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Taymora Land of the Deadby Giampaolo Agosta from Threshold Magazine issue 12
Land of the Dead
by Giampaolo Agosta (Agathokles), history revised and expanded by Giulio Caroletti (Captain Iulius Sergius Scaevola)
In this article, we will explore the “Land of the Dead”, as the Nithians called it, the vast region on the southern edge of Known World which was inhabited by the Taymoran people. Never a unified nation, but rather a shaky coalition of city-states, Taymora nevertheless managed to reach greatness by combining superior technology (for its time) and powerful magics, as well as the guidance of a powerful Immortal, Nyx.
This article describes Taymora on the verge of its disastrous fall, around two millennia before the crowning of the first Emperor of Thyatis, and three millennia before the present time.
Timeline of the Taymoran Age
The Great Rain of Fire
3'000 BC: Skandaharians from Norwold migrate towards the areas of nowadays Known World. They are the ancestors of a number of ethnic groups, the most famous among which are the Antalians. Scholars and linguists have grouped them in three related linguistic groups, that have been called with similar names to emphasize their close relationship and ease further studying. However, there is no proof that one or more Thantalian, Trantalian or Nantalian tribes ever called themselves in this way.
2'800 BC: After the Great Rain of Fire, the surviving Thonians on southern Brun start rebuilding their civilisation, though most of their technological lore is lost. For the next three centuries, they remain isolated from neighbouring cultures. Many of the people still suffer from destructive forces unleashed by Blackmoor, forces which cause them to slowly rot and die.
The Thantalians occupy the Northern Reaches.
Rise of Taymora
2'500 BC: Survivors of the Thonian colonies resurface as the Taymorans, a people with bronze age technology among stone age Azcans, Maharians1 and Skandaharian descended tribes.
Taymoran humans establish bronze age kingdoms in modern southern Darokin, Five Shires, Undersea, eastern Ierendi, and western islands of Minrothad. Most of the eastern Maharian tribes are conquered and assimilated by the Taymorans. There are few exceptions, including the Makai (who remain as aboriginal people in what is now western Ierendi) and those who flee south (eventually to become Varellyans).
Taymorans have good metalworking techniques and rich mines of copper and other metals useable for the production of bronze. Probably, they also have rich gold mines.
The knowledge of metalworking and other technological and social advancements were preserved during the Great Rain of Fire age by a cadre of Nosferatu followers of Nyx, who allow the Taymoran priesthood of Nyx - who is considered a mother goddess and a protector against the dangers of “light” by the earliest Taymorans - to access this knowledge and establish a power base for themselves.
Dunharians and Skandaharians of the Nithian areas are at very early bronze age technology, or perhaps at aeneolithic technology--they have copper and perhaps silver, but no other easily accessed metals.
2'400 BC: The Taymorans use their magic and knowledge of metallurgy to establish a number of trade routes to the west (with Azcans and the ancestors of Huleans) and north (to the newly created Antalian holdings in Heldann).
The Antalian culture is now at a Bronze Age stage in Norwold, thanks to its contacts with the Taymorans through the Streel trade route.
Age of the Necromancer Kings
2'350 BC: Taymoran leaders, who are by now mostly priests of Nyx and necromantic wizards, start joining the ranks of the undead, under the tutelage of the original Nosferatu.
2'300 BC: Dunharians fleeing the Skandaharians reach the Isle of Dawn. These become the Dunael2.
One of the main clans of Skandaharians, known as the Nantalians, follow the Dunharian tribes to the Isle of Dawn.
2'250 BC: The Sheyallia elves reach Taymora. The local Necromancer Kings offer them the lands to the east of their nation, provided that they help opening new trade routes. Elven mercenary companies, armed with Taymoran bronze weaponry, invade the giant-held forests and mountains. They open up the trade routes to nowadays Ylaruam.
The Golden Age of Taymor
Base Map of Taymora
2'200 BC: Height of the Taymoran power. Taymoran city-states dot the southern coast.
Giantish clans (Fomorians) brought to submission by the joined Taymoran - Sheyallia operations are employed to build megalithic fortresses in Taymora. Silver starts flooding the caches of the 3Taymoran necromancer kings.
Some northern Nosferatu leaders send missions to Hule and beyond, in an attempt to expand their territory.
Meanwhile, southern kings send naval expeditions east, to the Isle of Dawn. They attempt to establish colonies, but they are repelled by hostile giants, elves, and Dunael (a human race of Dunharian ethnicity).
The Dunharians and Skandaharians of Ylaruam and Thyatis have become a new ethnic group, known as Trantalians.
