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Beholders of Mystaraby Robin from Threshold Magazine issue 20
14 Yarthmont 1001 AC; almost Sunset; Glantri Great School of Magic, Museum of Monsterology, Anatomy/Examination room.
“The weseawch of a lifetime is what I desiwe to call it”.
“I know, I know, ...yet Gaston1, ...from other researchers we have learned from Autopsy, Anatomy, Divination and Thanatology that the mind of a beholder is utterly chaotic and dancing around the barrier of sanity and madness. Don’t you agree Master Timonn Lest2?”
“Yes, I do, yet I also understand the conceptual ideas of Master vander Klil. It indeed seems that these chaotic creatures seem to have an ordered concept of living. It is as if these chaotic creatures do seem to have some lawfulness and order”.
“That is pwecisly what I intent to undewstand Master Lest. And the Dweamspeech magic divulged a lot of infowmation of these dangewous, intewesting species. That is why I called upon the expewtise of Master Bhes3. And see what his divinations bwought us knowledge”.
”Indeed my fellow teachers. It seems that the specimen laid before us still has mental images remaining in his mind. Are you sure brother Lest that the creature is dead and incapacitated?”
“Yes, Master Bhes. The creature seemed to be a renegade beholder. According to the brave adventurers it was hunted by at least three beholders of a different breed. The differences are clear when knowing how to look. It was not known until recently that the beholder race has several different breeds, which seem to combat each other,” replied Sir Timonn.
“Yes, indeed, this specimen seemed to belong to a breed we have seen only on the continent Skothar,...” his brother Sir Johann chimed in.
“That was interesting, yet not what information I requested Masters. You don’t seem to understand that if I delve deeper within the decaying mind, I could lose my way of returning if there is an active sentience within.”
“Sorry, Master Bhes, the creature was subjected to several rays of magical eyes from the following beholders. And even to them the creature seemed to be dead, before they left. The adventurers also cut several times within the creature, and with the examination, and autopsy we have not discerned any glint of life”.
“Oke, then I will commence with the Deep Divination. We must know more about these monsters.””...How intewesting they might be.”
Master Bhes sat down, meditate for a turn or so, and then began invoking his divination magic. He arose, grabbed the brain, and an image appeared. Followed by another, and another, faster and faster until the images seemed to be a moving active situation depicted in translucent illusion magic. Master Bhes started to speak; and his voice spoke;...
Beholderbreeds on Mystara and their cities
[Map: Beholders in Mystara by Robin]
True Beholders (Oculithorax variants)
The standard Beholder (Oculithorax tyrannis Mystarae)
Mystaran beholders tend to be brown or green, and possess mottled skin. The distinctive patterns of the mottling define the particular breed. Their tentacles are about average in length (24 inches) and mostly unsegmented. These beholder stalks have human-sized eyes that disappear when their dark eyelids close. A Mystaran beholder that closes its eyes and folds its eyestalks across its body while settling on the ground, looks much like a moss-encrusted or mud-encrusted boulder. Stories of unwitting adventurers who sat atop sleeping beholders are quite common. Alas, all of these tales end in tragedy. It is suggested the varieties in local ecology and diet create new breeds. Currently 11 different breeds are recognized on Mystara (in a beholder’s opinion the breeds other than their own breed are variant befouled monstrosities);
The Known World Breed = O.t.M. Darokinius, (this version is medium brown, with dark-brown mottling in a band like pattern, blue eyes. Some individuals of this breed seem to have developed water-breathing as a natural ability)
Davanian Breed = O.t.M.Davanicus, (this version is more brown with thicker, hair-like green mottling, blue eyes. This breed is less vulnerable to heat, and somewhat more to cold)
Blackmoor Breed = O.t.M.Polaris, (this version is more dark-brown with lighter mottling, yellow eyes. It has a banded profile of scales--a predecessor of armor. This breed resembles the first breed brought to Mystara by the FSS Beagle aliens at best )
Alphatian Breed = O.t.M.Alpaticus, (this version is light-brown with dark-brown mottling, brown eyes. This breed has the highest percentage of beholder mages and elders of all breeds)
Norwold breed = O.t.M.Aquilonum, (this version is dark-brown with much mossy mottling, grey-blueish eyes. This breed rarely speaks, and seems to have developed a 50’ telepathy)
Savage Coast Breed = O.t.M. Cinnabryllus, (this version is reddish-brown with muddy darker mottling, reddish brown eyes--the reddish teint is not genetic but a side effect of the area. This breed often camouflages itself with mud).
