One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
There's no complete list, and what we have is scattered around various sources.
Two significant sources are Roger E. Moore's two articles "Legacies of the Suel Imperium" in Dragon #241 and "The Orbs of Dragonkind" in Dragon #230.
Dragon #230 has some history of the ancient Suel and mentions that the House of Neheli was formerly known as the House of Neheli-Arztin. The "partial house" of Arztin ceased to exist in -2354 CY.
In Dragon #241 the Lerara are mentioned (originally from the 1983 Glossography, p. 27) and there's a brief history of the noble families stranded on the edge of the Sea of Dust after the Rain of Colorless Fire, who survived for a decade scavenging and stealing from the local goat-herders before being found by Slerotin and led into the Sheldomar. There were 18 tribes in all, including the Lerara and the local goat-herders.
The Lerara, of course, were stranded in Slerotin's passage and devolved into albino worshipers of a formless being they call the Mother.
The Scarlet Brotherhood by Sean K. Reynolds draws directly from the noncanon timeline by Len Lakofka and Steve Wilson in Oerth Journal #1 (revised in Oerth Journal #11), with a few changes.
From The Scarlet Brotherhood, we have the following houses mentioned:
"Emperor Ad-Zol" implies the existence of a House Zol, though in Oerth Journal #1 "ad-Zol" is the surname of members of the House of Zolax. If you want to be precious about it, then, "Ad-Zol" is canon but Zolax is not, though one implies the other.
The Scarlet Brotherhood mentions the Houses of Schnai, Cruski, and Fruztii, who founded the Snow, Ice, and Frost Barbarians. These were also mentioned in Oerth Journal #1.
HOWEVER, the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer denies that these groups were ever noble houses, saying (page 54):
As a people, they [the Cruski, Fruztii, and Schnai] were always distinct from the high culture of the civilized Suel. They were thought of as a mere rabble, with a primitive dialect and no magic.
As such, the Cruski, Fruztii, and Schnai are probably identifiable with the "local goat herders" mentioned in Dragon #241.
A major source is the Keoish history in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, which mentions:
House Zelrad (settled in what would become South Province).
House Malhel (fled to the Dreadwood).
House Rhola (founded Gradsul).
House Neheli (founded Niole Dra).
House Maure, which the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer says was originally three noble Suel families who crossed through the Abbor-Alz mountains one year prior to the Rain of Colorless Fire and formed a new noble house that they called Maure. Note that this story is contradicted by "Maure Castle: The Adventure Begins" in Dungeon #112, which said that the Maure family were apprentices of Slerotin who entered the Flanaess at the same time as Slerotin and his seventeen tribes (called twelve tribes in the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer). Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk used the second history, with the Maure family as apprentices of Slerotin.
House Urnst, "a founding Suel house of great import," the namesake of the Duchy and County. This group apparently didn't survive the Rain of Colorless Fire, but the Maure thought well enough of them (because they represented the ideals of the Council of Noble Families preceding the birth of the Empire in 1102 SD, possibly) to name their new nation in their honor. One compromise to fix the conflicting narratives of the LGG and Dungeon #112 might be to have House Urnst be the group that crossed the Abbor-Alz and founded Urnst, while the Maure were a group of apprentices of Slerotin who arrived eleven years later and built their infamous castle.
The other two names are House Lizhal and House Linth. Kimbertos Scotti, the present-day king of Keoland, belongs to House Lizhal. The history of Keoland in Living Greyhawk Journal #1 states that the Lizhal migrated along with the Rhola and Neheli after the Rain of Colorless Fire. Along with Keoland as a whole, they rule the Barony of Grayhill.
The House of Linth is also mentioned in the article in the LGJ #1, which calls them "an obscure Suel house generally considered to be in decline." They founded the Earldom of Linth in Keoland.
I think those are the only officially named Suel houses. Oerth Journal #1 (revised in Oerth Journal #11) has more. This timeline mentions a House Toli that settled in what is now the Hold of the Sea Princes. The Living Greyhawk campaign's Onnwal Gazetteer claims that Onnwal was settled by a Suloise tribe called the Onnwi.
You know rasgon, after reading your post, and checking the sources you listed, i can whily agree about the ancestors of the Rhizian barbarians beigns goat herders in the slopes of the (then) Crystalmists.
