Glossary - updated 08.04.2018.
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Dungeons and Dragons Glossary
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a glossary of terms used in the DnDn1D weekly series. It should explain the more vague expressions, give more insight into the world or just general information on places, creatures etc. I will try to update it as often as possible, to account for anything that might not be clear. The title of this upload will change accordingly, but you will most likely not be notified of the change, so check back frequently.
The file will be devided into sections and the entries in each section will be alphabetical.
If there is something you do not understand in the story and it is not mentioned in the Glossary, be sure to leave a comment – I will try and update you with the appropriate explanation.
The Calendar of Harptos was the calendar used across most of Faerun. It was created by the wizard Harptos, although most people associate the word "Harptos" with the calendar. It was split into twelve months, each lasting three tendays(or thirty days). There were an additional five days that fell between months, bringing the total number of days in most years to 365 (with an additional day added every four years, creating a 366 day leap year).
The months in Faerun are mentioned in the same order as in Our World and the seasons change in the same way as in the Northern Hemisphere on Earth.
The names of the months and festivals used in Faerun were as follows:
1) Hammer ("Deepwinter")
Midwinter between Hammer 30 and Alturiak 1
2) Alturiak ("The Claw of Winter" or "The Claws of the Cold")
3) Ches ("The Claw of Sunsets")
Spring Equinox on Ches 19
4) Tarsakh ("The Claw of the Storms")
Greengrass between Tarsakh 30 and Mirtul 1
5) Mirtul ("The Melting")
6) Kythorn ("The Time of Flowers")
Summer Solstice on Kythorn 20
7) Flamerule ("Summertide")
Midsummer between Flamerule 30 and Eleasias 1
Shieldmeet occurs the day after Midsummer, once every four years
8) Eleasis ("Highsun")
9) Eleint ("The Fading")
Autumn Equinox on Eleint 21
Highharvestied between Eleint 30 and Marpenoth 1
10) Marpenoth ("Leafall")
11) Uktar ("The Rotting")
Feast of the Moon between Uktar 30 and Nightal 1
12) Nightal ("The Drawing Down")
Winter Solstice on Nightal 20
TENDAY - Faerun's idea of a week. As the name suggests, it lasts 10 days. There are 3 tendays in a month.
For plot reasons, the story takes place before the Spellplague and eruption of Mount Hotenow, although some things have been taken from AFTER these events.
Cormyr, also known as the Forest Country and the Land of the Purple Dragon, was an independent nation in Interior Faerun and one of the most prosperous. It was a monarchy with its capital in Suzail.
The territory of this relatively small country layed in a crucial spot in the centre of the continent. To the north and west, the Storm Horn Mountains formed a natural boundry, as did the Thunder Peaks to the east. The western and southern borders were mostly woodland areas. Due to it's location, the area was an important centre of commerce – on the crossing of many trade routes. It was also relatively easy to defend, due to the landscape.
That however, did not mean the country was peaceful. The Netherese Empire often launched attacks against Cormyr in the hopes of conquering it and turning it into an outpost for future expanse to the western lands of Faerun. The Drow also used the many passages from the Underdark, to raid the surface for slaves.
The High Road - a coastal trade route, going all along the Sword Coast, from Waterdeep, through Neverwinter, all the way north to Luskan.
Luskan, also known as the City of Sails, was a port city at the mouth of the River Mirar on the Sword Coast North. Governed by the five High Captains, all former pirate lords and each of whom led a faction called a "ship" named after its respective captain: Ship Taerl, Ship Baram, Ship Kurth, Ship Suljack and Ship Rethnor. The true power in the city resided with the Arcane Brotherhood.
The city was built on top of Ruins of Illusk. The ancient city's houses and corridors now served as Luskan's sewer system and hiding place for many gangs and groups.
Mount Hotenow, a volcano, which was situated to the northeast of the city of Neverwinter on the Sword Coast North, deep in Neverwinter Wood. It was home to a large population of fire elementals, warming the Neverwinter River to the point where it never froze over, even in the heart of winter (hence the city's name). The volcano also had a tendency to attract creatures like fire giants and red dragons.
Neverwinter, the Jewel of the North. Considered the most tolerant and most righteous of the cities on the Sword Coast. Ruled by the Alagondar dynasty. The first King, Lord Nasher Alagondar was a retired adventurer and a paladin of Tyr, god of Justice. His heirs continued bearing the titles of Lord Protector, High Commander of the Paladins of Neverwinter, Captain of the Nine of Neverwinter, even if those were just for ceremonial purposes.
(The title of Lord Protector was actually created by Lord Dagult Neverember of Waterdeep, as he reigned over Neverwinter after the last member of the dynasty died. I do find it important to the plot though. Licencia poetica.)
