The scrolls circulated into the hands of highly reputable scholars of Flanaess, such as Culhan-Re, Iscoeliades, and perhaps even the redoubtable Iquander, evoking most of the time the admiration for Scarlator`s results. Nonetheless, the treatise met the fierce resistance of certain academic cliques, leaded by the stubborn C. Greybane. No one can tell for sure if Greybane`s polemic was driven by his anxiety to defend his threatened antiquated theses, or by mere self-delusions. Contains new monster appendix with Galap-Dreidel link.
Author: Stylian Scarlatos
Editor: Scott Casper
The Mystery of the Lost Suss City
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
The Builders of the Lost Suss City are not Suloise
The fundamental scholarly texts on Flanaess, both the various editions of Savant Sage`s “A Guide to the World of Greyhawk” (1), and Pluffet Smedger`s (et al) “Lively Greyhawk: A Gazetteer,” refer to unchecked rumours, tales, and legends of a lost ruined city of the Old Suloise inside the Suss Forest. Much of the confusion on the builders of the city stems either from its misidentification with the fabled lost Suel city inside the Sea of Dust or from the fact that the Suloise were its last known inhabitants. Complicating matters are fears that Scarlet Brotherhood agents have infiltrated, not only political circles, but academic circles as well, corrupting history to their own ends.
A concise pre-publication of “Lively Greyhawk: A Gazetteer,” ascribed the volume number 11742, contrary to the previous sources, avoids to account any mention of the builders, or the owners for that matter, of the city. This together with “Tha`tis no Tree, tis` a Twisted Suel,” as well as other bardic lore from the half-elven Master Bard Finnobhar Aodhin leave room for re-examination of the subject. Moreover, straight from the special Zagig Yragerne section of the first of the three secret vaults of the Great Library, the incomplete octalogy of the puzzling, and not-yet fully explained “Gord Chronicles” was resurrected. The second part of the octalogy details the only, until the present research, recorded expedition into the Suss forest, at the particular location of the lost Suss city.
Gord`s expedition consisted of thirteen people, including a Master Bard (at least two ranks higher than Aodhin), a half-elven druid (close to attaining the rank of Archdruid), a thief of exceptional skill (a student of Doctor Prosper and the prestigious Grey College), a seasoned Bakluni horseman, and a seasoned Flan mercenary. All those expert adventurers with their varied backgrounds did not seem to disagree that the ruins they discovered, apart from Suloise elements, additionally feature elements of an unknown, ancient civilisation. Their most striking discoveries were the convoluted script and the bas-relief murals, decorating the interior walls of ziggurats.
Iquander`s Treatises on the “Cairn Builders,” and the “Exag Mystery”
Iquander departed from the Society of Sages and Scholars of Nellix to Greyhawk, in order to research arcane lore at the proximate Cairn hills. Two of his beautiful results, the myth of the “Cairn builders,” and the “Exag mystery,” bear tremendous significance to our search for the builders of the lost Suss city.
Iquander managed to categorize the many and different to each other burial Cairn Hills sites into three groups, and incorporated the catch-all term “Cairn builders” to refer to these pre-human races. The bizarre and enigmatic Exag city, within the Mounds of Dawn at the borders of Perrenland with Blackmoor, hosts enormous pyramids within tall and smooth clay walls. It seems like the “Crafters,” i.e. the builders of Exag as the Flan present residents of the city refer to them, are one and the same race with the oldest of the three Cairn builder races of Iquander`s treatise. In an early Zagig text on how to become a dungeon master, whatever this might mean, this is the mythical race of the Wind Dukes of Aaqa.
It is theorized that the Wind Dukes are an androgynous, lawful race with altruistic purposes. At a time before the rise of humanity, the Wind Dukes battled with Chaos, and possibly with Evil (2). The oldest cairns are simple barrows, hidden usually by piles of rocks. They show few artistic elements, and hold carcasses of tall warriors with weaponry and critical wounds. This leads us to believe that these tombs were used to bury the dead from the battle with Chaos, identified by some as the battle of Pesh. It is quite possible that one point of departure of the Wind Dukes for the battle of Pesh was Exag.
The Lost Suss City
There are known to exist two maps of the location of the lost city. One of the maps was sold by an elven Suss Ranger at a gambling den in Elredd, more than a decade past. The other map was kept by the druid Curley Greenleaf throughout the years prior to the Greyhawk wars. Both maps crude geographically depict the city relative to the coast, the forest, the hills, and the Jewel River. However, given the map one is almost impossible to find the location of the city. The maps are quite old or even ancient, at a time that the Jewel River was running west and south of the city. Through the ages the river changed course, leaving marsh behind, and washing out parts of the city, now running over the eastern portion of the city. Additionally, the boundaries of the Suss have shifted, due to the magical reforestation mentioned in one of the earliest texts of Keoland, the Tome of Aldoth, at the years following the Twin Cataclysms, and the more recent deforestation by the Wild Coast landholders. Unless one is proficient in natural history it is extremely hard to discover the city. The largest part of the city is submerged into the marsh and water, around a small peninsula jutting into the river at the midpoint of the marsh. The rest part of the ruins at the small hill of the peninsula is forested. Treasure troves of emeralds and other precious stones are rumoured to be hidden beneath the ruins, guarded by undead horrors.