Thanagian Breed = O.t.M. Thanagius, (this version is light-brown with intensive green almost hair-like top mottling, and dark-brown muddy bottom mottling, green eyes. This breed adorns its stalks with shells)
Isle of Dawn Breed = O.t.M Tessarectum, (this version is creme-brown, with a dark-brown grouped mottling, dark-brown eyes. Known for its three-dimensional gravity-changing mazes found on the Isle of Dawn regularly)
Western Breed = O.t.M. Occidentalis, (this version is dark-brown, with darker brown variant sized mottling all over its body, and is mostly wet with real moss growing on its top (due the wet caves it lives in). It has red or yellow bloodshot eyes.)
Northern Skothar breed = O.t.M. Millenius, (this version is slightly more armored (AV+1 or AC-1)5, its scales are light-brown with a greenish cast and some dark-brown mottling on top, it has green eyes)
Southern Skothar Breed = O.t.M. Vulcanis, (this version has a more armored skin (AV+2 or AC-2) and segmented eyestalks, with yellow eyes, its scales are medium brown with lighter brown ends. The face-nose area is cracked, it has yellow eyes--see picture)
It is possible a variant breed will develop somewhere else. All breeds tend to stay to their own part of the world, and new breeds must settle somewhere yet unclaimed by the other breeds. As expected there are conflict areas where the breeds claim territory (territories overlap on the map) or are reasonably near to other territories. Keep in mind that beholder borders do not follow any other racial borders.
The O.t.M. Vulcanis (travelled there by themselves) and the O.t.M. Alphaticus (placed there by the translocation of Alphatia 1009 AC as a floating continent) are currently the only two breeds found in the Hollow World, and their numbers are very low, they possess no cities and no more than 3 hives each and the spell of preservation prevents the rise of new breeds unless they travel or are placed there. With the demise of Alphatia in 1009 AC, the O.t.M. Alphaticus survived only in Esterhold, Bellissaria, Norwold and the Northern Islands. They were driven from the Isle of Dawn, and are almost destroyed in Bellisaria and Norwold. Esterhold can’t sustain them enough, and the northern islands are too cold to reproduce, so this race is eventually doomed to extinction on the Outer World. Of the four beholder cities that have existed on Mystara, Kargash is currently the only active one.
Outside Mystara (Space and Planar) 25 other variant beholder races are known to exist named after their planet or Plane (they are all Oculithorax tyrannis species), and these may have their own (mostly up to 6) local breeds (the fourth name in line). A beholder race of the Outer Plane Hades would be O.t.Hadesius, followed by the name of the breed.
Other beholder creatures6
The beholder mage (Oculithorax tyrannis Mystarae-Occultis) and elder orbs (Oculithorax tyrannis Mystarae-Antiqua) are altered standard beholders and still bear the original breed traits and marks.
Beholderkin like the eye-of-the-deep (Oculithorax aquaticus), gauth (Oculithorax quadricrinixus Inferior), death kiss (Oculithorax ungueus Sanguina-Electrica), spectator (Oculithorax curiosis Cogitarus), and the searechter7 or marine spectator (Oculithorax curiosis Aquaticus), observer (Oculithorax curiosis Nirvanaeus), and gorbel (Oculithorax pyrophoricus) do exist, but are rare on Mystara. They are spawned by a hive mother depending on her diet, and are able to reproduce amongst their own. They may or may not bear the original breed traits and marks of the breed they are spawned from. The eye-of-the-deep is the best known and most widespread of these creatures.
