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    Canonfire :: View topic - Suel Houses
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    Suel Houses
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:32 am  
    Suel Houses

    Anyone have a source (canon preferred) for the Noble Houses of the Suel?
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:38 pm  

    There's no complete list, and what we have is scattered around various sources.

    Two significant sources are Roger E. Moore's two articles "Legacies of the Suel Imperium" in Dragon #241 and "The Orbs of Dragonkind" in Dragon #230.

    Dragon #230 has some history of the ancient Suel and mentions that the House of Neheli was formerly known as the House of Neheli-Arztin. The "partial house" of Arztin ceased to exist in -2354 CY.

    In Dragon #241 the Lerara are mentioned (originally from the 1983 Glossography, p. 27) and there's a brief history of the noble families stranded on the edge of the Sea of Dust after the Rain of Colorless Fire, who survived for a decade scavenging and stealing from the local goat-herders before being found by Slerotin and led into the Sheldomar. There were 18 tribes in all, including the Lerara and the local goat-herders.

    The Lerara, of course, were stranded in Slerotin's passage and devolved into albino worshipers of a formless being they call the Mother.

    The Scarlet Brotherhood by Sean K. Reynolds draws directly from the noncanon timeline by Len Lakofka and Steve Wilson in Oerth Journal #1 (revised in Oerth Journal #11), with a few changes.

    From The Scarlet Brotherhood, we have the following houses mentioned:

    "Emperor Ad-Zol" implies the existence of a House Zol, though in Oerth Journal #1 "ad-Zol" is the surname of members of the House of Zolax. If you want to be precious about it, then, "Ad-Zol" is canon but Zolax is not, though one implies the other.

    The Scarlet Brotherhood mentions the Houses of Schnai, Cruski, and Fruztii, who founded the Snow, Ice, and Frost Barbarians. These were also mentioned in Oerth Journal #1.

    HOWEVER, the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer denies that these groups were ever noble houses, saying (page 54):

    As a people, they [the Cruski, Fruztii, and Schnai] were always distinct from the high culture of the civilized Suel. They were thought of as a mere rabble, with a primitive dialect and no magic.

    As such, the Cruski, Fruztii, and Schnai are probably identifiable with the "local goat herders" mentioned in Dragon #241.

    A major source is the Keoish history in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, which mentions:

    House Zelrad (settled in what would become South Province).

    House Malhel (fled to the Dreadwood).

    House Rhola (founded Gradsul).

    House Neheli (founded Niole Dra).

    House Maure, which the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer says was originally three noble Suel families who crossed through the Abbor-Alz mountains one year prior to the Rain of Colorless Fire and formed a new noble house that they called Maure. Note that this story is contradicted by "Maure Castle: The Adventure Begins" in Dungeon #112, which said that the Maure family were apprentices of Slerotin who entered the Flanaess at the same time as Slerotin and his seventeen tribes (called twelve tribes in the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer). Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk used the second history, with the Maure family as apprentices of Slerotin.

    House Urnst, "a founding Suel house of great import," the namesake of the Duchy and County. This group apparently didn't survive the Rain of Colorless Fire, but the Maure thought well enough of them (because they represented the ideals of the Council of Noble Families preceding the birth of the Empire in 1102 SD, possibly) to name their new nation in their honor. One compromise to fix the conflicting narratives of the LGG and Dungeon #112 might be to have House Urnst be the group that crossed the Abbor-Alz and founded Urnst, while the Maure were a group of apprentices of Slerotin who arrived eleven years later and built their infamous castle.

    The other two names are House Lizhal and House Linth. Kimbertos Scotti, the present-day king of Keoland, belongs to House Lizhal. The history of Keoland in Living Greyhawk Journal #1 states that the Lizhal migrated along with the Rhola and Neheli after the Rain of Colorless Fire. Along with Keoland as a whole, they rule the Barony of Grayhill.

    The House of Linth is also mentioned in the article in the LGJ #1, which calls them "an obscure Suel house generally considered to be in decline." They founded the Earldom of Linth in Keoland.

