Monday, December 26, 2022

New Maps: Pre-Wars Flanaess 576 CY

Merry Needfest Greyhawkers! I got one more present for everybody before the end of the year! I've been working on this map project for a few weeks now. There is a map of "Post-Was" Flanaess in the booklet with the Greyhawk Wars boxed set. I always enjoyed how it was a simple B&W map with dotted lines for borders that changed during the story line. I eventually photocopied that map and made additional changes for my campaign's progress into other wars. See Best of Greyhawkery for more on these 2E Greyhawk Wars Campaigns.

The Pre-Wars Flanaess map is the same map but cleaned up a bit and with additional content thrown in that I believe would exist during the start of the 576 CY game setting. This is retroactive canon like Sasserine from Savage Tide, or popular community additions like Melkotia from Maldin's Greyhawk. Lastly, I may have got carried away and did borders/labels for the individual Wild Coast towns, Bandit Kingdom lands, and the various principalities of the Great Kingdom. If this map is well received, I have pondered doing a first level breakdown of the other major kingdoms, but for now this map feels finished. I have thrown in an unlabeled version of the map as well in case someone wants to do a different info-map using these borders. If there are any glaring errors let me know but trust me, I tried my best to research from several different sources when laying this out. Until then, download and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Ull: Land of a Thousand Villains - Granth the Old-One

Welcome back Greyhawkers! Today I have a new installment of my ongoing series of NPCs, Ull: Land of a Thousand Villains. To see previous NPCs, check out the Best of Greyhawkery here or at the top of the home page. This time I am featuring an orc NPC, but don't roll for initiative yet, like most villains in Ull this guy may be useful if they can stay on his good side. Enjoy!

“In the Flanaess, orcs are feared and mistrusted as irredeemably evil monsters. In the Baklunish West however, many orcs whose ancestors also fought in the Great Wars, have found their place in society. Sure, most of them still make a living off violence, but they are making progress.”

Granth “the Old-One” (orc, male, fighter 9)

Hailing from the foothills of the Ongusk Khanate, Granth is a rarity, an orc who has lived to old age. In Ull, he is known as “the Old One” a nickname that is not at all lost on visitors from the Flanaess. Granth may be advanced in age but besides a hunched back and a slight limp he is no less imposing than in his younger days. Over the last few decades, he has earned a reputation, especially among Ull’s warbands, as a reliable weapon dealer. Granth and his loyal cadre of followers travel throughout the plains and steppes of the Baklunish West, trading and acquiring armaments from an extensive network of contacts he has built over the years. When there is a demand for a type of weapon the Old One is assuredly the best source, and at times he has even created the market for certain weapons. It is likely the proliferation of polearms in the south of Ull is due in large part to Granth’s influence.

Granth can usually be found in Kester, though his caravan ranges from Antalotol in the north to Kanak in the Dry Steppes as well as the borderlands of Ket near the Bramblewood Forest. Few bandits or Paynim mercenaries dare mess with this well-guarded caravan, fearing the standard of the bloody scimitar. Granth is an intimidating yet fair negotiator who remarkably speaks several languages and dialects. He is respected by many in the Mouqollad Consortium, though the Worthy Elders consider him to be no more than a contemptible smuggler.

DM’s Campaign Notes: Granth is a former member of the Uruzary Corps from the Sultanate of Zeif. He never speaks about his past or why he left this vaunted military group, but he does indeed still have contact with his brethren as he routinely smuggles used Uruzary weapons out of Antalotol. Since Granth travels a lot, he constantly shuffles his stockpile of weapons between several caches throughout Ull and the surrounding highlands. These hidden stores are rarely guarded though they are often trapped and intentionally sealed by rockslides, later to be cleared by his ogre bodyguards. In addition to these half dozen ogres from the Ulsprues, Granth typically employs orcs, half-orcs, ogrillons, and halflings in his service. The latter are favored for their culinary prowess and an ability to move stealthily. Despite his age, Granth is still hardy and walks with a halberd at all times mainly for show and to help with his balance.

