|The symbol of Kerpatis, as depicted in White Plume Mountain (1979).|
Little is known of the early life of Keraptis. Perhaps as early as circa -1500 CY, he established himself as protector of the Flan enclave of Tostenhca in the Griff Mountains, bringing the local warlords in line with gruesome threats fulfilled just often enough to keep them afraid of him. 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.
For hundreds of years Keraptis wandered between the cities of the south and west, his notoriety preventing him from settling anywhere for long, collecting three magical weapons (Blackrazor, Wave, and Whelm) during his travels. Going north once again, he came to the shores of the Nyr Dyv, where he heard tales of White Plume Mountain. Circa -800 CY, Keraptis took over White Plume Mountain, near Rift Canyon, with an army of gnomish warriors, personally slaying the previous guardian of the mountain, the druid Aegwareth. In White Plume Mountain, Keraptis discovered the sword Frostrazor and the terrible Null Enigma; the archmage used the latter artifact to bring down a terrible curse on the people of Tostenhca. Keraptis dwelt in White Plume Mountain for nearly nine centuries afterward, finally abandoning his lair sometime in the 90s CY to further his research.
The false Keraptises
By the late fifth century CY, a band of adventurers known as the Brotherhood of the Tome stole the magical weapons Blackrazor, Frostrazor, Wave, and Whelm from White Plume Mountain. Realizing they needed protection from further such raids, the gnomes of the mountain opened up Keraptis' old laboratory, deploying magic that rewrote the personalities of those who read it with partial copies of Keraptis' own. The result was the first False Keraptis, a gnome who truly believed itself to be the original. Though this False Keraptis eventually died, further ones came into being: Nightfear, Spatterdock, Killjoy, Mossmutter, and Zhawar Orlysse all believe themselves to be the one true Keraptis.
Keraptis is known to have authored the following works:
- The Pyronomicon
- Mullin, Robert S. "Arcane Lore: Greyhawk Grimoires II." Dragon #241. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1999.