Refugees of Geoff

Being Part Two of “The Fall of Geoff” as told by Rhys of the Ash to Morwenna the Fair
Edited by Thomas Kelly

Homeless and hopeless, we waited through the Winter of Wanting – CY 584

Never was Needfest more aptly named. The surviving Gyri counted our dead and our wounded. Our nation had become little more than landless vagrants. Some few escaped with their belongings, but most had little more than the clothes on their backs. With Duke Owen grievously injured and the army shattered, our people would have utterly despaired if not for the surviving heroes Gyruff and the handful of lords – Lady Blackblade and Lord Lea among them.

The Gran March allowed us to spend the winter on their western borders. Commandant Magnus Vrianian and many churches brought food and clothing to us, but the Gyri refugees numbered many thousands, and there was never enough food. The nights were long and the cold as the hunger pains were sharp.

With the coming of spring came renewed activity. Duke Owen went into seclusion in Shilobeth in the Gran March. Chancellor Galimar Withington acted as regent in the Court of Gyruff in Exile on behalf of the absent Grand Duke.

A change had befallen Lady Blackblade over the winter. She had been a paladin before the invasion, but now she took a vow of humility and left the warrior path. She refused even to to wear a dagger. She turned her skills to diplomacy and lobbied Keoland and the Gran March for money, troops, and food to help the landless Gyri.

Continue reading “Refugees of Geoff”

Delvenbrass

Here’s another homemade Greyhawk module by James Richmond. The adventure begins in the Vesve Forest around the area of Quaalsten. The characters have just defeated the Lich Lerrek and obtained the Cup and Talisman of Al’Akbar. They have brought the relics to Oaklock Gilderlief, an elven Bladesinger, in order to cure the disease that has befallen the good people of the Vesve forest.

Download the PDF here: Delvenbrass


Bagbag’s Troubles

The Hateful Wars: Chapter Twenty-Nine

Thomas Kelly

Oldid Silverbeard, steward of Ironhelm at Eastpass, put on his spectacles to better read the script on the parchment. Curious indeed! An anonymous letter in the old hand of Balnorhak and sealed with the seal of Thane Dorrii. He tilted the wick of the oil lamp for better light and read over the words a third time. It explained the recent treachery of the three sisters, and it provided detailed instructions for finding the lair in which Hedvyg concealed herself. It concluded with a stern warning, “Give no ear to her lies! Silence the old hag; cease her crooked lips from moving.”

Hedvyg Captured

Silverbeard shook his head in disbelief. “Here in the Principality? After all the years? Well, I shall see to it!” The elderly dwur noble assembled a party of worthies to enter the hidden lair and slay the witch. The adventurers found the halls of Hedvyg, but they did not catch her unprepared. Cruel traps she readied for them, and fearsome monsters she had collected to defend her secret holdings. A certain vampiress of Perrenland gave her command over chilling wraiths and foul necromancies. Hedvyg was ready. Those heroes sent by Oldid Silverbeard never returned, and who can say what became of them?

Hedvyg cast the smoke-raising herb onto the scryer’s pot and called out for her sisters, but they did not answer. She called out for the Yatil Queen, but she received no reply. So I am all alone now, she thought to herself. Now it’s my time. She strode into the dusty halls of her father’s gone and vanished kingdom. Dark-helmed dwarven guards flanked her, granting her the appearance of one to be taken seriously and not trifled with. Undead on loan from Drelnza trailed along in her retinue, striking terror. Hedvyg swept into Eastpass, freezing the blood of all who beheld her and curdling the milk of their cows and their goats while it yet remained in the udders. She declared herself the sole remaining heir to the throne of Balnorhak, the last surviving daughter of the undermountain king. She called upon the houses of Balnorhak to rally to her, and she charged them to cast down the upstart Prince Olinstaad Corond.

Continue reading “Bagbag’s Troubles”

Lerrek’s Towers

Here’s a homemade Greyhawk module by James Richmond that takes high-level characters into the Vesve Forest on a quest into the twin towers of Lerrek the Lich. It’s based upon the Oerth Journal story “Lerrek’s Tale,” and set during the Great Northern Crusade.

Download the 24-page PDF here: VF1 Lerrek’s Towers


Post Artwork: Dainel MawbyArt: The Lich Rises

(For an alternative telling of “Lerek’s Tale,” read The Bride of Count Dahlviere.)

