Nibenay (the SK, not the city) in older material?

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For those following my ongoing Dark Sun fiction (see sig), it should be fairly obvious that we're going to be meeting the Shadow King soon. Now, I have a good mental image of what he might be like, but one of my goals as part of this little project is to try to reconcile some aspects of 4e and 'original' Dark Sun.

In 4e Dark Sun, the Shadow King in his true form looks like this:



And the form in which he appears to those outside his inner circle (which is presumably what he really did look like back in Rajaat's day) is described as a "handsome, regal human". Which, as descriptions of important figures go, is rather lacking in detail.

But I don't have access to any pre-4e material that describes what the Shadow King looks/looked like at all, so I have no idea if his 4e appearance represents a change to the earlier DS fluff or not. I'm aware he was implied to be on the cusp of dragon-hood (hence the importance of Siemhouk, whose beast-calming ability has been left strangely unmentioned in 4e), that his 'real' name is/was Gallard (which, interestingly, does not sound remotely Khmer), and that he's responsible for modern Athas lacking gnomes, but that's really all I know about the pre-4e Shadow King.

So, I'd be really grateful if anyone who does own pre-4e material that describes the SK's physical appearance (including his previous human form if possible) could post that information here. If there's any official artwork of him out there, that would be even better.

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

He was only featured in a single adventure, Marauders of Nibenay (not one of the better adventures ever published), wherein his human form was never seen. His metamorphosed form was described as black and smooth and the artwork gave the impression of draconian features on all black salamander slick skin. Can't seem to find a image from the adventure of Nibenay online, but you should not have any particular troubles finding the adventure itself in several forms.

Some of the Champions may have had differing birth-names than the ones they later adopted as Champions, then changed again as they became tyrannical rulers of their city. Nibenay's city in the setting context is his own design and doesn't have to be modeled after the region he started out from.  Remember that they had a full life going with all it's ups and downs and changes and then became immortal genocidal power-houses for thousands of years. A great deal can happen to a person over that kind of time scale. You could weave quite an interesting back story with any of the SKs regarding just how they came up with the designs initially for the respective territories since none of the current cities resemble something that would have been around during the Green Age (seemingly anyhow, since we're never given much to go on as far as just what the Green Age was like in detail).
The 4e picture is pretty much the same in concept as the 2e versions of the Shadow King:

IMAGE(http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd302/Kamelion69/MaraudersofNibenay_Page_049_Image_0001.jpg)   IMAGE(http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd302/Kamelion69/MaraudersofNibenay_Page_050_Image_0001.jpg)

The sculptures depicted below are supposed to be what his human seeming looks like:

IMAGE(http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd302/Kamelion69/AsticlianGambit_Page_009_Image_0001.jpg)   IMAGE(http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd302/Kamelion69/AsticlianGambit_Page_036_Image_0001.jpg)

As for his non-Nibenese name, as Mach4 says, it's likely that Gallard was not from Nibenay at all.  At the end of the Cleansing Wars, the Champions took control of various cities - these might easily have been those nearest to where their respective armies were instead of their homes.  In some places this is explicitly stated (Kalak's conquest of Tyr, for example, or Lalali-Puy not being the first Oba of Gulg) so the same may well apply to Nibenay.  There is also evidence that the city of Nibenay stands on the site of a far older settlement (see the details on its arena in The Ivory Triangle) for some more on this), so you could use that for inspiration.


Edit: Also, where'd ya get that pic of the Shadow King?  Is it just a scan from the Creature Catalog?  Looks nice and crisp - would be cool to get some more of that quality .
He also appears as a Talking Stone Face straight outta Legends of the Hidden Temple only with laser death eyes in that Asticles Gambit adventure.

Vampire Class/Feat in 2013!

I prefer Next because 4E players and CharOpers can't find their ass without a grid and a power called "Find Ass."

You people are awesome!

I have to say, I think he looks much better in black, rather than bright mauve. I don't like the amphibian look of the 2e portrayal, though, and will stick to the more classically draconic 4e version. I've already had Ysuun describe the SK's face as possessing "noble, draconic majesty", which doesn't quite fit with someone who appears to have had a head transplant with a large eel. I'm also inclined to keep the rather slim physique of the 4e SK, rather than the more massively muscular 2e one.

The statues/scuptures, along with his name, do seem to strongly suggest Gallard is from a different ethnic group than most of the population of Nibenay. Which makes sense, as a couple of you pointed out.

