Friday, November 30, 2018

Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc - Part 2

Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc Part 2

Provided is a crude map of Verbobonc's walls and castle. It was a costly endevor for Veluna to construct the walls around the city taking thousands of laborers and several years to build. Verbobonc was a garrison city and a good deal of its 100 acres of interior space were military stables and barracks as well as smithies, kitchens, armorers, and such like buildings that went into supplying a large military force. Still there was room left over for merchants and warehouses, a small monastary and a large temple to Rao as well as several open spaces for grazing and public assembly.

At first the many towers were manned by guardsmen but as time went by, and the area which made up the viscounty both expanded and quited, the need for so many professional guardsmen diminished and Verbobonc did what so many other older cities had done; the turned over the watch on the walls to the various guilds within the city.

There are several strong guilds within the city and each is responsible for manning or womanning one or more of the various towers. Each guild sends all their able members to train among the city militia and from age 12 to 45 they are responsible to spend their assigned time in one of the towers and walking their stretch of the wall.

The gates of the city are manned by guardsmen from the castle. The guards man the gates in shift spending no more than a week at a time living in the gatehouses. Most guardsmen have private quarters within the city with husbands, wives and family and Gate  and Citadel duty is slightly honerous, though there are actually  few complaints.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

D&D Ad - SP1 - Hamlet

I know this was just a joke but they did do a module on The Tempest.

NPC - Lady Graysteel of Verbobonc

Lady Graysteel of Verbobonc

She is the daughter of Viscount Wilifred's youngest sister and most likely to inherit the Viscountship of Verbobonc upon his death (May it be Far-off).  The line of Viscounts began with adventurers who defeated the ancient Suel-Lich who inhabited the ruined castle of Verbobonc. Wilifred himself was a dutiful son and commanded the Verbobonc cavalry which mainted the peace throughout the viscounty but he was himself not an adventurer. His sister was and her many children, few now are left. Lady Graysteel is the most successful and experienced of those children and Wilifred envies her the life of adventure he denied himself.

Lady Katherine Graysteel, Kat to her family and friends, hovers between 8th and 9th level in my `1st edition AD&D campaign. Your mileage may vary. She is brave and daring with a surprising number of friends and felow adventurers still alive. It was her party that braved the ruins of the Temple of Elemental Evil, freed Prince Thrommel and looted The Orb of Godlen Death called Yellowskull from the Temple.

Yellowskull is what saved the adventurers from Zuggtmoy but it is also what is allowing Zuggtmoy to unknowingly influence Lady Graysteel's actions. The process is slow but Lady Graysteel has possessed Yellowskull for over two years and the corruprtion has already taken hold.

Zuggtmoy is aware that Lady Graysteel may soon be made heir to Verbobonc and at the time when Wilifred announces his decision her plans to take over the viscounty will be set in motion. Already a cult of her followers have settled amid the bistling and growing town and several members of the town Guard, Guild-Militia and Cavalry or part of the cult.

Lady Graysteek we ars enchanted plater armor and bears a sword of exceptional power. It is intelligent and can speak. It detects magic within a 10ft radius but cannot tell what type just sees it as a type of lightning-blue radiance. Its name is Decay and itsd blade is notched and rusted. On a natural 20 it will cause a non-magical item, armor, shield or weapon of its opponent to rot, rust or waste away in 3 combat rounds.

Lady Graysteel is completely unaware of the influence Yellowskull has over her through Zuggtmoy, Unless she is directly under control her nature (alignment) is not evil and her actions and thoughts are her own. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc - Part 1

Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc

Verbobonc, like most cities across the Flanaess, began as a fort built by the Suel Imperium. Its nearness to the Elves of Celene kept it as a fortified outpost and after the end of the Imperium it went through a period of abandonement with the castle on the stone outcrop overlooking the port becoming a haunted, monster-infested ruin.

A band of adventurers from Veluna cleared the castle centuries ago and began its refurbishment. The current Viscount Wilifred a descendent of two of that original band.

