The World of Ark

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Keep on the Borderlands: In New Places


the Caves of Chaos
THE CAVES OF CHAOS!

Who hasn't played in the "The Keep on the Borderlands" module eh? Well, I'm sure some haven't; but now you may!

I've always loved the simplicity of this module; and while I've mentioned it in a previous article, I really think it deserves even more attention now. It is designed to show a group of players (DM included) just how to run a Dungeon Crawl in a simple manner: a) a base of operations to rest, trade and gain allies, b) a wilderness to explore that can be changed at the DMs desire to always present adventure, and c) a dungeon to explore and conquer!

The Caves of Chaos contained in The Keep on the Borderlands module aren't a complex series of death dealing trap filled warrens; but instead offer a chaotic patchwork of humanoids to combat and defeat in a slow systematic way that allows player and Dungeon Master (DM) alike to take it slow and easy without too much pressure. The humanoids are just enough at each other's throats that they won't immediately seek aid from the others nearby to repel the party, but cohesive enough that they present as primarily non-hostile to each other and thus easy to explain their proximity to each other.

Now, if you are already playing in a game (like most are) it becomes a little harder to place Ye Ol' Caves in your own game...but I'm here to help! It doesn't matter where the campaign is taking place, the Keep on the Borderlands is easy to set up and run with!

Are you playing in The Forgotten Realms? The Castellan of the Keep becomes perhaps an official of Cormyr, the Keep becoming Castle Krag.

Are you playing in Greyhawk? The Keep has already been placed there "officially" but you can still put it where you like. Me, I placed it originally north of Celene and south of Verbobonc in the Kron Hills. In my "Glittering Isles of Greyhawk" campaign though, the place will be in the High Freeholds south of the Gnome Vale of Bellor.

Are you playing in Harn (a favorite of mine!)? Well, the Keep can become the Keep of Getha in the Kingdom of Kaldor; with the Castellan becoming the Baron of Getha instead. A special note here: the various humanoids simply become mercenary Gargun, all females become males, and ignore the children of the humanoids all together. The other monsters are simple translations then. An additional Note: if you plan to use the Keep in Harn, remember to change the map a bit of the Keep itself. Round towers are not common at all within Harn, only the Dwarves have mastered that technique of building. Replace the round towers with square towers and you are all done. That is unless you want the place to have been built by a Dwarven Engineer? Me, I replaced all but one tower with square towers, making only the tower near the bank round...and its inhabitant being a Dwarf who remains on as chief engineer to the Baron. A small twist, but something to add flavor.

Are you playing in Mystara? The Keep on the Borderlands easily fits in the north of Karameikos; but can just as easily be placed in North-East Darokin too. I prefer north of Selenica so that it is still near at hand to Karameikos, my favorite realm there.

No matter the world you decide to venture into, the Keep on the Borderlands is something you should seriously consider if you are new to the Fantasy Role-Playing game experience. It doesn't matter which rules system you are using, the material is what matters; not the crunch. Numbers can be replaced easily enough; but when you are pressed for ideas or want to try something that is tried and supported highly by the gaming populace, you won't regret using this material.


I usually just post ideas here, but I would LOVE a discussion with anyone willing to share where and how they have used this awesome material!








Saturday, May 7, 2016

Making the Most of It: DRAGONS! (or Part 1)

So I love to play Dungeons and Dragons...especially Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (or AD&D). I've had lots of life hours used as gaming hours to say the least! Because I've played so long at these games (since about 1979) I've had to improvise all sorts of things at the most random moments in gaming. Essentially, I've had to make the most of what I had at hand or create whole-clothe from my imagination things in the game...everything from Elminster's distinguished voice to the screech of a Goblin as it attacks...and it is all fun!

One thing I love to do is find things in stores that I can use while playing games. A few months ago I had the luck to find in my local Fred Meyer store's toy section a couple of really awesome dragons!

Land Wyrm deep in the dungeon!
The picture above is of a "Land Wyrm" for my new Glittering Isles of Greyhawk game. I really like how he looks, and his price was well worth it too. I've decided that Land Wyrms are more feral (less intelligent) than other dragons; but very powerful physically and fully capable of using their breath weapon: a fiery belch induced spitting that explodes on impact where it lands in a 30 foot radius. Essentially, the Land Wyrm creates a sac that bursts on impact with anything it hits. While they can't fly, their physical strength and projectile bile are a gruesome combination (they never use spells). Stats are as follows:

Land Wyrm (Draco Sputem Horriblis)
FREQUENCY: Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1 (1-4)
ARMOR CLASS: -2
MOVE: 12"/18" (swim)
HIT DICE: 10-12
% IN LAIR: 65%
TREASURE TYPE: H
NO. OF ATTACKS: 4 (claw, claw,  bite , tail)
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-8/1-8/3-30/1-10
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Breath weapon
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Blunt and slashing weapons do half damage
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard (as dragon)
INTELLIGENCE: Low to Average
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Neutral
SIZE: L (36' long)
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
CHANCE OF:
          Speaking: 20%
          Magic Use: Nil
          Sleeping: 40%

The race of Land Wyrms prefer to have an underground lair of some sort; though individuals will gladly use caves of sufficient depth or even open air areas of heavy vegetation that limits visibility such as brambles, briers and heavy tree growth. Those that can find and hold them are fond of using air filled caves beneath the waterline on the shores of lakes; but rarely do the like to live on the ocean. They are exceedingly territorial, even willing to face a Red Dragon to ensure they keep their lair.

A Land Wyrm can attack by a claw/claw/bite/tail routine or by belching forth a globe of explosive bile with a range of 90 feet that explodes in a 30 foot radius conflagration. The dragon may only employ its tail against targets to its rear or to either side up to its neck. A Land Wyrm's breath weapon is never of less than full strength despite damage to the beast due to the fact it stores its "breath" in a sac which holds the bile that ruptures only upon striking a surface.

Land Wyrms long ago lost the ability to use magical spells; but, like all dragons, they are still able to employ any magical item they have access to that they are able to manipulate with either claw or fang.

NOTE: I play Land Wyrms as engines of rage. When their lair is infringed upon (especially if a mate or eggs/young are present) they attack without quarter given. Subdual does indeed work against them; but it is going to be a hard fought victory; and the Land Wyrm is not especially loyal if its new "owner" shows signs of weakness they may be eaten at a later date. These dragons are inspired by the Harnic "Drake: Forest Dragon" found in the "Dragons" supplement from Columbia Games Inc.

