*“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”*

―

It's All a Matter of Time.... |

There are a few ways to arrive at this. The most concrete
way is to find a specific reference in the historical record, WG5

*Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure*, or*The Adventure Begins*, for instance. WG5 gives specific levels for the NPC pregens given, but no concrete date for the events; whereas The City of Greyhawk Boxed Set and*The Adventure Begins*give actual dates to what is set there in print, 581 for CoG, and 591 for TAB. One imagines the characters in*The Rogues Gallery*to be as they were in 576 CY, given its 1981 publication date, one year after the Folio was published, and one year before the World of Greyhawk Gold Box, both set in that year.The rest is math. Certain events are noted as happening

*X years before*the dates given in whatever published materials.For instance, Yrag’s birth is suggested:

*He is believed to be about 205 years old.*[TAB – 114]*The Adventure Begins*being 591, 386 CY is hinted at.Mordenkainen’s age is mentioned obliquely:

*Mordenkainen stands 5 ft. 11 in. tall, and appears half again younger than his true 82 years of age.*[LGJ #0 – 9] Thus, 591-82=509 CY.Conjecture follows. A lot of conjecture, seeing how many
references mention decades and not year. Saying that something happened in the
560s is well and good, but it isn’t exactly exact, is it. Thus, conjecture.

The AD&D Dungeon Master Guide aides in this: Pages 12
& 13 have rules for initial character age. That gives up the presumption of
1

^{st}level.Beyond this…. Therein lies the work.

Steve Winters certainly understood this. If there was
anyone who took great pains to be as exact as one might be, he was in compiling
his “Greychrondex Version 4.2 (5/15/01). He scoured “official” published
materials (not all, certain books like WG7

*Castle Greyhawk*were deemed unsuitable and left out) and compiled the most accurate chronology of Greyhawk as was possible, noting wherever conflicts arose across the sourcebooks and modules. Most importantly, he took great pains to note each and every sourcebook and page number specifying where each event could be found. I could not have achieved what I have in this humble blog if not for his painstaking work. Nor could I have done without Jason Zavoda’s “Greyhawkania” (aka the Zavoda Index, recreated in Greyhawk Online’s Great Library of Greyhawk), either. If anything, Jason’s index has always been my number one resource.So, now you know how I do it: I reference these works,
then word-search the referenced PDFs for relevant mentions, and then piece
those quotes together in context. Easy. Well, not so easy, but you get the
picture.

Why do I reveal this now, after all this time? Because
it’s fun to peak behind the curtain. And because we all need of a little
clarity every now and again – a lot, actually.

This is not to say that I’ve not been mired in confusion and
mucked things up in the past, because I suspect I have. This blog has always
been a learning experience, a work in progress. As I dive ever deeper into the
history of the setting, I realize how much I don’t know. I suppose that’s the
way of wisdom: The more you know, the more you realize how much you still have
to learn.

However exacting I try to be, the bare bones can get lost
in those lengthy documents. So, every now and again I boil them down to their
most salient facts. Like this piece. Because we – me, mainly – could all do
with a little simplicity, to keep things straight.

Which brings us to this piece, wherein there is method to
this madness.

Why would anyone care when each character is a certain
level? Because one imagines that Mordenkainen’s 5

^{th}level spells could only be made available when he can cast them. Not before!Thus, this labour of love. Is everything below canonical?
No. I’ve applied a little creative interpolation throughout concerning level
advancement where direct canonical reference and applicable (and supportable)
math could not be applied, each noted by an [*], occasionally explained in
[brackets].

**290 CY**

**386 CY**

Yrag is born. [TAB – 114]

**400 CY**

Melf is born. [FtAC – 69]

**402 CY**

Yrag 1

^{st}level Fighter [DMG 1e – 12]

**438 CY**

*Melf 1+1 HD grey elf [MM 1e – 39]

**460 CY**

Theodain Eriason 1+1 HD high elf [MM 1e – 39]

**470 CY**

Theodain Eriason 1

^{st}level M-U [DMG 1e – 12]

**479 CY**

Leomund is born. [OJ# 10 – 78]

**491 CY**

Alhamazad is born. [LGJ #0 – 7]

**498 CY**

Leomund 1

^{st}level Cleric [OJ# 10 – 79/DMG 1e – 12]

**508 CY**

*Leomund 5

^{th}level Cleric/[1^{st}] level M-U [extrapolated from OJ# 10 – 79]

**509 CY**

Mordenkainen is born. [LGJ #0 – 9]

**510 CY**

*Leomund 5

^{th}level Cleric/ [3^{rd}] level M-U [His 2^{nd}level spells are available for use.]

