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The City of Eltabbar


Disclaimer: This page discusses one DM's view of Thay, an infamous slave-keeping, magocratic country in the Forgotten Realms with a decidedly evil bent. I began developing it in greater detail for my first evil campaign, which began in 2009 and ran for a decade. This vision is offered for entertainment and variety's sake and for adults only. I do not condone anything described in real life; quite the opposite. I don't suggest that you accept or use these ideas in your games, either, unless everyone in your group is informed beforehand, given safe opportunities to decline, and genuinely okay with moving forward. You might find reasons for characters to work against Thayan interests, details that will fit the tone of your own Thayan campaigns, or nothing that works for you at all. Please read with discretion, and feel free to stop and move on anytime.



"somat magic production station " by SomatArt

"somat magic production station " by SomatArt (resized) is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0















In Brief: It is known as the center of Kossuth’s worship, the slave trade, politics, and art; it is also the second largest city in Thay. Eltabbar has a rivalry with Bezantur, the most populous city in the empire.

Recent History & Mystery


Successful Theater Play


Census Increased








An Important Item

Details: The major quake that came from the release of Eltab in 1375 has largely been forgotten by most of the populace, and the demon has yet to strike against his former prison. That does not mean the Red Wizards have let Eltab off the hook, however; they will not be satisfied until they have resolved his threat, somehow, some way. They are sending envoys and patsies abroad to hunt for information on a number of enemies, and to search for signs of Eltab's forces and schemes.

In the meantime, the capital has been thriving economically and culturally. The Burning March, a play by local celebrity playwright Igan Nymar, recently commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Salamander War. Its month-long run was a rousing success, leading to a grand display at the temple of Kossuth and a tide of pride in the country. In its wake, Thayans across the country volunteered to bring the civil unrest in Lapendrar to an end, and within a couple short months, the tharchion was executed and replaced, and order was restored.

The Census which controls the number of nobles in the tharch was reduced in 1375. House Valgon petitioned the Crimson Courts to expand it in a new, tiered system based on age groups, and since the plan was approved, a wave of nobles have come to call the capital home. This has led to a burgeoning of noble plots, as well as a number of marriages, religious conversions, and major business deals.








Important NPCs: Szass Tam, NE male lich Nec10/Red10/Acm2/Epic7 (zulkir of necromancy and the most powerful of the zulkirs); Dmitra Flass, LE female human Ill7/Red8 (tharchion of Eltabbar); Dipren Qarto, LE male human Ftr 16 (leader of the city guard); High Flamelord Iphegor Nath, LN male human Clr 13/Dis4 of Kossuth (leader of Kossuth’s faith in Thay); Kwinset Tanzirk, LE female human Wiz6/Red6 (administrator of the slave market); Bilhar Sentolan, NE male human Rog 13/Asn4 (master of the thieves’ guild)



Often Visited









Water Source:

Lake & Magic


Tharchion's Palace


Wizard's Eye


Flying Patrols

Details: Eltabbar is well populated but usually forbidden to foreigners who are not slaves. Even noble Thayans from other places must receive permission when they wish to visit, so the city's upper class areas are not as densely populated as they could be. Non-industrial sections are elegant and well kempt, with magical lighting and public art frequently available, while the lesser areas remain dingy and lit by oil lamps and torches (though not nearly as dingy as Bezantur or Tyraturos). The slave quarter is on its own island and has high walls to keep its ugliness out of sight as much as to keep the prisoners inside.

The city is made up of floating islands that were magically arranged along the shore of the lake, extending out into it; new ones have been added as needed. There are sections of the capital with paved streets and courtyards but many places have waterways instead. The lowest inhabitants deal with dirt and mud. Each major district (even the inland ones) is bound on most sides by main canals.

The Wizard's Eye is the great gate to the south, and it has been witnessed unleashing horrible defensive spells in the past. Most of the locals are haughty in general because they are aware that they are in the center of the Thayan empire. This is where Thayans aspire to go on their honeymoons, or to find the best marriages. It is also where all Thayan bards yearn to earn their fame.

Geography & Climate





Natural Features:


Details: Since it is at the heart of the Thayan weather control net, Eltabbar's weather is uniformly mild, with late night scheduled showers like the rest of Thay. Lake Thaylambar is plentifully stocked and reportedly home to portals to the Elemental Plane of Water, which replenish waters that would otherwise be horribly sullied by now. The mountains that rise steeply to the west are the Thaymount, where the greatest Red Wizards have heavily guarded compounds. The major road that cuts through Thay, known as The Slave Way, leads directly to Eltabbar from the coast. The road is carefully kept and slaves are marched over it instead of teleported, so as to break their spirits by the time they arrive in the heart of their prison.