The other dragon I found in the toy section was a flying dragon. I decided that in the Glittering Isles, these dragons are essentially like Red Dragons, but they are smaller (having fewer hit dice), but just as intelligent and capable of using magic. I call these beasts by the simple name of "Fire Dragons" which is the only kind of dragon other than Land Wyrms and "Ice Dragons" which live upon the Glittering Isles (I haven't found a good Ice Dragon yet though).


Fire Dragon (Draco Conflagratio Mysticum)
FREQUENCY: Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1-4
ARMOR CLASS: 0
MOVE: 12'/30' (Flying)
HIT DICE: 8-10
% IN LAIR: 60%
TREASURE TYPE: H, S, T
NO. OF ATTACKS: 4
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-4/1-4/3-24/1-10
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Breath Weapon + possible magic use
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard Dragon
INTELLIGENCE: Exceptional
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
SIZE: L (36' long)
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
CHANCE OF:
           Speaking: 75%
           Magic Use: 75%
           Sleeping: 20%

Fire Dragons prefer to dwell in great hills or mountainous regions like their cousins the Red Dragons. As with most others of this species, they too prefer to dwell in deep caves and similar subterranean places. Fire Dragons are even more greedy and avaricious than Red Dragons; perfectly willing to kill a mate that attempts to steal from their hoard of treasure; though, unlike Red Dragons, they are far more likely to flee combat if it goes against them.

A Fire Dragon is able to attack by means of a claw/claw/bite/tail routine or by breathing a cone of fire, 10" long, by 2" base diameter. Speaking Fire Dragons are 75% likely to use spells in a greater ability than a Red Dragon. When in flight, a Fire Dragon will save its breath weapon for massed enemies, and use a tail attack against lone individuals.

For each age bracket the dragon has attained it is able to use an additional spell. At the first two ages the fire dragon gains a 1st level spell, at the next two a 2nd level spell is gained, at the fifth and sixth ages a 3rd level spell is gained, at the seventh age a 4th level spell is gained and at the last age a 5th level spell is gained. Thus, an ancient fire dragon would be able to employ two spells of levels 1 through 3 and one each of 4th and 5th levels. Fire Dragons with access to spell books (25% of them) are able to select whichever spells they wish from such tomes; though those without will have a set selection of spells which never changes.

NOTE: I play Fire Dragons as portrayed by the monstrous terror in the old movie called "Dragonslayer" pictured here. If you have never seen that movie, then you MUST see it as soon as you can. While it may be "behind the times" in special effects now, it still is better than many modern dragon portrayals I have seen. Fire Dragons are horrors that are furious enough to burn a village, but not brave enough to risk their own life...even for their young which they will abandon if they must; but will gain vengeance for at a later time if possible.

I play Dragons in my game differently than most DMs I've played with. Not that I do it better; but I try to leave dragons as a mythical creature instead of making them either commonplace to the point of being a simple beast commonly encountered, or else simply the "Boss" at the end of the dungeon level. Each dragon in my campaign is tailor designed and never randomly placed. A dragon's back story is just as important to me as the magical items I place in my games (with each having a history).

For my Glittering Isles campaign I haven't set out any particular dragons yet; though there is a Black Dragon in the module "To Find a King" that I am going to replace with a Land Wyrm for sure. While I like the AD&D dragons (and monsters in general), I like to create new monsters that players don't know the statistics for. I've noticed that this creates a sense of trepidation in going against new monsters and a great sense of satisfaction when those monsters are defeated by players; which is the primary reason I created these two dragons from the toys I found at the store.

I'll have many more monsters that I'll put into this new series; so stay tuned for more of "Making the Most of it" and hopefully you will find that you can use several of them in your own games.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Glittering Isles of Greyhawk: What makes a setting?


I've had dozens of people ask me one question about my gaming: "What is it about a setting that interests you and makes you want to play in it?"

I can say without a doubt that the island of Harn comes up almost every time. If you don't know what Harn is; check out this map:


Harn is a creation of Columbia Games Inc. which you can explore HERE. Without a doubt, Harn is the MOST DETAILED SETTING I've ever run across that is for sale to the general gaming public. Hands down. Several of the things that make Harn just awesome:

1) Harn is a base setting to start a campaign from. There are no novels or later gaming supplements that mess with the history of the starting point. Once something is published for Harn, that is the way it is no matter what. You can go back in time to create your game, or into the future; but the best way to play in the world of Harn is to start from the date given in the various books.

2) The artwork. Not once have I ever looked at a piece of art for the Harn setting and thought anything other than "That is what it looks like! That is what I want my players to see so they have something other than writing to describe the people, places and things!" Richard Luschek (LOO-shek) is the individual who either picks the artist needed or, more often than not, delivers that need himself. You can find his art HERE or HERE (the latter being his own Blog that you can follow). Personally, I use his art for various games I'm playing that aren't even set in Harn. The art is what I like to call "True Medieval" and not so fantastical that it is hard to believe. I can relate to every single piece he has ever put into a product sold by Columbia Games. 


3) Did I mention detail? Well, there is MORE detail. Many of the smallest villages are detailed; right down to the peasants. I don't just mean for the current adventure, I mean I can pick up my Kingdom of Kaldor book and find immediately how many households live in Pendeth (which is in the Earldom of Neph) and even what the land quality is! I know the name of the man that rules there: Constable Garath Ruseller...and I know what the man looks like too!

4) Price. I've heard some people say that Harn is expensive...it isn't. You may wonder what I mean when its setting books cost $30; but you will NEVER have to worry about buying another one. Do you know how many Forgotten Realms setting books I've had to buy?! With Harn, what you get the first time is what you need all the time. Find the full list HERE of their products over at Lythia.com.

Now, you are wondering: "What in the Nine Hells does this have to do with Greyhawk!?" It has EVERYTHING to do with Greyhawk. The amazing thing about Harn is that you can plug it into ANY setting you want. I have used Harnic villages in the middle of Cormyr of the Forgotten Realms. I have placed entire Kingdoms (the Kingdom of Chybisa) right alongside established settings like the Viscounty of Verbobonc in Greyhawk; simply replacing the capital of Chybisa with the city of Verbobonc. But most importantly for my new home game: I am going to be using not only Harnic villages and towns for my game (all of them ready made mind you!); but also rules supplements from Harn as well.

