Population: 8,603 (sarrukh 1%, wereserpents 88%, werecrocodiles 11%)
Government: Alliance of Clan Leaders
Religions: Sebek (werecrocodiles), Sseth (now Set) (sarrukh)
Imports: Magic, weapons
Exports: Relics from other planes
Alignment: LE, NE
The ancient sarrukh empire of Okoth collapsed millennia ago, only to be slowly reborn over the last several centuries. Today, the Empire of the Shimmering Sun encompasses the entire Lake of Salt, including the salt flats along Azulduth's edge that are revealed during the hot season. A loophole in the ancient treaty between Mulhorand and Unther left the waters of the Lake of Salt unclaimed. Thus, hints of the sarrukh's renewed presence in the heart of their ancient homeland have been ignored by the slumbering Old Empires, even though Mulhorand now rules much of Unther.
Okoth is ruled by the remnants of the Okothian sarrukh, who have for now put aside the differences that shattered their empire long ago in a civil war. The bulk of the realm's populace consists of wereserpents and werecrocodiles (immigrants from the ruins of Sekras). Okoth's inhabitants spend most of their time lurking in ancient caverns and ruins beneath the salt flats (or the water's edge, depending on the time of year). They venture forth only to battle extraplanar khaasta raiders and to recover ancient Okothian artifacts from the surrounding lands.
Life and Society
Though the Lake of Salt is one of Faerûn's harsher environments, this dry, hot region is perfect for the reptilian races of Okoth. The inhabitants live furtive lives, sneaking about the southern reaches of Mulhorand and Unther to avoid drawing the ire of the God-Kings of the Old Empires and their servants. Both the wereserpents and the werecrocodiles spend much of their time in animal form, allaying the suspicions of the Mulan while adding to the dangerous reputation of the region's wildlife. When so directed, however, they assume humanoid form and infiltrate the surrounding communities.
Although the lords of the Great Clans nominally rule Okoth, in truth the fractious Okothians are held together by the iron will of Pil'it'ith, the albino sarrukh lord of Clan Sar'Ruuss. Pil'it'ith lairs amidst the ruins of Sar'Rukoth, the ancient seat of his clan and now the capitol of the realm. From there, the albino sarrukh. directs the escalating war with the khaastas and entertains emissaries from the Church of Set.
Major Geographic Features
Only two waterways break the vast desert above and around Okoth.
Azuldbth: The Lake of Salt is a shallow, highly salinated body of water drained by the River of Swords in the southeastern reaches of Mulhorand. During the hot season, large portions of Azulduth dry up, forming salt flats for months at a time. Azulduth is home to the sarrukh clans of Okoth, wereserpents members of the Cult of Set, and increasing numbers of werecrocodiles from Sekras.
Green Sword River: The River of Swords has formed the boundary between Unther and Mulhorand since the First Mulhorand-Unther War (-1967 DR to -1961 DR). The Green Sword River, its eastern tributary, serves as a pathway for werecrocodiles migrating upstream to Azulduth from the ruined city of Sekras, which lies at the junction of the Blue Sword and Green Sword Rivers.
Though Okoth appears featureless, the old empire of the sarrukh still boasts several points of interest to adventurers.
Azun (Small Town. 1017): On the western shore of Azulduth lies the small town of Azun. Built as a waystop along the caravan trail from the Council Hills to Durpar and the Golden Water, the town hosts a steady stream of Durpari merchants heading north and west to the lands along the Inner Sea. Azun's inhabitants also derive small incomes from fishing in the Lake of Salt and mining the salt flats during the summer months.
One of Azun's most frequent visitors is Baylox (LN male Mulan human wizard 14/archmage 3), Master Mage of Shussel, the reigning authority on Okothian magics and oft-consulted sage. Intrigued by increasing reports of reptilian activity in and around Azulduth, Baylox continues to collect evidence for his secret theory that the ancient inhabitants of Okoth have returned.
