Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Friday, November 17, 2023
Greetings Greyhawkers and D&D map enthusiasts in general. Today I present a silly map concept I have been daydreaming about for months, a minimalist Darlene map. If you're like me, you might have a Greyhawk map as your computer wallpaper. And so, I often stare at this map and strange ideas form, this time however I have finally put it to the test. The World of Greyhawk setting map is hex-based, and because of the tendency of Darlene's calligraphic style to conform to this shape, this means a lot of the nations and geographical areas start to fall into these hex patterns on a larger scale. For example. in the Sheldomar Valley side, the tri-Ulek states, Gran March and Bissel fall into a nice row. So does the Sea Princes, Yeomanry, Sterich and Geoff. Some parts were harder to judge than others, but I got the Darlene map down to a minimalist state. It was a fun experiment. One thing though, don't ask what the scale per hex is, I don't know! One more thing, I haven't decided if I can do labels yet have a look for yourself. Enjoy!
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Sunday, October 22, 2023
- The tournament is fought in four successive rounds of elimination. The first round consists of six battles of free-for-all combat between four teams (24 teams total). The six winners of the first round of battles are paired off into three team-versus-team battles. The next round, two of the three remaining teams fight each other, while the third team fights a special exotic monster. The final round is a face-to-face battle between the two remaining teams. The winners of each round is awarded a generous prize (trophy plus 2000-10,000 gp). The winner of the Champion's Games wins the right to wear the Champion's Belt (worth 2000 gp) for a year, along with a cash payout of 20,000 gp.
- All battles are potentially lethal, but a gladiator always has the option of surrender. To surrender, a gladiator must drop his weapons, kneel, and hold both hands in the air. A gladiator who attacks a surrendering foe is disqualified (and likely arrested for assault or murder). A gladiator who surrenders and then attacks anothr foe is also disqualified.
- Gladiators that can fly or levitate may do so up to a height of 40 feet. A gladiator that flues any higher is disqualified. Burrowing into the arena's floor is forbidden.
- A match persists until one team is victorious, either through the death or the surrender of all opposing teams.
- Winning gladiators have no right to the spoils of the fallen. A defeated foe keeps his gear, or in the case of death, ownership of gear reverts to his team.
- Any tactic that endangers spectators is grounds for immediate disqualification and possible legal action.
- A disqualified gladiator must cease fighting at once and must move to the edge of the field of battle. Failure to comply results in the disqualification of the entire team. Once a gladiator is disqualified, he may no longer take part in any remaining battles.
Saturday, October 14, 2023
Well met Greyhawkers! Today I was reminded that way back in 2000, at the turn of 2nd Edition to 3rd Edition, before the internet became an everyday means of communication, I wrote a letter to the Forum page that was published in Dragon #273. This was in response to the Question of the Month" in issue #270: “Does your campaign have a particular theme? Is it swashbuckling, epic, gritty, or wahoo? Tell us all about your campaign style!”
Here is my response. Enjoy!
I wrote this in response to the "Question of the Month" and also to add to the discussion in #264 through #270 about evil characters. The campaign I run is set in the northwest of the Greyhawk campaign setting and uses heavy Al-Qadim sources. The Arabic feel is very refreshing. All the characters are foreigners and have had a wonderful time trying to blend in by learning new customs, dress, and especially language. They have adopted new names and even acquired their hirelings from this area. New and exotic locales always liven a static campaign. The land is full of mystery and intrigue, but the PCs fit in perfectly because they are all schemers and shady fellows as well. They always parlay or even deal with villains rather than just outright slay them. Every monster or encounter is assessed for its benefit, not just used as a stepping stone for the next encounter. Their motto is, dealing with evil is better than a pat on the back. Then, if necessary, you can always turn on evil and side with good in the end.
I do not rigidly control alignments, except in the case of priests. All the characters are decidedly shady but not evil. As long as the PCs can at least trust one another, then it doesn't matter what their alignments are. The lawful evil fighter in my group has shown many instances of paladinlike behavior toward the common man and even his foes. You don't wear alignment like a badge; your actions define your character.
In fantasy literature, the greatest heroes are what I term "shady." Elric, Conan, Fafhrd, and the Grey Mouser are all shady characters. Alignment never stopped any of them from doing the right thing in the end. The only recent characters from literature I can imagine fitting this description are Raistlin or Drizzt. Why are the shady ones the favorites? They have more fun.
It seems to me the only classes purely concerned with their alignment are the religious ones (cleric, druid, and paladin). They are the ones who have their beliefs dictated by a higher power. I am not saying you shouldn't play good guys, but some campaigns could use a change in locale and attitude.
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Wings of Flying (DMG) The prototypical D&D flying magic item. This cape flies for a couple hours per day and can carry 500 lbs weight!
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Friday, September 15, 2023
"Yoll, Yoll, Yoll!" This is an ancient battle cry used by Uli warriors, predating their occupation of the Oeridian lands. It was most famously yelled by the united forces of Ull when it turned back the invading Brazen Horde at the Battle of Ulakand in 308 CY. Over time however, this specific expression has fallen out of popular use by the many khanates of Ull who have developed their own local battle cries. Only the small warband called the Wild Men still cling to this expression as they harass travelers passing though Ohkir Khanate. Note: this expression originally comes from Gary Gygax's novel Sea of Death, where for copyright reasons the land of Ull was renamed Yoll.