I'm a big fan of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (first edition people!); anyone that really knows me knows that. I'm just as big a fan of the game products from Columbia Games that I can use to plug in wherever I want. OR, and often even better, I can simply run my AD&D game right in Harn without having to change a thing. Harn has magic, but it is softer and more subtle; so I just change available spells and I'm ready to go. I've detailed a bit about how I plan to use HarnManor in my Glittering Isles campaign HERE.

So, to answer the original question: a setting is awesome to me when it gives me everything I need, but still leaves room for me to create what I want. End of story, that is my answer.

For that, Harn (and its MANY supplements) delivers on that need hands down. A synopsis of how Harn is going to help me.

City of Tashal transforming into Widdershin
The City of Tashal (located in the Kingdom of Kaldor) is going to be transformed into my Glittering Isles city of Widdershin. I had tried to make a map...but I failed in getting the right feeling that I want from a map. I only make two primary modifications: a) There will be no bridge across the river because the river is going to be far too wide for one. The gate that once belonged where the bridge crossed the river (and a minor gate to the south on the wall) will now simply service the docks I plan to build. b) change the inhabitants affiliations to those that fit into Greyhawk (this is the larger change, but most of it is likely never to be encountered by the Party).

With that, my need for a Capital City of Widdershin is taken care of with minimal effort on my part. Though Widdershin's stated population is only 6,500 compared to Tashal's population of 11,400; I can easily explain this away to a dwindling population (as I already stated in previous writings) and many segments of the city being less crowded; while in the height of trade season, the place can hold many more who are passing through either via caravan or ships.

City Gate of Widdershin from outside in the village of Artoen
There are many, MANY more things that the folks at Columbia Games have created that I plan to use in my AD&D game other than their villages, cities and artwork. The adventure modules that they have created are second to none in being easily adapted to any game system. Their wide selection of Bestiary material enables me to have a wide variety of materials to draw on (with amazing art as well).

I'll post more as my conversions go along for my Glittering Isles of Greyhawk home campaign; but before I do that, you should go out and purchase some of these amazing products! This isn't a paid advertisement here folks...you seriously should invest some time/money into getting these materials to make your home games even more awesome.

NOTE: All images here are property of Columbia Games Inc. and Richard Luschek. Used with permission.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Valuable Villains, Part 2

As a continuation of my Valuable Villains line, I will be working mostly within the confines of  The World of Greyhawk: The Glittering Isles which I am running as my home game. I'll try to make it so that the Villains I feature here will be usable in just about any campaign setting though...a Plug-n-Play sort of villain.


Today's villains is named Rhannoch Shald'Hrune, Raven King of Khel; a very dangerous, but powerful, behind the scenes manipulator of both good and evil men...all for what he sees as "right" in his world. Rhannoch is the son of a Half-Elf mother and Baklunish father; but only his name is a reminder of those individuals who have been gone for a very long time indeed.


Rhannoch began his life in the land known as Ket (or whatever other Arabic/Middle-Eastern culture you have; such as Calimshan in the Forgotten Realms). His mother, a Half-Elven wizard, was his early teacher of things arcane. Rhannoch excelled at magic which influenced the mind and eyes of his foes; he became strong in manipulations enchantments and charms as his mother had been.

Rhannoch Shald’Hrune is much older than his appearance would dictate. He long ago compromised his freedom to instead have the power to fight the forces of darkness by using the gifts of his Patron God Xan Yae (or some other god of shadows in your game) against evil. Originally Rhannoch was a Baklunish (Calashite, or what have you) wizard who sought to fend off the depredations of ravaging bands of humanoids from the lands of Ket (around the Lake of Steam), and works strongly against humanity itself when individuals embrace evil; though he ignores the fact that he is often using evil means to gain good outcomes.

Rhannoch slowly amassed the power he needed to become strong enough to take on the mantle of The Raven King. He took for his place of power the Dark Pit (once known as the City of Khel), a stronghold once held by the Ur-Flan (or ancient workers of magic in your game) who served the ancient evil known as Vecna (or some other evil demi-god). The Dark Pit rests in the mountains south of Ket (or in the mountains north of Calimshan) where it remains a secret to this day. In its depths Rhannoch is served by the ancient Ur-Flan who still live in various undead states (such as Crypt Things) or as their descendants who are now Dark Stalkers long ago changed who rule over Dark Creepers who were once dwarves who built the Dark Pit. There are many Demi-Liches who Rhannoch leaves to their own devices who rest within the city as well.

Rhannoch deals with disguised Janni who come to him and give information in return for magical items and/or information in return that they can trade to others. These Janni venture into the area of “Raven Mountain” before descending into the Dark Pit; and the many flocks of Giant Ravens which dominate the area leave them unmolested on the orders of their “King” Rhannoch who they serve. Rhannoch’s Seneschal is the Skeleton Warrior named Priasar, who has agreed to serve Rhannoch while the wizard searches for the undead warriors Circlet to free him.

Rhannoch is also served by many Baklunish adherents to the faith of Xan Yae, and a secret monastery rests within the Gateway of Shadows; which is the outer town, though still below ground. The monks and their followers guard the entrance for The Raven King as he is considered a Prophet of Xan Yae and so a very important religious figure among the worshipers of the Baklunish. The monks never pass the Shadow Gate which leads into the ancient city within however.

Rhannoch works his weal and woe where he sees fit; often felling paladins who try to conquer as often as evil wizards who try the same. To Rhannoch, "evil" is the taking away of freedom from individuals. He believes that only control of the self is right...all else is wrong. Though not truly evil, he is only not evil because he often does good as well...given time, however, he will likely slip over the edge into evil completely.

AD&D Rhannoch: Neutral hm M-U 18; Str: 12, Dex: 19, Con: 16, Int: 22, Wis: 18, Chr: 17. If you want to add some spice to him, you can make him a Shade as found in Monster Manual II.

