Friday 2 February 2024

On Robilar, Part 2


“What is dark within me, illumine.”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost

Lord Robilar
Robilar is dichotomy personified.
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]
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 The Citadel PCs – 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]
[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]
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]
Certain words stand out: trustworthy and friendly. So too: gruff, direct, and brutal.
One wonders whether those in his acquaintance suspected he might eventually come to a bad end. And whether it was inevitable.
Mordenkainen: Robilar is known to be friendly and good-natured, but also vengeful and short-tempered when he is angered. [COR1 – 00 – 2]
Bigby: This grim man is well known as a fighter of skill, but also as a quick-tempered man who you should not cross. [COR1 – 00 – 6]
Yrag: This man is large and strong and a little forbidding-looking. His expression is always grim, even when enjoying himself and smiling. […] [B]etter to have him in the group than against the group. [COR1 – 00 – 11]
Otis: Robilar has a disturbing mean streak that might get the better of him some day. [COR1 – 00 – 11]
Riggby: Tough in a fight, Robilar is destined to be someone’s chief warrior rather than the master. [COR1 – 00 – 8]
If his “friends” thought these things of him, one wonders if Robilar was even then rushing to his eventual fall. I wonder. He may have. He may very well have had it in him all along.
His Faithful Henchman, Quij
It is said that the great Robilar, jaded with the everyday pleasures of life, changed his alignment to satisfy his morbid tastes.
[Rogues 1e – 46]
But I can’t help but wonder whether he was pushed.
After decades of viewing himself as a chessmaster, Mordenkainen naturally began to view his friends and companions as pawns. [EttRoG – 9]
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]
If he was pushed, he went willingly, without any thought to consequences or repercussions.
The gregarious fighter lord thrilled at the audacity of Mordenkainen’s suggestion. [EttRoG – 4]
His reputation in tatters, Robilar fled the Domain of Greyhawk for parts unknown, his 3 green dragons, and his faithful henchmen, Quij and Otto, in tow.

570 CY
Faithful, yes. But to who?
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 flee to? Here and there, never lingering anywhere for long, expecting the forces to Good to pounce upon him to exact its revenge for his wrongdoing.
[F]orces aligned with Good sacked and destroyed his stronghold west of the City of Greyhawk. [Dragon #37 – 11]
Desperate to throw off the chase, and to hopefully divert all blame from himself, Robilar sent messages that he hoped would be intercepted.
Still being pursued, Robilar sent word to Otto that he was traveling beyond the Flanaess to the lands east of the Solnor Ocean, and that now might be a good time to use the clone spell [discovered in the fabled City of the Gods], to cover his escape. [OJ#7 – 43]
Total bunk, as Robilar is a liar. [PGtG – 26]
And hardly likely to be believed; but Robilar was truly desperate.
[If you  should wish to pursue this timeline, then Robilar is removed from his Flanaess timeline. It is the clone who is depicted.
Otto went on to say that he now believes this clone was slowly driven insane by presence of a very much alive "real" Robilar somewhere in the eastern lands across the ocean. This would explain Robilar's rather erratic behavior in the last few years (such as changing his Coat of Arms and joining Rary in a plot against his "friends"). Neither Otto nor any other members of the Circle have been able to locate the presence of Robilar in the eastern lands. {OJ#7 – 43}
Do with this as you will. I choose to ignore it, preferring to streamline my narrative, as this contradicts a great many events that follow.]

Before too long he and those of his followers who’d survived managed to shake his vengeful pursuers, but only by plunging headlong into a realm where they could not hope to follow.
Sometime over one year ago, Robilar escaped and is now somewhere in the Pomarj region [.] [Dragon #37 – 11]
Population: 20,000?
Demi-humans: None
Humanoids: Orcs (15,000), Goblins (10,000), others
Resources: silver, electrum, gold, gems (I, II)
[Folio – 14]

Tribes of vicious humanoids have banded together and rule […] the Pomarj. [Folio – 6]
[The humanoids are] masters of the whole peninsula. [Folio – 14]
The humanoids have not often dared to cross into Ulek, but their raiders cause much trouble in the Wild Coast. [Folio – 14]
These invaders work their way up from the Pomarj, through the Suss and Welkwood. [Folio – 22]
The folk of the Wild Coast at one time made concerted efforts to clear the Suss, and managed to drive Its verge back several leagues. Due to the disappearance of timbering parties and the threat of marauding humanoids, such operations are no longer conducted anywhere, however. The edges of the Suss are watched closely by the petty nobles and lordlings of the Wild Coast. [Folio – 26]

One would imagine that the Pomarj would have been the last place Robilar would run to; but I imagine he would have had few choices available given the short time he had to escape the wrath directed towards him.
Iuz's most burning desire is to have revenge on those who freed and tried to slay him. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil – 5]
Since that fateful brush with extinction, Iuz has schemed to destroy those six [Bigby, Quij, Rary, Riggby, Robilar, and Tenser]. [WGR5 – 5]
The north then would be closed to him.
The Pomarj would have been within easy striking distance. Besides, the denizens of the Pomarj were far from discriminating.
Only corrupt or adventurous humans and demihumans intentionally entered there. [Wars – 15]
There are undoubtedly renegade humans helping these invaders, and mercenaries as well [.] [Folio – 14]

