An Index of the Years
THE EPOCH OF AGES
The Second Age. The Age of Legend
The Year 0 RD (as the dwarves count the years)
Prince Duegan, second son of the King of the Dwur, discovered an unusual dagger that had been thrown backward through time from a moment more than 6’300 years in the distant future.
Prince Duegan declares the dagger to be “a gift of chaos” granted to the dwarven people in their hour of need by their creator, Moradin All-Father.
The dagger had appeared on the eve of a great battle. A final battle for the very sake of the nation. King Durin Silvervein was about to lead his people into battle against the mighty red dragon Fer’ hiss and his fearsome sons.
In the end, it was Prince Duegan who secured the final victory; the brave prince was able to use the dagger-from-the-future to drain the life from the great red wyrm. But! the life force of such an ancient dragon was too almighty for even this dagger…
…the fang of the nosferatu was destroyed in the final moments of the battle and the vampire that had been trapped within the deadly dagger was released. Donal Darkbane who had lived and died, thousands and thousands of years in the future was reborn in the furthest reaches of the past.
King Durin Silvervein died from the wounds he’d taken at the claws of the dragon; his incredibly long reign came to an end. Upon his death, Silvervein’s Fierce Axe was passed to his son, the new King. The Fierce Axe would become a symbol of regal authority, divine favor and dwarven pride; despite this, the dwarfs seldom speak of the Axe to outsiders and never explain its true history, significance or powers.
In the immediate aftermath of the battle, Prince Duegan was exiled from the Realm of Durindan. Despite having saved the day, Prince Duegan’s use of the necromantic dagger and his support of the monster that had emerged from it broke too many laws and customs to name.
But, the Prince was not without his supporters, who saw what he did as a necessary evil. They named themselves The Second Clan and followed the Pariah-Prince Duegan northwards in search of new lands in which to make their home.
Donal Darkbane, known to the dwarves as Ustnar Urdang, accompanied them.
The Year 1 RD (as the dwarves count the years)
Prince Markad I, eldest son of King Durin, claimed his father’s legendary axe and began his reign. The Fierce Axe would become the Royal Regalia, a symbol of dwarven power and legacy.
In accordance with the new Prince’s first proclamation, a gigantic pit was delved out in the very deepest depths of Durindan. It was named Azak-Morad and reached further into the bowels of the Oerth than anyone had ever dug. Azak-Morad was sanctified by the highest priests and First King Durin Silvervein was returned to the core of the world. Azak-Morad afterwards became the center of dwarven culture and history; a place of pilgrimage for millennia to come.
The consecration of Azak-Morad was marked with the beginning of a new calendar, the Runic Count of the Dwur, Year 1.
Meanwhile the exiled dwarves, who had come to be known as Duegan’s Pilgrims continued their dangerous exodus north through the Crystalmist Mountains. Their journey was long and fraught with terrible hardship and danger.
At one point on their journey, the dwarves took three giant badger cubs into their care. They were watched over by Ustnar Urdang and Grabpot Thundergust, Prince Duegan’s best animal-master. As the cubs began to mature, Grabpot was bitten on the wrist by the largest of the litter. The animal-master swore and cursed invoking the dread name of Abbathor a forbidden and evil dwarven deity; just as he did so a dark mist rose arose around the animal pens engulfing Ustnar and Grabpot. Ustnar-Donal felt his dead heart sink as they heard a faint and far-off wheezing laughter…
…and then the Mists retreated. Ustnar-Donal’s fears had not been realized; he was still lost in the Crystalmist Mountains with hundreds of starving dwarves – and he was still stuck more than six thousand years in his past. But the Mists always exact a steep price; Grabpot Thundergust had been cursed to become a werebadger – the very first were-creature to ever walk the Flanaess and the progenitor of the entire lycanthropic family tree.
Lycanthropes were not the only new race that would be accidentally born during the dwarven exodus and that would go on to one day spread across the whole world…
The exiled dwarves had been following their Prince for months now. Ustnar Urdang had become an invaluable ally to them as they faced the dangers of the mountains – trolls, wyverns and the like. Throughout all of those long months and all of those many encounters Ustnar kept his faithful wolf companion, Fang, by his side. It was his loyal wolf that had endeared Ustnar to the usually foul-tempered Grabpot and the two often worked together to tend the other wolves kept by the animal master.
So it was, that when Fang was killed Ustnar drained the wolf’s blood and replaced it with his own caustic dead blood. Fang was reborn as a vampiric wolf, and would, in time spawn a line of vampiric wolves that still plague travelers today.
The Year 77 RD
Seventy-seven years after the passing of the First King, King Markad I summoned all of the Dwarven Princes to Azak-Morad. It was the first time Prince Duegan had returned to his home since the Second Clan had been exiled and Ustnar Urdang returned to Azak-Morad at his side, acting as his adviser and counsel.
The heartland had become overpopulated. At this meeting, the First Grand Council of the Dwarfs, the lands of Moradin’s Children were officially delineated and recognized; each new kingdom would be governed by a Prince and each would hold supreme power within their own holdings. The Princes’ would swear fraternity to one another and fealty to King Markad.
And so (guided, nudged and directed by Ustnar’s whisperings) the dwarven empire of Mor-Borad was born. Markad, First Son of Durin, First Overking of Mor-Borad retained the birthlands once governed by his father at the junction of the Sulhaut, Hellfurnace and the Crystalmist Mountains. This kingdom is named Markaddin, the Kingdom of Markad and it’s capital city is named Durindan.
Duegan, the Second Son of Durin had already founded the Kingdom of Damgarath, the Land of Stone within the Yatil Mountains. This pariah nation was finally recognized with Gartelem, the Iron City as it’s capital in the heart of the highest mountain.
Although Ustnar Urdang departed the council with Prince Duegan and returned to Gartelem it not yet known what happened to Ustnar-Donal-Bolan after this date. Did he ever return to his own time, after eighty years in the distant past? Did he see out the remainder of his days, safe from the sun, in the dwarven Kingdom of Damgarath? We don’t know yet… but if you see Rich, ask him…
The other Princes, one after another, founded their own kingdoms.
