Friday 26 January 2024

On Robilar, Part 1


“Awake, arise or be for ever fall’n.”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost

Lord Robilar
I expect that if Rob Kuntz should ever read this post, he would take exception with what is presented here. “This is not the true history of Robilar,” he would very likely say. And I would not blame him because he would be right. How could it possibly be? Who other than Rob Kuntz could know that? I could not because I do not know what happened at Gary Gygax’s table; nor Rob Kuntz’s; theirs were private gameplay, however public certain sessions may have become in public consciousness; so, I cannot express what happened there here and cannot verify the truth to any tales told.
What about Rob’s words in the Oerth Journal, you might ask? And what about his recent “The Return of Robilar,” published by Three Line Studio? Aren’t they insights into Robilar, in Rob’s own words? They are, but are they canonical? One wonders. One has to ask the hypothetical and heretical question: How relevant are those original campaigns to what came after? Their Greyhawk predates the published Folio. Their Greyhawk was in a continual state of evolutionary flux. Indeed, events, facts, and rules may have deviated wildly from session to session. This too I cannot verify. Therefore, I can only work with what published canonical material we – or I, in this case – have.
This Robilar, then, is not his Robilar. This, instead, is a collection of passages found in TSR and WotC sourcebooks and is thus an exploration of a “history” of an NPC. So, let’s presume that Rob Kuntz’s Robilar and the published Robilar are different animals altogether and proceed from there.

520 CY
Robilar is born.
Race: Oeridian [OJ#7 – 41]
Age: 31 [COR1 – 00 The Citadel PCs – 7]
[Calculated from 551 CY {LGJ#0 – 4}, the creation of the Citadel of Eight.]
Robilar was born in the City of Greyhawk. His mother died in childbirth, and he never knew his father. [OJ#7 – 41]
Orphaned, he was not altogether alone.
Module WG6, Isle of the Ape, introduces Terik (or Teric), Robilar's [older] brother. [OJ#7 – 41]
[If Robilar’s mother died in childbirth, Terik must be older than his brother (assuming of course that they shared a common mother and not a common father); he must also be old enough to have served as Robilar’s caregiver, however young. I decided that Terik must then be about 7 years older than Robilar to be even remotely capable in that role.]

520s CY
He Grew Up On the Streets
He grew up on the streets of the free city, an outcast from his mother's family
. [OJ#7 – 41]
No other mention is made of his family. Who were they then? Persons of note? Of respectability? His mother must surely have been, if they thought need to cast her out for whatever reason. One then wonders who his father was. Did the family know? Or was she cast out merely because Terik and Robilar were born out of wedlock, or perhaps married below her station. I suspect that Robilar’s mother was banished from their sight after Terik was born, and that he and Robilar might even only be half-brothers, given their age difference.
Life would have been hard for the brothers. How could it not be: homeless, living hand to mouth, taking what they could to survive? Terik takes up the sword in that pursuit, earning what keep he could. I doubt that he could be considered a “fighter,” proper, at first. Not then. I expect he began his career as an opportunistic street urchin, killing his first man at a very young age. He would have then survived as a member of the city Beggars Guild, where he received his first instruction.
Robilar started his career as neutral in alignment [.] [OJ#7 – 41]
Necessity breeds pragmatism, and not necessarily evil.

529 CY
Terik’s “training” is complete.
He is 16 years of age. [DMG 1e – 12]
Did he remain in the Beggars Guild? For a time, just long enough until Robilar could fend for himself.
Robilar id 9 years old.

530s CY
In time, while his fellow men-at-arms fell, Terik would have gained a reputation as a good man in a pinch. In time, he would have joined what mercenary bands would have him. He then ventured up and down the Wild Coast in what bands paid best.
He would have sent what coin he could home, ensuring that Robilar would not have to endure what he had to to survive. Indeed, he must have enrolled Robilar in the best martial school he could afford.

536 CY
Robilar takes up the sword.
He is 16 years of age. [DMG 1e – 12]
Robilar would then have been capable of escape from the Slum Quarter of Old City.
Where did he venture? Wherever.
Early successes in the Cairn Hills and the Gnarley Forest brought him to the attention of the public, and tales of his exploits circulated widely in the taprooms of the City of Greyhawk. [EttRoG – 10]
He slowly made his way south, however.
Legendary natives of the Wild Coast include such persons as Mordenkainen, Robilar, and Tenser, to name but a few. [WoGA – 42]

540s CY
Young Robilar
And there he remained for long enough for history to consider Robilar a native of the Coast. He would not undermine that assumption – who, after all, would wish to be forever remembered as a native of Greyhawk’s Slums?
That said, you can take the kid out of the Slums but you can’t take the Slums out of the man.
Robilar is a grim, black-haired, saturnine man with a brooding countenance, deep-set eyes, and a short goatee. [COR1 – 00 – 3]
But time away from the slums had tempered his early nature.
You are also trustworthy when you have pledged your word, something you do not often do. Your companions find you a reliable friend. [COR1 – 00 – 3]
You are a friendly man, although if moved to violence, you will fight in a direct and brutal fashion, with little regard for fair play or the rules of chivalry. [COR1 – 00 – 3]
You fear no man or creature, at least none that you have run into so far. [COR1 – 00 – 3]

Robilar would spend many years patrolling the Coast out of Safeton.
Woolly Bay:
The wag who named this terminus of the Sea of Gearnat and made it stick is lost to history, but the appellation is not inappropriate. The small cogs which move up and down the Wild Coast are as often pirate as merchant. [Folio – 21]
[O]rcs and goblins carved up the [Pomarj] into small territories ruled by individual tribes and chieftains. Human bandits and privateers still frequented the major cities and towns, but the countryside became unsafe to travel.
Anarchy persisted for decades [.] [LGG – 87]

Robilar would not remain there for long, however. It was steady work. But boring.
Safeton (originally Safe Town) was one of the more peaceful and stable places on the Wild Coast for a very long time. [Slavers – 45]
Adventurers who crossed his path informed him that there was more excitement to be had out there than keeping Safeton safe.
You are a strong man, talkative, and willing to give a gruff welcome to adventurers. [COR1 – 00 – 3]
You spend a lot of time in taverns, where information and adventuring are both available. [COR1 – 00 – 3]
They told him of their adventures, tales that would ultimately draw him back home.
Several years ago a series of treasure troves was discovered in or near Greyhawk castle. Immense wealth began flowing into the city, and artisans and mercenaries began flocking to Greyhawk due to this boom. [Folio – 11]
Robilar packed his gear and headed back north.

