Lore-Win: Revenge of The Creator
Throughout the eras, there have been many plots in the world of Faerun. Even to this day, there is no end to the hidden conspiracies that hide in the shadows. They watch patiently, waiting for their time to strike. Their time to emerge and seize control of the world, and establish their dominance.
Some of these are ancient beings from a long lost empire, seeking a return of their power. Others are protectors of a long dead race, still trying to protect the remnants of their creators. Still others are new upstarts, seeking a new nation of their own making. Or immortal beings that seek an eternal paradise for themselves and themselves alone.
Often, there are wizards involved.
But to this day, there is one conspiracy that I still think about…
Does anyone remember that time it was the lizard people?
Welcome back to Lore-Win, Dungeons and Dragons lore series. I, as always, am your humble Loremaster, Sokar. And today I’m venturing into one of the times that crisis gripped the Sword Coast. A crisis that threatened the city of Neverwinter, and the entire Sword Coast besides. A crisis that has largely been forgotten, even amongst those who observed it.
Wait, Lizard People?
Yes, you read that right. Lizard people.
Our story begins long, long ago. Tens of thousands of years before 1372 DR. Before the rise of humans. Even before the arrival of the elves. Back when the northern Sword Coast was coated in jungles. This was when the Creator Race ruled.
Not to be confused with THE Creator Races. Like the reptillian Sarrukh.
Source: Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide (4th Edition)
These reptilian humanoids stood between 6 and 7 feet tall, and while they look similar to the lizardfolk of today, their scales are softer, something they claim marks them as superior. The Creator Race, or Old Ones, was certainly less robust as a result, but they made up for it with their intellect and in the arcane.
Indeed, the Old One society was structured as a magocracy. Magical and intellectual development for the Creators held greater prestige over more physical aspects of their society. In place of sports, they preferred puzzles or strategy games. Activities with a trend towards magical aspects or themes were strongly preferred.
This also meant that poorly educated warriors were often looked down upon in Old One society. The warriors have a lifetime of intellectual abuse to expect, and those with status in their culture prefer to leave menial labour to others.
Yes, the Creators viewed the owning of slaves as a natural part of their lives. In fact, they believed in their superiority so strongly that it was commonly held amongst the Old Ones that all life would someday bow to them and their arcane dominance was the pinnacle of culture.
And so on, and so on. The usual high strung wizard stuff.
You may have noticed that magic plays a large role in the affairs of the Creator Race.
The Old Ones were naturally gifted in the arcane arts. It is said that even with years of study, even skilled wizards could not match the arcane powers of a gifted Creator sorcerer. Indeed, there are even claims that they crafted magic itself. Or that sorcerers are not truly descended from dragons, but from them.
These are just rumours though. Ones with little evidence, and that have long since faded into obscurity. Besides, dragons are still around and the Old Ones are notably absent.
And there is a reason for that.
At their height, the Creators had but one foe that served as a true threat. The great wyrms themselves. It was, according to what few sources are available, a costly war. One that left the death tolls on both sides to rise up to staggering levels. So they crafted a plan.
They would enter a sort of hibernation under the earth. There they would sleep for centuries, millenia, until it was time for them to return. Until the dragons had dwindled, and the land was ripe with creatures to enslave and rule over in their reconstruction of their lost empire.
In fact, they think so highly of themselves and their lost civilization that the Old Ones had no gods. Instead, they believed they were the only things worthy of worship.
Millennia passed and the Creator Race slumbered beneath Faerun. In that time, empires rose and fell. Wars raged across the land. Disasters changed the face of the Earth. And the nations we know today build upon the foundations and bones of old.
And in the case of Neverwinter, the city was quite literally built atop the resting place of the Old Ones. It was here that a queen of the Creator Race, or the Old Ones as they became known, slept.
Somewhere under here.
Source: Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
The powerful Creator, Morag and her subjects slept within a magical device known as the Source Stone that protected them from the cold. And, some claim, kept winter from Neverwinter. Rumours about this magical item spread , and eventually reached the ears of a cult leader with a lust for power named Maugrim Korothir.
Maugrim found the Source Stone, but unknown to him it was protected by magical defenses. One of these, a magical plague known as the Wailing Death, afflicted Maugrim and left his infected and dying.
But Morag saw a use for the human. She wanted to reclaim her old power. To make the Sword Coast a jungle once more, and all its inhabitants her slaves. And more than that, Morag grew more powerful for every death within the proximity of the Source Stone.
So it was that Morag healed Maugrim of his affliction and brought him into her service. She then instructed him to spread the Wailing Death through Neverwinter and thus, increase her power.
Morag, as seen dialogue.
