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.
How Artur became an acolyte but left the cloister before taking his vows and, on finding his family slain by goblins, avenged their blood.
Being good-natured and lowly of spirit, Artur nurtured no bitterness over the trick his father had played him. Instead, he deemed it more than fit for one of his stature, that is, one mixed of blood and born of a concubine. He set to his duties as acolyte with vigor and zeal and unto all the devotions of the Just One.
In preparation for the clerisy, they taught him his letters. He learned to read only through hard effort and many tears until, at length, he could read the scrolls as if noble-born. Thusly educated, he eagerly consumed the holy books, the calends, and the Olven tomes (such as they had in translation). But more, he loved the ancient histories, and he reveled overmuch in the tales of the Old Aerdy, especially the old Oeredian poets who could articulate so well what stirrings his heart felt but his tongue could not spell out. Also found he the tales of more recent times, and he lit upon the story of the war with Halmadar the Cruel. “If I had lived in those days, methinks I would have wielt well the axe!” he told himself. In truth, although he knew not the particulars of the tale, his own great grandfather Tristart the son of Fendart had fought as footman alongside the holy order of the Shielding in that conflict and suffered magical burns that marked him the rest of his life.
After some years had passed, and a time of release came before he should take his vows, he betook himself a journey to find his home and see again his father and his mother and all his brothers and his sisters.
In those days, the power of the Horned Society waxed mightily, and those devil-worshippers ever pressed against the Shield. Within their own lands, they had not crops nor flocks sufficient to feed the growing hordes of hobgoblins. The slovenly gundyguts raided the fertile Shield Lands to feed their hungry bellies.
First, How Jakart begat a son named Artur and gave him over to the Temple of Heironeous.
It befell in the days of Holmer, Earl of Walworth, Knight Commander over all the Shield Land Lords, that there lived a Shieldlander named Jakart the son of Merlart the son of Tristart the son of Fendart, an Oeredian, and a mighty man renowned for valorous deeds in the service of the Shield, though he himself could claim no title as lord nor knight. He made his coin as an adventurer and sellsword until the years weighed too heavily upon him for bravery and foolishness, at which time he used what coin he had saved to purchase a wide and fertile valley for cultivation on the border of the Western Reaches of Warfields, along the banks of the Ritensa. Cold and long were the winters, but the land gave forth an abundance, hastening to bring grain to head for the shortness of the summer months. Every year at harvest, fang-faced goblins and orcs crossed the river to steal away the sheaves from the threshing floors, but Jakart and the servants of his household slew them oft as he found them, pursued them back to the river, and sent them home, most often empty-handed.
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.
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”→