Friday, 27 August 2021

History of the South, Part 3: Collapse


“To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; 
and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace.”
― Tacitus

New Lands
The Flan found that there were a great many lands to be had in the Flanaess. They spread north and east, ever mindful of the benevolence of the olve, and ever mindful of their taxed tolerance as well.
But where their migrations were peaceful, there were those whose weren’t. The Olman were ever warlike, and forever cruel wherever they might settle. They would abide no others in sight of their settlements, even if those others had settled those lands long before them. Those Tuov would have to make way, they reasoned, if they could not make proper use of those lands that were destined to be Olman. The Tuov were of a different opinion.
As were those Baklunish and Oerid that found themselves in the path of Suel expansionism.

c. -1000 CY
The Earth Dragon
Once, the Pomarj was a peaceful peninsula, inhabited by primitive Flan who worshipped powers of earth and sky.
Ages ago, before humans laid claim to this monstrous peninsula, an ancient spirit, the Earth Dragon, rise to claim this land its own. In those early days of the Flanaess, the Earth Dragon was but one of many spirits worshipped by the primitive people of the Pomarj. It was the elemental spirit of Mount Drachenkopf the great mountain lying in the heart of the Drachensgrab Hills, and it was said to dwell deep in the heart of that mountain. Like other spirits of the land, the Earth Dragon demanded sacrifices from the local tribesmen. Those tribes that sacrificed to the Earth Dragon prospered, while those that did not were destroyed by avalanches and earthquakes. […]
Before the great migrations that transformed the Flanaess, the nomadic Flannae were the only humans to live in this sparsely populated land. The tribes of Flannae that wandered the Sheldomar Valley knew of the Earth Dragon and respected its power. But, since the Drachensgrab Hills made travel difficult, the Flannae tended to avoid the region, leaving sacrifices of food and wine only when they needed to ensure safe passage. [Slavers – 120]

c -1000 CY
Just as the Flan were migrating into the Pomarj, so too were the Olman beginning their mass migration from Hepmonaland unto the Olman Islands, and into the Amedio jungle, and beyond, into the southern seas.
They had little choise. The Tuov struck back at the warlike Olman, loath to accept their northern neighbour’s raids and subsequent slaughters any longer. And as the Tuov pressed the Olman ever further back into their jungles, they were horrified to discover the dark depravities the Olman had sunk to.
The monsters of Alocotla spread into the countryside, diluting their tainted blood with the remaining humans, eventually drawing all of them into the cold embrace of the serpent-men. The human aspects of the yuan-ti of this nation have Olman traits, while their snake parts are predominately dark green with red or black patterns.
Although most Olman fled Hepmonaland when invading Tuov proved too strong, those of Alocotla stayed and fought, managing to retain control of much of their territories. They fought occasional wars against the neighboring city0states, spied on their Xapatlapoan cousins, and seemed mostly content to rule their own lands. [SB – 47]

The Shores of the Amedio
The Olman arrived from Hepmonaland around -1000 CY, long after the d’kana vanished. Finding this new land largely uninhabited by intelligent foes, the Olman burned off large swaths of jungle to make their progress through the Amedio easier, stopping when they found sites of which their gods approved. They built great cities, burning away the nearby jungle to make room for farmland. Seven cities were built, each surrounded by villages and farming communities. The land around each city was considered a kingdom, with the city its capital, but all city-states owed allegiance to the high capital city in the central Amedio.
[SD – 62]

Though uninhabited by civilised cultures now, the Olman discovered evidence that this was not always so.
The Olman had discovered remnants of the troglodyte culture and declared that their civilization had fallen because the gods judged them lacking. [SD – 63]

The Isle of Dread
The Isle of Dread

The Olman have lived on the Isle of Dread for countless ages in small villages separated from the body of the island by a gigantic wall.
[Dragon #351 – 70]
The Olman are a remarkable people whose traditions remain unsullied by the rising forces of commerce, industry, and corruption.
The human tribes of the Olman have existed on the Isle of Dread as far back as their stories stretch. Decended from the once-great Olman theocrats of the sprawling city-state of Thanaclan, their capital city is now nothing more than a mist-shrouded ruin filled with horrors that have driven mad the stoutest men. Their dieties of old are now worshiped as powerful totems, granting the dark-skinned natives power over life and death. Seven tribes live southeast of the Great Wall on the Isle of Dread: Burowoao, Dawa, Kirikuka, Mora, Panitube, Tanaroans, and Usi. [Dragon #352 – 70,71]
The Olman are divided into four clans, each of which venerates a fierce animal: the elk, hawk, tiger, and sea turtle. Each clan has its own proud traditions and rituals, but each comes to the defense of the others in times of crisis. While the leader of each clan is male, the leader of each village is female, ensuring a balance of power and opinions. Olman are not afraid if outsiders, instead finding them curious and almost foolish with their determination to explore the deadly island. [Dragon #351 – 71]
While they are dedicated to their tribes, numerous individuals have left over the years to explore the world beyond. [Dragon #351 – 70,71]
Other Olman tribes exist beyond the wall, but no peaceful contact has been recorded with these cannibalistic savages whose war drums herald only slaughter and madness. [Dragon #352 – 71]

-805 CY
The Black Heart of the Amedio
Tentative at first, the Olman plunged into the black heart of the Amedio from their first coastal cities, slashing back the jungle as they raised their first cities, burning the clears to farm, and cutting paths between those towns that crouched under the oppressive and sweltering canopy.
They adapted to the Amedio’s harsh life, not so dissimilar to what they once knew in Hepmonaland. Before long, their scattered settlements took shape and form, until they had truly become a nation again.
The starting year of the Amedio Olman calendar is -805 CY, the year the Olman of the Amedio themselves the true Olman nation. [SB – 64]
As this region varies little from season to season, the calendar is based on cycles of Luna and Celene, which the Olman call Mazlateotl and Apocatequil. Each nation adopted different names for the months and days based on their own patron gods and high priests, so there are too many variants to list, although numerically the calendars are identical. [SB – 64]

c. -800 CY
Early Olman Amedio Settlements
While these city-states initially considered themselves colonies of the Hepmonaland Olman empire, all seven had declared themselves independent before -800 CY, when they discovered that the old empire was dead. From that point forward, the Amedio Olman considered themselves the true Olman civilization.
The new Olman empire extended from the southernmost jungles of the Amedio through the Olman Islands and also onto the northern part of Hepmonaland, as well as a few scattered settlements on the Tilvanot peninsula. [SD – 62]

