Friday, November 28, 2008

DMD: Dune-stalkers of the Bright Desert Kit

Subject: [GREYTALK] DMD: Dune-stalkers of the Bright Desert Kit
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 06:34:31 PDT
From: John Wright
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List

Dune-Stalkers of the Bright Lands

Desc: This kit is designed around the premise of a tribe of humans, all of whom live in a harsh, desert-like environment. The people of this tribe are hardy, strong, and have learned to accept life as a constant trial, and show neither fear nor compassion to outsiders. The desert sun is unforgiving, and so are they.

Role: The Dune-Stalker takes the role of a survivalist of the worst terrains, and a hero who brooks no argument. They are set in their ways, and unaccustomed to change, but when change comes, they do not berate or whine about it. In an adventuring party, these would be the stoic and tireless people who never accept defeat, and attack an enemy army alone in the hopes that the rest will be able to escape.

Requirements: Strength 14, Dexterity 13, Constitution 13.

Races: Human only

Weapon Proficiencies: Bonus: Spear. Required: Spear Specialization, Martial Arts (A, B, C, or D). Recommended: Further Spear Mastery, Additional Martial Arts Training, Dagger, and Short-bow.

Non-Weapon Proficiencies: Bonus: Running, Survival (Desert). Required: Dancing, Endurance. Recommended: Ambush, Blind-Fighting, Camouflage, Hunting, Tracking.

Equipment: A dune-stalker begins with the light robes on their body, and any other equipment that they then purchase. Of course in the desert not all items can be easily purchased or bartered for, so the DM is allowed to veto any initial purchases of the dune-stalker.

Special Abilities: Due to the hard training, and lack of camels in the Bright Desert, the Dune-Stalkers are practiced in moving easily across the sand and dunes. Their base movement in the desert is 12, and is not lowered for terrain (although wounds and encumbrance still affect it). However, due to their ability in negotiating the shifting sands of the desert, the dune-stalker finds that on solid and non-treacherous ground, that they seem to almost fly along. On normal terrain, such as plains or hills, they are considered to have a movement of 20. In terrain which is vastly unfamiliar to them (forests, high mountains, arctic regions, jungles, etc.) then this movement is reduced to a base of 9. This reflects their unsureness of step and nervous cautiousness.

Dune-stalkers also learn early on how to blend in with the terrain. Like a ranger a dune-stalker may hide in shadows and move silently. These are at the same chance as a ranger, except in deserts they are doubled, and in cities they are quartered.

Dune-stalkers also possess the standard barbarian abilities of back-attack, less chance of being surprised, and of climbing rough surfaces.

Dune-stalkers may not wear armor, but through rigorous training have hardened their bodies into weapons. They have a base armor class of 7, and this improves by 1 for every three levels that the dune-stalker has (1st-2nd AC: 7, 3rd-5th AC: 6, etc.) and this is further modified by dexterity. Also, due to their intensive work without weapons, dune-stalkers inflict a base 1d4 with a punch, and 1d6 with a kick. They are never considered to be without weapons.

Dune-stalkers are able to and expected to specialize in multiple styles of Martial Arts as well.

Special Hindrances: Due to their life-style and training, dune-stalkers may not wear armor heavier than normal clothing.

The dune-stalker comes from a tribe where weapons other than spears and daggers are essentially forbidden. At no time may a dune-stalker learn to use, or use the following; Axes, swords, and most items designed as weapons.

Also, due to the dune-stalkers holding water in near reverance, a dune-stalker may not initially know swimming, nor even contemplate such things as bathing for many months after encountering and living in other societies. Where the dune-stalker comes from, water is the stuff of life, and it is not to be wasted or used frivolously.

A dune-stalker has a rigid clan/tribal honor system which they must adhere to. Failure to follow it can lead to all other members of his/her tribe outcasting and then considering the dune-stalker as prey and an outlander.

Wealth Options: As a barbarian, and all initial money must be spent except for up to 2 gold pieces in assorted coins of silver and copper.

Bladesinger guilds in the Duchy of Ulek

Date: Sat, 11 Dec 1999 23:07:07 +0200
From: sander
Subject: Bladesinger guilds in the Duchy of Ulek

For those who want to add some differensation to the bladesingers. It is presently very low detail, there is nothing about offices, personages, internal politics, holdings, etc. essential things.

It is probably useless to those who don't allow bladesingers or feel that there can be just one guild of bladesingers. See below the "--------".


There is no love, no good, no happiness and no future - these are all just illusions.


Bladesinger guilds in the Duchy of Ulek. This is the *LOW* detail writeup. It is covered by a regular 4 clause BSD licence.

1. *THE* Guild of Bladesingers

The guild has it's own land holdings and is quite rich - some refer to it jokingly as the Order of Bladesingers - but this institution is what is meant when a native of the region says 'guild of bladesingers'. Due to it's land holdings, the guild has it's own seat and voice in the council of the nobles, separate from those of any members who may have a seat there.

The economic and political side (and other mundane parts) of the guild is handled by the Chancelor. The Chancelor is answerable to the Guildmaster and the Council and has to leave all personal propety and concernes behind when he or she takes the postion. Thus far, none of the Chancelors has broken the oath of 'swearing the cuting of all ties to matters personal'. Chancelor is not a postion most of the bladesingers view as desirable as it is largely bureaucratic. The Chancelor is elect from among the elder members by the Council and the Guildmaster. The Chancelor is banned from all regular bladesinger activities and may not take part in the Council or Great Assembly. To the regular guild members, the doings of the Chancelor are even more mysterious than that of the Librarian.

The Guildmaster, Chancelor, Librarian, Weaponsmaster and Master of the Arcane form the Council of the Five that is effectively the executive branch of the Guild.

2. The Guild of Shadow-singers

These bladesinger are all specialists - they are all illusionists. The guild acknowledges the superiority of the regular bladesinger guild, while the full guild views them as an offshoot for the not so competent. The running joke in the main guild (and for a long time already so) is that the next offshoot will be divination specialists - they never actually use their swords, just sit at home and try to divine the best best way how not to use these.

The members of the shadow-singers are taught a lot of skills relating to stealth, and quite a bit more about magic than regular bladesingers, and so at the expense of swordart. The shadow-singers function as one level lower when a regular bladesinger of equal level. Thus a first level shadow-singer has no bladesinger weapons abilities and second level has those of a first level regular bladesinger. On the positive side, the illusion school spells that the shadow singers cast *in combat* function as if the caster was one level higher.

The tatoo the members wear is not a tatoo at all but a version of a permanent "wizard's mark".

3. The Guild of the Prancing Pony

None of the other guilds *EVER* allow their members to call, or even think, of the members of this guild as bladesingers. And they are more than certain that they have every right to do so. After all, they are not even trained in the art of the longsword, but in the art the spear! To their mind, the originator of this guild should be crossed out from the list of all elves and be damned until the eternity of all time runs out.

The mebers of this bladesinger guild are trained in the art of riding and use of the spear - and to a much smaller amount, the use of lance. The admission requirements to this guild are very strict. In addition to that, the members are taught the variant of the bladesong of this guild (that radically differs from others) only when they have become full members after completing the TEST after reaching 5th level. The TEST is a well guarded secret, full knowledge of which is limited to those having taken it. It is a high treason to reveal it, and thus only the general impression of it is present among non-members and junior members.

The TEST consist of disarming and subduing three knights on heavy warhorses armed with swords and heavy lances. The full membership hopefull, however, must sit on an untrained pony (hence the name of the guild) and and is allowed to use spear as the only weapon.

Those that survive the test not making it become a kind of 'lay brothers'.
They remain with the guild but can not take positions in teh hierarchy and never learn the full bladesong. Full members *NEVER* fail their riding proficency checks, unless they voluntarily choose to do so. They have the normal bladesinger abilities (but with spear, not longsword) and are proficent with (any kind) of lance, but prefer to use spear.

The members of this guild don't wear a tatoo. The stance on teh thing is that they will one - that of a prancing pony - when the bladesinger guild accepts them as equals. This guild is unique to the Duchy of Ulek.

4. The Guild of the Silver Branch

This guild is a relatively recent off-shoot from the main guild. The main difference between the two is that the guild ofthe silver branch put the intrests of the Duchy of Ulek as whole - an entity consisting of not only elves but also other races - in the first place, leaving elvendom to be the second. This is something the main guild finds it cannot tolerate.

After the admission of a half-elf into the lines of this guild, there is an open feud between the Guild of Bladesingers and the Guild of the Silver Branch.

Members wear the tatoo of a silver brach done in silvery ink. This guild is unique to the Duchy of Ulek. The headquaters of this guild are in Waybury.

Re: Tenh & Religions

Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 15:26:13 +0300
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List
From: Mick Scannell
Subject: [GREYTALK] Re: [GREYTALK] Tenh & Religions

I scrawled :
>Tolkein was apparently heavily
>influenced by the Kalevala and drew heavily on it when writing Lord of t

Rob replys :
Less so than Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Teutonic sources, however. A good read on this is: “Tolkein: A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings,” by Lin Carter. Also check out “The Letters of JRR TOLKEIN” as selected and edited by Humphrey Carpenter, which supplies the master's insights on this.

... freakily enough, that very night on a book review programme there was an American author who had just completed his latest meisterwerk 'The Hobbit's Companion', which, so he stated, went deep into Tolkein's linguistics background to explain why he named the characters and places in his Middle Earth stuff the way that he did. Bilbo was apparently a 17th century dagger.... Baggins was a mideaval thief .... lots of words like 'tautologies' and 'metaphors' getting bandied about (you get the idea).

Rob then answered an earlier Q of mine :
Nope. I supplied those both in the original supplement “Gods Demi-Gods and Heroes,” and later, as re-written, in “Deities and Demigods.” My main concentration were Norse, Finnish and Central American. Gary loved the write-up I did of the Finns; but he had before that created Mordenkainen to be played in my world of Kalibruhn campaign, which was, at the time, an extension, of sorts, of GH; but far from being an integral part, except in our idea sharing of the time. We freely swapped adventures therein, allowing our PCs (especially Gary's) to traverse back and forth between the two, which was common in those early days of play. Gary, BTW, is quite the historian and had recommended (many years earlier in our association) that I read the *Kalevala*, which I later found time to do in full. A great book and I highly recommend its perusal.

.... aiee! Quelle misspell on my behalf! BTW, there was a Finnish artist called Gallen-Kallela who earlier on this century did a striking series of paintings based on THAT book; if you really enjoyed it then the pictures are a must to see (there are art folios available), with tryptichs of Sampo and his Gold Machine and Vainomoinen (?) Cursing.

This mail is very GH-light; better stick summat in to justify it's bandwidth:

Disclaimer : my observation has probably been talked about and beaten to death more times than E-wing in Johannesburg Prison, but have you ever noticed that :


It's a bit like armadillo spelt backwards, isn't it?

PS : he can create a shell, you know.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Re: really old greyhawk stuff

Subject: Re: [GREYTALK] really old greyhawk stuff
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 18:03:41 EST
From: "Rip Van Wormer"
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List

In a message dated 3/24/99 4:12:07 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> Does anyone out there have access to the Da series of modules?
> City of Blackmoor
> City of the Gods
> Duchy of Ten
> Temple of the Frog
> Adventures in Blackmoor?

City of Blackmoor was never released. I've seen City of the Gods, but didn't buy it. I do own Adventures in Blackmoor, and you can't have it. See this website, and download the file there, for basically everything known about Blackmoor:

Dave Arneson's website is at
It has the original Blackmoor campaign map on it, which is about the same as the one in DA1.