But also reading the Elaine Mystica recount (Dragon 241 page 43-44) about the 18 tribes escaping of Zymbile, and the distance of the region from the Imperial City (The Lost City), you can also think of the Cruski, Fruztii, and Schnai as local rural nobility? I found strange that 18 distint houses inhabit a non-capital city. I can expect it in the Imperial Capital. _________________ From Iron Hills to the world!!!
Just began to read Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad, and my head already hurts!
you can also think of the Cruski, Fruztii, and Schnai as local rural nobility?
That sounds reasonable.
I found strange that 18 distint houses inhabit a non-capital city.
They were there on vacation (seriously). I suspect that Slerotin might have encouraged those houses he thought worth saving to meet there, knowing what was to come.
We know that suel people was escaping the empire tough the Kendeen Pass for some years before the RoCF. Could be these houses, under the pretext of a religious holiday, or vacation, be there preparing to move into the Flaness when the disaster struck and the pass became blocked? I love this kind of suppositions, it gaves me a lot of interesting campaign ideas. _________________ From Iron Hills to the world!!!
Just began to read Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad, and my head already hurts!
I was under the impression that the "Zeai" were an offshoot of the Thillronian barbarians, but it's been awhile since I read up on 'em; so going down Rasgon's list we should have:
01 Neheli (Neheli-Arztin)
That's honestly pretty convenient for most narratives, no? If one were to assume that Urnst was a House from the past whom the Maure simply named their lands for, then that drops it down to 12, matching the LIVING GREYHAWK™ narrative…
[The Chronicle of Secret Time's] sometimes lyrical prose tells of the Suloise survivors of the Rain of Colorless Fire, beginning with how Slerotin, the Last Mage of Power, led twelve tribes out of ruin and into the valley of the Sheldomar.
…and the Lerara becoming trapped in Slerotin's Passage would drop it to 11, matching the "Maure Castle" adventure from DUNGEON #112—12 go in, 11 come out:
Slerotin died within weeks of his last great work, the magical creation of a miles-long tunnel that allowed eleven Suel tribes to flee their devastated homeland for safety in the east.
Granted, it doesn't fit with Elayne's recollection of 18, unless the remaining six were the local goatherders…
Other names I've found here and there have been "Lorinar," "Tareg," "Teraknian" (from "The Savage Tide" adventure path), "Xuel-Crix" (I believe a surname applied to Xodast), "Orlysse" (a Suel lich from DUNGEON #77's "Ex Keraptis Cum Amore"), "Kateri" (ceased to exist after 5094 SD), as well as several from the Oerth Journal—"Belzim" (ceased to exist after 2664 SD), "Opell," and "Ulmar" (both fled Imperium c.4117 SD).
I really need to double-check my resources for many of these, but that could provide enough additional names so that the Suel barbarian-precursors remain the "Houses of Pursuit," distinct from those who fled during the Rain of Colorless Fire, and also as a replacement for House Ad-Zol whom I believe fled earlier and laid at least one of the foundations for the future Scarlet Brotherhood.
(One thing I've always wondered is whether or not Suel House names are the same as Suel surnames; it'd be the difference for me naming a character either Lady Quintessa Neheli of House Neheli or Lady Quintessa Tzon of House Neheli—curse my desire for needless accuracy!)
Reviewing the above, I wonder which House(s) traveled south through the present-day "Grand" Duchy of Berghof, into the Amedio Jungle, and ultimately to "Lake Maytreus."
Samwise's chronologies of Keoland suggest this group might include the "Toli" (or rasgon's Tollax), but Samwise (in contrast to rasgon's innovation) holds that the Toli were not one of the Houses but instead a latter-day confederation of lowborn Suel mercenaries who converged around Gradsul before House Rhola drove them farther south (i.e., into the present-day Hold of the Sea Princes). In contrast, iirc, rasgon suggested that House Tollax was one of the ancient Houses (or perhaps a family within one of them?).
Finally, Amesang asked about the difference between the Suel Houses and surnames. If you like Samwise's approach, which built substantially on the LGG, then "Lady Quintessa Tzon of House Neheli" would be the proper way to address her although in less formal contexts she might be called "Lady Quintessa" "Lady Tzon" "Baroness Tzon" etc.
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