by christopher_perkins, Aug 26,2009


The Jhal Shard is one of the more evil sects of the Dragovar arcane caste that practices a particularly vile form of arcana known as enslavement magic. Through the use of enslavement rituals, members of the Jhal Shard transform sentient creatures and monsters into thralls and then sell them for profit. Despite the current regime's distaste for slavery, the Jhal Shard are permitted to carry on their magical experiments unimpeded, largely because the majority of Dragovar viziers believe that the sect does more good than harm. The only regulation enforced by the Council of Viziers is that no dragonborn citizen of the empire can be turned into a Jhal Shard thrall.
The bulk of the subjects chosen for enslavement are monsters (the definition of which can, admittedly, vary). By turning captured monsters into subservient thralls, the Jhal Shard creates useful but disposable guardians, beasts of burden, and mounts. Sentient beings who fall victim to Jhal Shard magic usually have a checkered past and aren't the sorts of people that the empire would miss having around.
Usually the only ones who can afford to buy Jhal Shard thralls are members of the Dragovar noble caste. There are many corners of the world where the handiwork of the Jhal Shard is not really appreciated, including the Baronies of Bael Nerath and the shattered dwarven kingdoms of Gar Morra.


The Jhal Shard have developed many different enslavement rituals over the years. One of the most reliable requires the enslaved creature to have tiny gems magically stitched into its skin, such that the gems cover most of its body. The gems, while not particularly valuable, contain minor spells that work in concert to suppress the subject's rebellious thoughts. The gems cannot be removed without damaging or killing the host, and any attempt by the creature to resist the enslavement can be fatal.
Oddly enough, recipients of a Jhal Shard enslavement ritual are more resistant to charm effects or immune to them altogether—a feat of arcana intended to prevent a Jhal Shard thrall from being turned against its rightful owner.


The following members of the Jhal Shard have been encountered in the campaign to date:
Arradas Arzantyr (male dragonborn lich): Arradas lives an a secluded stone tower with a resolving upper floor that stands in the middle of a fungi-filled cavern beneath Io'galaroth. He is the leader of the Jhal Shard sect in Io'galaroth. He keeps his lich's phylactery hidden somewhere in the city above.
Gorloth (male human): Arradas has trained many apprentices over the years, and his latest is a balding, tattooed mage with a keen eye for worthy subjects. Gorloth handles most of Arradas's negotiations and transactions, and he never travels far without his favorite thralls: a pair of oni mages polymorphed into cloaked dragonborn.