The elven migrations reach Glantri. The Verdier, Meditor, and Vyalia clans (from the Sheyallia nation) settle the forests to the east of Taymora as vassals to various eastern Taymoran kings.
The Nantalian tribes are losing ground to the Dunael. Desperate, they ally themselves with the local Oltec cities, who are in trouble as well. They form a new population, known as Nithians.
2'100 BC: Various necromancer kings develop special servant races, like the Albarendi and the lycanthropes (they follow one of the beliefs of their patroness, Nyx, who likes creating new races, especially ones accustomed to a night-based activity cycle).
Albarendi were common Taymoran humans bred as albinos by the kings4, who desired servants with nocturnal habits to honor their patroness. They ended up ostracised by their own people in fear of their link with the undead masters.
Lycanthropes are created by some of the most cruel necromancer kings, desperate to keep their minions subjugated. They devise a magical disease which would impart more bestial aspects onto its victims. This is the Mythic Lycanthropy5.
As a response to the creation of lycanthropes, other necromancer kings enlist tribes of primitive lupins, and use magics to enhance their abilities to fight the new threat, giving origin to the Taymoran Hound and Taymoran Hairless breeds6.
The region now known as Ylaruam is a verdant grassland. Southern areas are in control of the Taymoran Empire. Northern areas are settled by Trantalian and Thantalian clans (Neathar tribes related to the Antalians).
The Rise of Nithia and the Thanatos Heresy
2'000 BC: Trantalians, Thantalians and Oltec barbarians cut the trade routes to Antalian lands.
The northern Taymoran kings use Malpheggi and Azcan mercenaries in an attempt to reopen the Streel river route, with mixed success.
A number of kings try to increase their power by shifting their allegiance from Nyx to Thanatos. The effects are devastating, as the war between followers of the two entropic immortal rages for years. Taymora is politically weakened, and attempts by various kings to expand their holdings in Nithia and on the Isle of Dawn are rebuffed.
Some geological instabilities destroy some peripheral areas of Taymora, sinking some areas and creating new islands and land masses. Most Taymoran cities survive, and the kings foolishly continue their wars.
Thantalian and Trantalian tribes begin their rise, having reached bronze age technology.
The Nithians flee from the Isle of Dawn to modernYlaruam, under the guidance of the priesthood of Nephthisi.
1'900 BC: The priesthood of Nephthisi guides Nithia to success against the northern threat. A series of conflicts halts the Antalian and Thantalian expansion in the Northern Reaches. Likewise, the Nithians repel Trantalians to the west. Silver mines in the Northern Reaches are exploited. The silver is traded to Taymora, where it pays for the Taymoran bronze. Like modern Ierendi, Taymora has no silver mines, so silver is quite valuable there.
1'850 BC: In Nithia, the militant Priesthood of Rathanos oust the priestesses of Nephthisi from their monopoly of silver trade, as the latter Immortal starts losing interest in the Nithians. Aware of the strife going on in Taymora, the Priests of Rathanos extend the mining techniques of the Nithians beyond silver mining.
The remnants of the Taymoran culture becomes known as the Land of the Dead, or the Land of the Night, among the Nithians. This is due to its western position, to the persisting geological dangers that ravage those doomed areas that still haven't sunk, but also to its undead ruling caste. Taymora is known to the pharaohs as a coalition of many nations - this considers both the Temran (Taymoran) city-states and the vassal or allied nations of elves (Shelash), fomorians (Poymeren), lizard-men (Malepeq), Azcans (Ashkan), and later the Lukka (lycanthropes) and Alpared (Albarendi humans).
The Cataclysm and the Fall of Taymora
Comparison Map Showing AC 1000 Shorelines
1'750 BC: After many years of war between those who had remained loyal to Nyx and those who had turned to the ways of Thanatos (a battle between nosferatu and vampires), the core of the Taymoran Empire sinks beneath the waves. Geological disasters -- volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, enhanced by the massive magical energies invoked by the warring sorcerers -- sink most of the remaining Taymoran lands into the sea, and splinter off much of the rest south of the modern day Five Shires and the Atruaghin Clans.
This cataclysm marks the end of the Taymoran culture.
The plateau under which the surviving Azcans have been living largely collapses, killing many of them and leaving the survivors in a shattered, hostile land.
1'740 BC: A wave of fleeing Taymorans hits various locations in the east. The armies that are invading Nithia are routed thanks to the priests of Rathanos, who use fire magic to counter the undead units. Mythic Lycanthropy spreads throughout the Nithian population.
