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    Greyhawk Wars
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 05, 2003
    Posts: 33
    From: Aerdy

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    Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:26 pm  
    Greyhawk Wars

    This is what it said on the back of the box:

    From the mad Malachite throne in Rauxes to the bejeweled city of Chendl in Furyondy, the Flanaess is at war! In the east, Overking Ivid V thirsts for conquest. Vatun, Great God of the North, meanwhile unites the barbarians and Fists into a fearsome force. Not to be outdone, the dread Iuz masses humanoids and fiends in the northwest. And the Scarlet Brotherhood in the south hangs over all the Flanaess, pulling the strings of war like a mad puppeteer.

    Take command of the armies yourself and change the dark course of history! Between two and six players can battle, deciding the Flanaess's fate in diplomacy and war, and leading armies and heroes across two full-color maps. Muster your armies from over 300 counters, ranging from light infantry to dragons -- with your favorite demihumans and monsters as well! With over 150 cards, you can search for treasure or mercenaries and receive the gods' blessing (or curse) through special events. When the battles come--the times that try the souls of all--you'll want your armies backed with the wisdom contained in the 32-page history of the actual war. The set also includes an easy-to-read 8-page book of rules, with optional advanced rules for hard-core wargamers.

    Awesome! That's OUR world, guys! We can play in OUR world again. Forget the Forgotten Realms! Toss out the sunscreen and abandon Athas! Spelljam yourself home! This is the original Hollow World! We'll be angsty with vampires and fight the Days of Futures Past later... we're GOING BACK TO GREYHAWK.. TO GREYHAWK... TO GREYHAWK! We're going back to Greyhawk! I don't think so... (apologies to LL Cool J).

    We thought we'd get to bring the wars into the campaign. We thought that, like in all Greyhawk content, we would be the gritty adventurers who would save the Flanaess from evil. Greyhawk isn't Faerun, where Elminster conjures up police tape to keep us out of any formative events in the setting while letting us shovel up the bodies after the fact. Greyhawk isn't Krynn, where everythingthathappenshashappenedbeforeandwillhappenagainanditdoesnotmatterwhatyoudo

    We were wrong. This was a crappy board game with a lousy war story attached to it. We played the game and then we stopped playing it. We went out and picked up the two Corusk modules and read them like they were screenplays. We dug through the catalog and saw that more material wasn't on the horizon as far as we could tell, and then we learned that everything would be set in a new "post-wars" setting. We were crushed, so we set off to fight these wars ourselves.

    First we had the problem of our King of Furyondy. You see, this fellow had been rescued from imprisonment years earlier and had gotten married, merged his realm with his wife's realm, gobbled up the nearby indie states, and prided himself in happily dispensing out “busy work” as if he were a cowled figure at the darkened table in the corner of the tavern. This Furyondy was incredibly powerful, and was fated to only get stronger if no strangeness from TSR changed its course.

    The second problem was that our Aerdy was a complete mess. It had already been broken up and was ten years into a civil war. The massive armies that would plow into Almor and Nyrond simply didn't exist.

    The third problem was that we'd already torn the Scarlet Brotherhood into confetti.

    So, we winged it... (and I'll write more later. I just saw the time)
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3836
    From: So. Cal

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    Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:11 am  

    I've know three groups who have gone through ToEE, and they ALL found and rescued Thrommel, which resulted in the combining of Furyondy and Veluna. When a scroll riddle to his location is blatatnly provided, I think that any group players with even a modicum of curiosity will figure out what the message means and find him, or even stumble onto the hiding place by accident even if they didn't find the message. The whole Thrommel issue has been a very common problem for many people who want to incorporate the post-Wars material into their campaigns due the the regularity with which his hiding palce has been found.

    I look forward to reading about how you fit things into your campaign.

    Last edited by Cebrion on Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:19 am; edited 1 time in total
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 07, 2003
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    Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:15 am  

    Yeah our group rescued him too. I just had him vanish again during the Great Northern Crusade. It still works.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 30, 2008
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    From: In the lost cavern near the forgotton temple

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    Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:18 am  
    Buy that dude a small beer...I can't afford an ale!


