Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Greyhawk Adventures on Canonfire

Hey Greyhawkers! The cross-over stream with Jay Scott, Anna Meyer and myself on Lord Gosumba Channel was great fun. One good thing that came out of it that I need to pass on is the original adventure downloads available at Canonfire. I often forget that Canonfire was much busier back in the day and was more than a forum and occasional postfest. Jay mentioned a module set in Greyhawk's run-down part of Old City whose title is CGA1 - Case of the Meazels by Brian Dougherty. This adventure is found in the Download section of Canonfire. Go check out Case of the Meazels and much more. What's old is new!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Special Greyhawk Stream Night

Howdy Greyhawkers. Anyone who follows me and Anna Meyer on our Twitch Greyhawk show, Legends & Lore will know we are on hiatus, but next week we are going to be on Lord Gosumba Channel for a cross-over episode. Check us out next Monday at the times listed below! Bring your City of Greyhawk questions!

Monday, September 2, 2019

1E Unearthed Arcana

Howdy Greyhawkers, it's been a lazy week for this guy and with Legends & Lore on hiatus till the Fall, I need to get back into writing some content for you fans. Speaking of the Greyhawk Channel, they have another big line up of new live games scheduled for Fall. Starting times will vary of course and I will try to promote them soon.

So as  was perusing my game shelf for something topical, I pulled down my old AD&D Unearthed Arcana. For anyone who has never owned this book, it was sort of a follow up on both the Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide. It has never classes, spells, deities, rules and most interestingly to me, new magic items! D&D has tried to replicate the feel of this book in later editions either in print or in digital articles, but in my opinion, nothing is like the original UA. That's why I'm sad I didn't utilize it more often back in the day. Today I'm going to feature some Greyhawk themed magic items from this book that need an update (5E or otherwise). Enjoy...

Zagyg's Flowing Flagon: There are plenty of items in UA that have kept up with the times like the Quiver of Ehlonna and Hewards Handy Haversack. This is one I don't think got an update. It's a well-made silver wine container with a toast etched on its side. Whenever it is read the flagon fills with a potent potable. Each time the magic is used to refill, the alcohol content gets stronger. A good item to give players to create a rowdy, drunk game night. Probably an uncommon item.

Ring of Boccob: This fancy ring does not radiate magic, and indeed any magic item that strikes the wearer of Boccob's Ring has to make a save or become nonmagical! Basically Mordenkainen's Disjunction by touch? This would be a mean item to give to a villain. I'll say its a rare item.

Wand of Force: This would have to be very rare. It's a wand that has a few functions, One creates a 4' long blue-white energy blade to appear equal to a sword +5! It's a freaking light saber! Second, it can create Wall of Force. No-brainer there. The third creates other planes of force. What's neat about this wand? It drains other force spells, like Bigby's Forceful Hand or Mordenkainen's Sword to recharge it. It's awful specific in its applications, but cool sounding.

Mantle of Celestian: Black clothing that's main function is protect from the cold of outer space. (Like we all were doing that in AD&D back in the day?) The Mantle also provides food, drink and storage pockets. Bonus, if you are a cleric of Celestian (rare enough) then you can also see people's auras. More like an Insight check rather than detecting alignment though. I'd say this one is in the very rare category if made in 5E.

Shoes of Fharlanghn: Magic shoes that never wear out and cause the wearer to never fatigue when walking. Suitable for the god of travel. Furthermore for neutral/neutral good types the shoes make the wearer more sure-footed in hazardous or trapped conditions. Like above, if the person "attuned" is a worshipper of Fharlanghn then you can never get lost or surprised. You gain jumping and movement increases, and climbing/balancing is significant easier. Very rare again!

That's all. After having mused over these items, it makes me want to create some original items based off other Greyhawk gods or notable NPCs. You know something like Nystuls' Magical Net or Hextor's Hellish Halberd or Telchur's Fur Vest. Run with that if you want. Until next time...

Monday, August 26, 2019

Blackmoor and D&D History

Welcome Greyhawkers. If you are in the mood, check out these two items of old school nostalgia currently posted on ENWorld.

One is a new article for James Wards' ENWorld column titled Origins of Monty Haul. If anyone isn't familiar with Monty Haul campaigns, well I'm sure Mr. Ward can educate you! I am definitely not a Monty Haul DM. Not usually. Check it out though, its a fun read into the early days of Greyhawk.

Lastly, this is not World of Greyhawk per se, but Secrets of Blackmoor : The True History of Dungeons & Dragons, is a new documentary about the creative origins of D&D:

"Blackmoor is the name of a fictional world created by David Arneson. It is also the prototype of Dungeons & Dragons, the first published role playing game. Unlike other fantasy worlds, such as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, Blackmoor is a living world that is being explored to this day. Secrets of Blackmoor investigates the origins of the role playing game, through candid interviews, archival footage, and newly discovered artifacts.

In 1963, David Wesely becomes a founding member of a club that includes history buffs, model makers, and miniature collectors. Hiding within the group, however, are a bunch of college students who are interested in war gaming. Within a year, the gamers meet a high school kid named Dave Arneson who is playing war games with his friends in his parents' basement.

