Farcluun - the backstory

Farcluun is a mysterious NPC that appears in Black Flames. He has partially undergone the draconic metamorphosis. Abalach-Re considers him an enemy. Here is a description of that module.

There is much speculation about the background of Farcluun. His background most certainly centers on Abalach-Re. In the module he is a defiler/psionist that has cast the defiler metamorphosis spell. But that got me thinking. What if he isn’t a defiler? What if he is actually a former templar of Abalach-Re, and Athas’ first templar advanced being? To whit -


At first Farcluun was thrilled to be made immortal by Abalach-Re. The Queen promised to make Farcluun “like her”, immortal and all powerful. The Queen made many promises, including promising to make Farcluun her king and to rule Raam side by side for all time. But in less than a century Abalach-Re had become bored of Farcluun, she had numerous other lovers, and she never made him king or kept her promises. Farcluun was looking at his future, and was expecting that he would be a virtual slave to the Queen for all eternity.

A psion of minor note before joining the templarate, Farcluun used the next three centuries of being ignored by Abalach-Re to increase his authority as a templar and deepen his psionic abilities. Roughly 350 years after being made an immortal Farcluun discovers the truth about Abalach-Re and the other Sorcerer monarchs deep in a hidden archive in the Royal library. Learning of the defiler metamorphosis, and the elemental vortices, Farcluun develops a plan to get his independence from Abalach-Re and flee Raam. Farcluun then develops ‘Farcluun’s Open the Vortex’, an epic spell that will allow him to connect to the spell granting elemental vortice of a long dead Sorcerer monarch. After casting the spell succesfully, Farcluun flees Raam.

After centuries of ignoring Farcluun, Abalach-Re is nonetheless infuriated when Farcluun disappears. Wondering if he had been assassinated (a not uncommon fate of templars in Raam), Abalach-Re used her psionic and magical abilities to discover that Farcluun still lived, although she was not able to ascertain his location because he had taken extensive precautions against such divinations. At this stage Abalach-Re ordered her servants to bring back Farcluun alive. She was still unaware that he was able to access the vortice of another Sorcerer Monarch, and when she found out she would order Farcluun’s death.

As for Farcluun, he had escaped with copies of the documents describing the essentials of the defiler metamorphosis. Using the defiler metamorphosis as a template for his own version of an advanced being draconic metamorphosis, he spends the next half century evading the agents of Raam and preparing his own metamorphosis. Casting his own version of the draconic metamorphosis, Farcluun becomes the first (and only) templar to evolve into an advanced being.

Even as an advanced being, Farcluun doesn’t have the necessary might to confront Abalach-Re directly, nor does he want wish to confront her. His current research focuses on how he might gain control of an unattended elemental vortice to channel spells to templars of his own. Farcluun knows that it cannot be Sielba’s vortice, because he cannot draw spells from the Sielba’s vortice and be the nexus of Sielba’s vortice at the same time. Farcluun has researched by method by which he might get a vortice of his own but gathering the necessary magical and psionic power to do so may take centuries. If Farcluun gets the ability to channel spells to templars he will likely return to Raam and attempt to overthrow Abalach-Re. Alternatively, if there is a city lacking a sorcerer monarch (like the Free City of Tyr if Kalak has been overthrown in your campaign), then Farcluun will plot to take over that city once he is able to create his own templars.

Farcluun’s Open the Vortex

Conjuration [Teleportation]
Spellcraft DC: 27
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 11 minutes
Target: Personal
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: N/A
Spell Resistance: N/A

To develop: 243,000 Cp, 5 days, 9,720 XP. Seed: reveal (DC 19). Factors: reveal a vortice that is unattended by a Sorcerer King (+10 DC). Primary seed: transport (DC 27). Factors: open the elemental vortice to caster (+10 DC). Mitigating factor: Burn 1700 XP (-17 DC), increase casting time by 10 minutes (-20 DC), change from target, touch, or area to personal (-2 DC).

Farcluun developed this spell to get out from under the thrall of Abalach-Re. This spell locates, and then ‘switches on’ an elemental vortice that is unattended by a living Sorcerer Monarch. In the case of Farcluun, he found Queen Sielba’s vortice, and opened it to himself so he was able to receive templar magic from it. Hypothetically this spell could be used to locate the vortice of a living Sorcerer Monarch, but the Sorcerer Monarch would then be able to switch off the connection at will. Sielba being dead, the connection is open to Farcluun permanently.

Benefit: the caster can take levels in the templar classes or is able to cast templar spells if already a templar. The caster does not receive the Sovereign’s Empowerment (Ex) ability. Pseudo domains change to that of the Sorcerer King to whom the vortice belonged. A creature channeling power from the vortice of a dead Sorcerer Monarch has no secular authority.