The Mad Mage's Maze
He was no fool, though; he took heed of the dangers they had faced in the Mag Mage’s maze and knew he could not possibly brave the Castle alone, if those seemingly tall tales were even partway true. He sent for Terik, asking him to join him in his bid for fame and fortune.
Terik cared little for fame, but he had every desire never to be poor again. He also knew that the merc work he was presently engaged in could only be a quick trip to the grave, so he decided to answer his brother’s call. If he were going to risk his neck for cold coin, he would rather it not be for the niggling pay he was being doled.
Robilar spent much of his earlier career adventuring in Castle Greyhawk [.] [OJ#6 – 41]
[T]he first adventurers to explore the ruins of Greyhawk Castle set forth. […]
Robilar and Terrik [sic], Murlynd and Tenser, [and] a cleric […] slew a few rats, found stairs leading down, and entered the dungeon with torches flaring. [Dragon#AN2 – 96]
How did Robilar meet Murlynd (or Merlynd, as the case were) and Tenser? In a tavern, I imagine, one where adventurers gathered.
[Robilar] is a tough, talkative and friendly individual, who enjoys adventuring, companionship and the many pleasures of life. [OJ#7 – 41]
Regardless how, Robilar added a couple of mages to his party.
Merlynd the Mage
Human magic-user [EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror – 8]
Tenser: Human magic-user [Rogues 1e – 47]
Those first forays paid off! Robilar had never seen so much copper and silver in all his life! And he was having the time of his life!
Robilar loved Castle Greyhawk, marveling at each deadly new chamber with the enthusiasm of a child. [EttRoG – 10]
He soon desired more than he had gained thus far.
Robilar, along with Teric and Tenser, formed a triumvirate and took over the first level of Castle Greyhawk for a while. They barracked their respective forces there and guarded ingress and egress, using the location as a base for further adventures deep within the sprawling castle complex. During this time, Robilar was a perilous adventurer, often going without maps and using a ring of invisibility to adventure into the depths of the castle to investigate and ambush his enemies.
[OJ#7 – 41]
It is said that your three greatest loves are adventuring, magic, and information, and this is true. [COR1 – 00 – 3]
Three things drive him: magic, adventuring and information, three things he can never seem to get enough of. [OJ#6 – 41]
Before long, gold and gems were trickling through his fingers.

550 CY
But all too soon, that torrent trickled as Robilar found the Mad Mage’s upper levels crawling with more treasure seekers than treasure. He went in search of far more fertile fields.
[L]egends place a lost city of Old Suloise in [the Suss] forest, but few dare to confirm these rumors due to the dangers of the wood.
[LGG – 142]
But however hard he searched the lost city eluded him. Not so orcs. He found them everywhere. And they took umbrage to his scouring their hard-claimed territories.
A year ago, you conquered a band of orcs single-handedly, and one of the orcs, Quij, became your henchman. Quij seems to be blossoming in your service, and except for a cowardly streak that comes out you have no complaints about him. [COR1 – 00 – 3]
Quij was born in the Pomarj [.] [TAB – 98]
[Robert Wiese’s 2000 GenCon tournament Finger of the Wind states this occurs in 560 CY, but I would suggest this earlier date. Why? Because:
Orcs are cruel and hate living things in general {MM 1e – 76}
Being bullies, the stronger will always intimidate and dominate the weaker. {MM 1e – 76}
They take slaves for work, food, and entertainment {MM 1e – 76}
ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil {MM 1e – 76}
The earlier Robilar subjugates Quij the better. Or shall I say “tamed,” instead? Quij’s innate hatred of humans would be more easily be quelled at an earlier age, helped along by his understanding that the strong shall rule, and that he – being young and weak – must obey.]
Quij is 7 years old. [Date calculated from “Finger of the Wind,” p.4, Characters]
Quij is not a bad sort, for an orc, that is. He is stupid, but that only made him more pliable.
[CN orc-m HD4; Str 15, Con 15, Int 5 …]. [TAB – 98]
Young as he is, Quij would be little more than a fetch-and-carry link-boy to begin. His duties increased with age, but not by much.

I assume it was also within the Suss that Robilar acquired his trio of Green Dragons.
Green Dragon
[MM 1e – 33]
Or: Hit Dice 13 (base) [Monstrous Manual 2e – 67] if you prefer.
The race of green dragons prefer to locate their underground lairs in or near woods or forests of the bleaker wilder sort if possible. They are very nasty tempered and thoroughly evil. [MM 1e – 33]
There are fewer woods wilder than the Suss, after all.
He may have subdued them since subduing a Green Dragon is possible:
INTELLIGENCE: Average to very [MM 1e – 33]
Subduing a Dragon: An attack on a dragon to subdue, and thus capture it may be opted for if such intent is announced in advance of combat. […] Note that it is impossible for creatures with less than average intelligence to attack to subdue. [MM 1e – 30]
Granted, encountering more than one is possible:
Encountering Multiple Dragon: If two or more dragons are encountered outside their lair it will be a mated pair if two are encountered and sub-adults if three or more are encountered. If two or more dragons are encountered in their lair it will be a mated pair - with their young if applicable. Mated pairs are always 5th through 8th age categories. [MM 1e – 30]
Indeed it is suggested that he did just that:
The dragons were a small family, consisting of a mother, father and baby. The creatures had no names, but Robilar spoke their native language, so all was understood between them. Robilar trained all three dragons as fighting steeds. [OJ#7 – 41]

That’s all well and good, but I’m more inclined to believe in the likelihood of his getting his hands on 3 dragon eggs rather than his subduing 3 green dragons, as that stretches credibility (to me, anyway), although not impossible.
FREQUENCY: Rare [MM 1e – 33]
NO. APPEARING: 1-4 [MM 1e – 33]

I might point out that Robilar’s choice of dragon would seem to foreshadow his eventual fall.
ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil [MM 1e – 33]
Raising these hatchlings would take some time, however.
So, in keeping with Robilar’s claim, his dragons would likely be:
Adult – 51 -100 years – 5 hit point per die; average
Very young – 1-5 years – 1 hit point per die; small [MM 1e – 29]
But, as with Quij, the younger the better to ensure lifelong loyalty from thoroughly evil slaves. (Did I say slaves? I did. You know I did. And I presume you know why, too.)
Robilar is 30 years old.