Abominations (Oculithorax detestatio species) belong to the beholder abominations spawned by a hive mother depending on the need and circumstances. These are completely different species being equal in any breed they are spawned; defender8 (Oculithorax detestio Defendus), director (Oculithorax detestio Princepius), examiner (Oculithorax detestio Scrutator), lensman (Oculithorax detestio Humanoides), overseer (Oculithorax detestio Arboretus), watcher (Oculithorax detestio Vigilius), astereater (Oculithorax detestio Bothynus), orbus (Oculithorax detestio Orbus), are all beholder abominations once existing on Mystara (and may well still exist in Kargash). They are not able to reproduce. At least one astereater is known to roam Mystaraspace, probably originating from Mystara just before the Destruction of Alphatia (1009 AC), and may have been a reaction of the great war.
Undead beholder; death tyrant (Corpus animatea Oculi-Tyrannis) 1166, kasharin (Corpus mummificatum Oculi-Tyrannis) 1260, doomsphere* (Spiritum oculi tyrannis) 11379.
History as the Immortals know it
When the Multiverse was young and chaotic, in the beginning of time, the Great Mother was born from an unknown creature in the Nightmare dimension. It developed so much intelligence that it quickly arose to immense power. Many current races in that realm have either heard of her as being one of the Great Creators of existence, or even herald their own offspring directly to her.
She soon succeeded in becoming Immortal; who her sponsor was is unknown, but Thanatos already did exist, maybe she was the first mortal that he sponsored into Immortality. (If so, he no longer remembers this anymore).
Unlike its mortal spawn, the Great Mother is an egg layer. It drifts endlessly on its mysterious journey, stopping only to lay eggs (in effect casting the Immortal spell Create Species) or briefly return to its home plane. Most of the Great Mother’s eggs hatch into Hive Mothers of various breeds.
Scholars do not know what factors determine the breed of the eggs, though some believe that the Great Mother’s diet greatly influences this process. As the Immortal law ‘No direct interference against mortals’ counts only on the Prime Plane, she stays far away from there, and thus devours any creature she likes to devour, ranging from devil to demon or Outer Planar spawn. The Great Mother often encounters powerful beings in her wanderings throughout the Planes. Legends say that the Great Mother usually consumes these powerful creatures. These ‘unions’ doubtless account for some of the more unusual sorts of beholder kin and abominations. This behavior is also found within hive mothers, and as such expected magically transferred from the Great Mother to hive mothers. It seems that each new abomination or beholderkin can be spawned from the moment of its initial creation by the Great Mother from hive mothers if they desire so depending upon circumstances.
In one of these realms her offspring arose to a great civilization, with technological and magical progress. Yet its chaotic genetic imbalance soon prevailed, and different breeds came forth. At first this was no problem, as the beholders did not yet have their xenophobic tendency. But soon there was absolutely no order. In all this chaos, tensions became violence, and violence became a war, a giant war. Several beholder breeds settled on their space vessels to escape the utter chaos, bringing with them the genetic seed for xenophobia.
In the early Blackmoor era, a gigantic vessel travelled haphazardly through space and finally even through the solar system of the beholders, while they were warring and combating with each other, or even trying to flee. Within these travels they succeeded in capturing several warring beholders. Some sages suggest; it was probably due to the chaotic energy these creatures emit (magic) that the giant vessel ruptured the dimensional borders in the first place. When the vessel was disabled and crash-landed on Mystara, nothing happened at first, but soon intruders from the planet, invaded the vessel and released the imprisoned horrors (mostly unwittingly), and thus the beholder came to Mystara. The Blackmoorians soon tried to control these monsters to be used in the war with the beastmen. However, their chaotic minds and magic abilities made them unreliable and prone to escape. The creatures were greatly affected by the Rain of Fire and the radiation. They were dispersed over Mystara, and suffered several mutations. It is these ones which formed the basis of the current Mystara beholder breeds. The number of variety in beholder and beholder-kin and even abominations was limited by the magical aura of the planet itself.
