Denizens of the Isle

The Isle of Dread is home to more than just scattered fragments of the once mighty Olman empire. The forest teems with a rich palette of natural and magical life, including mysterious non-human tribes, demons, and things altogether even more foreign than denizens of the Abyss.

This woman appeared older than should be possible. With hair like spider silk and skin like sun-bleached, wrinkled paper, the group thought her to be a mummified corpse at first glance. While dressed as a native Olman woman, she claimed to not be one of the Olman people, but rather, an inhabitant of the island, which she claimed was an important distinction.

Xochicotzin was encountered by the party while traveling through the Olman ruins outside the Olman Outpost after crashing on the isle. Courteous but cryptic, she asked the group about life outside the island, and asked to relay to her stories of their travels and adventurers. They graciously did so, which pleased the impossibly old woman. In return, she told them of the safest path to reach Tamoachan and warned the group of eyes that were on them, watching them, and hating them, foreshadowing the arrival of the demon Olangru.

Standing over seven feet tall, Olangru was a fearsome and clearly demonic creature, afflicted with the same illness the group had encountered at the Bay of Blood and elsewhere in Fogmire. Bearing the fierce head of a mandrill ape, the hind quarters and haunches of a great reptile, and ropey tentacles for arms that come from no known creature, his countenance was as fearsome as it was twisted and horrid.

Brief conversations with Olangru prior to their battle revealed that Olangru was quite clearly mad, possibly from some form of abandonment he alluded to, possibly due to the simple fact that he was a disease-tainted creature sprung from the abyss. He moved with loping, maddened, frantic movements, lurching forward, always moving.

Olangru first made his presence known in secret as the group made their way south along the old Olman highway towards the village of Tanaroa. Engaging in a campaign of psychological torture, it seemed Olangru meant either to psychologically break the party or else scare them into warding away from his private domain. Ultimately his attempts failed and the party found themselves trapped in Fogmire, albeit with severe mental scars. Olangru took this opportunity to secure sacrifices for his demon-god, whom he referred to as “Demogorgon”, by kidnapping various members in the party’s charge, including Amella Venkalie, Tavey Nesk, and Urol Forol.

When the party entered his private shrine in order to rescue their charges, they found Olangru had laid several traps anticipating their arrival, clearly meant to draw them in. When they at least breached his inner sanctum, Olangru seemed almost afraid, albeit glad to have still more sacrifices to give to his demonic master. This hubris was his undoing, as the party barely managed to slay him and break the curse of Fogmire.

Most curiously, Olangru claimed that the party members – those alive to confront him – “smelled” like a woman whose name the party did not recognize, a woman whom Olangru spoke of very poorly as a “slut”, “whore”, and “queen of harlots”. Nearly a year later, it was determined that the identity of the woman whom Olangru smelled was Malcanthet, Demon Queen of the Succubi, whose scent clung to Othar and Dorian on account of the Shendilavrian perfume they had found among the personal effects of Rowyn Kellani. Even more jarring was the confession from the Demon Queen that Olangru’s fall from grace with his lord, the event which caused him to erect Fogmire and spurred his madness, was, too, designed by Malcanthet to ensure that Traxen would be the recipient of The Revengencer’s Aegis.

“Great and fearful tyrant king” in the Olman tongue, Temauhti-tecuani was a massive, battle-scarred tyrant lizard who made the tar pits his home and hunting grounds. Charged with the defeat of this massive beast by Chief Hunapo and the other heads of the Mora Tribe and knowing that his defeat would be integral to the acquisition of much-needed tar used to repair boats and buildings, the party found this massive behemoth about to kill and consume several phanaton tar-gatherers before their quick intervention saved the small creatures and made them a friend of the tribe.

After his very narrow defeat, Temauhti-tecuani’s body revealed hundreds upon hundreds of arrow heads, spear tips, and broken weaponry lodged in the upper layers of skin of the great beast, from countless attempts on his life prior. With the bogeyman of the Isle at last laid low, the party claimed a magical kukri knife from the muscle tissue of his leg, a remnant of the last great battle fought against Temauhti, which claimed a well-known Olman brave.

Zotzilaha’s Aspect:
Zotzilaha, also known as Camazotz, is the Olman deity of fire, bats, and things that attack from the darkness. His avatar, an eight-foot, bipedal, yellow-eyed bat-man sacked the Olman village of Tanaroa just as the party was arriving to request aid. Enraged that an idol had been stolen from his shrine elsewhere on the Isle, the party quickly became aware that the exact object the avatar was seeking was in their possession, found several weeks prior and hundreds of miles away. This, too, bore the fingerprints of the Demon Queen of the Succubi, who had one of her varrangoin minions steal the idol and place it in the Olman shrine that she would eventually lead the Gang of Five, her proxies, to via Urol Forol, who purchased the map to the ruin from a demon disguised as a drunk.

Capricious, wrathful, and fierce, like the fire he represented, Zotzilaha’s avatar eventually rewarded the party for the return of his idol, though he nearly killed them in the process. Now momentarily sated, the twin volcanos of Zotzilaha’s Fangs have quieted.

