Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Castle Greyhawk: Thorny Situation

Welcome Greyhawk fans! We're currently on page fifteen of the Castle Greyhawk graphic novel adaptation, which you can see over at our specially dedicated blog. Be sure to check in for additional story exposition provided by stalwart author Scott Casper. And if you're just joining in, you can still read the entire story from the beginning.

You can also view the latest episode HERE courtesy of Maldin's Greyhawk. Enjoy!

Artist's commentary: Drawing thorns and briars may be tedious but it's easy to do compared to people climbing in trees. I'm not complaining though, every page of the comic has been a new challenge which makes it fun for me. Speaking of briars, that's a hazardous terrain that I know I've under-utilized in my D&D campaigns. Hmmm!

Monday, July 30, 2012

One More Greyhawk Article

Today I feature the final article in Canonfire's postfest on Inns and Taverns of Greyhawk. It was my first hosting duty as editor so I'd like to thank all the participants, which you can review below. Now onto the last entry by none other than yours truly, Mortellan! My addition to this season's postfest is an extension of my successful Hold of the Sea Princes campaign which largely revolved around the south seas including the Olman Isles. The article entitled The Last Respite should make a unique destination for any adventuring group that sails the waters of the Flanaess:

"The free port of Narisban, found in the tropical Olman Island chain is a crossroads for intrepid traders and pirates who ply the high seas. Given the remote location of Narisban, nearly every sailor that visits its harbor seeks a respite from the sea for it might be their last."

In case you missed the previous installments just go back and check these posts as well. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anna's Maps Update

It's time to check in on Anna Meyer's Atlas of the Flanaess project. It looks like she's been heading down the eastern Aerdy coast. Familiar island chains and sea lanes are coming into focus such as the Sea Barons to the left.

Her progress can be followed on her facebook group, the Flanaess Geographical Society currently at 241 members or on this sticky forum thread over at Canonfire.

Once Anna has knocked out the Great Kingdom, I for one am looking forward to her maps of the Lordship of the Isles and the Scarlet Brotherhood. Enjoy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Two More New Greyhawk Articles

Thanks for stopping by World of Greyhawk fans. Today I bring you another pair of Canonfire! postfest articles. The theme for this as you may know was Inns and Taverns of Greyhawk. Easy enough and it's a topic everyone can get behind. The first of two featured entries this week is by a veteran of Canonfire and Postfests, Argon. His inn and tavern article is interestingly entitled Daan Rhuul Gharlaan Ac. Don't let the name fool you Daan Rhuul Gharlaan Ac fills a certain niche in a far-flung land that could be immediately useful to dungeonmasters who are into the wider "Beyond the Flanaess" setting. Argon writes:

"From what we know of humanoid society they differ greatly from what we see amongst the more civilized races. It is rare to see any items of art from goblins and orcs. Who has ever seen a troll scholar or bricklayer? In the lands beyond the Flanaess, amongst the plains and hilltops of Darak Urtag lies parts of humanoid civilization where goods and services are sold. One, such place a refuge, for weary travelers, flesh traders, or humanoid tribal’s looking for a neutral site to ply their trade and traditions."

Next up is another postfest entry by Phalastar who has a special knack for the Iron League region. His newest article, The Braided Beard, keeps things focused on this area and delves into the tavern life of the dwur. Phalastar writes:

"The Braided Beard is an Inn located under the Forge Quarter in the Free City of Irongate. If you need to find the right dwarf to talk to, the Braided Beard is always your best option. Just be sure not to upset the bouncers..."

Be sure to check back and read the previous installments of this month's Postfest HERE and HERE. Then stay tuned for "last" postfest article of this current series.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Castle Greyhawk: Watch Your Back

Welcome to page fourteen of the Castle Greyhawk graphic novel adaptation, available over at our specially dedicated blog. There you can also read additional story exposition and anecdotes by intrepid author Scott Casper. If you're new to the comic, you can still read the entire story from the beginning easily.