Xamaclan Warrior
Their nation did not last long. The Olman nature railed against such subjection, and confinement. The Olman desire, above all else, their freedom. Before too long, each and every city-state colony revolted, and, and by this time, all seven had declared themselves independent. (OL 6)

Several hundred tribes live in the Amedio Jungle, each regularly warring with, conquering and being absorbed by others. As such, little effort is made for a distinct totem or symbol for each tribe, with individuals choosing a favorite animal or color as their personal icon. Only Telaneteculi, Hucanuea and Xamaclan retain true heraldic symbols: a bat-like humanoid on a field of green, a jaguar’s head on a mottled brown and green, and an eye superimposed on a ziggurat, respectively. [SB – 62]

-728 CY
The Red Death has been with the peoples of Oerth for a very long time, indeed.
When did it begin sweeping the land and culling its people? That has been lost to the fog of Time. But its first recorded appearance was devastating. The Suel prayed for protection, wondering why their gods had forsaken them so. When prayer failed them, their lamentations did little better, nor the burning of incense, nor the wards of blood painted upon their lintels, nor the thick black columns of smoke curling up into the heavens from the innumerable sacrifices pledged of goat, of sacred calf, nor even of their firstborn sons. Soon, they took to cowering within their huts and their palaces and estates, wondering how long it might be before every last one of the chosen people would fell victim to its burning.
The empire slips into stagnation. Numerous plagues sweep through the Seul Empire, some magical and some mundane. The population falls by over 40%. Many towns are completely emptied, and the border defenses are greatly weakened. This is the first year of those known as "The Plague Years." (4788 SD) [OJ1]

-720 CY
The Olman Refused To Go Willingly
Those Olman who remained in Hepmonaland refused to go willingly. Indeed, they fought the Touv with the ferocity of the jaguar, and the stealth and speed of the viper, until the Tuov feared the twilight under the jungle canopy. But the Tuov would not be pressed back out of their hard gained territory. They raised crenelated walls and palisades, redouts and fortresses as the pushed ever forward, eager to be rid of the Olman once and for all. Until they could push no more. (689 TC)
As the Tuov swept north to drive out the Olman, they built fortifcations to defend their newly conquered lands. The northernmost fort was Anatal, built in -720 CY at the base of the Fyalo hills, at the edge of the jungle close to the sea.  [SB – 47]

-645 CY
Johydee's Mask
The repeated outbreaks of plague, the Red Death had weakened the Imperium perceptibly. It could patrol its borders. It could keep vigil against invasion; but it could no longer safeguard its borders and suppress its conquered, allowing those subjugated by its tyranny to dream of emancipation. The notion of Freedom was as virulent as was the Red Death.
The Oeridian High Priestess Johydee using her Mask, breaks the Oeridian free from Seul domination. (1 OR\-645 CY) [OJ1]

-644 CY
Free at last, the Oerid vowed that they would never be subjugated again. The Suel sent what troops they could spare, but no number proved enough against the fury of the Oeridians.
After repeated attempts by both the Seul and Bakluni to regain control of the Oeridian tribes, Johydee breaks the Oeridians away from the control of the Seul. The tribes swear the Oath of Unity. This oath places allows for the common defense of Oeridian tribes under one War Leader, the First War Leader (styled Herzog) is Chenil of Aerdy. (4871 SD) [OJ1]

-627 CY
The Red Death had left the Imperium vulnerable, and the Bakluni knew it. And they meant that the Suel should pay for their raids upon Bakluni territories, their conquering, their slaving, and their supposed racial superiority.
The population begins to recover, but the Bakluni peace begins to break down. Raids become frequent. (4889 SD)

-604 CY
Strife is rife within the Imperium. The people are displeased with their nobility—that is no matter, as the people invariably always are, and are of no account—but more importantly, the Great Houses of the Suloise nobility were not pleased with the state of their state.
The first of the Succession Wars. The Schnai are removed from the throne. (4912 SD) [OJ1]

c. –600 CY
A Need for Stealth
One must never believe the Olman incapable on ingenuity. They could not chase their prey through dense jungle; nor could they stalk unheard. Even the draw of a bowstring alerted their ever-vigilant prey. And prey needed to fall quickly, lest they be lost in the tangle of the jungle, taking their arrows with them. The Olman discovered that a dab of poison on a slender needle could accomplish when bows and arrows and spears could rarely do, and quickly too.
Most [Olman tribes of the Amedio] use the blowgun, which was developed by [them] about 1200 years ago; it is commonly used when stealthy attack is needed. [SB – 65]

-558 CY
Sulm was a tainted land, an evil land. One wonders if that might be the legacy of Galap-Dreidel and his wicked ways. Mayhaps it is. More likely, Sulm was doomed by the hubris and sins of its rulers; and that Galap-Dreidel, wherever he had flown to, looked on at the folly of his successors and laughed at their foolishness, and their myopic vision.
Shattados, mage-king of Sulm and his entire people are translated into Scorpion Men. (4948 SD/1583 FT) [OJ1]

Finally, after a long slide into decadence, the land's last king, a sorcerer named Shattados, appealed to one of his wicked deities for a boon, a magical item which would enable him to be his people's unquestioned ruler.
Shattados's Wish
Shattados's wish was granted, but in a way that both he and the Sulm people would soon regret. A crown appeared to him in the shape of a great scorpion. Eagerly, Shattados donned it, expecting it to simply bend others to his will. It did far more. The gods of evil are possessed of a perverse sense of humor, and Shattados was about to be the victim of an unpleasant practical joke. In an agonizing moment, he was transformed into a monstrous scorpion and his people into the wild manscorpions which still plague the desert. In less than a day, the kingdom of Sulm ceased to exist, and perhaps, far away, in an isolated corner of an evil plane, dark laughter echoed. Those nomads and centaurs who were not citizens of Sulm were unaffected by the curse and soon returned to their nomadic lifestyles, fighting each other and the manscorpions with equal vigor. Within a few generations, the kingdom of Sulm had vanished from memory, and the desert was as it always had been.
 [WG3 – 15]

-505 CY
The last of the Succession Wars. After 500 years with the succession falling to nine different Houses, the House Zolax regains control of the Imperium. (5011 SD) [OJ1]

-504 CY
The Bakluni withdraw their ambassador from the Seuloise Empire when Zunid-ad-Zol, the Prince of House Zolax is crowned Emperor of the Seul Peoples. (5012 SD) [OJ1]

