Saturday, June 29, 2019

Greyhawk Channel Summer 2019

Welcome Greyhawkers! Summer is heating up on the Greyhawk Channel at Twitch. There is literally a Greyhawk show every day of the week and then some. Besides staples of the channel like Return to Greyhawk, Mordenkainen's Path of the Planes and of course Legends & Lore with Anna Meyer and myself, there is some new faces and stories to check out.

So far my favorite new entry is Seekers of the Scorpion Crown DMed by Lex from the youtube show DankDungeonsTV. This adventure is set in the Bright Desert and has some clever title graphics and maps to go along with it.

The map for Seekers is by Daniel F Walthall who is an aspiring fantasy cartographer. This is a well researched and colorful rendition of the region first popularized in Rary the Traitor.

Do you like high seas adventure? Eric Vulgaris' Savage Tide game continues on Tuesdays, but this time there is more! Friday, there is two, count em, two Saltmarsh shows. Ghosts of Saltmarsh earlier in the day is handled by the veteran duo of Grimjack and DMShane. Then later in the day is Saltmarsh Stories which haven't seen yet, but from the sounds of it, adds even more nautical adventure to the lineup.

I also have to point out a couple other shows ongoing this summer by original GHC cast members now running their own games. Sandwiched between the two Saltmarsh shows is The Old Faith, a creepy romp in the Dreadwood Forest, DMed by NPCBree. Then there is the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan ran by WingedHorizon.who is probably the best person I know who can capture the feel and fear of this Greyhawk classic.

Also, these two and many more of the stalwart fans and cast members of the Greyhawk Channel (not me) should be descending on Indianapolis very soon! Gen Con 2019 fast approaches on Aug 1-4 and they will be there in force running a bunch of games and hopefully streaming some content for the rest of us who can't attend. There is plenty more shows to tell you about, some I haven't even got to see yet. Give them all a look, hang out, meet the cast, maybe throw some love their way. Who knows, maybe you could have a show on the Greyhawk Channel someday!

Update 06/25/2021: Looks like you won't be having a show on GHC after all. Their old episodes can still be found on their YouTube channel. Link updated. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Ghosts of Saltmarsh Campaign

Greetings again, friends of Greyhawk! Today is just some personal gaming news. Thanks to the release of Ghosts of Saltmarsh, I've been inspired enough to get my own Hold of the Sea Princes campaign running again after a short hiatus.

I recently threw together this map of the Jeklea Bay region to show what a widely interesting and underdeveloped area the Sea Princes really is like. Saltmarsh does not show on this map, but for those who don't have a map handy, it is due north of Monmurg on the coast of neighboring Keoland. It is just under 60 miles away (2 hexes)! Most of greater Keoland is much much farther away than that. For this reason, it is incomprehensible to me as a Greyhawk enthusiast, that you might be encouraged to run an entire Saltmarsh campaign and NOT use the Hold at all. I'd wager to say the plots and placement of all the GoS adventures, besides the three U-series modules, would work fantastically in the Sea Princes. They would definitely make more sense travel-wise than crossing the vast Azure Sea as well.

At any rate, with the Hold so damn close to Saltmarsh it is imperative to me, that this country gets developed in any shape or form through the DMsGuild. What we currently know of Monmurg and Prince Jeon II could barely fill an index card. I'm not necessarily asking for a full gazetteer write-up of the Sea Princes, that's easy to find, just handy references to what's right across the bay from Saltmarsh; to give the tiny town more context (like what's being traded, smuggled, notable pirates, ships, intrigues) and to push the boundaries to what's acceptable for publication on that site.

My Sea Princes campaign picks up with the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (5E version) next week. I am also running a side-campaign that has so far tackled the Ghost Tower of Inverness, The Lost Laboratory of Kwalish (5E, really fun, try it out) and is now heading to White Plume Mountain. Good times!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Greyhawk Talk: Anna Meyer News

Greetings Greyhawkers! Today I'm spreading two news items. First, I'm promoting tonight's Legends & Lore show on the Greyhawk Channel. I was out last week due to the Stanley Cup, so thanks to Bryan Blumklotz for filling in for me. You can fill in any time. Seriously ;)
This week me and Anna Meyer are going to discuss Wizards' new book Ghosts of Saltmarsh. There's already been a lot of talk involving this book by now, but I might have some extra points and we will certainly discuss how this book will affect our campaigns and maps.

In addition, Anna recently announced that she will be soon be releasing a true type Greyhawk Gothic Font created by Greyhawk's original goddess of cartography Darlene! This collaboration is the stuff of dreams in the Greyhawk community. I for one cannot wait to use this font on some of my Greyhawkery graphics. Stay tuned to our show, Legends & Lore, Wednesdays at 7:00 pm central to hear info on the font and more coming from Anna's wonderful world of map-making. See you there!

Update 06/25/2021: Changed link for GHC to YouTube archive. L&L is now on LordGosumba channel.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

St. Louis Blues Win the Stanley Cup

Warning: Non-gaming related post ahead!

