Wyrmteeth Gazetteer - Addendum
by Giulio N. Caroletti
(with contributions and revisions by John Calvin)
[Editor's Note: The following Addendum references the "Wyrmteeth Gazetteer," by Giulio Caroletti, featured in Tome of Mystara issue #2.]
Notes on Dragon Society in Wyrmteeth
Based on information found in Dragon #170, in an article by Bruce Heard, the Dragons live their existence passing through different cycles, each divided in several quests. In order to allow anyone to understand this chapter, I will shortly review the quests:
How is the dragon society in Wyrmteeth influenced by these cycles?
Surely not much changes with the first two quests, that are related simply to the particular dragon, but when we take a look at the Third Quest, we can understand much of the political organization of the Dragon Kingdom.
Mors Rufus, Dragon King of Wyrmteeth, is the most important Suzerain of the area, thus the title. Since the "founding" of the nation by Syare/Pearl, the title of Dragon King has always been a self-appointment, as is often the case with chaotic or evil creatures. Anyway, given the massive number of vassal dragons the King has, it is difficult for a strong dragon to have ever contested this title. Other powerful dragons have mostly ignored the King, not willing to transform Norwold in a giant battlefield, with the chance of being killed or subjugated by another dragon. This is especially true since a dragon at that powerful a level, having the chance to attain Dragon Immortality in the Ceremony of Sublimation, would hardly risk its own life in such a manner.
Since 802, when Mors Rufus began to attract humanoids to Wyrmteeth, dragons have slightly changed their view on things. The position of Dragon King and the influence in human and demihuman politics has become much more interesting to the eyes of powerful dragons, allowing them to gain considerable advantages at all stages of their Quests. A good example of this is the placement of troops to protect their lairs during the Ceremony of Sublimation itself; the shield against wyrmslayers and other crusaders at any stage in their life provided by an entire nation of minions, and the possibility of using their minions to provide them with the materials needed for their first two Quests.
The creation of a Wyrmteeth Army was not so easy. Although the idea for the human "colonization" of Wyrmteeth originated with Mors Rufus, a decisive contribution was given by the other great dragons of the region that requested positions of power in the new nation from the "King," as soon as they understood the potential of the idea. Here are the individual entries for the dragon's behavior in this matter:
The Feeding Problem
The fifth cycle (feeding) also raises problems for a land which holds so many dragons: why don't they eat the human population?
The dragons, in fact, hide a terrible secret among their mountains. Buried deep under the rocky cliffs of the volcanic area of Wyrmteeth, where red dragons especially thrive, are vast complexes of underground caverns, where dragonkins known as the Claenra feed and raise a quite special dragon-cattle: a degenerate and mingled race of humans, descended from war slaves, prisoners serving a life sentence, sentenced-to-death, and especially all the humans and werewolves that were officially driven off Wyrmteeth's borders after the 832 treaty between humans and dwarves.
In the caverns, there are more than 8,000 of these degenerated humans, raised as idiot cattle. Put in great pens, these poor creatures are forcibly fed and controlled by the Claenra, who control their matings and keep their intelligence from growing. The degenerates can neither speak nor understand each other. They communicate only by grunting, are extremely pale and many have atrocious deformities due to the fact that nobody cares if relatives intermingle. An elite association of the Claenra, known as the Seers, closely control the dragonkin, and are generally well informed on the status of the cycles of the dragons. This information is used to help the human and dwarven population in Wyrmteeth, preparing them to the Omens of Coming and the eventual problems that arise when a dragon completes his cycle, but also to prepare a stock of degenerates to feed the dragon and at least keep their hunger to manageable level, where they are reasonable enough to avoid attacking the humans. The dragons are not at all disgusted by their use of the degenerates. They believe that the people they used to breed the degenerates would have died anyway following the human and dwarven laws, and in this way they used them in a more rational form to avoid problems with the honest (and more profitable) humanoid population of Wyrmteeth!
The Claenra are a reptilian race that were stranded on Mystara from another world, where they were nearly exterminated by elves. Led by the Word of the Dragon (Pearl), they arrived in Norwold around AC 800 and were soon "employed" by Mors Rufus to work for him. Today there are about 1,500 Claenra, 300 of whom are "Seers." Claenra are much similar to drakes, in aspect, but they are tall like elves and possess two arms, adapted to the use of most weapons and human tools. Their skin is a sickly light blue, and they have three rows of short but very sharp teeth. The whites of their eyes are red, with serpent-like black pupils. The Claenra don't leave Wyrmteeth too often; they have a long life-span (400 years), and are used in the breeding and controlling of the Degenerates. Pearl has a plan for them to be reshaped into a race that can be more useful to his purposes in Mystara, and thus nearly all their offspring are born as Seers (see below). The existance of the Claenra is known to only some of the highest ranking officials of the Army and the clerics of Pearl.
