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Wyrmsteeth Gazetteer continued

by Giulio Caroletti

Geography of the Wyrmsteeth Range

The Wyrmsteeth region is dominated by the ominous mountain range, which extends north east of the Finial Range. Seen from a distance, the mountains seem to form a dragon's smile, with the lower caps as inferior teeth and higher ones as superior. The Wyrmsteeth Range occupies approximately an additional 9,000 km2 (about 3,613 square miles) not officially in the possession of the Dragon King; but dragons, many of whom have sworn allegiance to him, live here, and there are no other settlements nearby. The mountains occupy most of the region, with more than two third of the territory incapable of sustaining human settlements. The Wyrmsteeth mountains can reach heights of 5,000 meters. Their climate is harsh: winter, with heavy snows and temperatures as low as -25C, lasts from late Sviftmont to Flaurmont. Spring runs from Flaurmont to Klarmont, Summer from late Klarmont to Fyrmont, and Fall from Ambyrmont to late Sviftmont. What little agriculture exists is in the valleys between the mountains, most of which lie 300-600 meters above sea level. Thus, human cities are all built at this level.

Southwest of the Wyrmsteeth range are the Black Marshes, inhabited solely by Black Dragons, and extending for approximately 6,000 km2 (2,343 square miles). A few village border the marshes, inhabited by Norwold woodsmen who pay the dragons to have access to the woods of the region. Green dragons live on the forested slopes of the eastern territories; they have an agreement with the Great Druid of Norwold not to allow anyone to cut the trees there (they accomplish this quest with joy, thus being able to hide occasional murders as "justice"). Red dragons live in the central volcanoes. Whites can be found throughout the mountain range; though Blues are less common, preferring to live in the western foothills or in the territory north of the official Wyrmsteeth boundaries.

There are just four cities in Wyrmsteeth, comprising nearly all the humanoid inhabitants of the region:

Seel. Population 8,500 (5,000 Thyatians; 1,000 Averoignans; 1,000 Heldanners; 1,000 Vestlanders; 500 Soderfjordans; [3,500 are werewolves]). Seel was founded in 885 AC by lycanthropes. Many of the current residents of the city are werewolves, though officially most deny it. The laws of Wyrmsteeth allows them total privacy, so they enjoy a life envied by many lycanthropes in the world, in an active, hospitable (if a little rough) city. All the Thyatians living in Wyrmsteeth are settled here as well, so Seel is an ideal place for foreigners. Seel is surely the first place a homesick visitor should go; people here are the most open to foreigners in all Wyrmsteeth, so long you don't mention "lycanthropy." The local ruler of the Army is a werewolf, and will not hesitate to have the intrusive or too-curious put in jail with on a trumped-up charge, just to keep things quiet. In Seel, there is also a small arena, built in the Thyatian style. The arena is used only in the summer, for gladiator fights as well as theatre.

Th'hral. Population 3,500 (2,500 lizard men). Th'hral is one of the strangest cities of the Old World; it hosts a community of lizardmen and other lizardkin. Th'hral is seldom visited by humanoids of other Wyrmsteeth regions, and there are no temples of Pearl in the city, just a small temple dedicated to Ka. Humans are regarded with suspicion, and so non-reptilians/non-draconics are seldom found here. The lizard men sustain themselves by fishing in the subterranean lake of Th'hral; fruits and vegetables are brought to the community by merchants who come here twice a week.

Tua'than. Population 10,000 (3,500 Heldanners; 1,000 Vestlanders; 2,000 Soderfjordans; 1,000 other humans; 2,500 dwarves; [500 of the humans are werewolves]). Main city of Wyrmsteeth, Tua'than has a permanent dwarven population that lives underground in the quarter of Grag Cath. The dwarves work the mines in the service of the Dragon King; they enjoy their job and position, considering themselves the trustworthy artisans of a great King, who appreciates their work and appropriately rewards them. They have a strong militia, and a very good relationship both with Stormhaven and Rockhome. However, these dwarves are more gruff and serious than those, and are typically more closed-minded of other races, for example believing that the humans of the city are of value only because they have apprenticed under the dwarves for the last two centuries.