"I'd sooner go to Kester." The derision felt between the traditional northern nomadic clans of Ull, and their corruptible southern kin is no more evident than in this familiar saying which has now spread across the neighboring plains and steppes. Kester's reputation for danger and depravity lends itself well to this forceful rejection of an obviously perilous request. Example: "You want to go in the Tomb of Horrors? I'd sooner go to Kester!"
"The arrow has been loosed." Variations of this idiom are found throughout Eastern Oerik. In Ull, it is commonly asserted that once an arrow is launched there is no changing its course. To put plainly, it refers to a decision that is made which cannot be taken back. Example: "I told the sheik we will not give in to his demands. The arrow has been loosed!"
"Ride fast, ride far." Many nomadic tribes in the north of Ull will travel vast distances in a shorter time than most riders due to the strength and resiliency of their horse breeds. This expression of parting is quite popular among the khanates and has even found use by their distant kin on the Plains of the Paynims. The saying is also the rallying cry of the annual Najaam Trials (during Richfest), a cross-country horse race that brings honor to a rider's family.
"Come down from your saddle." This expression is used to imply someone is being stubborn or unreasonable and needs to humble themselves. This usually includes a subtext of violence. For context, it is customary in Ull for negotiations to be conducted on foot, mainly in the event combat breaks out to decide the matter. Example: "Seventy gold pieces for that old bow? Come down from your saddle..."
"Blood is strength." Ull is a land of internal strife with warring raiders and contentious nomad families. When Uli have common foe however, the entire domain will rally together behind a strong leader. The phrase "blood is strength" is thus used by locals as a rousing means of setting aside differences to deal with a foreign problem.
Your god did not follow you here." While not outright hostile, this expression is often invoked as a way to rebuke clerics and missionaries foolish enough to come to Ull. Uli are distrustful of religions in general believing more in spirituality centered on their ancestors. They do believe the gods exist but only harmful ones like Incabulos or Ralishaz pay any mind to Ull. Example: "Keep your prayers and begone beggar, your god did not follow you here."
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Welcome again Greyfolk! I got another fun A-Z list coming at you! Some of my previous alphabetical lists of people, places, deities, and most recently magic items, can be found on the Best of Greyhawkery Page. This time around I will try my hand at discussing named fiends (demons or devils) from the many editions of D&D. Fiends of the lower planes have always been an integral part of Greyhawk lore from the very beginning. I am quite sure there will be no ill side effects by listing all these evil beings, I mean it worked for Iggwilv in her Demonomicon right? Enjoy!
Thursday, August 17, 2023
It's been a fun lazy summer and since I have no GenCon 2024 news of any importance, how about a new Greyhawk quiz? If you haven't already, check out my previous four quizzes on Human Cultures, Capital Cities, Module Covers and Vecna. Good luck, this next one requires a bit of typing. Enjoy!
Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Apparatus of Kwalish: Debatably this is an artifact, but it's always been listed among wondrous items in DMG's. We all know this most famous of aquatic magic items, but for future readers I want to make clear, Kwalish is human, and he originally worked out of the Baklunish West in Zeif.
Friday, July 28, 2023
Saturday, July 8, 2023
Heya Greyhawkers! I'll be at Gen Con in Indianapolis this year, but only for one day on Saturday unfortunately. I haven't been to GenCon for seven years. I have no idea what I'll do there besides the dealer hall. So, if anyone wants to meet up and chat Greyhawk or con stuff for a while, hit me up on the comments or email me at email@example.com
Until then, enjoy!
Saturday, July 1, 2023
Greetings Greyhawkers! Be sure to keep an eye out for Virtual Greyhawk Con 4 this fall. Registration for the event and submissions for games started on June 30. Event registration will begin August 19th. Good luck everyone and have fun!
Thursday, June 22, 2023
His Indomitable Nobility, Gavin III, Archbaron of Galeside, Captain of the Courser. (House Toli, Toli Armada, Rogue 10)
The archbaron of the small port Galeside is incredibly wealthy largely owing to his station in House Toli but also his ruthless ambition. Gavin is widely known as a capable sea captain and explorer. His personal ship, the Courser has notably voyaged beyond the Densac Gulf into the south seas several times, and on each return to port he has brought more wealth to his familys’ coffers. Archbaron Gavin III is married to Kerri of Jetsom Isle (Rogue 2) a noble lady who lives a comfortable life in a walled manor overlooking the sea. When her husband is away on a long voyage the archbaroness is rumored to go on her own adventures in the Hold.
Politics and Intrigues: The cousin of Prince Varek IV the head of House Toli, Gavin III is constantly plotting with members of his family to further enrich themselves through the exploitation of the Amedio Jungle and its coastal islands. Kerri is the younger sister of Baron Deran Insley, a fellow explorer whose relationship and thirst for maritime knowledge is often exploited by the archbaron to aid Galeside in exploring the south seas for new resources and trade routes.
Archbaron Gavin III is an ideal mid-level NPC patron to use for campaigns that involve a lot of exploration by ship (see the Dungeon adventure path, Savage Tide for more on this). His home port of Galeside is a low key base for characters who want to avoid the dangers and intrigue of larger cities.
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.