Maddain, Third Son of Durin, colonized the central and northern regions of the Crystalmists beyond the Jotens. There he established Trimdair, the Emerald City of the Kingdom of Trimdair.
The Kingdom of Melairkyn was founded by the Fourth Son of Durin, Melair, far to the east beneath the hills that would one day become known as the Cairn Hills. Melair named his capital Stardelem, City of a Thousand Forges. It was famed for it’s mithril and adamantine mines… and destined to be a very important forgotten ruin beneath the streets of a certain city… but not just yet, not for a few thousand years…
Yamad, Fifth Son of Durin, lead his people into the Barrier Peaks and established the city of Guran, the pride of the Kingdom of Yrden, the Peakcrest.
Hamaida, Unique Daughter of Durin, guided her clan west into the Sulhauts where they founded the Kingdom of Berem, the Peaceful, whose capital city Ginkehir, the Flowered Mountain, became famous for her gardens and fountains.
Lorduin, Seventh Son of Durin and his people settled in the Hellfurnace Mountains just south of Markaddin. There he founded Tergorom, the Fire City, and named his new kingdom Holgereth.
The Year 5390 RD
Thousands of years passed (but the dice weren’t rolling) and much came to pass. For millennia, the dwarfs were the uncontested masters of the mountains. The Empire of Mor-Borad reached far and wide and stood, er, well, not tall exactly, but very proud.
But, all must things must pass; the Empire of the Dwarfs peaked around 2’300 RD and then began a period of steady decline over the next couple of thousand years. By the time of the Seventieth Grand Council of the Dwarfs – the 70th, and the final – only two Princes were able to attend. Tremek of Markaddin and Gurden of Dumderin met with representatives from around the ailing Empire and after long prayers and endless consultations the decision was taken to dissolve the Empire.
It was decided that not until all seven Princes were present, and their Overking once again held the Fierce Axe (which had long since been lost to legend and myth) would the Empire rise again. The memory of the First-King became increasingly dear in the hearts of the dwarves and the legend arose that only Durin, King of Kings, would be able to return them to their former glory.
The dwarves called this time, the beginning of the Age of Humanity.
THE EPOCH OF MAGIC
The Third Age. The Age of Humanity
349 pre-CY – 559 CY
As the dwarves count the years, it would be the Year 6090 RD by now; but it is mankind’s turn now and this young race has only counted 315 years of civilization so far. Stuff has happened in the meantime, lots and lots of stuff, but the dice were still silent so we won’t disappear down that rabbit hole just yet…
Richard’s adventures in the far past were the last games that we ever ran in 2000, despite that they occurred first in Greyhawk’s chronology. To revisit the very first games we actually played, we must go back to the future…
… and in 315 CY, the future was just being built…
Upon the banks of the Selintan River, construction had begun on the infamous Castle Greyhawk. It would take Zagig Yragerne 60 years to complete but it lives on in legend and myth to this very day.
The Lord-Mayor of Greyhawk City, none other than Lord Zagig, Archmage of Castle Greyhawk, passed a law stating that no truth-finding divinations shall ever be used in a Greyhawk City trial becoming the hero of fantasy roleplay attorney’s and lawyers everywhere.
Lord-Mayor Zagig founded Greyhawk City’s, Guild of Wizardry.
Far beneath Castle Greyhawk, far away from prying eyes, Lord-Mayor Zagig imprisoned Fraz Urb’Luu, the Demon Lord and Prince of Deception. This would soon become a habit.
Lord-Mayor Zagig defeated Olidammara, Bard to the Gods, when the God of Music made the mistake of adventuring in the dungeons below Castle Greyhawk. Olidammara was investigating the rather suspicious disappearance of several notable demon lords and demigods. Olidammara soon found out where they’d all gone, too.
Zagig quietly made room for the God of Music in his crowded dungeons.
The dice were still quiet during these years, but I am recounting Zagig’s tale because it sets the scene for so much yet to come…
…and in 437 CY while extending his dungeons, Zagig accidentally broke through into the Underhalls of Melairkyn. The long-lost Kingdom that had been founded by the fourth son of Durin Silvervein, Prince Melair all those years ago.
Bolan won’t be born for another 127 years, but he would remember because he was there…
…anyway, we’d mentioned that the dwarves had fallen on hard times – well, the Kingdom of Melairkyn had been overrun and defeated, after decades of war, by duergar and drow (who were in turn, at war with each other).
For literally 3’312 years nobody – no-one who’d ever seen the sun shine, that is – had ever walked these lost halls. And, who knew? But they extended out from beneath Castle Greyhawk all the way under the very streets of Greyhawk City itself…
Thoric Ironboot fled from his home and a lifetime of boredom in the Yatil Mountains seeking a brave new life as a pirate in the port of Crockport.
Incidentally, the dwarven Kingdom of Damgarath (of which Bolan-Donal-Ustnar was a Founding Father) had long since been fallen and ceased to be – but, a few dwarven clans in the Yatils could still trace their ancestry all the way back to Duegan’s Bastards. The Ironboot clan is one of those proud families.
After five years of life on the open waters of Lakes Whyestil, Quag and the Nyr Dyv, and a few too many adventures, Thoric Ironboot’s conscience could take no more. Too many of his swashbuckling pirate antics had placed him in too many morally questionable situations – who’d’ve thought? And so, he quit to go legit. Thoric took his share of the booty and invested it in a ship and crew of his own to begin an honest career as a merchant.
After six years Thoric was struggling as a merchant; his heart wasn’t in it, he missed the thrill of a pirate’s life even though he had no desire to return to his wayward days. And, so he gave away his business to his First Mate and joined the Royal Navy of the Kingdom of Furyondy. Thoric very quickly saw his first naval action against the humanoids of Iuz, who were at this time founding their new evil empire upon the bones of their victims.
For the past two decades Iuz’s control had spread like mold on rotten fruit until the Old One had driven the Kingdom of Furyondy to its very knees.
But on the eve of his victory, Lord of Evil, Iuz was checked suddenly and unexpectedly.
