It is known that the Duergar (a.k.a. Grey Dwarves, evil dwarves from the Underdark) were once slaves of the mind flayers, but then managed to break free. However, I can't find much information on how they broke free besides that their gods Laduguer and Deep Duerra were likely somehow involved.

I only have access to 5e material; the most I can find is in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, which has a small section of lore on the Duergar, but a lot of it seems like it's from the perspective of the Duergar, their legends and beliefs rather than "what actually happened".

I have found the following:

Their period of enslavement and the revolt against the mind flayers led by their god, Laduguer, purged the influence of the other dwarves gods from their souls and thus made them into a superior race.

Duergar, p. 77

Two mythic figures who were long ago responsible for the duergar's liberation [from the mind flayers, presumably] have achieved divinity in the eyes of their supplicants.

Duergar Deities, p. 79

According to legend, Deep Duerra stole the power of psionics from the mind flayers and gifted it to her people. Her command of it was so great that she dominated a mind flayer colony and turned the illithids into her slaves. [It's unclear if this statement has anything to do with the Duergar breaking free of their enslavement, since this could equally just be some act of revenge]

Deep Duerra, p. 79

Also known as the Grim One, Laduguer was a mighty duergar warrior who liberated his people from the illithds. Laduguer entered into a pact with Asmodeus, pledging the duergar to an alliance against Lolth and the demons of the Abyss in exchange for which Laduguer received a spark of divinity from Abbathor himself [presumably to help with the uprising against the illithids].

Laduguer, p. 79

So the two Duergar gods, who were just normal duergar at the time (?) helped liberate their people, effectively their equivalent of Gith and Zerthimon (but without the infighting afterwards). Also that Laduguer made deals with devils to gain divinity, which I assume was before/during the revolt, not afterwards.

Besides that, the Forgotten Realms fandom page on Duergar says this:

Eventually, they rose up against their captors and gained their freedom from the mind flayers.[9]

It appears to cite a 3e (or 3.5e?) book, but I don't have access to that book so cannot look for more information within.

How, exactly, did the Duergar break free of the mind flayers? Do we have any more information to go on from previous editions of D&D, or is "Laduguer made deals with devils, then he and Deep Duerra somehow freed their people" the best we've got? Even with regards to the gith gaining their freedom, we know that red dragons of Tiamat were involved, I'm hoping there's a bit more out there about the Duergar too...

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just FYI the 3e description I found isn't any different than what you already have. You are asking specifically for history on the uprising, not just that they fought back in a general sense? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 18, 2020 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @J.Wagner I'll take either, any history of the uprising, or any info on how they fought back in a general sense; basically any other significant details that the 5e lore I found doesn't include. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Feb 18, 2020 at 16:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @J.Wagner Thanks for confirming that 3e basically says what 5e says, though. That's good to know... Even if the answer I get is a disappointing "nope, that's you're lot", at least I know that everything I've found is all there is... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Feb 18, 2020 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Clarifying, the 3E book cited in the Wiki was the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition \$\endgroup\$ Feb 18, 2020 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


The relevant book is the 3.x sourcebook The Grand History of the Realms, but unfortunately it doesn't go into much detail on the how, merely that it happened and when.

Their original enslavement comes from the Grand History on page 19:

–8100 DR to –8080 DR

The Mindstalker Wars: The illithids of Oryndoll attack the eastern subkingdoms of Shanatar, beginning a conflict that came to be known as the Mindstalker Wars among the dwarves and the War of Cloven Thoughts among the mind flayers. The illithids are driven back, but in their wake the surviving Stout Folk discover that the caverns of Barakuir, which had been cut off in the early days of fighting, lie empty. Clan Duergar had been carried back to thralldom in the mind flayers’ realm. After millennia of enslavement and countless illithid breeding experiments, the descendants of Clan Duergar are transformed into a new dwarf subrace, the gray dwarves.

It is to note, that clan Duergar blame other dwarves for essentially abandoning them during these wars, which is where their hatred comes from. This is partially borne out by other history snippets in the text.

As to when they broke free, it is detailed on page 27 of the Grand Realms, but as noted above it only really details that it happened, not how:

c. –4000 DR

The duergar rebel against their illithid masters and eventually free themselves of the mind flayers’ dominion. These newly liberated gray dwarves carve out their own holdings in the northern Underdark, beneath the Orsraun Mountains, and in isolated caverns deep beneath the Great Glacier.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to be clear, your first quote details their initial capture, leading to them becoming slaves; is that correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Feb 18, 2020 at 16:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS - Correct. As those were the majority of the mentions of them, I provided it for context. \$\endgroup\$
    – JohnP
    Feb 18, 2020 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough, thanks for that. So, as you say, regarding them freeing themselves, it only really mentions that it happened (as per the last quote), not how it happened... \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Feb 18, 2020 at 16:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS - Unfortunately. And some of the new lore is in conflict with older lore. The Ecology article (dragon mag 325) on Duergar states that Laduguer willed himself into being, and created the Duergar himself. \$\endgroup\$
    – JohnP
    Feb 18, 2020 at 16:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ FR's own lore doesn't have to agree perfectly with old dragon articles. Either way, I've also had a quick rummage through other FR resources I could find that describe either duergar or mind flayer history, but none of them offered any more detail. I suspect it's simply "a thing that happened a very long time ago." \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Feb 18, 2020 at 17:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .