Blackstaff Tower Description

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The Tower's Secret Doors

Blackstaff Tower has a variety of secret doors scattered through its hallowed halls. With a few rare exceptions, they all have the following traits.

  • Hidden: Intelligence (Search) DC 20. These doors are cunningly hidden. The downside of their concealed nature is that it also requires an Intelligence (DC 10) test upon entering an area to remember exactly where the doors are, unless it's an area and door that is used frequently.
  • Picking: Dexterity DC 20. Though the locks on these doors are slightly better than average, they are also quite difficult to access physically.
  • Attunement to Tower: Those who are attuned to the tower may simply lay a hand on the door panel and cause it to unlatch by an act of will.


Ground Level & Courtyard

  • Courtyard (G1): A simple cobbled courtyard, with a circular path leading all the way around the tower. The gates of Blackstaff Tower are usually held open. The view of the tower from the courtyard is, however, enough to generally keep pranksters and wasters-of-time away: it seems to be a single, seamless structure without windows or doors at all. The gate itself is ironwork depicting wands and staves interwoven with vines.
  • Gardens (G2): Khelben is an avid forester, though he doesn't have the change to go ranging as must as he likes. As such, he assuages that urge by spending time in his gardens. Though it does have some food plants and herbals useful in magic, its main purpose is to provide Khelben a way to relax. His apprentices know well better than to disturb him when he is crouched among the plants, which he never tends by magic, but only ever by hand.
    • The Apprentice's Gate: In the back wall of the tower, opposite the main gate, is the so-called "Apprentice's Gate", a section of wall that can be rendered pass-throughable by those attuned to the tower with a touch. The stone of the wall ripples slightly, like a body of water, and then those attuned to the tower may pass through it. It remains solid to all others. A simple footpath of stepping stones through the garden foliage leads from this entrance to the cobblestone path.
  • North Tower (G3): The denizens of this tower use this tower as a small stables, capable of comfortably sheltering up to two horses. Khelben does not maintain any horses, nor does he permit his apprentices to do so here (though he does not care if they stable them elsewhere, of course). Beneath a trough of hay, there is a cunningly-crafted trap door that leads down into the cellars beneath the tower.
  • East Tower (G4): This small tower has a teleportation circle enscribed in its stone floor. Arrivals signal a small mental alert to Khelben and whoever is on watch duty holding the wand of enemy detection.
  • South Tower (G5): Turned into a meditative retreat, this tower is usually kept fairly dark, with plenty of comfortable throw-pillows and large cushions on the ground. It has a small table with the necessary implements for making a soothing tea, and a selection of fine incenses. One corner that is kept buried in cushions actually bears a well-hidden trap door down into the cellars here.
  • West Tower (G6): This tower is simple storage, where Khelben keeps his gardening implements.
  • Entry Vestibule (G7): An entry chamber that usually features an apprentice on guard rotation, armed with a couple of wands (a wand of binding and a wand of enemy detection) in case of having to deal with troublesome visitors. Though this apprentice's responsibilities also include welcoming guests who come calling peacefully, it's usually a thankless, dull job - as a result, most of those apprentices catch up on their studies during this time.
    • The Golems in the Cupboards: Along the southern wall is a pair of small alcoves covered by easily-discoverable secret doors (DC 10 Perception, DC 5 Search). If anyone who is not Khelben opens one of these doors, the golems activate in defense of the tower. Those attuned to the tower will not be attacked, but they cannot give the golems commands.
  • Audience Chamber & Dining Hall (G8): A formal chamber where Khelben usually receives his guests for tea or a meal, this chamber doesn't see much activity, in truth. Khelben usually takes meals up in his chambers, and the apprentices' meals are either taken out to them (for those on Guard Rotation) or are brought up to the apprentices' parlor.
  • Kitchens (G9): A simple but full kitchen that makes up for its lack of size and servants with a handful of minor magical amenities, including an ice chest that keeps foods stored in it quite cold. It also has an enchanted dumbwaiter that need not be pulled, but animates to raise or lower its contents by the will of a user attuned to the tower. Finally, a small pantry that enacts a purify food & drink effect sits next to the door, where all food and drink leaving the kitchen is placed, to provide freshness and the removal of any chance of poison or disease.
  • Pantry (G10): The pantry has plentiful storage space for foodstuffs, but is otherwise unremarkable.

