Saturday, October 30, 2021

Post 1001: Seven Spooky Greyhawk Locations

Happy Halloween fellow Greyhawkers! For future reference, it is the end of October 2021, this is officially post #1001, and my last post was March 31, 2021. In the spirit of one of my favorite holidays I am going to revisit one of my columns, "Spooky Greyhawk Locations." Disclaimer: Don't get too excited about my return, I just thought this post up today, and I currently have no other projects in the works since I went back through all my previous posts to clean up broken links. In other words, enjoy! Whether you are new or a long-time reader, thank you for checking out Greyhawkery. Who knows, maybe I'll have something for Needfest

1. Star Haunt. In the mood for a ghost-like tale? Send your snooping PCs to the Celadon Forest, and enter the star-shaped castle ruins called Star Haunt. The walls of this ruin glow in the dark due to peculiar moss, and inside the creatures that lurk have an innate displacement effect. Anything, including perhaps the original Oeridian residents slowly turn into incorporeal undead. Star Haunt is a nice haunted house style romp, and its definitely not a place the heroes will want to stay in for long. Check out this ruined castle in the 2E sourcebook, Marklands.

2. The Blood Obelisk. Fading Lands are weird demiplanes that overlap the Flanaess at set times then vanish. Usually these are strange lands like a faerie realm, but one, the Blood Obelisk of Aerdy is quite frightening. The fading land is a black plain of dust and rocks. Here, unwary heroes will run into metal-skinned trolls, iron golems and other metal monstrosities. At the center of the plain is an unholy magic obelisk dedicated to Hextor. What is its purpose and how one gets here is up to each DM, but if you'd like to know more, check out From the Ashes

3. Wormcrawl Fissure. So you think zombies are too easy in D&D? Then send your players on a quest to the Wormcrawl Fissure! This ravine is on the western end of the mighty Rift Canyon, and is best known for being the home to the vile creator of undead, Kyuss. Bandits and servants of Iuz avoid this place if possible because the zombies here are even more than your run of the mill Sons of Kyuss seen in Fiend Folio. They are stronger, tougher, and have other nasty powers. Read more about this eerie fissure in Iuz the Evil or the Age of Worms adventure path, particularly Dungeon #134.

4. Howling Chasm. In the mood for a mind-twisting mystery? Go to the Howling Chasm in the Tilvanot Peninsula. This chasm is in the south face of the Okalasna Plateau, domain of the Scarlet Brotherhood. If an aspiring explorer can get to this remote land, what they will discover here can be a chilling mystery. Those who enter seemingly return years later to learn less time has passed on Oerth. What's worse is the maddening visions and memories they are left with after coming back to their own time, or the unexplained alterations to their body. The Chasm could be literally anything a DM desires to spook and confuse their players. Naturally, you can find this spooky locale in the 2E sourcebook, The Scarlet Brotherhood.

5. The Sanitorium. The city of Molag in the Horned Society is bad enough as evil locations go, but within the Hierarch's Palace is a site that is downright horrific in its own right. This imposing edifice is the most well-known location in Molag, infamous for being ran by priests of Nerull. Here at the Sanitorium, people near death are captured by the priesthood, and brought to be used for their twisted necrotic interests. This scary building is an excellent location to host a thrilling rescue. Will the players offend the Reaper, or will they be his next victim? Check out this location, including the Molag city map in Iuz the Evil.

6. Pits of Azak-Zil. How about some dwarven themed horror? Your best bet is sending the adventurers to check out the ruins of a mining operation called Azak-Zil. Greyhawk is notorious for things falling from the sky, and this fallen meteor site is an especially creepy location to send players. What came of the dwarven miners? Who is in charge now? What is in the center of the poisonous lake? Intrigued? You can find more on this classic scenario in the hardback Greyhawk Adventures by James Ward.

7. Screaming Valley. So the characters are passing through the Cairn Hills? Want an alternative spooky site to the much maligned Doomgrinder? Try passing through the Screaming Valley. This is a bleak, four-mile long stretch of land where no insects or birds dwell. Half-way through this barren place, one can find a mass of sandstone riddled with holes that create a loud noise for miles as wind rushes through the valley. This unnerving valley is home to an eclectic selection of undead and creatures. DMs who want to subject their players to this chilling valley can find it in the From the Ashes boxed set.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

1000th Greyhawkery Post!

