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    Canonfire :: View topic - Khelben Arunsun
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    Khelben Arunsun
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:32 am  
    Khelben Arunsun

    Yesterday during a coffee break at work, I suddenly got a flash from the past. I was elaborating some devious greyhawk-canon adventure for my players and recalled a discussion I read over 10 years ago about Khelben from FR having lived in the Flanaess for a while. It might be blasphemy but I think I even read some discussion about Mordenkainen itself being a clone of Khelben or something like that. Does someone remember anything about this topic or it was just apocryphal delirium?
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:50 am  

    Offhand, this sounds like something from one of Ed Greenwood's "Mages Three" articles in DRAGON.
    GreySage

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    Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:49 am  

    The The Code of the Harpers sourcebook by Ed Greenwood, page 48, says that Khelben Arunsun's grandson (Khelben Arunsun the Younger) has settled on another world, possibly Oerth.

    He's not secretly Mordenkainen or anything (at least, nothing says that he is), but that's probably what you're thinking of.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:13 pm  

    Blackstaff is Mordenkainen's daddy? EGG must be turning over in his grave.

    If they actually wrote such a thing and then published it, I'll be more than happy to slap whomever was responsible right in the mouth.

    I envision this sure-to-be-upcoming event in my home campaign: Two wizards are seen blasting each other in the skies over Greyhawk. Finally, one of them catches a fireball right in the kisser and plummets to the ground. Mordenkainen stands triumphant over Blackstaff Arunsun, gives him a gratuitous kick in the groin, and says, "Who's your daddy now, bee-yotch?!"
    GreySage

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    Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:19 pm  

    bubbagump wrote:
    If they actually wrote such a thing and then published it"


    They didn't. All we know is that Blackstaff's grandson is possibly somewhere on Oerth.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:05 pm  

    I am afraid it was not that reference I was referring to. Maybe it was just something semi-canon that srang out of some TSR board back in 98-99. I just remember there was some secret about Khelben being hiding in Oerth camouflaged as another important character.. but maybe I am just asking too much from my memory. I was thinking of Philidor, back then.
    Speaking of which, BTW, is there anything canon on him post-Sargent?
    GreySage

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    Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:55 pm  

    Just the bit in the Living Greyhawk Journal about how he hasn't been seen in a while, but he's left behind certain spells and constructs in the Vesve.

    People used to theorize that he was a reincarnated Tenser, before Tenser was brought back in a different way.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:09 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    bubbagump wrote:
    If they actually wrote such a thing and then published it"


    They didn't. All we know is that Blackstaff's grandson is possibly somewhere on Oerth.


    When would this be? I'm a bit rusty on my FR vs. Oerth time lines. For instance, if it is 599 CY, what year is it on Faerun?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:45 pm  

    Quote:
    Q: What is or was the FATE of Khelben:"Ravencloak" Arunson the younger?
    A: As for your questions regarding Khelben the Younger: that is also under current NDA. Which of course, all by itself, should tell you something.

    - from this Ed Greenwood Q&A thread on candlekeep. The poster who answers is at least speaking for Ed Greenwood or it is he himself, I'm not sure. The other sages of candlekeep take the answers as coming from Ed.

    Eric L Boyd provided 2E stats and lots of background here. The poster Selvarin updated these stats to 3E here.

    Here's an excerpt of the background from Eric L Boyd's article:
    Quote:
    Khelben's History
    Although travelers to other crystal spheres may have heard of the famous Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun [03][14], resident and secret lord of the city of Waterdeep on the world known as Abeir-Toril, the Blackstaff, as he is often known, is not exactly who he claims to be. The true son of Zelphar Arunsun of Neverwinter and Lhestyn "The Masked Lady", named for his powerful and still living ancestor, is Khelben "the Younger" Arunsun.