Now, two years after the expeditions and decimations of the forces dwelling in the ruins of  the Temple of Elemental Evil, Verbobonc is on the rise, a growing and active city. The Viscount has kept the interior population in check as werll as he is able and the area around the walls clear but already several thousand people have taken up residence nearby and two small towns have developed on opposite sides of the walled city. Inside the walls the population of fighting age dwellers has risen to over 15,000 while another 7,000 now dwell in towns, villages, and small holdings within 3 miles of the walls.


Wilifred is aging but still a strong warrior and a force to be reckoned with. His sole child, Helena, is due to be married to Prince Thrommel of Veluna. The Prince, on his release from the Temple of Elemental Evil, found his way to Verbobonc and instantly fell in love with Wilifred's daughter Helena. It was a tragedy for the Prince as he was betrothed to the Princes Jolene of Furyondy and he left Verbobonc without realizing that in the years of his captivity Jolene had released him from his betrothal and married another, much to the Prince's rejoicing.

If Wilifred has only Helena for child he does not lack in family. His court is filled with poorer relations and currently he debates on which of his nephews or nieces will take control  the Viscounty upon his death. Currently there are three contenders; Sir Eger who commands the Verbobonc Guard, Sir Grahame who is a warrior-priest of Rao and lately from Veluna and Lady Graysteel who is a famed adventureress continuing the family tradition of the founders of the line of Viscounts. It was she and her band who freed Prince Thrommel. Most bets are on Lady Graysteel to become the next Viscountess.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Setting Night Below in Greyhawk Part 1 -Verbobonc


The adventure begins at the Wayfaring Inn - Verbobonc.

{I'm integrating the T1-4, A1-4, GDQ1-7 modules into Night Below. I've used Night Below to fill out the super-modules before but never the reverse. I'm setting the start of the campaign a few years after the events of T1-4 so the familiar locals of T1-4 will have changed. The Temple is till a nexus of evil but it is just starting to draw evil creatures and humans again. It will be much lower level and in keeping with the events of the Night Below rather than the supermodule.

Some parts of the Night Below are altered to fit the Greyhawk setting but the Haranshire area fits nicely into the lands around Verbobonc, The Kron Hills, Hommlett etc... Verbobonc is a great place to begind the adventure and a good place for players to return to when they need a city to resupply, recruit, seek help, etc... So I will be detailing parts of Verbobonc. The Night Below uses the small town of Milborne as the first detailed area of the adventure and for me Milborne makes a good Nulb from T1-4 so Milborne is now Nulb. Part of the described setting in Night Below and area of hills and mines; perfect for the Kron Hills.

The Temple is a handy local for an expanded headquarters for the kidnapping gang. Brokenspire Keep is akin to the Moat House in T1. A small fortification used by the Temple but abandoned and not suffering the same damage that the Moat House suffered.

Night Below begins the first adventure book as the Evils of Haranshire but in this conversion think of it as the Evils  of Verbobonc.}

The Wayfaring Inn - Verbobonc

Monday, November 19, 2018

Setting Night Below in Greyhawk - Thank You Carl Sargent

After learning that Carl Sargent passed away I began looking over some of his work and was reminded that Night Below was a masterpiece. Not only do I feel it belongs in Greyhawk but I find it dovetails wonderfully with the supermodule trilogy of T1-4, A1-4, GDQ1-7

As a DM I am a scrooge when it comes to xp and my players have to take the long road to reach that next level. I've always had to flesh out the supermodules to get them high enough level to have a chance to survive. In the past I've harvested a great deal from Night Below but this time I intend to have it as the core and alter the supermodules to fit its story rather than my old take on using Night Below to beef up the super modules.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Where the Bandits Are - Wormhall Part 4 The River Tower Part 3

The River Tower Part 3 - The Sea Caves

Basement 1

1. This large area is partly natural cave and partly worked stone. The floor has been leveled while some of the areas of wall and ceiling have been cut to form a smooth section or a higher roof. The roof is between 9 and 10 feet from the ground. At one point wooden walls and partitions existed but they have long since been removed and only knotches cut into the wall show where they once stood.

