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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Gary Dallison Posted - 28 Jul 2017 : 09:05:03
So my latest project is coming to an end and id like to get back into developing the realms (this time im going to use a website - wordpress).

Im going to start with one of my favourite regions - the old empires (just mulhorand and unther for now). In only doing original realms (up to 1370s)

First up is a request for any copies of the pages from the wotc website that were to do with mulhorand or unther (or thay). I know i copied the main article for the portals articles but i often missed out the linked pages for important characters in those articles. So if anyone has any copies of portal articles and their linked pages id be very grateful.

And while im at it, does anyone have any suggestions or ideas that would be nice to see explored. For example i always wondered what the origins of the enclave were.

Im hoping to develop the region as much as i possibly can so a few extra ideas are always useful.


Below are the list of links to pages detailed so far in the Old Empires region

Home Page

Some of my own rules I've been working on
ARRGS Classes
ARRGS Magic Items
ARRGS Options
ARRGS Skills

Running the Realms

Faerunian Pantheon

Mulho-Untheric Pantheon
Mulho-Untheric Pantheon

The Church of the Sky Father
The Church of Hoar
The Church of Ish-Tarri
The Church of Ram-Manu
The Cult of the Old Gods
The Cult of the Queen of Chaos
The Cult of the Smiling Death
The Enclave
The Eternal Claws
The Northern Wizards

Old Empires NPCs


Nissel (Red Haven)
Niz'Jaree (Firetrees)
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Gary Dallison Posted - 21 Jul 2020 : 12:15:17
Prior to 4e I believe yuan ti were only mentioned in mhairshaulk in the serpent kingdoms sourcebook and their localisation to areas around chult and portals connected to chult (leading to their spread into the vilhon) is the primary source I'm using for sarrukh stuff.

4e tended to make too many generalisations for my liking, it may have eased the design process for them but it didn't work with the lore.

Saying that, I see no reason why the okoth couldn't have created their own version. The sarrukh are all about creating the perfect servant so they can live in idle luxury in control of everything. The yuan ti was a perfection in mhairshaulk but they probably built upon the earlier successes of okoth before that empire split and a group broke off to found mhairshaulk.

Wereserpents seem to be the favoured servant of okoth but I don't think it was a lycanthropy type disease, I reckon they used a potion to transform humans into part serpents so that the sarrukh flesh warping powers would work on them (and their complete command of serpentfolk).

The infiltration of okoth into mulhorand is already hinted at. An old dragon mag mentions a dig around lake azulduth where they encountered a mummified creature and the diggers perished. That was actually an expedition from mulhorand uncovering sarrukh from okoth, and they couldn't all have died (else how would any account of it survive). It seems likely that the okoth transformed some of these humans into servants and spies and released them back. My development was that the sarrukh infiltrated the cult of set (thus setting up the interaction between Set and Pililtith).

The way I see it playing out is that the cult of set gets usurped by the sarrukh of okoth, who transform the cultists into wereserpents (using the histaachi like brew). The cult of set are already infiltrating mulhorands government through the slaves and so the government officials are unaffected but the slaves that do the work are all working for the cult of set which is in turn working for the sarrukh of okoth.
There might eventually be a sarrukh taking up residence in the catacombs beneath skuld, but otherwise the sarrukh remain only as end game schemes because they do not like to get their hands dirty.

If they could use the histaachi brew on the child pharaoh they could rule mulhorand forever and no one would ever know.
deserk Posted - 21 Jul 2020 : 12:02:54
Originally posted by Gary Dallison
At the moment I've only got one arena detailed in unther but you are right, blood sports should be a major focus in untheric society. I also have one heresy in unther that of bane and milgram being the same, I see no reason not to expand that to include other faerunian deities whose churches are trying to make inroads into untheric society. I think I would opt for tchazzars worship rather than lathander as it has a much closer proximity and an ancient enmity between the two.

Yeah I can certainly see that as a good idea too. The encroachment of Bane and potentially the Zhentarim into Unther, or more likely Threskel, could be interesting.

Originally posted by Gary Dallison
as for the setites, I've been trying to figure out the ultimate goal of these rebellious infiltrators. While the cult of Set invariably wants the pharaohs overthrown, I think the okothian sarrukh infiltrating their ranks would much rather bring one of the pharaohs children over to their side and use him as a puppet pharaoh.
I originally discounted yuan ti because there is no mention of them in okoth and also because they were created in mhairshaulk in chult. I was going down the route of using were serpents but lately I have been toying with the idea of a new breed of histaachi like creatures.

Well that certainly works too, and incorporates some of the lore bits of 3e and 4e on Okoth. It hadn't occurred to me to use the sarrukh of Okoth. I have always been wary of using the sarrukh, as they are a mostly extinct race and extremely powerful. Though I suppose there are only a tiny number of them in Okoth (86 invidiuals given stats from Serpent Kingdoms). But even so, each individual is kind of like a little quasi-deity in terms of power.