Regardless, none of the above really qualifies as "really old greyhawk stuff," as by this time Blackmoor had become a completely independent world. Actually (this is how I understand it), it started out that way and was fitted into Lake Geneva's fantasy campaign when Dave Arneson came into contact with them, and from there it became part of Greyhawk. Much later, a few Blackmoor modules came out with the setting retrofitted into the distant past of the D&D default Known World setting (later Mystara).

Regardless, the modules don't have anything to do with Oerth. The City of the Gods module could probably be used to flesh out the rumored site of that name in the Flanaess' Blackmoor, but I personally thought I could do better (the items of technology from that module are available for download on the TSR website, in the Mystara section). I would instead look at the article in the latest Dragon (Mage vs. Machine), the Gamma World and Rifts games, the story about the City of the Gods in the Oerth Journal, and maybe even the Netheril boxed set.

That's not to say that the Blackmoor of Adventures in Blackmoor isn't anything like its namesake in the Flanaess. They are shaped somewhat similarly. Sort of. If you squint. And you ignore everything to the south. Ten isn't anything like Tenh, however, nor is it in anything close to an equivalent position.

This should be in the frequently asked questions file for this listserv, shouldn't it?

Friday, November 21, 2008


Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 09:23:17 -0000
From: "Dawson Ricky (RD)"
Subject: Thornward

In response to Scott's observations on my write up of Thornward I did originally inform Jeff that the names were a bit 'tongue in cheek' - by all means anyone can change the names of the various shops, but they are just meant to add a little more detail to a city that's never really been looked into before (except for the post war notes by Wayne).

As to the comments about the shrines/chapels, I wrote that 'most of them didn't have resident priests but are just cared for by the parishioners'. I left this intentionally open as in our campaign we don't have our cities inundated with priests/clerics etc. Instead the majority of the populace rely on the local herbalists, wise women etc to cure their ailments (hence why in Thornward I added the notes on olinda's shop). The costs of healing are generally far too expensive for the common folk and are usually reserved for adventurers and members of the higher echelons of society.

However since my last write up on Thornward the PC's have spent some time wandering around the city and here are some of my updates on the chapels & shrines of the city.

Rao - The chapel has no resident priest. Although the head of the cities college, Brother Altabrus, is the only known priest of this deity and it is he that on every gods day holds services to his serene lord.

Zilchus - The chapel is located in the merchants guildhall. Within the guild there are a number of junior priests, overseen by Avril Braywood, a local cloth merchant.

Istus - This is a small shrine with no resident priest in the city.

Zodal - Bjorik Barnt is a young priest who oversees this chapel on his own - Bjorik spends the majority of his day working with the residents of the river quarter helping the poor and destitute. He is a lively and charismatic character, well liked by his parishioners.

St Cuthbert - There is indeed a resident priest here, called Hemmel of the Hymns (a billet), who has a small group of around 6 acolytes helping him.

Heironeous - The knight, Brannagh of Orel (fighter/priest), is the highest official priest in the city. He is a captain among the cities garrison. Although he is seldom here as he spends the majority of his time on patrolling the Bramblewood Forest & the Bramblewood Gap.

Celestian - Located in the Baklunish area of the city this chapel is looked after by 2 star gazers, a brother & sister named Luscius and Marlese. They have a mixed congregation on holy days made up of both Oeridian/Flan & Baklunish folk.

Farlanghan - These are only wayside shrines and there are no priests in the city.

Xan Yae - ? (No one knows !)

Olidammara - There currently is no resident priest in the city.

Hope this 'fleshes' the clergy side of things out for you.


Thornward....Very Very Long

Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 09:50:28 -0000
From: "Dawson Ricky (RD)"
Subject: Thornward....Very Very Long.

In reply to Jeff's email and for any others that are interested here is my take on the Capital City of Bissel, Thornward as at 582 CY (acknowledgements go out to the LG Site for help in parts of the city description).


Brief Overview:
Thornward is the Capital of Bissel. It has a population of approximately 3,500 souls, the majority of which are a mixture of Flan/Oeridian and Baklunish stock, with a few demi humans scattered around. This is a stone walled city, with a prominent castle in the southeast quarter. Bissel is ruled by Walgar, his full title is 'His Lofty Grace, Walgar, the Margrave of Bissel'. In the pre-war years this is a very industrious/commercial city. As it lies on the border between the eastern realms and those of the Baklunish nations it is the gateway for trade between the 2 'realms'.
The northwest quarter is home to a large number of ketttites and other Baklunish folk who make up the majority of the tradesmen, merchants and residents in these parts. The majority of caravans from Ket (and lands further to the west) come through this quarter. A large 'tented' bazaar is in place in the centre of this quarter, it is open on most days, where exotic spices and strong intoxicating aromas float around the market from the many eating areas/spice merchants/perfumery's. The city also lies on the Fals River, which runs past the northeast section of the city. This area comprises of warehouses, cheap inns/taverns, a small market (selling goods brought in from the river traffic), eating houses, ship repairers and a small jetty/wharf. This area is quite run down and has a reputation of being fairly rough for any strangers. It is also home to a number of small street gangs, the local thieves guild, the river-man's union, a cheap market and the cities ship repairers guild. The south eastern part of the city is home to the cities castle, the cities administration buildings (including treasury, tax offices and numerous bureaucratic buildings), library, college, the majority of the Flan/Oeridian merchants (including their warehouses), a small theatre, the city park and homes for the more affluent folk. The barracks for the city watch and the local militia are also located here. The majority of the trade from the eastern realms comes through the east gate, located near to a number of merchant warehouses/business. Situated in front of the cities keep are the administration, library and college buildings. While on the western side of the keep are the homes to the richer members of society and a large park (used as a barrier between the eastern and western quarters), containing a
number of small lakes, wildlife, small copses etc. The south western part of the city is mainly a residential area, with a number of small traders and taverns/inns bordering along its edges.

Shops/Businesses & Prices:
These are some of the more well known/reputable businesses within the city.

Advocet's Outfitters:
A cheerful old fellow runs this shop that sells anything from a small leather pouch, up to a tack and harness for a horse. Advocet buys and sells any gear/equipment that he can get his hands on. Being an ex-adventurer, who once roamed the mountains and forests here about, he is use to the needs of said travellers. The prices are fair, around the same as standard, although some of the more rare items will cost a few silver more. His shop is located on the main street running across from the south
western to eastern quarters of town.

The Keen Edge:
A weapons shop selling any bladed weapon a man or woman could want. The shop is run by a short, balding, thin man called Walda. Swords, axes and spears all hang from the walls of the shop. Prices are fair and the quality is average to good, although Walda will tell any prospective buyer that they won't find better in al the city (which is a pretty fair assumption has he has very little competition). The shop is located on the edge of the merchant's district, bordering the residential area.

Olinda's fine herbs:
For those looking for cures against the common cold or maybe thinking of looking for any of those old wives tales cures then Olinda's is the place for you. She is an elderly woman, somewhere in her early 60's. She owns a small shop situated near to the market in the riverman's quarter. Various bottles and packages, containing herbs, line the walls and window of her shop. The shop has a heady aroma of lavender/rose. A small black cat is Olinda's only company. If the PC's ask any of the locals, concerning Olinda's reputation, then they will get different answers, depending on what part of town their in at the time. The people living/working around the river quarter will say she's a blessing in disguise as she's always got the right cure for any ailment. While those in the rest of the city, if they've heard of her at all, treat her either very sceptically (affluent people) or that she may be some kind of witch. Olinda's will have available any of the herb's characters want, she does have some of the more poisonous varieties (i.e. mandrake, deadly nightshade etc.) but she won't sell these to just anybody.

The Gryphon's Feather:
A tavern of fair quality located in the river quarter. This tavern is owned and run by Jereth, a strict man in his mid thirties, who will not take kindly to troublemakers. He allows anybody to drink/eat in his establishment and it has a good reputation for being a place to while away a few hours, away from any talk of politics or business. He has a large spacious common room that on most evenings is full to the brim with drinkers and gamblers. Most establishments in the city have gambling tables etc. due to their being no strict laws regarding it.

A fair quality store selling a number of varieties of armour, from leather trews to chain mail hauberks. The shop is run by a man called Vishanta, a foreigner in these parts, who came down from Perrenland around 4 years ago and set up in business with a local blacksmith, called Mantock. The blacksmith's shop & stable are situated across the street from Vishanta's store and both have profited well out of this partnership. The store holds a number of standard sized hauberks, vests, vambraces and
greaves, for anything more exceptional Vishanta's is more than willing to take the vendor's measurements and let him know how long & how much it will cost. Vishanta is a handsome, dark featured man in his mid forties, with short cropped black hair and a small goatie beard. The store is located around 2 streets away from the cities eastern gate. It is often quite common for travellers to be referred to Mantock's blacksmith's/stables and then, on arriving, sighting the armourer's across the road.

Straight as an Arrow:
Agran's small shop is located on the 'border' between the Baklunish and south western areas of the city. He sells a variety of bows, including longbows, shortbows & crossbows. Agran is a tall, thin man with a wiry build. He is bald, with clear blue eyes and a well trimmed brown beard. He has a pleasant character yet is very serious when it comes down to the business of bows. He also sells strength adjusted bows, but these will take time to prepare/make and are expensive. His normal prices are at around 15% above the standard.

A small clothiers located on the 'border' between the south western and baklunish quarters. It is owned by a middle aged married couple, called Jaren & Sal Devaran. The shop sells a variety of cloths for all classes of people, ranging from homespun woollens to fine quality cotton shirts. They also stock a wide variety of hats, boots, shoes, capes and cloaks. For those new in town and want maybe something a bit more upmarket, say in silk, then they would be advised to go into the Baklunish sector.

The Inner Sea Coffee House:
A strong mixture of aromas (ranging from the bitter taste of coffee to the sweeter essence of herbal teas and pastries) will assail the senses of any of the patrons who decide on entering this large 2 storey building in the north western part of Thornward. This is a very upper class establishment, and it is very 'seen' to be having coffee or some other refreshment. This establishment is owned by Jaffir Ahmed. Jaffir is a businessman from Tusmit, who came to Bissel around a year ago. The decor is very modern, with fine panelled/polished wooden floors, large comfortable padded seats and a number of intimately close booths. The ground floor is a foyer and seating area for more 'common' coffee and tea drinkers, also the
kitchens and small staff room are located here (the latter two very much out of the way from the public eye). The upstairs floor is for private parties and businessmen. It is here that a number of the more important business deals are made, over a fine mug of coffee and a dainty pastry. Seating is by appointment/booking only and the general waiting time could be anywhere from 2 hours to a day. There is a strict code of dress, patrons must dress smartly as do all of the serving lads/ladies. The coffee house is regularly packed with merchants, lecturers from the college and the higher socially standing characters within the city. The prices are extortionate, but the quality of service of beverage is excellent.

The Glittering Stone:
A small shop situated in between the library and the college in the southern part of town. It is a small jewellers/gem cutters and is owned by Tinglebrur Hairfoot, a Halfling of considerable knowledge in the appraising of fine stones/jewels. The shop has a sturdy front and looks quite formidable for any theif attempting to break in. There are iron bars on each of the windows, the door is made from thick oak wood and has 3 sets of double locks on it (each would require a pick locks at -25% due to their quality), this is not to say that Tinglebrur is paranoid. This is what becomes from being an ex-adventurer (thief). Tinglebrur made his fortune when his party came across an old dragon's hoard in the Yatils around 2 years ago. On his return, he gave up adventuring and started his own business, mainly with the gem stones he managed to 'obtain' from his share of the hoard. He is the atypical halfling, extremely pleasant to talk to, in fact he will generally attempt to keep any patron, who has a story to tell, busy, by offering tea and biscuits/cake as they discuss business. He loves to gossip and swap tales, yet when it comes down to money he is extremely switched on. He drives a hard bargain and his prices, some say, are a trifle too much.

