Raurin

Capital: None

Population: 280,000 (50% Human – Raurin, 50% Human – Durpari)

Government: None

Religion: The Old Gods (a mixture of Imaskari and Mulan deities)

Overview

Raurin, the Dust Desert, was the ancestral home of the Rauri people, a tribe of these people would go on to establish one of the most powerful human empires that ever existed; the Imaskari Empire.

Once a lush basin teeming with rivers, forests, fields, and all manner of life, it served as the breadbasket of the Imaskari Empire until a terrible plague swept through the land. In the aftermath of Imaskar’s fall, a new nation known as the Raurin Empire was established by the survivors which became the major trade route between the lands of Semphar, Murghom and Durpar. Unfortunately it gradually failed as the once green land was turned into a dust desert.

Now the only things that remain in Raurin are endless miles of baking hot dust, the ruins of fallen empires, and a few scattered tribes of nomads.

Timeline

Pre Imaskar

The Raurin Basin has been home to all manner of mighty peoples and empires, the batrachi dominated this region first, followed by giants, and elves, before the humans arrived from the south. All that time the Spellweavers of Eril hid in the nearby Dragonsword Mountains, manipulating events from afar.

Beginning in -8500 DR, a large scale migration of Rauri people occurred, with whole tribes moving north from the lands that would one day become Durpar into the Raurin region.

These nomadic tribes wandered the fertile river basin for over a century, digging through the strange ruins that littered the valley. One such tribe; the Imask, wandered north beyond the Raurin basin and discovered magical artefacts which led them to huge leaps in their magical expertise and ultimately brought about a new age for the Imask tribe and the Rauri people.

  • c. -25000 DR: Giants from fallen Ostoria claim the mountains and forests of the Raurin Basin, forming the giant nation of Fjellskold. This embattled kingdom fights constantly against the landwyrms that now infest the region.
  • c. -15400 DR: Dwarves begin to appear in the Raurin Basin, migrating out of the Yehimals drawn southwest. The giants of Fjellskold are soon overwhelmed by the dwarves and within a century the giants only control the Giant’s Belt.
  • c. -15000 DR: Gold elves fleeing the War of Three Leaves migrate to the forests of the Raurin Basin and establish Faerlorpiir (The Place of Magical Treasures).
  • c. -11000 DR: The nation of Faerlorpiir is destroyed by the armies of Ilythiir, which burns much of the forest in the Raurin Basin, leaving only a far northern arm left (Modern: Shalhoond Forest).
  • -8350 DR: Nomadic tribes from Durpar led by the great warrior Nemruut settle a vast, fertile plain in the area that will later become the Raurin Desert.

The Imaskari Empire

  • -8123 DR: Imaskari artificers create the first permanent extradimensional space. Their fascination with such magic soon transforms Imaskari city design.
  • -7975 DR: Inupras, Imperial City of Imaskar, is founded. The first Imaskari emperor, Umyatin, assumes the title of lord artificer.
  • -7891 DR: Zexthandrim is conquered by Imaskari forces.
  • -7403 DR: Zexthandrim rebels against Imaskari rule and is destroyed.
  • -7100 DR: The Imaskari Empire subjugates the Taangan tribes of the Hordelands and demands semi-annual tribute.
  • -6788 DR: The western Imaskari outpost of Aerilpar is destroyed by landwyrms.
  • -6779 DR: The fortress city of Raudor has a peasant uprising and is quashed.
  • -6422 DR: Monstrous creatures emerge from the Temple of the Gaping Maw and raze the capital city of Inupras. The Cult of Zargon claims the ruins and renames the city Cynidicea.
  • The Imaskari Empire is split into Upper and Lower Imaskar. The Imaskari city of Solon is founded as the capital of Lower Imaskar. The city of Thakos (present day Saikhoi) is named the capital city of Upper Imaskar.
  • -4370 DR: A suspicious plague decimates Imaskari cities.
  • -4366 DR: Imaskari artificers open twin gates to another world and magically abduct thousands of humans to serve as slaves. The artificers then erect a planar barrier around Raurin to prevent others from opening portals into their lands. Over time, the slaves intermarry with the Imaskari, and their descendants become a race in their own right that is later called the Mulan.
  • -3920 DR: Lord Artificer Omanond conquers Cynidicea and restores it as Inupras, reuniting Upper and Lower Imaskar once more.
  • -3891 DR: Under orders from Lord Artificer Omanond, Imaskari artificers create the Imaskarcana – seven items in which the empire’s immense magical lore is recorded for all eternity.
  • -3234 DR: The Imaskari outpost known as Metos is founded in the Methwood.
  • -2650 DR: The Imaskari port city of Bhaluin is founded.
  • -2489 DR: Arrival of the God Kings: Ancient heroes and kings from the history of the Mulan slaves arrive on Toril in the Teyla-Shan (Godswatch Mountains) after travelling for centuries through the Border Ethereal to rescue their people. Mulan slaves in Raurin begin to revolt against their masters.
  • -2488 DR: Battle of the Whirling Sands: The god-kings and their flying citadels launch a surprise attack on Inupras in the heart of the Imaskari Empire. Horus Helcalliant slays the Lord Artificer Yuvaraj. Mulan slaves everywhere rise up in revolt, other slaves in far off provinces rebel once word reaches them of the destruction of Inupras.
  • Lord Hilather, one of the last Imaskari artificers, escapes the fall of Imaskar by entering into a temporal stasis vault in a secret military stronghold deep beneath the western mountains (present day Giant’s Belt Mountains).
  • Durpar, and Gundavar (modern day Estagund and Var) quickly fall into barbarism without the guiding hand of the Imaskari.

The Raurin Empire

In the aftermath of the destruction of the Imaskari Empire, the Mulan people and their heroes set about building two great cities atop the ruins of Imaskar where the people of E and Retep would rule over the Rauri together. The cities of Mulhawoon and Umthoril were situated in the centre of Raurin on either sides of the River Athis, the followers of Amon Retep ruled from Mulhawoon while the followers of the brothers E-Anu and E-Nlil ruled from Umthoril.

The heroes of the Battle of Whirling Sands declared themselves Empheroah in the fashion of the rulers of Imaskar, their Mulan partners became the Pheroah of Mulhawoon and Umthoril. One Pheroah was chosen to rule Mulhawoon and another to rule Umthoril, together these two would rule the Raurin Empire under the watchful eye of the Empheroah.

The Empheroah crafted the Regalia of the Empheroah and gifted the rod to Mulhawoon’s Pheroah and the circlet to Umthoril’s Pheroah, while the collar was borne by whomever possessed it. Separate the ruling regalia granted the power to fight and to command, together they made the holder an invincible warrior and supreme commander of men.

The Rauri people obeyed their new Mulan masters but did not love them, and constantly tried to work against them. They were aided by the machinations of some from within the ranks of the Mulan and rumours are even one of the Empheroah secretly assisted the Rauri. Eventually the desert from the Plains of Purple Dust began to encroach upon Raurin and the crops started to fail. Dissent grew among the population and some of the Mulan began to flee Raurin, heading west. Ultimately the rule of the Raurin Empire failed when a greedy and ambitious Pheroah from Umthoril (known as the Warlord Khamsa) came into possession of both the Rod and Circlet of the Empheroah and raised an army of Raurin and Mulan people against the city of Mulhawoon.

The Raurin Empire was destroyed, Warlord Khamsa was slain by the brothers E-Anu and E-Nlil, then the Empheroah led their remaining people out of Raurin and west to the Alamber Sea, and so began the reign of the Imaskari Successor States.

  • -2487 DR: The Twin Empire of Raurin is founded with its two capitals of Mulhawoon and Umthoril in the centre. The Mulan people that would eventually found Mulhorand and Unther were already dividing themselves into separate proto-nations of western (Mulhorandi) and eastern (Untheric) Raurin.
  • -2353 DR: The dreaded Imaskaraloth; the huge red whirlwind encroaches upon the borders of Mulhawoon. The people that would form Mulhorand and Unther begin to flee Raurin and into the Great Vale.
  • -2322 DR: Warlord Khamsa of Umthoril secretly kills the Pheroah of Umthoril and claims the Rod of the Empheroah, he later obtains the Circlet of the Empheroah. Khamsa claims the twin thrones of Raurin and marches upon Mulhawoon at the head of a large army, slaying the Pheroar Amun Retep. The Empire of Raurin collapses and the godkings and their Mulan followers leave in great numbers.
  • Warlord Khamsa is slain by E-Anu and E-Nlil, turned to stone in death by the raw power of the Regalia of the Empheroah

Imaskari Successor States

Following the collapse of the Raurin Empire, the Raurin people were left to their own devices by the Mulan. Smaller kingdoms rose and fell in the Raurin basin every few centuries (each ruler styling themselves as Pheroar after the rulers of Raurin and Imaskar), most of them along the banks of the River Athis and in the east of Raurin where the desert had not yet affected the land (the western half of Raurin was gradually desertifying from north to south with each passing year). Traders from lands south of Raurin began to flow into the region once again and a route was established through Raurin to the growing empires of Mulhorand and Unther.

Ultimately the desert became too large and the western kingdoms began to fail. A nation known as Bakar was the largest and most powerful, and it’s Pheroar (Amun Re) gathered all the Regalia of the Empheroah (now known as the Flail of the Desert Kings and the Circlet of the Adder and the Stars of Mo-Pelar) to himself and conquered the remaining kingdoms. amassing all their wealth in a great pyramid that he ordered be constructed.

The grand wizard of Bakar (a traveller from the south called Amardryk) began a huge ritual to enchant the pyramid for Amun Re and keep all the treasures of Imaskar and Raurin safe for all eternity. Suddenly the Imaskaroloth travelled a great distance towards the vast concentration of magic and attacked Amadryk as he was partway through his great magic. A huge and fiery conflagration erupted from atop the pyramid, when the flame and dust settled the Imaskaroloth moved on, Amun-Re and Amadryk were dead (leaving behind 5 large star-shaped gems), and the River Athis had all but dried out.

The desert quickly consumed the rest of the habitable land within a few centuries, and most of the people fled the Raurin Desert. Those that remained became a nomadic people once again, a return to their ancestral roots. Curiously enough the Imaskaroloth and the desert remained isolated within the Raurin basin (except for the Plains of Purple Dust that was created by the destruction of Imaskar). Legends arose about Amadryk and how he sacrificed himself to contain the great, fiery, dust genie (called an efreet by those in Durpar who know of genies from their exposure to the people of Zakhara), and that the gems he left behind could be used to restore Amadryk to life and destroy the Imaskaroloth.