Also FRCS 4E does mention that there are Yuan-ti living in Okoth, serving the sarrukh. They could make good infiltrators for the sarrukh to send into Mulhorand. They could perhaps be outcasts from the Yuan-ti clans that dwell in the Lhesper ruins in Western Shaar. Though I do think that a new servitor race for Okothian sarrukh could also be a good idea. Perhaps the Okothians could have conducted rituals to alter these werecrocodiles & wereserpents into a unique race. Asabis would also make good low-level riff-raff servitors for them as well, and they are desert-dwelling reptilian race created by the sarrukh of Isstosseffifil in Anauroch. Asabi are mentioned to exist in the Shining South (3rd edition book), particularly the Shining Lands, which is on the boundaries of the Old Empires. They could be used by the sarrukh to keep out meddlesome adventurers from Azulduth.
Gary Dallison Posted - 21 Jul 2020 : 07:55:50
There are some good ideas in there, a number of which I'd already begun as the plot hook already exists but could do with a lot more development.

At the moment I've only got one arena detailed in unther but you are right, blood sports should be a major focus in untheric society. I also have one heresy in unther that of bane and milgram being the same, I see no reason not to expand that to include other faerunian deities whose churches are trying to make inroads into untheric society. I think I would opt for tchazzars worship rather than lathander as it has a much closer proximity and an ancient enmity between the two.

as for the setites, I've been trying to figure out the ultimate goal of these rebellious infiltrators. While the cult of Set invariably wants the pharaohs overthrown, I think the okothian sarrukh infiltrating their ranks would much rather bring one of the pharaohs children over to their side and use him as a puppet pharaoh.
I originally discounted yuan ti because there is no mention of them in okoth and also because they were created in mhairshaulk in chult. I was going down the route of using were serpents but lately I have been toying with the idea of a new breed of histaachi like creatures.

I have really neglected the noble houses of unther and I need to remedy that.

Once I have read all the novels I will dive back into the old empires hopefully armed with more lore at my disposal. In the meantime keep your ideas coming, I'm always happy to borrow bits from everyone.
deserk Posted - 20 Jul 2020 : 23:39:41
Been following some of the work here. Really nice stuff.

I wonder if maybe some of my own homebrew FR campaign ideas around Mulhorand and Unther in a post-1372 DR alternative timeline (where there's no Spellplague nor Sundering) might maybe help give some inspiration. Obviously I have taken a bit different approach with both nations. Personally I find that it's important to find some way to distinguish both the countries within the Realms, and as well distinguish them a little them from their RW counterparts so they have their own unique Realmsian identity. To that extent I've tried to highlight Unther as a cruel land of blood sports and hero gladiators, in addition to what else has been said of it in the sourcebooks. With Mulhorand, I've tried to steer it in a direction that is a bit more in line Ed's original vision (in that it is ruled by a theocracy of Set worshippers) but also respects material of the old lore.

The land known as Unther has split into two halves, with the followers of Tiamat ruling the North, now known as Tymanther and the old guard Gilgeamites ruling the South. The Tiamatans were aided by war-loving firenewts of the Smoking Mountains as well large bands of outerplanar Dragonkin migrants, mercenaries and zealous crusaders of the Dragon Queen (taking on the role of Dragonborn in 4e) originally from the world of Abeir and whom now settle portions of the countryside of Northern Unther. The Tiamatan victories were also made possible by the aid of the Northern Wizards whom reluctantly submitted to the will of the Tiamatans. After making a stubborn peace with the Tiamatans; the Gilgeamites diverted their attention to grand building projects, pouring vast sums of funds into building extravagant arenas and hippodromes for the entertainment of the reborned God-King and his people. These endevours were made possible by launching large slave-raiding armies throughout the wilds of the Shaar and fleets preying on the vulnerable coasts of the Sea of Fallen Stars, ever seeking to refill the quickly depleting coffers through sold captives as well filling the fighting pits with able-bodied warriors and the expendable labour force needed to undertake these colossal and high-risk construction efforts.

Though most common folk in South Unther are left heavily subjugated, economically and socially crippled by both these endeavours and the ancient traditions that have long disproportionately favoured the aristocracy; slaves and commoners that prove themselves in the arena may make an exceptional leap in the social ladder of Unther and may potentially rise to an almost god-like form of celebrity and reverence, as gladiators are seen as the most holy and ideal representation of the new kindled spirit of the warrior god Gilgeam, whom has incorporated athletics into his portfolio and become a new and often favoured patron deity of gladiators and athletes throughout the Realms.
This fact has left some sages outside of Unther to speculate that this current and unusual incarnation of Gilgeam may be an aspect of Lathander, given that the Morninglord has long held athletics as part of his portfolio. This religious conspiracy is detested both by Lathanderites, who decry the cruel practises of blood sports as well as the merciless slave network in Unther, and is frowned heavily upon by Untherite traditionalists who hold their god to be ancient and divine in his own right.

The Untherites' s hunger for blood sports has grown to such an extent that there are rumouredly thousands of participants taking part in the games, some coming willingly from war-torn lands like Chessenta and the Vilhon Reach, but only a very small few fortunates emerge as champions of the arena. So reverred are Unther's champions that the noble houses, whom normally have great disdain for commoners and slaves, go to great lengths to gain the loyalty and services of the few triumphant gladiators, enticing them with lucrative bribes, often including marriage to their respective house, as well as positions within the government and army. The presence of celebrated champions among the high families often help to greatly elevate the status and renown of these houses.

