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    Wyrms of the Flanaess: Brazzemal
    Posted on Sat, July 08, 2006 by Dongul
    Osmund-Davizid writes "Brazzemal is a powerful red dragon that once dominated a swath of territory that extended from the western Amedio Jungle to the Sea of Dust to the Dreadwood. He terrorized the lands of the Sea Princes and the Yeomanry for centuries and his fell reputation was the stuff of legends. But he went into his periodic hibernation phase some years ago, and so the short lived races of humanity have begun to forget the might of the bright raider. Recently, he has awoken, and once again the peoples of the south may have reason to again fear the Bright One.

    Wyrms of the Flanaess: Brazzemal
    By: Osmund-Davizid

    Brazzemal “The Bright” is named for his unusually light scale color, his well planned raiding style, and, of course, his gout of flame. This venerable male represents the epitome of the red dragon race. As of 576 Common Year, Brazzemal is about 800-years-old, almost at the apex of his power. But he is vulnerable. Brazzemal is coming out of a long sleep cycle, and is presently comfortable in keeping to himself and giving advice to an extended clan of fire giant tenants. The stability of the southern kingdoms is in grave peril should Brazzemal decide to once again take flight and make the lowlands burn.

    His Deeds:
    Brazzemal was born in the harsh Hellfurnaces in approximately -300 CY, and abandoned by his parents at an early age. He quickly learned to be ruthless and deceptive in order to survive. As a young dragon, he frequently explored the Amedio Jungle to the east, raiding opportunistically as he could. According to legend, there were seven city-states of the Olman Empire at its height, but Brazzemal, in his depredations, found the lost eighth city of the Amedio (Foot Note 1).

    This city was small, but wealthy. Its inhabitants ran several gold and gemstone mines near the base of the Hellfurnace Mountains. Brazzemal decided to take rulership of this lost city and for a time he was successful. In his youth, Brazzemal was flashy and showy, and he used demonstrations of his might to awe the city inhabitants. Brazzemal lorded over the city for several decades, demanding sacrifices of gold, emeralds, and cattle. He enslaved the population and the mines ran every hour of the day to feed Brazzemal’s endless greed. This arrogance and hubris cost him dearly when a revolution, led by a charismatic Olman spellcaster, arose one day and drove him away from the Amedio around the year -200 CY (FN 2). Brazzemal was caught entirely unawares by this revolt, as he was still a relatively young dragon and inexperienced. He has a powerful curse brought down by this native priestess, a curse that made him weaken and sicken every hour he remained in the city. He attempted several times to quash the rebellion, but he felt himself growing sicker and sicker, and so was forced to find other realms to conquer. Brazzemal, far from being humbled, flew northward and took his rages out on the inhabitants of the Dreadwood Forest.

    Brazzemal, still smarting from his exile, took sadistic delight in destroying large swaths of the green trees of the Dreadwood. He particularly reveled in torching the treants of the forest and attacking elf enclaves. This period of time was known to elves as “The Conflagration”; early Keoish scholars refer to it as “The Great Dreadwood Burn”. Brazzemal raided into elf territory, slaying and destroying as he pleased. He even rounded up bands of the native humanoids and drove them before him to flush out pockets of elf resistors. He was the virtual ruler of the Dreadwood for almost two centuries, gathering much in the way of treasure and art objects (FN 3). Eventually, the cooler climate of the Dreadwood began to interfere with his now delicate health, so Brazzemal turned back northward to the mountains, moving back to warmer climes (FN 4).

    Following these successful raids, Brazzemal, now a mature dragon, sought to consolidate his wealth and build a permanent lair. He returned to the blasted lands of his birth and picked a deep cave in the center of the Hellfurnaces. After moving all his ill-gotten wealth into the cave, Brazzemal began his sleep cycle. He was disturbed several years into his hibernation by a large clan of fire giants. The king of these fire giants – one King Hrungner – wanted to found his kingdom right above the sleeping dragon’s cavern. The giants were starting to construct a fortress when their mining inevitably woke the sleeping Brazzemal. What happened next is subject to several interpretations, some sources claim that King Hrungner engaged the dragon in single combat and subdued Brazzemal in a very humiliating manner. Other (non-giantish) sources claim that there were long negotiations between the two and a mutual protection act was formally signed; whereupon Brazzemal agreed to allow the giants to build their lair so long as they did not disturb the dragon or violate the sanctity of his cavern. The exact terms of the agreement are not known (FN 5).

