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 26, 2022
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Greyhawk Lore: The Great Embarkation
"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 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."
"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:
"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
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!