Threats from the South
The Scarlet Brotherhood has always been a mystery. Cloaked in shadow, manipulating events across the Flanaess, exploring unknown southern jungles, the Brotherhood influences the world in ways both obvious and subtle. Now learn their early history, hierarchy of power, gods, and agenda.
But the Brotherhood is not alone in the south. Explore the peoples, nations, gods and wonder of the continent known as Hepmonaland and the jungle peninsula of Amedio.
This book includes new character classes for Scarlet Brotherhood monks and assassins, as well as specialty priests for the entire Suel pantheon.
The Scarlet Brotherhood (1999), by Sean K. Reynolds, was the final 2e setting book for the World of Greyhawk. It was published in March 1999.
Continuing the Fourth Era of Greyhawk. Wizards of the Coast kicked off the fourth era of Greyhawk in 1998 with a trilogy of books overseen by Roger E. Moore: Return of the Eight (1998), Player's Guide to Greyhawk (1998), and The Adventure Begins (1998). Wizards then expanded the line with three adventures collectively called The Lost Tombs trilogy (1998). The Scarlet Brotherhood marked the seventh book in the revived line; unfortunately, for all intents and purposes, it also marked the end of Greyhawk as a distinct line at Wizards.
Starting in 1999, Greyhawk supplements instead began appearing under a more generic banner, just as was being done with the final Ravenloft books (1999-2000). Though Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff (1999), Return to White Plume Mountain (1999), and Return to the Keep on the Borderlands (1999) were alll Greyhawk adventures, they now bore a "25th anniversary" trade dress.
These anniversary "Returns" continued past D&D's silver anniversary, into 2001; as a result the last 2e release in the series, Slavers (2000), reverted to using the same trade dress as the other supplements of the fourth wave of Greyhawk supplements. It would officially be the eighth and final book in the short-lived series, though it was a year removed from its predecessors.
The Scarlet Brotherhood is also notable because it's a rare regional splatbook for Greyhawk. TSR had played around with books of this sort during the Third Era of Greyhawk, "From the Ashes" (1992-1993), but those scant supplements marked the only in-depth looks at Greyhawk's countries. The Scarlet Brotherhood detailed a few more locales, and to date is the last regional splatbook for the setting.
The Assassin Returns! (And the Monk Too!). The monk and the assassin were both major AD&D character classes that had purged from second edition AD&D (1989). However in the years since 2e's release, they'd been sneaking back into various products.
The assassin appeared as a character kit in PHBR: The Complete Thief's Handbook (1989) and then made a thematic return in ALQ2: Assassin Mountain (1993), but 2e had never previously featured a full assassin character class.
The monk appeared as a character kit in PHBR3: The Complete Priest's Handbook (1990), but then returned as a full character class that could be found in Faiths & Avatars (1996) and Player’s Option: Spells & Magic (1996).
The Scarlet Brotherhood includes new class writeups for both of these missing occupations. Its assassin is a rogue subclass, while its monk is a priest subclass. The monk is somewhat different from that found in the earlier 2e books; it's closer to the missing 1e class — without the priestly powers that had been added in Spells & Magic and Faiths & Avatars.
Expanding Greyhawk. "The Scarlet Brotherhood" marked one of the largest ever expansions of Greyhawk — not just because it detailed a very wide expanse of land, but also because it moved the focus to the south, an area that had received very little detail to date. In all "The Scarlet Brotherhood" covers three regions: The Scarlet Brotherhood, Hepmonaland, and the Amedio Jungle. The areas are detailed not just with textual descriptions, but also using careful illustrations that depict the peoples of the lands.
Though the Scarlet Brotherhood had been introduced back in the World of Greyhawk Fantasy World Setting (1980), it had never received much attention. Now, it was extensively detailed, providing players with a possible new adversary who was very in line with the darker countries revealed during the "From the Ashes" era.
The Amedio Jungle had been touched upon way back in C1: "The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan" (1980), which also introduced Greyhawk's Olman people, an Aztec-like society. Neither the Olman nor the Amedio had received further detail following that primordial module, but now they appeared front and center.
Hepmonaland was the most novel area of the three receiving new detail in "The Scarlet Brotherhood". It was a more primitive land inhabited not just by the Olman and by primitive Suel, but also by a new Greyhawk race: the Tuev.
Hepmonaland is described in "The Scarlet Brotherhood" as a continent, a topic which sets off arguments among Greyhawk fans. The setting has always been said to include four continents, but no one agrees what the four continents are. Old-time fans go with a classic listing that typically includes Oerik, Frank Mentzer's Aquaria, Gonduria, and Suhfang (Kara Tur). However, newer supplements clearly include Oerik and the southern Hepmonaland as two of the continents, with a third off to the west. The northern continent of Hyperboria, from Dragon Annual #1 (1996), may or many not count as one of the four continents (and in fact may or may not exist in modern Greyhawk). Perhaps someday Wizards will indicate which of these 6+ continents are "real".
Future History. The authors at Paizo Publishing were apparently fans of this region of Greyhawk (and of the Olman culture). They first returned to it in "Exploring the Isle of Dread" in Dungeon #114 (September 2004), which placed the Isle in Greyhawk and puts the Olman upon it. More notably, two of Paizo's three Greyhawk adventure paths were set in this area. "The Shackled City" (2003-2004) was set in the city of Cauldron, located in the Hellfurnaces on the border of the Amedia Jungle — a locale that Paizo returned to in "The Spire of Long Shadows" in Dungeon #130 (January 2006), which was part of the "Age of Worms" adventure path (2005-2006). The "Savage Tide" adventure path (2006-2007) then began in the city of Sasserine, also in the Amedio Jungle, before traveling south to The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan and The Isle of Dread.
About the Creators. Reynolds got his start at Wizards of the Coast in 1997, and from 1998-1999 wrote about half of their Greyhawk Fourth Era. He'd finish that up the next year with Slavers, and afterward focused more heavily on the Realms.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to email@example.com.