Disclaimer: This page discusses one DM's view of Thay, an infamous slave-keeping, magocratic country in the Forgotten Realms with a decidedly evil bent. I began developing it in greater detail for my first evil campaign, which began in 2009 and ran for a decade. This vision is offered for entertainment and variety's sake and for adults only. I do not condone anything described in real life; quite the opposite. I don't suggest that you accept or use these ideas in your games, either, unless everyone in your group is informed beforehand, given safe opportunities to decline, and genuinely okay with moving forward. You might find reasons for characters to work against Thayan interests, details that will fit the tone of your own Thayan campaigns, or nothing that works for you at all. Please read with discretion, and feel free to stop and move on anytime.
The family tree below shows the five most recent generations of House Valgon in the capital city of Eltabbar, in birth order. Valgons born into this branch of the family are listed with no surname, while those who married into the family have their birth surnames included. Members who originated in other branches of the family but live in Eltabbar now are not included here; please see their branches of origin. Portraits reflect the most recent (or last known) family portraits commissioned for each person.
Player character names are marked with an asterisk. Click on the names for more information.
All of the character portraits on this page were created with Worldspinner Portrait Workshop (beta version)
Members who currently live in the household and are counted in the Eltabbar census are named in bold print below; the deceased are in italics.
Gulyas, CE Bard, 1307-1364
Gulyas was always the darkest and heaviest of his siblings and taunted because of it, but he knew his charisma would fill in for all that. He was raised in luxury and enjoyed living it up all his years on Faerun. He always dressed well but aimed for portable goods rather than buildings or titles. He became a bard for the fun of it and because he was a natural manipulator; he had no interest in leading, like his father had done. He traveled often in his younger years, leaving concerns about who was in charge to his brothers. He put on a lazy, foppish act, but beneath his careless facade was a crafty social monster.
All of these choices were made to make Gulyas seem like less of a threat to other power-hungry nobles, including his brothers, who both became Red Wizards. He learned early that politics in Thay could lead to death and worse, but a noble couldn't survive without connections or clout. Clout put a target on your back, so he aimed for connections, which were the safer bet. He saw his brother Boris's ruthlessness and guessed he was dealing with demons, but never said a word about his brothers to anyone. He avoided them as much as possible and moved carefully to avoid their wrath his entire life.
Gulyas's jovial and respectful manner got past many people's defenses, but his penchant for gluttony and lust got him into trouble regularly. He had an insatiable appetite for women and little care for rules that made someone off-limits to his desires. Unfortunately, his predation extended to his family, and he manipulated his niece Othila and later her daughter Nauthira, among other family members during his lifetime. He kept his victims appeased with gifts, spells, and drugs to keep them quiet. He also tried to make people around him love, need, or disregard him to avoid being punished.
Gulyas miscalculated when he impregnated Tasya Ilmeth during a tour of Thazalhar; her family was very unhappy because she was too young and he was trying to pull a fast one on them. Instead of being able to flee, he was forced to stay and try to avoid the worst consequences. Rather than marrying her, they agreed he would pay restitution and take the child (his only legitimate issue, Fury) back to Eltabbar. Gulyas, like the Ilmeths, took an immediate disliking to Fury (and vice versa he left his only son to be reared by family and slaves, generally pretending the boy didn't exist. He peppered Thay with illegitimate children but made sure they would never try to claim benefits from his house.
Gulyas kept in touch with Boris's son Berach after he fled the country as a way to get more news of the outside world. He always pitied Berach because he saw himself in him: an overshadowed sibling who didn't enjoy the bloodshed. He also saw that Boris had written Berach off, so there was no real danger in communicating. Gulyas also blackmailed Ivistra about the affair that led to her downfall, not because he didn't like her, but as a warning that if he could find out, others could, too.
Gulyas believed that pleasure was the greatest good anyone could know. He was unrelentingly selfish not so much out of hatred for others but out of complete disregard for their feelings. In later years, he secretly converted faiths after he began having visions. The goddess didn't reveal her name, but he believed in her nonetheless. Just before his death - which was unsurprisingly in flagrante delicto - he learned that his niece Azonia had been chosen by a new goddess, which was the same as his own - Samora, goddess of tainted love and forbidden pleasure. Had he not died when he did, no doubt Gulyas would have been in for the ugly reckoning he richly deserved. Return to family tree ^
Tasya Ilmeth, LN Wizard, 1312-present
Tasya was reared in Thazalhar as the daughter of a perfume dynasty. She was raised amidst Mulhorandi traditions because her house has maintained more ties to the old country than most. Since she took so well to etiquette and was eager to meet every visitor, her father trained her to be a hostess for guests while her mother trained her in the ancient family art of creating perfumes. Tasya greeted both tasks with enthusiasm and excelled in them far younger than her parents had imagined. At age 10, she passed her magical aptitude test but was kept at home for training, for which she was grateful. She had no desire to be a Red Wizard, or to be groomed to become one.