Nithian priests begin to alter the disease, trying to lessen and remove its worst effects. Over several decades they are successful in this endeavour, creating Ancient Lycanthropy7.
Fomorian and Taymoran fleets also reach the Isle of Dawn, where they manage to take hold of the western region.
Other Taymoran remnants are found in southern Darokin (Tuma), the Hulean region, Sind (lycanthropes), Ierendi (the Albarendi), Vyalia, and Minrothad. A few Albarendi clans also reach the forested Doulakki lands (these will be among the ancestors of the Cynidiceans).
1'720 BC: Land masses split further away, forming ten islands south of the Five Shires.
1'700 BC: Cataclysms split land masses and ocean floods create islands; Meditor elves are left on the new-made Isles of Dread.
The Albarendi have established modest communities on the western islands formed from the destruction of Taymora. They have occasional trade relations with the lizard men, but no formal government beyond village elders. Because the islands' two species, reptilian and human, are active at different times - one by day and the other by night -the Malpheggi and Albarendi cultures seldom come into conflict.
Having lost their mines, and the sources of their bronze, the Taymoran remnants turn to iron for their works. The Taymoran smiths captured by the Nithian pharaoh bring to Nithia the knowledge needed to push the nation towards the Iron Age, thanks to the rich iron mines of the Alasiyan highlands and the high-temperature fires provided by the priests of Rathanos.
1'600 BC: The Taymorans of the Isle of Dawn move further north, until they settle down founding the new culture of the Aseni. These are the ancestors of the Alaysians.
1'500 - 1'000 BC: Nithia conquers all of the Thantalian and Trantalian tribes of nowadays Ylaruam, and parts of the Isle of Dawn. Many tribes leave for the west and the south to search for freedom, others are sent (often forcibly) as colonizing parties with Nithian leadership or endorsement: these are the ancestors of Doulakki and Traldar (Trantalian-descended populations), and of Hesperians8 (Thantalian descended populations). The ancestors of Thyatians, Kerendans and Hattians are Thantalian and Antalian tribes from the Northern Reaches and Heldann, brought to the southern continent in one of these colonizing schemes.
Taymor, Land of the Dead
Government: City-States ruled by Necromancer Kings
Population: circa 1.600.000
The Taymorans are a dark and curly haired people with tanned complexion and dark eyes. The nobles are usually much paler, which is not surprising, since during the height of Taymora the upper strata of aristocracy were made up entirely of nosferatu, the chosen of Tanyt, the Night Mother.
The average Taymoran lives in the countryside hamlets and dresses with a linen or cotton tunic and little else. Clan chiefs wear a conical skull cap, and a wide sheepskin cloak. They also wear bandoleers with a single large knife sheathed across the chest, and carry a staff as a symbol of their status.
Priestesses are more common than male priests at clan level. They dress in long tunics, high pointed hats, and braid their hair into two tresses.
Beyond clan chiefs and priests, the other upper class is that of bronzesmiths. Beyond the economic relevance of this activity, the master metalsmiths are skilled in both combat and enchantment magic, allowing them to forge themselves blades of strong magic.
Merchants, warriors, miners, and craftsmen make up the middle class, while farmers are the lower class. Slaves are common only in citadels and towns, and then only among the nosferatu nobility, though owning a few slaves is a mark of especially high rank among the human nobles.
In addition to the Taymorans, other ethnic groups appear frequently in the Taymoran lands, either as slaves or mercenaries. There are the lizard men, lupins and Azcan men from the west, the elven mercenaries from the Sheyallia Borderlands to the east, the fomorian giants, builders of great citadels, that came from the Altan Tepes, and the races created by the necromancer kings' powerful magics: the albino humans known as Albarendi among the elves, and the shapeshifting warriors in the armies of the necromancer kings of Inner Taymora, the werewolves.
The Land: City-States of Taymora
Tamoraz (pop. 12000; 3% elves, 5% Taymoran Hound lupins)
Colhador (pop. 10000; 15% Albarendi)
Hushu (pop. 8000; 10% Taymoran Hairless lupins, 5% Albarendi)
Barumini (pop. 9000; 5% elves, 1% giants)
Sulqi (pop. 7000; 5% elves, 2% Taymoran Hound lupins)
Bythia (pop. 8500; 20% Albarendi)
Tzur (pop. 6750; 4% lycanthropes, 5% Albarendi)
Sarroch (pop. 8500; 10% lizardmen, 5% Taymoran Hairless lupins)
Tuma (pop. 5600; 5% Taymoran Hound lupins, 5% Taymoran Hairless lupins)
Tarshiz (pop. 10000; 5% elves, 2% lycanthropes)
The Taymoran society is, at its lowest level, based on small clans or extended families living in small hamlets. Each clan averages at twenty members. These villages dot the countryside, and cluster around a single tower for protection and trade. They are composed of circular huts with thatched roofs.