Have Mace will Bludgeon:
This catchy named shop is owned by Sam Trinkster (name shortened to Trinks by ther friends). She is an imposing woman, in her mid thirties, with the build of a blacksmith. She has deep dark eyes, raven black hair, a fair complexion and husky voiced. Trinks is an expert in her field, theirs nothing that she does not know about, or how to use, when it comes to a good mace or flail. She has all manner of bludgeoning weapons stored away around the single room store. She even has, out back a small yard, where she allows potential buyers to try out their preferred choice of weapon. Prices are varied, depending on what type of weapon (and knowledge) the customer wants. Generally they are around 10% above the standard rate.

The Essence of Life:
As soon as any patron enters past the front door to this small store their senses are smothered by the smells of Jasmine, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Paprika etc. Numerous shelves and glass cabinets hold a variety of jars, bottles and packages containing a mixture of herbs and spices, there are even a number of plants growing along the back wall, growing parsley, thyme etc. This store is owned by Fazzirak Al-Hamed Ahmed. He has a variety of spices and herbs for sale at reasonable prices, including; Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, Jasmine, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Lemon Grass, Parsley, Thyme, Garlic, Peppers, Curry leaves, Fennel, Lavender etc. He also sells numerous Oils
and elixirs for cooking/dressing. He also sells a wide range of perfumes including, Coconut, Lemon, Orange, Apple, Musk, Berry etc. What people don't know about Fazzirak is that he is a Ket spy, he transports his information through a network of spies/merchants that work on the caravans passing between Lopolla and Bissel (and beyond).

Entertainment in the city is varied. A number of the inns/taverns provide in house-entertainment , ranging from minor magical cantrip displays, Bards reciting tales of daring deeds, gambling, bands playing and even some whoring. There is also the theatre and the various eateries/restaurants and coffee-houses scattered around the city. Most places are open till very late, there is a curfew, but rarely is it enforced. If people are generally having a good time then the inns/taverns etc. will stay open.

There are regular patrols throughout the day and night by the city watch. The river quarter is patrolled the heaviest, both in day and at night. While the Merchants quarter is patrolled the least. The city also has barracked within its walls some 200-400 soldiers, who patrol the castle grounds, city walls and the outlying environs.

Laws are generally the same here as in most cities around the Flanaess. There is a curfew but generally not enforced. Taxes are to be paid on entering the city (per rider/horse/wagon etc). Travellers have to inform the city clerks, upon their arrival (usually these are stationed at each of the city gates), stating their business and length of stay in the city. Only weapons of short sword length or smaller can be carried and must always be sheathed. No long bladed, bludgeoning or missile weapons can be carried around the city. It is forbidden to wear any armour heavier than studded leather. Any one seen breaking these laws will be summarily arrested and either fined or jailed for a certain number of days/nights.

There are a number chapels/shrines within the city walls, yet most have no resident priests, but are just cared for by the local parishioners. They include:
Within the merchants guildhall there is a shrine to their patron power, Zilchus. A small shrine to Istus is located in one of the mystic/soothsayers buildings in the north west quarter. Rao, a small chapel is located near to the civil administration buildings. Zodal, a chapel situated on the edge of the Riverman's quarter. St. Cuthbert, a shrine dedicated to this patron is located within the river quarter. Heironeous, this temple is between the barracks and the city castle. Celestian, a small chapel is located at the top of one of the towers within the Baklunish area.
Farlanghan, there are no resident priests I the city, instead there is a wayside shrine next to each of the city gates. There is reputedly a shrine to Xan Yae, hidden somewhere. Lastly there is a small temple to the Laughing Rogue (Olidammara), placed within one of the gambling dens ('The golden Jug' tavern) in the river quarter.

Hope this is of some help to you.



Re: The Duchy of Tenh (Scottish rite)

Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 19:14:21 -0700
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List GREYTALK@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
From: “C. Jarvis” cjarvis@U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Subject: Re: [GREYTALK] The Duchy of Tenh (Scottish rite)

In response to Scott’s muchly deserved flaming of my posterior over the “You’re not Scot Mr. Jarvis” discussion of the Tenha:

---Ouch, that really hurt. But I must concede, Mr. Rennie, you would certainly know better than I. I must insist that I meant not to slight or insult with my missive.

>Ordinary?! ORDINARY!!!

----Okay, there are only extraordinarie Scots. I’m in the SCA, and there you cannot swing a stick without hitting a Scot. Or a Celt. Or a Norse for that matter…

>Oh yeah! Where in Scotland do you live – maybe we could meet up sometime?

---I am (or might be) related to any of several dead (ex-) Scots, Irish, Welsh, Brits, Dutch & the odd German (Quaker). I have not had the pleasure or oppurtunity to make my way to Scotland (yet); but I did float past it… I live in Seattle, which only shares a certain turn of weather with Scotland.

>Why? What are ‘the Scottish’ like?

---I imagine they are somewhat sensitive of any slights to their heritage. Any categorizations I would make would fall short of the entirety…

>The Scots tartans (not ‘plaid’ – a plaid is the name of the garment which t
>kilt originated from, not the pattern) were not originally so colorful as
>they once are, since old dyes tended to be made from natural sources.

---You know what a tartan is. I know what a tartan is. Under “Racial & National Dress” from WoG Gazeteer vol 3:

Oerdians typically favor checks and plaids. Aerdi and Nyrondal houses tend to wear plaids, while the southern and western Oeridians favor checks, often of a diamond pattern or similar variation from the standard square. Clothing tends toward tight-legged trousers, close-fitting upper garments, and capes or cloaks.

When I read this back in 1983 and was looking to find a flavor for the Oerdians it hit me that I could use an analog to the peoples of the British Isles. Considering that one of the major deities of the Oerdians is Procan, it supported the fact that they were sea-farers, or at least from a place by the sea (not south west of the Paynims & Ull).

>Also, the ’83 set states the ‘Flannae once wore brightly-hued body paints.’
>The name ‘Scot’ means ‘painted warrior’, taken from the old (ie pre-Roman)
>Scots habit of covering their entire bodies in (usually blue) war paint, so
>that even if they lost their clothes in battle they would not be naked.

----Are you a Wode-Warrior sir? Lots of peoples still wear or worn brightly-hued body paints. The ’83 says nothing of the Flani going into battle ‘sky-clad’.

[Text missing]


---Addressed above.

>A borgue???

---No a brogue. I think this is an American thing. Every player I know gives his character an outrageous accent (done very badly). I have seen individuals from the region in question visibly wince upon hearing such absurd utterances. I don’t know why we do it…

>>Zilchus is very Scottish.
>I see – the ‘Scots as a bunch of tight-fisted money-grubbing skinflints

---joke, joke. I didn’t mean it. I take it back. Sorry, sorry.

>>And you really can’t say “Fharlanghn” without a slight lilt and
>>rolling your r’s.
>Well, I certainly can’t – but to be honest it sounds more Welsh to me, which
>brings me on to…
>>The double ‘l’ in Delleb becomes Welsh, and you are good to go.
>Good to go where? Wales maybe. The Welsh have nothing to do with the Scots!

---Geographically Wales and Scotland are connected (for better or worse) to the same land mass. If one extends the analogy of the Oeridians (a large diverse people) to the peoples of the British isles (say the Celts and earlier peoples), who are also diverse…then one could get away with such an act.

>Yep, you have no preference for any ract to be ‘Scottish’, but if you are goi
>to do it, get your facts right.

--I shall differ to you sir.

>Anyway, I think the Scots/Tenh link goes a lot further back than Braveheart
>I seem to remember asking before where it came from, and someone suggested
>EGG himself thought of it that way.

---I wouldn’t know. I grew up, gamed, and crafted my own version of WoG in the cultural wastelands of Montana. I’ve seen too many of EGG’s pontificating rants to take anything he says seriously. I mean no offense but this is merely an opinion formed from various and sundry DRAGON articles in the early 80’s. Situations change. People and opinions change. Life goes on.

>Another dimension you forgot is the religious aspect – we had, and still
>have, quite a bit of religious fervor here in Scotland. From the Covenants
>earlier on, to present day sectarianism between the Catholics and
>Protestants, it is a hot-bed of religious fire here, albeit not so tense as
>Northern Ireland I might add.

---I hadn’t forgotten this aspect, I just lacked an appropriate way of applying it. Do the Flani seem this religiously fervent? Such zeal hardly seems to fit (if one were to apply this analogy).

>Again, I should caution against taking any analogy too far. The
>peoples of Greyhawk are unique and any comparison to a culture or people
>on a world berift of magic & majesty is bound to fall short.

---I agree, I would also like to reiterate (in light of Mr. Walsh’s comments) that this comment does apply to my own Oeridian-Scottish/Irish/etc. analog. I am just as guilty as anyone else—and I know this and am fully cognizant of my actions.

>IMC incidentally, the closest to a Scots-based people are a ‘lost tribe’ of
>Flan who fled Haradaragh before its downfall, being forced from their next
>homes in the Good Hills then the Stark Mounds and southern Geoff by the
>advancing nation of Keoland, finally disappearing into the Crystalmists.

---Are the Haradaragh detailed anywhere? I don’t own everything Greyhawk (yet). IMC the clans of Geoff & Sterich are fairly close to being Scots-based: sporting individual clan tartans (though with some colors the Scots traditionally don’t use—which are attributed to Suel, Baklunae, Flani, and non-human influences), beating on each other when there is no one threatening their lands, etc. Though they have had to deal with successive incursions of other peoples.

Again I would with to reitterate, that I meant no malice by my post. I merely saw things differently than Mr. Walsh (I hope I have at least gotten the name right).

Still flanning the flames on my behind,
Chris Jarvis, living in Seattle and occasionally wearing a dress (I mean tunic…no really)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thornward (Long)

Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 14:54:21 EST
From: "Wayne S. Rossi"
Subject: Thornward (Long)

Thornward, Occupied Neutral City of
Ruler: Various diplomats and appointees
Population: 5,370

The Lirtlemark of Bissel was long the border state of the Flanaess, at the edge of the Baklunish West. During the Greyhawk Wars, when it fell to its Baklunish compliment Ket, there was a change in the face of the rulers, a bit more proselytization than usual, and a good deal more taxes. Life went on. When Veluna and Gran March negotiated a withdrawal of the Ketite forces, Beygraf Nadaid was most resistant about giving up Thornward, a major source of income for his coffers. The ultimate settlement was that Bissel would be returned to autonomous rule, and Thornward would be ruled by delegated officials from each of the four nations. The citizens of Thornward breathed a sigh of relief. That would not last long. It turned out that Bissel, Gran March, Ket, and Veluna had all had the same idea: use Thornward as a place to rid themselves of corrupt officials. Over the course of a rocky first year (which included more than one open clash of drunken Bisselite and Ketite soldiers), a vague pattern developed. If a map of the city were held so that the Fals River were at top (meaning a Northeast-Southwest orientation instead of a North-South one), the division would look like a large "X." The Northeast quarter is mostly patrolled by Velunese, who are notorious for fleecing the merchants who enter and leave the city by river. Ket has taken up the Northwest quarter, thus giving it control over the major trade gate coming from the Baklunish West. As a protective measure, so the Ketites and Bisselites have no common border within the city, Gran March occupied the Southwest quarter, and Bissel has control over the Southeast. Each of these quarters is now referred to by the nation that holds it at present.
Thornward is a trade city, and now intrigue and bribery are all but a way of life. Each quarter is rife with spies from the other governments, and tavern brawls over political issues are now common (and a well-known quick and easy form of assassination).

