Greyhawk 636 CY: The Rise of Asmodeus
Isles of Woe
The Isles of Woe
The ancient seat of the kingdom of the Flan mage king Yagrax. Yagrax is the first recorded discoverer of the Codex of Infinite Planes. Using it Yagrax conquered the surrounding area until an accident or divine intervention sunk the Isles beneath the Nyr Dyv sometime thousands of years ago.
No one is sure what happened to sink the islands but some scholarship and notations from adventurers who claim to have been to the ruins has pieced together a rough idea.
It seems that Yagrax was at first a good and kind ruler, a mage king and explorer who opposed Vecna and kept his empire in check…he either created or came across the Codex of Infinite Planes. Nearly all realistic scholars agree no one mortal could have created it. But…some recent ideas question if Yagrax was mortal at all (See Dr. Dawnshroud’s article on Yagrax in the Grey University digest from flocktime 621 C.Y.) Those debates are a different topic. What is sure is that at some point, Yagrax appears with the Codex.
At this point his attitude and agenda change:
If it were not for The Whispered One, Yagrax would arguably be the most notorious Flan in history. As it sits he competes with Galap-Dreidel, ruler of the Ghost Tower of Inverness, for the second spot on that list. What is amazing is that he earned that reputation in three short After decades of opposing the archlich he found time again, after the defeat of his former enemy, to explore worlds. His subjects encouraged his trips because he had earned their love and invariably returned with things both interesting and useful to the populace. One day he returned with a large book. The description is noteworthy and immediately recognizable to those who study history or arcane lore:
Our liege returned with a large tome 3 feet by 2 feet in size and 8 inches thick. It, according to the servants of the manor, weighed nearly 400lbs and is very difficult to move around. The covers of this tome are wrapped with a black reptilian-like hide of some unknown beast with banding of an unknowing silver metal, corner protectors and 2 latches made of an unusual, extremely hard, brownish metal. Most disturbing of all, the servants attest, the King has given this tome…its own room in the manor and can be heard conversing with it.
- From a fragmentary diary purported to be from the Isles of Woe
From this point sources indicate a spiral of madness that is unrivaled in history. A systematic program of planar experimentation began on the populace. The appendix details the various programs, but a short overview includes: Subjecting citizens to extremes of the elemental planes, forced exploration of the lower realms of hell and the abyss, attempts at time travel, exploration of hazardous demi-planes and dissection of citizens after their return…if they did return.
The end for the Isles came three years after the advent of the codex. Records indicate that the codex was growing in power:It speaks at night; echoing through the halls. We all hear it, it is growing in power…he is feeding it. Feeding it people who return with the resonance of the planes. But it grows hungrier..it wants more.
-Transcript of etchings in the servant quarters on the Isles of Woe (recorded by adventurers)
But the end for the Isles follows the decision of Yagrax to capture and sacrifice two gods to the the Codex to satisfy the Tome’s appetite. He used his powers and the Codex to capture the Gnomish Sister Gods; Shamil (healing) and Duvamil (war). Following the sacrifice of the sister gods to the Codex, the gods punished the Isles. One of the main sources of information for historians are the records, fragmentary though they are, of the survivors of the Isles who awoke on the shores of the Nyr Dyv. The gods saved the good residents of the Isles but sunk the isles, Yagrax and those tainted by his evil beneath the Nyr Dyv. Only the Codex, salvaged years later by Galap-Dreidel, survived.
So why do the Isles resurface…simple my friends, because on the Isles rests the method to destroying the Codex of Infinite Planes.
- Talk by Dr. Yaliel Dawnshroud (Giving a summary to the Fellows of Grey College at the presentation of his book: The Isles of Woe, We Know More Than We Think)