Monday, July 13, 2009

Hardby: Ilshar Aki

Subject: [GREYTALK] Hardby: Ilshar Aki
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 00:44:27 EDT
From: ""
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List

This post is mostly inspired by Chris Jarvis' concept of Ra'al'tsvar, the keepers of the sacred bloodlines. I absolutely adore his work on ancient societies of Oerth. Basically, what I'm attempting to do here is use this concept in the context of Hardby as described in The Adventure Begins and Artifact of Evil, and the Suel language and culture from The Scarlet Brotherhood accessory. I am using tSB's Suel language, though in Jarvis' terms it should probably read Il'shar'aki, or perhaps Il'shar'tsvar. If I'm horribly misusing his ideas, I apologize.

In the wake of the Rain of Colorless Fire, many heresies sprung up in an attempt to deal with the changes forced up on Suloise society. For a while, one of the most prevalent was allowing the belief in the sacred matrilinear bloodlines along which magical potency is passed to fill the vacuum left by the old hierarchies of power. For some, this reverence for bloodlines manifested itself as severe racial intolerance, a fear that purity was the highest and most holy goal remaining, some going so far as to create deliberate human breeding programs. For others, it meant that all of the remaining power went to the carriers of the blood -- the women (among the Cruskii and the Shnaii, it meant that women were actively repressed for fear of their potential influence, and the female thaumaturgii were forced to go underground as witches. The Fruztii remained egalitarian).

The tiny house of Norbe Nehelifon was of the matriarchal persuasion. Mob, the ancient matriarch, saw it as her holy duty to uphold the principle of Shar Aki -- Pure Womanhood -- and nearly destroyed her house warring against the barbarious Oeridians, who treated their guardians of purity like chattel. Her grandaughter Ena was wiser, and lead the survivors of the family (including such historical figures as Molly and Jaka Norbe) to the promisingly-named Wild Coast.

It was not to be. The Coast was too crowded already with crass bandits and desperados scarcely better than Oeridians, ruling each other by strength and force of arms, ignoring their ancient roots and connection to the subtle arts entirely. The Norbes moved on and settled in a deepwater port across the Wooly Bay, trading with and learning to survive from the matriarchal Flan tribes.

It was from the Flan that the new settlement -- called Il Shar Aki by the Norbes, and Harada (later vulgarized as Hard Bay, then Hardby) by the natives -- was to gain much of its culture. While still governed by the principles of its Suel founders, the daughters of Ilshar Aki found that the rather limited pantheon of Wee Jas, Xerbo and Osprem didn't serve them in their new home half so well as the goddesses of the Flan. A temple to Beory was concecrated in the first farms under instructions from the Flan as they taught the new settlements in agriculture, but the goddess that spoke loudest to the settlers was Ehlonna, the Horned Lady. Associated by the locals with moons, magic, the forest, and armed protection from those who would desecrate her, Ehlonna seemed to be the core of everything the Norbes were striving for. While Ena's name is included on the foundation stone of Ehlonna's first great church, and her body was laid to rest in the family tomb there, it isn't clear that the first Despotrix herself ever worshipped anyone but Wee Jas. Certainly, no invocations to the Horned Lady ever appeared in her tomb. Nevertheless, by the time of Ena Norbe's death, Ehlonna's reverence was
firmly entrenched.

Hardby today isn't the dominatrix paradise it is sometimes made out to be by prejudiced sailors and boastful townsfolk. It's a cosmopolitan port, and the casual visitor won't notice any marked differences from any of the other free ports in the domain of Greyhawk and the Wild Coast. Hardby depends on trade for its wealth, and it will do nothing to discourage visitors. Longtime and frequent residents know, however, that the city's balance of power is firmly in the hands of the women. Temples exist that cater to most of the Flanaess' gods and philosophies, but the biggest are the Jasidan, Ospremi, Beoric, and Istusian cathedrals, towering over the port town's skyline.