Cold iron avail you! Welcome Greyhawkery readers new and old. When I set out to do a Greyhawk themed blog 11 years ago, I was already nearing the end of a long 5-year run doing Greyhawk themed comic strips. The commentary on my comic strips had evolved into such long winded affairs, that I realized a full Greyhawk blog made more sense. In the decade or more of doing Greyhawkery, I've created more comics (Castle Greyhawk), as well as talked about D&D news, nostalgia, the fan community, and my own home campaigns set in places like the Sea Princes and the Greyhawk Wars. One thousand blog posts is a lot of words to pour out onto a screen. I've covered everything imaginable about the World of Greyhawk, from nations to geography to mysterious places, and everything in-between. I had a couple close calls along the way, where I despaired and contemplated ending the blog, but the community has always been there to push me, inspiring me to keep going and write more. I'm grateful for everyone that has read my blog. One thousand blog posts was a milestone I wanted to reach as a challenge to myself, because this time I really am putting the blog on hiatus. 

I am reluctant to say I am ending the blog because there is always more to write about, or new editions of D&D to come out, and perhaps someday when I'm 70, a newly published Greyhawk setting to meticulously pick over. For now though, I really have hit a wall creatively and it seems better to me to press the pause button than to stress myself trying to come up with content twice a week, in order to keep up an arbitrary pace I set a decade ago, back when my ideas were fresh and indeed I had more time and energy. The other dynamic at play, and this is not a bad thing, is that there is a lot more going on in the Greyhawk community. Indeed the most I've seen since the 2000s when Living Greyhawk hit the scene. When I started Greyhawkery, Paizo had already lost their Dragon/Dungeon magazine license, Living Greyhawk was done, and it was more or less just Greyhawk Grognard and me, plus the hold-out fan sites, fan forums and fanzines when it came to dedicated Greyhawk content. Fast forward to 2021 and there is SO MUCH MORE fan content being produced that I feel I can take a sabbatical! 

That's right folks, I'm doing fine and I'm not technically going anywhere. I'm still going to write and draw at my leisure (more Ull?). If something seems particularly good I might even post it on Greyhawkery, or submit it to one of our other excellent fan content outlets. I plan on reading more (I'm terrible at that), continuing to stream (or chat in streams), and hopefully run or play in more Greyhawk rather than just talk about it. I also need to go back through these 1000 posts and fix some dead links, organize my "best of" section, and finish some primer stuff on the home page. One more thing (since this post is written at the tail end of the COVID pandemic), ideally I'd love to get back to a physical convention someday to meet all the Greyhawk friends I've made. 

In the meantime, I'd like to acknowledge and direct you to all the fabulous content creators out there that I follow or collaborate with occasionally. These people will keep us all entertained in the years to come, and who knows someday maybe they'll inspire me to regularly blog again. Enjoy!

Joseph Bloch is my original inspiration to blog and write articles. At his blog Greyhawk Grognard, Joe continues to create content such as maps and gazetteers Beyond the Flanaess, and he even finds time to make fun YouTube videos revisiting classic D&D products. I met and hung out with Joe a couple times at Gary Con, and its been a pleasure. Please follow Greyhawk Grognard if you are new to this community, there is a wealth of content to be found on his blog.

Carlos Lising is always foremost on my mind when I discuss Greyhawk with people. Ever since those long Thursday night Greytalks, I could tell this guy was in a whole different league than me (not the NHL though). Now he runs CaslEntertainment where he has published dozens of modules with an old-school flair, all play tested at conventions so you know they are good (I can attest to his DM skill from meeting at Gary Con). To go with his publishing efforts, Carlos has a stream on Twitch, he does charity events, and he still finds time to collaborate on other Greyhawk projects. You must check out Carlos' work if you haven't already!

David Leonard has the blog Greyhawk Musings where he has been putting out the best deep dives on Greyhawk history. David also has an associated Facebook group, and is also a recurring guest on the Lord Gosumba Twitch streams. His research and commentary is always top-notch, which is why his blog posts are among my favorites.

Tommy Kelly also runs an inspired blog called Greyhawk Stories, where he showcases a variety of fiction for Greyhawk, and does author interviews. His serialized novel the Hateful Wars has been a saga unlike any told in the Greyhawk community. If you have fiction of any kind set in the World of Greyhawk that you want to share with a wider audience, Tommy is the person you should talk to!

