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The Kryn Dynasty is a political entity that dominates the northern reaches of Xhorhas.[2] The lands of the Kryn Dynasty are covered in dark clouds that blot out the sun.[3][4] In Tal'Dorei and Issylra, the Kryn Dynasty is simply referred to as the "Xhorhas Empire".[5][6]


Tales told by Yasha's people describe the civilization of Kryn Dynasty to be situated within a massive forbidden ruin that the drow had settled. With the use of magic, their civilization was kept perpetually shrouded from the sun.[7]

Notable locations[]

  • Asarius IconAsarius: also known as the "City of Beasts".
  • Bazzoxon Icon (s)Bazzoxan: a village at the northernmost point of the Penumbra Range of Xhorhas.
  • Jigow: a northern village on the shores of the Emerald Gulch.
  • Rosohna IconRosohna: capital of the Kryn Dynasty, built on the ruins of Ghor Dranas.
  • Many Hosts of Igrathad: A collection of villages south of the Sorrowseep Waters.
  • Urzin: a mobile swamp city in the northwestern corner of the Dynasty, home of the horizonback tortoises.



The Kryn Dynasty is composed mostly of drow.[8] Essek Thelyss estimated that the population was somewhere around 300,000.[9]

Notable people[]


The Kryn Dynasty is led by Empress Leylas Kryn. Power in the Dynasty is concentrated in Dens, and the three most powerful Dens (Kryn, Mirimm, and Thelyss) control access to consecution. Certain people will occasionally be adopted into Dens for consecution, indicating a familial structure of some sort.

Umavis - tshortik

Fan art of the Umavis of Dens Mirimm, Kryn, and Thelyss, by @tshortik.[art 2]

Public office and titles[]

In Kryn society there are different positions in political and/or military fields, and all of them have some function in the Dynasty. A common feature in most of them is that the names they receive are related to the sky, the times of day and night and the celestial lights. The known positions and what is known about their functions are listed below:

  • Bright Queen: The title of the ruler of the Kryn Dynasty. Leylas Kryn has been its only bearer.[11]
  • Dusk Captain: The title of the leader of the Aurora Watch. Quana Kryn is its current bearer.[12]
  • Skysybil: This title, based on its current bearer, Abrianna Mirimm, seems to be related with divination, lorekeeping and spiritual guidance.[13][14][15]
  • Shadowhand: The title of spies, mages, or investigators who focus on dark and unknown mysteries of the world in fields such as subterfuge or arcana. Essek Thelyss has been a recent bearer of the title.[16]
  • Taskhand: The title of high-ranking captains commonly assigned to a location or specific “task” to oversee adjacent and directly related military operations; sometimes, during times of conflict, they are also assigned to preside as judges. There are several Taskhands serving as such, including Verin Thelyss and Durth Mirimm.[17][18]
  • Sunbreaker: This title, based on its current bearer, Olomon, might be military-related.[13]
  • Starguide: This title, based on its current bearer, Uraya Hythenos, seems to be connected with an advisor-like position.[19][20]
  • Lightbroker: This title, based on its current bearer, seems to be related to diplomacy.[21][22]

Twelve noble Dens[]

Ruling Dens[]

Other noble Dens[]

Other Dens[]

Other families[]

In this section are included families that lived in Xhorhas but either rejected the den system of the Kryn Dynasty or existed before said system was implemented:


Aurora Watch[]

Main article: Aurora Watch

The regular forces of the Dynasty are called the Aurora Watch, and they perform the functions of both gendarmerie and regular army. Their current established strength is at least 21,600, divided as follows: 13,200 divided among the cities under Kryn protection, 3300 in the capital itself, 5100 stationed at various places in the Underdark and the rest stationed on the border with the Empire.[29] The Aurora Watch seems to consist mostly of well-armed, well-equipped, and well-trained drow. Allied and/or subject peoples of the orcish, goblinoid, gnoll and other communities seem to provide many additional supplemental forces.[citation needed]

Characteristic armor/ uniforms[]

Aurora Watch in Jigow

Depiction of an Aurora Watch soldier in Jigow, by Max Dunbar.[art 3]

Soldiers and assassins from the Kryn Dynasty wear chitinous insect-like leather armor that protrudes in large sweeping hooks at the joints and the shoulders. Additionally they wear form-fitting helmets of similar black leather that has onyx studs wrapped around the head. The brow plate of these helmets have backwards facing horns, looking almost demonic.[30] Kryn Dynasty soldiers additionally wear metal cups as part of their uniform.[31]


