Saturday, 31 July 2021

Thoughts on: Slavers, Part 1, The North

“Some days in late August at home are like this, the air thin and eager like this, 
with something in it sad and nostalgic and familiar...”
― William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury 

A decade ago, nine stalwart warriors, common men and women, faced the sinister Slavelords, and prevailed! To save loved ones stolen by the evil Slaver, they braved the rugged wilds of the Pomarj and fought fierce goblins and orcs that guarded the Slavelords’ secrets. They vanquished many villains, from the wicked priestess Pieta and her thief comrade Dirk to the blind warrior Icar and his elven mistress Markessa, whose cruel craft reshaped bodies and minds. At last they found the Slavelords’ stronghold. In the hidden city of Suderham, in the maw of Mt. Flamenlut, they confronted the masters [,] vanquished their foes and scattered them to the four corners of the Flanaess, the mountain woke, its fiery blood consuming the Slaverlords’ city.
—The Telling of Blodgett the Survivor
[Slavers – 2]

The Slavelords
Thus begins the last canonical installment of the Slavers saga that began with A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity, or A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry, if you are so inclined to include Skip Williams additional adventure that kicked off the 2013 anniversary compilation A0-4 Against the Slave Lords in the fold, as I am.
Ten years prior to Slavers’ introduction, a small group of heroes set themselves against the Slavelords in a series of confrontations that plunged ever deeper into the heart of the Pomarj, culminating in the finale in (or under) the vile city of Suderham. While vanquished, not all of the Slavers were put to the sword. Indeed, those slavers who survived the final battle were scattered to the four corners of the Flanaess, never to rise again.
Or so we thought.
We were wrong.
Recently, ships flying the yellow sails of the Slavers has been sighed as far north as [the] Nyr Dyv, the lake of unknown depths. People are being stolen from their homes, and the scourge of the Slavelords has returned. [Slavers – 2]

Slavers is Sean K. Reynolds’ and Chris Pramas’ sequel to the original “A” series of tournament modules.
It’s long, far longer than all the originals combined, much as one might expect, this coming years after tournament modules had largely fallen out of favour. Players wanted epic adventure paths at the time of this adventure’s release. This is not to say that the original was not epic. Or long, either. Were they run as tournaments, as intended, each could be completed in a few hours, or a few sessions, if the long form was played; but they could last for months if an ambitious DM chose to fill in the blanks and flesh out all the bits that were inferred to have happened between each installment.
Back in the day, I played through A4, not the others. Why? Because we didn’t have them, that’s why; and there was no game store handy, so we could not purchase them, either. Suffice it to say, we were a little disappointed to hear of all the adventure we had supposedly experienced prior to beginning, but had never experienced. How much XP did I get, I asked jokingly, eliciting a snort from my then DM.
Sean and Chris ensured that the disappointment I felt wouldn’t happen to those playing this adventure by ensuring inclusivity in one volume. Mostly. There are a lot of “the DM can create further scenarios” throughout its pages, much like every adventure I’ve ever read.
They also ensured that the DM would not have to spend hours imagining what might be there, either. This work is not just an adventure; it’s a regional sourcebook. I’m lying, of course. This adventure, like every other, will take prep. A lot of prep. But the story is there in its entirety, with set pieces that need be played, and enough red herrings and side quests to keep your players busy for months.
I should note that the adventure is scaled for characters 4th through 7th level. Or should I say, characters ought to be 4th though 7th at the unveiling.

The story begins in Dyvers.
During this time, the heroes should discover abandoned scenes of carnage, missing people, and rumors about suspected slave raids. Word is out that humanoids—gnolls, goblins, orcs, and ogres are behind the disappearances. [Slavers – 4]

But before we begin, the stage must be set, and that’s where the embedded gazetteer comes to play. What did we know about the “Lands of Dyvers” and the “Wild Coast” prior to this release? Not much, just what could be found in the Greyhawk Folio, the Gold Box, and what could be inferred from prior modules, mentions made in Dragon magazine; and I suppose from what one could interpolate from certain passages in the City of Greyhawk boxed set, as well. Thin missives, to be sure.
One need not guess anymore. Dyvers’ history is told in brief, and each of its Districts are discussed in slightly more detail: Dock, Old, Trade, Royal Grounds, and River; and its Catacombs. Outlying regions, like the defensive towns of Caltaran, Maraven, and Eastguard, are only treated to a paragraph, while others are covered in more detail, insofar as the writers thought those would be the places the PCs would spend more time. It’s enough to get a real feel for the city, though.
Also included is a detailed selection of ships, their descriptions and stats, and the armaments to be found on them. Personally, I think one would be better served by a copy of the 2e supplement, Of Ships and the Seas, but there is enough information given here to get by. (Most of that information was recycled for 5e in Ghosts of Saltmarsh, if you are imbedded in that edition; and dealt with exhaustively in Stormwreck for 3e) More importantly, a fairly extensive Encounter Table is included for all regions within the scope of this adventure.
Dyvers Map

Maps are included. Always a plus. We do love our maps. Although the maps included are lackluster, at best. I suppose they are serviceable, in that they inspire the imagination, but all “detail” (i.e., every street, every building, everything) is left to the DM to lay out himself.
In defense of the designers, there is only so much that could be shoehorned into the page count allotted them. If they had gone into as much detail as I would have wished, this would surely have been a boxed set, easily as expansive as the City of Greyhawk, because Dyvers is a very big city, indeed.
How big is Dyvers, do you ask? That depends on when you mean. The Folio says it is 36,000 (44,000 surrounding), the Gold box 42,000+ (53,000), FtA 49,000, and the LGG says that its population is 52,000. That’s some sizable growth. Those numbers are not accurate, though; I’ve been tutored that those early numbers are only the able-bodied fighting men, for use in tabletop wargaming purposes. Nevertheless, the most important dramatis personae are included, along with their key motivations.