    Born in 1302 Dale Reckoning (270 Northern Reckoning), Khelben "the Younger" spent many years in apprenticeship to his father, Zelphar, and grand- father, Khelben the Elder, and had little contact with persons outside his family. Khelben the Elder, one of Mystra's Chosen, had learned the secret of long years much like Elminster and Ahghairon. When the Blackstaff took over the long vacant Arunsun Tower, renaming it Blackstaff Tower, he assumed the identity of his grandson. The elder Khelben sought to hide his long lifespan from the people of Waterdeep, fearing they would shun his leadership if they knew of his magically enhanced lifespan.
    GreySage

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    Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:50 am  

    aurdraco wrote:
    When would this be? I'm a bit rusty on my FR vs. Oerth time lines. For instance, if it is 599 CY, what year is it on Faerun?


    599 CY would be equivalent to 1379 DR on Faerun. Although, keep in mind that Toril has a 365 day year like Earth, while Oerth has a 364 day year, so you get about a day and a quarter off every year you move from 590 CY or thereabouts, when For Duty & Deity crossed over with Tales From the Infinite Staircase, although the "Wizards Three" articles also fit with this equivalency.

    So Khelben the Younger would've been born in the equivalent of 482 CY, versus Mordenkainen's 509 CY. Depending on what month it was.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:46 am  

    Its rather odd GH fans can incorporate almost anything (after some complaining) but Philidor was too much.

    Philidor soon became the Jar Jar Binks of GH which is the reason I believe their has been no comment, and we as fans love to comment, on how quickly he has left the stage as it were...

    Personally I found him hard to take since I always pictured a giant smurf.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:04 pm  

    Crag wrote:


    Philidor soon became the Jar Jar Binks of GH which is the reason I believe their has been no comment, and we as fans love to comment, on how quickly he has left the stage as it were...



    Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

    whys that?
    i didnt even knew he exist till now, but why do you think that?
    GreySage

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    Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:45 pm  

    I rather like Philidor. But Crag's right: he disappeared because he was unpopular. I'm not certain why, but possibly because he showed up out of the blue (aheh) and proceeded to act as if he was the biggest show in town, kind of like if a blue Elminster (or Khelben Arunsun) showed up in Greyhawk and started acting like he owned the place. Or perhaps people don't like his name. And he has light blue skin. I've never thought of him as a smurf, though I've thought of xvarts as smurfs.

    Carl Sargent introduced him to be an unknown factor, a source of mystery who could act as a patron for the PCs, guiding them toward defeating the evil and darkness that had overtaken the land. The Circle of Eight couldn't function that way, because they were too obviously mortal and inexplicable, and most of them were neutral in alignment, and two of them were dead. With the Flight of Fiends and other events first described in The Adventure Begins, a lot of the darkness of the From the Ashes period went away, and Philidor became less necessary. The evil had lifted, and Philidor's work was done.

    There's more on him here: http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=Philidor

    Other theories I've read on Philidor include the idea that he's one of Tolkien's Maiar (like Gandalf the Grey, Saruman the White, and Radagast the Brown). He's a very Gandalf-like figure, and is probably a result of Carl Sargent thinking the Flanaess needed a Gandalf. Others think of him as a genasi or aasimar. Sargent himself apparently thought of him as a construct, something like a golem, created by the gods Pelor and Corellon Larethian working in concert. I say apparently because of a letter that arrived on the Greytalk list, second-hand and by mistake, but I can't vouch for its veracity. It's as good a theory as any.
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    Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:26 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    out of the blue (aheh)....


    (*groan*) Just for that, rasgon, I'm docking you 1,000 XP.
    GreySage

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    Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:50 pm  

    bubbagump wrote:
    rasgon wrote:
    out of the blue (aheh)....


    (*groan*) Just for that, rasgon, I'm docking you 1,000 XP.


    You are a hard DM my friend. Laughing Laughing Laughing
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:34 pm  

    aurdraco wrote:
    rasgon wrote:
    bubbagump wrote:
    If they actually wrote such a thing and then published it"


    They didn't. All we know is that Blackstaff's grandson is possibly somewhere on Oerth.


    When would this be? I'm a bit rusty on my FR vs. Oerth time lines. For instance, if it is 599 CY, what year is it on Faerun?