Few dare to venture into the Suss in search for its lost city, and those who did so regretted it if they survived. The forest can at best be described as fell, dank, and foreboding. It is hostile and dense, getting worse near the ruins, with evil treants, and vampiric trees releasing leaves after preys for their blood. Vegetation and life forms seem to get larger near the ruins. Approaching the city through the forest, a team will encounter migrating humanoid bands seeking the Pomarj, predators lurking by the trails and watercourses, ettercaps, huge spiders, gibberlings, and sussuri. The possibility to encounter the gibberlings, and the sussuri increases as one is closing to the city. Approaching the city from the air is highly dangerous, due to the Green Dragons of the Gnarley-Welkwood-Suss forest complex. Approaching the city via the river is perilous, due to a huge octopus-like monster, and kuo-toa-like creatures.
Despite the partial rebuilding of the city by the Suloise, one can steadily discover convoluted wall writings and bas-relief murals from a civilization older than the Suel. The spirally-convoluted script is similar to the Exag`s hardened clay discs. Moreover, these wall murals bear similarities with the ones encountered in the least old Cairn tombs group of the Iquander treatise, the only difference being that the ruined city`s bas-reliefs are not enhanced by any type of paint. Artistic themes include battles of huge cats versus men and animal-headed men, animal-headed spiders and spider-men versus flying men. Another enigmatic theme is the battle of flying fighters and a wizard with a gargantuan octopus sporting a gem with eight beams above its eyes. The winner of the battle seems to be the wizard, trying to take the gem.
Deep within the dungeons beneath the ruins exists the tetrahedral chamber of the keepers of the “keys.” No one can tell for sure who are the keepers and what are the functions of the keys. One of the walls of the room bears a symbol of eight red arrows radiating from a centre. The other wall bears a five-pointed star. At the top of the small hill at the heart of the city exist a Wee Jas temple, and the Silver Hall. The Silver Hall is a huge chessboard. The ceiling is also a chessboard. Evidently, the Silver Hall is complicative to one that stays long inside it or uses it the wrong way. Early Flannae, who settled at the area and discovered the ruins, were affected by disease and their leader, a powerful druid, was transmuted to a fungoid scarlet beast. Ever since, they avoid the area.
(1) It has been taken into account both the early edition “The World of Greyhawk Gazetteer,” 573 CY, and the seven-volume “Catalogue of the Land Flanaess, being the Eastern Portion of the Continent Oerik, of Oerth,” 576 CY.
(2) Speculation exists that the concept of good-evil, although not apparent in early human civilizations, was comprehendible by the Wind Dukes of Aaqa.
New Monsters Appendix
After the games borrowed from Murlynd`s abode, we can attempt to model certain monsters never described before, unique to the ecosystem of the ruins area. These monsters were encountered outdoors. The author hopes to complete one day the description of the dungeons of the ruins, and the mysterious Silver Hall.
Sussray the Hexopus
AC -2; MV 12´´; HP 150; #ATT 6; DAM/ATT 5d8; MR 50%; SIZE L (10´ tall); AL CE; FIGHTER 15th level; S 19, I 23, W 9, D 18, C 24, CH –6
The presence of this terrible monster is the reason behind the lack of any mention in bardic lore and scholarly texts of the Jewel River being used for transportation purposes. Truth is that the being is a locked-on-Oerth avatar of Pyaray, “the whisperer of impossible secrets” from Melnibone. After the battle of Pesh, the gates of the Suss city were sealed, cutting off any link between Sussray and Pyaray.
He appears as a huge blood red octopus with six tentacles. Atop his head, exists a hemispherical wound. The being used to posses above his eyes the Soul Gem, being stolen by the original resident of Castle Inverness, the great wizard Galap –Dreidel. After loosing the Soul Gem he no longer controls the Kuo-Roschnisk-nisk.
AC 3; MV 12´´/24´´; HD 1-4; #ATT 2 or 1; DAM/ATT d4/d4 or by weapon; AL N(CE); SIZE M (6´ tall); S 18, I low
They are amphibious men-fish humanoids, similar to the Kuo-Toa. They are creatures from another time and world, gated to Oerth to assist the forces of Chaos in the battle of Pesh. Their name was coined by Brother Scarlator, after the “kuoroschnisknisk” word they usually speak. Being soulless, they were controlled by Sussray until he lost the Soul Gem. Under the control of Sussray their intelligence dropped to low and their alignment changed to neutral. They can advance up to the fourth level.
There is enmity between the Kuo-Roschnisk-nisk and Sussray, hence they may assist a team having trouble with Sussray. However, after providing their help they will keep speaking “kuoroschnisknisk,” and will try to interbreed with the members of the party, usually with the result of ejaculating on the PCs. Sussray regulates their population.