|Established||Before -1400 CY|
|Races||Kobolds (formerly human (Flan))|
|Languages||Draconic, possibly Diabolic, formerly Flan language|
|Religions||Possibly the Dukes of Hell, Kurtulmak, formerly Pelor|
|Authority Figures||Keraptis, Gethrun Shoiraine, warlords, kobold chieftain|
Skrellingshald, known as Tostenhca in ancient times, is a ruined city in the Griff Mountains. Skrellingshald is a name in the Cold Tongue that presumably means something along the lines of "Flan hold."
Some 2,000 years ago (around -1400 CY), the wizard Keraptis established himself as "protector" of what was then known as the city of Tostenhca (and, evidently, the surrounding mountain valleys), keeping the locals in line with gruesome threats fulfilled just often enough to keep them in fear. The local depredations of monsters decreased markedly under Keraptis's rulership, so for a time the local populace did not mind paying Keraptis's rather heavy taxes and tithes. However, as all dissension to Keraptis's rule was stilled one way or another, Keraptis began incrementally increasing the amount of wealth he demanded from those under his protection, until eventually he was claiming a large portion of everything produced in the valleys. Around that time (circa -1100 CY) came a sudden upsurge in madness, demonic posessions, and undead, and in the midst of these calamities, Keraptis introduced a new tax: a third of all newborn children were to be given to him. "As one," the people of Tostenhca rebelled and destroyed the wizard's hierarchy. Led by the high priest Gethrun Shoiraine and his ranger followers, they marched on Keraptis's keep, destroying his personal minions as well. During the chaos, Keraptis managed to escape to the lands of the south, taking with him his gnomish bodyguards.
300 years later, Keraptis discovered a mysterious statuette beneath White Plume Mountain, which was dubbed the Null Enigma. Keraptis used the object's power to pronounce a terrible curse on Tostenhca, resulting in the horrible death of its inhabitants. Tostenhca was forgotten, although rumors of it survived in the form of legends of a lost city in the Griffs where the buildings were "roofed in gold." As some point in the centuries to follow, the city became inhabited by a group of particularly intelligent and magically adept kobold tribes.
In 520 CY, a chieftain of the Frost Barbarians called Hradji Beartooth took a band of men in search of the legendary lost city. He returned later that year with many of his men dead, but with a treasure of golden spheres, each the size of a double fist. Within the year, Hradji and the majority of his surviving men died, and the curse spread in turn to everyone who had any prolonged contact with the cursed gold. Eventually the gold was traded to merchants in the Great Kingdom, and reputedly still exists in certain Aerdy coins, though this may be a rumor started to weaken the currency of that land.
Geography and climate
The Griffs are high, frigid mountains. Skrellingshald is built on a plateau, built from a mountain whose peak has been entirely leveled for the sake of the city. It is thought that the climate of the city must have been more pleasant in the days of Tostenhca's height, but now it is covered in snow for much of the year.
Skrellingshald is carved from the greenish-black rock of the mountain and surrounded by flattened terraces for the sake of agriculture. Many of the art objects in the city are carved from green ceramic or jade, indicating that these materials are common in the area, as must have been a great deal of gold.
Skrellingshald is, today, primarily inhabited by clever kobolds and their diabolic allies. The chieftain has a medallion that allows him to summon an ice devil once a year if an intelligent creature is sacrificed to it. The city is guarded by stone golems created by the ancient Flan, by natural and magical traps, and by undead or extraplanar beings.
The people of Tostenhca evidently worshiped Pelor and perhaps other Flannae gods. The kobolds evidently have diabolic connections, but may also follow the traditional gods of their people and/or dragonkind.
Tostenhca was ruled by one or more warlords kept under the thumb of Keraptis until the time of the evil wizard's exile. It also featured a prominent high priest of good, Gethrun Shoraine.
Currently the kobold tribes are ruled by a great chieftain allied with devilkind.
Tostenhca's economy seemed to be mineral-based, with jade and gold mined in the mountains. There were terraced farms surrounding the city for agriculture. For a time much of the city's wealth was channeled to Keraptis and his nearby stronghold.
Gold, jade, ceramics, artwork. The city also contains murals painted with pigments that still seem fresh today, thousands of years after the city's destruction. If Tostenhca was ever roofed with gold, this has long since been looted.
Artwork taken from the city would be of high value if it could be removed, especially in the Duchy of Tenh.
Tostenhca's currency seems to have been found in the form of large gold spheres the size of two fists. Due to the power of the Null Enigma, these spheres are currently the subject of a deadly curse.
The people of Tostenhca built ramps, broad avenues, and good roads through the mountains still used today by the local dwarves. The city had large water storage tanks and evidently pumped running water throughout the city.
Tostenhca's military included rangers serving Gethrun Shoraine and the evil gnomish followers of Keraptis. Currently the kobolds provide their own military forces, supplemented by numerous shamans and witch doctors and the ancient Flan-featured golems.
- Mullin, Robert S. "Arcane Lore: Greyhawk Grimoires II." Dragon #241. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1999.