Tua'than is reminiscent of Northern Reaches settlements, suspicious and cold toward outsiders. Drinking and wrestling are popular pastimes. Tua'than also is home to the main barracks of the Holy Blood Sword and the Legion of Moon.

Wheine. Population 2,500 humans. This town is built on the banks of a small river, which provides good fishing to the population.

Other settlements. 1,500 dragonkin and 500 dwarves work directly for various dragons in mines or as personal guards; they have barracks or small mining villages scattered through the region. A number of humans and dwarves who work in the mines may be found there too, depending on the need of manpower.

1,500 Heldann woodcutters and wood men have small communities of 30-50 men in the woods of Wyrmsteeth. These too may be more populated if men from the cities or from Norwold are temporarily employed there.

Politics

Wyrmsteeth's politics mostly concern Norwold and its political situation. The main interest of the Dragon King is to wait for a weak moment for Ericall and his Alphatian troops, to claim northern mountains of Wyrmsteeth (which are yet unsettled by Norwold).

Internally, the dragons must keep from attacking humans living inside Wyrmsteeth (though Greens often do it anyway, so the eastern border with Norwold is less settled). Thus, they usually travel far before raiding villages or human towns - usually to Denagoth, or Norwold settlements in the northern part of the country, or around Landfall. They always work alone or in small groups, and officially Wyrmsteeth denies any involvement in such raids; many raids are officially said to come from the Wyrmsteeth region that is not part of the Kingdom, and is nominally under Ericall's control. Mors Rufus has long pondered whether it might be best not to reclaim the northern range, in order to have a scapegoat for thee raids. Due to Wyrmsteeth's heavy dwarven population, good relations must be maintained with Stormhaven; dragons never attack dwarven communities.

Relations with Oceansend are similar to those with Norwold, although the clerics of Pearl would prefer less attacks since many Oceansend families are of Thyatian and Heldann stock; so, the occasional raids here are not liked by the human population of Wyrmsteeth.

Relations with the rest of the Old World are few and far between. The help given to the Heldann refugees after the conquest of their country by the Knights of Vanya has assured Wyrmsteeth the hate of the new rulers of that country. The dragons have decided to increase their popularity by helping the Resistance in Heldann, giving political asylum to many persecuted revolutionaries and giving them economic support. This is not an "official" action, however.

Wyrmsteeth has a mutual defence treaty with Rockhome, though both countries would be loathe to ask one another for help. Both support the Canine Protection Society, so their relationships with Glantri are simply the worst possible, because of the total religious freedom in Wyrmsteeth, plus the help lycanthropes in Glantri get from their werewolf cousins of Wyrmsteeth [Editor's Note: - This situation is likely to change after Malachie du Marais is crowned Prince]. Wyrmsteethians are unwelcome in Glantri, and it is very likely that a visitor would be arrested on a false charge. In Wyrmsteeth, one is very unlikely to meet Glantrians who are not allies of the werewolves, or clerical exiles.

Wyrmsteeth is also an ally of Thyatis, and many of the dragons' raids are conduced against Alphatian ships, or even against Alphatian communities on the Isle of Dawn. Thyatians of Wyrmsteeth strongly support these raids, and are proud of being helpful to their Empire, though they live so far away.

The Army

The Wyrmsteeth Army is a very powerful one, with nearly 5,000 full time soldiers in four divisions (4 x 1,245 per divisions = 4,980); the military makes up nearly 20% of the population. In peacetime, soldiers are employed as farmers, fisher, or in other essential occupations. The army also serves as the nation's police force, fire brigade, and justice Tribunal. Apart from the regular infantry, there is also the Order of the Holy Blood Sword (see below), a strong military force. While the Wyrmsteeth Army may not e capable of fighting a large-scale war, it is strong enough to defend the country and can valiantly help any ally. It must be remembered that in case of need in Wyrmsteeth (eg, invasion), there are also 1,200 dragons, plus the militia of the dwarves.