You-know-who, the Mad Archmage of Greyhawk and a band of adventurers seized the Lord of Evil from his very throne room and imprisoned him deep beneath Castle Greyhawk. Deprived of their leader, the orc and goblinoid armies that were gathered on Furyondy’s borders rapidly dissolved.
Jhaxx Doldruin was born in a small and nameless village in the northern Vesve Forest.
In the capital city of the Sultanate of Zeif, Mort was born to the Grand Vizier.
King K-os Bloodsword and his wife, Queen Teega, stumbled through a portal from their faraway kingdom in the World of Titan. They arrived in the Perrenland and embarked upon long and infamous lives as anarchic freebooters.
K-os Bloodsword and his group confronted the wicked wizard Bargle in his own dungeon. After many wild adventures and scandalous escapades they defeated the evil magic-user and claimed his dungeon lair as their own. It was during this time that K-os first wielded the intelligent and foul-mouthed sword, Scar.
K-os Bloodsword and his party spent much of the year exploring the infamous Caves of Chaos where they waged a bitter war of genocide against the poor goblinoid natives who really never knew what hit them. They maintained their remote dungeon lair in the Sepia Uplands and took the Keep on the Borderlands as a more local base.
K-os, Kirigi and Zarr enlisted the aid of a tribe of stone giants, to stage an attack on the town of Exag, in which the valiant adventurers would defeat the terrible giants and win the town’s gratitude (and gold).
Their deception failed for two reasons: firstly, it just so happened that a young ranger, Jhaax Doldruin, was among the town’s defenders and he knew more than enough about your typical stone giant behavior to be very suspicious…
… and, secondly, K-os just couldn’t help himself, his overacting and melodramatic concern for the lion’s share of the glory betrayed them all.
The dwarf Hendel, was a fighter in K-os’ notorious company of adventurers. But he was a dwarf with a problem; he was a hopeless gambling addict and he had accidentally gambled away the group’s home. As a consequence of Hendel’s rather unwise actions, the group found themselves defending the former dungeon lair of Bargle the Nasty against new owners.
K-os’ answer to the thorny legal debacle was to kill all the other claimants upon his home. He did so, and then turned on Hendel the Dwarf, his comrade of many years and had him hanged, drawn and quartered.
Faraway from any of this, in the Duchy of Ulek, a 15-year old awkward little nerd called Malek Cathoris began his apprenticeship to a white necromancer named Janni.
And, a little bit further away, in the Free City of Verbobonc, the very wealthy and important Lady Kathli Torgrim gave birth to her fifth and final child – a handsome little baby boy with a future. She named him Michael.
Jhaxx Doldruin’s aunt and mentor passed away before they were able to return from the Perrenland to their home in the Vesve Forest. Jhaax returned alone, to the forest where he was born.
Thoric Ironboot, on the run from the Navy (he never did like to talk about why, exactly), found himself as far west as west could be, in the coastal town of Hissardarmir.
It was there that he was hired by Flesh Darkshade, Celowin Silvershield and Tam to guide them back east across the Lands of the Tiger Nomads. They planned to drive a bloody great herd of draft horses who would drag their boat, the St. Joseph, across the land with them.
Malek Cathoris completed his apprenticeship and became a white-robed necromancer – you know, the good type.
Meanwhile, back in the Perrenland, K-os Bloodsword had become an infected werewolf, unbeknownst to everybody. Indeed, K-os was leading the investigation into his own recent grisly murders and animal disappearances…
…things came to an inevitable conclusion, late one night when K-os and Teega snuggled up together, and things become less amorous and a lot more hairy!
Teega Bloodsword was forced to beat the living moonlight out of her own poor husband.
In the City of Highfolk, the archmage Mordenkainen formed an adventuring company. They numbered twelve and amongst them were Mordenkainen’s apprentice, Bigby, the fighter Fists, the ranger Jhaax Doldruin and the underdark ranger halfling Pontus Hardiggen (son and namesake of the famous explorer).
Flesh Darkshade and his wife Tam came to an unfortunate and flamey-death in the lair of a balrog, somewhere in the Perrenland. The pit fiend was eventually defeated but only when Flesh’s companions returned with Celowin Silvershield, the barbarian Destro and his companions: Malek Cathoris, Wilhelm of Hextor, Otto, Delsenora and Jehnna Windrow who adventured together here for the very first time.
K-os lead his party off to discover the lost Isle of Dread somewhere north of the Sultanate of Zeif. They had traveled to the island within Baba Yaga’s Hut, which functioned as a very nice home-away-from-home. They explored the Isle extensively and had many crazy adventures, but the whole campaign was marred with disaster!
Prince Arat had become a drunkard, and he badly beat up Jo Bloodsword. As if to make matters worse, he somehow attempted to seduce his mother-in-law Teega instead of making good his escape while he still could.
Teega beat him to within an inch of his life, and then K-os fed him to his new pet dinosaurs. Jo never recovered before the party returned home and her grave remains, to this day, inside the extra-dimensional hut.
The Time of Struggles
The Fourth Age.
Time of the 100-Year Struggle.
The Age of Johydee.
560 CY – 660 CY
K-os and company returned to their dungeon home in the Perrenland. They brought with them several charmed dinosaurs and used them to build the K-os Destructor / Skysoul Pathfinder. The young necromancer Mort joined them at this time as Zarr’s newest apprentice.
Kirigi and Amigi had enjoyed long and fruitful lives of crime, as the thieves in K-os’ party but their crimes would eventually catch up with them. Durin Lute, an elven justicar, captured and executed them for their bounty.
K-os turned the tables and went in search of Durin, seeking revenge. Durin was later captured, killed, raised from the dead, horribly tortured and mutilated and then killed again.
Later this year, K-os ‘accidentally’ ran over Gondric while driving his dinosaur-vehicle, the K-os Destructor – into melee. Vallander was horrified at his indifference and negligence and challenged K-os to a duel, he defeated and killed K-os (but he got better).
Thoric Ironboot finally returned home where he met and joined Jehnna Windrow and her companions.
Deep within the Gnarley Forest lived a small tribe of human barbarians, no-one paid them much attention and they liked it that way. The chieftain of this tribe was a fearsome berserker, who would sooner bury his axe in your skull than admit to tears at the birth of his son and heir. The misty-eyed berserker named his baby boy, Bolan.
