Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Castle Greyhawk: The Journey Begins

I'm a bit late in announcing this but page nine of the Castle Greyhawk graphic novel adaptation is now available at our dedicated blog where you can read Scott Casper's additional exposition or if you're new, see the entire story from the beginning.

You can also download the latest episode HERE, courtesy of Maldin's Greyhawk.

Travelling commentary: The trio is moving through Greyhawk City alot in this one. Here's the ground we've covered so far (2nd edition City of Greyhawk version). The stables they start out at is S2 (Slum Quarter), Stairnezh Stables on Assassins’ End. This livery and shipping service is owned by Lucious Stairenzh. In addition to a good stock of draft and riding animals Stairenzh has a fleet of wagons for hire. Of course that's all for more ambitious parties. ;)

Heading south from there the party walks past Fedroot’s Daggerarium (S9) home to the best bladesmith in the city. Why Fedroot operates in the slums is beyond me, but every blade or spear point he makes is exceptional in quality and commands high prices. I don't see Yrag and company stopping by there until they have more loot however.

Lastly the group turns east down Old Lane on their way to the gates out of the city. You can vaguely see (S10) the Chapel of Ulaa in the background. Ran by Matriarch Guldan Rockflint, Ulaa is the goddess of mountains, hills and gems. Every Godsday priests and worshippers of Ulaa gather near the Old Well out back to sing and drum on boulders. In hindsight a donation at this chapel might have been a smart idea considering where this trio is heading into...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Greyhawk Article, Maps and D&DNext

Ahoy, fellow Greyhawkers! Time for me to catch up on things going on in the community:

First off, over at Greyhawk fansite, Canonfire, we have a new article up entitled Tragedy and The Grey Friar. This is the third article from the ominus author Dark Lord Galen. In this piece he presents a bit of fiction, a local fable, then some good St. Cuthbertian lore to tie it all together for your home campaign. This article is a quick and leisurely read, so check it out!

Next up is a report on the completion of Greyhawk Grognard's whirlwind tour of Western Oerik for his "Beyond the Flanaess" hex map project. His last leg rounded the Barbarian Seameast and connects with the desert lands of Erypt. To cap it all off Mr. Bloch has also created an easy compressed file download holding all the maps in the series. Well done Joe! I can't wait to see where he goes from here.

Lastly and no less important is my obligatory post about Wizard's open playtest for D&DNext. Most blogs I follow (which tend to be the old school leaning) are speaking favorably about these rules so far. It shouldn't be too hard to find online, a heap of commentary and hardcore analysis on the playtest materials, so I'll leave that to the rest. My own home campaign uses 3.x core books with touches of older editions so I'm guessing my players will probably react favorably to these playtest rules. I'm also signed up to play in a D&DNext game at Gencon in August, so that'll be interesting. We shall see. More on the rules to follow once I get with my gang about it. To those in the states, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!

Update 05/07/2021: I removed the link to Joe Bloch's BtF map series, because its not currently hosted on his new site. Keep checking or send him an email if you'd like to inquire about this map (teased in the cartoon above).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Postfest: Inns & Taverns of the Flanaess

As I'm in charge of this year's Postfest duties over at Canonfire, I'm reposting the announcement on my blog. If anyone would aspire to share their homemade taverns with the Greyhawk community, check out this open call.

This Postfest will focus on some of the more interesting “sleeperies” and eateries in the World of Greyhawk. So, here are some suggestions as to what to include in your entries:

First off, write about a location that not much(or nothing) has been written about before- make something up! A particular emphasis should be put on your chosen location being conducive to adventuring. Don't just present a description of a place, its proprietors, how much rooms cost, and what they have on the menu. Put in some local flair, such as rumors, interesting local folk, questionable characters, etc.

Think more along the lines of presenting a place where a road weary(or bored) adventurer can find all manner of trouble to get themselves into. Think of the Inn of the Welcome Wench of Hommlet fame, or of the Green Dragon Inn in Greyhawk City(I wouldn’t recommend writing on these particular locations as they have been covered rather extensively already), and the trouble one can get themselves hooked into there and you won't go wrong. Whatever you want to write about, just make sure that the main feature is an inn or tavern. Heck, your inn or tavern could be an adventure site in and of itself if that is what you want to do! Feel free to make your submission game edition specific or neutral, super crunchy(i.e. lots o' rules) or completely fluff(background), or anywhere in between. Basically, write what YOU want to write.