There are four Dragon Rulers, who act as the supreme generals of the army. (In actuality, they rarely interact directly with the army.) Each army division consists of 1,245 soldiers, divided as explained below. The Dragon Rulers are independent of one other and nominally independent of the Dragon King, as well - they respect him and reluctantly admit his superiority, but have never sworn oaths of fealty. As commanders of the army they must report to the Dragon King; in this way the Dragon King has attempted to impose a sort of authority on these dragon lords. Most other dragons have sworn loyalty to one of the rulers or directly to the King, so civil war could be devastating; but this is not normally a concern. The Legions are officially loyal to their commanders; the Dragon King, without the feudal Legions, would not have an official State Army. However, he has at his orders all the Order of the Holy Blood Sword, and many soldiers would find it very difficult to obey to a Dragon Ruler against the Dragon King and vice-versa. At any rate, the relationships of the single Dragon Rulers with the King are good - it's in the interest of the King that the dragons' armies don't fail him in case of need, and it's in the generals' interest to have the powers and protections guaranteed by their role in the army, so both parties consider themselves happy and satisfied with their deal - at least for now.

There are 2 Overlords for each division. The Overlords must periodically report pertinent information from the ranks to the Dragon Ruler. (The Overlords are detailed in the NPC section.)

The Overlords of each division have at their orders 11 Captains (5 each plus one Captain under combined command.) Captains are all fighters of level 7-13, armed with plate mail, 40% two-handed sword and hand axe, 30% axe and shield, 30% sword and warhammer or axe; there is a 50% that the weapons are magical, with a combined total bonus of +(1d4+1); otherwise they have a combined bonus of 1d4-1. There is also a 20% chance that they have 1-3 other magical items of medium or lesser power.

Each Captain has at his orders 2 Lieutenants, for a total of 22 Fighters of level 4-9. They are armed with plate mail, shield, sword and hand axe or warhammer. There is a 20% (+5% per level over 4th) chance that they have magical weapons, of a total bonus of 1d4. Otherwise, they have excellent quality weapons (4th-6th level) or two +1 weapons (7th-9th).

There are 110 Sergeants (fighters of level 2-5), 10 for every Lieutenant. They are armed with banded armour, shield and long sword, warhammer or axe. The weapons are all of excellent quality.

Regular Infantry consists of 1,100 Fighters of level 1-3; every 10 respond to a Lieutenant. They are armed with weapons of good quality: chain mail, shield, short sword or hand axe.

Uniforms of the Legions

First Legion: The First Legion, at the order of Xanesh, the Neutral Dragon Lord, is dressed with scale mail of dark blue colour, covered with breast, leg, and arm plates in dark iron grey. They wear white cloaks with the symbol of a two-headed dragon, with one blue and one white head.

Second Legion: The Second Legion, at the order of Incendiarious, the daughter of the former Dragon King, are all armed with banded armour, a red cloak with a flaming volcano within a black circular symbol, red war boots, and red decorations and joints between armour pieces.

Third Legion: The Third Legion, at the order of Ipsilon, is dressed with wide dark green cloaks, small wooden bucklers, and leather armour. They have bows and crossbows and are specialists of forest guerilla tactics.

Fourth Legion: The Fourth Legion is formally at the orders of Hk'hral, but he only cares about his lizard-men city, and delegates all human army-related activities to his human Overlord, Fang. Humans of the Fourth Legion are dressed in black and green scale mail and scale-covered iron shields; they wear no cloaks. They are all trained in underwater combat in the swamps, and many small groups are sent to other nations and hotter swamps to learn to fight better in swamp climates.

Apart from normal soldiers, there are 5 personal guards for the Dragon Rulers employed and payed by the army. They are normally mercenaries of high level, and they have at their orders all other servants of the Dragon Rulers, whom they may employ to defend themselves.

