Friday 16 February 2024

On Melf, Part 1


“Great Men, taken up in any way, are profitable company.”
― Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History

Melf, Prince Brightflame
Are there few elves of note in the Flaneass? There were a few, but back in the day all forms of D&D were largely humancentric. That was certainly the case in B/X when elves were limited to a single racial class. The demihumans of AD&D fared little better, what with stat, class, and level restrictions. They were largely a footnote in the Greyhawk setting when it was released, all but a few lines focusing on the important doings of humans.
THROUGHOUT the world of Greyhawk are quite a number of characters that have risen above the status of heroes, but who are not quite demi-gods. These personages are 'quasi-deities.' Among those contemporary in the World of Grey hawk are Daern, Heward, Johydee, Kelanen, Keoghtom, Murlynd, Nolzur, Quall, and Tuerny. Of these, only Heward, Keoghtom, and Murlynd are currently placed so as to interact with player characters. Other well-known personages, such as Bucknard, Mordenkainen, Otiluke, and Tenser, are not as powerful and broadly endowed as are the quasi-deities. [WoGG – 33]
All those notable personages are human.
That is odd, isn’t it, considering how prevalent elves are in the setting. And dwarves. And gnomes. And halflings. Even orcs and half-orcs. They’ve all played their parts in the script. Indeed, one expects that they preceded humans.
When, exactly, did the elves come to the Flanaess? Canon is sketchy on this. Suffice it to say that they have been here for a very long time.
In ancient days, elven princes held sway from the Velverdyva to the Wild Coast [.] [LGG – 39]
This piece, however, is not about elven history; so, enough said about that for now.
This piece is about one notable, elf, a very contemporary elf, one Prince Melf Brightflame of Celene. Celene, of couse, is one of the few demihuman nations to grace the map.
CELENE, (Kingdom Of)
Capital: Enstad (6,950)
Population: 15,000
Demi-humans: Gray Elves (9,500), Sylvan Elves (8,000), Gnomes (3,500), Halflings
Humanoids: None
Resources: foodstuffs, cloth, silver
[Folio – 9]
Languages: Elven, Common, Sylvan, Gnome, Halfling
Alignments: CG*, NG, LN, N, LG
Religions: Elf pantheon*, gnome pantheon, Ehlonna, Phaulkon, Phyton, halfling pantheon
[LGG – 38]
Celene is the principal nation of the elves in the Flanaess. [LGG – 38]
Celene has ever been home to the gray elves of the Flanaess. [LGG – 39]
Today, elves are dominant in Celene, Sunndi, Highfolk, the Vesve Forest, and the Lendore Isles. [LGG – 8]
This small land west of the Wild Coast beyond the Welkwood has long been under the rule of Olvenfolk. Although these are good creatures, they do not welcome strangers (with cause), and little certain knowledge of Celene or its Court exists. [Folio – 9]

What does Celene have to do with Melf? Everything. As we shall see.
One imagines that the character of Celene should shed light on his, and indeed, on the character of all elves. Elves are shy on the world stage; as are their nations in the grand scheme of world politics. They keep to themselves, are largely distrustful of other races, finding them aggressive and warlike. Perhaps untrustworthy. And temporary. Tragically so.
Elves cannot be said to truly hate almost any creatures; even orcs are merely regarded with antipathy, for they will soon pass from life —even more quickly than humans do. [Dragon #60 – 7]
As temporary as they are, elves would rather not be drawn into their frenzied drama, or their conflicts, knowing them to be inconsequential, for the most part, fleeting, carried out by vein, impatient, short-lived people.
It’s ironic that other races should consider the elves flighty or frivolous [Dragon #60 – 6], when they are not. They are carefree [Dragon #60 – 6], which is decidedly different. Long lives make them wise beyond our ken.
The wispy, lightly built elves have a life span more than ten times as long as humans, averaging 1,200 years with a maximum of 1,600 years or so. [Dragon #60 – 6]
When they do venture out into the affairs of men, they always regret doing so.
The elves of Celene even offered their allegiance to the benign rulers of Keoland for several centuries, rejecting them only when warlike monarchs took the Keoish throne. [LGG – 39]
But long lives and long memories have taught them that they cannot stand alone for long.
Although the demi-humans have avoided general involvement in human wars, the formation of the demi-human principalities of Celene and Ulek highlights the fact that they will resist invasion from the humans inhabiting a state. [Folio – 6]