The whole Taymoran territory is covered by some ten thousand conical towers, which overlook trade routes, rivers, mines and coasts. They provide a relay network which allows information to flow fast from villages to the main cities, and among the city-states themselves. A tower is usually surrounded by an extended village of some fifty people. It houses a small clan nobility, basically the clan chief and a priest or priestess of some kind.
Larger “castles” are built by connecting four towers through stone walls, filling the resulting courtyard with earth, and building another tower on top. Each citadel is the personal domain of one of the nosferatu nobles during the height of Taymora. Within the citadel, and in dungeons dug under it, live the master of the castle, its second-in-command, who is usually a nosferatu bride or another kind of undead, and a small herd of slaves (around twenty), who make up a blood reserve for the nosferatu rulers. The lower towers house bronzeworking workshops, armouries, shrines, and a small military.
The domain of a nosferatu master covers his citadel, including a larger village of some two hundred people, three to five minor towers, and eight to twelve hamlets.
There are circa one hundred city-states, ten of which are major settlements of at least five thousands, while the others average at about one thousand inhabitants. Each city-state controls directly a large number of towers and hamlets, adding a rural population of two thousands. Moreover, the nosferatu kings hold the masters of minor citadels as vassals -- they are often vampiric slaves as well, thus boosting a kingdom's population to fifteen to twenty thousands, perhaps more for the largest city-states.
The major cities were Tamoraz, Colhador and Hushu in the Taymoran Heartlands, Barumini and Sulqi in Inner Taymora, Bythia and Tzur on the Western Coast, Sarroch in the Western Borderlands, and Tuma and Tarshiz in the Northern Borderlands.
The Taymorans were originally ruled by clan chiefs, advised by the priestesses of Tanyt, the mother goddess, and the bronzesmiths. As they evolved towards civilisation, cities were found, and the clan chiefs became kings. They began dabbling in magic, both priestly and wizardly, and by the time Taymora reached its height they were all led by Tanyt to the Eternal Life. Each ruler became one of undying kings - not only the kings of the city-states, but also the rulers of the minor citadels.
Each king or citadel master usually keeps a single vampiric slave: letting too many of them around would make the competition for food too hard, and the politicking for power too dangerous. Even so, there were more than four thousand nosferatu in Taymora, during its maximum expansion.
The kings are advised by a large clergy, which worships Tanyt as well as other gods, Melq-Ashtir, Qorun, Sethlanis, and even Sarrattalu, the death god, ruler of a dark, much feared afterlife. Human nobles are charged with the routine duties of ruling, leaving the nosferatu nobles' time free for their political and economical schemes.
The master bronzesmiths compose the third part of the upper class. They are more independent than the priests or nobles from the political power, but they are the key of the economical power, since they hold the secrets of creating metal weapons and tools. Moreover, bronze tools and weapons need frequent maintenance, so even minor bronzeworkers are much wanted.
Night Mother, Creation
Death, the Otherworld
Trade, Sailors, War
The Sea, Rulership
Elves, Women, Forests
The Taymoran religion is a primarily matriarchal polytheism, with Tanyt as the head of the pantheon. Other gods play different roles depending on the individual cities -- a mercantile town may favor Melq-Ashtir while a city where the bronzesmith caste is more influential may prefer Sethlanis.
However, the major temples of the Taymoran pantheon are large complexes built far from the major cities. Generally, they control major sea trade routes or large mines of lead or gold.
The Great Sanctuary of Qorun and the Temple of Melq-Ashtir are visible from afar in the sea, marking the beginning and the end of the Western Taymoran Coast, while the House of Sethlanis is built near a volcano in the Gulf of Tzur. The Shrine of Urtni is the only major temple outside Taymora proper, as it was built by the Southern Sheyallia elves north of their capital, Nan-in-Edhil.
There are no single major temples to Tanyt and Sarrattalu, leading to wild speculations on secret, well hidden temples in the underground of the Heartlands.
CAL9 Any N; WAL10 Any; HS11 A miniature of a woman.
Tanyt is the primary Immortal in the Taymoran pantheon. She is the creator of life, and the patroness of Night, who saved the Taymorans from the Longest Day, when fire rained from the sky.
She is strongest in winter, and her most holy celebrations are held during the longest night of the year and at the autumn equinox. She is also the main patron of the ruling caste.
