The Insane Shadow King, Most Powerful Being on Faerûn


(Note: all information from the Forgotten Realms Wiki)

Larloch (the Shadow King, not to be confused with the King of Shadows), is said to be the last surviving Netherese arcanist-king, one of the oldest non-draconic beings in Faerûn, who ruled over his flying city for centuries and abandoned it before Karsus’s Folly. Now a lich by his own process, Larloch has amassed an arsenal of spells, magic items, and servants. The Shadow King, as he is known in the Sword Coast, now rules the Warlock’s Crypt and its inhabitants—liches (many from Netheril), vampires, wights, and lesser undead. Larloch possesses incredible power and intelligence, but is also insane.

Appearance: Larloch’s form has succumbed to the ravages of time. His flesh is completely gone, leaving only white bone draped in fine garments. His empty eye sockets glow with pinpoints of red light. Some 25 ioun stones float around his head and from afar colors of red and purple seem to encircle his body.

Combat and powers: If not particularly inclined to fight, or if actually pressed in combat, Larloch will simply remove himself from the battle by using greater teleport, etherealness, walking through walls, or similar means. Hidden within his tower are chambers that possess the major negative energy trait (so as to rapidly heal undead bodies), and he spends much of his time in such places. If forced to fight (or in the mood to do so), he enjoys using a rapid arsenal of time stop and quickened twinned spells to overwhelm opponents before they even have the chance to react. He often ignores enemy spellcasters, relying on his spell reflection to take care of them while he focuses on other opponents. With the armory of items he carries with him, it is extremely doubtful that he could ever be caught unawares and even if he were suddenly overwhelmed by attacks, he is protected by a chain contingency spell that teleports him to one of his safe rooms, completely recovers his health, and cures him of ailments as the greater restoration and break enchantment spells, which activates if he loses more than half of his health. As a being over two thousand years old, Larloch has thought of ways to deal with almost any situation and with his supergenius intellect he can compose near-perfect plans at will about situations for which he had not prepared.

Thus far, neither psionics nor mind-influencing magics has ever been effective against him or any of his underlings.

Larloch is served by an army of undead creatures- wraiths, vampires, a small army of liches (over 60, including at least three demiliches) who are all former archwizards and are linked to Larloch as a telepathic-web overmind.

Larloch has created an arsenal of artifacts, and it is known that he created the Death moon orb. Created by Larloch in the times of Netheril with the intent to scry and control enemies and allies, The Orb is a sphere filled with oily darkness.

Larloch can channel arcane spell energy into arcane fire, manifesting it as a bolt of raw magical energy.

Trails of emerald energy occasionally travel across Larloch’s body. These manifestations are a side effect of the defensive curses with which he protects himself. If he touches a creature or is struck by a touch attack or unarmed strike, it is affected by a bestow greater curse spell. Some of Larloch’s curses take effect days or weeks after this contact. A creature trying to remove one of these curses must make a caster level check to succeed, even with spells such as wish or miracle.

From the planus mechanus, he learned to use plane shift and gate as spell-like abilities once per day, and he also discovered a ritual which, when he performed it, gave him immunity to any hostile or debilitating planar effects. From the final chapter, the ars factum, Larloch discovered the secrets and processes for creating artifacts—secrets he has closely guarded, and used only rarely.

It is possible that he has access to a minor mythallar or similar device, allowing him to arm himself with numerous quasi-magical items and augment his already-considerable arcane prowess. His spellpool is also stored somewhere in the bowels of the Warlock’s Crypt, or possibly within a closed demiplane accessible from such a location.


(Note: all information from the Forgotten Realms Wiki)

Home: Larloch lives in the Warlock’s Crypt, which is made out of the ruins of an ancient Netherese flying enclave which crashed to the ground in the downfall of Netheril. Each of the towers which comprises the Warlock’s Crypt stands in a circular walled garden. Bridges and walled gardens connect the towers, but no flowers ever grow in this most unholy of places. The name itself is a corruption of Larloch’s name.

Allies: In addition to his vampires and lesser undead servants of the Warlock’s Crypt, Larloch is served by more than 60 liches (including at least three demiliches, formerly archwizards), whom he guides in concert as the leader of a telepathic-web “overmind.” This link has several important effects. First, their senses are joined. If one is aware of a particular danger, they all are. No member of the mind-link is considered flanked unless they all are. In theory, an attack could reach all of them through the link, but powerful Red Wizards have tried and failed.

Note: As of “The Last Mythal: Realms of the Elves’ over two hundred liches attacked the Knights of Myth-Drannor seeking to corrupt part of the Weave. All of whom were created, in his own admission, by Larloch, although a great many were defeated by the combined might of Clockwork soldiers created by Mystra and the Knights. The liches did succeed in corrupting dozens of Baelnorns to their will who too perished in the battle.

