Thursday, October 11, 2018

Things I've Used in my Greyhawk Campaign and Reports on Some Recent Events in the Central Flanaess

I've been DMing by son, Brisco in a Greyhawk campaign for the past two years. Aside from the core 1e books, here's most of the published sources I've made use of and a little of what happened during play.

OSRIC - A handy quick reference for 1e. If I don't feel like lugging around a lot of books and I'm not expecting anything out of the ordinary, I'll sometimes just take my 1e PH and OSRIC A5 along as my basic ruleset. Available at RPGNOW in print and in pdf for free. 

The World of Greyhawk Folio - I've got the boxed set as well, buy I like the compact nature and layout of the folio. For me, the only thing of value the box set adds is info on the gods and I'm using the Dragon magazine articles for those. Now available at RPGNOW in print or pdf. Also, still very findable on the second hand market.

Mad Irishman's AD&D 1st Edition Character Sheets and NPC Sheets - The TSR goldenrod sheets for AD&D were the best. And these replica's are just what the DM ordered. The NPC sheet replica's are really cool, as well. Available gratis.

Classic Dungeon Designer's Netbook #4 - Old School Encounters Reference - This thing. This thing is very, very good. If you don't have it, get it. It's free. Perfect for running a 1e Hex Crawl, doing your normal prep, or for quickly rolling up virtually anything at the table. ANY THING. The word is: Comprehensive as Fuck!

Monsterless Manual - Al from Beyond the Black Gate posted a lot of good stuff back in the day and this free PDF of NPC's is something I always keep on hand. 

Things About Villains from Playing D&D With Porn Stars - An excellent random table from Zak S. Free on his blog. 

Tower of the Stargazer - James Raggi's classic OSR introductory adventure. When playing, my son is sometimes brazen as all hell and often incredibly... judicious. Upon confronting the "star gazer," he snatched the star crystal, did a quick appraisal and said "That's good enough! I'm outta here!" and made his way out of the tower, with the occupant's curses screaming after him, thus avoiding many of the module's nastier traps. Brisco later ran this module himself, DMing OSRIC for his friends. I set the tower in the Cairn Hills, not too far from the city of Greyhawk. Available in PDF from RPGNOW and in Print from the Publisher.

Under Siege - A Labyrinth Lord module set in Larm, this one is kind of interesting. Its main selling point is the battlemat and counters it comes with and if you don't mind printing these out and maybe gluing some cardboard backing to them, you've got a nice wargame set up with which to play out the Battle of Larm. A host of Goblin and associated critters, about 60 if I recall correctly lay siege to the small village of Larm. The PC's are expected to lead the defense and save the village! Bonus: the spider-goat encounter with associated game counter. 

I've been meaning to do a full review of this. I've ran it twice. The first time was a resounding success and the heroes saved the day. The second time was in this campaign.

Brisco's PC and his hireling fighter Thomas found themselves in Larm, located where the Need River is just about to cross into the Cairn Hills, some miles SE of the City of Greyhawk. In the early hours of the siege, Thomas is rudely dispatched and Brisco's Merlin decides to bug out, but not before stealing a few choice scrolls from the now dead village elder's office. 

Leaving the module and its doomed inhabitants behind, he uses his magic to turn Invisible and heads into the Cairn, northwards, running out of food, water and in serious trouble. A fortunate roll on the encounter tables finds him meeting up with a couple of gnomes, who offer him succor. In what is possibly his darkest deed, Merlin murders the Gnomes, taking their supplies and heading west. He later runs into a lone Mynock. This creature was an agent of Iggwilv, spying for her in the area. Brisco decides to attack first and ask questions later. 
The DM thought Merlin was going to die at this point, but the dice gods decided otherwise and Merlin unexpectedly triumphed, earning a Crystal Ball for his efforts and the attention of Iggwilv for the next several months of the campaign. 

It should be noted in his favor, that while he still sometimes prefers bold actions, Brisco quickly passed through this, shall we say, highly chaotic phase of his early D&D career and now seldom slaughters innocents, or attacks something for merely looking at him funny. He is still prone to betrayal, however and sometimes frets that his PC isn't being evil enough. 

