Prism Pentad Continuity Issues: Nok, Giants, and Floating Heads

Splitting this discussion off from the Why One Should Not Magic Thread for further discussion on this.

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On Nok, I poked around the remnants of the archives of the wizards forum and found this post:

It is my hope to address such difficult issues as Nok in the future, but for now let me provide some basic factoids that may help the discussion:

1) 1st box rules do not allow for triple classed illusionist/druid/psionicists.

2) From an older thread, we have information from someone claiming to have contact with Troy Denning, which may indeed be the case. He offers the following evidence:

"Nok was a high level mage/psionicist/druid, which gave him the equivalent of Preserver dragon magic (at a very low level)." -quoted from Troy Denning by “Lukasz” 2/01/05

One can surely debate exactly what this means and if what Luakasz offers is truly from Denning.

3) Nok bears an obsidian orb around his neck which evidences extreme power (although with little in the way of observable examples). Is this dragon magic? Is this somehow druidic or clerical magic? Is this some sort of life-shaping power (I doubt this severely). It seems very much like the same type of orb Ktandeo’s cane bears. Indeed, in Sadira’s last confrontation with Nok, when she is about to use Ktandeo’s cane on the halfling chief, Nok snidely says to her “do not think to kill me with my own magic” (Amber Enchantress, 84).

4) Ktandeo’s cane seems to bear powers much more akin to sorcerous magic rather than faith based. The powers utilized by the cane shed the skin off of targets, turning it into dust, or blast powerful pyrotechnics, or even crack open even King Kalak’s certainly mighty abjurations. These are just a few examples. It is difficult to accept that they are clerical/druidic magics, especially since the powers portrayed would have to be more from the fire or lightning spheres, of which Nok is almost certainly not linked.

5) If Nok is an illusionist, again we have a problem, as illusionists do not have access to abjuration or invocation/evocation magic, schools of sorcery which are certainly utilized by Nok’s cane. If Nok did not have access to such schools, he could not have created such effects for use by the cane.

6) By 1st box canon, halflings can only be illusionists.

7) In 2nd box rules, halflings cannot be wizards at all.

8) Regardless of what might be said in the first box, the Oba clearly states in the Cerulean Storm that halflings cannot be sorcerers. Troy Denning certainly made a point of this. I have included the passage:

“I don’t believe this tale of yours,” Rikus said. “If Rajaat was trying to give the world back to the halflings, why did he make his champions humans? Why didn’t he use halflings?”

“He couldn’t make them sorcerers,” answered the Oba. “Because their race harkens back to the Blue Age, before the art of sorcery existed, they cannot become sorcerers.”


To me, all this and more makes the entire case profoundly confused. I have a solution of sorts to this as far as 2nd edition AD&D goes, at least nearly as good a solution as can be hoped for, but even my own theory is not totally convincing for me. In the end, Nok is harmed slightly by these extremes in mechanical in-game contradictions.

Emphasis Mine. I have not been able to find the original source for the emphasized quote, and it might no longer exist.

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So what we’re really saying here, is that Nok was played by the DM’s life partner in the campaign.

“Sure dear. A druid, preserver, psion halfling with defiler tendencies? Whatever. You guys okay with that?” The table nodded back compliantly.


I mean, at least Nok is a villain (kind of), and not Elminster. But of course, that is assuming that this hearsay is accurate, which there doesn’t seem to be a way to prove.

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Been awhile since reading the PP. That said, always pegged Nok as a druid/psionicist and that the cane just granted arcane abilities to non-arcane casters/manifesters.


The problem with this has always been how a non arcane caster could create such a thing, which doesn’t seem possible, and that Nok created it is unambiguous in the novels. This tripped everyone up I think, but even if the statement above really came from Denning, it opens up a whole new pile of questions.

The easiest explanation is Nok didn’t create the cane. Be it that he lied, or that Ktandeo wrongly assumed Nok made it.

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I agree, but both Nok and the narrator (in the sense of reintroducing a character after a book long absence by calling them Nok, the creator of the Heartwood Spear and Ktandeo’s cane as a description) state he did so.

That said, this is just one of those things where something has to give. The canon is perfectly clear and perfectly impossible, so do what you think is best. I’m just highlighting the issues.

