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Wyrms of the Flanaess: Razisiz
Posted on Tue, May 03, 2005 by Dongul
Osmund-Davizid writes "Atop a spire of stone in the Sulhaut Mountains lies the venerable blue dragon Razisiz. Known to some as the “Dragon-Sage of the Sulhauts”, Razisiz has become a living body of lore concerning events from the time of the Twin Cataclysms. He has the fanatical support of a tribe of nomads, has his claws in much of the trade in the region, and is the dominant power over a wide swath of rich territory. He plies his trade with expertise and finesse, and is become a major power and information broker far beyond his domain.

Wyrms of the Flanaess: Razisiz
By: Osmund-Davizid
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

Razisiz, “The Dragon Sage”

Razisiz, like most dragons of his ilk, is a domineering and greedy bully, viewing anything and everything he can see as his own personal property. He has aspirations of being a great temporal leader of men, and heartily enjoys playing lord and master over the humans that dwell in his territory. He is also a subtle and cunning brute. He hit upon a scheme that brings him tributes of salt from the caravans of Kanak and has set up a system of toll collecting from adventurers using the mountain passes of the Sulhauts. Razisiz is very proud of his sly economic acumen, and may be vulnerable to flattery if a party can regale him with stories of his own cleverness.

What really sets him apart from his kin is his driving ambition to become a renowned sage. Razisiz has a genuine fascination with the accumulation of knowledge, especially ancient history. In particular, he has explored Suel and Baklunish ruins with zeal normally found in adventurers seeking treasure. While his expeditions yielded him much monetary and magical wealth, he is most proud of his collection of scrolls and writings. His collected knowledge of the ancient Suel Imperium and Bakluni Empire rivals any human sage. Many sages and academics would pay Razisiz dearly for bits of this lore, and the dragon has set himself up quite nicely as a resource for hire. But he is no fool. Many adventurers have attempted to ambush Razisiz in the guise of being sages seeking knowledge (1). He takes care to display their bleached bones on the ramparts of his lair.

His Lair: Razisiz’s known lair is an ancient Suel fortress that guards a long forgotten mountain pass high in the Sulhaut Mountains, near the formation known as Avig’s Rocks. The fort, known as Kura Zicole, is a smallish keep surrounded by rather short stonewalls. Razisiz has made extensive diggings around the fort, creating a network of tunnels under the castle bailey. He has also broken up the inner keep and fashioned it into a crude throne for himself, and coils around the broken stones when entertaining his guests. When he does address his followers or sees visitors, he makes a big show of boasting about his defenses and hints of his secret treasure vault under the keep.

This is all just an act, for his real lair is 30 leagues away from Kura Zicole. In truth, Kura Zicole only has a small stash of mostly trade goods (mostly bags and blocks of salt) and small coinage (primarily copper and silver coins, with some small gems) deep underneath the keep. This meager horde is still heavily trapped, and to this date, no adventurer has successfully breached this treasure chamber to discover Razisiz’s ruse.

The true lair of Razisiz is a lonely spire of rock that affords him an excellent view of the southern Dry Steppes (location is at about hex 68-N1). This is where the dragon keeps his choice items, to include his invaluable collection of historical scrolls and tablets. The entry to his lair is at the base of the spire and it is very small, barely enough room for the dragon to squeeze into. Razisiz usually uses magical aid to reduce himself when he enters his lair. This has the advantage of further camouflaging his lair, for those seeking a dragon’s lair would not suspect he would be able to fit in the small entry cave. The entrance soon gives way to a large hollow cavern, and this is where Razisiz spends much of his time.

Razisiz’s home is full of literary materials, writing implements, maps, ancient artifacts, and stone tablets recording the histories of the Suel and Bakluni from their beginnings to the Twin Cataclysms. Razisiz has arranged these items in an order that only he can make sense of, should someone find themselves alone with the horde, they would not likely be able to find anything specific without the dragon’s guidance. These items alone have values beyond measure as historical relics, but Razisiz also has the standard dragon treasure horde of monetary and magical wealth. Razisiz has also rigged traps to destroy these artifacts should his lair be breached and will threaten this destruction should his life be in peril.

Razisiz himself has not fully comprehended even half of what he owns. Most of the literary items are still incomprehensible. Razisiz suspects that he may be holding onto some vitally important pieces of information and will often hint that he knows more then he does in order to drive prices up. Most of the information he has traded has great historical and cultural significance but not of tremendous current importance, aside from intimate knowledge of the workings of Tovag Baragu (5). That information is the most expensive and closely guarded of Razisiz’s horde.

