Ooltul, also known as the City of Tyrants, was a small beholder city in a bell-shaped cavern in the upper reaches of the Buried Realms. In the Dalelands and Moonsea regions, it was largely thought to be a mythical location.
Geography[edit | edit source]
To the north of the city was Tethyamar and to the south of it was the Stonelands. In relation to the surface, it was 30 miles (48,000 meters) west of the d'tarig village of Tel Badir and its Sixstreams River empties into the cavern as a falling mist.
At the bottom base of Ooltul's cavern was a sand island known as Zorx, surrounded by a moat of freshwater called the Sand Lake. Both of the sand and water originated from the runoff of the Sixstreams River. Visitors typically reached Zorx by being ferried across on flat-bottomed skiffs, propelled by a beholder's telekinesis ray, for a price of 1 gp.
In the surrounding area there were many vertical shafts that led to tunnels connected to the surface. Many of these tunnels were carved out by the beholders through use of their disintegration rays. Some of these were known to lead to the Twisted Tower in Shadowdale and the mines of Tethyamar. The most direct route to the surface was a steep shaft 15 miles (24,000 meters) northeast of the city, that connected to the ruined fortress known as Worldwatcher's Tower.
These and other tunnels within 5 miles (8,000 meters) of the city were regularly patrolled by beholders, who would kill any creature that claimed to have no business with the city.
Structure[edit | edit source]
Upon the sand island of Zorx were a variety of shanties and lean-tos where the city's many slaves lived. Arising from this isle, all the way up to the ceiling, was a 900 feet (270 meters) in diameter stone column covered with intricate runes and glyphs, known as Zorx-ka. Inside this column was honeycombed with a confusing layout of numerous chambers, tunnels, and vertical shafts.
At the base of Zorx-ka, hidden from visitors behind a rock facade, was a two-way portal that connected Ootul to the city of Xunqaq. In the center of this column the Triumvirate ruled the city from hidden chambers. The lower portion of Zorx-ka housed the city's army of death tyrants.
On the ceiling of Ooltul's cavern, Zorx-ka was surrounded by hundreds of huge stalactites that had been hollowed to act as homes for the city's beholder inhabitants. These were studded in beljurils, whose luminescence provided a dim glow for the entire cavern.
Government[edit | edit source]
In the years following the creation of the Sharn Wall, the city was controlled by a trio of phaerimm satraps who called themselves the Triumvirate. Under their rule the title of ogularch was done away with, though four beholders still maintained the title of Tyranarch. By 1372 DR many beholders in the city were plotting against them.
However, there were many beholders that operated within the city government. These included Irixis, a beholder mage assistant to the phaerimm Scalmarel, and Zommist who safeguarded the city's complex formula of converting information to currency.
Trade[edit | edit source]
Along the eastern edge of the isle of Zorx, the city's beholders operated a small bazaar where they sold a variety of goods for prices that were often either too high or too low. These goods typically included death tyrants, Netherese magic, rare ores, slaves, uncut gems, and water. They were even known to sell things from the surface, such as produce, silk, or fine art. From Zorx, the beholders also frequently traded gems, scrolls, and minor Netherese artifacts with the city of Xunqaq.
The primary trade good within Ooltul was information, which the Triumvirate had codified into a form of currency through means of a complex formula that determined which determined a piece of information's worth. This worth was determined based on the seller’s estimate of its worth, who the secret involved, how far-ranging would the ramifications be of the information being widely known, whether or not it involved magic, and whether or not the Triumvirate already knew about it. This last facet was considered the most important out of all of them. Prior to 1372 DR, one could be sentenced to a lifetime of enslavement for bartering information that was already publicly known.
History[edit | edit source]
Ooltul started life as an eastern outpost of Xun’Qoroth. When the Sharn Wall was created to imprison the phaerimm beneath Anauroch, the city was outside its boundaries and became cut off from the rest of the beholder nation.
Not long after, a small enclave of phaerimm beneath the ruins of Myth Drannor assaulted Ootul in hopes of enslaving its beholder inhabitants and using their antimagic rays to breach the Sharn Wall. After many years of warfare, eventually three powerful sorcerers among them overtook the city in -350 DR, forming the Triumvirate.
Their plan to breach the Sharn Wall ultimately was unsuccessful. In the years that followed, many beholders were forced to act as messengers or couriers between the few phaerimm who were outside the Sharn Wall.
Following the phaerimms' takeover of the city, the population drastically shrank. Around 1,200 of its beholder inhabitants were transformed into death tyrants, while over two hundred "chose" to be apprenticed by their new rulers and became beholder mages. The Triumvirate were also known to have created gougers in order to help quell any possible rebellion among the beholders. A small portion of its population fled to the surface or other regions of the Underdark.
When the City of Shade returned in the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, and caused the downfall of the Sharn Wall the Triumvirate changed their city's public policies. Ootul became open to the various denizens of the Underdark and gradually rose to power as a major market.
Inhabitants[edit | edit source]
Prior to 1372 DR, Ooltul was inhospitable to outsiders. Following that year, a change in policy left the city fairly welcoming to visitors of other races, though its beholder inhabitants loathed all who came.
Visitors could only wander on the island of Zorx and needed to openly display at all times a pass that was issued to them upon entering. This pass was a heavy, rectangular chunk of bronze etched with runes and losing it would render a visitor free to enslavement.
Notable Inhabitants[edit | edit source]
Appendix[edit | edit source]
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References[edit | edit source]
- Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 166. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 167. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 70. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
- Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 69. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
- Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 72. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
- Eric L. Boyd (1999). Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark. (TSR, Inc), p. 71. ISBN 0-7869-1509-9.
- James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 24. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 152. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.