Although the Seers are a branch of the Claenra dragon-kin, they possess the power, imbued to them by Pearl, to disguise themselves in the population like humans. This is not a magical power, rather a natural one, so it can not be detected by magical means.
The Seers have several important duties: apart from the ones described above (control the status of dragon cycles, inform the humanoid population of Omens of Coming, provide Degenerates to feed the dragons awakening from the Quest for Knowledge), the Seers are also charged with the duty of providing new "animals" to the Degenerate herds. Whenever a man is sentenced to be jailed for life, he is taken by the Seers and brought to the Claenra. If they may prove useful to the dragons in some way, they are employed by the dragons, otherwise they are put in the underground caverns with the Degenerates, though not before they are feebleminded permanently.
The Seers act also as guards for dormant dragons in the Quest for Knowledge, althought in this case they usually work along with soldiers from the Army or clerics of Pearl.
Sample Dragon Hierarchy
The purpose of this section is to show how a dragon hierarchy works, and may explain how the Suzerain/Vassal relationship is founded and how it can develop in time. It is also useful to build the hierarchies between the Dragon King and other dragons of the region, explaining the reasons for his power.
Ferrimyx: This huge red has scales of the deepest crimson. Around her jaw and eyes they darken black, as if burnt to a crisp. Blue and purple veins can be seen shot through her wings. She has mated twice in her lifetime, once very recently (4 decades ago). Her first mating with the dragon Aarl'lek produced seven offspring. Of that brood, only three still survive: Virraxn, Nithramor, and Lithiar. Three of that brood were slain by their father before they reached maturity, while the fourth, Hedfang was killed in a battle of dominance. Her second mating with the dragon Emberash produced five offspring. All five still live with Ferrimyx in her lair, too young yet to venture out on their own.
For several centuries now Ferrimyx has dwelt in the western range of the Wyrmsteeth Mountains. She is slowly but steadily building up a power base in the area, and in surrounding regions.
Ferrimyx directly controls Aillucent, Gwa-Dthorim, Hekhekh, Sutkehr, and Emberash.
Aillucent: This ancient white's scales have yellowed with age. His shriveled wings are smaller than they should be, preventing this wyrm from ever taking flight again. His claws and teeth appear to be made of clear ice.
Over 5 decades ago, Aillucent's power was challenged by a younger and stronger white. Aillucent fled, beaten and near death. Ferrimyx found him in this condition. Instead of dispatching the wretch, Ferrimyx granted him shelter inside of her own territory. Now he uses his magical knowledge to benefit his red benefactor.
Aillucent hates Ferrimyx, who taunts and tortures him every time she visits his laboratory lair. He has led her to believe that he is working on a way to distill lycanthropy, information he knows Ferrimyx will use against Mors Rufus' dwarven allies. What he has told Ferrimyx is only half of the truth however. Using were-creatures provided by the Seers, Aillucent is devising a way to infect himself with lycanthropy. He hopes to strengthen his failing body and extend his already long lifespan. Several lycanthropic servants assist him in his efforts.
Gwa-Dthorim: This slender and agile green has scales streaked with greens and browns. His small wings grant him a greater maneuverability, but also prevent him from attaining the speed and altitude of most dragons.
Gwa moved into the forests below Ferrimyx's lair nearly a century ago. The huge red left him to his own devices until 990 AC, when a flock of young greens moved into the area. Gwa quickly dominated the young dragons, and began to use them to expand his own territories. Ferrimyx decided that she had ignored Gwa for too long and challenged him in his own territory. After a short and bloody battle, Gwa submitted to her authority. Being a brutal savage at heart, he doesn't mind the situation as long as Ferrimyx allows him to occasionally vent his frustrations upon the local countryside.
Gwa-Dthorim directly controls Gwa's Flock.
Gwa's Flock: This flock of seven (2 small dragons, and 5 young [treat as 1/2 hit die of Small in the RC]) are all obviously hatched from the same brood. Their bright green scales are accentuated by russet patches across their faces and along their spines. Still quite young for dragons, these greens act mostly on instinct, although Gwa can generally get them to follow his commands. The oldest of the flock is just starting to pick up a few bits of Dragonish from its master, although its comprehension is limited.
