Heroes of the Realms
Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun
Archmage of Waterdeep
Appearance: (LN human male wizard; Wizard)
Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun (414 DR – 1374 DR, aged 960 years, although rumors are he may still be alive being a Chosen of Mystra) was the Lord Mage of Waterdeep, a masked Lord of Waterdeep, and powerful archmage. One of the few spellcasters to become one of Mystra’s Chosen, and the last survivor of House Maerdrym, Khelben was a serious, imposing wizard, and a grim proponent of law and order whose methods of achieving the ultimate good were often highly questionable in the eyes of the righteous.
Khelben stood just over 6 feet (1.83 meters) tall and was well-muscled. He usually dressed in robes, wielding his trademark Blackstaff. As of 1374 DR, he had a full beard; black hair with silver streaks, including a prominent one through his beard; and a distinguished, imposing manner.11 He often dressed in black with a silver torque and a cape lined in gray fur.
Often thought to be humorless and grave, Khelben was actually neither. He simply found it easier to deal with people if they were intimidated by or even frightened of him. He had numerous apprentices over the years and liked to encourage young people who displayed an aptitude for magic. Wielding the Art could be a gravely dangerous business, however, and Khelben tried to instill appreciation of that fact in his pupils by keeping up his “stern taskmaster” façade.
In private, however, he was quiet and keenly intelligent. With his lady love, Laeral Silverhand, he was gentle and loving. The few apprentices who, whether purposely or by luck, chanced a glimpse of his private side—like his roaring laugh, for example—were all thoroughly unnerved by the experience. He did not like displays of affection with his wife in front of others.
The only side of Khelben that most saw was that of the gravely wise tutor or stern archmage with much more important things to think about and do than deal with these younglings. If news of a threat to Waterdeep, the North, or the Realms in general, was brought to him, Khelben would go into action, planning countermeasures, seeking the aid of allies, and asking the informer to continue in search of more information. Those who knew Khelben well sometimes referred to him as a spider in the center of a massive web of information, schemes, plans, and counter-plans. While his web was centered on the City of Splendors, Khelben placed tendrils across the North and beyond. Just as he was noted as a collector of magic and magical items, Khelben also was a hoarder of information. He was a firm believer in the credo, “A secret isn’t a secret if you tell anyone.” He commonly manipulated people and events with this exclusive store of knowledge; to this end he’d never volunteer information that wasn’t specifically requested of him.