**511 CY**

Rary is born. [CoG:FFF – 25]

**513 CY**

*Leomund 5

^{th}level Cleric/ [5^{th}] level M-U [His 3^{rd}level spells are available for use.]*Terik is born [conjecture from LGJ #0 – 4]

**515 CY**

*Leomund 5

^{th}level Cleric/ [7^{th}] level M-U [His 4^{th}level spells are available for use.]

**518 CY**

Leomund |

^{th}level Cleric/ [9

^{th}] level M-U [His 5

^{th}level spells are available for use.]

Alhamazad 1

^{st}level M-U [DMG 1e – 12]

**520 CY**

*Leomund 5

^{th}level Cleric/ [12^{th}] level M-URobilar is born [LGJ #0 – 4/COR1 – 00 The Citadel PCs – 3]

**521 CY**

Riggby is born. [LGJ #0 – 4/COR1 – 00 – 7]

**524 CY**

Tenser born. [Rot8 – 58]

**529 CY**

Terik 1

^{st}level Fighter [DMG 1e – 12]

**533 CY**

*Leomund 5

^{th}level Cleric/ [14^{th}] level M-UBigby born. [COR1 – 00 – 5/Finger of the Wind – 5]

**534 CY**

Otis is born. [LGJ #0 – 4/COR1 – 00 – 12]

**535 CY**

Mordenkainen 1

^{st}Level M-U [DMG 1e – 12. His 1^{st}level spells are available for use.]Warnes Starcoat is born. [Rot8 – 59/LGJ #0 – 11]

Robilar 1

^{st}level Fighter [DMG 1e – 12]

**537 CY**

Nystul is born. [LGJ #0 – 10]

**538 CY**

Otto is born. [LGJ #0 – 10]

**539 CY**

*Mordenkainen 3

^{rd}level M-U [His 2^{nd}level spells are available for use.]Rary 1

^{st}level M-U [DMG 1e – 12. His 1^{st}level spells are available for use.]

**540 CY**

Riggby 1

^{st}level Cleric [DMG 1e – 12]Serten 1

^{st}level Cleric [DMG 1e – 12]*Rary 3

^{rd}level M-U [His 2^{nd}level spells are available for use.]*Terik 9

^{th}level Fighter

*Evard the Black is born.

**542 CY**

Otiluke is born. [CoG:FFF – 25]

*Rary 5

^{th}level M-U [No 3^{rd}level spells.]

**543 CY**

*Mordenkainen 5

^{th}level M-U [His 3^{rd}level spells are available for use.]*Quij is born.

**546 CY**

*Mordenkainen 7

^{th}level M-U [His 4^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Rary 7

^{th}level M-U [His 4^{th}level spells are available for use.]

**547 CY**

**549 CY**

Bigby 1st level M-U [16 yrs old, See 551 CY. His 1

^{st}level spells are available for use, first half of year.]Jallarzi Sallavarian is born. [TAB – 88]

*Bigby 3

^{rd}level M-U [His 2^{nd}level spells are available for use, second half of year.]

**550 CY**

*Bigby 5

^{th}level M-U [His 3^{rd}level spells are available for use.]*Melf F1/M-U1 [DMG 1e – 12,13]

*Mordenkainen 9

^{th}level M-U [His 5^{th}level spells are available for use.]Quij 1 HD orc [MM 1e – 76]

Tenser 1

^{st}level M-U [DMG 1e – 12. His 1^{st}level spells are available for use.]

**551 CY**

Creation of the Citadel of Eight

Bigby 7

^{th}level M-U [COR1 – 00 The Citadel PCs – 5] [Bigby would be 18 this year, so his education must have been rapid, owing to his Cranden heritage. His 4^{th}level spells are available for use.)Mordenkainen 10

^{th}level M-U [COR1 – 00 – 1]Riggby 7

^{th}level Cleric [COR1 – 00– 7]Robilar 8

^{th}level Fighter [COR1 – 00 – 3]*Serten 7

^{th}level Cleric [as per Riggby.][The Living Greyhawk module COR1 The Citadel states that
it is set in 560 CY when “Mordenkainen is in the process of assembling his
first great adventuring group, the Citadel of Eight…”, but as LGJ #0 – 4 states
that this event occurs in 551 I have adjusted the date here accordingly.]