Rhannoch's Statistics in 3.5 D&D:


Class/Level: Wizard 6 / Shadow Adept 10 / Arch-Mage 2
Race: Human Alignment: Neutral Good    Deity: Xan Yae
Age: 31           Gender: Male            Height: 6’1”               Weight: 174 lbs.
Actual: ?         Eyes: Black                Hair: Black                 Skin: Deep Olive


STR:   12                                HP: 115                                  Speed: 30
DEX:   24 (18)                        AC:  66 (Touch: 56, Flat-Footed 46)
CON:  16                                w/Greater Shield of Shadows: +4
INT:    36 (30)                        w/Haste                                    +1
WIS:   19                                w/Foresight                              +2
CHR:  17                                Fort: 22          Ref: 26           Will: 33

Initiative: +11            Base Attack: +9       SR: 18 w/robes
                                    Grapple: +8                    22 w/Shadow Shield
                                                                             23 w/staff

Weapons
Shadowed Staff of the Arch-Magus +9/+4 1d6+2 damage
Silver Dagger +8/+3 1d4+1 damage

Skills: Appraise 18, Balance 7, Bluff 23, Climb 1, Concentration 24, Craft 13, Decipher Script 23, Diplomacy 8, Disguise 25, Escape Artist 7, Forgery 15, Gather Information 8, Heal 4, Hide 17, Intimidate 3, Jump 1, Knowledge (Arcana 36, Architecture 19, Dungeoneering 19, Geography 19, History 19, Local 19, Nature 19, Nobility 21, Religion 21, Planes 34), Listen 4, Move Silently 17, Perform (Acting 8, Dance 7, Oratory 7), Profession (Monarch 18), Ride 10, Search 15, Sense Motive 4, Spellcraft 36 (39), Spot 4, Survival 4, Swim 1, Use Rope 7

Feats: Shadow Magic, Improved Initiative, Scribe Scroll, Improved Counterspell, Reactive Counterspell, Silent Spell, Deft Defense, Insidious Magic, Pernicious Magic, Tenacious Magic, Skill Focus: Spellcraft, Spell Focus: Illusion, Spell Focus: Enchantment, Craft Contingent Spell, Leadership, Enduring Life, Live My Nightmare1, Eyes in the Sky2, Non-Combatant3 (Flaw), Vulnerable4 (Flaw),
Enduring Life, Feat, page 26, Libris Mortis
Live My Nightmare (page 94, Unearthed Arcana): DC 17 Will to disbelieve & Fort to live
Eyes In The Sky (page 93, Unearthed Arcana): sense Sensors in 40 feet
Non-Combatant (page 91, Unearthed Arcana): -2 Melee
Vulnerable (page 91, Unearthed Arcana): -1 AC

Magic Items: Shadowed Staff of the Arch-Magus (Shadow Touched Staff of the Arch-Magi), Ioun Stone: Orange Prism (+1 Caster Level), Greater Extend Rod 9th lvl spells or less 3xday, Greater Quickened Rod 9th lvl spells or less 3xday, Bracers of Natural Armor +5, Ring of Protection +5, Ring of Force Shield +5 (+7 AC), Gloves of Dexterity +6, Mask of Warding Shadows (+5 Celestial Save Bonus), Boots of Fortuitous Warding (+5 Luck Save Bonus), Heward’s Handy Haversack, Black Cowled Crown of Shald’Hrune (+6 INT, Good Wearers +5 Celestial Bonus to AC, Neutral Wearers +5 Luck bonus to AC, INT casters +5 Insight bonus to AC), White Robes of the Arch-Magi (+5 AC, +4 to all saves, +2 vs. SR, gives SR 18), Amulet of the Raven King, Magical Trunk (Miniature 5,000 GP trunk, when opened summons full sized Trunk which holds Spell Books and other items). Various Misc. Scrolls and Potions.

Class Abilities: Shadow Adept: Low-light Vision, Darkvision (in all darkness), Shadow Defense (+3 on saves vs. Enchantment, Illusion, Necromancy and Darkness), Shadow Walk 1xDay (at 10th level), Greater Shield of Shadows (+4 AC, Negates Magic Missiles, SR 22, 20% Miss Chance, Lasts 18 rounds), Shadow Double (AC: 27, HP: 51, Saves: F 7, R 8, W 18, Str 12, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 30, Wis 17, Chr 17, lasts 18 rounds). Wizard: Summon Familiar. Arch-Mage: Mastery of Counterspelling, Spell Power +1 (+1 DC & +1 vs. SR).

Spells Typically Memorized (4/8/7/7/7/6/6/4/5/4) Spell DC: 24 plus level of spell
DC is +1 more for Necromancy & Darkness / DC +2 more for Illusion & Enchantment
0th: Detect Poison, Message, Message, Read Magic
1st: Charm Person, Charm Person, True Casting, True Casting, Know Protections, Magic Missile, Net of Shadows, Silent Image
2nd: Shadow Mask, Life Bolt, Life Bolt, Scourge of Force, Crystalline Memories, Toothed Tentacle, Web
3rd: Inevitable Defeat, Spectral Hand, Spellcaster’s Bane, Hold Person, Pall of Twilight, Control Darkness and Shadow, Dispel Magic
4th: Greater Mirror Image (Immediate), Spell Enhancer, Shadow Well, Ghorus Toth’s Metal Melt, Anticipate Teleportation, Nightmare Terrain, Thunderlance
5th: Wall of Force, Dominate Person, Break Enchantment, Teleport, Baleful Polymorph
6th: Disintegrate, Circle of Death, Permanent Image, Chain Lightning, Geas, Greater Dispel Magic
7th: Projected Image, Finger of Death, Forcecage, Mass Hold Person
8th: Horrid Wilting, Otiluke’s Telekinetic Sphere, Temporal Stasis, Scintillating Pattern, Maze
9th: Wail of the Banshee, Power Word: Kill, Time Stop, Bigby’s Crushing Hand

Contingent Spells

Displacement (Extended: 38 rounds), Immediate Action, If someone rolls to hit and succeeds; gives 50% Miss Chance.
Greater Mirror Image, activates immediately after Displacement above.
Fly (Extended: 38 minutes), If Rhannoch falls more than 10 feet (up or down).
Freedom (Instant on Self) vs. Binding, Entangle, Grappling, Imprisonment, Maze, Paralysis, Petrification, Pinning, Sleep, Slow, Stunning, Temporal Stasis & Web.
Foresight (Extended 380 minutes), Immediate Action, if Rhannoch becomes target of hostile action he is unaware of. +2 AC & +2 Reflex, Never Flat-Footed
Timestop, Immediate, if Rhannoch is reduced below ½ his Hit Points.
Greater Teleport, Immediate if reduced below ¼ Hit Points, sent to Dark Pit.
Anti-Magic Aura, Immediately activates after Greater Teleport above.

Non-Contingent Spell

Heart of Stone DR 5/- Resist Energy 5 vs. Cold, Fire & Electricity, Heal only 1 HP/Day, Healing Spells require DC 27 lvl check. Real Heart in Adamantine Case in Magical Trunk.

