The Tide of Chaos

Hrak-Tuzul was a military force that invaded Shandar in the year 1000 BB, starting what today is known as the Thousand Years War.   Little is known of the origins of Hrak-Tuzul, even with the testimonies of the people that served under the Tide of Chaos. The only thing that is certain, is that they came from the Unending Planes. Suddenly, without any forewarning, dark portals appeared all around the world, like tears in the very fabric of the material plane. From them massive armies of demonic creatures emerged, destroying everything on their path, their reasons unknown.   There was intelligence behind the chaos, however. Whoever (or whatever) led the demonic hordes, was never seen, so the real reasons behind the attack on Shandar are simply unknown, and matter of speculation. It is believed, considering how long the war lasted, that Hrak-Tuzul was either searching for something on the material plane, or drew some sort of sustenance from the killings, because they could probably obliterate the whole population of Shandar in a few weeks if they really wanted to. However they chose no to.   After the initial assault they retreated, and started a war of attrition that lasted for a thousand years. During the centuries, they never mounted an all out assault again, preferring instead to conquer and fortify strategic positions. Using raiding tactics to sap Shandar's natives energies, they kept them contained in their bastion citadels, while capturing and enslaving whoever survived their raids.   As time passed Hrak-Tuzul also struck alliances with some of Shandar's species, which saw a way for their peoples to finally have the respect they deserved. These were: Goblins, Orcs, Kenku, Gith, and even some individuals of other species like humans, elves, and dwarves. As centuries passed however it was clear that Hrak-Tuzul got the best half of the bargain, as any non demon was treated like a slave.


As much as the untrained eye in military matters could not see but chaos in the ranks of Hrak-Tuzul, saying that they lacked organization is far from the truth. Following a strict hierarchy, the army was divided as follows.  

H'lesh-Zurak, the Hordes of Chaos

The lowest rank was for all the mindless demonic assault troops that were used to assault enemy armies or strongholds head on. Individually very weak, they counted on the sheer number superiority to gaint the upper hand.

Mlaak, the Slaves

At the same level as the Hordes of Chaos, slaves were used for a variety of tasks, ranging from joining assaults as infantry, to more specialized occupations. Notably Goblins were used for their engineering and blacksmithing talents, forging weapons and armors and creating siege weapons when required.

Jorak-Kezul, the Lieutenants

Commanding each squad, the Jorak-Kezuls were usually stronger demons, or in rare cases some of the slave species that showed particular skill in leadership or tactics. The lieutenants took orders from their direct superiors, the Zuurak-Kezul.  

Zuurak-Kezul, the Captains

Each of the Hrak-Tuzul strongholds had a Zuurak-Keuzl at it's head. Usually commanding up to five squads, the captains were more concerned with higher strategic decisions, leaving the details of execution to their lieutenants. Rarely seen in battles the Zuurak-Kezuls were nonetheless incredibly powerful foes, usually requiring dozens of people to defeat them in battle. The captains took orders from the three Hrak-Tuzuls.  

Hrak-Tuzul, the Masters of Chaos

Demons of incredible power, only three were seen in during the whole Thousand Years War, although wartime intelligence reports led to believe that there might have been more commanding directly from the Unending Planes. They gave direct orders to the Zuurak-Kezul and usually stayed on the material plane for brief periods only. Only very powerful heroes with the aid of the Shiars' avatars were able to bring down one of the Masters, and then only just being able to banish them back to the Unending Planes. The whole invasion army was named after these fearsome beings. They were not, however, at the top of the hierarchy, as it was discovered that they took orders from a superior entity, or group of entities.   The Three Masters of Chaos that actively took part in Shandar's invasion were named Baphomet, Demogorgon, and Yeenoghu.  

The Archons of Chaos

Although the existence of at least one being superior in power to the Hrak-Tuzul has been proven through war time espionage, nobody knows or has ever seen them. To think of creatures more powerful than the Masters of Chaos is something beyond the mortals comprehension, and even the most reckless demonologists know better than trying to uncover the truth.


During the centuries of oppression, without any hope of defeating the seemingly endless armies of Hrak-Tuzul, the peoples of Shandar kept praying for the Shiars for help them in battle. The Shiars had indeed listened, and planted the seeds for their avatars to grow on the material plane, people destined to be the heroes that could defeat Hrak-Tuzul.   When the time came, and the avatars were ready, they set on a journey to defeat each one of the Three Masters of Chaos, and banish them to the Unending Planes, hoping somehow to close the portals and cut Hrak-Tuzul's supply of fresh troops.   This was achieved at a great cost. One battle after the other, they were able to banish the Masters, following the last one, Demogorgon, to the Unending Planes. Nobody knows what happened there, but for the fact that the avatar of the Resplendent Mother, the only Mask of the Shiar of Magic, sacrificed herself in order to finally close the portals and put an end to Hrak-Tuzul's invasion. Scattered and without leadership, the remaining armies were finally dispatched by the united peoples of Shandar, and thus the Thousand Years War ended, and a new era begun.

1000 BB - 0 BB

Military, Army
Alternative Names
Tide of Chaos
The first months after the opening of the portals it was a complete slaughter. We were caught completely unaware, scrambling to get some sort of defence going, but the sheer numbers of the Hrak-Tuzul armies were too overwhelming for our fragmented militaries. The destruction was complete. Only a few bastions of civilizations remained, usually the bigger cities where people could bunker in and mount a stronger defence. I can still remember sitting in the darkness, starving, praying to the Shiars for a miracle. Or a quick and painless death.
— From the page of "Testimonies from the Thousand Years War" by Theoris Choe

Cover image: Dark Hills by Nele Diel


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13 Dec, 2020 17:01

Wow, I can't imagine how terrifying this would have been. So many generations born during this war too.   I love the discussion of the hierarchies of the demons - and the mystery of what was actually commanding the forces. I think demonologists are wise to leave well enough alone.

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
Sage darquill
Diego Malatesta
13 Dec, 2020 19:22

Thanks! Yeah, it definitely impacted Shandar a lot, and the setting is "dark" mainly because of this conflict :)

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