Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Regarding the WotC Rumors

Hail Greyhawk enthusiasts! It's been a bit, so I'm sure everyone by now has seen the WotC panel remarks by head honcho Ray Winninger concerning the future of D&D and his hint that they are already working on a few classic setting books coming in the next couple years. Right. Not going to speculate. My mood is pessimistic though. They tease this every year.

The bulk of the panel involved talking about their fan outreach and initiatives to find new authorial and artist talent going forward. DMsGuild is what they are mainly looking at, so if someone is aspiring to be on the D&D team, get your stuff on there now or start hitting them up on social media like Twitter. There was a lot of talk about an anthology product to come out of this effort, which this time does not sound like the usual Greyhawk module plundering and repackaging, but diversely original adventures done by mentored creators they discover. We shall see. I hope so. Again, pessimistic.

So, now is the time if anyone wants to catch Wizard's eye and affect D&D's future. I'm content watching.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Touring the Flanaess Greyhawk Map

Hail Greyfolk! I'm still in a slump right now, but thank Pelor the Greyhawk community is more active than it's been since the heyday of Living Greyhawk! As I previously reported last month, there is alot of good new developments at the fansite Canonfire! including Richard Di Ioia's amazing Touring the Flanaess project! Along with Canonfire overlord Gary Holian and a host of contributing authors (I chipped in Ull of course) this project has taken on it's next transformation: a hyperlinked map to the all the country/region write-ups! Go to Canonfire now and check it out. It's very functional and easy to reference, perfect for new Greyhawk DMs and old alike! And there is still more work to be done. If you are a scholar of the Flanaess like many of us, contact Richard (Longetalos) to see about contributing to the Tour. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Greyhawk Reborn at Virtual GreyhawkCon

Hail Greyhawk heroes! Here is a quick post to help spread the news for our friends at Greyhawk Reborn and Warduke Press as they are participating in the upcoming Virtual Greyhawk Con 2020. I hope to see all my readers tune in to game, view and support the community. Until then I shall let the great Dave Guerrieri himself promote this epic event:

Warduke Press is honored and proud to announce we are offering 15 tables of Greyhawk Reborn adventures at Virtual Greyhawk Con 2020 (VGHC). It is a Greyhawk “Fan Content” Community Event, to celebrate the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Setting. We feel privileged to be standing online beside Anna Meyer, Casey Brown, Allan “Grodog” Grohe, Jay Scott, Gary Holian, Lenard Lakofka, Denis “Maldin” Tetreault, Scott Casper and other Greyhawk stalwarts to focus the spotlight on all that Greyhawk has to offer. 
VGHC is an online only convention on Friday, October 2 through Sunday, October 4, 2020. Friday and Saturday events run from 9 am to 1 am, and Sunday events run from 9:30 am to 10:30 pm.  All money collected, minus TableTop Events charges, will be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Event Registration is now open. 
You may find more details regarding and register for Virtual Greyhawk Con at https://tabletop.events/conventions/virtual-greyhawk-con-2020.
In addition to Greyhawk Reborn adventures, a number of Greyhawk Twitch Community Live Streamers, over two continents, are providing World of Greyhawk content for those wishing to experience some of the best ever made Campaign Setting for D&D. Also we will have fantastic seminars from the likes of the great Anna Meyer, and main Sponsorship from Troll Lord Games.
The Virtual Greyhawk Con 2020 Discord Server is setup at: https://discord.gg/yHyG75

For more information during Twitch Live Streams: https://www.twitch.tv/lordgosumba
Legal Disclaimer: Virtual Greyhawk Con 2020 is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the 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.
Warduke Press will also be offering Greyhawk Reborn and Midgard Chronicle adventures at Save Against Fear on October 9-11, and also at Fall MepaCon on November 6-8. Both of these events will be online only. Expect to hear more on these events, and other exciting news, in the near future!
More information about Warduke Press and Greyhawk Reborn, you may use the following links:
For any questions you may have about Greyhawk Reborn, please contact info@greyhawkreborn.net
As always, thank you for choosing to spend your valuable time with Warduke Press!
Be well!
Dave Guerrieri,
CEO, Warduke Press

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Greyhawk Stuff on the Net

Hola, Greyhawkers! It's Labor Day weekend in the states, so I figured, let's let someone else do the work on this post! Just kidding. There is alot of great contributors in the Greyhawk community and I'm pleased to feature a few in case you missed out. Enjoy!

Over at the blog Greyhawk Musings, David Leonard has a new article, On Vlek Col Vlekzed. It's another one of his amazing deep dives into the history and people of the Flanaess, in this case the Hold of Stonefist and its cruel leader. This article is well timed because David was recently on Legends & Lore with me and Anna Meyer to provide his sharp insight about this very subject, among other northern barbarians. Be sure to check out Greyhawk Musings for a wealth of historical material for your Greyhawk campaign.

