Friday, 30 April 2021

Z is for Zuggtmoy, Demoness Lady of Fungi

Few ascendant demons enjoy worship on Oerth more than Zuggtmoy, "dread and fell ruler of the 222nd level of the Abyss. Zuggtmoy, through a perverse relationship with Iuz, established the Temple of Elemental Evil in 567 CY.

The forces of Good soon defeated her in the campaign that accompanied the Battle of Emridy Meadows in 569 CY. Zuggtmoy was bound deep inside the temple with the aid of Lawful gods of Oerth. Iuz lost track of his "paramour" after her binding, but became aware of her bound existence as he attempted to re-establish the Temple in 579 CY.

Zuggtmoy remains bound in the temple after the Red Company defeated the cults of the Temple working with Iuz toward his purpose. Iuz feigned his interest in the release Zuggtmoy, and while his loss at the Temple was a setback, he considers Zuggtmoy a rival and less a "romantic interest." 

Her binding to Oerth has had dire consequences on the 222nd level of the Abyss. Little is known, but those that study and scry on the machinations of the Abyss report her position as "ruler" is tenuous at best. Her steward is firmly in control of the level and less and less likely to relinquish power with each passing year to his "liege" should she be freed from her prison.

Zuggtmoy is portrayed as a dark beauty by her worshipers. It is said Zuggtmoy's true form is a grotesque toadstool with elephantine legs.

Posted by caffeinated at 1:33 PM in d10

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Y is for Y'dey, Canoness of the Cult of St. Cuthbert

Canoness Y'dey, known to many in Nulb as Mother Screng, ran the aptly named Mother Screng's Herb Shop with her "daughter" Hruda. Both Y'day and Hruda, an elven thief named Murfles, operated in Nulb as agents of Law for Furyondy and Veluna, observing the decidedly evil influences in Nulb and the growing influences of the newly ascendent Temple of Elemental Evil.

Theren and Krieg's first encounters with the Temple left them seeking refuge in Nulb and the assistance of Mother Screng and Hruda came at the right time. The two agents provided shelter and healing, revealing to the heroes their mission.

The two agents could only provide shelter and could not abandon their mission without leaving the herb shop open to looting by itinerant population of river pirates in Nulb or risk discovery by those that lived in Nulb. This was especially true of Hruda that should she be discovered would immediately raise suspicion in the town.

With the Red Company's defeat of the Temple's newest elemental cults, Y'day and Murfles returned to Hommlet, but first burned the herb shop to the ground. Two bodies were discovered in the ashes and most in Nulb believe the "mother and daughter" to be dead. Y'day returned to Hommlet's temple of St. Cuthbert and Hruda to a company of adventurers led by Otis, also an agent and knight of Furyondy and Veluna that still runs a smithy in Nulb.

Posted by caffeinated at 1:00 PM in d10

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

X is for Xakihn, Druid

Xakihn (ZAH-kin) was a druid in service of Iuz on Walworth Isle in the Nyr Dyv.

Druids in the service of Iuz might be best thought of as an "anti-druid." The protection of all things natural might be the furtherest aim of many Iuz's druids. Xakihn had made associations with General Azrené through her sisters operating in the island's main port, Admundfort.

Azrené's sisters had long come to the attention of the Red Company and to a sister, had fallen to their swords and hammers, but not without advancing her goals in each sacrifice; sacrifices that weighed heavily with Iuz's perverse sense of loyalty. Xakihn worked on the island to research glyphs of power associated with a powerful celestial magic. Intended for the observation of the objects in the night sky, these glyphs could easily draw the observed objects too close to Oerth, This unintentional result could easily be perverted to evil purpose if it could be controlled.

Xakihn achieved this perverse goal along side Shindara, Amara's sister. The glyphs, accompanied by an artifact in the form of an armillary sphere pulled a celestial object directly to the island. 

Xakihn and Shindara died on the island after the Red Company arrived on the island at the behest of the Lady Katarina of Critwall. The resulting destruction from the "meteorite" caused earthquakes in Admundfort that has loosened Iuz's hold on the island and forces of Law have relaunched efforts to secure the port and the Nyr Dyv from Iuz's pirates.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:36 PM in d10

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

W is for The Welcome Wench

The Inn of the Welcome Wench is recognized by the stout wooden sign bearing a  buxom, smiling girl holding flagons of beer. Always filled with patrons, the Welcome Wench is a stop for traders and a myriad of other traveller and adventurers in the Village of Hommlet.

The Welcome Wench is run by Ostler, a friendly tavern keep of few words and sergeant of the Hommlet militia, and his family. Ostler can be found on the grounds of the Welcome Wench most hours and most days. He is known to use his position to learn about developments in Oerth and a reliable source of information to agents for the Kingdom of Furyondy.

