Players' Guide: Thayan Embassy/Enclave of Red Magic

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Players' Guide: Thayan Embassy/Enclave of Red Magic

Postby Failbhe » Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:02 am

More compiled information for those running things related to the Thayan Enclave, assembled by Bex.

Thayan Enclaves

Each of the Enclaves acts as a part in an intricate web of subterfuge and money grabbing conquests. The Enclave in Waterdeep is held out as the ideal Enclave. On the outside, although many know of the darker side of the Thayan’s, the Thayan’s themselves will wear a smile to most occasions, making mental notes of who converses openly or discreetly with who, and rank within a Thayan ambassador’s entourage often is decided daily with who has found the juicier piece of information to be passed back along the chain to the Guild master. Jewellery is not forbidden within the enclaves, but the highest of ranks can be mistaken for the lowest of the order due to the needs of some to flaunt and display their wealth with them openly. The more powerful understanding the need at times for restraint and the philosophy of ‘more is less’ when they are in residence.

Guards stand on duty at the door of the Embassy, their weapons though sheathed are ready for use at all times and they stand on Thayan ground within the gated grounds thus ensuring that any problems are dealt with on Thayan ground and therefore are part of Thayan law. The guards, hairless stare down any that approach them. Their red breastplates polished to a high gleam. The Captain normally on duty overseeing his guardsmen is known by his ornate dragon’s wing in an unusual almost tribal fashion on his left eyebrow.

Upon walking across the well tended by immaculately dressed servants, wearing white robes, with gold bracelets, a gold necklace and leather sandals. When the captain walks within the grounds the workers in the ornately decorated with flowers and small tree’s the servants fold neatly to their knee’s and prostrate themselves. None of them would dare to raise their eyes above ground level. It is also rumoured that those servants that work in the gardens of the Enclave are the children of the children of the children of slaves. Never knowing freedom means they’ll never want it. They are conditioned almost to want the petting attention of their master. The immaculately groomed pathway is made from thousands of crushed shells, making the path gleam and glisten with the sunlight when it shines. Up the steps made from the finest quality marble to the heavy doors, guarded by another pair of sentries that know their position and stare down any not of the ‘blood’ to whom they lower their heads in deference immediately. Not daring to attempt to make eye contact.

Within the halls, the opulence is a byword. Ornate and beautiful carvings tastefully worked in the most alluring of stones can be found on the ends of mere banister rails, on the walls fabulous art can be seen and the carpets are usually of the most highly polished marbles. Following the guard that never leaves your side, silence meets your ears as you pass by Thayan residents of note. Many of whom regard you with disdain, scoffing openly at your dress and your hair. Painted ladies with fabulously ornate tattoos discuss your passage as they look you up and down, letting you know with their slightly arched hairless yet tattooed eyebrow just what they think of your intrusion on their world. More servants work silently. Their hair groomed and white robes again showing their status as property. Necklaces and bracelets also adorn their bodies, but no tattoos and they keep their eyes down at the floor. Dropping to their knees and prostrating themselves if they are noticed. Moving through the main entrance, the laughter of those behind ringing in your ears the guard shows you into an utterly dark corridor and leaves you there closing the door behind you. This shock from daylight to darkness seems set to take you off guard, but soon enough your eyes acclimatise and note the flickering torch at the end of the tunnel ended only by a heavy door.

Before you get a chance to knock on the door at the end, a massive Gnoll is looming over you disparately as he sneers and curls his upper lip. The Gnoll is wearing the same but larger breastplate in red as the previous guards you have seen. With a pointed sword, he gestures for you to enter the room.

This room is richly decorated. A tingle runs along your skin as you step into the room. A scarlet carpet with dark-wood chairs placed around a highly polished table, all emblazoned with the Thayan symbol of the Red Wizards sits in the middle of the room. The outer part of the floor being that of black marble. The red velvet seats of the chairs are cushioned ornately with gold trim but tastefully so. Gold miniature statues stand on shelves, the work of many different races easy to see.