His Domain: Razisiz lays claim to a broad area, from the headwaters of the Rumikadath River to the lands of Attimal, northward to the city of Kanak (but giving the Shah of Lake Udrukankar a wide berth – see below for his encounter with the Shah) and as far south as the northern fringes of the Sea of Dust. His closest draconic neighbor is the old female blue dragon Volte (2), who claims a small section of the northern Sea of Dust. The two dragons have a mutual understanding with each other. Indeed, they have mated in the past (3). On occasion, each will travel through areas claimed by the other. Razisiz often flies into the Sea of Dust to explore the ruins there, while Volte flies northward to seek better food.

Razisiz has pressed a local tribe of nomads, the Lightning Lords, to be his personal army (4). They charge tolls for him, collect the Kanak tribute, patrol his lands, and carry out his will. The dervish-leader of the tribe acts as Razisiz’s major domo and personally interviews any who would seek audience with him. This tribe has a permanent settlement at the base of the formation known as Avig’s Rocks, and it is there that they do their business with Razisiz. Only rarely does Razisiz allow members of the tribe to escort guests to Kura Zicole. The tribe does have standing orders to bring to Razisiz any Pre-Cataclysmic artifacts that they may run across.

His Deeds: Razisiz was born in the Dry Steppes and began wandering as soon as he was old enough to leave the nest. As a young dragon, he explored the northern shores of Lake Udrukankar and there he boldly challenged the Shah of the Waters. The great marid easily trounced the upstart dragon, and in sparing the dragon’s life the Shah imparted the dragon with this good advice, “Only engage an enemy when you know him better then he knows himself”.

Razisiz actually swallowed his draconic pride enough to learn from this encounter. Since that fateful meeting, Razisiz became determined to become an amasser of knowledge and to use such knowledge to gain power. He began his quest at the mysterious Tovag Baragu. Razisiz vanished into one of the many gates of this circle and came back a veritable sage in the field of ancient history (5).

These experiences changed Razisiz, he now takes great pride in his store of knowledge even more so than his horde of treasure. At first, Razisiz was just concerned with knowledge that would give him an edge on thwarting some enemy or gaining some treasure, but he recently happened to meet the great adventuring priest of Al-Akbar, Abi-Al Jhordon. This remarkable priest managed to have an in depth conversation with the mighty dragon and turned him (at least partially) towards a path of seeking knowledge for its own sake rather then for simple exploitation (6).

Lest anyone think that Razisiz is content to live the sedentary life of a scholar, his sense of self-aggrandizement still shines through in many ways. For example, once he established his lair at Kura Zicole, Razisiz began a reign of terror over the city of Kanak at around 370 CY. Razisiz was masterful in scouting out the city, gaining allies among rival tribes, pitting nomad versus city dweller, and manipulating all of these factions into a state of near civil war.

During these years, he gained the fanatic loyalty of the Lightning Lords when he destroyed their hated rivals. From that point on, they pledged their eternal service to him. With the assistance of the Lightning Lords, Razisiz worked out a bargain with the Amir of Kanak that a small percentage of the salt trade would be set aside as tribute in exchange for Razisiz recognizing Kanak’s sovereignty. To this day, the Lightning Lords still collect “The Dragon’s Salt”. Though now most of the merchants of Kanak have forgotten the origins of this tribute, it is seen as a cost of doing business; if they want to export their salt they must pay a portion to the Lightning Lords who then offer it to Razisiz.

Razisiz has horded the salt and has been able at time to either flood the markets of the Bakluni in order to hurt his competition or alternatively save it for when prices are in high demand. Through his Lightning Lords, Razisiz has agents in most of the trade cities in the Bakluni west. Information gets back to him on how to manage his trade and manipulate the market, and he has had great success in dabbling in the salt trade using the Lightning Lords as intermediaries. Razisiz also uses the Lightning Lords to collect tolls on anyone traveling though the Sulhaut Mountains. The nomads will also hire themselves out as guides for outrageous prices. Through these methods, Razisiz has a steady trickle of funds pouring into him at all times, making him very wealthy without having to constantly raid into the civilized lands and freeing him up to do more research and archeological expeditions.

Razisiz’s Magic: Razisiz puts a premium on spells that can gain information, and thus he usually has those types of spells at his disposal. He is rumored to have developed a spell that can manipulate his lightning breath (7). Furthermore, Razisiz is very interested in educating his nomads in the ways of magic (in order to create better hunters of lore). Usually, the nomadic culture is dismissive of wizardly talent, but Razisiz has occasionally managed to find a few of the young Lightning Lords that has an affinity towards the magical and scholarly arts.