Apprentices' Level

  • Parlor (A1): A fair-sized room carpeted in thick rugs, with plenty of overstuffed chairs and magical lighting. Apprentices usually gather in the parlor when Khelben is lecturing or leading a discussion. The enchanted dumbwaiter raised up to this room, and there is a table in front of the hidden wall compartment where it access the room. It is not unusual to find bowls and platters of food upon it. There is also always several bottles of wine and a pitcher of fresh water.
  • Library (A2): A room crammed full of books, with a single table and chairs in the center of the room. The library also has the door that leads into the apprentices' quarters, so it is not unusual to find an apprentice or two up late studying here before going to bed. While the apprentices are not permitted to take books away from this floor, they may take them into their rooms or to the parlor to study.
    • The Gate to Candlekeep: Behind one of the bookshelves, opened like the other secret doors in the tower, is a permanent portal that leads to an out-of-the-way corner of Candlekeep's outer courtyard. One has only to walk through it to appear there. Those who know of the portal's existence in Candlekeep need only speak the command Aerogalal to use it to return to Waterdeep, where it deposits those who employ it in Jester's Court nearby.
  • Apprentice & Guest Quarters (A3): These quarters are spartan: a simple bed and single bedside table with oil lamp upon it, and a chest at the foot of the bed. Each bed also has a selection of simple plank shelves mounted to the wall to either side of the headboard window and down both walls. Students are permitted to decorate as they see fit and can afford. One item of note, however, is the spring water ewers in each room.
    • Del's Quarters (a): x
    • Demisante's Quarters (b): Demisante's quarters are Spartan, as she has lost much of what she owned. She has placed several items of importance to her on the small shelf above her bed: her spellbook (its plain black cover now covered in a small swathe of bright pink silk), as well as her small shrine to Lurue: a single white candle, and the pamphlet and pilgrims' token Ahmadar brought her from Silverymoon.
    • Danilo's Quarters (c): Danilo's quarters are well-appointed, with very fine linens and a warm carpet over most of the cold stone floor (literally warm, as it bears a very minor warming enchantment). His shelves bear a wide variety of books - most of them the sort that aggrieve Khelben - and he has replace his clothes chest with a wardrobe for his clothing, though it really does take up most of the space in the tiny room.
    • Aleena's Quarters (d): Aleena's chamber is spotlessly clean and set up with military precision. She has a small holy symbol of Tyr hung by a nail over her bed.
    • Whorbi's Quarters (e): Whorbi's quarters are largely empty - she didn't bring much in the way of personal goods, although the few mementoes she picked up at the Magefaire are displayed prominently on the clothing chest at the foot of her bed. The only other odd thing is the small wooden box she shoves under the bed, which she uses to climb into bed at night (being somewhat small at the moment). She also has a set of very warm blankets, a gift from Aleena.
    • Hendyr's Quarters (f): Hendyr has an axe his father gave him affixed to the wall above his bed, and a set of fine sleeping furs.

Master's Level

Magic of the Tower

Tower Attunement

There is an ambient magic to Blackstaff Tower itself, which apprentices can attune themselves to. Khelben must grant permission to those who would attune themselves to it, and can revoke that permission by act of will while within the tower, which begins the normal process of de-attunement immediately. It is a special property of the tower's enchantments that apprentices need not be in constant contact with the tower to remain attuned to it. Most of the benefits gained by this attunement require the apprentice to be in contact with some aspect of the tower in order to use, however. Some of the effects of attunement includes:

  • Apprentice's Gate: A phasegate that grants passage through a back entryway into the tower walls.
  • Dumbwaiter Levitation: The dumbwaiter (which has an innate enchantment that reduces inanimate items placed into it, allowing to hold a great deal of cargo, also has an enchantment that allows it to be lowered and raised by touching a stone next to the dumbwaiter itself. Only those who are attuned to the tower may cause it to do so.
  • Tower Locks: None of the Tower doors have locks - only latches. They can be locked and unlocked by touch for someone who is attuned to the Tower.
  • Spring Water Ewers: Small pewter ewers that can be made to fill with fresh, wonderful-tasting spring water that is either very cool and refreshing, or steaming hot, all with the speaking of a single command word (Faelrah) and a touch to the ewer.