Mind you, this is not a hard and fast format, but I think that more people will find the articles useful if prospective authors adhere to at least some of the above suggestions.

Now, on to the format. Your submission should be in the realm of 1,000-4,000 words or so in length (more if fine; less not so much). That is not set in stone, but it is a good average length for any Article. As usual, be sure to not only Spell Check your article but read it over yourself, as Spell Check will catch many things, but seldom everything.

You may submit your article HERE. Be sure to write a short introductory teaser for your article and be sure to cite any sources you may have used as well. ***See the directions at the top of the Submissions page if you have any problems with the text not being accepted(this may happen if you use Internet Explorer). Even if the text is not accepted, *you must still submit your article title on the Submissions page*. When e-mailing an article to editors<at>canonfire<dot>com, be sure that your article is in simple Word form, contains no unsupported fonts, and with no formatting of any sort if possible(the simpler the better). This just makes things a whole lot easier for us to deal with, so please take the time to do this.

Make sure you put the title of your submission in the following format:

Postfest XVII(Richfest 2012): TITLE OF YOUR ARTICLE

***Submissions are due by June 30, 2012.

Thanks, and get to writing!

Update 05/07/2021: This Postfest is long done, but head over to Canonfire forums and I'm sure there wiill still be current Postfests going on if you'd like to contribute. You can also still use the submission link above I believe to have CF host your original Greyhawk works on the site as well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sea Princes #32: The Battle of Maroon Lagoon

All men to their stations! The high seas adventures of the Sea Princes cruises toward a climatic finish. Last time out the crew of the Bird of Prey and the Crimson Fleet's Laughing Rake were battling it out off the shore of a tiny isle that had already seen much activity the last several weeks. That is until the privateer Lydia's Light intruded on the scene. Now Captains Hammond and McGrath have combined their forces to take down the larger ship. Things are about to get bloody. Here is our protagonists...

Captain Victor Emmitt Hammond (rogue, shouting and suave.)
Araxo Tydan (rogue, swimming and stabbing.)
Cuahtehmoc aka "Cuahto" (ranger, swinging and slashing.)
Brother Pickles (cleric, shoving and sooty.)
and Henri Morgan (rogue, sabotaging and self-inflicted.)

Loaded into a few launches the fearless and likely desperate crews of the Sea Prince and Crimson Fleet vessel rowed headlong at the advancing carrack Lydia's Light. At the lead of each assault boat was Captain Hammond, Lt. Araxo Tydan and the fierce quartermaster Cuahtehmoc, along with their rival Cpt. Ironclaw McGrath and avowed captive Sir Aris Westford. Meanwhile, the Bird of Prey rallied into firing position for their blackpowder guns. Unbeknownst to them, their lost allies Brother Pickles and Henri Morgan were aboard the opposing ship and now both sprang into action to aid any way they could from the inside. Cpt. Rynn of the Keoish privateer bellowed orders and his trained marines readied for action, while artillery crews readied to return fire. Just as the first volleys of lead shot and ballista bolts were away, dodgy Morgan reached the bottom of Lydia's Light and using everything at hand to temporarily disable the rudder. The ship gave a shudder and men were thrown off balance as the ship listed in the wrong direction, leaving them exposed to a deadly broadside from the Bird of Prey. Meanwhile, Brother Pickles raced to sabotage the privateer's cannons and as he was ready to cast a lamp full of oil at them, the ship rocked and he fell to the ground at the feet of a burly gunnery sergeant. The lamp broke anyhow and the oil went trickling into around the feet of the gunners, even as the burly man picked up the touched cleric to thrash him.

Under cover of smoke and whizzing lead, the launches reached the side of the crippled Lydia's Light. Hooks and ropes were thrown up and the boarding crews climbed aboard to face the readied Keoish soldiers. Far off at the rear castle by the wheel stood Captain Rynn, resplendent in his white uniform and tricorn hat, fired the first shot and killed the first pirate aboard. Among the first wave came the tattooed savage Cuahto whose own black powder pistol roared and dropped the quartermaster of the privateers. This death gave the skittish crew some pause and more pirates managed to surge over the side. Araxo Tydan keeping in cover grabbed a line and sliced it, sending a sail down over the heads of many of the crossbowmen at the same time he hung on to the other end and rose to the mast crossbeam.  Cpt. Hammond filtered in with McGrath and the deadly mercenary Snorri. Cuahto evaded a counter attack of Keoish blades and climbed up the same mast as Araxo. Last among the boarders came the reluctant knight Sir Aris. Though sworn to aiding Rennaud's quest he also adhered to the code of chivalry. His blade was out but none among the privateers would challenge him, though his presence on the other side caused them anger.

