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Wyrms of the Flanaess: Synjje
Posted on Mon, October 31, 2005 by Dongul
Osmund-Davizid writes "Far to the north, a grand old white dragon is patiently mustering an army to lead against the kingdoms of humanity. The barbarian lands are in grave peril due to the large number of forces the Dragon-General can muster against them. The Army of White Doom has come to devastate the northern lands and it may be beyond the power of humanity to stop them!

Wyrms of the Flanaess: Synjje
By: Osmund-Davizid
Posted with permission. Do not repost without ontaining prior permission from author.

Far to the north, a grand old white dragon is patiently mustering an army to lead against the kingdoms of humanity. The barbarian lands are in grave peril due to the large number of forces the Dragon-General can muster against them. The Army of White Doom has come to devastate the northern lands and it may be beyond the power of humanity to stop them!

Synjje “The Dragon-General”

Rage and revenge are the primary motivators behind the old female white dragon Synjje. Her mate and clutch of eggs were slain by a hunting party from Krakenheim several years ago. Since that fateful time, Synjje has dedicated her life to exacting a grim retribution against the Frost Barbarians. This quest has led her to the mysterious Hanging Glacier of Alisedran, where she managed to make several important alliances and began to muster an army far beyond the natural means of the local mountains. She now leads these forces on a campaign to exact revenge on humanity in general and the Frost Barbarians in particular.

Synjje’s Deeds: Synjje began her life as a typical white dragon. She raided opportunistically throughout the barbarian lands and into Ratik on occasion. During these years, she exhibited no extraordinary traits or skills, her actions were typical for her species. About a hundred years ago, she acquired a mate (the white dragon Cryon) and settled into a small cavern network in the western Corusks. Together, these two dragons began raising a clutch of dragons, showing better then average parental instincts for white dragons.

In recent years, a hunting party of Frost Barbarians was conducting patrol in the fringes of their territory. These barbarians came across Cryon while he was hunting. Cryon decimated the party, but a few of the men managed to survive. They regrouped in Krakenheim and returned with a full compliment of warriors. This war party tracked down Cryon and slew him in his lair, along with all the young dragons. Synjje was out during this attack and upon her return to her lair, she was consumed with grief and rage.

Synjje wandered to the east in a blind haze. She was determined to exact revenge on the humans who caused her such pain, but she wanted to make her revenge meaningful, not just random acts of destruction on remote villages. On her wanderings she happened across the most amazing sight she ever saw – the Hanging Glacier (Foot Note 1). As soon as she saw this wondrous place she was inspired to make it her home and attempt to learn how she could use this place’s obvious magical resources to aid her in her quest.

Near this locale is a dilapidated tower known as Glacierwrack. Synjje sought to make this her lair. Upon her entry to Glacierwrack, she found that the tower was not abandoned, but a lich dwelled within. The lich, named Murodoc, was obsessed with researching both the Hanging Glacier and a mysterious spellbook known as the Ice Shard Tome (FN 2). Synjje, being able to speak, negotiated with the lich. They were able to come to an understanding that Synjje would assist the lich in his research if he would assist Synjje in creating an army to wage war on the barbarian lands.

Once she was situated in Glacierwrack, Synjje began to exhibit traits far above a typical white dragon. Her ability with spellcasting increased beyond that of normal white dragons, she began to study in Murodoc’s library and has expanded her knowledge of the wider world. She was able to become a sort of apprentice to the lich, and was able to assist the lich in his laboratory. After several years of pure research and study, Synjje felt she was ready to strike back against the barbarians.

Two unique visitors to Glacierwrack were instrumental in Synjje’s work in creating her army – a half-orc priest of Hextor from Bellport and a strange creature fleeing from her own failed bid to wage war on humanity – the ba’atun Yesorkh Pahyeh. These two came to Glacierwrack with agendas of their own but have joined with Synjje for the time being.