Motivation and research: Larloch’s sole driving motivation seems to be the accumulation of arcane lore. Though his control and understanding of magic is far beyond the ability of most spellcasters to even comprehend, he remains unsatisfied. The author of such masterworks as Precession and Binary Inversion and the great Book of Inversion and Duplex, his mastery of metamagic is unequaled even by many gods, and he has personally crafted many an artifact. Larloch remembers the days of the Netherese Imperium, when mortal men rose in power until they challenged the gods, and wonders were worked that are still the stuff of legends thousands of years later. He was one of those wonder-workers, and the secrets of the mightiest archmages in history yet live on in his mind, and in the thousands of tomes and grimoires he has collected over the centuries (including the original manuscripts of Kirasect’s Necrofolio, Ralmevik’s Codex of Deviation Theory, and Morianton’s Investigations and Observations). But Larloch wants more, and it seems he will not rest until he has learned even the deepest secrets of arcane magic.

An important focus of his research has been the reconstruction of the foundation of all Netherese magic—the Nether Scrolls. Though their creation is beyond even his vast power, he has spent many centuries patiently searching for and gathering as many of the originals as he could. His collection totals seventeen scrolls in all, including the complete arcanis fundare—the chapter focused on the nature of magic itself. Though the Netherese believed that this chapter contained only the most basic knowledge, and existed only to prepare a reader for more advanced material in the succeeding chapters, like all the scrolls it changes to match the knowledge of its reader. From the arcanis fundare Larloch has drawn great insights into metamagic and epic spellcasting, and the nature of the Weave itself. This set of scrolls has formed the core of his arcane research, and even after over a millennium of study he continues to glean new revelations on the manipulation of magic. Having secured this chapter in its entirety, Larloch is less concerned with the others, though he plans to eventually secure a complete set.

Relationship with Mystra: Having survived the cataclysm that resulted from the death of Mystryl, Larloch values the goddess of magic—and the Weave she protects—very highly. Probably the only thing that could draw him out of his studies would be an imminent threat to Mystra or the Weave.

When the first Chosen of Mystra appeared, Larloch took note and spent many years observing and studying them very closely. When he was sure he understood correctly their purpose on Toril, he decided to never cross paths or interfere with them in any way. This should be considered in context, though. Larloch realizes that the destruction or malfunction of the Weave would mean the end of his research and the destruction of all he has accomplished in the last few millennia. He also receives many boons from Mystra—in exchange for disseminating many of his new discoveries, Mystra grants him great freedom in the research of mighty spells and the creation of powerful artifacts. In some ways the magic he works rivals that of ancient Netheril itself. (Note that two of the ten scrolls in his arcanis fundare were recieved directly from the Lady of Mysteries herself as a reward for completing an important task; they did not come from either of the original sets, though—Mystra crafted them personally.)

Activities and intentions: Had Larloch desired to conquer Faerûn, he probably could have—or at the very least taken control of a sizable piece. But he does not. Ruling nations does not interest him in the slightest—he had his fill of that in Netheril, and chose to step down some time before its destruction. He is, however, interested in creating and controlling a network of portals linking many planes and crystal spheres. Like all of his endeavors, this network would be used to advance his research, as the portals would be designed to relieve their users of powerful magic items, and record any arcane secrets contained in their minds. Though the portals themselves are simple enough to create (Larloch has personally visited more planes than almost anyone on Toril), the special enchantments are still proving problematic, even after various centuries of research. Never one to give up, Larloch plans to continue working on this problem until he perfects the process.

It is believed that Larloch is currently either looking for the Crown of Horns and the Scepter of the Sorcerer-Kings or has them in his possession.

Larloch is completely secure in his knowledge and power, and feels no need to compete with anyone. When invaders threaten, he destroys them without remorse. When visitors come peacefully, he often allows them to leave, provided they render him some service that advances his studies—often the acquisition of some artifact or tome that he requires. At least sixteen powerful Red Wizards have tried to kill him and take his power, but all failed. Zulkir Szass Tam, on the other hand, approached him peacefully in negotiations and received two powerful artifacts from his hand. In the end, though, Larloch wants nothing more than to be left alone, to study and experiment in peace.

Trivia: Larloch speaks a wide range of ancient and obscure tongues, including Loross, Aragrakh, and Seldruin, as well as a variety of more mundane languages. It is also known that he once possessed Tharkorsil’s Seat and gave the object to Szass Tam, Zulkir of Necromancy in Thay.


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