Tanyt is represented as a pale, beautiful woman with long tresses, either naked or wearing an ankle-long tunic and a large necklace.
CAL Any E; WAL Any; HS Eclipsed sun.
This immortal is the personification of Death in the Taymoran religion.
His name means literally King of Darkness, and he is perceived as the ruler of the Otherworld. The commoners of the Taymoran city-states worship this evil god in an attempt to escape his wrath, and postpone the day of their demise. Only the nosferatu nobles do not worship Sarrattalu, for they have been blessed by the Night Mother with the Water-of-Life, the blood which supports their eternal unlife.
Sarrattalu is never represented. His temples hold a giant-sized empty throne of black volcanic rock.
CAL N or NG; WAL Any; HS An ingot in form of a stretched animal skin.
An aggressive, expansionist immortal, Melq-Ashtir is patron of trade and travellers, as well as a patron of warfare and conquest. He is worshipped by all castes, but especially by the upper-middle class, merchants, weaponsmiths, and warriors.
Temples of Melq-Ashtir serve as business centres, and offer arbitration, measurement, storage, and primitive banking services.
Melq-Ashtir is portrayed as a well-muscled, handsome man in his thirties, wearing only an animal skin wrapped around his hips.
CAL N or LN; WAL Any; HS A man's head covered by a feather headdress.
The Taymor Father, Qorun is the mythical progenitor of the Taymoran gods. He is represented as a middle age, bearded man wearing a crown with a conical feather headdress inside and a long tunic.
An immortal patron of rulership, he is revered mostly by the noble class, including the nosferatu rulers, who see him as the first of the undying kings. Also the merchants worship Qorun, in his role of god of the sea.
CAL N or NG; WAL Any non-E; HS A tree with a short trunk and many branches.
This immortal is a patroness of the Shelash, the Sheyallia elves who have obtained from the undying king of Tamoraz the right to live in the Eastern Borderlands. She is a nature goddess, but represents a solemn, ritualistic, rather than wild or untamed, aspect of nature.
Urtni is revered primarily by the elves, but also by many villagers. Due to the alliance between Tamoraz and the Sheyallia, Urtni is also revered by this city and its vassals, but not much in the other city-states.
Urtni is represented as a green-skinned woman, with long, brown, branch-like hair.
CAL LN; WAL Any; HS A forge, or a volcano, or any red-hot metal.
Sethlanis is the immortal patron of metalsmithing and the bronzesmith caste. It is not known how Tanyt convinced him to teach the Taymorans his secret techniques, but it is certain that he does not like them very much. The Taymorans try and appease him with many donations and sacrifices, but his volcanoes are always ready to unleash their deadly fluids over the miners. This ambivalence makes the entire bronzesmith caste (and the related professions of miners and smelters) feared rather than loved, in spite of their critical role in the Taymoran society.
Sethlanis is a patron of the fomorian giants, and is represented as a muscle-bound giant with many tentacles instead of the lower legs, each tentacle ending in a fire-breathing snake head.
Fomorians: The Southern Giant-Kingdom
Government: Giant kingdom
Population: 8300 giants, various types
Standing Army: 221 giants, various types
Traditional social class
Hunters & raiders
Philosophers, rulers, builders
Farmers, shepherds, craftsmen
During the Taymoran Age, a major giantish nation controlled the Altan Tepes mountains. These giants came from the north before the Taymoran people reached the Bronze Age, fleeing from stronger, rival clans in their homeland.
The Fomorians were a mix of various giant and giant-kin races, including the cyclopskin, stone and hill giants, a large number of the lesser veerbeg giants, and even a few frost giants, who retreated to the highest peaks, where they still live.
The giants of the Land of the Fomorians were not crude nor lacked intelligence like their modern brethren. This was an effect of the Taymoran struggle between followers of Nyx and Thanatos.
The Taymoran nations initially battled the Fomorians and traded with them as well. Neither nation was able to get the upper hand in battle, as the giants were strong but few in numbers, and the Taymorans were powerful sorcerers and priests, but no city-state wanted to risk a full-scale war with the giants, which would have exposed them to attacks from their rivals.
Around 2250 BC, a large elven migration reached Taymora. There were four clans, all belonging to the Sheyallia elves, the Vyalia, Veirdyr, Virylf, and Velegyl. The elves were tired of travelling, and wanted nothing more than a forested land where they could settle. The Taymoran necromancer-kings of Barumini, Sulqi and Tarshiz saw this, and decided that the elves could provide them with the strength needed to solve the Fomorian problem. They offered a large slice of wild lands that laid east of Sulqi to the elven chiefs, in exchange for their service as mercenaries.