Rhannoch’s Drugs

Haunspeir (Pill): Ingested DC 12, Initial: 1d4 damage, Secondary: 1d4+1 INT for 1d10+15 minutes and Slashing and Piercing do +1 damage, Addiction: Low. Costs: 50 GP.
Panaeolo (Leaf): Ingested DC 8, Initial: None, Secondary: DC increases by +2 for 1d4 hours (does 1d6 temporary CHR damage), Overdose: in 1st hour increase to +3 DC, suffer 2d8 CHR damage, Addiction: Low. Costs: 250 GP.

Sakrash Wine: Ingested DC 11, Initial: Dazzled for 1 minute, Secondary: Can’t be detected by effects that read or alter thoughts or emotions (No detect thoughts, zone of truth, modify memory, emotion, fear, etc). This lasts 1d4 hours. Side Effects: No Shared Thoughts. Addiction: none. Costs: 500 GP.

For Rhannoch's "Lair" I've pirated a picture I found online, modified it slightly, and placed it here for you to use...I wish I could give credit to the original creator but I can't find her/his name.




Monday, May 2, 2016

The Glittering Isles of Greyhawk: Fantastic Feudalism

When I say "Fantastic Feudalism" I mean two things: it is great fun AND it is Fantasy Feudalism as well. A few questions should be asked by the DM about their fantasy setting:

1) How do those Knights afford their armor and mounts if they aren't adventurers?

2) Exactly how are the various governments ACTUALLY run in my campaign world?

3) How is the setting's economy affected by the government; and how is the government affected by the economy?

4) Is it easy to allow my players to have an estate of some sort...or even a barony if they desire it?

Those are the four main questions I had going into establishing The Glittering Isles of Greyhawk; but believe it or not, the answers were SOOOO easy after I found only two things.

The first thing I found was an article about changing the AD&D monetary system into something more like our own Western Europe experienced during the Medieval Era. I put up a post about that particular monetary system HERE. If you haven't read it yet (as well as the article I got a great deal of the information from) I encourage you to read that before going even a sentence further!

The second thing I found had absolutely NOTHING to do with AD&D. It is from a fantasy game though, and well worth your time: Harnmaster. Within the Harnmaster game system is a book called HarnManor (you can find HERE at the company site or HERE on Amazon) that gives you all the information you need to allow both you and your players a better look into a feudal society...and particularly the feudal society I'm running for my Glittering Isles campaign. Now, I should say here, I don't expect anyone to run out to grab this particular book, because frankly it isn't always to be found cheap! But if you DO want to get it, I think you will love the experience!

I can summarize briefly here what HarnManor can do to help your AD&D games: it gives a simple village generation system (based on the Feudal Manor system) that not only gives a population (in great detail!) for your various habitations of humanity, but also details easily the money to be made (gross and net) from a feudal manor. The ONLY change that needs to be made to HarnManor to make it fit into the Aerdy Pound/Glittering Isles monetary system is to cut all values of "d" (pennies) in half from the HarnManor supplement. Then it fits smoothly into the system detailed in Todd's Aerday Pound article from Footprints 15 at Dragonsfoot. Yep, that is all you have to do.

Now, for those of you not wanting to buy HarnManor, you will not have as great of a detail as I plan to use, but you can still get a solid feeling for the AD&D Feudal Government I plan to use. Instead of using HarnManor all you need to do is convert the numbers in various places for the DMG (Dungeon Master's Guide), PHB (Player's Handbook), UA (Unearthed Arcana) and the various Monster Books (I, II, Fiend Folio) into the Aerdy Pound monetary system. You will then be able to run a Player Character focused gaming experience just as easily. Most of the conversions are straightforward (X now equals Y); but the treasure tables are a little different. I personally shifted all things "up" one category for my treasure tables: Copper takes Silver's place, Silver takes Gold's place, Electrum becomes more silver, and Gold takes Platinum's place on the charts. What takes Copper's place? More Copper...just roll for copper normally, then convert it to the new monetary system. Pretty straightforward like I said.

For those of you that DO get HarnManor (or already have it?), the paperwork does indeed increase a small amount; but it is worth it. By generating villages (and have literally every settlement on  your map detailed) ahead of time, the work you have to do will be actually less during game play. I know, not everyone has time to devote to this...I understand that completely. However, if you do this instead of binge-watching Daredevil on Netflix then you will be surprised at what you can get done right?! Well, that is what helped me.

Just as an example, lets look at a Manor as generated by HarnManor; not in detail, but in the abstract so that everyone can follow along. I'll use my very primitive map of Mathghamhna as a basis for the idea so you can follow more easily. The Thorp of Mathghamhna is near the city of Widdershin; only 3 miles away in fact. An ancient ruin (that we don't need to detail at this point; but it WILL come up in a future article about Mathghamhna) sits near the tiny village, and in the village are the following things:

1) A fortified tower that holds a half dozen Men-at-Arms and their Captain. Their job is to tax anyone going into the ruin and out...although nobody has ever made it out.

2) There is a Council Storehouse (the Council of Widdershin owns the land here, and so a sizable portion of all crops grown goes to the Council and they are stored here before transport to town.

3) Two Grain Storage barns that hold the grains recently harvested by the peasants; as well as various tubers, apples and etc also grown/found here.

4) A Mercantyler who is part of the Mercantyler's Guild. He is only here because it saves a great deal of time for locals to buy things here instead of going into town (picture the medieval version of the corner market near your house).

5) A Tavern owned by a member of the Tavern Master's Guild. He is the only individual in town allowed to brew ale or beer; though alewives from the peasants families are also allowed to brew for their personal needs as it is better to drink small beer than water in a medieval village...including children.

6) A Shrine (and attendant "holy house") to Berei where a minor cleric of that god is to be found who tends to the needs (both spiritual and medical) of the thorp.

7) A Councilor's Manor. This building is not owned by the man and his family that inhabit the place. They are instead part of the functionary government of the Free Seaholds hired to oversee the interests of the Council of Widdershin. Normally in a feudal society, this would be the home of some minor lord or knight; but in a Republic such as the Free Seaholds many such thorps and villages are now the property of the Council of Widdershin which appoints a minor functionary to take care of things locally.

Last, but most importantly, 17 peasant homes/families. Without the 17 families of Mathghamhna, things just wouldn't get done in the thorp! With an average of 5 members per family, this puts approximately 85 peasants living in the place. Most of these are what are called Villeins; and they owe their lives to the local lord (in this case, the council's representative). Others are called "Cottars" and they have very little land, and instead supplement their meager income and food by doing menial labor around the village; though some probably go into Widdershin to do work as well.