In the beginning they were mostly solitary10, yet soon hive mothers spawned, and beholder hives11 came to be. The appearance of beholder hives is significantly less common than the appearance of a solitary beholder. A hive consists of one ruling hive mother and either 1d6+4 beholders (or even more rare) 5d4 abominations and beholder-kin. The standard beholders present in a hive must all be of the same breed; even the presence of a hive mother will not deter different breeds of beholders from attacking each other. Generally, the hive mother will be the parent or ancestor of all other members of the hive, but this is not always the case.
Occasionally, two or more same-breed hive mothers decide to unite their individual hives. The resultant community, regardless of its size is called a city. Historically, these cities have formed for two reasons; the same beholder breed dominates a particular geographical locale abundantly, and it is sparsely or not at all occupied by other sentient races. A small beholder city will contain the following; 1d6+2 hive mothers, 3d6 standard beholders, (there is a 50% chance that 1d3 of these creatures will be mages), 3d6+3 overseers, 1d6+4x10 directors, 1d4x10 examiners, 3d6+3 watchers, 1d6=2x10 lensmen and 2d6 miscellaneous other beholder kin. A very large beholder city will have a terrifyingly large population consisting of 1500 hive mothers, 3000 overseers, 2500 standard beholders (of whom some 250 are beholder mages), 17.500 directors, 6000 examiners, 3000 watchers, 15.000 lensmen, and 1500 mixed beholder kin. The usual proportions of non-beholder-kin population also reside in the city.
Hive mother (Oculithorax tyrannis Mystarae-Dominatrix)
Hive mothers were first encountered by a matriarchal elven society in the distant past (probably Norwold elves just after the Rain of Fire 3000 BC). This elven society assumed that these giant creatures were female because they led beholder communities, and worshipped an Immortal called the Great Mother. Naturally, the elves named these creatures hive mothers. However, the beholders’ own name for a hive mother is Kawahak Kru, which translates more correctly as “Spawner-Boss”. Kawahak kru have no specific female traits. Hive mothers are naturally transformed beholders or born that way from an adult hive mother, or more rarely a direct transformation under the influence of their Immortal the Great Mother. The natural process is that in a hive, the first pregnant beholder births a single young hive mother, that rapidly grows in the following years. During the teenage stage, the creature starts to grow so exponentially that it forces the eyestalks to become regressed in mounds of flesh. The rapid growth halts when the hive mother-beholder gains adult size and normal growth sets in. During the autopsy research of a recently killed hive mother, it was indeed discovered that the eyestalk is literally pulled inside to the limit by the exponentially grotesque beholder body, and the eyestalk skin is still found just behind the eyes within the body, shriveled up like a pushed-up sleeve.
The hive mother’s ability to create abominations—sterile beholder-like creatures that exist only in hive situations—most likely stems from the species predisposition towards mutation. Beholder legends, however, claim that this is a gift from the Great Mother. Hive mothers are larger adapted variants of their own breed; as such they hold the same naming, but with "-Dominatrix" added to the 3rd designation. A hive mother of the beholder race of the Outer Plane Hades would be O.t.Hadesius-Dominatrix, followed by the name of the breed.
Only four (mostly empty or almost empty) beholder cities have existed on Mystara. Only one of these cities is active--very active.
The Lost underground Beholder city12 Ill’th Khinax on Brun
Created 2795 BC, it thrived between 2755 BC and 1750 BC, warred against the 2nd Empire of Mogreth on Brun, but fell from warring factions within the city. Once it did hold over 2000 beholders and beholder-kin. Current occupation unknown (depending on results from the adventure series; Eye of Doom, Eye of Pain, Eye to Eye AD&D2 adventures).