Hekhekh and Sutkehr: This brother and sister pair have glimmering black scales that dull to a gray on their undersides. Hekhekh has numerous scars and acid burns across his back and neck. Sutkehr has a vicious gash across her left nostril, as well as several broken horns.
Both dragons know a smattering of Dragonish - enough to have gained them the following of several different lizard men tribes in the area. They have just begun to use the tribes in order to raid other lands and amass a sizeable amount of treasure (a portion of which they pay in tribute to Ferrimyx). Tensions are heating up between the pair of small blacks, as they both prepare for their first Ceremony of Sublimation. There may not be enough wealth in the area to sustain them both.
Emberash: This large red male's scales are almost a glowing orange in color, the edges flaked in grays and blacks.
Emberash was brash and arrogant when Ferrimyx took him as a mate 4 decades ago. Little did he suspect that the older and wiser red would turn on him soon afterwards. She had little trouble in humbling Emberash. Now he seethes with hatred for her and her new brood. Although he would not, and could not, openly defy Ferrimyx, he secretly plans for her downfall.
Emberash directly controls Laythanix, Ellimyris, and Emberash's Flock of Whites.
Laythanix: This large red has just emerged from a successful Ceremony of Sublimation and is feeling the pains of extreme hunger. Fortunately Seers in the area have spent long years in preparation for this event, and have a herd of "cattle" ready for him to devour.
Laythanix has scales of blood red, with horns protruding from every joint. With his newfound size and strength, Laythanix is considering re-challenging his feudal lord Emberash. He has already made up his mind not to accept Emberash's surrender, should it be offered. After his master is taken care of, Laythanix intends to widen his power base.
Ellimyris: This small gold has very fine golden scales with intricate coppery patterns interspersed throughout her hide. Her eyes and teeth are the same coppery color, as well as the few horns that protrude from her head.
Ellimyris left her overcrowded homeland in search of greener pastures. Unfortunately the best territory she could find was in a mountain range surrounded by reds. For many years she avoided them, focusing her attentions on the local humans and dwarves. Several years ago however, Emberash caught up to her and subdued her. She detests obeying the hateful red, but has to admit that her fealty to him now affords her the ability to act in a much more open manner in this harsh land.
Emberash's Flock of Whites: This small flock of six white dragons live near the peaks of Emberash's mountain territory. They are stupid and vicious, but he can control them enough to get his wishes across to them. The whites are obviously not from the same brood. They have banded together in order to better survive in these lands.
Ties of Blood
Young Red Flock: This brood of dragonlings was produced by the mating of Ferrimyx and Emberash just over 40 years ago. The five young reds are striped with crimson and orange scales, and various patches deepen to an almost black color. Still very young, the dragonlings lack any horns on their bodies, and their wings are as yet too undeveloped for flight.
Ferrimyx still does most of the hunting for her brood, although a few of the larger ones are starting to venture out on their own. Ferrimyx keeps a watchful eye on them whenever they do. Although they are still too young to be of any political help to their mother, the dragonlings take a very active role in maintaining their lair. Their mother often has the Seers deposit herds of degenerates, who the dragonlings toy with at their whims. They organize the "beasts" into squadrons, and often have mock battles with them before ending their games and devouring them.
Virraxn: This small red female has coal black eyes, and dull red scales flecked with yellows. The smallest of Ferrimyx's offspring from her mating with Aarl'lek, Virraxn is content to stay in her mother's shadow. She lacks the ambition and drive that is common amongst her kind, and instead of building an empire for herself, she has chosen to live off of her mother's resources.
Ferrimyx tolerates the young female, for she is completely beholden to her mother. Virraxn often acts as messenger for her mother, and infrequently will perform feats more demanding, such as small raids or minor acts of terrorism. She lairs very near to her mother, but can most often be found in the presence of Ferrimyx.
Nithramor: This large red has a skull covered in horns and bony protrusions. His eyes are lit like flames, and a constant trickle of smoke can always be seen escaping his maw. Nithramor is the only remaining male of Ferrimyx's first brood with Aarl'lek.
Nithramor banded with his brother Ligander, just after leaving his mothers lair. The two brothers did fairly well for themselves in the overcrowded Wyrmteeth Mountains, hiring their services out to other, larger reds in the area. Unfortunatley their rapid progress caught the eye of their father Aarl'lek who promptly descended upon them to end perceived threats to his own power. In the battle that ensued, Ligander was slain, and Nithramor driven away.
