Ruins of Adventure
Regarding “The East”: Many of the alternate D&D settings that were tacked onto Abeir-Toril were not included in Ed Greenwood’s original vision for the Forgotten Realms, most notably the Al’Qadim (Arabian Adventures) setting and Kara-Tur (Oriental Adventures) setting. In many of his writings, Ed Greenwood explicitly states that Thay was meant to be “…the most dominant land of The East, a Chinese/Far-Eastern style menacing and mysterious empire…suitable for play with Oriental Adventures”.
While this game will draw on rules and creatures taken from the Oriental Adventures canon, we will stick with Ed Greenwood’s original vision of the extents of the Forgotten Realms. “Kara-tur” and other such places are not part of this world. If you are looking for a homeland for an Oriental-themed character, Thay and its neighbors Aglarond and Rashemen are the correct places to reference.
- Races: Human, Ogre-magi, Hengeyokai
- Classes: Any Priest, Any Rogue, Any Warrior, Specialist
- Ability Requirements: Reason 10, Knowledge 10
- Alignments: Non-good
- Starting Cash: 7d4 x10gp
- Bonus Languages: Thayan, Mulhorandi
- Recommended Languages: Aglarondan, Allesian, Chessic, Daraktan, Imaskari, Muhjuri, Naric, Rasallesian, Raurindi, Telpi,
- Weapon Slots: +1 slot
- Non-weapon Slots: By class
- Available Categories: By class
- Bonus Proficiencies: none
- Required Proficiencies: none
- Recommended Proficiencies: Spellcraft
Overview: When a bard or minstrel wishes to conjure up images of evil magic and darkest sorceries, he need only mention the much despised name of the Red Wizards of Thay. Over the centuries, the clever masters of this realm have combined powerful magic, espionage, and devious political maneuvering to forge a state of virtually unequalled might.
Description: Thayans favor crimson as their color, probably a reflection of the fact that they are all subordinate to the Red Wizards, and often serve them. This red color appears mostly in their cloaks, robes, tunics, leggings, or plumes on their helms. Their general appearances, however, are usually unadorned and remarkably plain.
The Red Wizards of Thay are called that because of the crimson robes they wear when meeting with others of their kind. At other times, donning these flowing, richly embroidered garments is optional. In any situation where a Red Wizard is attempting to make an impression or otherwise flaunt his station, he will wear such attire. If the wizard is attempting to conceal his identity, of course, he opts for less obvious dress.
Role-Playing: Nothing is less appreciated in a land where magic is venerated than the art of physical combat and its practitioners. Such is the lot of warriors and rogues from Thay. In a land where the Red Wizards and their magic dominate every aspect of life, non-wizards are definitely regarded as second-best in all things.
This second-class status has produced a breed of adventurers that, while loyal to their nation, are sullen, humorless, and rather jealous. And since they cannot take out their frustrations on the Red Wizards, they take them out on strangers. Perhaps stung by the lack of admiration of the Thayan society, these adventurers nevertheless have adopted their own code of honor. They have vowed to defend the wizards of Thay—which is indeed the task they most often find themselves assigned—and they have sworn to protect Thay’s borders and its rulers. Once a Thayan gives his word of honor, he will die to keep it.
Conversely, the Red Wizards tend to have dual personalities, which they employ with great skill. In all cases, however, the wizard’s inner confidence and assertiveness comes through. There are those who say the tongue of a red wizard is more dangerous than any warrior’s sword. At times, a Red Wizard may be charming and eloquent. He may prove himself to be an ideal host, the perfect guest, or an amiable traveling companion. Those in the company of a Red Wizard at such times are advised to pay careful attention to their own words as well as those of the spellcaster. Many men have agreed to terms or revealed information in casual conversation with one of these folk that no inquisitor’s rack could have torn from them.
If the wizard is unable to accomplish his goals with subterfuge, then a show of force is decidedly in order. It is said that no dragon has the temper of a Red Wizard, and this may well be the case. Even the most seemingly inoffensive Red Wizard can become a whirlwind of fury when things go against him.
- Each Thayan begins his career with a magical +1 item of protection. While the item’s standard form is that of a ring of protection, it could also be a magical baldric, brooch, circlet, cloak, earring, or pendant and still have the same defensive effects as a ring of protection.
- The power of the Red Wizards not only overshadows the people of Thay, it cows them. A smart Thayan allies himself with the most powerful wizard he can and then rides his coattails to wealth and power. When a non-wizard Thayan (any priest, rogue, or warrior) enters into the service of a Red Wizard, he is branded with the mark of his master. This brand is magical in nature and contains spells the character can then cast once per day. The brand can contain a number of spells equal to half the level of the character (rounded up). The maximum number of spell levels that can be contained is equal to the level of the character. The exact spells stored in the brand are determined by the Dungeon Master, based upon the wizard to whom the character has sworn fealty. Each time a Thayan rises in level, he must return to his master to have his tattoo elaborated upon in order for additional spells to be castable by the rogue.
- The power of the Red Wizards and their mastery of magic is second to none. There are those who say all Red Wizards are specialists. In truth, all Red Wizards can be dual specialists. When a player creates a Red Wizard character, he can select two schools of magic to specialize in. The only restriction to this choice is that neither of the selected schools can be an opposition school of the other. So a Red Wizard could be an abjurer/diviner, but not an abjurer/illusionist or an abjurer/transmuter. In game terms this means they gain a +2 bonus to any saving throws they are required to make because of any spells that fall into either of their specialist schools. Any spell a Red Wizard casts from either of his chosen specialties imposes a -2 penalty on his target’s saving throws.
Also, perhaps far more importantly, the character can memorize two extra spells per available spell level, provided that each spell comes from one of his two specialties. For example, an abjurer/diviner could memorize an extra abjuration spell and an extra divination spell. He could not memorize two extra abjuration spells or two extra divination spells, however. A Red Wizard must satisfy the ability score requirements for both his chosen specialties.
- Because of their close association with the Red Wizards, Thayan Bards may choose to specialize in a school of magic just as a wizard can, gaining all the normal benefits and penalties associated with specialization. Thayan Bards cannot dual-specialize in the manner of the Red Wizards however.
- All Thayans share the same stigma and prejudice that Red Wizards of Thay experience outside of their nation. Most folk in the Realms agree that Thayans are not to be trusted, especially her neighbors. When dealing with NPCs, all reaction rolls are penalized at -2 (-4 with NPCs of Aglarond or Rashemen).
- All Thayans have been conditioned to digest information like the Red Wizards. Thus, they use the Wizard experience point table to advance regardless of class.
- In addition to carrying a magical spell, the brand a Thayan non-wizard receives when he enters into the service of a Red Wizard ensures his loyalty. Whenever a spell is cast upon one of these characters by the wizard who branded him, no saving throw is allowed. By accepting the wizard’s brand, the character agrees to waive any saving throws he might be entitled to.
If the character ever flees his master’s service, the Red Wizard he served takes out a contract to have him captured and his tattoo forcibly removed.
- The normal disadvantages associated with specialist wizards applies to the Red Wizards as well. All the opposition schools listed for their specialties are closed to these characters. So an abjurer/diviner could not learn spells from the schools of Alteration, Illusion, or Conjuration/Summoning. Spells from the wizards’ opposition schools have an increased effectiveness against these characters. Whenever a Red Wizard must make a saving throw to escape or lessen the effects of such a spell he suffers a -2 penalty.
Return to Homelands.