Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Ring of Five Questions: Round 10

Well met, Greyhawkers! If you've been following this blog recently, this is the tenth round of my ongoing 
Return of the Ring of Five Questions column! If you're seeing the column for the first time this is a community participation feature of Greyhawkery. Search back and read the previous installments then email me at mortellan@gmail.com with your own five responses. Remember, you can be as short or wordy as you like in these responses. Also, I will keep taking entries until the end of 2020 so hang in there, I will get your answers posted in a timely manner!

Today is another special round inside the Ring This time I have two good friends of the community squaring off. Who will win in this face-to-face showdown? I don't know because I'm not keeping track! Please welcome first, David "snafu" Leonard, loremaster extraordinaire of the blog Greyhawk Musings. If you like World of Greyhawk lore and have not read David's deep dives into Flanaess history and adventures then look no further! This is where you start (followed by Greyhawkery of course). Mr. Leonard is an active author on Oerth Journal, he runs a Facebook group for his blog and is a frequent flyer on the Lord Gosumba channel on Twitch. Join up or stop by a stream and say hi to him. Not to be outdone ever is Casey "aurdraco" Brown, also a frequent contributor to LordGosumba channel, and can found everywhere from Canonfire to Oerth Journal, but most notably he is a former Living Greyhawk: Bandit Kingdoms writer who compiled years worth of BK stories into a published book that you too can own, the Unofficial Living Greyhawk Bandit Kingdoms Summary. (Cha-ching) Enough accolades, let's throw the pair into the Ring and see what they really think of Greyhawk!

Q1. What is your favorite realm or region in the World of Greyhawk setting?


David: It should come to no surprise that I choose Ratik. What's not to love? It's a narrow nation, beset with enemies and dubious allies on all sides. Adventure and mystery abound: Mountains, ancient forests, hidden feylands, a trackless sea, the bitter north, and the prospect of searching out and exploring the lost ancient city Tostenhca; and maybe finding clues to what Keraptis and those decidedly cruel Ur-Flan were up to. Orcs and ogres and giants and dragons, oh my! My preference is the northern half (I'll cede the southern portion to Carlos Lising), only because I happen to love the Hold of Stonefist (I may be in the minority in this) and its endless sparring with the Rhizians and Ratik, as well, that dour land being my runner-up by a narrow margin. I'm really not a knight in shining armor aficionado. Give me druids and rangers and barbarians and thieves any day.

Casey: Bandit Kingdoms, naturally. 

Soft ball question to start, and Casey does not deviate from his home region. If you have not been lucky enough to hear his LG Bandit Kingdom stories, you would find that the player characters of the Iuz occupied Bandit Lands are just as vicious as you'd expect. They will also steal everything but the kitchen sink. Also true to form, David jumps in there and expounds upon the virtues of the quaint realm of Ratik. I have mentioned this before, but what makes Ratik so popular in the Greyhawk community? I think David has made the best explanation I've ever seen. Also, our good friend Carlos might be happy that you ceded southern Ratik to him, however he loves Perrenland in truth. Moving on...


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

David: Tough question. As a northerner, I think I'll go with Telchur. He packs a whole lot into his supposedly lesser god status. I expect more than a few utter a pray to appease him and plead for mercy when the north wind sweeps down from the north in Patchfall. Techur is depicted as a dark-eyed, gaunt man with a long beard of icicles. How cool is that? Vatun, eat your heart out.

Runner-up: Xan Yae, the goddess of Twilight, Shadows, Stealth, and Mental Powers. I've always loved the sly and crafty classes. Let the heroic types take the brunt of the damage. That said, I've always whispered a little prayer before attempting to find or disarm a trap.

 Casey: Aasterinian. What's better than being a dragon? Being a dragon god!

David as Telchur. I did not see that coming. In one sentence he turns the entire Thillonrian peninsula against him. Do they like Telchur in Ratik? In truth, I dig Telchur, he is woefully underused in lore, and is rather cool looking. Check out Dragon #265 for more on him. Casey meanwhile is a draconic god. Most people would say Bahamut or Tiamat, but Casey goes for it and becomes Aasterinian the messenger of Io the dragon overgod. Wow! I'm not very familiar with what this deity can do, but I do know Greyhawk legend, Carl Sargent likely created Aasterinian in the book Monster Mythology. So well done fellas, you both were thinking outside the box!

Q3. You have one wish. Which Greyhawk module or accessory would you do over or fix?

David: Dare I say it? The A-series. Or Scourge of the Slave Lords, specifically. I would eliminate the lunacy of railroading the PCs into slavery, and I would have probably completely rewritten them, and remapped them, stripping them of their obvious "tournament" format (even the surface buildings look like dungeons!), and allowing for a greater story arc, utilizing the villains more effectively. 

 Casey: Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, I'd make the regional population figures make sense when compared to older canon sources. Sorry, Gary.

Casey throws down the gauntlet and changes a small but heavily debated aspect of the LGG which he adhered to for so long in convention play. I applauded the bump in populations for some nations, scratched my head at ones that weren't changed and then winced at the 3.5E demographic breakdowns that led to an abundance of demihumans and humanoids. David on the other hand is less on target and joins those who would like to rework the classic A-series. Or would that be re-reworked? Oh yeah there's also Slavers by Sean Reynolds. So, re-re-reworked? At any rate, it's his wish! One more thing before we get to Q4, which Gary is Casey apologizing to, Holian or Gygax, or both?