  • -2300 DR: Earliest human-built boats sail the southern Alamber coasts as Raurinese refugees flee north and along the seacoasts. Easily attacked and sunk by sahuagin, boats are small and usable only for coastal fishing, not exploration. Raurinese refugees continue their expansions overland.
  • -1922 DR: Mulhorand begins to skirmish with the Durpari barbarians. Many Durpari tribes are wiped out or reduced to a few families over the ensuing centuries
  • -1500 DR: Mulhorandi expansion results in the settlement of the Priador and annexation of Murghôm, the Plains of Purple Dust, and the Raurin Desert. Untheric expansion results in the settlement of the Wizards’ Reach and much of the Eastern Shaar.
  • c. -1480 DR: Mulhorand wars for several years with Solon for control of the Gbor Nor. Ultimately Solon ceded control of Murghom first, then Semphar, losing all territory west of the Howling Gap.
  • c. -1300 DR: The blue dragon Maladraedior flees Raurin after losing a battle with Sturykkazynarr who becomes the new Suzerain of the Raurin Flight. The Raurin Flight plagues the southern reaches of Solon and Bakar for centuries.
  • -1289 DR: Tan Chin flees from Kara-Tur to Raurin and begins searching for Imaskari artefacts.
  • -1124 DR: The Mulhorandi outpost of Semkhrun is founded in Semphar.
  • -698 DR: Year of Plentiful Herds: Lady Tiphere Yseldre slays the blue dragon Vurkkazynarr in his lair
  • -697 DR: Year of Furious Giants: Sturykkazynarr and the Raurin Flight begin a decade of furious assaults against the Kingdom of Solon.
  • -688 DR: Year of Fettered Talons: Lady Tiphera Yseldre the Dragonslayer of Solon is slain in a furious battle in the Winter Palace of Solon in the Raurin Alta with Sturykkazynarr and the eldest dragons of the Raurin Flight (who are also slain).
  • -687 DR: Year of Eternal Summer: Erskaznarr, son of Sturykkazynarr, devours King Andizen of Solon in his bedchamber.
  • -623 DR: Year of Clipped Wings: The Kingdom of Durpar is founded under Maharajah Udandwi, uniting all the trading communities along the northern coast of the Golden Water.
  • -458 DR: Year of Sea Monsters: Amun-Re is crowned Pheroar of Bakar.
  • -456 DR: Year of Rough Hands: Amun-Re comes into possession of the Flail of the Desert Kings. He begins two decades of warfare against the neighbouring nations of Bakar.
  • -451 DR: Year of Graceful Surrender: The Khala of Raurin ally with Murghom against the nation of Bakar. The magical might of Myrkul Bey al-Kursi helps turn the tide in favour of the Khala. In response Amun-Re hires the renowned wizard Amadryk the Sable Spark.
  • -449 DR: Year of Dawning Magic: The Khala are defeated, a curse afflicts the surviving members by transforming them into hideous creatures part eagle, jackal, and antelope; both sides claim Amadryk enacted the punishment, giving the Khala the form of an eagle, jackal, and antelope in one form.
  • -445 DR: Year of Heroic Vindication: Amun-Re, Pheroar of Bakar orders the construction of a great pyramid to house the wealth of Raurin.
  • -441 DR: Year of Paths Unwalked: The Fall of Raurin: The Treasure Tomb of Amun-Re is completed and the mighty wizard Amadryk works great magics to enchant the pyramid. The Imaskaroloth moves rapidly south and attacks Amadryk during the ritual. In the aftermath the Imaskaroloth is bound to Raurin, and the River Athis dries up. Amadryk and everyone present at the ritual are presumed disintegrated by the Imaskaroloth as no trace can be found of them.

The Failing Years

This time was the last gasp of the Raurin people as their lands were claimed by the desert and the people fled south while others from Durpar and the lands to the south moved into the southern regions of Raurin to keep alternative trade routes open between Durpar and Mulhorand across the desert.

The only nation that survived to this time was that of Solon, ruled from the city of Solon. This kingdom lasted until a powerful merchant prince from Durpar marched north with his mercenaries to conquer the city and end the last nation of Raurin people.

  • -256 DR:  Year of Able Warriors: Satama, a Durpari trader, begins preaching the Adama, a belief system still dominant in the Shining South to this day. The Adama, or “the One,” is the embodiment of the spirit found in all things, from rocks and plants to animals and even the gods; all creatures and objects on Toril are considered manifestations of the Adama. Following the Adama does not preclude worshiping the gods, but encourages fair and just dealings to “honor the Adama.” Belief in the Adama promotes the tenets of the faiths of Zionel (Gond), Curna (Oghma), Lucha (Sêlune), Torm, and Waukeen.
  • 109 DR: Year of the False Ghost: A dissident force from Durpar led by a humble merchant; Ambuchar Devayam, conquers the failing kingdom of Solon
  • 117 DR: Year of the Swinging Pendulum: Ambuchar Devayam invades Ra-Khati but is repulsed and flees back to Solon.
  • 651 DR: Year of the Waning Sun: Erskaznarr the Suzerain of the Raurin Flight is deposed by the blue dragon Gestaniius.
  • 675 DR: Year of the Bloodfeud: Gestaniius the Suzerain is driven off by the returning Erskaznarr, who becomes the new Suzerain of the Raurin Flight.

Life and Society

The Raurin region is home to few people, because most cannot live in such a hostile environment filled with monsters and magical catastrophes. The few humans that make their home here are desert nomads descended from the Raurinese people that lived here before and after the fall of Imaskar. These desert nomads survive thanks to the few oases that dot the landscape, and live by raiding the neighbouring nations of Semphar, Murghom, Durpar, and Ulgarth.

There are many tribes of Raurin, including the; Baka, Meda, Kartha. There are innumerable tribes that have been lost to thirst, warfare, or the predation of monsters, including; Kalah, Al-Alisk, Pazza, Akhir.

Customs

Slavery: Each tribe has its own customs and traditions, but most are based around the traditions of old Raurin or Imaskar. Slaves are an important measure of wealth, and tribes constantly raid one another or nearby settlements to amass more slaves, these raids have few fatalities because the ultimate goal is to steal people and goods, not slaughter people.

Water: Water is the most valuable substance in Raurin and it is one of the few things the Raurinese will kill for. A tribe is driven across the Raurin deserts, often with the primary purpose of finding and securing sources of water. Elders are selected and removed because of their success in choosing the path that leads to water.

The nomadic tribes wander the deserts of Raurin almost continually, looking for water, and trying to leave dangerous predators far behind. The largest and most successful tribes claim the few oases in the desert and expect lavish gifts from those visiting tribes who wish to use the oasis. 

Honour: Honour is also important to the Raurin tribes and so a tribe will not deliberately attack a weaker target, as a result, lone travellers or small parties are often left unmolested. 

When it comes to water, the larger tribes often secure the oases for themselves and require lavish gifts to allow visitors entry to their camp (and access to the water), and while they would not deliberately attack a weaker tribe that did not provide such gifts, they are well within their rights to ensure the members of their own tribe get the best access to the watering hole, unwelcome visitors are often left with water that has been used by others (for bathing and toileting). 

It is considered dishonourable for a visitor to attack the host of the camp, or for the host to attack a visitor. The first to enter into hostilities forfeits their honour and will almost certainly be attacked by everyone in camp.

It is dishonourable to attack an enemy without him being aware of the attack, so poison and acts of subterfuge or assassination are not allowed in Raurin society.

Those who act without honour often find their reputation is spread among the other Raurin tribes and they are shunned by the nomads. Shunning means the individual can expect no one to share food, water, shelter, or even conversation with them. While the shunned individual can often wander a camp without being attacked, no one will offer assistance to him of any kind or even acknowledge his existence.

Camps: Those wanderers encountering the Raurin nomads are welcomed to join the protection of the camp for a night but are expected to provide a gift (water being the most valued), if no gift is provided then enslavement is the most likely outcome.

Durpari: In the far south of Raurin, the people are more of Durpari stock than Raurin and behave more like the merchant traders of the south than the nomads of the desert. The understand the Raurin concept of honour and observe it when interacting with them, but otherwise, to a Durpari nomad everything has a value and can be traded for something of equal value.

Mounts: The Raurin Deserts are too hot for horse, although around the Oases the nomads do keep stock of Raurin Horses (a golden or dun coloured breed noted for strength, stamina, sure-footedness, and incredible speed, many believe the Imaskari bred this horse from the lands of the Tuigan). Camels are the most common steed in the desert, and every tribe of nomads has a number of these beasts (the wealth of the tribe often measured in the number of camels).

The nomads of the Raurin Deserts drive their mounts using a type of goad (a hooked rod) with a whip on the bottom end that is used to drive the slaves when reversed.

Religion

The Raurin Empire, in its few centuries of existence, left a lasting religious legacy to the Raurin people. The practice of worshipping the heroes of the Mulan had only just begun but it persisted long after the Raurin Empire collapsed, and mingled with a number of ancient Imaskari religions. Today this hodge-podge of abandoned temples, ancient traditions, and corrupted beliefs is known to the Raurinese people as “The Old Gods” (not to be confused with the Cult of the Old Gods in Unther).

The Raurin nomads provide a variety of offerings and venerations to ward off evil or beseech boons from these gods, such as; Ra is offered at dawn to bring the sun up, Proomethisk to keep away the burning flames, Appela to bring wind, Adanu to make it rain.

In the south, the Durpari traders have brought their own religion to Raurin. Each “god” is actually a facet of the one true god Adama (the name is a corruption of Adanu which means Anu’s Place and was brought to Durpar by those fleeing the fall of Raurin), and thus all the gods of the Raurin are really part of Adama. The Durpari traders are gradually converting the Raurin nomads (especially those occupying the oases), where this occurs the ways of the Old Gods are being abandoned and this is causing further strife within and between the Raurin tribes.

Adama: The concept of Adama has been imported into the Raurin Deserts from Durpar to the south. The Durpari believe that there is only one god; Adama, and that all the other gods are merely facets of Adama. The Raurin tribes in the south are slowly accepting the idea of Adama, seeing the success of the Durpari, and welcoming the lavish gifts the Durpari award them in return for embracing the worship of Adama.

Avnatar: Avnatar is depicted as a great fiery serpent that devours people whole and commands the salamanders that plague the nomads of the Dust Desert. Legends of the Raurin people state that Avnatar consumed the forested plains that once dominated the Raurin Basin, turning the land into desert. He is an enemy of the Elders and tales are often told of his battles with Eragh and the brothers Eenou and Eenil.

Chayla: Chayla is depicted as the wife of Suleo and the mother of the Raurinese people, it is from her tears that the life giving waters flow and create the rivers of legend and the oases of today. Chayla is a kindly god that is most often described as a frail old woman with olive skin and black hair (mulan characteristics).

Daxurge: Daxurge is depicted as an evil, shrouded humanoid with a skull for a head and multiple arms, and he has many magical abilities including the ability to create undead. Daxurge is believed to wait in the darkness to slay any that stray to far from the light of the camp, he is often credited with causing the downfall of the Raurin empires of the past and is often thought to be the judge of the dead, sending those who have no honour (or who use magic) to Nalgast.

The Elders: The Raurinese nomads most often give offerings to their ancestors that they believe once ruled the entire world and grew powerful enough to challenge the gods. Each tribe has their own Elders that they worship (most of them renowned warriors of the recent past), but there is a staple core of Elders that all tribes venerate: Eragh, Eenou, Eenil, Hrosh, Omtin.

Jomian: Jomian the tempter is a cowardly god, sometimes depicted as a giant rat, at other times as a giant crocodile. He is the god of rivers that run dry, the breaker of oaths, and the first to betray the trust of a camp. Those without honour trust in Jomian to ensure their plans are successful, and to keep them safe from Daxurge and Nalgast.

Khara: This ancient sun god is nowadays forgotten as a deity in his own right and is instead thought of as Avnatar sleeping and coiled in the sky. He has been worshipped as the god of life and King of the Gods, and also as the nemesis of the gods and destroyer of Imaskar. If he is venerated at all, it is only by those nomads that skirt the edge of the Plains of Purple Dust. Sages believe that Khara may be a corruption of the name Khepera, who is a sun god worshipped in Semphar to the north.

Nalgast: The god Nalgast is depicted as a monstrous, bloated corpse that represents the fate of those who die without honour, he is thought to work in tandem with Daxurge, feasting on the souls of those who are judged unworthy (while Daxurge reanimates their corpse). Most Raurin tribes think that Nalgast was created from the deaths of those thousands of magic users slain when the past empires of the Raurin people collapsed.

Suleo: The Mountainfist is believed to be the land of Raurin itself, and the father of the Raurin people. He is distant and uncaring, allowing the land to dry up in punishment for the Raurin people embracing magic and abandoning their honour.

