The Red Wizards of Thay
The Red Wizards are the nefarious spellcasting ruling class of the inhospitable but well-inhabited country of Thay. Slavers, demonologists, and magical experimenters, the Red Wizards are greatly feared by most of Faerûn.
Red Wizards were once purveyors of magic items across Faerûn. However, civil war and the Spellplague spelled the end of Thay as a mercantile power. Where the Red Wizards were unpopular, the upheaval left their enclaves open to attack and destruction. Luckier Red Wizards were often cut off from their homeland. Many decided to stay abroad rather than return to a Thay ruled by Szass Tam.
The people of Thay still refer to the arcanists among them as Red Wizards, and only such mages are allowed to wear red within Thay. But a small confederacy of magic item dealers calling themselves Red Wizards still exists as a trade concern. This organization is most powerful in the major coastal cities of the Sea of Fallen Stars, as well as in The Moonsea region—especially Mulmaster. It enjoys no protection from Thay. Most non-Thayan folk now equate “Red Wizard” with magic merchants rather than with Szass Tam’s sinister nation.