But you don’t get a chance to look much, as within moments of your arrival, the man you came to see arrives also. The slightly overweight but still pale in comparison figure of a man in red stands before you once the door is closed silently behind him. His feet in ornately decorated slippers in the style of the Calimsham peoples while his silk robes easily declare his power. His quick eyes regard you silently before he’s moving towards you with a severe expression on his cold face. No hair on his head, the tattoos of many dragons in flight can be seen, the nails of his hands long, delicately painted in black and red they seem to be sharpened into pointed daggers. The overall sense you get from this man is that if you don’t have the money, he doesn’t have the time and will not entertain time wasters of any kind. Upon his sitting at his chair, the previously unseen small servant immediately prostrates herself in time to become his footstool.

The richly decorated room where most business is done actually resides in Skullport. There is a two way portal to the room in Skullport at the doorway. Additionally, the Enclave is connected to Thay via a similar portal.

The Guild of Foreign Trade.

Run through Thay’s Guild of Foreign Trade, the headquarters of which are held in a vast complex of warehouses, vaults, and offices built mostly like a fortress that dominates the eastern end of Bezaunur’s harbour, this guild has existed for hundreds of years, issuing trading licenses to those wishing to export or import goods. However in the past twenty or so years, its sponsorship in the mercantile areas has catapulted the guild from a small group of corrupt individuals, to a vastly state sponsored corrupt industry. Money is power after all, remember that!
The guild is obsessed with the safety of its merchandise. The vaults heavily guarded by hundreds of wizards, skilled warriors and many monstrous creatures. A large metropolis in itself, the decks are thronging with thousands of servants and labourers, toiling at their work, loading and unloading the many yellow sailed dromonds that carry the output of the magic workshops to Thayan concessions and quarters across the Inner Sea. These ships return heavily laden with bulkier and heavier goods and cargos of potions, scrolls and items of wonder.

The master of the guild of Foreign Trade is a Red Wizard named Samas Kul. He’s ambitious, cynical, and sly and holds an acidic side to his urbane manner. A tall corpulent man who thinks nothing of flaunting his wealth shamelessly he bedecks himself with gold and gem studded robes, rings worth thousands of gold adorn his fingers, and even some of Kul’s colleagues have for their ever lasting shame mistakenly dismissed him as a merchant in red robes. But the master of the Guild is a wizard of skill and stands high in rank within the school of Transmutation.

Thayan life.

The most anyone seems to know publicly of Thay is the Slave trade and the Red Wizards’ enclave, in truth there is far more to this somewhat vicious, conniving, vindictive place. However, due to the ‘current policy’ of peaceful trade, the embassies mostly seem to have smiling ambassadors. Nearly all of the Red Wizards are of the Mulan (Mulhrondi heritage). These people are tall, slender, sometimes to the point of being gaunt with sallow and bear no hair on their bodies at all. Instead they cover themselves with tattoo’s, some will shave themselves completely, while others will use magical means to remove whatever hair they happen to have on their bodies. The tattoos are usually placed on their skulls and their eyebrows, dragons, demons, devils and other creatures of ancient evils. They are however extremely and expertly crafted pieces of art. Some are so intricate that they may appear to be cryptic runes or even abstractly possible tribal designs. Many of Thay’s wizards use tattoo magic and the fashions of tattooing rose from this ancient art form. Even those without any of the power of the red wizards would like to look as if they do. Almost all of the Nobles of Thay are of Mulan descent. At worst, lowborn Mulan are free land owners or artisans. However many seeking power though do not depend on their family’s wealth, relying instead on becoming bureaucrats, soldiers or even priests. For those with the intellectual power the path of the Red Wizards is a huge attraction, many of the Mulan low born have become Red Wizards in fact. (Although the higher status Wizards have the bonus of personal wealth and noble alliances to help ‘smooth’ the path when they’ve completed their training.)

The common folk of Thay are almost exclusively Rashemi. A hardy and stocky people with dusky skin and dark eyes. They have thick dark hair, although most free Rashemi choose to shave their scalps (or they at least cut their hair short.) to distinguish themselves from the slaves of the country who are all forbidden to cut their hair. The wealthier of the Rashemi, however often mimic the tattoos of the high born Mulan. Although they are not of a conquered people and are not oppressed, the Rashemi do not and will never have the same opportunities as the Mulan. But they think of themselves as Thayan's first. The Rashemi are not exactly happy to have the Mulan as their overlords, but they do accept their fates and take fierce pride in the strength and dark beauty of their land. Any of the Rashemi with plenty of money will own slaves, and will most likely treat those slaves as harshly as anywhere in Thay. Very few Red Wizards are of the Rashemi, but they do make up the bulk of the free army. Many of the most elite military forces are composed of the brutal and cruel Rashemi who are more than happy to serve the tharchions and Red Wizards.