The trouble began when the family was set to receive Gulyas Valgon and his retinue. Gulyas had a reputation for raucous partying and lavish generosity, giving gifts to friends and foes alike. The Ilmeths hadn't had a chance to dig much deeper into his life than that when he arrived; all the family saw was a wealthy, free-spending noble from Eltabbar who belonged to a house that trained courtesans. The potential for making long-standing, lucrative deals was too tempting, so they got busy catering to his whims and giving him free run of their estate.
It was in the ensuing months-long party that Gulyas discovered and targeted Tasya, who was only 15 years old at the time. He enthralled her with tales of his travels and charmed her with gifts, and spoke to her like she was an adult, which her family never did. Although her parents expressed some reticence, he assured them that he would allow no harm to befall their daughter while she was at his side. And since he kept everyone busy with procuring entertainment, preparing food, presenting perfumes, and taking tours through the area, eventually it became all but impossible to keep track of the young hostess - especially after Gulyas egged everyone into consuming more intoxicants than they realized. The snake in the sand found his moment to strike, and Tasya spent weeks in a drug-induced haze, moving from party to party under the belief that it was what grown Thayan nobles should be able to do.
When it was discovered that she was pregnant, House Ilmeth was outraged. A grown man had taken advantage of her while he stayed under their roof. Gulyas was captured, imprisoned on the estate, and nearly castrated before the matriarch could get the house in order. Tasya was sent to a temple to undergo a detox ritual and when she came out of the haze and was told what everything meant, she was horrified. She wanted nothing to do with Gulyas ever again. It was she who suggested that he stay and serve the house until she gave birth so that he could take the child back to Eltabbar with him as his legal heir. The matriarch added further penalties: Gulyas would be given no wine or drugs, would have no parties, and would have no unapproved visitors during his stay. He would work for House Ilmeth's best interests 9 out of every 10 days, and any further major transgressions would render the agreement null and void. (Any minor transgressions would be met with corporal punishment.) He would agree to regular shipments of perfumes for the rest of his life and to never return to Thazalhar, on pain of death. In exchange, House Ilmeth wouldn't report the breach of conduct.
What could Gulyas do but agree?
Tasya avoided him as much as possible during her stay, growing to loathe him more with every viewing. She was relieved when labor started - and then things got worse. It was as if her child fought being born, and the pain went on for nearly two days. When her son was finally revealed, the women of the house gasped at his pale skin, shock of red hair, and reddish eyes. He bore the coloration of Set - the Mulhorandi god of hatred, destruction, and murder - rather than his parents. The newborn also refused to be comforted for long, screaming for hours at a time, even though nothing was physically wrong. The Ilmeths were sure he had been marked by Set and was a bad omen, and were eager to be rid of him. Tasya gave the infant his name, Fury, and handed him to Gulyas without a second glance. Gulyas left immediately, and the next phase of Tasya's life began.
Rather than stay in Thay, Tasya asked to travel to Mulhorand more often. She'd already vacationed there and enjoyed herself more often than not, so she figured it would be a good place to escape what had just happened at home. She could learn new perfume techniques and magic there and became a liaison for the house - and that's what she did. She sent a portrait of herself to Fury once, just after began her assignment, showing Gulyas that she was perfectly content without him in her life and fine with being seen in Mulhorand, Thay's former parent nation. Tasya went home to give birth to her children, but did so as part of a short-term, purely political marriage. From there, she divorced, took a Mulhorandi noble woman as her lover, and married in Mulhorand for the second time. She moved her family between the nations but firmly refused to go to Eltabbar for any reason.
It's a family legend that as a teenager, Fury went to confront his mother, but what occurred then, no one but she and Fury know. Suffice to say that she never tried to maintain regular contact with her first child, and given how aggressive he's always been, it's unlikely that their reunion went well at all.
Fury, LE Cleric, 1328-present
Fury despised his lazy, burbling father practically since birth and aspired to become the very opposite. He was already a tyrannical man when Bane chose him as clergy, which only reinforced his heavy-handed ways. Possessive, strict, and violent, Fury was tasked with family security and accompanied Cezria on trips to the drow. In some ways, his dreams came true in the elevation of his eldest son. But his daughter failed to show any magical gifts, and then his newest wife ran off with his other son, Miklos. Fury was forbidden to pursue his runaway bride, and that may have driven him mad if a surrogate son and blackguard of Bane, Augustus, hadn't arrived. Fury seemed to forget about revenge - enough to move to House Valgon in Surthay to help reinforce its security, leaving his daughter in Eltabbar to be raised however the family sees fit.