The city itself originates from a time long past, when beholders ruled both the surface and the depths and humans had only begun to appear in the area. Named Illth Khinax in the beholder tongue (which means “Place of Spires”), the beautiful city (at least the beholders themselves considered it beautiful) was once a thriving population center with over 2000 beholders and beholder-kin dwelling there. Many of the other subterranean species knew of and marveled at its existence, and some even managed to establish peaceful (sort of) relations with the eye tyrants (through adopting a suitable obsequious attitude and thereby circumventing the beholder’s legendary xenophobia) and began to trade with them (the modrigswerg are rumored to have done this, but all information about this trade is lost in time.) Still, the beholders were enemies of many races, and constant retaliation against invasion was seen a necessity. On more than one occasion other subterranean species attempted to attack Ilth K’hinax, either openly or through subtle infiltration. Some of the fallen warriors of the beholder enemies decorate the halls of the city to this day
In the end, the downfall of the city came, not from without, but from within. Factions within the society of the great city constantly opposed each other, plotting for power and prestige against one another. Ultimately, the conflicts became too openly militant to check, and a full-blown civil war ensued. Some factions were annihilated, others fled to safer havens, still others continued to war with one another in the channels and spires of Ilth K'hinax. In the end, one faction reigned supreme, but the glory of the great beholder city was but a memory. The other subterranean races, seeing their chance at revenge and domination, allied against the remaining eye tyrants and hunted them down. When all was said and done, the surviving citizens of Ilth K'hinax had scattered with the four winds, and the city lay silent and dark. No other species could comfortably live there without the inherent levitation ability of the beholders, so the place was abandoned by the sentient ones. The mindless monsters that the beholders once kept as pets and guards remained, multiplying and adapting or dying out completely (for escape was impossible for most of them). Ilth K'hinax lay dormant for hundreds of years, and the knowledge of its location became lost in the shrouds of time.
In the wilds beyond Ilth K'hinax, the legend of the city has been passed from generation to generation of beholder. It has become more a tale of myth and mystery than a simple set of facts, but the memory of the place remained, nonetheless. Many an elder orb or hive mother has dreamed of one day returning there to claim dominion over it, but none has ever attempted it, until now. Ixathinon began her quest to re-establish the throne of Ilth K'hinax over 150 years ago. No known routes existed to the Place of Spires, but she diligently researched for years, examining shreds of evidence from tales and records bought, stolen, or connived away from other subterranean races. Slowly, the hive mother began to construct a map that revealed a possible location of the fabled city. Her perseverance paid off; she was the first beholder to lay eyes on Ilth K'hinax in over a millennia.
Overjoyed, Ixathinon led her hive to the site and established a home there. The task of reclaiming the city from the ravages of time proved to be a long and arduous one, but slowly, the beholders are beginning to return the place to its former glory. Only a portion of Ilth K'hinax has been taken back; the rest will be restored in due time. A major obstacle stands in the restoration of Ilth K'hinax's former glory: the presence of humans and demihumans on the surface. Ixathinon knows too well the tale of the original downfall of Ilth K'hinax, and she has been convinced through her studies that it was a result of the citizens' interaction with and acceptance of the other races. It has become an obsession of hers that no other sentient species should be permitted to dwell in the vicinity of the great city; to do so only invites disaster once again. Thus it has come to pass that Ixathinon has devised a plan to eradicate the town of Cumbert and all of its inhabitants. Understanding the limitations of the military strength of her hive, Ixathinon realizes she could never hope to win an all-out war with the surface dwellers. To even attempt such a thing would not only deplete her valuable resources, but it would draw unwanted attention to the hive and its activities. Instead, by using a criminal organization called the Unblinking Eye, she has set in motion a scheme to subtly degrade the fabric of Cumbert's society hopefully leading to its eventual and ultimate corruption This plot has become the source of contention between the hive mother and the beholder Qeqtoxi. Because of the great success of the Unblinking Eye, Qeqtoxi has come to enjoy the level of power it commands among the surface dwellers and is not so willing to surrender it to Ixathinon. It sees her plan to destroy Cumbert as foolish and a waste of potential resources, so the elder orb has decided to usurp her and take over the hive. If successful, Qeqtoxii will continue to build its power base within Cumbert and eventually spread its organization's influence farther afield.
This is where the Eye of Doom, Eye of Pain and Eye to Eye AD&D2ed adventure trilogy begins.
The haunted beholder city Ash Phrax on Davania
Deep within underground Davania is the beholder city Ash Phrax. It is unknown which of the two Davanian beholder breeds built the city and which destroyed it. Between 255 AC13 and 280 AC it was a viable beholder city containing over 500 beholders of one of the two breeds. As there are remains found of over 1100 beholders and beholderkin, apparently both breeds met, battled and eventually lost the battle here. It is now completely abandoned.
