The Game of Princes

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Part Four of THE FALL OF GEOFF as told by Rhys of the Ash to Morwenna the Fair
Edited by Thomas Kelly

Some saviors lost their zeal and showed a tyrant’s face beneath a guise of friend – CY 587-588

The rangers of Gyruff and the surviving Longbowmen of Gyruff maintained a fierce border war on the edge of the giant-occupied lands. They made no headway, but their vigilance prevented the giants from raiding deeply into the liberated lands. Little thanks did they receive from the March.

At Richfest, the Marshal of the Gran March forces in Hochoch declared the city and its surrounding lands a “protectorate” until Gyruff could be restored. The declaration changed little in actual governance. March soldiers and the Knights of the Dispatch had governed the town through martial law since the liberation, but the nobles of Gyruff in Hochoch decried this turn of events, as they had no say in the new government. They sent angry letters sent to Withington and the Court of Gyruff in Exile.

In the spring of CY 588, the Marshal of the Gran March ordered the construction of wooden forts along the border of the liberated lands. The Gyri saw it as Gran March entrenching its position rather than working to free Gyruff. The Marshal used soldiers to suppress riots among the residents of Lean-to Town and Hutville outside of Hochoch.

The Marchers managed to upset the elves too when they began logging the Dim Forest and the Oytwood for the construction of their border forts and roads. The grey elves of the Oytwood sent a terse message to the Marshal. They warned the Marshal that they had a long memory. They remembered the Marshal’s ancestors. If the Marshal did not put a stop to the timbering, they would stop it for him. Incensed, the Marshal called their bluff. It was not a bluff at all. The grey elves closed their borders and laid deadly traps for the woodcutters. If the traps did not kill the trespassers, the elves themselves hunted and killed anyone they considered invaders.

Continue reading “The Game of Princes”

CAT AND MOUSE

THE LIBERATION OF GEOFF

CAT AND MOUSE (Campaign Notes-SPOILERS)

Based on Living Greyhawk module GEO1-02, by Brian Lamprecht

Young Geoffite rangers in love, Ansgar and Brin, visit Hochoch’s “shambles” to replenish their supplies. A pickpocket brushes up against Brin and makes off through the crowd before she can even put eyes on the rascal. Reaching for her purse, she finds it’s still at her belt, but in her pocket, she discovers a mysterious note that says, “Your assistance is needed most quickly on a matter of the utmost secrecy. Meet tonight. eight bells at the cemetery. To leave town you should be preparing. Ask the groundsman for Claudious Faeronicus. For country’s sake don’t dishonor us.”

The note is signed by “The Cat.”

Puzzled by the message, Ansgar and Brin make their way back to the Two Tents where they find Boots awaiting them with the dog. “Look what I found in my pocket!” the young ranger declares, producing an identical note. Brin seeks some advice from their grey-elf companion Gundoriel. No, he received no note. No, he has never heard of “The Cat.” Yes, he agrees to accompany the rangers to the cemetery.

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Battle for Hochoch

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

The ram’s horns heralded battles anew, and we carved a foothold in our homeland – CY 586

In the spring of CY 586, more freed captives arrived at the new villages in northern Keoland. Thanks to the assistance of several wizards, the rangers had remarkable success in distracting the giants and their allies long enough to liberate captives. So successful were the raids that the giants began putting leg irons on the captives or maiming them so that they could not walk. These measures reduced the number of slaves the rangers could liberate. It’s hard to make an escape when dragging twenty pounds of iron.

Disagreements continued between the grey elves of Oytwood and the wood elves of Dim Forest over where to place their scant forces now that the high king had forsaken them. The grey elves complained that, since the humans assisted in the Dim Forest, the wood elves should succor Oytwood. The wood elves, however, refused to reduce their forces for the sake of sending aid to the Oytwood. Length of years apparently grants the elves no greater wisdom than men, for they quarrel as much as we short-lived humans.

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Refugees of Geoff

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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.

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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

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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.

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Border Watch Dispatch from Barduk

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Ready’reat 12, 586

Constant Rildillian of the Shielding, Captain over the King’s Men, Border Post Four, Barduk.

To His Most Fearsome and Resolute Hero of the Shielding and Noble Count of Furyondy, Artur Jakartai, Great Wall Crystalreach.

May my lord hear good tidings this very day and may his eyes see the liberation of our lands. May those who fear the break of dawn be taught the art of war!