Mulhorand, left militarily exhausted by it's war with Unther, pulled out their remaining forces as rumours abounded that clerics of Horus-Re had lost their divine connection to their patron and consequently access to their spellcraft. Some rumours circulated suggest that the Pharoah of the Gods has been poisoned by Set. This has coincided with a Setian conspiracy that has successfully overthrown the government of Mulhorand, which is ruled now by figure calling himself the Serpent Pharoah, whom has made Set supreme head of the Mulhorandi pantheon. Other faiths are tolerated provided the clergy do not challenge the supremacy of the Father of Jackals. Their rebellion was made successful by the many double agents in key positions of the previous government, as well as bands of Asabi and Gnoll mercenaries fighting on their behalf (and rumouredly financed by Thay) and who now keep the "peace" in streets of many cities of Mulhorand. The Setians also conspired heavily with ancient and powerful Yuan-ti clans that have long schemed and lingered in the shadows of the Eternal Empire, and whom now carry considerable weight and influence in the new government. The clergy and the faithful of Horus-Re and Anhur largely retreated en masse and in exile to the Raurin desert, where Mulhorandi resistance fighters train vigorously and make solemn oaths and plans to bring back the rule of a righteous Pharoah in Mulhorand. However heated debates and conflicts break out occasionally between the two faiths of Anhur and Horus-Re, as the Anhurites believe that Anhur should take the role of head of the Mulhorandi pantheon over the seemingly silent and weaker Horus-Re. Theological and philosophical differences are also an obstacle in to endangering their cooperation. One prominent issue is that many followers of Anhur advocate for an outright abolishment of slavery while many of the Horus-Re clergy still cling vehemently in the defense of Mulhorand's ancient institutions.
Baltas Posted - 07 Jul 2020 : 00:08:36
With Zargon, I think him felling a (mortal) champion of gods empowered by a pantheon, and then (maybe) several Avatars, would have further contributed to the Imaskari views on divinity.

(Or Asmodeus could give Imaskari means to defeat his old enemy)

If it was indeed Asmodeus who would have defeated Zargon (or majorly helped doing that), the Imaskari could also make pacts with Asmodeus, if that could decline overtime, as Imaskari would see Asmodeus would want to control them.

As I mentioned in our discussion, Ed had Elder Mulhorand's (on which Imaskar is in part based, if moved to Raurin) fall and split into modern Mulhorand and Unther be in a large part caused by Shar.:

It actually works even a bit with Alternate Forgotten Realms, as the "God-Kings" were mortals - Vaznurhor (counterpart to Enlil seemingly) and Narlmur (counterpart to Ra seemingly).

So I though Shar could help the proto-Mulan slaves and/or future God Kings to win against Imaskar, as it would make Shar seem more than just a purely evil villain, while still fit her MO (ie caused a collapse of a great ancient Empire, caused Chaos), with her also helping to grow the differences between Untheri and Mulhorandi.

Although I'm not sure how you would have Shar's influence, but as we discussed she is a unique case among "gods", along with Mystra.
Gary Dallison Posted - 05 May 2020 : 22:24:43
So I went off on a bit of a mental tangent regarding the nether scrolls and weave anchors and the imaskari and then back to the sarrukh and the baetith.

So George came up with the idea that the baetith were actually spellweaver who transformed into sarrukh and gave them easy magic to overload the sarrukh and cause them to kill themselves. Great idea, loads of potential, but the tale starts with jergal (as a spellweaver/sarrukh member of the baetith) in isstosseffifil, when in fact that empire was the last of 3 sarrukh empires.

What if the story of the baetith actually began earlier. The spellweaver create pyramid like colonies and nodes and there are ancient pyramid structures in chult and in mulhorand (i found a quote in old empires that said the land of the dead contained pyramids older than the mulhorandi so they may have been spellweaver).

So initial thoughts are that the spellweaver created at least 3 different versions of the weave. The first was for okoth (using the athora that misshaka merged with). The second was the 10 emeralds of mershaulk. The third was the golden skins of the world serpent.

Now the golden skins of the world serpent went on to become the basis for the Weave today (being finished by the batrachi and aearee who were also manipulated by jergal into using them). The athora was also linked to this weave.

But what about the proto weave used by mhairshaulk.

What if the baetith was not a unified group at all. What if they were led by powerful spellweaver individuals that came to disagree. What if misshaka was one such individual (anyone notice the similarity with that name and another involving the weave). What if Jergal was another. What about a third individual perhaps involved in mhairshaulk. Perhaps the origins of the fictional legend of a war between divine patrons of weave and shadow weave is actually rooted in different factions of the baetith fighting as to which proto weave would become dominant.

Just a random thought. Has absolutely no bearing on the old empires at this time.
Gary Dallison Posted - 22 Apr 2020 : 16:48:04
So i'm looking at the following quote