Because the thorp is so close to Widdershin, there is no need for some of the usual things you would find in a feudal manor: no metalworker/smith, no mill and no woodworker...all of these individuals are so near at hand in Widdershin that they are not needed for the daily functioning of the thorp at all. Also, unlike in most medieval settlements, there are no Yeoman at all. A yeoman is an individual who farms land much like a Villein, but instead of owing common labor (shoving shite from the stable, tending the needs of the noble family and etc.) the Yeoman  serves a certain number of days each year in a military capacity. Because the place is garrisoned by Men-at-Arms with loyalty to the Council, there is no call for Yeomen from this village...though in some settlements there probably is such a need so that the Council has a military to call on!

Other functions normally had in a village are: Reeve (who sees to the direction of the village's farming and other needs, essentially the Foreman of the place), Beadle (who is the law enforcer of a village for minor matters, but here overseen by the Men-at-Arms by direction of their Captain) and some few others.

There are many other aspects to the feudal life that can be helpful to know about when running your AD&D or other fantasy games; but there you have a brief summary of what is to be found. There are woodsmen, millers, woodworkers, smiths, innkeepers, and so much more. If you want to read more, without buying HarnManor (which I still encourage you to do) then I suggest you go to your local library, go into the children's section (yes, there are solid books there!) and get any of the "Eyewitness" books such as: medieval life, viking, knight and etc. They are an invaluable resource to me in running my games because of the pictures alone!

I hope you decide to get HarnManor...and remember to cut all values in "d" (or pennies) in half; including the costs and the incomes. I think you will find that it really helps flesh out your fantasy campaign!

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Glittering Isles of Greyhawk; Module: Treasure Hunt

In the Glittering Isles of Greyhawk there are places of great adventure; dungeons to whet the appetite of even the most glum dwarf or spark a lively gleam in the eye of any thief. One of those places is in the Module N4: Treasure Hunt, by Aaron Allston. While I won't go into a great amount of detail about the pros and cons of the module, I can say without hesitation that it is one of the best introductory modules I've ever had the pleasure of running as Dungeon Master. The cover art alone (by Jeff Easley, one of my all time favorites!) evokes a feeling of intensity that I haven't had often in simply looking at the cover of a module. The party in the ship looks to be on the verge of doom if they can't outpace the storm behind them! That is a feeling you really want at the beginning of a module...being able to show the cover art to a party and having them actually FEEL something. That is the good stuff!

For that very reason I decided that Treasure Hunt had to be part of my Glittering Isles campaign. It is an easy to run introduction to AD&D and can be used in any campaign being run by a DM. You can place it just off the coast of any realm you are playing in with only minor tweaking of the module contents. For me, placing it in my Glittering Isles was a piece of cake.

For one, it isn't on the map...simple as that. The island contained in the module is simply not on the map of my campaign. The entire island is just about 9000 feet by 9000 feet...you can have an island that is less than two miles by two miles sitting ANYWHERE! So, for me, it IS anywhere at any given time I need it. I plan to use this adventure as the very beginning adventure in my campaign though, so it will depend on where the party is starting from. Lets take a look at my map:



Looking at the map, you can see I plan to start the party in the town of Eblishar within the Captaincy of Aishar; which is part of the Free Seaholds. I did this because every single character my family rolled up happened to be from an island. Blake rolled up a Lower Middle Class Human Illusionist from the Western Corsairs, Gavin rolled up a Middle Upper Class Paladin also from the Western Corsairs, Raegan rolled up a Upper Lower Class Thief from the Eastern Corsairs and Brenda will be playing a Middle Middle Class Cleric from the Autarchy of Xalmak (if you are wondering what these upper/lower/middle classes are, look in Ye old Unearthed Arcana for AD&D on page 82). I figured a good starting point that would be both central to their origins and neutral to their politics would be Eblishar. For more on the origins of characters in The Glittering Isles, just look HERE at a previous blog post. For a map that shows the various Realms of the Glittering Isles, look HERE.

The backstories I helped my party make explained how each came to be staying in the port of Eblishar, and I will run small solo adventures that gathers them all together as a single party before starting the module. Everyone will still be 1st level at the beginning, but the Paladin (and his Field Plate armor!) might be worried about a sea voyage...that might require a little more work.

Once I have the party together, I will put them aboard a small boat (like the one pictured in the cover above) for travel to the City of Widdershin. They will have been hired to go to Widdershin by Melkeras the Merchant (found in the module) to find his layabout son for a nice bit of coin to bring him back to Eblishar (this is a diversion from the original module: Melkeras usually comes into play at the end of the module...see below). With a sealed letter for the son in hand of his sister (which will be accompanying the party; and she is part of the module (Melisana: found on page 4 of the Character Cut Out section), the party will be on the ship and on their way. A trip on the Shallow Sea rarely has a dangerous storm, and small ships like the one pictured are commonplace despite the fact that pirates and worse are sometimes encountered. A few other details to fit the module into the area of the Shallow Sea fall easily into place as well.

The Corsairs are (for the vast majority) Pirates. Some may not be Chaotic Evil, but that is only because they are some other Evil alignment or Chaotic Neutral or Neutral at best. In Treasure Hunt it is said that Pirate activity is noted in the area as "parasitic" instead of "as sharks" for their level of impact (page 3). This fits well with the picture I have for the Corsairs: strong enough to take some few ships, but primarily held in check by the navies of the Free Seaholds, Xalmak and the Kingdom of Hahntar. Most Corsairs prefer to sail to the Duxchan area and fly false flags while preying on shipping to and from Hepmonoland or through the Tilva Straight. Then, if things go well they trade in Duxchan or Lo Reltarma before heading back to their home isles. For this adventure however, a large Pirate Galley, crewed by 50 Pirates (more than the party can handle!) chases down and catches the party's ship. The goal is to convince the party to surrender to spare the life of Melisana and the crew; the intention of the pirates is to ransom the boats occupants (especially Melisana and Gavin's Paladin who is of a higher social class and wealth than even the merchant's daughter!).

Having the party on the Pirates Galley I can actually start the module: the Goddess (see module) that I will use will actually be a God named Xerbo. Xerbo is the Suel God of Seas, Sailing, Money and Business. He will be the god responsible for the storm that causes the shipwreck that starts the module; though he will be far more important at the end of the module.