Order of the Holy Blood Sword

[Clerics of Pearl/Syare, the Moon Dragon, the Moonlight Knight, the True Wyrm ]

The Holy Blood Sword is the new name adopted by the Church of Pearl in the Old World, after the founding of the Kingdom of Wyrmsteeth, in 828. The Order is devoted to the cause of dragons and of Syare-Pearl; its main political aim is to strengthen the dragons' position concerning diplomatic ties with other churches and nations. The Dragon King is the superior of the Moon General, and secular head of the Order; although he is not a cleric or a official member of the Order, the organisation depends entirely on his leadership.

The Order of the Holy Blood Sword is formed entirely of specialty Priests of pearl. There are about 600 priests in the Order currently (including about 150 Searchers, 350 Followers, 80 Sentinels and a fixed number of 20 Defenders - see below). The specialty priests are named Soldiers of the Blood Sword.

The principal temple of Pearl in Wyrmsteeth is the Temple of the Moon in Tua'than, which dominates the city from a nearby mountain top. The Temple is made of dark blue marble with decorations in mother-of-pearl. At night it shines a bluish light. Its plan resembles a dragon's mouth, with two set of "teeth" - rooms one in front of the other, separated by an irregular corridor 50 meters long, which ends in a cave access that leads underground to the Altar, where a giant statue of Pearl, made partly of real dragon bones, partly of mother-of-pearl, is located. This statue is in fact a drolem, but only the most high level clerics know this secret.

Novices of the order are known as Searchers for the Unknown Path; only when they reach 6th level are they admitted to the rituals and considered part of the Order. When they do so, they are named Followers of the Moonlight Knight. At 12th level, they become Sentinels of the Wyrm; at 20th level, they choose a dragon race to follow, and become known as Defenders. There are only 5 Defenders for each of the six chromatic dragons (Blue, Green, Red, White, Brown/Amber, and Black). To become a Defender, a 20th level Sentinel of the Wyrm must confront another Defender, and the winner gains that status. The loser is known as a Wanderer and must travel in Mystara for nine years fighting for the cause of dragons, and must leave his title and all benefits gained by being member of the Order. If he succeeds, he is admitted to the Moon Legion. Moon Legionnaires are considered, in the Hierarchy of the Church, lower-ranked than Defenders (in truth, Defenders defeated the Moon Legionnaires), though the Moon General, the highest-ranking priest of the Order, is always drawn from the ranks of the Moon Legionnaires. When the Moon General resigns or dies, the four highest-level Moon Legionnaires fight amongst themselves, and the winner must then defeat the strongest Defender of each Dragon in order to become Moon General. If the candidate fails, the undefeated Defenders fight amongst themselves, and the strongest becomes Regent of the Order for 5 years. After these 5 years the Regent is admitted to the Moon Legion and a new contest for the title is made, with the former Regent being among the Moon Legion contenders.

Dogma: True Dragons are the most perfect creatures made by the Immortals to reflect their powers, and bring a shard of immortality to lesser creatures. Lesser creatures are made to serve Dragons to their best efforts. All true believers must sacrifice themselves to the cause of Dragons. Dragons will one day regain power over all Mystara, but there is no sense in destroying those made to serve them: it is just a matter of time for them to understand their folly. To this cause, the Order is devoted. The Order knows that much time will pass before dragons control Mystara (they estimate it at 5,000 to 6,000 years!), but it is extremely devoted to the ideal. Pearl/ Syare delights himself with this dream of conquest and power, but admits to himself that this will probably remain just a dream.

Priestly Vestment: Priests of the Holy Blood Sword don't need a special suit in normal life, though for ceremonial occasions (rituals or holy days) they must wear the official uniforms of the order, described below.