**553 CY**

*Bigby 9

^{th}level M-U [His 5^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Mordenkainen 11

^{th}level M-U

**555 CY**

Otis 1

^{st}level Ranger [DMG 1e – 12]*Tenser 3

^{rd}level M-U [His 2^{nd}level spells are available for use.]

**557 CY**

Otto 1

^{st}level Cleric [DMG 1e – 12]*Rary 14

^{th}level M-U [His 7^{th}level spells are available for use.]

**559 CY**

*Leomund 5

^{th}level Cleric/[16^{th}] level M-U*Rary 16

^{th}level M-U [His 8^{th}level spells are available for use.]

**560 CY**

Mordenkainen 12

^{th}level M-U [WG5 – 30] [His 6^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Otis 7

^{th}level Ranger*Otto 3

^{rd}level ClericRiggby 9

^{th}level Cleric [WG5 – 32]*Robilar 9

^{th}level Fighter [WGR3 – 11]*Tenser 5

^{th}level M-U [No 3^{rd}level spells.]Yrag 9

^{th}level Fighter [WG5 – 31]

**561 CY**

*Otto 3

^{rd}level Cleric/ [1^{st}] level M-U [extrapolated from CoG:FFF – 23. His 1^{st}level spalls are available for use.]*Quij 4

^{th}level Barbarian/4^{th}level Rogue [Finger of the Wind – 4]

**562 CY**

Drawmij 1

^{st}level M-U [DMG 1e – 12. His 1^{st}level spells are available for use.]Melf F9/M-U10 [AC1 The Shady Dragon Inn – 25,26, 10th level
Lord Wizard. Melf’s 2

^{nd}and 3^{rd}level spells are available for use.]

Nystul 1

^{st}level M-U [DMG 1e – 12. His 1^{st}level spells are available for use.]*Otto 3

^{rd}level Cleric/ [3^{rd}] level M-U [His 2^{nd}level spells are available for use.]Warnes Starcoat 1

^{st}level M-U [DMG 1e – 12]

**565 CY**

*Nystul 3

^{rd}level M-U [His 2^{nd}level spells are available for use.]

**566 CY**

*Nystul 5

^{th}level M-U [His 3^{rd}level spells are available for use.]*Otto 3

^{rd}level Cleric/ [5^{th}] level M-U [His 3^{rd}level spells are available for use.]*Tenser 7

^{th}level M-U [His 4^{th}level spells are available for use.]**567 CY**

*Evard the Black 1

^{st}level M-U

**568 CY**

*Mordenkainen 14

^{th}level M-U [His 7^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Nystul 7

^{th}level M-U [His 4^{th}level spells are available for use.]Otiluke 1

^{st}level M-U [DMG 1e – 12. His 1^{st}level spells are available for use.]*Otto 3

^{rd}level Cleric/ [7^{th}] level M-U [His 4^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Rary 18

^{th}level M-U

Final year of the Citadel of Eight.

The Battle of Emridy Meadows.

*Evard the Black 5

^{th}level [His 3^{rd}level spells are available for use.]Serten 10

^{th}level Cleric [Rogues Gallery 1e – 46]Serten dies. [LGJ #0 – 5]

*Tenser 9

^{th}level M-U [His 5^{th}level spells are available for use.]

**570 CY**

Inception of the Circle of Eight [LGJ#0 – 6]

*Leomund 5

^{th}level Cleric/[18^{th}] level M-U*Otto 3

^{rd}level Cleric/[8^{th}] level M-U

**571 CY**

*Bigby 11

^{th}level M-U [Rogues – 40]*Nystul 9

^{th}level M-U [His 5^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Otto 3

^{rd}level Cleric/ [9^{th}] level M-U [His 5^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Otiluke 3

^{rd}level [His 2^{nd}level spells are available for use.]

**572 CY**

*Drawmij 10

^{th}level M-U [His 2^{nd}level spells are available for use.*Evard the Black 7

^{th}level M-U [His 4^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Tenser 12

^{th}level M-U [His 6^{th}level spells are available for use.]**573 CY**

*Nystul 10

^{th}level M-U*Otiluke 5

^{th}level [His 3^{rd}level spells are available for use.]**574 CY**

*Bigby 12

^{th}level M-U [His 6^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Drawmij 12

^{th}level M-U [His 6^{th}level spells are available for use.]Jallarzi Sallavarian 1

^{st}level M-U [25 years old, a little early due to her noble status.]