The underground beholder city Ash Phrax is the lost city according to beholders. In many respects it resembles Illth Khinax, yet all breeds corresponding to either city would be very insulted by this. Ash Phrax is similar to Ilth K'hinax in a way, that it is located within a cave 500 miles deep within the ground, hidden deep under the surface of the Davanian continent. It may appear to be similar to Illth Khinax, the main difference lies within its floating middle city. This huge stone circular disk floats about 10 feet from the ceiling and about 30 feet from four carefully placed gravity-influencing poles that keep the disk in its position. The magic is so strong (and apparently not affected by the Day of Dread’s no-magic effect), that it is assumed that the beholder goddess the Great Mother had something to do with creating this “artifact” city.
This floating section and the assumption the Great Mother created this was apparently also the reason that both Davanian beholder breeds battled over possession of the city. The battle was so immense that more than 1100 petrified beholders are currently found in the area. Some unknown force succeeded in controlling these petrified undead beholders (stats as normal death tyrant, but AV +3), maybe it is due to doomspheres or something worse.
The city is now completely abandoned, as at least 50 beholder ghosts (doomspheres) seem to haunt the area. Neither beholder breed knows of this city anymore, and the only memory with the same name leads to an immense slaughter field. In fact this made so much impact that the word Ash Phrax literally is translated as battlefield, or death field. No beholder would be interested in this city due to the hundreds of dead and undead beholders lurking there, uncontrollable, unlike death tyrants.
The abandoned Beholder city of Zelphim on Skothar
The abandoned Beholder city of Zelphim14 has recently (1000AC) been rediscovered and partially repopulated.
Inhabited from 565 BC to 325 BC on the northern part of Skothar—very well recorded slaughter records15; located;1504 beholders, 342 hive mothers, 1100 variant beholders slain, warred against hordes of humanoids (combined, Jennite human, orc, ogre, troll and giant), and was almost wiped out of existence. The city is currently nothing more than an abandoned, mostly ruined, beholder city functioning as a living location for the new single hive (32 beholders, 1 hive mother named Kai-La-rinn, and about 15 beholder-kin).
The living Beholder city Kargash16 on Skothar
Kargash is depicted in the AD&D 2ed supplement “I, Tyrant” as the main beholder city and is in fact the only truly functioning beholder city on Mystara.
[Map: Kargash location by Robin]
This beholder city is made up of many of the wasp’s nest style dwellings, plus other constructions and places for the common use of all beholder citizens. It was created shortly after the Great Rain of Fire in 2990 BC, and was active yet small until 2166 BC. At that time the Kasharin affliction (probably a Beholder version of the Wasting Disease), and regular volcanic eruptions, together with Tangor attacks made an end to the city. When the Alphatians made Landfall, the beholders had already rediscovered and repopulated the city for a decade. No Tangor tribe was powerful enough to resist them, although major attacks have occured in 733 BC, 188 BC, and 467 AC. There has also been an attack by the hivebrood (Formica hominoidea-parasites)18 in 890 AC, which was overwhelmingly won by the beholders. The Tangor tribes suffered several major defeats from these monsters and since then refrained from crossing the Ale River, the mountain chain and the Desyx River to prevent further war and retaliations they can’t manage. The beholders on the other hand have created more beholder spawn (amongst them the new defender spawn), and it may be assumed they will initiate attacks on either the humanoids, the remaining hivebrood of the region or travel beyond and attack Tangor tribes.
Over time, the cliff sides of the beholder city became so infested with lairs that their origin as natural cliffs became obscure. Examiners, acting as structural engineers, make sure that the cliffs are not so heavily dug out that they will collapse; otherwise, these cliffs look entirely artificial.
The above map shows the location of the small city of Kargash (on the Mystara continent of Skothar) — population 2000 — located on a volcanic, mist-shrouded tract of land far from any settlements or trade routes. Once upon a time, the city was nothing but a small river canyon. However, a hive mother named Kagg discovered the area in 2990 BC and pronounced it perfect for settlement. It has gradually become one of the largest eye tyrant cities ever recorded (even on other Planes).