One such notable NPC is a certain Hodor the mage, one of those infamous few to have braved and survived the Ghost Tower of Inverness. Let me jog your memory:
You don't know what time it was when you were awakened, for the room stayed in had no windows. All you know is that you have been roughly d ragged from your cot by the palace guard, and that you now find yourself walking down a long, dimly-lit corridor. With you are four people whom you have never met before, each escorted by several heavily-armed guards similar to the ones who walk by your side. You wonder what the others could have done to deserve so dubious an honor. [C2 Ghost Tower of Inverness – 4]
Across the chamber sits Duke Justinian Lorinar of Urnst. To his right, partially shrouded in shadow stands his advisor, the mysterious magician known only as the Seer. At a motion from the Duke your party is urged forward to stand before the ducal throne.
A smile creeps across the Duke's face as he speaks to your small band. He seems strangely pleased with the turn of events. "I imagine you are wondering why you have been brought to appear before me today." His eyes sweep approvingly over the five figures in your group; none of you betray any apprehension about what is to come. "Most of you," he continues, "have been convicted of crimes for which you should spend the greater part of your lives in my dungeons."
His gaze falls upon one of your party, a thin man with a short black beard. "Hodar," he begins, " you dared to defy a royal order and continued to dabble in sorceries which I had forbidden to all the people of my realm." [C2 – 4]

The Yellow Lighthouse
Intrigue abounds in Dyvers. There are guilds and factions galore. Some are aligned with the Slavers; most are not; indeed, most, although aware of the Slavers’ actions up and down the Nyr Dyv’s coasts, are not aware that the evil organization is orchestrating its northern crimes from within their very walls. It’s up to the PCs to uproot it, and expose its doings there, and gain much-needed allies. The Slavers will surely try to stop them, and will either attempt to seduce those they might, or assassinate those they know they could never hope to sway.
The heroes will have to be clever, and cautious here. Dyvers is not a place to use strong-arm tactics; unless strong-arm tactics are required, that is. Because, you know, sometimes they are. But civilized cities tend to frown on such tactics.
Be advised that the Free City of Dyvers seems a little martial heavy, in regards to its defence. It has 350 Watch, 2000 in its standing army, and another 1000 in its navy (the Marines), and another 20 rangers (Rovers) that patrol the bordering Gnarley Forest. The last seems a reasonable number, but the others seem a little bloated, to my reckoning. Its police force is 2x the real-world equivalent average of 300/100,000 inhabitants, and its combined armed forces is 7% of its population, 49/1000, 10x more than the real-world ratio of 5/1000 (only North Korea tops Dyvers at 50/1000).

What follows is a comprehensive review of where and how the Slavers are operating, a section on conducting sea combat (adapted from the aforementioned 2e supplement Of Ships and the Sea), and another on all types of conveyances, waterborne and land-crossing, alike.
Points along the path are detailed: Smugglers Cove, Blackthorn, the North Woolly Bay, Bright Tower Keep, Safeton, the Orcish Wild Coast, etc. And finally, the Pomarj. Each are given the same treatment as was Dyvers; especially Hardby, described with the same depth as was Dyvers. There are fairly in-depth descriptions of certain towns (there are maps, sometimes; but not always), and encounter tables.
Like I said, this is as much a gazetteer as it is an adventure.
There is much said about who the Slavers are, who their spies and contacts are, and what this cast of characters do while “off stage,” and suggestions on how they will react to the PCs’ meddling. As there should be. How else could a DM run this sandbox?
That said, much is left for the DM to flesh out. Most towns visited are given descriptions, but are not mapped. Taverns are named, but not detailed; nor mapped. Nor inns. Nor guildhalls and temples and castles and courts. Nor could they be; the scope of the adventure is enormous, the number of potential sites that could be explored beyond count. But important encounters are: Dungeons, and towers, and wherever else conflict is keyed to occur.

There are odd passages throughout; usually concerning some relevant NPCs’ origins and their reasons for being…wherever.
Captain Planck is a patient soldier with a good amount a tactical experience, having participated in the Great Northern Crusade to retake the Shield Lands lost to Iuz.  [Slavers – 41]
Shouldn’t he still be there, then? The war is waged there, still; and always will be, in either a cold or hot state, until the Old One is put to rights, if he ever can be. I should think that anyone invested in the Great Crusade would be engaged in it forever more. Wouldn’t you?

A recent addition to Safeton is Bendel […], a redheaded native of the Yeomanry (a friendly nation to the southwest). She fought against giants when they invaded her homeland, and came to Safeton to help keep the humanoid ride at bay. [Slavers – 46]
Wouldn’t she, too, still be there, or in Sterich or Geoff, fighting the good fight against those fell foes?

So too Unjan, a former paladin of Mayaheme, was involved in the Great Northern Crusade to reclaim the Shield Lands lost to the evil demigod's armies during the Greyhawk Wars. [Slavers – 105]
See Planck, above.

But Greyhawk has always been replete with globetrotting adventurers, thousands of miles from their homelands, with uncertain (or, to my mind, less than convincing) reasons as to why they are no longer there when trouble is invariably brewing back home, without fail.
The PCs, at least, have real reason why they are roaming the map. They are on the trail of the Slavers, and the scent leads south, to Hardby, and beyond.

The Aspis
There’s much ado about the Earth Dragon, who really seems to only make appearance in the Slavers’ saga (for good reason, actually; but more on why later). I’ve suggested it be swapped out for the Elder Elemental Eye, in keeping with the 2013 inclusion of that god’s temple in A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry, but either can suit, I imagine. Reynolds and Pramas do a good job extrapolating upon the decidedly local Oerthly demigod and weaving it into the Flanaess and its history. I just don’t buy it, personally; not fully, anyway. Not so much the Earth Dragon, or its place in the Pomarj; that is well interpolated; it’s Stalman Klim: most specifically why and how he created “The Nine,” and how slaving could possibly help him attain his goals.  I’ve mentioned my preference for his venerating the Elder Eye, instead, and I’ll go into why in a later post.
The Aspis return as well. They make their only appearance in A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity and this adventure. I suppose that Reynolds and Pramas were paying homage to the original series in regards to including both. I submit that the Aspis may be native to the Pomarj, and nowhere else. Maybe they infest the Suss Forest and the Amedio, as well. Lord knows what else might dwell in those dense morasses….

As to the adventure, there is a path to follow. Is it a railroad? No. The PCs can do as they wish, but there are warnings about tackling certain locales too soon.
The DM should provide the heroes with clues that lead to an investigation of the Blackthorn Caverns in the Gnarley Woods. Care should be taken so that the heroes don't discover the precise location of the entrance to the Blackthorn Caverns. Thus, it will prove difficult for them to return with an army and destroy this haven of evil. The heroes may stumble on the site in the dark or during a storm or they may chase a band of humanoids back to their lair or be captured by humanoid raiders and have to escape these caverns. The heroes should barely escape with their lives. [Slavers – 4]
Personally, I think there is too much discussion on Sandboxes and Railroads.
This module is a great example of a sandbox, but it is also an adventure, and there are set pieces within, plot points, scenes and acts within a larger play; and it is up the players to play their parts, if you will. There’s a lot of wiggle room within it on how this play plays out; but there are acts and scenes within it, otherwise there is no story. And there is a story! Is expecting the players to follow the clues railroading? If it is, so be it. There is either a story, or there is blind chaos. 