Runaway

THE LIBERATION OF GEOFF

RUNAWAY (Campaign Notes-SPOILERS)

Based on Living Greyhawk module GEO1-01, by Geoff Christy

Three young Gyruff Rangers, all three of them refugee children of the giant invasion, dream of crossing the Javan into Oytwood and joining the elves in their ongoing campaign of guerrilla warfare against the giants in occupied Geoff. They go by the names Ansgar, Brin, and Boots. Ansgar and Brin have some type of romantic relationship (it’s not clear), and Boots is sort of their third-wheel sidekick. The three of them grew up together over the last eight years among the Geoffite refugees. They are new initiates to a band of Gyruff Rangers charged with patrolling the protected zone around Hochoch. The young rangers are eager to leave the zone and take revenge against the giants. They especially resent the impositions of Gran March over Hochoch and over the refugee population. They consider themselves Patriots, and they talk of joining the Gyruff Liberation Army—if only they had a recommendation or some notoriety which might give them a position and make them eligible for something more than patrolling the protected zone. The Gyruff Army, which seeks to operate independently of Gran March, does not have resources to sustain the number of refugees who would volunteer for the promise of food and shelter, and for now, only select heroes and proven men of arms are accepted into the ranks.

Back from a long patrol, the three young rangers are taking a meal at the Two Tents, a camp tavern in the refugee camp outside Hochoch, when they hear a rumor of a goblin incursion. A certain guardsman called Lucian tips them off, telling them that a band of Oytwood Elves pursued and slew the goblins, but several of the rascals escaped. If they Patriots hurry, they might track down the escapees before the Knights of Gran March arrive and steal the glory. This Lucian fellow is actually an agent of the Soon to be declared Army of the Liberation, and he is keen to test the mettle of the three young rangers. He has asked his friend, Gundoriel, and elf of Oytwood, to go with the rangers and keep an eye on them.

The goblin situation came about like this. A goblin named Fenik, belonging to the orc and goblin garrison occupying Preston, became disillusioned with his future prospects and decided to defect. He stole a book of strategic information about the disposition of the garrison, presumably to use to bargain for his life should he be captured by the enemy. Without telling them he intended to defect, he deceived a small company of goblins under the command of his brothers to accompany him on an alleged “secret mission.” Fenik hoped to cross the Javan and escape to the safety of the Dim Forest. A troop of Oytwood elf resistance fighters observed the goblins leave Preston. The elves followed the band all the way into the protected zone around Hochoch before ambushing them and slaying all but seven. At the same time, the capatain of the garrison at Preston dispatched a small troop of orc hunters and trackers to chase the goblins down and retrieve the stolen book.

None of this is known to our heroes as the three young rangers agree to the adventure. A fourth character, an Oytwood elf named Gundoriel who speaks not a single word of common, joins the rangers, offering his services as a priest. Brin speaks elvish and serves as translator.

The four adventurers travel through the night. By first light, they come upon the battlefield. Several wild dogs savage the remains of goblins strewn across a field. Gundoriel recognizes the arms and gear, and he tells the rangers that he believes the goblins are from the host stationed at Preston. The largest of the wild dogs wears a spiked collar from which hangs a type of medallion. Ansgar nocks an arrow to take a shot at the large dog, but his companions stay his hand. Gundoriel uses his elvish persuasion to calm the large dog and he approaches it with caution. The rangers examine the medallion, which identifies the dog’s name as “Fang,” and they recognize the symbol of the Gyruff Rangers. They take the dog with them on their quest, but the dog is unruly, and it does as it pleases.

The rangers pick up the trail of the goblin survivors of the battle and pursue them back toward Hochoch. They have not gone far at all when they are beset upon by a small band of orc hunters from Preston who also were in pursuit of the same goblins. A fight ensues, and the orcs are slain. The rangers resume tracking the escaped goblins. They follow the tracks to a nearby farm. At the edge of a half-harvested field, they discover a recently abandoned campsite where some six or seven goblins bedded down for the night. Following the trail further they find evidence of a skirmish. Farm tools lie abandoned on the ground. A blood trail and marks of a body being dragged away lead them to a nearby farmyard. Inside the barn, they discover the corpse of a teenage farmer’s son.

The rangers approach the farmhouse, but the farmer comes out and attempts to send them away, assuring them that all is well. The rangers make as if to leave, but they rush the house by stealth from different sides, entering through windows and forcing entrance through the front door. Several goblins are discovered inside, filling sacks with provisions and eating the farmer’s chickens. The farmer, his wife, and a young son are also present. The farmer attempts to block the rangers, urging them not to fight since his daughter is held hostage in the loft above. Nevertheless, a battle ensues.

