Iggwilv on the cover of Dungeon #149. Art by James Ryman.
|Homeland||Gray Waste of Hades; formerly Ket and Perrenland.|
|Class||Wizard 26/Archmage 4|
|Setting||World of Greyhawk|
Iggwilv is a fictional wizard from the Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. She was created by Gary Gygax and was named one of the greatest villains in D&D history in the final issue of Dragon.
Iggwilv is characterized as a selfish, evil-aligned magic user with much power and a penchant for sexual manipulation. She is the creator of the fictional demonomicons, which later served as inspiration for a real life sourcebook of the same name. For a period of time, she travelled with the Company of Seven under the alias Tasha.
As with many Greyhawk characters, sources often contradict on exact details regarding Iggwilv.
Creation and conception
The name "Tasha" and the association with laughter were created when a young girl sent Gary Gygax a letter (in crayon) asking him to create a spell involving laughter. It is unclear whether Gygax initially intended the two names to refer to the same character.
Iggwilv has been mentioned in a variety of sourcebook and articles for the Dungeons & Dragons game. Some of her more significant appearances include:
- The module Castle Greyhawk (TSR, 1988)
- The module Iuz the Evil (TSR, 1993)
- Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (Wizards, 2000)
- A series entitled "The Demonomicon of Iggwilv" from Dragon (2005–2007)
- Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (Wizards, 2006)
- "Enemies of my Enemy." Dungeon #149 (Paizo, 2007)
- Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk. (Wizards, 2007)
- "Unsolved Mysteries of D&D." from Dragon #359 (Paizo, 2007)
- "Iggwilv's Legacy: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" from Dungeon #151. (Wizards, 2007)
- "Treasures of Greyhawk: Magic of the Company of Seven." from Dragon #359. (Paizo, 2007)
- Demonomicon (Wizards, 2010)
In-universe character biography
According to published background, Iggwilv is said to have once been named Natasha, and it is under this name that she was "adopted" as a child by the witch Baba Yaga. Under Baba Yaga's tutelage, Natasha grew into a talented spellcaster, and soon became known as "Natasha the Dark," perhaps in contrast to another adopted daughter of Baba Yaga, Iggwilv's "sister," Elena the Fair.
Iggwilv next appeared in Ket some 300 years ago, in the 3rd century CY, where she was known as Hura. After being driven from Lopolla for plundering the Vault of Daoud (where it is assumed she acquired Daoud's Wondrous Lanthorn), Hura made her way to the Free City of Greyhawk. Now using the name Tasha, Iggwilv encountered the wizard Zagig Yragerne, who quickly (and scandalously) took her on as an apprentice. Sometime during this period (early 4th century CY), Tasha also served as a member of the Company of Seven, Zagig's adventuring band, and developed the spell Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter. Zagig and Tasha's relationship culminated in the imprisonment the demon lord Fraz-Urb'luu. When Zagig was unaware, Tasha spoke to the imprisoned demon lord, and learned many secrets. Shortly thereafter, Iggwilv absconded with many of Zagig's magical tomes, including the Tome of Zyx, which she would later make additions to and rename The Demonomicon.
Iggwilv traveled to the Yatil Mountains, in the unclaimed wilderness near the Velverdyva River, to a twisted mountain now called Iggwilv's Horn, said to be the last resting place of the ancient mage Tsojcanth. There, using the lore and power she had stolen from Fraz-Urb'luu and Zagig, she bound Tsojcanth to her service, using him as her slave for generations.
Iggwilv next appears in the historical records of Perrenland in 460 CY. Using what she had learned (and stolen) from Zagig, Iggwilv summoned and imprisoned the demon lord Graz'zt. She managed to seduce the demon lord into helping her with her plans of conquest and went on to bear him a son, Iuz. In 480 CY, she assembled an army and attacked Perrenland from her base in the Yatils known as the Lost Caverns. It is thought that at some point during or prior to this period of conquest, Graz'zt gifted Iggwilv with a magical cloak of pit fiend hide known as Fiend's Embrace. Iggwilv's conquest of Perrenland was complete by 481 CY[when?], and she held a firm grip on that nation until 491 CY, when Graz'zt escaped her control. Graz'zt had suggested, maliciously, that Iggwilv bind Tsojcanth to use as a living seal against the alarmingly spreading rift to the Abyss beneath Iggwilv's Horn. Iggwilv was caught off guard when Tsojcanth fought back for the first time in years. Weakened by the battle, she was doubly unable to resist Graz'zt's subsequent attack of his own. Iggwilv herself was forced to battle Graz'zt, just barely managing to slay his earthly form, banishing him to the Abyss. As a consequence of this battle, Iggwilv's beautiful form was wracked by magic and split into two hideous manifestations. Iggwilv was left shattered and powerless, enabling the native Perrenlanders to defeat her forces and regain their nation. After the loss of Perrenland, little was heard from Iggwilv for decades, and for a short while, she was presumed dead.