Below deck, Pickles wrestled with the master gunner and even enraged neither gave up ground. At the rear part of the ship Morgan ran into a room and stepped out a narrow window to daringly climb up the back side of the ship under cover of smoke. Cuahto and Araxo both took to the rigging and swung over the raging battle below as crossbow bolts flew at them from the stern. The wild ranger landed amidst them and began hacking away, downing another officer, while Araxo came circling around overhead to kick Cpt. Rynn in the arm so hard he dropped his saber and was dashed over the rail and into the drink. Rynn's body nearly hit Morgan as he was coming over the side and all he could grab onto was a nearby ballista. The siege weapon was bolted to the rail but it swung around till the rogue was now precariously hanging off the aft of the ship. Back on deck, Aris and McGrath waded through multiple melees toward the stern, while Victor Hammond, seeing the tide turn in their favor with the loss of their command, called on his allies to give quarter to the Keoish sailors if they would surrender. Just as Cpt. Hammond turned around, a marine's lucky strike scarred him over the eye, only to be answer by an impaling thrust.

Feeling victory at hand, Araxo looked over the side to see where Rynn landed in the water, and dove in after him blade in hand. Morgan hung onto the perch tightly as the Bird shook the Light with another closer volley of fire. A mast was shredded and fell partly on Cuahto and two Keolanders. Below deck, the return fire of the privateer ship was foiled as the ship shook and Pickles got free to take a fire to the lamp oil, sending the Light's powder keg up in explosive flame. Pickles was thrown back, then sat up ears ringing and covered in soot. Old Cpt. McGrath lifted a cross beam off Cuahto and helped him up just as Sir Aris reached the rear castle and aided Victor in calling an end to the melee. The knight's presence assured the wary privateers that their lives would be spared from the pirates. Cuahto then leapt into the water to give aid to Araxo who wrestled in the debris filled water with the commander of the privateer. Now double teamed by two knife wielding fiends, Rynn surfaced for air and croaked his surrender, but Araxo had not heard Vic's orders to give mercy and with Rynn's guard let down the shady first mate stabbed him dead in the water. The battle was over and the victors cheered resoundingly cheering the names Hammond and McGrath.

Most of them at any rate. Morgan landed on the sill of a window to one of the officer's quarters and saw two opportunistic crimson sashed pirates about to pillage the priestess of Lydia, Aurora. At that same moment Pickle's hearing returned and the cries of the woman who had been so kind to him came to his ears. Rushing into the chamber he confronted the same two pirates and struck one down. Morgan climbed inside the chamber with his pistol but it went off accidentally shooting himself in the leg. The second pirate went to stab the wounded rogue but was shoved by Aurora from behind and out the window. She then ran to Pickles' arms soot and all. In the heat of the moment Morgan's wound was but an after thought that she apologetically healed for him. The pair walked up on deck with the priestess while Araxo and Cuahto were pulled up from the sea toting Rynn's body. The Bird of Prey's most daring comrades were reunited at last! Everyone had stories to share, but they had to wait for there was still much work to be done after the taking of Lydia's Light at the "Battle of Maroon Lagoon".

(to be concluded)

Game notes: The guys did great in this multi-layered battle. Some of them played more than one role while others made the most of their primary characters. Never in my DMing career, have I scripted a more tangled series of events toward a climatic, cinematic battle. This campaign, near it's end, is already my new favorite of all time.

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Article: Cave of Ungutu

Welcome back Greyhawkers. Today I have for you a new article from the front page of Canonfire titled the Cave of Ungutu. Written by occasional Canonfire editor Abysslin, Cave of Ungutu is an excellent "side trek" mini adventure set in the savage lands of the Olman. Abysslin writes:

"Long ago there was a vast empire overseen by Emperor Zotlatlan. He was a tyrannical ruler in every sense, but his people led full and bountiful lives. When Zotlatlan moved his ambitions to the conquest of the surrounding tribes, they rallied together under the leadership of the Lizard Tribe, whose chief slayed Zotlatlan."