Adventuring Garb: There are two possibilities in adventuring garb: If they need secrecy or act in an unofficial capacity for the Order, clerics of the Holy Blood Sword can dress whatever they find suitable for the occasion. If acting officially for the Order, they dress with a dark blue armour that shines faintly in the moonlight, composed of a banded breast plate, shoulder plates, lamelled plates on legs and arms, a heavy metal belt, and a shield with a mother-of-pearl symbol of Syare. They carry normally warhammers or maces, few use broad swords; all weapons are of exceptional quality. Searchers for the Unknown Path are not allowed to wear helms or shields. Followers of the Moonlight Knight are allowed the use of helms and shields. Sentinels of the Wyrm are given a custom made weapon +3, +6 vs. metallic dragons. Defenders wear armours of the colour of their dragon choice, depending upon the race. Many of them have slain several metallic dragons, and so have earned the right to trade metal plates with plates made of their dragon victims.

Alignment: Any neutral or evil

Races: Humans, lizard men

Turn Undead: Yes, as a cleric of two levels less

Command Undead: No

Requirements: STR 12, INT 9, WIS 9, COS 12

Prime Requisites: Cos, Wis

Weapons: All bludgeoning weapons plus long and broad swords.

Armor: Any, with the previously indicated restrictions

Major Spheres: All, combat, elemental (fire & earth), guardian, healing, necromantic, protection, sun (reversed only), time, wards

Minor Spheres: Charm, elemental (air & water)

Suggested Proficiencies: Common chromatic dragon tongue

Special Abilities:

At 1st level they have infravision in a 18 meter radius At 6th level they gain the ability to become invisible at will on nights of a full moon At 12th level they gain a +2 bonus on saving throws vs. metallic dragon breath At 20th level Defenders gain a +4 THAC0 bonus vs their special foe (metallic dragon)

A fallen Defender who becomes a Wanderer loses all his special abilities. Very few Wanderers become members of the Moon Legion; and they are magically altered by Syare, so they become Minions of Pearl. They regain all the abilities of Sentinels (but not of Defenders) and additionally:

They age at the rate of 1 year each 5 normal human years They become werewolves in the Initiation Ceremony, which consists of a prolonged exposure to bites of the other Legionnaires in wolf form

Dragons and Defenders

Black Defenders are all lizard kin.

Blue Defenders are humans of Thyatian descent. Some of them have been given license to return to Thyatis and join the Retebius Air Fleet.

Brown [D&D Amber] Defenders may be humans of any race, but some are lizard origin. There is also one gnoll defender at the moment.

Green Defenders are the most difficult to find, since Green Dragons are the least liked in Wyrmsteeth; Green Defenders are often outsiders who immigrated to Wyrmsteeth specifically to join the Order.

Red Defenders are not often seen around and about; most are Thyatians, but some are Averoignans.

White Defenders are always Wyrmdanners. There is a sort of affinity between white dragons and northern men, because both love snow, cold climates, and winter.

NPCs

Julius Penhaligon, Moon Legion Overlord. Born in 959 in Thyatis, last son of Cornelius Penhaligon, younger brother of Arturus Penhaligon [see Gaz 1], he became cleric of the Order in 977, and wandered the Old World for several years. Julius was captured in Glantri and suffered experiments at the hand of prince Volospin Aendyr, and was turned into a werewolf. After escaping Glantri, he returned to Wyrmsteeth, where he became a Red Defender. He was never defeated and became first a Regent in 988, then the Moon General in 993. [Cleric 19 AD&D; Cleric 34/ Werewolf 12 D&D]

Jacob 'Raven' Aloysius, First Legion Overlord. Wereraven. Fighter 12 AD&D, Fighter 20 D&D. Comes from Ierendi. Born 968.

Steinhard Hoen, First Legion Overlord. Wizard 13 AD&D, Magic User 23 D&D. Wyrmdanner. Born 971.

Harald Haraldsson, Second Legion Overlord. Fighter 17 AD&D, Fighter 29 D&D. Son of the former Moon General Harald Hardrade. Wyrmdanner. Born 963.

Geoffrey MacDonald, Second Legion Overlord. Fighter 20 AD&D, Fighter 36 D&D. Glantrian from Klantyre, member of the Followers of Claymore. Born 949. Ruler of Tua'than.