Nok as a lying defiler really makes the whole bleak Athas thing shine though, right? He greedily wants to use the Ridge for his own purposes.

Another possibility is Nok did create cane, but with the aid of an arcane caster that he conveniently omits. Be that out of ego or protecting the caster is another discussion entirely.


That works too, and provides some interesting possibilities.

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Under 3.5E rules it’s possible that Nok may be a high level Druid/Psion with psionic enchantments and very high ranks in Use Magic Device, which would allow him to use scrolls with the aforementioned spells. As for drawing life energy, it’s possible that is an inherent property of psionically enhanced obsidian.

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Moving on from Nok, I believe Sacha and Wyan are both alive. Not undead. Now I can’t point to a definitive source but here’s why I think so. They are described as warm to the touch. They eat flesh or drink blood. They have hair that grows and is tied in long topknots. I think they were beheaded by the rebels for remaining loyal to Rajaat but the rebels didn’t know how to properly kill another champion yet. So instead they were beheaded and had their necks sown shut with mystical thread to prevent regeneration. They had already sworn an oath not to use defiling magic once they had completed they’re missions. I imagine that their psionic abilities had atrophied after a few millenia of disuse under Kalak. Or perhaps without bodies they’re nexus might have been diminished to the point that they are far weaker and Kalak could easily crush them.

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Is this mentioned somewhere, or just head cannon?

The amber enchantress. Near the end. They tell Sadira themselves quick proudly that they obeyed Rajaat and gave up their defiling magic but the other champions refused to give up that power.


I can’t give you any references but this is ringing one hell of a bell in my head. It would certainly tie in with Sacha and Wyan’s utter belief in Rajaat and his plan to restore the world - you can’t exactly do that if you’re draining the life energy out of everything.

Might have to dig out my PP books and RaFoaDK - if it’s anywhere it would be in one of those 6 books.

Edit @Kalakoftyr I’m in awe of your eidetic memory. Unless of course you only recently reread the Amber Enchantress! :wink:
Edit 2 Yup, Amber Enchantress, p.327-8


“So Rajaat declared that after our victory, he would be the only sorcerer,” Sacha continued. “The rest of us would have to forego the powers he had bestowed upon us. Wyan and I were more than happy to obey our master’s will, but the others renounced their vows and attacked.”

– From The Amber Enchantress Pg’s Kalidren listed above.

Interesting. Well, they don’t actually say they did so, only that they were willing to do so. Unfortunately either way, there is still the question of whether they are undead or not, plus the level of abilities they maintained. I’ll see if I can dig up the dragon magic use in book 2, but I really feel Troy Denning either changed his mind about their powers, or just forgot about them, because they never do anything impressive after book 2.

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On the dragon magic:

In chapter 2 of the crimson legion, tithian appears as a giant glowing head. This exchange follows. I shortened it up a bit, but everything below is from the book:

“How did he get here?” asked Rikus. “I thought he didn’t know magic!”

“He doesn’t,” Sadira…gestured at the apparition and uttered an incantation…she added, “And that doesn’t feel like normal sorcery to me.”

“It isn’t the Way, either,” said Agis… “I can sense the presence of Tithian’s thoughts, but their power is boosted far beyond anything he’s capable of.”

…Agis spoke…“It could be dragon magic.”

In chapter 5, Rikus asks Tithian to do so again, and this follows:

A look of embarrassment crossed Tithian’s face. “That’s not possible,” he said. “The individuals who helped with that aren’t available.”

The individuals talked about could only realistically be Sacha and Wyan, but as far as I remember, this incident is never brought up again.

You are correct when you say they don’t actually say they gave up their magic. Willingness doesn’t mean action. I always just assumed they did since they finished their task before the other champions.

As to the dragon magic. We only have Sadira and Agis speculations that it’s dragon magic. For all we know it may have just been a high level illusion spell that Sacha and Wyan coached Tithian how to cast. Or even he gave one of them psionic control of his body temporarily to be able to complete the spell.

I mean, technically yes, but considering both Agis and Sadira use their talents to try to discern what was going on, and the answer they came up with was dragon magic (and in doing so, possibly hinting at Sacha and Wyan’s true identities), it seems likely. I have no reason to believe that Troy Denning is being deliberately misleading here, since he often uses dialogue to explain what is going on. Whether or not this was a mistake in hindsight is another matter.