    Check out Eric L Boyd's site. I think he created the character. Khleben has been involved in the GH Wars fighting off other transplanar interlopers from Faerun. He's a member of the Guild of Wizardry, and he has many friends in the Union of Sages and Academics and serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Magical Arts and in the School of History at Grey College. He has met Mordenkainen, is a friend of Ravel Dasinder and he tries to cousel Melf Brightflame.

    So apparently he's a contemporary.

    There's much more on his history, motivation and future goals on that site.
    GreySage

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    Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:16 am  

    Thanael wrote:
    Eric L Boyd . . . created the character. Khleben has been involved in the GH Wars . . . a member of the Guild of Wizardry . . . friends in the Union of Sages and Academics and serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Magical Arts and in the School of History at Grey College . . . So apparently he's a contemporary.


    Damn it all to hell! Now the bastards at Hasbro/WotC are blatantly mixing Faerun with Oerth. They won't be happy until they've destroyed Greyhawk completely -- by obsorbing it into their beloved Faerun. They won't quit until they exorcise all memory of EGG and/or his role. Yet another reason for me to hate them. Evil

    But that's just me. I know some of you guys like them. But, that's just you. Laughing

    (No insult intended here) Wink
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    GreySage

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    Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:37 am  

    Thanael wrote:
    Check out Eric L Boyd's site. I think he created the character.


    I'm fairly confident the first mention of the character was by Ed Greenwood in The Code of the Harpers (in 1993), and Eric L. Boyd merely created some more elaborate fanon on the subject (in the mid- to late 1990s). Greenwood was the first to connect him to Oerth, albeit tenuously.

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Damn it all to hell! Now the bastards at Hasbro/WotC are blatantly mixing Faerun with Oerth.


    I'm certainly not offended on WotC's behalf, but you seem to be laboring under a few misconceptions.

    First of all, this is a reference from 1993, so it'd be TSR, not WotC, that you would have to blame. Secondly, since Oerth has apparently gained an NPC from the Forgotten Realms, if either world was absorbing the other it'd be a case of Greyhawk doing the absorbing and the Realms being absorbed. Thirdly, there have been a number of crossovers between Oerth and Toril over the years, and this is a comparatively minor one. The Forgotten Realms campaign's use of major Greyhawk NPCs like Lolth and Graz'zt, and gaining Kara-Tur from Oerth, are much more significant (not to mention the long-running "The Wizards Three" series in Dragon Magazine).

    Finally, the information on the website that Thanael linked to is fanon, by an author who at the time he wrote that had no published credits to his name. He's subsequently been published, but the information on the website remains unofficial.
    GreySage

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    Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:57 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    I'm certainly not offended on WotC's behalf . . .


    Firstly, I had no idea that you worked for/with WotC. Sincere congratulations, I'm really a bit envious of your job. Cool

    rasgon wrote:
    . . . but you seem to be laboring under a few misconceptions . . . First of all, this is a reference from 1993, so it'd be TSR, not WotC, that you would have to blame.


    Secondly, I've stated before that I've been "away" from the game for quite some time -- since 1983 to be precise. That's 10 years before 1993 -- if my math is correct. (Again, no offense. Sarcasm -- true -- but no deliberate insult intended to anyone here.) So, you're presenting me with information I've never "seen." And are, therefore, simply "adding fuel to the fire." Laughing

    rasgon wrote:
    Thirdly, there have been a number of crossovers between Oerth and Toril over the years, and this is a comparatively minor one.


    Thirdly, I don't think/feel that Greyhawk gains anything by "absorbing" Faerun material, or characters. Greyhawk and Oerth have never been fully exploited of all their potential, (gaming material or literature {novels/articles}) and yet, "already" they're being "added" to. Though I'm glad this particular "piece" is not "official" canon. (But this is a discussion some of us are having in the OD&D forum, so let's not go into it here Wink)

    rasgon wrote:
    The Forgotten Realms campaign's use of major Greyhawk NPCs like Lolth and Graz'zt, and gaining Kara-Tur from Oerth, are much more significant (not to mention the long-running "The Wizards Three" series in Dragon Magazine).