The elves proved good fighters, and pushed the Fomorians back to their mountains, even reaching the city of Zargash. When Zargash fell, the stone giant leaders sued for peace, and signed a treaty of alliance with the northern Taymoran states.
In the following centuries, giant workers and engineers helped fortify the major Taymoran city-states, building structures that would survive through the ages, resisting even to the cataclysm that destroyed the Taymoran culture.
When the civil war between followers of Thanatos and loyalists of Nyx flared, several hill giant clans were corrupted by envoys of Thanatos, and attacked the other races. The lesser giants were nearly destroyed, and the giant civilisation was shattered. The stone giants and the elves forced the hill giants out of the land, but at an high cost.
Many giants died in the floods while they were fighting the armies of Thanatos in Taymora, and others were killed or enslaved by the Nithians. Others yet migrated to the Isle of Dawn, were they clashed with the local Firbolg.
Nowadays12, only frost giants remain in the land, while a few stone giants and several clans of hill giants live in the Cruth Mountains, and some cyclopes are scattered in the eastern Altan Tepes. Veerbeg are likely extinct, at least in the Known World.
The Land: Cities of the giants
Tursh (pop.: 1200, mostly stone and lesser giants), Capitol
Zargash (pop.: 1000, mostly hill and lesser giants)
The major towns of the Land are Tursh, a massively fortified citadel near what now is the Castellan Keep in Karameikos, and Zargash, a rough hill giant town near the Sheyallia border.
Tursh is the siege of the stone giant philosopher-kings, a centre of great learning in architecture, engineering and geology. It is called the City of Towers by the Nithians. It houses the embassies of several Taymoran city-states, including that of the king of Barumini, whose ambassador is also a powerful nosferatu priest of Tanyt.
Zargash is a battered town composed of wooden buildings. It faced the assault of elven mercenary companies during the Taymoran war, and most of the original stone buildings were destroyed and never rebuilt. The stone giants have all but abandoned the city right after the war, leaving the hill giants to rebuild it with their comparatively poor skills. The elves helped in the rebuilding, and established an embassy and a temple to Urtni. The local hill giants grew resentful of the elven interference in the later years, leading them right into the arms of Thanatos' envoys.
Religion: The Fomorian pantheon
Sethlans (LN, Patron of law, the mountains, metals and ores)
Tanyt (N, Patroness of Taymora and the night)
Urtni (NG, Patroness of the elves and nature)
De (NG, Patroness of the forested lands)
Terra (LN, Patroness of the stone giants)
Cadjalis (NG, Patron of the craftsmen)
Sethlans is the major patron of the giants. While he is revered in Taymora as well (under the slightly altered name of Sethlanis), he does not love the Taymorans and their entropic powers. During the Taymoran Age, this Immortal suffered a major setback, as his giant followers were all but destroyed, and his image was later considered by the Nithians as one of their fiendish enemies, under the name of Seth. There he was seen as a power of destruction and evil, since in the end he was the patron of those same volcanoes that destroyed the Taymoran civilisation.
Two foreign Immortals are acknowledged by the Fomorians, Tanyt, the Taymoran immortal, and Urtni, patroness of the elves. Neither is especially loved, but the building of temples to these goddesses was included in the peace treaty between the Land of the Fomorians and their elven and Taymoran enemies.
Other Immortals were worshipped by the giants, especially those of the Sphere of Earth like Djaea (De), Terra and Kagyar (Cadjalis), but this worship was mostly limited to stone giant philosophers and priests.
Shelash: the eastern elves
During the XXIII century BC, the Sheyallia elves (known as “Shelash” in Nithian and Taymoran inscriptions) migrated across the western mountains. These long-lived, nomads had only access to primitive technology. However, most of them were able to wield arcane or, more rarely, divine magic. This made them interesting for the Taymoran necromancer-kings, who began hiring them as mercenaries in their wars against the Fomorians of the northern mountains. Armed with Taymoran bronze weapons and, surprisingly for the Taymorans, who had never seen armored magicians, bronze armor, companies of Sheyallia mercenary troops streamed towards the northeastern battlefields, turning what had become a war of attrition into a full scale invasion. The giant kings were forced to retreat to the highest mountains, where magic could not offset the advantage of size, and the necromancer-kings claimed the lower lands, enslaving several giantish clans.
In a clever political maneuver, the undying king of Tamoraz offered the Eastern Borderlands, a forested wilderness to the east of Taymor, to the Sheyallia. Most of the clans accepted, although some settled within Taymor itself, continuing their tradition of mercenary service to the Taymoran aristocracy13.