Velunese (Northeast) Quarter
A red sash with the seal of Veluna as a pin marks the bureaucracy that rules the Velunese quarter. A demanding, inefficient machine, the docks are run with a clockwork slowness that involves countless cargo searches, endless paperwork, and exorbitant tariffs. Naturally, the more the palms of the bureaucrats are greased, the faster their work will go. The Velunese quarter sees a lot of the trade from the Fals River, and consequently there is a decent-sized market here (though not as great as the large market currently in the Ketite quarter). The law is fairly in tact, and certainly the guards come at a higher price than in the rest of the city (though in Thornward, everyone has a price). Still, it is fairly well-kept, although there is still the stink of corruption and the political brawls that so often erupt in Thornward.

Ketite (Northwest) Quarter
In the Ketite quarter, a degree of racism uncommon in the Flanaess at large takes place: the more Baklunish one looks, the better treatment he will receive. Caravans to and from Ket come through here, and Baklunish merchants are treated significantly better than those who are not. This is where the large open-air marketplace of Thornward is located, and it has taken on a particularly Baklunish air with the years of Ketite rule. The faint smell of spice can be smelled, and there are vendors of all kinds here. Taxes extracted are quite severe, though the exact degree depends upon the race of the merchant in question. As always in Thornward, a little bribe goes a long way. Ketite officials are probably more for sale than most others in the city.
They are easy to bribe, and after a disturbance, there is a relatively small fee in exchange for the guards to ignore the obvious guilty parties and round up the usual suspects. Everything runs fairly smoothly in the Ketite quarter, regardless of the corruption beneath.

Gran March (Southwest) Quarter
If not Veluna, one would have hoped that the traditionally militaristic Gran March would furnish a government free of corruption for Thornward. Unfortunately, it is exactly the opposite; instead of sending its cream off to rule a city that is being occupied to keep away from all-out war, the nobility of Gran March instead used it as a post for the more cowardly and craven. It is run laxly, kept full of arrests and tariffs and the like to ensure that, when anyone of real standing from the Gran March comes, their section of Thornward will seem orderly.

Bissel (Southeast) Quarter
All of the other quarters are utterly corrupt, and unfortunately, the Margrave of Bissel decided that he needed his best and brightest working in Pellak, and sent his worst to Thornward. More than any of the other sections, this one is a mess; uncaring bureaucrats are notorious for tying up caravans and merchants having anything to do with Ket for days for no reason, and they do little better for the rest of the would-be traders. Indeed, the Bisselites are unfriendly to any who were not from Thornward before Bissel fell, which is problematic, since the population beforehand was considerably smaller than it is now. Their price is much higher for non-Bisselites.

The Rulers of Thornward
Reldath of Bissel: Reldath was a minor official in Thornward before the wars, and kept his position through the Ketite occupation. He hates the Ketites, and works to keep the Bisselite quarter relatively free of the Baklunish influence that has prevailed in the rest of the city. His efforts are rather futile, though, and the others would like to see him outed.
Orwen of Veluna: A weaselly bureaucrat who had, through intrigue, worked his way up the Velunese chain of command, Orwen was a man that the Velunese government was glad to see out of Mitrik. He has wormed himself into most of Thornward's better places, and holds the most influence of the four rulers of Thornward. He is a fairly impartial man, and will take a bribe from anyone, provided it is large enough.
Verin of Ket: The most charming of the four leaders in Thornward, Verin is a snake of a man with good grooming, as a noteworthy Velunese priest said upon meeting him. Verin is ambitious, and was probably given the position in Thornward to prevent him from upsetting things in Ket during Nadaid's crucial early years as the Beygraf. Verin is very accomodating to anyone who has the money to pad his purse, but he has a vengeful streak.
Arlas of Gran March: Before Thornward, this portly, snivelling man was just an irritating toady who was capable enough that the military of the Gran March got him out of its hair. There is little that Arlas will not do to make sure that his superiors feel he is doing a good job (regardless of how he is really doing).
Some Personalities of Note in Thornward
Jereth: The proprietor of the Gryphon's Feather, a tavern of considerable note just in the Velunese quarter, is among the most able men in Thornward.
He has a strict policy: no one gets into a political fight while in the Feather. Those who do are quickly escorted to the street, and asked not to come back. However, if someone needs a favor, he can make sure that it's done. It should go without saying that there are great amounts of gambling in every tavern and inn in Thornward.
Erenal: This beautiful courtesan is a master of intrigue, and knows more about Thornward than most criminal masterminds and officials combined. She is the single best source of information on anything that has been talked about in Thornward for three days or more, and is perfectly willing to sell knowledge, if the right price is found.
Tagrent: A noteworthy member of organized crime, Tagrent is probably the most accessible figure in Thornward's underworld (which is not always so "under"). He has an ear for the winds of the less reputable nature, and prospects for the up-and-coming.
Drenil: A Ketite captain of the guard, Drenil is among the best known officers of the law in terms of getting things accomplished in Thornward, be it a false arrest or an unexpected loophole, a prison break, or whatever the imagination can conceive. Additionally, his price is fairly reasonable.

Notes on using this material
The first thing I'd have to say is, watch Casablanca. This was my primary inspiration in my view of Thornward, and the Gryphon's Feather is pretty much like Rick's CafE Americain, down to Jereth, who is a lot like Rick. You'll find tons of inspiration, in setting, theme, and perhaps even plot, in Casablanca. Because this is an overview, I didn't insert any direct intrigues in there; if one is worth mentioning, then a hundred other ones are. The wind blows and there's a new intrigue in Thornward. Things get settled brutally here. Make sure that people remember bribery when they're thinking of Thornward. It's more or less a way of life.

Other than that, have fun.


Elves & Birthright ideas - Dreadwood

Subject: [GREYTALK] Elves & Birthright ideas - Dreadwood
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1999 21:36:55 +1000
From: Cos & Melissa Marendy
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List

Greetings fellow list members

Recently I was conducting a email chat about the Elves of Dreadwood with a learned Greyhawker. He asked but how I used Birtright in my alternative Oerth. I find Birthright rules can be used to explain the powers/ablities of a race (Elvish)under threat. With some modification, game balance can be kept. Game balance is the key to adaption of the Birthright rules for greyhawk - you must have a reason for why it is not wide spread as in the birtheight campaign setting. Anyway I have enjoyed so many great ideas over the years from this list, I though maybe it was time to contribute my ideas from my campaign. I know these ideas certainly will not be agreeble with
all the list members - but thats what makes this open list great - constructive and co-operative input. Anyway here is my rationale for using Birthright ideas in Greyhawk, also bear in mind that my game is centred in the Dreadwood area of southern Keoland, hence the reference to the specific site in my rationale.

My (rough) Rationale

My adaption is based on nature itself being a force like a Diety except unaware of its effect on the multiverse. Nature is divided among the elements and motive forces such as good, evil, chaos and law. Each motive force and nature element has special effects on the environment. This explains the multiverse setup as per 'Manual of the Planes', and how the prime material planes represent a mix of all - hence the terms PRIME & MATERIAL. Since all the elements are present on the prime planes, the
locals call this nature. Truely observant or ancient races become aware of the mix called nature and tap into 'the current'. Those who do tend to tap the 'whole current' with the complete mix of motive powers and the elements which lead to a balanced or neutral belief about what is nature.

Occasionally, these same races are able to isolated the individual mini currents of just earth or air or evil etc... This is more raw source of the multiverse, but unbalanced without the rest to balance it. Great powers are usable but just like science this throws 'nature' into inbalance. The Elves of Dreadwood can tap the balanced 'current'. Some of the Elves have tapped just one element such as good, leading to a inbalance which will take centuries to correct - hence the fading land. These Elves are considered rogues, by their kin despite any good intensions, as it inbalances the 'nature' of the multiverse. Among the Elves, only those of royal or noble blood can harness these powers of the multiverse. Ramdomly, new noble
houses can be birthed into the current whilst others lose their access - hence a balance is maintain. A Elf who has access can transfer all his/her access using cermonies of oerthsap. THe access can also be stolen, resulting in the death of the victim. What ever type of access the individal has is transfered to his/her offspring or recieptant. The Elves claim they are only true holders of this power.

In my campaign I have left this elf only claim open - maybe Dragons have access? Humans also have access, but only by accident of 'nature'. The suel-Baklunish war with twin destructions of a scale unmatched, rocked the 'current' with vast release of earthsap which is found in all living and unliving material. This release normally controlled with the typical death of one creature, leading to the birth of another was not able to be achieved. The current, some of it balanced, most of it not enhanced surviours of the holocaust, it its attempt to maintain balance. Suel and
Baklunish fell upon each other using terriable powers unheard of except in the most terrorifying nightmares of Elven Noblity & Royality. Some Suel humans realised the danger of the sitiuation and fed eastward, and became the Silent Brothers (mentioned in OJs). They sought to contain misuse, and destroy those who sought to upset the balance. The Baklunish too have formed their own very secret order to maintain the balance. Hence in my campaign, current wielding morals are secretive, and avoid actively annoucing their 'birthgift' The Elves of course continue to use it in
moderation except for the rogues who are hunted or exiled. Some of the inbalance remains hence the sea of dust, while some 'creatures?' were so embraced by the 'current' that they are but a shadow of their moral form. THese 'spawn' (as called by the Elves) generally represent the motive power of 'evil'. I have one loose in Dreadwood, hence another reason why the Elves are kept busy.

Regardless what type of current the individual taps, all need the enviroment. The more natural the enviroment, the greater the power of the current can be accessed by the individual. A untouched ancient forest would give more power than a city on a plain with a long history of occupation. (this direct steal from Birthright rules) Ley lines can be 'forged' from such sites to less enhanced sites. eg Elven Lord on the plains south of Dreadwood forges a Leyline from a ancient grove of trees in the heart of Elven terriory. The further away, the harder it is to make the current flow
into useful sources of oerthsap. A individual is also measured by how musch he/she can access. The Queen of Celene's line would be truely powerful compared to a local Elf Lord in Ulek. This measure of the current can improve, by wisely using it or theft of a greater individuals access, using the procedure of saptheft.

Well this is a rough of the why and who. If you like, I'll send next time the powers and how. Please forgive the typos...


Re: Temple of Elemental Evil

Priority: Normal
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 1997 16:22:12 -0400
Reply-To: Keith Horsefield
From: Keith Horsefield
Subject: Re: [GREYTALK] Temple of Elemental Evil

Michael Gillis wrote:

>I am currently running a campaign in C.Y 580. As a long-time “resident” of
>Greyhawk, I have yet been able to introduce the Wars into my game.
However, I
>am leading my campaign into the Wars, albeit slowly. I am planning on
>the members of my current group through the Temple of Elemental Evil.
>the timeframe make sense – C.Y 580?
>I can find no references that would prohibit the Temple's inclusion in the
>time frame, but I am somewhat of a traditionalist. Help.

This was in the archives, but since I never received any response to [missing text?]
I'll post it again:

All the references are to pg. 5 T1-4.

Starting with the base date of 569 CY for the Battle of Emridy Meadows

Last paragraph 1st column

“For five years afterward, the village and the countryside have become richer and more prosperous than ever before.”