Anna B. Meyer
 should need no introduction. She is of course the pre-eminent cartographer in the Greyhawk community, if not the entire RPG industry. Anna is definitely among the top people who have influenced me to create and share stuff for the community. I've been streaming and hanging out with Anna at conventions for quite a long time now, and she is always gaming, chatting, and developing new projects. Anna never rests. If you are aspiring to make custom maps, or do any sort of content for Greyhawk, talking to Anna will motivate you! Check out her website for downloads of the best maps on the internet, and for updates on her future work. She also has the Flanaess Geographical Society on Facebook.
Jay Scott is a relatively recent, but strong influence on me and the entire Greyhawk community. His time put into his campaign, his drive to stream, and his talent at community-building is truly awe-inspiring. Jay does old school 1e/2e AD&D, with elaborate miniature and terrain set-ups, all streamed on his LordGosumba channel on Twitch. Jay is always active online, running games for his home group, or mixing in guest players from the community like Anna. His organizational efforts have now given us an annual Virtual GreyhawkCon, and has lifted up Virtual GaryCon during the pandemic. Jay has an amazing "Gabbin" talk show on his channel with Anna every week where they bring on creative guests from our community and often from the D&D industry (past and present). Jay has incredible sponsors for his channel, and is always hosting prize giveaways to his viewers. That alone is worth looking into his channel if you haven't already. Oh yes, and every Wednesday you can watch Jay, Anna and myself on Legends & Lore yakking about Greyhawk topics until we drop. The content never ends at Lord Gosumba.

Casey Brown
incidentally is a huge asset to the Greyhawk community. His (Unofficial Living Greyhawk) Bandit Kingdoms Summary continues to be a legendary publication, the only one of its kind. If only we had more books like his. More recently, Casey has been the go-to contact for former Living Greyhawk writers to be interviewed on the Lord Gosumba channel, thus allowing more fans to reengage with the active Greyhawk fanbase.

Speaking of the community, here is a bunch more of my creative friends!

Bryan Blumklotz is a devoted loremaster and creator of the finest Greyhawk heraldry in the community. I've had the pleasure to meet Bryan at Garycon, and be on a panel with him. I hope to do so again someday. Besides his work on Canonfire! Bryan runs the Facebook group Greyhawk Resources where you can see some of the best discussion and content from the past and present posted on a near daily basis! 

Denis Tetreault is the mad mind behind Maldin's Greyhawk, which I'm positive is the longest running Greyhawk fan site on the internet. You might remember Maldin from his work on Melkot and Irongate, plus the amazing print revision of the City of Greyhawk maps in the pages of Living Greyhawk Journal. You can still find those digital maps, and much much more on his website. Denis is a very good friend of mine, going back to the late night Greytalk chats. More recently Denis has been on our Greyhawk streams, and he has been hosting my old Greyhawk Comic strip for several years now. Oh and he has a Facebook group, Greyhawk Adventures. I'm looking forward to whatever new stuff ol' Maldin will put on his website in the future.

Jason Zavoda of the blog Hall of the Mountain King has put out unique Greyhawk content at a prolific pace. Jason is a very knowledgeable guy that I have enjoyed talking to in chats and on stream, in fact you might know him best from his Greyhawk index.

Scott Casper
is a self-published game designer and fiction writer. His Castle Greyhawk graphic novel and webcomic has been the best collaboration of my Greyhawk career. It's unreal to think that for several years I illustrated the adventures of Tenser, Yrag, and Robilar. Scott is above all things an old school gamer who is always involved in running or playing at conventions. To see what Scott is up to check out his blog Scottenkainenland.

Allan Grohe of the blog From Kuroth's Quill, also owns one of the oldest Greyhawk fansites on the web, Grodog's Greyhawk. For longer than I can remember, Allan has been a highly respected member of the Greyhawk community. You can usually find him at game conventions either working a booth or running old school games such as his long running Castle Greyhawk campaign based on Gygax's original maps.

Scott McMillan and his Aerdi History blog is one you need to add to your reading list. I've known Scott a long time from forums and chats. I put Scott's research and commentary on Greyhawk lore up there with the best in the community. 

Charles Akins has the blog Dragons Never Forget. (formerly Dyvers) He is a humorous guy that I've interacted with for several years now. Charles is also author of the annual Great Blog Roll Call, so he knows the gaming community quite well.

I haven't mentioned enough Greyhawk streaming and video creators yet, here are some favorites...