K-os’ final act of madness: at one time or another he’d fought and killed just about everything in the Monster Manual, but K-os was nothing if not a completist. He wanted the head of a Demon Lord for his trophy wall and so he convinced Zarr to summon one and bind it to single combat with him.
Zarr thought this was a great opportunity to demonstrate his summoning skills and was very happy to oblige and after so many misdventures through about 3 different game systems K-os met his inevitable end. The Demon Lord ripped his arms and legs off and dragged him screaming into Hell.
K-os Bloodsword was never heard from again.
K-os’ company was disbanded. The dungeon stronghold was abandoned and even Baba Yaga’s Hut wandered off, in a mardy, sulky mood, and wouldn’t be seen again for almost thirty years…
Teega Bloodsword gathered together a new adventuring company, refusing to retire, until one fateful day she encountered a warband of some 50-odd slavering orcs. Naturally, Teega Bloodsword charged headlong into battle, with the unlucky Skillbeck Hezon behind her in the saddle. Both were killed and cooked in the pot, while the rest of the party ran for the hills.
The Battle of the St. Joseph was fought along the Nessar River, north of Nellix.
The St. Joseph (that’s the original floorplan on the banner above – drawn to scale so we could place our figures on it) was originally owned by Lord and Lady Korrigan, they sold it to a group of adventurers without knowing that their Court Wizard had hidden some rather damning documents on board.
Those documents detailed his secret experiments in demonology – experiments that had allowed the Arch-Devil Dispater and his minion the halfling Poitr to conceal nothing less than the most powerful dragon orb ever made within the wooden belly of the St. Joseph’ figurehead.
The adventurers who had purchased the boat in good faith, had no idea that such a wicked wizard and the forces of Hell itself were closing in on them fast… Destro, Kheris, Stellara, Nadair and Claudius sailed off into the sunset none the wiser.
The adventurers were docked in Nellix, planning their next escapades, when their thief, the legendary, Kheris Nimblefingers decided, on a whim, to steal the boat and take off by himself. Kheris told a few white lies, and convinced a pair of elven brothers: Thalaric and Taramis that the boat was his own and they should come along as his crew.
All of the various factions converged on the river boat at the same time – obviously – and one of the most memorable Player vs Player vs Player melee’s of all time erupted with really angry Archdevil’s thrown in to stop things from getting boring!
When the dust had finally settled the boat was still afloat. Destro’s group were victorious and everyone else swam with the fishes. Well, almost everyone…
Dispater had retreated back to Hell with his forked tail between his legs – he’d be back for revenge, of course, but not for 13 long years.
Kheris Nimblefingers survived too, despite being more or less responsible for the entire fiasco – just as soon as the shit hit the fan, he leaped overboard and swam for his life. Kheris was later heard to say, “It wasn’t me. I didn’t steal that stupid boat. I wasn’t even there. I was dead at the time!”
The foul-mouthed sword, Scar, once carried by K-os Bloodsword had since come into the possession of the Court Wizard Arkayn Alter, in the aftermath of the battle Destro the Barbarian claimed the sword.
Destro’s company, now blended with Jehnna’s motley crew, spent much of the rest of the year traveling into the volcanic Hellfurnace Mountains where their bard, Nadair, destroyed the Orb of the Eternal Grand Dragon once and for and all.
On the way home Destro and Nadair got into a petty argument over nothing, really, and the barbarian drowned her in the river in a fit of rage. He lied about it to the others, and no-one ever knew the truth.
By the year’s end the group were back in Ulek, north of Tringlee. They spent the night at a roadside tavern that was operated by a vampire who fed upon his guests…
…Destro killed the vampire but he was left an energy-drained husk of his former self. Destro the Barbarian killed himself very soon thereafter.
The dwarf, Thoric Ironboot, picked up Scar – nobody else seemed to want it!
The elven and orc avatars of Solonor Thelandira and Baghtru fight to the death against the walls of Vallander’s mighty fortress in the Perrenland.
Amongst the defenders is Celowin Silvershield whose deadly arrows slew dozens and dozens of orcs – but in the chaos of the melee, Celowin shot and killed a handful of Vallander’s loyal guardsmen. Vallander banished the disgraced elf and branded him a traitor. Tragically, Celowin Silvershield was later killed by a possessed copper dragon.
The barbarian, Kurt was captured by the Bandit-Queen Ruane Rulane. Her outlaws preyed upon travelers in the narrow passes of the Lortmil Mountains, north of Ulek. The bandits had made their base within Littlefang Castle and had dedicated their crimes to the evil Blood-God Nerull.
Kurt the Barbarian was due to be sacrificed to their dark god, when Ruane Rulane had a change of heart and decided to keep the handsome barbarian as her boy-toy. Kurt had a swift “conversion” to The Grim Reaper and settled in to enjoy his new role as a Bandit-King…
…until he was ‘rescued’ by a Lawful-Good company of adventurers seeking to put an end to the wicked Nerull-worshipping bandits. They were Brynel Tikarom, Drace Tehm, Jan Oakheart, Olaf Helmguard, Scintilla Galahad and Shea Ohmsford.
By the end of the year everyone had wandered south to Greyhawk City. Kurt had parted ways from the lawful-do-gooders and joined forces with the halflings Bill Hillfort and Kheris Nimblefinger to investigate the rumors of monsters spilling out of the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk. They delved as deep as Level 4, before falling afoul of a bizarre trap and falling tragically to their deaths…
…a small wooden hut stands next to a shiny metal box with a door in it. The brightly glowing sign above both of them proudly proclaims “Ascendus’s Scandent Coin-Op Acclivity.” The entire affair is surrounded by many glowing, blinking, flashing arrows, all pointing skyward. The floating exit door is clearly visible from here. What do you do?
A single coin paid for a single stair, but the steps didn’t last forever – Kurt and the halflings were almost 500 feet in the air when they, unfortunately, ran out of cash.
Scintilla Galahad and his religious crusaders soon began a two year campaign to cleanse the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk.