551 CY
It is while Robilar wandered these fringe lands of the Plains of Greyhawk that he would meet Mordenkainen, the person who would perhaps have the most profound influence on his life.
Your adventures have taken you across the Flanaess, and you have met many wizards in your quest for magic. You find you do not have the patience to study magic yourself, but like to collect the items that wizards create. One wizard, named Mordenkainen, approached you a couple months back about joining an adventuring group he was forming. He prattled on about Balance and working to prevent anyone from getting the upper hand, but all that meant nothing. To you, the invitation looks like a call to adventures that you cannot pass up. [COR1 – 00 – 3]

Within months, Mordenkainen had brought the renowned warrior Robilar to his cause, as well as the cleric Riggby, and his zealous assistant, Yrag. From the shores of the Nyr Dyv, Mordenkainen recruited the righteous Tenser, who in turn introduced the dim-witted though well-meaning Serten to the assembly. [LGJ#0 – 5]
They called themselves the Citadel of Eight, taking the name from Mordenkainen’s renowned Obsidian Citadel, in the Yatil Mountains. [LGJ#0 – 5]
Robilar began his career as an adventurer, seeking his fortune in the company of such Greyhawk luminaries as Mordenkainen, Bigby, Serten, and from time to time, Rary the Mage. [WGR3 Rary the Traitor – 11]

Race: Human male
Class: Fighter
Level: 8
Align: LN
Height: 6 ft. 3 in. Weight: 255 lb Age: 31
S 21, I 11, W 16, D 16, Co 18, Ch 16
[COR1 – 00 – 3]

What did Robilar think about the others in the group:
Mordenkainen (10th level human male wizard): The apparent leader of your group, this mage worries too much about the state of the world, and not enough about his own happiness. Then again, maybe the state of the world is what makes him happy. He seems too concerned in lofty principles for you. You left Quij to take care of Mordenkainen’s castle, and the thought of your servant there makes you chuckle.
(7th level human male wizard): This wizard is Mordenkainen’s apprentice, and seems to be following in his master’s footsteps. He is gaunt and thin, and seems to like himself that way. He pushes himself and does not eat properly, almost as if he were a monk. He follows Mordenkainen’s lead, so you know that he will support his master in big decisions.
(7th level cleric of Boccob): You’ve got to love a group with two wizards and a priest of the god of magic in it. Riggby has dreams of grandeur, though, and is somewhat overbearing in his “care” for your soul. If he does not back off a little, you’ll get really angry. That would not bode well for the group’s survival.
(8th level human male fighter): This cautious man fights in the two-weapon style that you do not favor. He always thinks a plan through to the last detail, and never seems comfortable around strangers (including you). He is most comfortable with Riggby. [COR1 – 00 – 4]
(7th level human male cleric of Saint Cuthbert): No mention is made as to what Robilar thought of Serten, but one might imagine that he found the cleric often been more a source of exasperation to adventurers than a great help. He is, quite simply, stupid but likeable. He likes to adventure, but is basically not bright enough to be trusted on his own; therefore, he will always be found with a group. He understands the physical side of melee very well and can seldom resist getting in and mixing it up with his foes. This often creates problems as he is too dumb to know when to run away, requiring the rest of the party to rescue him. He may not cast his spells for the cleverest of reasons either. [Rogues 1e – 46]

550s CY
In the years that followed, their adventures focused on Greyhawk and the Selintan valley, and the crags of the Cairn Hills and depths of the Suss Forest were opened to their prying vision. [LGJ#0 – 5]
In his adventurous youth, he traveled throughout the Flanaess and beyond and met Mordenkainen, Riggby, Merlynd (now the quasi-diety Murlynd), Robilar, Bigby and other now-famous personages. [Rot8 – 58]
With his allies in the Citadel of Eight, Robilar conquered the dungeons of Castle Roakire and the mirrored halls of the Forever Cairn, meeting each new challenge with a fearless abandon and a lust for fresh adventuring thrills. [EttRoG – 10]

This Citadel of Eight appeared to spend more time searching for magic items at first then “seeking to maintain the Balance,” whatever that was supposed to mean, which suited Robilar fine. These Citadel members were far more competent adventurers than most; and that, at least, made their quests more successful than any of his had been before.
Merlynd decided it was time to mosey on, as he put it, after while, necessitating a replacement. Robilar suggested his brother Terik as a candidate (as he’d rather have confidence that Merlynd’s replacement could actually stand up in a fight than not – and truth be told, Robilar had been feeling a little outnumbered, worried that yet another soft-shelled finger-wiggler would join their ranks, leaving him to do even more heavy-lifting than he was already expected to do) and was rather surprised when, firstly, Mordenkainen approved his suggestion, and secondly – even more surprisingly – Terik actually accepted the nomination.
Robilar could not be more pleased. It would be like old times, pluming the depths of Castle Greyhawk again with his brother.
Of course, there was to be a trial period.
Castle Greyhawk
To the average man of the modern era, the Crook [of Rao] existed only in scripture and hymn. In the mid-sixth century CY, however, the adventurers Tenser, Terik, Merlynd, and Robilar discovered the artifact in the depths of Castle Greyhawk, only to lose it again in a bizarre demiplane known as the Isle of the Ape. [Dragon #294 – 95]
The Crook of Rao
The Crook of Rao
The Crook was borne by a party of powerful adventurers, including Tenser the Arch-Mage, Lord Robilar, his brother Terik, and the quasi-power Merlynd during their adventures beneath the ruins of Castle Greyhawk circa 5[50s*] CY. It is likely that they found the Crook in the dungeons of Zagig Yragerne, although that is not known for sure. [OJ#3 – 18]
[*OJ#3 says the Crook was borne by the Citadel circa 569 CY, implying its membership of that year, but Murlynd would have moseyed on long before then.]
Tenser: “Most of you are familiar with the name Robilar, and perhaps a few have knowledge of his brother, Terik. It was in this company, and with Merlynd as well, that I first ventured to the Isle of the Ape...” [WG6 – 6]