Ivistra Gallegos, CN Bard, 1329-1362
Beautiful scion of Gallegos entertainers, Ivistra was a catch for Fury and an asset to the family. She seemed content with her position in society and the market until she ran away with her lover, Enim Thullos, in 1362. She was pursued by Fury, Imourad, and her young son, Miklos. Fury cut down both lovers with his sons looking on; the "official story" is that Ivistra was kidnapped and killed, and Fury took due vengeance. Unofficially, it is rumored that she became pregnant and fled in order to have the child and live far away from Thayan cruelty. Return to family tree ^
Ulkar*, LE Wizard / Red Wizard, 1347-present
The family was at Ulkar's christening when Antek and Lee'voth were killed. When Ulkar passsed the magical aptitude test, Boris kept him out of the academy and neglected his education as long as he could, then kept Ulkar at the academy a few years too long. He even sent Ulkar away on slave raids outside of Thay. But the year of Boris' disappearance, Ulkar took his chance and became a Red Wizard, and not long afterward, he was removed from his house by his new masters. He had no choice but to obey, but he helps his family when he can. His cousins recently helped to arrange his marriage to Myrlana Dasselath, not just a fine match but a good tie for the Valgons. He has been sent to set up a household in Lapendrar, now that the civil unrest there has been squashed.
Myrlana Dasselath, NE Druid, 1351-present
Tari and Azonia helped Ulkar find his match in the quiet and intense Myrlana, who's one of the relatively rare druids of Thayan descent. She grew up moving between branches of the family as her parents tended their duties. As a teenager, she began accompanying her kin when they visited other planes on the hunt for slaves. Her burgeoning talent as a druid proved valuable, and she worked for her house for years, visiting her homeland occasionally. She began to yearn for a settled place to be, however, and grew resentful of her family's constant demands. Myrlana visited Eltabbar on the hunt for her own spouse, a new house to serve, and a new life of her own. She deemed Ulkar to be of superior stock and admired his self-control and loyalty to his kin; he found her viewpoint and sharp wits fascinating. The family's plans to start a new branch of the family in Lapendrar, with Ulkar at the center, was the final straw. Myrlana is now a Valgon and aims to shape a new estate, her children, and the tharch around them to her liking. Return to family tree ^
Miklos*, CE Fighter, 1350-present
A physically-inclined child, Miklos was favored by Balogh and might have been trained by him to be the house standard bearer, if not for the Salamander War. Boris refused to provide a proper fighter's education for Miklos or to allow him to join the military, keeping him close to the house. Through some maneuvering by his stepmother, Gelina, he was trained. Miklos was drawn to the voluptuous nature of the family trade, while also echoing his father's love of control (though he was nowhere near the bully Fury was). Upon his brother's ascension as a Red Wizard, Miklos gave up his fragile hope of attaining any real standing in the family. Through careful arrangements, he was allowed to leave Thay with his favorite cousin, Nauthira - and shortly thereafter, he was joined by Gelina, his father's latest wife.
Gelina Rhaenys, NG Bard, 1349-present
A soft touch in a family of fighters, Gelina was all but sold by her family to the demanding lust of Fury. Well abused and cowed, she quickly produced the daughter Fury wanted and kept her head down ever after, maintaining some connections with his sons, since she was close to their age and was raised in their company. In a bid to clear the house of 'useless' members during Boris' absence, visiting cousin Dralas Valgon discovered what was really behind Gelina's moping when Miklos left. Dralas arranged to help her escape to be with her husband's son, well beyond Fury's reach.
Though she tried with an intensity beyond her years, Salia failed her magical aptitude test not long after both of her big brothers left her to her own devices. And then her stupid mother had the nerve to leave without even saying goodbye! Almost as abused as she is spoiled, Salia has been given more attention by her cousins than she ever had from her parents. She wants to become one of Thay's renown black unicorn riders and has started to study riding and flying with Augustus and Vik, respectively. She's also shown a surprising talent for painting, a skill that shows she has more patience than she tends to let on. Return to family tree ^
Free of Fury's tyranny, Miklos and Gelina began fully enjoying their lives together abroad. What the family doesn't know yet is that a new life has resulted, a girl named in honor of Miklos's mother and Nauthira, who has dedicated herself to protecting her cousin's partner and child.
All of the character portraits on this page were created with Worldspinner Portrait Workshop (beta version)
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