John Burchfield runs the incredible Twitch stream Blue Box RPG. John is a master of his DM craft, he runs live game sessions with a very talented squad of players. He also hosts a talk show on his channel called the Loremaster's Arcanum which can often be seen live ahead of my own Legends & Lore. John and the folks at BlueBox have an insanely devoted fan following (shout out Mad Chatters!), which have only added to the growing Greyhawk community. I hope to some day get on BlueBox now that I have the free time. If you haven't watched or heard of BlueBox yet then I only have one question for you, "What Are You Doing?!"

DMWill is one of the hardest working, most fun people in the gaming community. He has a blog called the Greyhawk Companion where he posts original game material for 5E. Of course Will also has a gaming stream WickedStudiosLLC where he does a variety of games. Be sure to follow Will!

WuTangPiglet carries on the tradition of Greyhawk Channel as he brings the action on Greyhawk Tales. Wu is a riveting DM, and has a fun group of players. They are always looking to add someone to the table too, so stop by and have a look!

WilyHobbit is running Greyhawk 5E with his Greyhawk Lives episodes. Wily has always been a devoted fan of the streaming community and now he is actively contributing with his own hosted games. Please give WilyHobbit a follow.

Oronir is all the way from Belgium and he is the creator of the Grey League a unique and educational Youtube series. Oronir really does his research and is only getting better with each episode on his channel. I say it a lot, but if you haven't seen the Grey League yet, go there now.

DMGalger has an up and coming stream on his channel, SorrowsTale. You should check out his ongoing game, it's a 5E Greyhawk campaign called "We of Oerik". 

There is so many people creating and sharing content online, I'm struggling to remember them all!

The folks at the fan site Dragonsfoot have always run with the old school Greyhawk crowd. This top-notch community is where the late Len Lakofka and other fans that I know continue to chat and work on projects such as the Footprints ezine. 

Big Mac is a superfan from the UK, and I know him best from The Piazza forums where one can interact with the Greyhawk, Spelljammer, or just about any D&D fanbase. Big Mac can be found on just about any stream or chat these days. I look forward to discussing more with him in the future.

Dave Guerreri and the Greyhawk Reborn staff have continued to write and DM new Greyhawk adventures at conventions since the end of LG. Check out their Facebook group and website for more info. This group knows their craft and always have a bunch of games offered at each event. I met Dave and some of his co-creators many years ago at Gen Con. They have been carrying the torch for a long time now, so give them some love.

Scott Agnew is an amazing entrant to the content creator club. He has a Patreon for a completely converted 5E Greyhawk Rebooted. Check out this stuff, it's quite amazing. If you see him on Facebook give him some feedback.

Last, but not least!

None, I repeat NONE of my Greyhawk contributions would've been possible without the fansite Canonfire! and the esteemed author Gary Holian. His site is where in 2002, I first started sharing articles, replying to forum posts, and taking part in late night Greytalks. It is here I made dozens and dozens of friends in the Greyhawk community. Time flies! I credit Gary "PluffetSmedger" for keeping Canonfire going for so long, even when it's seemed near dead, but now from what I've seen it's getting vibrant again with a new Post Fest and other popular fan projects. Gary has always been accessible to the community, including to collaborate on content (albeit at a glacial pace), but in the present he is way more active. You can find him on the Canonfire Discord, or on Lord Gosumba stream either trolling us from chat or participating as a guest.

Speaking of Canonfire, there is so many contributors on that site I cannot list them all, you will just have to get involved in sharing Greyhawk content, meet these fellow creators on the forum or discord, then feel welcomed into the greater community. There are a few notable people active on the site that I can praise though. If I miss anyone don't worry I'll thank you in person eventually.

Rasgon aka Ripvanwormer is probably the smartest loremaster in the entire Greyhawk community, but modesty keeps him out of the spotlight. Rasgon can still be found on the forums though ready to answer your questions in extreme detail.

CruelSummerLord is one of the most prolific writers of articles and fiction on CF. CSL is the example for those who have a lot of content they want to share and how to serialize it over a long span. He's a legend.
Rich DiIoia has been a huge contributor to CF for a long time as well. Known as "Longetalos" he currently is very involved in the community, heading projects on Canonfire like Touring the Flanaess. He is a fixture in chats and on discords. Rich is also a helluva DM I hear. ;)

Cebrion has been an author, editor, and forum moderator on Canonfire for many years. Though I would say I'm not actively staff on CF anymore, I have always valued spending time with LordCeb the most on the Greyhawk forums and the old Thursday night chats. Waaaagh!