The priest of Hextor was sent north by his superiors in order to spread discord among the Barbarian-Ratik alliance that threatens the North Province (as well as getting rid of an ambitious half-orc in a predominantly human priesthood). This priest, named Goren the Ironfisted, advised Synjje to recruit an army out of orcs and Stonefist men and has been Synjje’s primary trainer ever since.

Yesorkh Pahyeh was coming to the Hanging Glacier with the remnants of her army (FN 3) to awaken the rest of her race from their icy prison (FN 4). Centuries ago, these creatures were the bane of the Rakers, destroying large swaths of land to either side of that mountain range, until the Arch-mage Devral led an alliance of cloud giants, eagles, and dwarves to stop them. Yesorkh Pahyeh was recently released from the prison that held her for many years and raised another ba’atun army to invade the lands of the Pale and Ratik. This plot was recently foiled by a party of adventurers and Yesorkh barely managed to escape with her life (FN 5). Synjje saw Yesorkh and her race as the backbone of her new army, and began to assist her in releasing the trapped ba’atun from the Hanging Glacier.

Now after assembling a team of advisors and recruiting troops, Synjje is poised to begin her war on humanity and the barbarian nations.

Synjje’s Domain: Synjje claims a compact portion of the Corusk Mountains, centered around the fabulous Hanging Glacier (location approximately hex J-16 on the FtA map). Her challenges include the fact that it is difficult to train her army and keep it fed high in the mountains. The Corusks are not rich in resources, making logistics a constant problem to her army.

One side effect of the Hanging Glacier’s magic is that cold dwelling creatures are strangely compelled to leave offerings of treasure. Synjje discovered this aspect of the Hanging Glacier early on and has been raiding the treasure caches on a regular basis. Thus, she has amassed a considerable amount of wealth. With these funds, she is able to bribe local frost giants to her cause.

One wild card in the region is a tribe of evil cloud giants. Synjje would love to have one of their floating cloud castles as part of her army. Presently, Synjje has ba’atun diplomats in constant contact with the floating cloud castles, offering them treasure and magic. The leader of the giants, a priest of Memnor named Sagakathan, is holding out for more tribute, but is likely to ally with the dragon if she proves to be a capable war leader.

Synjje’s Magic: Synjje’s close contact with the magical forces behind the Hanging Glacier and her apprenticeship to Murodoc has undoubtedly contributed to her freakishly high intelligence. She has exhibited proficiency with several spells found only in the Ice Shard Tome, thus implying that Murodoc has intimate familiarity with the tome.

Synjje is unusual in that she has picked up magical skills equal to a seventh level wizard. Her spell selection is typically spells that will aid her in combat. One of her favorites is to cast spiderclimb on herself and hide under an outcropping of rock to ambush passers below. Or use a lightning bolt spell to create an avalanche to bury her enemies. Murodoc gave Synjje a magical amulet that allows her to shapechange (this was to allow her to assist in Murodoc’s research) twice per day. She uses that power to pass unnoticed through human lands.

Synjje’s Army: Presently, her army consists of several swarms of ba’atun, some Stonefist men, a sizeable contingent of orcs from the hidden city of Garel Enkdal, and a few advisors. There also exists some random smattering of weird monsters released from the Hanging Glacier (ice trolls, winter wolves, yeti, and ice toads mostly, with at least one remorhaz). Synjje has named her force “White Doom”, with a battle standard of a white dragon’s head on a blue background.

The orcs number over a thousand. They are led by a warrior named Jeklob Spearchucker and while most of the orcs are from the city of Garel Enkdal, there exists a sizeable minority from other tribes throughout the Griff and Corusk Mountains. This makes control of the orcs difficult at best.

The Stonefist men are primarily used as scouts, as they can blend in with the local populace without attracting undue attention. These ‘Fists are the last remains of a much larger war band that had left from Kelten many years ago as part of an unholy crusade of Erythnul against the Ice Barbarians. These brutes are particularly violent, and often disregard orders to do raiding of their own. They number about 1500 and are led by the high priest of Erythnul, Volkol Mandarek (FN 6).

