Elminster's Guide to the Realms
by Ed Greenwood, illustrated by David Day
In a wooded ravine northeast of Everlund, above a small, nameless stream, floats a foresters' landmark few have seen. Mrelgaunt's Turret is a crumbling tower lacking its lower levels - they've fallen away to leave the upper floors held aloft by enchantments that could fail at any time.
Once the home of the reclusive, studious wizard Mrelgaunt, the Turret is today a haunted ruin. The collapse of its lower levels happened almost a century ago, of unknown causes.
The few adventuring bands who've reached the floating tower report that unseen Mrelgaunt, now a ghost, whispers fell secrets to those who venture into his uppermost room. No civilized beings dwell nearby, and the wild forest and rugged topography makes sighting the Turret from afar difficult.
The cylindrical Turret is topped by a conical, taper-sloped, slate-shingled roof surmounted by a bare flagstaff. Birds shun the dark, floating tower. They refuse even to fly into it, let alone perch or nest on or in it.
The stones of the Turret's circular foundation are awash in the stream, rising out of the waters like stony fingers to enclose a small, constant whirlpool whose clockwise flow drags down small creatures and stream-borne items, drawing them into the unseen tower cellars. There's no way out but back up through the whirling waters, and there's no air space below. Beside the whirlpool rises the only possible handhold for weak swimmers: a circular stone stair that climbs a few steps up into the air and then breaks off.
Writings preserved in Silverymoon record that Aulstaer Mrelgaunt was born in southern Tethyr of wealthy merchant stock almost four hundred years ago. At an early age he showed a grasp of the Art, wielding magic with astonishing maturity. Certain folk sought to make the boy their servant-mage, but he saw through their ruses and slipped away with a passing caravan, seeking fabled Candlekeep.
What then befell him is lost to scribes, but despite never entering that seashore enclave, Mrelgaunt somehow acquired many tomes of magic, a broad and cultured learning, and a love of research that became the ruling passion of his life; he devoted his time to acquiring knowledge rather than taking an active part in the wider world.
At least the last four decades of Mrelgaunt's life were spent in this tower, studying and modifying spells. Far more than most human mages, he came to understand the ways in which magic harnesses natural forces, enabling him to modify spells "on the fly." It's said that even now, as little more than a voice, he can hurl spells that precisely meet the weaknesses of those who try to despoil his tower or carry away its contents. All accounts agree, however, that the whispering voice in the upper-most room of the Turret seems lonely and eager to speak with those venturing into the ruin, imparting advice rather than seeking battle.
Mrelgaunt's knowledge of passing history ends (with a few exceptions, presumably learned from visitors) about two hundred years ago, when he apparently died or passed into undeath. He gives no coherent answers about his passing or where his magic is stored. Perhaps he no longer knows such things, but he is eager to explain the intricacies of arcane spells of low and middling levels, identify items shown to him, and impart the locations of long-dead sages and caches of lost magic.
He apparently relishes the role of confidant and confessor to wizards who are actively adventuring or grappling with mysteries of magic, and he has carried on friendships with mages for years, sometimes guarding items they leave with him, and in return asking only for news of advances in the Art.
Mrelgaunt can confirm that dwarves (led by a short, red-bearded stonecutter calling himself "Haelburt Downdelve") built the Turret for him and that Mrelgaunt himself cast the spells that preserved it and its furnishings. However, he remains vague about the magic he used. Certain answers he's given in the past suggest he might have forfeited or even traded away such knowledge to achieve undeath -- a fate about which he's similarly cryptic.
Some adventurers say Mrelgaunt never speaks anywhere but in the uppermost room (though his voice can, if he desires, echo down from it, or into the air around the Turret), but his awareness of intruders' actions and movements -- and his spells -- can reach throughout the ruin and for some distance around it in all directions.
