Realms Personalities : Gromphe Baenre
by Richard Baker (Dragon #302)
Archmage of Menzoberranzan and the firstborn son of House Baenre, Gromph is the most powerful and influential male of Menzoberranzan. Ruler of the wizards' college of Sorcere, Gromph fears nothing in Menzoberranzan except the concerted wrath of the entire Ruling Council of Matron Mothers.
Cautious and deliberate, Gromph is a patient and thoughtful archmage who has long since outgrown the need to demonstrate his wit and skill to others. He recognizes that he has reached the very apex of power permitted a male in the society of the dark elves, and while others might chafe beneath those restrictions, Gromph is content (after a fashion) to hold the position he has won and discharge its duties to the best of his ability.
He is not without ambition, of course; Gromph is a Lolth-fearing dark elf, and he is not afraid to extend his grasp through the medium of his sister Triele, Matron Mother of House Baenre. By serving as her indispensable advisor and ally, Gromph gains the ability to manipulate indirectly the deliberations of the Ruling Council.
Gromph has ruled over Sorcere for almost two hundred years. Within that time he has personally seen to the training of dozens of Menzoberranzan's most renowned mages. He is not afraid to destroy ambitious underlings who dream of unseating him and has considered the possibility of killing Pharaun Mizzrym on several occasions, most recently when the younger wizard caused the deaths of a number of novices in a reckless summoning.
Acerbic and gruff, Gromph is a master of holding his tongue. He keeps his thoughts to himself, and he hoards information in much the same way that a Sembian merchant hoards gemstones. He has made a career of ferreting out the secrets and weaknesses of Menzoberranzan's great mages and clerics, and on several occasions he has arranged the destruction of rivals by simply making sure that the right secret comes to the attention of the right person. The Archmage of Menzoberranzan is phenomenally intelligent and observant, and few can keep secrets from him for long.
Gromph Baenre: Male drow Div18/Acm4: CR 23; Medium-size humanoid (5 ft. 2 in. tall); HD 18d4+72 plus 4d4+16; hp 128; Init +5 (Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 35, touch 22, flat-footed 30; Atk +12/+7 melee (1d6+1, staff of power) or ranged touch (by spell); SA spells, spell-like abilities; SQ drow traits, high arcana, familiar, permanent spells (detect magic, protection from arrows, see invisibility, tongues); SR 33; AL NE; SV Fort +19, Ref +18, Will +26; Str 9, Dex 20, Con 18, Int 30, Wis 20, Cha 14.
Skills: Craft (alchemy) +20, Bluff +5, Concentration +26, Diplomacy +9, Hide +17, Intimidate +4, Knowledge (arcana) +34, Knowledge (local Underdark) +15, Knowledge (the planes) +16, Listen +11, Spellcraft +36, Search +20, Sense Motive +10, Speak Language (Netherese, Seldruin, Thorass), Spot +12; Feats: Craft Staff, Craft Wondrous Item, Improved Spell Capacity, Extend Spell, Heighten Spell, Persistent Spell, Quicken Spell, Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Spell Focus (Evocation), Spell Focus (Necromancy), Spell Penetration.
Spell-like Abilities: 1/day - dancing lights, darkness, faerie fire. Gromph casts these spells as a 22nd-level sorcerer.
Languages Known: Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Drow Sign Language, Elven, Giant, Netherese, Seldruin, Thorass, Undercommon.
SQ - High Arcana: An archmage may choose to take a special ability from a select list by permanently eliminating one spell slot. See the archmage prestige class.
Familiar (rat): HD 22; hp 64; Spd 15 ft., climb 15 ft.; AC 22; Atk +12/+7 melee (1d3-4, bite); SQ Alertness, improved evasion, share spells, empathic link, touch spells, speak with master, speak with rats, scry on familiar; SR 27; SV as Gromph; Str 2, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 2.
