D&D 5E: The Road Not Taken
Blackstaff Tower’s main entrance was on Swords Street. There was also an apprentice’s gate, through which apprentices could gain access by touching the gate with a left palm. The tower was surrounded by a 20-foot wall.
The appeared to be made out of smooth black stone, with no windows or doors. From the outside, the structure appeared to be a three-story stone tower, but inside, there were at least a dozen more levels, and some of these could only be reached by magical means. Everything connected to the central stairwell, although magical passwords were required to transport to certain areas of this stairwell. The three levels visible from the outside were all freely accessible via simply using the stairs.
The tower had the ability to repair itself, along with its outer walls and gates, when damaged, and this process could be helped along by Laeral Silverhand. After an attack in which a wall was demolished, the tower was back to normal the same day.
Intruders that posed a threat to the tower could potentially trigger a Walking Statue to form out of the roof. Prior to 1479 DR, this had not happened in recent memory.
From the inside, windows appeared to show what was going on outside, but these were illusions. The interior (but not the exterior) of the tower was warded against magical intrusion.
Rooms were connected to the central stairwell and entry hall, which was full of floating doors and arches. Many alcoves and shelves covered the walls of the stairwell, displaying magical items and artifacts, and although they seemed unprotected, a command word was needed to remove any of them. The items changed on a regular basis, so returning to the same stairwell on another day might result in seeing different items. Leaving the dormitories without issuing a command word would lead to the second level’s stairwell. Saying the command word nhurlaen in the stairwell took one to the study.
On the top floor of the tower was a study and a scrying chamber. There was also a parlor where Khelben displayed his art. In the library was one-way dimensional door to Candlekeep (the other side of the door led to Jester’s Court nearby). As of 1374 DR, the tower’s entry chamber contained a wardrobe that Khelben was able to use to access almost any closet in the tower. In the tower’s kitchen, Khelben liked to serve cups of roasted chicory.
Tunnels linked the tower’s basement to Piergeiron’s Palace and other locations in Waterdeep, which could be accessed by uttering the command word: Vhuarm. One such tunnel could be accessed at Northspur Rock on Northspur Landing on the Talltumble Stairs in Mountainside.
In 1361 DR, Danilo Thann moved the elfgate portal to Evermeet to Laeral’s chambers in order to facilitate more quality time between her and Khelben.
After the death of Khelben, his heirs to the title of Blackstaff used the tower as both a home and a place of power. In fact, the tower became so linked to the Blackstaff that, upon the death of their master, the heir must immediately travel to the tower. On at least two occasions, the Blackstaff died outside of the tower and the heir was driven insane until they returned to the tower.
In 1415 DR, the fourth Blackstaff, Krehlan Arunsun, modified Blackstaff Tower using the kiira n’vaelhar to allow templates of the spirits of each former Blackstaff to communicate with anyone in the tower, and with the Blackstaff where he or she was. The templates were a permanent illusion of the spirit of each Blackstaff; in visible form, the template appeared as the Blackstaff did in life but with a green glow. While in the tower, the Blackstaff was also aware of every person in the tower or within a few feet of the tower.
One of the known current apprentices in Blackstaff tower is Draylia Ebonweave.