Molag rules the eastern Horned Lands to the Ritensa River. It holds the border with Furyondy, but suffered terrific damage during the Great Northern Crusade and is still attacked at irregular intervals. Molag is dominated by hobgoblins and humans. Though mostly ruined, it is still very powerful defensively; the town has an extensive system of underground tunnels. It is set on a low hill two miles east of the Veng River. The current military commander is unknown, as so many (often successful) assassination attempts are made here by Furyondians. Iuz’s High Priestess Althea, the nominal ruler of the city and land, comes here annually despite the attempts on her life.1
The dread city of Molag radiates a despair and emptiness which is unleavened by the livelier chaos of Dorakaa. This malign place became the palatial center for the rule of Nerull’s priests, a god of death and darkness, of enfeeblement and exhaustion, and Molag reflects that still.
What has happened here since Iuz’s coup reflects the chaotic nature of the new rulers. For most of the time, the pretense is maintained that the Hierarchs still rule and that Iuz is now a friend and ally. To further this fiction, Iuz’s orog soldiers remain mostly unseen in their new barracks where they are an insurance policy against insurrection. The fiends in Iuz’s service here are babau, alu-fiends, succubi and major cambions, all capable of shape changing or polymorphing so that they can take the appearance of the baatezu who once roamed the streets. The tanar’ri regard this as one huge joke. Services are still held in the great cathedral, although the litany has changed to reflect a general, nonspecific devotion to evil. Since most Molag people were hardly keen worshipers of Nerull, this doesn’t matter much to them.
These fictions still hold the minds of the humanoids and most of the humans among Molag’s 18,000 residents. Even the events of the Blood-Moon Festival those fateful years past have been accepted by these confused creatures. Of course, some in Molag knew or suspected the truth. They were slain if priests of Nerull or if intelligent, or else controlled and influenced magically by mages and fiends using charm, suggestion, forget and like spells.
On the other hand, Iuz is readying himself for a great summer ceremony in which he will appear in the Hierarchs’ throne room and announce himself the new ruler of the Horned Lands. Because of this, the pretense is beginning to slip around Molag, with some of Iuz’s junior priests, who wear neutrally black robes, beginning to boast of it. The inhabitants of Molag are thus getting confused, but in truth, they don’t care all that much whom their evil master and liege may be. They are too depressed and wretched to care.
Molag has always been a poor city. Starvation and lack of work have always been endemic in such a poorly-resourced land. Molag never boasted many sages, mages or great artisans, save for its armorers, blacksmiths and weaponcrafters. The most important locations of the city betray this all too clearly.
Molag’s walls have hobgoblin guards, with some disguised babau among them. The southern hobgoblins still form the main city troops and watches. Dominating the city, of course, is the great Palace of the Hierarchs. In its central, 13-throned chamber, High Priestess Althea walks, mocking the shades of the dead rulers. She presides here around one-third to one-half the time, with Priest Marynnek presiding at other times. The Palace holds another fifteen of Iuz’s middling priests and a guard of 40 orogs and a similar number of fiends. The adjoining western barracks hold the remainder of the fiend and uroz forces here. The gate of Molag is situated in a forbidding, well-guarded tower to the east of the city.
South of the palace, Nerull’s cathedral holds fewer services than it used to. Even Althea dares not mock the Reaper with a mock service on one of his traditional unholy days. The iron gates leading to it are flanked by 15-foot stone statues of the death god astride a skeletal horse, and they still radiate menace and strike fear even into Iuz’s priests. Ringed by dismal graveyards, the cathedral is a huge, wretchedly despondent and dire place.
East of the palace lie the barracks of the Men of Steelreach, the elite human warriors who served the Hierarchs as messengers, strike force, bodyguards and enforcers of the law in distant lands. There are some 80 men here, mostly now charmed by fiends and mages, obeying the orders of Marynnek, often given via the fiends who have charmed the fighters. Their home lies next to the frightful Gardens of Necrosis, a jigsaw-like tableaux of frozen corpses, dead-hearted and stunted trees, iron and stone statues of figures in agonies of pain or the throes of death, all ringed by jagged stalagmite-like projections which radiate a malign chill.
The most notorious place in all of Molag is the Sanitorium. Priests of Nerull once scoured the city for people close to death, dragging them off here to die in the frozen halls and cells of the place. There, the priests could observe their death throes, extending them by magical means to revel in the extended hand of the Reaper as he took the souls of the shriven. Gold marble, bare stone and huge arched windows with grey-tinted glass make the place awful beyond endurance. That the priests of Iuz have less enthusiasm for such things, preferring violent and messy death, is something of a relief to Molag’s people.
Broadly, Molag has a north-south division in the homes of ordinary folk. Humanoids such as hobgoblins and norkers live in the southern city warrens, the humans in the north. The only distinguished area of the city is the small enclave known as the Flame Shops, after the fire-using blacksmiths, armorers and metalworkers who toil to resupply Iuz’s armies there. Finally, Molag is set back some two miles from the Veng and relatively little river traffic heads down that river to Molag, since the risk of strikes against it from the western Furyondian armies is too great a hazard.
Carl Sargent. Greyhawk Adventures, Iuz the Evil, 1993