Monday, November 20, 2017

Return to Greyhawk on Twitch

Welcome again fans of Greyhawk! This week I am promoting a new venue of Greyhawk entertainment on Twitch called Return to Greyhawk. This is a live D&D 5E campaign and I'm jazzed about this particular channel given the rise in popularity of streaming D&D tabletop groups, mainly because Return is the first I'm aware of actively presenting themselves as a Greyhawk game.
I watched most of their first session last night and it was everything you'd expect in a tense, hard fought D&D adventure (no spoilers), but I went back and re-watched their opening video to episode one and it's AMAZING! Please watch this if nothing else, it's a lovingly crafted intro to a new campaign; you won't be disappointed in the overview it gives to the World of Greyhawk setting.

Here is the cast of characters:

Alessa Amodovar (Human Wizard) played by May / @liqquidfire
Luciano Venturi (Human Cleric of Olidammara) played by Travis / @binaryfyre
Elara Kelm (Elven Rogue) played by Dani / @ImperialScum
Kallic Kelm (Hal-elf Ranger) played by Michael / @LoserMLW
Nilly Belovar (Half-elf Bard) played by Bree / @npcbree 
Merrick Saewolf (Human Bloodhunter) played by Josh / @WingedHorizon

and Dungeon Mastered by DMShane / @MageandSage



After the first session, the cast gave away a prize to one lucky viewer, a copy of the classic module Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure. Sadly I didn't win this prize (already own it) but I will be back for more. For those wishing to join me, expect the party to be back in action, live on Sundays 7pm to 11pm (est). Carry on, Greyhawk!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Birthplaces for Tieflings and Dragonborn

Welcome back friends of Greyhawk! In an effort to balance my last post, which had little to show off, I threw together this nice randomized chart based on the character birthplace charts in the 1983 boxed set Glossography. This one is for you 5E fans who like to use the playable races of dragonborn and tiefling which actually became popular during 4E and survived going forward. Fiend-blooded tieflings in fact go farther back to 2E when they were a playable race in the Planescape setting. Along those lines I'm not sure how closely dragonborn are to Dragonlance's draconian race, so there's that precedent, but their current origins derive from 3E as magically transformed servants of Bahamut (thanks Armitage).

Disclaimer: despite being official D&D, neither is truly a Greyhawk favored character race to use. There is no published regions that currently support these uncommon races. The goal of this chart is to show that tieflings (those of infernal heritage) and dragonborn (enhanced lizardmen essentially) can have a place in the Flanaess. They could be from scattered tribes found in the darkest recesses of the map or found among the urban masses of Oerik's major cities. *Even more plausible is that these races come from "Beyond the Flanaess" where across vast prairies and over widest oceans there is rumors of draconic cultures and decadent civilizations yet undeveloped. Only recently, has these races come into contact with this part of the world and may yet join the ranks of Greyhawk's heroes. 

Enjoy.

BIRTHPLACES FOR UNCOMMON CHARACTER RACES
Area
Tieflings
Dragonborn
Most Common
Alignment




Amedio Jungle
01-02
01-02
CN
Bandit Kingdoms
03-07
03-06
CN, CE, NE
Beyond the Flanaess*
08-30
07-29
Any
Blackmoor
31-32
30-31
LN. NE, LE
Bone March
34-35
32-33
N, CE, CN
Bright Desert
36-37
34-35
CN, CE, N
Dreadwood
38-39
36-37
CN, N, CG
Dry Steppes
40-41
38-39
Any
Dyvers
42-44
40-41
Any
Ekbir
---
43-44
LG, NG
Fellreev Forest
45-46
45-46
CN, N, CE
Frost, Ice or Snow Barbarians
---
47-48
CN
Great Kingdom
47-51
49-50
Any
Greyhawk
52-56
51-55
Any
Hepmonaland
57
55-56
CN
Horned Society
58-60
57-58
LE
Irongate
61-62
59-63
LN, NG, LG
Iuz
63-67
64-67
CE, CN, NE
Keoland
68-69
---
LN, NG, CG, CN
Ket
70-72
68-72
LN, LE, N
Land of Black Ice
---
73-75
CN
Nyrond
73
---
LN, LG, NG, CG
Perrenland
74-76
76-78
LN, LG, N
Pomarj
77-79
79-81
CE, CN
Rel Astra
80-82
82-84
Any
Sea of Dust
83-84
85-87
CN
Sea Princes
85-87
---
CN, CG, N
Tenh
---
88-89
LN, N
Tusmit
88-89
90-91
LE, LN
Ull
90-92
92-93
CN, CE
Vesve Forest
93
94-95
CG, CN, N
Wild Coast
94-97
96-98
Any
Zeif
98-100
99-100
LN, N

Friday, November 10, 2017

Blog Redesign Idea

Hey Greyhawkers! This weekend I've been contemplating upping my blog game instead the usual melancholy thoughts of hanging it up! Before I did anything I decided I need to air my ideas and perhaps get some feedback. I'm lazy and might not do anything after all, but at least this could get the ball rolling. What do I have in mind?