    I think those are the only officially named Suel houses. Oerth Journal #1 (revised in Oerth Journal #11) has more. This timeline mentions a House Toli that settled in what is now the Hold of the Sea Princes. The Living Greyhawk campaign's Onnwal Gazetteer claims that Onnwal was settled by a Suloise tribe called the Onnwi.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:38 pm  

    Rasgon, as always you are a light in the darkness (of my ignorance)...

    Thanks, had most of those, but there were a couple I was unfamiliar with.
    GreySage

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    Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:02 am  

    There's also the Zeai, or Sea Barbarians, who live to the north of Blackmoor. I doubt they were ever a noble Suel house, but they're another proper noun to add to the pile.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:25 pm  

    You know rasgon, after reading your post, and checking the sources you listed, i can whily agree about the ancestors of the Rhizian barbarians beigns goat herders in the slopes of the (then) Crystalmists.

    But also reading the Elaine Mystica recount (Dragon 241 page 43-44) about the 18 tribes escaping of Zymbile, and the distance of the region from the Imperial City (The Lost City), you can also think of the Cruski, Fruztii, and Schnai as local rural nobility? I found strange that 18 distint houses inhabit a non-capital city. I can expect it in the Imperial Capital.
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    GreySage

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    Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:03 pm  

    Mekorig wrote:
    you can also think of the Cruski, Fruztii, and Schnai as local rural nobility?


    That sounds reasonable.

    Quote:
    I found strange that 18 distint houses inhabit a non-capital city.


    They were there on vacation (seriously). I suspect that Slerotin might have encouraged those houses he thought worth saving to meet there, knowing what was to come.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:13 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    Mekorig wrote:
    you can also think of the Cruski, Fruztii, and Schnai as local rural nobility?


    That sounds reasonable.

    Quote:
    I found strange that 18 distint houses inhabit a non-capital city.


    They were there on vacation (seriously). I suspect that Slerotin might have encouraged those houses he thought worth saving to meet there, knowing what was to come.


    We know that suel people was escaping the empire tough the Kendeen Pass for some years before the RoCF. Could be these houses, under the pretext of a religious holiday, or vacation, be there preparing to move into the Flaness when the disaster struck and the pass became blocked? I love this kind of suppositions, it gaves me a lot of interesting campaign ideas.
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    Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:10 am  

    I was under the impression that the "Zeai" were an offshoot of the Thillronian barbarians, but it's been awhile since I read up on 'em; so going down Rasgon's list we should have:
    • 01 Neheli (Neheli-Arztin)
    • 02 Lerara
    • 03 Ad-Zol
    • 04 Schnai
    • 05 Cruski
    • 06 Fruztii
    • 07 Zelrad
    • 08 Malhel
    • 09 Rhola
    • 10 Maure
    • 11 Urnst
    • 12 Lizhal
    • 13 Linth
    That's honestly pretty convenient for most narratives, no? If one were to assume that Urnst was a House from the past whom the Maure simply named their lands for, then that drops it down to 12, matching the LIVING GREYHAWK™ narrative…

    Quote:
    [The Chronicle of Secret Time's] sometimes lyrical prose tells of the Suloise survivors of the Rain of Colorless Fire, beginning with how Slerotin, the Last Mage of Power, led twelve tribes out of ruin and into the valley of the Sheldomar.

    …and the Lerara becoming trapped in Slerotin's Passage would drop it to 11, matching the "Maure Castle" adventure from DUNGEON #112—12 go in, 11 come out:

    Quote:
    Slerotin died within weeks of his last great work, the magical creation of a miles-long tunnel that allowed eleven Suel tribes to flee their devastated homeland for safety in the east.

    Granted, it doesn't fit with Elayne's recollection of 18, unless the remaining six were the local goatherders…

    Other names I've found here and there have been "Lorinar," "Tareg," "Teraknian" (from "The Savage Tide" adventure path), "Xuel-Crix" (I believe a surname applied to Xodast), "Orlysse" (a Suel lich from DUNGEON #77's "Ex Keraptis Cum Amore"), "Kateri" (ceased to exist after 5094 SD), as well as several from the Oerth Journal—"Belzim" (ceased to exist after 2664 SD), "Opell," and "Ulmar" (both fled Imperium c.4117 SD).