Robilar would not have been deterred. He had strength in numbers.
Heavy Cavalry: 50 (Regulars)
Medium Cavalry: 100 (Regulars)
Light Cavalry: 50 (Regulars)
Light Horse Crossbowmen: 50 (Regulars)
Heavy Infantry: 100 (Elite Qrcish)
Light Infantry: 100 (Levied)
Heavy Archers: 50 (Elite Orcish)
Light Crossbowmen: 50 (Regulars)
Pole Armed Infantry: 100 (Regular Orcish)
Many of the higher-level figures were slain during the taking of the castle, but Robilar has Otto, a high-level magic-user, and Quij, an Orcish hero of high ability but low intelligence, as well as some relatively low-level cohorts. This force is Lawful Evil but suspect by the minions of Hell due to chaotic actions.
[Dragon #37 – 11]
And 3 green dragons. Let’s not forget about them.
It’s not as though the disparate tribes could have prevented Robilar from finding a deserted castle and setting up shop.
The orcs and goblins carved up the realm into small territories ruled by individual tribes and chieftains. [LGG – 88]

Where did Robilar settle? One imagines in the most remote, most fortifiable, and most formidable of terrains.
Into the Drachensgrab Hills
Robilar made his way […] to the Drachensgrab Mountains and is believed to have joined his forces located there. [OJ#7 – 43]
Drachensgrab Hills: The low mountains of the same name found in the Pomarj are surrounded by these hills. Rich in valuable minerals and gems, these hills have always been the home of many terrible beasts and monsters which had to be contended with by the humans dwelling along the lowland coasts. Now that the area is in the hands of humanoid hordes, many of the monsters there will undoubtedly be enlisted into their ranks. Legends say that these hills hide the resting place of one or more powerful creatures who may someday return to life. [Folio – 22]
Robilar is 50 years old.

571 CY
No sooner had Robilar settled, Otto betrayed him.
So it was that Otto worked his way into Robilar's organization, and onto the path of events that would see him as a founding member of the Circle of Eight. [LGJ#0 – 10]
Robilar added Otto to his every increasing list of those he would one day exact revenge upon.

570s CY
Regardless his initial strength, orcs are orcs. Evil, vicious, tenacious.
Kill your father, eat your mother is an encouragement among the orcs of the Pomarj, entreating the listener to evil and notable deeds. [FtAA – 16]
Robilar’s presence and reputation would have only been a challenge.
Despite his stronghold, despite patrols and  the policy of intense retaliation – killing 10 orcs for every casualty – Robilar’s strength dwindled, until he could hardly claim lordship over even a single narrow valley.

576 CY
Human m, 15th lvl FT, AL LE; S 18(78), I 11, W 16, D 16, Co 18, Ch 16
Although his career started as a neutral and he still retains on attitude somewhat neutral in outlook, Robilar is presently lawful evil in alignment. […] In spite of his alignment, he can still be trusted to an extent, though caution should be exercised. [Rogues 1e – 46]
Robilar has many magic Items. These are a girdle of stone giant strength, a +3 sword, a suit of +3 plate mail, a + 3 shield, a +3 bow, a flying carpet, a ring of spell turning, and a ring of invisibility.
[Rogues 1e – 46]
Robilar is 56 years old.

Robilar’s green dragons would be:
Old – 101-200 years – 6 hit point per die; average
Young adult – 26-50 years – 4 hit point per die; medium [MM 1e – 29]

580s CY
It began to be obvious to Robilar that he could not remain within the Drachensgrab Hills for much longer, or even the Pomarj for that matter.
The orcs were stirring, and testing his crumbling walls with ever more vigour.
Turrosh Mak
In the early 580s, a new leader emerged to unite the tribes, a rabble-rousing half-orc named Turrosh Mak. [LGG – 88]
United under a half-orc leader of greater strength than had been seen before, one Turrosh Mak, they strove to reclaim the "birthright" their new tyrant stressed to them: their old homes in the Lortmils. [FtAA – 7]
Did Robilar fear this new leader? Not at all. He was the match of any man alive.
Robilar (Fighter of 19th level) [Dragon #37 – 11]
Robilar claims to fear nothing and no one. [Rogues 1e – 46]
But Robilar soon had to admit that this upstart would soon be the end of him if he remained in his shrinking domain for much longer. More and more of his men-at-arms fell to Mak’s relentless attacks.
Turrosh Mak sign[s] no peace treat[ies.] [FtAA – 21]
Indeed, Robilar had to flee this new paradigm. He and Quij and those followers who did not slip off into the night made a mad dash for the port of Blue and eventual escape. One by one his follows were picked off, mile by mile, regardless that his dragons wheeled overhead. Only he a Quij (and the dragons, of course) lived to gain the relative safety of its gates.