Merlynd did eventually mosey, and Terik passed his trial with flying colours, regardless their recent successes and failures.
Tenser, Robilar, and Terik were delighted when, upon entering a large chamber, they saw a figure apparently made entirely of gold. […] Surely, the strange golden automaton represented millions and millions of gold pieces worth of wealth [.]
Even as a spell was cast to keep the Jeweled Man from acting, warriors were rushing to come to grips with this marvel. Alas for the adventurers, the spell had no effect, and before the eager fighters were near, the figure was off and away, running so quickly that even boots of speed could not keep pace. Down a passageway went the glittering form, the party in pursuit. In all too brief a time, however, the Jeweled Man was lost, vanished in the labyrinth of the surrounding passages. Swearing to return, the adventurers went away empty handed, settling eventually for far less precious items taken from likely more fearsome opponents. [Dragon #290 – 22]

As time passed, their fame grew, and each member began to pursue his own interests.
In the years of their companionship […] and Riggby was promoted speedily within the church of Boccob in Verbobonc. Tenser, Bigby, and Mordenkainen likewise advanced in their own wizardly ways, gaining arcane knowledge and power. [LGJ#0 – 5]
Mordenkainen and Bigby began to spend ever more time in dusty old libraries, pouring over dusty old tombs.
Expeditions became less frequent. The sporadic.

One wonders how Robilar and Yrag became embroiled in a mass murder investigation. But they did. Who’d have thought either had a knack for investigative work?
Sir Bluto Sans Pite [, a fighter/rogue,] was a respected Knight of the Realm before his indictment in the River of Blood mass murder case. [S2 – 11 / White Plume Mountain Revisited – 25]
Yrag was ennobled by the Oligarchy [of the Free City] several years ago, when he and Lord Robilar aided in bringing the villain behind the River of Blood mass murder case to justice. [LGJ#2 – 8]
[B]oth Robilar and Yrag were ennobled by Greyhawk [LGJ#0 – 5]
Robilar reached the pinnacle of his career when he was named a Lord of Greyhawk [.] [WGR3 – 11]

What to do with this newfound respectability?
Robilar built his castle.
Robilar's Castle
When a fighter attains 9th level (Lord), he or she may opt to establish a freehold. This is done by building some type of castle and clearing the area in a radius of 20 to 50 miles around the stronghold, making it free from all sorts of hostile creatures. Whenever such a freehold is established and cleared, the fighter will [a]utomatically attract a body of men-at-arms led by an above-average fighter. These men will serve as mercenaries so long as the fighter maintains his or her freehold and pays the men-at-arms [.] [PHB 1e – 22]
Robilar's Castle was located about 70 miles southwest of the City of Greyhawk, on the Wild Coast (Hex E4-89). The castle complex was surrounded by several villages, all of whom paid a tithe to Robilar for protection. The castle consists of a series of structures; a great keep surrounded by four walls with towers at the corners. [OJ#7 – 41]
Heraldry: A green dragon on a yellow shield. The yellow represents gold, which Robilar believes is a more powerful source of power than magic, for with it, one can utilize anything that can be bought. [OJ#7 – 41]

Robilar grew bored. Lording over a castle and collecting taxes was not all it cracked up to be. For one thing, maintaining a stronghold was expensive! Before long he began to look for ways to augment his income.
Lord Robilar
Robilar fears nothing, and to prove that point, he often adventures alone, even when the odds appear greatly stacked against him.
[OJ#7 – 41]
Robilar decided to delve into the dungeons alone. As if drawn by a magnet, he went to the location of the first sloping passage and followed it, and the rest, downward. After many hundreds of feet, the wily adventurer suspected that he was indeed moving down. He decided to carry on so as to go as deeply as he could and discover what lay in the dungeon’s depths. That he did, and he was promptly rewarded and then sent off to the other side of Oerth.
The next day, Robilar’s companion, Terik, searched the city for his friend. He learned that Robilar had adventured alone into the ruined castle, so he decided to seek his companion there. I was astonished by what followed. Somehow Terik managed to follow much the same course Robilar had taken. It took him about six hours, but eventually the worthy fighter also came to the lowest level of the dungeons, and he likewise was transported to the other side of the planet. The very next day, Tenser […] sought his usual cohorts, but soon discovered that both Robilar and Terik were gone, vanished into the dungeons without a trace. Of course Tenser then went into the dungeon to search, and [followed them to their distant destination]! [Dragon #295 – 20]
They caught up with him by scrying and they finished the adventure together. They all split later – Teric visited the southeast area around the Sea Barons (he was looking for Voodoo-type areas), Tenser went home, and Robilar trudged down into the southern jungles, far past the reach of Sea Prince slavers. [OJ#7 – 41,42]

556 CY
Robilar’s green dragons would be:
Adult – 51 -100 years – 5 hit point per die; average
Young – 6-15 years – 2 hit point per die; small [MM 1e – 29]

557 CY
One day, Mordenkainen’s and Bigby’s research led them, surprisingly, back to Castle Greyhawk.
In the company of his apprentice Bigby, the fearless Lord Robilar, and the willful cleric Riggby, the wizard [Mordenkainen] relentlessly explored the ruins of Zagig’s castle, charting its secrets and plundering its priceless treasures. [EttRoG – 4]
Mordenkainen never let on about what he was looking for in the Mad Mage’s forever shifting maze, but Robilar suspected it continued to elude him.
No matter, it was good to get out of the castle and stretch his legs. Those ventures also alleviated his cash-flow problem.
Laden with loot from Zagig’s treasuries and comfortable only around other adventurers, Robilar created an urban sanctuary for himself in the form of the Green Dragon Inn, a two-story tavern and hostelry on Cargo Street in the River District, Greyhawk’s most boisterous neighborhood. Named for his trio of green dragon servitors, the inn served as a way to gather leads on new adventures and intrigue in the city. He owned the place in secret, entrusting the day-to-day management to a former cohort, the swordsman Ricard Damaris.
[EttRoG – 10]
Green Dragon Inn
The Green Dragon Inn is located in Greyhawk’s River Quarter, along a wide street crowded with rivermen, cutthroats, and thieves. At night the two-story stone building comes alive with activity, the sound of boisterous laughs and the sight of fl ickering windows attracting custom from all quarters of the city. Most of the shabby clientele are locals, Dockway bully-boys or bargefolk looking for cheap drinks and good atmosphere. The Dragon provides the latter in quantity, for its proprietor does little to quell light violence and overtly encourages enthusiastic drinking and carousing. Weapons and armor are allowed (and a wise precaution). It’s a dangerous place but a friendly one, as long as no one harms the staff. [EttRoG – 14]
Robilar is 37.