Buldamar (Village, 578): On the desolate eastern shore of Azulduth lies the village of Buldamar. This settlement grew up around a series of semipermanent camps established by adventurers exploring the sprawling Okothian ruins known as the Vaults of Record. The fortunes of the villagers have ebbed and flowed for centuries when such delvings came into and out of vogue. When adventurers are few, the villagers eke out a subsistence living by mining salt and fishing for the few fish that still swim in Azulduth's depths.
Today the town is bustling anew, although few suspect that many of the bands of adventurers based here are not what they seem. The Okothian sarrukh have recently begun sending bands of wereserpents and werecrocodiles in human form into the ruins to search for any artifacts that might have escaped centuries of plunderers. Other Okothian agents are poring over the towns records in hopes of learning what items were removed in centuries past and by whom. Pil'it'ith intends to employ human members of the Cult of Set to track down the missing artifacts and return them to their rightful owners. This plan, should it come to fruition, is likely to result in a wave of mysterious thefts and killings in the elite quarters of Mulhorand's northern cities.
Nezram's Tower: On the outskirts of Azun lie the ruins of Nezram's Tower. Torn apart nearly seven centuries ago by the young green dragon Chaathuuladroth, Nezram's Tower was largely looted of its treasures - first by the dragon and then by Nezram's descendants who now live in the town of Nezras on the eastern slopes of Mulhorand's Sword Mountains. Nevertheless, adventurers continue to visit the site, hoping to recover the hidden magics of the legendary Archtransmuter.
Sar'Rukoth: This ancient ruin lies buried in the heart of a low hill in the southern salt flats of Azulduth. The hill becomes an island in the colder months, when the lower catacombs fill with saltwater.
Sar'Rukoth is the ancient steading of Clan Sar'Ruuss, the most powerful of the surviving great clans of ancient Okoth. The stronghold now serves as the capitol of New Okoth and the seat of power for Pil'it'ith, its albino sarrukh ruler.
The surrounding ruins house several dozen Okothian sarrukh, plus several hundred wereserpents, werecrocodiles, and emissaries of the Church of Set who attend them. Most Okothian artifacts recovered by the sarrukh are brought back here for analysis and, should any prove useful, replication.
Vaults of Record: The Vaults of Record are ancient Okothian ruins on the outskirts of Buldamar, a desolate village far from civilization. Discovered in the early days of Mulhorand and Unther, the vaults were plundered of their treasures, which were used to build the magical might of Mulan's twin empires. Today they lie empty, though they still draw a steady stream of adventurers hoping to turn up long-lost treasures.
During first era of the Days of Thunder (more than 35,000 years ago), the sarrukh ruled over all Faerûn, centering their power in three major empires. The first and easternmost of these was Okoth, founded circa -35,000 DR along the forested shores of Azulduth, which was then the largest freshwater lake in Faerûn. Like their kin in Isstosseffifil and Mhairshaulk, the Okothians created many races in their own image, including lizardfolk and others long since vanished.
Okoth crumbled after less than a millennium, when a devastating civil war forced its feuding great clans to flee across the planes. The races they had created were left behind to find their own homelands and survive as best they could.
During their plane-walking, the Okothian sarrukh experienced alternating periods of growth and decline. Several millennia ago, in the Barrens of Doom and Despair, they chanced upon a reptilian race known as the khaastas, which they incorrectly assumed to be descended from their own lizardfolk creations. An ill-considered attempt to enslave these creatures resulted in a war between the two races that raged for centuries. When the tide turned in favor of the khaastas, the Okothian sarrukh fled across the planes with their foes at their heels.
In the Year of the Nesting Harpy (643 DR), Nezram the Transmuter, author of the famed spell tome boastfully entitled Unique Mageries, left his tower on the western shore of Lake Azulduth to explore the outer planes. Nearly forty years later, most of his Mulan descendants were scattered or slain when a young green dragon named Chaathuuladroth tore apart Nezram's Tower in the Year of the Zombie Lords (681 DR). The victorious dragon flew off to the lonely, mountainous regions to the west with most of Nezram's treasures.
Unbeknownst to anyone else, Nezram had spent a great deal of time studying the ancient legacies of Okoth and knew of the sarrukh. When he discovered an ancient portal in the depths of Azulduth, he passed through it in hopes of discovering what had become of these once-mighty creatures. Nezram's fate is not recorded, but an ancient warding spell alerted the scattered sarrukh clans to the use of their long-forgotten portal and prompted at least one group to return secretly to Faerûn in the Year of the Rampaging Raaserpents (699 DR) to investigate.