Julian Hastings, Third Legion Overlord. Wyrmsteethian descendent of Glantrians, born 967. Werewolf, ruler of the city of Seel. Fighter 11 AD&D, Fighter 22 D&D.

Sylvie du Chateau Tarent Third Legion Overlord. Averoignian, born in Wyrmsteeth in 976. Thief 10 AD&D, Thief 18 D&D. Ruler of Wheine.

Gsharr, Fourth Legion Overlord. Lizard man 23 D&D, Fighter 11 AD&D. Hk'rhal's second in command in Th'hral.

Fang (P'hegshyan), Fourth Legion Overlord. A human, "Fang" is in fact an Outer Being cultist who long ago lost his human attributes. His powerful magics have prevented his treachery from being discovered.

Dragon Rulers

Red Death (Mors Rufus), Dragon King of Wyrmsteeth. The Red Death is the ruling King of all Wyrmsteeth. He succeeded Incendiarious when that dragon departed in search of Immortality. Red Death was Incendiarious' second-in-command, and a good ally in the forming of Wyrmsteeth, though he was a just young dragon then. Incendiarious recognised Mors Rufus' potential, and (unofficially) made it clear that he was his choice as heir. When the old dragon left Wyrmsteeth Mors Rufus proclaimed himself King, and after crushing a small rebellion, became the ruler of Wyrmsteeth. Red Death is responsible for the creation of the human settlements in the land, and has sought the help of the strongest dragons of Norwold to reinforce his authority. Red Death is still young, at 1,000 years.

Xanesh, Dragon Ruler, Commander of the First Legion. Xanesh is a blue dragon of neutral alignment. He proclaims to be the ruler of blue and white dragons, and carries the self-appointed title of Neutral Dragon Lord. He cares little of other dragons, but he doesn't want to raise the ire of Red Death, and so is informally bound to him. Xanesh hates Ipsilon, so if Ipsilon should attack Red Death he would stand by the Dragon King, but he would remain neutral if any other parties would be involved. Obviously, if a major war would explode, he would side with the party that does not have Ipsilon on its side.

Incendiarious, Dragon Ruler, Commander of the Second Legion. The red dragon Incendiarious is the female offspring of King Incendiarious, and has been the secret lover of Red Death for several years. Their relationship has always been inconstant and anything but faithful, but the two dragons have a great respect and physical attraction for each other, and don't care of the other's betrayals. Incendiarious has born 3 hatchlings to Red Death in the past centuries. If a war should explode between Red Death and one of the other Dragon Rulers, her Second Legion would be unswervingly loyal to him. Incendiarious lives in Norwold, in a volcano in the northeastern part of Icereach, and maintains contact with her subject Overlords by use of magical scrolls.

Ipsilon, Dragon Ruler, Commander of the Third Legion. Ipsilon is probably the most savage dragon of Wyrmsteeth. He is a Great Wyrm of incredible strength and magic, and considers himself as strong as Red Death. Ipsilon has not attacked Red Death because he was accorded the title of Dragon Ruler immediately after Red Death took the throne, but Ipsilon is jealous of his power and could, in the future, try to cause a major war between dragons to obtain it. He is not liked by the other Dragon Rulers, but he is more powerful than them, and so they have not managed to attack him. Ipsilon cares nothing of humans, and would greatly enjoy waging a brutal war against Norwold - naturally with himself crowned Emperor of the region as the outcome.

Hk'rhal, Dragon Ruler, Commander of the Fourth Legion, Lizard King of Th'hral. Hk'rhal is strange black dragon, who believes that lizardmen and similar creatures were made by the Immortals in the image of dragons; he has a great love for these creatures. He dislikes non-reptilian humanoids, whom he sees as pale and trembling copies of those admirable races. He often takes Lizardman form, and enjoys ruling the city of Th'hral. He has no preferences toward the Dragon Rulers, and respects Red Death, though he does not fear him.