Spells Prepared (5/8/8/7/7/7/7/6/6/3; base save DC 26 + spell level, 28 + spell level for Evocation or Necromancy spells): 0 - detect magic, detect poison, prestidigitation, resistance x2; 1st - alarm, cause fear, change self, endure elements, identify, mage armor, protection from good, shield; 2nd - Aganazzar's scorcher, alter self, blur, detect thoughts, see invisibility, spectral hand, summon monster II; 3rd - clairaudience/clairvoyance, dispel magic, fireball, fly, haste, magic circle against good, nondetection; 4th - detect scrying, dimension door, minor globe of invulnerability, phantasmal killer, polymorph self, scrying summon monster IV, 5th - dismissal, false vision, lesser planar binding, magic jar, prying eyes, teleport; 6th - acid fog, analyze dweomer, antimagic field, disintegrate, glove of invulnerability, mass haste, true seeing; 7th - banishment, delayed blast fireball, finger of death, limited wish, sequester, spell turning; 8th - discern location, etherealness, greater planer binding, mind blank, iron body, screen; 9th - energy drain, foresight, meteor swarm, Mordenkainen's disjunction, prismatic sphere, wish; 10th - analyze dweomer (quickened), chain lightning (quickened), true seeing (extended).
Possessions: Staff of power, piwafwi of resistance +5, robes of the archmage of Menzoberranzan, Gromph's skull sapphire, gloves of Dexterity +4, bracers of health +6, headband of intellect +6, ring of protection +5, amulet of natural armor +5, crystal ball, ring of regeneration, boots of speed, drow house insignia, rod of security, staff of fiendish darkness, wand of fear, bag of holding 2, talisman of the sphere, 16 workbooks (spellbooks made of dragonhide and vellum, guarded by major resistance and glamered to appear as jars of common potion ingredients), 16 greatbooks (spellbooks made of mithral and copper foil, guarded by major resistance and spelltrapped with enervation), and many other mundane possessions.
Gromph's Unique Items
Like Pharaun, Gromph has crafted a number of potent items for himself. He has also inherited powerful magic items in his role as Archmage and first son of House Baenre. His signature items include the Robe of the Archmage of Menzoberranzan, a staff of power, and the unique skull sapphire.
Robe of the Archmage of Menzoberranzan: This elegant black garment is embroidered with mithral thread in a spiderweb design. It provides a +8 armor bonus and a +4 enhancement bonus to Wisdom. Magic missiles striking the wearer are automatically negated. just as if they had impacted a target protected by a shield spell. Once per day the wearer of the robe may activate spell turning with a duration of 1O rounds. The robe can turn 10 spell levels per day.
Caster Level: 16th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, endurance, mage armor, negative energy protection, owl's insight, shield, creator must be a drow; Market Price: 182,000 gp; Cost to Create: 91,000 gp + 7,280 XP; Weight: 1 lb.
Gromph's Skull Sapphire: The clear, ghostly image of a grinning skull is trapped in the depths of this mystical black star sapphire. Gromph's skull sapphire functions much like a pearl of power: three times per day on command it enables the possessor to recall a Necromancy spell of 7th level or lower that he has already prepared and cast. The spell is then prepared again, just as if it had never been cast. The owner of the skull sapphire is also protected by negative energy protection as cast by a wizard of 17th level.
Gromph's skull sapphire only functions in the hands of an evil wizard who knows at least one spell from the school of Necromancy. A character of good alignment who carries Gromph's skull sapphire in his possession gains 2 negative levels. These negative levels cannot result in actual level loss, but they remain as long as the sapphire is in the character's possession.
Caster Level: 17th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, creator must be able to cast one Necromancy spell at each level from 0 to 7th, negative energy protection; Market Price: 150,000 gp; Cost to Create: 75,000 gp + 6,000 XP; Weight: -.
Piwafwi of Resistance +5: This black cloak adds a +5 resistance bonus to the wearer's saving throws and a +10 circumstance bonus to the wearer's Hide checks.
Caster Level: 15th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, invisibility, resistance; Market Price: 29,000 gp; Cost to Create: 14,500 gp + 1,160 XP; Weight: 1 lb.