-490 CY
Regular Mass Sacrifices
The emperors of the Olman are omnipotent, omniscient; so say the priests of the Olman. Yet so too are those chosen to walk the path of faith, decreed to do so by the very gods themselves. It is a precarious balance, at best, a tenuous equilibrium of politics and power, so long as the interests of the emperor and the priesthoods align, so long as the precognitions of the priests declare that the gods approve of and are in agreement with the edicts of the emperor. So it was. So it shall always be, so long as the wheels of the Olman calendar turn. When the interests diverge, the gods’ Will be done. (OL 316)
Chetanicantla was once the capital of the Amedio Olman empire. It and the other city-states prospered in typical Olman fashion, with frequent raids into the countryside and regular mass sacrifices to the Olman gods, until -490 CY when Emperor Tloqasikukuatl was assassinated by priests of Zaotzilaha. This plunged the empire into open warfare between the noble houses and priests, each ordering their personal guards into the frey. [SB – 65]

Other cities became involved [….] The imperial army retaliated […] and went on to sack the cities [….] [SB – 65]

The city-states prospered for over 500 years, but eventually they turned on each other in a series of destructive internal wars over control of certain mines, choice of emperor and religious differences. [SB – 62, 63]

The Olman of the Amedio worship the same gods as their cousins in Hepmonaland. Regional differences account for minor name changes or differences in appearance. Two points to note are alternate names for two Olman powers. The god Tezcatlipoca is worshipped under a different aspect by some Amedio Olman; as god of the moon and lightning, he is known as Apocatequil. The bat-god Camazotz is worshipped as Zotzilaha, who includes an aspect of vampirism and the underworld. [SB – 64]

-485 CY
Two empires cannot remain posed on the brink of conflict forever. Sooner or later, something’s got to give. Tensions rise as they stare one another down, each sure the other will break the precarious peace. If there had ever been peace, and not just a pause.
Beginning of the Baklunish-Suloise Wars. (5031 SD) [WOGA – 9]

Just over one thousand years ago, two ancient western empires, the Suel and the Baklunish, were enmeshed in titanic conflict. The root of animosity between them is lost, but the result of their final war haunts even the modem historian. [WOGG 3e – 3]

The beginning of "The Great War." Nine thousand Bakluni are slaughtered in the Salhaut Pass. Munid promises to destroy the Bakluni entirely, even if the majority of mages of his own house die in the process. (5031 SD) [OJ1]

Emperor Ad-Zol sends 9000 troops across the mountains to punish the black-haired northerners. Bakluni Padishah Ramif sent similar number to meet these troops. Battle of Fields of Padyr fought to inconclusive end.) [OJ1]

The Great War
“The start of the Great War surprised no one. For longer than a year, raiders from both nations stormed across the Haut Range, pillaging and burning homes and farms on either side of the great mountains. In the spring of 5031 SD Emperor Ad-Zol sent nine thousand troops across the mountains to punish the black-haired northerners. They were met on the fields of Padyr by a comparable force sent by the Bakluni Padishah Ramif; after a pitched battle that lasted almost three days, the armies had annihilated one another. The handful of surviving warriors from the Emperor’s army retreated to their homeland and reported imminent invasion by the foul Bakluni, and the very air that my people breathed became charged with the fervor of war.”
—from the Journal of Kavelli Mauk [SB – 2]

The Suel Peoples, mainly fleeing from the great wars in the Suloise Empire, moved northwards through the Kendeen (Harsh) Pass of the southern Crystalmist Mountains (now known as the Hellfurnaces) and spread out in all directions. [Folio – 5]

-466 CY
Endless war is a taxing affair. It wastes a nation’s youth and bright future. Better that the Oerid and the orcs and hobgoblins shed their blood rather than those regals to the north and south who employed them, those very same nobles reasoned.
First employment of humanoid mercenaries. WOGG – 9
Both Bakluni and Seuloise began to go east of the mountains, recruiting Humanoids as mercenaries in their battles for the first time. (5050 SD) [OJ1]

-458 CY
Refugees
Stalemate threatened both empires. Neither could gain ground, having long since dug in and fortified the undulating front. They needed a breakthrough, if there were to be an end to this bloody affair. To that end, if they could not flank the front, they would flank the war. Both Balkuni and Suel armies spilled into the lands of the Oerid, in hope of taking their bitter foes by surprise. Both were slowed by the Oeridians, who took offence at their lands being so sorely used, and attacked both. The Oeridians fought as best they could, but pinched betwixt two fronts, they had allies, no supply, and no hope to repel either. Soon, they reeled, with little hope other than retreat.
Oerid migrations [at] peak point. (187 OR) WOGA – 9

Heeding their prophets, many Oeridians began moving eastward, coming into contact and conflict with the Flanae. (5058 SD/ 1693 FT) [OJ1]

The fierce Oeridian tribes likewise moved east, thrusting aside Flan and Suloise in their path. The Oerid migrations were similar in cause to those of the Suel, in that the Baklunish-Suloise Wars, and the hordes of Euroz and associated humanoid groups used as mercenaries by both sides, tended to pillage northwards and eastwards, driving the Oerids before them. [Folio – 5]



“Listen to me
Ooh war, I despise
'Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears, to thousands of mother's eyes
When their sons go off to fight and lose their lives…”
--Excerpt from War, by Edwin Starr, 1970
Songwriters: Whitfield Norman Jesse, Strong Barrett





One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable.
Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.” Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
The Isle of Dread map, by Robert Lazzaretti, from Dungeon #143, 2007
 
Sources:
1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood, 1999
11742 Gazetteer, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazeteer, 2000
Ivid the Undying, 1998
Dragon Magazine, 351
OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
LGJ et. al.
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer

Friday, 20 August 2021

Thoughts on: Slavers, Part 4, My Alternate Narrative

 

“The Princess Bride
S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure
You had to admire a guy who called his own new book a classic before it was published and anyone had a chance to read it.”
― William Goldman, The Princess Bride


Stalman Klim
Part 4. It’s only fitting that there should be 4 parts to this “review,” seeing that the original A-series was in 4 parts. I did not plan on that. I intended it to be 1 post. When that failed, I was certain that it would be 2. God willing, it will remain 4.
Why 4? Because Slavers is a big book. Adventure. Gazetteer. It covers a lot of ground. Thus: Part 1 was all about the goings on in the north; Part 2, that in the south; and Part 3 entailed the original underlying premise, and my misgivings about certain aspects of it.

What would I do differently?
Let’s begin with what I wouldn’t.
I would not mess with the arc of the adventure. At all. It’s a brilliant sandbox.