The Sheyallia are generally of medium built and height for elves, are generally pale, with green or hazel eyes and blond to brown hair. Southern clans tend towards more tanned complexion and darker shades of hair and eyes, while among northern Sheyallia silver hair and deep green eyes are more common.
The elves dress in practical robes in tones of green and brown. Those who can afford it carry bronze weapons, usually spears and short swords. The use of bows is also very common, as the Sheyallia were originally nomadic hunters.
Contrary to later elves, the Sheyallia of the Taymoran age are in general quite friendly towards humans, especially the more advanced nations. They developed an enmity towards giants during the northern wars.
The Land: Sheyallia Borderlands
Nan-in-Edhil (pop.: 6500), Capital
Lorellin (pop.: 4000)
Sad-e-Wyanna (pop.: 3500)
Virylion (pop.: 700)
The Sheyallia settled a long stripe of land running east of Taymor, from the Altan Tepes mountains to the sea, where Alfeisle is now. The region was heavily forested in the Taymoran age, although in modern days only the Dymrak Forest and Alfeisle remain of it.
The Sheyallia Borderlands were divided into four provinces, or Lawr. From north to south, Vyalia-Lawr, Velegyl-Lawr, Veirdyr-Lawr and Virylf-Lawr. The capital city, Nan-in-Edhil, was built in the southernmost province on the estuary of the Laegiol river, which ran across the entire Borderlands. Lorellin and Sad-e-Wyanna were the regional capitals of Vyalia-Lawr and Velegyl-Lawr. Veirdyr-Lawr was a more rural province, but included the Shrine of Urtni, the major religious center of the Sheyallia. The provincial capital was the village of Virylion.
Politically, the Sheyallia adopted a government not unlike that of modern Alfheim, with a nominal king acting mostly as a figurehead, and a council of clan heads holding the actual power. The Sheyallia Borderlands, however, were a client state of Taymor. Individual Sheyallia clans held allegiance to specific city-states, from which they received bronze and other trade goods in return for military service. This network of allegiances colored strongly the elven politics, making the government ineffective, especially when the internal conflicts between the Taymoran city-states led to fractures among the clan heads.
Ordana/Urtni (NG, Patroness of the elves and nature)
Ilsundal/Usil (LN, Patron of law and the sun)
Calitha/Cel (NG, Patron of the sea and the Aquarendi)
Tanyt (N, Patroness of Taymora and the night)
The Sheyallia primarily worship Ordana, known as Urtni among the Taymorans. Northern Sheyallia also worship Ilsundal, known as Usil by the Taymorans, and coastal elves, influenced by the Aquarendi, begin accepting the worship of Calitha Starbrow (Cel in Taymora). At least a formal recognition of Tanyt is also common among the mercenary elves that serve in Taymora.
The elven religion typically revolves around the clan relic, a living artefact provided by the patron Immortal.
Lukka: The beastmen of Taymor
During the XXII century BC, several Taymoran necromancer kings concentrated their research efforts into the creation of new races that would fit the roles of soldiers in their armies and servants in their palace. In doing so, they followed the will of Nyx, their patroness, an Immortal creator of new nocturnal races.
The greatest accomplishment in the first field was certainly obtained through the creation of the dread disease, lycanthropy. According to the most recent sources14, these first lycanthropes were mostly stuck in a hybrid animal-human form, and were created to match the animal species that the nosferatu could summon and control.
The first, and most successful, lycanthropes were therefore the werewolves, powerful warriors who would end up in the shock troop companies. Wererats and werebats followed shortly, but they were not as successful as their more powerful cousins. Werebats were employed as scouts and raiders, and wererats as underground shock troops or as scouts in the swamplands in western Taymora.
Mortality rates were exceedingly high, both for the violent occupations of most lycanthropes and, more importantly, for the debilitating effects of the disease itself. A few more phenotypes were later devised by nosferatu and vampire kings endowed with the ability to conjure different species of animals, and a few even appeared from random mutations.
When the end of Taymora grew near, the Lukka, the lycanthropic people, formed a major part of the Taymoran armies in the cities of Tarshiz, in the Northern Taymoran Frontier forested lands, and Tzur. Massive use of Lukka troops was indeed the cause of Tarshiz' success as one of the few borderland city-states to become a powerful force in the political scene of Taymora.
The necromancer king of Tzur, on the other hand, devoted much effort to the creation of wererats, which he employed for warfare in the swamps in order to wrestle control of the river trade from his rivals, the kings of Amarshish and Darqis.
