Horned Society

The Horned lands include the region once ruled by the Horned Society between Whyestil Lake, the Veng and Ritensa Rivers, and the Fellreev Forest. Once the demesne of the proud and villainous Horned Society, this area has lately been divided into two fiefs, east and west, to better combat Furyondy’s guards and raiders from the Bandit Kingdoms. Most of the evil humans who once lived here have fled, leaving the land to hobgoblins, orcs, and other evil nonhumans.

Locations and Settlements in the Horned Lands:

Historically, these lands were the province of warring humanoids. They were united only in the current century by a small but powerful group of human servants of Nerull allied with warriors from the Bandit Kingdoms who sought greater cohesion and a more ruthless, less chaotic evil than their homelands typically possessed. The human/humanoid alliance of evil was cemented as the ascendant Hierarchs, their Dread and Awful Presences, took their thrones in Molag. The lands were then known as the Horned Society, after the grouping headed by the Hierarchs. The humanoids believed them to be fiends, and since the Hierarchs were never seen and many of their servitors and messengers were fiends, the stratagem was successful enough. Few opposed the rule of such mighty beings, although the many tensions of the land, humans versus humanoids, humanoid races against others, tribes of one race against another, remained.

When Iuz deposed the Hierarchs, he simply made their dissimulation a reality. With the aid of the tanar’ri Lord Pazrael, Iuz struck by magically transporting over two hundred fiends and elite phalanxes from his Legion of Black Death into the palaces of Molag. The Hierarchs there never had a chance of escape. Now, the pretense that fiends rule on the thirteen thrones of Molag is still widely believed by humans and humanoids of the lands. What matter if the fiends appear slightly different than before? Fiends can craft their appearances as they will and they are still objects of terror. Only the most important or intelligent leaders of soldiery, mercenaries, powerful bandit groups and the like know of the change in rulership. Others believe that there has been no change at all, but that the Hierarchs have allied with Iuz. In truth, it makes little difference. Most of the people of the Horned Lands, as Iuz and his servants now term these lands in everyday speech, care not who their evil masters are.

While Iuz has a fair grip on this land, there are problems here. There are many human/humanoid struggles and battles, as explained below. One Hierarch is still free in the land, although this is not a major problem. The medium- and longer-term problem is that this land has very poor resources. Traditionally, the people and humanoids here have survived mostly because of raiding into the Bandit Kingdoms and especially the Shield Lands. Away from the borders of the Veng and Ritensa Rivers and the Fellreev margins, the land is poor and lacking in fecundity. For the time being, the Horned Lands survive on booty taken from the Shield Lands during the war, and supplies obtained by trading that booty via Admundfort. But before long, scarcity of resources will demand that somehow this land develop or acquire other resources. Iuz’s best options here include extending his grasp on Tenh or acquiring fertile lands from Furyondy. The latter means war, of course, but then Iuz seeks this in due course in any event.

The Horned Lands have many tensions and conflicts. To date these have been managed by Iuz and his Boneheart rulers in Molag. How long that control can continue remains to be seen.

Folks and Factions:

No one knows the true age of the Horned Society. Most scholars believe its Hierarchs were opportunist bandits who filled the void in Molag left by the disappearance of Iuz in 505 CY, only to be swept away in 583 CY after the demigod’s return. More ominous speculation places the roots of the organization well before the great migrations of old. Certain old druids speak of the dreaded “Horned Ones,” cultists who stalked the night in ancient times and preyed upon the Flan tribes. It is not certain if the modern Horned Society is actually a descendant of this dark sect or simply an imitator exploiting old legends.

In any case, the Horned Society came to prominence in 513 CY, a few years after the disappearance of Iuz in the north, when the cambion’s malign kingdom went leaderless. The group seized the city of Molag and set about consolidating the territory around under its rule. Hobgoblins, orcs, and other nonhumans flocked to the Horned Society’s dark banner. Conflicting reports placed the group’s members as either worshipers of the god Nerull or devotees of deviltry. Both seem likely, as it appears the organization was a congregation of many factions, not a monolithic entity. The actual glue that held it together was likely more dogmatic than spiritual.

The Horned Society was made up of thirteen leaders, called Hierarchs, including powerful fighters, clerics, rogues, and wizards. The philosophy of the Horned Society was rulership through fear and might, with overtones of human supremacy and the subjugation of lesser races to achieve their goals. The Hierarchs and the rest of the leadership of the Horned Society were presumed destroyed in Coldeven 583 CY, during the night of the Blood-Moon Festival. Demonic forces sent by Iuz slew the Hierarchs there and allowed Iuz to quietly take command of their nation. It is possible that one or more Hierarchs survived the incident and is attempting to rebuild the organization, but most assume that the group is no longer a threat.

Still, Arkalan Sammal, the renowned sage of Greyhawk, made an interesting appraisal based on reports gathered by the old sage in recent years. The society, he claims, survives in the present day and has metamorphosed from a group centralized within a single nation to one with its secret tendrils buried across the Flanaess. “The Horned Society must surely have known that the return of Iuz would spell its ultimate downfall,” he reasons. “It would have planned for this eventuality, most likely by moving its operations out of Molag before the Old One’s axe fell.”

Rumors during the last five years have placed the group’s headquarters along the coast of the Pomarj, in Bone March, or even in the Bright Desert or Rift Canyon. Most people no longer care, for Iuz is now perceived as the true threat. However, suggests Arkalan, the Horned Society has become even more dangerous since its dispersal. As the Archmage Mordenkainen was heard to comment last year during a conclave in Greyhawk, “Are their members now dozens, hundreds, thousands? Where are they headquartered? What do they plot? Can we rest assured of the death of the Unnamable Hierarch? To the one who could answer these questions would go the thanks of a free people.”

Empire of Iuz

Horned Society

Greyhawk Samaryllis Samaryllis