That said….
The whole adventure hinges on the Earth Dragon and Stalman Klim’s desire to spread the worship, far afield, of a demigod that has never once exhibited the desire to venture anywhere.
I would change that. Not the Earth Dragon’s reticence, but Klim’s motives.

Let us agree that the Earth Dragon is indeed an ancient nature spirit that has, over millennia, ascended to demigod status due to worship by, and sacrifice from, the primitive Flan tribes who migrated into the Pomarj.
Let us also agree that an Oerid, in the name of Baron Erkin, made a pact with it, and through it, was able to subjugate the entire peninsula under his rule.
We can also agree, without any doubt, that in 513 CY, [towards the end of the Hateful Wars] the ravaged and vengeful armies [of the humanoids] emerged from the Suss and descended upon Highport in a frenzy of destruction. [LGG – 88]

But I propose that Stalman Klim was not from Suderham at all (eliminating his need to escape from the centre of an occupied, and ravaged, Pomarj), but from the Hold of the Sea Princes, where he and his brother, Feetla, had sometime ago come into contact with the Scarlet Brotherhood as it slowly infiltrated all levels of society there, in preparation for their grand strike to come.
Key Sea Princes and Hepmonaland holdings are being infiltrated by the so-called "Black Brotherhood," a sect devoted to entropy (Tharizdun). [LGG – 98]

Last, and perhaps worst of all, the agents of the north reported that the Scarlet Brotherhood did not worship proper gods, but instead gave tribute to dread Tharizdun, the Great Destroyer.
Needless to say, such reports frightened the rulers of the Flanaess, who turned to their own trusted advisers and agents in conference to plan strategies to deal with the growing threat. Unfortunately, many such advisers were themselves Brotherhood agents, and advised caution and patience in the matter. In time, they reasoned, the Brotherhood would reveal themselves, and could be dealt with as the rabble they certainly were. [LGG – 96, 98]

Most are lawful evil in alignment and include a few warriors, some mages, and a handful of priests. These priests remain extremely secretive about their religion, which is not exported to the new dominions the Brotherhood holds. One terrible name has been mentioned in this context: Tharizdun. [FTAA – 35]

Some might suggest that the Brotherhood, in accordance with the wishes of the Father of Obedience, was forbade to spread word of Tharizdun, and that the Brotherhood does not actually worship that dark lord. This would be true. For the most part. But there are some who disagree with The Father of Obedience. The forementioned Black Brotherhood, for instance.
Religion: Tharizdun (claimed by Brotherhood agents but not actually worshiped, except by Black Brotherhood) [LGG – 96]

Brother Milerjoy
The Scarlet Brotherhood would have been on the lookout for disgruntled Princes of Suloise extraction in the Hold of the Sea Princes, and they found what they were looking for in Feetla and Stalman Klim. Feetla and Stalman’s family had once been powerful in the Hold, but no more. They had sought dominion over the others. They failed and were put to the sword as they tried to escape the wrath of their peers, until only Feetla and Stalman remained, living in exile since, driven by the desire to bring vengeance down on those who had banished them.
Feetla certainly does; and so too did Stalman, once, until agents of the Brotherhood showed him the power that could be had from worship of the Elder Elemental Eye. Stalman was seduced by it, and over time, the Elemental Eye lured him from his original path. Feetla still believes his brother is working to the same purpose as he, and Stalman has led him to believe as much.
Elder Elemental Eye Domains: Chaos, Evil, Madness […], and one of the following: Fire, Earth, Air, or Water. [Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil – 161]

The Elder Elemental Eye is an “aspect” of Tharizdun, the Dark God, created originally to mask the cult from the eyes of the world and draw potential worshipers interested in dark power but afraid of the reputation of the Tharizdun.
So, despite the fact that many of the worshipers of the Elder Elemental Eye do not know it, and despite the fact that the two deities have different granted domains, Tharizdun and the Elder Elemental Eye are the same deity. [RttToEE – 161]

Tharizdun. Universal. Evil. Eternal dark, decay, malign knowledge. [T1-4 – 120]
Tharizdun Domains: Chaos, Evil, Madness, Force, and Destruction [RttToEE – 161]
Clerics of the Elder Elemental Eye wear ochre-colored robes and bear a triangle symbol (a black triangle with an inverted Y inscribed within it). Occasionally, their robes or the symbol are altered so that they reflect what element (fire, air, earth or water) they revere over the others, if any. [RttToEE – 161]

Stalman knew that the “good” folk of the Hold of the Sea Princes would never abide the worship of a god such as the Elemental Eye, let alone Tharizdun.
The Hold of the Sea Princes:
Alignments: CN*, CE, N, NE, LE
Religions: Osprem, Xerbo, Procan, Norebo, Kelanen (native Holders); Syrul, Bralm [LGG – 100]

That said, they were not above taking income from taking slaves, were they?
The land here is fertile and suitable for farming all manner of crop. Fruit production is perhaps the Hold's most famous industry, though a traffic in slavery brought it the most prewar enemies (and whole ships filled with coin, thanks to the greedy lords of Ahlissa and elsewhere). In fact, the slave trade of the Sea Princes was so lucrative that captains called their captured Amedio slaves "two-legged admirals," referring to the platinum coinage of the realm. [LGG – 101]

A Base of Operations
The Klims needed a base from which to plot their return and revenge, and their friends in the Scarlet Brotherhood were only too accommodating, proposing an island they were in possession of off the coast of the Hellfurnaces, in Jeklea Bay, where they had once consecrated a temple to Bralm. It was abandoned then, and ideal, they said, for staging the Klims’ upcoming coup.
Despite this, the brothers did not wholly trust the Brotherhood. What was in in for them, they wondered?
The Scarlet Brotherhood owed Klim favors after all the years he spent feeding them information about the Wild Coast and slaves. Through these allies, he secured a retreat: an abandoned monastery once occupied by devotees to Bralm. Then he pressed the Brotherhood to provide him with a clone. [Dungeon #215 – 32]

Their distrust aside, things were looking up for the Klims. They had friends, allies! But the Dark Mysteries the Brotherhood had introduced Stalman to had already begun to loosen his grasp on sanity. Stalman began to see plots everywhere.
Aside from the usual precautions—employing food-tasters, never being without a personal guard, never using his true name (he was known as Mordrammo to his underlings, a name meaning “I am Death”), and keeping word of recall in mind—he also took steps to survive the unthinkable. [Dungeon #215 – 32]