Cave of Ungutu is designed for 1st/2nd edition AD&D rules so that makes it easy to adapt on the fly for any version of the game. It's a quick and deadly setting to run with some unique monsters, magic items and even a map included. What more do you need? Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Castle Greyhawk: Day's End

Page eight of the Castle Greyhawk graphic novel adaptation is now available at our official blog where you can read it from the beginning.

You can also download the latest episode here, courtesy of Maldin's Greyhawk.

Commentary: This page was fun to put together. A) It had less dialogue, not that I mind wordy pages, but it just leaves more room for art. B) The city scenes while alot of work are starting to grow on me. Of course the comic is "Castle" Greyhawk not Greyhawk City, so I'm pretty sure we'll be leaving that soon. C) Scott Casper's direction doesn't need alot of dialogue sometimes. He always has good ideas for visuals that speak for themselves be it through a bit of humor, homage or mood. This page has it all!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day... witch-queen IGGWILV, mother of Iuz, demigod of evil and his half-sister the vampiric vixen Drelzna. Whether going by the name Hura, Louhi, Ichbilch or Wilva - no woman in Greyhawk canon has done more to build up and support her family. From conquering Perrenland to exacting revenge on her children's deadbeat fathers to penning a best-selling series of Demonomicons, Iggwilv is always in the background scheming for the future. Not even death or imprisonment in the abyss can keep this ambitious mother down.

Iggwilv's legendary rise to Greyhawk infamy is especially remarkable when you consider she was once just plain Natasha, a simple village girl. That is until the day she was "adopted" by her new mother, the Mother of All Witches, Baba Yaga. Raised in the Dancing Hut, along with her goody-two-shoes sister Elena the Fair, the girl became Natasha the Dark. Now trained in the arts of magic, demonology, and womanly wiles, Natasha was unleashed upon Oerth by her foster mother. It is not recorded what happened afterward to Elena or any of the young witches who surely came before and after them, but it's safe to say Iggwilv is Baba Yaga's greatest legacy.

Iggwilv has always been a major interest in both my Greyhawk campaigns and my old Greyhawk comic. Here is a few highlights from her comedic misadventures:

Debut in the comic
Iggwilv cameo in Dungeon #149
Iggwilv's Legacy
Greyhawk Grumbler tie in
Twelve Days of Needfest

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sea Princes #31: Enemies and Allegiances

Welcome back to the high seas adventures of the Sea PrincesLast we saw, the crew of the Bird of Prey, (now captained by Victor Hammond) and Osprem's Kiss were headed back to Narisban for supplies before their long-awaited journey to find the Well of All Heals. An ill-fated storm had separated them however. Meanwhile Henri and Brother Pickles were rescued from a raft by the very privateers that had marooned them weeks ago. Things were about to get much worse. Here are our protagonists:

Victor Emmitt Hammond (rogue, dashing and debonair.)
Araxo Tydan (rogue, daunting and daring.)
Cuahtehmoc aka "Cuahto" (ranger, dutiful and durable.)
Brother Pickles (cleric, dumb yet dependable.)
and Henri Morgan (rogue, dodgy and death-defying.)

A mere day before the Keoish privateer Lydia's Light arrived back at the marooning isle, Osprem's Kiss had stopped by at Rennaud's request. He was worried about the offensive, marooned noble Lord Ronaldo Key and convinced Captain Cassidy to check on him before making port in Narisban. A search party consisting of Skullbreaker, Sasha Dirk, Half-Pint Moira and couple of Ospremites guarding the sage Olfon Trebus found the sea cave containing the body of Lord Key. After slaying an ambushing four-armed girallon with relative ease (Olfon shot it in the eye with a crossbow), they investigated Key's cave. All of Lord Key's possessions were gone including his shoes and Sir Aris' silver owl necklace which had led to his marooning in the first place. Marked on the wall of the cave, they discovered a cryptic message left by Key (which had incidentally been overlooked by Henri and Pickles):

"Whosoever finds my last request - Tell Margot in Baymouth to look behind her."