Assisted by the vicious goblin-hunting dog Fang, the rangers make short work of the goblins, but three remain in the loft above holding the farmer’s young daughter hostage. The goblins in the loft attempt to escape by breaking out through the thatched roof. Gundoriel, Brin, and Boots engage the first escaping goblin outside the house. Blows are exchanged, a goblin slain, and Boots is wounded. Upstairs in the loft, a goblin called Fenik holds a knife to the girl’s throat and asks for safe passage in exchange for the girl’s release. He speaks common tongue, the other goblin does not. He identifies himself as a deserter, and he offers Ansgar a certain book, stolen from the orc captain at Preston (Grugh-nal Firespear), as a surety that he will release the girl once he is clear of the house. But, he tells them, they must first slay Harl, the other goblin with him. Harl does not realize that Fenik has led their band in a desertion, and he will not cooperate with releasing the hostage. A short fight ensues. Harl runs a pick through Ansgar, but Brin slays the goblin. Ansgar nearly perishes. The healing prayer of the elven priest saves him from the Nerul’s scythe.

The rangers agree to Fenik’s terms. Along with the rest of the members of the family, they withdraw to the barn while Fenik drags the girl away toward the woods. Fearing treachery, Ansgar sets off in pursuit, but Fenik has kept his word. He releases the girl. The girl runs to her parents. The goblin disappears into the woods, moving too quickly to pursue.

Cavalrymen from the Gyruff Liberation Army arrive and take statements. They instruct the heroes to turn over the book they obtained to Captain Parn. The book turns out to be a spellbook in secondary use. It contains several spells, but it also contains, written in an orcish hand, troop numbers and strategic information on the garrison at Preston. Captain Parn says, “This is of great importance to us. It will help us greatly. Please leave me now so I may speak to my superiors about this. It would please me if you would leave your names with my aide.” He then leaves the tent in the direction of the of the other officers’ tents.

Back at the Two Tents, the heroes are toasted by other Patriots and given a round of drinks.

Continue reading “Runaway”

THE FALL OF GEOFF

As told by Rhys of the Ash to Morwenna the Fair
Edited by Thomas Kelly

I won’t begin this tale with “once upon a time” because I know exactly when it starts. At the celebration of Brewfest, two thousand, seven hundred, and thirty-three years after the Stone Pillars were raised (what other people call Flan Tracking)—that is, the Common Year 583. That’s the year the giants came down.

I did not attend the duke’s celebration. I was nowhere near his palace. I was in Preston at the time, but I heard the tale. In the middle of the festivities, the Green Man appeared, proclaimed that a winter would fall over the land for half a score years, then promptly disappeared. For you outlanders, the Green Man is not but the land of Gyruff itself. He shows himself from time to time—so say our legends and myths.

Peace faded with the summer season, and the mountains heavy with inhuman evil – CY 583

Not many days later, word arrived of a large force of giants, ogres, and orcs mustering in the mountains. A group of heroes brought back detailed plans of an impending invasion from giant lands, but who could believe it? We’ve lived with the giants for neighbors many a century–longer than mortals might reckon. Giants raid and pillage. Every few years they wander out of the mountains and sack a village or farm. But they don’t organize, and they certainly don’t form armies. True, we heard the tales about the incident in Sterich, and raids into Keoland too, when the Hill, the Frosts, and the Fire banded together under some dark elf treachery. But those things had transpired more than a decade past in neighboring lands, not in Gyruff. All those responsible had been put to the sword by heroes sent from Keoland. Indeed, the tales say that the heroes pursued the plot to the very depths of Oerth and unto the city of the Drow Elves. We believed that put an end to the matter, and we had little cause for alarm.

Continue reading “THE FALL OF GEOFF”

Durgeddin the Black

The Hateful Wars: Chapter Twenty-Eight

Thomas Kelly

A blare of trumpeting fanfare called those in attendance to attention. “Durgeddin the Black, Smith of Balnorhak, Lord of Glitterhame and Thane of Khundrakar!” the herald announced. The carved stone doors swung open to reveal an elderly dwarven lord of noble bearing, broad-shouldered and strong of limb. His grey-streaked beard glittered with jewels and gold. Gemstones studded his leather jerkin. Rings glittered on every finger. At his side hung a great craftsman’s hammer.

Everyone in the audience hall stood to their feet, even the undermountain queen. Durgeddin bowed politely, his long beard sweeping the floor. Kristryd returned the bow, as did all those present.

“Your Majesty,” the old dwarf said, “I have come to your summons.”

Kristryd’s eyes narrowed just slightly. Old Bagbag hastened to explain, “Your majesty. I took the liberty.”

Old Friends

Kristryd nodded. “Thane Durgeddin, you are most welcome in these halls. Had I known of your journey, I would have sent an escort to receive you in royal fashion.”

“As soon I received your letter, I marched out with a dozen of my strongest,” the noble dwarf said. “Our journey from has been long indeed, and we have tales to tell of the perils through which we passed. Plenty of orcish blood along the road, but blessed be Moradin and blessed be Berronar, we have arrived.”