    IMC The one time that Thrommel was rescued, he returned not to welcoming arms in Furyondy/Veluna, but to:

    1) To the very powerful and independant Lords of Furyondy who were very reluctant to cede any control to Throm, no matter how pretty he was...
    2) Veluna was not super interested in getting all unified with Furyondy, they had thier own interests (Ket), Furyondy politics and wars, just like Jolene, who had "met somone else" in the meantime while Throm was stored like firewood in a dark creepy basement.
    3) Throm was not in the best of mental health after his imprisonment. The stasis took its toll, plus all his friends had turned away from him (they thought he was dead and the political tides had redrawn the map).

    He's basically alone, no allies/friends, no Jolene, cracked psyche, stalked by Iuz's assasins, TOEE assasins, Scarlet Brotherhood assassins, assassins hired by the less scrupulous Furyondy Lords.

    Throm just his trusty magic sword to talk to...

    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 24, 2005
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    Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:56 pm  

    Wow, I'm really surprised that this many people found Thrommel. I mean, I knew some campaigns would, but it isn't what I would call easy. Maybe my players and I are just slow, but the first time I ever read the module I remember thinking, 'there's no way anyone is going to find him after all that'. My players didn't even come close. They found the poem, knew what level to look on, but never found the secret door. If they did, AND they had gotten past the invisibility (which they may or may not have done), then they probably would have fallen for the illusion, beheaded him and stuffed his mouth full of holy wafers or something :)


    I have to give Monte Cook a tip of my hat for making Thrommel a real vampire in Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil - nice touch.

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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 13, 2008
    Posts: 184
    From: Houston Texas

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    Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:36 pm  

    In all my years of playing/running Greyhawks ToEE, Thrommel has never been the prominent figure that he seems to be in everyone elses campaign. Thrommel has been A)rescued and then rewarded the players before disappearing, B) accidentally killed because of a previous encounter with dopplegangers, C) purposefully murdered to prevent his re ascension to the throne (to be fair this was a party of almost entirely evil characters) but D) most frequently, he was simply overlooked and missed.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    From: Little Rock, Arkansas

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    Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:58 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    I've know three groups who have gone through ToEE, and they ALL found and rescued Thrommel,

    My players killed Thrommel. Of course, they were all half-orcs.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 05, 2003
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    From: Aerdy

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    Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:16 pm  

    605 CY
    You Never Know When You Will Refer Back To Your Notes

    We started the wars in 605 CY, because that's about where we figured we were if we used 576 CY as the start of our playing in Greyhawk. Considering we had started playing in 1984 as goofy ten year olds and were seniors in high school when Greyhawk Wars appeared, twenty-four years isn't really that long, and it would have probably been even later if we had nitpicked.

    As I'd mentioned previously. we didn't like “Five Shall Be One” and “Howl From The North” after reading them through, but one of the players (who filled in as DM from time to time) decided rewrite them enough to not be an anticlimactic kick in the crotch. His finale took place in David Baucher's “Ancient Blood” module (Dungeon #20). This guy really shocked us with how well he ran those two modules, with additions from his own devise and some other products that made the finding of each sword a herculean feat in its own right. His Corusk campaign lasted for nearly six months during 1992, ending literally the morning before he left for the Army in late summer. By the end of 605 CY, The Great God of the North, Sagard (I know), and his captains, the PCs, led the horde on a tour through Stonefist, the Bluff Hills, and into the Duchy of Tenh while the rest of the barbarians prepared for the next year's amphibious extravaganza into Aerdy.