    Faerun is "alright," but its not my "love;" Greyhawk is. What "they" choose to do to Faerun is "their" business. Yes, I know that Greyhawk and Oerth are "their" legal property, I simply mean that I don't care what happens in/to Faerun. Run with it.

    All of this is just my opinion of course, Rasgon, my friend. But, personally, I'm not interested is seeing Greyhawk mixed with Faerun. Sad
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    GreySage

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    Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:16 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    Firstly, I had no idea that you worked for/with WotC. Sincere congratulations, I'm really a bit envious of your job.


    I don't. Perhaps if I did, I'd feel offended on WotC's behalf, but as things stand, what people feel about them is nothing to me.

    My point was only that you being mad at Wizards of the Coast doesn't offend me, and wouldn't even if I was extremely fond of them (which I'm not).
    GreySage

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    Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:37 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    I don't. Perhaps if I did, I'd feel offended on WotC's behalf . . .


    I should have known. I don't doubt that they'd be a whole lot better off if you did though! Your knowledge of Greyhawk, and quick responses to queries, always impresses me. Cool

    rasgon wrote:
    My point was only that you being mad at Wizards of the Coast doesn't offend me . . .


    For which I really am grateful. I didn't know that this type of "mixing" began with TSR. I find that disappointing. Rather than "grow" and develope what they already had -- in Greyhawk products -- they felt the need to "mesh" the two worlds together. Sad

    For my part, I would have loved more gaming modules specifically/deliberately set in Greyhawk, as well as novels -- well written ones, that is. Happy
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:19 am  

    There was a big movement during the TSR days to link together all of their game worlds into one sort of 'multi-verse'. It was strongest in the 90's but you can see it as early as Murlynd's adventures in Boot Hill, or the Spaceship Warden from Metamorphosis Alpha in Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.
    Ravenloft was a collage of the various settings. The whole point of Spelljammer and then Planescape was so that PC's could travel between TSR's published worlds (and as Rasgon mentioned there was the very popular Wizards Three series in Dragon).
    I can definitely see the attraction for these kinds of crossovers. It fits with the multi-prime (or crystal sphere) cosmology (why create alternate worlds from scratch when the guy working in the cubicle next door has already done it), and it makes sense marketing-wise (if D&D groups were interested in trying out another setting this approach encouraged them).
    Having said that, even though I've played in many of the settings (Dark Sun, Planescape, Spelljammer, Greyhawk, Al-Quadim, Forgotten Realms) I never crossed over with the same PCs. Every time we wanted to try a new setting (and during that period it seemed like they were sprouting like mushrooms) we just started new characters.
    I'm curious what other peoples experiences were.
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    Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:53 pm  

    Philidor was indeed too Realmsian, and besides, Greyhawk already has its "blue wizard"- Tenser. Introducing yet another big time blue wizard who's blue goes to 11 no less, is a still more powerful blue wizard, and is not just good and blue, but gods-spawned good and blue through and through(yes, he was over the top in all ways) was just a bad idea. And if you read everything on Tenser(IotA, Gord Books) he is apparently a total nut job for all things blue. Makes you wonder if some magical experiment went awry and he became oddly color-blind, such that the only color he could differentiate from shades of gray was blue. Not to worry though, as Tenser has been increasing his blue skin dyeing treatments, and his intake of blue food dye is on the rise so that even his poop will be blue. Mark my words. One day soon, Tenser will take back the title "Blue-est of the Blue Wizards". Laughing

    Philidor was just a horrible fit for Greyhawk. Besides, he didn't even really even do or influence much of anything. I guess that is a small mercy, as in removing him nothing really needs to be undone.
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    GreySage

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    Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:50 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Philidor was indeed too Realmsian . . . Philidor was just a horrible fit for Greyhawk. Besides, he didn't even really even do or influence much of anything. I guess that is a small mercy, as in removing him nothing really needs to be undone.


    Thanks for that information. I'm still catching-up on everything that took place during my absence from the game. Doing a lot of searching in the Greyhawk-wiki, but every little bit helps. Happy
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