Lover’s Gift

Spellcraft DC: 28
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Target: Creature touched
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

To develop: 252,200 Cp, 6 days, 10,080 XP. Seed: metamorphosis (DC 28). Factors: ageless (+10 DC), self-sustaining (+10 DC), fast healing 5 (DC +90), apply advanced simple template +1 CR (+50 DC). 1-action casting time (+20). Mitigating factor: 67d6 backlash damage (-67 DC), 5,000,000 Cp focus structure (-50 DC), burn 6300 XP during casting (-63 DC).

This is the spell that Abalach-Re cast on Farcluun, her templar lover.

Once this spell is cast, Farcluun becomes ageless and has no need to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep. Farcluun no longer takes penalties to ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that he has already taken, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and Farcluun no longer dies of old age. Farcluun gets fast healing 5. The advanced simple template is applied to Facluun, turning Farcluun into a more evolved human being. His natural armor increases by +2, and he gets +4 to all ability scores. This spell uses up one of eleven possible metamorphosis spells that can be used on Farcluun.


I love the fact that Farcluun in this version wants to bind an elemental vortex to himself.
“In universe” it makes perfect sense that the difference between “Dragon” (defiler/psionicist that started the metamorphosis) and “Sorcerer King” (able to grant templar spells) is a bit blurry, So any newly ascended athasian dragon may be disappointed by the fact that he cannot grant templar spells to his followers. And all athasian dragons seems to be quite power-hungry, So, after becoming a Dragon, I agree that Farcluun would try to do something to became a true “Sorcerer King”

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From what little we know about Farcluun I agree he must have had some sort of relationship with Abalach-Re prior to Black Flames. I always figured he’d started off as one of her Arcanamach Royal Defilers. With the Athas.org Prestige Classes II appendix he could even have been a Monarch’s Chosen - it would explain how he found out about the Defiler Metamorphosis and would give him centuries to research it himself if he’d reached level 10 in the PrC.


I had initially thought of Monarch’s Chosen actually, but then giving an explanation about how he freed himself from magical compulsion became convoluted. Thus as in the DS PrC appendix, the Monarch’s Chosen was created to hunt down Farcluun.

In my scenario Farcluun is undergoing a dragon like metamorphosis but is not defiling to do it as his magic comes from the elemental planes.

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I’m not sure I like the idea of templars becoming advanced beings. Templars have always been limited in spell power within my own campaigns due to the imperfect nature of the elemental vortices connection. I do have a templar who is attempting to became an advanced being, but she did so by learning arcane magic and psionics much like Tithian started studying wizardry and went back to his old psionic training.

I used Farcluun as a Telepath 5/Auditor 10/Defiler 3/Cebremancer 5/Royal Defiler 5/Monarch’s Chosen 10/Dragon 2 (My SMs tend toward the 40-60 level range and Abalach-Re is a Rogue 5/Wizard 3/Nomad 3/Cebremancer 10/Unseen Seer 10/Shadowmind 10/Dragon 1)

For his backstory, he was a telepath and auditor used by the templarate to interrogate enemies of Badna. When preservers started appearing with more and more frequency in the city he began to specialize in members of the Alliance and even studied wizardry, joining the ranks of the Royal Defilers. It was Farcluun that actually discovered and killed Clennay, the founder of the Alliance. This brought him to the attention of Abalach-Re and he became another of her husbands in a ceremony that left him telepathically bound to his new wife. Farcluun had seen what happened to her other husbands so he made sure he was useful enough to her to keep around and went on long missions away from her so she did not get bored with him too quickly.

Although Abalach-Re took many husbands, Farcluun was able to survive centuries of her altering neglect and intensive desires at first using his magic to extend his life, then going through apotheosis. After centuries Farcluun discovered one of Abalach-Re’s secret libraries detailing the dragon metamorphosis process she would later use under the guise of the Forest Maker and the ritual to create the Chosen. When Abalach-Re learned her sanctum had been invaded she attempted to drain Farcluun of life but using the knowledge gained from the secret library he was able to sever the bond and escape before she could kill him.

Since that day Abalach-Re has been sending assassins after him while Farcluun has been attempting to gain enough power to displace her as the leader of Raam. To further that goal he has managed to start his own draconic transformation, beyond the path Abalach-Re started him on, by sacrificing entire tribes of halflings. He’s also been tracking down artifacts he learned of during the days he was one of Abalach-Re’s favorites. He was killed at the battle of Cool Springs but a contingent resurrection and contingent teleport returned him to life in his Forest Ridge lair. While he has heard of Abalach-Re’s death he knows one of the reasons for her many children was because she could return as a child of any of her bloodline should she die and he is not sure if that has occurred or if she has truly been destroyed.


Interesting interpretation. Actually there are many things that we accord on, including the relationship with Abalache-Re.

In 2nd edition D&D the templates actually had excellent spellcasting abilities.

