A dark and forbidding land, Thay is mostly windswept mountains, twisted badlands, and arid vales. A pall of smoke and ash from the raging volcanic eruptions of its highest peaks smothers the land, blocking sunlight and sometimes extending into neighboring territories.
Thay harbors the largest population of undead in Faerûn. Wealthy and powerful individuals often join Szass Tam’s new order in undeath. Conversely, an undead slave won’t rebel or easily die, and doesn’t have to be fed. Thay’s living citizens have a hard existence.
Settlements and Features
Thay is a cold, dry, and towering plateau land. The higher one treads, the more devastated and monster-infested the land becomes.
Capital City; Population 10,000
This ancient bastion of basalt is the seat of Szass Tam’s power. Seated on a peak about 18,000 feet high and located in blasted volcanic lands, the Citadel is difficult to reach by overland travel. Tunnels far under the fortress function as roads into its bowels. Nobody comes uninvited to Thaymount, much less the Citadel—and many who are invited wish they hadn’t been.
Zulkir Council: Szass Tam’s vassals, the zulkirs are the most powerful arcanists in Thay. All the zulkirs on the council are liches, and most of them practice some form of necromancy. These seven advise the regent but are obedient to his will. Each also acts as a steward over certain domestic duties. But the zulkirs can’t be bothered with the day-to-day needs of Thay’s territories (tharchs), so a chain of governors (tharchions) and bureaucrats (autharchs) see to such tasks.
The zulkirs maintain private fortresses scattered over the Thaymount. Treacherous roads and tunnels connect them to the Citadel and one another. Together with the Citadel, these strongholds hold most of Thay’s military reserves.
The Dread Legions: Composed of undead, as well as gnolls, orcs, and other subjugated monsters, the Dread Legions are Thay’s armies. Although this force serves a primarily defensive purpose now, it stands ready to threaten any of Thay’s neighbors. Evidence of the legion’s efficacy stands in the form of Undumor in Aglarond. Szass Tam sometimes dis- patches elite units of the Dread Legions to other lands for his own purposes.
Contested Island; Population 25,000
In the power vacuum following the failed zulkirs’ revolt, Thay has retaken a portion of the Alaor. Thay’s ships array themselves between this isle and the city of Bezantur. Both places serve a military role. Thay has no allies or trade partners, though it seeks influence among the pirates on the Sea of Fallen Stars.
Former Capital City; Population 100,000
Whether by miracle or design, the former capital of Thay survived the changes to the land, as did Lake Thaylambar to the city’s north. The River Eltar flows through the city and a series of elaborate canals into the nearby lake. When the zulkirs must handle affairs of state by dealing with human vassals, they do so in the Council Hall of Eltabbar.
Tharchion Sylora Salm oversees the city. Recently handpicked by Szass Tam, she also sees to the needs of visiting zulkirs. Within her manor in the city’s center, Sylora discovered a teleportation circle connected to another well-hidden one inside the Towers of the Blade, the seat of power in the city of Mulmaster. Sylora found and established several other teleportation circles in Mulmaster, including one in a magic shop owned by the Red Wizard trade federation. She believes even Szass Tam is ignorant of these tools. Perhaps she is correct.
From Eltabbar, Sylora also oversees the lands north of Lake Thaylambar and the Thaymount. Magic controls the volcanic ash and smoke, as well as moderating weather in parts of this area. Limited agriculture there supports Thay’s living citizens.
This deep, icy lake is the site of rich fishing and dragon turtles. Necromancers created more than one undead dragon turtle from those slain in the lake. These creatures serve Thay’s navy in Lake Thaylam-bar, the Alamber Sea, and Lake Mulsantir.
Plateau of Thay
The edges of this highland now largely define the borders of Thay. Rough canyons and mountains form a tableland averaging 9,000 feet in elevation. High Thay rises in the northwestern part of the plateau, to about 11,000 feet. Most prominent in High Thay is the volcanic Thaymount, the tallest peaks of which tower over 22,000 feet.
Cracked badlands, dotted with alpine meadows and divided by broken roads and winding rivers, make up some of the highland. Many settlements razed by Thay’s upheaval still lie in ruin in these areas. Other places are settled, magically protected and manipulated to produce crops and livestock. Tax Stations: Fortresses operated by the Dread Legions dot Thay, especially along routes that offer the easiest travel. These keeps, called tax stations, watch the roads and charge a small fee to pass through. They keep watch for unauthorized intruders and escaped slaves.