At the north end is a 30ft curve of wall and this is where Rex lairs with 3 female gnolls. These females fight as males but are generally unarmored and armed with longswords. If there is time they will don studded leather armor and grab shields as well. At the very least they are never without knives. The area is thick with carpets and rugs. an iron chest and two small chests contain Rex's treasure. The iron chest has several books on tactics and on strategy. It also contains a pouch with a small amount of gems and jewlery. A wooden box in the chest has 6 vials of healing potion. The smaller wooden chest has some platinum coins, a larger amount of gold and several gold bars. The larger chest has silver and copper coins.

The west wall below area 2 is lined with barrels boxes containing supplies for the tower, mostly food, but also lumber, firewood, oil, arrows, some spare suits of leather armor, etc... There is a goodly amount of stuff. It has been arranged into sections of similar good and is surprisingly orderly.

2. This is the ladder up to the 1st floor of the tower.

3. This is a deep pool. There is an iron grill across the top. A 5x5 section can be pulled aside but it is normally locked and bolted shut.

4. These are wide stairs going down to Basmment Level 2

Basement 2

This entire cave has been widened and shaped to hold a dock and a large iron caged area. The cages are normally filled with slaves waiting to be shipped to the Horned Society (10-20 Humans and Elves on average). The Gnolls choose 1 or 2 of the fatest and take them to their cage in the tower.

1. There are 4 Gnolls on guard here at all times. One will head for the tower as soon as a boat is spotted entering the sea cave. Rex always comes to meet the boats and to accept payment for the slaves from the agents of the Horned Society or to see the offloading of another shipment of slaves.

2. Stairs going up to Basement Level 1

3. A series of iron cages. Half the area is a single large cage but the other hald is made up of smaller 10x10 cages to hold special prisoners.

4. If boat is docked this is where it will be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Where the Bandits Are - Wormhall Part 3 The River Tower Part 2

The River Tower Part 2

The Gnolls -
Around 50 Gnolls inhabit the tower. They are all armed with longbows. Their armor varies between leather, studded leather and chain. Sone use large shields and all use one-handed weapons, longswords, battle-Axes, flails and maces prefered. There is a distinct order of authority from their pack leader to the last follower but none of these gnolls is a runt or weakling.

Rex is their pack leader and he is head and shoulders above the intelligence and ability of the others. He was something of an experimemt by a Wizard who resides in the Rift Canyon. He is bigger, stronger and most importantly stronger than your common gnoll. He wears enchanted plate armor and carries a two-handed sword can that break unchanted armor and weapons on a natural 20.

`The River Tower 2nd Floor

1. Murder Holes line the floor. A large barrel of oil is in each corner of this area. The Gnolls will break open one of the barrels and let oil pour onto intruders beneath. The floor is sloped so that the oil will pool in the center and empty through the holes. A torch applied to the oil will send a stream of flame down to ignite any soaked beneath and the pool below. The Gnolls havent need to use this before and are unaware that the burning oil will ignite the inner door but not the portcullis. The outer portcullis is meant to be dropped in place after intruders have gained entrance hopefully trapping them in the hall below. The mehanism for raising and lower both sets of portculli are in this area.

2. This area is similar to the first floor area 2 but the crossholes for archers are set lower and there is no step below them,

3. Steps going down to first floor

4. Steps going up to third floor.

The River Tower 3rd Floor

1. This is a crenalated balcony. A Gnoll watchman is always on guard here, though often asleep.

2. This area is similar to second floor area 2.

3. Stairs going down to second floor.

4. A ladder going to a trap door in the roof.

The River Tower Roof

1. A trap door and ladder going down to the 3rd floor

2. The roof is peaked and sharply angled except for a small walkway around the outer edge that allows access to the four small guard towers. The roof is kept slick with tar and is sheeted in metal. It has enchantment to rersist it from heat and flame. Landing on the roof is extremely difficult.

3. A small guard tower. Each has a stout door and archer crossholes in the two walls facing out from the tower. Extra quiversd of arrows are kept in these rooms and a gnoll occupies each one. The duty is boring and the are often asleep.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Where the Bandits Are - Wormhall Part 2 The River Tower

Wormhall Part 2 The River Tower

The River is Constructed on a small, rough island of rock that sits in the middle of the Ritensa River between Wormhall Port and the lands of the Horned society.