Other Tower Magics

  • Self-Repairing: The tower slowly heals itself of any damage done to its structure, as long as more than half of its structure is still there. It effectively "heals" at a rate of 1% of its structure per day, though Khelben knows some spells to speed this along.
  • Private Doors: Every door in Blackstaff Tower is enchanted to prevent the room's noises from traveling. Most of the doors have a metal knocker set in them that is the only means of sending sound through the door.
  • Wardings: Everything within the four outer walls of the Tower is protected against both magical scrying and similarly intrusive divinations, as well as against teleport magics that would allow someone to appear within the tower. This warding does not apply to anyone who is attuned to the Tower.

The doors of this level all lock by act of will on Khelben's part, and cannot be unlocked by anyone. He can designate a "trustee", imbuing them with the ability to open the doors, but he does not do this for his apprentices casually, and certainly not with someone he doesn't trust. At current, only Aelandelia is designated as such a trustee.

  • Laboratory (M1): A scene of chaos, the laboratory is filled with all manner of magical apparati and components, scribbled notes and opened books, half-finished experiments and the like, all obscuring the surface of the large central table. The shelves around the room are likewise crammed with all manner of interesting jars, books, boxes and other curios.
  • Spellcasting Chamber (M3): This otherwise bare room is clearly enchanted in some way, as there is a curious shimmering in the air as one passes through the doorway. The walls, floor and ceiling are all a fine grey-white stone that resists shattering, charring, chipping or scoring in any fashion - Khelben uses this chamber as a practice room for the casting of spells by his apprentices. He also occasionally locks himself away in here with is own experiments, occasionally for days at a time.
  • Components Storage Vault (M4): Those who have been sent to retrieve items from the storage vault frequently swear that it's slightly bigger on the inside, and its contents seem to change constantly. The enchanted dumbwaiter opens here, as well.
  • Wardrobe (M5): A large closet full of fine robes and similar attire, Khelben is clearly a man who does not neglect his appearance: only fitting for the archmage of perhaps the most cultured place in the North. Some of these garments are clearly magical, although whether the dweomers are simply for appearances or if they have other purposes, none can say save Khelben.
  • Khelben's Chamber (M6): Almost no one ever gets a glimpse inside Khelben chambers, though it is known that he has a large bed, a writing desk and table, and precious else in the room.
  • Study (M7): A comfortable study where Khelben entertains friends and meets singly with apprentices, the study has a large map tapestry on one wall, several chairs beside the window and a small bookcase between the chairs that serve both to hold books and as side tables.
  • Rooftop (M8): The rooftop is without walls, railings or crennelations, being wholly smooth-topped. Apprentices on Guard Rotation can often be found up here at certain times of day.