    Operating from his lair in the Hellfurnaces, Brazzemal raided into a confederation of dwarf nation-states in the Jotens, attacked trade along the Javan River, and burned a swath through the Good Hills. Around the year 446 CY, the Hold of the Sea Princes began to rise as a power unto itself. Brazzemal was their personal tormentor in those formative years, raiding into the western plantations at will. Brazzemal even boldly struck major cities, adding the titles “The Terror of Melkot” and the “Yeoman’s Bane” to his list of monikers. He was the “Scourge of the Sea Princes”, often appearing and disappearing without warning from his Hellfurnace home. Several powerful parties tried to track him down but none were successful in even finding his lair, much less challenging the dragon (FN 6).

    His Domain
    Brazzemal, following his sacking and looting across the western Hold of the Sea Princes and the Yeomanry, instinctively felt the need to enter his sleep cycle for a few decades. Over a century ago, Brazzemal returned to the lands of King Hrungner (now ruled by his grandson – King Snurre Iron Belly) to return to his hibernation. Brazzemal claims a wide area from the Jotens to the shores of Jeklea Bay as his own, but in fact this is but a boast, as the human nations are now powerful enough to limit Brazzemal to opportunistic raiding only. But following the Greyhawk Wars, the nations of the Yeomanry and the Sea Princes are in enough turmoil to allow Brazzemal to conduct more bold assaults.

    His Lair
    Currently, Brazzemal lives in a deep cavern under the volcanic ground in the Hellfurnaces. Above this cavern, the awesome capital of fire giants was erected. The dragon and the giants continue to operate under the original agreement signed by Brazzemal and Hrungner.

    Regardless of the actual origins, it is clear that this arrangement became mutually beneficial to both the giants and the dragon. Brazzemal provided some tactical advice to King Snurre Iron-Belly during the giant attacks on the Yeomanry and Sterich during the Time of Troubles. Snurre pays some small tribute to the dragon for these services. It may be that both sides see themselves as the dominant party in this arrangement, but apparently neither side wishes to press the other. Presently, King Snurre Iron-Belly continues to observe the basic tenants of his grandfather’s agreement, and Brazzemal appears to be satisfied with keeping to his underground lair.

    A new wrinkle has recently appeared in this mutual protection pact. Denizens from the Underdark and elsewhere have now asserted themselves into the day to day business of the fire giants. There are several factions of drow, some illithids, and a clan of cloud giants that each send advice to King Snurre. Each of these factions sees the dragon as a possible fly in their ointment and a wild card in their delicate balance of power. One faction of drow has even taken the step of charming a gorgon to stand guard at the mouth of the dragon’s cavern to prevent Brazzemal from meeting with Snurre.

    Brazzemal regards all this as a big joke. At this juncture, Brazzemal is still coming out of his sleep phase, so he spends more time sleeping then anything else. Only occasionally does he shake off his lethargy to advise Snurre on some point or another. When he wishes to do so, he polymorphs into the form of a fire giant warrior and simply walks past the charmed gorgon. The gorgon has been ordered to ignore fire giants, so Brazzemal has the last laugh on the drow. One give away to his identity – when in fire giant form, Brazzemal has absolutely no hair.

    His Magic
    A power of Brazzemal, once he established a horde and a lair, was to warp the spatial reality around the boundaries of his lair. This warping results in an extra dimensional space around the edges of the lair, allowing for a very large dragon to exist underground (FN 7). It is thought that a relic captured from the Sea of Dust or perhaps the Amedio Jungle is responsible for Brazzemal’s mastery of such powerful magic (FN 8).

    His Fate
    While the human civilizations have largely forgotten the Bright One, the demihuman races have never stopped watching the skies for their hated foe. The dwarf nations of the lower Jotens and the Good Hills have calculated that Brazzemal will return to finish the job he began centuries before. But the elf nations of the Dreadwood are most active in attempting to track down the elusive dragon. Prominent among these was a powerful party of elves from the Dreadwood sponsored by the great wizard Theodain Eriason. This mage seems to have a personal vendetta to settle with Brazzemal. This is curious, as the elf wizard is thought to only be about 200 years old – not old enough to have been personal grudge against Brazzemal for his past, so another explanation of his animus may be in order (FN 9).

    Finally, there is the legend of Brazzemal’s lost city of gold (FN 10). If forced to negotiate with a powerful party, Brazzemal may bargain with his knowledge of this city in exchange for his life. All that he promises will be a lie, of course, but he may let slip some real information among his deceit. If forced from his lair by adventurers or by the drow, he will most likely fly back to his old bolt hole in the Dreadwood and launch a new series of vicious attacks on the southern lands. Attempting to slay him at this moment, while he is still lethargic from coming out of hibernation and before he has a chance to fully establish himself with the giants and drow, should be imperative for brave and powerful adventurers throughout the Sheldomar.