In this paragraph is the mention of the troll and how it was killed by some adventurers. After that adventurers continue to come but find nothing.

1st full paragraph, 2nd column:

“—and Hommlet continued its quiet existence for four years more.”

The beginning of this paragraph states that adventurers have stopped coming to the area.

2nd full paragraph, 2nd column:

“But then, a year ago, the bandits began to ride the roads again….”

From my reading of these 3 paragraphs there are 3 distinct periods after the Battle of Emridy Meadows for the village of Hommlet:

1) 5 years where adventurers continue to visit brought by wanderlust
2) 4 years where the village left in peace
3) 1 year of rising banditry

Therer, T1-4 is supposed to take place in 579 CY.

An alternate reading though might include some of the second time period

[Text missing]

Arguably this module could take place anywhere within the timeline of 575 – 579 CY dependent upon how close or how far the DM wants to be in relation to the Greyhawk Wars.

Now of course FtA mucks this all up cause Thrommel is still missing.

Keith Horsfield
Member Team OS/2
“To a person with a hammer, everything looks like a nail”
Home page:
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Passage to Manhood - long

Date: Thu, 29 Jul 99 14:48PM PDT
From: "Brian A. Murphy" Add To Address Book Add To Junk Mail
Subject: [GREYTALK] The Passage to Manhood - long

When one of the players characters was killed in the Abyss by the HrathnirDemon, he started a new character from Maldev. The character's name was Feather and he was a barbarian from the mountains around Kandelspire. Given the nature of Maldev's plight, I thought it quite reasonable when the player wanted to play a CN character.

Once the party re-entered the Abyss after defeating Lolth's armies at Kandelspire, the character returned with the rest of the party to Oerth. The problem was, he was 8th level and still needed to be trained by someone. Talking with Jontash about the probable location of Barbarian tribes that would be compatible with him (CN) he was directed towards the east coast, where he encountered the Tribe of Strong Spirits.

This is one of the smaller tribes that had joined the rest of the barbarian hordes in decimating Ratik (IMC they don't get along and have been trying to take the more fertile, lower lands for centuries). When Feather came upon them, they had lands in and around the border of Ratik and the Bone March. There is a real hot-zone between old Ratik and the Bone March, mainly due to the Barbarians.

At any rate, he needed to become a member of the tribe in order to train, and I had to write up something to explain why (and how) they let him into the tribe.

The following then, is what I came up with to explain the tribal adoption.
The Passage to Manhood
Excerpted from:
Observations on the Primitives in the Barbarian Reaches
Kynle Saru
Anthropological Humanologist
College of Greyhawk
The Passage to Manhood within the Tribe of Strong Spirits consists of seven stages:

The first step, named by the tribe as the Learning of Honor (a rather blatant misnomer in my book), is a rather twisted period for the initiate wherein the Elders of the tribe attempt to humiliate and demean the applicant, confusing him with contradictory and unpredictable commands and edicts.

The novice is the runner, gopher, servant and slave to everyone with the coveted second name in the tribe. The prospect is addressed in various uncomplimentary ways, from "Scum-licker: to :Schmegma-breath" and is expected to not only acknowledge and even thank the elder for the accurate observation of character, but must perform whatever despicable service the Elder requires at the time. From ditch digging to hunting to -----shoveling, no task is too low for the manling.

It is expected that the apprentice gains some higher meaning from this abuse, although this researcher has been unable to determine what beneficial effect this has on the prospective warrior other than to perpetuate the unpredictability of the tribe.

The second stage of the Passage is the Testing of Honor. If the manling survives the Learning (many don't), there is a rigorous ceremony centered on the adolescent. He is placed in the center of the tribal circle and all Elders (male, of course) begin by imbuing him with "The Essence and Wisdom of the Elders" (they urinate all over him). Then, he is made to stomp around inside the circle and amongst the steaming coals of the tribal fire, that all present may be aware of his level of wisdom. Apparently, the more powerful the aroma, the more he has learned.

Drinking of the Blood of the Tribe (a strong concoction brewed by the Shaman), the novice's eyes are opened to the Spirit World. He is then instructed to go out across the Lands of Death and bring back his Adult Spirit.

The novice then, under the light of the full moon, leaves the circle and runs into the night. This begins the third stage, called the Search of the Spirit. Howling and screeching to terrify the spirits of the tribe's dead enemies, the apprentice sheds all coverings and tools, to show the Earth Mother that ne needs nothing other than the Wisdom of the Tribe to survive her torment. Then, prior to first light, he must track down a wild creature and bring it to the Shaman alive in his arms. (Given the extreme hallucinogenic and anesthetic effects of the Blood of the Tribe, I have been unable to judge the veracity of any tales told of the Search by the Elders. A common thread appears to be dangerous spirit enemies intent on enslaving and eating the hunter.)

It should be noted that many of those who survived the Learning fail the Search and never return to the tribe. Although tribal members take this to be a sign of unworthiness, the reality may be something else entirely. While the tribe claims much of the surrounding territory as its own, there are many wild areas nearby, in "claimed" lands. Many dangerous denizens inhabit the area including trolls, lamias, displacer beasts and the occasional owl bear. Despite tribal claims that "no creature would be stupid enough to challenge our might," it should be noted that the Testing is one of the few times that a tribal member travels in open lands alone.

When the apprentice returns, bleeding and broken into the circle, the Shaman takes the animal from the novice. At this point, the apprentice is draped to the Women's Circle for the Test of Vitality, the fourth stage of the Passage. (This researcher has not borne witness to this test, but, in seeing the preparations, I shudder to think of its' implications. Ropes, feathers, stones tied together and oddly shaped sticks of wood are all laid out amongst a large bed of leaves. Various oils and liniments are also present, their use unknown. It wasn't the items themselves that disturbed me so; it was the suggestive gestures and odd looks on the part of the women when they noticed me observing them that caused me to beat a hasty retreat...)

At first light on the following day, after the novice returns from the Women's Circle -- if he returns, I noted that some young men ran kicking and wailing back to the whelps' huts -- he begins the fifth stage, the Claiming of Title. Otherwise known as The Telling, this period in the ritual seems to center on braggery and exaggeration, as the tales told rarely resemble probable circumstances. The initiate tells of his exploits, in the Hunt, in Battle, and in any other endeavor he feels can
increase his appearance to the tribe. I have heard many detailed accounts of applicants' slaying gigantic monsters with nothing but grass blades, toe-nails and even belly-lint! Tales of novices overcoming their enemies with nothing but the wisdom of the tribe (they seem to have a thing for aromatic attacks) and even exploits with women which seem physically impossible.

Once complete, the novice is then blindfolded, gagged and bound. Placed in a hole, he is then buried near the tribal graveyard to await the sixth stage of the Passage, the Decision of the Elders. This too, is a difficult time for the initiate, as the Elders must decide the validity of the novice's claims. Many times I have seen a prospect reach this step only to fail, not because the Elders decided against him, but because their decision was too late in coming.

Usually, as long as the Elders do not forget about the novice they will eventually decide to name him. Finally, after the novice is dug up and revived, the Elders then bestow the Tribal Name on the new adult. This name, while ostensibly a result of The
Telling, sometimes is the result of the Elders latching onto one facet of the tale found most memorable and expounding upon it. It should be noted that this tends to be something the Elders by consensus find amusing and derogatory to the apprentice. The end result appears to depend on a multitude of factors: the entertainment value of the tale, how well the initiate is looked upon by the Elders, the probability that the novice could be telling the truth, the whispers of the womenfolk and (probably most importantly), the ratio of hung-over to still-intoxicated Elders still conscious at the naming.

The Learning of Honor -- You hung in there and did whatever was asked!

The Search of the Spirit -- You returned with a wild boar.

The Testing of Vitality -- You awoke in the morning staked naked to the ground. The tribal women were all around you and seemed very pleased and strangely content?!?!?!?!

The Telling -- You described your tale of other worlds and Demon Queens, death and destruction, (completely true, who needs to embellish that wild of a story?) but they didn't buy it. In fact, they kept interrupting and cracking jokes, mostly centered on how well your skull "served" you (side note: The character had taken a goblin's skull and stuck it on one of his armor's shoulder spikes as kind of a warped second head. He was quite proud of it). You didn't get the joke, but they found it extremely amusing.

The Naming -- After waking up coughing dirt (and having strange dreams to boot), you are brought back to the center of the Elders. Bleary eyed and cringing in the light of the sun, the Chieftain and other look upon you and bestow your name:

Feather Skull-Humper

And you are accepted into the tribe!

You train and are at the next level, ready to return to Hillville.

Brian A. Murphy, MCP
Eikon Consulting Services

Bandit Kingdom Notes

Date: Thu, 09 Sep 99 17:38PM PDT
From: Gary R Welsh Add To Address Book Add To Junk Mail Blocker
Subject: [GREYTALK] Bandit Kingdoms Notes

There are indeed some grey areas in the recent history of the Bandit Kingdoms. Roger Moore once wrote a post (in two parts) called "Shield Lands Revisted" in which he dealt with some of the inconsistencies involving Shield Lands history. I agree with most of what Roger says, but below are my own notes on the Bandit Kingdoms, with comments:

In the original GH setting (1980/1983), which is set in 576 CY, it is evident that there are no Bandit Kingdoms on the coast of the Nyr Dyv (look at the maps on pp. 44-45 of the Guide). The Shield Lands controlled the coast east as far as the Artonsamay River, and on the other side of that river was Urnst County. At this time, the Shield Lands were in "desperate straits" due to the growing threat of the Horned Society north of them (Guide p. 34). The Bandit Kingdoms reached as far as the "northern verges of the Fellreev Forest" (Guide p. 19). Note also that in the Guide,
it is stated that there are seventeen bandit "minikingdoms" (to use Roger's phrase), as of 576, so that might create a problem with Roger's solution for new Bandit realms (Reyhu and Redhand) to be created later, in 579.

There is news about the north central Flanaess, including the Bandit Kingdoms, given in an article by Gary Gygax in DRAGON #56 (December 1981).
This news brings the Bandit Kingdoms up to date for the spring of CY 579, circa three years after the world described in the Folio/Guide. (Some people, like Gary Holian, will point out that if the Savant-Sage's "Guide" was *completed* in 576, it could not be *current* for that year. It's a valid point, but I will leave it ambiguous and just say the Bandit Kingdoms in spring 579 CY have undergone *at least* three years of change from how they were described in the Savant-Sage's "Guide"). It says here that [recently] Prince Zeech of Redhand staged a major action against the Duchy of Urnst, looting the area near the eastern Cairn Hills. The western bandit lords (of Warfields, Wormhall, Kor [note on Kor at end of paragraph], and Freehold) cooperated with the Horned Society in an attack on the Rovers (spring and summer of 578 CY). However, when the new Duke of Tenh (crowned Needfest 578 CY) crossed the Zumker and invaded Groskopf (spring 578) and news of this reached the bandits in the west, they abandoned their campaign helping the Horned Society and recalled their forces to the east (after Goodmonth 26, 578). Furious over this insolence and abandonment, the Horned Society sent a punitive force into the Bandit Kingdoms. This force occupied Wormhall and Warfields, but was stopped by the Abbarrish at Kor (autumn 578). Near mid-summer, the bandit lords had sued for a truce with Tenh. Accepting their promise not to raid Tenh anymore and with some land ceded to him, Duke Ehyeh III accepted and withdrew his troops. After recruiting and hiring mercenaries, the bandit lords have the troop totals as given in the article (for spring 579 CY), and they are united in their cause of recovering the western lands and taking reprisals against the Horned Society (and it is noted that those estimates may yet still increase due to last minute enlistments).
[Note on Kor: In the article, Gygax refers to Kor as the ruler (Rhelt), and Abbarra as the land, and also the Abbarrish as the people of that land. But in the troop listings, the land is called Kor and the ruler is called Abbarra. I am not sure which is the typo, but I suspect it is the latter. In the reprinting of these troop totals, in DRAGON #63, the land is still called Kor, and the ruler Abbarra. It is a rather arbitrary decision to make, but I went with calling the land Kor and the ruler Abbarra, as per the troop listings and the map, as I think the map is referred to and available moreso than the original article is. I call the ruler's kinsmen -- an entire clan o f assassins and cutthroats -- the 'Abbarrish'. I use Abbarra more as a last name/family name than as a personal/first name.]