582 to 584 CY
City of Greyhawk
Where did Robilar flee to? To Greyhawk City. [WGR3 – 7]
He reasoned that the Free City was as good a destination as any. It would be far easier to lose himself in its teeming masses than anywhere else on Oerth. Besides, he still covertly owed the Green Dragon Inn, his only source of income, at present.
Robilar secretly owns the Green Dragon Inn, in the City of Greyhawk. He uses the inn as a meeting place and as a means of ferreting out information and keeping up with the local happenings within the city. [OJ#7 – 41]
He owned the place in secret, entrusting the day-to-day management to a former cohort, the swordsman Ricard Damaris. [EttRoG – 10]
Robilar was a regular in the [Green Dragon Inn] tavern until his betrayal […], but even then he didn’t want anyone to know he was the owner. No overt signs of Robilar’s involvement in the establishment remain [.] [EttRoG – 14]
He could not, however, walk the streets as himself. A disguise was in order, so henceforth Robilar became Captain Gallancz [,] a tall middle-aged man with bushy blond hair and beard and a red military coat [, a veteran of] Emridy Meadows who happens to be in town on business. [EttRoG – 16,17]
Gallancz remains cordial and friendly, prone to loud guffaws and hearty table-slapping. He frequently buys rounds for all at the Lord’s Table, telling Ricard to “put it on the tab” with a wry smile
. [EttRoG – 17]
[According to 2007’s Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, Robilar is not in fact Robilar, and has not been for some time. {In 582 (EttRoG – 15)} Robilar discovered a mirrored artifact called the Orb of Opposition, the key to a mysterious world only a few steps removed from his own. When the fearless fighter grasped the device with his bare hand, he found himself thrown into the mirror world, switching places with a lawful evil double known as Bilarro {.} {EttRoG – 17} This event would remove him from his and Greyhawk’s narrative until 597 CY {EttRoG – 5} when he is released {EttRoG – 189} exonerating him from all crimes and wrongdoing that follow. Accept of reject this as you see fit; I suspect it was written as an olive branch to Rob Kuntz, apologising for TSR’s treatment of his beloved character.]
He could not keep his green dragons with him, either – that would have been tantamount to a sign around his neck betraying “here be Robilar” – so he had to stow them somewhere nearby. But where? In a cavern complex of dungeon somewhere…?
Gallancz confesses a great love of adventure, eagerly asking the PCs about their adventures to date. If they have explored a lost dungeon, he wants to know all the details. If they’ve bested a dragon, he wants to know what color, what it had in its trove, and if it had any known young. [EttRoG – 16]
Or perhaps a castle…. Where might there be a nearby dungeon complex or castle where he could stow a dragon or three…? Suggestions?

The Green Dragon Inn
Whatever he may call himself, Lord Robilar may sometimes be found in a quiet public house, dealing with some person for a scrap of information or magic. [Rogues 1e – 46]
Especially adventurers.
He is […], talkative, and willing to give a gruff but hearty welcome to fellow adventurers. [Rogues 1e – 46]
He tells tales of dangerous adventures he has undertaken alone. It is true that he has never shirked from any adventure, no matter how improbable it sounded. He has travelled greatly and has seen many wonders on his adventures. These he remembers well, to tell about later or perhaps to use in bargaining with those who might wish to know his odd facts. [Rogues 1e – 46]
Old habits die hard, it would seem.
Robilar has three passions in life – adventuring, with all its attendant dangers and glories; magic, especially those items he can use; and information. [Rogues 1e – 46]
He deals fair, unless angered, but always to his own advantage. Advice or magic are what he will offer in return. He is not at all pleasant if tricked. [Rogues 1e – 46]
In spite of his alignment, he can still be trusted to an extent, though caution should be exercised. [Rogues 1e – 46]
That said…
Anyone other than his close friends […] should be wary of trusting him. Robilar always plans on coming out on top. [OJ#3 – 41]
Because, Lord Robilar is treacherous, untrustworthy and a liar. [PGtG – 26]
He is LE, after all; although that would predicate his keeping any deal or promise he might make – granted, he would be very careful and specific about the terms agreed upon.

Captain Gallancz began gathering followers. He was a captain, after all, and it would be suspicious if he did not command a troop. Did these followers know who he was? I expect they would. Robilar was a person of note, famous; like-minded souls would flock to him, either disbelieving the lies told about him, or not caring, or because of them. They would know to keep their lips sealed. Because any wrath that fell upon their master would fall upon them too.
Robilar, if anyone, would know to be wary, regardless his renewed strength. Indeed, because of it. He would keep an eye and ear out for those he knew and might recognise him. None knew he had returned. Indeed, none would have thought to look for him under their very noses. To one and all (outside his followers) he was Captain Gallancz, and he meant to keep it that way. For now.
Robilar noted while he did that the Circle of Eight was not the meeting-of-minds Mordenkainen might have hoped for. Not anymore, anyway.
During a particularly unproductive session of the Circle. Rary quietly withdrew in the face of Otiluke's bluster and returned to his tower in Ket. There, brooding upon his decades of ceaseless toil and frustration and his lack of success in the path of neutrality. [WGR3 – 7]
Robilar wondered if such a breach of camaraderie might to be to his advantage. Perhaps Rary might one day be one who might listen to his tale of Mordenkainen’s betrayal, perhaps leading to his eventual vindication. Or perhaps to his realising his thoughts of revenge.