Art, drugs, foodstuffs, markets, mining, music, pearls, rope, ship supplies, ships, slaves


Slaves and goods of all kinds are imported. The capital does not tend to make its own weapons, armor, or other metal goods. Animal products are beneath them, and food crops are imported so that drugs can be fostered along the inside of the country.

Tech Level:


Mass Transit:


Area Services:

Private Only

Details: Magic is the order of the day but it is not squandered. Slaves provide labor for menial tasks, such as cleaning, so that magic can be used for greater ends. There is an armed watch, including a regiment of soldiers with flying mounts, but it is generally on the lookout for escaped slaves, spies, and problems caused by creatures or magic. It can be called to a citizen's defense for bribes but otherwise rarely interferes in private matters. Noble families (and anyone who wants reliable security) are expected to invest in their own defenses.


Major Temples: Bane, Kossuth, Mask, Oghma, Siamorphe, Waukeen.

Minor Temples: Azuth, Gargauth, Gond, Jergal, Loviatar, Red Knight, Samora Shar, Shaundakul, Talona, Tempus.

Hidden Shrines: Cyric.

Notes: Some temples of Eltabbar require regular tithing and/or service, but they are careful not to cross the will of the Red Wizards. Most churches use discounts and special services as bargaining chips over the majority of the populace; such things are never assured, except for Red Wizards. Nearly all temples are confined to one quarter of the capital (called "The Zoo" by locals), though shrines of Cyric pop up and are destroyed often. Most religious celebrations are conspicuously grand and wend their way past other temples to show off their treasures.

In 1379, the cult of Samora officially petitioned the city for permission to build a temple in The Zoo. It would be the first public space dedicated to the rumored goddess anywhere in the Realms. Previously hidden in Eltabbar and elsewhere, the clergy presented proof of Samora's power and presence in Faerun, as well as the goddess's birthright as the daughter of Waukeen and Grazz't. The Crimson Courts and major temples investigated and found the claims to be true; despite heavy opposition from the clergy of Azuth, Siamorphe and Waukeen, the Courts could find no grounds to forbid the request. The temple was ordered to be constructed as far away from Waukeen's as possible, however.





Limnic Eruption




Population Decline


Business Setback


Lost Guardians

Minor Threats:

Creatures from the portals in the lake, magical runoff and experiments gone wrong

Major Threats:

Noble squabbles, wizard maneuvers against each other, slave uprisings, major magical mishaps, sabotage

Details: Volcanic eruptions have been successfully diverted thus far but the resulting earthquakes have not, though some seismic activity seems to be the result of experiments above and below the surface. Limnic eruptions on the lake are infrequent but normal, as are attacks by dragon turtles and other monsters. Magical mishaps from sanctioned and private experiments are fairly regular, and magical waste can also be a problem.

The relatively recent escape of Eltab from beneath the metropolis has had unintended consequences. Maps of Eltabbar are no longer forbidden, since the main binding rune embedded beneath the canals shattered. The rune's imbued adamantine pieces exploded outward, sometimes embedding themselves into inhabited buildings. Possessed of strange magic, these pieces are very valuable but produce unstable effects of various kinds and are mostly kept secret by those who have found them.



923: The city is founded one year after Thay won its independence from Mulhorand. Placing the new nation's capital away from its borders seems only natural, but is said to have darker motives. While streets and sections are magically created and expanded on and around the lake as needed, no maps are allowed to be made of the city, on pain of death.

1030: The zulkirs are declared the rulers of Thay from the capital; it is one of the only times all of them are seen in public together and is commemorated in the art of the city.

1320: As Thayans flee the Wizard's Reach because of the Great Inner Sea Plague, spies and troublemakers both local and from outside reach Eltabbar. Intrigues follow.


  • A civil war erupts amongst the noble houses of the capital, which have grown bloated with family members, soldiers, and resentment. Major houses fail to band together to seize control of the capital because each of them wants to rule in its own stead. Minor houses throw in their lot with major ones or hunker down to wait it out, with only a few leaving the area. The zulkirs give the city a month to settle its own matters before threatening to step in (and crush them like bugs). On the eve of the crackdown, desperate heads of houses manage to regain control.

  • After this point, the Eltabbar Census is established. Each noble family is only allowed to have a set number of blood relatives hosted in the tharch at any given time; a handful of others can stay for up to six months, but are sent elsewhere when their time is up. A closer eye is kept on a family's soldiers and reinforcements, and all are expected to be registered with the local military forces of the tharchion. Build-ups are punished and rerouted. The Census limits grow and shrink as the tharchion wishes.

1336: A limnic eruption occurs without warning in Lake Thaylambar, leading to deaths of those on the lake that day.

1344: Nobles of Eltabbar scheme to sabotage the first enclaves set up abroad by the nobles of Bezantur. They fail to keep the enclaves from forming but do delay them and lead to the deaths of some inconvenient Thayans abroad.