Q4: You're putting together an all-star Greyhawk NPC group. Who is your number one pick?

David: No question. Grenell. Without a doubt. Not the cleric of latter editions (that's just revisionist BS, bowing to the Satanic Panic), but the master assassin of the first. Who wouldn't want a stealthy killing machine along for the ride? Now, if you want to add a few clerical levels prior to his finding his true path, so be it; I'll take them.

Otherwise: Duchess and Candella, my favourite NPCs. Adventuresome, potential additions to the party, potential love interests, obvious foils to PC greed (as their prized OP items go missing (forever), along with the dynamic duo for a time, until they return, again and again.


Casey: Morginstaler. Mature adult red dragon with class levels and magic items? Yes, please! I debated picking Boneheart Cranzer here but I think I trust Morgy a bit more than I would trust Cranzer. You keep Morgy happy, he doesn't eat your face. You keep Cranzer happy, he makes a simulacrum of you before killing you.

David really spiked my memory with his #1 pick. I had totally forgot Grenell is an assassin in the Glossography. Very sneaky choice as it also puts his team in position to claim the Malachite Throne and all the might and magic of the Great Kingdom. I mean, the North Province is okay, but I see what you did there! Also, your lesser picks are charming. I had no idea Duchess and Candella was a thing. Mr. Leonard is a font of knowledge. *turns to aurdraco* Now this is where Casey's competitive spirit kicks in and we see a pattern emerge. Dude likes dragons and he will exploit them to his advantage! Better give Grenell those extra cleric levels, David, cause apparently Morginstaler the Red Dragon of the Rift  is not just a dragon he is a barbarian and a cleric too (gotta love 3e). It's amusing that Casey almost picked Iuz's crony Cranzer. He is devious, but definitely not a #1 pick in my opinion. I always imagined him to be like the Sicilian from the Princess Bride. My follow up to both guys and their heavy hitting teams: who would be your top 5 to follow Morgy and Grenell?

Q5. If you could possess one artifact or relic from Greyhawk lore, which would it be?

David: Johydee's Mask. I prefer a more a subtle application of magic rather than something to beat 'em over the head with. The mask protects from gaze attacks, bestows immunity to assaults of the mind, and disguises the wearer. Those are some terrific powers that enhance role playing and can really add to the campaign experience. I'd much rather see beautiful, graceful items, than moldering mummified corpse appendages. But that's just me.

Casey: Orb of Dragonkind. A) See #4, you're going to need some help persuading Morginstaler not to eat your face. B) If we are on Earth, I'd use it to summon some dragons (but probably not Morgy, probably some good-aligned dragons that would take pity on us. Might as well end 2020 with dragons, right?

Casey keeps the dragon theme rolling with the Orb of Dragonkind. And yes, he is right, you'd need an orb to keep Morgy in line. Although if you were actually Aasterinian I think the red would have to behave a little even without an orb! Otherwise, yes, 2020 needs to end in dragon-fire. David ends this excellent round of the Ring with Johydee's Mask. This item came up in a recent round, but this time David again explains artfully why the Mask is a desirable artifact to own. Especially IRL! And agreed, mummified corpse appendages never end well. Of course, if someone wore Johydee's Mask and also had the Eye of Vecna would we ever know? *watches David closely*

Thanks to David and Casey for participating in this thrilling round of the Ring. I have a few more heading your way, but please send in some answers if you want to keep seeing me make fun of them. The year is almost out and I need to get them posted before Aasterinian, Morginstaler and a bunch of mind-controlled metallic dragons end the world in fire. Later!


David Leonard said...

Thanks for this little questionnaire, Mike. It was fun. And not as easy as I first imagined. But what is? It certainly had me nose to browser and taking the books off the shelf to refamiliarize myself with what might be out there.
Some guys have to go to their comfort zone, in some regard, though. I've been extolling the virtues of the North East since I arrived on the scene a year ago, and still find it fascinating as I peel back the layers. And Casey has always expressed his love for the BK, the Old One, and dragons!
I've got to admit that I've been following these posts with interest, curious what others have been coming up with, and will, hopefully, in weeks to come. There's so much lore, there's got to be quite a few unlooked for gems out there worthy of putting a polish to.

Mike Bridges said...

David: Glad you enjoyed the experience lol. I wish I had done something like this sooner!

casey said...

I should have given longer answers!

bodhranist said...

I stumbled across this article while looking for information for a future adventure in the campaign I'm running.

If you're a fan of Telchur, you might like that he's a minor feature in my campaign currently and due to increase in importance. In the 5e monster manual there's a blurb about a king offering a reward to those who un-curse a band of werewolves, which raises the question of where the curse came from. In my campaign, it was because the werewolves-to-be ransacked a shrine to Telchur, and so to lift the curse required restoring the shrine.

This drew Telchur's attention to the party, and he will soon offer them a boon if they agree to assist him. They'll need to acquire a suitable replacement for his now-deceased flying ox mount, and then travel to his Frost Palace in Blackmoor to clear it of the frost barbarians who have defiled it.

Unrelated to that, I was surprised to discover what a small world it sometimes is when I realized that a guy who writes useful Greyhawk stuff is also a player in Tower of the Ape, one of my favorite actual play podcasts. So, thanks for all the entertainment!