A mournful couatl who served the Rakasta Olman tribe. The Rakasta were a tribe of shape-shifters who refused to flee the island interior after the cataclysm at Thanaclan, instead building their temples and attempting to establish a new city just outside the island’s central caldera. Unfortunately, over a centuries-long war of attrition, the Rakasta people were defeated, their temples made empty, and no one left to mourn or remember them save for a single couatl, bound by his grief to mourn the people he could not save.

After centuries of waiting, the group found and penetrated the inner sanctum of the Rakasta tribe temple, and after proving their intentions were pure and that they possessed the power to stab at the darkness that engulfed the central plateau, the couatl gifted the group with the unused weapons of the Rakasta people, a small armory of masterwork weapons, as well as a number of magical toys the Rakasta people had intended as gifts to the phanaton tribe they frequently traded with. His duty discharged, Toniatuh returned to his home plane, grateful that his vigil had enabled another to take up the spear in the Rakastas’ place.

This cheeky and intelligent phanaton was the leader of the small cluster of phanatons that the party encountered and saved from Temauhti-tecuani. Apparently having not known the great beast was using the tar pits as his hunting grounds, Binpo’s party would have been slaughtered entirely without the party’s timely intervention. To thank them, Binpo invited the group back to his village to speak with his tribal elder. Affable, friendly, intelligent, and prone to jitteriness, Binpo is a representative phanaton, and very characteristic of his species.

Objectively speaking, the Most Interesting Phanaton in the World. Chieftain of the Phanaton tribe, Chief Teketek committed some of his fiercest warriors to the defense of Farshore after the party retrieved a number of toys made for the phanatons by a lost Olman tribe, among them magical variants of ball-in-a-cup, uncle-spinny-dervish, and klakky-klakky-thingy.

Irgzid Uzeye:
One of the troglodytes of the subterranean village of Laogroat, Irgzid was along among his people in that he had not been “blessed” by Laogzed with the savage fever that inflicted his tribemates. The anus end of a vast assembly-line operation that crafted shadow pearls at the behest of Demogorgon, Irgzid’s tribe was passed the noxious pearls by kopru minions of Demogorgon for polishing, finishing, and steeping in the abyssmal muck they cultivated before at last being passed off to emissaries of the Crimson Fleet for distribution throughout the world. The taint that saturated these newborn pearls infected everything around them, turning most of Irgzid’s tribe into reverse lepers in varying stages, those farthest along becoming so covered in layers of horn, bone, scale, and surplus skin that they would become immobile and eventually smother themselves to death.

For reasons unknown, Irgzid alone was immune to this taint, and while the rest of his tribe thought the fever a blessing, Irgzid believed that perhaps their kopru handlers were knowingly sacrificing the well-being of his tribe to use them as mules for the pearls. Hoping to enlist the group for aid in freeing his people from this curse and regaining favor with Laogzed, Irgzid begged the group to come along so that he could act as their guide, even going so far as to share his suspicions, when pressed on the matter. The group reluctantly agreed to have him along.

When they at last reached the massive chamber that heralded the opening to Golismorga, the Mad City, Irgzid fell to his knees before the mysterious apparition of a troglodyte ancestor who further aided the party by indicating to them that in order to stop the production of shadow pearls beneath the isle, they would have to sunder Tlaloc’s Tear and flood the caverns beneath the island. Irgzid apologized for having not come clean sooner, but in the end, the group was thankful for the direction and forged on to Golismorga alone, leaving Irgzid to return to Laogroat and wait for deliverance. His current whereabouts and state are unknown.

As the kopru high priest in charge of what could be considered the bowels of Demogorgon’s shadow pearl production line, little is known about Ulioth. Commander of a vast number of fearsome kopru, this bane creature kept watch over the Black Ziggurat of Holashner, wherein the pearls received from Thanaclan, above, came to be steeped in the black bile produced by a fearsome, otherworldly creature who dwelt in the ziggurat’s base, swimming in its own corrosive, toxic bile and warming the pearls as a creature would eggs to be hatched.

Ulioth met his end inside the ziggurat, his only dying reprieve a garbled “Too late.”

Goodluck Dorian:
Mayor of the cargo cult village of Sarenrae and second in command of the Cult of Sarenrae, Goodluck Dorian is an unfortunate dupe of the insidious zealot Noltus Innersol. A lizardfolk formerly known as Rasz’asz, Goodluck Dorian was taken in by Noltus’ promises of a beautiful, painless, rich life if he would devote himself and his fellow lizardfolk to the worship and exaltation of the goddess Sarenrae. Forsaking his chiefdom to follow the charismatic holy man, Goodluck Dorian relocated his people to the caldera of the Isle’s central mount near the Olman city of Thanaclan, which Noltus used as a staging ground to investigate the demons in the area.

Under Noltus’ guidance, Goodluck Dorian changed his name, compelled his people to do the same, and then built structures, clothing, and trappings of life in Sasserine as depicted in a book that Noltus gave him. Lacking the raw materials, these artifices were largely nonfunctional and composed of banana leaves, bark, roots, palm fronds, reeds, and other jungle flora. Goodluck Dorian preferred a top hat, can, suit jacket, and monocle.

