranean stronghold used by brigands. The most recent are wererats and a mysterious bandit leader known as the Hark.
Dungeon of the Ruins: Due north of the confluence of the Rivers Rauvin and Surbrin, near Settlestone in the Sword Coast North, is a small, monster-infested subterranean complex beneath ruins that were once a school of wizardry. In ancient times, before the school was built from the shell of a dwarven keep, the dungeon was an ancient dwarf hold. Barbarians avoid the area because great "froglike" forms (bullywugs? slaad?) have been seen there dancing around pyres. The dungeon remains unscoured and presumably contains the bones of the Company of the Riven Orb adventuring band, who disappeared here.
Dungeon of Swords: Somewhere in the Serpent Hills due east of the High Moor lies an abandoned gnome silver mine: several underground rooms connected to a worked-out shaft. It served several adventuring parties as a home before the Cult of the Dragon found it - infested with monsters and guarded by deadly animated, flying magical swords. Still unscoured after the deaths of several Cultists, it's said to hold in its depths a one-way portal to the northern Evermoors.
Endless Caverns: In the High Forest, due south of the Star Mounts, a spring that joins the Unicorn Run river flows out of this large network of limestone caverns (and a few deliberately hewn linking passages) that stretches for many miles underground, ultimately connecting to the Underdark. Older than the fallen elven realm of Eaerlann, it has been home to several now-slain dragons (some of whose hidden treasure hoards may still lie in it), and more recently illithid-led drow slaver bands who mount raids into the sur face realms.
Fell Pass: In the Sword Coast North, this pass between Mount Arinratha and Mount Thalangabold was the grave of an entire ore horde, slaughtered in desperate battle long years ago by the dwarves df Delzoun. It is haunted by the ghosts of that battle - and still holds the means by which the dwarves won the battle: an underground stronghold that let dwarven warriors burst forth to charge the ores from all sides. It's said beholders and gargoyles infest these treasure-rich chambers.
Gauntlgrym: Located somewhere under the Crags south of Mirabar in the Sword Coast North, this large, ancient subterranean city was built by the dwarves of Delzoun. Its peaktop ventilation shaft was taken over by a recently vanished red dragon for its lair, and the shaft descends to at least three levels of chambers said to now be infested by many monsters, including mind flayers and ghosts. The lowest cellars of the city lead down ultimately into the Underdark - and the uppermost reaches are now home to The Hargrath, a strange, mismatched band of adventuring monsters (alaghi, a leucrotta, and the like) led by a cambion. They defend their territory against the illithids with endless monsters disgorged by deepspawn they captured and placed in strategic underground chambers.
Halls of Four Ghosts: On the western edge of the High Forest in the Sword Coast North stands the crumbling great hall of a ruined, long-abandoned dwarf hold, now haunted by the ghosts of four dwarves who beckon urgently to any dwarves approaching the ruins. Diligently exploring adventurers found an underground stronghold opening out of one side of a now-dry well shaft that descends from the hall. Home to many trolls (including giants of that race), these chambers connect via many miles of mine tunnels (used by drow and illithid slavers) to the Underdark.
Halls of the Hammer: In the northeastern High Moor, due east of Highstar Lake, is a pit quarry connected to a long-abandoned dwarf hold. Nearby stands Hammer Hall, a palisaded, long-abandoned lodge constructed by adventurers exploring the hold. Many bands have come to grief exploring the hold, which is named for a glowing, flying, animated warhammer (according to dwarven lore, it guards the hold and won't leave). Adventurers tell tales of helmed horror guardians; a huge central chamber that's sometimes full hundred human corpses dangling from a forest of ceiling chains, is sometimes empty; and at least five roaming watchghosts Monstrous Compendium - Monsters of Faerûn).
Haunted Halls of Eveningstar: Dug out of the rock of the western wall of Starwater Gorge just north of the farming village Eveningstar in northern Cormyr is a former bandit hold. Dwarven stonemasons built this subterranean stronghold of orderly walls chambers for the human bandit Rivior. After his death, various monsters used the halls as their lair. Mages settled in it and magic to compel some monsters to be their door guards - only to be slain by other monsters or other wizards. The hauntings cause by many violent deaths over the years have given the halls their current appellation.