These gamers have no idea that they will change the face of this hobby forever. Their only concern for now, is how to simulate the reality of war, and above all, they just want to have fun. Their voracious hunt for new rules and knowledge leads them to the University of Minnesota Library where they discover an old manuscript, Strategos; the American Game of War. Within the dense pages are a few sentences that inspire them.

The influence of Strategos changes how they play their war games. But are they really following these old rules, or have they stumbled onto something truly unique by misinterpreting what it says? Should a game be constrained by rules, like Monopoly, or should there be no boundaries at all, like a game of make believe?

One thing is very clear--something magical was going on in the Twin Cities."

You will have to pay to watch this, but it is a top notch production. Here is a teaser. As D&D moves forward in the 21st century it's important for these types of documentaries to be made to chronicle our favorite hobby's history for future generations. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

New Greyhawk Posts

Hail Greyhawkers! Today I promoting a few things out there in the Greyhawk community. Ready?

First off, sorry to those who showed up yesterday to see Legends & Lore on the Greyhawk Channel, we had to push the last episode of the season back a week due to real life, but hopefully that will give us time to get a guest on with Anna Meyer and me!

Second, Blake Ryan is at it again with his Greyhawk series on Tribality. Mr. Ryan writes easy to use articles, packed with adventure hooks for whatever town or geographical area he is focused on. This article is titled Greyhawk-Forestscape: Fellreev. The forestscape presented is a 20x20 mile area of encounters and quests that can be used in any cold-temperate forest. Specifically for Greyhawk, he writes:

"Notes about the region : In Greyhawk this forest area would be in the south west Fellreev forest in the Horned Society lands. During the Greyhawk Wars much of this area was explored and trashed by the various humanoids and fiends who serve the demi god Iuz."

Be sure to check it out.

Lastly, if you haven't already seen the blog Greyhawk Stories then you're missing out on an excellent republishing of Kirt Wackford's campaign classic adaptation, It Started in Saltmarsh. Follow the link and read the entire story from the beginning, though beware: spoilers for anyone who has never ran or played through the original 1E module Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh!

Until next time!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Rulers of Ull: Kuchakar the Dragon Slayer

Welcome esteemed seekers of Greyhawk knowledge. Delleb knows that I am the authority on all things concerning the inconsequential land of Ull. Occasionally I break out some new material on this lawless frontier, or expand on something I started years ago. That said, I'm featuring a new column titled Rulers of Ull, where I reveal some new-found lore about the many Orakhans of Ull over the centuries. Some are vile, some are useless, but a few are quite epic. Today I'm starting on the heroic end with the mightiest and most famous ruler in Ull history:

Kuchakar "The Dragon Slayer" 
Orakhan of Ull from 3144-3171 BH (485-512 CY)
(N male human ranger 15)

Kuchakar lived near the end of an era of heroism and bravery not seen in Ull since its founding out of the ashes of the Invoked Devastation. Many Uli rightly claim Kuchakar's story is also that of Ulzhun the Victorious. Unlike the famed Orakhan, Kuchakar neither came from the family of a great khanate, nor did he ever lead a feared warband. Baklunish scholars attribute Kuchakar's improbable ascent to the fate of Istus, yet his own descendants profess the strength and wisdom of their ancestors was with Kuchakar on the day he slew the blue dragon, Fusarkalon.

Raids by the dragon effectively cut off trade at the crossroads of Ull and the Dry Steppes, much to the ire of Ulzhun the Victorious, who famously had never been defeated by man or beast. In 483 CY, Ulzhun was pushed to action by the khanate council, and so gathered his personal guard along with a cadre of the best trackers in Ull to assail the lair of Fusarkalon. Among these rangers was Kuchakar, the son of a humble Uli far-rider of the northern plains. By his twenty-fifth winter, Kuchakar was an accomplished rider, huntsman and mountaineer. He had traveled beyond the borders of Ull as well; trading with giant-kin of the mountains, wandering the markets of the north and even witnessing the blinding desolation of the Sea of Dust.

The rangers of Ull had already been searching for Fusarkalon's lair for months, thus they were familiar with many of the mirages and tricks protecting its territory. Since there was no way of knowing if the creature would be in his lair upon their arrival, the Orakhan reluctantly went with Kuchakar's own plan of deception rather than a direct assault. Using a train of pack horses and camels moving away from the hills as bait, the dragon was eventually lured out of its lair and pursued by Ulzhun's mounted lancers, while Kuchakar carefully led the ruler, his sons and the remaining scouts into the revealed entrance on foot. Kuchakar and the rangers planned to lay an ambush in Fusarkalon's own lair, hoping at best the lancers could wound the dragon and force it to return for them to finish off. Ralishaz's misfortune found them first however, as it became apparent when they stumbled upon a treasure-filled cavern, that the dragon outside was not Fusarkalon at all, it was his mate, Kilberenden. 