Zagyg, the former Lord-Mayor of Greyhawk City ascended to become a God, forever abandoning his dungeons to chaos. The Mad Archmage’s experiments and summoned monsters had been causing trouble for the past year, but now there was nothing to stem the tide…
Wilhelm’s secret worship of Hextor was quickly exposed. At this time, Malek’s necromancy was still in the closet, and although he had the chance to rescue his companion he did not, for fear that he would suffer the same fate. Scintilla Galahad, not the most religiously tolerant man you could meet, burned Wilhem of Hextor at the stake.
Castle Greyhawk was finally freed from the forces of evil, all those involved were hailed as Heroes of Greyhawk. Scintilla Galahad emerged from the dungeons as the latest wielder of Scar; the zealous paladin had taken the potty-mouthed sword from Colonel Sandpaper (whose terrorist cockatrice minions – available in extra crispy or traditional – had taken it from Thoric’s petrified fingers) on Level 8.
The wizards Malek and Shea both came out of the dungeons with their own Staffs of the Magi; Malek had destroyed the Crown of Might and the company had found a Deck of Many Things.
It wasn’t long before Scintilla began to play with the Deck of Many Things – despite it’s chaotic nature being forbidden to paladins! Scintilla drew the Throne card and was soon Lord of Talonkeep at the very edge of Greyhawk’s domain.
Shea also drew from the deck and gained a Wizard’s Tower within the keep. Malek was less fortunate, his experiments with the deck allowed an old enemy, Demon Lord Jubilex, the Faceless One (whose path they had crossed on Level 10 of Castle Greyhawk) to imprison him on the 528th Level of the Abyss.
The Battle of Emridy Meadows took place and the forces of The Temple of Elemental Evil were defeated – but not destroyed.
The evil temple was sealed and mostly forgotten… for now…
The elves Drace and Delsenora were married at Talonkeep. This event allowed Scintilla to host nobles and well-wishers from all over the world, all of whom were eager to meet and greet the Heroes of Greyhawk. The beautiful baby girl Sashanna was born in Two-Ford, (very) soon after the nuptials.
Thoric Ironboot (once Shea had de-petrified him) capitalized on his newfound Hero’s fame to return to the Royal Navy. Whatever the truth regarding his past military service, it seems all was forgiven, and Thoric was quickly appointed Admiral of the Admundfort Fleet.
Iuz was freed from his long captivity in Zagyg’s dungeons. With all the turmoil within his own borders, King Belvor IV virtually ignored Iuz’s return.
Iuz, for his own part, was happy to keep a low profile on the global stage. His long absence had allowed things to fall matters at home to descend into chaos and disorder. Iuz would need time to recoup and reassert absolute authority over his quarrelsome minions.
Iuz wasn’t the only one to escape captivity. Malek had succeeded in contacting his former mentor and teacher, the white necromancer Janni, and she had traveled to the Abyss to try and rescue him.
Janni failed, such was the curse upon Malek that he could not physically leave Jubilex’s fortress without suffering a fate far worse than merely dying. But Malek would not be denied, he used his trademark magic jar spell, to steal her body, trapping Janni in his place and fleeing back to the material world. The bastard!
Malek, in Janni’s body, returned quickly to Talonkeep where he looked forward to a reunion with his companions (none of whom had actually come looking for him, s/he noted).
Malek arrived at the castle, to find his companions under attack. Their newfound fame had attracted a group of evil adventurers who tried to raid Talonkeep, kill the Heroes and steal their treasures.
The attack on Talonkeep had come so quickly, and the Heroes were so taken by surprise that they were on the verge of defeat.
It was only Malek’s unexpected return that swung the tide of the battle, giddy with his escape from the Abyss – and perhaps, a little broken inside from his body-snatching crimes – Malek unleashed his full necromantic strength on the attacking adventurers and reduced them to quivering wrecks and obedient undead…
…Scintilla reacted with great shock! Scintilla and Malek had been a tight team beneath Castle Greyhawk, combining sword and sorcery to great effect – but Malek had always taken great precautions never to reveal his necromancy to his zealous companions.
They were those that knew his dark secret, Thoric knew, and Delsenora and Jehnna and they accepted Malek as a white necromancer and kept his secret. But now, the necromancer’s skeletons were out of the closet – and to make matters worse, he was apparently a lady-man!
The awful-Good Scintilla Galahad, and his religiously conservative compatriots were appalled. They immediately slapped Malek in chains, and vowed to burn him alive at the first convenient opportunity.
Malek begged Scintilla to free him, to let him go his own way for old times sake. He pleaded his case, that he had never once used his necromancy for evil – but his stolen boobs and lady-bits made his argument ring a little weak. There is little doubt that Scintilla would have lit the fire himself, with Drace, Shea and the others gleefully leading him on…
…but, Jehnna and Delsenora would not be a part of it. The women released Malek from his prison, and allowed him to flee. When he discovered what they had done, Scintilla had them both evicted from Talonkeep and exiled from Two-Ford. The short-lived marriage of Drace and Delsenora ended bitterly when the priest excommunicated his own wife and daughter from the Church of Heironeous.
The unfortunate events of the last year were a turning point for Malek, and not for the better. Malek was deeply traumatized by his suffering in Jubilex’s dungeons, and so wracked with guilt at becoming a body snatcher that the betrayal of his former companions was too much to bear.
Malek fled into the Cairn Hills, gave his soul over to evil and embraced his Dark Arts fully. Mysteriously, at this time, Naggarond Tower appeared on the southern banks of the Lake of Unknown Depths, and Malek claimed it for his own.
Meanwhile, Scintilla Galahad had led the Heroes of Greyhawk into the dark and tangled Suss Forest. They went in search of Cyan Bloodbane, the fiercest green dragon the world had ever known.
They found Cyan and died wishing that they hadn’t, choking on their own blood, bleeding from their eyes and suffocating terribly within clouds of poisonous gas.
Scintilla’s last will and testament had bequeathed everything he owned, including Talonkeep to the loyal Priest Drace. But Drace had died alongside him, and so his belongings passed in turn to his ex-wife Delsenora. The elven archer had no need for a castle and it’s ill-begotten riches and so she just gave it all to Thoric Ironboot.