Spoilers await:

There is quiet a bit of leeway within the scope of this overarching narrative insofar as what might happen in the cities and towns, and upon the deep blue sea. Nevertheless, the story is firmly entrenched within the confines of Dyvers, Hardby, the Woolly Bay, and the Pomarj; not Gradsul and Keoland, not the Free City of Greyhawk, and certainly not in the Empire of Iuz. Should the players wish to deviate from the presented path, the DM has either not sufficiently impressed upon them the importance of their doing so, or the players are assholes, disrespecting the DM and the adventure at hand.
Either way, if the players don’t follow the clues laid out before them, the Flanaess would surely have fallen to Stalman Klim, Eclavdra, Iuz, and whomever else has threatened it, given the heroes it had to stand against them.
I digress. What is the path laid out?
The PCs begin in Dyvers, where they either hail from, or have arrived at, for whatever reason. They meet and greet; they make acquaintance with family and friends (hopefully); where they could thwart a smuggled ring and the enmity of the rogue alliance. They may slay rampaging monsters and explore the countryside. Or they may bring a thief or assailant of innocents or a noble to justice. during this time, the heroes should discover abandoned scenes of carnage, missing people, and rumors about suspected Slave raids. [Slavers – 4]
Events unfold.
When the heroes return to Dyers after their abortive raid on Blackthorn, they should witness the end of a slave raid on an outlying manor house by the Pirates of the Yellow Veil. They can only stop a few of the raiders, and are too late to prevent the ship from setting sail and escaping. The heroes should discover that several of their friends were either skin by the Slavers or nabbed in the raid. […] [They discover evidence that the Pirates of the Yellow Veil are actually agents of the Slavelords. [Slavers – 4]

Events unfold.
The heroes are to sail forth on a decoy ship [….] [Slavers – 4]
Why? To gather information, and to set them on their path to the next altercation.
Where they face the first of the Markessas they are sure to meet.
The heroes’ efforts lead them to the first secret base of the Slavers hidden on the southern shore of the Nyr Dyv [, where] the heroes discover clues that lead them to other secret way stations along the Selintan River and to the port of Hardby. [Slavers – 4]
Not the Free City.  That place is a rabbit hole for the PCs.
If you wish to entertain that notion, there’s plenty of information in the City of Greyhawk Boxed Set. And, quite likely, quite a bit of intrigue to be found there, too. But the scope of the story, as written, is not in the Free City, but in Hardby.

Savent's Tower
It is in Hardby where the heroes encounter a misunderstanding with the Hardby Marines, being in possession of a contraband smugglers’ ship. […] They should run afoul of the town’s politics and the Slavers’ agents, who attempt to eliminate them. Eventually the heroes are conscripted by the city to perform pest extermination in return for dropping all debts they come to owe to the city [Slavers – 4]
They are posted to Bright Tower, where they encounter the orcs of Blackthorn.
In an effort to keep their presence secret, the orcs attack Bright Tower under the cover of night with reinforcements from Blackthorn. [Slavers – 4]
The PCs journey south to the Wild Coast, where the trail leads to Sevant’s Cove, where they defeat the 2nd of the Markessas, the black-skinned Vessa, and pursue the Slavers to Port Eldredd, into the Pomarj, to the City of Highport, and finally, on to the Drachensgrab Mountains, for their final showdown with the Slavers in their city of Kalen Lekos.

What about Markessa?
Which one? There are more than one, as one would expect from our prior experience with her.

There is a Markessa the Red found at the Slaver’s Cove on the Nyr Dyv. She is a short female elf with fair skin, red-golden hair and an evil look about her. She wears red studded leather armor and a dark red cap, which she uses to add flourishes to whatever gestures she makes. However, this is not her original identity. She once was a Kaoish sylvan elf by the name of Tynley. Catching the eye of the slavelord Markessa, she was brainwashed and surgically altered to look like Markessa. Now Tynley’s original personality is gone and she considers herself to be the real Markessa [….]  There are very fine scars on certain parts of her face and body, belying her elaborate disguise. [Slavers – 27]
She divides her time between the Cove and Dyvers, and runs the Slavers’ operations in the north. It is she who has seduced and coerced those guilds and gentiles who’ve thrown in with the Slavers, for one reason or another.

Markessa the Black
Another is Markessa the Black, who directs operations in the Woolly Bay.
Sevant’s Tower was annexed by the Slavelords to become the center of a spy network. The leader of this network was once an elven wizard-thief named Telaril. When she caught the true Markessa’s eye, she was kidnapped, surgically altered, and brainwashed to believe that she is Markessa. Because of a strange reaction to one of the drugs, her skin became mottled. To hide this discoloration, Markessa had Telaril’s skin tattooed black.
Now, known as Markessa the Black, or Vessa, an alias she often uses, she resembles Markessa with black skin and ebony tresses. Except form her hair, she could be mistaken for a drow. She is reclusive and rarely speaks above a whisper. [Slavers – 48]
Needless to say, the Markessas are more dangerous the further into the adventure we get.

Is there any mention of the real Markessa? Other than it was she who created these duplicates, none whatsoever.
Or should I say, none so far.
Are there more? Assuredly.
More on them later. 


Have I piqued your interest?
Or are you wholly familiar with this adventure, and reading this purely for nostalgic reasons? If you are, maybe I’ve inspired you to pick it up and give it a re-read, curious whether it holds up to your memory. I would recommend that you do. It is good. The prose is, too.
In either case, I’ve only scratched the surface. The adventure is just getting started, the true foes yet to be faced.

To be continued….

One must always give credit where credit is due. This History 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 K. Reynolds, Chris Pramas, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable.
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
Slavers cover detail, by Jeff Easley, from Slavers, 2000
Dyvers detail, by David Roach & Sam Wood, from Slavers, 2000
Dyvers map, by Todd Gamble and Sam Wood, from Slavers, 2000
The Yellow Lighthouse detail, by David Roach & Sam Wood, from Slavers, 2000
Wooley Bay Map, by Todd Gamble and Sam Wood, from Slavers, 2000
Aspis detail, by Jeff Easley, from Slavers, 2000
Dyvers detail, by , from Slavers, 2000
Hardby detail, by Wayne Reynolds, from Slavers, 2000
Savent's Tower detail, by Wayne Reynolds, from Slavers, 2000
Markessa the Black detail, by David Roach & Sam Wood, from Slavers, 2000


1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
2170 Of Ships and the Sea, 1997
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9039A A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry, 2013
9039 A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity, 1980
9040 A2 Secret of the Slaver’s Stockade, 1981
9041 A3 Aerie of the Slave Lords, 1981
9042 A4 In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords, 1981
11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood, 1999
11621 Slavers, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Dungeon Magazine #215, 2013
Dragon Magazine

Friday, 23 July 2021

History of the South, Part 2: Empires (-2150 to -1034 CY)


“Only he who has no use for the empire is fit to be entrusted with it.”
― Zhuangzi, The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu

The Flannae
The Flan escaped persecution. Or should I say that most Flan escaped the fate other cultures abut the emerging Suel Imperium would endure. A few were enslaved; but for the most part, the Flan had fled across the Hellfurnaces to a land of peace and prosperity, and were lucky to be embraced by the Olven state they discovered in that bucolic valley they spilled out upon.

