- Mercenary Companies
- Psionic Organizations
- Underdark Organizations
- Minor Valorous Organizations
- Organizations of Waterdeep
- Organizations of the East
- Demon-led Organizations
- Cult of the Dragon
- Druids of the Tall Trees
- The Emerald Enclave
- Fellowship of the Purple Staff
- Fire Knives
- Guardian of the Weave
- Hand of Vengeance
- Marshals and Heralds in the Realms
- Knights of the Flying Hunt
- Knights of Imphras II
- Knights of the North
- The Lords' Alliance
- Order of the Grand Snakemaster
- People of the Black Blood
- Red Wizards of Thay
- The Seven Sisters
- The Soft Claws
- The Xanathar's Guild
- The Zhentarim
The fate of the Lord of the Hidden Layer is inextricably tied to future events in eastern Faerûn: The various means of binding the demon lord to one's will are recorded in a small number of tomes, but such means have been discovered anew enough times to suggest that Eltab will be a recurring influence in the unfolding history of the eastern Realms.
Removing Eltab's tie to the Realms (and thus breaking the enduring ties between the Hidden Layer and the "Demonlands" of the Easting Reach) would require a quest of epic scope. Eltab's lair in the depths of the Citadel of Conjurers is unknown to all but a handful of demons and cultists. Once it is learned that Eltab is alive, understanding the nature of the Narfelli binding that ties the Hidden Layer to Faerûn might require a trek into the depths of the Castle of Al'hanar to the Myrkulyte library guarded by the Knights of the Undying Dragon or perusing the Vemonsbane Annals in the Vault of Sages in Silverymoon. The sword Hadryiis was last seen in the hands of an incarnation of Anhur, and now lies forgotten in the depths of the Blood Fortress of Sultiin. Banishing Eltab requires delving the depths of the Citadel of Conjurers once again, defeating the demon lord and his minions, and shattering the Adamantine Binding forged when Eltab was brought to this world centuries ago.
One can never be sure where and how Malkizid is attempting to influence elven affairs. A number of scholars have speculated on a link between their ancient foe and the drow invasion of Cormanthor, though few would suggest that an actual alliance exists between the archdevil and Jezz the Lame, or any of the other drow. More likely, Malkizid seeks to create divisions within the drow ranks by encouraging independent thought, while at the same time promoting conflict between the surface drow and the elves.
It is also possible that Malkizid has been sponsoring elements within the Eldreth Veluuthra and encouraging their wars against humanity. The organization has seen a recent influx of new magical, logistical, and monetary support, the source of which remains a mystery. If the Vel'Nikeryma (the ruling council of the Eldreth Veluuthra) ever suspected the interference of Malkizid in their affairs, they would surely seek to purge any evil extraplanar influence from their ranks.
Because he views them as the perfect corruption of the elven ideal, Malkizid has been seeking an alliance with the daemonfey. Though he has managed to recruit a few individuals, the daemonfey are reluctant to subject themselves to such a powerful creature as Malkizid. Today, he might prove a valuable ally - but tomorrow he would surely declare himself overlord of all daemonfey. Nevertheless, Malkizid is patient and feels that, sooner or later, the daemonfey will come to realize the advantages of his rulership.
Malkizid carefully recruits disgruntled members of the elf race. His spies exist within nearly every elven realm above and below the ground, as well as in Toril's seas. His trusted lieutenants spy and pass information back to their lord, distribute aid to allied organizations, and subvert any efforts toward elven unity. They also recruit or corrupt powerful elves and sow the seeds of dissention wherever practicable. The following are two agents that characters might encounter.
Niss'nley (LE female half sun elf/half yugoloth fighter 5): Niss'nley is more than just a paid agent. She's a member of the family, so to speak. Her father was Tremmor, a powerful yugoloth in Malkizid's service. He bedded a captive thrall elf in his lord's dungeon and set his vile seed to growing inside her. When the fiendish child erupted from its mother, Tremmor named his daughter after the sound of her dead mother's organs spilling across the scalding hot stones of his bedchamber floor.
Niss'nley grew from a cruel hellion to an enchantingly beautiful fiend at the feet of Malkizid, learning evil from one of its most accomplished masters. In time, her lord developed a brief infatuation with her. Her father, Tremmor, dared to protest and was slaughtered for his impertinence. Niss'nley watched her father's murder with delight, but Malkizid soon grew weary of her overeager attentions. No amount of evil could completely eradicate her underlying elf nature. But rather than kill her, he sent her to recruit among the daemonfey, promising that if she should succeed, she would prove herself a worthy object of his lust once more. Niss'nley gladly took on this mission, and has been seducing and murdering her way through the daemonfey leadership ever since.
Dheembleth (CE male draegloth rogue 7/assassin 2): When Lolth turned her back on his matron mother for some long-forgotten offense, Dheembleth survived a disastrous war in which his patron family was wiped out, narrowly escaping the drow hunting parties sent to destroy him. After a century of wandering the Underdark, he was captured by Malkizid's minions. Malkizid delighted in completing the corruption of this former chosen of Lolth and making him one of his own. Now, Dheembleth is one of Malkizid's most trusted assassins and agents. Scouting the fringes of drow society, he keeps tabs on several enclaves, striking silently and swiftly when the opportunity arises, slaying female clerics and capturing powerful males to take back to his lord.
Acolytes of the Hidden Flame
Deep below the Dungeon of the Ruins lies the prison where Bazim-Gorag has waited out the centuries. It consists of two chambers connected by a portal.