The Bandit Kingdoms map published in DRAGON #63 (July 1982) detailed them as they were early in 579 CY. On this map, the Bandit Kingdoms seem to have expanded into former Shield Lands territory (again see Guide pp. 44-45, and compare those maps to map in DRAGON #63). In particular, the area controlled by the Bandit Kingdom of Redhand appears to be "new" as it sits on the northern coast of the Nyr Dyv (but note again, there were seventeen minikingdoms in 576, prior to the territorial acquisition on the shores of Nyr Dyv). It may be reasonable to assume that Redhand came into existence between 576 and 578 -- probably earlier in that period rather than later, considering the size of the fleet Prince Zeech of Redhand had built up and the comments made in the article in DRAGON #56. Reyhu at least isn't new, I assume, since its heraldic coat of arms appears in the Folio/Guide. But Reyhu may have grown, at the expense of the Shield Lands.

Now let us turn to the City of Greyhawk boxed set (CoG), the Greyhawk Wars (GHWars), and Iuz the Evil (ItE). Looking at "The Lands of Iuz" map from ItE (1993), it does not look like Sargent was working from the map published in DRAGON #63. But if I try to make things fit, here's what I come up with: Law's Forge is right at where the Shield Lands bordered Warfields. Stahzer is on the border with Tangles. White Plume Mountain and Plague Fields are on the edge of Reyhu. Alhaster is on the border between the Shield Lands and Redhand. Trallant is in Redhand. Balmund, Sarresh and Sheerwatch are in Reyhu. Wraithkeep is between Rift and Artonsamay. Camp Arnsten is in Dimre. Kinemeet and Hallorn and Splinter Keep are in Tangles. The Leering Keeps are in Rift. Marsakeer is in Rookroost. Steelbone Meadows is between Wormhall and Kor. Fleichshriver is between Freehold and Greenkeep. Scorn and Fort Hend Ricks are in Greenkeep. Fort Skagund is between Greenkeep and Fellands. Senningford is in Fellands. Perdition is between Fellands and Groskopf. Narleon and Groucester are in Groskopf. Note also that in ItE a name name is given to the body of water at the head of the Artonsamay River (Lake Aqal).

In "Shield Lands Revisited" (part 2), Roger Moore suggested Alhaster for Reyhu, and Balmund for Redhand. I think he had Redhand and Reyhu upside down when he wrote this -- the opposites would be more appropriate.

With all of this in mind, below is a Bandit Kingdoms Timeline I'm working on:

Six centuries ago, Stoink established as a garrison town, by the Aerdy (SoOC p. 140).
300-350 Bandit Kingdoms "founded" with waning of Aerdy.
446 Bandit Kings sack Trigol.
512 Armies from the Bandit Kingdoms take Molag.
513 Horned Society founded.
576 Half a dozen bandit lords have most of the control. There are seventeen fiefdoms in all.
577 The Bandit lords wrest a bit of the Nyr Dyv coast and Artonsamay River bank from the Shield Landers. Prince Zeech is established in the newly created fiefdom of Redhand. He sets himself up in Trallant, on the Artonsamay River, and takes the coastal villages east of Alhaster. From here, he begins building a pirate navy.
578 (Needfest) Ehyeh III crowned in Tenh (Spring) Warfields, Wormhall, Kor and Freehold aid the Horned Society in battles against Rovers, Wegwiur, and centaurs. Ehyeh crosses the Zumker, invades the Bluff Hills.
(Summer) After a large battle, word reaches the western Bandit Kings of the Tennese invasion. They recall their troops helping the Horned Society. The Bandit lords sue for peace with the Duke of Tenh. Ehyeh lays waste to Groskopf, and enters Fellands. Horned Society sends punitive force into Warfields and Wormhall.
(Autumn) Hierarchs are stoppped at Kor, due largely to the tenacity of the Abbarrish. Ehyeh makes peace with the Bandit lords, who cede all land between the Griffs and the Zumker to Tenh, and swear not to raid Tenh anymore.
579 (Spring) Bandit lords muster troops, prepare to retaliate against the Hierarchs [troop strengths given current for this time].

WoG Market Plan

Date: Tue, 12 Aug 1997 15:37:57 +0000
From: rjkuntz
Organization: Creations Unlimited
Subject: [GREYTALK] WoG Market Plan

I enclose, for this list’s preview, the market plan sent to Harold Johnson, Peter Adkinson, Lisa Stevens and Gary Gygax.

I might add, following the announcement at Gencon of WoG’s return, that this is good news. I do hope, however, that those with the original vision will be allowed to participate with WoG’s future.

I too am sorry to hear of Carl Sargent’s ill health; I believe he just had a new Shadowrun novel released and had no idea that ill times had befallen him.

Have a good read.

Rob Kuntz

TO: Harold Johnson, Brand Manager, Greyhawk
RE: WoG Market Plan

Hello Harold!

Long stretches of time separate communications between us. I hope that this letter is just the beginning of a long and resourceful relationship!

[introductory letter body snipped]

>>> Insert after our phone discussion<<<

My Thoughts

Greyhawk needs a healthy return as a product line, we both know this. A long term market plan including strong foundations, an ever present promotional campaign and good and ample product offerings will accomplish this. I will cover each of these ideas in turn as topics. Note the following pages.

World of Greyhawk Market Plan

Foundations: What is the long term goal of investing in the return of TSR’s first FRPG world? How can TSR continue to make WoG not just a published line, but an eye-catcher, a sought after commodity, a line that TSR not only aggressively pursues, but is likewise pursued by their consumers? World of Greyhawk'’s initial market share and growth it needs to once again be a profitable AD&D FRP world. A lack of this,

[Text missing]

degenerative, causing problems such as mediocre products and a reduced market desirability for these. So I’m sure we can agree on the fact that from the onset WoG needs a solid plan in addition to a timely, well reasoned publishing schedule for it to achieve the most desirous long term results for TSR and its product line consumers.

Promoting the Product Line: TSR’s earliest products, such as modules and game-aids from the WoG setting, had ample promotional backing. A well thought out and executed promotional campaign is necessary with a WoG market push, especially with the FTA/Original WoG fractionalization. However, there can be no dedicated promotional campaign of WoG without a decisive viewpoint of what setting, original or other, will be marketed. Here I make a push for the original setting. Unlike FTA the original WoG campaign has a solid foundation of creators and material and a good following waiting to expand with the creators and material and a good following waiting to expand with the product. Listed below are specific examples of what would be needed for a successful, ongoing promotional campaign.

A) Dragon Magazine coverage of initiatives, including photos, interviews, individual and team-related articles, a column devoted to sourcing the products, reviews, etc.
B) Increased consumer awareness through convention seminars, games, and special events. There is a ready source of avid Greyhawk gamers networked throughout the U.S. and overseas to help with this initiative. As with the RPGA, this harkens back to “grass roots” support from DMs, play-testers, reviewers, etc.
C) A solid advertising campaign reinforced by up-front product reviews.
D) An educated, up-with-the-times PR campaign
E) Other than game-related initiatives, as novels, short fiction, author special appearances, book-signings, etc.
F) A TSR internet site devoted to the campaign setting. This site would include, among other things, electronic versions of Dragon articles related to WoG initiatives, etc., breaking news and updates, event and convention postings, FAQs on Greyhawk past and present, links to corresponding WoG sites, links to management, authors and/or design teams, links to chat rooms and forums, a TSR online catalog link with secured transactions, product samples/teasers, links to other TSR Brand/Corporate sites, a TSR questionnaire/product poll, WoG release schedules, TSR/WoG submission guidelines, periodic contests, etc.

This, in conjunction with above-average product, name authors, and strong product release schedules, would make WoG a serious product line for TSR. Product line credibility would rise and in turn attract a greater number of designers and consumers. Many former WoG designers have expressed a need for this type of effort by TSR in order for them to seriously support a returned WoG product line. Likewise, WoG’s mature consumer audience, which would be a targeted base of support as WoG was pushed, would be either a negative or positive catalyst with this, depending on how well the market foundation was laid and thereafter extended and supported.

The Product Line: There is much product extant to be considered. Greyhawks’ authors have a wealth of original material that would fit comfortably into 2nd edition formats. Product must be creative in the

[Text missing]

New: As opposed to old rehashes of stale ideas. Good examples include WoG Spell Book, WoG Monstrous Compendium, WoG Gods, etc. Stale/Rehashed examples include unthematic one-off adventures, compilation of articles, any product lacking energy and direction (i.e., fillers, such as the “Joke Castle Greyhawk”).

Exciting: This incorporates some of what is “new” and what is “different”. This product must have ageless appeal to players and DMs alike. A good example of this would be WoG Priest and Mage Classes, which can be constantly re-used and amended by the consumer; an indispensable product.

Different: In three senses. In what TSR has done, not done, and overdone with much of its RPG line. An example could include modules, which it has done and overdone to the point of saturation. There are exceptions, especially when the product is exciting and perhaps contains new concepts, such as “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks”, which is a good example of “different”. Within the RPG industry “different” also denotes a unique achievement; and oftentimes these product types are overlooked or underplayed by R & D departments with entrenched ideas. Within business there are certain fathomable limits which must be maintained in order to garner the most possible sales yield from each new product. Thus what has been done can be over-justified from the sales end. A proper mixture of “what’s different and exciting” and “what works and yields the most profit” must be achieved, for a singular-minded industry approach does not wholly allow for designers’ creations to mature, does not take into account future market shifts, nor does it establish a mutable mind-set at the corporate level of what to do outside of this pre-established boundary. TSR must push the “Products For Your Imagination” trademark to its limits, and this its own RPG lines to theirs. There is no threshold in fantasy. Thus there should be none in TSR’s FRP game lines, WoG included.

Long-Lasting: In the sense that years from now the product will still find more than average use by the consumer. A good example of this would include “Castle Greyhawk” (the original), which is massive in concept and will not age as fast as other products. Also, any product, such as this, that can be appended to. In the chosen example, the castle can have extra “level-sets” added to it. A mutable as opposed to a closed product.


World of Greyhawk, its designers, their products and TSR’s/WoG consumer base must all be taken seriously in order for this project to succeed. TSR’s overall aim should be to market high quality products that portray newness, produce excitement, would be different (perhaps even “cutting edge”), and would maintain a longevity not only in the minds of its consumers, but on their gameshelves as well. The past, “sever them another of that, uh, no, that one!” will not do. Sure, you can fill a gameshelf by this philosophy, but sooner than later that same gameshelf, if this adopted marketing strategy persists, will be filled by other than TSR products.