1357: Thayans of the Priador clamor to enter the city as the Salamander War threatens their homes, but only some are allowed; the others are turned north and east. While a number of noble houses in Eltabbar leave the Priador to its fate, some seize the opportunity for glory and send their own into the fray.


  • The Time of Troubles takes its toll on Eltabbar as one of its major gods, Bane, is destroyed. Clergy of Xvim and Cyric war in the byways in the following weeks.

  • The ascension of Midnight to the role of Mystra causes deep concern for all evil wizards. A Convocation of Red Wizards is called on the winter solstice to deliberate options, plans to retain magic even if she refuses to allow them access to the Weave, and options for better gods. A host of magical duels, mysterious deaths, summoned creatures, and other problems result in political fallout in the next year.

1359: For one of the few times in its history, Eltabbar is placed on lockdown as the Tuigan horde is ushered through Thay. Enterprising Thayans engage in various plans to escape, make deals, smuggle Tuigans inside who agree to serve, and otherwise try to take advantage of the situation. Those who meddle too much with the delicate truce are later executed in the public squares of the city for all to see.

1370: Tharchioness Dmitra Flass weds Selfaril, High Blade of Mulmaster, leading to a tenday of grand celebrations and elaborate gifts across the city in hopes of gaining her favor.

1375: An earthquake that does not follow what is known of quakes tears through Eltabbar, leaving a decent amount of damage in its wake. It is later discovered that the quake was due to the escape of Eltab, the great demon imprisoned in a giant binding rune embedded beneath the city.


  • The celebration of Greengrass in the slave quarter becomes an impromptu orgy of sex and inebriation due to the influence of parties unknown. While there is some unrest as a result, widespread riots do not occur.

  • Explosions and sabotage rock scattered locations across the city on Midsummer and Shieldmeet. This is ultimately pinned on holy day activities of the clergy of Beshaba, striking back at enemies.


  • There is a major soiree at the Flass estate, attended by nobles from Mulmaster as well as the locals in the hopes of securing the betrothal of Tharchioness Dmitra's unborn child.

  • There is a geat hunt of overpopulated dragon turtles on Lake Thaylamar by Eltabbarn nobles in Flamerule.

  • A grand swarm of cloakers directed away from Eltabbar, through Thay, and toward Aglarond in Eleasis.

  • "The Burning March," a play by Igan Nymar commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Salamander War, takes Eltabbar's theater district by storm in Marpenoth.

  • Eltabbar noble house census expands in Uktar (10 youths, 20 adults, 8 elders).

City Districts and Notable Locations

Civic district

  • Memorial to Thayd

  • Hall of the Zulkirs

  • Enchanted art displays for the various schools of magic in the district park

Fine shops

  • The Siamorphe's Garden hanging garden restaurant (must be a noble or invited to dine with one to be allowed in)

Theater district

  • Braised, serving up delicacies from exotic creatures

  • Scarlet Chimera opera house

Arcane district

  • The testing center for arcane ability is on the university grounds

Finance district

  • Change and loan building

Temple district: Eltabbar corrals its temples into one district on their own island, "the better to keep an eye on the zoo."

  • Azuth (minor temple)

  • Bane (major temple)

  • Beshaba (major temple)

  • Cyric (public shrines that keep getting destroyed, so they are moved around)

  • Gargauth (minor temple)

  • Gond (minor temple)

  • Jergal (shrine here and the necropolis)

  • Kossuth (major temple; foremost in the whole faith)

  • Loviatar (minor temple)

  • Mask (major temple)

  • Oghma (minor temple)

  • Red Knight (minor temple)

  • Samora (minor temple; est. 1379)

  • Shar (minor temple) 

  • Shaundakul (shrine)

  • Siamorphe (major temple with a hanging garden)

  • Talona (minor temple)

  • Tempus (minor temple)

  • Waukeen (major temple)

Tharchion's palace

Noble estates

Wealthy residential

  • Park

Average residential

  • Small park



  • Taboo, Azonia's shop and hidden temple to Samora (in the mid to lower class end of the shop district)


Marketplace district

Warehouse district

  • Augustus's ludus

Fisher's Wharf

Apartment houses

Caravan district

Inn/tavern district

  • The Wet Wench, Vik's even lower end pub and brothel

  • The Withering Rose, Vik's low end pub and brothel

Red light district

Slave quarter



  • Separate islands were created for the noble dead, with ostentatious shrines visited more for intrigue than mourning

  • A small island is set aside for rich commoners (slave bodies and those of many commoners are sold for parts, experimentation, undead production, or are cremated)

  • House Valgon Mourning Services set up on main island for those who want escorts to help them deal with their grief



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