WOOOO! Greetings, my Greyhawk friends! If you've known me for any length of time, you'll know I have three obsessions. One is the World of Greyhawk (naturally) the other is the comic, Mighty Thor, and the other is hockey, namely the St. Louis Blues of the NHL. This week they won the Stanley Cup in a decisive game 7 over Boston Bruins. The same Boston Bruins who swept the Blues in four games 49 years ago. I'm almost 47, so that's how long this quest for redemption has been going on for our fan base. This is like the century-long struggle that was recently ended by Chicago Cubs fans in baseball.

Not only did they win 16 games to take the prize, they had to claw all the way from last place in the league in January, to get to the playoffs. How is that in D&D terms? Your character just got beat up going through a dungeon, then with one hit point left and a broken sword, you just rolled a bunch of nat-20's to slay a dragon. Okay that may be extreme, but it is definitely in the same realm as the 1980 U.S. Olympic team defeating the USSR.

At any rate, when it comes to my favorite three things, 2019 has been a damn fine year for me so far. I got to be on a Greyhawk panel with many of my friends at Gary Con, I got to see movie Thor kick ass one more time in Avengers: Infinity War, and now, my favorite hockey team finally lifted the most-difficult trophy to win in all of sports! I'm gushing with pride, my head is still in the clouds and I'm happy to shout it out on the internet: St. Louis Blues, Stanley Cup Champions!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

My Ghosts of Saltmarsh Review

Ahoy, Greyhawkers! I don't review just any D&D product as you know. I often promote them, but I'll only dig into them if there is a really good Greyhawk angle to discuss. Well, Ghosts of Saltmarsh is really good and as you've heard it's VERY grounded in the World of Greyhawk.

First, it bears repeating here that Ghosts' "Greyhawk pedigree" is amazingly good given the path of classic adventures that comprise the book. The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, Danger at Dunwater and The Final Enemy are all firmly located in the Keoland/Hool Marshes area. The Styes by Richard Pett was made with Prymp in mind and Tammeraut's Fate by Greg Vaughan is set in the south coast of Nyrond. Mr. Vaughan is a stalwart having written many Greyhawk themed adventures in Dungeon back in 3.5E. Salvage Operation is by Mike Mearls, the head-honcho of D&D, but also an avid Greyhawk fan.

Saltmarsh is perfect for a coastal setting book of course, not because it's big and iconic like Waterdeep, but because it's remote and generic. These traits are often why Greyhawk is the setting to turn to for D&D campaigns. Needless to say the ship sailing rules are effective and easy, building upon info already presented in previous 5E books, not superseding them. I am also jazzed about the ship upgrades in Ghosts, because it can get boring for one sailing vessel to pretty much be identical to the next one. This book also gives players some new character backgrounds that tie wonderfully into a nautical themed campaign, and then update familiar ones from the PHB to also work best with Saltmarsh's region.

A fun feature of Ghosts is the three factions which fit neatly into the setting. Traditionalists like the way things are in Saltmarsh and have been there a long time. Loyalists are fairly new to the town or favor bringing the region back under control of the Kingdom of Keoland, and then the Scarlet Brotherhood faction is well, the Scarlet Brotherhood we all love, sneaking and spying! This Saltmarsh is clearly set in the pre-Wars era because otherwise the backdrop of this book would look difficult, not to mention, most of these modules were written before the publication of Greyhawk Wars anyhow. I personally approve of this early part of the time line for it is has a high emphasis on adventures and exploration, less so on pointless war and destruction. Indeed it's the era that I've based my Hold of the Sea Princes campaign upon and will continue to now that this book is in play.

Ghosts really does emphasize the Greyhawk setting. Maps in this book are done by Dyson Logos and Mike Schley. The section on geography is a huge boon to anyone wanting to learn more about the setting because there is info on the town of Burle and Seaton. The Dreadwood and Hool Marshes are heavily detailed, along with encounter charts. The Azure Sea is even given some good encounter charts, including my favorite bit, a few unique pirates of the region. When I say unique, I'm not kidding either. You won't find these crews in any pirate movie you've seen before!

Furthermore, Ghosts offers DMs many, many wonderful charts to help create mysterious islands, ocean dangers, random ships to keep the campaign going beyond the adventures presented in between. This is a must own book whose usefulness can go beyond 5E rules.

Lastly, go check out DMsGuild now and you'll see Saltmarsh is an approved "Story Line" for 5E authors. Indeed, there is already several new Saltmarsh publications on the site which I have yet to check out. At any rate, sorry folks, according to WotC staff it's not a true setting, but yes you can write about, uh, let's just call it the "World of Saltmarsh" perhaps? Just be sure to keep your Greyhawk references coming from a Ghosts of Saltmarsh perspective. I mean if Procan (in the book) is worshiped in Saltmarsh, why not nautical deities Osprem and Xerbo as well? Oh, and those priests brought the religions to the port town from across the Azure Sea (in the book) in the neighboring Sea Princes (in the book) port called, um let's see, I got it, Monmurg. Meanwhile, here's a bunch of useful NPCs from Monmurg who are visiting Saltmarsh (some could be Scarlet Brotherhood spies, shh), and hey you already finished the six modules in Ghosts, well these guys have heard of some other places to adventure very close to Saltmarsh like Beyond the Crystal Cave, the Sentinel or Baltron's Beacon. See, I can do this all day. Come on Wizards, open up Greyhawk to the fans!