One would expect that Robilar would by this time begun looking for ways to prolong his life. He was getting a little long in the tooth. The wear and tear of long years living by the sword would have long since become nagging aches and pains – once shrugged off, but now no longer so easily ignored.
How might he have done it? By spending a small fortune on Potions of Longevity, one would imagine.
[Potion of L]ongevity: The longevity potion reduces the character’s game age by from 1-12 years when it is imbibed, but each time one is drunk there is a 1% cumulative chance that it will have the effect of reversing all age removal from previously consumed longevity potions. The potion otherwise restores youth and vigor. [DMG 1e – 126]
Longevity 1,000 GP Sale Value [DMG 1e – 121]
How else could a man in his 60s continue to be described as black-haired [.] [WGR3 – 10]
Good genes?

584 CY
Rary of Ket
Whatever Robilar’s hopes for revenge or vindication, he kept his head down.
That must have galled him. There were great events happening, and he was unable to participate, lest his old “friends” discover who Captain Gallancz in fact was.
For two long years (582 to 584 CY), the nations of the Flanaess had schemed, murdered, and warred against each other until nearly all sides lay bloodied and beaten: war had exhausted the land and the people. [Wars – 24]
The proposed truce, though simple in theory, proved an enormous undertaking, what with the countless ambassadors present. [Wars – 24]

Despite his great care in not drawing attention to himself, Rary discovered his whereabouts. Maybe he had been too careless while investigating Rary’s sudden departure, and word had been passed to the Baklunish archmage. Then again, perhaps Rary had sought him out.
Rary did indeed contact him. They spoke at length. And soon they were plotting, planning to deal Mordenkainen a blow he would not soon forget.
Rary finally and irrevocably fell under evil's sway. Returning to Greyhawk, Rary enlisted the aid of Lord Robilar. a powerful if somewhat unstable nobleman with a substantial household guard. and together the two formulated a plan to put themselves into a position of power in the Flanaess. [WGR3 – 7]
When Rary approached him with his scheme for grabbing power, Robilar embraced it wholeheartedly. [WGR3 – 11]
Mordenkainen: “Robilar threw in with Rary for reasons I have never been able to comprehend, and his betrayal has galled me and my associates since the moment it occurred. Rary’s defection made a certain kind of sense, but Robilar’s did not.” [EttRoG – 92]

The rest is, as we say, history.
Unfortunately for Rary and Robilar. as Rary finished setting his magical traps. several members of the Circle entered the hall for a last-minute inspection of the site before the signing. Caught red-handed. Rary first attempted to flee. Forced at last into open conflict. he attacked with a fury born of years of pent-up anger. [WGR3 – 7]
A blazing explosion destroyed a good part of the Grand Hall only minutes before the ambassadors assembled for the day. A fierce magical battle immediately ensued, spreading havoc through much of the old city. When the fire and dust cleared, constables discovered smoldering robes belonging to two powerful members of the mysterious Circle of Eight – Otiluke and Tenser. The murderer of these wizards, undeniably a powerful mage, was discovered to be a third member of the Circle of Eight-Rary. Using secrets gained in confidence, Rary not only vaporized his two fellows but also tracked down and destroyed every clone the pair held in preparation. [Wars – 24]
Simultaneously, Rary’s ally Robilar entered Tenser’s castle (four days’ travel away) and initiated an attack. When the battle ended, Tenser’s forces were slain, his castle was looted and all Tenser’s cloning materials were destroyed. [Rot8 – 3]
In the ensuing confusion and shock, Lord Robilar's own troops struck, destroying every one of the dead wizards' hidden clones, assuring the permanent death of both Tenser and Otiluke. [WGR3 – 7]
Quij was once a henchman of the notorious Lord Robilar[.] Quij took part in the sacking of the castle of the slain Archmage Tenser, but the orc became separated from his comrades after the raid. [TAB – 98]
Robilar was never to see Quij ever again.
The motive behind Rary’s treachery remains clouded. According to many who knew him, the wizard probably saw an opportunity to seize power and land in the confusion that would follow the assassinations. Others suggest Rary was a pawn of the Scarlet Brotherhood.
With the plot discovered, though, Rary and his co-conspirator Lord Robilar fled the city. [Wars – 24]
Within hours, Greyhawk warriors had occupied Robilar's citadel and began to search for the pair, but it was too late. Faced with the collapse of their plot, Rary and Robilar fled, along with those troops loyal to them, and no one knew where. [WGR3 – 7]
Robilar’s manor was burned and his lands are becoming wilderness; few go here for any reason, though it is said the dungeons below the manor were sealed without being explored. [TAB – 76]