I’m actually working to finish my version of the metamorphosis epic spell/power, along with advanced being feats that reduce the need for crazy numbers or levels.

I’m also 98% complete on my rewrite of the Templar class. Instead of a base class, its a ten level prestige class.

For Templars, I’ve always liked the base class and the prestige classes per city. The only change I ever did really there allow the spell casting to raise any spell casting or psionic class. I need to double check but I thought Templars were the only class that had no way of progressing beyond level 20 in 2ed.

I think that’s one place we differ, from your posts you seem to enjoy the lower level characters while I’ve done a lot more in the epic levels. I think that may be due to my players having been together for 20 years though with the core group always coming back to the same place in DS.

Actually, I am talking super epic! I view the Sorcerer Kings and advanced beings as capable of going toe to toe with a lord of the nine, a demonlord, or a demigod. I’ve modified the metamorphosis spell from Legends of Athas to reflect that, and created a number of epic feats that can only be taken by advanced beings. Tne advanced being feats are what epic feats are to non epic feats - more epic than epic.

What this means is that a Sorcerer King can be statted with as little as 35 levels.

The idea of a Templar becoming an advanced being never occurred to me and does open up some very interesting ideas. I personally never took any single templar that far unless, but I did expand on the concept of Monarch’s Chosen from the 3.5 fan material where a templar or royal defiler might be imbued with a portion of a SK’s essence to enhance their power and make them into quasi-draconic entities (which is the rough concept from the fanbook as well, I just took it a notch further).

The logic was that this was a perversion of the Faerunian gods’ method of creating “Chosen”. So this made Monarch’s Chosen much more dangerous than they are in the fan material, but also not really a class you can take either. That being said these “chosen” are definitely not advanced beings, merely templar or defilers that have been heavily augmented by their patron SK.

How an advanced being templar would work is quite the open question, since they are relying on borrowed power from an entity with no interest in allowing them to grow that powerful. Odds are good the templar would need to also be a defiler/psion if they want to be an advanced being. But if we’re going just with the idea of having a vortice for a high level templar to exploit so they can reign over their own city as a false god, I’ve played with the idea of powerful entities being capable of seizing an unattended vortice in the past to some extent. My initial thought was that if an advanced being that contains a living vortice dies, a nearby advanced being can seize the vortice if they are close enough at the time of death.

Otherwise there would be some high end ritual nonsense requiring the former SK’s remains. I’ll admit the idea is very unrefined, though there is a bit of appeal to me with the notion of dragons trying to highlander each other so they can become a SK. But I should also stress that I depict the older SKs as significantly more dangerous than their younger upstarts, making starscreaming a SK a herculean task for even a young dragon.

As for the power level of SKs, I play 2e where Archfiends are something lvl 18 PCs have a decent chance of beating (mind you I also buffed Archfiends and Archangels, but I’ve still had lvl 18 PCs hold their own vs Graz’zt long enough for the Lady of Pain to intervene, it’s a long story…). So I generally depict Advanced Beings as around the same “power level” as Cosmic Entities. The big difference being SKs lack a home plane they can do all kinds of extra nonsense with as well as lacking the ability to create avatars of themselves to bother people elsewhere (now there’s an epic spell to bother your PCs with…).

While i’m usually against the idea of an advanced being templar since, as it was accurately stated above, “they are relying on borrowed power from an entity with no interest in allowing them to grow that powerful”.
That being said, the discussion here gave me an idea similar to a ur-priest for a templar who learn to leech energy from the living vortices of the sorcerer kings, so that he is no longer dependant on their good will to gain power, and eventually bond to and become one with a living vortex of the dead monarch with the aid of psionics. I don’t know what an advanced being like that will look like or what powers it would have, but I think it should be called a pontifex (latin for “bridge builder”, one who bridge heaven and earth, a member of the most prestigious college of priests in ancient rome), but maybe that is atopic for another thread…


The pontifex concept sounds really cool. I would likely use the spirit of the land and the elemental lords that druids and clerics can ascend towards as sources of inspiration for what a pontifex would be like since those are the only sources of divine magic we’ve seen. Additionally iirc the vortices connected to the elemental planes so that could further justify some vague similarities. That being said templar do have access to the sphere of the cosmos so they have a HUGE spell selection compared to elemental clerics (not sure how much sense this makes for non 2e dark sun players, so I’d compare it to someone knowing only 1-2 of the 8 schools of magic vs knowing 7-8 schools). So they likely would definitely not be themed after one element or even nature, but rather perhaps just share a few similar traits.

In regards to imagery I would probably look towards spirits, demons, and deities from asian and african mythologies. We already see those influences in the city states and there are many deities and spirits in mythologies that translate as “gods” but don’t match western expectations of all powerful entities. As for precise looks, I don’t have anything particular quite yet, finishing the advanced beings for necromancers and shadow mages has kept me busy enough as it is.