Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Listen to Me Talk Greyhawk

Hey Greyhawk fanatics! Today was a special day because I was the FIRST guest on a new live stream talk show about all things Greyhawk called Tales From the Green Dragon, hosted by DM Shane of Return to Greyhawk. We covered a lot of topics (including the Green Dragon Inn) and interacted with our live viewers on Twitch. I had a good time and look forward to next week's installment.

For those who missed out, you can see the replay HERE.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

More Random Greyhawk Lore

Howdy Greyfolk! My last post on random Greyhawk lore was so fun that I'm gonna throw some more out. Ready? Let's get to it...

Greyhawk Adventures (on Vampire Cacti)

"Vampire cacti resemble century plants, with 12 fleshy leaves each tipped with a sharp needle about 1 inch long. Sprouting from the plant's central core is a single spike rising to a height of 5-6 feet...Once every midsummer a single small flower blooms at the top of the central spike. This flower is blood-red in color. After this flower has been pollinated,  a small blood-red fruit forms. This fruit is moist and sweet-tasting, and almost irresistible to most birds...
Vampire cacti are usually surrounded by the skeletons and drained corpses of warm-blooded denizens of the desert...
Creatures of the Bright Desert, vampire cacti evolved their blod-draining abilities to help meet their water needs....Migrating birds seem to have carried the seeds of vampire cacti to the margins of the Dry Steppes, and even to the forbidding Sea of Dust...."

Bonus: In the Greyhawk Adventures: Monstrous Compendium supplement, vampire cacti are found on the "temperate desert" random encounter chart (same chance as a blue dragon or pyro-hydra). Vampire cacti are not however, found on the "tropical desert" chart.

Against the Giants: Liberation of Geoff (on adventuring party, the Golden Circle)

"The Golden Circle is an older adventuring group that has traveled much of the Flanaess. The original members first met in the City of Greyhawk and explored parts of the Cairn Hills and Rift Canyon, eventually specializing in missions that involved sneaking behind enemy lines, including one short-lived venture into the lands of Iuz....
Currently under the employ of Grand Duke Owen I of Geoff, the Golden Circle are charged with discovering a way to return the lands of Geoff to its previous owners. The whole group is currently in Pest's Crossing...
Torm is the leader of the Circle, having taken that role several years ago when their paladin departed to team up with some paladins of Mayaheine on a quest to reclaim the Shield Lands."

Bonus: In the same module, Torm (no relation to the namesake Faerun deity) is a priest of Pelor god of the sun. The Circle also includes two thieves, a ranger, and an enchanter. There is another adventuring party called the Dark Star Guardians, who are also undercover in Pest's Crossing trying to dislodge the giants.

Rary the Traitor (on the ruins of Utaa)

"Utaa was once the thriving capital of Sulm. Sand has eaten up most of the city now, leaving only a central hub of palaces and temples rising above the desert floor...from time to time, the wind reveals a building or two, allowing entrance and possible exploration...
The city is truly vast. It consists of over 100 square miles of homes, temples, castles, palaces, and every other imaginable type structure. It was swallowed up by the desert...and the city still contains substantial amounts of wealth...
The city may also serve as an entrance to or exit from the Underdark, for many of the city's palaces and castles featured deep dungeons...."

Bonus: For an ancient city, Utaa must've been the biggest city in the history of the Oerik if not Oerth. I highly doubt any other city in the Flanaess takes up 1/3 of a map hex. For comparison ruins of ancient middle eastern cities like Ur and Babylon only cover 3-4 square miles; their actual pre-ruin area thus is doubtfully as big as Utaa. For further reference, modern cities are ginormous, like New York (5400 sq. mi. metro) and Tokyo (4300 sq. mi.) Present day Rome is only about 500 sq. miles however, so it stands to reason Utaa was at least on par with one of the greatest ancient cities in our history.

The Temple of Elemental Evil (on random sentient swords)

"When developing encounter areas...use items from the following table if magical treasure is indicated by random roll...

  • Longsword +1 'Snoop'...AL NG, Int 13...can detect invisible and detect magic...
  • Scimitar +1 'Schakha'...AL LN, Int 14...speaks azer, giant, common, human common (?) and dwarf..."