Medium-size Undead (Incorporeal)
Male Human Ghost 19th-level Wizard
19d12 (78 hp)
+7 (+3 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
Fly 30 ft. (perfect)
23 (+3 Dex, +6 bracers of armor, +2 ring of protection, +2 amulet of natural armor)
(Manifested) 22 (+3 Dex, +3 Cha, +6 bracers of armor)
Incorporeal corrupting touch +9/+4 melee (+12/+7 melee vs. material opponents); or incorporeal dagger +12/+7 ranged
Incorporeal corrupting touch 1d4; incorporeal dagger 1d4
5 ft./5 ft./5 ft.
Manifestation, corrupting touch, malevolence, spells
Undead, incorporeal, +4 turn resistance, rejuvenation
Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +17
Str 11, Dex 17, Con-, Int 20, Wis 17, Cha 17
Craft (alchemy) +15, Concentration +27, Diplomacy +8, Knowledge (arcana) +27, Knowledge (history) +16, Knowledge (the planes) +26, Listen +10, Search +7, Sense Motive +9, Spellcraft +24, Spot +9, Survival +5.
Alertness, Combat Casting, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Maximize Spell, Scribe Scroll, Silent Spell, Spell Focus (Evocation), Spell Mastery (chain lightning, fireball, spell turning, wall of ice, whirlwind of bones), Spell Penetration, Still Spell
Mrelgaunt was a 19th-level wizard when he passed into undeath. His full roster of spells isn't known but some of them appear below. Adventurers report that he can speak Chondathan, Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, and Illuskan. His spirit's purpose seems to be to teach and advise living users of arcane spells, but Mystra might have another, as yet hidden, destiny for him. When confronted with enemies, he often utilizes the bones of intruders (kept in an old tree nearby) by means of the whirlwind of bones spell (see below).
Undead: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, and disease. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage.
Incorporeal: Can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, or magic, with a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source. Can pass through solid objects at will, and own attacks pass through armor. Always moves silently.
Spells (4/12/5/10/5/5/4/4/3/3) from the following list: 0 level: all; 1st level: cause fear, shield, grease, mage armor magic missile, message, summon monster I, charm person, silent image; 2nd level: arcane lock, identify, minor image, knock, levitate, summon monster II, summon swarm, web; 3rd level: dispel magic, fireball, magic circle, sleet storm, summon monster III, suggestion, lightning bolt, wind wall, major image, shrink item; 4th level: minor globe of invulnerability, Evard's black tentacles, summon monster IV, arcane eye, scrying, ice storm, Otiluke's resilient sphere, wall of ice; 5th level: dominate person, magic jar, nightmare, lesser planar binding, summon monster V, contact other plane, cone of cold, telekinesis; 6th level: globe of invulnerability, greater dispelling, planar binding, legend lore, chain lightning, disintegrate, eyebite, move earth, true seeing; 7th level: finger of death, mass invisibility, plane shift, summon monster VII, spell turning, greater scrying, whirlwind of bones; 8th level: greater planar binding, maze, Otto's irresistible dance, polymorph any object, power word-blind, summon monster VIII 9th level: energy drain, meteor swarm, gate, summon monster IX, wish.
Possessions: +6 bracers of armor, +2 ring of protection, +2 amulet of natural armor, +3 cloak of resistance, staff of frost, ring of wizardry I, ring of wizardry III, seven spellbooks. All items listed here are incorporeal.
WHIRLWIND of BONES
Level: Sor/Wiz 7
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Long (400 ft + ft./level)
Effect: 20 ft. radius area of flying bones
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: Reflex half
Spell Resistance: Yes
The whirlwind of bones can fly up to 80 feet per round with perfect maneuverability. It moves as you actively direct it (a move-equivalent action for you); otherwise it merely stays at rest and damages all creatures within the effect. The whirlwind has no actual wind, so it does not put out torches and the like.
When the whirlwind stops, creatures within the effect take 1d6 points of damage +1 point per caster level to a maximum of +10 (half damage on a successful Reflex save). Half the damage is bludgeoning damage but half results directly from negative energy. Undead creatures suffer only bludgeoning damage from the spell. A moving whirlwind of bones causes no damage.
A skeleton of a Medium-size or Large creature. The bones cannot be part of a living or undead creature, or a construct, nor can they be constrained in any way.