Monsters of Myth - A book of monsters for OSRIC. One of the best alternative, or secondary monster manuals out there. And its Free in PDF

T1 The Village of Hommlet - A lot of the action in the campaign has taken place in and around the Kron Hills. Even after killing that bastard Lareth the Beautiful, Hommlet was the center of the campaign for several months. Rufus has been called back to Verbobonc and Burne is currently in Nulb, working against the surviving members of the Cult of Elemental Evil. Only available in pdf from RPGNOW, I'm sure you can find a copy on ebay. One of the most celebrated modules of the TSR era. 

B2 The Keep on the Borderlands - I replaced the dungeon but kept the keep and the basic setup. Baridel Keep is located in the Principality of Ulek, near the border with the Pomarj. An ambassador from Ulek traveled to several nearby areas, recruiting adventurers to help stabilize the area in and around the border with the Pomarj. My son's PC Merlin decided to check out the situation and while he was away from the Kron Hill area, a group of ne'er do wells went into the Temple of Elemental Evil and unleashed all manner of vile darkness. A few stray bands of cultists, as well as the occasional demon or two can still be found roaming the area, though good aligned forces have gotten the situation mostly back under control. Available in PDF from RPGNOW, but easily found on ebay

Highlights from the period include a 7th lvl Merlin taking on a mercenary band some 200 strong, alone, after they confiscate his horse and satchel of gold. Also, the Quest to recover The Horn of the Edge of Time, where Merlin earned the trust and respect of the dwarfs in the Kron Hills. . 

Fight On! - Various issues. The Darkness Beneath. I replaced the caves of Chaos in B2 with the Fight On! megadungeon. Only a few levels actually saw use, as play shifted back to the Kron Hills. If you haven't checked out any issues, I encourage you to do so. Fight On! was a staple of the early OSR and probably the best bang for your gaming buck. 

G 1-3 Against the Giants - A slaughterhouse of a module series. Available in PDF from RPGNOW. Second hand print copies can still be found, but you might have to do a bit of digging for this one and prices have been going up, last I checked. A party of doughty dwarfs, and one somewhat evil MU cleared up the Giant uprising. 

D 1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth - Things got weird with this one, as at the end of the Giants series, Brisco decided to descend into the depths at Eclavdra's side and traveled with a party of drow, down to Erelhei-Cinlu. Available in PDF from RPGNOW and of course, on the second
hand market.

D3 Vault of the Drow - After a bit of exploring the Vault, Brisco and a duergar henchman he picked up along the way, found themselves in Lolth's temple and face to face with the earthly avatar of Lolth herself! The duergar was quickly dispatched, but Brisco managed to sneak in a Disintegration spell at the beginning of the battle, before Lolth could extricate herself. Brisco watched nervously as I rolled the dice. Lolth failed the MR roll and her save, as well! This precipitated open war between the drow factions, further complicated by the arrival of several hundred Dwarven warriors from Balak-Tor. Available in PDF from RPGNOW and ebay, etc. 

DF16 Skein of the Death Mother - Published by Dragonsfoot, this is an alternative dungeon for Lolth's lair, meant to replace the Spider Ship in Q1. Curiously, I couldn't find this on DF but did find this link to a copy. I didn't use Q1 at all, choosing instead to expand this module with some appropriate abyssal scenery.

Merlin the MU - L 12,
his henchman Elimon the Fighter - L 10, 
associates Theron the Dwarven Fighter - L 11, 
Horos the Dwarven Cleric - L 11, 
Gozman Voz a hideously scarred servant of Zagyg - MU L7, 
and two L 7 Dwarf Fighters serving Horos, 

All descended into the Abyss to slay Lolth. For shits and giggles, apparently. It's been said that Q1 really doesn't follow logically from D3 and there's no reason for the PC's to go after Lolth in the first place. True. But I bet they do, 99 times out of 100. After a few skirmishes and one major pitched battle in Lolth's lair, the PC's quickly hunt down the demon queen and the final confrontation is over fairly quickly.

In round one, Elimon dies from Lolth's poisoned bite and the dwarves are struck with confusion, or fear. Someone manages to slightly wound Lolth. By about eight points. Not enough that she feels the need to invoke her thrice daily Heal power. Brisco has no idea how many Hit points she has, but he gets initiative and being now alone against Lolth, decides to take a gamble. He's been carrying around a scroll of Power Word Kill for several months. As always, I roll the dice in the open and Lolth totally blows her Magic Resistance roll! With 58 remaining HP, she dies!