1st Floor

1. These are the main doors. A path leads down from them to a small quay where a single medium boat can tie up and offload goods. There is a small crane for offloading bulky items.

The entrance doors are thick and stout with a metal portculus that can be lowered in front of them.

The doors themselves are damp and swollen from the spray of the river crashing against the rocks and even magical fire will have a difficult time setting them ablaze. The tower is constructed of thick stone. It radiates faintly of evil if detected for as it was raised by devils summoned by the Hierarchs of the Horned Society.

The roof of this passage is lined with murder holes in the cealing.

The interior doors are thick and a second portculus can be lowered in place before them. These doors, while stout, have no special resistance to fire.

2. The interior of the 1st floor is filthy. The floor is covered in dirty hay, cracked bones, and cloth scraps pushed into piles. At least 10 gnolls can be found here at any given time.

The stone walls are all pierced with loopholes for archers. The ceiling is 10ft high and there is a small step before each loophole which is set 6ft above the ground giving the archers on the 1st floor the ability to fire down a little on those outside without the ability for the loopholes to be used against those inside. There are pegs on the wall by the loopholes to hold quivers of arrows.

There are weapon racks on each wall and quivers full of longbow arrows at hand.

3. Stairs going up to Level 2

4. A trapdoor leading down to the Basement

5. A metal cage usually contain a captive or two. The gnolls have a taste for fresh meat.

To be continued

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Where the Bandits Are - Wormhall - Part 1

2. Wormhall -

Leader - Baron Oltagg Ftr/Thf 4th/9th
Troops - Cav 150, Inf 400, Gnolls 100
Population - 9,000

Wormhall gets its name from the ancient fortified manor on the banks of the Ritensa River. There is a town and small port on the river. An out-cropping of rock in the center of the stream holds a small fortified tower. The Baron keeps a contingent of 50 Gnoll archers in the fortress. Their longbows tipped with tarred arrows waiting to be ignited are a fearsome deterent to any attacks across the river by the Horned Society.

Baron Oltagg maintains the appearance of a cultured gentleman but is actually under the control of thew Horned Society. He supplies them with slaves purchased from other Bandit Kingdoms or taken as captives in the endless border fighting. He maintains logging camps and exports lumber up the river but also uses his camps to raid the Fellreev Forest attacking Sylvan Elves for the most part.

Wormhall of Wormhall is actually in a decent state of repair. 100 of the Baron's infantry are based in the Manor. and 50 of his cavalry. There is a gnoll tribe that serves Oltagg based in the cave system within the forest to the north. He maintains two small forts along the border with his fellow Bandit Kings with his remaing cavalry and infantry split evenly between the two.

The bulk of the population, 5,000 people, live in the town and farms around the manor. The rest are split between forest camps and small farming villages.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Adventure Idea - The Deer Hunters

The Fruztii Shaman Vainamo leads a band of hunters dressed in enchanted Deer Cloaks and carrying Bone Lances as the look over a herd of deer. They are actually waiting to ambush a party of Schnai hunters who are stalking the herd.

Vainamo is a man of middle years. He has never sworn oath to the Schnai and has commanded a small rebel force against them. He is a Shaman (A priest/magic-user in my home campaign) of at least 9th level. He has a large number of followers but they never congregate in groups larger than 30. He is popular among the Fruztii except for the King and his loyalists, but his warbands tend to consist of Rangers, Druids, Shamans, and Fighting Men.

In my home campaign the Fruztii have no single class priests but have a Shaman (priest/magic user) hierachery. Both Shamans and Druids follow nature gods. The Raven or Crow God, the Fox, The Ice Queen, the 4 Winds, the Thunder God.

NEW Magic Items

Deer Cloak

The Deer Cloak allows the wearer to be seen as a Stag and appears so to all the senses including leaving tracks of a large Stag. If the wearer attacks he will suddenly appear as someone in the Deer Cloak only to transform back into the appearance of a stag 3 turns after the last combat action. While wearing the cloak the wearers speed is increased and they gain resistance to cold.

Bone Spear

This spear is magically transformed from the antler of a stag. It has the ability to slay a deer with a single hit. It is balanced for throwing. The Bone Spear is -3 to hit against metal armor but +3 to hit against leather armor, hide or no armor. It inflicts 1d12+1d8+1d4 damage.