Jehnna and Delsenora (with infant Sashanna) did return to Two-Ford, where Jehnna would take over running the inn and Delsenora and Sashanna lived quietly on the profits of her adventuring years.
Elsewhere, and unrelated, a sixteen year old Tauren Borosh broke from his own family tradition and joined the Greyhawk City Militia.
The Temple of Elemental Evil: The Second Rising.
A group of young adventurers answered the call. Aril Witherwind, Angriff Vardis, Bolan Ironedge, Finnegan Bospur, Lady Leeahn, Peripim Furfoot and Ponto Bunce were the first adventurers to leave Hommlet and try their luck against the giant frogs and bandits lurking in the Moathouse.
Bolan, Finn, Leeahn and Ponto would form the core of the group that would ultimately defeat, once and for all, the elemental forces of the demon Zuggtmoy, but many others would come and go. Most notably, everyone’s favorite gnome Bevelin, Chobin the Punkster, Elementalist Elmo Helmsbane, Dalraun Trailmaster, Delsenora, Jehnna Windrow, Thoric and, of course, Michael Torgrim of Verbobonc
The Red Death, a terrible magical plague which had caused havoc across the Flanaess all year long, was finally cured by Kaer the elven mage and the Heroes of Furyondy: Sabai and Arwen McAndrews, Arteth and Hawker Starflower, Lykan Salscolan, Balin Rockbreaker and Amy Ruskettle.
By the end of the year, fate would bring Kaer, Balin and Geoff together with the murderous Rathnar Halfelven, Hath Sulmari and Morto Vogel. Together with another group, Torreth, Kelinda, Martin and Patrick they were all lost in the Mists of Ravenloft. Only the treacherous Rath and Hath would ever see Oerth again.
Time passes much slower in the Shadows, and very little time had passed at home when Rathnar and Hath drifted into Greyhawk City aboard The Endurance, a stolen ship. They had not changed their ways… Rathnar concocted his wildest heist yet.
Rathnar planned to cloak himself in an illusion to appear as Thoric Ironboot. It would then, Rathnar supposed, be a simple task to walk into Talonkeep, gain access to the vaults and clean it out.
It was not a great plan, let’s be honest, and the castle guard were immediately suspicious of Thoric’s bizarre behavior and apparent memory loss. Seneschal Morgan was summoned, just as Thoric-Rathnar and Hath were looting Talonkeep’s treasures.
The fiasco only took a turn for the worst when the real Thoric returned home. Rathnar and Hath fled, but they had nowhere to go but up. They were quickly besieged on the roof of the Lord’s Tower, where, in desperation Rathnar plucked a card from the Deck of Many Things.
They were in a tight spot, with an enraged Thoric only moments away from storming the roof. Rathnar hoped – against all hope – that the luck of the cards would be with him and provide an escape. But, his luck had ran out…
…Rathnar drew the Skull card, summoning a scythe-wielding cloaked devil intent on dragging him into Hell. There was nothing else he could do – and so, Hath snatched the deck and drew his own card. His own Skull card!
Their comeuppance, had come. When Thoric finally smashed his way onto his roof the Skull card was blowing in the wind and the thieves had vanished into the pits of Hell never to be seen again.
… the campaign to rid the Temple of all elemental evils was a long one, with many tales and adventures.
None less than the Battle of the Avatars when St. Cuthbert and Iuz clashed in deadly combat; or, the rescue of Prince Thrommel long thought lost after a 5-year imprisonment. After more than a year Zuggtmoy was finally defeated, sadly, Delsenora was killed in the final battle.
Meanwhile, also (it was a busy year)…
… Malek Cathoris had since grown some tentacles, developed glowing eyes and become a Dark Lord of Ravenloft (we’ll come back to that story). He reached out from the Shadows, successfully hypnotizing a young adventurer via his crystal ball and charging the adventurer to deliver a message to Thoric and Jehnna.
Malek had learned that Dispater had returned. The 13th anniversary of the Battle of the St. Joseph was approaching, and the Archdevil had decided it was time to exact his revenge upon all the survivors of that eventful day.
Malek proposed a truce, arguing that if any of them were going to survive Dispater’s revenge they needed to stand together. Thoric and Jehnna reluctantly agreed and left Michael Torgrim as the Lord of Talonkeep in Thoric’s absence. They researched a one-way portal to take them back into Ravenloft and vanished into the shadows.
Dispater’s minion, the archpsionicist Mellenea, attacked Talonkeep in her master’s name. She captured Bevelin, Bolan, Leeahn, Michael, Ponto and Rushlight without breaking a sweat and psychically transported them away to her flying citadel.
But! These were the Heroes of the Temple, at the height of their fame, and they were adventurers not to be trifled with! They escaped their prison and taught Mellenea a good lesson. Leeahn and Michael returned to Talonkeep, but the others chased after Jehnna and Thoric – willingly entering Ravenloft to join the fight against Dispater.
In Greyhawk City the Falcon Cult rose to power.
Baba Yaga’s Hut, not seen since the days of K-os Bloodsword, turned up again, this time in the possession of Leomund the Mage. Along with Michael, Leeahn and Aurora, Leomund began a mission to close several elemental gates within the Lake of Unknown Depths.
Later in the year, Michael accompanied a patrol from Talonkeep. They were almost defeated by an aggressive tribe of kech in the Gnarley Forest.
For some time now, war had been on the horizon. The Shield Lands had all but fallen to the Horned Society. In response to this, Turin Deathstalker, Guildmaster of Greyhawk City’s Assassin’s Guild abused his position to steal a powerful artifact from Lord-Mayor Nerof Gasgal’s personal treasury.
The master assassin stole The Eagle of the Ages and fled with it to the stricken Shield Lands, to help in the battle to save his homeland. Lord Michael of Talonkeep was killed in the Abbor-Alz by manticores while uncovering Turin Deathstalker’s plan. But, he got better and earned his Holy Mount – a unicorn.