In –8350 DR, a splinter tribe of the ancient Durpari
traveled northeast to settle in the fertile basin of the
Raurin Plateau. During the Nemrut period (–8350 to
–7975), named for the civilization’s first warlord, the
Imaskari lived in tribal communities ruled by chiefs and
the warrior aristocracy. The spread of agriculture during
this time led to a rising population and the founding of
many farming villages on the plateau.
The founding of the Imperial City of Inupras ushered
in the Early Dynastic period (–7975 to –6422), when
Umyatin assumed the title of lord artificer and emperor.
This period was marked primarily by the Imaskari elite’s
mastery of transdimensional magic. The artificers used
this knowledge to create a sprawling network of portals,
which allowed them to cross vast distances in the blink of
an eye. These permanent, two-way portals were constructed
as circles of massive bronze spires, each etched with an
intricate runic design said to be batrachi in origin. These
Bukhara Spires allowed whole legions to pass swiftly from
one domain to the next, precipitating the rapid expansion
of the Imaskar Empire across eastern Faerűn. By the end
of the Early Dynastic period, the empire’s borders reached
from the Great Ice Sea to the Golden Water, and from the
Alamber Sea to the Katakoro Plateau in Kara-Tur.
First to fall to the burgeoning empire were the kobold
tribes of Zexthandrim, followed by the korobokuru
dwarves of Shan Nala. Subsequent campaigns brought
about the subjugation of the Taangan steppe peoples and
the annexation of Khati, Durpar, and Ulgarth. Imaskar’s
first military defeat came in –6788 DR, when its western
outpost in Aerilpar was besieged by forest landwyrms.
A Raudor peasant rebellion followed in –6779, but the
uprising was quickly put down.

In particular i'm looking at the bit about their mastery of transdimensional magic and the use of two way portals.

Now the Imaskari had no elves to teach them the rudimentaries of ritual magic like they did the Imaskari (according to canon anyway), and the weave did not exist for them or they had no knowledge of it and therefore were unlikely to be able to access it by accident (at least until they discovered the Golden Skins of the World around the time of the plague and the time of Shartra).

So how did the Imaskari become so mighty in magic so early on, and masters of transdimensional travel????

My proposal is that they were not and did not. Whatever magic they had was a very primitive form of ritual magic, mixed with whatever magic they could bargain from more powerful beings. There is no evidence of magical bloodlines within the Imaskari so that rules out sorcerors. So while Netheril was weave magic, and Jhaamdath was psionics (or sorcerors for me), Imaskari was pact magic.

The Imaskari plains must have been littered with these batrachi ruins and Bukhara Spires, so the Imaskari repaired them as best they could and used them to move their armies across great distances.

Over time this evolved into a knowledge of other planes but initially it was just on Toril, and just to places the batrachi had already established portals to (although to my mind these are more like gates than portals. Eventually the Imaskari start contacting and summoning outer planar beings (eventually leading to the destruction of Inupras)

The discovery of the weave changes Imaskari society completely, but early Imaskar is very different to later Imaskar.
Gary Dallison Posted - 21 Apr 2020 : 10:01:19
So I'm up to the imaskari planar barrier.

Never been a fan of it myself. When I look at the idea more in depth I think it's even more of a ridiculous idea.

So the canon story is the imaskari travel to another world via gateways and steal a whole bunch of people then upon their return home they take apart the gates and set up a world sized magical barrier to stop the gods of their victims from rescuing the people.

Now imagine it, you travel through a permanent portal and abduct a few thousand people and your first thought upon returning home is that their gods might want vengeance, so you create a macguffin to cover the entire planet and stop that unlikely event from happening.

For starters their barrier did not work. The "gods" still turned up and rescued their people. But more importantly I don't believe it ever worked. The dark three were able to ascend to godhood along with a hundred other godlings (valour, heron Winston, torm, etc. So travel by gods from toril to the outer planes was never blocked.
Then we have lathanders avatar slaying sammaster, we have tempos and garagos duking it out in the western heartlands, we have tyrs arrival in jhaamdath. So the barrier didn't prevent gods arriving on toril or sending their avatars.

So given that history proves the barrier does not do what the sources claim, what was it's true purpose.

I cant quite get my head around the thinking of, powerful mages magically travel to a planet, steal thousands of people, and then fret about the gods wanting revenge. I would be more worried about other powerful mages doing the same to me. Mages teleporting right into the heart of imaskar and wreaking havoc.

So what if the imaskari planar barrier was actually built to prevent others from behaving like the imaskari. A massive dimensional anchor that locked out travel through the ethereal and astral planes and stopped teleport and other magical working. A series of magic projectors hidden in raurin, semphar, mulhorand, unther, the hordelands, and karatur create this dimensional anchor effect.

Now that would also stop anyone calling avatars or summoning creatures unless they were keyed to the imaskari planar barrier (after all the imaskari would still want to travel magically across their empire and created keyed portals to work through the barrier.

It doesnt cover the entire planet, because the planar barrier clearly doesnt cover the entire planet. It does block avatars being summoned so fulfils some of the original remit of the canon barrier.

Also the projectors could begin to malfunction over time or turned off (like Ra tried to do before the orcgate wars).
Gary Dallison Posted - 20 Apr 2020 : 13:08:41
Makes sense, although I was using your hook about poisonous recipes of the great elixir from the bazaar of the bizarre article: enchanting elixirs.

I kind of like the rationale that myrkul used the same thing. I suppose it makes sense that you cannot become a god while still alive (your soul is in your body do it cannot transcend through the ethereal to the outer plane). So you either die properly and hope it all works, or you find some way to separate your soul and your body without dying (liches put theirs inside a cage of sorts).

I cant say I ever liked the talos hook from the original quote. I worked it so that the tale associated with the elixir is that you will become a tool of death and destruction (sometimes shortened to destruction) but that does not mean talos owns you, merely that the quickest way to gain worshippers is to go on a rampage and make people fear you. Without that quick influx of worshippers you die, but there is a risk that you burn out.