Yesorkh Pahyeh and her high priest Kahshesh Qabir (FN 7) lead the ba’atun forces and thus command the elite of Synjje’s army. There are presently eight fully manned swarms of ba’atun in White Doom (a swarm consists of 32 ba’atun plus leaders). Yesorkh wishes to raise more of her race sooner rather then later, while Synjje favors keeping a sizeable number of ba’atun locked in the Hanging Glacier to use as reserves.

The other forces of Synjje are organized under the leadership of Goren the Ironfisted (FN 8). He has several companies of winter wolves with orc trainers that are used as trackers and shock troops. The yeti can only be aimed at an enemy and let go. The ice toads and trolls are scattered throughout the Stonefist forces to bolster their ranks (a few toads have even been trained to obey simple commands). A few tribes of frost giants have lent some warriors to White Doom for the short term, they number no more then 50. The remorhaz is their primary beast of war, to be kept in the rear of the army until needed in a major engagement. There are even a couple of white puddings kept in great cauldrons that can be dropped upon the enemy by the ba’atun. This makes White Doom very flexible in their tactics and capable of inflicting some nasty surprises on an opposing force.

Murodoc remains Synjje’s primary advisor, content to remain behind in Glacierwrack and give spell support only when necessary, but he is available to be called up to the battlefield should Synjje require it. While Murodoc has been loyal to Synjje and seems to share her goals, Synjje is suspicious that there may be more to him then meets the eye (FN 9). Murodoc and the ba’atun Yesorkh Pahyeh are close allies, even closer then with Synjje and this may cause friction in the future.

Goren the Ironfisted provides most of the battle strategies Synjje is using. He is also attempting to convert some of the orcs to Hextor, with some small success. He managed to negotiate a short term alliance with the frost giant tribes in the area to work with Synjje on her attack on Jotsplat.

Synjje’s Tactics: Synjje is having trouble keeping the discipline of her troops while she prepares them for battle. Synjje does not want to strike before she is ready, but it is fast reaching the point where she must begin a major offensive in the barbarian lands in order to gain enough food to support her army. White Doom has staged several small raids into the mining colonies and villages on the edges of the northern Corusks with great success.

Synjje, on the advice of Goren the Ironfisted, places much stock in gaining good reconnaissance and intelligence before making any moves. To this end, the Stonefist men are working in small groups as spies in the major cities closest to the Hanging Glacier (Jotsplat and Knudje). The ba’atun provide aerial reconnaissance.

White Doom’s basic tactics are as follows: after gaining enough intelligence on the local area, a force of orcs enters the territory, attempting to attract as much attention as possible. These orcs are the initial assault force in White Doom’s general battle plans, their purpose is to trick the barbarians into thinking the attack is just a typical orc raid. Once the barbarians commit their warriors to fighting the orcs, the elite ba’atun swarms swoop down from the air and devastate the barbarians, with the other troops (giants, ice toads, etc.) tearing into the flanks of the barbarian forces. The Stonefisters typically work as deep penetration units, infiltrating far into enemy territory and disrupting the barbarian reinforcements.

Synjje herself prefers to remain hidden in the battle, shapechanged as a ba’atun or orc warrior. She will only reveal herself in full draconic fury if required (such as to sunder a city’s defenses or slay a powerful barbarian leader). She supports her troops throughout the battle with magic and directs them as needed. No tactic is beneath her, and she will gladly use any underhanded method to further her goals. Cold hearted vengeance still simmers in her heart, and she is reserving her full fury for the city of Krakenheim. She plans to raze that city to the ground and bury it in tons of ice and snow in retaliation for the war party that slew her mate and younglings.

Presently, Synjje is planning to cut off the pass connecting Jotsplat and Knudje using most of her “weird” forces of yeti and ice toads. She then plans to attack the remote city of Jotsplat first, in order to perfect her battle tactics on an isolated area that can not be easily reinforced. This will also serve to give her army experience in working together and to get valuable supplies.