Which brings us to Melf.
Melf is an elf, one destined to be born into and to play a part in turbulent times. Despite his humble beginnings as an NPC, he rose to be a Fighter/Magic-user of some distinction. Perhaps that is because he ventured out into the wider world.
He did not remain an NPC for long, however. He eventually became a PC. An adventurous one.
Melf — Luke Gygax [Dragon #68 – 24]
He became far more than just a mere adventurer over the years. He became a leader.
Perhaps we should begin at the beginning. That’s always good practice.

400 CY
Melf is born in Celene to nobility, influence, and wealth.
Melf, prince Brightflame of Celene [.] [TAB – 70]
Melf, Prince Brightflame, is a cousin of Celene’s queen, Yolande. [PGtG – 26/FtAC – 69]
Being a prince of Celene, he must then be a gray elf.
Age: 200+/- [FtAC – 69]
[I could have said c. 400 CY, but a concrete date is always better than conjecture.]
You would think, then, that he would have been content to remain where he was. Most would be.

436 CY
Indeed, the wider world would have appeared a chaotic place, of wars, and ever shifting borders and alliances.
Humans and other demihumans rush about and vainly set out on adventures and projects that they want to complete before the Grim Reaper turns their bodies and works to dust. [Dragon #60 – 6]
The humans were always up in arms about one thing or another.
[B]y 436 CY [Keoland] had publicly threatened to annex the whole of Veluna in the name of the Keoish crown. [LGG – 130]
[T]he armies of Furyondy surged into Veluna, battling south of the Velverdyva in a ferocious series of actions soon known as the Short War. [LGG – 130]
This “Short War,” the most recent one being waged, was but one more reason why the elves should keep the humans at arm’s length.

438 CY
Young Melf
By 438, the Keoish army had been dispatched from Velunese soil [.]
[LGG – 130]
One can’t help but imagine that all this drama might have sparked the imagination of an impressionable young elf, bored by court life, where poetic sparring was considered the height of civilised conflict.
Their longer lifespans also imbue elves with a tendency to see things in a long-range way. […] Singing and dancing all day are not actions done for the sake of the moment (as most other creatures believe). […] Life is an endless series of surprises to fire elves’ imaginations; there are poems to be written, songs to be sung, and tales to be told about those surprises. [Dragon #60 – 6]
Not all elves, though, are cut from the same cloth.
Some elves seek […] variety and excitement […], and care more about how interesting an adventure was rather than what material was gained from it. [Dragon #60 – 7]
If there is something elves desire strongly, it would be a knowledge of magical power. Magic fascinates elves, who see it as a source of infinite variety for their benefit and enjoyment over the long years. [Dragon #60 – 7]
Melf happened to be one of those elves.
Keoish garrisons were scattered throughout Celene then; a visible reminder that greater things were afoot away from poetic recitations.

450 CY
It comes as no surprise then that Melf began instruction as a Fighter/Magic-user.
[I assume that as elves would take their time concerning any form of instruction, 100 years until graduation would not seem unreasonable.] [DMG 1e – 12,13]
He wished to reap some of the glamour he imagined he saw in Keoish imperial pomp.
Melf is 50 years old. A preteen, actually.