Brian Dougherty is another amazing author who has graced Canonfire and my blog. "Braggi" on the forums, Brian went as far as to do an insanely cool conversion of my Wonders of Ull: Old Skool Edition. He is also a master at heraldry and much more. I hope Brian keeps producing more Greyhawk content!

Finally, and just as important, much of our Greyhawk community is tied together and curated by the skillful dedication of Kristoph Nolen. He runs the resurgent Greyhawk Online. which has been around for years, but now it facilitates even more online Greyhawk content than ever. GHO hosts not only my first Greyhawk Comic, but many other classic fan websites, and archived Living Greyhawk websites. GHO also hosts a Discord, and has the BEST Greyhawk Wiki you'll ever find (kudos to the Wiki team, I know you guys and appreciate your work). Kristoph of course is the editor in chief Oerth Journal our longest running and most important fan project, now almost on its 35th issue as of this post. Under Kristoph he has brought the OJ to print with the help of Patreon. I was fortunate enough to have met him (and many other Greyhawkers mentioned above) and contributed to the first print issue ever, given out at GaryCon XI. The Oerth Journal team is always looking for more authors, artists, and editors. If you want to get involved in the Greyhawk community and make a name for yourself, this is your opportunity. Kudos to all those authors and artists, too many to name, that have been instrumental in creating the Oerth Journal.

That's enough I think. Now let me see what Greyhawk stuff you can create. I can't wait to read, comment and discuss more Greyhawk content in the future. Until next time!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Very Best of Greyhawkery

Welcome again Greyhawk lords and ladies! Today I'd like to point out some of my best posts from the past. I have a whole subpage dedicated to the Best of Greyhawkery though. So this post will be my picks for ten of the Very Best of Greyhawkery. Let's get this started, in no particular order. Enjoy!

Virtuosos of Villainy: Eli Tomorast is my love letter to this vile wizard of the Maure Castle fame. Few villains in my home games have been as hated as Tomorast. His distinctive demon claws kind of make him stand out as well. The art for Tomorast by Kalman Andrasofszky, James Ryman and Wayne Reynolds is the best. I also recently learned that Paizo publisher Erik Mona himself owns the original cover painting of Eli from Dungeon #112. Jealous! I wish I had done more Villainy articles like this, but really few ever stand the test of time as well as Eli.

New Greyhawk Map: South Seas is to date, my masterpiece in cartography. This map as far as I can tell is the most downloaded and talked about on my blog. No wonder why, there are few like it. I made the South Seas map for my long-running pirate-themed Sea Princes campaign, but the whole effort was mostly research over actual map making skill. I took what we knew of the inset map from the 1983 Glossography, and combined it with the extended Hepmonaland from the Scarlet Brotherhood sourcebook. Then I really tied it into current Greyhawk by adding all the new locations from the Savage Tide AP such as Sasserine, Scuttlecove, and yes, thanks to Gary Holian the Isle of Dread to the far southwest. Could have I done more with this map? Of course! Artistically its just a line drawing with some clever clip art and layers to give it an old nautical chart look. I encourage anyone to modify, improve, or expand upon this map.

Sword of Kas Through Editions is a short, but effective article that I researched back in 2015. Little was I to know it would end up being one of my top ten most viewed posts. The Sword of Kas is one of those iconic items from D&D so I'm sure people often come across this post in their searches. Magic swords is a popular subject anyways on this blog, but this one beat them all.

Greyhawk Wizards: The Pentad is a short, but inspired post that I did on a hypothetical all-female wizard group ala the Circle of Eight. Greyhawk is full of wizards (or lich-wizards), and besides Iggwilv, it's a male dominated world. I had fun piecing this team together, especially as an attempt to bring Ed Greenwood's creation from the Wizards Three articles, Rautheene, back into the setting since she bears no mention anywhere else.

5 Reasons to Visit the Bandit Kingdoms is the first in a series that I hit upon in 2015 as a way to introduce adventure ideas in the major areas of the Flanaess to new DMs who might otherwise have no idea what to use or where to find it. I'm happy to see this similar effort done to all the nations of the game setting through Canonfire's Touring the Flanaess postcard community project.