Important Sites

Athis Valley: This valley was once sacred land to the Raurin Empire, known as the Valley of the Gods through which flowed the River of Life from the magical spring in the temple city of Terbakar down through the valley and heading north to the twin capitals of Mulhawoon and Umthoril.

The valley was sheltered on the east and west by a range of tall hills known as the Harjab and Elharjab (words meaning magical hills) and all passes into the valley through the hills were guarded by temple cities (including Tirbakar and Tirpazar) and enchanted gates known as the Gates of Shule (literally spell-gates) which cursed those not anointed by the old gods.

After the fall of the Raurin Empire the Athis Valley quickly became the only inhabitable region (apart from small oases in the deserts) in Raurin, and the Raurin people crowded into the valley carving out small kingdoms for the various tribes. Skirmishes between these kingdoms resulted in most of the great pyramids and buildings of Raurin being demolished in the Athis Valley and their stones used to rebuild the successor states.

Elhinjaz: The eastern “hills” that border the Athis Valley rise to around 6,000 ft at their height.

Gates of Sule: These great stone arches (originally known as the Gates of Shul to the rulers of the Raurin Empire) guarded the four passes (north, south, east, and west) into the Athis Valley, inscribed onto the gates in a Roushoum dialect similar to Mulhorandi (but using the draconic alphabet) are the words “curse thee who enter unbidden”.

Those who passed beneath the arches were enspelled with permanent and powerful curses unless they had taken part in ceremonies provided to pilgrims into the valley by the temples of Tirbakar and Tirpazar. Today the Gates of Sule have been drained of all power and only 2 of the arches still exist; one in the south is partially sunken into the sand, one in the north is completely submerged beneath the desert sands. The exist purely as way-markers into the Athis Valley, their function and meaning long forgotten.

Pazar: During the time of the Raurin Empire this was known as Tirpazar (literally the fortress of Pazar) and guarded one of the four known passes into the Athis Valley.

The River Athis once created by the Empheroah of Raurin, flowed up to the gates of Pazar where it had been carved into the Elharjab Mountains. Unfortunately the rock was primarily limestone and the river carved its way into the bedrock causing the city to descend into a deepening sinkhole that was continually filled in with soil and the city rebuilt atop it.

Following the Ritual of Amadryk, the River Athis dried up but the city of Pazar continued to be swallowed by the sinkhole and was then quickly covered with sand as the desert claimed the valley. Only those buildings on the very edge of the fortress were left uncovered by the sands and even they have begun to slide into the bowl of Pazar. In the centre of the bowl of Pazar is the tip of a tall pyramid (the rest lies hidden beneath the sand) with a small, partially covered entrance carved into the side of the pyramid.

Pazar is home to one of the Stars of Mo-Pelar (Aga-Pelar), kept inside the pyramid in the centre of the city deep in the central burial chamber where the rulers of Pazar where interred in great sarcophagi.

Phoenix: Known as Kahathaeg when it was constructed by the Raurin Empire, this large domed settlement was built atop ancient Imaskari ruins that housed a number of magically compelled servitors; including a genie, a number of sphinx, a phoenix, and other extraplanar beings.

The Empheroah and Pheroah of Raurin as well as their close kin used Kahathaeg as a retreat to revitalise themselves while being cared for by these servant creatures. When Raurin fell it was barely a century before the city of Kahathaeg was surrounded by the desert and soon after covered with sand. It soon became lost to the Raurin people with its name corrupting to Karthag and then later being known as the city of the phoenix for its legendary healing powers to those that can find it (and for one of the servants rumoured to dwell here).

Hinjaz: These western “hills” of the Athis Valley are referred to as such because they are dwarfed by the nearby Dustwall, but in reality they rise to nearly 6000 ft in places. Originally named the Harjab by the Raurin Empire, these hills had a reputation for being magical places full of strange creatures that served to guard the Valley of the Gods from unbelievers.

The Hinjaz (like their sisters the Elhinjaz) are noted for a peculiar red tint when viewed from far off, and for their stable populations of exotic pegasi. Their are rumours of a family of flying, lion like creatures known as “the Sphinx” that once guarded the Valley of the Gods from plunderers, although they have not been seen in many centuries.

Crypt of Badr Al-Mosak: Hidden in an oft overlooked valley deep in the Hinjaz there are the ruins of an amphitheatre, in the centre of which is a series of stateus, one of which is a 15 ft marble statue of what looks like one of the Empheroah of Raurin, the marble is of a variety of hues which give it realistic skin tones and colouring to its decorations. Surrounding the statue, cut into the ground, are stone seats arranged in a circular pattern.

The statue and seating are completely free of detritus and activity, this is due to the antipathy effect placed here by the Empheroah to prevent people from disturbing the resting place of one of the Lord Artificers of Imaskar. There are numerous statues to the ancient rulers of Imaskar hidden all over Raurin and beyond and the tombs beneath these statues often house dangerous magics and the undead artificers that refuse to rest peacefully.

This particular tomb is famous for the nomad chief, self styled Pharoar of Raurin (a title he gave himself), and daring thief Badr Al-Mosak who crept into the bedchambers of the chief of the Kartha tribe of Raurin and stole one of the fabled Stars of Mo-Pelar from his magical chest. Pursued by the tribe across the desert he was already in fear of his life when he came into contact with the antipathy effect (helping him resist it for a time), he found the secret door and crept into the tomb. Once inside the deep tomb he became stuck at the very bottom of a shaft because he could not approach the surface without coming into contact with the antipathy effect again. Without food or water he soon perished and added his corpse to the number of undead roaming this tomb.

Tomb of Amun-Re: This great pyramid was constructed as a homage to the sacred tombs in the Valley of the Guards (and quite often was made of stone taken from the same tombs). Amun-Re had commissioned it’s building upon acceding to the throne of Bakar. It was designed to house the greatest riches of Imaskar, Raurin, and all the successor states, and ultimate the body of Amun-Re himself in the hopes that he could use it in the afterlife to join the old gods of Raurin.

This treasure tomb is possibly the greatest dungeon in all of Raurin (with the possible exception of the Tower of Set or the ruins of Inupras). Its many levels hold a myriad of traps and illusions (magical and non-magical) to confuse and slay those attempting to plunder the tomb. The treasury rooms are home to ancient riches including exquisite pieces of artwork, sculptures, jewellery, weaponry, and armour, it is also home to as many magical artefacts from across Raurin that Amun-Re and his servants could acquire. However these treasures are guarded by even more fiendish traps as well as undead, magical, and constructed guardians that slay those touching a single coin. Amun-Re’s favourite trap was a breed of scarab that looked like a variety of gemstones but would burrow into the skin once touched by human flesh and would activate other nearby scarabs to form a swarm.

The upper layers of the pyramid were devoted to the Old Gods of Raurin and housed quarters for the clergy of these gods, many of whom were transformed into undead or terrifying monstrosities in the aftermath of the Ritual of Amadryk. Deep in the bowels of the pyramid tomb is the fabled stone of Mo-Pelar, which is guarded by the undead form of Amun-Re himself.

The Celestial Nadir: The Imaskari were explorers of many other planes, making bargains with powerful patrons, serving the will of elemental lords, fiends, and worse. At some point during the history of the Imaskari Empire, they discovered the Astral Plane, a vast planar wasteland of emptiness that responded to the thoughts of those with enough strength of mind.

The Imaskari created their own planar fortress and used it to house portals and gates that allowed them to far beyond the reach of even magical modes of travel, which were used to connect their far reaching empire.

Since the fall of Imaskar the portals to access the Celestial Nadir have started to malfunction, but those that have ventured to the Celestial Nadir report that it seems to have grown beyond its original confines, including constructions of alien architecture that are clearly not of Imaskari origin. Sages venture that the expansion of this Astral demiplane is likely because of some powerful magical artefact hidden at its center that is drawing other matter in the Astral Plane towards it.

The Citadel: Few can speculate what the original purpose of The Citadel was when the Imaskari constructed it as an extra dimensional space. Those arriving via the Amethyst Pillars are deposited in one of three places (chosen seemingly at random); the Garden, the Black Abyss, and the Tower.

The Garden is a vast cavern filled with a variety of plant and animal life that has adapted to live in this isolated environment, no longer requiring sunshine but sustained by the magical fields of this place and happy to feed off intruders. The Black Abyss is a large chasm filled with a variety of bizarre environments that defy logic (burning slime pools, rocks that drain water from anything touching it, rivers of blood that run up walls). The Tower is a seemingly endless array of floors each with its own time differential so that those in one floor could exist many years faster than those on another floor.

Each of these three chambers is home to clans of people that have been trapped in the Citadel and forced to survive however they can. Each chamber has a door that one can only exit if they possess the right key (which just so happens to be one of the Stars of Mo-Pelar). The door opens for 10 minutes onto a circular room with many doors, two of which lead to the other known chambers, and one of them leads back to Raurin. There are many unknown chambers but only 5 known Stars of Mo-Pelar, and three of those are keyed to the known chambers listed above.

The Desert of Desolation: The eastern half of the Raurin desert. This desert formed much later as the changing climate in Raurin spread the desert further east. By -623 DR the eastern half of Raurin was also desert except for the Athis Valley which remained lush and fertile until -441 DR when the spring at Terbakar dried up and the desert slowly claimed the valley over the next few centuries.

Medinat Muskawoon: Once the capital city of the Raurin Empire, and before that a major settlement of ancient Imaskar (whose name is lost to history), this city is now a cursed ruin devoid of life surrounded by a sea of sand melted into glass.

Medinat Muskawoon was one of the few places oases outside the Athis Valley that was not completely claimed by the desert. The River Athis flowed north to Medinat Muskawoon where it formed a lake known in legend today as Me’at Halwa, a name formed from the corruption of the words meaning north and stream. The Meda tribe of the Raurin people survived here as the desert surrounded them until the time of Amadryk’s Ritual when the Athis River suddenly dried up.

The city lasted barely fifty years before starvation and thirst caused the inhabitants to descend into anarchy and tear the place apart. The last caravan to pass through here from Murghom reported undead monsters created by a strange wasting disease. Only one member of the caravan party survived to crawl back to Semkhrun and he told a tale of nightly stalkings from an unseen foe, before hordes of walking corpses assailed them and they were forced to take shelter in a broken tomb when one of their party found magical artefacts that attracted the attention of the Garmsil and when they dared use these items it turned the dust demon into a fiery conflagration that melted the very sand into glass. Only he survived by cowering in the tomb and he wasted away to a corpse and then a dusty pile within a tenday of his return to Semkhrun.

The city of Medinat Muskawoon contains many of the ornate buildings created by the Empire of Raurin (built out of the shell of one of the cities of Imaskar). It is filled with public baths and huge pyramid temples that housed the clergy and the faithful dead that worshipped one of the many heroes of the Mulan as gods. There were also a great many obelisks made of crystal that were left behind by the Imaskari, when touched by someone carrying the right key or struck to produce a particular musical chord, they would be whisked away (plane shift) to one of the extra-dimensional spaces the Imaskari were so famous for creating. The Citadel is the most well known of these spaces, accessed by striking the twin amethyst pillars outside the temple of Ra to produce a particular note from the overlapping resonance. Nobody has ever returned from The Citadel so details of its interior are all rumour.

The Dust Desert: The western half of the Raurin desert, also known as the Stone Desert. This desert was the first to form following the destruction of Imaskar and the creation of the Imaskaroloth which wound its way south turning the lands into a vast dusty plain which was soon nicknamed the Dust Desert.