Key was properly buried by the Ospremites and with this grim information in hand they returned to their ship and continued on to Narisban to wait for Cpt. Hammond and the Bird. In Narisban the crew met a certain drunkard named Ellis Blackwood who claimed to have recently escaped a tiny island by raft and had some harrowing tales of pirates, four armed apes and an addled sea barbarian. Cpt. Cassidy was troubled by this especially since her crew had not found any other life on that island. She promised to return with the Bird and check again for their comrades.

As Osprem's Kiss sat in port, two other ships arrived at Key's Isle for the same reason. The Bird of Prey led by Captain Hammond and Lt. Tydan chose to pickup Key, figuring his punishment was enough. Unfortunately as insurance, Araxo had given recently freed Crimson Fleet pirate, Ironclaw McGrath coordinates for the same isle and told him of the wealthy noble marooned there. No one thought that McGrath would come there so swiftly. Sailing on portly Captain Yelloweye Stern's ship the Laughing Rake, the pirate crew came upon the Bird of Prey from the south. Not knowing Captain Rennaud had relinquished command, and Cpt. Hammond not knowing the Laughing Rake was only there to find Key, the two sides reacted hastily, raising their flags for battle! The Rake closed the distance while the Bird's dwarven gunner Jon Jamison targeted and tore up the pirate vessel with a few rounds of blackpowder cannon fire. As the Rake slowed and tried to return fire in hopes of boarding, they had not noticed the pair of launches sent from the Bird, coming in to counter-board their caravel! Amid a smoking, listing ship, Cpt. Stern rallied his men to repel boarders while a grim McGrath waited with still sore claw marks suffered from a vengeful harpy loosed on him days ago...

The daring melee was soon engaged on the deck of the Laughing Rake. A tattooed, maca wielding Cuahto and the fierce marine, Snorri Snorrison were among the first to climb over onboard to face down the harried crimson sashed pirates. Araxo Tydan, growing braver with each encounter, managed to pair off with the wig wearing, foppish Yelloweye Stern, while the daring Cpt. Hammond soon came face to face with Ironclaw; both were surprised to be sure. Tydan ran through and slew Cpt. Stern, his wig and tricorn hat falling away. The pirates looked to Ironclaw for leadership then and just as his cutlass and Vic's met, all around paused in their swordplay to see a third ship rounding the isle to join the fray: their common enemy, the pirate hunting privateer Lydia's Light. Hammond and Ironclaw quickly assessed the situation, the Rake was burning and holed beyond repair, and the pirates were bound to lose, but the privateers were mainly after the Bird as McGrath knew during his captivity. The two captains swiftly shook on an accord to become temporary allies against the Keoish vessel. Swords were sheathed and cheers rang out as both crews raced to their launches and rowed frantically toward the Keoish carrack while the Bird of Prey thundered cannons to cover their assault.

From the deck of Lydia's Light, confident Captain Rynn bellowed orders to his officers and flags were raised to engage with who he assumed was the notorious "Blackguard" and his Bird of Prey. Rynn would not let them escape this time. Standing out of the way of scrambling sailors, a shocked Henri Morgan and Brother Pickles gazed across the water at their old ship for the first time in many weeks suddenly aware that their comrades had no idea the two of them were aboard this ship too. They had to help somehow.

(to be continued)

Game notes: This was the culmination of two sessions actually. One day between battles we were short a player so I had the guys play an out of chronological order scene as members of Osprem's Kiss on the island. For me, the way the various ships and crews' paths have intertwined has been the best part of this campaign so far. Who says splitting the party is bad?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Greyhawk: Thillonria Ho!

As I reported last week, mapping guru Anna Meyer has been burning her way along the icy north east of the Flanaess, sweeping around the Thillonria Peninsula to cover the lands of the Ice and Snow Barbarians for her Atlas of the Flanaess. Download map sections 24, 25, 38 and 39 for a better look at her most recently finished pieces. Also, here is a pic she posted to Canonfire of an overview of the entire peninsula before extras touches are added:

Keeping on the topic of Thillonria, it's only fitting I help spread around the latest work Greyhawk Grognard has been doing on Greyhawk heraldry. Among his reproductions posted today are the heraldic shields of the Frost, Ice and Snow Barbarians.