[“I am Death,” certainly does point more so in the direction of the Elder Eye, and less towards the Earth Dragon, doesn’t it?]
Those who know the truth are offered great power, bur the price is often the cleric’s sanity. The more dark blessings a cleric of Tharizdun receives, the more tenuous her grip on reality. [Dragon #294 – 31]
Stalman was not even aware how insidiously Tharizdun’s influence had subverted his original aim, drawing him onto an unforeseen path, and a far darker purpose.
The sole duty of this priesthood is to free Tharizdun from his prison. They sacrifice all to this end. The extent and location of the priesthood is unknown. [FTAA – 92]

He began to search for ways to prepare for the Elder Eye’s return, believing the power it would bestow upon him, its tireless and faithful servant, for its release would pave the Klims’ way to taking back what was once theirs by birth and right.
Like Eli Tormoras before him, he eventually found his way to the Lost Temple in the Yatils.
Eli Tomorast has been many places, including a long-past visit to the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun some years back, where he was instructed by priests concerning the ways of hidden knowledge as taught by the once-powerful Tharizdun. [WG5 Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure – 16]
And it was there that he lost his very soul.

THE BLACK CYST
It is absolutely lightless...
You have dared all and descended the spiralling purple steps formed by the strange column of gray smoke, lilac light, and jet black. This swirling, pulsing column of radiation has opened a means of entrance to somewhere far beneath the surface of the earth — or perhaps to some place not of this earth. All of you feel the press of time, a sense of urgency. How long will this strange gate remain open? You all hope not to learn the hard way as you hurry down a seemingly endless flight of "steps" made of the purple radiance. Ten minutes seems more like ten hours, but at last you have come to what must be your final goal, for the stairs of light give way to more mundane ones of black stone...
[WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun – 29]

From where you stand near the entrance, your iron torches cast only a faint light to where some form lies near the center of the place. This shape is so black that it is absolutely lightless, and it seems to absorb all the radiance from your torches. As was true in the entry chamber, so too here; all is needle-rock. [WG4 – 30]

Klim learned that there were other temples: another in the Sea of Dust, another in the Rakers, and yet another upon the high plateau of the Tilvenot.
Sites keyed to [Tharizdun] still exist, and his relics still hold power. [LGG – 98]
He suspected that there was another, central, and presumably far more powerful temple, betwixt them all, in the Drachensgrab mountains in the Pomarj.
In the Drachensgrabs, there are said to be temples to the dreaded Lost God, Tharizdun. [Dragon #191 – 67]
But where? There were rumours, in that regard:
Huge beetles have been seen along the banks of the upper Jewel River; they are said to radiate a terrible, rotten stench and to have ghastly, skeletal heads. (DM note: Adapt statistics for Death Watch or Slicer beetles, adding the effects of troglodyte musk. The beetles have been transformed/mutated by feeding on ordure of infected neo-otyughs which, in turn, shelter within a deep temple of Tharizdun and are themselves horribly altered—they have tentacles, pincered beaks, and have the special defense of displacement (as per the cloak).) [FTAC – 49]

The Pomarj Peninsula
Stalman convinced his elder brother upon his return that he had discovered the means by which their eventual triumph would be made certain. And Feetla believed him. Although, to give Feetla credit, he never actually believed the Brotherhood’s claim that their only wish was to raise them, true scions of the Suel, to what was their right: suzerainty over the Sea Princes and the Amedio. Naively, Feetla believed that the Brotherhood could be used, even controlled. Poor Feetla. He could not even see that Stalman had become the mastermind behind the whole enterprise.

But how could they gain entry to that den of chaos that was the Pomarj? They turned to the Scarlet Brotherhood for suggestions. The Scarlet Brotherhood claimed that they had already made inroads into the Pomarj.
Ships from the Scarlet Brotherhood, the Lordship of the Isles, the Brotherhood-controlled Hold of the Sea Princes, and many independent pirates make landings in Blue. [Slavers – 87]

A Cunning Assassin and Spymaster
They suggested that they knew just the man who could open a dialogue with the orcs. They did indeed already have one of their own in place: Nerelas, a silent and cunning assassin and spymaster.
Nerelas informed the Klims that he knew of a half-orc who can be used as a go-between: Theg Narlot.
Stalman agreed to meet the half-orc.
Theg is an unattractive half-orc who can easily pass for an ugly human. (When presenting himself to his orcish hordes, he normally uses his Disguise ability to mnke himself look more orcish.) [Slavers – 105]
What’s in it for me? Theg Narlot would surely have asked.
Theg Narlot
We will put you upon the throne of the Pomarj,
Stalman would have promised him. But we will need money to gain our kingdoms, Stalman would have said. A lot of it. Theg Narlot would have been unconvinced, just then, understandably. From where, Theg Narlot would have asked. We can help, Nerelas would have promised, without admitting to any direct connection to his Brotherhood. We will take slaves and sell them to raise the money will need, Stalman would have said, already versed in the Princes’ propensity towards slaving; and Theg Narlot, being little concerned with the life and liberty of those who could not defend themselves from his needs and desires would have agreed, surely, and became the slavers’ master of espionage, searching out the easy prey along the coast, and further afield as they grew more successful, and keeping watch on any and all who might stand in his way of gaining his kingdom of the Pomarj.

Markessa
The slaves needed to be kept somewhere while they awaited their final fate. Theg Narlot would have met with the orcs of Blue and Highport and negotiated their price for safe harbour, and eventually a piece of the action, as those orcs were not blind and could see for themselves the slaves being brought into port.
Pens would be needed, and able keepers, too. But who? I know just the right person, Nerelas would have suggested. An elf. Theg Narlot would have objected. At first. Until he met the maid Markessa. And recognized, in her, a kindred spirit.

