"Faerun will tremble. Our machinations will not be in vain. If we cannot dominate by force, we will dominate by fortune…"
-Szass Tam, Zulkir of Necromancy
The Red Wizards are the magocratic leaders of the country of Thay. The most powerful Red Wizards are the zulkirs, each specialized in one of the schools of magic. These eight choose the tharchions (regional governors) who handle the day-to-day leadership of Thay while the zulkirs scheme and plot to rule the entire world.
Long-standing factions split the power of the zulkirs. Some push for isolating their land in order to safeguard their vast magical knowledge, while others advocate wars of conquest. Currently a faction favoring trade and mercantilism rules the day, rising from a class of ambitious, entrepreneurial mages with their eyes on the rich commerce of the Inner Sea and the kingdoms of the west. This faction has come to be known as the Thayan Merchants' Collective, and is led by a very influential mage named Maercus of the Masks. The Red Wizards' ability to forge and trade magic items in great quantities has given them control of a lucrative and influential trade. Thayan enclaves exist in dozens of cities around the Sea of Fallen Stars, walled compounds in which the Thayans enjoy immunity from the local laws and tariffs while providing access to their many and varied magical wares
Given their different magical specializations and conflicting philosophies, the Red Wizards may be involved in almost any sort of venture, from smuggling to adventuring to slaving. (Active slaving is currently discouraged by the zulkirs in places where such activity is illegal, since such efforts generate ill will toward the mercantile efforts.) A typical group includes a Red Wizard leader of 7th level or higher, one or two wizard subordinates, a cleric of Kossuth, and at least five bodyguards of moderate skill. All in the group are likely to be armed with magic items, with the spellcasters having many useful charged items.
The zulkirs each have their own plots, intrigues, and interests.
Aznar Thrul (CE male human Evo10/Red10/Acm3) is the cruel and savage zulkir of Evocation and the tharchion of the Priador. Although Thrul loathes Szass Tam, the lich lord holds him in check through some secret information or advantage.
Druxus Rhym (NE male human Tra10/Red10/Acm4) is the steadfast zulkir of Transmutation. He is the greatest spokesperson of ruthless trade over isolation or military aggression, using his power and his alliance with Szass Tam to encourage the others to cooperate.
Lallara (CE female human Abj10/ Red10/Acm1) is the zulkir of Abjuration, a chaotic and unreliable ally of Szass Tam and a woman with a taste for decadent pleasures. She collects unusual magic items and enjoys torturing slaves.
Lauzoril (NE male human Enc10/Red10/Acm2) is the handsome zulkir of Enchantment, a scheming and dangerous opponent. He opposes Szass Tam and only grudgingly refrains from marching his armies on Thay's neighbors.
Mythrella (CE female human Ill10/Red7/Sha3) is the zulkir of Illusion. She prefers isolation and rarely fraternizes with her peers, devoting her time to studies of the Shadow Weave. She despises Maercus of the Masks and feels threatened by his power. The leader of the Merchants' Collective and the Zulkir of Illusion have many covert operations happening at all times, attempting to keep each other in check.
Nevron (NE male half fiend Cjr10/Red10/Acm2/Epic2) is the hateful, aggressive, fiend-touched zulkir of Conjuration. The other zulkirs suspect he plans a surprise attack on Aglarond, which they would be forced to oppose in order to avoid the loss of valuable trade that would result. Aglarond doesn't trade with Thay, but other lands sympathetic to Aglarond do.
Szass Tam (NE male human lich Nec10/Red10/Acm2/Epic7) is the shrewd zulkir of Necromancy. Over two hundred years old, he has tried to unite the zulkirs under his banner but lost prestige recently after a failed attempt to harness the power of a long imprisoned demon.
Yaphyll (LE female human Div10/Red5/Lor4) is the youthful zulkir of Divination. A strong supporter of Druxus, Szass Tam, and Maercus, she uses her magic to monitor the other zulkirs and events in Thayan enclaves throughout Faerun.
Nimmik Sarlaeozar is Maercus Brand's former protege and is now a fully fledged Red Wizard of Thay.
paraphrased from the Forgotten Realms campaign setting 3.0, pg 278 Illustrations by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Todd Lockwood