The Font of Time: Located somewhere in the Dust Desert in the shadow of the Dragonsword Mountains is a pool of pearly white water (mildly poisonous to drink) that is said to allow the viewer to travel back in time to a point during the First Empire of Mulhorand.

The only known evidence of this pool’s location is from the grimoire; Unique Mageries, by Nezram the Worldwalker. In his account he writes of gazing into the pool in the light of a full moon and being transported through time, and requiring the same action to return to the present. Nezram does not reveal the pool’s location, nor does he indicate if actions taken in the past have any effect upon the present, but if one can affect the present then it may explain how he has accumulated so much knowledge and power.

The makers of the pool are unknown, although the Church of Thoth have claimed it was made by the God Thoth himself, given it’s location in the Raurin region it is possible that it was constructed by the Imaskari (or someone from an even earlier time), but it is not known if the Font of Time was ever used (or if it would even allow someone) to travel forward in time when it was created, or if it allows travel to different times and the First Empire of Mulhorand was just it’s last destination.

Oasis of the White Palm: This oasis lies on the very edge of the Dust Desert between the desert and the Athis Valley. It is home to a large tribe of Raurin nomads that are beginning to embrace the Durpari ways and abandon the Old Gods and old traditions. Some of the nomads are resisting this change and have discovered and now inhabit the Tower of Set lying beneath the settlement around the oasis.

The Tower of Set: Located on the very edge of the Dust Desert, 40 miles north of the northern edge of Hinjaz. Its location has remained a mystery for so long because the tower actually lies deep beneath the surface of the Dust Desert, right beneath the Oasis of the White Palm.

The tower was likely an Imaskari building that the Mulan hero Keoth Amsetis claimed for his own. Following the fall of the Raurin Empire the tower was abandoned and later covered by the Dust Desert, but at various times in Mulhorand’s history Set was known to have returned to the tower.

In recent centuries the Raurin nomads living in the Oasis of the White Palm discovered a number of the tunnels and catacombs below and believed it to be a shrine to Jomian or Avnatar. Around 1320 DR the Cult of Set returned and reclaimed the ruins below for themselves, converting, enslaving, or murdering those nomads that knew of its existence.

The Cult of Set now uses the Tower of Set to coordinate cult activities across Mulhorand, Semphar, Murghom, and even Thay. They are careful never to openly operate in or around the Oasis of the White Palm and have explored much of the vast tunnel complex that connects the tower to the rest of Deep Raurin.

Ragheb: This oasis is a recent discovery in the dunes just north of the Giant’s Belt Mountains, there are even a few palm trees and bushes growing around the edge of the overflowing well that is known locally as “Lake Ragheb”.

In its short existence the oasis has been claimed by a variety of nomadic tribes of giants, humans, and even an efreet and his entourage. As is usual with new oases, power struggles have resulted in it changing hands many times as nearby groups hear of the new water source. On at least one occasion the inhabitants have been slaughtered by some powerful desert creature (Omaranthax).

The Dustwall: In Durpar the Dustwall refers only to the southern mountain range bordering Raurin and Durpar, but in reality all the mountains south and west of Raurin are part of the same impossibly high mountain range (among the highest in Faerun), the average height of these mountains is 15,000 ft, the tallest mountain called Adama’s Wrath is 22,000 ft.

On its southern side the mountains are breached in only 3 places; Northknife Pass (which is frozen over for half the year), Blood Gap (enters into the deadly Scarlet Jungle), and the Gates of Iron.

Legends say that these mountains were raised by the cataclysm that destroyed Bakar and brought destruction to the people of Raurin. Most assume this means that the mountains were created by the same disaster but Imaskari records clearly debunk that possibility, however it may be that the mountains were quite literally raised higher by whatever magic Amadryk worked that day in -441 DR.

A large tribe of warlike and primitive humanoids known elsewhere as orcs have taken root in the Dustwall Mountains. It is unknown how they arrived thus far south, but they have only been sighted in the region in the last 400 years and their groups now number over 5,000 fighting members.

Gates of Iron: The Gates of Iron were built during the height of Imaskar and were supposedly (according to legend) built by the dwarves to keep Imaskar’s armies out of Durpar, however many sages believe that Imaskar ruled Durpar as a vassal state during its height so the legends may be incorrect.

The Gates of Iron were magically reinforced and sealed, there are none today that have any idea how to open the gates and they have remain closed for several millennia (since the fall of Imaskar).

Northknife Pass: This is one of only three passes through the Dustwall (the others being the permanently sealed Gates of Iron, or the deadly Blood Pass), and is considered the safest and most accessible despite the pass being 9000 ft above the lowlands of Durpar, completely frozen over for 3 months of the year, and difficult to traverse.

The Giant’s Belt: Impassably high mountains that cover the southwestern edge of the Raurin region. Rolling Stone Gap is a 30 mile stretch of rolling hills between the Giant’s Belt and the Dragonsword Mountains.

The Giant’s Belt is named for the actual giants who live here among the wind swept peaks. These giants resemble the nomads of the Raurin Deserts and have been dubbed Sand Giants for their unique adaptations to the desert environment around them.

Al Qahara: The foothills of the Giant’s Belt shelters a valley that ends in a secret tunnel leading to a set of great bronze doors sealed with magical runes. Those who find the doors are ushered inside by the inhabitants and never allowed to leave again.

To the people of the Raurin Deserts, Al Qahara roughly translates as “of the lost”, for its inhabitants desire to remain hidden from the outside world, and emerge only as lone travellers who venture to the likes of Ragheb to trade for essentials.

Al Qahara is home to the last remnants of the elves of Faerlorpiir in the Raurin region, and specifically the elves of House Qaharri. As the Imaskari grew in power they logged the last of Faerlorpiir’s woods and enslaved the last of its elves, the few who remained came to Al Qaharra and sealed themselves away, hoping to escape the Imaskari artificers.

Today the dusky, weather-beaten elves survive in tunnels under the Giant’s Belt mountains, and in the sheltered mountain valleys of the belt. They trade the food they produce with the human nomads and sand giants of the deserts.

The Valley of Death: The early Imaskari Empire was known for its artificers making pacts with all kinds of powerful benefactors in return for magical power. In -6422 DR, a number of these artificers unwisely opened a gateway to another plane for a being known only as Zargon. Zargon had promised the artificers power beyond their wildest dreams, but instead he gave them death and destruction.

Zargon conquered the capital city of Inupras, filled it with monstrous, fiendish creatures from other planes and carved out his own land called Cynidicea, in the north of Imaskar that lasted for 2000 years. From Cynidicea the enormous Zargon sent his monstrous followers stalking the surrounding lands and abducting whatever humanoids they could find to sacrifice (feed) to Zargon.

Eventually the Imaskari artificers, led by Lord Artificer Omanond and his new brand of magic, reconquered Inupras and disintegrated Zargon and the brown slime that emanated from him and corrupted all it touched. Only Zargon’s 7 ft long horn remained, and despite their best efforts, even the Lord Artificer Omanond and his most accomplished students could not destroy it.

The horn was buried in an almost unreachable (except by flying), hidden valley deep in the Giant’s Belt Mountains (the Imaskari previously having enslaved the giants and relocated them throughout their empire), and promptly forgotten. The horn now lies thrusting out of the ground like an obelisk, with brown slime oozing out of the cracks in the ground around it. A variety of devilish horrors that one only finds in the hidden depths of Baator guard the horn (the murderous, transformed remnants of those unlucky enough to be corrupted by the slime), endlessly praying to Zargon or slaughtering any that find their way to the Valley of Death.

The Plains of Purple Dust: This region of the Raurin desert is not technically located within Raurin, it sits just north of Raurin covering the lands south of Murghom and Semphar but north of the mountains surrounding Raurin. It is characterised by a fine blood red, almost crimson sand that looks purple from a distance.

The Plains of Purple Dust is filled with the bleached bones of creatures both ancient and recent, as well as enormous sand drifts that cover the ruins of ancient Imaskar. Purple Worms are known to infest this desert region and they grow larger the further one travels into the interior.

Whirling sand storms are a common weather pattern in the Plains of Purple Dust, it is the favoured haunt of the terrifying Imaskaroloth, and his wroth has been known to bury entire settlements under many feet of sand.

Maskana: This ancient Mulhorandi fortress was constructed around -1480 DR during the war with Solon for control of the northern provinces of fallen Imaskar. It was abandoned by the time of the Orcgate Wars and forgotten about completely by the time of the Second Mulhorandi empire.

Since its construction, the Plains of Purple Dust have claimed the ruins of Maskana, with huge dust storms striking this ruin repeatedly over the centuries and almost completely burying it.

The fortress was originally built atop a much older Imaskari fortress and the fully functioning portal network it protected. The Mulhorandi appear to have forgotten about the true purpose of this fortress and the secrets hidden beneath it. The bowels of the fortress are also home to one of the fabled Imaskarcana (stashed in a secret chamber by a fleeing artificer from the Battle of Whirling Sands), the raw magical power emitted by this artefact frequently draws the attention of the Imaskaroloth who tries (in vain) to destroy the fortress and obtain the power hidden beneath it.

Raudor: This ruined city once lay beneath a cliff face on the far western side of the Raurinshield Mountains at the end of a lush, green valley. It is notable for being the site of a slave rebellion that was quashed with ruthless efficiency, and for the general populaiton being particularly unruly.

In the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Whirling Sands, a number of powerful artificers fled here (secretly carrying the fabled fourth Imaskarcana) seeking sanctuary. They were pursued by the hastily formed armies of the mulan, led by Ass-Uraqn, who laid siege to the city. Before the mulan forces could storm the walls the cliff face collapsed and buried the entire city in rock and sand, leaving the mulan to pick over the ruins.

The ruins of the city are mostly intact beneath the thick layer of sand covering the rock and rubble of the mountains. Treasure seekers and monsters alike have tunnelled into the ruins searching some fabled artefact (having correctly determined the locaiton of the fourth Imaskarcana, or heard the rumours), but most that venture into Raudor find only madness and death.

There is an ancient and evil presence here that has lasted since the time of the Imaskar Empire, an elder brain – now sterile and decaying, that once bargained in secret with the artificers of old to supply them with magic and power in return for brains. When the artificers embraced the Weave, they slew the illithids and attempted to neutralise the elder brain, rendering it sterile. With the Imaskari artificers now long dead the elder brain has broken free of its decayed wardings and is now directly entering the minds of intruders, implanting a copy of its personality within these victims (that arent driven insane) and sending them into the realms to spy for it.

The Raurinshield Mountains: Known to locals as the Raurin Alta, this series of dry, mountains covers most of the northern edge of the Raurin Deserts and shelters Semphar and Murghom from the worst of its heat and dust.

The Raurinshield Mountains are rich in metal ore (particularly iron and copper), which give the waters of the Goldenflow a bitter, metallic taste. The Kingdom of Solon used the mineral wealth of the Raurinshield Mountains to grow rich and powerful, allowing it to rival the nearby Kingdom of Bakar, and extend its borders north into what is now Murghom and Semphar.

The Shattered Palace: Once an outpost of the Kingdom of Solon in the Raurinshield Mountains on the northern side, overlooking the plains of the Gbor Nor. It was used by the royalty of Solon to spend time during the freezing winters that afflict the eastern edge of the Desert of Desolation.

The palace was shattered in -688 DR during a fierce battle between Lady Tiphera Yseldre and her dragonslayers against Suzerain Sturykkazynarr and his most powerful blue dragons in the Raurin Flight. Lady Tiphera was drawn to the palace under false pretences by King Andizen of Solon; who wanted the popular noble out of the way and arranged with Suzerain Sturykkazynarr to ambush the Lady (who thought she was attending a revel in honour of her accomplishments).

