Quest for the Vault of Daoud

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Mother of Witches: Part Five

Thomas Kelly

“At first glance, it seemed a featureless, endless plain, not that anyone would wish to even glance at it in the first place.” The meaningless color of the sky over the unending and undulating landscape looked like the delusions of a fever-induced dream. The wind gibbered, chittered, screeched, screamed, and wailed. The putrescence of the ever-rotting world of puss and popping tumors assaulted the senses in waves. Her eyes watered; her senses reeled, and she asked herself, “Have I this time gone too far?” How far has she gone? Into the lower realms of the Abyss seeking a merciless fiend, a warrior of the Blood War, a restless unforgiven spirit of Oerth.

Interview with a Hezrou

“Six centuries since I have been named by the likes of flesh and blood,” the belching hezrou reflected as it tore the twitching limbs from the torso of a lesser tanar’ri. It carried out its grizzly task like one accustomed to his handiwork, like the skilled hands of a fisherman cleaning a fish. His victim, an enormous scorpion with the screeching head of a hag, spit and squealed with pain. The hezrou warrior tossed the legless wriggling body aside and turned his full attention to the woman that stood before him. “By which deviltry didst thou findeth me, and what wouldst thou have of me?” the beast spoke an ancient dialect of Old Oeridian. A heavy perspiration of stinking liquid moistened the abomination’s naked skin as if the effort of dismembering his foe had induced a heavy sweat. Nearly a half-ton of leering toad towered over the slight frame of the dark-haired girl. The nightmare beast peeled back its hideous lips to reveal rows of spiked teeth. It might have easily snatched the girl up and swallowed her whole. Or so it seemed.

“Not easily!” Tasha answered the question. She recoiled at the maleficent odor of the sticky goo slicking the creature’s unholy flesh. She forced herself to swallow lest she wretch and lose her bearing in the presence of the fiend. “My quest for Your Ruthlessness began in my own personal tower on the outskirts of Lopolla where I applied myself to learn the lore of that land.”

“Twas named Hlupallu in my day,” the hezrou swatted a vrock from the air, crumpling it against the stones. He crushed the writhing bird beneath his massive toady foot. Giant baby-faced maggots wriggled up from the ground to feast on the ichory flesh.

“Indeed. The same,” Tasha continued undistracted by the gooey carnage at her feet. “In the course of my studies, I came upon mention of a magnificent treasure vault, not-long concealed, containing wondrous magics once collected by the wandering mendicant, Daoud of Tusmit.”

“Never heard of him,” the hezrou feigned disinterest.

“But I have heard much, for much there is to hear! I would, if I may contrive it, pilfer all the baubles that one-time pasha possessed.”

“What’s that to me?” the toad-fiend croaked, but she had now piqued his interest.

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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.

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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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The Devils of Molag

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Thomas Kelly

The Great Northern Crusade is stalled until someone can infiltrate the dread city of Molag, capital of the Horned Lands and bring back the truth about the fate of the Hierarchs! Are you up to the task? The Devils of Molag is the first (and probably only) official Greyhawkstories Adventure by Thomas Kelly. Get your stealth on, because this is an espionage adventure that takes place on border of Furyondy and the Horned Lands during the muster of the Great Northern Crusade, two years after the Pact of Greyhawk. Successful completion of this module will require deception, disguise, cunning, persuasion, and careful role-playing. The PCs must infiltrate the evil city of Molag, one of the most dangerous places in the Flanaess, determine the truth regarding the fate of the Hierarchs, discover the disposition of the demons of Iuz and the devils of the Horned Society, and successfully bring the information back to Greatwall.

The Devils of Molag is intended as a sequel to WGM1 (9406) Border Watch, and it’s set during the From the Ashes and Marklands era. The module is designed for Fifth Edition D&D, characters of levels 4-6, but can be readily adapted to any edition.

Download a free PDF of GRNC 1: The Devils of Molag

Harnekiah

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The Hateful Wars: Chapter Thirty-One

Thomas Kelly

“We’ve cut the gravy too blashy,” Bamadar warned his queen. “We have scarce the strength to hold the roads. Supply lines stretch hundreds of miles, and one host is far separated from another by a fortnight march. How shall we fare if Urgush comes against us now?”

“And I am sick to death of goblin stench,” Kristryd admitted. “But I will hold every inch we have taken. If our lines collapse, there remains no shield between our kingdoms and the goblin host.”

“I called for reinforcements, but they send us lads who have not yet seen their first whiskers,” Bamadar complained. “We run out of dwarves!”

“The price of such a war,” the queen shrugged. “Dwarves do not leave a thing unfinished.”

The Low Stream

By the first of Reaping (503 CY), Kristryd’s dwur controlled the west spur of the Low Road between the Ulek Pass and the Celene Pass. From all those caverns and snaking tunnels, they ousted the nests of goblinkind. Such remarkable advances cost her heavily. In those days, the dwarves called the Low Road “the Low Stream” for the quantity of dwarven blood that streamed through those caverns and ran down those tunnels.