Granth makes a good low-medium level contact or rival for player characters. He is well-travelled and can be a font of information on Ull and the Dry Steppes. Granth of course is easily the best person in Ull for adventurers to quickly sell off weapons and armor in bulk, not being too picky about quality or origin of goods. He pays half price for any items sold by PCs and sells his items at a 150% mark-up. Granth does not deal in magic weapons considering them to be too risky to move and store. Heroes who run afoul of one of Granth’s deals may find that he is vindictive and resourceful as any villain they encounter.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Greyhawk Monsters: The Dry Ones

Well met Greyhawk denizens! Today I offer you another 5E monster design of my creation. If you haven't seen my previous entries, check out the Best of Greyhawkery section above. The Dry Ones are based off the quite popular "Drowned Ones" zombies from Greyhawk Adventures. Where they are created by Nerull, these bad boys have another unholy creator. Naturally, these creatures can appear in any arid land of your choosing, but I made them with the Dry Steppes and Ull in mind. Particularly because they are a favorite threat associated with the infamous necromancer-elementalist Abi-Dalzim. whose Horrid Wilting spell surely inspired this new undead. Beware and enjoy!


Legend has it the Dry Ones were created by Incabulos, god of droughts, to spread terror on the steppes and deserts where they roam at night. Desert zombies appear to be typical humanoid undead though instead of rotting bodies, they are gaunt and leathery, unnaturally preserved by the arid environment. In fact, a Dry One can often be mistaken for a normal creature either stumbling around in the dark or laying half-buried in sand during the daytime. Dry Ones are slow but silent and cunning for they are drawn to living creatures with an insatiable need to consume all liquids from their bodies. A creature slain by such unholy desiccation rises as a new Dry One the following night.

Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 11
Hit Points 37 (5d8 + 15)
Speed 20 ft.

STR 14 (+2)
DEX 12 (+1)
CON 16 (+3)
INT 5 (-3)
WIS 6 (-2)
CHA 5 (-3)

Saving Throws Wis +0
Damage Immunities poison
Damage Resistances cold
Damage Vulnerabilities thunder
Condition Immunities exhaustion, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 8
Language understands the languages it knew in life but can’t speak
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the zombie to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.

Turning Defiance. The desert zombie has advantage on saving throws against effects that turn undead.


Multiattack. The zombie makes two attacks: one slam attack and one desiccating bite attack.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit. Reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) bludgeoning damage.

Desiccating Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit. Reach 5 ft., Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) necrotic damage.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

New Greyhawk Regional Product Map

Welcome back Greyhawk readers! We have had a discussing going on the classic Regional Product map found in the 1983 Greyhawk setting books. I've always loved the runic symbols used to denote the resources found in each country. It's a quick and easy reference for a DM to know what can be found or traded in an area. The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer further expanded on this information by including new resources and elaborating on those already presented. In this post I'm not trying to go into more detail than what was done in the LGG. The purpose is to somehow merge two good sources into one easy referenced set of maps. 

There is only a few caveats and liberties taken, first being the map is set in 576 CY. The LGG is set in 591 CY so there is some variance in resource access and export for nations. Second, I did not adapt all the new referenced resources out of the LGG for the sake of brevity, indeed I combined the listing of some resources to save space, such as platinum and electrum, livestock and horses, or standard timber and rare wood. Third, I added the city of Sasserine from Savage Tide as a region. Its resources are based on the proximity of the Amedio Jungle and on info from the Savage Tide Players Guide. I feel the inclusion of Sasserine is important in better understanding the Hold of the Sea Princes and the south seas during 576 CY and beyond. Lastly, after some consultation, I made a few judgment calls concerning the lack of published goods or services out of the Wild Coast and Horned Society. The Vale of the Mage was removed and Lendor Isle while on the map, has been left blank for now. There is just too little trade or contact with these two places. Otherwise, the majority of the data should be listed as it's referenced in the published source. 

Feel free to voice your thoughts on this document and maybe in the future, a more comprehensive Flanaess product map can be constructed. Until then, enjoy the download!


Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Revisiting: Ull Encounter Chart

Greetings Greyhawkers! In conjunction with our Legends & Lore stream I am taking another look at my Canonfire article from 2005 on Random Encounters in Ull. I am reposting the article as is, because the formatting on the original article is unreadable, so I tried to clean it up for the blog. Enjoy, and be sure to also check out the linked article to the blink camprat below!

mortellan writes "The World of Greyhawk’s encounter tables vary throughout the editions due to many factors including differing authors and sweeping campaign events. It is no surprise then that unwary adventurers have been given inaccurate statistical information on what they can expect to encounter in the harsh region of Ull. Tragically many deaths and untold fortunes could have been saved if but for a percentage point or two. This is a modest attempt to bring all Ull editions together into an updated contemporary source."