However, in always open to ideas. I suppose if the recipe was found by talassan priests and changed to involve something that allowed the church to exert a measure of control over the godling, then that would work.
Perhaps it wasnt talassans that found and changed the recipe (and put it back), perhaps it was just that the secrets of controlling those stupid enough to use the potion ended up in the hands of talos's priests (his most powerful senior priests that is).

I'm thinking imaskari artificer does a runner with the recipe and the control key (Imaskar would not create a god to kill a god if they could not control the new god).
He ends up in netheril or jhaamdath (where he ends up involved with the cults of kozah or bhaelros) and when the cult of talos subsumed the cults of kozah and bhaelros it gained knowledge of this secret recipe and how to control the holdings it creates.
George Krashos Posted - 20 Apr 2020 : 12:52:57
And on that, noting that the potion ritual comes from Raurin way, might it have been an Imaskari creation originally intended by those wizards to be used as a "god-buster", to allow someone to siphon away deific power and weaken or even outright destroy a god? Feverishly created in the dying days of their empire as they encountered the deities of their Mulan slaves? Of course, it didn't actually work as intended, instead turning its imbiber into a lich and seemingly doing nothing more, but what it also did was to allow that lich to actually accept a spark of divinity freely given, not take it. If it could be received from a deity you got your "shortcut" to godhood as it were.

That means that Myrkul's ascension make a lot more sense. He clearly had the "Velsharoon potion" in his keeping and knew its secrets. When Jergal agreed to surrender up some of his divinity to him, he used the potion to become a god, with lichdom as a necessary first step. It would appear that Bane and Bhaal used different mechanisms to take and harness their divinity ... but I'm not going to go there here. Talos found out about the Imaskari potion but didn't create it. He used it (and I suspect on several individuals) to give up a spark of his own godhood and allow them to become a full-fledged demigod in their own right, on the proviso that they serve him and use their deific power for him. I see it a bit like a blood transfusion where you give up some of yours to top up another individual and then make frequent withdrawls from that individual in return ...

Anyway, just spitballing. Cheers.

-- George Krashos
George Krashos Posted - 20 Apr 2020 : 12:35:25
I'm not sure the passage in Powers and Pantheons (p.76) supports the contention that the potion ritual failed - only that the path to demigod-hood required you to transform into a lich first ...

-- George Krashos
Gary Dallison Posted - 20 Apr 2020 : 11:38:26
For velsharoon I'm decided that his quest for godhood failed in raurin and he became a lich (accidentally or intentionall). Given the mention of a potion I'm tempted to link it to the great elixir and possibly poisonous versions of the recipe.

His quest for godhood then continues elsewhere, linked perhaps to things he acquired in raurin (the skull staff of the necromancer). What steps this quest involves I don't have the skill to detail, but it seems to me that not every quest for godhood meets with immediate success, and velsharoon quest took many years from the time it was first mentioned to the date of his ascension (I think 1367).
ericlboyd Posted - 20 Apr 2020 : 02:16:19
Originally posted by sleyvas
Several weeks later, using the Phylactery of Mellifleur and the Skull Staff of the Necromancer, Velsharoon performs a ritual to transfer the “spirit” of the god Mellifleur from the Phylactery of Mellifleur and into the vestige phylactery that is part of the Skull Staff of the Necromancer. The next day, Mellifleur's consciousness was sent to “the place where vestiges go”. Mellifleur then made a pact with the vestige of Karsus and transferred it into the vestige phylactery that is part of the Skull Staff of the Necromancer, and then establishes telepathic rapport with Karsus via the staff. Using the now cleansed Phylactery of Mellifleur as a focal point, in a modified Ritual of Endless Night, Velsharoon ascends to godhood with the sponsorship of the deity Talos. The red wizards of Soorenar are some of the first converts, and many former priests of Myrkul in Thay flock to the city in order to turn the land surrounding the Tower Terrible into a temple complex.

This part doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I'm not understanding. Up til this point Velsharoon is the boss and Melifleur is putty in his bony hands.

But then suddenly Mellifleur is making deals with Karsus? Was this Velsharoon's plan? Was he indifferent? Or did this set him back in some way?

Gary Dallison Posted - 19 Apr 2020 : 16:28:11
An elder brain and presumably an entire illithid settlement once existed right under Raudor, sounds like another candidate for a powerful patron that manipulated artificers, granting them magical powers in return for slaves (brains).

The elder brain is now sterile but i'm betting it wasnt during the time of Imaskar, and is probably the reason why Raudor suffered a peasant (slave) uprising early in the history (i guess they didnt like being fed to the illithids so the artificers could get more power).

So at what point did the elder brain become sterile. I'm still thinking if the Imaskari discovered the Weave partway through their empire (around the time of the creation of the Imaskarcana), then this would have led to a rejection of the old ways of making bargains with powerful patrons and so the Imaskari probably turned on the elder brain, slaughtered all the illithids, and bound it in slavery (and rendered it sterile).

When the Imaskari all died the elder brain was freed.
Gary Dallison Posted - 17 Apr 2020 : 21:03:37
Looks like the forest of Shalhoond covered the northern shores of the Gbor Nor, so there was no Murghom province of Imaskar. Which means of course it can be settled after by those fleeing the fall of Imaskar and the leading artificer could be called Murghos.