The Red Company's first days in Hommlet were at the Welcome Wench. They secured work with parties interested in exploring ruins that took them to an abandoned moat house that was once an outpost for forces of the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Today, the Welcome Wench remains busy and understaffed. Between the loss of a stable boy that came into unexpected riches and the demand for staff at Kriegmart, a trading post with locations throughout the realms of Law, Ostler hires from skilled travelers looking cheap or free lodging more often than not of late. Ostler does not lament the success of Kriegmart, but has been known to proudly point to a signed image of Krieg himself, a Knight of the Land of the Kingdom of Furyondy and founder of Kriegmart to any customer coming to or from the trading post. The image was a gift from Hugh, Krieg's well known agent in Oerth.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:38 PM in d10

Monday, 26 April 2021

V is for Vog'dramach, Nalfeshnee

The few fiends left on Oerth soon find themselves in the service of Iuz or his Bonehearts. Vog'dramach, Vog for short, is one such fiend, a Nalfeshnee demon. Nalfeshnee demons are well known for their unmistakable hog-like appearance. Corpulent, foul smelling, and capable of flight (from two impossibly small wings on their back) or teleportation.

Vog is well known to the Red Company. Vog is plays two sides in a dangerous game. Allied with Iuz and something of an enforcer for General Azrené. The Red Company first met Vog in the dark tundra near Dorakaa on the "hunt" for escaped conscripts. Vog lost his "recruits," the same conscripts sought by the Red Company. He was later parlaying with the Red Company for replacements that he soon sent against the Red Company in a pitched battle in the Vesve forest. He lost a second time.

Vog is known to be an enforcer in General Azrené's ground forces. He was recently seen with Azrené's warriors beneath the Rift Canyon. He ordered the warriors to do their "duty" for the General and Iuz then quickly teleported away.

The Red Company has set a personal bounty on Vog. His skill at parlay will surely be tested on the day the Red Company comes to collect.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:47 PM in d10

Saturday, 24 April 2021

U is for Ulaa, Goddess of Gemstones, Mountains, and Hills

Known too many dwarves as The Stonewife, Ulaa's priesthood is a formidable force protecting the mountains from those that would seek to exploit the riches found there: gold and silver veins, caves of gemstones, and more.

Her priests are often recognizable by their gem heavy warhammers. Many dwarf priests and priestess are seen wearing gems in their beards. Krieg, a member of the Red Company, has been whispered as a member of a more marital sect of the priesthood, wearing gems in his beard and wielding the warhammers Rocky Hammer and Whelm. Krieg has been known to offer his "beard gems" in service of Law throughout his campaigning lending some credibility to this rumor. Krieg has never denied this association.

Ulaa is the wife of Bleredd, The Iron Mule, god of Metal, Mines and Smiths. She wields Skull Ringer, a warhammer forged on the same anvil of Fury, the warhammer of Bleredd.

Posted by caffeinated at 1:54 PM in d10

Friday, 23 April 2021

T is for Theren, Master Thief

This is last post of three looking at members of the Red Company, a once upstart and uncommonly allied group of adventurers that have become well-known heroes of Oerth. The Red Company is the party of player characters in this D&D campaign taking place in this version of the World of Greyhawk, the original campaign setting of D&D.

Theren is an elven rogue, Elder of the Land of the Kingdom of Furyondy, and an original member of the Red Company. Theren and Krieg met in a small village and seized an opportunity on a posted job for hire. Their teamwork made them inseparable, if unlikely, companions.

Their adventures soon took them to the Village of Hommlet. It was in Hommlet that Theren honed his craft, but never rested on adapting to the dangers he encountered on campaign. He is a skilled arcanist and deadly in a fight. His elven dexterity is renowned, with blade or bow. Theren never misses an opportunity to aid his companions with a well placed arrow from his magical bow, a knife slipped into an enemy's back, or calling fire from his hands; the latter recounted by Krieg to be the source of fire at the Waterside Tavern in Nulb. He possesses a Ring of Invisibility and is known to use it often in scouting on, spying on, and surprising his foes.

Theren is the current owner of the trident Wave, a legendary weapon thought to be forged by Procan's priests. Theren has been known to place a coin or two in a collection box at a Procan temple, in deference to his hasty, if exaggerated, conversion to the faith when wielding Wave in the White Plume Mountain for the first time. 

His assistance in the rescue of Prince Thrommel in the Temple of Elemental Evil has made Theren a rich "rogue" and landed Elder of the kingdom. This position of wealth has made his deadly martial skills standout and he is sometimes whispered about in the halls of the Assassin's Guild (where his status and renown, if he would join their membership, could be a legitimizing balance for the guild).

Posted by caffeinated at 3:21 PM in d10

Thursday, 22 April 2021

S is for Sariel, Warrior and Banshee

Sariel was a legendary elven warrior and leader of an elite guard that patrolled and secured the elven ley line network throughout the forests.

She had become enthralled, and lover, of Narween the succubus in one of her many forms. Narween soon twisted Sariel's devotion to learn, map, and discover the workings and weakness' of the network, reporting much of what she learned to Iuz's network of spies.

Narween betrayed Sariel in dramatic fashion after learning all she could. In a frenzy of murder, Narween dispatched much of Sariel's force in a bloody fight. Sariel died holding her fabled sword with Narween's claws buried in her ribs, Narween whispering her true intentions in Sariel's ear. Sariel's tortured death transformed her into a banshee.

Narween may have achieved her short term goals, but left the ley-line network broken. Sariel guarded her last post on the network with a burning vengeance, watching forever for Narween to reappear in the portal. The portion of the network was abandoned, Sariel would soon find no one using the portion of the network she guarded. Until Narween had need to abandon the lands of Law.