Posing as a priest of the Earth Dragon, Stalman plunged inland as ports were secured, and stockades erected, divining where the black heart of the Elder Eye resided. Its beating drew him further inland, until he had scaled the Drachensgrab Mountains, where its throbbing was thunderous in his ears.
Many years ago, the worshipers of Tharizdun conceived a bizarre plan to promote and reinvigorate the power of their religion. Their agents, as insidious as they were insane, infiltrated the ranks of other evil religions. […] Once their agents were in place, they began a campaign of lies, misdirection, and manipulation. [RttToEE – 5]

They took their first slaves as Suderham fell, and were soon trolling ever further out, until they were as far afield and Darkshelf Quarry in Nyrond. But as promising as Suderham was, it was not the heart he sought. It was in, or under, Mount Drachenkopf. It was here, he realized, deep underground. It would take time to unearth, years maybe; and hundreds of lives before he was done. And it was here that he raised his temple to the Earth Dragon, with its secret altar to the Elder Elemental Eye, in exclusive, and reclusive, Kalen Lekos, 

The first conclave was held in Suderham’s halls. In attendance were Stalman Klim, Feetla Klim, Nerelas, and Theg Narlot. And two others:

Kerin
[Brother Milerjoy] and his disciple Brother Kerin mysteriously appeared at the first Council of the Slave Lords. It is an indication of the growing strength of the Scarlet Brotherhood that Brother Milerjoi was immediately accepted into the Council.
[A3 – 20]
Who were these red-robed strangers? Stalman Klim demanded to know.
My brothers from Shar, Nerelas said, for it was he who had brought them. These monks knew secrets known only to the initiates of the Elder Eye, Nerelas said, and it was they who would keep their superiors appraised of their great discoveries within the Pomarj. Their superiors might have included the Father of Obedience, but only insofar as their gains into the Pomarj, and not the Black Brotherhood’s true purpose.
[Brother Kerin] is a man in his mid-[twenties] [mid-thirties in Slavers], average height, and wiry-strong. His hair is blond, his eyes gray, and his skin fair. [Slavers – 104]
[Several groups within the Scarlet Brotherhood] are investigating ways to draw raw magical power from the sites and artifacts believed to be associated with [Tharizdun, but] only citizens on the fringe of Brotherhood society actually revere him.
However, the brotherhood does use Tharizdun’s name as a threat. [SB – 13]
And the Elemental Eye as a leverage tool.

A plan was agreed upon.
The Slavelords
Feetla would command the fleet. He took the name Eanwulf while abroad, to the purpose of foiling pursuit, and not drawing attention to his true Suloise Sea Prince heritage. Most pirates would require an alias, I should imagine, lest they find themselves apprehended while in less than friendly ports, and suffer the same fate of Calico Jack and Edward Teach.
Feetla is a master buccaneer and current leader of the Slave Lords. His daring raids and naval strength have helped the Slave Lords dominate the region. [A3 – 19]
Theg Narlot would send out spies into the Woolly Bay and Gearnat, and keep the orcs in check.
Also in his belt is a scroll listing all of the Slave Lords’ agents among the Lords of the Gearnat area, and an order for the assassination of all the relatives of the adventurers that can be found. Theg Narlot is in charge of all espionage activities for the Slave lords. [A4 – 20]
Nerelas would infiltrate the cities of their enemies, and take what measures he saw fit, as needed.
[Suderham’s assassins] guild will not provide any information concerning the catacombs (“impassable sewers filled with rats”), and will report anyone questioning them on these matters to Nerelas the Assassin, who functions as the local guildmaster - and as one of the Slave Lords. [A3 – 11]
And Stalman would supervise the excavation of the sacred site under the mountain.
Mordrammo is the chief priest of the Temple of the Earth Dragon. He is a strong enemy, but his self-preservation instinct is strong. [A3 – 20]
Stalman Klim was one of the most powerful and influential members of the Slave Lords. Although he was second to Feetla, he had the ear of everyone counted as a member of the Nine. [Dungeon #215 – 32]

In time, their conclave grew in number.
Slippery Ketta
Nerelas invited his sister Ketta, for her skill in infiltrating ports, and to gather information on the defenses of those they thought to raid.
Ketta’s corps of thief infiltrators are present in all the towns along the Sea of Gearnat, and it is through these informants that the slavers always know exactly when to strike. [A4 – 22]
I've suggested in an earlier post that Ketta be slipped into the narrative as early as A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry, a friendly face, as it were, and one that might keep tabs on the heroes, eventually betraying them.
Lamonsten

The Brothers invited Ajakstu, a Suel Mage of no small skill, and the illusionist Lamonsten, to weave the phantasms that would instil fear in their captives, not to mention keeping their books.
Ajakstu, the magic-user, has been quite useful to the Slave Lords with [her] staff of power, crystal ball and ring of spell storing. The crystal ball in particular has enabled them to escape traps set for them and eliminate any dissent. [A3 – 19] [As a side note, I preposed in a prior post that we change Ajaksu’s gender, seeing that the Slavelords were a wee bit male heavy.]
In a water proof case on Lamonsten’s back is a deed to mining rights in the hills near Hardby [A4 – 20]

It came to further surprise when an ebon-skinned elf arrived, invited by none other than the Father of Obedience, himself. He and Eclavdra have an understanding. They both wish to sow confusion upon the Flanaess, each for their own reason, and Eclavdra has agreed to send her protégé to aid the Father, in that regard. [That’s thin ice, but I cannot come up with a better reason.]
Edralve is an exile from Erelhei Cinlu, from which she barely escaped after an abortive coup. The other Slave Lords both respect her abilities and fear her devious cruelty. She devised the morale-breaking fear tactics employed by the slavers in their raids. [A4 – 20]

Stalman was not pleased. Here, in his midst, was a cleric of the Elder Elemental God, a presumed rival to his Elemental Eye. Edralve would surely not aide him in his quest.
She did not. She placed her own agent, the thief Sturm “Dirk” Buckholtz, in Highport. Stalman placed his acolyte Pieta there to counter Sturm, instructing her to pose as a cleric of Grummsh, to draw support from the orcs there.

We come abreast of the events in the original series.
Brubgrok
Anarchy persisted for decades until the mid 560s, when a group arose to seize control of large swaths of the Pomarj and put it under central authority. Calling themselves the Slave Lords, these humans brokered deals with the orc chieftains and began fostering an illicit trade in flesh.
[LGG – 88]
For several years, organized bands of pirates and slavers have made a living by raiding the coastal towns on the Sea of Gearnat. Ranging from Onnwal to the Wild Coast, they have descended quickly and ruthlessly on the small towns and villages, and carried off innocent citizens into the night. [A1 – 2]
This includes the sleepy town of Darkshelf, not so far from Onnwal.
A quarry located a half-mile from the village of Darkshelf (so named for the dark, stony seabed in the harbor), on the coast of the Sea of Gearnat in Nyrond, has been producing modest amounts of granite and limestone for decades. [A0 – 6]
The Temple
The half-orc is part of a growing network of slavers who are taking captives and funneling them to the despoiled city of Highport in the Pomarj. Brubgrok acts as a broker, buying slaves from bands of slavers and hiding them in the depths of the quarry until they can be shipped to Highport.
[A0 – 6]
Brubgrok being a half-orc is fitting. He is Theg's "man" on the scene. Whether he is annoyed that the Slavers foisted acolytes of the Elemental Eye on him is anyone's guess. I would suggest that he is not, but what's a half-orc to do. He's following orders, and what Theg wants, Theg gets.
Brubgrok brought in a small group of evil clerics to assist him with his operations. The clerics worship an unspeakably evil god they refer to as the Elder Elemental Eye, or simply the Eye. [A0 – 19]
Not the Earth Dragon. Not Grummsh, either. The Elemental Eye.