Rulers of Ull: Ulzhak the Golden and Kuchakar the Dragon Slayer is two of my favorite home-spun creations for Ull, but I'm counting this as one item. I had intended to do a story on all the rulers of Ull, but that is a tiring exercise I'll save for another day. Instead I did the two that to me, were the most action packed and heroic. These historical rulers were invented as a way to show even lowly Ull can develop some heroes, and that there is epic quests to be had there as well.

Pirate Fleets of Greyhawk is one of my best articles for Greyhawkery, and this has made an appearance in Oerth Journal as well. In my opinion, my Sea Princes material is significantly better than my Ull series, because I've actually ran my friends through this in multiple linked campaigns. The pirate fleets above most of my pirate articles informs best what the factions and political climate of the South Seas is like. Check it out!

Ring of Five Questions: Creighton Broadhurst is the first of an amazing run of interviews that I did from 2011-2012. Creighton is one of my favorite LG authors back in the day (he made Rary the Traitor cool again) and he was an occasional visitor to our nightly Greyhawk chats. He was kind enough to be my first "industry" person involved in the blog. I would go on to pose my custom set of 5 Greyhawk questions to other authors and artists. More recently I resurrected the Ring of Five for all Greyhawk fandom to share their favorite answers regarding our shared hobby.

Furyondy-Iuz War Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 is part of my epic 2E "Greyhawk Wars" campaign that spanned 24 in-game years. Back in the 90's I kept quite good notes and wrote battle reports on our campaign and such. It all culminated in the final war against Iuz which was probably inspired by Tolkien's the War of the Rings. Check out these battle reports, perhaps they will inspire other DMs to wage war on the Flanaess like good old Gygax probably intended!

Greyhawk A-Z: Spells is not the even close to the first in my A-Z series, but its the most impressive in my opinion. Anyone who is well read on published Greyhawk could easily put together an A-Z list of names, places, or items, but Greyhawk specific spells? That was such an undertaking that I spent hours researching books and magazines to fill the list, and I still had to cheat a few times. Then I did a second A-Z list cause I had so much left over. 

That's all folks! Be sure to check out the Best of Greyhawkery page link at the top where I will hopefully someday have everything categorized for your convenience. Until the Star Break!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Cultists Cultists and More Cultists!

Welcome Greyhawkers! It's a good day because I have new comics! Everyone's favorite characters from my old Greyhawk comic strips is the Cultists of Tharizdun. Man those two have had some wacky adventures. Well, one of my idle projects has been producing more Cultist comic strips, but the caveat is that these comics are what I term "Dinosaur Comics". No not because the subject is old, because they pay homage to the long running webcomic of the same name that uses recycled art each episode and instead changes the text. Lazy yes, but it's genius as well. Below is some of my new Cultist strips, you'll quickly notice they are numbered. Someday I'll have a full-run of them, but for now the rest you'll have to discover in the pages of Oerth Journal each issue, starting with the first two strips featured in OJ #34. Until then, enjoy the comics!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Old Greyhawk Ads in Dragon

Greetings all and welcome back to Greyhawkery! As I write this post, we are going through another Virtual Gary Con 2021, and the gaming and streaming for the World of Greyhawk has never been more successful. While the community games into the future, I've been nostalgically looking back to the past to muse on how far this setting has come. My favorite source is the pages of Dragon where one can see the evolution and even launch of the products we all now take for granted. Sit back and read some clipped advertisements I found from this hallowed magazine. Enjoy!

I think it's safe to say Saga of Old City is Gygax's best and first novel set in Greyhawk. The Gord series held a lot of promise as it came out around the time D&D novels was red hot, especially the Dragonlance series. Because of this, Saga got a big push back in winter 1984/1985. This full page, color ad was evocative enough to grab readers.

In winter of 1986, Gygax put out his second novel in the Gord series with Artifact of Evil. It's too bad that he would have to finish the series post-TSR. Look at that retail price!

Here's an old school ad from Dragon #37. Again, Gary went all out with a full color ad in his usually all black & white magazine. To give us a taste of the Greyhawk Folio cover would've been a treatment back in 1980.

In contrast, this ad in Dragon #80 for the updated 1983 World of Greyhawk boxed set is disappointingly small, black and white and just has a nice blurb to hook you into buying it. I scoured the back issues for a full page color ad of this boxed set and couldn't find it. If anyone knows, let me know. I assume if one already had the Folio, this small ad would be enough to remind you. I had neither Dragon #80 nor the Folio. It is merely fate that I'm here today as a lifelong Greyhawk gamer.