In the centuries that followed, increasing numbers of Okothian sarrukh returned to their ancient homeland in hopes of evading the vengeful armies of the khaastas. Amidst the ruins of their former empire, the Okothians hoped to recover their long-buried weapons and hide long enough to rebuild their strength.
The latter wish came to naught when the first khaasta raiding party passed through the portal in the Year of the Gate (1341 DR). Although the sarrukh managed to close the ancient portal and destroy the raiders before they could alert their fellows, the disappearance of this group drew additional bands of khaastas to Faerûn in subsequent years.
During the Time of Troubles (1358 DR), the Okothians secretly approached the divine minions of Set with a brazenly treacherous offer: In exchange for assisting Set in binding their god Sseth into eternal slumber, the Mulhorandi Lord of Evil would grant the sarrukh spells and aid them in their ancient battle with the khaastas. Set accepted their proposal and created the first wereserpents to mark the agreement. He also convinced his sometimes-ally Sebek to send a host of werecrocodiles up the River of Swords to serve in the Okothians' army.
Today, the Okothian sarrukh and the khaastas have reached a détente of sorts. The khaastas continue to dispatch raiding bands to Faerûn, but the Okothian sarrukh continue to hold them off, thanks to their newfound patron and an army of lesser allies. Frustrated by their inability to take Okoth, the khaastas have recently begun appearing elsewhere in Faerûn, hoping to learn more about the world of their ancient enemies and discover other sarrukh enclaves and ruins.
Plots and Rumors
Though many of its treasures have been plundered, the ancient realm of Okoth still holds many secrets.
Legacies of Nezram: Nezras, grand-nephew of Nezram the Transmuter, arrived in Myth Drannor in the Year of the Tainted Troll (683 DR) to study at the Six Tyryl Towers. Explorers of the ruined City of Beauty have recently recovered some letters that Nezras wrote to his elven wife, a fellow student named Raejiisa Sicafei, whom he married in the Year of the Unshriven (686 DR). Penned in the Year of Portents Perilous (707 DR) during a visit Nezras made to Mulhorand, the letters discuss reports of powerful serpentfolk haunting his granduncle's ruined tower and give an accounting of his inconclusive spell battle with one of them. These letters are among the few sources of firsthand information about the sarrukh that exist in Faerûn today. Baylox, noted sage of Okothian lore, has learned of their existence and is now seeking a party of adventurers to recover them for him.
Nightmares of the Slumbering Serpent: By betraying their god Sseth, the Okothian sarrukh acquired a more active divine patron and a host of new servitors. But the bound Sseth slumbers restlessly, and his nightmares have roused serpentfolk across Faerûn from centuries of somnolence. Led by the yuan-ti and sarrukh of Serpentes, the serpentfolk have begun plotting anew against the Scaleless Ones who have plundered their ancient treasures and stolen their rightful lands. A few also plot against the Okothians, who some suspect are responsible for Sseth's recent troubled state.
Return of the Khaastas: The khaastas, having finally traced the fleeing Okothian sarrukh back to their ancient homeland, are now seeking to annihilate their ancient foes once and for all. To that end, the khaastas have dispatched scouting parties across Faerûn to seek out the ruins of the ancient sarrukh empires. Scattered skirmishes between the khaasta scouts and various serpentfolk and scalykind creatures have given rise to rumors of a "reptile war."
Wyrm Hatchery: As a result of the strong rains during the past few seasons, water has seeped into lower portions of Azulduth's salt bed, causing several magically preserved eggs of wyverns and dragons to hatch. The wyrmlings proceeded to crawl and fly north, eating whatever they could find. Enterprising wizards in Mulhorand are trying to catch these creatures while young in hopes of training them as guardians or as martial aid in the conquest of Unther. The Mulan do not suspect that the rain-summoning spells of the sarrukh are behind these developments; instead they blame the Red Wizards of Thay for their infamous weather-controlling spells.