-2150 CY
The Flan roamed the idyllic valley, never settling, always wary of the benevolence of the elves, wondering why these beings tolerated their presence, when they, in their power, could easily subjugate them, as the Suel had. Yet they did not; they remained ever welcoming, ever benign, ever patient; indeed, the elves taught the Flan reverence of the natural world, and how to live as one with her bounty.

A Reverence of the Natural World
The Flan listened to the elves instruction, and studied their ways; but it was nigh on 15 years before they saw fit to settle in a somewhat secluded, and defensible valley in what were to be called the Lortmils. Secluded? Defensible? Did they not trust the elves? They did. Nevertheless; they prepared for what they foresaw as the inevitable coming of the Suel.
The founding of the first Flan city in the Lortmils "Haradahagh." This is counted as (3365 SD/1 FT)
First year of Flannae Tracking system (1 FT). [OJ1]

With its founding, the Flan became more than a nomadic people and marked the occasion by starting their own calendar, abandoning that of the hated Suel. Although no written descriptions of the city of Haradaragh have survived, there are cryptic fragments of songs still sung among those of Geoff, Sterich and the County of Ulek who count themselves of Flan descent. These tell of the spectacular visions of sunrise in the high plateaus of the mountains, the great wide boulevards and plazas of the city, the many-stepped pyramids devoted to the Sun-God, the agricultural terraces of the slopes, the labyrinthine walls protecting the city, and the tremendous wealth brought from the mines below. The more tragic lyrics sing of the last days of the city, when the mines boiled forth with rampaging humanoids who slaughtered all who would stand against them. (3365 SD/1 FT) [OJ2]

-2064 CY
The elves noted that the Flan had grown roots. It was good that the Flan had found a home. It was good that the Flan lived in accordance with their teachings. They were less pleased when they learned that the Flan had struck deep into the Lortmils. There was a reason why the elves had never settled the Lortmil’s valley’s, preferring to dwell in the valleys to either side. What dwelt under those mountains was best left undisturbed. But they were content in the knowledge that it was these humans who would be the vanguard against those creatures of evil who dwelt in those dark depths beneath the Lortmil’s pleasant fa├žade, and not them.
The Flan of Haradaragh found that their presence in the Lortmils was left unchallenged by the elves for a simple reason—the existence of the orcs and goblins of the central peaks. The humans had nearly a century of relative peace in which to build their great capital. During this time, the human miner Bleredd led several explorations of the deep caverns below the mines, and on one such occasion, was ambushed by a goblin scouting party. Separated from his companions, and facing a howling band of goblins, he prepared for his death at their spears. He was amazed to discover that he was no longer fighting alone; a strong faced matron battled at his side with her hammer, slaying the goblins as easily as the most skilled warrior. When the battle was over, Bleredd turned to thank his rescuer and found he was alone again. He there swore an oath that he would find her and repay his debt, unto his dying days if need be. Long and far he traveled, and terrible were the hardships he endured to follow his oath -- all of which have been expounded upon elsewhere. [OJ2]

-1990 CY
Of all the tribes of the Flannae, there was one that had learned their lessons of power from the Suel magi, the Ur-Flan. They were but small in number, insignificant compared with their brethren tribes. Truly, they were the least of them. But they were the most curious, the most ambitious, sure there was more to the Arts than the druids taught, than the elves were willing to divulge; for had they not seen the Suel raise wonders, had they not seen the Suel defy the elves, and had the elves not slunk away when challenged?
The Ur-Flan began to spread out. They were not content to remain in the shadow of Haradaragh. They did not believe the Flan’s prevailing assumption that the gods had chose the elves to be the beneficiaries of these eastern lands. Had the elves not left most of it fallow? There is more than enough room for settlement on this oerth, they said. Before long, the Ur-Flan too claimed lands for their own, and built cities upon them, over which great towers soared.
The Flan wizard, Galap-Dreidel builds Inverness to protect his "Soul Gem." (3526 SD/161 FT) [OJ1]

Know you also that here was said to dwell the great wizard Galap-Dreidel at the height of his power and glory, and that he did lift the Castle Inverness from the very foundation of rock upon which it rested. [C2 – 2]
Galap-Dreidel's Ghost Tower

But Galap-Dreidel was not content that his treasures should be vulnerable to those who might covet them.
For the stone Galap-Dreidel raised up the great central tower and filled his castle with many horrible creatures and deadly traps and, using a great incantation, he did wrest the tower from the very fabric of time and set it apart so that those within would not be affected by the passage of years. [C2 – 2]
One wondered who might try to wrest what was his from his grasp. All knew him to be cruel, more horrible in fact than those monsters he had himself imprisoned within his tower.
Townsfolk whispered that Galap-Dreidel would, at times, set a prisoner free in the tower merely for the sport of his beasts. Some legends tell that his power was so great that he even taught the gem to protect itself from those who would take it from him. [C2 – 2]

-1932 CY
The Almeks
Other Flan followed, and before long, they found waters that spanned the whole of the oerth. And upon the shores of these waters, they would soon discover that there were more peoples upon this oerth than they had hitherto believed to be true.
The first reports of strange cities to the south worshipping strange gods are reported by the Flanae. These people (according to Flan sources) call themselves Almeks (Olmec in the Common tongue). (3584 SD/-1932 CY) [OJ1]
These Almek were not the AnaKerri, they discovered. Nor were they native to the Flaneass. They had sailed from a far-off land, a hot, jungled land, one they gestured to lay many days journey to the east. Although great effort was made, neither could make themselves understood, except in the most rudimentary way, as neither spoke the tongue of the other.