An important note here is that the module is intended for zero level characters. Personally that is fun for me, but I think it would present too much confusion for my kids who might wonder why they can't end up with a magic-missile casting paladin at 1st level. Instead, I plan to raise the bar a little on how strong the monsters are in the module and start everyone at 1st level in the beginning. The module is great fun without worrying about Zero Level Characters (more details about this can be found in the fabulous Greyhawk Adventures hardback!); so that is how I decided to fit it into my own campaign. If you prefer to use the Zero Level characters part, please feel free to do so of course.

The particulars of the module itself are going to vary so widely that I can't say what I will do aside from raising the strength of the monsters a tad bit to better suit my party. The end of the module is far more important to me: did the party get out with Melisana? If not, how will they explain that to her father? Will they even try to finish the "original" adventure and find the brother? Lots and lots of questions at the end though. A few things I'm going to change about the module I'll talk about in a little more detail though.

The major change is that in the module there are seafaring orcs and goblins that are in opposition to each other on the island. This doesn't suit my view of The Glittering Isles, and so I'm going to simply change the opposing forces to Orcs = Western Corsairs and Goblins = Eastern Corsairs. In the Glittering Isles the Western Corsairs are stronger in number than the Eastern Corsairs, so it is a good fit for me.

Another change is that the "galley" the party is supposed to drag out and go to sea in the end with is worth 10,000 Gold Pieces in the module. Two things about this bother me: how the hell does the party get it into the water and how do they then row such a vessel? I'm going to fix this by simply placing a Boat (a long one) valued at only £3 instead of £200! That way I will feel better about what they have in money AND the fact that they can actually use the thing if they decide to keep it.

An important thing to note is that normally in this module Melisana is "rescued" by the party. The way I'm working it, she is with the party from the start of the adventure. In the module there is a reward of 2,000 gold pieces for her safe return. I deal with this by simply making the 2,000 g.p. (and turning it into £40...or 200 gold pieces or 10,000 silver pennies) the original reward for bringing the merchant's son back to him. Melisana will also go from being a Normal Woman (NG hf NM) to a Cleric of Xerbo at the end of the adventure (NG hf C1) and can be a future contact for the party.

While the major change is to transform orcs and goblins to pirates, the most important change for me is to change the money values in the module to the £ (Aerdy Pound) system I plan to use. I've done this already by putting sticky notes wherever treasure is found in the module with the new values of items placed on the sticky note. Easy enough really; but it does involve some boring math.

So, at the end of the adventure my party will be sitting in the water after having watched a horrible storm wipe the surface of the island clean...they may never go onto water again once they get to a port! That is fine by me really, because the rest of the modules I have are primarily land modules that don't involve large expanses of open water. Well except The Isle of Dread...but that is another story for another time...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Glittering Isles of Greyhawk: of Coin and Trade


LOOT! It is the candy-coating goodness covering every adventure right?! So of course we have to have something about money in The Glittering Isles.


Despite the fact that The Glittering Isles were never conquered (or even truly colonized) by the Great Kingdom or other Oeridian peoples, it still uses a system of coinage almost identical to the Aerdy system established hundreds of years ago. What is that you say? You don't know what the Aerdy Pound is?! Well...lets get that out of the way first!

A long while back an awesome fella named Joe Maccarrone, after talking to Gary Gygax and some others, came up with an amazing conversion of the AD&D monetary system (detailed in Footprints issue #15) to something a bit more similar to what our own Medieval ancestors used in their daily lives. It is based upon a coinage system called the Aerdy Pound; which is silver based instead of gold based...and beyond that, increases the value of coins as well. After all, what if your character isn't in an area where there is a glut of coinage from adventurers?! What if you are in the backwater village of Noobsville and need a new battle-axe? You don't want to be paying gold when you can pay silver right?

In essence, the coinage system is converted this way (Old System to New Pound):

10 g.p = 1 g.p.
1 p.p. = .5 g.p.
1 g.p. = 5 s.p. = .1 g.p.
1 e.p. = 2.5 s.p. = .05 g.p.
1 s.p. = .25 s.p.
1 c.p. = .25 c.p.

After that, you can simply convert the old prices to the new prices. The new system, cleaned up, looks like this:

10 c.p. = 1 s.p.
50 s.p. = 1 g.p.
5 g.p. =  £ 1

Now, Joe didn't just convert the monetary system via coinage, he also re-vamped the equipment lists as well; but that isn't the purpose of this article...though I DO recommend you pick up the Footprints Number 15 issue where the article is called: "Historically Resonant" Coinage for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons by Joe Maccarrone. Awesome article!

Back to the purpose of this article, the "Aerdy £" is very important to trade in Greyhawk; and by extension to The Glittering Isles because it is rich in silver. The fear of attracting continental attention is very real among the Ship Captains (and even Corsairs) who travel to Lo Reltarma or Duxchan to do trade. Because there is an over-shadowing fear held by all involved, the merchants NEVER use coinage from The Glittering Isles, instead opting to use only silver trade bars valued at £1 with those they deal with in trade.

No stamp is ever placed upon these silver bars, and with a real weight of 7 pounds (or 104 ounces) they are equal to (in the new money system) £8; which represents a significant amount of money (enough to buy a suit of Plate Mail Armor!). These bars are highly prized by the merchants of Lendore Isle who often take credit for them; though the Duxchaners have their doubts to this claim even though the Suel Merchants they deal with from the Glittering Isles also speak Lendorian as well. In truth, most of these silver bars are manufactured by the Grey Elves who trade them to merchants from The Kingdom of the Dales or the City of Widdershin for gold to work, which is obtained primarily from human merchants; which brings us back to trade in The Glittering Isles.

Within The Glittering Isles, the various merchants usually do bulk trade in gold coins, rarely using the silver trade bars except in port cities alone. The reason being that £8 in gold is far lighter than the same in silver which, outside of cities, costs quite a bit to move around in merchant caravans. Most merchants will carry the caravan's "Pay Chest" right on their own person. Simply carrying 100 gold coins gives the merchant £20 or 5,000 s.p. (called Pennies, or Penny for one s.p.)! Those that do carry a chest of silver are usually paying daily rates for his caravan guards or needs it to pay bribes; neither a situation a merchant really likes to be in. Merchants travelling aboard ships have no trouble with carrying silver though, as has already been hinted at previously.