The philosophy of "Shar Aki" (still in the name inscribed in the city's record books) today refers less to the purity of fleshy blood (Hardby is now firmly multiethnic) than to the "flow" of the world and women's connection to it. The polis of Hardby believes that only women are fit to rule because only women are capable of truly understanding their place in Her greater scheme. This philosophy has also carried over to combat, and female knights are more common than male. Don't mistake this for some drippy New Age mantra; the female powers are old and fierce, and the Oerth's blood runs thick with hate as much as love. The original idea of the sacred bloodline still has currency among magical residents, though no racial stigma is attatched. Magical potential is searched for without regard to racial origin, as the existence of the half-gnomish illusionist Guma Norbe confirms.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Re: GDQ1-7 campaign (Titans)

Re: [GREYTALK] GDQ1-7 campaign (Titans)
Tue, 23 Mar 1999 10:47:34 -0800
Chris Anderson
The GREYtalk Discussion List

IMC he was Gorgonstar (name stolen from the old Fineous Fingers cartoons), and was part of Eclavdra's plans.

He was to be transported into the Vault for use in her fight against the other noble houses and the Illithid). She had found means of compelling his obedience. Had the party not rescued him, he would have been used against them in later adventures.

Since the party did rescue him, he granted them one service in exchange for his freedom. In one of the more brilliant moves that this party ever did, they asked for his friendship instead, and then proceeded to back that up by doing him a service.

In one stroke, they gained the active friendship of a being that had existed in the Flanaess for more than 13,000 years (IMC Titans are immortal). That was worth much to them in later adventures.

Chris Anderson

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Thomas E Morris []
> Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 1999 10:07 AM
> To:
> Subject: [GREYTALK] GDQ1-7 campaign (Titans)
> In G3 there is a Titan the the Fire Giants are holding
> prisoner. That's the only Greyhawk reference I can think of. Does anyone know who
the Titan is and how he became a prisoner?
> Have fun,
> Tom
> ICQ# 30987170
> -----Original Message-----
> From: CJ MacLean
> Date: Tuesday, March 23, 1999 2:02 AM
> Subject: [GREYTALK] GDQ1-7 campaign (Titans)
> >This discussion seems more or less over, but I read one post
> that suggested that Titans be added to the giants arsenal to create a more difficult
> >adventure.
> >
> >This got me thinking about Titans and their role in
> Greyhawk's pantheons of gods.
> >Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single Greyhawk
> reference where Titans are mentioned (I am not saying one doesn't exist, I
> just can't think of any).
> >As I understand 2nd edition rules, Titans don't live on the
> Prime Material plane(but they do visit). Did a battle between gods and
> Titans happen on Oerth(like the Greek Mythos)?
> >Are Titans the earthly avatars of the Greyhawk deities? Of a
> particular pantheon of gods (Flan, Oerid, etc.)?
> >Were Titans the servants of Tharizdun, driven away by his
> incarceration, or some other Titanic(heehee) event?
> >
> >The door seems wide open to creatively use these folks, I
> would be curious to hear how the people who have done extensive research/writing on
> >Greyhawk's gods feel about their inclusion in the various pantheons.
> >
> >CJ
> >
> >==========


Date sent: Fri, 7 Nov 1997 23:11:19 -0500
Send reply to: The GREYtalk Discussion List
From: Otto Zequeira 2
Subject: [GREYTALK][GT] Various

Humanoid origins, Vatun: On Mon, 3 Nov 1997 17:40:12 CST, SCOTT CASPER wrote, “”What if, way back after the Invoked Devastation, the hordelings didn't leave right away. Recent postings have argued about whether summoning has a time limit. What if the hordelings stayed, molested the Oerdians, and the product of these hordeling-human unions gradually produced the orcs, trolls, and kobolds we all know (and love) today?”

The problem with this idea is that the Invoked Devastation reference comes after the description of humanoids as troops. A good idea, though.

“Secondly, this occurred to me at about the same time. What if the Vatun disguise of Iuz's was not Iuz's idea? A lot of gods were probably happy with his incarceration under Castle Greyhawk. What if they schemed to check the demi-god again? Zagyg, Cuthbert, and maybe some other lesser gods or quasi-deities kidnapped Iuz, forced amnesia on him, and told him he was the lost god Vatun? They got the Suel gods to go along with this, and that is why divination never revealed the Vatun deception.

Now we know why Iuz is so bitter. Imagine, a hunk like him getting stuck in the body of 'Ken'.

Greyspace: On Wed, 29 Oct 1997 17:20:33 +1300, rodking wrote, “I have a particular dislike of Spelljamming in the context of Greyhawk although it is an enjoyable game in its own right. The problems are these: 1) Its a huge departure from the sense of Greyhawk being a distinct Plane of existence in its own right. Now its just a bubble in an endless sea.”

I personally like the idea of limiting exit and entry into the sphere to only the most powerful mages, e.g. Zagyg. This maintains the feel of an isolated WoG.

