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    Canonfire :: View topic - Niole Dra vs. Gradsul ?
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Niole Dra vs. Gradsul ?

    As a player, which one is more interesting?
    Gradsul
    66%
     66%  [ 8 ]
    Niole Dra
    33%
     33%  [ 4 ]
    Total Votes : 12

    Author Message
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 21, 2010
    Posts: 196


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    Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:32 pm  
    Niole Dra vs. Gradsul ?

    We are just starting a new campaign in Keoland. We are thinking about whether to start in Niole Dra or in Gradsul. I'd like to hear your opinion which is more exciting for mid-level characters. The characters haven't been decided yet but they will be non-evil. My players are neutral about this.

    The way I see it...

    Good things about Gradsul:
    + Access to the sea
    + Massive, lot of people
    + International
    + I have a (poor) map of the city
    + Seekers of the Arcana have their HQ there

    Bad things about Gradsul:
    - Too many high-level NPCs to overshadow PCs
    - Difficult to access different places in the Sheldomar Valley. You have to travel at least for one week on horseback to reach other domains such as Gran March.

    Good things about Niole Dra:
    + Wizards' Academy is an interesting place
    + Capital has more powerful figures
    + Easy to travel on horseback to any direction
    + Short distance to other domains in the Sheldomar Valley
    + I have a bit more source-material about Niole Dra

    Bad things about Niole Dra:
    - No sea-access

    (The reason why I ask this is about motivating myself as DM)
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 13, 2006
    Posts: 654
    From: Frinton on Sea England

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    Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:26 am  

    My vote goes to Gradsul purely because my campaign spent a lot of time there a few years back and we had a lot of fun with the city.

    All kinds of characters can be found in the city and all sorts of adventures can spring forth; urban, pirate, undersea, political turmoil.

    The campaign never actually got to Niole Dra so I'm strongly biased but I'm pretty sure it too would be interesting as a setting for adventure.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 2717
    From: LG Dyvers

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    Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:14 am  

    My vote also goes to Gradsul because of easy access to waterborne adventures. Mid-level characters are the perfect range for piraty-types of adventures, so this is the right time for them to be near a large body of water.

    However, it would be no large difficulty for them to travel to Gradsul to embark a ship if they were initially in Niole Dra.

    SirXaris
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
    Posts: 1361
    From: Tennessee, between Ft. Campbell & APSU

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    Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:25 am  
    Re: Niole Dra vs. Gradsul ?

    Sutemi wrote:

    Bad things about Gradsul:
    - Too many high-level NPCs to overshadow PCs...


    1) So what? The high-level types have their issue, the PCs have theirs;

    2) The PCs could handle odd missions on the high-level PCs' behalf;

    3) With (relatively) easy access to most coastal areas, they don't have to hang in anyone's shadow for long.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 12, 2001
    Posts: 465
    From: Ithaca, New York

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    Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:59 am  

    I don't care about the high-level NPCs, but I also don't care about coastal adventures. Niole Dra.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
    Posts: 1361
    From: Tennessee, between Ft. Campbell & APSU

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    Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:47 am  

    -I missed this:

    Nellisir wrote:
    I don't care about the high-level NPCs, but I also don't care about coastal adventures. Niole Dra.


    ...it's not so much the "coastal" part per se. It's just that from Gradsul you can take a relatively quick sail and wind up in a variety of different places (The Amedio, The Pomarj) and a number of different plac es which just happen to be close to the sea (Seaton springs to mind).
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 27, 2005
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    Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:50 pm  

    So the best part about Gradsul is it's easier to not be in Gradsul? :)

    If Niole Dra is unappealing because it's a circle among a bunch of empty green hexes, what do we need to shake up those blah green expanses?

    Let's start by saying Niole Dra may be the capital of Keoland, but is not the hereditary seat of the ruler. It's a symbolic city juxtaposed where older territorial lines intersect. Intrigue and vieing for control of the city is constant.

    What could make it a city ~symbolic~ of rulership? Is there a geographic feature from which true kings mythologically emerged? What if a lowly (or not so lowly) adventurer came out it alive one day...?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 07, 2004
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    From: Mt. Smolderac

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    Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:25 am  

    ek wrote:
    If Niole Dra is unappealing because it's a circle among a bunch of empty green hexes, what do we need to shake up those blah green expanses?

    Let's start by saying Niole Dra may be the capital of Keoland, but is not the hereditary seat of the ruler. It's a symbolic city juxtaposed where older territorial lines intersect. Intrigue and vieing for control of the city is constant.