    At the same time that one group of characters were looking for cutlery, we had our original DM pop back up with his neverending list of ultimate adventuring tips. This was the type of DM who liked to have Tiamat on the first level of a dungeon and handed out Longswords +4, Defender like your crazy aunt hands out questionable advice. He also loved evil characters and had tons of them ready to play an adventure where they overthrew the shadowy rulers of the Horned Society and put themselves in charge as the willing pawns of Iuz. That festival of hackenslash took slightly longer than Iuz's night of terror, but I got the chance to play Silke, the androgynous assassin again and everyone involved enjoyed rolling lots of dice and causing nasty things to die. Shortly thereafter, the Horned Society (augmented with help from Iuz and bandit mercenaries) fell upon the Shield Lands and caused much mayhem, which was opposed by another of our campaign's groups of goodie characters. They managed to hold at Amundfort, but Battlesystem failed them and the rest of the land was lost. The best moment was when one of our campaign's thieves came face to face with Drelzna, daughter of Iggwilv, who had personally had allowed to escape justice years earlier. This time, she let him escape the clutches of her forces as the Knights of Holy Shielding were torn apart on the shores of the Nyr Dyv. There were disagreements involved with how this whole thing should have played out, but most of us lived around here, and the guys who had the problems didn't, so our views won once they went away. This version of “My Greyhawk is better than your Greyhawk” prepared me for future RPG discussions on the internet.

    I'm not sure how or why, and I'm chalking it up to DM fiat, but other events occurred in 605 CY that followed the Greyhawk Wars outline pretty closely. I imagine it had something to do with our lack of interest of time in developing certain aspects of the wars, or perhaps I was just too lazy (or drunk) to care...

    At this point in our world's history, The Great Kingdom of Aerdy was in a state of Civil War, and had been for nearly a decade. This was all the result of the PC's having destroyed the Malachite Throne (and Ivid) with an artifact with the power of destroying other artifacts. The Aerdy Civil War was a war of succession between various evil factions and a tiny group of good folks who fail miserably in their attempts to change the character of those lands. At the start of the Greyhawk Wars, the North Province was at war with the tribes in the Bone Hills, the Sea Barons were raiding everyone with impunity, Rel Astra had expanded and become more of a neutral power, Ahlissa was an independent and evil state, and the See of Medegia was still rich.

    For unknown reasons, the Sorcerer King of Rauxes hired massive hordes of humanoids and mercenaries from across the Flanaess and beyond and rammed them into Almor like a spear. The Almorians got ripped apart, and Osson's Raid started off much like it did in the canon narrative. Nyrond was unable to rush to Tenh's aid because it was forced to fight to help liberate Almor and prevent that army from proceeding into Nyrond.

    The Scarlet Brotherhood tried to assassinate important figures in the Iron League to add more chaos to the region, but failed miserably and drew the full wrath of the Iron League upon them, instead of that alliance rushing to assist Almor and Nyrond.

    In the Pomarj, Turrosh Mak, a half-orc in the service of Iuz, had assembled the humanoids and forged them into a force to be reckoned with. He drove most of this horde up the Wild Coast, delivering pain and suffering to peoples long accustomed to Pomarj humanoids delivering pain and suffering. The rest of the horde was left under his second-in-command to wait in ambush for the eventual “backdoor” strike by the Ulek states. Turrosh Mak was finally stopped after sacking Narwell and Safeton, turning his still-growing forces around and returning to the Pomarj, leaving town and villages he'd plundered in the control of various humanoid chieftains and bandit leaders.

    The Yeomanry, Sterich, and Geoff fell to giants, Drow, and humanoids. I know this from some scribbles in our Wars Campaign notebook, in somebody's handwriting other than my own. I don't know how or why this occurred, other than it matches well with the canon Wars material. I also know that this is why Keoland and the Hold of the Sea Princes weren't involved in the rest of the wars, and in the “present day” all three kingdoms are still under the fist of evil forces of an undefined nature.

    Real life had constricted our time for gaming together over the summer and we'd decided to put all Greyhawk campaigning on the back burner until the first semester of college was over and most of us were back in town. Unfortunately, life's ugly head prevented that from happening as well, and I didn't get back to 'hawk gaming until the summer of '93, though that didn't stop the four guys who were still in high school...