Sturykkazynarr desired revenge for Tiphera’s slaying of his child Vurkkazynarr, and her desecration of his remains (she fashioned Vurkkazynarr’s skull into a magical helmet). He eagerly awaited the dragonslayer’s arrival in the palace courtyard, but had not counted on Lady Tiphera and her retinue arriving in full battledress.

The battle between dragons and dragonslayers shook the very foundations of the palace and shattered most of the outer walls, leaving behind a cracked and broken ruin. Lady Yseldre was laid to rest in the Yseldre Mausoleum (in Solon) along with the Wyrmbane Helm, but the helm and Tiphera’s remains were reported missing a tenday after the funeral and ever since the ruins of the Shattered Palace have been stalked by some armoured horrer in a bone helm.

Important NPCs

Amadryk (Evil, Human – Imaskari, Magic-User 20+): Amadryk (pronounced Madrek or Madrok depending upon the Roushoum dialect being spoken)  the Sable Spark was a renowned wizard during the last few centuries of the Imaskari Successor States. He claimed to have come from Durpar where he served the rulers of that land for many years before roaming north to Bakar where he offered his services to Amun-Re.

Amun-Re petitioned the wizard to enchant a great pyramid that would house all the treasures of Raurin for Amun, to keep them from his enemies and ultimately so that he could gather enough power to rival the gods and take his place among them. Amadryk did as he was bid, and using the Rod, Circlet, and Collar of the Empheroah as foci he began a powerful ritual (assisted by the magi of Bakar).

Ultimately the ritual was interrupted partway through its month long casting by the Imaskaroloth. The magical backlash saw the Imaskaroloth bound to the Tomb of Amun-Re, the powers of the regalia of the Empheroah were altered, and Amadryk and everyone present at the ritual were seemingly destroyed.

However Amadryk was not destroyed, and nor was he ever really Amadryk. The Sable Spark was really an ancient rogue artificer of Imaskar.

Circellce (Evil, Huge Viper, Magic User 4): Circellce is an operative in service to the Cult of Set and unusual in that she is not a human but an intelligent snake, able to slither unnoticed into places a human would not be allowed or able to reach.

Circellce is like Vasrass in that her intelligence has been awakened in her by some ancient magical ritual, but whereas Vasrass was awakened by the Divine Incarnation Seti, Circellce was awakened by another snake (Ssisthlerine) in the far off Kingdom of Najara, and sent to Raurin with the express purpose of infiltrating the Cult of Set and influencing its doctrine to be more open to the idea of their god representing other snake worshippers of other lands as an aspect of a much greater and older snake deity.

Circellce has been successful in infiltrating the cult and in influencing their dogma and scripture such that most references to Set are now written as Sseth to make them more pronouncable in the serpentine tongue (some worshippers deliberately mutilate their tongue to make it more snakelike and find it easier to pronounce the new name.

Kallectoll: The Elder Brain of Raurin once ruled over a large city of illithids hidden beneath the Raurinshield Mountains. From this location the illithids manipulated the early Imaskar Empire, influencing them to establish the city of Raudor right atop Kallectoll, and engage in the enslavement of other races to feed the mind flayers appetite.

The predations of the illithids of Kallectoll had an unusual effect upon the slaves of Raudor, and their repeated mind invasions of the illithids gradually bred a resistance into the slaves over a millennia or more. The slaves of Raudor were particularly intractable and even rose up in rebellion in -6799 DR when their masters refused to acknowledge or deal with the repeated disappearances of the slaves being forced to work in tunnels beneath the city.

When the artificers of Imaskar discovered the Weave, they no longer had need of powerful patrons to provide magical power to them. The artificers descended on Raudor, slew all the illithids and neutralised the potency of the Elder Brain, leaving it sterile and unable to produce new tadpoles, and binding it in subservience to the artificers.

With the fall of Imaskar, the Elder Brain was freed from its bindings, it has slowly gathered its strength and has been able to produce 3 brain golems that serve and protect it. Over time the Elder Brain has developed a very powerful form of suggestion that allows it not only to implant ideas but a partial copy of its personality that grows and eventually rewrites the host’s. Most victims of this mental implantation are driven insane and consumed by a desire to eat brains, but enough have survived, and in this way the elder brain has been able to procreate again (of a sort) and now has 30 or more humanoid copies in a dozen settlements in the lands around Raurin

The Garmsil: Known by many names; the Garmsil, the Skriaxit, the Shaitan, the Imaskaroloth (and to those that have communicated with it; Khalitharius). This “being” is possibly the single most destructive force created by magic; a gigantic whirlwind that strips flesh off the bone, erodes buildings, and reduces everything it touches to a fine dust within moments of contact.

The Imaskaroloth was created by the Imaskari artificers at the Battle of Whirling Sands. When the Mulan heroes arrived at the gates of Inupras atop three flying battle barges and the Mulan slaves rose up against the Imaskari, the Empheroar of Imaskar called as many artificers to him as he could contact. Hundreds came and did magical battle with the Mulan invaders.

With the tide of battle turning against them after Horus Helcalliant slew Empheroar Yuvaraj, the remaining artificers used an ancient magic that was last attempted 2000 years earlier. The magic was first found in ruins present in Raurin before even the Imask arrived, the artificers quickly lost control of it and it consumed them, then it left the Purple Palace and consumed the next building and its occupants. It kept moving from building to building, destroying it and everything within it, growing ever larger and more powerful. The Mulan forces were powerless to stop it and so fled south, letting the Imaskaroloth move north, consuming every drop of magic it could find.

The Imaskaroloth is intelligent, it contains the intellects of every artificer that created it, but it’s primary and most powerful intelligence is that of Khalitharius, the noble efreet who was the focus of the ritual. Few beings have ever bothered to attempt to communicate with it, fewer still have been successful, of those few, two of note are; Keoth Amsetis who is now known as the godking Set of Mulhorand, and Myrkul Bey al-Kursi who is now known as Myrkul the god of death.

The Imaskaroloth is confined to remain within a 500 square mile radius of the Tomb of Amun-Re by the same magic that destroyed Amadryk’s body and bound him to 5 star-shaped gems. It is drawn to concentrations of magic which it feeds off (although it takes time to destroy permanent magical effects, and cannot entirely destroy the most powerfully enchanted items, only temporarily drain them).

Khalitharius desires above all else to be free of his confines within Raurin so that he can destroy the godkings, their empires, and all the Mulan people. Should anyone bring any of the Stars of Mo-Pelar to the surface of Raurin (most are hidden inside magical buildings impervious to the attacks of the Imaskaroloth) then the Imaskaroloth will become aware of its location and move to intercept it, travelling at a speed of between 5 and 30 miles an hour, otherwise it spends the bulk of its time atop the Tomb of Amun-Re (where it knows a Star of Mo-Pelar to reside) apart from brief wanderings across the Dust Desert (where it suspects another Star to lay.

Omaranthax: This beholder has stalked the southern half of Deep Raurin for centuries, occasionally surfacing in the realms above as he did when he wiped out the settlement of Ragheb.

He is a horribly mutated creature, vastly altered from the normal beholder form thanks to the corruption of Zargon, whom he hopes will be restored within his own body. Omaranthax has no eye stalks, instead the protruding stalks that extend from his body (up to 3 ft if desired) are home to sets of razor sharp fangs. His central eye is absent, but his lower jaw has extended out and a larger eye is now lodged at the back of his permanently open mouth.

Omaranthax is seeking sources of magic to fuel his increasingly bizarre transformations, he has heard of an artefact known as the Wellspring that is said to be an endless repository of Imaskari magic, although its current location is unknown except to the now long dead Empheroar of Imaskar.

Important Organisations

The Cult of Set: The Oasis of the White Palm on the border between the Desert of Desolation and the Dust Desert is secretly home to the headquarters of the Cult of Set. From the catacombs of a ruined tower beneath the oases the cult operate in secret, coordinating the efforts of agents throughout Mulhorand, Thay, and Durpar. They are always careful never to operate in or around Raurin and risk the exposure of their base.

Malatath: This organisation is little more than a whisper on the tongues of those that have skirted to close to the ruins of Raurin and Imaskar. Those that survive talk of withered corpses that stalk the living during the night and constantly murmur the word “Malatath”.

Some have decided that the undead monsters are connected somehow and that Malatath is the being that controls them and directs them to hunt down and feast upon those that trespass amid the ruins, adding fresh corpses to the wandering hordes.

Unknown to most, Malatath is a corruption of ancient Roushoum words for “prophecy” and “two”. It is a name coined by two past Lord Artificers of Imaskar that were preserved in magical stasis at the point of their death in the hopes they may be restored later once the secrets of death were finally unveiled. They were then interred in tombs (not unlike the Crypt of Badr Al-Mosak) near what is now known as Medinat Muskawoon and Phoenix.

The Ritual of Martek drained the last vestiges of life from the two emperors of Imaskar and turned them into powerful undead. They established communication with one another and made a pact, together the two will bring undeath to the Raurin people and then re-establish the Imaskar Empire as an eternal nation, to achieve this aim they have directed nearby wanderers to enter certain ruins and tombs of lost Imaskar and release the undead trapped inside (usually to the death of the wanderer) which are easily controlled by the two masters.

The Raurin Flight: This group of 300+ blue dragons claims the entirety of the Raurin Deserts as their home (although even they avoid the Plains of Purple Dust), and few except the Imaskaraloth have the power to dispute that claim.

The Raurin Flight have been a stable family group of blue dragons since the fall of the Imaskari Empire, and are believed to have been created by dragons that were formerly enslaved to Imaskari Artificers and freed when the empire collapsed. They are ruled by the most powerful dragon, which claims the title of Suzerain.

The Raurin Flight is famous for attacking the nations of Mulhorand and Unther about 2000 years before the creation of the Standing Stones, causing massive damage to these fledgling nations and uniting them against a single enemy. The Dragon Purges of both nations depleted the Raurin Flight down to as few as 30 members, but today it stands at 300 strong.

The Raurin Flight came under the early influence of the human sorceress TiaMa’at, who caused strife among the varied subraces and fractured it (leading to the death of the gold dragon Suzerain). She then formed a new flight of dragons under the leadership of blue dragons. TiaMa’at lived among the dragons for many years, giving birth to her own dragon children, and directing her allies to coordinate attacks against the nation of Unther. It is believed that her blood is responsible for the birthrate of Bluespawn Godslayers among the Raurin Flight.

The Dragon Purges of Mulhorand and Unther caused great upheaval among the Raurin Flight and lead to a more conservative Suzerain in Maladraedior, who kept the Raurin Flight out of human affairs and allowed them to replenish their numbers. Maladraedior was ousted around -1300 DR by Sturykkazynarr, who led the Raurin Flight into a centuries long conflict with the Kingdoms of Bakar and Solon until he was slain by noblewoman of Solon named Tiphera Yseldre.

Sturykkazynarr was succeeded by his son Erskaznarr, who took to plundering the ruins of fallen Imaskar and Raurin (and later Bakar and Solon), until he was deposed (and believed slain) by Gestaniius in 651 DR, only to return later and reclaim his title of Suzerain in 675 DR, which he holds to this day.

The Sandvoyagers Guild: The primary organisation present in Raurin today is the Sandvoyagers Guild; a group of tradesmen that have a substantial deal with the rulers of Durpar (renewed annually) to have a monopoly on access to Raurin through the town of Bralizzar (the other routes being permanently closed or too dangerous).

The Sandvoyagers Guild is one of the many fronts for the ancient secret society of the Amethyst Sodality (although the name whispered among paranoid commoners is the Secret Imaskari Empire) which aims to control trade through all the lands once ruled by the Imaskari Empire.