Over at the stalwart blog Greyhawk Grognard, superfan Joe Bloch is always trying out new ideas and approaches to our collective hobby. This time he has really hit a homerun with his "unboxing video": Reading the World of Greyhawk, Part 1. Not only did Joe start his own Youtube channel, but he is showcasing the iconic boxed set and maps that I'm sure we all take for granted. When describing Greyhawk or Greyhawk books to new gamers, it never occurred to me that actually showing them what it's like to open the 1983 box and go through the contents for the first time, would be a fun way of doing it. Kudos again to Joe for this new outlet for his site. I'm looking forward to Part 2. 

Finally, I am overdue in promoting a new fan site The Greyhawk Companion by William Henry Dvorak. This site has an eclectic collection of campaign original material like his Rookroost series, and great stuff for 5E players such as new deity specific Warlock Patrons. Will runs his own Twitch RPG stream as well, WickedStudiosLLC. Check out the link for his stream schedule and stop in to see him in action! 

Wow. Being in the same community as creative people like Will, Joe and David is making me feel quite confident that the community is strong and has more outlets than ever to share content and just hang out.



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Greyhawk: Barbarians Campaigns and Adventures

Greetings Greyhawkers! As I go into another week of Legends & Lore on Twitch, we are about to discuss the topic of Barbarians in the Flanaess. Luckily for me I did a post on this back in 2016. It's not much really, but the barbarian north in particular has always been a favorite of mine. 

One of my best, longest running campaigns during 2E was set in the Thillonrian Peninsula and was built off the 1983 boxed set and the Five Shall Be One story line to some degree. You may have even recently read about some of my war accounts out of the barbarian lands. In-between those huge meta-plots was some good campaign development by me and my players including custom hex maps of the Cruski and parts of Schnai and Fruz lands (will probably feature those another day) and a ton of NPC rules, heroes and henchmen. I bring all this up because I've coincidentally started to run my game group in the Thillonrian Peninsula again for 5E. As such, I'm dusting off my maps, looking at my old notes and even going over fan community resources, like these links to barbarian articles on Canonfire

Another amazing resource I rediscovered is a 3.5E adventure from Dungeon #133 titled Ill Made Graves. Written in 2006 by Kevin Carter (art by Steve Ellis and map by Rob Lazzaretti), this work almost slipped by me, I'm assuming because it was in the same issue as the ongoing AP Age of Worms. When not hyping their APs, Paizo used to do a lot of fringe Greyhawk modules during 3.5E like Maure Castle, it's extended levels, the Sehan and Istivin mini-series, and so forth. Ill Made Graves however wasn't afforded a tag saying its Greyhawk, instead it's promoted as a D&D adventure for any setting. True enough, but once you read the opening boxed texts you find its firmly set in the Ice Barbarians with Cruskii NPCs and plot to boot.

The module is adapted from the story of Beowulf as Bowenwar, the shield bearer of deceased King Lolgoff Bearhear tells the tale of the red dragon Oroshar (Dawn-Scorcher in Fruz) who came to lair in a sea cave on the Icy Sea. When the dragon went on a rampage, it is King Lolgoff who slays the beast at the cost of his own life. As the Cruskii prepare for a hero's funeral pyre, they learn the Frost Barbarians are preparing to invade since the Cruskii are weakened and a dragons' unguarded treasure hoard to plunder. There is a complication and Oroshar's lair must be visited again, this time by the PCs in order to save the Ice Barbarians.

One hook listed here mentions "a southern kingdom" that fears the power vacuum left by the kings death will result in the unification of the barbarians which in turn will lead to more raids on them. The PCs are sent to make sure the Cruskii remain independent and to spy on the situation. This is clearly the Great Kingdom, and fun because the events of Five Shall Be One/Howl From the North teased the barbarian unification as well, and of course failed to follow through. Now its uniting the barbarians through regular internal strife. 

The adventure involves an awesome funeral scene set in Lolgoff's "birth-city" of Jotsplat, some cold forest overland travel and a dungeon crawl, leaving an impending war up to the DM which is okay. Now in hindsight of fourteen years, I wonder why Graves was not given Greyhawk recognition? It's clearly well-written and designed. It lacks any Greyhawk map reference, no Thillonria (see below), nor Jotsplat, only a serviceable lair map. This shouldn't be surprising since as I mentioned earlier, the bulk of Paizo's effort was their Age of Worms AP cartography. Having a map would've helped a reader understand where and how the Frost Barbarians will attack the Ice for instance. And the module says the PCs cover 100 miles of forest to the dragons lair. That seems accurate going from Jotsplat the the Icy Sea, though the closest actual forest is the Sable Wood.

At any rate, Ill Made Grave's other curious snub was that it didn't interfere with published Greyhawk continuity. The Living Greyhawk campaign was still alive at that point, but the barbarian lands were not a playable region. Also head-honchos Mona and Jacobs would surely not have overlooked the content of this module when publishing it. Given they did green light this, they must not have had any short term plans for the barbarians since their next AP was Savage Tide set in the south. Now according to the LGG which is set in 591 CY, Lolgoff is still king of the Cruskii, so I must assume Mr. Carter's story of dragons, heroic death and a pending barbarian war, unfolds in the post LGG timeline. I would love to ask Mona or Jacobs why this module wasn't given a Greyhawk stamp of approval. Was killing off a big name ruler and starting a war too much timeline meddling for a simple module? Well at least, the content was left as the author intended. 

