In the process of developing the Campaign Pitch for the Para-Elemental Plane of Ice, Frostfell, we introduced our villain, the fifth wheel among the evil archmentals, Cryonax and his mad dreams of becoming the king of his own icy domain that encompasses the whole of the elemental plane. We also introduced the enigmatic Immoths; elemental creatures of ice driven to gather knowledge from the multiverse by their insatiable hunger for the oldest of information from the far reaches of history.
But how do they fit into not only the plane of ice, but Cryonax‘ plans?
First, let’s look at their mysterious origin.
Art by Brian Despain
To be honest, the details of how the Immoths came to be may never be known. But what we do have are a handful of legends that may or may not hold any of the original truth. The 3E tome, Monster Manual 3, gives us some insight into their story:
The tale goes that long ago, a powerful, mad sorcerer tried to recruit elementals to serve him. When they refused, he punished them with a vile curse: They must seek out and collect the words of his curse and return them to their planar home —Monster Manual 2 (2003)
Starting life as elementals; whether they were water, wind or ice elementals it doesn’t say. Whatever they were, they crossed the wrong ‘mad sorcerer’ who, in turn, cursed them to forever search out knowledge until they gathered the ‘words of his curse’. Only then would their incessant search end. But to what end? It being a curse they were collecting, I would gather it was no good. And who or what was the ‘mad sorcerer’?
Easy answer? As is with most of the lore that WOTC throws at a DM, it is up to you what you want to do with it from there. It is left open ended for a reason. It awaits those DMs who have no need of ready made adventures but only need a hook to get started. What we do here is give you a little more direction. So, considering the campaign hook we started with, what follows stems from that.
This insane sorcerer could have been one of the many wizards, sorcerers and other magic users that Cryonax had conscripted into his cadre of magical experimenters to develop weapons to, not only, fight the war against the white dragon, Albrathanilar, but also the many archomentals that stand between Cryonax and his vile goals. One of these researchers may have come to a group of elementals in order to recruit them into his masters dark plans. When they didn’t comply, the angered sorcerer cursed them. Now, either they did it themselves fearing Cryonax’ response or, upon word that these elementals spurned the Bleak Monarch, the dark, icy archmental cursed them himself.
Art by AI (@artfromAi on Twitter)
The curse itself is left vague (reason stated before). All it says is they are compelled to search through all bits of lore and knowledge in the hopes of gathering the very words of their own curse. Now, this could be words that either the sorcerer or Cryonax created at that moment and placed them throughout the multiverse like an insane Easter egg hunt. Or maybe it’s something more.
As stated in the beginning, Cryonax is gathering weapons in order to eliminate the white dragon and turn his icy destruction upon the other four archmentals. Possibly, the Bringer of Endless Winter is using these creatures to gather something of a weapon for his war. A spattering of words that will, not only, bring the end of the Immoths, but prove quite useful to Cryonax’ ends. This takes a task off of Crynax and adds the serendipity of having those who rejected him do it for him.
The Immoths believe that there is power in words. And, to be honest, most spells have verbal components proving the point. This also takes into account the ancient languages like giant runes and Elven Mythals. Putting the right words together with proper actions and components is magic in and of itself. It is also said that the Immoths can freeze words like water and use them later like a spell scroll.
So, these cursed creatures are driven to travel the planes in order to bring about their own destruction. Now, this is something that they either do not know, are magically kept from knowing or knowing it doesn’t satiate their lust for the hunt. Either way, unless someone finds a way to free them of this curse, they are doomed to march to their own oblivion. And, seeing as the mighty Cryonax, who some have compared in power (almost) to the demon princes themselves, is the one who cursed them, it will take a powerful magic to break it.
Seeing as Cryonax and Moradin already have a past in which they actually had a slugfest in the Dawn War, maybe beseeching the Dwarven All-Father, would be a good idea. If you can break the curse, this would keep Cryonax away from the power of the curse, at least for a little while longer. But it WOULD save the Immoths from destruction.
THE SEARCH FOR THE LAST WORDS
The Book of Exalted Deeds speaks of the Words of Creation, a long lost celestial language that few mortals could comprehend more than a few of and that brought with them great power. What we may have is just the opposite. Possibly in the language of the evil gods, Deep Speech, these words may have been long lost words that convey destruction, not a power for good.
This reminds me of POWER WORD/KILL and the sort. This sort of spell goes back to the Netherese long before their kingdom fell. They were notorious for digging up ancient power and magic for their own selfish endeavors. Xanad was the name of the wizard who crafted the spell and his works would be a good place to look for this could be the holding place for one of the words of the curse.
One of the ‘words of the curse’ could be the legendary LAST WORD sought at one time by Orcus which was, at one time, able to kill a deity. Lore has stated that the ‘Last Word’ has been scaled down by the powers that created it, but it could still possibly kill or stun an Archmental.
Another source may be the god, Deneir’s, eternal work, the Metatext. In fact, the Metatext itself could be the final goal. Since it was believed that the vaunted work was present in words, phrases and snippets in EVERY book across the multiverse, it could definitely be an all consuming journey that may lead to insanity if not final destruction.
The Immoth could be gathering all of the Words of Calamity or just one. The point is that the Immoth is a perfect element for this campaign or any campaign. Anywhere there is lore or knowledge to be learned, there you will find the Immoths. In fact, they would make a great random encounter for mid to higher level parties. It would be a great encounter. Help the Immoth find what knowledge it looks for OR offer it something unique from your own personal experience. They LOVE lore and are a sucker for any tidbit of information. Give them that hidden gem of knowledge and they just might trade you something important to your journey; like a frozen word of power aka a once use super spell. Or anything you DMs can think up!
How would you use the Immoths? How would you flavor their look? How would you insert them into your campaign? Let us know in the comments below. It may aid us or others in completing their campaign in Frostfell!
3 thoughts on “The Legacy of the Immoths: Knowledge, Curse and Ice”
Hey, just commenting because idk how to reach you guys. The links on the website don’t work, and the only page I’ve found by searching is your twitter, but I can’t even DM you on there. Anyway, I’m commenting here because it’s the most recent activity I’ve seen. On the Search for the Splintered Goddess series, I would like to use some of that word for word in my game, and I’d only reformat it to be like an academic theory proposed by an ingame scholar in a paper. I would like to credit you guys properly, (especially this BDC person, whom upon research by seeing who is following the twitter page, i think I found their twitter but this post is more recent than their last post so im not DMing them directly) so please let me know if there’s a particular name you’d like used for the fictional scholar, so I get to have the fun little moment of telling my friends. “Hey, fun fact, every academic paper here is based directly off of a fan theory someone has shared online, and the name of the author was chosen by the fan theorists in question!”
This is BDC, sorry I missed this. You’re totally free to use the theory in game. That’s actually why we do what we do: to accentuate your game! And credit Lairsyn Ebonflock of Strixhaven! He’s a scholar we’re introducing in our podcast soon!
It’s all good! Thank you so much! I’ll definitely use that name 🙂