560 CY
Otto of Almor
Whatever the Circle happened to be engaged in, it was dangerous work, whether they were chasing down bandits, routing orcs out of their lairs, or delving deep under the Mad Mage’s labyrinth. It was there that Robilar met Otto.
Robilar, Tenser and Teric [sic] were adventuring in Castle Greyhawk when they encountered Otto in a room on the second dungeon level. In the ensuing melee, Otto was subdued by Tenser. After a dispute involving the two mages, he decided to work for Robilar. [OJ#7 – 44]
Otto the mage retained his laboratories/apartments on the third floor of Robilar's Castle, near Robilar's training halls. [OJ#7 – 41]
Perhaps the most dangerous duty of all was unmasking those who sought to steer the fate of nations towards too greater “good” or “evil.”
How did Mordenkainen’s Citadel of Eight fare? People came. People went.
[T]he Citadel of Eight, was a known opponent of darkness in its many guises. Its members stood, and fell, protecting the balance and defending Oerth from the influence of malign beings and, rarely, benevolent interlopers, as well. [LGJ#0 – 4]

It just so happened that the Citadel was just then shy of its optimal eight. Mordenkainen asked the membership if they knew of potential candidates. Serten believed he knew just a one: an idealistic young man from a village called Hommlet.
Finally, the young woodsman, Otis, rounded out the group
. [LGJ#0 – 5]
[Otis is] a ranger [.] [T1-4 – 34]

What did Yrag think about this newest addition to the company?
Otis (7th level human male ranger): Otis is a reserved young man who prefers the woods to the city, and the rough life to the easy one. That’s okay with you; you do just as well in the woods as in the city. You prefer the city because of your life interests, but Otis won’t out-do you in any of this woodsy stuff. He seems a competent fighter, also in the two-weapon style. He is better than Yrag at basic fighting, but Yrag has some flashy moves. You know little about Otis himself, and expect that you will learn more as the group adventures. [COR1 – 00 – 4]

No sooner had Otis joined their illustrious group, certain core members embarked on a mission of great importance.
Events of WG5 Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure
The adventure is assumed to take place before 570 CY, perhaps as early as 560, because of the lower levels listed for Mordenkainen and Bigby.  [TAB – 3]
Mordenkainen the Mage and his boon companions, Yrag, Riggby, and Bigby […] have been tempted to explore Maure Castle because of the widespread rumors concerning the “unopenable” doors. Preferring not to attract attention, they have traveled from their abode, the Citadel of Eight, upon Mordenkainen’s carpet of flying. [WG5 – 4]
Mordenkainen did not take Robilar, however.
“You’re kidding, right?” Robilar argued. He knew that region far better than Yrag, he reasoned.
Lord Robilar once spent his summers in Pontyrel, in Urnst's Maure Lands [LGG – 16]
There was not enough room on the carpet for Yrag and him both, Mordenkainen said, as if that explained everything.
In truth, Mordenkainen did not include Robilar because he begun to sense a change in his hitherto first choice of fighter.
Although his alignment slowly changed from neutral to evil over the years, Robilar remained trustworthy and friendly, if somewhat gruff. In those days it was said that his three greatest loves were adventuring, magic, and information. [WGR3 – 11]
Not that he admitted to such.
Nor was he the only one to notice a change in Robilar.
Tenser: “Robilar’s feet are now on a path unspeakable. [WG6 – 6]

“Whatever,” Robilar shrugged, dismissing Mordenkainen’s stupid reason.
He wondered what he might do while they were gone.
[Robilar] decided that one of the moons of Oerth was the place to go in order to gain renown unlike any had by another [.] After Robilar posited his plan to Herb [the Sage], the scholar asked for a research budget. […] The enthused warrior gladly handed over sacks of gold coin, and in due course Herb was called upon to report his progress. The sage was enthusiastic: “Good news, m’lord, good news! The moon in question has breathable air, according to some legends these stemming from heroic myths regarding ancient adventurers’ journeys to such places.” Herb then said that the preparations for such a project must be clandestine, kept most secret. To this end he needed to construct a very large, barn-like building, hire engineers and workmen, and stock up on materials.
When questioned about the device, the clever scholar would only wink and shake his head. “You’ll know soon enough, noble master. I prefer to keep this absolutely covert until the very end.” Not wanting to argue with the genius, Robilar agreed. […]
Robilar finally demanded to see the device. After some hesitation, Herb agreed. In a week it would be ready, and then not only could Lord Robilar see the machine, he could go forth on his amazing voyage to the moon.
So in the appointed time, the great moment was at hand. Robilar entered the vast structure and saw there the mightiest catapult ever constructed. The sage was dumbfounded when Robilar not only refused to see if the device would work as Herb thought it would, but scrapped the whole project. [Dragon #301 – 16]
Robilar is 40.