We know the story that follows. Heroes are gathered, etc.
[Our heroes] have entered the no-man's land that is the Pomarj in the attempt to track the slavers to their lair. In the course of your adventures, you received information that the next bastion of the slavers was in the Drachensgrab Mountains. After many fruitless attempts at following parties of slaves and slavers, you discovered that they disappeared beneath one great peak in the Drachensgrab Hills. [A3 – 2]
The heroes awake in the bowls of Drachen Keep, the Mount Flamenblut, and must race for their lives to escape the supposed wrath of the Earth Dragon, and ultimately confront the last of the surviving Slavelords.
Or not.
If you were playing this back in the day, it surely was their end…because it was.
But this was not the end, was it…?

In the hidden city of Suderham, in the maw of Mt. Flamenlut, they confronted the masters [,] vanquished their foes and scattered them to the four corners of the Flanaess, the mountain woke, its fiery blood. [Slavers – 2]

Ajakstu
Vanquished is not necessarily dead, is it? We know now that many of the Slavelords did survive. Markessa did. So did Theg Narlot. Not to mention Kerin. Our original heroes may have survived their ordeal, but they did not put an end to the Slavelords. They escaped, and plotted their return.

And Ajakstu? If you recall, I suggested that he become a she, and that she be LN and not the unspecified evil expected. Did she survive A3? Did she, could she, betray her assigned cause, assigned to her by the Scarlet Sign? Was she killed by her co-conspirators for her betrayal?

More importantly, what happened to Stalman and Feetla?
If you recall, they had a fortress from which to plot, in Jeklea Bay.
The heroes had the Slavers on the run, and if they had discovered Stalman Klim’s true intent, they would have realized that he and those members of the Black Brotherhood who had toiled to return Tharizdun would have been the true threat, and spared no effort in tracking them down.
In this location-based adventure, the adventurers explore a ruined monastery to hunt down the last surviving Slave Lord, Mordrammo, also known as Stalman Klim. The priest of the Earth Dragon has arranged for a Scarlet Brotherhood wizard named Geoffrey to watch over the monastery until the clone finishes growing. Klim regards the wizard and his lackeys as expendable. When Klim awakens in his new body, he plans to fetch his treasure and quit the place for safe harbor in Cauldron by way of his pet wyverns. [Dungeon #215 – 33]

They failed.
Stalman Klim foiled their every attempt to put an end to his plans.
And in their hast to chase Klim, they underestimated Theg Narlot’s potential threat.
The Slavelords escaped. And in time, they returned, better prepared than ever.

Who are the new Slave Lords?
Stalman Klim P 16
Stalman Klim
Doomdreamers are the elite among the ranks of the cult of Tharizdun. The name comes from that they all claim to have been contacted by the Dark God in their dreams. They are all extremely evil, raving lunatics or sadistic, brooding and cruel individuals of singular corruption. All doomdreamers are masters of ancient, forbidden knowledge and madness, and devotees of nihilism.
[…] They travel far and wide, however, working out the steps of their mysterious, convoluted plans to bring their deity out of imprisonment. They know that such an act would bring an end to the world—but they do not care. In fact, they are so mad that they revel in the thought of it. [RttToEE – 162]
In their studies of forbidden lore, doomdreamers stumble upon all sorts of foul but useful knowledge and secrets. Some of these come from experimenting with dangerous drugs, speaking with demons, or mad visions. [RttToEE – 163]
Smoke of Little Death: During […] magical slumber, those [under the influence] of the oil’s effect [experience] strange and vivid dreams. Priests […] say they commune with their god during this sleep, while others report nightmare visions. [Slavers – 127]

Markessa Elf F12/M13
When out of her house, Markessa is accompanied at all times by her bodyguard and lover, a man named Devon who was once horribly scarred but now looks quite attractive because of the work she has done. He would sacrifice himself to protect her. [Slavers – 104]

The Slave Lords
Brother Kerin 
Mon 10
Brother Kerin’s home has three bedrooms and three full-time servants. In addition to the normal uses of a home, he occasionally entertains emissaries from the Scarlet Brotherhood here; there is a 35% chance for any given week that he has a guest—, a monk, assassin, or thief agent of the Scarlet Brotherhood of 7th level or higher. [Slavers – 103]

Theg Narlot/Turrosh Mak Half-orc F10/Ass12
Tall, with a strong body, he is starting to go gray at the temples and probably will be considering retirement in the next few years, as he is middle-aged for a half-or'. Still, he is a ruthless and intelligent wamior, and he will nor hesitate to use every dirty trick he knows to keep himself alive. He will try to kill anyone who dares to attack him. [Slavers – 105]

Unjan F10; AL LN
Unjan, a former paladin of Mayaheme, was involved in the Great Northern Crusade to reclaim the Shield Lands lost to the evil demigod's armies during the Greyhawk Wars. Shocked by the horrors inflicted upon the land and its people, he somehow acquired a perverse desire to collect trophies and ocher loot from reclaimed Shield Lands territories. This activity soon began to threaten his paladin vows of charity and poverty, and when he disregarded warnings, he lost his paladinhood and became a normal fighter. Now Unjan is obsessed—almost maniacally so—with collecting riches and displaying them in his home. He is not a thief, for he is more than willing to barter for or purchase items that catch his interest. Other than this quirk, he is a friendly man with field-tested knowledge of naval and infantry tactics. He was recruited by the Slavelords because of this expertise. He made the alliance because of the treasures he'd he able to obtain through the Slavelords' ~extensive contacts. [Slavers – 105, 106]

Ah-Bay Half-Ogre F8/P8 (of Beltar); AL CE
Ah-Bey himself is a half-ogre priest of Beltar, and he represents the religious interests of the humanoids in the slaving operations. Born of a human mother, he was abandoned to an orphanage and raised under the careful scrutiny of the other orphans and the stern priests of St. Curhbert. After fleeing their repeated attempts to "knock some sense into him," he lived on the meets of Greyhawk for several years and finally traveled into the Orcish Empire of the Pomarj in an attempt to learn more about his nonhuman heritage. He was taken in by a group of ogres and mined by the tribe's priest. Respected for his intelligence and significant strength […], he was a natural choice for the Slavelords as a representative of the spiritual life of the humanoid tribes. [Slavers – 106]
The temple [of Beltar] is strongly supported by the Scarlet Brotherhood, and the priests make weekly sacrifices to this foul goddess. [Slavers – 93]

