The Realm of Nimbral
VIII: The Nimbral Lords
By Ed Greenwood
The Nimbral Lords rule Sea Haven, and they speak and act through their Heralds and Knights while almost always remaining inside the enclave of Selpir that was for so long their prison.
Studious and introverted, the Lords have grown extremely powerful in the arcane arts over centuries of magical research -- activity that still dominates their time today. The Lords are a tightly knit, loyal family of twenty-six archmages (aided by sixteen apprentices). Intermarried for generations, they have abandoned surnames. Led by five Elders, they jealously guard the isolation of Nimbral and their personal secrecy, fearing attacks from magically powerful groups such as the Red Wizards of Thay if knowledge of their ower ever leaks out.
In rough order of influence, the present Elders are as follows: Ardanthe (a motherly LN female human wizard 24/archmage 2); Skouloun (a sharp -witted and -tongued CN male human wizard 22/archmage 1); Mardamaun (a taciturn, deep-thinking LN male human wizard 25/archmage 1); Yusendre ("YOO-say-nn-dra," an impish, fun-loving CG female human wizard 20/sorcerer 6/archmage 1) and Belaurant (an elderly, kindly but manipulative CN male human wizard 25/archmage 1).
The Elders and their fellow Lords (who aren't much lower in levels!) have created a huge variety of magic items. They don't use the standard forms in most of them (no Nimbral Lord makes a ring of blinking when she can craft a bracer of blinking), they magically disguise them as something else (that bracer resembles a bloodstained bandage), and they also magically link them to a select group of Lords -- so that they either remain inert or erupt with full harmful effects on anyone else trying to use them.
Favorite "battle items" include rings with the powers of a staff of fiery power, belts equal to a staff of mighty force, and leggings equivalent to a staff of rapid barrage -- and favorite disguises for such things are as tattoos, wicker baskets of cut herbs, and smudges of caked-on mud. The Lords possess many constructs that fight for them, dozens of magic items with effects as powerful as a staff of cosmos, and unknown spells of their own devising that are superlative in three pursuits: scrying from afar; detecting active spells operating on, and magic items carried by, all beings in Nimbral; and protecting Lords' minds from the magic of others.
However, the Nimbral Lords appear in battle only as a last resort -- either when a being begins wantonly destroying living things in Nimbral and is obviously too powerful for citizens or Knights to deal with, or when an intruder enters their refuge to attack or steal from them directly.
Lords of Nimbral tend to be quiet-spoken, sober, gentle individuals, always "thinking ahead" to possibilities and aware of consequences. They continually watch for signs that suggest trends in the thinking and future deeds of magically powerful mainland beings.
Whenever possible, the Elders arrive at decisions by discussion and consensus (following established policies when swift action is needful and debate impossible), but they decide disputes by voting. Apprentices get no vote unless they unanimously agree on a position, in which case they collectively receive a single vote. All Lords have a vote each, except Elders, each of whom can cast two.
The established policy to deal with intruders who are members or agents of any magically powerful group is to remain hidden as much as possible, to give the impression that the Lords are hermits surrounded by tales of spell-use, rather than truly powerful mages. If an intruder starts prying or attacking Nimbrese with magic, they are whisked to Starshot by teleport or portal-trap immediately, to try to convince them that all the Lords are dead or gone mad in the dangerous wild magic ruins.
The Lords dwell in the linked stone towers of Selpir, which rise in the midst of huge old trees without fields or walls. Selpir is a vast warren of many linked living spaces, pantries, spell workshops, and storage rooms, defended by golems and other constructs, and by wards that detect -- and can forcibly teleport -- intruders. The skyships that brought the Voyagers to Nimbral are built into its towers, but only a few of the present Lords know how to awaken them. (If they flew away, Selpir would be shattered.)
In the forest nearby is Nimbral's only "dungeon": Starshot, where a shattered skyship lies overgrown in the woods, atop a labyrinth of underground rooms built by a long-dead, mad Voyager archmage. Raging wild magic that twists spells into deadly and spectacular unintended effects dominate these monster-crawling cellars.
© 2005 Wizards of the Coast, Inc. All rights reserved.