Continue reading “Durgeddin the Black”

The Undermountain Queen

The Hateful Wars: Chapter Twenty-Seven

Thomas Kelly

Siege! The main host of Dengar, more than fifteen hundred axes, marched up through the Low Road, driving the soldiers of Gilmorack back before them. They pitched camps outside the Drake Gate and began to prepare for siege. A second force moved swiftly overland by way of the Great Western Road, crossing Veluna at Asnath and Kempton. Concealing their true motives, they told the Velunese they merely moved troops against the goblins, and they invoked the treaties of the alliance which Kristryd herself had negotiated. In this way, Dengar laid siege to Gilmorack from above and below, cutting off that ancient kingdom from all hope of escape or rescue.

Dengar at the Gates

The newly enthroned Thane Kristryd Olinsdotter made no attempt to break the siege or escape the noose. She only ordered the gates sealed. When the armies of Dengar converged, she sent emissaries out to parley with the undermountain king and to escort him back to the halls of Gilmorack under assurances and pledges.

“My daughter. You have done well. You have united our people,” Thane Evrast declared when Kristryd received him in the vaulted hall. “Not so long ago, you stood before me and Thane Redmod Buddoken in this same chamber, but today, I stand before you.” He bowed before her.

Likewise, Kristryd stood up from the throne and awkwardly bowed before her father-in-law in the manner of the dwurwives. “I have acted according to the will of the gods and done what is best for our people,” she said. “I did not come to Gilmorack seeking any crown except the head of this wicked witch.” Kristryd motioned to the bronze birdcage which hung from a hook set in the wall beside her throne.

“Will you defy your own father? Will you wage war on your own people?”

“Will you wage war on your own daughter? We have no stomach to fight our kinsmen nor to make war upon allies.” Kristryd took a step closer to him, squaring off eye to eye. “Should we be punished for the actions of a miserable witch? The house of Buddoken has suffered sufficiently for their crimes! Every last one of that hoary dynasty now sits in the halls of Dumathoin.”

“Then surrender Gilmorack to me,” Thane Redmod hissed through clenched teeth.

Continue reading “The Undermountain Queen”

Oerth Journal 34 Review

I’ll just say it right away. This is a fantastic issue of Oerth Journal. Five out of five wizards! More than any other issue of Oerth Journal that I remember reading, this issue has strong narrative content and memorable stories in article after article. No longer just backgrounds for the setting, Oerth Journal is telling the stories of Greyhawk, and that’s what Greyhawkstories.com is all about.

Hot Cover Art

First thing you notice about Oerth Journal 34 is the beautiful cover. It depicts a young Iggwilv, from when she still went by the name Hura, looting the treasure vault of Daoud. This picture is near and dear to me because it’s a commission the talented Greyhawk artist LadyLoth did for Greyhawkstories about a year ago. Her work exceeded my expectations. I’m really pleased to see that the piece made the cover the journal in conjunction with my story about Iggwilv’s quest for the Vault of Daoud. The timing accords well with the recent release of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, but that was by design.

Continue reading “Oerth Journal 34 Review”

The Caging of Gretyll

The Hateful Wars: Chapter Twenty-Six

Thomas Kelly

In haste Thane Redmod Buddoken led the party of strange guests through the winding halls and broad streets of Gilmorack, a naked broadsword in his hands. No longer did the spell of disguise cloak the elves or the halfling priest; they had no such need, for all who saw the king prostrated themselves before him. Fury burned on his face; his subjects shrank back before his flashing gaze. As sentries, soldiers, and guards saluted their king, he commanded them, “Fall in behind me.”

The Holy Anvil

The undermountain king’s growing procession followed after him into the lower halls. They descended by the great central stairs into the Wide Ways and then to the Armor Smithy where the furnaces burned hot and hammers fell in ceaseless rhythms on a hundred anvils. All the air smelled of coal fires and the acrid taste of molten metals. The king came to a certain furnace that seemed stoked to full heat, the metal door glowing red, but the king laid bare hands on the metal casting, swung open the grated iron door, stepped into the flames and commanded, “Follow me!” Kristryd thought the flames should surely consume him, but he stepped through untouched. Bamadar plunged after the king, calling back to the others over his shoulder, “Not but an eye-biting illusion!”

The rest of the axes and worthy dwarves-at-arms followed after, as did the remainder of Kristryd’s party. They stepped into a Grand Smithy, the king’s own secret chamber, and there before them they beheld two muscled and shirtless dwarven smiths laboring with hammers over a wondrous anvil. All about the room stood precariously placed stacks of arms and armor, piles of spears, axes, swords, hammers, and maces. Here too were cruel jagged scimitars and curving blades such as the orcs preferred and such as the six-armed tenar’ri had been wielding—and no wonder about that, for overseeing all the work stood a towering, glowering beast with the torso of an ape, the legs of a boar, and a fang-laden face. Small feathered wings extended from behind his hunching back, fanning the air.

Continue reading “The Caging of Gretyll”