Saturday, November 1, 2014

10 Spooky Greyhawk Locations

With October and Halloween winding down let's have a look at some places in Greyhawk that are quite spooky - that is to say spookier than most adventure locations in the Flanaess. The Tomb of Horrors goes without saying so I'll go from there. In no particular order, enjoy!

1. C2, Ghost Tower of Inverness: For obvious reasons, this is always one of the first places that pops into my mind when I think haunted. Located in the Abbor Alz Hills, the object of this classic first edition module is for the numinous Soul Gem.

2. Dungeon of Bleeding Walls: This place just sounds nasty. Nominally set at map coordinates N3-64 in the Wastes, this dungeon is featured in the boxed set Iuz the Evil. It's a place of wererats, vampires and of course, acidic bleeding walls. Would you stay in a dungeon that was bleeding?

3. Necropolis of Unaagh: This eerie location set in the Bright Desert is from the sourcebook WGR3, Rary the Traitor. Unaagh is the ancient burial ground of the evil realm of Sulm, a place where virtually any kind of undead can be found and lording over all is the lich Drokkas who has aspirations to restore Sulm as an empire of death (watch out Rary!).

4. Saltmarsh: U1, The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh is one of those seminal works of Greyhawk that every DM should run for their players once in their life. The story unfolds in the haunted mansion of an evil alchemist. No spoilers for this secret site, you'll have to check it out yourself!

5. Gibbering Gate: Set in of all places the Barrens, one of my favorite scary Greyhawk locations is the underrated insane asylum, Gibbering Gate. Found in the source book Iuz the Evil, this citadel is run by the illusionist Jumper and includes many demons and undead, notably a balor who presides over the Court of Delirium. This is a good spot for a DM to stick high level PCs who offend the Old One because they might get out but not with their sanity intact.

6. Halmadar's Crypt: The 2E module Vecna Lives! is a high level study in the use of horror and overwhelming evil. The mood is set early on as the story begins at the crypt of Halmadar the Cruel in the Kron Hills. The fact the Circle of Eight is doing the investigation is your first clue this is a place normal folk shouldn't poke around in!

7. WG4, Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun: Lost amid the vast Yatil Mountains, there is no place on Oerth that best embodies the strange madness inducing themes of H.P. Lovecraft than WG4. What starts as a standard dungeon becomes quite harrowing the farther in your explore. This module is only for the bravest PCs and the most demented DMs.

8. The Caves of Deadly Shadows: Found in the 2E boxed set From the Ashes, this Yatil Mountain location set in hex R5-81, just sounds like a terrifying place to lure characters into. Besides the normal hazards of spelunking, there is your normal variety of undead shadows here as you would expect. But that's not all! The caves are also home to many other kinds of shadowy creatures, all ready to pounce on hapless heroes such as shadow dragons, skulks, nabassu and yes even the characters' own shadows. Yikes.

9. Maure Castle: The site of WG5, Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, is in my opinion, easily more fearsome than its more well-known neighbor to the west, Castle Greyhawk. The denizens and dangers of this place, from the Great Iron Golem to wandering bodaks and the guardian demon Kerzit are unconventionally scattered so that foolish heroes may not expect trouble until it hits. Expanded upon in the pages of Dungeon Magazine (#112 and beyond), there is a creepy backstory to the Maure family that underlies the placement of every room and treasure in this megadungeon.

10. T1-4, Temple of Elemental Evil: Naturally this place is among the scariest locations in Greyhawk. The original cover of this module is easily the most frightening in all the game, if not D&D itself. Nestled in the wilderness near the good nation of Verbobonc, we've all heard the Temple's story and this place has been returned to on more than one occasion across the editions. Much like WG4, this module deals with evils so iconic and powerful it defies logic why any sane person would go into this place.


tom said...

Bone Hill doesn't make the list? Even with its previously unknown monsters that ought to scare the crap out of 2-4th level characters?

Mystic Scholar said...

I like Bone Hill, but Mort could only list ten . . . when counting down the "top ten."


tom said...

It wasn't strictly a "top ten" countdown since, a) he actually listed 11, and b) he said they were in no particular order.

Also, two of the "ten" came from the module Iuz the Evil

I'm also curious about the lack of anything from 3E, 3.5E or 4E. Did WotC seriously do nothing Greyhawk that counts as spooky?

Raging Owlbear said...

Bone Hill and Ravenloft (original)...

Mike Bridges said...

Ravenloft isn't Greyhawk per se. I should know I just ran the original a few days ago. I do admit Bone Hill is a good one. I was trying for a mix of obvious classic modules and obscure sourcebook locations to spread the knowledge around.
3e wise Living Greyhawk surely spawned some scary mods though I never got into that organized play. I did neglect Paizohawk. I know Age of Worms had a few nasty evil set pieces. 4E was mostly rehashed Greyhawk.
Ah well, more for next year!

Scott said...

Yay, a promised sequel post! You all saw that?

grodog said...

Lost DM said...

First, thanks for sharing the list! Some interesting locations that I will have to consider for future campaign exploration (cue evil DM maniacal laughter).

I would add, Chathold ruins and several Great Kingdom locations (post wars). Two campaigns back, I ran my mid-high-level Party (14th level) on an artifact recovery mission. I depicted the ruined city as horribly haunted and chased my Party with all sorts of nasty undead.

SirXaris said...

This is a nice list, Mike! :)

Regarding WotC and scary locations in Greyhawk:

Return to Ravenloft was produced during that era and, though it is not officially Greyhawk, the WoG was the official campaign setting for 3.0/3.5e D&D and Ravenloft certainly exists in my Greyhawk campaign. ;)

Also, if we consider Paizohawk during the same era, The Savage Tide AP has some horror elements while the PCs are exploring the Isle of Dread. The Bar-Igura and the Skinwalker encounters come to mind, as well as the lengthy adventures in the later parts on Demogorgon's home plane in the Abyss.