It looks like Murghom never officially rebelled from Mulhorandi rule, which is probably why they allow them to rule autonomously. I dont believe they have a royal family today, so the two options are still that the Mulhorandi remove the Al Kursi family from power in Murghom in -1480 DR, which is when Myrkul enters exile.
Alternatively when the civil war in Mulhorand occurs -1050 to -1048 DR, Murghom goes back to ruling itself (but not openly declaring independence like Semphar). A new royal family is chosen (the Al Kursi), but when the Mulhorandi return (sometime after -600 DR) then they are exiled and Myrkul heads into Raurin for a time (where he is involved with the Khala tribe - they turn into a type of peryton).

I'm not sure which scenario i prefer. If Myrkul is form the -1480 era then he is pretty much an Imaskari artificer, which has been done many times before. Whereas if he is from the -600 DR era then he is one of the first to rediscover the secrets of the Imaskari.
Gary Dallison Posted - 17 Apr 2020 : 15:24:53
Just a thought, but given that Velsharoon made a ring in the fashion of other shoon rings (he could have imitated it while being a foreigner but foreigners tend to craft items that match their home style), and that he has the Oon sound at the end of his name, he could be from the Shoon dynasty (a poor cousin perhaps).
Gary Dallison Posted - 17 Apr 2020 : 15:17:41
Well i allowed myself to get temporarily distracted, searching for all Velsharoon quotes (there arent many).

The two most noteworthy quotes are in relation to the Skull Lords in the Monster Manual V. The 12 skull lords are trying to collect several items to bring back the being known as Vrakmar, these include a skull of the necromancer (skull staff perhaps).

The other one is more interesting, The Dual Ring of Velsharoon's Bindings, made for the Empress Shoon V because of her fear of undead. The thing is, Empress Shoon V was born 250 DR and died 300 DR.
This makes Velsharoon much older than the 500 years i presumed him to be (being around at the time of Thay). He must have been of no small ability to craft a magical item for the Empress of Shoon and must have been famous enough to have come to her attentions. So at least 10th level even way back in 300 DR, he could have been several hundred years old even then.

That makes his origins a lot more complex than previously thought. He could be Shoonish, Netherese, Halruan, even Imaskari (although Imaskari is a stretch and would likely involve stasis like Halaster - which has already been done so i'm not happy using that).

So Velsharoon is really, really old. He lived in Shoon around 300 DR, lived in Halruaa for some time before being driven off in 827 DR by Omm Halandar, then moved to Thay before being driven off after 941 DR.
Then he ends up in Chessenta for a time and ultimately heads into the Raurin Desert around 1360 DR looking for godhood at last.
Presumably he went to Raurin because his lich state was degrading and he didnt want to end up a pile of dust. How long does it take for liches to become demi-liches, a thousand years?

It seems that Velsharoon became a lich and then a god within a very short period of time, all while searching Raurin (at least according to Lords of Darkness 3e).
Gary Dallison Posted - 17 Apr 2020 : 10:34:16
I have read it several times but was looking specifically for mulhorandi lore at the time (and his athora idea gave me inspiration to turn the battle between weave and shadow weave to be an actual war between secret societies trying to gain control of weave anchors that has continued for millennia).

I must have missed the mention of velsharoon I will go over it again immediately, cheers for the pointer.
ericlboyd Posted - 17 Apr 2020 : 10:05:49
Gary, have you looked at George's Tyrants in Scarlet: The Founding History of the Zulkirs of Thay? (It's on DM's Guild and is really good.)

It talks about the role of Velsharoon in the early history of Thay.

Gary Dallison Posted - 17 Apr 2020 : 08:41:44
I have been thinking about murghom (and byproxy myrkul), its tricky though because there is almost no lore on murghom.

What we know is murghom is ruled by mulhorand, albeit lightly, it has a regional governor like the rest of mulhorands regions.

We also know that murghom has been controlled off and on since -1500 dr or thereabouts. While it is not unheard of for a controlling nation to allow its vassal to keep a royal family, they would almost certainly do away with it after the first rebellion.

I'm thinking that murghom was an imaskari successor state after the fall of imaskar. Then its larger and more aggressive neighbour (solon) tried to conquer it and so mulhorand moved to protect its borders. So around -1480 DR murghom became part of mulhorand.

If murghom was an imaskari successor state then it was almost certainly ruled by an artificer or artificers (of lesser power than those in inupras, but still potent). Mulhorand does not like imaskari and so it is almost certain they slaughtered the entire ruling stock.

So that means either myrkul Bey al kursi was one of those lesser artificers and escaped. Or his family rose to power during the first rebellion of murghom (and were removed when it was reconquered).

I'm not sure which one I'm going for at the moment but the tomb of badr al mosq in the raurin desert implies that the imaskari use al to mean of so myrkul Bey al kursi is using that imaskari nomenclature and may be one of the artificers.

I like the idea of murghos being the head artificer of murghom, but I shall have to check the GHoTR map to see if murghom is named on that map.

sleyvas Posted - 16 Apr 2020 : 21:39:55
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The other odd item is from polyhedron and the everwinking eye series that mentions velsharoon seeking demigodhood and that he goes to the Raurin Deserts. What is in the Raurin Deserts that could elevate him to godhood (given the Imaskari supposed hatred of gods, although i've downplayed that element).

Here's some non-canon timeline stuff I came up with for Velsharoon that could explain his travels into the Raurin desert. Basically canon is that Myrkul is possibly a "former prince of Murghom".
I pulled it from this thread and I go more into some concepts for Mellifleur there.

