D&D Next: Lords of Waterdeep?
The Nether Eidola are famous works of magical literature that were originally thought to have been written in the northern enclaves of ancient Netheril, but the authenticity of the series’ scholarship has been in question for over a hundred years.
The Asram political philosopher Zichan was originally credited with compiling the Nether Eidola and it was widely believed that he spent considerable time and effort discovering many tracts, scrolls, and primers thought to be lost after the Fall of Netheril. However, over a hundred years ago, Mencius Chamaeleon started teaching the unpopular hypothesis that Zichan wrote the Nether Eidola himself and the compendium had first been published under a different name. He pointed to certain inconsistencies in the writing that did not match up with the time period they were have supposed to been written in.
Many years later, Chamaeleon’s teachings took hold among some Halruaan sages, most of whom were closely associated with his friends and allies in that city. They demanded the Nether Eidola be released from the Drakaina, the infamous library-fortress of Nimbral. They wished to bring the documents under new and intense scrutiny, in hopes of ratifying Chamaeleon’s claims. They were blocked by the Nimbral high council until well after Chamaeleon’s death.
Currently there are several copies of the Nether Eidola in circulation and most respected Nimbral, Halruaan, and Calishite scholars of Netheril can gain access to the omnibus held in the Drakaina, but it would take another Nimbral scholar, Nepthus of Teyr, to corroborate Chamaeleon’s claims before the government would release the documents to scholars without ties to the council.
Another controversy was begat with the further study of the Eidola by Nimbral mages led by Boethus of the West. His Limnian Findings suggest that Zichan did not write or even collate the Nether Eidola.The Limnians proposed that the work was done by unknown Nimbral scholars with enough expertise to pen very convincing forgeries. Though the Limnian Findings created an uproar, it’s impact in Nimbral was softened by national pride; only mages of Nimbral had the requisite expertise to pass off their writing as the work of Netheril. Chamaelic scholars were asked (somewhat shamefacedly) to substantiate the Limnian Findings, but the theory remains most popular in Nimbral. Most Halruaans and Chamaelic scholars say their isn’t enough evidence to know whether they were created in Nimbral or not.
Regardless of their origins, the Nether Eidola are superb resources for research into ancient Netheril. If the reader is fluent in Netherese and has an appropriate study guide, they provide a DC 20 Lore ability check to Arcana directly related to late Netheril and a DC 20 history check for certain of Netheril’s northern enclaves. They give a DC 14 lore history check for Netheril in general. Mages with formal training from Halruaa and Nimbral do not need a study guide; regardless, due to the difficulty of the material, first time readers must succeed at a DC 13 Arcana check to use the tomes. The DC increases by 1 for each failed check, in addition to giving the reader disadvantage for retrying.