560s CY
The Citadel’s aim was true. And noble. Some of them were not as dedicated to their cause as others, however – if they ever were.
Over the years, the Citadel played home to such luminaries as Prince Melf Brightflame, of the Olvenfolk, the half-orc Quij, Felnorith, Robilar's brother Terik, and even, at one point, the Quasi-Deity Murlynd, in disguise. [LGJ#0 – 5]
But their Fellowship was not to last. Some of them were not as dedicated to their cause as others.
For a group that so decisively defeated its enemies, there remained several problems. Robilar never quite bought into Mordenkainen’s philosophy, and he and Tenser often bickered over matters of morality. Serten, though seen as useful, was never truly respected and Otis, tired of underground excursions and forays into urban territories, left the group, decrying his friends as cave-delvers and treasure seekers blind to the real problems of the world. [LGJ#0 – 5]

That bickering had distracted them.
The Temple of Elemental Evil
The thickets and marshes around Nulb became the lair and hiding place for bandits, brigands, and all sorts of evil men and monsters alike. The chapel grew into a stone temple as its faithful brought in their ill-gotten tithes. Good folk were robbed, pillaged, enslaved, or worse. In but three years a grim and foreboding fortress surrounded the evil place, and swarms of creatures worshipped and worked their wickedness there.
The servants of the Temple of Elemental Evil made Hommlet and the lands for leagues around a mockery of freedom and beauty. Commerce ceased, crops withered, pestilence was abroad. But the leaders of this cancer were full of hubris, and in their overweaning pride sought to overthrow the good realms to the north who were coming to the rescue of the land being crushed under the tyranny wrought by the evil temple. [T1 – 2]
They, each in their now lofty influence, looked to lofty goals and lofty foes, forgetting that evil festers in shadow as much as in the utterings of courtly influence.

564 CY
[B]y this time [Robilar] had begun to grow weary of his old friends [.] Feeling that all the others had grown soft and weak as a result of their prestigious positions, Robilar maintained friendly relations only with Rary. [WGR3 – 11]
Although the above quote does not come out and actually say that Robilar left the Citadel of Eight, it appears to imply that he did.
Robilar must be Lawful Evil by this time, if he’s begun to view the others as soft and weak.
Lawful Evil: Creatures of this alignment are great respecters of laws and strict order, but life, beauty, truth, freedom and the like are held as valueless, or at least scorned. By adhering to stringent discipline, those of lawful evil alignment hope to impose their yoke upon the world. [PG 1e – 33]
[Gotta say, I’ve never thought that Robilar’s behaviour was ever typically LE, unless one considers his seemingly thitherto blind faith in Mordenkainen as adhering to stringent discipline.]

I would not doubt that Robilar’s departure inspired Terik’s.
Warnes Starcoat
[Mordenkainen’s] philosophy has gained the archmage a virtual army of enemies, not a few of whom once considered him a good friend. Among these last can be counted Evard the Black, Terik and, of course, Rary. [LGJ#0 – 9]
Did Robilar appreciate his brother’s loyalty? Not at all. Truth is, Robilar really didn’t need his brother anymore. He had lots of useful “friends.”
Warnes [Starcoat] went on many adventures across the Flanaess and elsewhere on Oerth, and he came to know such future powers as Mordenkainen, Bigby, Nystul and Robilar. [Rot8 – 3]
Besides, he was used to going it alone, more often than not, these days.
Tomb of Horrors
[Robilar], by expending a lot of orc servants, managed to get through [the tomb] to the final encounter, and as the skull of the demilich rose to assail the one daring violation of his sanctum, Robilar swept all immediately visible treasure into his bag of holding and escaped. [RttToH – 3]
[I am not suggesting that Warnes accompanied Robilar. By all accounts, Robilar braved the Tomb “on his own,” if one is willing to discount all the orcs he spent (used as a meat shield) in the pursuit, which I’m sure Robilar did. But he would have travelled through the Duchy of Urnst on his way to the Vast Swamp, and might have made Warnes’ acquaintance while passing through.]
Robilar is 44.

566 CY
Robilar’s green dragons would be:
Old – 101-200 years – 6 hit point per die; average
Sub-adult – 16-25 years – 3 hit point per die; medium [MM 1e – 29]

569 CY
Alas, the Citadel was to have all but dissolved at just the time the Flanaess needed their vigilance the most.
After the dissolution of the Citadel, Mordenkainen remained great friends with the organization’s most cunning fighter, Lord Robilar, and together they traveled the length and breadth of the Flanaess, from the City of the Gods in the northern wastelands of Blackmoor to the vine-choked crumbling pyramids of the Amedio Jungle. [OJ#25 – 15]
Perhaps Mordenkainen believed Robilar was still of use to him.
City of the Gods
"You say that this city – City of the Gods – is beyond Blackmoor then." Robilar had directed his question to a tired Mordenkainen, who lay curled up by their campfire. The evening air was brisk, as was the fighter in his questioning. Mordenkainen sat up and looked at him. […]
Mordenkainen looked north towards Castle Blackmoor, another enigma of the North which for now would be left unplumbed by them. […] [OJ#6 - 45]
As for the [C]ity [of the Gods] – it was all too much for them to take in in such a short time. Mordenkainen noted that the place had to be miles round, though Robilar contended that it was more rectangular. It had been hard to tell as they'd approached. Surely it was a sight. All golds and silvers, with towers and buildings of the oddest shapes and hues and sizes. Many towers seemed proportioned the same; but this in no way indicated mundanity, for surely the towers gleamed in morning's sunlight. Metal towers, and hundreds of them! Both Mordenkainen and Robilar muttered a few prayers to the gods of protection as they started along its strange streets. [OJ#6 – 46]
City of the Gods
As the adventurers spent more and more time within the city confines they made little or no attempt to conceal themselves or their activities and so more roving creatures were drawn to their ramblings.
The expedition's main claim to fame was their escape from the city when it appeared that the entire complex was searching for them. Why our two heroes were surprised that their activity had aroused the city, and that the Guardians had taken the elementary precaution of guarding the exits, was quite naive of them. They did, however, leave before it became impossible to do so, and they also kept moving rather than stand and fight (although they did consider doing so) their pursuers. [OJ#6 – 51,52]

No sooner had they returned, perhaps the greatest confrontation in decades was about to unfold.
Battle of Emridy Meadows
A great battle was fought to the east, and when villagers saw streams of ochre-robed men and humanoids fleeing south and west through their community, there was great rejoicing, for they knew that the murderous oppressors had been defeated and driven from the field in panic and rout. [T1 – 2]
When Serten fell, none of his friends stood at his side. [LGJ#0 – 5]