Any good will Robilar retained with the common folk of Greyhawk instantly fled, and [EttRoG – 10] Lord Robilar […], the last of his family line [,] once [a noble of the Free City] is now branded a traitor and criminal. [TAB – 71]

Rary must have known that no state would harbour them. He had just attempted to assassinate the delegates of almost every nation in the Flanaess. Nor would any Baklunish nation, fearful of the wrath of an entire continent should they.
Thus, Rary whisked he and his fellow conspirator to a bleak and desolate haven.
Rary, member of the Circle of Eight. Rary and his co-conspirator, the wily Lord Robilar, were nowhere to be found, and Rary's tower, in Lopolla, also vanished. Months later, the duo and the tower surfaced in the Bright Desert. [LGG – 38]
Doing so took its toll, however: Rary was exhausted, no match for even the lowliest hedge wizard should one have set his mind to taking the two to task. He needed time to recover. Robilar kept him safe and secure while he did.
When Rary fully recovered from his exertions, he turned his magical and diplomatic abilities to pacifying the desert. Some tribes were persuaded to join Rary’s empire with promises of future power. Others were beguiled with magic, and still others felt the full wrath of Robilar's now-huge army. Within a few months, the entire desert within a hundred miles of the Brass Hills lay completely under Rary's control. [WGR3 – 8]
The Bright Kingdom was born when Robilar was 64.

585 CY
WGR3 Rary the Traitor […]. This presents the current status of the archmage Rary, his evil henchman Robilar, and their realm in the Bright Desert about 585 CY.
[TAB – 4]
Next to nothing is known of his activities and domain, though some say he has a fortress in the Brass Hills in the desert’s center, where he and his treacherous partner, Lord Robilar, are forging an empire with aid from native folk. [TAB – 37]
It would take some time, something they were not sure they had in abundance.
Robilar led his fanatically loyal men from desert village to desert village, systematically defeating the local warlords and incorporating their warriors into an ever-growing army. Rary, too, had transported several bands of Paynim horsemen from the west, who promised glorious death in service to the mage they called "The Rider." Early victories against nonhumans and the Tukim, the most powerful human tribe in the desert, bolstered the armies. Few openly defied this powerful force. [LGG – 38]
In the Bright Desert, Rary the Traitor and Robilar are said to be subduing the savages and raising a force which might yet beset the Free City of Greyhawk. [FtAA – 10]

No vengeful armies besieged Rary’s new kingdom. Nor did the Circle of Eight descend upon them, either. The nations of the world were bloodied and weak now, it would seem; so too Mordenkainen’s much lauded Circle. Time was now on their side, they realised.
Now reasonably secure, Rary allowed Robilar a free hand in the pacification of the desert and turned his attention to the legends and fragmentary tales told about the region. [WGR3 – 9]

Lord Robilar
Lord Robilar
Marshall of the Bright Lands, Warden of the Brass Hills (15th-level fighter)
Str I8/75; Dex 16; Int 11; Wis 16; Con 15; Cha 16;
Magical Items: metal destrier, blade of black ice, plate armor + 3, shield + 3, + 1 bow, flying carpet, ring of spell turning, ring of invisibility. horn of blasting, girdle of storm giant strength [WGR3 – 10]
Lord Robilar, Rary's companion and military commander, is a grim, black-haired, saturnine man with a brooding countenance, deep-set eyes, and a short goatee. [WGR3 – 10]

Truth be told, Robilar had not felt so useful in years.
Far from being angered at the failure of Rary's plots, Lord Robilar has taken to his new role with relish. He is truly in his element, a leader of men (among other things), riding the desert or soaring above it on his flying carpet, seeking battle and adventure. He has personally participated in several exploratory missions and hopes to find the scorpion crown himself, and thus win glory for his new nation. His black unicorn banner has already become a symbol of the new nation's power or, for those tribesmen not under Rary's sway, its wickedness. [WGR3 – 11,12]

586 to 589 CY
What followed in the years to come? Nothing. A pause. Perhaps concern.
While few overt threats presented themselves in the aftermath of war, the emergence of Rary the Traitor, in the Bright Desert, is a cause of great concern. [LGG – 126]
Though small and mysterious, this growing state could someday threaten the very borders of Greyhawk. [Wars – 24]

Not so in the Bright Desert. They were busy there.
Rary's forces have grown significantly since 584 CY. More than ninety percent of the desert nomads now swear fealty to the Monarch of the Bright Lands. [LGG – 38]
Lord Robilar's army is an eclectic combination of many disparate elements. The elite core of the army consists of Rary's Paynim bodyguards, who serve the wizard fanatically, despite the fact that they are far from home and facing an uncertain future. [WGR3 – 9]

Desert Centaurs
It was still far from pacified.
The native desert centaurs, who remained neutral immediately after Rary's arrival, now bitterly oppose Robilar's armies. [LGG – 38]
Robilar spends most of his time leading Rary's armies against recalcitrant nomads or centaur tribes. He rides the desert on his enchanted steed, a mechanical destrier created by Rary. [WGR3 – 11]