Important Items

Amber Pinwheels: The Jannee, when they first appeared in the Raurin desert around the fall of Imaskar, allied themselves with any goodly creature they could find to help them survive. A gold dragon who ruled a flight of dragons of various colour helped shelter them from the zealous mulan who were hunting every remnant of the Imaskari Empire.

The Jannee learned secrets to help defend themselves, including the construction of Amber Pinwheels; a magical item made from a gold dragon scale that could help hide and shelter those who possess one. When the gold dragon perished, the Jannee harvested his scales and fled deep into the interior of the expanding deserts.

The Jannee have made many Amber Pinwheels over the millennia, using them to protect their tribes from sandstorms, or hide them from danger. Occasionally the Jannee have gifted Amber Pinwheels to humans that have impressed their sense of honour and justice (as well as performing a service for the Jannee).

An Amber Pinwheel is made of a gold dragon scale with a silver rod (pointed at one end) pushed through its centre, allowing the object to be spun like a child’s toy. When spun in a clockwise direction (and a command word spoken), the Amber Pinwheel projects a dome of force (about 20 sq ft) around it that prevents all solid matter from passing through it (including sand, missiles, and intruders). When spun anti-clockwise with a different command word, the Amber Pinwheel projects an illusion (about 20 sq ft) that makes it look as though a sand dune covers it.

The Black Sword: This sword was constructed to end the life of the Empheroar of Imaskar. It’s powers and the very intelligence that drives it is entirely dedicated to the destruction of those that rule the peoples of Imaskar.

Now that Imaskar is long dead the sword considers all those of Raurin descent (including the people of Durpar, Mulhorand, Raumathar, Ulgarth, and Unther) to be the people of Imaskar and will impel the wielder to assassinate the rulers of those lands.

History: This sword was originally crafted at the behest of Empheroar Blaek of Upper Imaskar in -3942 DR upon hearing that Empheroar Omanond of Lower Imaskar was attempting to reconquer Inupras and reunite the Imaskari Empire once more.

Using dark arts Empheroar Blaek bound the soul of the most evil murderer of Upper Imaskar into the sword, turning the blade black as night, and he enchanted it with powers to help the wielder resist the powerful magics of Imaskari artificers and an intelligence driven towards murdering the Empheroar of Imaskar.

The sword was finished and gifted to an artificer from Lower Imaskar. It spent the next few years controlling its owners and launching them in suicide attacks at Empheroar Omanond until eventually it decided the task was too difficult and so changed it’s target. In -3920 DR Blaek’s Sword was found plunged through the neck of Empheroar Blaek as he lay in his bed just as his servants came to rouse him with news that Inupras had been restored and he had been summoned by Empheroar Omanond to the Purple Palace. His attacker (his own bed servant) was stood looking dazed next to the body and protested his innocence before his lying tongue was removed and he was dragged away for execution.

The sword was kept in a guarded vault beneath Thakos until the fall of Imaskar where it was seized by an artificer in a desperate attempt to save himself from rebellious slaves. A black bladed sword of similar description has been used in several assassination attempts of the rulers of the lands of Mulhorand, Durpar, Ulgarth, etc, and it is now known as The Black Sword for its colour and a corruption of its original name.

Powers: Blaek’s Sword is magically enhanced to be super sharp and hard enough to cut through granite. It also grants the wielder powers to conceal himself from sight and sound (causing shadows and silence upon command) as well as the ability to resist even the most powerful magics hurled by Imaskari artificers (spell resistance, dispel magic). Finally the sword the sword (and only the sword) randomly teleports between 1 and 10 miles away from its current location in the event that it’s wielder is slain or otherwise incapacitated.

Curse: Blaek’s Sword possesses the soul and intelligence (although not the memories) of the most evil and renowned murder of Upper Imaskar at the time of its creation. It is cunning, ruthless, determined, and without mercy. This intelligence is more than capable of possessing all but the most disciplined wielders and has done so repeatedly at crucial moments to slay its target (often at the expense of the wielder). The intelligence otherwise remains hidden, sending malevolent thoughts to the wielder and urging it closer to the target but never communicates openly unless the wielder happens to be an Imaskari artificer or someone as evil and ruthless as the sword.

Circlet of the Adder: This item was originally known as the Circlet of the Empheroah, crafted by the Empheroah of the Raurin Empire for the Pheroah chosen to rule in their stead. It was supposed to make the wearer eternally loyal to the Empheroah but one of its creator’s made the circlet so that the wearer was loyal to him first.

The circlet appeared as a thin gold crown that settled around the ears with an ankh motif at the forehead with a large pearl at the head of the ankh.

History: The Circlet of the Empheroah was part of the Regalia of the Empheroah and symbolised the right to rule of the Pheroah in Mulhawoon. It was always worn by the Pheroah at all times until it vanished in -2322 DR and mysteriously came into the possession of Warlord Khamsa of Umthoril.

Following the destruction of the Raurin Empire the circlet vanished, occasionally appearing as the regalia of one of the Imaskari Successor States, it most famously appeared atop the head of Osiris upon his coronation as Pharaoh of Mulhorand in -1050 DR (he died immediately after) and was subsequently lost until Amun-Re scoured the forming Dust Desert to acquire it. It was worn by Amun-Re while the grand wizard of Bakar; Amadryk, performed a great ritual that unfortunately attracted the unwanted attention of the Imaskaroloth.

It has been lost to history ever since but was secretly recovered by Set himself who altered it to allow him to forcefully create Divine Minions of Set just by touching someone.

Powers: The original powers of the Circlet of the Adder were to make the wearer a great commander of men, allowing him to raise huge armies and inspire them to heroic deeds and amazing feats. When combined with the Rod of the Empheroah it made the bearer of both almost unbeatable in the arts of war.

Since the ritual of Amadryk, the Circlet of the Adder was lost to history and it is unknown if or how it was affected by the great magics unleashed that day. Set secretly recovered the circlet some time after the ritual and spent considerable effort reworking his original creation.

The Circlet of the Adder now has the power to imbue those touched (humans only) with divine power, making them into “Divine Minions”. These Divine Minions are perfect physical examples of humanity; strong, agile, sturdy, and beautiful. They are also fanatically devoted to Set and the wearer of the circlet and will obey any command given (including inflicting harm or death to themselves).

Curse: There is undoubtedly a curse surrounding this item but it is known only to Set. Masters of lore unknown to mere mortals would speculate that those handling the circlet who are not servants of Set may face a painful death or eternal servitude to the Lord of Jackals.

Fang Daggers: These seemingly normal looking daggers (while sheathed) transform into the body and head of a snake (with the tail attached to the hilt of the dagger) when drawn. The snake head moves to attack anyone within range (able to strike up to 5 ft away) and deliver a poisonous bite.

These daggers are a favoured tool of the Cult of Set, most often used by agents sent to assassinate targets, they are occasionally found in Mulhorand or Thay where an agent has been slain and the dagger recovered, but most of them litter the Raurin Deserts (when agents have been slain by monsters, or sand storms, or dehydration, or any one of a hundred ways to die in these hostile deserts).

The creation of these daggers is a closely guarded secret of the Cult of Set, and magic users in service to the cult are expected to craft a Fang Dagger as part of their initiation (they must then use it on a captive to prove its effectiveness). The dagger’s venom varies in poisonousness, dependent upon the skill of the crafter and the type of living snake used in the creation process, it is said that the Divine Incarnation Seti is able to craft a Fang Dagger of such potency that it can slay a man in 10 seconds.

Flail of the Desert Kings: This item has been known by many names over the millennia since its initial creation as the Rod of the Empheroah; one of the twin regalia of the Raurin Empire. Mulhorandi records indicate that this item may have been fashioned from the remains of items carried by Empheroar Yuvaraj while mounted on his skeletal dragon during his final battle with Horus Helcalliant.

This item appears to be a thin rod of metal with a plain metal orb atop it. With the push of a button the orb detaches from the rod but remain connected by a chain which enables it to be used as a flailing weapon (hence its modern name).

History: The Rod of the Empheroah was crafted by the Empheroah of Umthoril in the year -2487 DR and gifted to the ruler of Umthoril; one of the Pheroah of the Raurin Empire as a symbol of his right to rule. It served as regalia of Umthoril for over a century until it came into possession of Warlord Khamsa who secretly slew the Pheroah of Umthoril and claimed the title for himself.

Pheroah Khamsa suddenly came into possession of the Circlet of the Empheroah when a travelling magic entertainer gifted the circlet to Khamsa. Upon donning the circlet, Khamsa was overcome by his desire to rule all of Raurin. Using the powers of Rod and Circlet he gathered a great host and marched upon the city of Mulhawoon. His victory was assured but he was unable to cope with the power of both artefacts and became more unstable until he challenged the Empheroah themselves and was slain by E-Anu and E-Nlil, thus ending the Raurin Empire.

The Rod and Circlet of the Empheroah were lost for centuries, occasionally one would appear in the possession of one of the Pharoahs of the Imaskari Successor States, most famously appearing in the hands of Osiris in -1050 DR when he briefly claimed the throne of Mulhorand and perished immediately after, the Rod was lost in the subsequent confusion and civil war. It wasn’t until Pharoah Amun-Re of the kingdom of Bakar that both items would be possessed by one person. Amun-Re was also consumed with a lust to rule over all. Bakar conquered its neighbours and Amun-Re began construction of a great treasure tomb to store all the wealth of the region to protect it from thieves.

It is from this time that the name of this item changed to the Flail of the Desert Kings for its battle function and its usual owners who where either Pharoah or became Pharoah of one of the desert kingdoms of Raurin.

Following the destruction of Bakar and the desertification of Raurin, the Flail of the Desert Kings disappeared. Some believe it still lies somewhere in Raurin, either atop the Tomb of Amun-Re or carried inside the Garmsil, others believe it was discovered by the Raurin nomads or the Durpari traders that most often frequent the desert. The truth is that a strange sceptre is rumoured to lie somewhere in the undercity of Unthalass with links to “star spawn” creatures which match the altered powers of the Flail of the Desert Kings.

Powers: In it’s original form, the Rod of the Empheroah granted the wielder unparalleled abilities in combat; increased strength, speed, and stamina, resistance to damage, and the ability to inflict devastating blows with each strike.

During the ritual to enchant the Treasure Tomb of Amun-Re, Amun-Re was wearing the Rod and Circlet of the Empheroah while he took part in Amadryk’s ritual. The arrival of the Imaskaroloth disrupted the ritual and caused a significant magical fallout with many unforeseen consequences. The Rod of the Empheroah was altered to incorporate the magical nature of Amadryk (who is not who he claimed to be), the rod is now a part of Amadryk (along with the Star Gems) and as a result he cannot be destroyed while they exist.

The Flail of the Desert Kings still grants all the abilities it did previously, but now anyone struck by the orb-head of the flail has a chance to become one of the “star spawn” (named for the star shape that appears on their forehead like a brand) and is now under the command of the wielder. However the ultimate controller of the “star spawn” is Amadryk (who still lives and is aware of any new “star spawn” created as they are linked to him) who can command them to act contrary to the wielder of the flail if he so wishes.

Ultimately any “star spawn” are gradually consumed by some ethereal wasting disease so that they gradually phase out into some kind of ghostly form before disappearing altogether (Amadryk drains their life force).

Curse: The Rod of the Empheroah greatly enhanced the aggression of the wielder, making the meek brave, and the warrior into a rage fuelled berserker. Following its alteration by Amadryk’s ritual, the Flail of the Desert Kings now drains the life force of anyone wielding it, turning it into a ghostly, spectral undead creature (at which point it can no longer grasp the flail and so cannot be drained anymore).