Narween enlisted the Red Company from her prison in Flameflower to use the ley line network. One stop on the trip was Sariel's eternal post. Narween watched the Red Company fight Sariel and release her from her tortured existence. The Red Company claimed Sariel's sword. 

The actions of the Red Company would open the ley line network again. For Narween it would allow Iuz to leverage the network to move Iuz's forces deep into the lands of Law. For the Red Company, it would be the easiest part of their travels with Narween.

Posted by caffeinated at 3:14 PM in d10

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

R is for Rezca, Staff Head Mistress

Rezca is the head mistress of the Azrené house in Dorakaa. A role made for Rezca, as unforgiving in the house as the city around her as those she serves.

She was first encountered by the Red Company when they arrived in Dorakaa, in secret, but befriended by an enterprising, and part-time rogue, member of the house, Baggi. Needing help in the kitchens, stables, and in the house guard, Rezca reluctantly took the Red Company into the staff.

She came to look askance at the new members of house when Baggi disappeared. Whispers that he crossed his new "friends" where only rumor—a number of those seeding the gossip were tortured and Rezca dismissed the rumor, but did not stop thinking about Baggi's abandonment of the house.

Rezca recognized talent though. Lumox quietly worked his magic in the kitchens, while Theren and Krieg would take on various roles in the guard or as escorts to the lesser nobles of the house. When Rezca became aware that the Red Company's work was becoming recognized by the house, her own ambitions were being threatened. Rezca assigned "Baggi's Friends" to increasingly dangerous tasks. She had them "hand-picked" to join a hunting party. Only the hunting party bosses return. It was a legitimate way to rid the house of these upstarts. The returned and their status was raised again.

She saw another opportunity when the sicon of Azrené hosted his paramour, Saffron, for an intimate, if barbarous, evening. The evening turned deadly when the scion killed a "gift," a high-priced sex thrall, to his love. Rezca assigned the Red Company to the disposal of the body, but they soon found themselves being chased through the streets of Dorakaa by House Azrené's elite guard. The Red Company survived this running fight. Krieg's own fight won the favor of Saffron, who saw that her lover wished her killed as well.

Rezca was finally rid the Red Company when they were seen for what they truly were when General Amara saw through the Red Company's magics that allowed them to live in the house. She was happy to be rid of them, but her favor in the house dropped considerably. Rezca allowed the Red Company to live among the house for weeks. 

Her health is unknown.

Posted by caffeinated at 2:28 PM in d10

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Q is for Quasit

After the Flight of Fiends, few remain on Oerth and in Greyhawk. Of those that do remain, they hide. Through their shapeshifting or finding places well out of sight of Lawfully aligned creatures.

One such Quasit is Kriitch, as he is known to his closest ally Falrinth, a wizard aligned with the Temple of Elemental Evil. Both met their demise in an encounter with the Red Company.

The Red Company encountered Falrinth and Krittch in their private rooms near a secret passage that led to the surface ruins of the Temple itself. The encounter was a pitched one with Kriitch aiding Falrinth in the form of a bloated centipede. The fight ended with both heavily burned from flaming oil spilled from a brazier. 

Kriitch had led Falrinth astray from the true temple following, convincing Falrinth to secure and hide the powerful artifact known as the Orb of Golden Death. Skull shaped more than a perfect orb, the artifact is now in the Red Company's possession. Krieg held the skull for sometime and is aware of the evil nature of the orb. He hides the orb in plan sight: on the back of a high shelf in the first Kriegmart in Hommelt. It is set among some other skulls, including one of a Quasit. It is unknown if this skull is Kriitch's.

Posted by caffeinated at 2:36 PM in d10

Monday, 19 April 2021

P is for Procan, god of Seas, Sea Life, Salt, Sea Weather, and Navigation

Procan is a fickle god enjoying worship from sea-faring people and the occasional inland congregations in his aspect as a god of weather. He currently enjoys the reluctant recognition of Theren, a member of the Red Company, and wielder of Whelm. a legendary, powerful, and intelligent trident. This "worship" by Theren, a high elf Master Thief1 is expedient more than devout.

Like the shifting weather on the open sea so can Procan's mood. The feeling that "if you don't like the weather, wait an hour, it will be different" reflects this aspect of Procan. 

Procan wields a trident known as Undertow and this trident over a cresting wave is his priest's holy symbol. His church has few rituals and many priests enjoy comfortable lives tending to sea-faring traders, and many captains will happily berth a priest of Procan as "good luck" on long voyages.

  1. [1] Theren will be the subject of "T is for Theren"

Posted by caffeinated at 1:29 PM in d10

Saturday, 17 April 2021

O is for Oerth

In the fiction of early D&D and Greyhawk, Oerth is described as such:

The world of Greyhawk encompasses the Flanaess, the easternmost portion of the vast continent of Oerik, on the sphere of Oerth.


Oerth is but one world among many, separated either by the gulfs of space, the invisible ether, or the fragile veils of reality.1
Much of the known world takes place on the vast continent of Oerik. Gods and Devils are real on Oerth and are beings of unfathomable power and visit the mortals, if in disguise or not, through avatars or not, thus making the worship of these beings have real and material consequence.