A slight change in website design/layout. With some added content if I can ever get it done. The front page elements would stay the same or be rearranged. What I'd like to add however, is some more focused Greyhawk primers for various topics like Deities, Nations, Power Groups, etc. The Greyhawk primer I wrote a couple weeks ago has made me realize I cater too much to old fans, but I have a chance to be a hub for new gamers needing easily digested info on Greyhawk. One thing also: having wikis with Greyhawk info is great if you know what you're looking for, but having essential material presented in one location is the next best thing to a setting book.

Speaking of which, I know others have done 5E conversions for Greyhawk. Greyhawk Reborn is doing good things in that regard, carrying on the old timeline. I am more aligned to Greyhawk Grognard's feel to bring 5E Greyhawk back to the old 576 CY starting point. So, while I'm no expert at game design, any Greyhawk primer I do will be fluff not crunch. I'd try to focus on what's important or relevant for new gamers and then crosslink to any "advanced" information I can find online either on 3rd party sites or on my own blog.

Brainstorm over.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Poll Result: Which Knighthood to Join

Welcome back Greyhawkers. This week I'm musing over the results of my last poll, Which Knighthood Would You Join? Easy enough, let's look at the knightly orders of the Flanaess:

Coming in at a surprising first place (28%) is the Knight Protectors of Aerdy. This ancient order hails from back in the heyday of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy and until the rise of the evil dynasties of Ivids and St. Kargoth's death knights, was the premier order in the world. The Protectors included followers of war deities Heironeous and Hextor, united in a lawful cause to keep the kingdom safe. Currently the order is scattered and in hiding in places like Ratik and among the Iron League.

Why join the Knight Protectors? Certainly to help reclaim the glory of old Aerdy from the hands of evil. To rebuild an order that is so dormant that their heraldry is no longer in use (crowned sun guarded by a white axe and red arrow). Being a Knight Protector these days is like King Richard returning from the crusades, you'll have to remain in disguise from your own countrymen until the time is right. It's a difficult road, but the Protectors has the biggest heroic payoff.

Second in the poll is a tie between the Knights of the Hart and the Knights of Luna (21%). The Knights of the Hart and the all-elf Knights of Luna share much in common but have their own issues as well. The Hart have three branches, the Knights of Furyondy, Veluna and the High Forest (all elves). These knights defend against the regional threats, primarily the Empire of Iuz to the north. This gives them common cause with other orders like Luna and the Knights of Holy Shielding, but heated rivalries among them (and neighboring nations) keep them from uniting fully. Luna is in an even worse position. Primarily serving the isolationist realm of Celene, this order is more focused on its closest threat the Pomarj even though they agree with their cousins in the Hart that Iuz is the biggest danger.

Why join either? The best reason for the Hart is they are open to anyone from commoner to noble if they possess the skills, bravery and loyalty to their respective nation. Velunan knights also count clerics among their numbers now and the High Forest naturally, likes those who are skilled in the woods (rangers). Luna is more reserved, usually accepting gray and high elves only, but they do take wizards where other knighthoods do not. Unfortunately, they are becoming more opposed to their queen who eschews problems outside their borders. The Luna do quest abroad but are required to tithe back Celene. On the upside, their leader is the renowned wizard-warrior Melf, Prince Brightflame.

Third in the poll is the Knights of the Watch (16%), who serve the Kingdom of Keoland and its satellite nations. The focus of the Watch is to guard against barbaric incursions from the west (Baklunish and giants) into the Sheldomar Valley. At one time this order (which arguably the largest population to draw from) had 600 members, more than all other orders combined! More recently the order has split into two branches, the regular Knights of the Watch and the Knights of the Dispatch which are more proactive in hunting threats.

Why join the Knights of the Watch? Well besides being easiest to gain entry, this order is good if you want a strong established morale code. Their Twelve and Seven Precepts fits well into many religions of the region from St. Cuthbert to Mayaheine or Pholtus. There is also ample room for promotion within the order, each having a more grandiose title than the next. If you are a ranger or rogue the Dispatch is also within reach since they are more into skirmish tactics than their Watch brethren.

Last in the poll is the holier than thou Knights of Holy Shielding (14%) of the troubled Shield Lands. This order was once mighty and proud, defending against simple threats in the north such as bandits and nomads. Since the rise of Iuz however, their numbers have been diminished and the order pushed out of their homeland, forced to rely on the hospitality of their old rivals the Knights of the Hart. Their War of Reclamation rages on to this day.

Why join the Knights of Holy Shielding? If you are a paladin or cleric of Heironeous there is no greater respect given by commoners than to this order. Other knighthoods and nobles might scoff at the arrogance of the Holy Shielding but they are not at the vanguard of evil every day. If you want a challenge of martial prowess then this order is for you. Given the results of the poll, many fans indeed cannot stomach this knighthood.

For additional knightly gaming inspiration, check out Joseph Bloch's 5E Cavalier.