That's all for now. I may post more of my own home campaign material set in the Thillonrian Peninsula in the coming months. Until then, let me know if there is any other good sources I missed?

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Greyhawk Novel: Siege of the Tower

Howdy Greyhawkers! It's a busy weekend and I don't have any new content to share, but I do have some new old content to show off, that I should've promoted a long while back. My good pal, Thomas Kelly at the blog Greyhawk Stories had an amazing interview back in July with Kem Antilles, author of the Greyhawk Adventures Endless Quest novel, Siege of the Tower. I was bowled over by this interview. Published in 1994, I had no idea there was a Greyhawk Endless Quest book.

Given the cover is the From the Ashes boxed set by Jeff Easley, this story is set during the war between Furyondy and Iuz. You play a 17-year old fighter named Corlen. As you would expect from a "choose your own" story, Corlen has some hard choices to make as forces of Iuz are coming to siege Dragon's Eye Tower (I wonder if its on Anna's map?). To make matters worse, Corlen, who I remind you is a fighter, was cursed by an evil wizard and now cannot touch metal without it causing pain. Needless to say, I somehow successfully led Corlen to victory in my first read-through of the book.

My main reflection on this book was how well it fit with Greyhawk published sources. This enjoyable story adds and does not detract from any RPG sources. It felt like a nice one-shot D&D session involving a couple players. The book has great interior illustrations by Terry Dykstra, but lacks a map of any kind, sadly. Then again, the story does not technically need a map. It references Crockport, Whyestil Lake and the Dulsi River for instance, but all of this is just to set the scene. At any rate, Siege of the Tower made me feel young again. I really wish there had been more Greyhawk novels like this and less like Master Wolf or the Eyes Have It by Rose Estes who did indeed write Endless Quest books, I'm just not sure for Greyhawk specifically.

The other cool thing about this is the author signed my copy! Thanks Kem! Thank Thomas! I will forever cherish this little novel among my Greyhawk collection. Again, go read his interview with Kem Antilles if you haven't already! Until next time, enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Comments on New D&D Book: Tasha's CoE


Ahoy Greybeards! I'm sure I don't need to belabor the news of Wizard's teased and now announced splat book Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. So I'll make some comments based on what little I know:

  • The cover of Tasha and variant cover especially are gorgeous. I don't know the artists, but it's the first time I'm uncertain which I want to buy. I'll probably lean toward the evil Tasha (Iggwilv as we call her) because it subtly shows Graz'zt and his six fingered hand and possibly a hint of Vecna in the corner as well. The contrast of the off-white margins with her distinctive dark green apparel and dark hair  along with Graz'zt's ebony form is eye-catching!
  • The use of Tasha as a licensing character for a D&D book is remarkable. We've had the privilege to see Iggwilv on the covers of magazines and as interior art throughout the editions. Never before have we seen Tasha (or Natasha the Dark as she was known when adopted by Baba Yaga) depicted in this early form before she got heavily invested in demonology. There is extra art I assume from this book showing Tasha sitting outside the Hut. Love it.
  • The book Tasha holds on the primary cover in Greyhawk lore could potentially be the Tome of Zyx, a book discovered by the Company of Seven back when she hung out with the likes of Zagig Yragerne who with Tasha's aid would entrap the demonlord Fraz-Urb'luu. Tasha would go on to steal this book, run off to the Yatil Mountains, become Iggwilv and add on to this book renaming it the Demonomicon of Iggwilv and go on to trap Graz'zt. I will give the writers of TCoE all my money if they manage to include all of this esoterica in their book.
  • Again I'm positive about having an obscure character like "Tasha" headline this even if 99% of gamers will only know her by the Hideous Laughter spell. It's just another feather in the cap of Greyhawk as far as I'm concerned. Ed Greenwood used to write dozens of mage and spell articles for Dragon Magazine. I don't see them naming a book after the Simbul.
  • As to the contents, I won't list them here. Go read the press releases and news articles online. It's a slew of new variant rules which I'm positive will be a turning point for fans of 5E D&D. I predict 6E will be informed by this book in the future. Mind you I don't believe a new edition is on the way, I'm just hoping this is a marker along the way. I'm still pleased with the pace of WotC releasing new books and stories.
  • I'm very intrigued to see their magic tattoo rules. I only ever seen magic tattoos in play for Eberron (dragonmarks), but I haven't kept up with that setting in 5E, so it'll be cool to see what core D&D offers.
  • I'm anxious to read the sidebar comments in Tasha. They have been a treat in previous books, so I'm positive this one will carry on that tradition.
  • I'm positive I will buy this. I love anything Iggwilv related. She used to be one of my faves from my old Greyhawk webcomic.
That's all for now. Once I have Tasha CoE in my hands, we will see how it measures up!