The divine or arcane magics that are wielded by priests or scholars are often helpful or as deadly as the mortals tools or swords.

Great armies march for Law and Chaos across the land, armored footmen, knights, and mounted calvary. The wars are deadly and bloody. Kings and Queens hold court with Lords, Barons, and Landed Knights, all rule over landless peasants; some benevolently, but a few cruelly. 

Civilization is what is made by the culture of kingdoms and races of men, elves, dwarves, and more; even beasts, devils, demons, and fiends create cruel and twisted mirrors of Law's works.

On this world rise a breed of adventurers that may first seek riches, but through sheer will and often luck, rise to good and are sometimes tempted by evil. The Red Company is one such group of mortal adventurers. Whether knighted, ennobled, or blessed by divinity, each member of the Red Company has achieved more than they possibly could have imagined in the years campaigning together in the beginning.

The stories and legends of Greyhawk and Oerth are forever changed by these heroes.

  1. [1] Living Greyhawk Gazetter, Eric Mona, et al., Wizards of the Coast

Posted by caffeinated at 4:52 PM in d10

Friday, 16 April 2021

N is for Narween, Succubus

Narween was a succubus agent of General Amara Azené operating in Furyondy and the Shield Lands. Narween is one of very few Fiends that survived the Flight of Fiends in 586 CY. Since before the Flight of Fiends, Narween operated throughout Oerth as a spy of the highest caliber. Aided by her shapeshifting ability and her innate skills of seduction, Naween's activities could be too numerous to even fathom.

In recent years Narween began operating within Elven lands and became aware of the open secret of the ley line network. She began feeding this information to contacts within the Empire of Iuz and led them directly to the ruins in the lands of the Horned Society. It is unknown if this is where she became aware of the Red Company—as Narween or in another form—however she was certainly, by this time, aware of General Amara and her "Lawful" origins. It is whispered in some circles that she was the impetus that led Amara to Chaos.

Narween was captured by elven forces and placed in the prison at Flameflower and spied on by Lord of the High Elves of the Vesve, Kashafen Tamarel. It was in this prison that Narween had her first recorded interaction with The Red Company. Narween used The Red Company to get released from the prison, and through a murderous agreement of tit-for-tat, dispatch an elven banshee, of Narween's own "creation," that possessed and guarded a menhir on the ley line network.

The Red Company became further aware of how devious Narween could be just before  before her death. Arriving on the frontier at an almost forgotten and embattled outpost, Narween thanked the Red Company for dispatching the banshee and for preparing the ley lines for use by Iuz's forces of evil as she was cheered by a host of fiends. Narween died, rather unceremoniously, at the end of an elven sword wielded by an anonymous soldier. It is not known if she knew that the Red Company had thwarted her best laid plans and now possessed a cache of information on Amara's personal goals of revenge on the forces of Law on the whole of Oerth, held in the libraries of the outpost's most powerful magic users, of which Amara had once claimed membership.

Posted by caffeinated at 11:05 AM in d10

Thursday, 15 April 2021

M is for General Mya, Elf Commander

General Mya cuts an imposing figure. She exercises both military professionalism and a political acumen between Elven and Human interests on the east and west sides of the Horned Lands, formerly the lands ruled by the Horned Society, now part of the Empire of Iuz.

Her current attentions have been leading an elite force of Elven soldiers deep into southern most regions of Iuz's territory between the Veng and Ritensa rivers across from Barduk in the County of Crystalreach. She has been charged with securing the ruins of an elven city deep in corrupted forests of this region. Her mission is to push Iuz's forces across the Southern Skull Trail while secretly securing the ruins. The ruins  hold secrets of a lost elven celestial tool, known as the Armillary Sphere, that could be easily twisted into a weapon.

With the help of the Red Company, she succeeded in the first mission. Iuz lost territory along the whole of the eastern shore of the Veng River and was pressed east of Skull Trail. This has pushed Iuz's retreating forces into elven forces in the southern most edges of Fellreev, an elven forest bordering the eastern frontiers of the Empire of Iuz.

Mya's secondary mission was less of a success. The, then aspiring, Greater Boneheart General Amara Azrené had agents in Iuz's forest garrisoning the elven ruins. Azrené's forces were supported by an aboleth that aided in securing the information of the Armillary Sphere in the ruins, despite the direct intervention of the Red Company. 

In all, the public success of the fight has given Mya some political breathing room and has allowed her to secure the gains of the fight in the interests of Law and Good, including shutting down a corrupted elven menhir on the ley line network that Iuz was using to move forces deep into the Shield Lands. She aided the Red Company in infiltrating Dorakaa through access to her greatest magic users. Mya has not seen the Red Company since their departure using the corrupted menhir.

Posted by caffeinated at 2:25 PM in d10

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

L is for Lumox, High Priest of Pelor, Member of the Red Company

The is the second post of three looking at members of the Red Company, a once upstart and uncommonly allied group of adventurers that have become well-known heroes of Oerth. The Red Company is the party of player characters in this D&D campaign taking place in this version of the World of Greyhawk, the original campaign setting of D&D.

