Sunday, March 29, 2020

New Greyhawk Stuff to See

Well met Greyhawkers! Fresh off our Virtual Gary Con seminar on Twitch, I have a few links to share for more creative stuff to read on the internet. Those who were present that day probably have already been to these sites, but I gotta keep plugging away. Let's get to it!

Joe Bloch over at Greyhawk Grognard does it again, this time he has a new must have download titled T5: Beneath the Temple of Elemental Evil. What is T5 all about? Joe writes:

"The first in my series of expansions/addenda/replacements for the classic T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil, and the GDQ Giants/Drow modules is finally here. 
Based on literally years of research and speculation here on the blog, this first module is an expansion to the Temple of Elemental Evil, detailing a (real) shrine to the Elder Elemental God far below the Temple dungeons..."

If you are a fan of the classic Temple you will have to see what Joe has in store with this publication and what surely is left to come. No one ponders and improves on the classics like Greyhawk Grognard!
Next up, as promised is the newest issue, Oerth Journal #32 now available for download over at Greyhawk Online. This issue the theme is "Infinite Oerths" and here is the line up of authors and articles:

  •  Making Greyhawk Your Own by Amy G. Crittenden
  •  Gord's Greyhawk by Cal Scrivener
  •  Ravilla: the Sundered Dragon Empire by Kristoph Nolen
  •  The Many Castles Greyhawk by Joe "Greyhawk Grognard" Bloch
  •  Going to the Source by Jason Zavoda
  •  If It Smells Like a Viking by Jason Zavoda
  •  A Reign of Death by Gary Holian
  •  A Decidedly Disastrous Day by David Leonard
  •  The Howl From the North by William "Giantstomp" Dvorak
  •  Unconquered Hold of the Sea Princes by Michael Bridges
  •  Diadem of Zosiel by Thom "Oronir" Vandevenne
  •  History of the Wild Coast by Aaron Froke
  •  Legendary Axes of Varnifane by Jay L. "Lord Gosumba" Scott

Lastly, head over to Greyhawk Stories to read Thomas Kelly's incredible interview with Paul Kidd the author of a trilogy of Greyhawk novels starring his unique character, the Justicar. If anyone had a chance to get a Greyhawk novel line going post-Gygax it was Kidd. Go over and check this article out, you'll want go out and find a copy of White Plume Mountain or Queen of the Demonweb Pits
Kudos to Mr. Kelly on this coup of an interview!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Rivers of Greyhawk

Good day loyal Greyhawkers! Today I have another treat for you as we head into what should have been Gary Con 12 weekend. Now with a slate of Virtual Gary Con events, we can proceed with more streams on our favorite setting. What I have posted today is dedicated to Anna Meyer, who tirelessly maps every known coast, forest, hill or yes, river of the Flanaess. I swear she is an avatar of Delleb, or Fharlanghn, or both! Speaking of Greylore, check out this new comic. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

More Classic Dragonmirth

Welcome back Greyhawkers! Those who are long time readers of the blog might recall the comics section "Dragonmirth" in the back of Dragon Magazine. A couple years ago I mused over some of these random Dragonmirth strips because much like the classic comic strips of the daily newspapers, they inspired me to be a cartoonist. When you're caught up on my previous post, check out this next run of mirthful D&D comics. Enjoy!

Dragon #95 Richard Tomasic
Dragon #100 Tony Moseley
Dragon #107 Richard Tomasic

Dragon #107 Ted Goff

Dragon #111 Denton Elliott

Dragon #118 Joseph Pillsbury

Friday, March 20, 2020

900th Greyhawk Post!

Welcome friends and fans of Greyhawk! Today's post is extra special because it's my 900th doing Greyhawkery, I've always kept a modest posting schedule, like 2-3 a week so getting to this point has been a marathon instead of a race for me. What to do to celebrate 900? Well, I wish it had been Gary Con 12, but since it got cancelled due to COVID-19, instead let's start by throwing out these ads for Virtual Gary Con!

Yes indeed, Gary Con carries on! These dual streams will include myself, Anna Meyer and Jay Scott, plus all our Greyhawk friends and colleagues as originally planned. Should be a good time. Please stop in and watch or at least throw us some follows on these dates. Also keep an eye out for the release of Oerth Journal #32 on Greyhawk Online!

