|The Oerth Journal #36|
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m not sure why the delay, issues with the funding platform, presumably, but I’m not the one to ask. Neither should we complain, either. I expect that putting this publication together is a lot of work, and it’s a free download for those unwilling or unable to afford a print copy. We should all be pleased that Kristoph Nolen continues to pour as much love and effort into its creation as he does.
So, what did his effort bring us? A themed issue regarding the Holidays and Festivals of Greyhawk. Which makes me wonder why my submission is betwixt its covers…. Just kidding. I’m not complaining. I’m actually very pleased my submission is included. Part 3 of “A Fistful of Baubles,” concerning Hradji Beartooth’s ill-fated expedition to mysterious Tostencha, continues within. Patience gentle reader, there’s just one more upcoming chapter left and then it’s complete.
What have you thought of it thus far? Time well wasted? I jest. If you love Greyhawk, which you obviously must if you’re reading this review, how can pursuing new stories and detailed lore for the setting ever be a waste of your time? I do wonder if there are one or two readers among you who’ve been impatiently awaiting “Baubles” continuation after so long a delay and flipped to the back of the issue to read my submission first. That would be quite a compliment, indeed!
That said, mine is not the only deviation from said theme. That’s a good thing, I believe. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
Enough about me and mine.
How does this issue celebrate the holidays and festivals of Greyhawk? By revealing them, by explaining them, by expounding upon them.
Take Thomas Kelly’s submission, for example: “Father Tabor’s Guide to Midsummer and Richfest” details how Merikka’s faithful observe the midsummer festival, although Tabor grudgingly highlights the Summer Queen Sotillion’s and her husband Zilchus’ rites and passages. More importantly, regional observances are touched upon, as one expects that few countries will celebrate the festival in exactly the same way. It’s a lengthy article because the Flanaess is a vast place, indeed.
We learn about the daily customs of “Richfest in Chathold” from Sam Dillon. It’s a weeklong affair, and a lot happens each day, what with its parades, its markets, its displays of pyrotechnics! A Rite of Charity is observed, as is religious obeisance. There is feasting, music and theater and competitions, so renowned that revelers travel to the city from miles around, and even from lands afar to partake of it. It is truly a sight to behold, an event one should experience at least once in their lifetime!
One wonders how “Erkil’s Skullsplitter” might fare were the Mountain Dwarf’s ruby red ale ever entered in that much celebrated competition? It might never be, though, as the Despotrix of Hardby requests Erkil Stoneguard’s presence at her annual Brewfest celebration, an invitation he has yet to decline. Mark “Sollace” Allen believes that no other libation could ever be considered its better. None might be, for those who’ve imbibed it describe it as truly magical!
A shorter, if equally evocative submission is James A.S. Muldowney’s “The Beers of the Flaneass.” Let’s say that it will add flavour to your game. These libations will surely be focal during festivals of any sort.
As are theatrical productions. Jared Milne waxes upon “Xanvener’s Performance” of ‘The Liar’s Court,’ annually staged in the Great Kingdom of Aerdy during Brewfest’s theatrical season.
Kristoph treats us with two short pieces, each but a page long. The first is a short story concerning a certain Illusionist (of “Trading Cards” fame ) named Loran competing in the Free City’s Desportium of Magick. His second entry concerns his favourite folk, the Rhennee, and how they celebrate Needfest. Why, one wonders, would they bother when they don’t appear to worship the one true pantheon, whichever that may be. Why? Because they find every reason to celebrate life and happiness, that’s why.
Les Reno keeps in theme with a dissertation on the “Beekeepers of Badwall,” who they are, who they were, and how they came to be, and the rites and rituals that arise from their distant past.
Les can’t be held to just one article in this edition. Where his first dealt with the Flan, his second explores a well-hidden secret, “the Sheltering Ancestors,” one the olve are wont to keep. It’s eldritch, as one would expect of such a long-lived race, it’s legendary, and it just might explain why the olve revere the natural world, and most specifically, ancient trees.
Trust Len to twist these two tales together, because he does. He’s a meticulous lore-master and word-builder. He leaves no stone unturned, no leaf, nor beehive, uninspected!
Casey Brown takes a holiday from the Bandit Kingdoms to flesh out the city of Seaton, its history, its ruling family, and its points of interest. Festivals important to it are detailed. And so, surprisingly, is Lord Obmi, that dastardly dwarf of days-gone-by. He was always meant to be formidable, and Mr. Brown has made him so, once again. Yeah, he’s bad ass here for 5e, as he was meant to be.
There are other equally evocative works in this issue.
Two panels of Mike Bridges’ “Cultists of Tharizdun” lurk within.
Rich DiIoia continues to explore his fascination of all things Suel. He goes way back this time, like, way back in time, back to the heyday of the Suel Imperium and its colonial expansion into the Amedio and beyond, and its meeting the Olman Empire, and the war that inevitably followed.
Zach Houghton introduces a new magic item, “Accursed Fishhooks.” Are these Stormhooks a cursed item? Or are they merely a harmless prank? You be the judge.
|Never the Heroes|
Well, that’s what’s in this issue of the Oerth Journal. Have I provoked your interest? Are you ready and willing to read more, perhaps each article in its entirety? I hope I have. As noted above: I consider it time well wasted.
So, you ask, how do I get my hands on this magazine? And more importantly, how much coin will I be relieved of for the pleasure of obtaining a physical copy if this zine?
Not one red cent! A mention before, it’s a free download, found HERE! as a direct download. Or HERE! on the Greyhawk Online Oerth Journal page.
If you want a hardcopy of this particular issue, you may be out of luck. Print subscribers get a physical copy. And you’d have had to support the Oerth Journal prior to publication to get one. But if you wish to receive print copies in future, consider donating to the Oerth Journal HERE!
More importantly, have I inspired you to try your hand at writing something for an upcoming issue? I do hope I have. And we’d love to hear from you.