461 CY
The Grand Court
Regardless Melf’s admiration of Keoish feverish displays of imperial power, greater Celene was greatly concerned by Keoland’s jingoistic policies.
[T]he Olvenfolk within the boundaries of Keoland objected to the warlike policies of the King and began expelling royal garrisons in the Ulek Provinces and Celene. [Folio – 12]
It decided to take its fate into its own hands, once and for all time.
The Grand Court assembled at Enstad to determine the best course for the elves, seeking a leader from among their number. Princess Yolande of Bellmeadow, a fey wizard and accomplished warrior, was hailed by the gathered nobles as their brightest hope. Together with the Ulek Provinces, Celene expelled
the royal garrisons of Keoland.
[LGG – 39]
Princess Yolande of Bellmeadow
After gaining independent status, [the Duchy of Ulek] were quick to make treaties of mutual aid with Celene and the lower Ulek states.
[Folio – 17]
This hardly dispelled Melf’s enthusiasm. In fact, such displays of elvish independence and nationalism may have even ignited his imagination further.
Celene appeared to have waxed with independence.

Population: 12,000
Demi-humans: Sylvan Elves (7,000), Gnomes (3,000), others
Humanoids: Some
Parts of the Gnarley Forest are claimed by Celene, Dyvers, Verbobonc, and Greyhawk.
[Folio – 22]

Their southern slopes demark the end of the Wild Coast region and are a part of the northern region of Celene. [Folio – 23]
It is estimated that nearly 20,000 gnomes live within the region of the Kron Hills. [Folio – 23]

Population: 10,000+
Demi-humans: Many
Humanoids: Some (raiding parties)
The eastern portion of the woodland is part of the Wild Coast, and many of its folk reside within the shelter of the forest: the Welkwood west of the Jewel River is within the realm of Celene and home to elves. [Folio – 27]

460s CY
Keoland was less pleased with their desire for independence than they were.
Princess Yolande organized the defenses of the elven nation, and Prince Consort Triserron proved an able field commander, besting Keoish forces in a number of short engagements. With their victories came full independence for Celene, and the elevation of Yolande to queen of the new realm. [LGG – 39,40]

c. 470s CY
The orcs of the Lortmils were very much pleased by Celene independence, however.
The orcs of the Lortmils, no longer restrained by Keoish patrols, attacked their lowland neighbors with increasing ferocity. These invasions were always turned back, but at great cost, and there seemed no end to the hordes that spewed from the mountains each spring. [LGG – 40]
Celene joined in a defensive alliance with the Ulek States and the Kron Hills gnomes, seeking to contain the nonhuman menace by coordinating the efforts of each nation's military. [LGG – 40]
I expect that Melf wished to hurry along his training, so that he could join the party before it was done. It would hardly take all too long to defeat the orcs, after all. Could it?
It took too long, as far as Yolande was concerned. And was far too costly, too.
They achieved limited success, but continued to incur losses, the greatest of these being the death of the prince consort of Celene. [LGG – 40]
She never truly recovered from the loss.
Triserron’s sacrifice did not dampen Melf’s enthusiasm. It would have taught him a valuable lesson: that self-sacrifice might be necessary in the cause of liberty and survival.

498 to 510 CY
It would appear that the orcs had more fight in them than the elves believed possible, whilst Melf was still a child of 98 in 498 CY.
The Hateful Wars were a series of conflicts waged for more than a decade against the orcs and goblins in the heart of the Lortmils. Following the Low Road of the Lortmils (the underground passages that linked the major goblinoid lairs), the combined forces discovered every secret stronghold in the chain. Each orc, goblin, and hobgoblin lair was destroyed, together with as many of the hated beings as possible. Forced to the surface, the survivors had nowhere to recover their strength and numbers. [LGG – 40]

The Hateful Wars

Melf is 110 years old at the end of the Hateful Wars.