The entrance to the first chamber is marked by an archway of red stones scribed with lawful runes. Bazim-Gorag cannot pass through it by any means, and his spells and powers cannot affect anyone standing beyond it. Within this chamber, he holds audience with his Acolytes, who often bring him captives with which to amuse himself, usually by tossing them into the lava pool at the room's center.
The second chamber can be accessed only via the portal, and consists of a double hall, each with its own row of columns and lava pit, with a third lava pit between the two. Bazim-Gorag can temporarily block this portal (5 rounds) to prevent others from following close on his heels if he needs to retreat. This chamber is Bazim-Gorag's private sanctum, where he keeps his rather considerable treasure including the scepter of the ar-magus.
Bazim-Gorag's ancient enemies have been dead for many centuries. As yet, the actions of the Acolytes of the Hidden Flame have not attracted the attention of powerful rivals that could threaten their plans. Their evil is small and localized. The greatest threat to Bazim-Gorag might actually come from others of his kind. The slaad lords Ssendam and Ygorl tolerate Bazim-Gorag's destructive nature as long as Bazim-Gorag refrains from overtly challenging their rule over the race. Bazim-Gorag naturally schemes to advance the power of the death slaadi over the rest of their kind. Doubtless Bazim-Gorag would have been lured into a fatal confrontation against his more powerful fellows long ago - but for the better part of two thousand years, he has been imprisoned in a mighty binding beneath the Dungeon of the Ruins.
Bazim-Gorag's followers are always on the lookout for new recruits, especially for spellcasters who could help them complete the rite of unbinding. Bazim-Gorag himself might attempt to recruit any adventurers who wander into his lair if he thinks they could be of service to him and they are capable of assisting in his release. He might even offer the treasure located in his chamber as payment to anyone who can release him from his prison - of course, the treasure has also been promised to many of his current followers.
Anyone approaching the cult with a professed interest in joining it is taken to one of its leaders, Flame Lord Moskogg, to be questioned thoroughly by both magical and mundane means. Those who pass this initial test and might be of use in releasing Bazim-Gorag are then passed on to Flame Lord Durzhal before finally being brought before the Firebringer himself.
The Acolytes of the Hidden Flame
Bazim-Gorag has gathered a cult of nearly fifty evil followers who have dedicated themselves to freeing him from his magical prison. Some are drawn by his promises of reward, both in treasure and power, while others are simply attracted by the prospect of chaos and destruction that his freedom would release upon the North. Some even hope to one day bend Bazim-Gorag to their own will and use him to further their own goals.
The group consists of human brigands who act as foot soldiers and guards; several monsters, including a trio of fomorian giants; and several slaadi of various types. The leaders are spellcasters, fiends, or powerful outsiders. Three of the highest-ranking leaders are Flame Lord Moskogg, Flame Lord Durzhul, and High Conflagration Jendar Tholm.
Flame Lord Moskogg (CE male half-fiend/half-minotaur cleric 9 of Kossuth): Moskogg oversees the group's raiding and recruiting efforts and functions as the commander of the lower-level guards and warriors; he answers only to High Conflagration Jendar Tholm. Moskogg lives in the barracks house near the Dungeon of the Ruins and is usually attended by a young human female named Dregadzel (Female Gray Slaad in human form), who serves as his secretary and lieutenant. She also participates in the questioning of new recruits, especially human males.
Flame Lord Durzhul (CE male durzagon wizard 13): Durzhul is the chief arcane spellcaster of the Acolytes of the Hidden Flame, and the, architect of the efforts to free Bazim-Gorag. It was he who discovered the particulars of the rite of unbinding. Arcane spellcasters seeking to join the cult are eventually brought to him for questioning. He spends most of his time in an area of the Dungeon of the Ruins called the alchemist's croft, busily researching the details of Bazim-Gorag's prison. He is always attended by two red slaadi bodyguards.
High Conflagration Jendar Tholm (CE advanced death slaad): Jendar is the leader of the Acolytes of the Hidden Flame.
As the leader, he coordinates the activities of his lieutenants to make certain they support one another in the ultimate goal of freeing Bazim-Gorag. He is the liaison between Bazim-Gorag and his followers, as well as the paymaster, keeping a tight control over the group's funds. His residence is deep within the Dungeon of the Ruins, and he is always attended by a 6th-level troll barbarian.
The Rite of Unbinding
Ar-Magus Ilviroon gave his binding spell additional strength by specifying a rite of unbinding - a set of conditions that must be met to set Bazim-Gorag free. The specifics of the rite - including its arcane phrases and invocations - were lost when Ilviroon died, but might be rediscovered via legend lore or similar magic. The requisite conditions for the completion of the rite are as follows:
Three wizards - one chaotic, one neutral, and one lawful - must perform the rite.
The rite must be performed in an area uncovered by the Company of the Riven-Orb called the Chamber of Binding, which lies deep beneath the Dungeon of the Ruins.
Each participant in turn must recite a specific set of arcane phrases and invocations in Loross, the ancient language of High Netheril.
One of the three wizards must hold the scepter of the ar-magus, currently located in Bazim-Gorag's lair. The scepter is a +1 light mace that also functions as a variant of a brooch of shielding (absorbing 20 points of magic missile damage per day). Three times per day, it can also be used to cast a minor globe of invulnerability , and twice per day it can fire a prismatic ray. Any magic item with identical properties can be used in its place, if it happens to be destroyed or lost.
All three wizards must cast dismissal at the end of the rite.