Source: Neverwinter Nights
And so a plague spread through the city...
The Hero of Neverwinter
The Wailing Plague first broke out in the Beggar’s Nest, a poorer district of Neverwinter, and made its way out from there. Clerics and healers found the disease strangely resilient to both magical and medicinal cures. With hundreds of deaths over a few days, it is no surprise the city was quarantined.
Of course, cities tend not to like being the site of a plague. Neverwinter is no exception to this, and so Lord Nasher Alagondar, ruler of Neverwinter, began efforts to resolve the situation. As part of this, he petitioned Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun, Lord Mage and Masked Lord of Waterdeep, to design a cure.
Meanwhile, the paladin Lady Aribeth de Tylmarande, her fiancee Fenthick Moss, and the priest of Helm Desther Indelayne spearheaded the efforts to help with the cure. But tragedy struck when hostile mages attacked a graduation ceremony at an adventurer’s academy in an effort to steal away the gathered reagents.
Or, rather, the creatures that the reagents were attached to. While the mages were foiled in their attack, the creatures had fled scared into the city.
The sole survivor of the academy aided Lady Aribeth in recollecting the reagent creatures. They succeeded in the task, only for Desther to betray the city. The helmite priest and his followers revealed themselves to be Maugrim’s cultists and stole the cure before fleeing to their stronghold. The surviving adventurer followed suit and defeated them, brought back the cure, and was crowned the Hero of Neverwinter.
Of course, that hadn’t stopped Morag’s plot…
It’s Always Luskan
While the plague had been cured, agents with ill intent still infected other groups outside the city. These incidents were dealt with by the Hero of Neverwinter, but it mattered little. The plague had done its job, it had caused mass death.
And there are some on the Sword Coast who are all too eager to take advantage of such things.
Luskan, in particular. You may remember some other trouble they caused.
So Luskan did what Luskan does and declared war on the city. And within the city they found an unexpected ally: Lady Aribeth. For after Desther’s betrayal, Aribeth’s fiancee Fenthick was executed for his “collaboration” and Morag began work to turn the paladin to her side.
The Creator queen had appeared in Aribeth’s dreams, promising her revenge, power, all the usual. It took time, but Morag’s corruption found something inside Aribeth to anchor onto, and the paladin vanished from Neverwinter, became a Blackguard, and sided with Luskan.
To be fair, her armour was already spiky. Maybe we should have seen it coming.
Source: Neverwinter Nights
But this was only a distraction to allow Morag’s minions to work in the dark. She sent Maugrim and his cult to collect four artifacts from her civilization, the Words of Power. These artifacts would allow Morag to free herself from the Source Stone, and begin her conquest.
Of course, as is so often the case, Morag was plagued by those most persistent of pests: adventurers. The Hero of Neverwinter was hot on the cult’s trail and managed to collect three of these artifacts. In their travels, they met another Old One by the name of Haedraline who offered her help and provided warnings about Morag and Maugrim. Maugrim, however, managed to obtain the fourth.
This one artifact, in combination with the power Morag had collected from the death caused by the Wailing Plague proved to be enough. The Creator queen had gained enough power to break free from the Source Stone and threatened a return, so the Hero of Neverwinter did the only thing they could…
They killed Maugrim, took hold of the fourth Word of Power, and used the four artifacts to breach the Source Stone to put an end to Morag. They did so with the help of the allied Creator, Haedraline. Inside the Source Stone, they battled through Morag’s servants and engaged the queen in combat.
And, of course, emerged victorious.
As for Luskan, well to not leave threads hanging the Lords’ Alliance intervened and repulsed the attack. And Aribeth? She was apprehended and ultimately, executed. This caused tension between Lord Nasher and the Hero of Neverwinter and led to the latter being covered up in history texts.
But Are There More?
Though that was the end of Morag, it leaves a question: Are there more of her kin waiting to emerge from their hibernation?
Rumours have abound about the ancient race slowly making their reappearance. However, these began centuries ago at this point with no evidence to show. Still, they could make a powerful foe for a campaign, and there are texts to support this.
And by texts, I mean Neverwinter Nights and Dragon Magazine Issue 303. Of course, you'll need a little rule conversion to use them in modern Faerun. Though, I’ll admit, I do find them a touch silly. I view them as an antagonist best suited for comedic campaigns. A villain who thought they could outsleep the dragons clinging to their delusions of grandeur? Or perhaps, like Haedraline, an ancient ally to aid against a scheming foe?
Whatever the case, that’s up to you. And if you want to adventure further, be sure to check out the Wizard’s Tower for all your Dungeons and Dragons needs.
Until we meet again, may fortune favour you.