Bigby 13

^{th}level M-U [Rogues – 40]*Drawmij 14

^{th}level M-U [His 7^{th}level spells are available for use.]Leomund 5

^{th}level Cleric/19^{th}level M-U [OJ# 10 – 84]Mordenkainen 16

^{th}level M-U [Rogues – 44] [His 8^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Nystul 14

^{th}level M-U*Otto 3

^{rd}level Cleric/ [9^{th}] level M-U*Otiluke 7

^{th}level [His 4^{th}level spells are available for use.]Riggby 9

^{th}level Cleric [Rogues – 46]Robilar 15

^{th}level Fighter [Rogues – 46]Tenser 14

^{th}level M-U [Rogues – 47. His 7^{th}level spells are available for use.]Warnes Starcoat 18

^{th}level M-U [WG6 Isle of the Ape – 28]

577 CY

Otiluke |

*Bigby 14

^{th}level M-U [His 7^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Evard the Black 9

^{th}level M-U [His 5^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Jallarzi Sallavarian 10

^{th}level M-U*Otiluke 9

^{th}level [His 5^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Tenser 16

^{th}level M-U [His 8^{th}level spells are available for use.]

**578 CY**

*Bigby 16

^{th}level M-U [His 8^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Otto 3

^{rd}level Cleric/ [12^{th}] level M-U*Mordenkainen 18

^{th}level M-U [His 9^{th}level spells are available for use.]*Tenser 18

^{th}level M-U [His 9^{th}level spells are available for use.]

**579 CY**

*Otiluke 12

^{th}level M-U [His 6^{th}level spells are available for use.]Otis 10

^{th}level Ranger [T1 Village of Hommlet – 4]Otis dies.

*Nystul 15

^{th}level M-UTenser 19

^{th}level M-U [Dragon #37 – 11]

Bigby 18

^{th}level M-U [Dragon #37 – 11/CoG:FFF – 23/WGA4 – Vecna Lives – 84. His 9^{th}level spells are available for use]Drawmij 16

^{th}level M-U [CoG:FFF – 23/WGA4 – 84]Mordenkainen 20

^{th}level M-U [Dragon #37 – 11]*Otiluke 14

^{th}level M-U [His 7^{th}level spells are available for use.]Otto 5

^{th}level Cl/14^{th}level M-U [CoG:FFF – 23/WGA4 – 86. His 7^{th}level spells are available for use.]Rary 23

^{rd}level M-U [CoG:FFF – 25/ WGA4– 87]Tenser 20

^{th}level M-U [CoG:FFF – 22]*Theodain Eriason 15

^{th}level M-U**581 CY**

Jallarzi Sallavarian 14

^{th}level M-U [CoG:FFF – 27/WGA4 – 86]Otiluke 16

^{th}level M-U [CoG:FFF – 25/WGA4 – 86]Nystul 16

^{th}level M-U [CoG:FFF – 24/WGA4– 86]

Rary 24

^{th}level M-U [WGR3 Rary the Traitor – 88]Robilar 15

^{th}level Fighter [WGR3 – 10][Possible date for Mordenkainen and Evard the Black
confrontation.]

Alhamazad 18

^{th}level M-U [Rot8 – 62]*Drawmij 17

^{th}level M-UMelf F13/W12 [FtAC – 68]

* Otto 3

^{rd}level Cl/15^{th}level M-U [LGJ #0 – 10, See 591 CY. Otto appears to have lost 2 levels of cleric: perchance to level drain? It is also not possible for Otto to have written his 8^{th}level spell without aid.]Tenser 21

^{st}level M-U [Rot8 – 57]Theodain Eriason 17

^{th}level M-U [Rot8 – 61]Warnes Starcoat 20

^{th}level M-U [Rot8 – 58]

Bigby 19

^{th}level M-U [LGJ #0 – 8]Drawmij 18

^{th}level M-U [LGJ #0 – 8]Jallarzi Sallavarian 15

^{th}level M-U [LGJ #0 – 8]Mordenkainen 20+ level M-U [LGJ #0 – 9]

Nystul 17

^{th}level M-U [LGJ #0 – 10]Otto 3

^{rd}level Cl/15^{th}level M-U [LGJ #0 – 10. Otto has not achieved a level high enough to cast, let alone create his 8^{th}level spell.]Quij 4 HD orc [TAB – 98]

Robilar 20

^{th}level Fighter [LGG – 38]Theodain Eriason 17

^{th}level M-U [LGJ #0 – 11]Yrag 13

^{th}level Fighter [TAB – 114]Warnes Starcoat 20

^{th}level M-U [LGJ #0 – 11]

**597 CY**

Riggby dies. [Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk]

There you have it. More or less, anyways.