Official artifacts: On Fri, 31 Oct 1997 23:41:31 -0300, Bruno Di Pentima asked,
>For example, doesn't the City of Greyhawk have the proverbial “Sword of
>Damocles” hanging over it with a certain personage of the Outer Planes
>vowing vengeance against the place and it's former master for entrapping it
>and the theft of a potent device dear to it? Could it not be said by some
>that the City was both blessed and ultimately doomed by the legacy of
I didn't knew that (I am a little inexperienced in Greyhawk) Where did you got that?? From City of Greyhawk boxed set?

The poster was referring to Iuz and his imprisonment under Castle Greyhawk by Zagyg as detailed in several places. I think some of this info. Is in the FAQ.

What's up with Greyhawk98?. On Sun, 2 Nov 1997 11:19:06 -0500, AOL KenNewq asked, “I've been away from the list for a while, so I'm not quite sure where these assorted Greyhawk98 posts are originating. Is Greyhawk98 (I'm assuming this is a proposed product line) actually going to happen, or is it wishful thinking?”

It's the best of wishful thinking...

Druids: On Sun, 2 Nov 1997 17L14L35 -0600, Victor Gonzalez asked, “I feel silly asking this question but last night my DM try to argue that, per the rules, druids do not have to be true neutral, just neutral in some aspect. And when we looked it up in the PH is did say just neutral, not true neutral. Has they're been an official change or is my DM being to picky in looking for the exact wording of true neutral?”

Yes, he's being picky. I personally enjoy the view that druids are just as vicious sons of Iggwilfs as anybody else.

GH Wars: Here's a little something that I put together, in case it's helpful.

Wars Calendar
Year Month Event
582-----------Rise of Stonefist
--------------The Fall of Tenh
583-----------Iuz returns to his homeland
------3-------Blood Moon Festival
--------------Martyrs of the Holy Shielding
--------------Stroke & Counter Stroke
------7-------Furyondy Besieged
--------------Great Kingdom Awakens
--------------Osson's Raid
--------------Lordship of the Isles Coup
583—winter----Aid from the South
----spring----An Empire Where None Had Stood
584---8-------Conquest of Almor
--------------Horsemen of Ket
--------------Giant Troubles
--------------Mad King Takes the Field
--------------Sea Princes Assassinated
--------------Collapse of Ide & Onnwall
--------------Hool Invasion
--------------Blockade of Gradsul
-------9------Aerdy Sundered
--------------Great Council of Greyhawk
585---2-------Day of the Great Signing
--------------Elves reclaim Lendor Isle?

Re: On Gunpowder in Greyhawk

Date: Thu, 29 Apr 99 12:50PM PDT
From: Patrice Forno Add To Address Book Add To Junk Mail Blocker To: GREYTALK@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: [GREYTALK] On Gunpowder in Greyhawk


-----Message d'origine-----
Scott Knowles wrote:
>I seem to remember reading somewhere (maybe the '83
>boxed set) that EGG said that gunpowder simply will
>not ignite on Oerth... that nothing chemical will
>EXPLODE. In order to get around the whole gunfire/
>cannon/gunpowder argument, he just said right from the
>get-go, "Hey, this stuff just will not work."
>Can anyone back me up on this?

Here is a text assembled by Roger Moore about Gunpowder in GH :

"GUNPOWDER IN GREYHAWK" Dragon Magazine Index
Compiled by Roger Moore

Here is a clip from the Greyhawk Index I did on Dragon articles. It has all
the major references about gunpowder, pro and con.

Dragon issue #30, pages 12+: "From the Sorcerer's Scroll: New Setting
for the Adventure" (Gary Gygax): Details on the GREYHAWK campaign, including
a proposed adventure in which characters go to the modern world from a city
in the Flanaess. This article contains the important rule: "Gunpowder and explosives will not function on the World of Greyhawk." (See also Gygax's comments in the AD&D 1st Edition Campaign.")

Ed Greenwood later greatly expanded this material for the AD&D game in
his article, "Modern Monsters," in issue #57. The publication of further
articles by Ed Greenwood on using primitive firearms in the AD&D game (issue #60, page 24, "Firearms: First guns were not much fun"; issue #70, page 31, "A Second Volley: Taking another shot at firearms, AD&D style") provoked a short negative response from Gygax in issue #66, page 4 ("Out on a Limb: Gary on gunpowder"), in which he stated that such have no place in the game--though, as noted in issues #17 and #71, Gygax himself made allowances for them in his GREYHAWK campaign!