Port Llast stood on the High Road some thirty-five miles north of Neverwinter. It was a small town of 700 folk mainly known for its skilled stonecutters and excellent harbor – a small bay sheltered by a high, rocky spit, with a fine beach and inlet. It was closely allied to Neverwinter, largely for protection against Luskan
Sword Coast - the western coast of Faerun. Not to be mistaken with Sword Coast North, which is the name of the entire region from the Sea of Swords in the west, all the way to the Long Road in the East and from the Spine of the World in the North, to Waterdeep in the South.
The Underdark - vast network of underground caverns and tunnels underneath the surface. It was home to a host of evil beings driven deep into the caverns at the end of the age of demons. The Underdark was not one giant cavern under Faerun, but rather, many giant networks of caverns and caves. As a result, it was not always possible to travel from one end of the Underdark to the other. The Underdark was divided into several domains that were similar to continents of the world above. While it was possible to travel from one place to another within a domain, separate domains tended to have very few passages linking them.
The Underdark was mainly without any source of light save for the occasional luminous rocks or fungi. It was inhabitet by dangerous creatures such as Drow, Derro, Duergar (Gray Dwarves), Illithids and Beholders, all of whom have developed darkvision to be able to traverse the darkness of the Underdark with ease, making them all the more dangerous to surface dwellers, who were unaccustomed to lack of light.
Waterdeep, also known as the City of Splendors. Run by a council of Secret Lords, though most of the power resided with the numerous merchant guilds. Although most nations across Faerun claimed to be home to the most powerful wizards, everyone knew, the academy in Waterdeep trained the best spellcasters in Faerun.
Barbazu - also known as Bearded Devils, were the shock troops of the Nine Hells. They were 6 feet (180 cms) tall, had thick, coarse-haired beards, oozing with disease. Their scaly hides were incredibly resilient, making them almost invulnerable to physical damage unless the weapon was made of silver and imbued with holy powers.
Ghouls were said to be created on the death of a man or woman who savored the taste of the flesh of people. They not only ate the dead, but also preyed on the unwary living. Ghouls laired within ancient crypts or hid in graveyards where food was plentiful. Whenever possible, a ghoul would attack a living target as a rare opportunity to have fresh meat.
Hell Hounds - big, powerfully built dogs with short, rust-red fur. Their sooty black teeth and tounges along with their bloody red eyes and smoking nostrils made them a terrifying sight. They could breath fire and often hunted in packs.
Hezrou - a large demonic monstrosity, also known as a type II demon. It had a wide maw with rows of blunt teeth that had a powerful crushing force. A series of long spikes ran down their backs. Their skin was thick, making them resistant both to physical damage and several types of spells. As all Demonkin though, they were vulnerable to light and holy magic as well as weapons made from cold-iron.
Imps - vicious, manipulative fiends that make up the least powerful ranks of the infernal legions. An imp is a minor devil. They serve as tempters and lackeys to mortals whom devils want groomed to the side of evil. Although they can alter their form into that of any tiny animal, an imp normally appears as a tiny, red-skinned humanoid with a pair of black wings and a long tail ending in a poisonous stinger, containing a deadly poison. An imp stands about 2 feet tall and weighs only 8 pounds.
Liches were an almost universally evil form of undead spellcaster of great power, usually wizards, but they could also be sorcerers or clerics. They were feared by mortal beings for their malign magic, their intelligence and their willingness to embrace undeath for a chance to live forever (or rather, exist forever). They were generally gaunt and skeletal with withered flesh stretched tight across horribly visible bones, but could vary greatly in appearance depending on their age. Some appeared as skeletons dressed in regal finery, yet others might appear to be nothing more than lepers. Bright pinpoints of crimson light burned in the empty sockets of those whose eyes had been destroyed or otherwise lost or were so old they had simply rotted away. To achieve eternal undeath, the creature wishing to become a lich had to construct a phylactery – an artifact, were it stored its life essence. As long as the phylactery was unharmed, the lich would be able to recreate its body, even if it was utterly destroyed. One of the most accomplished Liches in history was Szass Tam, who became the ruler of Thay.
Lizardfolk, also known as Lizardmen, were a race of reptilian humanoids. They were semi-aquatic creatures, though they were happy to live in areas with no bodies of water as well. Their bodies were covered in scales of varying colours – from green, through brown, all the way to black. Their tribes consisted of up to 150 creatures, led by a dominant male, chosen by for his strength and power. Although considered savages, they had a thriving culture and religious system. The lizardfolk tribes had no farming traditions, so food was acquired through hunting, scavenging or stealing.