Long story short, what spells are available to PCs
depends on when one’s campaign is set.

If 576, the available spell list is:

Bigby: up to and including his 6

^{th}level spellsDrawmij: 7

^{th}level spellsEvard: all of his spells

Leomund: all of his spells

Melf: all of his spells

Mordenkainen: 8

^{th}level spellsNystul: all of his spells

Otiluke: 4

^{th}level spellsOtto: 5th level spells

Rary: all of his spells

Tenser: 7

^{th}level spellsIf 585, let’s assume all spells are available by this
time.

The Circle? |

^{st}edition AD&D chart and perhaps not at all relevant to future editions. But if we might bow to the assumption that characters who rise out of earlier editions should conform to those precepts (one might argue that Mordenkainen and Bigby and a whole host of early characters might have found their origin in OD&D and not AD&D at all), then in Bigby’s and Jallarzi’s case they are experienced magic-users before they could have possibly even begun their careers; but I suppose we are to understand that these are persons of exceptional ability and not limited to what we PCs, the hoi palloi, are. No matter. Things fit together better I might have imagined, considering the number of cooks in the kitchen in all those the years of canon creation. Then again, those latter creators were stuck with what preceded them, so perhaps they did a phenomenal job with what they had to work with.

This took more time than I expected. But my posts always
do. I tried to even out their progressions between concrete dates, so don’t
begrudge my efforts if you don’t agree. You can ignore all the above, after
all. Or, you can always fudge the dates further if that suits your needs. No
one will know, certainly not me.

*“I make no apologies for lack of chronology in my reminiscences, as one incident recalls another, so I put it down.”*

―

The Wheel of Fortune:
The Autobiography of Edith PiafOne must always
give credit where credit is due. This piece is made possible primarily by the
Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the
new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian,
Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining.
The list is interminable.

Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled
index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

The Art:

*Hourglass*, from World of Greyhawk Atlas, 1983

Theodain Eriason detail, by Sam Wood, Dragon #290, 2001 (1998)

Melf detail, by Clyde Caldwell, from

*Artifact of Evil*, 1986Melf, by , from

*Leomund's Secret Chest*, by David A. Trampier, from Players Handbook 1e, 1978

*Robilar*, by Kristoph Nolen, from Oerth Journal#29, 2019

*Rary*, by Andrew Hue, from Dungeon Magazine #103, 2003

*Bigby*, by Jeff Easley, from WG5

*Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure*, 1984

*Riggby*, by Jeff Easley, from WG5

*Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure*, 1984

*Yrag*, by Jeff Easley, from WG5

*Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure*, 1984

Cover art, by Clyde Caldwell, from WG5

*Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure*, 1984*Warnes Starcoat*, by Gary Williams, from WG6

*Isle of the Ape*, 1985

*Evard the Black*detail, by Udon Studios, from Dungeon Magazine #107, 2004

*Serten*, from

*Finger of the Wind*, GenCon 2000

*Otto*, by Sam Wood, from Living Greyhawk Journal #0, 2000

*Drawmij*, by Sam Wood, from Living Greyhawk Journal #0, 2000

*Nystul*, by Sam Wood, from Living Greyhawk Journal #0, 2000

*Bigby and Otto*, from The Adventure Begins, 1998

*The Circle of Eight*, by Ken Frank, from From the Ashes Reference Card #13, 1992

*Tenser (Manzorian) detail*, by Steve Prescott, from Dungeon #130, 2006

*Alhamazad*, by Sam Wood, from Living Greyhawk Journal #0, 2000

Cober art detail, by Vance Kelly, from Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, 2018

*The Circle of Eight*, by Sam Wood, Dragon #290, 2001 (1998)

*The Circle (?)*, from Players Guide to Greyhawk, 1998

Sources:

1015
World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983

1043
City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1992

1064
From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992

2010
Players Handbook 1e, 1978

2011A
Dungeon Masters Guide 1e, 1979

9025
World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980

9031
The Rogues Gallery 1e, 1980

9576
Return of the Eight, 1998

The Adventure Begins, 1998

9578
Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998

11743
Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000

WGR7
Ivid the Undying, 1998

Dragon
Magazine

Oerth
Journal

Living
Greyhawk Journal

COR1 – 00 The Citadel PCs

Greyhawkania,
Jason Zavoda