Recently used for caravan cargo and contraband storage by local Zhentarim agents and infested with kobolds, the Haunted Halls still lure hopeful adventurers and thrill-seekers, primarily from Cormyr and Sembia. The local temple to Lathander, the House of the Morning, provides accommodation and guides for hopeful treasure-seekers.
The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar
Famous this underground fortress may be, but it's more than a kobold stronghold, bandit hideaway, and longtime lair for many monsters. Through the years it's been used as a testing ground for adventurers, justice-by-peril for criminals, and even as a fortress of the Mages-Regal.
Heard of them? Thought not. They were wizards who sought control realms without ruling, by judicious slaying here, the proper, word there, a deft deed yonder, the casting of the right illusion in one place and the spreading of a particular rumor in another.
Arrogant, aye, and dangerous - but that's the way of mages. There were never many Mages-Regal, and they had their feud battles: with the malaugryms and others. Some say they created a Torilwide network of forgotten, and hidden portals, but I suspect they simply added traps and controls to portals they found, the work of even older and more mysterious hands. In the Haunted Halls they left at least two operating portals, a deepspawn (one of those fell monsters that spew forth living beasts), and spell scrolls.
What spells? Ways to open portals, close portals, hide portals, and govern portals. Magic enough to rule all Toril, behind the thrones - just as the Mages-Regal tried to do. Some say Regals watch all who venture into the Halls, seeking the right ones to become their successors - or Mind-magic-controlled pawns. Others say they're but fading dust, leaving behind a monster-roamed, kobold-infested death-trap of dark passages and moldering bones that the War Wizards should have scoured out long ago.
I've walked the Halls, and I fought vicious beasts to the death and had to run from both Zhentarim using the place as a contraband shelter and Red Wizards exploring it for a lark. I say there's more than that - and not just chambers still sealed and treasure not yet found. I think something lurks in the Halls, watching-and waiting for something.
-Brimbelve Gabror, veteran adventurer
Heroes' Tomb: A simple network of subterranean burial robbers built by dwarves for adventurers fallen long ago, this monster infested crypt underlies the forest overgrown ruins of the village of Thruldar at the eastern end of the Lluirwood (north Luiren). Adventurers have scoured these rooms many time search of a legendary Crypt of the Magicians that is said to be somewhere under Thruldar, holding the bones - and all the magic - of several dead archwizards.
Hidden House: A state secret of Cormyr, this maze of ever changing walls and passages was once the abode of the Netherese sorcerer Phaeryl. It's reached via a portal in the uppermost room of Tessaril's Tower in Eveningstar and has served as both a refuge and hunting ground for foes playing deadly games of hide-and-seek. There are no maps of the Hidden House - and in the words of Elminster, "Its doors do not always open into the same rooms they did the last time ye opened them - even if that last time was few breaths ago."
Holdfast: This elf-constructed safehold (one of many similar] hidden, or forgotten hideaways scattered across Faeru~n) is reached by stepping in just the right direction off the top of the Standing Stone, in Cormanthor. According to some old elves now in Evermeet, it's a series of portal-linked rooms full of stored magic and magical traps, plus a few animated guardian constructs. Adventurers who've fled it in disarray say it's now home to an undead human mage who is somehow trapped there.
House of Stone: On the east edge of the Ardeep Forest sits an immense square tower built at least a thousand years ago by dwarves and elves of Illefarn. The moon elves used to keep all outsiders away from the House of Stone, but when they left the tower became fair game.
The House of Stone contains hundreds of rooms, atriums, halls, temples, and towers locked together like the pieces of a maze. Some chambers have been shattered by long-ago battles or roof collapses, others rise and fall in shafts, and a few sport silent, hurrying armed phantoms of elves, dwarves, and humans. Not surprisingly, many rooms are now home to ghouls and shadows.