  • Stairwell Landing & Records (C1): The bottom of the staircase is the central cellars. Tables line the walls, and shelves stand above them with a variety of records and correspondences of Khelben's, all meticulously organized, and recorded in record books.
  • Wine Cellars (C2): A king's ransom in some of the finest wines in the Realms can be found here. Behind one of the wine racks (which is set on cunningly hidden hinges) is a passage into the Palace escape chamber (C5).
  • Food Cellars (C3): This cellar boasts extensive food storage space, although only half to two-thirds of it is ever truly in use at any one time. There are also several barrels of water down here, their contents kept pure by enchanted stones set in the bottom of each of the barrels.
  • Master's Vault Space (C4): Whatever it is that Khelben keeps in this space has long been a topic of discussion among his apprentices. Suffice to say that given the massive space the vaults occupy in the cellars, it could be nearly anything.
  • Escape to Palace (C5): This chamber is mostly empty, though it does have a table with a large map of Waterdeep (including some obscure notations here and there upon it).
  • Hideaway (C6): Several cots and magical illumination, food and water stores for several weeks, changes of clothing and a chest with several healer's kits and 4 potions of healing can be found here.
  • Saferoom (C7): An adjunct to the hideaway space that leads to it, the Saferoom is similarly provisioned, except that it is also all but impervious to magical detections.
  • Donjon (C8): This space is maintained by Khelben for the purpose of imprisoning the occasional prisoner. Though he normally prefers to release miscreants to the law, he has been known to be brought one villain or another for incarceration. Like the Saferoom, the Donjon repels magical attempts to search for or discover its inhabitants.
  • Passway to Sewers (C9): This chamber passes into the Waterdhavian sewer systems that run near the Tower. If the door that opens onto the tunnel is opened by someone not attuned to the tower, it causes a bell to sound in the hearing of those who are present in the tower and attuned to it.
  • Passway to Palace (C10): This chamber passes into the tunnel that runs beneath the streets directly to the basements of Piergeiron's Palace. If the door that opens onto the tunnel is opened (a handful of Palace personnel have keys) by someone not attuned to the tower, it causes a gong to sound in the hearing of those who are present in the tower and attuned to it.

The Routine

In general, the day (see the Time of Day in the Realms for definitions as to these times, though they're largely obvious) looks like this for the apprentices at Blackstaff Tower.

  • Night's Death: For the most part, the Tower slumbers. The exception to this are the Night Guardian and frequently Khelben himself.
    • Students who've taken their evenings to enjoy some time in their favorite festhall or tavern in the city often come creeping back in at this hour.
  • Dawn: Apprentices on Kitchens Tenday rise to prepare breakfast for the tower.
  • Morning: Everyone in the tower takes their breakfast, the apprentices in the parlor (A1) and Khelben in his rooms.
    • After breakfast, the apprentices wait for Khelben to come downstairs and open the day with them. This discussion usually starts with a report from those on Guardian Tenday cycles, then catching up with everyone's studies.
    • Khelben answers questions their readings, research or experimentation may have brought up - if this does not eat up too much time, finishes the time with a discussion on some aspect of the Art or its history.
    • Afterwards, the apprentices on Guardian Tenday change shifts: the Day Guardian takes up watch, and the Night Guardian retires.
The Apprentices' Tendays

"Use every occasion to sharpen your magic, even the most mundane. It is not vanity or laziness that makes a mage use his skills in all things, but to honor the gods Azuth and Mystra for their gifts and their trust in him." - Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun, to every new apprentice
All apprentices are placed into a routine of service around the tower. There are three "phases" to these duties: the Studies Tenday, the Kitchens Tenday and the Guardian Tenday. The rotation at current, by tenday of the month, is:

  • Studies Groups: Danilo & Glim (1); Ahmadar & Demisante (2); Ciro & Evendur (3)
  • Kitchens Groups: Evendur & Ciro (1); Demisante & Ahmadar (2); Danilo & Glim (3)
  • Guardian Groups: Danilo & Ahmadar (1); Evendur & Glim (2); Demisante & Ciro (3)

Studies Tenday

In which a student's only responsibility is their own research and experimentation, and is something of a rest from the other duties.

Kitchens Tenday

In which students are expected to tend to meals and the general cleaning of the tower and grounds.

  • Those tending to these duties are not only allowed to use their magic to tend to their jobs, but expected to do so - Khelben's philosophy is that magic ought be used, and every use thereof increases the skill of its wielder, by however small a degree.
  • In addition to the daily tasks and maintenance, Khelben often assigns a given tenday shift a project he'd like them to undertake: hunting sufficient to refill the larder, undertaking some household brewing for the tower's stores, redoing a section of the garden, repaving cobblestones in the courtyard, reorganizing or inventorying a chamber in the cellars, repairing a batch of household linens, or deep cleaning some portion of the Tower, such as the stables, library or something similar.

Guardian Tenday

In which students spend their time acting as guardians and watchers for the tower; there are always at least two students on any given shift.