You can also view the latest episode HERE courtesy of Maldin's Greyhawk. Enjoy!
Artist's commentary: Symbols are important in a fantasy setting. These details convey a greater depth to the story beyond simple roles like fighter or mage. Tenser sports his distinctive scimitar symbol on his robes which Greyhawk fans know is his heraldic shield device from the boxed set. Yrag on the other hand posed an interesting challenge. "Lord" Yrag is a low-key personality of Greyhawk City with tenuous claims to land holdings unlike his contemporary Lord Robilar (known for his green dragon symbol). As Yrag is closely related to Zagig and the legendary Citadel of Eight (led by Mordenkainen) I decided a simple tower emblem would suffice for this understated hero. It can thus possibly stand for the turrets of Greyhawk City, Ford Keep (where he secretly oversees) or even Mordenkainen's Obsidian Citadel.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

1st Edition DMG Reprint

Well folks, I don't know about the rest of you, but I acquired a copy of the 1st Edition Premium Dungeon Master's Guide, as you should know by now, this and the premium Monster Manual and Player's Handbook are reprints of the originals with a cut going to the Gygax Memorial Fund. I only purchased the DMG more out of a collector's habit because it's my favorite gaming book of all time, (I even own the mini version of the 1e DMG!). I don't mind the charity aspect of the reprints, but the fact these reprints are quite pricy for something I already own and still reference means I'll pass on the other two books and most likely their planned 3.5e core rule book reprints. I mean really, what charity are these going to benefit other than the employees of the annual Wizards of the Coast Christmas laid offs?

Cynicism aside, this DMG is quite beautiful. Gilded pages, a new leathery looking cover with some embossing. It is probably printed on high quality paper since it feels lighter than my old 1e DMG. And it's shrink wrapped. You know what else? I think I'm going to leave it that way for now. Is there anything in there I haven't already seen? I sure hope not! If you have never read this amazing book (or better yet the Monster Manual which has some classic art) then I do reccomend buying if you have the means, otherwise it's just going to look impressive next to your old ratty RPG books on the shelf.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More New Greyhawk Articles

Welcome back fans of the World of Greyhawk. It's time for a few more Canonfire! postfest articles. Our theme for this event was Inns and Taverns of Greyhawk. That's pretty self explanatory so let's get to it! The first of two featured entries this week is by a loyal member of the Iron League known as Phalastar. Phalastar's offering is titled The Diving Dragon Inn and it is his second article for Canonfire, but his first Postfest. The charming Diving Dragon Inn can be found in Iron League territory as Phalastar writes:

"The Diving Dragon Inn is a favourite with the locals of Rockport. Rockport is a small town situated on the eastern edge of Irongate territory near the border with Naerie. Tasty food, flowing ale, good stories and adventure awaits..."

Next up is a special downloadable article by first time Canonfire author Baronzemo. His work is titled Rangor's Roving Rest and it is surely one of the most mysterious inns an adventurer could ever come across. Baronzemo writes:

"Rangor's Roving Rest is a magical inn that appears along a weary road or path one day and is gone the next. Some say the inn is cursed, others say it appears when a adventurer needs a hot meal and a dry bed the most. This cozy rest could appear along the road that leads into Greyhawk city and the next day in the middle of the Dry Steppes. Be weary when you step into "Rangor's Roving Rest!"
 
Be sure to check out these inns for use in your own home campaign, be it Greyhawk or any standard fantasy realm. Also, be sure to check back for a look at our previous two Postfest entries. Stay tuned there is still more Inns and Taverns of Greyhawk to come this month!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Highlander Remake? Yikes!

It's been a lazy week for me, so I thought I'd dredge up a bit of movie news my friends brought to my attention last week. Apparently a Highlander remake is in the works for 2014. No surprise there. The franchise was a highly popular cult hit from the 80's and 90's so a remake was inevitable. So sure, why not? I'm a big fan of Highlander. The original was influential enough to creep into many of my RPG campaigns. Immortals, swords, magic, a kick ass soundtrack, what's not to like as a gamer? Well I guess you could hate on Highlander 2 since it nearly ruined the mystique of the series, but then the TV show pretty much righted that ship by ignoring most all of the movies. Given this mess of movie/TV canon, a reboot is just what a 21st century Highlander needs, right? Well if the casting rumors are true, then Ryan Reynolds might be the next immortal MacLeod. I ask, with an A-lister like Reynolds, what could possibly go wrong? :P

