Tzeliobas-Aristomenes, Greyhawk Construction Company
Long before the Twin Cataclysms, by the banks of the Jewel River, concealed by dense and hostile forestation, ruins of an abandoned city were discovered by the early Flan occupants of the land. Most of their men were lost during investigative ventures at the area by predators and monsters. Only one team, leaded by a powerful druid, was successful to overcome the obstacles and reach the depths of the dungeons beneath the ruins, merely to return infected by a malign fungus. During the migrations, the Suel newcomers were strong enough to subdue the denizens and re-inhabit the city. From the Iuz-sponsored Obmi to the autonomous Avanson recent expeditions to the so-called “lost” city, it clearly served as a sacred Tharizdun reverential place (inverted ziggurat coins were recovered), only to be destroyed by internal strife and a water catastrophe.
594 CY: Enter the Dragon
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Scott Casper (for providing material and close distance description of Susserus),
Steve Wilson (for useful comments and encouragement to develop his Silver Hall).
A note on Susserus
The encounters of the Suss forest are well described in the standard scholarly seven-volume Catalogue of the Land Flanaess, being the Eastern Portion of the Continent Oerik, of Oerth, by the Savant Sage (1). The Suss is peculiar in the manner that it is a unique location on Flanaess that hosts the enigmatic Susserus (sometimes referred as Sussurus) monster. The Susseri are neutrally aligned solitary creatures, resembling from a distance acephalous large gorillas. Up close, words can hardly convey the oddity that is the Susserus. It is a hollow being, composed of a fibrous lattice covered in thorny appendages. It feeds through its spiked exoskeleton on air, thus producing a characteristic “dronesong,” which sounds like the wind blowing through the wood. A curious effect is associated with the dronesong, referred as the “sleep of the dead,” that is to inactivate the undead. There has been endless discussion among the learned on the etymology of the beast's name, in conjunction with which one came first, the Suss or the Susserus? However, everyone proficient in ancient Oeridian can acknowledge that Susserus is a poetically ascribed name, literally meaning the “lord of the Suss” (from the Oeridian root erus). On the other hand, Suel sages, tend to propose that Suss was the name of a minor noble family of their ilk, and Sussuriel was the name given to the city discovered by this house. Furthermore, alteration of history abounds by the teachings of the stiff Greybane, evangelizing that the Suel were the original builders of the lost city. And much can be said, if such assertions are true, on the potentiality, as opposed to actuality, of Susserus being one more magical creation of the proponents of paradoxical adherence. Albeit of these Suelite puristic preoccupations, in order for one to solve the Susseri question, he should note that finger is on the wind. This non-evil monster feeds on wind and sounds like the wind, its main function being to seal the area from the undead horrors dwelling inside the city.
In the Suss, wind is audible all the time, which heightens a foreboding feeling to visitors. Even when the air is still, the dronesong of Susserus can be heard up to a quarter mile away. Thus, we are forced to wonder whether this merely marks the territory of this solitary creature, or if additionally, this is information dispersal from intelligent automata to a master. The suspicious exclusion of Susserus from all post-Savant-Sage's-guide monster manuals can hardly signify the extinction of the species. The dank wood is too thick and dangerous to explore, and Susserus alone, is quite a challenging opponent even for seasoned adventurers. Not to mention the Susseri lurking inside the unsearched dungeons of the ruins.
A note on the controversial lore of Jewel city (a tribute to Chrysander Greybane)
According to the writings of the Savant Sage, the Jewel River was named after the rumored lost city of the Old Suloise. The rumor is inaccurate with respect to the original founders of the city. While it is not unnatural to elicit that the name of the city was Jewel, more evidence further substantiates that, within the ruins and dungeons of the city, vast troves of emeralds and gold are guarded by undead hordes (see, for example, the leatherbound Adventuring in Greyhawk by Drawmij). The bulk of these treasures were from the legendary realm of the proximate Esmerin, a hidden-within-the-Lortmils settlement, where halflings and giants lived peacefully. A huge emerald artifact, empowered to create illusions and to control weather, protected Esmerin. According to early Keoland texts, a minor house, in bad terms with them, deserted the irenic establishers of the state. They migrated east, towards the Wild Coast, and discovered the Suss ruins. They were strong enough to bend the dwellers to their will and rebuild Jewel to a trading port. Soon, the place was transformed to a center of perversion. They subjugated Esmerin, and with the forces of the artifact they indulged themselves by constantly altering the appearance of the city. Thus, the totally different from each other rare descriptions, saved to the present day, primarily by bardic lore, as well as, by the venerable elf Sir Delius, who had the chance to witness Jewel during its glorious era. Greybane's is such an account, probably influenced by the ancient Sir Delius, a local to the area for many centuries, known to the orcs and goblins simply as Tzelius. Swooping aerial pathways, between tall towers, separated by gardens with minimal ground traffic, and constructed spirally from the heart of the city (following the pattern of the enigmatic Tharizdun spiral) is among Greybane's narrative.