c –1900’s
These Almek were indeed from a far-off land. They were not alone there, either.
As in most places on Oerth, the first human occupants [of Hepmonoland] are lost to the mists of time. By two and a half thousand years ago, the tribes of Touv wandered the [savannah] and lower jungles of Hepmonaland, farming small plots and chasing herds of wild cattle. In the deeper jungles to the north, similarly uncivilized tribes of Olman warred with each other and built shrines to their gods, occasionally discovering or destroying a ruin their legends said had been built by a bat-like humanoid race that had left or been exterminated several hundred years before. [SB – 36]

c –1900 to –1500 CY
But where the Suel and the Flan had discovered the secret of bronze, and the fashioning of weapons with it, the Olman of Hepmonaland had not. But they had marvelled at the slim, shining stone that the Flan had carried; and they sought to divine the secret of it themselves. Its discovery changed them. Their weapons were no longer blunt wood and stone. They were sharp, and their keen edge allowed those tribes that wielded them to conquer the others.
Over the next 400 years, the Olman learned to work stone and bronze and built great cities in the heart of the jungle—clearing land around them for farming—and raising great temples to honor their deities. Four Olman city-states formed from the original tribes, and all delighted in warring on each other, claiming prisoners as live sacrifices. The northernmost nation, Xuxulieto, was broken by a combined effort of two of its neighbors, and the resources were divided up among the survivors; its capital was abandoned and soon overrun by humanoids. [SB – 36]

Cities in the Heart of the Jungle

c. -1700 CY
The empires of the lizardfolk were fading. So too their civilizations. They lost the Art of agriculture as their soil refused to bear the abundance required to feed their cities, and they foraged ever further into the jungles of the Amedio, so far in fact, that those who did never returned. Slowly, they dwindled, until no troglodytes dwelled within. They were all too soon replaced, as primordial bullywugs discovered their emptiness.
The empire of the troglodytes fell around -1700 CY. There is evidence that an amphibious race far larger than modern bullywugs lived in the jungle at this time, although any interactions they may have had with the troglodytes is unknown. Giant unintelligent reptiles also wandered the land, the descendants of which include the bonesnapper and several varieties of giant lizard. [SB – 62]

c. –1600 CY
The Suel tinkered. With magic. With flesh. In fact, they had been tinkering with the flesh for quite some time, ever since they had allied with the dark elves.
[Otto] and I, working with colleagues in Leukish, have strong evidence that skulks were deliberately created during the second millennium of the Suel Imperium, probably to serve their masters as House or Imperial assassins. You recall my investigation of the little-known Eight-House War of around 1100 SD, which could have sparked the inception of the skulks’ use within the empire. It is wholly reasonable that they could have gotten out of the control of their creators and spread throughout the empire thereafter, despite the best efforts of all to command or exterminate them.
—from a letter to Mordenkainen from the priestess Johanna, formerly of Almor, City of Greyhawk, Wealsun 20, 585 CY
 (1100 SD) [Dragon #241 – 47]

It was only a matter of time before their own slaves began to tinker, as well. And use those results against the Suel, themselves.
The actual history of the jermlaine is complex. Details are currently unknown to all residents of the Flanaess, except for certain high priests of Pyremius. It is generally believed that jermlaine are related to minor goblinoids like mites, snyads, and gremlins, but this is not the case.
Jermlaine were originally gnome slaves of a secret society of Suloise wizards who dwelled in caverns under the Hellfurnaces, which in the ancient days of the Suel Imperium were less volcanic and usually identified as part of the Crystalmists chain. This society of wizards, the Inheritors of the Red Gloom, was at constant odds with the Suel Imperium. The Inheritors closely followed the teachings of the Suloise deity Pyremius, who represented selfish personal achievement and the gaining of power at all costs. […] The Inheritors often worked in concert with the great red dragons of this region known as the Fiery Kings, against whom the Suel Imperium fought many wars. [see Dragon #230, 8-16]
Certain gnomes, corrupted by their masters, secretly wished to pursue the teachings of Pyremius themselves to achieve a greater command of magic. The Inheritors would have none of this, but the wicked gnomes managed to establish priests of Pyremius among their own kind through prayer and devotional acts. They eventually escaped their masters and took up residence in the mountains immediately next to what is now Jeklea Bay. There they conducted hideous experiments on captive Suloise citizens, some of them Inheritors who were kidnapped by the gnomes or their agents.
One result of these experiments was the creation of a slave race that served as spies and guards for the evil gnomes. This race, though minute in size, was extraordinarily clever and capable, combining features of the Suloise captives with flesh from the gnomes themselves. (It is said that the deity Pyremius served as the model for this race’s facial appearance.) The gnomes were themselves destroyed by spellcasters of the Suel Imperium about the year -1,600 C.Y., almost 2,400 years before the present day in the Flanaess. However, their servant race survived and scattered, spreading throughout the mountain tunnels and caverns. These creatures are today called jermlaine, which is Oeridian for “troublemaker [….] [Dragon #241 – 49]

-1600 CY
Where one fails, another finds opportunity. It has always bee that way in the Amedio. It is a harsh land, un unforgiving land. But there are always others, waiting in the wings, as it were. As the reptilians declined, the mammalians rose up to replace them. Th D-kana had lurked under the canopy, waiting for just that moment.
The power vacuum left by the fallen troglodyte empire allowed a race of intelligent gorillas to gain ascendancy around -1600 CY. Calling themselves d’kana, they built a peaceful civilization of tribal nations based on order and trust. The d’kana evidently developed spellcasting, since remains found in rare crypts or mausolea are often accompanied by unmistakable spell components. There is no evidence of a war during the time of the d’kana, so it is possible that their wizards and priest received troublesome omens and withdrew their people before the Olman came to the land in approximately -1200 CY.
Most modern Amedian and Olman tribes tell tales of “dakon-apes” in forested foothills of the Hellfurnaces, probably descendants of that once great empire. Explorers in that region have found modern tools, weapons and jewelry similar to items found in ancient d’kana interments, but locals claim that the “black-hands” do not like to be approached. [SB – 62]
They were not the only mammals to capitalize of the troglodytes’ and bullywugs’ misfortune.
Two other intelligent mammalian races emerged during the time of the d’kana. The evil kech actually predate the d’kana, and some mummified remains date back to the time of the troglodytes, but they did not thrive until the reptiles were gone.  The benign beastmen also multiplied rapidly while the d’kana were in power, aided by their camouflage ability. [SB – 62]