While in exile, Nithramor established a small domain in the deserts of Ylaraum. Over the course of a century, he established himself over the other dragons in the area, personally subjugating a small bronze and a large blue. After completing his first Ceremony of Sublimation, Nithramor has returned to the Wyrmteeth to reclaim his birthright. He and his vassals, are now trying to carve out their own little power bases from this great kingdom.
Ferrimyx has lent him support in his efforts to re-establish himself, and Nithramor is not an ungrateful son. He may be persuaded to offer support to his mother in a time of need, but will not risk what he has built needlessly. He has also formed tentative alliances with several dragons laired near his father, in the hopes of overthrowing Aarl'lek and avenging his lost brother.
Lithiar: This large red female is covered in blood red scales and horns of ebony. She is considered beautiful among her own kind (although what that means to humanoids is unclear).
Another offspring of Ferrimyx and Aarl'lek, Lithiar was the first to leave her mother's lair. She has no fixed lair, but instead roams about the entire Wyrmteeth range. Despite the lack of a permanent home, Lithiar has already performed the Ceremony of Sublimation successfully once, and is preparing to do so again.
Lithiar despises her father, and covets his lands. She has helped in various schemes of Nithramor's, but has never proven to be completely reliable to him. She holds Virraxn in contempt, and is disgusted by her total lack of ambition. It is because of this, and because of the fact that Ferrimyx continues to harbor her poor excuse for a sister, that Lithiar has not spoken to her mother in over 150 years. She has never lifted a finger to harm either her mother or sister, but neither would she lift one to help them in any way. In fact she often dreams of their eventual downfall, and how sweet it would be to witness it from afar.
Aarl'lek: Not really considered to be tied by blood to Ferrimyx, this huge red male was her first mate, and probably worth discussing here. His powerful wings are large, and when spread out against a sun lit sky, they shine like rubies. His scales are large and tough, and although he lacks many horns his skull is unusually thick and bony.
Sensing treachery in his partner, he did not tarry long after his brood was born. Ferrimyx has proven to be a dangerous and crafty opponent in the years since then. Her offspring are just as treacherous, and Aarl'lek knows that they all plot his downfall. Over the past centuries he has hunted them down wherever he could.
The Killers in the Name of Law
The Killers in the Name of Law, also known as the Red Hammer, is a small but extremely dangerous organization that is growing constantly in power in Norwold. It is made mostly of humans and dwarves, and led by the Wurkrest Clanmaster, Baldur Borneth. The Free Hunters were created in 811 as a dwarven reaction toward the lycanthropes that were threatening their community. In fact, although nothing really seems to support this fact, there have been great tensions for several years between dwarves and lycanthropes before the two groups came to an agreement signed in 831. But let's get deeper inside the history of the turbulent years following the announcement by the Dragon Mors Rufus in 802.
In 802, the Year of the Great Plague in Glantri, Mors Rufus, one of the mightiest dragon suzerains of Norwold, invited the Kildarkok clans to move into the mountains of Wyrmteeth, and work for him in several mines, because he had never had the skills to do so by himself, nor had the scarce human population of the region, who were also too superstitious and ignorant to work beside creatures of great power like dragons - especially himself. Although the dwarves had experienced traumatic situations in Glantri (not to mention the hard travel to cross the Wendarian and Heldannic regions to Norwold) some of the younger dwarves, led by an independent clan leader, Baldur Borneth, left for the region, eager to open a new chapter in the glorious dwarven history.
The new clan was to be named Wurkrest clan, and soon to become one of the strangest dwarven communities in Brun. Here, although the dwarves had taken a revolutionary attitude toward life with the non-dwarven creatures, the Wurkrest clan developed an even more misanthropic culture. One of the reasons for this had to be the second step by Mors Rufus to secure for himself a "stock" of useful followers and servants: the invitation to other Glantrian refugees (804), at the beginning namely Averoignians, hunted down because they were clerics or followers of Immortal philosophies, but after some time also lycanthropes. While most of the Averoignians and Glantrians who made their way to Wyrmteeth were bandits, many also were werewolves. Some were in fact clerics and their families, hunted down in an especially fierce way during the Plague years.