    I really need to double-check my resources for many of these, but that could provide enough additional names so that the Suel barbarian-precursors remain the "Houses of Pursuit," distinct from those who fled during the Rain of Colorless Fire, and also as a replacement for House Ad-Zol whom I believe fled earlier and laid at least one of the foundations for the future Scarlet Brotherhood.

    (One thing I've always wondered is whether or not Suel House names are the same as Suel surnames; it'd be the difference for me naming a character either Lady Quintessa Neheli of House Neheli or Lady Quintessa Tzon of House Neheli—curse my desire for needless accuracy!)
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:48 pm  

    "Tammeraut's Fate" in DUNGEON #106 gives us House Tammeraut.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:04 am  

    The Tareg of Ghazal are a Suloise tribe. Could have been a noble family of whatever rank in the past too.
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    Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:01 pm  

    Reviewing the above, I wonder which House(s) traveled south through the present-day "Grand" Duchy of Berghof, into the Amedio Jungle, and ultimately to "Lake Maytreus."

    Samwise's chronologies of Keoland suggest this group might include the "Toli" (or rasgon's Tollax), but Samwise (in contrast to rasgon's innovation) holds that the Toli were not one of the Houses but instead a latter-day confederation of lowborn Suel mercenaries who converged around Gradsul before House Rhola drove them farther south (i.e., into the present-day Hold of the Sea Princes). In contrast, iirc, rasgon suggested that House Tollax was one of the ancient Houses (or perhaps a family within one of them?).

    Finally, Amesang asked about the difference between the Suel Houses and surnames. If you like Samwise's approach, which built substantially on the LGG, then "Lady Quintessa Tzon of House Neheli" would be the proper way to address her although in less formal contexts she might be called "Lady Quintessa" "Lady Tzon" "Baroness Tzon" etc.
    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:31 pm  

    I noticed that The Scarlet Brotherhood, on page 3, has Kevelli Mauk and his students encounter "two minor noble Suel houses that had passed through Slerotin's Tunnel several years earlier, and the enlarged band moved east," eventually joining Zellif ad-Zol's followers on the Tilvanot Peninsula.

    In any case, that accounts for two of the houses that migrated with Slerotin. They're not named, but apparently they settled in what became the Scarlet Brotherhood lands. Fate of Istus says "Many of the Suel nobility who escaped the Rain of Colorless Fire dreamed of a return to power and the destruction or subjugation of all rival peoples. The most determined of these gravitated toward the Tilvanot Plateau in the years immediately following the disaster." Apparently these nobles are the ones who arrived with Kevelli Mauk, as Zellif's followers arrived before the Rain of Colorless Fire and didn't yet know it had happened until Mauk told them.

    The only named leaders of the Scarlet Brotherhood are Irith Van (who was Father of Obedience in 489 CY) and Korenth Zan (the present-day Father of Obedience). There's no particular reason to think they're descended from old Suel houses called Zan and Van, though I suppose they might be.
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    Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:58 pm  

    Mekorig wrote:
    ...I found strange that 18 distint houses inhabit a non-capital city. I can expect it in the Imperial Capital.


    -Besides the possibility of pre-planning that Rasgon offers, it could simply mean that there were a few members of those noble houses in Zybile because there were at least a few members of each of those houses all over the Imperium for any number of reasons (e.g., official duties, retirement, internal exile, etc). I don't think Suel noblemen were confined to their original home territories, and those territories might have been spread throughout the Imperium to some extent i.e., non-contiguous.

    rasgon wrote:
    ...House Maure, which the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer says was originally three noble Suel families who crossed through the Abbor-Alz mountains one year prior to the Rain of Colorless Fire and formed a new noble house that they called Maure. Note that this story is contradicted by "Maure Castle: The Adventure Begins" in Dungeon #112, which said that the Maure family were apprentices of Slerotin who entered the Flanaess at the same time as Slerotin and his seventeen tribes (called twelve tribes in the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer). Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk used the second history, with the Maure family as apprentices of Slerotin...


    -Maybe both are correct because the story was slightly garbled? Perhaps Slerotin's apprentices (three in number) happened to be descendants of the technically extinct House Urnst? A house could go extinct due to a lack of male heirs, but the descendants might have been quite aware (and proud) of their Urnst ancestry? Those apprentices (or their children) might then have founded the nation of Urnst?