World of Greyhawk has the ability to be totally revamped and remarketed. It has an abundance of material on hand in all categories, game-related and fiction. It has many interested, mature [End missing]

Monday, November 17, 2008

Re: Baklunish Religion: Evris e'Selant ("The True Faith")

Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2000 17:57:37 EST
From: "Rip Van Wormer"
Subject: Re: Baklunish Religion: Evris e'Selant ("The True Faith")

I was writing a version of Ekbir of my own, and I started consulting other sources, and I finally had something to say about this one:

In a message dated 1/20/00 9:22:20 AM Eastern Standard Time, AshtarX@AOL.COM

> "Obey the gods not begrudgingly. Instead, offer your obedience to the gods,
> for it is given to the gods to be the great, and to mortal men to be the lesser, yet neither part is fulfilled without its compliment."
> -The Tau Lhan, recorded by the prophetess Rhiavel.

This is very nice and authentic-feeling. I wouldn't be too concerned about what they might do in the RPGA book, especially since you included Al-Akbar as part of Evris e'Selant.

One thing: you might change the name to Evrus al-Selant, to make it seem a little more consistant with other Baklunish words (or else you could change the names of the gods to Istis and e'Akbar, or create and stick to two different spelling structures in the Baklunish lands). Similarly, I would write either Zan Yae and Zuoken or Xan Yae and Xuoken, depending on the area, and either Zan Yae and Geshtae or Zan Yai and Geshtai.

The idea of a new, post-Devestation faith suggests a new kind of script might spread with it. Maybe in the old Baklunish Empire the writing was more similar to Greek (with Greek-sounding gods like Istos and Zan Yai), while we get the pseudo-Arabic script shown on Baklunish heraldry today.

The Gargoyle (Allen Trussell) invented a god that I think would fit in well as a lesser divinity of Evris e'Selant.
Uhuris, Lesser God of Toil, Sufferance, and Perseverance, L/N(E)

And two others that would fit in sufficiently:
Varuna, Lesser God of Cosmic Order, Balance, and Dharma, L/N
Xux, Intermediate God of Death, the Night, the Moon, and Judgement, L/N

Of course, Xux should be occasionally spelled Zuz.

A face of the embryonic refusal,
Rip Van Wormer

Baklunish Faiths: Reverent Order of Guardians (Al'Akbar sect)

Date: Thu, 27 Jan 00 14:23PM PST
From: "Wayne S. Rossi" Add To Address Book Add To Junk Mail
Subject: [GREYTALK] Baklunish Faiths: Reverent Order of Guardians (Al'Akbar sect)

All right. Just because I do this stuff as I think of it, I've expanded greatly on the Reverent Order of Guardians from my Al'Akbar writeup, and I think you'll like them. They're the closest I have to a Baklunish sect of paladins, crusaders, and the like. The history at the beginning does eventually lead into the Order. Enjoy!

The Baklunish Faiths
The Reverent Order of Guardians
Sect of the faiths of Al'Akbar, LG Baklunish demigod of Guardianship, Faithfulness, and Duty

History of the Order
In the dark days following the Invoked Devastation, as the survivors of the Baklunish Empire struggled to stay alive, some went to farms and cities and others gave it up for a nomadic lifestyle in the untamed East, harrying passing tribes of Oeridians and the attempting settlers. As the coastal towns of Ekbir and Zeif were slowly growing and expanding, though, the second Bey of Ekbir died without leaving an heir behind. After the strife-filled year of BH 2339 (321 years before the crowning of an Overking in Rauxes), an influential priest of the new, fresh faith of Al'Akbar gathered a large group of followers together and put the town under martial law. The various factions, descended from surviving nobles of the old Empire, all had equally valid claims to the seat of the Bey, as far as the priest could tell. This wise, charismatic leader named Xevian deliberated over what choice would keep the town from falling apart, and came to the conclusion that there was no noble he could support as Bey and withstand attacks from the other families.

After a week of martial law, under mounting tension, Xevian conferred with and gained the support of the region's Ara Datras. The next day, he was crowned as the first Caliph of Ekbir. The valiant followers who had supported Xevian's takeover of the city were given the option to return to their earlier lives, or to be the Caliph's Honor Guard, keeping order in the city and around it. To the new ruler's surprise, every man accepted. A decade later, Xargun died, leaving his son Arimun to the Caliphate. Whereas his father was concerned with establishing and maintaining control over his lands, Arimun (who had been but 12 when his father took the city, but proudly wore the ceremonial tunic of the Honor Guard before his coronation) was a forward-thinker. He declared that each Caliph would choose his successor from amongst the priesthood of Al'Akbar, and instituted a fair, if strict, code of law that is still mostly in place in modern Ekbir. However, it is most notable that Arimun kept the Honor Guard, and expanded their ranks, creating a second tradition that would last for centuries.

A century later, as Xevian III sat on the throne in BH 2457 (a mere 202 years before the Overking), the three border cities of Zeif on the Tuflik-Sefmur, Ceshra, and Hlobala (Lopolla)-flourished. The Honor Guard of Ekbir now paled in comparison to the Zeifa soldiers, especially those of Sefmur who civilized the Tusman Plain. Seeing that the needs of the Baklunish people lay outside of just defending the now-great city of Ekbir, Xevian III freed the Guard from its royal bind, and instead declared that they would take orders from the highest ranking priest of Al'Akbar, be he Caliph or Ou Elshia, or any other rank.

The Honor Guard languished for years, becoming mercenaries on the borderlands, until the Tusman Revolution of BH 2486 (174 years before the Aerdi calendar began), when they had a purpose. At Caliph Arimun IV's urging, the former Honor Guard aided Raenal of Sefmur in becoming independent of Zeif. A mere eight years later, the group (bolstered greatly by many idealistic Tusmites) dissolved only to re-form as the Reverent Order of Guardians, an independent sect of Al'Akbar's church that was formally to take orders from Ou Elshias of the faith in Zeif and the new Tusmit, and from the Caliph himself in Ekbir. Eventually, the Order grew to recognize great theologians of its own as Ou Elshias, and they are granted the same respect as those of the other faiths.

Setup and Dogma

The members of the Reverent Order are known as Veril Datras, which is commonly translated as "Guardian of the Faith" or "Holy Warrior," both of which are very appropriate to the group. There is a rather cell-like hierarchy to the Order, where each Veril Datras of sufficient expertise (9th level) is in charge of from one to four younger Veril Datras. Beyond this, all Veril Datras are viewed as equals, except in deeds, where one is truly judged by his own merits. Great holy warriors have gone down in history as the most valiant and bold of Baklunish heroes. Most members also hold military rank in Ekbir, Tusmit, or Zeif, all of which embrace the Order by now. There are approximately 870 Veril Datras in the Order at present, with 450 in Ekbir, 250 in Tusmit, and 170 in Zeif. Each town has a khasvel (chapter), and each city has several.

Many Veril Datras ride alongside the medium cavalry of the Baklunish nations, and are legendary for leadership as well as fighting skills. They are always distinguishable from an average Bakluni, for a Veril Datras will wear a short-sleeved knee-length black tunic, with a silver and gold silk sash at the waist, and an 8-pointed gold star (reputedly, these are actually gold) over the heart. A similar star on black is painted on the shield of a Veril Datras. Most wear chain mail and wield scimitars, flails, and lances, in true Baklunish fashion. Only a handful (5% of the Order) are foot soldiers; the rest are light cavalry (and also excellent archers) or medium cavalrymen.

The core mission of the Veril Datras is to serve and protect the lands and people of Civilized Bakluna from Paynim or Nomad incursion, and in the case of extremity, from outside civilizations (such as the Flanaess). Beyond that, a member of the Order will almost exclusively choose to protect his homeland from attack by another Baklunish state. 30 such Veril Datras function in the Tusman Hills, fighting alongside Tusmite regulars against the occasional border invasions by Ketite soldiers and mercenaries, and making advances of the Tusmite border as possible. Interestingly, there is not a
stable core of Veril Datras in Ket, with a transient core that rarely numbers above a dozen.

The Reverent Order of Guardians is a greatly law-abiding group, and they tend to be shining examples of the best in Baklunish ethics and propriety. They have been known to dissuade fellow soldiers from much distasteful conduct, much to the delight of the leaders of occupied towns and the like.

Military service is not the only option for a Veril Datras, though. Many are noteworthy adventurers, and they are often called the Baklunish equivalent of the Flanaess's ideal knight, the Paladin. Indeed, there are quite a number of Paladins and Crusaders amongst the Veril Datras, and fighters also. Adventuring Order members can expect hospitality almost anywhere in civilized Bakluna, and in many places in Lopolla (though not the rest of Ket).

Joining the Order

A would-be member of the Reverent Order of Guardians does not have an easy time of it. The first requirement is that he has a sponsor within the Order who is confident of the bravery, loyalty, morality, and skill at arms of the candidate. Should he prove worthy to be a Veril Datras, the candidate will be the sponsor's subordinate. Then, he must pass three tests. First, he must stand on a pedestal while every Veril Datras in the Order's local khasvel (usually about a score) is given the opportunity to hurl insults, strike him with a truncheon, and spit on his person. If he does not cry for mercy, he has passed the first test. The second test requires the participant to be blindfolded and his head dunked in a vat of ice water for more than half a minute, held there by his sponsor, and he may not strike or attempt to free his face. If these two fairly simple trials are passed, there is a trial by arms the next day, and if the applicant lasts for five minutes, he is a Veril Datras, and the black tunic is given to him.

When a member is ready to advance and be free of his superior, he is taken down to Antalotol, and a day's ride south into the Paynim lands. His horse is taken, and he is left with a water skin, a scimitar, and his clothes (no armor) and told to return to Antalotol. Once he does, he is on his own and may sponsor other Veril Datras.

Wayne S. Rossi

Re: Greyhawk populations - Multipart Reply

Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 01:13:33 -0700
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List
From: Lonny Eckert
Subject: Re: [GREYTALK] Greyhawk populations – Multipart Reply t

I believe that the Greytalk server has a limit of 50 messages per day so bear with the multi-part reply to your comments. This is a very long e-mail.

Hopefully a somewhat more integrated reply on my part will help frame the discussion better.

Thanks everyone for your good comments on this subject.
I had previously commented to part of Nikolaus's thoughts on the subject.

Nikolaus Athas wrote:
>Of course now that the Greyhawk wars have been unleashed (and
>finished) the population density would have made a further drop as war,
>famine and pestilence take their toll.

The Greyhawk Wars can't be used as a justification for the Flanaess's low populations prior to the advent of the wars takeing place. I see the fundamental question as being in the many years of peace what happened to the central and western nations.

>Besides, who wants to live in overcrowded conditions. A low density
>allows your players to carve out a barony within an established

Previously answered but multiplying by 5 or even 10 will not cause overcrowding in most of the nations

>Historically many kingdoms laid claim to territories outlined on maps
>but actually had little or no control of those regions, and infact made
>little effort to present a presence there.

This can still be true when multiplying by 5 or even 10.

>On a seemingly unrelated thread, Lonnie Eckert was trying to account
>for the small human population of Oerth (compared to Earth). I
>suggest that this is consistent with the post-apocalypse theme, so I
>would leave the populations right where they are. Besides, the fewer
>people there are, the fewer NPCs I have to make...

As noted above what happened to the populations in the many years of peace prior to the wars?

Why are you concerned about the NPCs you'll have to make? We're doing it for you (Hint: We'd welcome anyone's help). For the Suel Barbarian project, we are specing out all of the Jarls and Chieftains of the Ice, Frost, and Snow Barbarians, and Stonefist. We're working out their names right now, but the political structure, main regional map, and other stuff is on K. Mattewsons web site.