Random Encounters in Ull

N. Ull Plains        S. Ull Escarpment       Encounter*

01-02                    -                                     Camprats (1)                 
-                            01-02                             Ghouls (2)
03-04                    03-04                             Halflings (3)
05-10                    05-14                             Herd Animals                    
11-15                    15-20                             Humanoids
16-20                    21-25                             Men, Bandits
-                            26                                  Men, Dervishes (4)
21-30                    27-36                             Men, Herders
31-40                    37-46                             Men, Merchants (5)
41-50                    47-56                             Men, Nomads (6)
51-56                    57-61                             Men, Slavers (7)
-                            62-66                             Men, Tribesmen (8)
57-61                    67-71                             Patrol, Men, Warband
62-65                    72-74                             Wild Horses
66-00                    75-00                             Use Standard Tables

Ulsprue      W. Barrier Peaks                   Encounter*
-                            01-07                             Giants, Hill
-                            08-12                             Giants, Stone
01-08                    13-27                             Humanoids (9)
09-15                    -                                     Men, Nomads
16-31                    28-43                             Men, Tribesmen (8)
32-46                    44-48                             Ogres (10)
47-53                    49-55                             Special (11)
54-00                    56-00                             Use Standard Tables

* Based on encounter descriptions from the World of Greyhawk Glossography and Monster Manuals.
(1) See Greyhawk Adventures for details. In addition, 5% of camprats here will actually be Kund, also known as blink camprats.
(2) Ghouls are said to prowl the fringes of Kester by night..
(3) Halflings are mainly found in Uli towns and typically share their customs and venal dispositions.
(4) Will always be mystical devotees in the service of the Mahdi of the Steppes.
(5) Daring caravans from the northern Baklunish states are typically bound for Kester a trade nexus with the nomads of the Dry Steppes.
(6) Double standard encounter numbers for nomads in the Northern Plains.
(7) Southern slaving bands search for Yorodhi tribesmen and humanoids while the northern slavers capture Paynim nomads.
(8) Civilized Yorodhi hillmen (Oerid) normally except in the Ulsprues where they are instead less civilized ogre-blooded men (Baklunish).
(9) Humanoids migrating and foraging into the lowlands. It is not uncommon for smaller bands of orcs and half orcs to function in Ull society.
(10) Ogres include many half-ogres and also ogre magi within the Ulsprue Mountains.
(11) Special Ulsprue 1d6: 1-2=Minotaur, 3=Manticore, 4=Chimera, 5=Troll, 6=Giant-kin, Fomorian. Special West Barrier 1d4: 1= Dwarves, 2=Troll, 3=Wyvern, 4=Men, Slavers

A Guide to the World of Greyhawk
World of Greyhawk Glossography
Greyhawk Adventures
Living Greyhawk Gazetteer
Monster Manual
Living Greyhawk Journal #5
From the Ashes: Atlas of the Flanaess

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Greyhawk Comic Rewind: Say What?

Hail Greyhawk mavens! I was scrolling through some of my old Greyhawk Comics scrips recently, and there are some where the annotations at the end were full on blog posts. This is what led to Greyhawkery of course. Let's go way back to July 2009 and see a fun strip celebrating the linguistic depths of D&D and the Greyhawk setting. You can read the comic in its entirety below or follow this link if you want to go back and read other installments. Enjoy!

July 23th, 2009: 'Ware and were, friends! The World of Greyhawk has a long tradition of using obscure words, unique terms and especially keen, setting specific expressions in its publications. How then did poor Mayaheine fare when Pelor came along, picked her out of her home plane and dropped her off on Oerth? Check it out. ;)

Be sure to see the annotation at the end of this one. ;)

No games here. If you knew all the bold terms above, then you are a hardcore Greyhawk fan indeed! But just in case I have friends and family reading this, here is a glossary:

Cold Iron Avail You: "A common exchange between warriors among the Highfolk and in Furyondy, referring to the power of cold iron against certain undead, particularly the servants of Iuz."
I Spit on the Old One: (Among Highfolk and Furyondy) "An aggressive greeting or expression of bravery or disdain." The Old One refers to the demigod of evil, Iuz.
May the Axe Grow Great: "An expression used among the exiled Knights of the Holy Shielding. It refers to their deity Heironeous (above), who possesses an axe that can grow or shrink in size. It expresses the hope that good will thrive and grow great, that the Shield Lands will be reclaimed, and that better times will come."
Starcloak: A coin from the elven realm of Celene. 1 electrum piece. Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold, silver and other metals.
Godsday: The 4th day of the week, a day of worship. The day before Godsday however is Moonday.
Thorp: A small village usually consisting of 2d4x10 people.
Fler: "The principal inlet to Lake Quag, flowing from the Burneal Forest and the Land of Black Ice beyond. It is supposed that much of this river is passable to large craft."
Meersalm: A special salve used on Heironeous by his mother, Stern Alia to make his skin virtually invulnerable. (Don't ask me why Meersalm is for barter in a small village.)
Guchek: A Wolf Nomad tribe living on the shores of Lake Quag in the trade town of Ungra Balan.
Hobilar: Light skirmishing cavalry.
Ordai: "This dialect shared by the Wolf and Tiger Nomads bears some resemblance to Ancient Baklunish, but it is most similar to dialects spoken among the distant Paynims."
Chrysoberyl: A yellowish-green gemstone worth a base 100 g.p. The Sultanate of Zeif has a secret source of Chrysoberyl that it trades as far east as Keoland.
Da'Shon: "Falling Hail, a complicated form of unarmed combat practiced by one of Xan Yae's sects (Goddess of Stealth and Mental Power)." Xan Yae sponsored the demigod of physical and mental mastery, Zuoken who is also the Master of Da'Shon.
Vetha: A Rhennee (Gypsy-folk) wise-woman, fortune-teller and mystic but not a da'shon teacher.
Rhopan: "The language of the Rhennee, Rhopan is also called 'Rhennee cant' because it borrows many terms from other languages, including the argot of several thieves' organizations. It is not related to any Oerthly tongue."
Sweet as the Mistmarsh: "A phrase used ironically throughout the Domain (of Greyhawk) to indicate a business deal or an agreement that smells fishy to the speaker."
Old Peculiar: An ale made at Peculiar Manor by Sanjaray Mohsin of Ekbir from a recipe given to him by a dwarven chieftain. "Old Peculiar is jet black and is so heavy some say it is best not drunk but eaten with a fork. It tastes like liquid peat and no one alive has ever claimed to have downed more than two pints, and usually only dwarves claim even that. Sanjaray boasts that the crucial test of the ale's readiness is that if a rat won't dissolve in a keg of it in less than five minutes, it needs more fermentation."
Dirawaen: A network of magical roads built during the height of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy. "Constructed by earth elementals tamed to the will of the famed Aerdi war-mages, these roads aided not only the passage of armies in war, but also of merchants and trade in peacetime. Neither rain nor snow gathers on the broad, black paving stones of the Dirawaen roads, rendering them passable even in winter when mundane roads are muddy swamps. Priests of Fharlanghn, god of Horizons, Distance, Travel and Roads, laid powerful dweomers on the Dirawaens allowing travelers to move quickly over long distances without tiring (travelling on a Dirawaen road doubles all land-based movement rates). It is said that no cart has ever broken a wheel, nor a horse thrown shoe or rider while travelling on a Dirawaen road."
Ktosor-hep: "Dustlakes." A feature of the Sea of Dust. "Expanses anywhere from half a mile to six miles across in which the dust is charged with a magic that causes it to take on the characteristics of water. The grains form a sort of fluid which permits the passage of air between them but retains them in a single body which supports waves and boats and swimmers as if it were a true lake. Unlike water, however, it may be made somewhat breathable if a fine cloth mask is placed over the mouth. It is therefore possible to descend to the surface beneath the dust, and there to examine in the dim and dust-laden atmosphere the ruins of towns and cities, for each dust-lake seems to have been just such a site before the Rain of Colorless Fire."
Tinklingice: Olven term for the month of late Autumn.
Ready'reat: Common Flanaess term for the same month of late Autumn.
Lirtlemark: Other name for the March of Bissel, once the northernmost frontier of the kingdom of Keoland before it was lost in the Small War against Furyondy (438 CY).
Old Ferrond: The lands from the western Nyr Dyv to the Yatil Mountains, primarily referring to the old Viceroyalty of Ferrond which served as the western frontier of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy. Old Ferrond eventually slipped away from the waning empire and broke into several smaller states including the Kingdom of Furyondy.
Thillonrian: A person (usually an Ice, Frost or Snow Barbarian) from the mountainous Thillonria Peninsula in the northeast Flanaess.
Subaltern: A junior officer (A rank not normally given to barbarians).
Bec de Corbin: A type of polearm similar to a Lucerne Hammer (neither of which barbarians prefer). In 1st edition, a Bec de Corbin cost 6 g.p. and it did 1d8 dmg vs small and 1d6 vs large, with a speed factor of 9.
Obex: An inverted two-step ziggurat shape normally used as a symbol of Tharizdun.
Ipt: A species of Ipp tree (60' high, greenish bark and hand shaped leaves) that is even larger and taller. Favored by Sylvan Elves.
Deklo: "Massive hardwoods often 15 get in diameter and over 100 feet tall. They have thick strong branches that grow almost parallel to the trunk. The leaves of the tree are nearly round and grow in thick clumps. On a mature deklo, leaves will be over 1 foot in diameter. These trees tend to grow in groves, excluding other forms of vegetation.
Dweornite: Found in the Horned Lands. "Tear-shaped semi-opaque, blue-white stones found in totally unpredictable subterranean locations. The gems have diverse magic powers." Similar to dweorstones found in the Cairn Hills and Ioun Stones.
Moonveil: A coin from the elven realm of Celene. 1 Platinum piece.
Sure as a Shielding Oath: "Refers to the Knights of Holy Shielding, famed for their loyalty. It indicates a thing is a near-certainty."
The Handmaiden: Also known as Kule or Celene, (the moon not the elven realm) the smaller of Oerth's two satellites.
The Mistress: The Great Moon (aka Raenei or Luna) upon which the months are based. Appears barren from the ground but is actually forested.
Thoqqua: A giant worm from the elemental plane of fire. Known to tunnel beneath the Sea of Dust.
Until the Starbreak: "A farewell and oath of fidelity used among the northern barbarians (Thillonrians). It has two meanings. In bitterly cold weather the exhalation of breath causes a tiny cloud of frost to form and fal, and these falling flakes are referred to as "the breaking of stars," hence, "until the starbreak" can mean "until we meet again." It can also mean "until the end of the world" since certain barbaric myths indicate that the world ends with a shower of stars that fall when the heavens break."
Hands in your pockets, eyes on your purse: "A common farewell in the City of Greyhawk, where thieves are everywhere." 