510 to 513 CY
Defeated, the orcs were far from defeated.
With the defeat of the orc and goblin armies at the hands of the hosts of Ulek and Celene at the end of the war in 510 CY, the inevitable came to pass. With nowhere else left to retreat, the angry and beaten survivors fell back in the only direction not fortified against them. In 513 CY, these ravaged and vengeful armies emerged from the Suss and descended upon Highport in a frenzy of destruction. [LGG – 88]

520s CY
The Pomarj
The orcs and goblins carved up the realm 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 – 88]
The Pomarj quickly earned the reputation of a place of death, slavery, degeneracy, and treasure. Only corrupt or adventurous humans and demihumans intentionally entered there.
This savage reputation hid from the neighboring lands of Celene and Ulek the events unfolding in the Pomarj. [Wars – 15]
Over the decades, the Principality of Ulek made numerous attempts to reclaim the [Pomarj], but none could defeat the fierce resistance of the orcs and goblins who now sheltered in this wilderness. [Wars – 15]
Celene did little to aid the Principality, however. Nothing, in fact. Celene safeguarded its borders, and little more.

550 CY
Melf is 150 years old and is now considered a Young Adult. [DMG 1e – 13] He will remain as such for the remainder of this narrative, as gray elves gain maturity at 251 years of age – in 651 CY.
It comes as no surprise then that he is:
He is, however, charming and urbane. He enjoys good food, culture, and agreeable persons of the opposite gender. [FtAC – 69]
He must have cut quite a figure, then, brimming with youth and confidence. And status and privilege. Perhaps overconfident, brash, opinionated because of it, too. Dashing, yet insufferable!

Melf completes initial instruction as a Fighter/Magic user [DMG 1e – 12]
[F/M-U, 1/1]
Str 17, Int 18, Wis 12, Dex 17, Con 15, Cha 8

He expressed a desire for adventure, to see the wider world. He was discouraged from such a pursuit. Remain here, his instructors and peers beseeched of him. We would be better served by your defending our southern border from the orcs, the said. You have a duty to Celene, they said; you have a duty to your cousin, the Queen.
But Melf was young, and listened to his own council, and none other.
A very self-willed race, elves tend to do very much as they please, paying little attention to social convention. [Dragon #60 – 7]
AL: NG (CG) [FtAC – 68,69]

550s CY
Melf struck out. But where? He knew little of the world. He travelled west, thinking that as good a direction as any (given that the deep blue sea lay to the east). He crossed the Kron Hills, and soon found himself in teeming Verbobonc…
VERBOBONC (Viscounty and Town of)
Capital: Verbobonc (pop. 8,100)
Population: 30,000
Demi-humans: Gnomes (4,000), Sylvan Elves (2,500)
Humanoids: Few
Resources: copper, gems (I-IV)
The viscounty is a large one, extending from the Velverdyva's south bank some 15 leagues into the Kron hills, being over 50 leagues in breadth. Verbobonc is situated in the approximate center of its east-west axis.
[Folio – 18]
… where he met a wizard with grand ideas about adventure, and even an even greater opinion as to his learned power. He accompanied that self-supposed prominent and hitherto unnamed magic-user into the Barrier Peaks.
He barely made it out alive, more than could be said of his employer.
Elves are a brave people, but are not given to foolhardiness and the sort of “damn the torpedoes” approach that shorter-lived beings use so often. Caution is appropriate since there is so much to live for and so long to do it in. [Dragon #60 – 6]
He escaped, when his “master’ did not, for just that reason: because Melf realised that said master was reckless – not a good trait in an adventurer – an idiot, Meld surmised.
Leaders, to elves, are to be obeyed in matters only where the leader is knowledgeable, and they may be freely disobeyed if their rulings seem unreasonable. [Dragon #60 – 7]
That experience soured his enthusiasm for those perilous peaks, if not peril. He descended into the Mad Mage’s maze, just outside the Free City of Greyhawk. The experience was not as profitable for him as it was for others. Indeed, his kindly nature impoverished him, attempting to raise his fallen hirelings.