Widdershin is the "capital of trade" upon Kroanar Isle (the largest island) and so many merchants make it to the city at least once each year; including sea-going merchants (who may make port numerous times depending on their destinations). The city is constantly bustling, even in winter, with trade of all sorts. Though only a small sized city, it is nonetheless famed for its gigantic Great Guildhall. The structure spans 300 feet by 150 feet, and its highest point is over 100 feet in height as well. Constructed when Old Pellham fell to internal strife, the merchants of the city have never relinquished their control over the building and indeed the city and beyond into their control of the Free Seaholds. Day and night both, a prospective buyer will find trade to be had inside the two huge ground floor "Trade Halls". The two halls are the size of some towns' merchant squares, and in them can be found anything that doesn't rot or breathe that is for sale. Finished goods (such as armor, swords, clothes, jewelry and etc.) are the primary items sold inside the Great Guildhall; while daily items such as bread, fish, freshly cut meat and so forth will be found in the Market Square of Widdershin. The building is a must see for anyone visiting the city; and in fact it is the tallest structure in the city, with those coming from land or sea being able to catch a glimpse of its shining silver Hightower roof long before they can see the rest of the city.

In all the "goodly realms" of The Isles can be found merchants however; not just in and around Widdershin. Upon the waves and all along rutted roads merchants, buccaneers, pirates and warships guarding trade are to be found in plenty. The "typical" merchant's caravan is exactly as detailed on page 69 of the Monster Manual: 5d6x10 individuals with 10% of the group being merchants, 10% being drovers and the remaining 80% being mercenary and/or "house" guards protecting the caravan. While at sea merchants are represented by "Buccaneers" who travel about carrying merchants (represented by any "prisoners" indicated by dice roll under the description of buccaneers on page 67 of the Monster Manual) guarded by Marines represented by chain armored individuals (while sailors are the leather clad individuals); any treasure found is a mix of cargo and coins (with most being cargo).

House Guards are common in established merchant groups (called Houses because most are composed of individuals of the same bloodline) because of several reasons. A guard who knows he has a retirement home (farm, town/city home, business, etc.) to look forward to after a set number of years is far more loyal than a mercenary sell-sword who might turn on the merchant. These Guards are also usually better armed and armored because the House invests in their equipment so that the Guard is better able to protect the merchant. Lastly, Guards typically treat their comrades and merchants as a sort of extended family; so any new recruit is usually actually from the blood family of the Guard, many sons and daughters filling the spot of a retiring parent which ensures new recruits as well as continual loyalty.

The Merchant Houses (whose names are far too numerous to list here) are as firmly entrenched in the various realms as are the Noble Houses. In fact, most Merchant Houses got their start when second and third etc. sons and daughters of a noble family decided to invest in trade as a means to maintain their wealth when they could not inherit. This started long ago, but continues to this day. Some Noble Houses are also Merchant Houses actually; though most nobles would scoff at the idea of being a seller of goods rather than a warrior or cleric.

As has been mentioned, the Free Seaholds and its capital of Widdershin is the center of trade in The Glittering Isles. The accompanying map shows the usual routes of trade to be found; and as you can see, it seems to spiral out of and fall into Widdershin as if it were the axle of a great wheel.


The Slave Trade from Hepmonoland is dominated by the Corsairs, but it is only a one way "trade" to estate owners within the various holdings of the Corsairs who buy the slaves for silver to work their fields. On the northern end of Kroanar Isle the Schnai take some few thralls back to Rhizia and the holdings of their kin there; and this has increased in frequency now that King Jom has bent his will and warriors to conquering.

Many ships set sail from Widdershin and its powerful group of merchants for Hepmonoland, Duxchan and Lo Reltarma in earnest trade. To these places go the Grey Elven Silver Trade Bars that these merchants trade alongside the many gems and copious amounts of fruits and nuts that fill their cargo holds. They return with gold, cloth goods (such as linen bedding), finished goods (such as fine artwork, books, etc.), ivory from Hepmonoland and so forth. This trade makes Widdershin exceedingly wealthy, and they guard it just as a dragon guards its lair; they refuse trade in their markets with anyone else who trades with the mainland that isn't first sold to them at bargain prices. Those known to break their trade monopoly are usually dealt with rather harshly at sea if caught and on land if they can be found by hired assassins. It is known that the Faerie Elves have contact by sea with the Elves of the Spindrifts; but this is minimal, and the merchants of Widdershin wouldn't dare accost any Elfin ship or individual Elfin merchant at any rate.

Most areas of the Isles are self sufficient in foodstuffs, so trade done is primarily for less bulky items; though Halfling Mead is well regarded in all corners and is their major export to all which they trade for worked metal goods (weapons, armor, pots, pans and etc.). The Dwarfs, Gnomes and Elves deal primarily in finer goods sold to humanity, while humans sell much food, lumber and sundries to the Dwarfs, trade gold with the Elves, and the Gnomes are happy to trade their fine jewelry for non-minted gold that they can use in their jewelry making and timber so that they don't need to cut their own beautiful forests. Humanity is often also in the habit of "selling" their services as mercenaries to the various demi-human realms in the often frequent clashes with the orcs of Krimba-hai and other humanoid menaces.

The threats to all forms of trade are many: humanoid raiders, human banditry, monstrous beasts (both natural and magical), sea monsters, pirates, buccaneers and enemy merchant groups are but a few to be mentioned. Work as a Caravan Guard or as a Marine on a merchant ship is a solid way to make money within the trade routes of The Glittering Isles. However, attacking and looting a merchant caravan or ship is also a time honored tradition among various peoples such as High Freeholders (when "tax" isn't paid), Corsairs, Suel Barbarians and even mercenary adventurers. Most nobles wouldn't dare attack the neutral status of merchants on land or sea; though the term Robber Baron is not unknown among various Lairds who have few resources and poor lands. The most famous "Robber" Baron is Lord Krell of Krell's Gate who taxes caravans moving between human lands and the Grey Elf realm exhorbitant "fees" for using his road. As he claims the only viable pass through the Caspan Mountains, he gets his coin. Many other such Tax Barons are legitimate, and anyone travelling the roads should expect to give coin to be able to pass various castles/keeps which require payment.

Typical Baron's "Tax Keep" in the Kingdom of Hahntar

The finer nuances of trade isn't all that much fun to go into; I really only wanted to give everyone an idea of how trade works in the Realms of the Glittering Isles so that you can use it if you decide to play there as I lay out how to fit various modules that are "setting neutral" into a place I've created for the World of Greyhawk. I hope you've enjoyed this article whether you use the material or not...have a great day!

The Glittering Isles of Greyhawk: Prologue

The Glittering Isles of Greyhawk (Sneak Peek!)