A seeming true believer, Goodluck Dorian spoke with manic fervor about the virtues of Sarenrae and all she had blessed his people with, thanks to Noltus. Thoughts that Noltus might be conniving him or using him clearly never entered his mind, and when the group last left the village of Sarenrae, Goodluck Dorian remained there, gently guiding his tribe and waiting patiently for the return of their spiritual guide.

After hearing of the misguided tribe saw to by Goodluck Dorian, Skald took it upon himself to right the lizardfolk as best he could. After undoing a series of enchantments and compulsions cast upon them, Goodluck Dorian remained a follower of Sarenrae, having glimpsed something in her service that he believed was missing. When Skald extended to him an offer to serve aboard the Sea Wyvern and bring the light of Sarenrae to the Abyss, he agreed. He serves the current crew as the ship’s cook, and since returning from the Abyss has opted to remain on the ship permanently, following his friends and crew wherever their travels take them.

Noltus Innersol:
Originally a priest of Sarenrae, goddess of healing and the sun, little is known about Noltus’ early life. Vesserin Catherlay, Chaplain of Farshore, claims he first met Noltus while the former was living Sasserine years back. Noltus had swept through the area with an eager smile and an undeniable energy that lead many to believe he could revitalize the sagging spiritual state of the citizens, but the firebrand quickly showed himself to be perhaps too zealous even for serious adherents: Noltus’ definition of “worship” involved subjugation of the will, surrender of the flesh, donation of all wealth, and “purification” of the sort that involves killing or converting unbelievers, both by the sword.

Some of Noltus’ past was elaborated upon by Skald de Styes, erstwhile member of the Sea Wyvern crew, who claims that in his native land of Cheliax, Noltus was also briefly seen as a force for good, but his methods were far more in line with the infernal values of his home nation, and here, too, he alienated the people he would be saving. So unethical was he, in fact, that Skald had attempted to expose him, and was forced to leave his homeland in self-imposed exile or face death for his good deeds.

Eventually the church of Sarenrae in Sasserine decided to try and solve the problem of Noltus by giving him a crusade he couldn’t possibly win that would expose him to as few innocents as possible: sent to the Isle of Dread, he was given a vague mandate to spread the light of Sarenrae to the darkest of places. Unfortunately, it seems Innersol was able to corrupt even this: after arriving on the Isle, he made contact with a tribe of lizardfolk whom, through superior firepower, he managed to impress that his goddess was prime among all gods, and that the savage lizardfolk of the Isle would have to subjugate themselves to her or face annihilation.

While initially resistant, Noltus’ charisma and judicious use of mind-controlling magic allowed him to seize control of the tribe, who over the course of several years he began to shape and mold into a cargo cult based around the culture of Sasserine and the exaltation of Sarenrae. Convinced he was bringing civilization and “the light” to “benighted and ignorant dark-skins”, Noltus searched for some time to find the “darkness” he was told to banish. Where he finally found it was at the demon-infested caldera of the central plateau of the island, which, unknown to him, was also the beating heart of Demogorgon’s shadow pearl operation. Making a final visit to Farshore to inform Vesserin Catherlay, whom he still believed to be his friend, he then departed for the central city of Thanaclan.

It is unknown what happened to Noltus after he entered that demon-infested temple, but when his picked-clean bones were found deep within the sulfur-stinking bowels of the temple, his journal indicated a good deal more cynicism than his insane religiosity let on: scornful of his subjects, Noltus believed somehow that by sacrificing the lives of his followers he could banish or control the darkness at the heart of the island. Dissenting concerns he penned in his own hand as devil’s advocate were squashed with the retort that they were “only lizardfolk”. In the end, Noltus overestimated his piety and power, and it is better that he died for it than the woefully misled people who held his flag.

Khala, Aspect of Demogorgon:
So beloved among demons that he was gifted not only Demogorgon’s power, but Demogorgon’s fearsome likeness, sprouting a second face from his first. Already appearing to be nothing so much as a massive, demonic baboon, Khala is another bar-lgura demon, albeit one of considerable intelligence, strength, and favor with his lord.

Responsible for the portion of the shadow pearl operation that started in Thanaclan, Khala personally nurtured the massive, abyssal clams with brine and blood, oversaw the harvesting of the pearl seeds, and was solely responsible for the demonic rites that primed the pearls to be steeped in whatever dark magics they would someday unleash, before being sent through the lowest bowels of the temple to Ulioth, waiting in Golismorga.

While aware of the group’s presence and their intentions at the temple, Khala was not scornful or hateful: on the contrary, he understood why they were doing what they were doing, and why, because of that, they must be enemies. Even going so far as to speak plainly to the group and permit them to arrange themselves in the configuration they thought best before combat began, Khala was so convinced of his superiority over his foes that it may have been his downfall. This, he claimed before the fight, was not an issue: his part in the operation was largely ended, all of the shadow pearls had been distributed already save a few extra that were made specifically to address losses, and even if defeated, he himself would simply return to the Abyss. It is assumed that is exactly where he is now, though his fate under the new Demon Prince is likely not an especially bright one.

Denizens of the Isle

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