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Elminster is an old-ass wizard from Forgotten Realms, oft-cited as one of the main reasons why that setting sucks shit. He's powerful enough to solve any problem that would challenge PCs, and no real reason not to do so which isn't utterly contrived. He's an Urza figure without the apathy or plane-ruining fuckups. Oh, and he's also Ed Greenwood's self-insert, the original Mary Sue of Faerûn from before Drizzt was a thing.

He's slept with more women than Greenwood ever will, including Mystra, the Goddess of Magic. Just because. Dude's left so many single moms and fathered so many bastards that one of the novels centers around one of his abandoned daughters robbing his home, and he lures her in to be used as a pawn in fighting a conspiracy of wizards. What a dick.

He used to be part of an article series in Dragon Magazine called The Wizards Three, where he would meet up with two other wizards to swap tales, gorge on Earthly junk food, and share custom spells, which were reprinted at the article's end for use in your D&D games.

Not to mention that he is an ally of the Harpers. The organization that is (in part, the other being the gods themselves) responsible for Forgotten Realms to be locked permanently in a state of medieval stasis (due to them taking away all the various technologies made by people even if those technologies are beneficial to everyone). Thus he, along with them, is the reason why nothing changed in the setting.

Despite the whole Mary Sue levels he generates, Elminster didn't always used to be some OP Wizard like he is these days. Back in the past, when D&D was new and Forgotten Realms was slowly shaping itself, Elminster used to be a max-level Wizard with additional abilities other Wizards didn't have access to and some nice gear. His only shtick was appearing as a ex-machina to the players in case the latter had a really hard time with a truly difficult situation.

His Greyhawk counterpart is Mordenkainen, being the supreme (and supremely-useless) wizard of that world and Gygax's self-insert.

Reason why Elminster doesn't do crap[edit]

There is a reason that is explained in the novels of why he doesn't kill every badass evil wizard and that is mainly the collateral damage.

Imagine two epic level wizards duking it out in your region. Odds are the entire region is going to go tits up and be quite a bit of a damaged wasteland for quite awhile. It would most likely be the equivalent of a nuclear bomb going off.

So yea, there is a reason that he doesn't man up and go after every BBEG in the setting. But then again there are more BBEG in Forgotten Realms than there are good wizards so let that sink in for you... Except that's not how wizards fight. They buff themselves up, teleport in, cast time stop, and then cast four save or dies at the other guy.