The Dynasty's spy network is called "The Lens".[32]


Sentencing for crimes is carried out by presiding officials entrusted with the wisdom of the Bright Queen. All fines and punishments for crimes against an Aurora Watch soldier or noble are doubled. All fines and punishments regarding crimes against a Den official or member of the Bright Queen's council are tripled.[12]

  • Theft: 2-5 days incarceration and a fine equal to the worth stolen.
  • Slavery: 10-20 months incarceration and a fine of 1500 gp.
  • Trespassing: 5 days incarceration and a fine of 120 gp.
  • Damage to Private Property: 5-20 days incarceration and a fine of twice the worth of property destroyed.
  • Damage to Dynasty Property: 12-50 days incarceration and a fine of twice the worth of property destroyed.
  • Kidnapping: 60 days incarceration and/or fine of 800 gp.
  • Worship of Betrayer Gods: 150 days incarceration, or execution.
  • Assault with Intent to Injure: 12 days incarceration and a fine of 200 gp.
  • Assault with Intent to Kill: 200 days incarceration and a fine of 1200 gp, or execution.
  • Murder: 5-10 years incarceration and/or a fine of 4000 gp, or execution.
  • Treason: Execution.


BlackSalander Dodecahedron Beacon

Fan art of The Beacon, by BlackSalander.[art 4]

The drow of the Kryn Dynasty worship an unfamiliar deity referred to by The Cobalt Soul as "The Luxon". The drow seek to bring all of Xhorhas under its "Burning Banner". Followers of the Luxon use the phrase "Light be with you" as a farewell.[33] Despite the Kryn's overall devotion to the Luxon, they do not force anyone to follow their religion according to Wursh the blacksmith. Though not nearly as well tended as Luxon temples, small shrines to other deities can be found in the Dynasty.


The Beacons of the Dynasty - TBQ

Kryn Dynasty's six beacons, by CoupleOfKooks and Cris Peter from The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #3.[art 5]


According to stories Yasha had heard, the drow of the Kryn Dynasty would use man, beast, and demons for labor and would use them to fight under their war banner.[34] They also keep the skies above their capital city dark to protect their majority drow population from the sunlight. The Kryn use Luxon beacons to reincarnate certain members of their society who have earned consecution. These reborn individuals slowly begin to remember their previous lives as they reach adulthood. More lifetimes bring one closer to being an umavi, someone so wise through their life experience they are considered a "perfect soul".[35]


As referenced in the semi-historical portions of The Courting of the Crick, this derogatory slur use against those from Xhorhas by those of the Julous Dominion, and later by those in the Dwendalian Empire, originated from the cricket-like noise the armor worn by the soldiers of the Kryn Dynasty made when they charged into battle. Designed with tubes and holes, the armor would make a high-pitched sound like an orchestral swarm of crickets rushing into battle.[36]


Main article: Dunamancy.

War mages of the Kryn Dynasty use a school of magic called Dunamancy. Very little is known about this school of magic outside of Xhorhas. The Kryn Dynasty's experiments in Dunamancy focus on manipulation of gravity, entropy, and time.[37]



Most of the Kryn Dynasty are drow, who were brethren alongside all elves until their minds were swayed and corrupted by the the Spider Queen. Under her will, they became deceptive, cruel and violent. When the Betrayer Gods were defeated and banished during the Calamity, the drow returned to their subterranean cities to rebuild their power far from the burning light of day.[38]

Studies into current drow society across Exandria point to growing paranoia and madness seeping in from what is believed to be the influence of Tharizdun, the Chained Oblivion by proximity to remnants of its power deep beneath the surface. Whispers and rumors point to these societies going slowly mad due to this influence.[39] This seems to be more affecting drow of the Underdark than those of the surface.

Those able to penetrate the boundaries of the Kryn Dynasty's borders find little iconography of either the Spider Queen or Tharizdun outside of ruins that are ancient, crumbling and largely ignored by their society. The Dynasty instead worships something known as the Luxon. Rumors told outside the Dynasty say that they seek to bring all under the Luxon's burning banner.[40] Citizens within the Dynasty who do not worship the Luxon are not forced to do so, according to Rosohna's inhabitants.