One would think, then, that a great deal of energy was to be spent hunting down these seditious centaurs. But in truth, Rary and Robilar were mostly engaged in unearthing what fabled magic of long-lost Sulm they could find.
Wherever the armies went, so too ventured immoral adventurers in Rary's employ. These humans, mostly sages and enchanters, scoured the desert, paying particular attention to local ancient ruins. Rary seldom left his tower, but all knew that he sought some object rumored to be terrible and powerful. [LGG – 38]
Magic items that he has little use for are given to Robilar or his lieutenants as rewards. [Dragon #249 – 94]

Robilar, it would seem, was no longer his own man. He was Rary’s.
Robilar is fanatically loyal to Rary and the Kingdom of the Bright Lands, and at this time he would never think of challenging his lord. [WGR3 – 12]
Did he mind this shift in fate? Not at all. Perhaps deep down, he never felt so free. At least, under Rary, he knew where he stood. Unlike when he was in the employ of Mordenkainen and his Citadel. In his throes. He may only be a pawn; but he was a willing pawn. And perhaps he always has been. Riggby certainly saw through Robilar’s bravado.
Riggby: Tough in a fight, Robilar is destined to be someone’s chief warrior rather than the master. [COR1 – 00 – 8]
He was Mordenkainen’s pawn then, and now he was Rary’s.
Of course, Robilar has changed before, and the great power which Rary now wields could prove a potent motivation for him to change once more and betray his ruler. [WGR3 – 12]
One should not hold one’s breath, though.
But deep down, there remained a spark of what was.
[Robilar] remains a friendly man, although if moved to violence, he will fight in a direct and brutal fashion, with little regard for fair play or the rules of chivalry. He has a soft spot in his black heart for adventurers, seeing in them the devil-may-care sort of freebooter whom he himself once was.
Adventurers captured by Robilar personally will find him a charming man. If captured adventurers impress him favorably with tales of their derring-do, he may simply have them escorted to the Abbor Alz and released with a stern warning never to return. Should the adventurers ignore this warning, Robilar will not be so friendly the next time they meet. [WGR3 – 12]

589 CY
Regardless how he might try, Robilar was never able to put an end to the nomad and centaur threat, however successful he might be from time to time.
In 589 CY, Chief Strongbow, an influential leader and strong proponent of balancing the nomads against Rary and staying out of the conflict, was found murdered in his quarters. Though there was very little proof, the young bucks among the centaurs called for a guerilla war against the westerners—a plan that has met with some success. [LGG – 38]
When one leader fell, another rose up to replace him.
Despite the centaur attacks and certain stubborn native tribes, Rary's searches continue, often with frustrating consequences. [LGG – 38]
Robilar is 69 years old.

590 CY
An Abandoned Necropolis
The proof of his continued frustrating failure is in that his patrols kept disappearing.
In late 590, an entire company of Robilar's best Paynim and nomad guards vanished while investigating an abandoned necropolis. [LGG – 38]
His continued failure has cast light on his continued servitude, however.
Rary's response, ordering Lord Robilar's own personal guard after the lost soldiers, so enraged the warrior that he left his post for a week, not returning until he single-handedly slew an old blue dragon that had been considering an alliance with the archmage. The two have patched up their differences, but tensions between them remain strong. [LGG – 38]
Cracks were forming in his and Rary’s supposed inseparable bond. On in Robilar’s acceptance of his servitude, anyway.
Robilar, Rary knows, wants the freedom he once had to roam as he would, something now forever denied him. Rary cares not a whit whether Robilar chafes under his yolk. Robilar would have been hunted down long ago if it weren’t for him, so Robilar had best accept his fate and be done with it. He may even expect Robilar to rebel one day. If – when – he does Rary will deal with that eventuality; until that day comes, Rary continues to search what whatever magic he seeks but still eludes him.
Many fear that he is close to achieving or finding that for which he searches; few believe the result will benefit anyone but him. [LGG – 38]
Warnes Starcoat, of one.
Warnes Starcoat
Dutchy of Urnst
Warnes Starcoat, Chief Mage to the Joint Courts of Urnst and a member of the Circle of Eight, warns that Rary's diabolical plans could soon lead him to covet the ancient knowledge of House Maure. Lord Robilar once spent his summers in Pontyrel, in Urnst's Maure Lands, and many suspect that it is only a matter of time before his soldiers cross the Knife's Edge Pass, making their way to Maure Castle. In anticipation of this event, the village of Kelefane, near the Knife's Edge, has become a prominent military outpost, and is personally administered by Karll's nephew, Ellis (CN male human Ftr7), a bitter man who looks for enemies at every corner. [LGG – 16]

Side note:
If we accept that the true Robilar was absent for all this time, then he returns after all these events to his loyal and apparently patiently waiting followers in the Drachensgrab Mountains, sometime after Turrosh Mak has conquered the entirety of the Pomarj.
The credibility of this happening is contradicted by this statement.
This force is mostly lawful evil, but trusted by few because of their chaotic tendencies. [OJ#7 – 43]
That's a bit of an oxymoron. It's like saying they are mostly Good, except for their Evil tendencies. Law and Chaos do not get the same respect as do Good and Evil; and they ought to.
As noted above, I favour ignoring both the clone and Bilarro narratives, opting for a more streamlined one. No clone. No Bilarro.
My apologies to both Rob Kuntz, and to Eric Mona and his team.