Legends speak of dwarven gold, gems, and an armory of weapons hidden here. Originally called Stoneturn, it was built to defend Stoneturn Well, still at its heart. The Stoneturn waters well up from a deep lake of the Underdark known as Asmaeringlol ("Giantgout"), and many monsters come up into the House of Stone from the Underdark to feed on adventurers.
Ironguard: This is a typical "stonedelve," one of many similar small, simple tombs, dwellings, and guard-shelters cut into the rocks all over Faerûn. This particular delve in the Stonelands is guarded by magically animated flying daggers of the same sort encountered in the upper levels of Undermountain.
Lonely Tower: A tall white tower due west of the Cold Wood in the northernmost Sword Coast North is now said to be home to a mighty wizard who has ore and elemental guardians and firmly desires no visitors. The Company of Crazed Venturers drove an earlier owner out of the tower: the evil mage Arbane and his apprentices and consorts Tantra and Werendae. The company reported that the tower has many cellars, one of which contained an eerie glowing healing pool that seemed sentient.
Lyrar's Hold: Due east of Boareskyr Bridge, on the western edge of the Forest of Wyrms, this former bandit lord's hold has lost its keep to the ravages of time (and dragons battling over a good lair-site). All that is left is an extensive underground complex of storage caverns and passages - now inevitably monster-infested.
Martek's Tomb: Somewhere in the Desert of Desolation in Raurin lies the lost tomb of Martek, Grand Vizier of Raurin "Greatest of Mages." Local legends speak of a pyramid, a curse that dried up a river and with it a verdant land, an oasis, temples, a city, and much magic all lying beneath the shifting sands.
Mussum: In 472 DR, this "cursed" coastal city of Chondath was abandoned to the plague so swiftly that most of its goods and belongings still lie in houses now roamed by monsters and littered with the gnawed bones of its plague-slain citizens. Few venture into the ruins today Those who do still find the bodies of previous explorers who have died in the streets. Whatever strikes down the victims turns their skin pale green and leaves welts and abscesses all over their bodies.
Myth Drannor: See Chapter 4: Geography (Forgotten Realns Campaign Setting)
Myth Rhynn: A truly ancient mythal-cloaked city now abandoned to the forest, Myth Rhynn lies at the heart of the Wealdath. It was once an elven tomb city, where the dead were laid to rest with all honor (and much treasure} The magic of its mythal prevented animation or raising of the dead and warded off dragons, but over the passing centuries the mythal has decayed and now corrupts the forest around it. Moreover, some sort of flying skeletal undead being that seeks to slay all elves (and can teleport about) now dwells in Myth Rhynn, as do will-o'-wisps and possibly a lich. Adventurers report being attacked by powerful spells as they clambered through the vine-choked, tree-riven stone city. They also say many tombs have been broken open by the unhealthy-looking trees and creepers.
Nameless Dungeon: In the northeastern High Forest (near Tall Trees) stands a ruin of fallen Eaerlann, a crypt beneath a shattered and overgrown mansion. There's also a small subterranean storage complex near the mansion (not guarded by the elves, and not connected to the mansion crypt). It's said by some to be a long-abandoned dwarven or gnome dwelling.
Purple Halls: Located under a hill somewhere in Tethyr, this small subterranean stronghold has an identical twin in the Spiderhaunt Peaks north of Brightstar Lake in eastern Faerfln, linked by portals. The Tethyrian one gains its modern name from its use by a mercenary band known as the Purple Claw, and since their deaths in battle has become a monster-infested dungeon.
Sarbreen: The flooded, silt-choked, fallen City of the Hammer, once a jewel of the dwarven kingdom of Roldilar, lies beneath present day Ravens Bluff (and forms much of its sewers). Secret passages descend to unknown depths beneath the old city.
Shoonach: The former seat of the evil Shoon Empire, the ruined metropolis called Shoonach is to Tethyr what Undermountain is to Waterdeep. Filled with residual magical effects from old battles, Shoonach is guarded by something like a mythal that prevents undead from escaping, maximizes fire magic, minimizes cold magic, slows projectiles to a crawl and negates divine necromantic spells.