This line of the continent of Skothar lies upon a deep crevice of geologically unstable matter. Deep below, the lower cells of the planetary creature (the Megalith, see also breathofmystara.blogspot.nl/20…) continuously deplete, and new cells are created on top of it (instead normally below this wound). Probably this wound was created in the Great Rain of Fire incident in 3000 BC, and the massive radiation even affected the regenerative abilities of the creature we know as the planet Mystara, as well as causing it to massively tilt permanently.
In fact the northern part of the area is slowly and steadily pushed down by the growth of the cells south of it, creating mountains there, and enabling lots of volcanic activity on the overlap zone, where these cells meet.
It is due to these volcanoes that the area still exists, as the magma pours out of the holes of Mystara, they flow north and eastwards, creating new continental matter, that again is slowly used in the creation of the mountains.
In fact the whole area is geological fresh matter, with clear ridges, “canals” of hardened magma, between the local hills that were pressed up a little against the mountains. The latest eruption in 1004 AC, caused the great woods to become the Burned Wood. The burned carcasses of the ancient trees still abound. Further areas of interest are the bombardment fields, where the area is littered with pyroclastic bombs of earlier eruptions. The beholders like the region for its instability, difficulty for ground-bounded creatures to pass, and the overall feeling and sensation of destruction and chaos.
The beholders get their slaves from the Tangor tribes on the other side of the mountain. The Tangor have named the Mountain range as Tembo Taboo, what means forbidden area. Most of the Arragon volcanoes are currently active, and slowly erupt their ashes and magma in continuous streams in underground tunnels toward the North and East. The other volcanoes are either dead or currently inactive. The whole area is riddled with magma tunnels, and many giant worms are attracted to the fresh matter, riddling it further, with their tunnels. Almost any kind of worm can be found here. No other important races are found here, except spiders and other large lowlife, but there are no other sentient races in this desolate dying part of the world, other than a handful of subjugated humanoids (orcs, trolls, kobolds).
The Beholder city described and mapped in the AD&D Monstrous Arcana supplement "I, Tyrant" on pages 59-62 can be used to illustrate Kargash.
15 Yarthmont 1001 AC; about an hour after sunrise; Glantri Great School of Magic, Museum of Monsterology, Anatomy/Examination room.
Master Bhes finally collapses due to the mental strain of the Deep Divination19. The illusionary effect slowly fades away. Master Vander Klil, and the Masters Lest rise up from their seats.
“This gave much more information than we ever expected.”
“Indeed, we must undewstand that a beholdew is not alike evewy beholdew”.
“Yes, each breed surely has its differences. The question is however; if all these breeds have come to be from a handful of beholders in the Blackmoor era; will they develop into more breeds, or was the original diversity between the initial beholders enough to spawn new breeds?”
“Do not fowget the slim chance of wenegade beholdews meeting and mating, cweating a new bweed”.
“Sure? I don’t agree. The chaotic mind seems to restrict this, especially the weird behavior of these monsters killing its own spawn when being aberrant in any minor way of the breed of their own.”
“The good thing we now know, is that the major danger is far away, on a continent not affecting us in any way.”
“As of yet Mastew Lest, ...as of yet”.
Compiling their notes, the mages regroup and bring Master Bhes to a bed to recover. The notes are stored in the Great Library, and a copy can be found in the anatomical library of the Museum of Monsterology of the Great School of Magic in Glantri.
Final note by Author
I created these locations using Dragon Magazine 139, and the various Beholder D&D books, of which TSR9521 - Monstrous Arcana - "I, Tyrant" was the most important, as I used the city of Kaggash to create Kargash.
The 72 miles hex map I used was found on Wombat's website (www.thekeep.org/~wombat/Mystar…). The website appears to be from John Walter Biles, but you'll notice that the maps are in a subdirectory called FrenchSiteMaps. Shawn Stanley remembered the site, now no longer up, which was run by Thibault Sarlat. He noticed that some of the maps in the folder have his name on them, and thus suspects that all of the maps may have been created by Thibault, not John.