Now that the present is taken care of, let's get nostalgic. In 900 posts I've done a TON of Greyhawk themed subjects. If you check the tabs at the top of the page you can see some of my "best" articles as well as links to many comics I've featured on Greyhawkery. Speaking of comics, the graphic novel Castle Greyhawk by Scott Casper and drawn by me, has been a central reason why my blog has lasted this long! The comic (ending in 2019) can still be found here, and I hope in the future Scott can make the print version available to more fans online through Patreon or some other way. My gratitude to Scott for his writing and art direction on this project is boundless. Though I've not hardly done any art (besides maps) since the end of Castle Greyhawk, I did manage to draw this piece to dedicate to Scott. Hey buddy, go ahead and use this graphic if you'd like, it's all for you!
For those who haven't read the comic, these three were among the main characters of the story: top to bottom is Tenser (mage of course), Ehlissa (also mage) and Yrag (fighter). What is in store for me artwise? Well I still do an occasional Cultist of Tharizdun comic strip for Oerth Journal. If you want to see me at my most maniacal and trivial, then read the entire Cultist run.

I have done many maps, interviews, scholarly studies, lists, I've featured my Ull and Sea Princes campaign material here for several years and of course I've promoted the works of many other content creators in the community. In this time I've also had some lulls and thoughts of hanging up the blog, but I always kept going for you, my readers. So if Greyhawkery is new to you, spend some time looking around, I GUARANTEE there is something you'll find that's useful for your games or a tidbit of lore you never knew, or just something nonsensical to amuse you. For now I'll try to keep it going until post #1000! Enjoy!

Update 06/27/2021: 1000 posts. Mission accomplished.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Support Greyhawk Content Creators

Welcome again Greyhawkers! In light of Gary Con's cancellation, let's give some shout outs to some good friends of the community who are putting out some amazing Greyhawk content on the net. They need your support, please try all the links below!

Greyhawk Grognard is releasing a lot of good 5E conversions of Greyhawk material. His latest offering is Magic Items of the Flanaess. It's like Greyhawk Adventures and much more. Please support Joe Bloch's tireless effort by joining his Patreon.

My Legends & Lore compadre, Anna Meyer is still killing it with her cartography, especially her recent 576 CY Greyhawk map. When not on Twitch with me or Jay she is doing freelance work for game companies and making content for her Patreon subscribers. Please join Anna!

Speaking of Jay Scott, the LordGosumba channel is going strong on Twitch. I am sure he won't be daunted by the cancellation of Gary Con, with shows streaming three days a week. Be sure to tune in and chat with Jay and his crew. You never know who he will have guesting on his shows as well! Please follow and subscribe to LordGosumba. It's definitely for the community as he does charity streams and has regular giveaways from sponsors.

Speaking of sponsoring, have you seen the fantasy art of Lady Loth? You MUST check out Lady Loth's work right NOW. She is a major fan of all things D&D including the World of Greyhawk. And as luck would have it, Lady Loth now has a Patreon. Please support her excellent work for the community.

Last but not least Greyhawk Online is eager to release the newest issue, Oerth Journal #32 to the public. Not only will it be free to download very soon, there is a new Patreon for supporters of the fanzine which will give you an opportunity to own a PRINT version of issue #32 and every issue that comes out after that. These print copies were originally going to be available only at Gary Con until its untimely cancellation. Please support GHO and keep this invaluable source of new content going!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Gary Con XII Cancelled

Welcome back Greyhawk fanatics. I'm sure by now most of you know or figured as I did that with the world-wide effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, Gary Con 12 in Wisconsin would eventually be cancelled. The Greyhawk community, including myself was looking forward to this gathering (would've been my 3rd year in a row), and there was a lot of good events planned. I suppose that will have to wait till 2021. Here is the link to a news release from Luke Gygax in case you haven't read it.

Next post I will be serving up some good links to support Greyhawk creators who have been instrumental in building up our community. Until next time!

Update 06/27/2021: The pandemic also would end up canceling Gary Con XIII, but what COVID did was make gamers learn how to host conventions online. It's been a change in culture for sure!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

New Greyhawk Magic: Dusts of Abi-Dalzim

Welcome Greyhawk faithful! Today I bring to you some original magic items done in 5E style. I don't often design crunch stuff like this, but I remembered how in my old campaigns, a certain evil wizard had a certain flair for using earth and sand spells. At any rate, I present to you...