In the 570's, Iggwilv had two prominent clashes with the Circle of Eight, who had sent adventurers to thwart her plans. The first took place in the fabled Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and ended with the destruction of her daughter, the vampiress Drelzna. The second regarded her plans to bring a large number of fiends to Oerth, which was thwarted by a band of adventurers (Warnes Starcoat, Agath of Thrunch, Franz Torkeep, Rowena of the Silverbrow, Reynard Yargrove, and Rakehell Chert) who recovered the Crook of Rao from a magical demiplane known as the Isle of the Ape.
She last clashed with agents of the Circle of Eight in 585 CY when Warnes Starcoat employed a band of adventurers to recover Tenser's clone from Luna. Iggwilv currently resides in a manor in the Gray Waste of Hades. Her current plans, if any, are unknown.
Iggwilv is said to have two forms, one of which is that of an old crone (said to be her true form), and the other, a human female of dark beauty. In the latter form, Iggwilv has long black hair and pale skin. It is said none who have seen her in her true form still live.
She has many alternate names. On Oerth she has been called the Witch Queen of Perrenland and the Mother of Witches. She is known as Louhi on one alternate Prime Material Plane world, and as Ychbilch on another. Those close to her sometimes address her as Wilva.
A number of relationships exist between Iggwilv and the major characters of Greyhawk.
Iggwilv is the adopted daughter of Baba Yaga. She imprisoned and seduced he demon lord Graz'zt, who sired her the son Iuz. She is also the mother of the destroyed vampiress Drelzna. She is notorious for dealing with demons from the Abyss.
Iggwilv is a fierce enemy of the Circle of Eight.
In other sources
"The Revenge of Ghorkai," a d20 adventure by Gary Gygax in The Slayer's Guide to Dragons (Mongoose Publishing, 2002), mentions a demigoddess called "The Mother of Witches." Given that Gygax created Iggwilv, and the adventure map strongly resembles the Yatil Mountains, many assume that this demigoddess is meant to be Iggwilv.
Iggwilv's presence in the new "points of light" default setting was confirmed in 4th edition's Manual of the Planes. Iggwilv is briefly described as Graz'zt's sometimes ally and former lover. The 2010 supplement Demonomicon is based on Iggwilv's fictional work and presents "excerpts" from the text. Iggwilv's character history in 4th edition is similar to that in the World of Greyhawk. She is presented as an extremely powerful manipulator of Abyssal politics.
- World of Greyhawk
- List of Greyhawk characters
- Gary Gygax
- Wizard (Dungeons & Dragons)
- Company of Seven
- Bulmahn, Jason; James Jacobs, Mike McArtor, Erik Mona, F. Wesley Schneider, Todd Stewart, Jeremy Walker (September 2007). "1d20 Villains: D&D's Most Wanted; Preferably Dead". Dragon (Pazio). 32(4) (359): 54–69.
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- Q: "Did you make up named spells like Melf's acid arrow, Otiluke's resilient sphere and Mordenkainen's disjunction yourself, or did these come from player research?" Gygax: "All of those spells I made up, usually to honor a PC in my campaign, or for the person who suggested the basis. Tasha [Tasha's hideous laughter] was a little girl who sent me letters in crayon, Nystul [Nystul's magic aura] was an actual stage magician I met through Len Lakofka. Melf [Melf's acid arrow] was a PC of son Luke, and Otiluke [Otiluke's resilient sphere] was a combination of a couple of his other PCs." "Gary Gygax: Q & A (Part III, Page 6)". EN World. 2003-05-02. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
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