Isles Of Woe
The Isles of Woe are a now-lost archipelago in the Lake of Unknown Depths, once ruled by wizard-priests.
The Isles of Woe are most famed for the doom they suffered when the powers of the Codex of the Infinite Planes caused them to sink beneath the waters of the Nyr Dyv. During the nation’s height, the High Wizard-Priest had used the powers of the Codex to conquer the surrounding realms, and even other planes, but the same forces that brought so much power also brought much destruction and woe. It is said that at one point, the danger presented by the dominion of the Isles of Woe became so great that the sleeping hero Krovis emerged from his tomb to do battle.
The citadel of Veralos on the edge of Rift Canyon paid fealty to the Isles of Woe until the archipelago’s inundation.
Depending on the tale, the number of islands in this chain varies between three and seven, but is usually said to be three. The capital of this tyrannical domain was known as Heraan.
In a 900-year-old map, now in the Great Library of Greyhawk, the islands are shown in the eastern region of the great lake, appearing to be extensions of the Cairn Hills. If this map is accurate, the size of the Nyr Dyv was smaller in those days. The island upon which Admundfort now sits was much larger, and two islands that do not now exist stood southeast of Scragholme Island. However, there are reasons to doubt the authenticity of this document.
Because Veralos was contemporaneous with ancient Flan nations such as Sulm, Itar, Ahlissa, and Nuria, it seems likely that the Isles of Woe were also populated by the Flan people. Furthermore, the Isles must have sank before the Great Migrations, as Veralos itself lasted until that period.
The Isles of Woe, during their period of greatest infamy, were ruled by the High Wizard-Priest who discovered the Codex of the Infinite Planes. Because another name for the Codex is Yagrax’s Tome, it’s been suggested that the Wizard-Priest was named Yagrax. Some sources indicate that the High Wizard-Priest was Tzunk, although others imply that Tzunk was a later, separate owner of the Codex.
A few legends even place Vecna’s tower on the Isles, but there is little evidence for this claim.
As an island civilization, presumably the Isles of Woe made use of boats. The Codex of the Infinite Planes undoubtedly helped them expand their empire to other planes, though it seems unlikely that the Codex was their sole means of transportation.