Vainamo is a wanted man. There is a large reward for him dead or alive. He is also a charismatic and successful leader. He accepts men from all nations in his band except for Schnai.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Where the Bandits Are - Warfields Part 1

Bandit Kingdoms


Leader - Guardian General Hok (Ftr 11)
Troops - Cavalry 300, Infantry 500
Population - 12,000

Warfields is one of the most stable and strongest of the Bandit Kingdoms. It maintains a peaceful yet wary existence with the Shield Lands and has not proven a thorn in the side to the Horned Society worthy of exerting the forces needed to destroy it.

Guardian General Hok was once a common soldier in the Shield Lands. He served the previous lord of Warfields till he overthrew him and seized the leadership for himself. Since then he has trained his followers and bloodied them against the encrouchment of his neighbors and tribes of demi-humans. But the real strength of Warfields is the old castle that overlooks the Ritensa River. Hok has reinforced it and with his dwarven architect Gralon turned it into a formidable citadel for its size.

Warfields the castle and port-town are the main population center for Hok's territory. Over 10,000 people occupy the port with a small scattering of demi-humans (mostly Dwarves). The Horned Society deals with Baron Oltagg of Wormhall but the merchants from the Shield Lands and beyond find it safer to base themselves in Warfields. In any case Hok applies a small tithe on all goods sailing up the river on the way to Critwall.

The rest of the Warfields population is generally close to the castle in small fortified farming towns and cattle ranches. Hok's cavalry spends most of their time patrolling the area around the herds and ranches while there are two small fortifications that watch the border with Wormhall to the North and Tangles to the East.

Guardian General Hok

NPC - Qaabil of Ekbir

Qaabil of Ekbir is young to be so powerful a magician as well as a scholar of ancient Suel enchantments. He has walked the Sea of Dust and returned, but now he is an exile from his own land. The Caliph has ordered his death and now Qaabil finds himself dwelling in the City of Greyhawk and hiring mercenaries for his own protection.

The young mage is hiring more than mercenaries. He is assembling a powerful group of adventurers for a grand expedition. Some say he seeks to return to the Sea of Dust, others that he has found the location of the fabled lost city of the Suss Forest. There are rumors he seeks to find a tomb of a long dead sorceror in the Vast Swamp. Whereever he intends to go he seems to be taking a small army with him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Painting - Inn of the Welcome Wench - Hommlet

While travellers use he main entrance and large common room the Hommlet locals use a side entrance to a smaller room. During the summer tables and benches outside this side door are favored. By sunset the farmers and locals have normally returned home for their supper and dark sees them sleeping early since their day begins before the crack of dawn.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Painting - A Street in Hommlet

Module T1 has always been one of my favorites and the starting point for at least two campaigns set in Greyhawk each of which lasted more than 5 years. This painting captures the feeling that the old blue and white map always inspired me to picture in my mind's eye.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Adventure Idea - The Halfling's Dream

Adventure Idea - The Halfling's Dream

Whether it is a magic pipe or some ability of the Halfling Twigg Twiggham of Twigghome the smoke which hovers about him is said to show the dreams of those who sit near. Twigg himself sees nothing in the smoke and the idle thoughts of the farmers and craftsmen who normally sit in the common room of the Golden Harvest, the largest Tavern in Twigghome, show little but the slow and peaceful life of this large Halfling community nestled in the Duchy of Urnst. Yet the Golden Harvest and Twigg now see visitors from across the Flanaess seeking answers in the pipesmoke to questions which haunt their days and nights.

Twigg is an unemposing Halfling of moderate wealth and great indolence, but in his youth he was an adventurer and a thief of experience if not renown. Twigghome is a typical speciman of a prosperous Halfling community if larger than most as it is home to over 2,000 (A large portion of the Duchy's Halfling population). There is an organized militia and a stone fortress with several retired adventurers in residence. They are well able to defend themselves if need arises.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Repost - Oerthly Equivalents

Oerthly Equivalents

Here are the general sources I've used in the past (as far as I remember). For the most part these are based on movies and popular fiction rather than historical texts.

