|Title||Zulkir of Necromancy|
|Age||470 as of 1475 DR|
|Birthplace||1104 DR, lichdom in 1159 DR|
Szass Tam is a powerful lich and member of a group of eight Zulkirs who rule the faction of Thay. He is the Zulkir of0 Necromancy and commands the Legion of Bone, a huge legion of undead soldiers, led by his vampire and lich generals. Szass Tam is the ruler of Thaymount.
Szass Tam is tall, his face has fine-boned, intellectual features with dark eyes and a wispy black beard. He wears a vermilion robe with voluminous sleeves trimmed with gems and gold. He is gaunt and pale, but only his withered hands and the hint of dry rot occasionaly wafting from his person truly attest his lichdom. He often has an ebony staff with him. During the Cataclysm, Szass' undead nature is apparent to every onlooker since the chaos renders his magical powers close to useless thus hindering the lich from altering his burned and ruined appearance.
Like other Red Wizards, Szass Tam prefers to remain unseen, working through lackeys and servitor creatures (including vast armies of undead) while he plots and schemes. His own undeath gives him patience. He's quite prepared to abandon servants and attempts that fail, and simply try again later in a better way. Those who meet him (Or seemingly real magical images of himself that he creates and sends far across Faerûn) discover Szass Tam to be calm, cultured, and even pleasant. Tam is polite but blunt, and he can be plunged instantly into cold, controlled rage by insolence or deliberate defiance. On the other hand, he seems to admire those who cross or foil him by cleverness, as long as they treat him politely. He is always spinning more simultaneous intrigues than most Faerûnians have years in their lives, seems content to view existence as a great game, with plots and schemes as the playing pieces-or, if you prefer, weapons. In The Crimson Gold, Tam shows a desire to find someone worthy of sharing lichdom with him.
Szass Tam was born in 1104 DR. In 1157 DR Szass Tam leads a group of Red Wizards to slay Nyressa Flass the Zulkir of necromancy. Afterwards, Szass Tam is named the successor to the Zulkir of necromancy. In 1159 DR Szass Tam becomes a lich after an abortive invasion of Rashemen. In 1201 DR Szass Tam slays the zulkir of illusion, Nymor Thrul after a failed invasion of Aglarond. Szass Tam slays the Harper King, but is defeated himself by Elminster Aumar in 1222 DR. In 1359 DR Szass Tam allied Thay with the Tuigan horde. Working through Harper agents, Szass Tam defeats Maligor zulkir of alteration. In 1367 DR Szass Tam releases the demon lord Eltab that destroys much of Eltabbar. Szass Tam unleashes a horde of undead to attack Aglarond, but fails to breach the Watchwall. In 1373 DR Szass Tam aids Thazienne Uskevren to release Eltab.
In 1375 DR, Szass causes the murders of the zulkirs Druxus Rhym and Aznar Thrul and betrays a Thayan army under the command of tharchions Azhir Kren and Homen Odesseiron to the Rashemi to create a climate of fear within the Thayan population. He hinders the proper investigation of the murders and solves these issues by himself. He thus tries to convince the nobles, legions and common people that he is the only one who can deal with these problems, in order to get him elected supreme ruler of Thay. When Dmitra Flass rallies the zulkirs originally loyal to him to stand against his aspirations, Szass decides to achieve rulership by force and declares war to all opposing zulkirs. When Dmitra's council achieves a great victory against his undead army at the Keep of Thazar, Szass calls upon the united armies of Gauros and Surthay to march south towards the great city of Bezantur.
By 1377 DR Szass has established his seat of power at Thaymount by evicting his enemies from their estates on the plateau. Some of the zulkirs changed sides a couple times during the war and ended up as Szass Tam's allies. One of them was the diviner Yaphyll. After realizing that the lich's Thay would be comprised of the undead, she decided to switch sides again in favor of the council of zulkirs. As a result Szass took her prisoner in 1385 DR, binding her with the Death moon orb and Thakorsil's Seat, powerful items of domination. He forced Yaphyll to perform the most powerful divination known to her order no matter the consequences to her own well-being, and to tell him how to arrange for a decisive victory over the other zulkirs. She performs the task and tells Szass to lay a trap at the Keep of Sorrows. Then she leaves him with another vision:
|“||"The white queen is troubled but can't say why. The black queen hates the white and gives the assassin a black coat. The assassin steals upon the white queen. She can't see him gliding through the shadows. The sword screams. The white queen falls. Her city falls. Stones fall in the cavern to crush the soothsayer. The tree burns and thrashes in agony. Branches break. Branches twist and grow together..."||”|
|— Yaphyll's vision|
At the end of the vision Yaphyll was surrounded by a blue flame and broke free of Szass Tam's power. The lich killed her with his poisonous touch trying to regain control over the diviner. Later it became apparant that Yaphyll saw what became known as the Cataclysm. The blue flames being a result of the event. As Yaphyll predicted, the fight at the Keep of Sorrows turns into Szass Tam's favor. With the help of the Death Moon Orb, Szass tries to coerce his former ally Dmitra Flass, into fighting for his side. But then the Cataclysm hits. The Death Moon Orb explodes in Szass Tam's hand, freeing Dmitra of it's power. Szass is hit by a wave of azure fire, a result of the Cataclysm, rendering his magic close to useless and burning the flesh from his face and hands. The lich flees from the scene by the help of Xingax. By revealing to Malark Springhill why he killed Druxus Rhym, the lich convinced the spymaster to switch sides and work for him and his greater cause henceforth. In order to learn more about the ways of magic in the time of the Cataclysm Szass summoned Bane, sacrificing the tharchion Pyras Autorian in the ritual. Bane made a bargain with the lich: he would reveal to Szass his knowledge about the chaotic magic, grant the lich the ability to raise more dead for his cause and augment the lich's powers. Szass in turn surrenders his soul after 1000 years had passed when his quest of conquering Thay was completed. Szass knows that the mystical strength lend to him by Bane would gradually fade so he chooses to exploit it immediately. When it came to another fight at the Keep of Sorrows, Szass summoned a dream vestige to turn the tide in his favor. He succeeded in beating the legions of the zulkirs, chasing them all the way to Bezantur. His undead legions and loyal priests of Bane further forced the zulkirs to leave the town aboard vessels. Szass summoned the bodies of drowned men and also undead aquatic beasts for a final and lethal victory over the zulkirs. Accompanied by a fleet of warships made from darkness, Szass followed the fleeing zulkirs, entangling them in a marine war. His enemies and Nevron's conjured denizens of the infernal oceans proved quite adept at sea fight, beating back his undead minions. Szass conjured the dream vestige again, finally exhausting his magical powers bestowed by Bane. When Bareris defeated the dream vestige and the zulkir's forces beat Szass Tam's minions, the lich and Malark withdrew to the Thaymount, the lich being content with his conquered lands. Szass didn't bother chasing the remaining zulkirs any more, leaving Aloar and the Wizard's Reach to them not fearing any retribution by the depleted zulkir's forces. He revealed to Malark, that he found a book once in possession of Fastrin the Delver.