-1408 CY
Long had the Tuov wandered the savannah, tending their herds before they too settled, raising cities of their own, crowning their first king in Kundanol. Thus was the kingdom of Kunda born.
The start date for the Touv calendar is the crowning of the first Touv King in Kundanol; this date is year 1 to the Touv, […] or approximately 1408 years before 1 CY. Before the uniting of the Touv tribes, several families or priesthoods employed unique calendars, but these alternatives have fallen from usage and been forgotten in the intervening millennia. (4108 SD/ 3055 OC/ 1252 BH/ 743 FT) [SB – 38]

Onatal consolidated his power, and decreed those beneath him to increase those lands he deemed should be his. For was not his the strongest of the Tuov tribes? Before long, the whole of the savannah should be his, unto and into the jungles in the north, unto the sea. And beyond. Where he faced those who took umbrage to his claim.
When Onatal. First king of the Kunda, defeated his brother Onak for rulership of the Touv people, he sent his brother northward to start a new city. Onak found a fertile plain inhabited by wild cattle at the foot of the river Ake, and claimed it in the names of himself and his brother. The city he built prospered despite occasional attacks by sahuagin, and tribute flowed regularly back to Kundanol.  [SB – 50]

c. –1400 CY
Galap-Dreidel had passed into history. Or had he? The remnants of his tower still stood upon the shores of the Woolly Bay; but none had seen him in centuries, and were glad of it; for his rule had been cruel, and punishing.
But despite his great power there came a time that Galap-Dreidel did leave on a journey northwest, over the river Selintan, and did not return. At this time there came a great multitude of superstitious peoples from surrounding lands who laid siege to the castle and threw down the great tower. And it came to pass that despite this seeming victory over their feared former master the people did shun the area and it was said that on fog-shrouded nights the great central tower of the Fortress Inverness could stiII be seen. [C2 – 2]
Despite the fear that Galap-Dreidel might one day return, there were those brave and foolish souls that remained, if not within sight of, or within a day’s march of its foundation. The memory of Galap-Dreidel faded. And a new power began to rise.
Once, over 2,000 years ago, a Flannish kingdom called Sulm ruled the central portion of what is now called the Bright Desert. [WG3 Rary the Traitor – 15]

-1250 CY
Not all Tuov wished to live under the benevolent rule of the kings of Kunda. Few were allowed the luxury, but there were a few who proved the exception. (159 TC)
Iyapo was created as a private woodland retreat by Arakay, one of the rare Kunda wizards. When logging encroached on the retreat, the wizard moved on but left his fortifications behind, and the loggers moved in. Extensive logging eventually cleared the forest, but by that time it had become a well-developed city with many secondary businesses and farms, ranches and villages sprang up along the road to Kundaxa. Iyapo was declared an official city-state by the kingdom in -1250 CY. It still supports a disproportionate number of wizards. [SB – 50]

c. –1215 CY
Little Miners

The Suel liked to tinker. And had for more millennia than one likes to ponder. One wonders how many monstrosities they’ve set loose upon the surface of Oerik. They are believed responsible for the skulks, for instance; although those Suel with ancient tomes have never admitted to this. They are responsible for the Derro; there is no doubt about that. (4301 SD)
Approximately 1,800 years ago, after much debate, the Suloise Imperial Congress approved the creation of a new subject race of beings to serve as miners, delving into the earth in search of precious metals, gems, and magical compounds sought by the wealthy and politically powerful wizards of the empire. The race was bred from human and dwarven prisoners and slaves by means that do not bear description here. This new race was called the thurgamazar, Suloise for “little miners," but they became more popularly known as dwur-rohoi, “twisted dwarves,” a term used by a Flan slave of the Suloise who saw the new race at work. Dwur-rohoi was corrupted over the centuries to dwurroh, then to derro. [Dragon #241 – 40]

c. -1200 CY
The Amedio is a harsh mother. She culls her creations, willing only the strongest, the most robust, the most resilient to survive, let alone thrive. The D’kana, like the troglodytes and the bullywugs before them, proved inadequate to the task, and they too fell from her grace, slinking back into the canopy that incubated them.
There is no evidence of a war during the time of the d’kana, so it is possible that their wizards and priests received troublesome omens and withdrew their people before the violent Olman came to the land in approximately -1200 CY. Most modern Amedians and Olman tribes tell tales of “dakon-apes” in the forested foothills of the Hellfurnaces, probably near-civilized descendants of that once-great empire. Explorers in that region have found modern tools, weapons and jewelry similar to items found in ancient d’kana interments, but locals claim that the “black-hands” do not like to be approached. [SB – 62]

-1100 CY
There are some secrets that once forgotten, ought to remain buried.
The high priests of the Olman city-states of Alocotla and Xapatlapo make a pact with the god Tlaloc. The yuan-ti race is born.
The Yuan-ti are Born.
Approximately -1100 CY, a century before the great Olman migration into the Amedio jungle, the high priests of the city-states of Alocotla and Xapatlapo made a pact with the god Tlaloc. After a ceremonial sacrifice and the consumption of a thousand infants, all who partook of the grizzly feast were reshaped into snakelike forms, with those who consumed the largest portions most changed.  These changes bred true, and the ophidian priests continued to rule the two cities, passing the mantle of leadership to their direct descendants. The monsters of Alocotla spread into the countryside, diluting their tainted blood with the remaining humans, eventually drawing all of them into the cold embrace of the serpent-men. The human aspects of the yuan-ti of this nation have Olman traits, while their snake parts are predominately dark green with red or black patterns.
[SB – 47]

c. -1034 CY
The Kingdom of Sulm rose in the shadow of Gaap-Dreidel’s tower.
Founding of the Flanae Kingdom of Sulm in the Bright Desert Region. (4482 SD/117 FT) [OJ1]
Utaa was once the thriving capital of Sulm. […]
The city is truly vast. It consists of over 100 square miles of homes, temples, castles, palaces, and every other imaginable type of structure. [WG3 – 29]
The city may also serve as an entrance to or exit from the Underdark, for many of the city's palaces and castles featured deep dungeons, and the people of Sulm delved into many forbidden subjects before their evil kingdom was finally destroyed. [WG3 – 29]

The People of Sulm

But there were those who remembered the tyranny of Galap-Dreidel. They believed that no good could come from those who ruled where he had, and so they took measures to remove these people of Sulm. They were right to worry, for Galap-Dreidel had gained far greater power as he drove the pilons of his empire deep and forged pacts with darker patrons and allies than any could imagine, and paid for it with the darkest of currencies, souls.
Stories say that the light of the [soul] gem dragged the souls of men screaming from their mortal flesh and trapped them within its many facets. Galap-Dreidel, it was said, harnessed this power and used it against those who opposed his will. They also say that he who controlled the gem could call forth the stolen souls of men and make them do his bidding. [C2 – 2]