This ad from Dragon #94 in 1985 is fun one. G1-2-3 Against the Giants is one of the first modules I ever owned, but damn if I had saw this ad, well I could've had that mod and even more if I just bought a hardback D&D book. I highly doubt a sale like this will happen again. 

This blurb is from the coming soon section of Dragon #112. What is shocking to me about this ad, is that the Queen of the Spiders was supposedly linked to the Temple of Elemental Evil and Slave Lords series?!? That's an adventure path on steroids. I cannot imagine running one PC group through 15 modules. I know there will some Greyhawk grognards who eschew this proposed storyline. Perhaps the ad department of TSR just wanted to push sales of the modules by tying them all together. D&D players are collectors and would have to get an entire story. Maybe they were right, because as we saw in 2E going forward, storylines were not as closely tied together so some inevitably ended up more popular than others. 

Speaking of the Temple of Elemental Evil, this last ad here is from Dragon#100 (coincidentally the issue that debuted Gord) and is for the compiled T1-4 TOEE super-module that is referenced above. Again, the ad is black & white, but it is well made and much more evocative. It takes hints of the gargoyles on Keith Parkinson's amazing cover and throws in some hype text to catch your attention. This would entice me to get the Temple since I never owned the original mods. I am curious that the blurb says this is the "conclusion" to the T-series. Does this Frank Mentzer supermod have story info Gygax's books doesn't? You'll have to get them all to find out I guess!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Mike's Greyhawk Pronunciations

Howdy Greyhawkers! Okay folks, this is a dumb, silly post, but I don't care. So I've been reading old Dragon mags and came across Frank Mentzer's old pronunciation guide article from Dragon #93. After amusing myself with this often joked about and debated topic I reasoned that I have never covered pronunciation on the blog, so why not? 36 years after the fact, let's compare how I pronounce Greyhawk proper names versus the learned Pluffet Smedger. Oh by the way, for those who have never seen the article, it's written as if Mentzer got his info directly from the meta-story author of the Greyhawk Guide, Pluffet Smedger of Rel Mord University. So if Ed Greenwood has Elminster, Frank has Smedger evidently. Check it out:

The learned Dr. Smedger popped in yesterday. And I do mean popped. The sound of teleportation is quite audible at close range - such as just behind one's chair. 
"Pluffie, you twit, I asked you not to do that!," I greeted him politely. "I even rearranged the furniture so you couldn't."
He returned my salutations with his usual grace. "You call that furniture? Besides, you can't confuse me; this place is 'very familiar.' Got a copy of Leadbeater's Astral Plane?" 
"Probably. Check the files."
 A few minutes later, Pluffie returned; apparently his mind was still on Leadbeater. "Just as I thought!" he grumbled, but in the tongue of the Flanaess. "He confuses them utterly." He gestured violently with his wand. I responded in the same language, out of courtesy. "What do you expect? That was written in London, in 1895. You've seen more devas than he has. Please put that wand away." 
He looked startled, and switched to Cammon. "More what? Devas? Your accent is terrible." He was right; I'm not very good with the Flan language. 
"Now that you mention it, could you check a few pronunciations for me?" 
"Gee, I think I might might have to rush off. . ." he said, standing idly and pretending to read my diplomas (rather obvious, even for him; cash is his weak spot). I named a price a bit more generous than is my wont, but then, he still had his wand out. After making several unnecessary remarks about my habits and my heritage, he finally agreed, and dictated the following list to my Scroll of Transcription.

Okay let's get it the pronunciations. I'm only focusing on the Greyhawk specific names (no drow business). First listing in bold is Smedger, anything in parentheses is comments on how I say the word. The notation is all Mentzer, so if you need help to decipher this check out Dragon #93 if you want the full experience. Enjoy!