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Greyhawk Postfest Articles

It's Richfest in the World of Greyhawk and that means it's time for an explosion of new articles from Canonfire! The theme of this summer's postfest was Inns and Taverns of Greyhawk and I'm delighted to say the turn out was better than I expected. Our first two featured entries are by a veteran contributor and a first timer. Smillan_31's The Sign of the Gibbeted Goblin is his thirteenth article and his third postfest. In the Gibbeted Goblin you'll find a good dose of local Wild Coast adventure and lore of the piratical variety. Smillan writes:

"The way it is told by the inhabitants of Pelgaryn, it was a lean pirate galley out of Blue in the Pomarj, though a passing ship reported the remnants matched the description of a fat carrack out of Scant that never made port in Hardby. Those not of the village have embellished the tale in the years that passed, accusing the inhabitants of drawing in the ship with false lights, although any reputable sailor will snort and shake his head at such tales, knowing that lights ashore are used to warn away and not beckon in. Whatever the truth the tales all agree on one fact, that there was only one survivor of the wreck, a small goblin, dressed as a sailor. Most took him to be something of a mascot, not believing one of his race could rise to the level of competent seaman. Regardless, the truth will never be known for the inhabitants of Pelgaryn gibbeted the creature straightaway, hanging him in a gibbet cage on the tree in front of the inn that is now named after him – the Sign of the Gibbeted Goblin."

Next up is a newcomer to the ranks of Canonfire's authors, but he is by no means a light weight when it comes to content. Going by the name Mempter, his ample offering The Wild Goose is more than a minor inn found at the end of the street in Greyhawk City's Artisan's Quarter. As you'll find out it contains a host of intriguing characters and a wealth of maps that will spice up any urban campaign. Mempter writes:

"The Wild Goose, as it is known, is among other things a gateway to a multi-dimensional demesne known as The World Serpent Inn, a popular stopping point for many a traveling planehopper."

Check out the Wild Goose and the Sign of the Gibbeted Goblin, then be sure to keep an eye out for more unique Greyhawkian taverns in the coming weeks.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Castle Greyhawk: Verminous Valor

Welcome back Greyhawkian readers! Page thirteen of the Castle Greyhawk graphic novel adaptation is now available over at our dedicated blog where you can also read some additional color content by our story's author Scott Casper. Also if you're new to the comic, you can still catch up on the entire story while it's early.

You can also view the latest episode HERE, courtesy of Maldin's Greyhawk. Enjoy!
Artist's commentary: Wow, it's been thirteen pages already? I think by about page 24-30 it might be time to compile an "issue".

I hate centipedes. A funny coincidence, as I was drawing this creepy encounter, I encountered a few of the little buggers myself! Luckily they weren't of the monstrous variety so I likely didn't earn any XPs.

So far this part of the story has been fun. In fact I'd like to run this encounter some day to see how it'd turn out. 2-3 giant centipedes versus two noob wizards with few spells. There is climb checks and strength checks being done here. I'm sure it'd be comical to try with dice.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Flags, Banners and Standards

Over at the Canonfire forums a thread was started by Boslok the Elder concerning a lack of discussion and information about Greyhawk's flags and banners. At first this struck me as weird since everyone knows where to go to find pictures of the heraldic devices of each country. Yet the answers Boslok seeks is more nuanced than I originally thought, and the examples he created led me to research more into the history of flags on wikipedia. I found some interesting stuff:

"During the High Middle Ages flags came to be used primarily as a heraldic device in battle, allowing more easily to identify a knight than only from the heraldic device painted on the shield. Already during the high medieval period, and increasingly during the Late Middle Ages, city states and communes such as those of the Old Swiss Confederacy also began to use flags as field signs."

So yes, we canonically know the heraldry of the Flanaess' nations and knighthoods, (and even a few individuals like Robilar or Tenser) but so far we've only been privy to the shield paintings and not hardly at all to how they fit or are arranged on flags either horizontal or vertical in shape.