While I'm at it, here is some assorted resources on Thillonria. All these fan authored articles can be found at Canonfire:

Update 05/07/2021: Had to remove broken links to Anna's individual maps. Trust me, her newer run is much better.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ring of Five Questions: Stuart Kerrigan

Guess what Greyhawk fans, it is time for another installment of the Ring of Five Questions! This episode I finally complete my trifecta of Living Greyhawk Onnwal authors including Creighton Broadhurst, Paul Looby. Our third author in the Onnwal triumvirate has published several notable works such as A Splintered Sun (Dragon #293),  Playing Pieces: Heroes of Onnwal (Dragon #299), and Beasts of the Scarlet Brotherhood (Dungeon #106). He is also the keeper of the Onnwal Project and in his spare time even maintains his own gaming blog. Please welcome our next victim to the Ring: Stuart Kerrigan.

Q1. As a tried and true Greyhawk fan, you should know the Darlene map without looking. What is your personal land of choice in the World of Greyhawk?

Stuart: Obviously duty requires me to say Onnwal!

I have mooched around the Furyondy/Nyrond regions in short home campaigns. However I’ve often been fascinated with the Theocracy of the Pale as a nation (and as a foil for my PCs). I would love to have seen a Marklands style gazetteer of that nation (perhaps coupled with Veluna for contrast) from Carl Sargent. He clearly had some definitive ideas of what its people and Theocrat were like and it shows in adventures like the Sin-Eater and in the Marklands gazetteer itself.

Here’s where I ruffle some feathers - I often felt the Pale should have been a Core region in Living Greyhawk. For the poor North Californians it was a region that offended their liberal views! It was about as appropriate a player-region as the Empire of Iuz or Rauxes. The Palish (at least IMHO) were antagonists, albeit ones who were not entirely evil and thus could in theory work alongside the characters. We imported some Palish missionaries in Onnwal and they can be seen in a module called the Scarlet Straits (available at *shameless plug*) along this line.

In Living Greyhawk however the region’s feel became diluted in favour of making a playable region for all types of characters. For example there seemed to be reams of material on the Pale’s Arcanist Guild. Ogon Tillit was slain and replaced by a suddenly-lawful good Theocrat. You were allowed to go around with a holy symbol of any god, but not preach. If you did, you went to prison for a short period of time. There were no burnings at the stake.

Paul Looby wrote a trilogy of adventures dealing with the fallout from Tenh and his module was decried by the Pale Triad as it portrayed the Faithful Flan in a way they did not approve of. They later wrote their own sequel which set things “right”. The excellent Fright at Tristor was similarly declared heretical, with the Triad writing a special module to sanitize its plot and effectively have the village removed off the map.

Q2. If you could be any one Greyhawk deity which one would it be?

Stuart: Tough one as there are so many to choose! I think I’m probably more Olidamarra, but Heironeous is my favourite Greyhawk deity. Virtually indestructible, free electricity on call, off-fighting evil and generally being Mr. Terrific.

Q3. You're known for your work on Living Greyhawk especially the Onnwal Project. What part of LG Onnwal are you most proud of?

Stuart: In terms of the setting I am most proud of being the first UK author published in the Living Greyhawk Journal with the Knights of Azharadian article. This led to us UKers dominating the Journal for several issues with Erik Mona begging us for non-Onnwal content! Creighton (Broadhurst) and Paul wrote some excellent material in response to this request that eventually ended up in the Oerth Journal.

It is worth noting the rest of the team deserve equal credit on the Glaives article, especially Paul Looby who invented them. I just hashed out a prestige class on a Yahoo Group for about 4 months with Paul and our Irish Point of Contact, Max Kraft.

This leads to my next point - one of my personal missions on the team was to take LG:Onnwal to the masses. The RPGA in the UK at that time had a massive convention-only model primarily in the south coast regions. However in Scotland the RPGA offered 4 games a year, and Ireland was left completely by the wayside. We managed to have a massive running at Gaelcon and even saw a healthy crop of Scottish gamesdays.

Q4. What monster or fantasy race reminds you most of Greyhawk?

Stuart: It’s a tie between either the Animus or the Norker. I’m a sucker for a monster that looks like Nodwick.