Aerdi     AYR-dee     (ditto this)
Almor    @L-m0r     (same I'm fairly certain)
Beetu     bee-TOO     (ditto again, and please why is this town even on the list?)
Belissica     be-LISS-i-ka    (I probably do say it that way or BEL-iss-i-ka)    
Blashikmund     BL@SH-ik-mund, or bl@sh-IK-mund    (can't say I've ever tried this one, I'll go #1)
Boccob     BAK-ab    (I've said BO-kob. my whole life, now typing this, that seems absurd *shrug*)
Burneal     BURN-ee-ul    (yup!)
Corusk     K0R-usk    (I'm certain I say it that way, or kor-OOSK when I'm being fancy)
Dimre     DIM-ray (duh)
Erac     E-r@k (no way Pluffet, this is just a clever respelling of Eric/Erik)
Erythnul     e-RITH-nul    (sounds about right)
Fharlanghn     far-LANG-n     (sounds correct, I love saying this name)
Flanaess     fla-NES     (for years I said fla-NAY-ess, but I've gradually warmed to Smedger's way)
Grugach     GROO-gatch     (i think I do say it this way, however not sure why it isn't GROO-gak)
Heironeous     hayr-O-nee-us    (this one changes alot. I think I've mainly said hay-RON-ee-us)
Incabulos    in-K@B-yoo-lus    (this works for me!)    
Iuz    yooz, or EE-uz    (#1, nope, #2, nope.... I am Team EYE-ooz)
Johydee    jo-HY-dee, or johee-DEE    (not sure, I think I say jo-HEE-dee)
Kelanen    KEL-a-nen    (spot on!)
Keoghtom     KEE-o-tum    (this works, but I have said KEE-o-tom most often)
Kyuss     kee-OOS    (nope, I say KY-oos)
Leomund    LEE-o-mund    (Lakofka approved)
Lolth     lalth, or lolth    (#2 for me, definitely not "loth" too)
Mordenkainen     M0R-den-kay-nen    (sounds right I suppose!)
Murlynd     MUR-lind    (ehhh...I think I say it MURL-ind)
Nystul     NY-stul, or NIS-tul    (#2 for me, though I think I like #1 better)
Obad-hai     o-bad-HY    (on the mark)
Oerid     O-rid    (yup)
Oerik    O-rik    (definitely)
Oerth    OYth    (NO! How do you go from O-rid, O-rik, to OYth? It's O-urth. Fight me!)
Otiluke     O-ti-look    (I'm fine with this)
Phaulkon     FAL-kun    (eh, I say fall-KON)
Pholtus     FOL-tus    (yes, this is okay)
Quaal     kwal, or kwayl    (#1 here, but #2 intrigues me, given the feather token association)
Quag     kw@g    (I think I say it this way, unsure)
Tenser    TEN-ser    (right on)
Tharizdun     thar-IZ-dun    (This sounds right, but I might say thar-iz-DOON when being spooky)
Vecna     VEK-na    (kinda hard to mess up)
Zuggtmoy     ZUG-tmoy (weird one, I think me and my friends say ZUG-it-muah, no idea)

Alrighty, that was fun, wish there was more on this list. Here is some bonus ones of my own in case you're curious:

Ull    UHL    (not OOL)
Nyr Dyv    near div    (yeah, yeah)
Furyondy    fur-ee-ON-dee  
Geoff    jeff    (though for years I said GEE-off)
Zeif    ZIEF    (though recently I'm won over to ZEEF)
Verbobonc    vair-BO-bon (silent 'c')
Adri    AY-dree    (though I don't discourage AH-dree)
Suel    SOO-ul    (sorry Rich haha)
Rao    roww    (said RAY-o for a long time)
Wastri    WASTE-ree    (i mean WAST-ree is good, but the word waste makes him seem awful)
Baklunish    bak-LOON-ish    (decent?)
Iggwilv    EEG-wilve    (yup, that's it for me)

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Ethereal GaryCon 2021

Howdy Greyhawk faithful! Just a quick post to remind that next week is Gary Con 2021. Unfortunately it's virtual yet again due to the pandemic, but the Ethereal version goes on! Registration has already begun, so if you haven't got your tickets for these virtual games, hurry up before they are all taken. Mind you if your favorite games are all taken, many Greyhawk games will still be streamed live on the conventions dedicated Greyhawk channel. Look for the schedule of events on the Con website. Way to represent! Check out the streams here:

GaryCon Greyhawk

I had intended to go to the physical version of Gary Con this year, and so by converting my badge to the virtual con, I got some nice swag out of the deal. Look here.

The dice are oversized and printed bold for old eyes like mine. There is no d20 though, the 20-sider is actually a double d10. Weird, but okay! The Gary Con tin has a nice set of d6's. You can never have too many of those. The book Cyclopean Deeps was the bonus item. Every swag box has a different book from what I've seen. This one is Cthulhuian, so good to have. The best part is the Dungeoneers Survival Quill. It does it all, writes, stylus, measures, has a built in level, and more I'm sure. Okay that's for all. Have fun at Ethereal Gary Con, and I'll chat with you all then!