Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rare Greyhawk Map

Now that I've grabbed your attention, I'm sorry to inform you this post is about the novel Master Wolf by (shudder) Rose Estes. For anyone not familiar with Rose Estes, well she is notable for writing many of the popular Endless Quest books for TSR back in the day. This of course led to her being put on fiction for the Greyhawk setting (following on the heels of Gygax's Gord series) for which she is now and forever reviled by all corners of the community. Why is her Greyhawk novels hated? I won't go into that now, but you're better off not knowing.

Now I don't advocate book burning by any means even if it has Rose's name on it, so when I found a few of her Greyhawk novels in a library book sale years ago my goal wasn't to destroy them, but they sure have collected alot of dust. It's probably more because of the Greyhawk Adventures logo that I bought them since I'm a Greyhawk hoarder. Anyhow, on a random whim I finally opened one up with no intention of reading it, but instead to look at the art. Here, might be the silver lining to this book.

The cover above is by Clyde Caldwell whose richly colored paintings can be found throughout D&D on countless covers for modules such as the classic Ravenloft, and settings such as Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Mystara and more. His style is similar to contemporary Larry Elmore, but the way to spot a Caldwell painting is easy, just look for all the freakin' huge gems on his character's weapons and jewelry.

The interior art is an interesting find as well. Master Wolf contains a few black and white illustrations by a guy named Bart Sears. For those who don't read comics, he is a fairly famous comic artist primarily for his work on Justice League Europe. Surely Sears was still working his way up in the field when he got commissioned by TSR. This book came out in 1987, two years before his career boosting run on JLE. His bio mentions nothing about his work for TSR. I'd try and forget it too if it was for this novel.

You've stayed with me this long so I'm happy to tell you there is a rare Greyhawk map in this post and yes, it is in the novel Master Wolf. If you take this illustration of a tattered map out of the context of Estes' novel, it's actually quite good. This sketch of the Flanaess' northwest could be useful for any DM looking for a functional map to give their PCs on a wilderness jaunt. Just don't tell them where you got it... ;) 


Greyhawk Grognard said...

All those Rose Estes novels are lacking to be at the very very bottom of the "Geek Hierarchy" chart is to be set on the USS Enterprise.

"People who write erotic version of Star Trek where all the characters are furries. Like Kirk is an ocelot or something, and they put a furry version of themselves into the story."


Mystic Scholar said...

Ah, but the map!

Okay, so maybe a few rushed to burn the Estes novels a little too soon. Maybe they should have torn out a few pages first.

Thanks for sharing, Mort.

Mike Bridges said...

Joseph: Yikes!

James: I like to keep people on their toes. Rose Estes was a nightmare, but unlike Freddy Krueger she is REAL!

Mystic: That's my point! There has GOT to be salvagable GH material in those books and I know I'm not the first to get dirty looking for it. :P

Mystic Scholar said...

You're still "clean" in my book, my friend.

And I salute you and praise your efforts on behalf of our community!

Well done Mort!

Thanks for "going" where the rest of us "dare not go!"

Anna B Meyer said...

I'm not getting into the Rose Estes debate ;)

This is a map not often looked at and interesting since it shows an area that doesn't have much published material.

One thing that strikes me are the Kobolds, aren't they as reptilians ill suited for cold climates?
Underground are one thing but the winters here I assume are rather frosty, are they staying underground all winter, could be an interesting adventure hook, the spring Kobold's terrorising the poor surface dwellers :)

Mike Bridges said...

Anna: Pretty sharp observation. I don't know and likely won't know how they are treated in the novel. Back in 1e Kobolds were doglike so maybe Estes was associating them with Hyenas and Gnolls and wolves in that theme.

Cyric's Blog said...

Thx for warning me about Rose Estes novels. I was short of getting 5 of them via ebay. As a newby to Greyhawk this information was new to me and is gratefully received.

Anonymous said...

The one part of the map that messes it up for veteran Greyhawkers (unfortunately) familiar with the Estes novels is the location of "Mika's Camp". This is a giveaway that it comes from this series.

For the blissfully ignorant newbies, the DM will have to come up with some alternative explanation... :/


Unknown said...

Vellynne Harpell has Kobold minions in the Icewind Dale campaign in the Forgotten Realms for 5e.

Unknown said...

It's a second hand, old map that had apparently been used by someone who knew a "Mika".