The Great Kingdom's Wild Cards
The Oeridians brought a handful of magical artifacts of extraordinary antiquity with them. Until its rumored destruction by the earth elementals of Al-Fasrallah, the Mighty Servant of Leuk-O – a huge war machine/juggernaut resistant to damage from weapons and magic -and the similar machine of Lum the Mad wreaked havoc on opposing armies. Orbs of dragonkind were used to capture dragons from the Griff-Corusk Mountains and press them into service. The effects of a squadron of dragons creating magical fear in a wide swathe was decisive in many a battle.
Of course, such artifacts as these and the crystal of the ebon flame and Johydee’s mask are well known to sages and students of history. Other artifacts of equal power of non-Oeridian origin are known to them also. But the timing of the use of the artifacts the Oeridians possessed, and the employ of planar travel and teleportation to move them from one site of battle to another with great speed, made the artifacts devastating in the hands of Oeridian combat mages.
The second wild card comes in the form of deposits of rare magical ores in Oerth’s crust. The dweomerstones and related magical gems around the Nyr Dyv are one example of these, but Oeridian mages and priests proved to be of unequaled excellence in tracking down fragments of magical meteorites, stones, or crystals—some magically shaped by the of powers and avatars when they still walked Oerth’s lands. In some places, such as The Causeway of Fiends, whole blocks of such ores could be extracted and enchanted. The most fell and dire of these magical deposits, of course, is the Cauldron of Night from whence the malachite throne itself was crafted.
Though some mages trembled at dealing with such evils, the combat mages of the Oeridians were only too ready to use any source of power if they felt they could contain and channel it. That the darker energies might only escape that control over a period of decades or longer was a long term possibility which mages in the service of aggressive generals did not bother too much about.
These freak finds were of far greater value to the Oeridians than to their rivals because the Oeridians alone traveled vast distances to find them. The Flan and Bakluni never migrated so far, and the Flan never had the magical skills to understand the energies’ value. The Suel never had the time to exploit them—being driven from one land to another by vengeful Oeridian armies. And still the Oeridians had more.
“Johydee’s Children” is the name bestowed upon very, very rare Aerdi individuals of exceptional magical gifts. The name is given for two reasons, not because the individuals concerned are literally descended from Johydee. First, Queen Johydee of pre-Devastation history was a priestess of great magical prowess, favored by the gods themselves. Second, Johydee is known for her famed artifact, the mask, which allowed her to resist many forms of magic and to take on the appearance of anyone she chose.
In some sense, Johydee’s Children also wear masks. They have the mask’s magical resistances to attack forms, and their are also masked. Johydee’s Children are strange, otherworldly people. Either they are wholly aloof, without any apparent emotion, or else they seem to live in a spiritual world which raises them far above the cares and feelings of
ordinary folk. Either way, those who know them come to think of them as masked, inscrutable, impossible to “read.” The Children are loners, never understood by others.
In the history of Aerdy, a handful of these gifted and strange people have played crucial roles. Queen Yalranda is said to have possessed precognitive powers which marked her as one of the Children. The mage Schandor, creator of the Court of Essence in Rauxes, was surely another. He is regarded as the architect of Aerdy’s once famed code of justice. Historians consider that the relative peace which existed between Aerdi royal houses for
centuries is largely due to his wisdom building upon the informal understandings developed by Yalranda.
Such influences tend to be subtle and not easily seen. Schandor’s legal reforms had an effect only noticed over centuries of time. Yalranda’s prophecies to the House of Cranden foresaw their fate, and her writings still succor and protect the few remaining princes of that royal house today.
There are a few exceptions, of course, such as General Azharadian, whose intuitive knowledge of enemy battle formations and tactics surpassed anything his advisers and scryers could match, and who never lost a major battle in his 40 years of commanding Oeridian armies.
Today, there is only one Child alive for certain; Gwydiesin of the Cranes in the Grandwood Forest. There are old men, riddlers and seers, who tell that The Walker has not yet left the land, but that is another story, too long in the telling for this first chapter.
Carl Sargent. Greyhawk Adventures, Ivid the Undying, 1995