Characters of Cimmeria: Croshan

Croshan was one of the elven kings created by the Olympians when they moved to Cimmeria. He led his people to victory during the Goblin War and into the Whitewood Forest when the Conclave dissolved. Rather than face the dragons, King Croshan took his elves into the Underdark to become Dark Elves. From the Underdark Croshan led raids on the surface world for centuries. His death passed with little fanfare on the surface, but sent ripples across the Underdark as Drow culture drastically restructured itself into a religious matriarchy.

Croshan was not born a king, he was created. The Olympians sculpted him to be one of the perfect kings of the elves. He provided clever strategies for his people during the Conclave’s war with the goblins. After the dwarves left the Conclave, Croshan and the other elven leaders followed them. King Croshan took his subjects to the Whitewood Forest to live in peace.

The Whitewood Elves traded peacefully with the humans of Jeutontic for many years. The peace was shattered when the dragons established their hegemony over Cimmeria. To escape domination, Croshan and his people enacted a powerful ritual. Their skin turned jet black as their whole nation was magically altered to survive in the Underdark. As the dragons took over, Croshan and the new Dark Elves went under.

Croshan after his transformation into a Dark Elf

Croshan’s time in the Underdark quickly eroded his sympathy for the surface dwellers. During the draconian occupation, Croshan led raids on settlements for supplies, not caring which side of the Dragon War they supported. The raids continued after the war ended. Jeutontic was the main target due to its proximity to the Dark Elf home base underneath Whitewood Forest.

Croshan’s raiders met resistance when Condrofalspeth came to Jeutontic. Condrofalspeth was a descendant of Sadroston and an accomplished magician. He organized the citizens of Jeutontic and the surrounding communities into an effective defensive fighting force. Still, the Dark Elves underground mobility outpaced Condrofalspeth’s ability to respond. The lord of Jeutontic maximized his people’s mobile power by capturing flying animals from the Terror Mountains to serve as mounts. The aerial cavalry ended large scale raiding by the Dark Elves in Western Cimmeria.

The aerials of Jeutontic frustrated Croshan. He gathered his people for an all out assault on Jeutontic itself. The massive attack was repulsed by Jeutontic’s army, but not without cost. Condrofalspeth perished in the fighting. The Drow suffered great losses in the battle. King Croshan was forced to abandon further attacks on Jeutontic lest he risk internal revolt from his citizens.

The defeat at Jeutontic did not stop the Dark Elf raids, but they were forced to spread out across the rest of Cimmeria. During this time King Croshan ordered experimentation with spiders to provide mounts and attack animals. These experiments also yielded valuable resources in chitin, silk, and extracted poison. The most useful of all inventions was the redwire spider, capable of spinning thread as strong as steel.

One of the architects of the redwire spider, Medrika, hated the competitive and self-serving culture of the Drow. She eradicated the redwire spider population and fled the Underdark with a few dormant redwire spider eggs. Medrika came to the surface with Dark Elf warriors chasing her. She was rescued by Gollard, the Prince of Yuettencal.

Croshan sent an army to Aractrash to reclaim the valued arachnids. Medrika provided information and collected intelligence to help Gollard. This assistance turned the tide in the fighting. Gollard emerged victorious while Croshan retreated from surface dwellers once more.

Croshan’s health rapidly worsened after his loss to the Aractrash Prince. His centuries of life and leadership underneath the ground had taken their toll. Desperate to survive, Croshan looked to his spiders for an answer. Using his ancient magic and alchemically enhanced spiders, Croshan was born anew as a drider. Half Drow and half spider, King Croshan planned to rule his kingdom for eternity.

Croshan’s plans were ruined by the return of Medrika. She had lived with Gollard and even had a child with him, but in the end he cast her aside when she was no longer useful. Once a victim of the competitive Drow culture, Medrika came back as its master. She organized a shadow war of assassinations and kidnappings, getting closer and closer to Croshan until he too was slain. Medrika took the throne as the new Queen of the Dark Elves. She reorganized their soceity through a zealous group of priestesses who were loyal only to her.

In a final insult to Croshan, Medrika refined his spider transformation to be used as a punishment. Driderification empowered the victim while simultaneously removing all opposition to Medrika’s will. Any who rebelled against her soon found themselves acting as one of her strongest servants.

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