Lost City of the Elders

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Lost City of the Elders
Lost City of the Elders01.jpg
The tapestry in Maure Castle depicting the Lost City of the Elders, as shown in Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure (1984). Art by Jeff Easley.
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Remembered by most only in an old rhyme and accessible only through the Dagger Obelisk created from instructions in the Tome of the Black Heart, the Lost City of the Elders exists in a world entirely separate from Oerth.

Eli Tomorast has ventured here several times in the past. It is in the Lost City of the Elders that he discovered the demon Kerzit.


The Lost City, as depicted on a tapestry beneath Maure Castle, is imposing in size, with two tuskless elephants sculpted in bronze guarding its gate. The city seems uninhabited when seen from without, with a large domed building towering over the battlements. The sky is shown crackling with lightning (this is, coincidentally, the way the sky of Luna is portrayed in Return of the Eight).

Publication history

The Lost City of the Elders and the method for reaching it were described briefly in Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure (1984). This material was reprinted in Dungeon #112.

An adjunct to the City of the Elders, the Garden of the Plantmaster, was published as a first edition AD&D adventure by Creations Unlimited in 1987, and as an official third edition D&D adventure by Kenzer & Company in 2003.

Kingdoms of Kalamar version

In the Kingdoms of Kalamar setting, the Lost City of the Elders was an ancient Svimohzish Dejy city-state whose true name has been long forgotten. It is located in a deep canyon on the shores of a tributary of the Izhoven River. The city became ruled by a council of tribal elders, thus giving it the name the city is remembered by.

A druid called Clahz came to the Elders, requesting sanctuary for his collection of rare and exotic plants, which had been nearly destroyed in an unexpected raid. At first he was refused; the Elders had better uses for their city square than to become the garden for a mad druid.

In desperation, Clahz summoned Lamash, a treelike demon whose true name he had learned from an evil shaman he had defeated some time before, and asked him how the City of the Elders could defeat the raiders that plagued it and form an empire. Armed as he was with this knowledge, the Elders at last payed attention to Clahz's requests.

Within five years, Clahz had his garden and his predictions had come true, the City forming a small empire up and down the Izhoven River. Consumed with the quest to build the most wondrous garden in the world, Clahz collected strange and rare plants, and tribes of fey came to live among them in secret.

For many more years, both the City of the Elders and the Garden of the Plantmaster thrived, but a plant rot came and desolated much of the garden. Desperate again to save his creation, Clahz summoned the demon Lamash once more. The demon took advantage of this opportunity to infect the garden with his Abyssal taint, forcing the population of the City of the Elders to evacuate the city. Terrible plants began appearing throughout the area. The rivals of the Elders took advantage of their weakness to slaughter many of the citizens outside the protection of the city walls, and the short-lived empire soon collapsed. Lamash himself is still trapped within the city, however, and for many centuries has kept the Plantmaster alive in order to torment him daily.

Creative Origins

The Lost City of the Elders was first adventured in by Gary Gygax playing Mordenkainen and his henchmen (whose names mostly rhymed with "-igby") in 1972. Mordenkainen arrived there from Robert J. Kuntz's campaign world of Kalibruhn through a magical waterfall.


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  • Kuntz, Robert J. "A Partial, Annotated Bibliography of the Works of Robert J. Kuntz." Available Online
    • Garden of the Plantmaster. (Creations Unlimited, 1987)
    • Garden of the Plantmaster. Mundelein, IL: Kenzer & Company, 2003.

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