The drow of Xhorhas rallied to the surface of Ghor Dranas, casting the skies around Rosohna into eternal midnight that spreads with their dominion. They began taking in other inhabitants of the Xhorhasian wastes, such as orcs, goblins, bugbears, and others, and many now also follow the Luxon.[41]

In the Dwendalian Empire, a number of people, mostly children of adolescent age, have been found abducted in the night, though the number has steeply grown this past generation, years after the first open conflicts with the Kryn began. The Empire blames the abductions on the Kryn.[42]

War with the Dwendalian Empire[]

Main article: War of Ash and Light

Between Fessuran 835 PD and Unndilar 836 PD, the Kryn Dynasty was at war with the Dwendalian Empire. The Dynasty believed that the Empire had stolen two of the Dynasty's sacred Luxon beacons, when in fact a traitor within their own government, Essek Thelyss, had secretly handed them over to the Cerberus Assembly for mutually beneficial study.[43] On 3 Fessuran, the Dynasty launched an attack on the Ashguard Garrison guarding the Empire's borders.[44] That same day, two Dynasty operatives used a terrorist attack as a diversion to extract one of the beacons, and though they died in the attempt to escape with the beacon, the Mighty Nein recovered the beacon and eventually returned it directly to the Bright Queen. Eventually, the Mighty Nein helped to arrange a cease-fire and a peace agreement in which the second beacon was returned to the Dynasty and prisoners were exchanged.

Diplomacy in Tal'Dorei[]

By about Cuersaar 836 PD, the Kryn Dynasty was sending emissaries to the elven cities of Syngorn and Lyrengorn in search of new followers and Luxon beacons, and with hopes of using the light of the Luxon to free some of the drow of Ruhn-Shak from Lolth's grasp. By that time, some adventuring drow who had developed a deep antipathy to aberrations (such as those that sieged Ruhn-Shak) had become paladins of the Luxon or of Pelor,[45] whereas only 24 years earlier they were only noted to turn to Pelor.[46]

Diplomacy to the Menagerie Coast[]

At some point presumably in the 840s PD,[fn 1] the Bright Queen personally led a diplomatic mission to Xarzith Kitril, which she considered "a crucial foothold in the Menagerie Coast." The mission did not go well.[22]

Interest in Eiselcross[]

At some point between 836 and 841 PD the Cerberus Assembly managed to completely take control over the Aeorian ruins in Eiselcross.[47] However, during the apogee solstice of 843 PD many Xhorhasian soldiers were still found on the island, particularly near the ruins,[48] suggesting that their outposts there were still active and maintaining their interest in the potential wealth of knowledge and power that could be found within the Aeorian ruins, something that drew them there even before their conflict with the Dwendalian Empire began.[49]


  • Yasha described Xhorhas as a dismal place, and the Kryn as frightening people. Ashley Johnson later revealed on Talks Machina that this was an exaggeration so that the Mighty Nein would not wish to travel to Xhorhas.
  • Joking with Brennan Lee Mulligan and Aabria Iyengar about civilizations of extremely long-lived beings, Matthew Mercer mentioned that the Kryn Dynasty probably kept some kind of registry to avoid situations where people who were related in previous lives would initiate relationships in a new life.[50]
  • The name Kryn is similar to Krynn, the world in which the Dragonlance setting takes place, as well as K'ryyn, the name of the first drow to appear in-game.
    • While K'ryyn was from Xhorhas[51] and her name is probably connected to the Dynasty, it is unknown if she's loyal to them.
  • Among the worshipers of the Luxon in the Dynasty, it is believed that creatures able to reincarnate, such as the phoenix, are sacred because they have a shard of the Light within themselves.[12]


  1. The official Critical Role timeline graphic, accompanying the official post "What You Need to Know Before Watching Exandria Unlimited", identifies the events of The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen as happening in 855 PD. It is presumed that narrative's present, featuring Abrianna, takes place in 855 PD with the events featuring Caelestis taking place before. In the narrative's present, Quana Kryn is a child, perhaps adolescent, who died and was reborn after having joined the diplomatic mission to Xarzith Kitril.