Lalali-Puy not being the first Oba of Gulg)


Wasn't Lalali-Puy described/drawn as European-looking in 2e? That's been very deliberately changed for 4e, presumably because the concept of a white-skinned queen ruling over a bunch of dark-skinned, pseudo-African tribal savages and being worshipped by them as a goddess has... unfortunate implications. So Lalali-Puy looks very definitely Gulgan now.

Also, where'd ya get that pic of the Shadow King?  Is it just a scan from the Creature Catalog?  Looks nice and crisp - would be cool to get some more of that quality .


It's from the DDi gallery. I'm actually being quite naughty posting it here.

On a similar topic, was the Temple of the Eye (a ruined shrine in the Crescent Forest guarded by templars of Nibenay) ever mentioned in 2e material, or is that a 4e addition?

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

You people are awesome!

I have to say, I think he looks much better in black, rather than bright mauve. I don't like the amphibian look of the 2e portrayal, though, and will stick to the more classically draconic 4e version. I've already had Ysuun describe the SK's face as possessing "noble, draconic majesty", which doesn't quite fit with someone who appears to have had a head transplant with a large eel. I'm also inclined to keep the rather slim physique of the 4e SK, rather than the more massively muscular 2e one.


Yeah, he has a very "moray eel" kind of look in that picture.  The 4e pic is really neat.  In The Cerulean Storm we get some descriptions of the sorcerer-kings without their human seemings.  You have to take it with a pinch of salt because DS novels and DS game material don't always synch up perfectly, but in this case the description of Gallard is clearly draconic:

"The last figure stood half-again as tall as the others. It seemed a miniature version of the Dragon, with a gaunt build neither male nor female. A glistening hide of leather and chitin covered its willowy limbs and androgenous body, while huge claws with knobby-jointed fingers hung from the ends of its skeletal arms. At the end of its serpentine neck was its head, little more than a slender snout with a glassy, bulbous eye on each side and a bony horn at the end."

So not a massively muscular form at all, and actually more in keeping with the 4e image.

Wasn't Lalali-Puy described/drawn as European-looking in 2e? That's been very deliberately changed for 4e, presumably because the concept of a white-skinned queen ruling over a bunch of dark-skinned, pseudo-African tribal savages and being worshipped by them as a goddess has... unfortunate implications. So Lalali-Puy looks very definitely Gulgan now.


That's a really interesting case, because her "Caucasian" appearance that is depicted in the 2e material is her illusory seeming.  For some reason she chooses to appear different from her subjects.  Her real appearance (at least, as described in The Cerulean Storm) is dark-skinned:

"The taller woman appeared as cold as she was beautiful, with long silky hair, dark skin, and narrow eyeslits extending from the bridge of her nose around to her temples. She had a small, oval-shaped mouth, with dainty fangs pressed against the flesh of her lips."

(Also, the 4e image of her has a freaking awesome hat!  Glad to see that 4e keeps the tradition of wacky Athasian headwear intact!)

Also, where'd ya get that pic of the Shadow King?  Is it just a scan from the Creature Catalog?  Looks nice and crisp - would be cool to get some more of that quality .


It's from the DDi gallery. I'm actually being quite naughty posting it here.


Heh heh, OK.  Nice one.  I'm not a subscriber.

On a similar topic, was the Temple of the Eye (a ruined shrine in the Crescent Forest guarded by templars of Nibenay) ever mentioned in 2e material, or is that a 4e addition?


Doesn't ring a bell from 2e.
Where is it said that there used to be past Obas in Gulg?
Where is it said that there used to be past Obas in Gulg?



Well, there are references all over the 2e material talking about Lalali-Puy taking over Gulg and being hailed as Oba by its inhabitants.  But actually, on further thought, "Oba" is a pretty specific term meaning "Forest Goddess" so I may be misremembering it somewhat.  It's entirely possible that, although it's clear she wasn't Gulg's first ruler, she may have been the first to be called Oba.  Sorry I can't remember it more clearly than that .
I'm a bit more partial to the moray eel look myself only in that it is different from what players may have anticipated, toying with their expectations, which is a tradition of the setting.
Where do those 2e images of Nibenay come from?
Where do those 2e images of Nibenay come from?



The two of Nibenay in his dragon form come from Marauders of Nibenay and the two underneath that of the sculptures come from Asticlian Gambit.
Where do those 2e images of Nibenay come from?



The two of Nibenay in his dragon form come from Marauders of Nibenay and the two underneath that of the sculptures come from Asticlian Gambit.



ah thanks, I'll go look those up