Through his connections and his wealth, Razisiz has pressed for one of his promising nomad students to be entered into the Sign of the Red Talisman in Zeif, the infamous wizard’s guild. He is attempting to teach some wizardly skills to his people himself through his captured Bakluni scrolls and spell books. So far, his work has borne a little fruit, as a couple nomads have picked up enough to become low level wizards. These people are highly feared and respected by their nomad peers as being “touched by the lightning” (8).

Razisiz’s Fate: Through his information brokering, trade manipulation, and the selling of artifacts, Razisiz has a steady flow of money coming in from many sources. He is very proud of his successes and is always looking to expand his enterprises. To this end, Razisiz is contemplating opening a trade route to the eastern Flanaess over the Crystalmists. Using the Scarlet Brotherhood’s connections would open up more markets for his salt and for his information. The Brotherhood would pay dearly for information connected with the Invoked Devastation or the old Suel Imperium, so there is mutual advantage to the two allying. Razisiz does not trust the men in red, and wants more information regarding the Brotherhood before he trusts them enough to make a formal alliance. In the meantime, he trades a little with them.

Recently, King’s Agents in Keoland have discovered that emissaries of the Scarlet Brotherhood, operating out of the occupied lands of the Sea Princes, have received strange relics and luxuries from the Sea of Dust through an as yet unidentified source. It is likely that this source is Razisiz.

Adventuring parties may get involved with the dragon-sage in many ways. By dealing with groups as disparate as the Red Talisman, Zashassar, Iuz, the priests of Al-Akbar, and the Scarlet Brotherhood (and secretly, followers of Vecna), Razisiz may be setting himself up for political intrigue and conflict. Keoland and its allies, as well as the Yeomanry, would all be interested in stopping the other factions from receiving information from the dragon and may seek to either ambush their rivals before or after they see Razisiz or else negotiate with the dragon themselves.

The as yet untranslated information that Razisiz has may range from nothing more then curiosities from the past or could be as important as the rite to call upon the Rain of Colorless Fire! The stone that reveals the gates of Tovag Baragu is by itself worth a king’s ransom. While no one knows exactly what Razisiz’s horde contains, none of these groups wishes to see anything of great potential fall into the hands of their rivals. Razisiz has set himself up as indispensable to translate many of the ancient artifacts, but if one group or another gets desperate enough, they may attempt to forever silence the dragon-sage.

Razisiz may also hire out sages to assist him in translation, should he grow frustrated with his own efforts. He is always looking for more pieces and information to add to his collection and may be willing to pay for them, rather then simply demanding them in exchange for the holder’s life.

NOTES:

1: Razisiz only rarely allows humans to enter his public lair. Usually his sage advice is given through intermediaries. One such notable exception was the sage Abi-Al Jhordon of Ekbir, who actually had a long and in depth interview with the dragon. Another human suspected of having researched Razisiz’s best information is the wandering priest of Iuz, Beryn Talkin. Iuz has shown much interest in the gates of Tovag Baragu in the past, and it is likely that this priest has seen the grand ‘Rosetta Stone’ (see Note 5 below) of Tovag Baragu.

2: No relation to the dragon of the Bright Desert by the same name, it is just a coincidence.

3: Razisiz and Volte has produced much of the young blue dragons in the region. As parents, Volte and Razisiz have shown better family instincts then most blue dragons, keeping contact with and training their offspring. Most of these younglings have yet to make any great name for themselves, save one aspiring young male. This dragon, called Blutigblau, has ventured far into the deep Sea of Dust to recover some very rare archeological finds, which he has traded with his father. Through his young son, Razisiz is gaining even more sources of information on the old Suel Imperium.

4: This tribe is known as “The Lightning Lords” both for their association with Razisiz and for their reputation as being the fastest skirmishers in the lands of Attimal. They can be recognized by the wearing of a blue armband. Their chief is the battle scarred nomad ruler – Al-Shal Suum Avig. Their numbers tend to fluctuate, they now stand at a few hundred warriors, with a few bands located further north to monitor the trade routes for Razisiz and collect intelligence.

5: Razisiz’s greatest treasure is a huge stone circle (about 10 feet in diameter) that is a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for the gates of Tovag Baragu. This stone has markings on it that more or less accurately describe the use of the many gates at Tovag Baragu, as well as their destinations. The language of the hieroglyphics is an incredibly ancient strain of Bakluni that modern scholars can not translate. Only a few of the most knowledgeable sages can have a chance to decipher the runes and thus use the stone to accurately travel the gates of Tovag Baragu. Razisiz himself can only decipher about 20% of the writings (even with magical aid). Assign a base 5% chance for any other sage with specialization in ancient Bakluni languages to translate the stone (adjust the chance for additional resources, magical aid, etc.). See the adventure module Die, Vecna, Die (pages 7-8) for pictures of Tovag Baragu and its gates.