Friday, November 4, 2022

Sea Princes Nobles 576 CY - Marquis Symeon IV

Welcome Greyhawkers! Let's have a look at another noble of the Sea Princes from 576 CY. If you haven't seen my prior entries, check out the Best of Greyhawkery tab above. This one is rather important and has featured in my campaign in the past. Enjoy!

His Magnificent Grace, Symeon IV, Marquis of Hokar; Treasurer of the Hold, Protector of the Crossroads. (House Harriven, Toli Armada, Rogue 5 / Wizard 3)

Centrally located, Hokar is a hub for mining, smelting, and minting for the entire Hold. Symeon I of House Harriven was granted the rule of Hokar after saving the Prince of Toli at the Battle of Jetsom Isle in 464 CY. Since then, the Harrivens have built up this once insignificant mining town into a burgeoning city. Today, rulership of Hokar has passed to Symeon’s great-grandson, the narcissistic Symeon IV. Extremely wealthy and equally psychotic, the marquis is a recent widower after his wife’s horse-carriage accidentally crashed into a ravine and caught on fire during a trip to White Cove. The marquis currently grieves by hosting frequent receptions at his palace, full of wild debauchery and often ending with random guests being thrown in the dungeons.
The marquis cares little for sailing the seas like his Harriven cousins. Indeed, during his younger years, he apprenticed as a mage under his father Symeon III, that is until his proclivities led him to instead pursue a roguish lifestyle that earned him the nickname the Knave of Hokar. It is well known that Symeon’s mania has only got worse with age, and now as marquis, his mood swings affect daily life in Hokar. 
Politics and Intrigues: The marquis’ late father, Symeon III was an accomplished enchanter of metals and created a dungeon workshop and mint below Harriven Keep. Symeon IV is obsessed with exploring an abandoned mine and cavern system discovered beneath this workshop after a recent earthquake. This lucrative mission has drawn a steady stream of adventuring parties to Hokar. Symeon is also hyper-focused on gaining the favor of a secret pirate society called the Fivefold Council with whom he believes he will one day join. The erratic behavior of Symeon is such a constant concern in the House of Peers, that House Harriven discreetly plots his ouster.
Marquis Symeon IV is an excellent noble benefactor (or antagonist) for all levels of play in a developing city that serves as a good base of operations for adventurers. Unpredictably cunning, Symeon is a lightning rod for intrigue in the Hold of the Sea Princes, giving DMs an opportunity to create a series of stories connected to his questionable goals. The marquis has virtually unlimited resources to either reward heroes for a mission like the aforementioned Mines of Hokar, or to hire mercenaries to harass PCs far afield should they cross him. 