1326 DR - The exiled Halruaan, Velsharoon the Vaunted, begins research on the rise of Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul. It is rumored that he visits Ironfang Keep and survives.

1345 - 1354 DR - The dread necromancer, Velsharoon the Vaunted, builds a tower, which he names the Tower Terrible, in the city of Soorenar in Chessenta. He then spends several years visiting Murghom and the Plains of Purple Dust seeking lore on the mortal life of Myrkul.

1358 DR - Time of Troubles - Using knowledge gained from the vestige of Karsus to gain better control over his arcane powers, the renegade red wizard, Velsharoon the Vaunted hunts down the avatar of Mellifleur inhabiting the body of a half-fiend lich rumored to be one of several grandchildren of the line of Garthelaun Darakh "the Goreslayer", fourth ruler of the Darakh Dynasty of ancient Narfell. Mellifleur is forced into his phylactery, and when the gods reascend, Ao does not allow Mellifleur's entrapped intellect to return to godhood for failing to properly serve his portfolios.

1359 DR - Intrigued by the machinations of his former ally and fellow renegade red wizard, Zhengyi the Witch-King of Vaasa, Velsharoon begins following the actions of Gareth Dragonsbane and company as they steal the wand of Orcus, slay an avatar of Tiamat, and soak the wand in its blood. Unbeknownst to Gareth and company, Velsharoon transports in and gathers a portion of the blood and bile of the dead avatar which have been infused with a remnant of the power of the wand of Orcus.

1364 DR - red wizards of the enclave of Soorenar, under the orders of Szass Tam, invade the home of the renegade red wizard, Velsharoon the Vaunted. This meets with disastrous results. The survivors, upon threat of utter annihilation, declare peace with the renegade red wizard and Velsharoon rewards them for their bravery by providing them several rituals involving undead creation. He however advises that the red wizards must not share these rituals with their cohorts in Thay "who have not dared enough in the field of necromancy". The red wizards request the protection of Zulkir Lauzoril against the wrath of Szass Tam. Lauzoril and the other Zulkirs chastise Tam for threatening the security of their enclave over a matter that he should have handled himself.

1366 DR - Velsharoon the Vaunted enters the Dire Wood of the High Forest. Although challenged by the arcanist Wulgreth and other magical obstacles, Velsharoon obtains a bottle of the pure heart's blood pumping from the Karsestone.

1368 DR - The renegade red wizard and Halruaan exile, Velsharoon the Vaunted, assaults an ancient ruin on Narfell's northern border, rumored to be named Jiksidur, possibly seeking ancient lore used by Larloch in his own lich creation ritual. Velsharoon slays a gold dragon and its cloud giant guardians. It is rumored that he butchered the dragon on the spot, taking its stone-filled gizzard and brewing it in a cauldron containing blood of the Karsestone, the mixed blood and bile of the avatar of Tiamat, and the bone powder of the former avatar of Mellifleur.
Several weeks later, using the Phylactery of Mellifleur and the Skull Staff of the Necromancer, Velsharoon performs a ritual to transfer the “spirit” of the god Mellifleur from the Phylactery of Mellifleur and into the vestige phylactery that is part of the Skull Staff of the Necromancer. The next day, Mellifleur's consciousness was sent to “the place where vestiges go”. Mellifleur then made a pact with the vestige of Karsus and transferred it into the vestige phylactery that is part of the Skull Staff of the Necromancer, and then establishes telepathic rapport with Karsus via the staff. Using the now cleansed Phylactery of Mellifleur as a focal point, in a modified Ritual of Endless Night, Velsharoon ascends to godhood with the sponsorship of the deity Talos. The red wizards of Soorenar are some of the first converts, and many former priests of Myrkul in Thay flock to the city in order to turn the land surrounding the Tower Terrible into a temple complex.

Here is my take on the Skull Staff of the Necromancer under 3.5 ruleset

Artifact: Skull Staff of the necromancer (Imaskari artifact) - Powers of Skull Staff:
Spells: command undead at will, gentle repose at will, animate dead 3/day, create undead 2/day, control undead 2/day, finger of death 2/day
+1 quarterstaff, unholy, vile, souldrinker, ghost touch, sure striking <note +5 with greater magic weapon)
increases the number of hit dice of undead controllable by caster to 10 HD per caster level

The Skull Staff of the necromancer also functions as a Vestige Phylactery (see Tome of Magic) and a Soul Lens (see Tome of Magic)

The Skull Staff of the necromancer provides a +4 bonus to binding checks to bind a vestige (this bonus becomes +6 if binding Balam)

(Int 19 Wis 10 Char 19 AL NE Ego 31 Communication: speech, telepathy Senses: 120 ft darkvision, blindsense, and hearing
Languages: Abyssal, Infernal, Celestial, Draconic, Aragrakh (Old High Wyrm), Imaskari, Roushoum, Mulhorandi, Untheric and reads magic
Lesser powers: detect magic (at will), Staff has 10 ranks in Knowledge (religion), Knowledge (history:Imaskar),and Knowledge (the planes)
Greater powers: magic circle against good at will, fear 3/day
Special Purpose: Defeat/slay divine spellcasters Special Purpose Power: wielder gets +2 profane bonus on saves