Lumox, surname unknown, joined the Red Company campaigning sometime in 579 CY during the reemergence of the Temple of Elemental Evil near Nulb in the Viscounty of Verbobonc. A devout cleric of Pelor, Lumox brought a needed element of arms to the Red Company, and the eye of a god of Oerth, if initially a sideways one, on their actions against Iuz. Lumox's prays often for the health of the Red Company and Pelor's blessings have provided the Red Company with healing in critical encounters with Iuz's strongest allies.

Lumox's actions with the Red Company have raised the Church of Pelor's status in many kingdoms allied with Furyondy. Pelor enjoyed some worship through his association with the Church of Mayaheine, a paladin of Pelor elevated to demi-god, but Lumox's name and deeds are seeing an ascendance of Pelor followers, especially in the former Shield Lands.

Lumox wields a Rod of Lordly Might and skalds circulate songs and stories of Lumox's Spiritual Weapon, Pelor's hatred of evil manifest in the form of a mace, or Lumox glowing like the sun, lit from within by Pelor, striking fear into the enemies of Law and Good.

Lumox's faith is a force multiplier for the Red Company in battle. He has been known to fly a magical Griffon against hordes of Iuz. 

True to his calling as a cleric of Pelor, he is fond of great feasts and is known by many to be a generous host to all in the service of Law. He even leveraged these works of Pelor at great risk of discovery, under the nose of Iuz in Dorakaa while in working in secret as a member of General Amara Azrené's house on her ascendancy to the Greater Bonehearts.

Pelor's watchful attention increasingly falls on Lumox. As a wandering and campaigning high priest in his Church, adhering to Pelor's tenets, if not the written letter of each, Pelor considers Lumox's prayers with favor.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:46 AM in d10

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

K is for Krieg, Knight of the Realm, Member of the Red Company

The is the first post of three looking at members of the Red Company, a once upstart and uncommonly allied group of adventurers that have become well-known heroes of Oerth. The Red Company is the party of player characters in this D&D campaign taking place in this version of the World of Greyhawk, the original campaign setting of D&D.

Kreig, simply Krieg, is a dwarf fighter, is a champion of Law of barbarian strength1, and wielder of twin flaming Efreeti blades. Kreig was knighted by Prince Thromell for participating in the Prince's rescue from The Temple of Elemental Evil and granted lands in the east of the Kingdom of Furyondy. 

Krieg is also the wielder of Whelm, a legendary hammer, rumored to be magically intelligent. He came into possession of Whelm and the Efreeti blades following the defeat of the Anciet Red Dragon Keraptis after the Battle of Emridy Meadows and defeating the guardians of White Plume Mountain.

He prefers his two flaming Efreeti scimitars over Whelm, a hammer that continuously pesters Krieg about its forging, its "brothers," or the sunlight. Besides his Red Company brothers-in-arms, he has been seen with a loyal cadre of northern barbarians, leading them into a fight against beasts or into hordes of fiends aligned with Iuz. The barbarian cadre are thought to be ghosts summoned by Krieg's Iron Horn of Valhalla. Krieg is never without his warhammer Rocky Horror or his battle axe Strange Love, magical weapons made legend by their fearless wielder.

Krieg is a known entrepreneur and financier of the much sought after Krieg-mart chain "Purveyor of Quality Outdoor Adventure Supplies." Recently, broadsheets have circulated that Krieg-mart has been aggressively buying makers of tents, creating a supply problem, making tents and tent fabric more and more expensive.

Krieg's position as a Knight of Furyondy, a member of the Red Company, and a fighter that has delivered many victories to his liege Prince Thrommel, has given him a lot of flexibility and afforded him the means to continue adventuring and campaigning. He was recently appointed by the Prince to chair a group of knights overseeing the Kingdom's taxation and wealth sharing laws. He has yet to appear in a session, deferring to Hugh, his representative to merchant guilds and manager of Krieg-mart expansion.

  1. [1] As a character in D&D, this makes Krieg a 18th level Dwawen Fighter Champion with a level of the Barbarian class.

Posted by caffeinated at 1:48 PM in d10

Monday, 12 April 2021

J is for Count Artur Jakartai

It has been rumored for sometime that the Count Jakartai of the County of Crystalreach in the Kingdom of Furyondy has been recently courting southern allies on his borders with the Empire of Iuz along the Veng River.1

These rumors turned greatly to fact as a flotilla of warships from the Restored Holy Realm of the Faithful of the Shield Lands travelled north to the besieged Castle Hart near the Fort Barduk on the Count's southeastern frontier and the ruins of what was called Port Valour. The flotilla, sponsored by Her Most Honorable Ladyship, Countess Katarina of Walworth, Knight Commander of the Shield Lands, landed at Barduk with the much famed Red Company.

The Red Company stayed briefly at Barduk and soon crossed the Veng into Iuz's grossly extended frontier between the Rivers Veng on the west and the River Ritensa on the east. For the Countess Katarina, the use of the Red Company, strongly allied with Furyondy through its landed members met two goals: extending the front along the Veng river north and showing the Shield Land faithful, always looking east from Critwall, that she was ready to push across the Veng. Count Jarkatai has a different political problem that he is currently deflecting with entreaties to Furyondy that the Church of Heironeous approves of the actions. He was greatly relieved that Hetel, cleric of Heironeous and an ally of the Red Company, boldly supported the action as well.

