Saturday, September 8, 2012

Article: The Iggwilv-Graz'zt Affair

It's been such a while since Wizards last put out a pseudo-Greyhawk article for their online Dragon Magazine, that I almost missed this one in issue #414. The Iggwilv-Graz'zt Affair by freelancer John Rossomangno is another article in the History Check series. John writes:

"Here we look at the entwined histories of Iggwilv, the Mother of Witches and author of the infamous Demonomicon, and her sometimes rival, sometimes lover, the demon prince Graz’zt."

As usual my friends, you'll need a D&DI subscription to download and read this article but I'll cover a few interesting points here since Iggwilv is one of my favorite villains.
“Iggwilv is known as the Mother of Witches and is the one whose hand penned the
Demonomicon. Her title, I dare say, is somewhat undeserved, for Iggwilv was the adopted daughter of Baba Yaga, the true Mother of All Witches. Now there is a name with which you are certainly familiar. But Iggwilv’s dark tutelage only began within the halls of the crone’s infamous hut. After a period of youthful rebellion, looting sealed vaults of arcane treasure meant to be kept from ill-intentioned mortals, Iggwilv turned her eyes to deeper, darker mysteries."

No matter how often I read this reference to her upbringing in Baba Yaga's Hut, the more I like it. Even though the author only rehashes much of Iggwilv's established, well publicized history in a narrative form, I do like some new subtleties added, such as Iggwilv raiding the Hut's vaults for arcane stuff even Baba Yaga didn't want to share! No wonder Iggwilv got thrown out of the house.

The narrator of the story goes on to detail her years with Zagig at Castle Greyhawk and in Perrenland at the foot of the Yatil Mountains. Along with the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and her son Iuz the work fortunately manages to make use of every essential Greyhawk reference for this topic. Graz'zt of course comes into Iggwilv's life. The article then insinuates the beginning of their romantic relationship:

"...the Dark Prince’s physical form was available to Iggwilv, and his handsome visage fell under her gaze daily. As she pried information from him to expand upon the
Tome of Zyx and thus develop the first entries of the Demonomicon, Iggwilv discovered that she could tolerate the presence of no one but Graz’zt. He alone was worthy of her attention."

Iggwilv is later dragged to the Abyss as Graz'zt's prisoner, and the Affair begins to focus on more of their relationship, further revealing that they have more children than previously known...

"Yet from these wretched acts a new understanding was born, along with other monstrous offspring. Iggwilv would often be seen in public with child, but such states were inhumanly brief, and Graz’zt took great pains to keep the identities and whereabouts of his offspring hidden from enemies."

“Graz’zt jealously set out to destroy any fiend that had trafficked with Iggwilv in the past. As demented as it sounds, he viciously attacked Fraz-Urb’luu solely because the demon prince of deception had also been Iggwilv’s prisoner and plaything at one time"

The article goes on more about the tumultuous affair of these villains and at the end also provides some adventure hooks to go with the historical material. My favorite hook should be of interest to any DM or player looking to tie their characters to this famous pair:

"The offspring of Graz’zt and Iggwilv are often unaware of their true heritage. A player character or nonplayer character who suspects that he or she might be the child of Graz’zt, Iggwilv, or both might seek answers that the Dark Prince or the Mother of Witches would prefer remain hidden. The party becomes embroiled in a plot to abduct the “wayward child.” The plot might be orchestrated by one of the parents . . . or one of their many enemies."

One last thing, I'd also like to give kudos to one of my favorite artists, Eva Widermann for the scandalous cover art of this article (shown above). Is that the Tunnel of Loathe?

Update 05/07/2021: I changed the link to issue #414 from Wizards to DMsGuild.


Unknown said...

Glad you enjoyed the article. The goal was to stay as close to canon as possible and remind people whose history with D&D doesn't extend back to those "early days" just who Iggwilv is and why she is so entwined with Graz'zt (so to speak). And it's impossible to tell that story without establishing that she has been a part of Greyhawk's extensive history.

Iggwilv has been a favorite villain of mine for ages, and I felt honored to be able to write that article. Eva's artwork was the delicious icing on the cake for me.

Mike Bridges said...

Thanks for the response John! Keep up the good work at giving more Greyhawk stuff exposure at Wizards. I'm looking forward to what ever you get published next time.

Valkaun_Dain said...

Mort: Dibs on my next character being the hell spawn of these two freaks.

Unknown said...

Thanks Mortellan, I try to get the Greyhawk hooks in wherever there's an appropriate spot for them.

Valkaun_Dain: Have your character stay on the lookout for the "Paternity Test" ritual/spell. ;-)