At the same time, more clerics from all over Brun were called by Mors Rufus when possible and visited in dreams by Pearl as well, and encouraged to join the Wyrmteethian nation and create a more organized and useful clerical order that had to worship Pearl and the dragon-kind in all its expressions in Mystara.
During the 804-812 years, the Glantrians arrived little by little, and with them were also a contingent of Norwold Heldannic people. There were immediately problems between the Averoignian bandits and werewolves on one side, the Heldann freemen on the other, and the dwarves on a third. With Mors Rufus quite puzzled by the outcome of this situation, and embarassed by his ignorance that the three races could have problems of coexistence, it was the clerics of Pearl who were charged to take control of the situation: they tried to do so offering the dwarves the support of their clergy. The duty of the clerics would have been to help the dwarves that had been infected with lycanthropy, and at the same time help the dwarves in their war against the lycanthropes. So Baldur Norneth, Clanmaster of the Wurkrest, counter-proposed the creation of an elite squadron that would have eliminated all the lycanthropes from Wyrmteeth: the Killers in the Name of Law were born on the night between the 21st and 22nd of Kaldmont 811.
The Killers in the Name of Law were made of select dwarven warriors, known as "Crusaders" among their own people. They were joined by the clergy of Pearl, and alliances were forged with the most important Freemen leaders after years of massacres. The blood was shed in copious quantities, with Kildarkok dwarves involved in the fights, and even more brigands and werecreatures coming to Wyrmteeth from the nearer areas in Norwold and Wendar, hoping to enter and take control of a safe place from which to conduct their raids. But eventually, the Red Hammer, as the Killers in the Name of Law had become known by then, were more organized and managed to drive off many of their enemies, while the clerics of Pearl were secretly conducting negotiations with the less hostile Averoigne werewolves that didn't want to cause trouble, but just to have a safe place to live (828).
When the dwarves became aware of this, the satisfaction of the Wurkrest clan for the victory over the "renegade" settlers of Wyrmteeth rapidly changed into wrath (at the same time Mors Rufus was asking himself, "Why in the Abyss did I have to create this mess? They are so noisy..."), and the situation was on the brink of a new explosion of violence.
Fortunately, the Kildarkok dwarves and the newly formed Order of the Holy Blood Sword decided to mediate between the two groups and, after three years of instability, a Constitution was delared. Then, the Claenra and the Red Hammer, with the second unaware of the first, did the rest.
The Red Hammer Today
The Red Hammer today is an elite dwarven organization, with a few human members, mostly clerics. The Red Hammer has, since 831, taken upon itself the duty of exterminating all lycanthropes that refuse to adhere to the Constitution. Although not all people in Wyrmteeth know this, the Red Hammer has also interfered frequently with Wyrmteeth society, helping the military to eliminate potentially dangerous human leaders (both normal humans, and effective werewolves) with false accusations of being renegade lycanthropes, or similar fabrications.
But, unknown to the Red Hammer dwarves, several non-dwarven members of the Red Hammer are Claenra, assigned to infiltrate the association and watch over its machinations.
The leader of the Red Hammer is Grain Borneth, son of Baldur Borneth, who was the founder of the order. Grain is a very capable leader, and has tracked down and killed renegades for more than 50 years of his life. He is a proud dwarf, and he is convinced that werecreatures are equal in rights to any other creature; though only if they follow the laws of their nation. The werecreatures that don't live in Wyrmteeth officially, the so-called renegades, are to be eliminated, because they are a dangerous and anarchical faction, bent on destroying the society, in his eyes.
This view on things is shared by most members of the Red Hammer, and by most dwarves in the nation. The Red Hammer is friendly only to the lycanthropes of the Canine Protection Society outside Wyrmteeth, because it believes that it is trying first to receive a legal status inside their state, and secondly because it is an internal factor of discord among the hated Glantrians.
The relations between the Red Hammer and the Claenra could be a big potential for adventures in Wyrmteeth. An interesting campaign could be run with the players being members of the Red Hammer, and discovering the existence among them of spies...in fact, non-human shapechanging creatures: the Claenra! The characters could then discover the truth behind deportations of renegades and criminal citizens alike, and find out that things are not what they seem to be.
Perhaps a civil war could erupt between citizens and dragons, with the clergy of Pearl in full support of the dragons; some dragon ruler siding with the rebels in order to seize the throne and the power from Mors Rufus...quite an interesting plot, isn't it?
Copyright (c) 2000, Giulio N. Caroletti with John Calvin. Used by permission. All rights reserved.