It’s a shame nothing interesting was done with Animuses in published Greyhawk canon as they were screaming out for an adventure around them (though Creighton did an excellent adventure for LG with a 1st level noble animus – perhaps I’ll have to dig that out for our next set of games to terrorise the unsuspecting populace).

Q5. If you could redo the Greyhawk Wars, what would you do differently with the Scarlet Brotherhood?

Stuart: Ultimately there’s nothing that happened during the Greyhawk Wars I have a problem with, though I’d preferred they’d use a proxy-power to landgrab. It’s more the reversals they suffered in the Adventure Begins period (586-591 CY) and the Living Greyhawk campaign that trivialise them as an enemy. That and of course an interesting sourcebook that destroyed their mystique somewhat.

I’d like to have seen them go back to the Gygaxian/Sargent model of scary Tharizdun worshippers. They can still be kung-fu fighting monks (indeed in my home campaigns the Scarlet Brotherhood is the only order of such monks outside of the Baklunish lands) but there’s something apocalyptic about their plans for the Flanaess.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sea Princes #30: Change of Fate

Welcome back to the ongoing swashbuckling adventures of the Hold of Sea Princes. Last time, the crew of the Bird of Prey, split in two directions pulled off a daring hostage exchange for the sage Lockard Meek in the pirate town of Scuttlecove, while another group made a no less impressive escape from marooning on an island. Both groups however are to find out fate has more in store for them before their quest for the Well of All Heals can be completed. Here are our protagonists:

Victor Emmitt Hammond (rogue, promotion!)
Araxo Tydan (rogue, still first mate)
Cuahtehmoc aka "Cuahto" (ranger, promotion!)
Brother Pickles (cleric, saved!)
and Henri Morgan (rogue, saved, for now)

Adrift on a raft for many days, Henri, Pickles and two other marooned sailors were plucked out of the sea by the crew of the privateer Lydia's Light, the same ship that had set them upon the island in the first place. Henri who carried the silver owl charm he found on Lord Key's body, had contemplated posing as the noble but the presence of Brother Pickles was too much of a give away. Ensign Whitecliff and Harrowmire, though haggard in appearance still wore their tattered uniforms and immediately begged Captain Rynn to re-enlist them after telling their survival story to a gathering of amused shipmates. The captain reluctantly gave them a "third chance" as the gods seemed to deliver the touched cleric of the sea god back from seas where he had vanished overboard weeks ago. Sister Aurora of Lydia was overjoyed that Pickles had been rescued and Henri was given a chance to work his way back to a safe port by presenting Lord Key's bag of 100 gold pieces to the captain for passage. Rynn agreed to their offer, but only after he had caught their former ship the Bird of Prey, and he hoped their final destination would be his home port of Gradsul where he boasted there would be a huge gallows to follow. Henri and Pickles did not like the sound of that.

Captain Rynn had been circling the Olman Isles and Lof Bosok hopelessly in search of the Bird of Prey. Since Key had been marooned by his own countrymen after discovering the owl necklace, that meant the Bird had been in that area and might double back to Narisban. They obviously would have to use more difficult means to divine this time, by homing in on Sir Aris Westford. Sister Aurora's divinations cryptically pointed them back to the same isle that Key, Henri and the others had been marooned on. Their arrival at this ill-fated islet would prove to be critical, as not one but three ships already arrived there before them...

Several days earlier, the Bird of Prey and Osprem's Kiss had successfully set out of the Pirate Isles at full sail, with Lockard Meek onboard at last. There was no sign of pursuit from the Crimson Fleet. As the old sage got updated by his colleague the botanist Olfon Trebus, the quartermaster Skullbreaker aided an ailing Captain Rennaud to his chambers to lay down. The captain had not been touched during the tense hostage exchange hours before. The curse of weakness had worsened the closer to Rennaud got to his goal. That night, under cover of darkness the two ships met to discuss their next destination of Narisban for resupply, while the sage was appraised of their quest. Lockard gazed at his old map for the first time in two decades and fretted that it would take him a while to decipher his own code and calculate the next occurance of the Well of All Heals. He explained the Well is what scholars call a Fading Land, a demiplane that sometimes overlaps Oerth and in this case often in different places. He postulated that at least they were in the right latitudes for the Well's current millennial cycle.