 House of Peers in the Sea Princes
The Hold of the Sea Princes comprises thirty domains, divided amongst a dozen noble houses. A few of these houses can trace their lineage back hundreds of years to the first Suel migrations, while most are merely fabricated hereditary titles of pirate captains who settled down a century ago. While the Hold is currently ruled by the Prince of Monmurg, the Prince of Port Toli has led the House of Peers for much of the Holds’ history. In political situations, the twelve houses are evenly divided between naval factions called the Princes’ Fleet and the Toli Armada. Those Sea Princes captains who choose to avoid house politics, nominally defer to a fleet named the Hold Flotilla in times of war.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Greyhawk Quiz #2: Capital Cities

Welcome back Greyhawk enthusiasts! 

Let's do something fun today. A few months ago, I did an article on all things Vecna which included a nifty trivia quiz. Check it out if you haven't already! Making the quiz was so much fun, and I had people tell me I should make more. Well happy day, I finally remembered this advice! Here is my next Greyhawk quiz, Capital Cities of Greyhawk. Good luck and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Greyhawk Lore: The Great Embarkation

Welcome Greyhawkers! Having recently watched the new series Rings of Power, and in conjunction with Legends & Lore, I have elves and scaly races on my mind. One of the apocryphal sources that usually sticks in my brain is found in The Great Embarkation by Erik "Iquander" Mona which is posted on Canonfire! back in 2002. This article is not official Greyhawk but I believe it was written around the same time Mona worked on the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, so I'd consider it pseudo-official lore given his and Paizo's publishing cred. Let's have a look at this article and see how it stands up. Enoy! 

"Myths tell of a time in the distant past when the elves were newcomers to the Flanaess, and great wars which raged across the landscape between the olvenfolk and those lizard-like species which lived here before them. During the final days of these wars, it is sometimes told of how the kuo-toa were driven from the land into the oceans about the subcontinent. Some of these tales go on to tell of elvish pleas to their gods to let them follow the kuo-toa into the watery depths to exterminate their enemies. Few even among the elves know the truth of these ancient tales, and they know better than to speak of them, especially to strangers. And yet, the tales still spread. Maybe they are true..."

    The elves definitely do not want to speak of these tales, because they are the bad guys! Mona was once an avid scholar of ancient Greyhawk lore. Here he is dialing the timeline far into the past, way before the human histories like the Suloise and Baklunish Wars which most players are familiar. I presume this is the mythic era of the Wind Dukes of Aaqa and the Battle of Pesh. (another pet topic Mona covered in the Age of Worms AP for 3.5E Dungeon Magazine)

The Great Embarkation

"Elven legends tell that, prior to the coming of their race, the lands of the Flanaess were overrun by the scaly races and their amphibious brethren. The elves viewed these creatures as abominations, leftovers of an ancient era in which the aboleth created foul spawn to take their evils from the seas and the underdark to the realm above. Whether fittingly or not, the elves saw many of the world’s oldest beings as servitors of the aboleth, and marked them for extermination. In this manner, the elves gained the enmity of dozens of races, including troglodytes, lizard men, grung, grippli, skum, bullywugs, firenewts, ingundi, blindheim, muckdwellers and kou-toa. These last were seen by the olvenfolk as the very worst of their kind – ambitious, industrious, fecund and supported by at least one god who sponsored potentially powerful clerics. For these reasons and more, the elves named the fish men their primary target."

    To borrow a Tolkien analogy, our "First Age" elves in the Flanaess are not beset by a known enemy, they intentionally migrated to the continent (from over the Solnor Ocean?), discovered hideous scaly folk were indigenous there, and straight up went genocidal. I love the comprehensive list here; Trogs and Lizardmen (classic D&D creatures), Igundi, Grung, Muckdwellers, and Grippli (who did they ever offend?), Skum and Kuo-Toa (definitely aboleth friendly), Bullywugs (my favorites from the D&D Cartoon), Firenewts and Blindheim (hey more Fiend Folio!). Of all these baddies, Kuo-toa end up as the main adversaries for the almighty elves? Right, let's continue...

"Few records remain of the centuries of warfare between the two races. If the kuo-toa had any relations with the gloomy aboleth, nothing came of them during the conflict. Evil to their cores, they had enslaved or killed all races they had contacted in the early aeons, and thus enjoyed no allies. The olve, on the other hand, recruited many to their cause. Unable to rouse the dwarves from their underground lairs, they nonetheless enlisted many gnomes, as well as extremely early Flan and the dying race of the Rujari, primitive antecedents of human beings. These latter folk coined the name "gogglers" for the kuo-toa, an appellation that remains popular to this day."