    (next... 606 CY. The title will be “You're Supposed to Keep Notes On This Stuff!”)

    edit: sorry 'bout the multitude of spelling and grammar errors. I should probably invest in a word processing program that corrects those issues.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 23, 2007
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    Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:50 pm  
    Re: Greyhawk Wars

    Fenreer wrote:
    Greyhawk isn't Faerun, where Elminster conjures up police tape to keep us out of any formative events in the setting while letting us shovel up the bodies after the fact. Greyhawk isn't Krynn, where everythingthathappenshashappenedbeforeandwillhappenagainanditdoesnotmatterwhatyoudo

    Thanks, this made me chuckle.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    From: So. Cal

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    Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:54 pm  

    Laughing I'm laughing about the note taking part. At the start of my own campaign back in 89', I started an adventure journal which covered the main action in each adventure that had been gone through, and major events/items/whatever that the characters had gone through or acquired. I also made notations of enemies they had made, whether they had been killed but has freinds or if they escaped. It was very detailed. Sounds great, eh?

    Well, over time, that journal devolved into just notes on the pieces of paper I used to keep track of trearsures found and monsters killed for each adventure, and that I(usually) tucked into each adventure that I ran, such that trying to piece things together now is a real chore.

    So, definitely keep good note because you never know how long your game will go on for. Wink

    Prior to the Greyhawk Wars, a friend of mine ran a campaign where there was a "God War" which ended up being a reason for the various nations to go to war too. His impetous for the event was more about consolidating the Greyhawk pantheons into a single managable pantheon of archetypal gods than anything else, and was also a reason to not have to write up specialty priests for every single Greyhawk god. This was actually an issue for him as the adventures we were going on took us all over the Flanaess and slightly beyond, so many priests were being encountered. When From the Ashes came out, he kept accusing us of having sold material to TSR, as many of the outcomes of the Greyhawk Wars mirrored his own. Talking to so many people thorugh the years, I have found that this is not all that uncommon whatsoever.

    The state of things as presented in the 83' boxed set and early Dragon magazines with regards to the events of the Greyhawk timeline really do set the stage for a Flanaess-spanning war, so it's no wonder that so many DMs fell into letting loose the dogs of war. I'd say that my DM was fortunate in that events fell out to be so similar that he could pick up the From the Ashes material and incorporate it into his own campaign with little or no effort. It just happened to work well for him, and by the time that material had come out, my own campaign timelime hadn't advanced that far so I could pick and choose what I wanted to make used of, or even set up Greayhwk Wars/From the Ashes events that I liked and wanted to incorporate into my own campaign. Mostly this has taken the form of large battles, which I find very fun to incorporate the PCs into and play out.

    Last edited by Cebrion on Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:59 pm; edited 2 times in total
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    From: Aerdy

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    Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:48 am  

    It does seem like Gygax was either trying to set up a war across the Flanaess. I've felt that this was the case for a long while, though the more I looked into pushing one into play, the more it looked like it was going to become a zero sum game. It's almost like Greyhawk is destined to revert back to a status quo no matter what side gains a temporary advantage.

    I also considered culling Gods. We weren't playing 2nd Edition with all the kits, but it did get annoying to juggle all of these deities that were wandering around, plus even more kept leaping out of Deities and Demigods and landing in the game. It took pure willpower to hold back the urge to conjure up a God War, but once I saw what the Forgotten Realms did with theirs, I was pleased that I didn't crumble to the urge. I'm sure I would have handled it differently, but probably much worse.

    You're absolutely right about keeping good notes. Whether it is a game or a job, there will come a time when you have to check the past to find the answer for dealing with the present or future. Good recordkeeping can even help dodge an indictment, unless you really are a crook and meticulously document your criminal activity, which happens from time to time. J.R.R. Tolkien is said to have left literally hundreds of pounds of notes, outlines, and sketches, most of which have still never been seen by anyone but his family. I once read (probably on a message board) that Gary Gygax would be seen at conventions jotting notes on the backs of flyers or napkins. I wish I'd taken the care to document my school and work dealings as I did my roleplaying games.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:48 am  

    Hey all! Brand new to the boards here, but I'm a long time gamer and Greyhawk fan!

