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In the Forgotten Realms, there once was the great magocracy of Netheril lead by the High Mages of Netheril, created in the year -2758 DR.

Who were/are the members of the High Mages of Netheril?

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The AD&D 2e boxed set Netheril: Empire of Magic provides a whole list of major NPCs that played a significant role in the 3500 years of Netherese history. Unfortunately none of the arcanists listed under the Silver Age were alive in 1101 NY (−2758 DR). Terraseer (one of the oldest beings on Toril, also known as Arthindol), Congenio Ioun (considered the first great arcanist of Netheril, inventor of ioun stones), Ioulaum (inventor of the mythallar) were around, but it is not clear whether they were amongst the members of the council named the High Mages of Netheril.

However, we know that in 1048 NY, the number of floating cities/enclaves was already 13 (page 7 of the Winds of Netheril from the boxed set). One of them had been raised by Iolaum, and he was the ruler of his city, Xinlenal. Given that the top arcanists are said to have formed the High Mages of Netheril, it is natural to assume that these included whoever raised those enclaves into air.

Another good resource to look for candidate members is the 3e book Lost Empires of Faerûn. A blog by Xaeyruudh gives a list of all the fifty something enclaves along with citations including page numbers. Unfortunately, only Xinlenal dates back to before 1101 NY. The earliest other enclaves we have data on are Akintaer (established by an unknown arcanist in 1173 NY), Palter (established by arcanist Halavar in 1217 NY), and Orbedal (established in 1247 NY, arcanist not listed).

The one person we are sure to have been one of the High Mages of Netheril is Lady Saharel, mentioned by Elminster in the novel Shadows of Doom and later in the 3e campaign adventure Anauroch: The Empire of the Shade (page 90). Her position as a political leader was confirmed in posts from January 2018 on the Candlekeep forums. However it is not clear which age Lady Saharel lived, so it is unclear if she was one of the High Mages in 1101 NY.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you mean “3.5 era”? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 23 '18 at 23:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I see: in the phrase “the 3.5 millennia of Netherese history”, you mean 3,500 years. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 24 '18 at 14:29
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Sources are incredibly vague (with Forgotten Realms Helps' History of Netheril merely listing them as "the leading arcanists of Low and High Netheril") but Champions of Ruin does describe Aumvor the Undying as one of the last Netherese Archmages though this doesn't necessarily mean he was on the council.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ your answer (though possibly correct and a completely valid answer) could be wrong so im putting the bounty on to see if anyone knows anything more. \$\endgroup\$ – rpgstar Oct 23 '18 at 9:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ According to the linked page from FR wiki Aumvor was "infamous since Netheril's Age of Discovery for his unmatched mastery over necromancy". Age of Discovery started 1500 years after the time period mentioned in the question. \$\endgroup\$ – ZwiQ Oct 23 '18 at 19:28
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In the Shadows of Doom by Ed Greenwood I have found one High mage:

... Sorceress of Saharelgard, of the High Mages of Netheril...

I don't know what page it is on sadly.

there are no names given and there is no indication as to how the members were chosen (since the council was formed before the first flying city and Saharelgard never owned a city in the sky).

I am still researching but that's the only one I've found so far.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My answer already included Lady Saharel and with the exact same reference and even more references. \$\endgroup\$ – ZwiQ Oct 26 '18 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ -1 for the other answer that highly researched the topic. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Oct 27 '18 at 13:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ The council was formed in 1101 NY, whereas the first flying city, Xinlenal, dates back to 905 NY (or even earlier, 866 NY according to Netheril:Empire of Magic), and by 1048 NY, the number of floating cities/enclaves was already 13. \$\endgroup\$ – ZwiQ Oct 27 '18 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer is bad compared to Zwiq's one. Flagged so moderation can have an eye on this thread. \$\endgroup\$ – Mouza Oct 27 '18 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I have to say, while in general self-answering is ok to do, self-answering a clearly worse answer and then accepting it is at a bare minimum in extremely poor taste and it leads people to surmise you are here for something other than getting good answers to gaming questions, the purpose of this site. We will keep an eye on the situation. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Oct 27 '18 at 16:54

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