Robilar was present, actually – if not officially.
After hearing of the happenings in the Hommlet area, Robilar finally decided to investigate the Temple himself. [OJ#7 – 42]
Robilar traveled with his henchmen Quij and Otto the Mage to the Temple of Elemental Evil. [OJ#7 – 42]
Robilar arrived on his carpet of flying, and then set off into the Temple depths, leaving his trusty orc hero Quij to guard the transport device and a pair of griffons. [T1-4 – 28]
Lord Robilar eventually entered the Temple with a small party. [T1-4 – 28]
While other adventurers raided the temple and then withdrew, Robilar entered the temple and fought his way through it. [OJ#7 – 42]
Zuggtmoy, Lady of Fungi
While other adventurers had proceeded circumspectly, Robilar bulled his way through.
[T1-4 – 28]
Two days later, much of the Temple was sacked, bits and pieces of monsters were spread about, and a certain personage was loosed. But in the process, the minions of Good had been alerted, and they too arrived in the area, in force. [T1-4 – 28]
Robilar freed the demoness Zuggtmoy, who was imprisoned beneath the temple complex. [OJ#7 – 42]
Why did Robilar free Zuggtmoy? Robilar purposefully released the demoness, because too much good was going on around the place. In a manner, to balance the proceedings. [OJ#7 – 42]
[Robilar’s reasoning sounds like he’s regurgitating lessons learned from Mordenkainen to justify his altogether irresponsible act; but seeing that Evil had been running rampant in and around the Temple of Evil for quite some time I don’t buy it. Indeed, one wonders why a LE Robilar would ever consider unleashing a CE ZUGGTMOY (Demoness Lady of Fungi) {T1-4 – 123} upon the world. Unless he was sent by Mordenkainen to kill her, that is; if he were, then his actions were justified – if a failure. Indeed, rumour has it that Mordenkainen was present and purposefully assisted in "freeing" Zuggtmoy in some scheme designed to preserve the Balance. {Artifact of Evil}]
Robilar's ravages were followed by the army of enraged Good folk, led by Tenser and associates—including Otis, Burne, Rufus, et al. [T1-4 – 28]
Robilar left with pursuit hot on his tail, Quij wearing a new poncho he'd made from "master's flying rug" (two days being a long time to wait in the cold)! [T1-4 – 28]
Robilar and Otto fled back to his castle, with the Force of Good in hot pursuit. The druid Jaroo, in falcon form, followed Robilar and Otto over 200 miles back to Robilar's castle. After they were informed of his whereabouts, the good war party eventually rallied outside of Robilar's castle. Robilar and Otto abandoned the castle and it fell to the Forces of Good. [OJ#7 – 42]
Robilar is 49 years old.

570 CY
The Chessmaster
After decades of viewing himself as a chessmaster, Mordenkainen naturally began to view his friends and companions as pawns.
When the opportunity to destroy Iuz once and for all presented itself to the wizard, he manipulated Lord Robilar and Riggby into releasing the imprisoned demon-god, freeing himself from the disastrous consequences and the scorn of his more altruistic associates should the plan fail. [EttRoG – 9]

Iuz remained imprisoned just as Zagig had left him sixty-five years prior. [EttRoG – 4]
Iuz was imprisoned beneath Castle Greyhawk by an alliance of adventurers (including the Mad Archmage Zagig), possibly with the assistance of an avatar of St. Cuthbert. [PGtG – 24]
But Mordenkainen knew that the archmage’s prison would not last forever. If Mordenkainen could find the deity trap, so could someone else. Only a final solution would suffice, and a final solution required the enlistment of Lord Robilar.
When the opportunity to destroy Iuz once and for all presented itself to the wizard, he manipulated his longtime friend and ally, Lord Robilar into releasing the imprisoned demon-god [.] [OJ#25 – 15]
The gregarious fighter lord thrilled at the audacity of Mordenkainen’s suggestion. The fearless swordsman chased adventure with the enthusiasm of an addict, often venturing into Castle Greyhawk on highly dangerous solo missions, facing every challenge with a wide grin and a clever rejoinder. In the company of his orc henchman Quij and the cleric Riggby, Robilar confidently set into motion Mordenkainen’s grand plan to save the future of the Flanaess.
Then everything started to go wrong. [EttRoG – 4]

It’s not like Mordenkainen, however manipulative he had become, did not try to ensure Robilar’s every success in this undertaking. Indeed, he did. He gifted Robilar with such magic as to ensure that very success.
Blade of Black Ice: This keen +5 icy […] sword is said to have been forged by Iuz, and was gifted to Robilar by Mordenkainen shortly before Robilar’s disastrous last foray into Castle Greyhawk. Tenser, who was present at the time, claims that the blade had been enchanted with special dispelling magics that aided Robilar in his release of the Old One from his magical prison beneath that great edifice. [Epic Level Handbook – 307]
Robilar […] secretly carried a pair of highly unusual dispelling magics about himself on that fateful day [.] [WGR5 Iuz the Evil – 5]
Regardless of that, events unfolded as few would have expected.
Originally, three set out to investigate the prison of Iuz below Castle Greyhawk. These were Lord Robilar, his orc henchman Quij, and Riggby, Patriarch of Boccob. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil – 5]
Tenser had learned of Robilar's plan, feared that Riggby was being duped, and came post haste to prevent their action. [WGR5 – 5]
Robilar, who was 10th level at the time, entered the containment room, and viewed the nine imprisoned creatures [:] Robilar, who was 10th level at the time, entered the containment room, and viewed the nine imprisoned creatures [:] Iuz, Ralishaz, Trithereon, Erythnul, Olidammara, Heironeous, Celestian, Hextor, and Obad-Hai [.] [OJ#7 – 42] Robilar’s memory is in error, however; as Wastri was among them.
The Brotherhood gained another foe when a group of adventurers released Iuz, Watri and seven other demigods in 6085 SD. [SB – 5]
Iuz the Evil
In 570 CY, Lord Robilar, his orc henchman Quij and Riggby, Patriarch of Boccob, freed Iuz.
[PGtG – 24]
Just as Robilar dispelled the barriers keeping Iuz at bay so that he might be slain, the wizard Tenser appeared with Bigby and the warrior Neb Retnar at his back. The trio had come to stop the dangerous gambit, but arrived too late. [EttRoG – 4]
The archmages Bigby and Tenser arrived, intending to kill him, but during Iuz's incarceration the half-demon had transformed, and he emerged a demigod [.] [PGtG – 24]
Tenser and his cohort began battling the freed, enraged demigod. Riggby at once aided the assault. [WGR5 – 5]
Robilar and Quij considered flight and felt their chances would be best if they made odds of four against one into six against one. [WGR5 – 5]
The six adventurers were no match for the enraged Iuz, who escaped certain death in the clutches of Bigby’s notorious crushing hand by plane shifting to the Abyss. [EttRoG – 4]
He left behind him a backwash of chaotic evil magic which altered the alignment of Retnar, left Riggby catatonic for days, and caved in a large part of Castle Greyhawk's deepest dungeon complexes. [WGR5 – 5]
That magical warp freed the additional gods and caved in many of Castle Greyhawk’s deepest dungeon complexes. [EttRoG – 4]
[T]he other eight "demi-gods" were "accidentally" released, as loosing one seemed to have a domino effect. As the nine "demi-gods" turned their attentions toward destroying each other [.] [OJ#7 – 42]
Robilar executed a tactical withdrawal (i.e. he ran for his life) to lick his wounds. [OJ#7 – 42]

