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The Thoth-Ath Gnolls

by Aaron Nowack

Location: Thonia and the Steppes of Jen, Skothar

Area: Indeterminate

Population: approx. 200,000 (in various tribal groups)

Languages: Thoth-Ath (a bastardised form of Nithian), Thonian, Jennite, Alphatian

Coinage: mainly barter, occasional use of Thonian or Alphatian coins

Government Type: Many tribes each ruled by a Phar (Thoth-Ath bastardisation of Pharaoh) advised by a council of tribal elders who choose the new Phar after the old one's death. On special occasions such as a great threat or opportunity, a council of all the Phars is held to elect a Sa'Phar, who rules over the all the tribes.

Description: Coexisting with the Jennites in the north-western portions of the Steppes of Jen, the nomadic Thoth-Ath are the only known gnollish group outside of Brun. They are more intelligent and larger than their western brethren, and speak a language apparently related somehow to Thothian. They are nomadic raiders, and have adopted several cultural elements from the Jennites. The Thoth-Ath often raid into Esterhold and Thonia, and indeed around the year 0 AC they launched, along with the Jennites, a massive invasion into Esterhold which succeeded in temporarily driving most of the Alphatian presence out of Skothar. When the Alphatians returned, they drove both the Thoth-Ath and the Jennites out of the area once more.

The Thoth-Ath mainly worship Hort (Ixion) and Rather (Rathanos). A few tribes worship Ranith (Ranivorus) but they have been expelled from the Thoth-Ath community. The shamans hold great power in every tribe, and a decision made without their blessing is seen as a bad omen, and is often enough for a Phar to be deposed. The head shaman of the tribe also presides over the council when the time comes to choose a new Phar.

Important Figures: None. There are no Phars even close to becoming Sa'Phar at the moment.

Flora and Fauna: The Thoth-Ath are famed for their horses, at least among the region. They are larger and stronger than the steeds used by the Jennites, though they are also more wild. Several Jennite heroes are said to have ridden a Thoth-Ath steed.

Notable Sites: The Black Pyramid. Located just outside the borders of Thonia, this is a pyramid of the Thothian style, made entirely out of obsidian, though it is relatively small. It is the most sacred site to the Thoth-Ath, and the tribes encamp around it when a Sa'Phar is chosen.

History: The Thoth-Ath are descended from a group of Nithian gnolls. The Alphatians stole them from the Nithians and dropped them on Skothar for further study. Then, Nithia was destroyed. The Spell of Oblivion caused the Alphatians to forget about the gnolls they had stolen. Interestingly, the Spell of Oblivion did not fully take effect on the Thoth-Ath's ancestors, perhaps due to their extreme distance from Nithia. However, it was causing them to slowly lose their past.

Realising this, the shamans built the Black Pyramid, which contained the entirety of the Thoth-Ath's history. Deciding that they knew nothing dangerous, Rathanos infused the pyramid with some of his energy, turning it into an artifact which made the Thoth-Ath immune to the Spell of Oblivion. Though their stories and legends are still vague, and the shamans do not let any not one of them into the Pyramid to read the writings inside, the Thoth-Ath are one of the best sources available in the outer world for information on Nithia, or they would be if anyone asked them.

However, unknown to Rathanos or the Thoth-Ath, the Black Pyramid rests on the exact same spot where, many millennia ago, the Carnifex raised a hideous shrine to the Outer Beings. Indeed, some of the materials used in constructing the Pyramid were the long buried ruins of that blasphemous structure. The Thoth-Ath's unknowing veneration of the Pyramid has awakened some of the dark powers to whom the ancient temple was dedicated. Though they are not yet able to influence the Multiverse to any great degree, they have been able to subtly twist the Pyramid's contents, slowly corrupting the histories with dark magics and knowledge, including some of the same information that lead to Nithia's downfall.

This makes the Pyramid the only place on Mystara where that extremely dangerous knowledge is preserved.