Kent Halfling T10; AL NE
He also is a cunning schemer and financier, and is responsible for many of the underground and "gray market" contacts the Slavelords use in Dyvers and Hardby. He rarely leaves the city, but sends his agents (such as the halfling Gormadoc in Hardby) to other cities to speak on his behalf and gather news. [Slavers – 106]

Nadanru M14; AL N
He comes from the Lordship of the Ides (a subsidiary stater to the Scarlet Brotherhood) [….] Nadanni is the master of communication for the Slavelords. He relays information to the various leaders of the operation via his magic [….] When not working, he is not communicative and prefers to just sleep, avoiding mast of the people in town and the other Slavelords. If confronted by a hostile bunch of adventurers, he will surrender if given the choice, explaining that he was only hired to rend messages and could not disobey because his family is being held as insurance for his cooperation (mostly true--the Scarlet Brotherhood controls his homeland, and if he refused this assignment, they might threaten his family to get him to agree to work). [Slavers – 107]

Stalman Klim continues to pose as a priest of the Earth Dragon, and has manipulated the demigod’s Flannae acolytes to his cause. Should our new heroes convince these faithful of Stalman’s true intent, they could become allies in their cause. (Okay, maybe not Rofa.)

Torwil
Torwil
is a powerful priest of the Earth Dragon Cult, second only to Stalman Klim himself. Torwil presents a pleasant exterior and makes friends easily, but is in truth a skilled manipulator, using people for his own purposes and betraying them m such a way thar they cannot reveal his duplicity. It is through this method that he became the high priest of the Earth Dragon Cult shortly after Stalman Klim vanished in the destruction of Suderham. […]
Torwil is a man in early middle age, small and wiry. His hair is brown brit graying at the temples, and his eyes and skin are somewhat dark. [Slavers – 116]

Sham is a dedicated priestess of the Earth Dragon and a strong supporter of Stalman Klim. She has an aggressive personality but treats underlings fairly, showing her hard side only when crossed. It is she who pushed for educating the orcs in the teachings of the Earth Dragon, and she is largely responsible for winning them over despite their natural bias against females. […]
Shav has bronzed skin, black hair, and amber eyes. [Slavers – 116]

Rofa is an introspective priestess who feels that she has an especially strong connection with the Earth Dragon. […]
Rofa is relatively young, with brown-black hair. coppery akin, and dark brown eyes. […]
In her room are a number of letters from Markessa (the real one), with whom she is close friends. [Slavers – 117]

Long Sought
Insofar as Stalman’s purpose, perhaps his excavations beneath Mount Drachenkopf have paid off, and he has unearthed the temple he has long sought.
Our heroes descend into its depths, and behold a chilling evil, more ominous than anything they could have imagined.
Although Tharizdun’s time has long since passed, his temples remain dens of evil. This cavern and the temple beyond were enchanted by powerful divine magic to radiate a terrible cold. As a result, the temperature in this cave hovers at just below -10° F. [Dungeon #85 – 43]

This large cavern Is a thing of cold beauty. The entire place is covered with a fine coating of frost. Frozen puddles dot the floor, and thankfully there isn't a spot of scarlet fungus to be seen. The ceiling looms out of sight. Despite the quiet of this immense cavern, the sight of il fills you with chills and feelings of despair and fear. Perhaps it is merely the unnatural cold, or perhaps it is something far more sinister lurking within the darkness before you. [Dungeon #85 – 43]

This place is COLD. Exposed flesh immediately [freezes]. Torches must likewise be clasped by means of the robe sleeve covering the hand, although the heat of their burning cones helps to keep the adventurers from suffering more than chilblains. [WG4 – 18]

In the hemisphere of black needlerock (floating as if by levitation) a huge form could be seen. […] The misty form was black and indistinct and enclosed in vaporous purple energy as well. No ritual, no spell, no magic could pierce the enigma. [WG4 – 3]

The name of Tharizdun will rise unbidden to the individual's lips whenever he or she is under stress and needs aid. [WG4 – 18]



There you have it, my reimagined backstory of the Slavers epic. I wonder if I patched the holes I believe plague the originals. Maybe I did; maybe I didn't. I must say that it was fun tinkering with the story, but I'm wont to do such things. And I expect you are too, some of you, at least. After all, the old modules were modular, and were meant to be tinkered with, I should think.
Enough said.
I pray you enjoyed it.

Am I done with the A-series?
No.
I've mentioned that Carlos Lising of casl Entertainment has added his own sequels to the series. I'll deal with those in turn, but not to the same degree that I did these classic adventures. His are new, and spoilers would assuredly spoil them, if you understand me.




“In each of us, two natures are at war – the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we want most to be we are.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde"







One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean K. Reynolds, Chris Pramas, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable.
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.



The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
An object lesson of the Scarlet Brotherhood, by Vince Locke, from Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
The Last Slave Lord "cover" art, by Noah Bradley, from Dungeon Magazine #215, 2013
Theg Narlot/Turrosh Mak detail, by Wayne Reynolds, from Slavers, 2000
Markessa by Mike Lowe, mli13, originally from A0-4 Against the Slavers, 2013
The-Slave-Lords by Francis Navarro, francisrpnavarro, originally from A0-4 Against the Slavers, 2013
Brubgrok, by Rich Longmore, from A0-4 Against the Slavers (A0 Dander at Darkshelf Quarry), 2013
The Temple, by Rich Longmore, from A0-4 Against the Slavers (A0 Dander at Darkshelf Quarry), 2013
The Slave Lords, by Wayne Reynolds, from Slavers, 2000



Sources:
1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9039A A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry, 2013
9039 A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity, 1980
9040 A2 Secret of the Slaver’s Stockade, 1981
9041 A3 Aerie of the Slave Lords, 1981
9042 A4 In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords, 1981
9065 WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, 1982
9112 WG5 Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure, 1984
9147 T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil, 1985
9167 A1-4 Scourge of the Slavelords, 1986
A0-4 Against the Slave Lords, 2013
11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood, 1999
11621 Slavers, 2000
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, 2001
Dragon Magazine #294
Dungeon Magazine #85, #215, #221
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000