Iuz returned to his lands more powerful and wicked than ever before, with an unholy priesthood leading his forces in his unholy name. [LGG – 15]
After it was all over, safe on the skull-adorned battlements of his grisly palace, Iuz swore vengeance upon the adventurers who had attempted to kill him, dedicating a portion of his eternal rage to plotting their destruction. [EttRG – 4]
Iuz's most burning desire is to have revenge on those who freed and tried to slay him. [WGR5 – 5]
He dreams of destroying the Free City of Greyhawk and those who nearly killed him when he was released. [PGtG – 24]
Since that fateful brush with extinction, Iuz has schemed to destroy those six [Bigby, Quij, Rary, Riggby, Robilar, and Tenser]. [WGR5 – 5]
Robilar would have to worry about that later. If he ever has. I suspect it is never far from him mind, though, regardless his outward bravado to all danger.
Robilar is 50 years old.

Whatever his future peril, if Robilar’s reputation had not already been ruined in the aftermath of the Temple fiasco, it was sundered for all time then! In that very instant! Did Mordenkainen come to his rescue? He did not. In fact, Mordenkainen severed all communication with his former friend the instant Robilar’s involvement and failure became known.
Friendless now, Robilar realised that he had to get out of Greyhawk.
After Lord Robilar was exiled from the City of Greyhawk and the sacking of his lordly lands the two split and despite an attempt to remain aloof from the consequences of his actions, Mordenkainen was left bearing the responsibility of his actions. [OJ#25 – 15]
[Yes, Robilar’s realm had already been sacked; so I imagine this means that the forces of Good scoured his lands and castle searching for him.]
Not that anyone other than Mordenkainen was aware of Mordenkainen’s involvement.  He kept that to himself and chalked the failure up as a learning experience.

Robilar fled, no one knew where. No one except Mordenkainen, truth be told.
In 570, with Robilar's part in the release of luz revealed, Mordenkainen sought to keep tabs on the noble's activities. Since Lord Robilar was said to have the ability to discover magical scryes placed upon him, it was necessary to plant a spy within his sizable host. [LGJ#0 – 10]
Mordenkainen had long suspected that Robilar might pose a problem to his plans as early as 560 CY, so he took measures shortly after.
Having found Robilar's servant, the euroz Quij, wholly incorruptible (insofar as loyalty to his master was concerned), the Archmage of Greyhawk set upon a more mundane plan. Working through contacts in the Prelacy of Almor, he drafted an aspiring magic-wielding priest of Boccob as his mole. [LGJ#0 – 10]

Where did Robilar run to? Time would tell.

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven...”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost

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

The Art:
Lord Robilar, from Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, 2007
Map detail, by Darlene, from World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
Cover art, by Keith Parkinson, from WG7 Castle Greyhawk, 1988
Murlynd, by Mike Bridges, from the Castle Greyhawk blog/graphic novel, 2015
The Suss Forest, from Anna B. Meyer's map
Green Dragon, from Monsterous Manual 2e, 1989,1995,2015
Mordenkainen detail, by McLean Kendree, from Mordenkainen's Tome of Marvelous Magic II, 2020
Bigby, by Jeff Easley, from WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, 1985
Sertenfrom Finger of the Wind, 2000
The Crook of Rao, by Richard Pace, from Dragon #294, 2002
Robilar's Castle map, by Sam Wood, from The Adventure Begins, 1998
The Green Dragon Inn, by Grey Irons, from The Official AD&D Coloring Album, 1979
The Temple of Elemental Evil, by Keith Parkinson, from T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil, 1985
Warnes Starcoat, by Gary Williams, from WG6 Isle of the Ape, 1985
Zuggtmoy, from Out of the Abyss, 2015
Mordenkainen detail, by Dan Burr, from Dragon #185, 1992
Iuz, from Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, 2007

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1162 Return to the Tomb of Horrors, 1998
2009 Monster Manual 1e, 1977
2011 Players Handbook 1e, 1978
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide 1e, 1979
2140 Monsterous Manual 2e, 1993
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9026 T1 The Village of Hommlet, 1979,1981
9027 S2 White Plume Mountain, 1979
9031 The Rogues Gallery 1e, 1980
9075 EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, 1983
9112 WG5 Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure, 1984
9147 T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil, 1985
9153 WG6 Isles of the Ape, 1985
Artifact of Evil, 1986
9386 WGR3 Rary the Traitor, 1992
9399 WGR5 Iuz the Evil, 1993
9576 Return of the Eight, 1998
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Players Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11843 Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, 2001
11621 Slavers, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Epic Level Handbook 3e, 2002
White Plume Mountain Revisited, 2005
Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, 2007
Dragon Magazine #37,290, 294, 295, 301, AN2
LGJ #0,2
Oerth Journal #3,6,7,25
COR1 – 00 The Citadel PCs
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The Map of Anna B. Meyer


  1. There's alot going on with Robilar and we are not even into 576 CY! The 3 green dragons is always a nice bit of monty haulism. And yah I agree, foreshadows his later escapades.
    Also, did I read that right? His castle is SW of the city? I guess the 2e map has it wrong being NW? Did I miss something?

    1. You know, I never thought to check if the two locations match.
      E4-89 places R.'s keep where the Ery and Neen tributaries drain into the Selintan, way south of where the TAB map places it. Fancy that discrepancy! You'd think they'd have done their homework.
      I'm humbled by your close reading!