The Carnifex File

By Marco Dalmonte

(Special Thanks to: James Mischler and Andrew Theisen)


Davania, once the cradle of the first civilization on Mystara, has now reverted to a sparsely populated area with many tribes, especially lizardkin tribes, harassing trespassers. Tribes of humanoid crossbreeds and long forgotten human colonies live here too, especially near the coastline and the major rivers that flow to the Sea of Dread or to the Izondian Deep. But the heart of this lush and primeval land is still home to its original inhabitants, the lizardkin, who thrive here almost unchallenged. Deep inside the tropical forest and in the very middle of the burning Aryptian wastes, sparse remnants of an ancient civilization lie hidden among and below the dunes and the mighty trees, waiting for a brave and unsuspecting adventurer to discover their dangerous secrets…

The "Forest of Ka", as some of its oldest inhabitants call it, is the last remnant of the vile Serpentine Empire, which is itself descended from the Carnifex Tyranny, ancient Aeons ago. The Lizard Men, Troglodytes and Yuan-Ti were servitor races created by the Serpentines during their long ages of rule and now dwell in the forests of Davania, unaware of their real origins; but they’re not alone... The Elves actually fit into this picture as well, as they are descended from a group of Yuan-Ti who were purged of their serpentine poisons by the Immortal Ordana, and culturally revamped by the Faerie Folk under the tutelage of Ordana. But to fully understand who the Serpentines and their descendants are, we must go back to the first civilization appeared on Mystara, the one that gave birth to the lizardkin and that challenged the Immortals themselves, causing their own downfall. We are about to unveil one of the darkest secrets of Mystara: the Carnifex Tyranny.



The only information we have on the Carnifex is from M3, Twilight Calling. Therein, we learn that the Carnifex were a race of powerful, magic using carnosaurs (7' tall- use same classes as humans) who ruled on Mystara eons ago, but were driven from the prime plane by the Immortals and imprisoned on some distant plane, the Pits of Banishment.

Magic using lizards sounds very similar to a) dragons, and b) the Immortal Ka in mortal life. The Carnifex are related to/evolved similarly to the species that Ka developed from, and likewise are related to dragons. The lizardkin (gator men, lizard men, troglodytes, etc.) are degenerate ancestors of the Serpentines, which is an offshot of the Carnifex’ servants.

The Carnifex were on Mystara some thousand years after Ka became an Immortal, and from them the modern serpentine cultures and races evolved (or rather devolved, the lizard men and yuan-ti being the only exception to the rule, but they also are not so powerful as the Carnifex).

Ka actually took some dinosaurs and gave them a chance to evolve into thinking beings, capable of building tools and wield magic. There were still dinos roaming Mystara when the Carnifex achieved their peak, and they manipulated these lesser sorrels to their will.



Draft Timeline of the Carnifex Evolution


50.000 BC: Ka gives a small number of Dinosaurs (the Carnifex ancestors) the first spark of intelligence. They start to improve their thinking capacities.

40.000 BC: The Carnifex starts to use tools. They have mutated to a small race of carnosaurs with longer arms and bigger brain than the common dinos. They still communicate using verses and gestures

30.000 BC: The Carnifex starts developing their own language and establish the first institutions of their society.

20.000 BC: The Carnifex begin to study and use primitive magic and to tame other dinos. They also establish the first settlements and the basis for their common culture.

13.000 BC: After many wars among the Carnifex, which are now a large population in Davania, they form a unified government with a fixed hierarchy and begin to explore their land. Their magical knowledge increases.

10.000 BC: The Carnifex are now the rulers of the whole Davanian continent. They create servant species to help them in the hard labors and begin to plan the construction of a magical apparatus that will let them reach an unparallelled level of existence (near and maybe beyond immortality)

9.000 BC: The immortals decide to take action against the Carnifex in order to avoid the utter destruction of Mystara that could result from the Carnifex’ thirst for power (or maybe to avoid the Carnifex attain a higher level of existence?) and interfere with their complicate experiment, causing the death of many individuals of that race. Then they exile the remaining Carnifex with their threatening knowledge of the magical arts to the Pits of Banishment forever.


The Real Truth about the Carnifex Experiment

What leaves the reader astonished about the Carnifex disaster is the role played by the Immortals. Never in the whole history of Mystara have they adopted so drastic and direct measures of intervention, even in the later case of Nithia. In fact, Nithians have not been totally eliminated from Mystara (some of them still live in the Hollow World), but Carnifex have. If we follow this reasoning to its logical end then, it appears obvious that the Carnifex have been found guilty not only of endangering Mystara (because the Nithians did the same, and if you like, the Blackmoorians too, but the Blacklore and Nithians still exist in the HW), but also of threatening the Immortals’ rule on the Multiverse with their experiment. Simply put: the Immortals were touched in their pride, and being jealous about their might, they decided that the Carnifex were better left confined in another dimension.


So, even though they didn't directly challenged the Immortals, indirectly they tried to be superior to them with their magics, and that caused their downfall. The Carnifex challenged the supremacy of the Higher Beigns of the Mutiverse… and they lost, paying with their life for their presumption. But who has the right to tell who is right and who is wrong in this matter? Obviously the winners (and the only survivors of the events, the Immortals) have the chance to spread THEIR own version of the story, but in this case even the lack of information the Immortals grant seems strangely suspect and ambiguous. Are they trying to protect the future and the inhabitants of the Multiverse, or to hide the truth about their past sins? One thing we do know for sure: nobody will ever be able to answer this question without causing terrible repercussions to befall the Multiverse…


Marco Dalmonte