The Silver Hall
On the hill of a peninsula surrounded by marsh and water, once the center of the city, a ruined Wee Jas temple, and the Silver Hall are the most prominent buildings. The many-pillared ancient structure, miraculously, stands in perfect shape. It shines with a silvery moon hue. The glyphs and writings are not Suloise. At the center of the Silver Hall exists a rectangular area (120´x80´), with a checkerboard floor pattern. Of similar construct is the checkerboard floor pattern in one of the rooms of the Ghost Tower of Inverness.
Lucky may be the good traveler who passes by the keep of Sir Delius, at the southern fringes of the Suss. If he is not busy training, after a couple of glasses of Velunese wine, there is a chance he would be in the mood to tell a dreadful story. It was a shiny day when several centuries ago, Delius dared to test his skill and compete alone on the board of the Game of the Dragon, a.k.a. Dragonchess. He bypassed all controls and convinced, by word or sword, the Suel rulers of the Silver Hall, to allow him to play. Upon entering the Dragon, the squares became transparent and two more similar levels materialized, one below and one above the main board. An army of warriors, oliphants, unicorns, and other characters of the adventurer type, heroes, thieves, clerics, a mage, and a king were waiting at the opposite side with grim intentions. On the lower board, two basilisks, one oerth elemental, and six dwarves were ready to strike. On the upper board, one young dragon, two griffons, and six sylphs were ordered. By trial and error he figured that he was allowed to move only one square horizontally or diagonally. Every error resulted in sustaining damage. He headed for the king of the enemy, but before he was close, a griffon from the upper board, and the elemental from the lower board attacked him. Had he not been a swordmaster of extraordinary expertise, he would not have withstood the attacks. The battle continued when the sun was covered. Delius turned to see what happened, only to witness an enormous proportions octopoid monster. Even though all spectators of the game, as well as the rest of the citizens were shaken by this alien presence and hasted to defend the city, Delius was determined to end his test. He ignored all external havoc, until all enemy pawns were decimated. He stepped out of the board victorious, and with five blows he exterminated the octopus monstrosity.
No matter how difficult it is to validate the truth or any pathological lies in Delius' claims, Count Imiric von Suss-Varren, a gnome from Ulek, once a henchman of the deceased Otiluke, has a different opinion. His grandfather, a merchant at that time doing business with the Suel, accounts a relevant story of a winged ruberry octopoid beast working viciously against Jewel city. The monstrosity was not killed, but rather driven away by a desperate experimentation of the high priest who flooded the river to a catastrophic effect. Who can defend any reality of the above ramblings? The only relation the present research can provide is that this octopus-like titanic humanoid has been captured by the drawing of the infamous drow artist Ool Eurts. The picture is inside one of the most rare books existing in very few libraries of Flanaess. The book is a cyclopaedia of divine beings certainly from another time and world, penned by the wizards Drawmij and Tzunk himself (probably after loosing control of the City of Brass by the later). There have been different editions of the book. Only the prototype edition contains the apropos information, copies of which are expected to be in the hands of the most knowledgeable sages.
Notes (Extra References)
(1) Interested readers can find more details on the city and environs in Nellisir Avanson's
Postfest 1: Law Unending, in Finnobhar Aodhin's Places of interest on Oerth, Part I, and naturally, in Yragerne's cryptic Gord Chronicles. A careful examination of all previous material is attempted in Stylian Scarlator's The Mystery of the Lost Suss City . Had Scarlator's treatise been depleted of the special new monster section buffoonery, it would have definitely been interpreted as more than a bamboozlement of an idiot. Apart from that, true lovers of the study would credit Scarlator a scholarly investigation of the Suss ruins, providing intriguing connection with Iquander's Exag mystery , and in parallel, advocating that the joke Kuo-Roschnisknisk and Sussray monsters were intentionally misleading elements of the Zagig genre.