The Red Company's success in Furyondy's seemingly never ending war against Iuz proved a great relief to Count Jakartai. He has since been able to land a large force on the eastern shore of the Veng and pushed the frontlines all the way to the Southern Skull Trail extending from Boulderford in the north to Krabalsthorp in the south.

  1. [1] Living Greyhawk Gazetter, Eric Mona, et al., Wizards of the Coast

Posted by caffeinated at 8:40 PM in d10

Saturday, 10 April 2021

I is for Iuz the Old

In the lore of Greyhawk, Iuz ("EYE-ooze")1 has evolved over the decades. Many first encounter his description in The Temple of Elemental Evil, a campaign setting for Greyhawk published in 1985 and recognized as one of the best campaigns published in the long history of Dungeons and Dragons.

Iuz is a demi-god, thought to be spawn of the demon Lord Graz'zt and Iggwilv, thought by some to also be Tasha, a powerful wizard raised by Baba Yaga.2 A cambion, a fiend possessing the powers and traits of its parents, Iuz is a seemingly immortal despot.

He is known to the commoner as Iuz the Old One or Iuz the Evil, attributes of how he chooses to be seen by or known to mortals. He is seen by most scholars as the demi-god patron of Evil, Deceit, Pain, and Oppression.

Iuz has been the known consort of Zuggtmoy, the Demoness Lady of Fungi3. Zuggtmoy is currently imprisoned in The Temple of Elemental Evil and remains there through the efforts of The Red Company. This encounter has raised The Red Company to the attention of Iuz and his circle of Bonehearts. The newest member of this circle, General Amara Azrené has personally taken on confrontation with the company and is both acting for Iuz and herself, though it is certain Iuz is aware of any selfish action Amara may be taking.

Iuz's attentions are many, but expanding his empire, dedicated to his patronage, remains his main focus. Troublesome mortals are left mostly to his Bonehearts. He has reportedly been seen less and less. Rumors say that he has grown wary of appearances as they are often quickly visited by gods of Law and Good. Iuz's nemesis is the lesser god St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel. They have often fought on the mortal plane and St. Cuthbert's uncanny nose for finding Iuz visiting his armies, his priests, or his paramour Zuggtmoy, has made Iuz weary of trivial appearances.

  1. [1] Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, E. Gary Gygax, Eric Mona, et al., Wizards of the Coast

  2. [2] Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, Jeremy Crawford, et al., Wizards of the Coast

  3. [3] The Temple of Elemental Evil, E. Gary Gygax, Frank Mentzer, Wizards of the Coast

Posted by caffeinated at 8:46 AM in d10

Friday, 9 April 2021

H is for Hugh, free peasant, guild member

Few peasants can speak to rising out of the muck and grind of a peasant's typical life. Hugh is one of those few. In the Village of Hommlet, Hugh met the newly landed Knight of the Realm, Member of the Red Company, Krieg, an imposing and entrepreneurial dwarf fighter.

Krieg saw potential opportunity in Hommlet in an abandoned trading post. The previous owners of the trading post were members of a cult pledged to the Temple of Elemental Evil and met their demise when they were discovered by the Red Company.

Krieg placed Hugh in charge of the trading post in Hommlet. Through the growing name recognition of Krieg in the last year, and the recognition that a recently found and circulated prophecy that spoke of the return of a "Red Company of Heroes," Hugh has parleyed his simple watch of the trading post into a position in the Merchant's Guild.

This position has afforded Hugh the opportunity to act on his Lord's charge, "Grow Krieg-mart throughout all kingdoms." Hugh has met this charge and more. Hugh now runs four Krieg-mart trading posts for his Lord: Hommlet's quaint original, one in Critwall, one in Verbobonc, and new one opening in Galt, a secluded waypoint on the Elven ley line network. This newest Kreig-mart is Hugh's attempt at capturing a wealthly and private elvish market for Krieg and Kreig-mart. The Galt trading post may prove to be the most expensive setup yet.

Hugh's tenacious mindset to mastering the merchant mind has made Kreig-mart a recognized name in many capitals, with members of the merchant guilds jealously courting Hugh for get the next Krieg-mart. This has made Hugh quite comfortable and created an income stream for Kreig that supports his greatest interest at the moment: campaigning with the Red Company.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:22 PM in d10

Thursday, 8 April 2021

G is for Plar of the Rift, Durand Grossman

The Rift Canyon is a land feature of immense scope, 300 miles or more from the western to eastern ends and half or more at its widest point north to south. It is over 4 miles deep and seemingly impossible mesas rise from the canyon floor.

The people's of the Rift are led by Durand Grossman1, the self-appointed, and oddly named, Plar of the Rift. Plar Grossman leads a mixed band of native Rift tribes and refugees of Iuz's constant attacks from the Tangles, a deep and near impassable forest, at Iuz's southern front. Grossman is amassing an army in defense of not just the Rift, but an army to exact a particular type of retribution on the allies of Iuz. To this end, he is allying with fractions on the surface.

Grossman received word through these allies that The Red Company would need guides in the Rift Canyon to find the Greater Boneheart Amara Azrené. Plar Grossman is a gregarious host to all real or presented "diplomats" from the surface. The Plar laid the seeds with The Red Company to secure support for arms and action to rid the Rift Canyon of Iuz's garrisons in the Leering Keeps, a series of forts that guarded well known exits from the Rift and launching points for Iuz's constant raids on silver mining in the depths of the canyon.