Ochre Jelly - an ooze resembling giant amoebas, consisting of a thick, golden sludge. It's body is made up of yellow-orange colored acid capable of dissolving any organic material. They lurk in dungeons, slowly creeping along floors, walls and ceilings, under and through doors and cracks looking for victims. When they are found, the ochre jelly extends itself and latches onto them, then proceeding to constrict and engulf them. The jelly exudes pseudopods to slam and grapple foes in combat.
Orthon - huge, muscular devil, whose only purpuse in life is to fight. Their small, bald heads house equally tiny brains, that they seldom use. Although dim-witted, they are a force to be reckoned with, often gathering into squads, the leader being the 'smartest' of the pack. Big white tusks sticking out of their mouths are their signature look. Often they have their armor and weapons bolted straight into their bodies, both for increased protection and to make the unquenched, seering pain drive them insane during battle.
Revenant - undead creatures that, unlike most other lesser-undead, retained memories of their past lives, the skills they possessed, even to the point of retaining their connection to arcane magic. Typically, they had the same characteristics as the creature or person they were created from, but strengthened by the dark magic animating them. As such, revenants were stronger, faster and more resistant than their living selves. The only traits that could be considered a weakness, were those common to all undead – vulnerability to light and fire.
Shadows - a type of incorporeal being, similar to undead (sometimes considered a subtype of undead) in that they were made out of negative energy and detested light. These wraith-like creatures resembled actual shadows of people or creatures they arose from. When a Shadow touched a living creature, it sapped it's strength. Any living being killed by a Shadow rose as one itself soon afterwards.
They could hide in darkness and even use it to travel between the Material Plane and the Shadowfell.
Shades - humanoids who have merged with the essence of the Plane of Shadow. They grow more powerful in dark areas, including the ability to leap from shadow to shadow, create shadowy duplicates of themselves and sometimes even becoming invisible. They can also magically decrease the amount of light in their vicinity and can see clearly in the dark.
Shades were first created as an experiment by Netherese wizards, by replacing part of their soul with essence of shadow. This is a complex and painful process, but the result is a being with prolonged life and greatly strengthened set of abilities when in the presence of shadows.
Skeletons are undead animated corpses similar to zombies, but are completely devoid of flesh and do not feed on the living. They can be made from virtually any solid creature, and as such their size and power varies widely. In addition to the basic humanoid skeleton, there are also skeletons created from wolves, trolls and even giants. Animated skeletons are immune to mind affecting spells; they cannot be rendered unconscious and cannot tire.
Succubus - originally devils, who have betrayed their fiendish Hell Masters and joined the ranks of Demons of te Abyss, thus changing their alignment from Lawful Evil to Chaotic Evil. A succubus is rarely seen in her true form. They often use their polymorph ability to assume a human body in order to tempt mortals with a kiss, or other acts of passion. The demonic form of a succubus appears to be that of an incredibly beautiful woman with dark wings, horns, a lashing tail, and glowing eyes. The male counterpart of a succubus is called an incubus.
Undead Puppet - not technically a seperate type of undead, but more like a different 'state'. Any lesser undead (and to some extent even greater undead) could become a puppet. Powerful necromancers could 'possess' the bodies of their undead minions, allowing them to 'see' and 'feel' as they did. At the same time, the minion turned into a conduit of sorts – it could manifest the powers of its master to a certain extent (usually restricted by the corpse's state and endurance, as well as the power of the undead itself). As it were, necromancers could use the puppets to cast a variety of weaker spells over long distances, as though it were the minions themselves casting them.
Wererats, also known as Ratmen. Human-rat hybrids, mostly shunned by society due to their looks – a humanoid body with rat claws, long hairless tail, furry whiskery snouts and bloody red eyes. Forced to live in sewers, often carried illnesses and diseases, while being immune to them themselves.
Wraith an undead creature born of evil and darkness, despising light and all living things. They could drain the life from living creatures, turning them into new wraiths upon death. Wraiths were powerless in natural sunlight, appearing as a sinister, spectral figure robed in darkness. They had no visual features or appendages, except for their glowing red eyes.
Zombies are undead creatures usually created by the re-animation of a corpse. Unlike animated skeletons, zombies still retain some flesh on their bodies, and give off a horrid, rank smell. They are almost mindless, but can be given simple commands.
Arcane Brotherhood - some say they pulled the strings of the High Captains of Luskan without them knowing, others that the Pirate Lords willingly took the role of puppets to gain power. Whatever the case, the Arcane Brotherhood was the actual ruling party in the City of Sails. It consisted of wizards, sorcerers and other mages. The organisation didn't care about the governance of the city, but did use its resources to further their own goals, whatever they would be. Very secretive, they considered anyone from outside Luskan to be a potential spy.