Fusarkalon the Quick and the terrifying Kilberenden Sand-Twister arrived in the southern foothills of the Ulsprue range some time before 480 CY. Sages speculate Kilberenden was spawned shortly before the Twin Cataclysms and roamed the far-western steppes until she came upon ruins beyond the Sulhaut Mountains. There she met Fusarkalon, whose origin is buried beneath the Sea of Dust with the bones of many ancient wyrms from the era of the Suloise Imperium. From that point on, the pair of blue dragons flew northward where they began to harry nomads and caravans going from Lake Udrukankar to the Kester Escarpment. As they only hunted alone and left few survivors, no one knew it was a pair of dragons that now laired in the vicinity of Ull.

The Death of Fusarkalon is a story that Kuchakar actually loathed to tell and he humbly insisted till his dying day that Ulzhun shared the victory. The initial encounter was a blur. Known as the Quick, the dragon ambushed with illusions, a flash of thunderous lightning and slashing claws until all the rangers and both of the Orakhan's sons were fast slain. Lastly, Ulzhun the Victorious faced Fusarkalon alone with his sword-arm charred and useless, indeed he would have perished if not saved by his cherished adamantine shield. Feeling confident, the dragon toyed with the crippled warrior and tore the shield from his arm as he pinned him under a talon. What words Fusarkalon shared with Ulzhun is lost to time, but it bought Kuchakar time to recover. The stunned ranger had by chance, acquired a shirt of fine chainmail in far-off Zeif years ago, never once realizing its arcane protections against electricity until that very instant. Gathering up the shield of Ulzhun, Kuchakar impaled the dragon's eye with his broad spear. Taking up Ulzhun's scimitar next, he beheaded the writhing wyrm as it wildly breathed crackling energy all about them.

Surveying the carnage and the glittering wealth at his feet, Kuchakar picked up the unconscious Orakhan and carried him into another chamber, hoping to find another way out. Here at the back end of the caverns he found the egg-clutch of Kilberenden half buried in a dune of sand. Weary but undaunted, Kuchakar wisely stopped to destroy the dragon eggs, only to be alerted by the frenzied roar of the female's return. Unscathed, Kilberenden had repelled the lancers and slew everything that moved in the diversion. Kuchakar hastily buried Ulzhun and himself in the dune using the shield and waited with sword in hand. When Kilberenden discovered her mate slain, she began to angrily tear at bodies and stone, that is until she finally saw her eggs and the discarded shield of Ulzhun. Kilberenden Sand-Twister was driven to madness. She vowed revenge on the ruler of the gold blazoned shield before twisting and lashing out of the lair forever. Some say Kilberenden turned bestial from that point forward, never again speaking intelligibly. She has yet to return to Ull for her sworn vengeance. 

Kuchakar bore Ulzhun back to Ulakand and the entire way, was hailed a hero, the khanates naming him the Dragon Slayer. Kuchakar became so revered in Ull that every khan, warlord and pit-master in the realm bowed in his presence. It is said even the ogres of the Ulsprues laid out tribute on the golden trail for the dragon slayer. Ulzhun and Kuchakar formed an inseparable bond and divided the recovered treasures of two dragons between them, affording them both a lavish lifestyle unknown to many in Ull. Despite it all though, Ulzhun would rule Ull only two more years. Disheartened by his permanent injury and the deaths of his heirs, Ulzhun the Victorious chose Kuchakar to replace him as Orakhan, and with no objections he departed Ull on his Final Ride. 

Kuchakar the Dragon Slayer would go on to rule Ull for twenty-seven years. Though his legend is defined by one dragon, his adventures in defense of Ull were many. Any bard in Kester or Ulakand can regale stories of Kuchakar in the Taming of the Silver Chimera, or the Sundering of the Blighted  Scorpion and even the futile Hunt for Kilberenden the Sand-Twister. As his adventures waned with age, Kuchakar gave up his title to the khanate council, like Ulzhun before him, and with the last of his wealth took his family north. Why Kuchakar chose to leave Ull behind may never be known for sure, but his descendants are sure it was fanciful tales of dragons hiding on magic-shrouded isles in the Dramidj Ocean.

If you don't want to wait for me to write more, you can find all the rulers of Ull listed in Oerth Journal #19 in the article Ull over at Greyhawk Online. Check it out.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Greyhawk Stories: Daoud's Wondrous Lanthorn

Greetings Greyhawkers! If you are looking for some Greyhawk fiction, you need to check out the fansite, Greyhawk Stories. One of their current ongoing tales is about the famous Baklunish spellcaster Daoud, he of  the magical lanthorn fame. Indeed, the story now on chapter 4 is titled Daoud's Wondrous Lanthorn. Daoud is an exiled pasha and this story tells of how he came to own the artifact and how it ultimately falls into the hands of the Witch Queen Iggwilv as seen in the AD&D module, in the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.

Here is an excellent run down of the chapters so far. I'm particularly proud of chapter 4, Alhazred and the Path of Shadows, where Daoud ventures to Ull and gets a royal welcome from the locals, then spends some time in the Khur Razjin, "Path of Shadows" as written in my various Ull scribings. Enjoy!