Synjje is aware that the populations of these cities outnumber her army, but she intends to lure out their best warriors using her orcs and Stonefisters. Hopefully, by the time the barbarians realize that there is more to White Doom then just orcs, it will be too late and the cream of the city defenders will be engaged in open combat and crushed, leaving the cities relatively undefended.

Once Jotsplat is looted, Synjje plans on turning south into the Snow Barbarian lands and take Knudje. She would most likely attempt to hold Knudje as a supply base. Her overall goal is to continue to the city of Krakenheim and make the Frost Barbarians suffer. After that point her lust for revenge may be satiated enough for her to turn to thoughts of establishing an empire of her own. Once she gets close enough to the Griff Mountains, her army can recruit even more (the Griffs having much more humanoids and monsters then the Corusks), making the scenario of actually being able to hold the land more plausible.

One very devastating tactic that gives Synjje an incredible advantage is the possession of hundreds of magical ice drops from the Hanging Glacier. These drops, when melted, release a trapped monster. Most of these drops contain ba’atun. Synjje had her ba’atun minions collect hundreds of the monster bearing ice drops from the glacier and has distributed them to her leaders. Should they require reinforcements, all they need to do is melt the ice drops and they will have instant reinforcements. Synjje has kept a tight grip on which leaders get the drops and how many. She has kept most of them for herself. Therefore, her army can constantly gain strength as they move. Synjje is constantly having squads of ba’atun harvesting more of these magical drops and delivering them to her forces at the front, ensuring a steady supply of troops. Synjje is being conservative on the amount of monsters awakened, as she is carefully monitoring the amount of food required to keep up her army. Once White Doom crosses into more rich lands, Synjje can afford to be more aggressive with her program of reawakening the trapped monsters.

Synjje’s Fate: Synjje is at the threshold of true greatness and infamy. She has already raised an army far beyond any that could have been naturally formed in the Corusks, and is presently moving towards Jotsplat. While there are some differences among her troops and leaders, they are primed for combat and will likely follow Synjje as long as she is successful.

The barbarian kingdoms have no idea of the danger they are facing. The unnatural raising of this huge army is far beyond any of the barbarian war chiefs’ experiences, and their armies are not prepared to deal with this kind of threat. The northern lands may be forever changed by the introduction of Synjje and the Army of White Doom.

NOTES:

1. The Hanging Glacier is a huge glacier that is plunging over a cliff, but remains magically suspended in mid air. More unusual is the presence of pieces of ice that contain miniature monsters that can grow to full size when the ice is melted. (See From the Ashes, page 67 for more details) A large amount of one particular type of creature was present in the glacier fall – that of a diabolical winged snow monster known only to the most erudite sages as the ba’atun (bah-TOON).

2. The story of the Ice Shard Tome is related in Dragon 243. This spell book contains much in the way of cold spells and spellcraft and includes highly detailed notes about the Hanging Glacier itself, but is written in a hard to decipher language and in terms that are alien to human spellcasters. Rumors of a dark curse seem to follow the tome around. Ever since it was discovered and brought to civilization in CY 574, most of those who have handled the book have died gruesome cold-related deaths. At present, the tome is being auctioned off for sale in the city of Dyvers. Murodoc will attempt, through agents, to buy back the tome or steal it.

3. This background assumes that Yesorkh Pahyeh was unsuccessful in her invasion described in module UK 7, and managed to flee from her attackers and make her way east. Proposed retro fit location for UK7 is the narrowest point of the Rakers, with the village of Lurneslye in the eastern Pale and Melmond in western Ratik, with a tortured pass connecting the two.

4. Ba’atun resemble evil looking baboons about 5’9” tall, with large white bat-like wings. Their fur is an icy blue color. They are devil worshippers, with average to genius intelligence, and have priests capable of at least 7th level. Some exceptional individuals can also become wizards. Their important statistics (in 2nd edition terms) are as follows:

Hit Dice 2+1 (base), Armor Class 4, Move 9”/ 21” flight, # Attacks 3, Damage 1-6, 1-4, 1-4 (bite/claw/claw), they have a special attack of a fear inducing screech (save vs. spells at + 4 or be struck by fear for one round), they save vs. cold at +2 for half or no damage but have a -2 penalty vs. fire.