Leeahn, charmed by the Deck of Many Things, began to secretly draw cards which pretty much always ends in tears. This time demons flooded into the lower levels of Leeahn’s tower, Thelgaard, and spilled out into Talonkeep on a murderous rampage.
After the dust had settled, the dead were counted and the demons were defeated. Michael was so furious that he decided to break the deck by drawing one last card – and, of course, he drew the Donjon card and disappeared into the dark and distant dungeons of Dorakaa.
581 CY (another very busy year!)
Vecna, after apparently murdering the entire Circle of Eight, was himself defeated and banished from the world at Tovag Baragu.
In the summer there was yet another break-out from Ravenloft. These recent escapees arrived separately across the Flanaess. Ponto arrived in the County of Ulek and made his own way to The Wild Coast.
For a while, Ponto stayed with his old friend Perry, but it became clear that he was suffering from post-Ravenloft-stress-syndrome. Ponto had increasing difficulty adjusting back into civilian life.
Ponto left, unexpectedly, after a fight in the local tavern went very badly (for the locals, Ponto was fine) and went walkabout. Ponto would next show up in the Cairn Hills where he tried to rob Bigby’s tower – it wasn’t his finest hour and he was soon imprisoned in Bigby’s dungeon.
Donal had also escaped the Shadows, he arrived in Sterich where he met Mort and the two became fast, and unlikely friends. Mort’s time with K-os and Zarr had likely introduced him to enough freaks and weirdo’s that a barbarian-vampire seemed trustworthy enough!
Mort was traveling the countryside selling potions and lotions as “Mort’s Marvelous Medicines,” his wagon provided much-needed shade during the day for Donal. They traveled to the capital city of Istivin where Donal began studying Mort’s wild magic and became an accomplished wild mage, himself.
Donal and Mort went beyond the glittering veil and found themselves in the Plane of Shadows (normal shadows, that is, not intelligent, malicious Ravenlofty shadows…) in the shade city of Topaline. Their adventures in Topaline earned them a new and powerful friend, the necromancer Nightshade.
Together the three wizards, figuring they knew a thing or two about magic-users, returned to Greyhawk to confront Bigby and plead with him or force him to release poor Ponto. But Malek, yet another recent escapee from Ravenloft, had been there ahead of them and already rescued the troubled halfling.
Together, the mad halfling and the power-crazed necromancer had killed Bigby and looted his tower. They were still basking in the spoils of their vengeance when Donal, Mort and Nightshade arrived. They all fled back to Topaline, but it wasn’t far enough to prevent Mordenkainen from tracking them down, bitch slapping Malek and putting him on notice before returning to Greyhawk with Bigby’s cloning gems.
Meanwhile, after a lengthy imprisonment in a maximum security penitentiary in Dorakaa, Michael ran into a familiar face. Zembak Narsen, the Cleric of Iuz who had almost brought down Greyhawk City was nothing, if not a man who paid his debts. As Michael had once done for him, Zembak arranged for Michael to escape the prison and slip away into the city and beyond, to take his chances.
Michael’s long journey home, accompanied by his goblin and ogre cell-mates, was a grueling and punishing trek. Michael almost never made it home at all after he stumbled across the dungeon lair of the wicked magic-user Norsinnow. Michael was forced to flee, his fellow escapees were all killed, but he vowed to return and rescue the Princess of Furyondy from Norsinnow – which he did, at the first available opportunity and returned home with his holy mount, the unicorn Caldwell.
Although still furious with her, Michael proposed to Leeahn and the old friends were engaged to be married. Unwisely, they celebrated their engagement by joining Angriff’s adventuring party and heading off to White Plume Mountain. Caldwell, the unicorn, died along the way and almost everyone else, including Leeahn, died shortly after entering the dungeon.
The survivors of White Plume Mountain wished they had died when they found themselves in Ravenloft just in time for The Grand Conjunction…
…by the time Michael limped out of Ravenloft and back home to Talonkeep, Lord Scintilla the Death-Knight had taken over the castle with his undead party. Only once Perry had defeated Shea the Lich was Michael able to confront Scintilla and reclaim Talonkeep from the death knights.
This very busy year ended with a contrite Malek, apparently now working under Mordenkainen’s supervision, forming an adventuring company. They called themselves the Company of Shadows and they were Donal, Kattarin, Gareth, Ponto and Vlad. The Company of Shadows entered Dragon Mountain but only Donal and Ponto survived to tell the tale.
Bigby, freshly re-cloned and accompanied by the paladin Ortux stormed into Topaline seeking to settle a score with Malek. Donal and Ponto were cast back into Ravenloft (once again) and Malek fled for his life, across the planes before arriving at the Elemental Plane of Air where he was taken prisoner by a Prince of Invisible Stalkers.
Early this year Kyrian Darkstar and the cultured half-orc, Craven, begin their adventures within the Underhalls beneath Greyhawk City.
And war finally arrived on Greyhawk when Iuz deceived the barbarians of the North into war and Ivid V marshaled his own legions to war within the Great Kingdom.
Malek, finally free of the stalkers returned to Topaline. Unbeknownst to Malek, Ponto’s cousin Connors and Deadeyes, Priest of Wee Jas were searching for him.
Michael, Knight of Kelanon, killed Drelnza, daughter of Iggwilv in the Perrenland. Iggwilv was so angered at her daughter’s death that she immediately returned to Oerth. The Great War ravaged The Shield Lands, Furyondy and the lands in the north, all now held by Iuz. But, with his Mommy Iggwilv by his side, the war went very well for the bad guys.
Rosie Bloodsword, a successful adventurer in the Perrenland and the Bitter North, returned home once she learned that her siblings had discovered the family deck of many things. Rosie feared the havoc that her family would cause with such an chaotic tool and she stole the deck and fled, changing her name to Stone as she went.
Donal’s most recent foray into Ravenloft had ended, predictably, in tears. The vampire had been trapped within the fang of the nosferatu for too long until – somehow the cursed dagger turned up on the Flanaess.
The dagger was eventually found by Tang the Horrific, Tarkhan of the Purple Eagle Tribe and Prince of the Clan. Tang was a barbarian with a fearsome reputation, who had led a fearless clan of warriors into The Shield Lands just because he hated Iuz that much!