Displaced tribes of kobold, goblin, orc, hobgoblin, gnoll, and ogre tried at times to flee the mountains and seek refuge in the lowlands. The Rangers of Triserron patrolled the Druid’s Defile. Hunting parties from Celene watched the banks of the Handmaiden. If any of the gundyguts ever dared cross the Handmaiden River, the elves of Celene cut them down. If they fled to the south, they met the stout troops of the Principality. If they fled to the west, they faced the ready men, elves, and gnomes the Ulek states.

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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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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.)

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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Witch Queen and Demon Lord

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A Brief History of the Knights of the Hart, Part 3

(CY 460 – 505)
Kirt Wackford

In which is related the rise of Iggwilv, her conquest of Perrenland, and her war against the Knights of the Hart, her fall from power, and the rise of her detestable child, the Demon Lord Iuz.

From whence the Witch Queen Iggwilv came is not known. An erudite sage calling himself the “Eye of Boccob”[1] places her as being of mixed Flan and Baklunish stock and hailing from Ket. Others say that she is an ancient being and hint that she might not be from Oerth at all.[2] All that is known for certain is that she chose to settle in the Yatil mountains between Ket, Perrenland, and Veluna around CY 460.[3] The place suited her purposes well, for it was teeming with humanoids, giants, and monsters. These she bent to her will, establishing a small despotry while conducting magical experiments in the Caverns of Tsojcanth.[4]

War and Seduction

In CY 480 she loosed her army of humanoids on the settled alpine valleys of southern Perrenland. The Perrenders were staunch defenders, but could not resist the combination of humanoid numbers, organization, and fell magics. The mountain holds were quickly overcome, and the forces of Iggwilv pushed out on to the plains. She ultimately conquered most of the southern plains around the Quagflow, the region as a whole being known as the “Marches of Perrenland.”[5] After this, her advance slowed. In the low rolling plains her brutish troops found no caves in which they could hide from the light of Pelor. The mobile cavalry of Perrenland could outmaneuver the humanoids, gathering in massed formations for day attacks, then scattering and riding far away before nightfall. Conquest of the entire land would be difficult. No matter. Iggwilv turned to her dark arts. In innumerable guises she walked among the free hetmen, ensnaring them with her charms. Captivated and captured, they did her will and ordered their people to cease attacks on the lands that the humanoids had taken. The hetmen scarce believed themselves in thrall to the leader of the goblinkind, but they nonetheless told none of the new mistress of their souls. Iggwilv held the southern portion of Perrenland and her troops busily looted it;[6] the rest of the nation tried a few counterattacks before slinking back, utterly cowed by fear of the witch.[7]

The leaders of the Marklands watched these events with growing concern. Their recent rebuff from their own attempted conquest of Perrenland[8] had embittered them against the nation, and they offered no aid to Perrenders in their struggle against the Witch Queen. Once Iggwilv was firmly in control of those lands, the Marklander leaders laid out their plans to contain her. Having a mad archmage so close to the old capital of Dyvers had been bad enough.[9] An archmage dedicated to evil, with a humanoid army and a nation of wild Perrenders in thrall, could well prove much worse. The forces of Iggwilv pointed like a dagger at the heart of the Highfolk and lay uncomfortably close to Mitrik. 

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The Making of the Wondrous Lanthorn

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Daoud’s Wondrous Lanthorn: Chapter Nine

The Making of the Wondrous Lanthorn

Heavy laden with the weight of too many centuries and the sorrows of hard labors, the white-bearded dwarf slogged on determinedly toward the distant lights, slowly pushing his way through bramble and branch. With each step, he felt lighter and younger. No longer did his knees pain him; no longer did his shoulders stoop. From on ahead came sound of voices caught up in revelry, drum and flute, laughter and song. The music quickened his pulse and hastened his step. Presently he drew near enough to catch scent of rich spices, sweet perfumes, and delicious food on the fire. The aromas stirred up long-ago memories and recalled happy nights beneath the colored canopies in the presence of the goddess.

In short time, the dwarf emerged into an open glade. Before him stood a magnificent, palatial pavilion, just as he remembered it, illuminated with one-hundred and ten crystal lanterns. Winged devas called malakim sang for the entertainment of the goddess, accompanied by all types of instruments, drums, cymbals, and dance. For a moment, he felt abashed at the spectacle. “What has an old dwarf to do with a place such as this?” he scolded himself. “I should not have come.” He nearly turned back. But then goddess herself, reclining among the cushions of a divan at the center of the pavilion, turned her lovely head to peer over her shoulder. She fixed her coal-black eyes upon the dwarf in a kindly and come-hither manner and beckoned to him, “Blessed be your coming, Master Grimmly, weary traveler! Enter. Recline at my table. Here is water for you to wash your face, hands, and feet. Here is oil to anoint your head and beard. Here is wine to gladden your heart. Some honeycomb and bread, nuts and apples, cuts of roe and hart that sizzle upon the spit. Eat, and rest yourself awhile.”

Grimmly bowed low before Hasnat, so low that his beard swept the ground. “O Gracious Lady of the Cool Breeze,” he stammered, “I am utterly unworthy to avail myself of your hospitality a second time.”

“Nonsense!” Hasnat laughed. “See how your lamps illuminate my pavilion, more splendid in color and magic than the other hundred all together. And well do we remember the delicious tales told by your master, Daoud of Tusmit. Many were the nights he entertained us with stories of his adventures, and yours too Master Grimmly.”

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