The Skull Staff of the Necromancer is a powerful Imaskari artifact wielded by several Lord Artificers before the fall of Imaskar. It was constructed by a powerful anima mage named Murghos who very commonly bound the vestige known as Balam to himself. As a result, Murghos was influenced over time by Balam to hate the servants of the gods (even moreso than the norm for an Imaskari). Murghos created the Staff of the Necromancer as a tool with which to strike at his hated enemies. Over time, Murghos transformed himself into a lich, using the staff as his phylactery. After a few centuries more, Murghos felt his hold on this plane loosening and Murghos began the ritual to invest himself with even greater power as a demi-lich. However, something went wrong with the ritual sacrifice (some believe that the vestige of Balam that was in the staff's phylactery at the time had something to do with this) and Murghos' soul was wrenched into the place where Vestiges reside and the demi-lich's skull became fused to the staff (thus its new name of "The Skull Staff of Necromancers") . However, a small portion of Murghos' own sentience remained trapped in the staff, endowing it with even greater magical power and turning it into an artifact.

Gary Dallison Posted - 16 Apr 2020 : 20:50:35
Not unexpectedly the Plains of Purple Dust are home to Purple Worms.

However, as far as i'm aware Purple Worms are native to the Underdark and dont normally frequent the surface. Even stranger these Purple Worms grow in size the further inwards one travels in the Plains of Purple Dust.

There are no mentions of Purple Worms anywhere outside of the Plains of Purple Dust so how did they get here, and what keeps them here.

While reading up on Purple Worms i found an entry for Thunderherder Worms which infest deserts and are much smaller (5 ft wide and 10 ft long) and travel in groups of up to 100. I imagined a Tremors moment but with multiple worms rather than one big one. If these are present in the Dust Desert and the Desert of Desolation then it might explain where the Purple Worms came from (a few Thunderherders moved into the Plains of Purple Dust and were mutated by the magic). But where do the Thunderherder Worms come from.

Anyway, ultimately i settled upon the idea that Imaskar was once infested with landwyrms (initially they were the forest variety, but the forests got burned). These are the same landwyrms that destroyed Aerilpar. I figure that if left unchecked they can grow out of control like an apex predator with a high birth rate and no natural competition.

So what if these landwyrms evolved into Thunderherders and then into the Purple Worm variants. The Thunderherders are isolated in Raurin by the environment (they now live in sand, and the mountains around the basin stop them leaving). The Purple Worms are isolated in the Plains of Purple Dust by their need for magic that saturates the area, and they eat the Thunderherders that try to venture out of Raurin to the north or east (through the Plains of Purple Dust).
Gary Dallison Posted - 16 Apr 2020 : 14:45:13
Had a quick glance at shadow stone the novel, specifically regarding madryoch.

In his monologues, Madryoch hints that he is over 4000 years old and he says many times that he was among the first sorcerers.

Now at face value that statement doesnt work. Imaskar existed 10000 years ago and had magic users since the beginning, but around the time madryoch was born is also around the time the imaskari recovered the golden skins of the world serpent from jergal.

So madryoch was seemingly one of the first to learn to use the weave in imaskar. His claim to be "first" could also mean that he was the best. Therefore he could be a candidate for the crafter of the skull staff that velsharoon possesses.

And back to Velsharoon. He is listed as lord of the forgotten tomb and lord of the forsaken tomb. The forgotten tomb is in skull gorge and was a former netherese enclave . The forsaken tomb could be imaskari
Gary Dallison Posted - 15 Apr 2020 : 17:05:35
Good pointer there Eric.

So looking at Halls of the High King which has even more information there is a process that involves the creation of a potion that gives the imbiber the power of demigodhood.

This potion requires the blood of adventurers supposedly and was created by Talos and is located in the Plains of Purple Dust.

Now with my god hating ideology i can't include this as is. Talos has no connection to Imaskar so it means the potion had to be placed in the Plains of Purple Dust. How does a metaphysical being go about creating a potion recipe to allow godhood and if such a thing were possible why arent there hundreds of demigods around (he can't be the only god that knows how to create such a potion).

Instead i shall mix it up a bit using stray pieces of lore from elsewhere.

The Great Elixir was supposedly created in Imaskar or Netheril, for this case i shall choose Imaskar. Now there is a process whereby you can consume other lesser elixirs and then purge them in order to improve your chances of getting a beneficial result on the Great Elixir. Also there are a number of recipes for this Great Elixir that have proven to be deadly.

So i reckon the likes of Elminster and Khelben have spread about this rumour of the potion to grant demigodhood saying it was created by Talos to allow him to use up their power instead of his own. That would attract just the right kind of power hungry lunatics that are either happy to become Talos' stooge or are arrogant enough to believe they can outwit a god. Either way they are dangerous and should be eliminated.

The process itself either proves deadly or completely removes all magical abilities.

Velsharoon tried this process for himself and survived.

I did note however that in one of the god books Velsharoon possesses the Skull Staff of the Necromancer which was said to be crafted by the greatest of Imaskari artificers (not sure who that could be).

So i'm imagining Velsharoon fell for the trick, nearly died (but not quite). Then he found all manner of other goodies in Imaskar (including the Skull Staff) and so achieved the power of a demigod via another means.
ericlboyd Posted - 15 Apr 2020 : 11:26:32
The Velsharoon rumor also appears in FA1 - Hall of the High King, page 64. I don't remember if they are identical write-ups or if FA1 adds something.

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