    What could make it a city ~symbolic~ of rulership? Is there a geographic feature from which true kings mythologically emerged? What if a lowly (or not so lowly) adventurer came out it alive one day...?


    This is an interesting idea, with a seed already planted in canon.

    From the Kingdom of Keoland (available as a download here --
    "Niole Dra (pop. 25,000) was established soon after the migrations by the nobles of House Neheli as a governing demesne for the Duchy of Dorlin."

    and


    "According to legend, the placement of Niole Dra was determined by the seers of House Neheli, and its present location supposedly holds some mystical purpose."
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 60
    From: Sailing to Irongate

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    Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:57 am  

    I started my current campaign in Gradsul and loved developing some of the city for my players before they booked passage and sailed away. As is my habit, I don't let "canon" NPC's influence what I want to do as a DM too much. I figure those folks have their own agendas, and my low-level PC's have theirs.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:36 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    From the Kingdom of Keoland (available as a download here --

    "According to legend, the placement of Niole Dra was determined by the seers of House Neheli, and its present location supposedly holds some mystical purpose."


    [just to have some fun]

    For Niole Dra, there ~is~ Flan legend about the area from before the Suel and before the Oeridians came. The 2 butting rams, Soodee and Bawkah, both were taking a drink of water. Bawkah on the sun-side south, Soodee on the wind-side north. Not content to drink from the same water, they rushed each other through the water. Their battering hooves built walls of water speeding before them. Their heads pushed low through the water curled a wave over the top.

    Each Ram's water phalanx crashed together in battle first. Then through the water ranks burst Soodee and Bawkah's horns; so great was their impact, fire mixed with the foaming water. The earth peeled backwards into 4 craggy hills, some say resembling the horns of Soodee and Bawkah. The land between the hills recoiled from the blow: a huge cavern opens straight down into the earth. Into this rift plunges the upper Sheldomar river, and is met with equal fury of the lower Sheldomar river, from under ground, fighting back out to continue a southward journey to the Azure Sea.

    4 ancient Flan tribes associated themselves with the 4 horns of Soodee and Bawkah; therefore any tribe controlling these hills held a symbolic rulership over the others. Most often a balance was struck: one tribe holding its traditional horn. But as rulers, fortunes, and allegiances shift, claims and counter claims to other's horns were fought over multiple times.

    The power in these hills is not only political; the ancient blast from the rams-horns strike still glows through the planes. Churning conflict emanates as swirling water and mist from the cavernous opening where the Sheldomar river from the world above and the Sheldomar from the world below hurl themselves at each other. The mist from these twin rivers, when they blanket the hills and towns are omens, enhance magic potency for those who understand how, yet also bring unwanted manifestations from the otherworlds. It may be a great place for a ruler's throne for part of the year, but might not be the most comforting place to live.

    The ancient Flan from the tribes of the horns were much more in tune with this power than the Suel and Oeridians who came later. One tradition common among the southern Flan is of tattoo glyphs. For example, one very common type across a wide swath of southern Flan, are tattoos protecting the bearer against evil fog. Whether these traditions predate the Flan themselves is not known.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:37 pm  

    The Suel and Oeridians streaming into the area by the Great Migrations learned the symbolism of controlling the hills. After displacing the local tribes, Niole Dra (“the place of the Rams”) became the symbolic capital for the new Keoish monarchs.

    Keeping the local Flan in check meant suppressing their cultural power as well. Tattoos were seen by the Keoish rulers as overtly rebellious. Anyone with tattooed glyphs are imprisoned, slain, or have the glyphs cut from their bodies. Much of the wisdom of these glyphs was lost.

    Yet, stubborn Flan allegiances still exist in secret. What glyph wisdom yet remains is kept in utmost secrecy. To keep hidden, the tattoos have retreated from normal vision. They can no longer be seen in normal light. Created ritually, they can only be seen in ceremonial or other special circumstances.

    The Flan are waiting for Soodee and Bawkah to clash horns again, crushing the new Keoish rulers between them. Perhaps a sign will emerge from the rift between the horns.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3312
    From: Michigan

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    Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:46 pm  

    I like that, Ek.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 21, 2010
    Posts: 196


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    Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:08 am  

    Thank you, lots of good points here and Ek's story is appealing.

    I ended up having the campaign in Gradsul. It's been alright.
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