Desert Nomads

Constant warfare with desert nomads and internal unrest led Sulm's rulers to delve into forbidden magic and the worship of evil gods.
[WG3 – 15]

The centaurs once faithfully served the vanished kingdom of Sulm. but were sickened by the evil which eventually infected its rulers. [WGR1]

Those efforts drove Sulm to that which they sought to guard against.
[The] nobles of Sulm worshipped evil gods and engaged in dark rites. [WG3 – 44]

[Foul] Sulmish magic was performed here, and the few slabs of black marble that remain on the walls bear faint traces of mystic symbols and wicked runes. [WG3 – 44]

“It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

One must always give credit where credit is due. This History 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.
Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.” Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
Jermlaine, by Albie Fiore, from Fiend Folio, 1980
Jermlaine, from Monster Manual II_3e, 2002
Dakon, by Albie Fiore, from Fiend Folio, 1980

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9038 C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness, 1980
9386 WG3 Rary the Traitor, 1992
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood, 1999
Dragon Magazine, 241
OJ Oerth Journal #1, #2, appearing on Greyhawk Online
LGJ et. al.
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Songs from an Evil Wood

An Evil Wood

Songs from an Evil Wood



But they shine softly on...
There is no wrath in the stars,
They do not rage in the sky;
I look from the evil wood
And find myself wondering why.

Why do they not scream out
And grapple star against star,
Seeking for blood in the wood,
As all things round me are?

They do not glare like the sky
Or flash like the deeps of the wood;
But they shine softly on
In their sacred solitude.

To their happy haunts
Silence from us has flown,
She whom we loved of old
And know it now she is gone.

When will she come again
Though for one second only?
She whom we loved is gone
And the whole world is lonely.

And the elder giants come...
And the elder giants come
Sometimes, tramping from far,
Through the weird and flickering light
Made by an earthly star.

And the giant with his club,
And the dwarf with rage in his breath,
And the elder giants from far,
They are the children of Death.

They are all abroad to-night
And are breaking the hills with their brood,
And the birds are all asleep,
Even in Plugstreet Wood.

Somewhere lost in the haze...
Somewhere lost in the haze
The sun goes down in the cold,
And birds in this evil wood
Chirrup home as of old;

Chirrup, stir and are still,
On the high twigs frozen and thin.
There is no more noise of them now,
And the long night sets in.

Of all the wonderful things
That I have seen in the wood,
I marvel most at the birds,
At their chirp and their quietude.

For a giant smites with his club
All day the tops of the hill,
Sometimes he rests at night,
Oftener he beats them still.

And a dwarf with a grim black mane
Raps with repeated rage
All night in the valley below
On the wooden walls of his cage.

I met with Death in his country...
I met with Death in his country,
With his scythe and his hollow eye
Walking the roads of Belgium.
I looked and he passed me by.

Since he passed me by in Plug Street,
In the wood of the evil name,
I shall not now lie with the heroes,
I shall not share their fame;

I shall never be as they are,
A name in the land of the Free,
Since I looked on Death in Flanders
And he did not look at me.

Since I looked on Death in Flanders...


—Lord Dunsany Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett
Published in “Fifty Poems,” 1929

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
1917 by blph


Friday, 16 July 2021

The Duchy of Tenh Primer


“Peace can happen in 24 hours... just like war can happen in 24 hours.”
― Sari Nusseibeh

“How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?”
― Bertrand Russell

The Homeland of the Flannae
The Flan have a saying: “All roads lead to Tenh.”
The people of the Duchy of Tenh are pure Flan, proud of their bronze color, and are as convinced of their racial superiority as any scion of the Celestial Houses of Aerdy. They claim to be the last homeland of the Flannae, the proud, final nation of the many that had once spanned the breadth of the Flannaess before the coming of the Aerdi, and had thus given succour to all Flan who made their way there. “Come,” they called, for this is your sacred soil.
The Free Flan

It claimed that it had never been conquered, that it was free, and always had been, no matter that the Duke had pled fealty to Aerdy, and Aerdy had allowed them that belief; and so long as the Duchy paid their tithes, Rauxes had no desire to argue the point. It remained so until Nyrond seceded, as soon did the Theocracy of the Pale. The Duchy reasserted its claim to sovereignty, and the Great Kingdom, far too busy fending off a serious threat from the Rhizians, could not then concern itself with its petulant children. It would gather them up in due time, it believed, but the test of time proved that such would never be the case. Nyrond was too strong, and the Great Kingdom had grown too weak. Indeed, when the Great Kingdom tried, the Tenh defeated them at the Battle of Redstone, and Tenh owed it fealty no more.

The Tenha and Rovers at Tea

In the decades that followed, the Duchy proved itself worthy of its claim to freedom, repelling the Theocracy of the Pale’s intent to annex it, to say noting of the banditry it endured from the west, and the seasonal raids of the Fists from the north; and the ever-present threat of marauding humanoids from the Griff Mountains, and the trolls from the fens. The Duchy had had been blessed with natural defenses, the swift flowing Artonsamay, Yol, and Zumker rivers, none easily breached; and when they were, their cavalry was as swift (a necessity considering their ancient kin, the Rovers were as like to raid them as not), their pikemen sturdy.
And so it was until the Great War, when the Fists descended upon them with a fury and resolve never before seen.
They fell. Their Duke fled; and the Time of Tears began.

Continuing to Fight
Now part of the Empire of Iuz, the Duchy of Tenh is very much a memory, its people ravaged, with as many fled to foreign lands as remain. But Hope prevails. The people persevere. And they pray that one day they will be free again. The Stone fist has left in the wake of unparalleled bloodshed, and Iuz’s Boneheard still rules in his stead.
Forces, few and scattered, loyal to the Duke of the old Duchy of Tenh, continue to fight against the numerous invaders over the last decade. The Duchy in essence, is no more, divided between the Pale, the Stonehold and the forces of Iuz, who seek to steal and fight each other over the remnants of wealth which remains of Tenh.

Espionage, sabotage, small party raids are a fact of life here. There are those here who plot and strive for the triumphant return of their Duke, who, still in exile in the County of Urnst, has yet to return to the war-torn lands of Tenh. His continued absence weakens the resolve of the partisans who remain, continuing to hope that he will return with a mighty host to drive the invaders away, and make Tenh safe once again.