Oerthly Equivalents

Almor, Prelacy of - Cromwellian England
Bandit Kingdoms - Various
Bissel, March of - Hungary
Blackmoor - Finland
Bone March - Various Fantasy
Celene - Lothlorien
Dyvers - Amsterdam
Ekbir - Damascus
Frost Barbarians - Vikings
Furyondy - France
Geoff - Wales
Gran March - Templars
Great Kingdom - Otto I Holy Roman Empire
Greyhawk, city of - Gygax Gord the Rogue novels & Various Fantasy
Highfolk - Rivendell
Horned Society - Various Fantasy
Ice Barbarians - Vikings
Idee - Renaissance Italian city-state
Irongate - Renaissance Italian city-state
Iuz - Various Fantasy
Keoland - England
Ket - Romania/Bulgaria/Transylvania
Lordship of the Isles - Caribbean British Island ports and strongholds based on pirate movies
Medegia, See of - Loosely based on Three Musketeers Cardinal Richelieu
North Province - England of King John and Robin Hood
Nyrond - England
Onnwal - Renaissance Italian City-State
Pale - Rome
Perrenland - Switzerland
Plains of the Paynims - Mongol
Pomarj - Various fantasy
Ratik - Various fantasy
Rel Astra - Various fantasy
Rovers of the Barrens - Pre-Christian Magyars
Scarlet Barbarians - Nazi/Teutonic Knights
Sea Barons - Caribbean British Island ports and strongholds based on pirate movies
Sea Princes - Barbary Pirates
Shield Lands - Arthurian Fantasy England without Arthur
Snow Barbarians - Vikings
South Province (Ahlissa) - Spain – El Cid - kinda
Spindrift Isle - L Series Various Fantasy
Sterich - General western europe medieval
Stonefist - Cossacks
Sunndi - Renaissance Italian City State
Tenh - Northern England
Tiger Nomads - Mongol
Tusmit - Ottoman
Ulek’s - Various Fantasy
Ull - Ukraine after Mongol Invasion
Urnst, County of - Generic Medieval
Urnst, Duchy of - Generic Medieval
Valley of the Mage - Various Fantasy
Veluna - Generic medieval/ fantasy
Verbobonc - Various fantasy
Wild Coast - Various fantasy
Wolf Nomads - Huns
Yeomanry - Old Prussian
Zeif - Persian

Adventure Idea - Sentinals of Yesterday

Deep within the Adri Forest there is a place that humanity does not go. Something is changing there, something very old is returning and the Flanaess will not be the same.

For a time longer than the memory of humanity the Elves have kept guard over this place they call Bitterness. Guardians, the Elven Sentinals, have watched over this land since before the Suel Imeprium, before the migrations of the Flan and the Oerid. A time when the Adri stretched unbroken across the north, when the Kingdoms of the Dwarves held all the mountains and the Elves ruled forest and plain.

The Adri is now no place for Elves of this day, the pathways twist and twist and wind till they take you places that once were or will be or never happened. The forest is growing and yet is no larger than its present borders. It is growing inside, vast and dark; trackless and wild.

From the long march of time the Sentinels of Yesterday are appearing and neither Elf or Human know how to stop them.

Friday, November 2, 2018

NPC - Sargent Karag

Sargent Karag commands a detachment of Shieldlanders who wage an endless war against the Horned Society. The Knight-Errant who originally led the company was slain along with his squires when the were ambushed by a devil-lead band of Hobgoblins. The company's Chaplin banished the devil before he himself was slain and out of the nearly 300 men only 72 fought their way clear.

Karag wears the typical helm and chain coat of his company and carries the large kite-shield which belonged to Sir Tindus, his slain commander. The Shield bears some enchantment which drove back the Horned Societies summoned devils during the ambush. Karag also carries Sir Tindus' longsword, but does not use it. Instead he favors and ancient curved war axe that has been in Karag's family for geenrations.

The company numbers some 112 men at the moment. New recruits arrive steadily but the losses to the Horned Society whittle down the command with almost every encounter. A noble replacement for their commander is rumored to be due shortly but so far no one has matarialized.