Postfest III: Abi Dalzim
Date: Sat, December 11, 2004
Topic: Rogue's Gallery
Abi Dalzim, whose name in Ancient Baklunish means "Father of Droughts," is both a skilled elementalist and a dreaded practitioner of necromancy. For half a century his villainous exploits have earned him the enmity of not just the locals of Kester but also Alhamazad of the Circle of Eight, the Beygrafs of Ket and clerics of several faiths including Geshtai and Al’Akbar.
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Dalzim was probably born in 510 CY in the Dry Steppes, as dervish stories relate his evil was born when the discord beyond the mountains died, likely a reference to the Hateful Wars that occurred eastward across the shielding Crystalmists. Little is known of his childhood or his real name. With certainty he belonged to one of the dozens of nomadic tribes, or Al-Badia that roamed the Steppes since the Twin Cataclysms. It was in his barren homeland that Abi Dalzim was first apprenticed under a little known elementalist that had been banished from the exclusive Zashassar College of Magic in Ekbir City. The wizard, known only as the Sand Sha’ir, was a nomad by birth as well and chose the impressionable teen principally for his raw magical talent. But, some also think because they may have been distant relatives.
The apprentice and his mentor moved to the outskirts of Ket around 524 CY where Dalzim became indoctrinated to many aspects of Baklunish spellcraft including dealings with genie-kind. During one of these negotiations, a summoned elder dao cryptically demanded the master rename his pupil Abi Dalzim as part of his conditions of service. As the student Dalzim grew older he apparently inherited his master’s prejudice against “enlightened” city folk, or Al-Hadhar, for they both persistently plotted cruel and unprovoked revenges upon them. The dao’s prophetic naming of Abi Dalzim came to realization in 538 CY when Dalzim and a cadre of summoned genies destroyed the wells in the Caliph of Ekbir’s palace. The Beygraf of Ket also became affected when Dalzim and his genie servants stole a large amount of treasure from his vaults in Lopolla by tunneling from underneath. This last great scheme was discovered and the two miscreant wizards were forced from their tower whereupon they retreated to the lawlessness of Ull in 542 CY.
It was in the dark alleys of Kester that Abi Dalzim then met an Incabulite necromancer who offered to show him a new path of dark magic. After Ket, he had learned all he wanted from the Sand Sha’ir, so to prove his desire to join the necromancer, Dalzim murdered his mentor in the name of the Black Rider. With the Incabulite’s inspiration, Abi Dalzim’s evil flourished over the next decade. In that time his twisted mind brought many new magics into the world. Few have not heard of the moisture draining spell Horrid Wilting. While among the dervishes of the desert, Dalzim’s elemental conjuring Scarf of the Dry Steppes is much more infamous. Around 552 CY, Dalzim and his necromancer ally came into conflict with a then young wizard named Alhamazad who wandered the south of Ull. Alhamazad found company with the dervishes of the Dry Steppes and clerics of Al’Akbar to set back the evil intrigues of Dalzim. This effort resulted in the deaths of many heroes, but in addition, the Incabulite was slain while Abi Dalzim became the trophy prisoner of the nomads. Held in the far-flung town of Kanak for a few years by his own people, it is said Dalzim was cruelly tortured and mutilated for his misdeeds. Near death and wholly broken, witnesses recall the day Abi Dalzim was taken from his imprisonment by a large dao who claimed rights to the offending wizard back in the Great Dismal Delve. None were brave enough to contest the genie’s claim and assumed Abi Dalzim would be banished from Oerth forever.
There is no account of what transpired with Abi Dalzim during his lengthy incarceration in the Elemental Planes, but within the last decade he resurfaced with renewed power and accumulated resources to reestablish himself in a ruined ancient Oeridian keep in the Ulsprue Range, suitably overlooking the town of Kester. The former occupants, a clan of ogres was intimidated sufficiently and now serves him as guards. From his new abode Dalzim works covertly through a younger agent, the ambitious Nura bint Ramil, who is the only female Pit Master in the trade town of Kester. Today, few in the West want to believe Abi Dalzim has returned, most thinking him to be a ghost or an imposter hiding among the mountains. This serves him all too well in his future exploits.
Abi Dalzim seeks rare artifacts like the Cup and Talisman of Al’Akbar as well as an object called the Chalice Everlasting to sacrifice to his grisly patron, Incabulous. For this endeavor he recruits unsuspecting adventurers through his agent Nura bint Ramil who more often than not never know whom they truly work for. Dalzim in the meantime terrorizes the immediate region with created undead and summoned elementals. Caravans traveling to the trade nexus of Kester at night are disrupted on occasion by shriveled up zombies aptly named the Dry Ones or equally ravenous desert ghouls. Sightings of Dune Stalkers in the Dry Steppes have raised brows among the dervishes. So far Abi Dalzim has no designs for retribution on Alhamazad or the Beygrafs of Ket, but they are by no means forgotten.
Abi Dalzim (W18) is a short Baklunish male who is definitely venerable of age but somehow lives on to practice magic despite the reported mutilations and bone breakages delivered on him long ago by his captors. He is not often seen in the flesh, instead hiding his true appearance behind a voluminous sandy colored, hooded robe that combines the properties of Blending and Displacement. His voice is low and whispering, much like sand blowing in a storm. He eschews opulent attire and excessive jewelry unless it has a purpose. Due to his long career, Abi Dalzim has treasure caches hidden all over the Baklunish West and as such he could bear drastically different items on any given encounter. One of his most cherished items is a concealed Rod of Withering that once belonged to his necromantic ally. Abi Dalzim is also known for employing magic items linked to the elements, especially earth. He is never without a few vials containing Dust of Dryness, Dust of Disappearance or Dust of Illusion. At his most sadistic he will carry Dust of Sneezing and Choking or other custom made dust items. Other items that round out his repertoire might include Stone Salve for defense, a Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals and a clear spindle Ioun stone for his own personal sustenance. As a specialist Transmuter, Abi Dalzim is barred from evocation and enchantment spells but has made up for this deficiency quite well with devastating use of necromancy as well as a clever aptitude in abjuration and illusion. Dalzim shuns fighting directly, so undead and elementals are always employed to slow down his foes while he can unabashedly unleash a Horrid Wilting spell on both enemy and ally alike.
The name Abi Dalzim first appeared in the Tome of Magic entry for the 8th level wizard spell Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wilting. In the conversion to edition 3.0 the Player’s Handbook dropped his name from the spell, but his legend now lives on in Greyhawk.