Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY
Ruler: High Priestess Althea, Her Most Dread and Awful Presence (Iuz)
Capital: Molag (pop. 17,750)
Originally a stronghold of organized humanoid tribes among which hobgoblins were predominant, the area came under the rule of lawful evil humans from the Bandit Kingdoms some decades ago. Before the Wars, the humanoids were content to work with humans in the cause of evil primarily directing their predations toward the old Shield Lands. Priests of Hextor and Nerull dominated the upper echelons and became the governing Hierarchs, readily aided by powerful bandit warriors and a few mages.
Iuz wholly overthrew the Hierarchs in the course of the Wars; the ease with which he slew them in the terrible Molag coup is a source of wonder to many sages. His High Priestess Althea has mockingly taken the old Hierarch title of Most Dread and Awful Presence and rules this land with cruelty and sadism as her watchwords. The humanoid tribes of the lands have been well treated by Iuz and his puppet. They form essential strike forces for planned further dominion. The more promising of them also hold sway in the old Bandit Kingdom lands. Iuz himself laughingly refers to Molag as his “summer palace.”
Rumors continue to circulate that one or more unnamed Hierarchs managed to escape the slaughter of the Blood-Moon Festival and have taken refuge in the southwestern spur of the Fellreev Forest (or elsewhere, depending on the rumor). From there, they seek to push back the borders of Iuz’s influence with the aid of the Power they serve.
The leaders of the Horned Society are known as Hierarchs. There were thirteen Hierarchs when the Society ruled its own lands. All but two of the Heirarchs, Andrade Mirrius and Nezmajen, were slain by Iuz’s forces during his coup on the night of the Blood Moon Festival. The current exact number of Hierarchs is uncertain.
Most scholars believe the Hierarchs of the Horned Society were opportunistic bandits who took over Molag and its surrounding territories after the imprisonment of Iuz in 505 CY, only to be driven out in 583 after the Old One had sufficiently rebuilt his strength.
Others, more ominously, speculate that the Horned Society is actually descended from a group that predates the Great Migrations. Certain old druids speak of the “Horned Ones,” cultists who stalked the night and preyed upon the ancient Flan. It is possible that the modern Horned Society is a descendant of these ancient Horned Ones, though it is also possible they are simply exploiting old legends to make themselves seem even more frightening than their deeds alone would merit.
The Horned Society in its modern form first came to prominence in 513 CY, a few years after the disappearance of Iuz. They seized the city of Molag, which had once been Iuz’s summer capital, and consolidated the territories around them. Hobgoblins, orcs, and other evil humanoids flocked to their banner. The Horned Society dedicated itself to the worship of dark beings from the Lower Planes, paying particular veneration to Nerull, Anthraxus the Decayed, and the Lords of the Nine. (Dungeon #111, page 31)
The Horned Society was made up of thirteen leaders known as the Hierarchs (also known as the Dread and Awful Presences), including powerful fighters, clerics, wizards, and thieves. The philosophy that bound them together was rulership through fear and might, with overtones of human supremacy and the subjugation of “lesser races” to achieve their goals, although one of the Hierarchs in power shortly before the Greyhawk Wars, Blontug, was a half-orc. The Hierarchs ruled in veiled seclusion, hiding their identities from their followers. Rumors had it they were fiends in human form.
The Horned Society quickly came into conflict with the Shield Lands. The Hierarchs swore upon the ashen altars of Molag’s Hall of Dread that they would march into Admundfort and line its walls with the intestines of that nation’s earl. The period between 550 and 570 saw heavy skirmishing on the banks of the Ritensa River. Great forts such as Torkeep were erected, but these ultimately proved inadequate.
In 579 CY, the Horned Society allied themselves with the Bandit Kingdoms realms Warfields and Wormhall. With their hobgoblin and mercenary armies supported by yugoloths and demodands, this unified host swarmed the Shield Lands, laying waste to villages and farmsteads instead of the strongholds. Though thousands of Shield Landers gathered at Axeport to halt their invasion, their line was broken and their bodies devoured by inhuman beasts. By 581, all of the Shield Lands except for Critwall had fallen, with the bandits of Warfields and Wormhall joined by bandit troops from neighboring realms. The victors carved up the Shield Lands, dividing it into holdings ruled by bandits, goblinoids, and agents of the Horned Society.
In 583 CY, in the month of Coldeven, at the height of the Blood Moon Festival, demonic forces sent by Iuz slew all of the Hierarchs in Molag and quietly took control of the nation in the name of the Old One. In less than a fortnight, the Hierarchs were mere legend and Iuz had absolute control over the nation.
The Horned Society, however, secretly survived. Arkalan Sammal speculated that they must have known that the return of Iuz would spell their doom, and planned for that eventuality. Andrade Mirrius and Nezmajen were not in Molag at the time, and due to his pact with Baalzebul, the one known as the Unnameable Hierarch was reborn as a greater devil. Together, they rebuilt the Society.
Rumors since 586 CY have placed the Horned Society’s new headquarters on the coast of the Pomarj, in the Bone March, or even in the Bright Desert or Rift Canyon. While most people no longer fear them, believing Iuz to be the true threat, a few, such as Arkalan Sammal and Mordenkainen, believe the Horned Society may now, with unknown numbers dispersed to an unknown number of nations, be more dangerous than ever.
Members: Known members of the Horned Society are as follows:
Andrade Mirrius – A powerful cleric of Nerull, lives in Greyhawk City.
Blontug – A half-orc cleric/fighter/assassin. Presumed deceased.
Christophe Jean Markosian – A sorcerer and disciple of Asmodeus. He is know as the “Devil Behind Thrones.”
Durgoth Shem – A rogue Hierarch who delved into the Tomb of Horrors in search of one of the “keys” that can open Tharizdun’s extra-dimensional prison. Presumed deceased.
Guiliana Mortidus – Priestess of Nerull, lives in Greyhawk City.
Nezmajen – A cleric of Nerull. He currently resists the forces of Iuz from the Fellreev Forest.
The Unnameable Hierarch – Head of the Organization. Some believe this individual to be Erac’s Cousin.
Vazirian – A cleric of Asmodeus. A former Shield Lander who turned to evil. Presumed deceased.
Warduke – A powerful fighter