Your servant the fool writes to you as the dawn breaks upon our near-disaster this twelfth day of Ready’reat, for this is how things stand at Fort Critwall. I send this dispatch in all haste by swift rider to relate the urgent desperation of your loyal servants who only by the help of the Invincible Heironeous have survived to this hour. The night just past, we suffered assault from the hated euroz of the Old One (I spit upon his name). By the hand of Invincible Heironeous, we drove them back, but not without loss of life, further dwindling what few heroes of the Shield Lands be left among us. Let it be known that, of the sixty-five spears entrusted to me a year past, some two score have fallen and thirteen left for the summons to join the king’s Northern Crusade, may Cuthbert defend them. Only twelve of us remained to hold the post, and three of those fell this night past to Nerull’s scythe as did two stout dwarves of Barduk. Continue reading “Border Watch Dispatch from Barduk”

Companions of the Silver Wolf

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Greyhawkstories.com is a place for collecting stories set in the World of Greyhawk. For two decades, readers at Canonfire! have been treated to the tales of “The Companions of the Silver Wolf,” an adventuring party in the best tradition of the Flanaess. Now the author of those stories, Jared “CruelSummerLord” Milne, has collected his work into a trilogy available on Greyhawkstories. It’s not just fan-fiction, it’s fun fan-fiction.

Read all three at Greyhawkstories.com.

Continue reading “Companions of the Silver Wolf”

The Ghost at Saltmarsh

It Started in Saltmarsh: Chapter Thirteen

By Kirt Wackford
A Dungeons & Dragons campaign adaptation edited by Thomas Kelly and Greyhawkstories

Avast! Spoilers Ahead!

22-23 Goodmonth, 570

While the captured pirate ship gently pitched with the waves, tugging at its anchor chain, the party gathered the loot into a single pile. They more-or-less agreed that all the monetary treasure would be equally split, with Willa (but not Tom) receiving a full share. Aurora conducted a magical ritual to detect magic, and she separated out those things that radiated an enchantment.

“My ritual will let us know what items are magical, but not what they do.  I am happy to follow-up by casting an identify to note their properties, to be sure they are not cursed,” Aurora said. No one had not forgotten the fiasco with Thokk’s cursed luckstone. “But I would appreciate it if the party could split the cost of the expensive pearl required for each use of that spell.”

Barnabas balked at that prospect, but Shefak scolded him, “Greed and attachment to material things bar one from true spiritual progress.”

Barnabas replied curtly, “I don’t know who you are monk, and I don’t know how you came to join this party or to claim an equal share in our pillage. But I think your foreign god would be most grateful if you took upon yourself a vow of silence. I know the rest of us would.”

Thokk grunted with laughter, but Shefak coolly ignored the remark. She conducted herself as if the halfling did not ruffle her at all. Continue reading “The Ghost at Saltmarsh”

Battle for the Sea Ghost

It Started in Saltmarsh: Chapter Twelve

By Kirt Wackford
A Dungeons & Dragons campaign adaptation edited by Thomas Kelly and Greyhawkstories

Avast! Spoilers Ahead!

22 Goodmonth, 570

In his haste to alert the party, Tom sailed the excise cutter into the sea cave with the mast down, but he did not take the time to remove it from the ship. Willa took charge and ordered the party to remove it for the operation. She saw Thokk and Barnabus loaded and launched before she placed the rest of the party in their positions within the jollyboat.

Thokk strained against the oars and pulled his craft out into the black, rolling sea. His half-blood eyes allowed him to see through the darkness well enough to avoid the rocks around the cave mouth. Barnabas had to endure several terrifying minutes of blackness and crashing waves, tossed about the cutter and drenched with spray while Thokk heaved and fretted. Once they pulled out beyond the surf zone and into the open sea the waves calmed and Thokk concentrated on rowing silently with a steady pace. Every so often the half orc looked over his shoulder, trying to detect the dark ship against the dark sky so that he had somewhere to make for more precise than “away from land.”

Willa checked everything twice in the jollyboat before shoving off. She was in no hurry; she wanted Thokk to have as long a lead as possible. Her kept her hauberk of chain neatly folded under her aft seat. She directed the beam of her lantern through the fog and across the rocks as she called orders. Tyrius and Babshapka took the oars at the outset, though she would spell them out if needed. Continue reading “Battle for the Sea Ghost”