591 CY
Robilar has indeed returned to Rary’s fold, though. For now.
Robilar’s relationship with the wizard has cooled of late due to Rary’s distant and increasingly amoral demeanor. Eventually, the Traitor may become the betrayed, but for now, Robilar remains content to ride the desert on his metal destrier, frying his black unicorn banner, seeking battle and adventure. [Epic Level 3e – 308]

Lord Robilar of the Bright Kingdom
Rary's armies are commanded by the doughty Lord Robilar (NE male human Ftr20). They range far and
wide, seeking out enemies of the state, protecting emissaries to enclaves in the Abbor-Alz, or causing trouble for local tribes and desert centaurs, who resent claims of empire upon their sovereign homelands. The independent and reclusive dwarves of the Abbor-Alz have not yet been troubled by Rary or Robilar's forces. [LGG – 38]
One expects that his servitude will only last so long as Robilar can continue to vent his frustration on the populace at large, citing that anyone not already cowering under serfdom must be an enemy of the state.
Thousands of desert folk have suffered under Rary's armies. [LGG – 38]
Except for those who he still has a soft spot for.
Robilar, though a villain, has a soft spot for adventurers, and he is tired of playing catch-up with Rary's schemes. If there exists a path into the archmage's organization, it likely lies through friendship with this gregarious one-time lord of Greyhawk. [LGG – 38]

He ought to be wary, though. One day one of those adventurers will not be what he seems.
A powerful cult of the Old One currently inhabits the Abbor-Alz hills near Hardby, seeking out information on the whereabouts of Lord Robilar, who tried to murder Iuz upon his release from Castle Greyhawk in 570 CY. [LGG – 63]
Robilar is 71 years old.

Robilar’s green dragons would be:
Old – 101-200 years – 6 hit point per die; average
Adult – 51 -100 years – 5 hit point per die; average [MM 1e – 29]

“All is not lost, the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, immortal hate, and the courage never to submit or yield.”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost

If you accept that Robilar’s clone replaced him in his narrative, then you will agree with Rob Kuntz that the clone was slowly driven insane by presence of a very much alive "real" Robilar somewhere in the eastern lands across the ocean. This would explain Robilar's rather erratic behavior in the last few years (such as changing his Coat of Arms and joining Rary in a plot against his "friends"). [OJ#7 – 43]
Fine. That is well and good, but Rob’s article in OJ#7 goes on to confuse the narrative further by having the original Robilar [make] his way back to the Drachensgrab Mountains and is believed to have joined his forces located there. [OJ#7 – 43]
This occurs, according to the article, after Rary’s betrayal of his “friends.” This predicates then that Robilar’s followers continue to thrive in the Drachensgrab Mountains during clone Robilar’s exile in the Bright Desert until Robilar’s actual return.
It goes without saying, then, that the Robilar who is swapped out with Bilarro is the clone.
If you accept Robilar’s imprisonment in 582 CY, then he (the clone) has been absent from his own narrative for a very long time. Bilarro was responsible for Iuz’s release, and not Robilar’s clone. Bilarro aided Rary in the attempted assassination of the delegates in 584 CY, and not Robilar clone. And thus, it was Bilarro who escaped to – or was exiled to – the Bright Desert with Rary.

There is hope, however, for Robilar’s clone in that twisted Bilarro scenario….
597 CY
Robilar/Bilarro is no deity, yet he remains a force to be reckoned with. While he is weak and disoriented, the PCs should have little trouble touching the Orb of Opposition to him. When they do so, the orb clouds and grows dark. Robilar looks up, his expression clearing and his eyes widening as his mind is restored. Seconds later, a wide grin creases his face, and he guffaws. “Looks like I’m not the only one who let old Iuz out of his crib!” he shouts merrily.
Robilar is eager to leave Castle Greyhawk and set his affairs in order, but he takes the time to thank the PCs effusively. He’s prepared to fi ght his way out of the dungeons, but if the PCs offer him teleportation back to the city, he doesn’t turn them down.
When he is ready to take his leave of the PCs, Robilar mutters something about having a lot of “housecleaning” to do and “trading in that old, rusty horse for a proper dragon mount.” Then he says his good-byes and promises to bring the characters some proper rewards in the near future. Then he departs, the lift in his stride bespeaking an ease in his heart that has been missing for nearly twenty years. Greyhawk is not all the PCs have saved from Iuz today. [EttRoG – 189]