I used this map (the only detailed hex map at that moment on Skothar) to be able to create a 24 mile hex map, to make the Kargash location maps as presented above. Together with the inset of the Master boxed set map, the region/location of the Kargash region is made clear.
[Map: Kargash location by Robin]
1Sir Gaston vander Klil is Master of Biology, Ecology and Geomorphology in the Great School of Magic, and is also an explorer and adventurer. He has a speech deficiency due missing teeth (w=r). His adventures can be followed https://breathofmystara.blogspot.nl/ ”.
2Sir Timonn Lest is Master of Monster Lore in the Great School of Magic working together with his brother Sir Johann Lest who is Master of Animal Lore. Both work in the Museum of Monsterology of the Great School of Magic.
3Sir Wilhelm Bhes is Master of Divinations in the Great School of Magic.
4Originally an article published here on Robin’s art blog: https://6inchnails.deviantart.com/art/beholderbreeds-on-Mystara-and-their-cities-734325158
5This depends if the Armor Value (AV) rules of the Dawn of the Emperors Boxed Set is used or not.
6All these creatures are excellently detailed in AD&D 2ed supplement “I, Tyrant”. A table for Mystara can be found here; https://6inchnails.deviantart.com/art/Beholder-Breeds-746570082
7A variant (aquatic) spectator, named in dragon 139 see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectator_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons)
8A defender is another beholder abomination created by me,...however, the statistics are not finished and will be placed on Piazza/Pandius later.
10A solitary beholder is called Ashatsi in beholder tongue
11A beholder hive is called Claskho in beholder tongue
12A city is called Bering in beholder tongue
13It was created about a decade earlier as a hive and grown into a city over time.
14As depicted in illustration on beholder cities http://it.tinypic.com/view.php?pic=au6rnd&s=9#.WwgLmUiWS9I
15Hin explorers stumbled upon the battlefield in 325BC. They succeeded to remain hidden, and recorded the battle on shells and birch bark scrolls written in Lalor. When the battle was over, they saw no survivors. They returned home with several beholder parts, and became instant heroes. These remains can be found in many Hin public buildings of Mystara. Up to today nobody knows the truth, and descendants still boast the stories. The records only dictate variants species and kills, with mutual battle tactics, and assumed ‘heroic’ attacks of the Hin. Copies are stored in the library of Shireton, The Great Library of Serraine and in the Great Library of Glantri.
16Author; the map uses Kardash instead of Kargash....this is a mistake...sorry..probably a gremlin in my PC....or it may be assumed to be the Tanagoro human translation of the beholder name. As such Kargash and Kardash are the same and used by the variant species/cultures.
17Originally appeared as an article on Robin’s art blog https://6inchnails.deviantart.com/art/Skothar-Kargash-beholder-city-734325625
19A Deep Divination is the Diviners version of a Lore spell. Often cast together with a basic visual and auditory illusion to enable others learning from the spell (like a holographic movie with sound). Unlike Lore the spell is not an instant knowledge tool, but acts slow; the caster’s combined intelligence, wisdom and constitution is the amount of Turns the spell will be active at best. The duration of this spell depends on how deep is delved; 1 Turn base, each 1 year=+1 Turns, each 10 year=+2 Turns, each 100 Years=+3 Turns, opposed alignment (L vs C, or E vs G=+3 T/opposition, for each 500 miles distance=+1 Turn, +1d10 for variant sources of resistance; Protection, Mental controlled, Immortal Influence, etc.). Like an Analyze weakens the caster temporarily, a Lore (or Deep Divination) will do the same (Con-8). A long sleep (8 hours +2 Turns per passed Turn) will cause the caster to revive completely. During the spell the caster is in full meditation and can’t be disturbed. If an active and resisting sentience is within the divined source, or the caster is disturbed in any other way, he or she may be in need of breaking off the spell, suffer the same weakness as normally at the end of the spell, but must succeed an intelligence check at -5 or become subject to temporary insanity (which cures naturally at a chance of 25% each month, or by use of a Cure Insanity spell (Cleric/Healer class).