    Amesang wrote:
    ...
    Quote:
    Slerotin died within weeks of his last great work, the magical creation of a miles-long tunnel that allowed eleven Suel tribes to flee their devastated homeland for safety in the east.

    Granted, it doesn't fit with Elayne's recollection of 18, unless the remaining six were the local goatherders…


    -Maybe her account of 18 houses was just wrong. She wasn't actually there. IIRC, she admitted to not being sure of Slerotin's character and nature, either ("perhaps I misjudge him", she wrote, or something of the sort).
    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 04, 2021 10:05 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    Perhaps Slerotin's apprentices (three in number) happened to be descendants of the technically extinct House Urnst?


    The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer said: "The main body of Suloise migrants passed through the gates of the Abbor-Alz mountains only one year prior to the Twin Cataclysms. There, three minor noble families split from their brethren. Tired of a years-long trek and willing to settle in largely uninhabited plains, these families banded together, forming a new Suloise House: the Maure.

    "Following clues of ancient dwarven settlements in the nearby hills, the Maure soon discovered the Delagos Caverns, a complex system of natural caves that seemed to promise a limitless supply of valuable gems. The Maure began construction of a grand castle not far from the mines, and the foundations of civilization took hold. The Maure called their new homeland 'Urnst,' after a founding Suel house of great import, both to hearken back to the old empire and to begin their lives anew."

    Dungeon #112 said: "A clutch of Suel warlocks, servitors, artists, intellectuals, petty nobles, and cultists split from their fellow migrants upon reaching fertile ground in the shadows of the mineral-rich Abbor-Alz Mountains. Under the leadership of Slerotin's eight mighty apprentices, these misfits formed House Maure, a new 'family' built upon the precepts of arcane exploration and immorality. They ruled their subjects from the imposing Maure Castle, a monolithic edifice carved of night-black granite."

    So one major discontinuity here is that the "three minor noble families" described in the LGG arrived in the Abbor-Alz Mountains a year prior to the Invoked Devastation. The problem is this: according to Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, Slerotin's "eight mighty apprentices" are the ones who caused the Invoked Devastation.

    The Octych Trials in the Hall of Memory, room J2 (page 168) has the player characters experience memories of one of Slerotin's eight apprentices during the period just before and after the Twin Cataclysms. The first vision is simply Slerotin lecturing them on Power Magic. In the second vision, Slerotin asks them to create a sculpture of the greatest mage on Oerth as a test of their ambition. In the third vision, the Emperor (presumably Zunid-ad-Zol) is saying "Hey, it sure would be swell if some kind of invoked devastation were to happen to the Baklunish." In the fourth vision, the Invoked Devastation has happened and the Rain of Colorless Fire is in the process of happening when Slerotin calls his apprentices on their wizard phones or whatever. "He says he has prepared an escape with what few citizens he could gather, but he needs your aid in opening a tunnel under the mountain that will lead to safety in the world beyond." The next vision is the journey through the Tunnel of Slerotin. In the next vision, everyone except the Lerara has arrived in what will become the Yeomanry, and the apprentices are asked to choose where in the Flanaess they will settle. In the next vision, the remaining apprentices are in Castle Maure and have created demiplanes to disappear into, using the octychs as keys.

    In any case, the apprentices of Slerotin couldn't have arrived a year before the Invoked Devastation because they had to be in the imperial city of the Suel to be the ones who invoked it (and also to witness the Rain of Colorless Fire, which they do).

    A possibility is that the "three noble families" mentioned in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, perhaps along with the warlocks, cultists, servitors, artists, etc., arrived the previous year and began to settle, but didn't change their name to House Maure until the apprentices of Slerotin arrived and took over.

    I don't think any of them need to be related to the ancient Suloise house of Urnst; I get the impression that they simply admired its ideals, perhaps because it preceded the early Suel Republic becoming an empire; the OJ #1 timeline has the Suel ruled by a "council of noble families" for about 200 years, between 900 SD and 1102 SD, and it seems that Urnst's early government may have been meant to mimic that. "After the foundation of Seltaren, the government shifted from a loose coalition of nobles to an actual 'senate' of delegates selected by the noble houses." (LGG, p. 125)
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