The Imaskari Planar Barrier: Sages and amateur historians would have us believe that the Imaskari grew so powerful that they erected a magical barrier that covered the entire world of Toril with the express purpose of barring the gods from coming and ending the rule of Imaskar (in retaliation for the Imaskari abducting large populations from other planets).

This assertion however does not explain how other creatures from the Outer Planes are able to move freely to and from Toril (such as the Trio Nefarious), or how others managed to ascend to godhood from Toril (the Dark Three), or even how the likes of Lathander’s avatar was called to slay Sammaster.

In truth the Imaskari Planar Barrier was erected not to bar the movement of gods to Toril (a hypothetical threat at best), but to prevent disasters like the summoning of Zargon, and to stop others from imitating the acts of the Imaskari themselves, who would magically travel to other places and kidnap, slay, destroy, or other equally unsavoury activities.

With the discovery of the Weave, and the rapid acceleration of their understanding of portals, gates, and other planes, the Imaskari created 

The Stars of Mo-Pelar: Once known as the Collar of the Empheroah, this set of 5 star shaped gems were part of an ornate collar often borne by the wife of one of the Pheroah of the Raurin Empire.

History: Crafted by Lumira Ishtaria for her love; the first Pheroah of Mulhawoon Pelah Retep, the Collar of the Empheroah was often regarded as the weakest part of the Regalia of the Empheroah, and yet its powers granted the wearer wisdom and abilities to ensure the Raurin Empire would last.

Over the years the gems were named for important members of Pelah’s dynasty; Mo-Pelah, Aga-Pelah, Shah-Pelah, Khan-Pelah, and Melos-Pelah. Time corrupted these names to smaller shorthand versions of the original names and the history of these people were lost.

It was the first of the Regalia to go missing when an assassin with a blade of pure midnight assassinated the consort of the third Pheroah of Mulhawoon and fled with the necklace.

The collar was eventually recovered by Amun-Re’s agents where it was worn by Amun-Re himself during the ritual of Amadryk. As the ritual was disrupted the collar was destroyed, leaving only the 5 enchanted star gems that were scattered to the far corners of Raurin.

Powers: The five star gems of the Collar of the Empheroah granted the wearer the ability to use True Seeing, Regeneration, Telepathy, Spell Recall (the ability to recall previously cast spells), and Vision (the ability to see visions of the future) once per day.

Now that the collar is destroyed leaving only the star gems behind, the gems themselves still provide their abilities (one ability imbued into each gem) to anyone holding a gem, the ritual however altered the gems so that they now contain the fractured soul of Amadryk himself, making him a demi-lich of sorts with each gem as one of his phylactery.

Curse: The star gems have no malign powers when used, and can be used any number of times without ill effect. If Amadryk’s body is slain, anyone holding one of the five star gems may become possessed by Amadryk and the new host for Madryoch the Ebon Flame.

The Wellspring: The Imaskari are masters of portals and gates, having learned these secrets from the ruins dotted around the Raurin Basin and augmented their learning with the acquisition of a set of the Golden Skins of the World Serpent, which moved them away from their alternative forms of magic that involved forming pacts with powerful patrons.

Following the disastrous summoning of the elder evil Zargon and his fiends into the capital city of Inupras; an act that caused them to lose control of the Nemrut province for 2000 years, the Imaskari began to turn away from forming pacts with fiends in return for magical power, and later searched for alternative forms of magic that required no bargains or deals whatsoever.

The emergence of a deadly plague in -4370 DR resulted in a search for the plague master and a hunt across the Shaar that culminated in a terrific magical explosion and the discovery of a set of the Golden Skins of the World Serpent. Using this new magical resource, the Imaskari were quickly able to advance their magical knowledge independent of any benefactors.

This magical knowledge was used first to construct (using existing magical technology) two enormous gates to abduct thousands of slaves from far off worlds, it was also used to construct an incredibly powerful set of linked items that created a Dimensional Anchor effect over the entire territory of the Imaskari Empire, which would prevent any more incursions like Zargon and also prevent others from gaining magical entry into the heart of the empire.

The Imaskari Planar Barrier as it became known brought its own problems that were initially thought to be a continuation of the Dust Plague. The prevention of all planar travel within the whole Empire of Imaskar also prevented the souls of the dead from transitioning to the Ethereal Plane and then on to the Outer Planes or whatever fate awaited them. Instead these souls remained on the Material Plane and started to cause strange effects that resembled poltergeists.

Ultimately the Imaskari solved the problem with another magical creation, a permanent gateway to the Ethereal Plane coupled with a soul gathering device that became known as the Wellspring. The Wellspring attracted all disparate souls to it and allowed those souls to pass on to the Ethereal Plane, however, some Imaskari artificers also discovered that they could syphon this soul energy to power a new form of magic they termed Incarnum.

The Wellspring was eventually buried in secret on the edge of the Nemrut Province to prevent anyone from misusing this new source of magic or damage it and cause problems for the empire once more.

The Wyrmbane Helm: This helmet resembles a blue dragon skull, complete with horns and teeth, with mouth ajar, perfectly sized to allow a human head to fit inside the lower jaw. It was fashioned from the skull of the blue dragon Vurkkazynarr, scion of the Suzerain Sturykkazynarr, by the Solonese noble and renowned dragonslayer Tiphera Yseldre.

Tiphera slew many blue dragons of the Raurin Flight, in revenge for the deaths of her family and the destruction wrought upon the Kingdom of Solon. Using Imaskari magic she had the helmet enchanted to make the wearer increasingly more proficient in combatting dragons. This desecration of Vurkkazynarr’s body earned Tiphera the undying hatred of his father Sturykkazynarr.

For a decade Sturykkazynarr plagued Solon searching for his quarry, while she slew a score of blue dragons in response. Ultimately the King of Solon set a trap for his popular vassal, making a bargain with Sturykkazynarr himself. Tiphera made her way to a revel in the Winter Palace of Solon where Sturykkazynarr lay in wait, the cataclysmic battle between the two shattered the palace and claimed the lives of Tiphera and the Suzerain.

Tiphera was laid to rest in a mausoleum in the centre of Solon, with a lavish funeral procession to carry her body and the helmet. Within a tenday, Tiphera’s body was missing from the mausoleum, along with the helm, and marks on the tomb suggesting the seal was broken from the inside. Since that day the Wyrmbane Helm has been missing, but tales tell of an armoured revenant that stalks the dragons of Raurin, keeping the Raurin Flight constantly on the move.

The Wyrmbane Helm grants the wearer many of the abilities of a blue dragon, including the abilities to cause fear (affecting dragons only), blindsense, lightning bolt, electricity immunity, a lightning breath weapon, and increased strength. These abilities are accessed as the wearer kills dragons (depending upon their age).

Flora

Frankincense Tree: The foothills, overhangs, and cliff edges of the mountains that surround the Raurin basin are home to a hardy tree that produces a resin that can be used to treat a number of disorders such as; gout, confusion, vision problems, and skin problems.

The trees are often out of reach of the Raurin nomads, unless they wish to trek up the mountain sides and fend off the creatures that live there, the giants of the Giant’s Belt mountains tend these trees and harvest the resin for sale to the nomads.

Fauna

Beasts: The Raurin Deserts are not teeming with animal life, but there are a few moving between oases or hiding amid the desert sands.

Camels: The Raurin Deserts are home to a few herds of wild camels but the vast majority of these creatures are kept and used by the Raurin nomads and the sand giants.

Dragons: The Raurin Deserts are home to a larger than normal concentration of dragons, mostly comprising blue, brown, and yellow dragons. The blue dragons are the most numerous, forming the infamous Raurin Flight.

Blue Dragons: Blue Dragons are rarely encountered in the deserts of Raurin, but there are over 300 dragons that claim this territory as their own or for the Raurin Flight.

Bluespawn Godslayers: There are a surprising number of draconic humanoids born to the Raurin Flight. These creatures are considered a blessing from Tiamat, and serve as guardians to the hatcheries hidden somewhere in the Raurin Basin.

Brown Dragons: Brown Dragons appear to be a relatively recent sub-race of dragons, and seem to be concentrated mostly in the Raurin Deserts (although they have spread to Mulhorand and Unther, and some even as far as other great deserts), which lead some to conclude that they were created by the Imaskari. There are no documented examples of brown dragons in what Imaskari records survive, so it is possibly that they are the result of breeding programs and experimentation instigated by TiaMa’at.

Genies: The early Imaskari Empire discovered portal magic among the ancient ruins left in the Raurin Basin by the Creator Races. Opening portals to other planes, the Imaskari came under the influence of multiple, and sometimes competing, powerful patrons which included a number of rulers from the Elemental Planes.

Genies were a regular sight among the upper classes of the Imaskari Empire, manipulating their followers and taking great quantities of slaves back to their masters in return for their patronage.

Following the retaking of Inupras and the defeat of Zargon, the Imaskari became the absolute masters of magic (thanks to a copy of the Golden Skins of the World Serpent that they had obtained), and so began bending to their will the genies, devils, and other powerful beings that they had once served in exchange for magical power. Since that time the genies were found to be the most compliant slaves and it became common for every artificer to have at least one genie bound (a lamp being the most common vessel) and enslaved.

With the fall of the Imaskari Empire, many genies were freed from service to their artificer masters, although many remained trapped in the vessel to which they were bound (usually a lamp). Those genies serving in Inupras found their binding vessels destroyed by the Imaskaroloth, and they have been free to roam the Raurin Deserts ever since (or return home and serve their elemental lords if they wish, most prefer the freedom of the Material Plane).

Efreeti: The early Imaskari Empire was fuelled by the patronage and manipulation of powerful creatures like the Grand Sultan of the City of Brass on the Elemental Plane of Fire. This elemental lord demanded a constant stream of payment in the form of slaves, precious metals, gemstones, etc) in return for the magical powers he bestowed upon the artificers.

On the Material Plane, the Grand Sultan was represented by the noble Efreet Khalitharius. For millennia this powerful genie ordered those artificers that were beholden to his master, gathering much wealth and power for himself.

When the Imaskari created the Imaskarcana and gained access to the Weave, Khalitharius was enslaved by the new and limitless powers of the wizards under Empheroar Omanond, as were the other efreeti serving Khalitharius. The genies were bound to mundane objects such as lamps and bottles (a huge insult to these arrogant beings), and only called when they were required to perform some task.

During the Battle of Whirling Sands, Khalitharius was called upon to serve as the focus for some great ritual to destroy the mulan and their heroes. The magic quickly spiralled out of control, consuming Khalitharius and a number of the most powerful artificers of Imaskar and forming the towering whirlwind of destruction known as the Imaskaroloth.

The Imaskaroloth gradually rampaged across the Raurin Basin, stripping everything it touched of magical energy and leaving only lifeless sand and dust behind, this included freeing the captive efreet by destroying their magical prisons, and with their master destroyed (in his present form) they were free to roam or return home as they desired. Many efreet chose to stay in Raurin, where they rule over oases or bands of whatever creatures they can force together.

Jannee: This subrace of genie is often regarded as the weakest of their race, although they possess magic powers they cannot grant wishes. Curiously the Jannee are found most often on the Material Plane (although they are known to take service with the genie lords on the Elemental Planes), which leads many sages to believe they are half human, half genie hybrids that have since bred true to create an entirely new subrace.

The truth of the matter is that Imaskari artificers discovered ways to permanently transform themselves into other beings, one of the most favoured was that of their most powerful servants; the genies. When the Imaskari Empire fell, many artificers took the final step to escape the persecution of the Mulan conquerors by transforming themselves into an entirely new being. The Jannee were born from the 50 or so individuals that became genies and banded together for protection.