  • There are always at least two apprentices on the Guardian Tenday, designated Day Guardian and Night Guardian. Both are expected to maintain the security post in the entry foyer (including the small mirror that can be called upon to scry on the interior of the Refuge of Maldiglas, keeping watch for anyone who might enter it), and to occasionally look through the cellars, take a quick walk of the stairs and then survey the tower from the rooftop.
  • Khelben has been known to actually conjure creatures to test the attentiveness and battle-readiness of his apprentices on watch before.
  • Highsun: The Kitchens Tenday students prepare a meal (usually something simple, portable and non-messy) and lay it out in the parlor for the others to help themselves to. The only exception to this is the meals brought directly to Khelben and to the Day Guardian.
  • Afternoon: The Kitchens Tenday students usually tend to their tenday-long project during this time, with Khelben occasionally dropping in on them to see their progress. The Studies Tenday apprentices usually use this block of hours to work on their own researches and experiments.
  • Dusk: The Kitchens Tenday apprentices begin preparing the evening meal.
  • Sunset: The household (including both Guardians) takes its evening meal as it does in the morning: the apprentices in the parlor, and Khelben in his rooms.
    • Once or twice a tenday, Khelben orders dinner presented in the dining room (G8), and all students are expected to attend. He normally discusses what is going on in the city relevant to their studies, or tells stories of doings elsewhere in the Realms. He may also make announcements of importance to the household, such as bringing a guest or new apprentices, or his impending departure for a period of time. Afterwards, the Night Guardian goes onto shift.
    • After dinner, the apprentices on Guardian Tenday change shifts: the Night Guardian takes up watch, and the Day Guardian retires.
    • The Kitchen Tenday apprentices are responsible for tending to any prep work for meals the next day and scrubbing the kitchens thoroughly.
  • Evening: At 8 bells exactly, Khelben retires to the Spellcasting Chamber (M3). Any student who wishes to do so may show up a few minutes before then, parchment and charcoal to hand.
    • He will then cast a spell three times, the first time focusing on its material components, the second on its verbal and somatic, and the third time will finish with a short lecture on the arcane principles the casting takes.
    • Though this isn't enough to teach the spell properly, it serves the purpose of exposing students to castings of most common spells, and the notes they take can give them a leap forward in their own researches into those spells.
  • Midnight: The last of the Kitchens Tenday students to leave the kitchens brings up a midnight meal (much like a lunch) to the Night Guardian before retiring for the evening.

When Khelben Is Away

It is not uncommon for Khelben to be away from his Tower for extended periods. Though the discipline sometimes gets a little lax at those times, he expects their appropriate duties - and their proper rotations - to continue unabated. Kitchens Tenday apprentices still have meals to prepare and cleaning to do, Guardian Tenday apprentices still have guard duty to tend to, and Studies Tenday students still have plenty of research to undertake for themselves.

The Libraries of Blackstaff Tower

Apprentices' Library (A2)

The library Khelben makes available to his apprentices is not the finest he has available, but it is nonetheless the envy of most who know of it. It has the following traits:

  • Lore (Arcane): Good. May be used to research up to DC 25 Arcane Topics.
  • Lore (History): Modest. May be used to research up to DC 20 History Topics.
  • Formula: Good. May be used to research up to 5th level spells.
  • Schema: Good. May be used to research up to Rare magic items.
  • Special Collection Materials:
    • Extra-planar Lore: Gain a +5% to all Arcane Research involving the planes, and a 5% to all Formula and Schema Research involving magics that transport one through the planes.
    • Elvish Sorcery Lore: Gain a +8% to all Arcane and History Research involving elven magic, and a +5% to Formula and Schema Research involving rare elven spells and magic items.
    • Abjuration Lore: Gain a +4% to Formula Research for any abjuration spell.
    • Staves Lore: Gain a +10% to Arcane Research involving magical staves, and a +10% to Formula and Schema Research involving staves in some capacity.

Khelben's Library (Unknown)

Most of the apprentices who've been at the tower for any length of time become aware that Khelben maintains his own set of libraries. Exactly where he keeps them is anyone's guess, however, though most apprentices assume that's what's in the locked-away space in the cellars (C4).