Tales From the Yawning Portal
Prof. Firble Gemscriber
Svirfneblin Professor of Archaeology
When adventuring Prof. Firble Gemscriber is usually found wearing his khaki expedition gear. He has a full white beard and moustache, bushy eyebrows and faded familial tattoos on his bald head with various symbols related to the magical aspects of gemscribing.
Firble grew up in Blingdenstone as the oldest child of Durthmeck and Durthee Gemscriber. On his mother’s side he comes from a long line of expert gemscribers. Gemscribing is a rare svifneblin art that involves the fine etching of genealogies, important texts and even magical symbols onto jewels and other precious stones. Firble was a bit of a difficult apprentice to his mother because he always became far more interested in the texts he was supposed scribing then the art of doing so beautifully and precisely. Frustrated with her bookish son’s constant distraction, Durthee finally agreed to send him to study on the Surface at Candlekeep with a large gem inscribed with the history of Blingdenstone as his tuition and entry fee to the library.
Through many years of hard study and research, Firble gained a measure of respect as a scholar of ancient history and archaeology. He gained a professorship at the University and immersed himself when not teaching immersed himself in his true passion: the history and ruins of Ancient Netheril. As soon as he gained his professorship, Firble began sending petition after petition requesting to study at the last living remnant of the Netherese Empire the glorious flying city of Thultanthar, or the Shade Enclave.
For many years, Firble’s petitions were ignored. However, some 25 years ago Firble was approached by a cloaked figure who offered him membership in a secret organization known as the Shade Fanatics seeking to spread the power and influence of the Shade Enclave. At first, the professor was quite skeptical of joining a cult that seemed be devoted to Netheril with a pseudo-religious fervor. But then Firble found out about the free spoken Netherese classes and Tuesday discussion groups that were offered to new initiates, and he joined most enthusiastically.
Prof. Gemscriber served as the “scholar-in-residence” of the Waterdeep chapter of the Shade Fanatics for a few years. This was of course, a position the professor invented for himself, and abused to the full extent to continue petitioning the cult’s Netherese leaders for permission to study at the City of Shade itself. Eventually Firble’s relentless pestering wore down the skeptical Shadovars, and he received permission to travel to Thultanthar which was then flying near Myth Drannor. As Firble drew near the last living remnant of his life-long passion, he was devastated to see the City of Shade come tumbling down from the sky destroying both itself and Myth Drannor and the process. Crushed (figuratively not literally), Prof. Gemscriber returned to his position at the University at Candlekeep after what amounted to a very long sabbatical.
Recently, Prof. Gemscriber has heard many rumors of ancient ruins that need exploring by a competent archaeologist. When an old friend, Ausatali Shalkalasali wrote to tell him about a group of adventurers exploring the Sunless Citadel, Prof. Gemscriber threw together his gear and left on a grand adventure.