Within the Thayan society, there are four levels. In order of increasing influence;

• Slave
• Commoner
• Noble
• Red Wizard

It’s not a coincidence that this is also the decreasing social order of the population. Far more of the population bear the shackles of slaves than anything else, and there are only the social elite that wear the Red Robes of the Wizards Enclave. They may have the least members, but they have the most power.

Thay’s slaves are non citizens, considered property that can live or die with their masters will. Killing a slave is not considered murder it is merely damaging someone’s property. A slave’s owner can do as he wishes, but if he harms another’s property he’s expected to pay for the damage. Slaves are costly, (Ex: a young human field slave will sell for approx 50gp) and as such very few commoners will have the means to own one, but considering that the amount of slaves and their general health is a means of status within farming communities. It’s a huge investment for a small farmer, or an artisan, so the commoners will be pretty likely to take good care of them. The slaves sold to nobles and those of high born houses are guaranteed a hard and frightful existence. While those sold to the mines or field gang masters will be nothing more than beasts of burden. Doomed to beatings and bending their backs until their back are broken.

Thay imports slaves from all over Faerûn and just about every race is displayed at least once somewhere within a market. Those lucky enough to survive the initial trip are normally the hardiest, but most do not last too long in their jobs. House slaves might live in relative comfort, caring for their Mulan masters, but those sent to the mines might consider themselves lucky to live for a year.

The commoners do not really have much better lives than slaves do, but they are at least citizens, not property. Which does actually make a difference, it means they can’t be tortured or murdered. The Red Wizards can normally get away with that kind of action, but they usually end up having to at least invent some kind of a pretext for the action. While commoners have a longer life expectancy than the slaves and better prospects overall, all the worst jobs go to the slaves, so the commoners are actually a step up on the social ladder. Some have actually succeeded somehow though to reach the top of the pile. Some have clawed and swindled their ways to becoming wealthy merchants, others have become Red Wizards. Most commoners are Rashemi, although some of this class are from more distant lands.

The Nobles are mostly run by the families of the Mulan. The only difference at times between common Mulanese and a bankrupt noble lord is their blood line. Certain Mulan families are born noble and other’s aren’t, so Thayan nobles are content more often than not to be ruled by the Red Wizards (After all, the most influential magi within the order are Nobles). But they jealously guard the social ladder, marking with a pointed distinction the elevation of commoners, even the more heroic ones, to noble status.

Enjoying the two paths to power and comfort, Land and Service, a wealthy noble will often own vast acres of land and make large amounts of money by leasing out to tenants, no matter whether they are ranchers, miners, or farmers. And while land ownership is not purely a noble’s pleasure, it’s hard to find land in Thay that isn’t owned by a Noble.

Nobles that find themselves landless, often take up service in Thay’s army, clergy or bureaucracy. While any free Thayan can become a soldier, official or priest, leaders are most often taken from the ranks of well-off nobles who have purchased their rank or title. A good example of this is within a typical Thayan Garrison. The captain is a minor noble with land, his officers are landless nobles and his non commissioned soldiers are Rashemi veterans and the troops are mostly Rashemi. The noble that can buy himself a good post can just as easily enrich himself as on that owns a great swathe of land. It is of course expected that a powerful official or high placed officer will divert some taxes to ensure a comfortable retirement and a pleasant life.

The Red Wizards

All noble children within Thay are tested at an early age for any signs of arcane talent. Those that show the abilities are immediately whisked away into wizardry school, shortly followed by a long and difficult tenure with a Red Wizard. Any that survive past this painfully arduous journey and are ambitious, stubborn and resourceful enough are invited to join the Red Wizards. Some will actually refuse the robes, but that is rare. Becoming a Red Wizard is such an obvious path to power for those that are raised to understand from birth that power is everything, that the Zulkir’s don’t need to recruit anyone.