Grossman provided The Red Company with the necessary guides and through this, The Red Company discovered that beneath the canyon lies a "hollow world," as large as the canyon itself. Peopled and populated by evil creatures that worship dark gods and thrive in a world being poisoned by Amara's magics and her promise of the complete destruction of the Rift and the very surface that the Rift embodies and inhabits.

  1. [1] Durand Grossman is Greyhawk canon. Gary had a way with names.

Posted by caffeinated at 1:35 PM in d10

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

F is for Flameflower

Flameflower is the seat of Elven power in the Vesve Forest in the northwest frontier of the Kingdom of Furyondy. The forest extends along the southwestern edge of the Clatspur Range of mountains and the forest's northeastern frontier borders the frontiers of the Empire of Iuz.

Kashafen Tamarel of Flameflower, Lord of the High Elves of the Vesve, holds court in Flameflower. The town primarily serves as the home of the Lord's court and the small population of 500 high elves living here act in the Lord's interest. An elite guard of High Elves is present at all times.

Flameflower has many secrets, but two standout. The first is a prison of magical construction and the second is less an absolute secret, but closely guarded: a network of ancient Elven menhirs connected to powerful ley lines. 

The prison is constructed of magics that confuse those put inside. Once inside, the prison strives to make its "prisoners" comfortable, and more importantly, grow complacent while providing the guard and Kashefen Tamarel a direct method of spying on the prisoners. The prison's magics can be quite beguiling to those inside and loosens tongues quickly. But too long in the prison can leave one very confused once released, to the point some have gone insane.

The network of ley line powered gates are similar to teleport circles, but constructed of ancient magics keyed to gemstones. More recently, control of these gates became an objective of Iuz's allies. The Red Company, following a lead on this interest found themselves traveling the gates to a hub menhir under siege by Iuz's forces. Here, the company learned of General Amara Azrené's fall from Law and her true plans for reshaping the world through fire.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:56 PM in d10

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

E is for Emridy Meadows

The Emridy Meadows lie northwest of the Village of Hommlet, near Emridy Run, a small river.

In 569 CY, Prince Thromell led forces of Law against a horde of Chaos that had arisen from the then nascent Temple of Elemental Evil. The Prince delivered a stunning defeat to the forces of Chaos, but he was lost in the battle; no body was recovered. It would be learned much later he was captured and placed in a magical stasis deep in the dungeons of the Temple, forgotten until found and rescued by The Red Company.

The Red Company, through the use of powerful time-bending magics, returned to Emridy Meadows to fulfill a geas of a Gynosphinx bound to the White Plume Mountain by a long thought dead wizard, Keraptis; a wizard last seen in the first century of the common calendar. At the close of the Battle at Emridy Meadows, the Red Company pursued the retreating forces aligned with Iuz, the Temple, and Keraptis to a town on the River Veng. Here Keraptis revealed his true form: an Ancient Red Dragon!1

The fight left the Red Company wounded, yet it fulfilled the obligation of the geas. Keraptis was dead and the history books would be rewritten and updated. Their heroics at Emridy Meadows and on the Veng River would become a prophecy told for the next ten years, that when they returned to their own timeline, would catch up to the Red Company and be fulfilled in with great fanfare on their return from the White Plume Mountain.

  1. [1] In the canon of Greyhawk, Keraptis disappears in the first century of the Oeridian calendar, circa 90 CY. And the above history is mostly of my making, building off the canon of Greyhawk and making it malleable, fitting it to the story my players and I create at the table. Using the seeds of the canon, I build on notes such as Keraptis's legendary "gruesome threats...fulfilled just often enough to keep [people] afraid of him" or his single known work, The Pyronomicon, to find a new story in the fiction. In hindsight, he is the perfect Red Dragon. Slumbering in a volcano until Iuz awakens him. The canon of Gnomes and clones... nah.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:54 PM in d10

Monday, 5 April 2021

D is for Dala and Dick Rensch

Dala was a cutpurse plying her trade in Nulb, a filthy trading outpost on Imeryds Run. She is the paramour of the hostler, and part-time pirate, Dick Rensch, at The Waterside Hotel. 

Dala and Dick ran something of a racket at the Waterside Hotel in Nulb before it was burned to the ground by a grease fire that started in the kitchen. Witnesses say a fight broke out in the kitchen. The fire had spread so quickly, it was quickly rumored to set by magical means, though many did not rule out rivalries or revenge, especially since Dala had been growing more brazen in her activities, often leaving men jilted, poorer, or frustrated; sometimes all three. The hotel had been used as meeting place for recruiting by river pirates and bandit gangs in the area.

It is not known what happened to Dala and Dick after losing the hotel. The lack of a place where Dala could ply her skills, aided greatly by her allure and free-flowing spirits, the pair likely abandoned Nulb for "opportunities" on the river.

The area around Nulb and regular trading routes on Imeryds Run were seeing an increasing number of raids, raids often planned at The Waterside Hotel or its not so friendly competitor the Boatman's Tavern. The criminal activity had been rumored to be caused by evil influences emanating from the ascendant forces gathering in the nearby ruins of the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:12 PM in d10

Sunday, 4 April 2021

A to Z 2021 Posts Incoming

I have been a long participant of the Blogging A-to-Z Challenge. My MeWe feed recently started filling up with posts from like-minded participants in the RPG community. 