Bregan D'aerthe – a cryminal syndicate in Luskan. Consisting mostly of Drow (Dark Elves), who left their homeland, not accepting the Matriarchal system, Demon Worship or Human Sacrifices that were the core of their society. Although a criminal society, it strived to preserve harmony in the city, making sure no faction ever gained too much power. Even though they considered themselves to have high moral standards for bandits, they mostly used assassination and sabotage to further their goals. And no wonder, as the Drow's innate abilities greatly helped them in these endavours.
Cult of the Dragon - a semi-religious evil organization venerating undead dragons, or dracoliches, founded by Sammaster, a powerful wizard. They believed that in time that "dead dragons shall rule the world entirely" and began to work toward that goal. Due to its extremistic and evil views, the religion was banned in most of Faerun, the cultits being actively persecuted on sight. Thus, the organisation became extremely secretive, often gathering away from societies, being very careful about accepting new members. More often than not, different groups of the Cult, led by seperate High Priests didn't know about each other and would even fight against one another.
Dead Rats – a criminal syndicate in Luskan, with its hideout in the city sewers, which once were the Ancient City of Illusk. They were famed for being able to traverse the sewer system so adeptly, that they could raid the city above and disappear without a trace. Since living in the sewers meant having to fight with Giant Rats, that could carry the lycanthrope curse/disease, many of the gangmembers became Wererats. It is the only known organisation to openly accept these creatures in their ranks.
The Netherese Empire - was a magocracy (where spellcasters are the ruling caste) and one of the ancient human empires of Faerun. Netheril was also the home of the most powerful wizard who ever walked on Faerûn, Karsus. Although Netheril has since lost most of it's power, it is still a very influential nation, bent on restoring its former glory. The Empire has long been associated with the worship of Shar – goddess of shadows – and with Shadowfell, a parallel plane from which necrotic and shadow magic stemmed. Thus, they often employed Shadows, Shades and Shadar-kai in their armies.
The Nine of Neverwinter - an elite squad of nine members, recognisable by their capes with nine stars sown on them. They were hand-picked by the King, the best among their peers. Although all were called knights, they could actually be members of any class, as long as they represented the highest level of expertise in their respective field.
The Red Wizards of Thay - During their height of power, the Red Wizards were the notorious and nefarious spellcasting ruling class of the inhospitable but well-inhabited country of Thay. Slavers, demonologists, necromancers, and magical experimenters, the Red Wizards were much feared by most of Faerûn. The leaders of the Red Wizards, and of Thay, were the eight zulkirs, each for a different school of magic. Chief amongst these, and, indeed, among all Red Wizards was Szass Tam, a powerful archmage and feared lich and now the ruler of Thay.
Amaunator the Sun God, Lord of Light and Fire (see Lathander).
Bane, also known as The Dark One, The Black Hand, The Black Lord or the Lord of Darkness, was a greater deity of fear, hatred and tyranny. Although he abhors undead, as weak creatures, mere shadows of their former selves, he still uses them for his own purposes, especially when vying for control of the dead with Kelemvor, whom he despises even more. Although his worshipers were scarce and spread, several organised churches have formed, especially in the Moonsea region in North Faerun and in Thay, ruled by the lich Szass Tam, who made a pact with the dark god, sharing in his power.
Helm, the Vigilant One, the Watcher. He was the god of guardians and protection. A cold and focused deity, mainly associated with defending the weak and vulnerable, though also with punishing the wicked. A slight controversy around the otherwise benevolent god, is that his followers claimed that 'the end (result) justifies the means', sometimes leading to attrocities committed in the name of 'greater good'.
Kelemvor, Lord of the Dead, Judge of the Damned, was the god of death and the dead. Kelemvor urged knowledge that death was a natural part of life. He was a benevolent deity, responsible for taking care of those who were passing or have already passed to the afterlife. His worshippers had a deep running hatred of the undead – seeing as they were unnatural and prevented the souls trapped within the cursed corpses from entering Kelemvor's domain.
Lathander, the Morninglord, aspect of Amaunator, the Sun God. Lathander was a deity of light, fire and sun, though mostly connected with dawn and early hours of the morning.
Shar, the Mistress of the Night, was the godess of darkness and shadows. Her symbol was a black disk with a deep purple border.
Tymora - called simply Lady Luck. She was the goddess of good fortune. Her symbol was a silver coin with a shamrock on it.
Tyr - god of law and justice. His dogma was primarily concerned with the punishment of wrong-doers, and the general furthering of law and good in the world.