It does not take a Ph.D. to realise that I’m not a fan of the Bilarro scenario. It smells of lack of agency. And, to my mind, it was a lame and thinly veiled apology to Rob Kuntz for TSR’s and WotC’s treatment of his PC.
Rob Kuntz deserves that apology; but he no longer “owns” Robilar (I’m not a lawyer so I’ll let you come to your own conclusion in that murky, twisted mess as to who owns what), so those who do had every right to do with Robilar what they wished. It matters not whether he liked what they did, no matter the slight – whether intentional or not is not for me to say.
All I can say is that I don’t like Robilar. Not in any iteration. Not in the least. Am I supposed to? I suppose I am, but how can I? He was little more a pawn, despite his vainglorious bluster, and a brutal one at that. He succeeded as an adventurer – perhaps far better than any other – but he did it, at first, with the help of other talented souls by his side, and then, later, behind a meat shield (God knows how many orc henchmen and hirelings fell in his pursuit of magic and wealth). The only good he might ever have done was in the service of the Citadel of Eight, and even then, he might only have ever done those deeds is because he happened to be in the company with those who truly wished them done. He was only alone for the ride.
Brave beyond belief, Robilar was but a reaver in their midst.
Indeed, he has known no love but greed.
Perhaps my most damning indictment of Robilar is his callous irresponsibility. He might cite resetting the Balance as his reason for releasing Zuggtmoy, but that is untrue, given how much evil Zuggtmoy would surely have inflicted (far greater than any goodly cleric might ever have). He did it – or so he says – because too much good was going on around the place. In a manner, to balance the proceedings. [OJ#3 – 42] His words, not mine. Worst still was his freeing Iuz (no matter the eventual claim that he was only a pawn in Mordenkainen’s bid to rid the Oerth of the, until then, imprisoned demigod); no one could ever justify having again infected the Flanaess with that bloodthirst, sociopathic monster, Iuz, whatever their reason. Has anyone, or anything, wrought such pain and suffering upon the Flanaess as he has? (Granted, one can say that he released a whole host of lesser gods as well, but aside from Wastri, none seem to have taken any hand in the affairs of the Flanaess other than those two evil demigods. So… Balance be damned; the proof, I say, is in the pudding.)
I will grant Rob Kuntz this reprieve: He had no say in Robilar’s fate in 584 CY. He is wholly innocent in those proceedings.
Also (and perhaps most importantly): Gary Gygax bid his players that one of their number should be the first to “playtest” an evil character. Rob accepted that challenge. He appears to have done so admirably.

“A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n.”
― 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:
Robilar with the Blade of Black Ice, from Epic Level Handbook, 2002
Pomarj Peninsula, by Alan Froke
Otto detail, by Ken Frank, from WGA4 Vecna Lives!, 1990
Turrosh Mak detail, by Wayne A. Reynolds, from Slavers, 2000
Captain Gallancz, by T. Denmark and F. Hooper, from Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, 2007
Tavern, by Valerie Valusek, from City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1989
Rary, by Andrew Hou and Arnold Tsang, from LGJ#22 / Dungeon #103, 2003
Bright Desert map, by Steve Beck, from WGR3 Rary the Traitor, 1992
Lord Robilar, by Ken Frank, from WGR3 Rary the Traitor, 1992
Warnes Starcoat, by Sam Woods, from Living Greyhawk Journal #0, 2000

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1043 The City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1989
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1982
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
1162 Return to the Tomb of Horrors, 1998
2011 Players Handbook 1e, 1978
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide 1e, 1979
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9026 T1 The Village of Hommlet, 1979,1981
9031 The Rogues Gallery 1e, 1980
9112 WG5 Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure, 1984
9147 T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil, 1985
9153 WG6 Isles of the Ape, 1985
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
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Epic Level Handbook 3e, 2002
White Plume Mountain Revisited, 2005
Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, 2007
Dungeon Magazine #37, 249, 290, 294, 295, 301, AN2
LGJ #0,2,5
Oerth Journal #3,6,7,25
COR1 – 00 The Citadel PCs
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

1 comment:

  1. Daaaaang. There's alot to unpack with this part. First, I love Otto the mole. I can't see him being happy in the Pomarj lol. Second, yeah I don't like Kuntz's not evil but has evil forces confusion either. Third, I am not versed in OJ lore, but a Robilar clone? As if this story couldn't get more twisted. No wonder you ignore both the clone and Bilarro. Speaking of Bilarro, I initially liked the idea, bc Oerth does have parallel worlds, but I agree its an apology to Kuntz, if he even needs one. Lastly, Rary the Traitor used to seem so random and lame to me, but now looking at the totality of Robilar's history it makes sense he would attach himself to someone who can make him useful again. Always the pawn.
    Love him or hate him, Robilar's story is very rich and interesting on its own merit. Your whole study is smart for focusing on just a "prime" Robilar and ignoring apologetic offshoots. Robilar, even the one played by Kuntz, did plenty of awful things to justify what actions later authors attributed to him. You can't change my mind.
    Heroic job on this post. Quij lives!