Inspiration for campaigning within Tenh will be had in the original trilogy of “The Black Company,” by Glenn Cook; and in the history of Poland, most specifically concerning the Partisans of the Second World War: “Fire Without Smoke: Memoirs of a Polish Partisan,” by Florian Mayevski, “Definace,” by Nechama Tec; and the novel “The Polish Officer,” by Alan Furst.
Further inspiration can be had from “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” by William L. Shirer, and “Night,” by Elie Wiesel.

Country Specific Resources:
There are none specific to the Duchy of Tenh, but most pertinent information can be found in:
The Greyhawk Folio, The Greyhawk setting boxed set, Greyhawk Adventures (concerning Tang), Greyhawk Wars, From the Ashes Boxed Set, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, Dragon magazine #52,55,56,57

Adventures in this country include:
Beyond the Light of Reason
, Dungeon #96, Tenh
Although later retconned into the Yeomanry, B1 Into the Unknown (in the monochrome edition) was originally suggested as located in The Duchy of Tenh (as well as Ratik and the Thocracy of the Pale). That would make north Tenh an ideal location for B2 Keep on the Borderlands, as well.
To the northwest is the Bluff Hills, home of the Shadow caverns and number of ruins of ancient Ur-Flan cities.
Forest adventures in the Phostwood, an ancient forest, with secrets of it own, now disturb by the war.
Partisans in the Fellreev forests.
Mountain adventures (and possibly Underdark adventures) in the Griff mountains (alternate placement of G1-3). Dragons. Remorhaz. Yeti.
The primary source of adventures stems from the occupation of Tenh by Iuz and Stonefist.
The fight for survival against Iuz and his Boneheart.
The rolling hills of Tenh are dotted by Iuzian fortifications.
Partisan fighting against the occupying Iuzian and Stonefist forces.
Retrieving artifacts or important symbols of the Tenh military (battle honors, a magical weapon, etc).
Slavers from Iuz, border skirmishes with the Bandit Kingdoms, the Theocracy of the Pale, and Stonefist.

Adventures in nearby areas include:

S4 White Plume Mountain, Bandit Kingdoms
Return to White Plume Mountain
WG8, Fate of Istus, #1 Bandit Kingdoms, #2 Nyrond, #5 Pale
WGS1 Five Shall Be One, Bandit Kingdoms
WGS2 Howl From the North, Stonefist
WGR5 Iuz the Evil
The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga
Fright at Tristor, Theocracy of the Pale
Forge of Fury, Bone March
A Slight Diversion, OJ#9, Redspan, Bandit Kingdoms
Out of the Ashes, Dungeon #17, Bandit Kingdoms
Ghost Dance, Dungeon #32, Rovers of the Barrens
The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb, Dungeon #37, Bone March
Ex Keraptis Cum Amore, Dungeon #77, Burning Cliffs
Deep Freeze, Dungeon #83, Theocracy of the Pale
Glacier Seas, Dungeon #87
King of the Rift, Dungeon, #133, Bandit Kingdoms
Into the Wormcrawl Fissure, Dungeon, #134, Bandit Kingdoms
Tomb of Zhangthe Horrific, by William Dvorak, Rovers of the Barrens.
C14 The Sanguine Labyrinth, by Carlos Lising, casl Entertainment, 2019, Burning Cliffs
Arctic adventures in Blackmoor, the Cold Marshes, the Taival Tundra; (and the outer doors of and ancient dwarven clanhold)
Helping the Duke himself rally enough of a force amongst the friendly neighboring countries to retake Tenh.
Acting as agents of Iuz in the County of Urnst, looking to capture or assassinate the Duke.
Creating trouble in the Stonehold lands, pulling military resources away from Tenh.
Convince Nyrond, which is on the cusp of either helping the Duke/peoples of Tenh or ignoring their calls and strengthen their own fortifications, to select one choice or the other.
Infiltrating the Gibbering Gate, in Rover territory, to free prisoners from imprisonment. The Gibbering Gate, a prison / insane asylum run by Jumper, one of Iuz’s Greater Boneheart, is found in the Barrens. Information about the Gibbering Gate can be found in WGR5 Iuz the Evil.
Ruins of the Ur-Flan from the time of Keraptis.
Hunting down the mythical White Auroch.
The Forlorn forest found just to the east of the Barren Wastes, is full of hideous monsters and possibly ancient secrets.
Forest adventures in the Burneal Forest, Bears, winter wolves and sable firs.
Sea adventures upon the Icy Seas, White Fang Bay, and Big Seal Bay.
Adventurers traveling into the Northern Wastes can visit the mysterious Burning Cliffs and visit remote Rover villages along the coast.

Duchy of Tenh:

Lawful neutral, neutral; Flan, Oeridian, Common.
[DRG#52 – 20]

His Radiance, Duke Ehyeh of Tenh
Capital: Nevond Nevnend (pop. 23,800)
Population: 200,000
Demi-humans: Some
Humanoids: Numerous (in mountains)
Resources: foodstuffs, platinum (platinum is rare and usually associated with palladium in copper and nickel deposits, in our world)
[WOGA – 37]

Capital: Nevond Nevnend (pop. 19,000)
[FTAA – 39]

Proper Name: Duchy of Tenh
Ruler: Contested: His Radiance, Duke Ehyeh III of Tenh vs. forces from Iuz, the Pale, and Stonehold
Capital: Nevond Nevnend
Resources: Foodstuffs, platinum (resources not currently developed or exported because of warfare)
Alignments: LN, N, NG
Population: (excluding invading forces) 195,000— Human 78% (F), Halfling 9%, Elf 4%, Dwarf 3%, Gnome 2%, Half-elf 1%, Half-orc 1%, Other 2%
Languages: Common, Flan, Orc, Goblin, Dwarven
Religions: Iuz (Iuz's forces); Pholtus (Pale's forces); Erythnul (Stonehold's forces); Allitur, Beory, Berei, St. Cuthbert, Pelor, Zodal, Obad-Hai (original religions); old Wastrian temples
[LGG - 112]

The Sun Sets on Tenh

One must always give credit where credit is due. This History 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 exhaustive.
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.
It has been expanded from the original found on a “Touring the Flanaess Postcard” written by Buster “Ancientgamer” Budd, and some passages from that scholarly work reside with this piece.

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
Beyond the Light of Reason, by Adam Rex, from Dungeon Magazine #96, 203
White Plume Mountain cover, by Jeff Dee, 1980
Duchy of Tenh heraldry, originally from Greyhawk Folio, 1980

2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1981
1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
2023 Greyhawk Adventures, 1989
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Dragon Magazine
OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
Living Greyhawk Journal
Greychrondex, Steven B. Wilson
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
Anna B. Meyer’s Greyhawk Map