The Jannee follow a nomadic lifestyle like others in the Raurin Deserts, although they are well adapted to this harsh environment, with magical abilities that allow them to resist the desert and defeat most enemies. They favour interactions with other humans and particularly those that remain true to the Raurin ideals, sometimes gifting magic to those that please their sense of duty, justice, and honour.

Giants: Giants have lived in the Raurin Basin since the fall of the Empire of Ostoria. The Kingdom of Fjellskold (meaning Mountain Shield) lasts for almost 10,000 years, but constantly battles against landwyrms that infest the forests of the region.

Fjellskold fell many millennia before the Imaskari Empire even existed, due to constant warring with the enormous landwyrms, and a massive influx of migrating dwarves into the region. Following the collapse of the kingomd of Fjellskold, the giants were confined to the Giant’s Belt mountains, where they remained until the Imaskari enslaved them .

The accelerated evolution of giants has led to two dominate types that are rarely encountered elsewhere in Faerun thanks to the unique geographical influences in the region, legacies of the Imaskari and Raurin Empires.

Eldritch Giants: The Imaskari Empire used giants as slave labour, able to perform massive tasks without the expensive use of magic. When Imaskar fell, the giants were freed because none remained with the power to control them, and many fled into the surrounding wilderness, eventually pushed into the expanding deserts by the Mulan of the Raurin Empire (where they became Sand Giants).

Those giants enslaved in and around Inupras, and in the region that would become the Plains of Purple Dust, underwent a surprising transformation, likely due to the saturation of magical energy unleashed by the use of so many spells and items during the Battle of Whirling Sands, and by the formation of the Imaskaroloth.

The giants trapped in the Plains of Purple quickly changed to acquire extensive magical powers (exceeding even the Storm Giants) and a crimson-purple tinge to the skin. These giants are known as Eldritch Giants, they are a cruel race of slavers, and among the few creatures able to survive in the Plains of Purple Dust.

Sand Giants: The enslaved giants of the Imaskari Empire were accidentally freed when their artificer masters were slain (as were many other creatures, such as dragons) and most of them fled the war and destruction, hiding amid the ruins and in whatever land they could claim.

The Mulan conquerors created the Raurin Empire and quickly claimed all the habitable land around them, forcing the giants into the desertifying lands on the western and northern edge of the Raurin Basin. These giants quickly adapted to the sandy environment, and are known as Sun or Sand giants as a result, many sages believe that the Raurin nomads of today learned many of their skills from the Sun Giants.

Sand Giants adopt two lifestyles, those living in the foothills of the mountain ranges around the edges of the Raurin Basin often establish permanent settlements that serve as a potential place of refuge for the Raurin nomads of the desert (although they demand a high price for those that wish to use their watering holes). Those that live in the desert plains live a nomadic lifestyle very similar to the Raurin nomads, often using the same waterholes (although they will never try and control access to any oases, for their size often depletes a water supply very quickly).

Phoenix: The Raurin Deserts are supposedly home to one of the legendary phoenix who are much sought after by those with magical skill for the many unique properties it possesses.

The phoenix of Raurin is believed to derive from the legend of Phoern Aryx, the Bursting Flame, a renowned Imaskari artificer who was unusual for his selfless nature and also for taking the essence of a fire elemental within himself.

Phoern Aryx was slain by the Mulan of the Raurin Empire along with every other Imaskari artificer they could find, but upon his death he was transformed into a great flaming bird (which also consumed his slayer). The phoenix, as it came to be known, was clearly intelligent and spent a great deal of time amid the ruined menagerie of Phoern Aryx, protecting his descendants from harm.

In time the Raurin Empire erected the settlement of Karthag (Modern: Phoenix) around the menagerie, for the natural spring waters that the phoenix bathed in were said to possess healing properties. Curiously enough Phoern Aryx’s descendants also possessed some of the fire spirit within themselves, and some magical force could transform them into fiery beings which could become lesser versions of the phoenix upon their death (termed phoelarche and phoera).

The phoenix and the lesser phoelarche and phoera are implacable foes of evil, flying as far away as Mulhorand, Thay, and Durpar, to rescue innocent individuals from their plight.

Purple Worm: The Plains of Purple Dust are home to a creature that have been declared (from descriptions provided by those who have spoke to the desert nomads) Purple Worms or a variety thereof. These enormous creatures are nearly a hundred feet long (when adult), covered in thick purple scales, and a mouth large enough to swallow a camel whole.

The Purple Worms seem to inhabit only the Plains of Purple Dust and they grow larger the further into the interior one travels. At the very centre of the Plains, near the ruins of Inupras is said to be a Purple Worm over 300 ft long and 15 ft wide, who has been seen devouring other purple worms.

Some dispute the claim that these monsters are true purple worms, which normally inhabit the Underdark, whereas these seem to remain burrowing amid the loose sand of the desert. The armour plating on these worms is scaled rather than the chitinous plates of other purple worms, and most crucially this variety of purple worms appears to have vestigial eye sockets. The dissenting monstrologists have determined that these “purple worms” are more closely related to reptiles than a mutated annelid, historical records point to an infestation of landwyrms in Imaskari territory and it may be that these creatures were altered by the magical fallout of the Battle of Whirling Sands, explaining why they remain confined to the Plains of Purple Dust. They may be related to the Thunderherder Worm that infests the Desert of Desolation and the Dust Desert.

Sphinx: The Raurin Deserts are home to a large concentration of sphinx compared to the rest of Faerun, there are even rumours of hidden oases where juvenile sphinx congregate under the protection of ancient androsphinx. Some sages speculate that the sphinx have been sent to deserts to guard to ruins of ancient Imaskar, but others suggest that the Imaskari discovered a process that allowed them to create sphinx to serve as guardians and may explain why there are so many sphinx here including a number of sphinx found nowhere else in Faerun such as the loquasphinx.

Sun Spiders: These enormous arachnids are not true spiders, they have ten legs but two of them are specialised to act as pincers. Naturally, sun spiders (otherwise known as camel spiders) can grow to the size of dog, but in the magically saturated environment that is the Raurin Deserts, these arachnids have been known to grow up to 15 feet wide (especially in the Plains of Purple Dust and in the Deep Raurin region below that desert).

Sun spiders are ambush predators, covering themselves with sand and lying in wait for a meal to walk into their pincers. Those sand spiders beneath the Plains of Purple Dust wedge themselves into tight passageways and cracks, and lunge out to grab prey as they pass by. Sun spiders will eat anything smaller than themselves, but are smart enough to be wary of creatures that have put up a fight in the past (they will avoid groups of drow, but mercilessly pursue a lone and injured drow). The largest sun spiders have been known to take down a sand giant if hungry.

Thunderherder Worms: These worms are known to travel in herds of up to 100 individuals (although 30 is more usual), burrowing just beneath the surface of the desert sands, detecting the vibrations of movement above before emerging beneath the feet of passing camels or caravans. These creatures grow up to 10 feet long and up to 5 feet wide.

Like the Purple Worms above, these creatures do not appear to be related to annelids at all and possess sensory organs akin to dragons that allow them to sense a creature’s movement. It is possible these creatures are an evolutionary branch of landwyrms that arose after the fall of Imaskar, and a number of them may have moved into the Plains of Purple Dust and been further altered by the magical energies saturating that region.

There are 3 known slithers (the term for a group of Thunderherder Worms) in the Raurin region, and they plague anything moving on the loose sand, even forcing those gathered around oases to disperse and flee for harder ground. A Thunderherder can detect creatures through rock and will wait for days for them to leave their safehaven before pouncing.

A Thunderherder group attacks by latching onto a creature and locking their jaws, they then roll over and over, dragging the creature into the loose sand. If more than one Thunderherder locks onto a victim they tend to twist in opposite directions and often tear the poor victim apart with their writhings.

Weather

The Raurin Deserts are far from the moderating effects of lakes and seas, sheltered on most sides by high mountain ranges. The summers here are incredibly hot and dry, while the winters can be incredibly cold. The wind blows all the time, mostly in a north-south direction (reversed in the winter), driving through the gaps in the mountain ranges where the Plains of Purple Dust meet the Raurinshielf mountains, and through Howling Gap and Rolling Stone Gap.

Rain: Rain is rarely seen anywhere in the Dust Desert or the Desert of Desolation (although in the Plains of Purple Dust strange weather patterns can see acid or fire or rocks fall as rain).

Sand Storms: Sand storms (or dust storms) strike the region regularly, with every point in the deserts being hit by a sand storm at least once a month. Separate to these natural sand storms, the Imaskaroloth is a sand storm of titanic proportions and malevolent intent that wanders the deserts, endlessly searching for something.

Tornadoes are also a regular affair in Raurin, particularly in the months of Eleasis and Eleint, formed by the intense heat and then driving sand storms around them.

Local Lore

Desert Wraiths: The deserts of Raurin have always been plagued by desert wraiths (otherwise known as dust devils, which is the name for the similar and relatively benign natural phenoma); whirlwinds the size of a humanoid that wander a seemingly random path through the sands until they come within sight of a humanoid and then pursue that creature until its death (or it travels out of sight), those that survive an encounter with these things claim the desert wraiths can form shapes within the swirls (faces, jackal heads, claws, etc), and that these should be used to differentiate between a dust devil and a desert wraith (that and the fact that a desert wraith will pursue a quarry and slay them rather than moving randomly).

The Raurinese nomads say that these dust devils are possessed by the souls of evil men cursed for transgressions against the laws of the old gods, the Durpari claim they are natural phenomena caused by temperature differences during the day-night cycle of the desert, the Mulhorandi believe they are spawned by the Skriaxit itself.

Sages of Imaskari lore note similarities between these desert wraiths (the malevolent kind that should be distinguished from the random, small, dust filled whirlwinds) and the Plague of Shartra (darkness) during the Second Age of Imaskar. Numbers of the desert wraiths in Raurin appear to have spiked with the final collapse of Medinat Muskawoon, in accordance with the account of a single caravan guard that made his way back to Semkhrun in Semphar. There are even rumours of desert wraiths now spotted across the Goldenflow in Semphar where there had been none previously.

If these desert wraiths are able to spread a contagious disease that causes the infected to become one, then those that plunder ruins of the Second Age of Imaskar should be especially wary.

The Greatest Elixir: There are; among the most exclusive of wizard circles, whispers, hints, and rumours of secret recipes that will grant the imbiber permanent enhancements and abilities beyond those of normal mortals. These elixirs include the likes of Annath’s Draft, the Arcane Elixir and the most famous – the Great Elixir.

To those that have searched the greatest libraries in Faerun and bargained with the most ancient of creatures there is the search for the greatest of elixirs, one that grants the imbiber powers to rival a god. Hints and clues to the recipe for such an elixir have been found in a variety of ancient, arcane tomes, all incomplete, and all pointing to a complete copy being left in the ruins of Imaskar in the Plains of Purple Dust.

The greatest of elixirs has been a goal for many a greedy and ambitious mage lord over the centuries, many of whom have perished in the search (and more in the creation or imbibing). All these have ignored or are unaware of the terrible curse that comes with using the elixir – “those who drink from the greatest of draughts are doomed to become a pawn of Death and Destruction”.

Velsharoon the Vaunted, recently of Soorenar, is the latest archmage to come to Raurin seeking the Greatest Elixir, believing he can fend off the curse of Talos (thinking Talos is the Death and Destruction referred to in the curse). A single robed traveller was last spotted entering the Plains of Purple Dust by the Raurin nomads.

The truth of this rumour is that the likes of Elminster and Khelben have seeded false rumours about the Greatest of Elixirs in various fake books of arcane secrets that they have penned over the centuries, with the deliberate intent of attracting power hungry and arrogant mage lords to their doom, for the elixir is false and is deadly to those that drink it.

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