A number of the most resilient individuals had been able to survive longer than the few months most would live as beast-men. These lycanthropes started resenting their vampiric masters, and formed a secret society devoted to overthrowing them. A previously unknown Immortal manifested to them, calling himself Lykaion15, and offered them help against their masters for their worship.
These statistics are thought for an AD&D 2nd edition game, but are easily adapted to OD&D.
A Taymoran lycanthrope has usually a single, hybrid form. It gains the HD, AC, immunities and any bite attack of the standard lycanthrope, plus it retains the ability to use simple weapons (maces, clubs, daggers, and axes). All others statistics remain as the standard form, but the character receives a bonus to Strength and Dexterity as do lycanthropes of his phenotype in "Beast at Heart"16, and has the same dietary requirements.
In general, Lukka characters (including player characters) can appear anywhere in the Taymoran lands between the XXI century and the fall of Taymora. These characters have a serious disadvantage in that they are extremely vulnerable to the necromancer kings' magic and vampiric powers.
The Legacy of Taymora
Even after the fall of the city states of Taymora and the cataclysm that nigh obliterated that land, remnants of the Taymorans and their various subjects remain. These may appear in adventures, as modern-day adventurers try to puzzle out aspects of the history of Taymora, perhaps looking for clues to the nature of artifacts or to the cults of Nyx and Thanatos.
The Taymorans themselves disappeared into obscurity. The few survivors, mostly in the Northern Fomorian Frontier, were soon conquered by Nithian exploration missions, and merged into the Traldar people. Their traditions, in particular the cult of Nyx, were preserved by the “Sons of Night17”, a mystical brotherhood which passed down knowledge of unusual magics. The nosferatu and vampire curses, of course, survived and resurfaced centuries later during the Traladaran Dark Ages. Some Taymoran vampires, the velya, survived under the waters to plague the kingdom of Undersea to this day.
The Taymoran Hound and Taymoran Hairless Lupin breeds migrated north, becoming the Cimarron Hairless of the Broken Lands and south-east, giving rise to the Ochalean breeds - the Shar-Pei, Ogrish Chow-Chow, Ochalean Hairless and Ochalean Houndling.
Mythic lycanthropy was curbed through Nithian intervention, and would in time evolve into the modern strains.
A number of Albarendi survived in the islands of the archipelago of Dread, formed by the cataclysm. The migratory waves of the Makai first, and later the Hin, Thyatians and others prevented the Albarendi from ever recovering from the cataclysm. Their culture, however, evolved into an original creation, and is still preserved in Ierendi.
The Sheyallia Elves were divided by the cataclysm. Only the Vyalia clan of Thyatis and the forest elves of Minrothad survived, although clans that were more strongly influenced by the Taymorans, and who had lived long among them, became the water elves.
The collapse of the Malpheggi lizardman civilization, already in an advanced stage by 2000 BC, was completed by the Taymoran cataclysm. The immortals had already transplanted the better part of the Malpheggi population to the Hollow World at an earlier time, so the few surviving lizardmen of any magical power went into hibernation with their followers.
The Fomorian kingdom survived, but the defeat against the Taymorans had left it broken. Few giantish clans, mostly frost giants and a few stone and hill giants, still live in the Altan Tepes and in the Cruth Mountains.
2“Dunael” is a name adopted in several works to group the Celtic-inspired peoples of the Isle of Dawn.
3See Francesco Defferrari “The Elven Clans and Their Migrations” in Threshold 10 for more details.
4See John Calvin, Albheldri Islands of the Hollow Moon in Threshold Issue 4 and Simone Neri, History of Minrothad and Ierendi in Threshold Issue 3, for further details.
5See John Calvin's "A Treatise on Lycanthropy" for further details
6See my “History of the Lupins” for further details
8See G. Caroletti, “Hesperia, Land of the Seting Sun”, on page XX.
9Alignment of the clergy.
10Alignment of the worshippers.
12At the present time, 1000 AC. See also “The Legacy of Taymora” on page XX. Note that Storm Giants mentioned in canon in Ierendi and Minrothad are related to the Sea Giants of Undersea, and not to the Fomorians.
13The northernmost clans of the Eastern Borderlands became the Vyalia, while the southernmost became the forest elves of Minrothad. The elves who settled in Taymor itself are the ancestors of the water elves.
15This is thought to be an identity of Loki. Whatever plan he might have been for his werewolf followers, it likely folded when Taymora sunk.
17See the Koskatep series by F. Defferrari starting in Threshold Issue 1, and the “In the Dread of Night” module by Ann Dupuis in Dungeon Magazine 24.