In 2011 I won the Best of the Fans award from The Altdorf Correspondent, Magnus Seter, for my series of WFRP posts. I continued for five years, but dropped after the organizers, in my humble opinion, flubbed the participation effort. 

I'm about to catch up. My theme will focus on PCs, NPCs, and Places in my current Dungeons and Dragons 5e Greyhawk campaign.

Greyhawk?! Fifth edition?! Never the twain have met. Bullshit. Your D&D is not my D&D. And the dirty little secret of D&D is that even Gary said there are no setting or rules gatekeepers.

Posts will be "back-dated" so there may be some catch up for readers!




Posted by caffeinated at 2:04 PM in d10

Saturday, 3 April 2021

C is for Captain Jacque Herz

Captain Jacque Herz is an member of Prince Thromell the IV's personal retinue and master of the Prince's elite guard.

After Prince Thrommel's rescue by The Red Company from a magical stasis deep in the Temple of Elemental Evil, Captain Jacque was assigned to accompany the heroes to the White Mountain and defeat a rising threat on the frontiers of Law by Keraptis, a wizard long thought dead, "arisen" in service to Iuz.

Defeat of Keraptis by the Red Company had Captain Jacque return to Furyondy where he returned to his role in the court of Prince Thromell. He would not be seen by the Red Company again until he revealed himself in Dorakaa.

Captain Jacque, as part of a secondary effort to penetrate deep into Iuz's inner circles, had been subjected to powerful magics of disguise. In the form of a Dragonborn mercenary in service to a Boneheart house, Jacque was assigned as part of an escort to watch over the Red Company, themselves subjected to the same magics of disguise. 

The Red Company, having found favor in the same Boneheart house, was assigned to recover conscripted beasts of war that had escaped into the tundra surrounding Dorakaa. The Red Company's escort, including Captain Jacque, were under specific orders to kill the fugitives and the assigned trackers. When Captain Jacque deduced the three members of the house were his old friends he ambushed the escort knowing The Red Company would seize the opportunity and in doing so add to a growing fraction of the house losing confidence in the leaders of the Boneheart house. 

Jacque revealed himself announcing, "I told these fools, 'never bet against The Red Company!'," referring to a moment when the escort took bets watching The Red Company fight creatures in an ambush of the lead column.

He helped quietly behind the scenes in his own assignment to sow distrust and animosity in the houses of the Bonehearts. Jacque joined The Red Company on their hasty departure from Dorakaa after finding out that General Amara had seen through their disguises, but capitalized on the division they had been sowing to secure her place in the circle of Greater Bonehearts of Iuz.

He parted ways with The Red Company again and has not been seen for some time, thought to be back in the service of Thromell's court in Furyondy.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:29 AM in d10

Friday, 2 April 2021

B is for Boneheart

The Bonehearts of Iuz are well documented in the lore of Greyhawk.

Consisting of two circles, Lesser and Greater, they lead, advise, and otherwise act as the few that Iuz can "trust," if trust is even something that he can know. Much has been written about the Bonehearts in the annals of Oreth's lawful kingdoms. Many of the Lesser circle of eight members are known. The Greater Bonehearts are are lesser known, but it is thought that all are powerful wizards, witches, warlocks, or demi-gods themselves. The membership of both circles often change. Typically through the ruthless exploitation of weakness or a misstep by the current members of both circles. Iuz would likely have it no other way.

The Lesser Bonehearts are often deployed to lead fractions of Chaos on the frontiers of his empire in the northern climes of Oreth; pressing constantly on the borders of Law and seeking to influence and corrupt the Kings, Queens, and Principalities of the same.

The Bonehearts were likely the patrons of the fractions of The Temple of Elemental Evil and Kraptis in the White Mountain. Both sites of Iuz's greatest and deepest attempts yet at destroying the these kingdoms in the recent past.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:00 AM in d10

Thursday, 1 April 2021

A is for Amara Azrené

General Amara Azrené has sought for years to elevate herself into the Greater Bonehearts of Iuz, the Cambion demigod son of Graz'zt, a demon lord of the Abyss, and the human witch Iggwilv. 

Amara was formally a member of a company of powerful magic users at the frontier of human and elven lands, bordering the Empire of Iuz. Corrupted by Iuz and the temptation of power greater than she had known, she betrayed the guardians to Iuz's forces. Through influences of ancient and forgotten powers, she entered Dorakaa, Iuz's capital and became an influential member in the circle of Greater Bonehearts through deception and ruthless murder. Amara is now a member of this elite circle that advises and performs the evil work of Iuz. Her true patron, known or unknown to Iuz, has led her on a quest to reshape Oreth through the very destruction of the world, Law and Chaos alike.

Her only opposition: The Red Company, a band of heroes that have thwarted several attempts of her peers in the Greater Bonehearts. Yet her greatest plan was set in motion alongside these seemingly failed efforts at conventional empire building.

Even now the Red Company works to stop her most destructive effort yet, bring the very heavens down.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:00 AM in d10