  1. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 19.
  2. See "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 1:25:02.
  3. See "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 1:29:50.
  4. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 1:08:08.
  5. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 99.
  6. Twitter logo Critical Role (@CriticalRole) on Twitter: "MEET THE RE-SLAYER'S TAKE!" (2024-05-21).
  7. See "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 1:37:04.
  8. See "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 1:37:04.
  9. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 1:25:02.
  10. See "Feral Business" (2x52) at 1:09:09.
  11. See "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) at 1:38:20.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 40.
  13. 13.0 13.1 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 41.
  14. See The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #4.
  15. See "Causatum" (2x70) at 2:39:19.
  16. Twitter logo Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) on Twitter: "Shadowhand is a title granted to those who focus on the dark mysteries of Exandria for the Bright Queen. This includes both subterfuge and arcana (like a specialist in the dangerous unknown). Spies, mages, and investigators that reach a certain station can be granted this title." (2021-10-12) — in reply to @DaydreamDeuce: "Mr @matthewmercer sir the people wanna know so bad. Was Shadowhand just a fancy title for "spymaster"?? Like what did Essek even DO for a living?? Besides ya know, be hot and float obviously"
  17. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 303.
  19. See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 0:55:20.
  20. See "A Walk to Warmer Welcomes" (2x124) at 3:25:06.
  21. See The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen, Issue #2.
  22. 22.0 22.1 See The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen, Issue #3.
  23. See "Domestic Respite" (2x62) at 0:56:50Fjord introduces himself to Lord Biylan.
  24. Twitter logo Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) on Twitter: "Well… I will say that when a child born of royal blood undergoes anamnesis and absconds to Xhorhas, they will be quickly struck from history. It doesn't prevent them from establishing a Den as a mockery of their former life, and that Den rising in prominence over the years. ;)" (2021-10-12) — in reply to @booksherpa: "If you would be so kind, @matthewmercer, I have one lingering question from C2 before I head to a theater (squee!) to watch C3 kick off - Den Dwendalos / King Dwendal - coincidence, something more you can share, or a mystery that may yet be revealed? Thanks, and good luck!"
  25. See "Wood and Steel" (2x58) at 3:12:10.  The Mighty Nein meet Foreman Bodo.
  26. See Call of the Netherdeep, p. 28.
  27. See Call of the Netherdeep, p. 147.
  28. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, pp. 48–138.
  29. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 39. The numbers of the first three enumerated categories, when added together, exactly correspond to the initially mentioned total. This would leave none left over to constitute "the rest" that it says occupy the border regions. Thus, it is here assumed that the initial total was a baseline establishment in peacetime, not a current total maximum.
  30. See "Midnight Espionage" (2x12) at 4:01:11.  Thuron's initial appearance when the Mighty Nein encountered him escaping from the chaos of the attack on the Zauber Spire.
  31. See "Xhorhas" (2x51) at 1:49:50.
  32. See "Dark Waters" (2x98) at 0:24:14.
  33. See "Well Beneath" (2x54) at 1:36:35.
  34. See "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 1:37:04.
  35. See "In Love and War" (2x57) at 0:29:17.
  36. See "Zemnian Nights" (2x11) from 2:10:42 through Courting of the Crick.
  37. Liam O'Brien shared pictures of the notes pages used in game on his Twitter.
  38. See "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) from 1:34:56 through 1:35:45.
  39. See "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) from 1:35:45 through 1:36:12.
  40. See "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) from 1:36:40 through 1:38:45.
  41. See "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) from 1:37:29 through 1:37:46.
  42. See "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) at 1:37:46.
  43. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 3:54:00.
  44. See "Harvest Close" (2x17) at 2:25:27.
  45. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 156. See also p. 112, which has an adventure hook in which Syngorn's Ouestra cooperates with the emissaries as they trek to Ruhn-Shak.
  46. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 24.
  47. See "Where The Red Fearne Glows" (3x94) at 2:45:26.
  48. See "Hope Within History" (3x55) at 2:57:25.
  49. See "Dinner with the Devil" (2x110) at 1:37:01.
  50. See "Game Masters of Exandria Roundtable" (Sx69) at 0:56:05.
  51. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Legend of Vox Machina Volume II, p. 98.


  1. Official art of the Kryn Dynasty Banner, by CoupleOfKooks from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 39. Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of the Umavis of Dens Mirimm, Kryn, and Thelyss, by @tshortik (source). Used with permission.
  3. Depiction of an Aurora Watch soldier in Jigow, by Max Dunbar (source). Used with permission. This page contains unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  4. Fan art of The Beacon, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
  5. Kryn Dynasty's six beacons, by CoupleOfKooks and Cris Peter from The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #3. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.