    1: According to the Scarlet Brotherhood Accessory (pages 62-63), the seven city-states fell into a period of civil war (approximately on or about -300 CY), leaving only the northernmost and southernmost cities intact. This eighth city was founded far to the western fringes of this Olman Empire by refugees from that war, thus it has not been recorded by the ancient Olmans. This city was founded near the headwaters of the Bodal River.

    2: Brazzemal will never reveal the details of this revolt. The spellcaster was a powerful priestess of the great Olman gods, and with divine assistance, she cast the curse upon the dragon that forced him to leave their lands and not return. The city is still intact, with a population that still follows the traditional Olman culture. There is a special class of priests and warriors that still prepare for the return of the dragon, and train for an eventual reckoning with their one time ruler.

    3: In all, the dragon burned several square miles of forest and ravaged three wood elf cities. Brazzemal established a bolt-hole lair deep within the forest to stash his plunder. He took almost all of the treasure with him to the Hellfurnaces, but there may be some of the less choice items left there, along with many traps and concealed very carefully.

    4: Lest anyone think that Brazzemal is weak from the Amedian curse, he fully recovered once he returned to his native Hellfurnaces. But he still longs to return to the Amedio and burn away all traces of the city that once brought him low.

    5: In the records of Obmi the dwarf, King Snurre’s advisor, there is rumored to be the original mutual protection act signed by Hrungner and Brazzemal. Obmi is aware that Snurre still consults with Brazzemal from time to time, and suspects that Brazzemal polymorphs in order to move freely throughout the halls. Obmi may find a way to turn this knowledge to his advantage someday.

    6: Adventuring parties in the Hellfurnances may well run into such a party while conducting other business. The dragon seekers most often fail to find the dragon because they do not think that the dragon would be so cooperative with a large nation of fire giants enough to share living space with them. That, and the fact that the Hellfurnaces may be the most dangerous environment on Oerth, that is.

    7: This warping was described in the map included in the Liberation of Geoff module. It was included to account for the increased size of dragons in the new 2nd edition. Note that Brazzemal’s statistics change from the original first edition in G3: Hall of the Fire Giant King to the Liberation of Geoff module.

    8: A great idol of bloodstone, taken from the lost city of the Olman, is the item behind this power. While the idol itself is only worth about 1900 gold pieces for the workmanship and materials, the magical effect makes it far more valuable, but only when very specific elements are met. The magical effect can only be activated when a reptilian spellcaster performs a long ritual and sacrifices certain intelligent warm blooded animals to it. The idol is a holy item for a long dead reptilian race that predated the Olman empire, the Olman never knew the device’s powers, but Brazzemal, after centuries of contact with the item, gained insight to its use. It is masterfully carved in the shape of a great lizard-like demon and generates a mild feeling of unease among warm blooded creatures that view it. This idol is Brazzemal’s only piece of treasure from the lost city of the Amedio, and he has a special attraction to this piece for that reason.

    9: In actuality, it is the dragon Hautna Masq acting in her guise as Theodain Eriason who has the personal grudge against Brazzemal. The dragon masquerades as the wizard from time to time, for reasons that are yet unknown. The hatred Haunta has for Brazzemal stems from a vicious battle between the two several centuries ago. Brazzemal soundly beat the Greyhawk dragon and hideously tortured her before leaving her for dead. She swore revenge and currently sees the continued presence of the red dragon as a powerful threat to the southern Sheldomar Valley. This feud may result in the unmasking of Theodain’s disguise and may jeopardize his position in the Circle of Eight, much to his detriment (see the module Return of the Eight for more details).

    10: This city may be the basis for several legends of a “lost city of gold” still told throughout the Flanaess.

    Inspired from the “Wyrms of the North” articles by Ed Greenwood published in Dragon magazine and articles written in the Oerth Journal by Eric Boyd.

    Dragon magazine articles in issues 134, 146, 206, 218, 230, 248, 260, A Guide to the World of Greyhawk, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, GDQ: Queen of the Spiders, G3: Hall of the Fire Giant King, Against the Giants – The Liberation of Geoff, The Scarlet Brotherhood Accessory, The Return of the Eight module for information of Theodain and Hautna Masq

    See also the following articles on Canonfire – "Dragons" by Cruel Summer Lord, and "Keoish Intelligence Report from the Sea Princes."

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    Re: Wyrms of the Flanaess: Brazzemal (Score: 1)
    by SirXaris on Sat, March 26, 2011
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    Great write-up, O-D!

    Additional background information on classic Greyhawk villains is always of interest and use when running the modules for new groups and for re-introducing foes thought slain to old groups. :)

    Your take on the history of Brazzemal does him justice and answers some difficult questions about his location in the Hall of the Fire Giant King.  Well done.


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