Sunday, July 19, 2020

Beginnings (My Greyhawk Campaign)

Now that I have established the map I am going to work with, it is time for me to take my own advice and read through the relevant parts of The World of Greyhawk, note what inspires me,  ignore the rest, and make changes where needed. In other words, if you are a Greyhawk purist, this series of posts is not going to be your cup of tea.

First, lets go over the things I like:

  • Three of the four main human peoples can be found on the map. The Oerid are well represented in the Kingdom of Nyrond and in Onwall. The Suel can be found on the Wild Coast and it can be assumed were the people that populated The Pomarj before the humanoid invasions. Finally, it is suggested in the text that the Wildmen found in the southern part of the Albor Alz are Flan.
  • It is implied that the current King of Nyrond is a member of the House of Rax and the rightful heir to the thrown of the Great Kingdom. The usuper and demon-infested House of Naelax currently controls the throne of the Great Kingdom.
  • The leader of Onwall is called a Szek, which is a Hungarian word for seat or chair — as in Chairman of the Board.
  • Onwall is part of an alliance called the Iron League.
  • Pomarj was overrun 63 years ago.
  • While demi-humans are mentioned in passing, they are portrayed as largely uninterested in human affairs. One possible exception may be the dwarves and gnomes of Onwall. Another is that Nyrond has demi-human troops, but they are explicitly called "scouts" and are only used in times of need.
  • There are two lost/hidden cities on the map. One is in the Suss Forest and the other is in the Bright Desert. Both appear to be built by the Suel.
  • The Wild Coast is largely ignored because it is resource poor.
  • Pirates are major factors in every single major body of water.
  • The Caledon Forest is a no-go zone for non-elves.
  • The Gnatmarsh is filled with “ghastly” creatures.
  • The Drachensgrab Hills are supposedly the home of one or more very powerful creatures that are waiting to be awakened.
  • There are several knightly orders throughout the land (though none are directly related to any place on my map).
  • Finally, I realize that they aren’t explicitly on the map, but I love the idea of the Scarlet Brotherhood.

Now, to things I will specifically change:

  • I realize that this technically isn’t a change, since there really is no real information about religion in the first edition of WoG, but given the history of the campaign setting and the game itself, it still feels like one. St. Cuthbert is the same saint that exists in our history. He was transported to WoG and introduced people to the God of St. Cuthbert. Colloquially, people tend to call Christians followers of St. Cuthbert and leave off “’s God.” As the Point of Light on the map, the Kingdom of Nyrond is the main political entity that champions St. Cuthbert’s God. Given the fact that the Iron League sees the Great Kingdom as their enemy, and that they share a common culture with Nyrond (Oeridian), The Iron League is heavily influenced by St. Cuthbert and his God, if not outright followers. This allows me to add some fuel to the fire of a cultural clash between the Oerid and the Suel and Flan by having the latter be primarily Old Believers.
  • Nyrond will simply be referred to as The Kingdom. It is the only kingdom on the map and it serves the polemic purpose of dismissing the claim of the House of Naelax as the leaders of the Great Kingdom.
  • I don’t particularly like the name Onwall, but I love the name Iron League. So, Onwall will simply be the Iron League, which rather than a group of nations is a group of City States (with some tacit support of the dwarves and gnomes of the Headlands).
  • I want to play up the naval prowess and power of the Iron League. Given that their leader is a “Chair” suggests that their organizing principle is far more interested in economic power than political power. Given the constant pirate problem in the area, it would make sense that the Iron League would take matters into their own hands and protect their business interests. As such, they may be far more influential in the area than the Kingdom, especially at a practical level.
  • The name “The Pomarj” doesn’t refer to the geographical area that contains the Drachensgrab Hills. Rather, it is an old Suel word meaning city state. It specifically referred to twelve City States that used to exist on the peninsula. The geographic area is called the Drachensgrab Peninsula or simply Drachensgrab.
  • The Pomarj were some of the first Suel to officially adopt Christianity, though many Suel remained Old Believers. The leaders converted (some for political reasons), but not necessarily the people.
  • The Scarlet Brotherhood came into existence after the fall of The Pomarj. It was started by Old Believer survivors of the Pomarj who blamed the destruction of their homes on Christianity and the failure of other Christian nations to come to their aid. Thus, they seek revenge and they seek to found a great Suloise Empire that will bring the Christian nations to their knees. To achieve this, they are willing to use any strategy or tactic no matter how vile.
  • The great magics that brought about the Invoked Devastation and Rain of Colorless Fire are long forgotten; however, it is rumored that some powerful artifacts from that period were in the possession of the Suel when the Suloise migrations began. Not coincidentally, the Suel are more natural arcane spell casters than either the Oerid or the Flan.
  • There are going to be two knightly orders that have a presence on the map: the Order of the White Hart (a play on the Order of the Hart in WoG) and the Order of the Red Rose (a play on one of the later developments in the WoG version of St. Cuthbert). The Order of the White Hart is based off of the hagiography of St. Eustathios (who will go by St. Sylfaen in my version of WoG) who had an encounter with Christ while hunting a deer and St. Gobnait who went on a quest to find nine white deer. The Order of the Red Rose is dedicated to the Mother of God because the rose is often associated with her.
  • I plan on re-skinning various humanoids as orcs so that I can use them almost exclusively as my humanoid baddies. I have always wanted to run a campaign where Gygax’s suggested names for orc tribes gets used. As a consequence, all of the various tribes that now occupy Drachensgrab are all orcs: The Death Moon Tribe, The Dripping Blades Tribe, The Grinning Skull Tribe, The Leprous Hand Tribe, and The Long Spears,
  • For the purposes of placing the A-series onto the map, the most important orc “tribe” is going to be the Long Spears. They are actually going to be a mercenary company consisting mostly of half-orcs (at least in the leadership) that have been hired by merchants of the Iron League (through the suggestion of agents of the Scarlett Brotherhood) to take control of Highport. They maintain a neutral port that does business with human and orc alike. While they will turn a blind eye to the slave trade if it is out of sight, the Long Spears make sure the city has the appearance of being above board. This justifies why the Slave Pits of A1 are hidden and not out in the open.
  • I plan on re-working the heraldry of the area so that it suits my proclivities (that’ll be another post).
  • Finally, I plan on incentivizing players to play humans. I want this to be a human-centric campaign where elves, dwarves, etc. are alien cultures that might interact with the human world out of curiosity, but rarely do anything to influence it.


A.F.W Junior said...

I'm doing the same in Forgotten Realms. The Trinity Ilmater, Tyr and Torm are the core saints.

FrDave said...

Other than Kara-Tur, I don't think I have ever owned a Forgotten Realms product. Is the first edition worth picking up?

DeusNihl said...

1st - 3rd edition of the Realms are rather good, everything after is, well, ungood. I think you'd like 2nd ed, since after the Time of Troubles (edition change event) the Realms are specifically described as the creation of the overgod Ao (with the normal pantheon essentially being managers, like the Valar in Tolkien).

This does provoke a question tho - are you familiar with Dragonlance, and if so what do you think of it (specifically the War of the Lance period)?

FrDave said...

The only thing I remember about Dragon Lance was everyone reading the books (I didn't) and hating playing the modules because we always had to "follow the books." I was so turned off that I never really bothered.

A.F.W Junior said...
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A.F.W Junior said...
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Andrzej said...

Hi Dave!
I couldn't find any contact info, so I'm writing a comment here to say thanks. I love your writing, especially this series and I owe you a lot in becoming a better GM.
I lately mentioned you on my own blog but wanted to write to you more directly.