The ba’atun have a highly militaristic society and always act in an organized manner. For every squad of 8, there is a wing sergeant with 3 HD. Two squads form a flight led by a AC 3, HD 5 flight leader, who has a +1 bonus to all attack rolls and carries magical stones that can be used to entangle an opponent’s wings (as per a web spell). Once per day, a flight leader can fire ice shards from his hand for 2d8 damage. Two flights make up a swarm, led by a HD 7, AC 1 swarm leader, who has a +2 bonus to attacks, carries magical ice javelins, and can breathe a cone of cold causing 3d8 damage once per day.

See the module UK7: Dark Clouds Gather for more details. For 3rd edition statistics on Ba’atun see http://www.enworld.org/cc/converted/index.php

5. These background events are from module UK7: Dark Clouds Gather. The recent events describe a possible outcome of that module. This background can be modified by the DM to fit with any time or place as needed, before or after the Greyhawk Wars.

6. This priest is the younger brother of the infamous priest Bamair Mandarek, who orchestrated numerous Stonefist massacres into Frost Barbarian territory (described in WGS1). Volkol is of 10th level and possesses many magic items sacred to Erythnul to include an intelligent Mace +3 (the mace has the power to enrage its wielder and cast prayer once per day, other powers to be determined). He is obsessed with bloodlust and slaughter, even repelling the priest of Hextor with his savagery!

7. These two ba’atun survived the events of UK7. Yesorkh now has the spell casting abilites of an 12th level wizard and Qabir now has the abilites of a 9th level priest of Mephistopheles to reflect the passage of time from UK7 to the present. Qabir has a full staff of assistant priests under him and there are a couple of ba’atun learning wizardly magic from Murodoc.

8. Goren the Ironfisted is a 10th level priest of Hextor. He is not trusted by his compatriots in Bellport and sees the success of White Doom as a way to vindicate himself in the eyes of the Church of Hextor. His tactics are sound and has proven to be a fine trainer of troops and war leader. He is always armed to the teeth and excels in personal combat, his prize possession is a LE scimitar of speed that has the power to dance once per day (as per the sword).

9. Murodoc is actually a gelugon devil-wizard who is attempting to open a portal located deep within the Hanging Glacier. This portal is actually a way to an alternate Prime Material world, the homeworld of the ba’atun. This world is dominated by the ba’atun and devils under the vassalage of the Archdevil Mephistopheles.

Murodoc’s mission is to pave the way for the ba’atun servants of Mephistopheles to gain a foothold in Oerth. The Ice Shard Tome contains important notes on the rituals Murodoc requires cause the Hanging Glacier to end its stasis. This would result in the glacier falling into the valley below and releasing an entire nation of ba’atun to enter the world through the portal. Yesorkh Pahyeh is aware of this plan. Indeed, she is a favored servant of Mephistopheles himself and is held as a prime example of ba’atun superiority. It is Hell’s desire that Yesorkh and Murodoc lead a new nation of ba’atun once the conquest of the barbarians has begun.

Both Murodoc and Yesorkh see Synjje’s plans as dovetailing with theirs. But they keep their long term plans secret from the dragon for the time being. Synjje’s reaction to these plans is up to conjecture.

Sources:
UK7 Dark Clouds Gather
From The Ashes
Dragon 243
for the Ice Shard Tome
WGS1 Five Shall Be One
Living Greyhawk Gazetteer
Hell on Oerth
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Re: Wyrms of the Flanaess: Synjje (Score: 1)
by Wolfsire on Thu, November 03, 2005
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This is a very interesting article.  I like the way you wove together elements from different sources to make a regional campaign set up.  I was skeptical about the lich until I go to footnote 9.  Synjje doesn’t know what she is in for.  I guess revenge can do that.  Nice job.




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