The aboleth are indeed evil schemers bent on domination, but by then they are out of the picture it seems. Even more amazing is the Kuo-toa are so reviled in this era they are apparently dominant in the Flanaess, enslaving other amphibious races? Needless to say, the elves aren't teaming up with lizardmen or bullywug filth. What's funny is now we see dwarves are here too? Why are they not itching for a fight, but the gnomes are? Yeah, stereotypically dwarves and elves don't get along, that is evidently until many millennia later in the Hateful Wars where they battle orcs, goblins, and such out of the Lortmils. Elves will eventually shun everyone, ask Queen Yolande. I also like the reference to "extremely early" Flan. Maybe these are the ancestors of Sulm or the Isles of Woe in the central Flanaess? One more thing, the Rujari people is also a super obscure reference, and amazingly I remember asking Erik Mona about them in a forum discussion ages ago:

Mortellan (me): how about the Rujari? I can't recall where I heard that one but I think it was in some writing you or Gary Holian did.
Erik: "Rujari," incidentally, is my name for the primitive humans (think non-Homo Sapiens) who were around before the rise of the Flan, and who still exist in very small numbers in remote mountain caves. I don't think they've made their way into the "official" Greyhawk, but I will attempt to fit them into this current project.
Kirk: So the Rujari are like Flores Man perhaps?
Erik Mona: More like Neanderthals, but you get the idea.
    Very cool, so all those entries for "Cave Men" on the World of Greyhawk Glossography encounter charts are Rujari! Back to the article.

"Only one race of note defied the elves, the strange furred folk known as quaggoths. These creatures had profited much from their relations with the kuo-toa, and saw themselves as masters of the northern forests, near which most of the fighting in the final years of the War of Extermination took place. When the olve arrived, and claimed much the same territory, the quaggoths rebelled, attacking an elven encampment. The minor skirmish ended with the death of Amaranthe, a great olven princess thought to be more than 2000 years old. Her death is still heralded as the major loss of the war, and the violent retribution against the quaggoths defied both the elven reputation of goodness and all perceptions of scale. Thousands of quaggoths were put to death for each member of Amaranthe’s slain party. Though far fewer in number today than in those ancient times, the quaggoths of the Forlorn Forest remember still this slaughter at the hands of the olve, and they take every opportunity to return the favor in kind."

enter the fray and interestingly Fiend Folio says they hate surface elves and will ally with Drow to fight surface elves. Again, the elves push out the native folk, this time in the northern forests. Apparently, those sentient races who were not scaly or amphibious had to pick a side? Geez, elves are the worst. The poor furred folk lose their lands, then in retribution slay -one- elven princess and this practically turns olvendom chaotic evil as a result! Maybe this event is why Valley Elves don't play with the rest of their kin anymore. Side note, Amaranthe has to be one of the oldest elves in Greyhawk lore that I know. I'm getting Silmarillion elf vibes, but I digress. Continuing on...

"Eventually, the elven alliance defeated the kuo-toa, laying waste to their cities and culture and destroying vast hatcheries of kuo-toan young. Finally admitting defeat, the gogglers pulled back to the shores and took to the waters. Though the tide had been for the elves all along, losses numbered in the hundreds of thousands – unacceptable to the olvenfolk rulers. At a great war council near the front of the final battles, the elves entreated their gods, the Seldarine, for a means by which to follow the kuo-toa to the seas, and exact their vengeance upon them completely. Their mournful pleas found purchase in the ears and hearts of their gods, who instructed a fifth of all elves in the Flanaess to take to the ocean."

    The more I read about this, the more it does start to sound like myth instead of history. Like, can you imagine mass combat on land between kuo-toa and elves? Hundreds of thousands of elves die? So, I'm assuming millions of fishmen are slain in this war. Also, can you picture the coasts of the Flanaess hosting great kuo-toan cities and vast hatcheries? Where would those exist in present day? Guess it doesn't matter, the elves wiped them out of existence! Anyhow, the elves aren't satisfied with conquering the Flanaess, nope, now they want to take the war underwater...