Bonus: (spoiler) The same module has several other more powerful sentient/aligned swords that are non-random. Good luck finding them, yet your chances of locating those are better than the 1 in 100 chance of stumbling onto one of the two blades above. Side note, a weapon that speaks azer is pretty damn rare (they are an elemental fire race first seen in the MM2) and useful in this module. Plus, I'm rusty on AD&D, what is human common versus regular common?

That's all for this installment. Happy exploring!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Random Greyhawk Lore

 Happy New Years, denizens of Greyhawk! Today I'm going to shift into gear and entertain you all with one of my favorite D&D past times, namely grabbing random published books off my shelf and picking out an obscure bit of canon that no one has ever discussed. Let's see what we get starting with the most dense of all Greyhawk tomes:

Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (on Snow Barbarians burial customs)

"Their greatest kings and jarls have all been seafarers, beginning with Schoffmund the Strong, who defeated the Kraken of Grendep Bay. Since this day, all dead Schnai kings are interred in ships, which are ignited and set adrift on the sea."

Bonus: In the hardback Greyhawk Adventures is a wondrous item called the Black Sails of the Schnai. A great warrior who is burned on his funeral pyre can be summoned back to fight as an einheriar for the possessor of the last magical shred of his ship's sail.

City of Greyhawk Boxed Set (on Blackfair Manor's horses)

"The stables now hold over 100 breeding mares, some two dozen stallions, and perhaps 200 fillies and colts in various levels of training. The purchase price for one of the young horses is double the asking price in the High Market of Greyhawk, but generally considered worth it.
For those who take their horses very seriously, the Blackfairs may consider parting with a breeding mare, for 2000-3000 gold, approximately. Some of the stallions can be had for as little as 10,000 gp, while others have fetched five times that amount. The stud of the herd, called simply Father Black, is not for sale, though it is rumored that the lord has been offered more than 100,000 gold for that horse."

Bonus: In case you haven't done the math, all the horses of Blackfair Manor are worth a total of 570,000 gold pieces. Minimum. Remember that tidbit when you have too much treasure to spend and want to show off to your comrades, or when your DM asks your group if you want to go looking for scraps of treasure in some nearby dungeon and instead turn to a life of horse thievery.

The Scarlet Brotherhood (on the Lone Deklo)

"The solitary tree is surrounded by an open field 100 yards across. The Lone Deklo is a monstrous example of its kind, 30 feet in diameter and nearly 300 feet tall...The Lone Deklo is sentient and is effectively a sage specialized in flora, fauna and astronomical and meteorological phenomena. It can converse in a low whisper similar to the sound of wind though branches..."

Bonus: For comparison, in A Guide to the World of Greyhawk, the section on Trees (yes, Gygax created his own trees) states that a deklo tree is a massive hardwood often 15 feet in diameter and over 100 feet tall with round leaves than can sometimes span a foot in diameter.
For further comparison, the world's tallest tree on Earth is Hyperion, a sequoia at 379 feet. Sequoias have an average width of 24 feet and can live roughly 3000 years. If the Lone Deklo is half that age, it was around before the Twin Cataclysms, the Migrations and might remember the time of the elves and the ancient Flannae kingdoms.

Fate of Istus (on the origin of Jurnre the capital of the County of Ulek)

"Despite its modest size and undistinguished history, Jurnre is among the most peaceful and prosperous cities of the Flanaess. It is also one of the oldest, excepting certain settlements in Ekbir, Zeif and Tusmit that antedate the Invoked Devastation. From the time of its foundation nearly nine hundred years ago until the present day, Jurnre has been an island of stability in the turbulent stream of history...
A brief siege of the city by refugee goblins and orcs in 506 CY, at the height of the Hateful Wars, and some unsuccessful attacks by the Sea Princes sailing up the Kewl...are distant history to the human citizens of Jurnre, and even nonhumans have begun to forget. Not even the oldest gnome can remember the sight of enemies within the gates."

Bonus: Not only is Jurnre peaceful, it is quite idyllic. The County of Ulek is ruled by Archdruid Lewenn (13th level) who is quite possibly the only druid involved in Flanaess politics. His constituents are of course halflings, gnomes, sylvan elves and also the nearby Silverwood is home to treants and unicorns.

That's all for now, hope you enjoyed!