560s CY
Melf had had his fill of dark dungeons. Nature called, you might say.
The sense of oneness that elves feel with the forests is a thing beyond our ken. We perhaps also cannot appreciate the richness elves feel in life, and the fellow-feeling they have for other living creatures [.] [Dragon #60 – 7]
He had the desire to see another elven realm. And to walk beneath the boughs of the Vesve…
The Vesve Forest
Population: 20,000+
Demi-humans: Sylvan Elves (10,000), Gnomes (6,000), High Elves (3,000), Halflings
Humanoids: Hobgoblins (5,000 or more), Gnolls (3,000+)
The Vesve is the largest hardwood forest in all of the Flanaess. Its southern half, as well as the strip which borders upon the Sepia Hills and the Clatspurs down to Highfolk Town, are relatively free of baneful creatures, although inhabited by a fair share of predators. [Folio – 27]

… where he became infuriated by the evils wrought nearby, and all too often within the forest, by the bandits of the Horned Society.
Originally a stronghold of the more organized of the humanoid tribes, the area came under the rule of a group of evil humans some decades ago. It is speculated that these wicked people were disaffected bandits or were at least aided by one or more of the bandit kinglets. [Folio – 11]
An uneasy peace was established with the Hierarchs of the Horned Society, as sporadic skirmishing with the hated elves of the Vesve Forest and against the uncivilized nomads of the northwestern plains continued. [LGG – 62]

Melf plunged into the depths of the forest to do what he could to stem that tide of evil. He could not end the Horn Society’s depravities, but he did aid in making them think twice about venturing to deep into that vast forest.
Good Fighter Mage Elf
LVL [9/10 F/M-U; 350,000 xp each;] [PHB 1e – 22,25; B/X 10th LVL Lord Wizard exp. 600,000 Expert – 18]
S 14; I 15; W 10; D 14; C 17; CH 14;
AL [NG (CN)]
Spells: 1st 4; 2nd 4; 3rd 3; 4th 3; 5th 2
1st Level: sleep (x3).
2nd Level: invisibility, web (x2).
3rd Level: fire ball (x3).
4th Level: charm monster (x2), wall of fire.
5th Level: cloudkill.
Wears chain mail +3 and shield; sword +2, dagger, longbow
[Melf] is left-handed, blond, hazel-eyed, and large for an elf (5'8", 148 lbs.). He wears a leather jerkin and green cloak over his armor, and his shield is decorated with the hunting hawk sign of his clan. [Melf] is a sure shot with the bow, and he has a magical sword, Gnoll-Cleaver, forged long ago by Dwarves.
[From B/X: AC1 Shady Dragon Inn, and loosely adapted here because in apocryphal lore, the AD&D action figure MELF was later renamed PERALAY, whose description is found in AC1 – 25,26.]

It was while engaged there that he met a great many of the Highfolk and elves of the Vesve.
Melf knows many of the great and mighty in Oerik. [FtAC – 69]
Some would become long-term friends and allies.
Rafendyl, "Gildentongue:" 11th-level bard
Rafendyl is a Highfolk half-elf [.] He strikes this pose to disarm those he wishes to get to know better, to see them as they really are. Rafendyl has several areas of expert knowledge, gained during his many years of travel through the central Flanaess. [WGR4 The Marklands – 41]
He knows Melf well, and he works hard to build links between Celene and the Highfolk. [WGR4 – 41]

It was also then when Melf met Mordenkainen.
The Vesve also has its powerful allies. In addition to Philidor, Mordenkainen looks out over Highvale and would help protect it, were it invaded or in dire peril. [WGR4  – 55]
And it was then that Mordenkainen invited Melf to his Citadel.
The Red Rampart Guard
Over the years, the Citadel played home to such luminaries as Prince Melf Brightflame, of the Olvenfolk, the half-ore Quij, Felnorith, Robilar's brother Terik, and even, at one point, the QuasiDeity Murlynd, in disguise.
[LGJ#0 – 5]
It was there, at the citadel, where Melf met members of the Citadel. Obviously.

Mordenkainen must have made quite an impression on Melf, because he swore vassalage to the archmage, soon afterwards, serving as a member of the Red Rampart Guard.
It was likely not a hard decision: In residence there, Melf had easy access to the very best of arcane and martial instruction. To say nothing of one of the (if not the) very best libraries in the Flanaess. And laboratory. And magical materiel.