    -I have played through ToEE once and ran it twice....nobody found Thrommel in any of them....the first time, as a PC, we looked a little, but got caught up playing the Temple factions against each other and then after finding the Orb; it was ALL about getting the power gems and destroying the Orb....we forgot all about Thrommel. In the two where I was the DM, once, they never found him...the other time they didn't even bother to look....

    -A little bit of background on me....I started playing at about ten/eleven and this was a few short years before 2nd edition came out. I knew a LITTLE bit about greyhawk before the 2nd edition stuff came out...but then when I was in highschool, I bought From the Ashes and was HOOKED! Personally, I LOVE Sargent's stuff, though over the years I have collected almost everything Greyahawk that has ever been released, and I can understand how those raised on the earlier products could be upset by the changes....

    A couple of views of my own though: First, I think WARS is an okay game, and I personally happen to really like the background piece that Sargent wrote.

    As for the "Five become One" and "Howl from the North" modules...I rather like them too, for the most part....but you can definitely tell that the third part was originally intended to be a module with the begining phase of the war....not a board-game with just a history to tell you what happened next. Personally, I'd love to run a campaign incorporating these modules and have it run right into the war....then the PCs can be there at the VERY start of the war...maybe be the ones to first report how the whole mess started....

    One thing for me though....I'm not a big fan of jumping time-lines too much....I liked how City of Greyhawk and From the Ashes and even Adventure Begins all stuck to within a 15 year time period....I REALLY get annoyed when game companies try to have every year of RL be a year in game time (old school Shadowrun comes to mind)...Or who put out products that arbitraily jump events 20 or more years into the future (Like Battletech and the lame-**** Clans stories)...this makes it WAY too hard to have a campaign who's events are quickly outstripped by publised stuff!

    Just my two cetns...
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
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    From: brazil

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    Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:38 am  

    welcome , friend!

    i share same opinion as you, about the timeline advance
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    From: Aerdy

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    Mon Dec 15, 2008 6:05 pm  

    606 CY

    I have decided to avoid throwing shoes at the guys who played out Iuz's invasion of Furyondy despite agreeing that Greyhawk would remain frozen until the others (and myself) got back for winter break (in their defense, I didn't show up again until June, and none of the others did either). I get a little grumpy remembering coming home to find that my contact-papered Darlene Maps had been given a treatment with Sharpies... just, ugh! So, when I got back I froze the calendar, pushed it forward to 607 CY, and sat down to start reading From The Ashes and the supplements to figure out how to incorporate them and how to salvage the mess my young buddies left for me (or if I'd just wave my hand and make it a dream they had)

    605 was the scene of several highly undocumented large-scale battles between Furyondy and her satellite states vs. Thr Horned Society, Iuz's forces, Perrenlanders, Wolf Nomads, and Tiger Nomads. It was also the first appearance of Spelljamming vessels, demon warbands, and thousands of Melnibonean Kelmain. The battles effectively ended in a draw, with Iuz's forces gaining little in territory and Furyondy losing several main strong figures, Crockport was burned nearly to the ground, and their entire fleet on the Whyestil was sent under the lake's cold waters.

    The Iron League continued to kick much Scarlet Brotherhood tail and were preparing to follow the fleeing monks across the sea to Hepmonaland and the Amedo Jungle.

    The situation in the remnants of the Great Kingdom continued to be confused, with Aerdy's ruling factiosn unable to effectively determine their own courses, much less agreements with their rivals. Almor continued to be diced into a bloody stew, while Osson's raiders moved further from their homeland in a move that made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    The Theocracy of the Pale held off the attackers from the north, but were unable and unwilling to push forward into Tenh to help the people of that state. Ratik, on the other hand, became spellbound by the pure charisma of The Great God of the North and assisted him in getting a substantial portion of his horde onto the shores of the isles ruled by the Sea Barons.

    Everything else that wasn't mentioned had become a bloody stalemate or a waiting game, depending on the parties involved.
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