I didn't know why but vertical standards and flags always seemed more common in certain cultures to me, and here is a simple reason why:

"Vertical flags are sometimes used in lieu of the standard horizontal flag in central and eastern Europe, particularly in the German-speaking countries. This practice came about because the relatively brisk wind needed to display horizontal flags is not common in these countries."

Then, of particular interest to my ongoing Hold of the Sea Princes campaign, there is maritime flag rules:

"Flags are particularly important at sea, where they can mean the difference between life and death, and consequently where the rules and regulations for the flying of flags are strictly enforced. A national flag flown at sea is known as an ensign. A courteous, peaceable merchant ship or yacht customarily flies its ensign (in the usual ensign position), together with the flag of whatever nation it is currently visiting at the mast (known as a courtesy flag). To fly one's ensign alone in foreign waters, a foreign port or in the face of a foreign warship traditionally indicates a willingness to fight, with cannon, for the right to do so."

"Traditionally, a vessel flying under the courtesy flag of a specific nation, regardless of the vessel's country of registry, is considered to be operating under the law of her 'host' nation."

This is quite cool to know and makes the need for distinguishing the flags of various maritime nations in the Flanaess important. (At least the cultured ones, the barbarian states probably wouldn't follow the same rules as the Sea Barons for instance) Creating unique pirate flags, like the Crimson Fleet or the Slavelords would be a keen project as well.

Of course with the pantheistic world that is Oerth, there is also a possibility for religious flags:

"Flags can play many different roles in religion. In Buddhism, prayer flags are used, usually in sets of five differently colored flags. Many national flags and other flags include religious symbols such as the cross, the crescent, or a reference to a patron saint. Flags are also adopted by religious groups and flags such as the Jain flag and the Christian flag are used to represent a whole religion."

Imagine a Heironean lightning bolt flag or a Hextorian discord standard. Lots of potential.

One last thing, I've always noticed that GW's Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k always makes heavy use of banners, flags and so on. Their use is even an integral part of the minis game. Concerning D&D RPG settings though, examples beyond shield heraldics seem lacking by comparison (even for FR I'd imagine). If anyone knows more on the subject of Greyhawk flags I'd be happy to listen or perhaps see it discussed over on the forums for Boslok's sake. More next time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Higgs Boson is Magic!

It's time for a rather offbeat post for this blog. After countless years and billions spent, scientists at CERN (who haven't yet destroyed the Earth with their Large Hadron Collider) believe with "sigma 5" confidence that they've discovered the elusive Higgs Boson subatomic particle. Details are in this article:

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/04/12554487-milestone-in-higgs-quest-scientists-find-new-particle?lite

Now I'm no science major here, but there is some interesting stuff for the gamer nerd in me. For example, check out this quotes from the article...

"...studying the Higgs could open the way for explorations of the weirder corners of physics, such as the idea that our universe has six or seven extra dimensions, or the claim that there should be an unseen supersymmetric partner for every one of the subatomic particles that have been detected, or the nature of the stuff that mysterious dark matter is made of."

There's a reason why the Higgs Boson is called a "god particle." It's also the reason why the Higgs has been so hard to detect, it's because the particle is magic! Extra-dimensions is a forte of wizards such as Mordenkainen or Leomund. Super-symmetry is a concept that should be familiar to those who know D&D's Great Wheel cosmology and dark matter, well that could go in a few different directions in gaming terms. My only question is, besides proving or disproving physics theories what's the practical application of all these particle colliding efforts? As soon as someone figures out how these particles work, I want a Bag of Holding!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Castle Greyhawk: Wandering Encounter

Welcome back readers! Page twelve of the Castle Greyhawk graphic novel adaptation is now available at our dedicated blog where you can read additional content for the story by author Scott Casper. If you're new, you can still catch up on the entire comic from the beginning as well.

You can also view the latest episode HERE, courtesy of Maldin's Greyhawk. Enjoy!
Artist's commentary: I enjoyed the layout of this page. Things flowed pretty good panel to panel between the art and dialogue. The more of these we do, the more dynamic the story and art works for me. On a side note, just how low level are these wizards? Or maybe it's that they are city-folk not used to the, uh, horrors of the wild. Ah the joys of beginner characters!