Melf took advantage of his time there between patrols.
He researched new spells.
Melf’s Acid Arrow (Evocation)
Level: 2
Components: V, S, M
Range: 3”
Casting Time: 4 segments
Duration: Special
Saving Throw: Special
Area of Effect: One target
Melf’s Acid Arrow
Explanation/Description: By means of this spell, the magic-user creates a magic “arrow” which speeds itself to its target as if fired from the bow of a fighter of the same level as the magic-user casting the spell. The arrow is equal to a +1 weapon for hit determination purposes. The effect of a hit might inflict damage on the target even if it would not normally be harmed by an arrow or magic weapon of only +1 value. This is due to the acid. The arrow itself does 2-5 points of damage. The acid which gushes forth when it hits is equal to an acid missile of 8-ounce volume (1’ diam. area of effect, 2-8 hit points damage, plus item saving throw). The acid’s strength increases by one round of damage for every 3 levels of magic use above 3rd, so that double damage will occur over two rounds if the spell cast is from a 4th-6th level magic-user, unless the target can have the acid neutralized. The material components of the spell are a dart and powdered rhubarb leaf and adder stomach.
[Dragon #67 – 9 / UA - 54]

Melf’s Minute Meteors (Evocation/Alteration)
Level: 3
Components: V; S, M
Range: 1”/level
Casting Time: 5 segments
Duration: Special
Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: One target per missile
Melf’s Minute Meteors
Explanation/Description: This spell is unusual in two respects. First, the dweomer enables the caster to cast small globes of fire, each of which bursts into a 1 ft. diameter sphere upon impact, inflicting 1-4 points of damage upon the target creature - or otherwise igniting combustible materials (even solid planks). These meteors are missile weapons thrown by the mage, with misses being treated as grenade-like missiles. This ability continues from round to round until the caster has fired off as many of these “meteors” as he or she has levels of experience, until he or she decides to forego casting any additional missiles still remaining, or until a dispel magic spell is successfully cast upon the magic-user. Second, once Melf‘s Minute Meteors is cast, the magic-user has the option to discharge the available missiles at the rate of 1 every 2 segments, as desired, or 1 every round (beginning with the initial round of casting). The magic-user may not switch between these options once one of them is chosen.
In the first option, the caster must point at the desired target on the second segment after the spell is cast, and a missile will be discharged. This process is repeated every 2 segments thereafter until all of the missiles are so released. Naturally, this usually will mean that the spell actually carries over into at least the following round.
If the second option is chosen, the magic-user can withhold or discharge missiles as he or she sees fit, so long as one missile is let go during each subsequent round. This option has the benefit of enabling the spell caster to actually discharge one of the “meteors” and conjure some other spell as well in the same round. The other spell must be of such a nature as to not require the continuing concentration of the spell caster, or else he or she will involuntarily forego the casting of any further missiles from the original spell. However, the magic-user’s opportunity to discharge a missile and cast a spell in the same round is of such benefit that the potential loss is not of concern. If the magic-user fails to maintain an exact mental count of the number of missiles remaining, this is an unfailing indication that he or she has involuntarily foregone the remaining portion of the spell.
The components necessary for the casting of this dweomer are nitre and sulphur formed into a bead by the admixture of pine tar, and a small hollow tube of minute proportion, fashioned from gold. The tube costs no less than 1,000 gp to construct, so fine is its workmanship and magical engraving, but it remains potent throughout numerous castings of the spell - unless damaged by accident or abuse.
[UA – 55,56]

And read so many esoteric works that he was inspired to pen a couple of his own.
The Weapons of the Ether by Melf & Mordenkainen
(whip, Melf’s acid arrow, magic missile, enchant an item, enchanted weapon, Mordenkainens sword)
[Dragon #82 – 59]

“Treatise of Universal Astronomy” by Melf
(Melf's minute meteor, meteor swarm, fireball)
[Dragon #82 – 59]

564 CY
On Guard
Was Melf ever a member of the Citadel of Eight? He might have been, although he was never declared as such. I’ve suggested that if he were, it would have been when Robilar departed.
[I’m taking liberties here, again. Luke Gygax has stated that Melf was one of Mordenkainen’s apprentices, and that he was a member of his Red Rampart Guard, but he has never hinted that Melf was a member of the Citadel of Eight. But given the fellowship continued to call itself “The Citadel of Eight,” one must presume that its number continued, for the entirety of its existence, to be… well… eight.
He is now 164 years old.