The Red Wizards are the ruling class of the Magocracy. Any Red Wizard taking on an apprentice of any one other than the ‘Blood’ find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Some do however, and it’s normally an open secret. Most of the Red Wizards can claim up to a dozen apprentices, whom they keep at one another’s throats to weed out the weak and advance their own schemes. Apprentices are often their masters, thralls, agents and minions. The little magical training they gain in the process of this time is determined purely by their own ambition and sneakiness. The Red Robes are a sign of office, the penalty for posing as one is instant death at the hands of the first Red Wizard to uncover such a deception. The Red Wizards are ruled by a council of eight Zulkir’s, one for each school of magic. These positions are life long; the only way for a Zulkir to end his role is feet first especially as it’s as close to being a king as their ever going to get. Within each school is a hierarchy, a strong hierarchy in which the pecking order determined by their magical ability and the buttering of palms within the groups of higher and more powerful wizards. The current council leader is Szass Tam, Zulkir of Necromancy.

As an organisation, are through and through evil to the core. The want only one thing, and that’s power, preferably with the entire world at their feet bowed in submission. Much of Thay’s history is spattered with the blood of innocents with that cause in mind. In fact, it’s only within the past few years that they have temporarily set aside their warlike thoughts in favour of far more insidious and economic means. If they can’t smash it, they’ll buy it.

Borne upon the backs of slavery, Thay’s economy is vast. With the increase in revenue brought in through the sale of magical items over the recent few years, the number of slaves sold in Thay hasn’t dropped even in the slightest. In fact, now that Thay has enclaves in just about every major city of Faerûn, its merchants have even more access to slaves and the population of the tethered and chained is growing. The sale of magical goods through the enclaves has far exceeded expectation, Thayan merchants have long traded their nations’ goods through out the world, but they are now finding ever more demand for their wares these days. Before the change in policy, the bulk of Thayan exports were timbers, raw foods, and art, along with jewellery, crafts and the highly prized and exceedingly rare Blackwood tree timber. Most of the art work and crafts though were actually fashioned by skilled slaves for their masters to sell on. Such trade still continues today, thus ensuring the Thayan places in the commonplace market are kept.

Everyone is aware of the Thayan’s evil and hated past, and their horrible history of slavery. But with the prices and high quality work or their goods for sale, to turn down a sale from a Thayan is just plain stupid. This of course suits Szass Tam and the rest of the Zulkirs down to the ground in their plans for taking over the world. The current plan is to use the greed of others, as a tool against them. Bearing discounted goods, Thayan’s can worm their ways into every economy on Faerûn, once in these people are in the positions of influence and power, the Red Wizards can learn enough about a nation to take them apart slowly and discreetly from within. Some of the Zulkir’s however do not agree with this plan. But that is purely because they are not in a position to take full advantage. And as such, with most of the major plans and large projects of Thay, this plot could well be brought low through the bickering and arguing of the Zulkirs.

Travelling in and through Thay requires a considerable amount of planning and forethought. The traveller must carry a pass issued by a tharchions allowing the traveller to use specific roads and visit certain cities only. All tharchions delegate the responsibility of issuing passes to minor officials and officers. This in turn means that a travel permit can be purchased with a well placed bribe (Generally 10 – 50gp for foreigners,). Soldiers, messengers and officials engaged in performing their duties are exempt from requiring obtaining permission to travel, but they will generally carry tokens of their authority.

Those without the correct passes find it increasingly impossible to travel about the plateau. Patrols are constantly on the move scouring the by roads and lands, searching for escaped slaves, criminals, spy or brigand. The penalty for being caught is normally death; those found within a Red Wizard’s estate on the other hand are in for fate worse than that. Magical experimentations are most painful, and can be horrible life prolonging. Laws in Thay are simple, penalties brutal and all revolve around the powerful. The tharchions and Zulkirs consult with a set of tomes known as the Library of Law when faced with a serious problem. However, most of the time they ignore that and move to death in favour of expediency.

These are the most important laws of Thay.

• Only Red Wizards may wear red robes, this is for ease of identification.
• Do not steal from other Thayan’s or harm their belongings or slaves.
• Do not kill or harm another Thayan (IE do not kill anyone equal in rank or above.)
• Obey to the letter you betters instructions.

Most Thayan’s will take the first law so seriously that they will not wear Red at all. The penalty for being caught in red robes being death, has led to the rumour that the Red Wizards always care a spare set of robes upon them. Thus when they kill someone it can be thrown onto the body after their guards have killed someone, thus giving them the excuse for having ordered a death. [/quote]
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