"This event, known as the Great Embarkation, saw thousands of elves simply walk into the sea. These chosen olve found their hands and feet webbed, their necks marked by fully-functioning gills. Accepting this gift with great happiness, the newborn race of aquatic elves took to their task immediately. Within four centuries, every kuo-toa who had fled to the seas had been hunted down and destroyed. Within a millennia, the sea elves had spread to all the oceans bordering the Flanaess."

    Fantastic! So, this myth becomes the origin story of the sea elves. The elven War of Extermination which raged for untold centuries, continued unabated beneath the seas for four more centuries, and in the end the scaly folk are wiped out (I wonder when Sahuagin come on the scene though?). Side question, when does the Drow-Elf schism happen? Before or after this story? If it's afterwards, were some elves changed into drow and sent to the underdark to hunt the other kuo-toa? (but they rebelled instead)

"Today, the sea elves are as numerous as any of their kind, and can be found around the entire globe. Though the gogglers of the ocean were destroyed, those who fled underground survived, where they yet plot a return to their place in the surface world. The tale of the Great Embarkation remains a tightly guarded secret among the elves. Some decry it as myth. Others deny it completely, citing the brutality of the olvenfolk as an example of an attempt to make the race look much more violent than they actually are. The oral tradition of the quaggoths does not equivocate on the matter."

    Aha the awful Kuo-toa of the D-series modules are the underground remnant of this great ancient culture slaughtered by the elves. I like that Mona acknowledges the mythic history is not flattering for the elves and that they go to great lengths to never speak of this age. This provides a good reason why there's very little lore on elven history outside recent Flanaess timelines. And the quaggoths? Oh, they remember. The Great Embarkation is a great bit of lore that a DM can use to turn otherwise "good" elves into antagonists as they struggle to keep players from discovering the secret and letting it get out. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Sea Princes Nobles 576 CY - Baron Luther Rhola III

Howdy Greyhawkers! It's a short week for me, so let's add another noble to my roster of Sea Princes from 576 CY! To see my previous entries, go to the Best of Greyhawkery and scroll down to the list in the Sea Princes Campaign section. Enjoy!

His Noble Lordship, Luther Rhola III, Baron of Ensar. (House Rhola, Prince's Fleet, Fighter 6)

Luther, like his cousin Prince Jeon II, is a distant relative of royalty in Keoland. His family has ruled the town of Ensar since it was once an early outpost for the Lion Throne in their crusade against Toli piracy. The baron is an experienced mariner and a seasoned swordsman, though he has traded his life at sea for rulership at home since he married Krystal of Jetsom Isle (Rogue 1), the youngest sister of Baron Deran Insley. Thanks to Luther, Ensar enjoys legitimate trade across the bay with the Keoish ports of Saltmarsh and Seaton.  

Politics and Intrigues:  Ensar exports an abundance of foodstuffs and imports a good amount of cloth despite its small size. A business war is brewing as Luther rails against the shady practices of his neighbors up the coast, House Tydan of Port Torvin. Incidents of dumped cargos, sabotaged ships, and price undercutting have become a source of drama in the House of Peers. The baron cannot prove it, but he believes the count of Port Torvin is also smuggling weapons from Keoland for some unknown purpose. 

Baron Luther makes a good low to mid-level contact for characters in a coastal urban setting. Ensar is a decent small town to call home or to launch heroic adventures abroad. For example, a DM can introduce the classic “U-series” modules starting with the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (found in Ghosts of Saltmarsh 5E) by sending PCs across the bay to Keoland.

House of Peers in the Sea Princes

The Hold of the Sea Princes comprises thirty domains, divided amongst a dozen noble houses. A few of these houses can trace their lineage back hundreds of years to the first Suel migrations, while most are merely fabricated hereditary titles of pirate captains who settled down a century ago. While the Hold is currently ruled by the Prince of Monmurg, the Prince of Port Toli has led the House of Peers for much of the Holds’ history. In political situations, the twelve houses are evenly divided between naval factions called the Princes’ Fleet and the Toli Armada. Those Sea Princes captains who choose to avoid house politics, nominally defer to a fleet named the Hold Flotilla in times of war.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

New Map: World of Greyhawk 2.0

Welcome Greyhawkers! I don't typically contribute to Virtual Greyhawk Con, but this year I did have an idea for a Greyhawk map that should drum up some interest in the community. If you've been playing Greyhawk as long as I have you might have the Darlene map labels memorized right? That's when I thought, for fun, can I reorder the nations of the Flanaess and still make it logical? What do you think of my first attempt? Am I completely out of line? How would you do it differently? Comment below or catch me on Discord. Enjoy!