[Text missing]

never bothered to detail out all of the Greater noble house's vassals
Has this lack of detail in the Marklands kept you from running adventures in Furyondy? If you've ever seen a Harn product, that is the standard that I would like for us to achieve.

I had previously replied to much of Nikolaus's e-mail here. I dredged up one of me old biology books.

>Agreed but if your base population drops too low then your overall
>growth rate can decline until it becomes -ve. (Damn I wish I had kept
>my Biology texts I could show you growth formulae which would back me
>up). Basically 25% of 10 million is noway as damaging to a population
>as say 10% of 100,000.

My biology book (“Biology”, Raven and Johnson) didn't discuss this. Were you referring to deleterious impacts due to an insufficiently diverse gene pool? I don't think the Flanaess's population was ever that low to have that come into play. Then again I'm not a biologist by trade.

Population growth was expressed as a differential equation:
dN/dt = rN
where N is the number of individuals in the population, dN/dt is the rate of change of its numbers over time, and r is the intrinsic rate of natural increase for that population – its innate capacity for growth.

Carrying Capacity
No matter how rapidly populations may grow under such circumstances, however, they eventually reach some environmental limit imposed by shortages of an important factor such as space, light, waterm or nutrients. A population ultimately stabilizes at a certain size, calle dthe carrying capacity of the particular place where it lives. The carrying capacity is the number of individuals that can be supported at that place indefinitely, a measure that is dynamic rather than static as the characteristics of the place change. In practice, the number of individuals oscillates around a mean. The growth curve of a specific population, which is always limited by one or more factors in the environment, can be approximated by the following equation (pp 444-447):

dN/dt = rN[(K-N)/K]

In other words, the growth rate of the population under consideration (dN/dt) equals its rate of increase (r) multiplied by N, the number of individuals present at any one time, and then multiplied by an expression equal to K, the carrying capacity of the environment, minus N divided by K. As N increases (the population grows in size), the fraction by which r is multiplied becomes smaller and smaller, and the rate of increase of the population declines. In practical terms, this amounts to such factors as increasing competition among more and more individuals for a given set of resources present in a particular system, the buildup of waste, or an increased rate of predation.

Perhaps someone will crunch some numbers...
Phil O'Neill wrote:
>Ah, but the “explosion” in Earth's population hasn't been a smooth one

[Text missing]

circa 900 AD. It was squelched by perpetual warring and plagues.

What do you think would have happened to Europe's population if from AD 800-1300 there were as few wars as there were in the Flanaess?

>I grant that this is still a lot more than medieval Europe, but if
>the other factors are taken into account, I think you'd find that the
>population figures are reasonable.

Warfare has not occurred on the same level and plagues would not likely have the same effect (until a similar population density was reached) as they did in medieval Europe.

>Besides [grin], it depends how many spell-capable priests are in your
>campaign. To my mind, most soldiers are 0-level,
>so to me most priests are 0-level teachers, celebrants and all-round
>wise guys [grin] who've never cast a spell in their lives. Otherwise,
>you end up with an unworkable medieval society...still interesting, but
>not the one I've always imagined in Greyhawk.

This is why I stopped using AD&D rules. AD&D rules (at least first ed rules anyway) encourages players to be mindless hack and slashers and greedy treasure grabbers. I see no reason why a small daily XP award could not be granted to the rural non-adventuring priest will. I see no good reason why priests could not gain levels 6-9 (~27,000 XP) in a human lifetime. For example, how could Canon Hazen have achieved his 20th and 21st levels as a priests considering that he has been the ruler of Veluna (Per WOG Level 19; Per FTA Level 21). I don't think he was out adventuring. If he was still adventuring, The Isle of the Ape and that little sidebar adventure with Fraaz Urb Luu would be somewhat moot.

We are getting off the population density thread here though...

Patrice Forno wrote:

>We know of a Powerful Force of Nature : the Druids.
>Maybe the Druids on Oerth do all their possible to restrain Human
>population from rocketting. Maybe they have understood the dangers of
>letting Humanity grow out of control, and are fighting this growth :
>Maybe they don't help peasants with spells that would give them better
>harvests, maybe they restrain themselves from healing the sick, maybe
>they help wild animals against Man (i.e. helping wolves eating
>peasants' cattle), maybe they do all what they can to keep the secrets
>of the Healing with plants stay secrets, etc...

We have some passages that the converse is true. Read about Crystara (priestess of Beory in Furyondy). Crystara actively helps folks. Even with multiplying by 5 we end up with plenty of room for everything (forests, monsters, whatever). Population densities would still be much lower than medieval Europe's.

>IMO, Priests are not very numerous over the Flanaess.
>Following the Demographics calculations from DM Option (page 22), I
>come with: 4 priest (all levels) per 100 habitants, and only 2-3
>priests (level 5+) per 1,000 habitants (assuming that 15% of the

[Text missing]

figured a priests percentage of about 1.25% from Iuz the Evil.

>These figures means IMO that the priests only have a small effect on
>population health. Only 2-3 persons to heal the diseases of 1,000
>habitants, or to create food for them, is to low IMO to fight diseases,
>plagues, malnutrition, the way real Earth Humanity fought these.

Say a plague starts in the City of Willip. Aren't priests from all over Furyondy going to go there to help out or are they gonna remain at home with blinkered eyes? Yes, there will be casualties from a plague, but I don't they would have the same impact as those in medieval Europe.

>The Conclusion :
>However, according to FtA who only shows the number of “able bodied
>adults”, I agree that the populations numbers should be multiplied by
>5, even if that gives low population densities comparing to our Earth.

I'm happy with x5 Patrice. I don't want to use an area based modifying factor because it will change the intended power between nations.

>I would be curious to know the Gygax / Kuntz explanation for those low
>population numbers...

I asked Rob this question a little while back. My question:

>>Another question: What do you think of the population thread? Was it
>>really intended for the Flanaess to be so underpopulated or had Gary
>>never sat down, grabbed a calculator, and figured what would be
>>reasonable population density figures?R. Kuntz's answer:
>I figure that the latter surmise is closer to the mark. Hell, themselves
>middle ages saw a crowding of cities and their surrounding
>countrysides but not as much density in rural areas. Same as today.
>Average spreads don't always get across the real population jams of
>cities. Note Rauxes in WG8, for instance. The place is packed and
>was due for a plague! But much of the Great Kingdom is thin in
>population. No new news there perhaps.
A very good post....
E.H. Brunson wrote:

>1. What is the Climate of the Flanaess? Temperate? Tropical? How
>long is the growing season?

Similar to Europe's/US's I believe. Dragon Magazine #68 had an article written I believe by a meteorologist? Real met data was used in the tables developed. This was officially adopted.

>2. Technical innovations?
>a. Do the peasents of the Flanaess use a heavy plow which could
>turn over the ground in a single pass, or a light plow which the
>peasent usually had to press his foot upon in order for the plow to go
>any depth into the ground and he also had to make two or three passes

Unknown. FYI: in the middle ages an acre was the area of land which could be plowed by a team of oxen in one day.

>b. What form of crop rotation is used, if any? Two-field or

[More text missing]

Unknown. I think we should look to medieval Europe for those answers. Namely 1/3 of fields are to be layed fallow. Crop rotation and benefits of clover and alfafa are unkown.

>c. Are water mills in use? How about windmills? These greatly
>reduced the time to grind the harvested grain. In addition, they could
>be used to drive saws, process cloth, press oil, brew beer, provide
>power for iron forges, and crush pulp for the manufacturing of paper.

We have the doomgrinder. So yes, i'd say we have windmills in the Flanaess. This is not unreasonable if we look at medieval Europe and note that we have technology such as field plate in the Flanaess.

>d. Here are other innovations. The padded horse collar, which
>didn't chock the horse to death while plowing a field. Before its
>development slow oxen were the primary farming animal.

Wasn't the padded horsecollar a later invention? Me gut feel tells me farmers still plow with oxen in the Flanaess.

>horseshoes, which protected the horses hooves allowing it to work
>longer hours and tandem harnessing, which allowed horses to pull behind
>each other. (By Beory, I hope this last one is used. Otherwise, my
>characters business of a carridge service between Dyver and Greyhawk is

We have the magical item horseshoes of a zephyr, so I'd have to say we've got our shoes horsed in the Flanaess...

>Do peasents on Oerth use wheelbarrows, a great labor saving

Check out the illustration on page 16 of the Marklands. There's a gent using a wheelbarrow.

>or the harrow, which was a tool drawn over the field after the
>plow to level the soil and mix the seed.

Unknown. When was it invented?

>Is iron widely used in farming? After all iron reinforced all sorts of
>farming tools, most critically, the heavy plow.

This would not be unreasonable using medieval Europe as a comparison.

>Has there been a conserted effort by the peasentry to clear the forest
>and open up new areas for agriculture.

There is no need to clear new fields. The Flanaess is pathetically underpopulated even when you stuff everyone into the grasslands.


Ken Barns wrote:

>I suppose it depends upon relatively how fertile you see each area of

[Yet more missing text]

>If Nyrond is only of average fertility, then it's population could b
>much smaller than France's. If the area around the Harp, Thelly (?)
>and Nesser rivers are immensely fertile, (more so than the Velverdyva
>and Sheldomar) then yes, the overwhelming demographic weight of the
>Aerdi kingdoms can be justified.

Furyondy and portions of the Nyrond were noted in the Marklands as being highly arable.

>>Nyrond and the splintered G. Kingdom have the area to accommodate
>>x5. Furyondy would be no punk nation with a population of 1.8
>>million as compared to Nyrond's 5+ million.... Keoland and Veluna
>>would also exceed 1,000,000.

>But a “no-punk” Furyondy still stands out as a military power, which it
>cannot do without a world-class economy (which in medieval times is
>mostly related to sheer population). Double its relative population
>with respect to Aerdi/Nyrond, and give it a very militaristic society,
>and then it starts to look believable.

>In summary, I think x5 is right in the ballpark for the Flanaess as a
>whole, but does not address the issue of the problematic ratio of
>Aerdi/Nyrond's population compared to the rest of the Flanaess. Giving
>those nations x2.5 (and making Nyrond/Aerdi contain many windswept
>plains used mainly for grazing) has been the quick and dirty method I

The Iron League (primarily Nyrond) has shielded the rest of the Flanaess from the Great Kingdom. The Great Kingdom was ever able to squelch Nyrond. That would have been necessary to get at the lost western sates of Furyondy, Veluna, etc.
R. Kuntz writes:
>Not to mention those monsters again. Monsters have their own way
>(however slight or pronounced) of stifling population growths amongst
>humans, demi-, and humanoids. It would seem to me in a world
>populated by monsters of the type, variety and numbers that the
>D&D/AD&D system denotes, that a better topic question would be:
>”Where are all of those men coming from?” My goodeness. Men die and
>are just reborn again! Let us not count the discrepencies here
>between their numbers and the other gender!

Yes, monsters abound, but they abound around the peripheries of the core nations. Were monsters predating frequently on Furyondy, Nyrond, Urnst, Veluna, etc.? If so where are they coming from? I won't bring up the Marklands...

Jay Simpson wrote:
>Well, when it came time to figure out a population for my girlfriends
>writeup on the Celestine Imperium, we ran into a block. So, out of
>curiosity, how much land does it take to feed one person? In other
>words, if for instance I have a city of 1 million people, how many
>“hexes” of land does that city need to survive?

Quick and dirty:
Assume 2 acres of good farmland is under cultivation for each individual (one big continuous blotch of farmland).