6: There is some slight evidence that Razisiz is having a change of heart. As he has come to love his work as a scholar so much that he is seeing his horde of accumulated knowledge as more then something to merely amass personal power. He is becoming more idealistic regarding his artifacts and does not wish to destroy them and deprive the world of the accumulated knowledge of the ancients. He has not yet disarmed his traps guarding his horde, however, showing that he still has the blue dragon greedy philosophy of destroying his horde rather then see it stolen.

7: Statistics of the spell (in 2nd Edition terms) are as follows:

Lightning Rod (Alteration)
Level: 4
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (the object or individual touched)
Duration: 1 round/ level
Casting Time: 2 (1 for blue dragons)
Area of Effect: See below
Saving Throw: See below

This spell has two aspects, defensive and offensive:

The defensive spell can charge a normal object (typically a staff) with a powerful attraction of lightning. Any normal electrical storms within sight of the caster will be drawn towards the charged item and lightning will strike the item as opposed to other objects in the vicinity. The area of effect for the spell in this mode is a 10 foot radius per level of the caster.

For aimed lightning bolts (such as from a wizard spell or dragon’s breath), the spell allows a second saving throw to avoid the bolt. A successful save will mean that the bolt is attracted to the charged item rather then the intended target, for no damage to the intended target but the charged item will be used up in the.

Razisiz has been known to use the spell offensively, touching an individual with the spell. This will make lightning more likely to strike them. In game terms, a bolt can thus arc up to 90 degrees around walls, down holes, or into buildings to strike a person affected by the spell. Razisiz often will touch a foe with this spell and allow him to run away to his companions, then breathe his lightning after them. The lightning will then seek out the effected character, even if he is behind or within shelter. The target is entitled to a saving throw to negate the spell.

8: There are about six nomad wizards at present: five with Razisiz and one in Zeif. The five with the dragon are low level mages (levels 1-6). The student in Zeif is now almost ninth level and is Razisiz’s primary mouthpiece in Zeif. His name is Tabalard, and through him, Razisiz has many clients for information both among the wizards of the Red Talisman and of Ekbir’s mysterious Zashassar. Tabalard is the man to find if one is interested in tapping into Razisiz’s collection of history and information.

SOURCES:

Living Greyhawk Gazetteer and Vecna Lives for information concerning the geography and Beryn Talkin; Die Vecna Die and Greyhawk Adventures for additional information on Tovag Baragu; Sorcerous Societies of the Flanaess by Gary Holian in Oerth Journal Vol. 1 # 3 for the information about the wizard guilds.

The dragon Razisiz was mentioned in the Dungeon Master’s Guide (1979 printing) by Gary Gygax just as an example. There was no background information on the dragon at all, so he became the inspiration for writing this article. There was an additional mention of Razisiz in Dragon #134, again with no background.

This article was also inspired by the Wyrms of the North articles by Ed Greenwood published in Dragon magazine and articles written in the Oerth Journal by Eric Boyd. For some additional material on Oerth dragons, refer to Dragons in Aerdy, which can be found at: http://www.dracheninsel.de/insel/add/greyhawk/dragons.htm by Joe Katzman, as well as the Dragons of Oerth database collected on Canonfire!.

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Re: Wyrms of the Flanaess: Razisiz (Score: 1)
by mortellan on Tue, May 03, 2005
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Excellent article O-D! Not only is this in an area near and dear to myself, expanding upon the culture of the region but its about dragons as to boot! I also applaude your finding this obscurely referenced dragon and building him up. I did a similar thing with Abi Dalzim out of the Tome of Magic. Having been tortured for a time in Kanak and then moving back to Ull, I'm sure ol Dalzim would know of his neighbor Razisiz and send unwitting adventurers to their demise his way. ;)



Re: Wyrms of the Flanaess: Razisiz (Score: 1)
by Osmund-Davizid on Sat, May 07, 2005
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Great idea to have your character incorporated into mine. Abi Dalzim is another excellent source of power brokering in this region that may either dovetail or rival Razisiz.

I think this is one of the great ways to write up an aspect of Greyhawk - taking an oblique reference and making it your own.

Let me know if you use old Razisiz in any of your campaign adventures, I'd be interested to see how he upsets the balance of power in the (often neglected) bakluni west.

O-D


]


Re: Wyrms of the Flanaess: Razisiz (Score: 1)
by Braggi (braggi@greyhawk.gates) on Sat, May 14, 2005
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Thanks for another W.o.t.F.! This adds nicely to the various articles by the same name in the Oerth Journal. Yet another dragon to flesh out the world with. :) I always enjoy your posts, O-D... you have a great writing style and give tons of detail.



Re: Wyrms of the Flanaess: Razisiz (Score: 1)
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