As a result of this disagreement, the different views of Gygax and Greenwood were made official for their respective game worlds. The SPELLJAMMER(R) boxed set (#1049, 1989, by Jeff Grubb), in ****************************************************************************


Patrice Forno - Marseille - France
Liste de diffusion sur Greyhawk (

Thin Greyhawk Page :
French WiF Page :

Warrior guild

Date: Wed, 11 Aug 99 11:29AM PDT
From: Richard Diioia Add To Address Book Add To Junk Mail Blocker
Subject: [GREYTALK] Warrior guild

Hi all,

One of the things that always set Greyhawk apart from the other settings was it's low magic content. The mages were balanced with the priests and the warriors. Yet, lately the mage societies have become very powerful. We have the Circle of Eight, the Chamber of Four, the Greater Boneheart (mages and priests), the Guild of Wizardry in Greyhawk, the Sagacious Society, etc. Where are the powerful warriors in all this? IMC, it is harder to become a mage than a warrior. This is reflected in the fact that there are at least 500 warriors per mage. At the higher levels this ratio is reduced, but there are still more high level warriors than mages. To reflect this fact I have created a guild of powerful warriors. Here is an omnipotent view I will present to my players this week concerning the guild.

Guild of Crex Tulkus:

A training yard in the castle complex known as the Citadel of Steel. A dozen men train with various weapons and different techniques. This training complex is the most intricate of any on Oerth and caters to the tastes of the greatest fighters in the world.

The Citadel is owned and ruled by the Guild of Crex Tulkus (Old Oeridian for Glorious Battle). The Grandmaster of Melee stands on a balcony overlooking the yard below. Silent thoughts of the history and purpose of the Citadel fill his mind.

The Citadel was create hundreds of years ago as a sanctuary for warriors from the capricious nature of mages. The guild was created as a gathering of powerful warriors to exchange stories and to teach new skills. Over the years the guild recruited many members from the different war torn regions of Flannae. Retired warriors came here for shelter from the world gone mad. Each century the reasons were different; fiends released, mages becoming power hungry, gods starting holy jyhads. It was all the same to these warriors, they lost many friends along their travels to the whims of the leaders who had no concept of what it meant to be in the front lines of battle. So they came here, to the Citadel. To heal, to rest and to renew their faith in themselves and others.

A little under two hundred years ago the Guild began to attract priests of warrior deities. At first they were refused, but a vote was held amongst the greatest warriors of the guild and a decision was made. If the priests could prove that they too had fought and bled in battle and that they had dedicated their life to fighting and stood by their brother warriors, they would be admitted. A trial period lasting 50 years was offered and many priests accepted the test. During that time, the priests showed there mettle. They lived and died alongside the warriors and gained the respect of their guild brothers.
When the final vote came, none stood against priests being accepted into the order.

For centuries it has been so, and now the Citadel attracts the brightest and most skilled warriors in the Flannae. It is considered a great honor to be approached with an offer of guildmanship. As the guild grew, so too did the size of the Citadel, so that now it is one of the largest military keeps in the Flannae. It can be argued that only Irongate rivals it for defensive power.
With this increase in size and population, the guild divided itself into cells.
Each cell representing a certain fighting style. Currently there are 5 Grandmasters who serve the Guildmaster. The Grandmasters are that of Melee, Ranged, Mounted, War, and Priesthoods. Although not all styles are represented by the Grandmasters, those that are not are given under the purvey of a Master who represents that style. The Grandmasters and Masters of each order is chosen as the undisputed best warrior in that combat style. The Grandmaster of Priesthoods is changed every five years in deference to the different priesthoods. It is the only order that is not solely based on combat skill.
Note that the Grandmaster of the Priesthoods must be the undisputed best warrior in his priesthood though. It has occurred on several occasions where the Grandmaster was not the best warrior in a style, but he was "undisputed".
This is a loop hole in the guild rules that is used often to promote a brilliant Grandmaster who may not be the best warrior. It also allows warriors who do not want to be Guildmasters to pass and still be unofficially the best in their style.

But now, there is tension in the wind. The seasoned warriors training below have an edge to them. Something is in the air, and the Guildmaster of Melee really wanted to know what could make such experienced warriors nervous.
Whatever it was, it was happening within the higher levels of the Guild, and he was not aware!

Richard Di Ioia