The Dusts of Abi Dalzim

In the Baklunish West, the name Abi-Dalzim is spoken with a mixture of superstitious fear and awe often reserved for the deadliest of fiends. Even though the “father of droughts” is supposedly long deceased, his windswept tower in the foothills of Ull continues to stir with enough evil menace to keep locals away. Employing a grim combination of elemental and necromantic power, Abi-Dalzim was responsible for many atrocities done in the name of his patron Incabulos, god of diseases, droughts and nightmares; his worst being the creation of the life destroying spell Horrid Wilting. Among his lesser known legacies was the invention and distribution of new magical dusts and powders with devastatingly evil effects. If you should ever happen to find one of the following dust containers in some desert-buried ruin, be mindful of the dark destiny that draws you closer to bringing back Abi-Dalzim.

Dust of Horrid Wilting
Wondrous item, rare

Found in a small container, this powder resembles very fine white sand. There is enough of it for one use. When you use an action to throw the dust, you draw the moisture from every creature within a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. Constructs and undead aren’t affected, and plants and water elementals make this saving throw with disadvantage. A creature takes 10d8 necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Nonmagical plants in the area that aren’t creatures, such as trees and shrubs, wither and die instantly.

Dust of Withering
Wondrous item, rare

Found in a small container, this powder resembles very fine brown sand. There is enough of it for one use. When you use an action to throw the dust, you rend flesh and shrivel bodies from every creature within a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area takes 4d10 necrotic damage. Constructs and undead aren’t affected. In addition, each target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or have disadvantage for 1 hour on any ability check or saving throw that uses Strength or Constitution.

Nonmagical plants in the area that aren’t creatures, such as trees and shrubs, wither and die instantly.

Powder of Pestilence
Wondrous item, rare

Found in a small container, this powder resembles very fine yellow sand. There is enough of it for one use. When you use an action to throw the dust, you inflict a flesh rotting disease on every creature within a 15-foot cone. Each creature in the area is poisoned. At the end of each of the poisoned target's turns, the target must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. If the target succeeds on three of these saves, it is no longer poisoned, and the effect ends. If the target fails three of these saves, the target is no longer poisoned, but instead develops a Flesh Rot disease. 

The creature’s flesh decays. The creature has disadvantage on Charisma checks and vulnerability to all damage for 7 days. Since the powder induces a natural disease in a target, any effect that removes a disease or otherwise ameliorates a disease’s effects apply to it.

Dust of Nightmares
Wondrous item, rare

Found in a small container, this powder resembles very fine gray sand. There is enough of it for one use. When you use an action to throw the dust, you inflict waking illusory nightmares on every creature within a 15-foot cone. For six rounds, the target becomes frightened. At the start of each of the target’s turns before the effect ends, the target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or take 4d10 psychic damage. On a successful save, the effect ends. Creatures that do not require sleep are unaffected.

Powder of Undeath
Wondrous item, rare

This small packet contains 1d6+4 pinches of black dust. You can use an action to sprinkle a pinch of it over a pile of bones or a corpse of a Medium or Small humanoid. The dust imbues the target, raising it as an undead creature under your control for 24 hours. The target becomes a skeleton if you choose bones or a zombie if you chose a corpse. Undead created are commanded as if you cast the animate dead spell.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

So I Bought Some Greyhawk Novels

Greetings Greyhawk enthusiasts! It's a few weeks away from Gary Con 2020 and I just finished a piece for the upcoming Oerth Journal #32 which will be available in limited print for those who attend the convention this year! Never fear though, Greyhawk Online will have it ready for download as well, and I'm quite sure there will be a ton of extra download material that you won't see in the print version. Keep an eye on the OJ ink at Greyhawk Online for this newest publication!

Speaking of publication, I finally got tired of waiting for fate to intervene so I made a couple purchases. Yes, I am talking about old Gary Gygax novels. Lately I've been hearing people talk about the content in these novels, but I've always been a bit snobbish in only reading game publications. I certain did already own a couple books, Saga of Old City and Sea of Death come to mind. But now after hearing about Night Arrant and City of Hawks for the umpteenth time I just bought these two novels online.

This is significant because my goal has always been to try and find these novels in the wild and buy them, but I don't go to enough cons and book stores to make that life-quest feasible anymore. I got lucky. These are some used copies, in good condition and they didn't cost all that much which is nice. The cover art cracks me up. I've always been skeptical of pulp fiction and comic book covers not representing the story inside. Man do I hope there is a giant vulture getting shot with a lightning bolt! So now comes my next conundrum, what is the chronological reading order for these Gord books?

Can anyone help out?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Greyhawk Lore in Tome of Foes

Howdy Greyhawkers! Even if you don't play the most recent editions of D&D like myself, then you may have got Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes by now. This book has a very nice smattering of Mordy lore in the sidebars of course, but it also does some decent bits of Greyhawk lore in the main sections as well. Let me point out the ways.

