The Stockwood Scrolls
The land of Thay, in the east of Faerun, is a dark and forbidding land of windswept mountains, badlands, and arid vales. A pall of smoke and ash from the raging volcanic eruptions of its highest peaks smothers the land, blocking sunlight and sometimes extending into neighboring territories.
Thay was once a living land, home to the infamous Red Wizards, who ruled in a council of eight zulkirs that each headed a school of magic. It was a thriving if macabre society based on magically enhanced agriculture and slaves, trade in magic items, and the use of arcane power unrestricted by morality. Just over a hundred years ago however, Szass Tam, highest among the Red Wizards and zulkir of necromancy, engineered Thay’s downfall to elevate himself. Szass Tam saw the other zulkirs murdered and replaced with his own undead lackies.
Many Red Wizards fled Thay or counted themselves lucky they were not in Thay during the Szass Tam’s purges. These mages now operate outside the purview of Thay, though still call themselves Red Wizards.
Since the rise of Szass Tam, Thay now harbors the largest population of undead in Faerûn. Wealthy and powerful individuals often join Szass Tam’s new order in undeath. Conversely, an undead slave won’t rebel or easily die, and doesn’t have to be fed. Thay’s living citizens have a hard existence.