Rennaud and his close friend Captain Jet Cassidy conferred about his weakened state and need of healing care. That is when Rennaud announced he was turning over the captaincy of the Bird so that he could move over to Osprem's Kiss to finish his quest. In a stirring show of confidence, instead of gaining promotion-first mate Araxo Tydan, threw his vote for captain behind the bosun Victor Hammond. Victor had more experience at sea and had proven his mettle time and again. The rest of the ship agreed with Araxo and cheers went up as Captain Hammond was promoted by Rennaud. The surly but battle hardened marine Snorri Snorrson replaced Vic as bosun. There was more moves to be made however. Rennaud's loyal friend, Skullbreaker vowed to stay alongside him on Osprem's Kiss and both sages had to come along to study the map. With Skullbreaker's departure, Cuahto was named new quartermaster in charge of discipline and the armory. Furthermore, the captive yet complicit knight Sir Aris Westford was to be left on the Bird for the crews still didn't trust him to be near Rennaud. For the rest of the Bird of Prey and their new officers, Rennaud lastly offered to let the men out of their oaths to serve him on his quest for the Well. He did point out however that the healing waters he sought was not just for him, that if true, the Well could even regrow young Charlie Duffle's arm, Captain Cassidy's ring finger or Sasha Dirk's pierced heart. The Well might also cure Billy Palsy's shakes, Vic's sickly body and perhaps even mental ailments like Brother Pickles' addled brain. There was no need to convince any further as Captain Hammond vowed they would all stay the course.

The next day as they raised sails north for Narisban, fate again intervened as a strong storm separated the two ships. The larger carrack Osprem's Kiss fought through the gale and remained on course while the smaller caravel Bird of Prey was helplessly tossed westward toward the Amedio coast. After minor repairs to the rigging, Captain Hammond recharted their course for Narisban with the goal to stop by the small islet and check on Araxo's poor cousin, Lord Ronaldo Key...


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More Greyhawk Maps and Articles

Hey greyfanatics, I can't believe it's May already! It's been a busy month in the community and once again I need to post on more than one subject to keep up. Can't complain about that! First up is Anna Meyer's Atlas of the Flanaess project. After completing Blackmoor, the Land of Black Ice and a bit of a delay she is back on the horse, now venturing into the cold mountains of the Thillonrian Peninsula to map out the desolate western end of the Ice Barbarian realm of Cruski

Don't forget to join Anna's facebook group The Flanaess Geographical Society now hovering at 225 members!

Next up is an item of interest to greybeards in the Greyhawk community who may have been online "back in the day", it's two new compilations of the Best of Greyhawk-AOL.  These files are a collection of discussions amongst fans and authors about the Greyhawk setting on AOL back in the twilight of TSR. Best of Greyhawk-AOL #13 and #14  is edited by France's own Armenfrast who for years has maintained the fan site Le Monde de Greyhawk. Dig around, you might find some other good information there including stuff on the Ekbir and Zeif Living Greyhawk Campaigns.

Here's a minor item. Over at Wizards of the Coast, Bart Carroll has written an excerpt article on Infamous Dungeons to coincide with the release of the 4th Edition accessory The Dungeon Survival Handbook. You'll be happy to hear it's free to download and read. At two pages in length the article is not much to scream about but it covers the history of the Tomb of Horrors and White Plume Mountain fairly well.

Next up is a debut article at Canonfire by author Chevalier titled An Alternative Linguistic History of the Flanaess. Chevalier's essay breaks down the major subraces and regions of the Flanaess and discusses the evolution of their languages as presented in Gygax's original canonical work.

Chevalier writes: "Navigate treacherous linguistic waters!  Ponder alternate origins of Greyhawk's languages!  Consider new histories and whether they might lead to new adventures!"

This article is well written, insightful and is definitely an alternate take on a quite popular Greyhawk subject. You can read the entire article HERE. Enjoy!

I've got one last Greyhawk matter to cover. Coming soon, I'll be posting some information on Canonfire's first Postfest event of 2012. All I can announce right now is, after taking a poll, the topic of this Postfest will indeed be Inns and Taverns of the Flanaess. That's all for today, check in for more Greyhawkery in the coming week!

Update 05/07/2021: Removed dead links to Anna's old maps. Go to the new link to her site where she has even BETTER Greyhawk maps. Removed deadlink to Mr. Carroll's article. I don't think it was part of a published 4E Dragon.