569 CY
Great events were to unfold as Melf guarded Mordenkainen’s castle.
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 The Village of Hommlet – 2]
When Serten fell, none of his friends stood at his side. [LGJ#0 – 5]

If Serten’s death were not shocking enough, what unfolded close after was far more alarming.
After hearing of the happenings in the Hommlet area, Robilar finally decided to investigate the Temple himself. [OJ#7 – 42]
Robilar freed the demoness Zuggtmoy, who was imprisoned beneath the temple complex. [OJ#7 – 42]
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 The Temple of Elemental Evil – 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 freed Zuggtmoy? Tenser was in pursuit? Who were these people, Melf might have asked?
And, what am I doing here, he may have wondered?

570 CY
Just one year later, when Melf was 170 years old, even more dire events concerning Robilar were unfolding elsewhere!
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]
However, and whyever, Iuz was loose again upon the Oerth.
In 570 CY, Iuz returned to Oerth, taking residence in Dorakaa as a god made flesh. Thousands of those who had been "unfaithful" (and hundreds more, for good measure) were murdered upon his order as a sign of his displeasure with the changes made in his absence. Their remains formed the basis for the Road of Skulls, a grisly thoroughfare from the capital to the Howling Hills. [LGG – 62]
Since the resurgence of luz […] the northern quarter of the Vesve is filled with hateful settlements of evil humanoids, and these tribes and bands press everywhere upon the human and demi-human folk elsewhere in these woodlands. [Folio – 27]
However, whyever, indeed.
That was the last straw for Melf. This Citadel of Eight appeared wholey ineffectual, as far as he was concerned. Indeed, some had even turned traitor to their vey cause. He left Mordenkainen’s citadel the very next day.

“It dropped so low in my regard
I heard it hit the ground,
And go to pieces on the stones
At bottom of my mind;
Yet blamed the fate that fractured, less
Than I reviled myself
For entertaining plated wares
Upon my silver shelf.”
― Emily Dickinson, Selected Poems

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:
Melf detail, by Clyde Caldwell, from Artifact of Evil, 1986
Map details, by Darlene, from World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
Pomarj Peninsula, by Alan Froke
Vebobonc map, by Diesel, from WG8 Fate of Istus, 1989
Paralay, by Tim Truman, from AC1 The Shady Dragon Inn, 1983
Mordenkainen detail, by Dan Burr, from Dragon #185, 1992
Melf’s Minute Meteors, by Claudio Pozas, from Elemental Evil Player's Companion, 2015

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
2011 Players Handbook 1e, 1978
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide 1e, 1979
2017 Unearthed Arcana 1e, 1985
BECMI Expert Rules, 1983
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9026 The Village of Hommlet, 1979,1981
9100 AC1 The Shady Dragon Inn, 1983
9147 T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil, 1985
9398 WGR4 The Marklands, 1993
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Players Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, 2007
Dragon Magazine #60, 67, 68, 82
LGJ #0
Oerth Journal #7
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The Greyhawk wiki

1 comment:

  1. Alright Melf! I feel elves in general in GH lore are victims of the game system. Yes, there should be more notable elves than Melf and Yolande, but humans get all the level advancement.
    I was pleased to see Melf's writing credits on here. You aren't a GH luminary until you have made a name spell or published a book. He did both!
    This biography struck me that Melf is so young (and a gray elf, makes sense). Like, he has been around for much of Flanaess' recent seminal events, but he may have remained a minor prince had he not started hanging around those pesky human adventurers. Did he have enough? Something tells me no, cause part 2 is yet to come!