Miles upon miles of crumbling buildings and toppled walls cloak the land, studded here and there with still-active magic. Adventurers who enter Shoonach and survive to escape report seeing lamias, thousands of undead, beasts that seemed like hard-shelled lizardfolk, gnolls, goblins - and even drow, in the extensive undercity that underlies the Imperial Mount at the center of the ruins. Temples, palaces, and mighty state buildings stand more or less intact atop the high hill of the mount. Undead rule the mount now, and some of them wield wands and other magic that was formidable enough long ago, in the hands of the living.
Southkrypt: Tunneled into the southern flanks of the Sword Mountains, north of the Kryptgarden Forest in the Sword Coast North, is an abandoned dwarf hold and former silver mine. Sometimes called Southkrypt Garden because the dwarves started a farm around it of astonishing verdancy and yield (it has since grown wild and tangled), this hold is universally described as a maze of chambers and passages roamed by many, many monsters.
Spellgard (Saharelgard): On the western edge of Anauroch, due east of the Graypeak Mountains, is a labyrinthine castle-city, a vast, mold-encrusted fortress. Until recently the home of the lich Saharel, this remnant of Netheril is now the lair of various roaming monsters) A few elven adventurers who fled it recently report that its southern end holds a temple to a hawk-headed god (perhaps a self stytled "god wizard" of Netheril) - and that it's prowled by a skulking human adventurer who pounces on intruders or leads them to waiting monsters and traps.
Temple of the Splendor of Splendors: Though minstrels' tales have confusingly applied this name to several places in Faerûn, the real temple lies underground, somewhere in the Chessentan countryside. Its clergy were slain centuries ago by monsters, who then fell to fighting among themselves and were easily driven out or killed by other intruders. Later used by a thieves' guild as a headquarters and then claimed by monsters again, it has become a monster-infested dungeon once more - and the doom of many adventuring parties.
The Splendor of Splendors was a magic gem (sentient due to storing the intellects of several mages) that served the deity Savras, but quite different tales of its nature have been told, and it may no longer be in the subterranean temple.
Tomb of the Archmage: At the back of a wyvern-lair cavern in the northeastern flanks of the Mountains of Tethyamar (near the headwaters of the River Tesh) lies a small labyrinth of rooms bristling with magical traps and guardians deadly enough to turn back the Knights of Myth Drannor. They found the magic-rich tomb of a long-ago archmage, but were forced to retreat before a Zhentarim onslaught - which released some formidable undead that tore apart over three dozen battle-ready Zhentarim wizards. The tomb itself is thought to still lie undisturbed.
Undermountain: See Chapter 4: Geography. (Forgotten Realns Campaign Setting)
Warlock's Crypt: Located at the mouth of the Winding Water, this is "Larloch's Crypt," its name corrupted over the centuries. Larloch the Shadow King is a lich of awesome power who rules a horrid city of wraiths, wights, liches, vampires, and lesser undead. Larloch desires nothing so much as to be left alone by the rest of the world. If anyone ventures too close to the crypt, Larloch sends lich after spell-hurling lich out to destroy them or drive them into flight. Beyond these assailants wait spellwebs (fields of magical force holding many waiting spellsthat affect intruders blundering into them), and more battle-mighty liches. Rumors say that Larloch is a survivor from the ancient kingdom of Netheril.
Warriors' Crypt: Dug into a bare rock ridge in the Stonelands north of central Cormyr is this small subterranean tomb complex. Its burials were plundered long ago, and the Zhentarim now use it as a storage cache/refuge/food resupply encampment, guarding it with several gargoyles and magically animated constructs.
Whisper's Crypt: Attached to the Haunted Halls in the Stonelands north of Eveningstar in Cormyr by a long tunnel, this underground storage area was a Zhentarim caravan way station administered by the Eveningstar Zhent agent and minor mage Whisper, who dwelt here until his death. Beyond its collapsed entry tunnel, the Crypt is said to consist of a dozen or so rooms, one of them containing Whisper's spellbooks and large collection of potions.