The Balance: The moral philosophy that drives Mordenkainen and his Circle of Eight is detailed here. It spells out pretty well that the Blood War between lawful devils and chaotic demons is a focal point on this cosmic-level concept. Examples are telling:
"a disciple of the Balance might act cruelly or heartlessly one day, and benevolent and caring the next."
"Keepers of the Balance sometimes resort to strategies that seem inexplicable to those who don't grasp the whole situation. A crusading paladin might be discouraged from seeking out and defeating Demogorgon because doing so could weaken the Abyss..."

This can perfectly explain the questionable behavior of not only Mordy but also Rary the Traitor. I surmise that the fact the Circle of Eight didn't stop the Flight of Fiends is because it affected both sides of the Blood War. If it were instead the Flight of Demons, then there would have to be an equal purge elsewhere.

Tzunk on Stygia: Speculation that the layer of Stygia was once a prime material plane that was pulled into Hell by Asmodeus mentions the archmage Tzunk who researched the topic extensively. Tzunk should know some things about the planes, he used to own the Codex of the Infinite Planes and tried to conquer the City of Brass with it!

Demonic Boon of Zuggtmoy: Creatures who serve the Fungi Queen might get some rewards including stat and spell bonuses. There is also this nasty boon, Spore Kissed. "Zuggtmoy's followers are primarily mindless victims of her children's strange spores. The spores burrow into a victims' brain, turning it into a fanatic servitor." Basically the creature is immune to being charmed or frightened and if slain, the spores break and poison everyone. Nice.

Elf Deities (Seldarine): The entire elven pantheon is listed here. This is good news to fans of obscure Greyhawk deities such as Ye'Cind (music, enchantment) and Gadhelyn (independence, outlawry)

Vecna's Obsession: Apparently the Archlich Vecna wants to take the Raven Queen's power (elven goddess of the Shadowfell). "Vecna has long coveted her ability over knowledge and souls; to steal souls would give him the ability to amass and army of the dead large enough to conquer the Shadowfell (Plane of Shadow) and turn it into his own kingdom of death...Vecna has embroiled himself in a terrible conflict, leading his armies into relentless battles against the Raven Queen and her shadar-kai fanatics..." Yes, Vecna has moved on from taking over Oerth to an entire inner plane! He still hates Kas though. Woe to any PCs who get involved in this war.

More Deities Listed: Ulaa appears in the dwarven pantheon list, Bleredd (labor, crafting) in the gnome list and Charmalaine (keen senses, luck) in the halfling pantheon. Charmalaine gets some lore in fact, including her ferret friend Xaphan and the power to astrally project to scout out things before she goes into danger.

Types of Halflings: Greyhawk halflings are mentioned specifically. They live in underground burrows or cottages. They have hairy feet and hands and rarely wear shoes. The list also describes the three subraces, stout, hairfeet and tallfellows.

Elder Elementals: Epic level elemental monsters are in this bestiary. "The methods for summoning elder elementals remain hidden in forbidden tomes or inscribed on the walls of lost temples raised to honor the Elder Elemental Eye." Oh no not him!

Skull Lords: These three-headed undead bosses are new to me, and Vecna is to blame: "Infighting and treachery brought the skull lords into existence. The first of them appeared in the aftermath of Vecna's bid to conquer the world of Greyhawk, after the vampire Kas betrayed Vecna and took his eye and hand. In the confusion...Vecna's warlords turned against each other, and the dark one's plans were dashed. In a rage, Vecna gathered up his generals and captains and bound them in groups of three, fusing them into undead abominations cursed to fight among themselves for all time."

Star Spawn and Elder Evil Blessings: These is some quite evil creatures in MToF and the worst might be the star spawn I'm not sure. Cultists and creatures serving evils like Kyuss or Tharizdun have some ammo in this book. If you're tired of these gods, well there is a bunch of new names to add to your list, like Tyranthraxus the Flamed-One, Ragnorra the Mother of Monsters and Bolothamogg Who Watches from Beyond the Stars. Cthulhuian stuff indeed!

Sword Wraiths: Yes the undead sword wraiths first featured in Greyhawk Adventures are adapted to 5E here. This book takes it up a notch though, and adds Sword Wraith Commanders!

That's all I got on one run through. I'm sure there is more. This book is a must have for those who like planar stuff in their campaigns.