A GREAT NORTHERN CRUSADE ADVENTURE from Greyhawkstories.com
The Great Northern Crusade advances! Several months ago, Furyondian and Velunese forces, under the command of Grand Marshal Jemian, crossed the flare line and slammed into the armies of Old One. Fighting under the blessing of Heironeous and assisted by high-caliber magic from powerful mages such as Bigby, the vengeful crusaders made quick initial progress.
By Needfest (CY 586), cold weather, freezing rains, and deep snows hampered the army’s advance, but with Atroa’s warming smile and the promise of warmer weather, the campaign resumes in the spring. The Knights of the Hart have already taken control of the Bone Road west of Grabford and reached the Veng, driving a wedge between the occupied Furyondian cities of Grabford and Crockport. While the Furyondian navy sails out of Morsten to take control of Grabford harbor, the Lady Katarina Walworth and Count Artur Jakartai command the crusaders of the Holy Shielding to lay siege to the fallen capital of Crystalreach County.
The walls of Grabford and the battlements of the city’s forty towers hug the banks of the great Veng River where the the water widens into shallows impassable by large craft and heavy laden ships. Those heavier vessels must enter Grabford’s harbor and make their way through a marvelously engineered canal that snakes through the city before it passes out through the southern wall. Beyond the walls of the city, the canal rejoins the Veng half a mile downstream. Within Grabford, three impressive drawbridges span the canal, allowing even proud-masted sailing ships to pass through its city. The proud citizens of Grabford once enjoyed the sight of the river’s great sailing vessels and laden barges gliding gracefully past their streets, and they profited no small amount from their passage. King Belvor built strong city walls and forty towers, and he garrisoned a thousand of Furyondy’s finest soldiers to guard the strategically significant fords and protect the canal. For all these reasons, Grabford numbered among the proudest cities of the Kingdom, a necessary port of call for every trading vessel that sailed from Lake Whyestil to the Nyr Dyv.
Then came war. (CY 583)
The armies of the Old One descended into Furyondy, laid siege to Chendl, and conquered Crockport. The Furyondian Navy and all the merchant and cargo ships of Lake Whyestil fled the fall of the harbor town (Crockport). Abyssal bats and winged fiends pursued the mariners across the great lake like raging storms, driving ships upon the rocks or spilling them into the lake. Buffeted, burnt, and torn, only a few surviving vessels escaped down the Veng and passed through the canal at Grabford in disgrace. The good folk of the city watched with no small dimay as the tattered navy of Furyondy, and all those noblemen’s trading vessels too, passed through their city in haste. None dared stop at the docks or tarry long enough to drop anchor in the harbor.
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”→
We first heard about the Road of Skulls when refugees from the northern fiefs began to stream into Furyundy. They claimed that “Iuz had constructed a road paved with skulls between the Howling Hills and Dorakaa, his new capital. The watchtowers guarding the road were said to be fueled on the flesh of living men.” So says The Official History of the Greyhawk Wars.
The rumors were, by and large, ignored. In hindsight, it would have been prudent for King Avras to send an expedition of seasoned adventurers on a reconnaissance mission to verify or dismiss the outlandish claim. On the other hand, what exactly are we talking about here? What is “a road paved with skulls.” Continue reading “The Road of Skulls”→
Iuz’s greatest fear is not a paladin of Pelor or the Cudgel of Cuthbert or any heroes of good. He fears his mom teaming up with his girlfriend. In the Greyhawk novel Artifact of Evil, Gary Gygax narrates a comical encounter between Iuz, his mother Iggwilv, and his girlfriend Zuggtmoy. It starts when the dark lord’s orgasmic scrying device becomes a portal that lets the two of them into his private palace:
The oily liquid in the massive [scrying] pool erupted in a geyser that struck the ceiling almost twenty feet above its surface. As the droplets pattered down throughout the room, a pair of women appeared. Before Iuz’s startled gaze stood Iggwilv, his mother, and Zuggtmoy, Demoness Lady of Fungi. Between them, grasped by both, was the Second Key!Continue reading “Behind the Throne of Iuz”→
I knew it was coming. The crops were failing in the north. The air had a bitter bite not felt for ages. The geese had Ieft earlier than ever before—just before Brewfest, making their way toward the gentler lands of Sunndi, or so they say. I took the early flight of geese as an omen upon the holy land. And now it has come to pass: The Troll Winter.
Call me Keos. In my youth I traveled far and wide across the Flanaess to lands most strange. It seems a long time ago that I set sail upon the Icy Sea finding port from Jotsplat to the Barren Wastes, where ice blankets the lands in a white embrace. Now that my hair too has turned with the seasons, I am no longer a young adventurer. I can only dream of those long days beneath the arctic sun. Now I make my home here in Wintershiven, and I am content to live out my days among my family and my books. And when an audience is indulgent, I can pursue my other pastime: telling stories of adventure and bravery. Come and pull up a chair near the fire and let me share just such as story with you today. Continue reading “Troll War in the Pale”→
The village of Nulb festers with evil; bandits attack caravans near Hommlet; raiders strike from a new moathouse outside the village, and the menacing shadow of the Temple of Elemental Evil darkens the land. Who will stand against the growing threat?
In the Battle of Emridy Meadows (569 CY), Prince Thrommel IV brought together men, gnomes, elves, and dwarves to win a sweeping victory against overwhelming numbers of goblinkind. The legendary conflict brought the fall of the Temple of Elemental Evil and its associated cult. Download the pdf of The Battle of Emridy Meadows, a classic article by Mike Bridges. Get the inside story of the most significant battle of the sixth century Flanaess.
Turrosh Mak was born in 555 CY. He was 14 when he arrived in Greyhawk City in 569. He spent 2 years in the city as a student, but was forced to leave in 571. The primary trait which Turrosh Mak has is a desire to help his own race, i.e. orcs (he doesn’t identify with humans), and other similar humanoids. He feels that not only have then been given a more difficult position within the scheme of things, but the other races conspire to keep humanoids down. He also recognizes what he sees as a self-destructive tendency within humanoid communities, and this, as much as anything else, keeps them from developing a higher form of civilization. He sees himself as having a particular mission, to elevate the humanoids, particularly orcs, above their barbaric, fragmented culture and establish a state of “higher culture” within the humanoid community.
His experience within the humanoid community has taught him that it is their environment which leads humanoids to perpetual barbarism. In those few instances where some have lived apart from this structure, and apart from the human/demi-human cultures which also reinforce humanoid barbarism, they have grown into intelligent, thoughtful, introspective individuals with a high respect for the values of more “civilized” cultures such as integrity, truth, justice, etc. He is not against killing, especially if it is necessary in order to right the “great injustice perpetuated by and upon the humanoid community.” Those are his words.