Tang was a fierce force for good, a barbarian hero who fought alongside the paladin Lord Holmer, the master-assassin Turin Deathstalker (and his stolen Eagle of the Ages) and Archmage Tenser at the Fall of the Shield Lands. The spirit of Donal Darkbane arose from within the dagger, desperate for an escape, even as Tang was battling a desperate rearguard for Lord Holmer and his retreating army.
Tang fell in battle, unable to concentrate on Iuz’s demonic army and the vampire in his brain and The Shield Lands, unfortunately, fell soon after that. But Tang’s corpse arose from the battlefield that evening and Donal Darkbane unlived to tell the tale (politics had never been Donal’s strength..).
Donal wasted no time finding Mort and Kyrian. Together the three magic-users infiltrated the Lands of Iuz, hoping for an opportunity to kill the Demigod. They failed and were forced to flee to Topaline. Arriving in Topaline unannounced, Donal, Kyrian and Mort disturbed Tuerny the Merciless and discovered his treachery.
The Baklun scorpion-mage was using the Shadow City as a staging post for his own personal army. Tuerny had been helping Kyrian in the Depths, and teaching him how to use the Obelisk, the ley lines and other sites of sorcery but only so that he could gain access to the Obelisk himself.
Tuerny was actually allied with Iggwilv, and planned to help her win Greyhawk City in return for Iuz not interfering with his own plans to claim the wartorn Great Kingdom. Shocked at the betrayal, Kyrian raced back to Greyhawk City to warn the powers that be, and to convene the first Council of the Grey.
Donal (who was, by now, an 8-year-dead vampire) was at such a loss who to believe, or what to do, that he prayed to Beory, the Mother-Goddess. Beory answered Donal’s prayers and guided him to seek out the mysterious Man of the Cranes; Donal became the second Chosen of Johydee.
Finally, the priest Deadeyes and the halfling Connors found Malek and returned to Topaline. They now traveled with Kelanon, the Lord of Swords and the High Priest of Istus. Kelanon would soon depart on his own quest to find the Dragon Mountain.
Against the backdrop of a world at war, with The Great Kingdom in flames and the central Flanaess consumed by war and chaos, Michael Torgrim, Fallen Paladin of Heironeous and now the first ever Knight of Kelanon located the long-missing seven parts of the Holy Rod of Law.
The Rod was assembled, and the location of the Dragon Mountain now known. Michael Torgrim led a bold strike into the heart of the Lands of Iuz; far beneath Dragon Mountain were the Soul Husks and there, Iuz Lord of All Evil and Michael, Knight of Kelanon beat each other to within an inch of their lives. Mort dealt the final blow, destroying the profane Soul Husks and apparently killing Iuz – although his final true fate was never confirmed.
Michael was terribly wounded in the battle, and retreated from public life to begin a slow recovery in the Vale of the Mage (in the gentle hands of the beautiful Annalise, a valley elf).
For two very long years, the nations of the Flanaess had schemed, murdered and warred against each other until nearly all sides lay bloodied and beaten. The wars had exhausted the land and the people. The Kingdom of Furyondy and the Empire of Iuz ground themselves into a stalemate – and Iuz’s fate remained unknown and no new orders were issued from Dorakka.
Nyrond’s vast coffers were drained dry and it’s overtaxed peasants were rebellious. The Great Kingdom was shattered into countless petty landholdings vying for power. Keoland had fought invasion on all sides; countless men, dwarves, elves and orcs marched off to war never to return.
Farms stood empty. Fields lay fallow. The world could make war no longer.
Proposals for a peace conference were issued by the puppet-leaders of The Scarlet Brotherhood and one by one the nations agreed to peace talks.
The City of Greyhawk, untouched by the war, was chosen to host the peace conference. The Grand Council (as it came to be known) was convened. The proposed truce was an enormous undertaking, balanced delicately upon a knife’s edge with hundreds of bickering, bitter diplomats. For months the truce was debated and argued, intrigues abounded as nations pushed and pulled for their own interests.
The entire peace process threatened to collapse any number of times, but in the end a pact was resolved. The nations were agreed and the Day of the Great Signing was agreed upon. But the true drama had not even begun!
An unprecedented attack interrupted the solemn signing ceremony – Iggwilv, Iuz’s mother, was enraged by the attack on Iuz and had come to claim her revenge. Aided by the treacherous Tuerny the Merciless, Iggwilv was able to gate-crash through the portals and enter the secret Underhalls beneath the streets of Greyhawk – and she didn’t come alone!
The witch arrived at the head of legions of demons that burst – literally – from beneath the streets of The River Quarter. Iggwilv wanted nothing more than to murder the entire diplomatic assembly!
The defenders of Greyhawk City were quick to respond. Kyrian Darkstar was the first on the scene but he was swiftly joined by Lord-Mage Mordenkainen and the entire Circle of Eight. A fierce magical battle ensued, spreading havoc and devastation throughout the Old City.
When the fire and dust cleared, a massive crater had been left in the city. This crater was so deep that it exposed the halls and caverns of a lost dwarven civilization. The River Quarter quickly became an armed camp as creatures continued to creep out of the deeps.
Even today a haze obscures all of the events of that terrible day. Otiluke and Tenser lost their lives in the spell-battle. For reasons that no-one could fathom, Rary turned upon his colleagues during the battle and, not only disintegrated them, but secretly destroyed every clone they had held for such emergency.
Why did he do this? No-one knows, but many suspect an alliance with that other big traitor of the day: Tuerny the Merciless. It wasn’t long before Tuerny decamped his entire mercenary army from the shadow-city of Topaline and into the Bright Desert, coincidentally where Rary had fled to.
Rosie Stone had been in the city throughout the chaos of the Great Signing. The young adventurer had long-since succumbed to temptation and drawn immense power from the deck of many things. It seemed the luck of K-os Bloodsword lived on in his daughter, Rosie became such a powerful magic-user so quickly that she was able to test her powers in the battle against Iggwilv’s demon hordes. She became quite a local hero for her exploits on that day and purchased a home close to the crater, intent on helping in the effort to make the city safe again.