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wyrdhamster
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:43 am    Post subject: Rain of Colorless Fire = Nukes? Reply with quote

Any times I read about this cataclysm I got idea ( mostly inherited from my Mage: the Awakening games Wink ) that this "colorless fire" is radiation - burnings, the dissolution of tissues, etc - and "rain" is nuclear bomb started by magic, not science. Any thoughts? And what would be there "Invoked Devastations"?
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: Rain of Colorless Fire = Nukes? Reply with quote

wyrdhamster wrote:
Any times I read about this cataclysm I got idea ( mostly inherited from my Mage: the Awakening games ) that this "colorless fire" is radiation - burings, the dissolution of tissues, etc - and "rain" is nuclear bomb started by magic, not science. Any thoughts? And what would be there "Invoked Devastations"?


-When I first introduced my friends to the Flaneass in 1988, that was the impression they had, although I've always gone with the idea they were spells beyond 9th level i.e., deity-like in power, perhaps boosted with a magic device. Since then, there's been a lot of canon which supports the "super powerful magic" interpretation, although someone else will have to point you to it.

Of course, the magical device may have been a big ball of plutonium... Evil Grin Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Twin Cataclysms were envisioned as a fantasy equivalent to a real world nuclear war followed by a nuclear winter. However, I don't believe EGG ever intended for the truth to be that the space/time travellers from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks brought nuclear weapons with them. Wink

The Invoked Devastation was brought about by the Suloise Mages of Power via the Codex of the Infinite Planes, an artifact that allowed a portion of the Grey Wastes to be superimposed over the Prime Material coinciding with the Baklunish Empire. This allowed the effects of that evil plane to affect the Prime and the fiends there to run amok amongst the populace. Thus, the Baklunish Empire was destroyed in a very short time.

The Rain of Colorless Fire was invoked by powerful Baklunish mages harnessing the power of the artifact, Tovag Baragu, which is so powerful that it resisted the destruction of the rest of the empire by the fiends of the Grey Wastes. The Rain, in my mind, is a magical analog to extreme nuclear, acid rain that literally burned everything it touched to ash.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's what I thought when I first discovered Greyhawk; that the Suel and Baklunish had 20th century technology and the Twin Cataclysms were a nuclear war. As in some post-apocalyptic fantasies, maybe magic wasn't discovered or created until after the atomic holocaust. Very noncanon, of course.

I don't really like Maldin's ideas that the Codex or the outer plane of Hades were involved, though. Those aren't really canon either.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
I don't really like Maldin's ideas that the Codex or the outer plane of Hades were involved, though. Those aren't really canon either.


True. SirXaris isn't stating Canon, but is reiterating what Maldin wrote on the subject:

http://melkot.com/mysteries/cataclysms.html

Given that there is very little Canon on the subject, each DM is able to formulate his/her own theory.

Rasgon, didn't I read somewhere that it is also suggested that a Baklunish God was involved in aiding the Bakluni to retaliate against the Suel?

Don't know where I read that. Confused
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirXaris wrote:
...The Invoked Devastation was brought about by the Suloise Mages of Power via the Codex of the Infinite Planes, an artifact that allowed a portion of the Grey Wastes to be superimposed over the Prime Material coinciding with the Baklunish Empire. This allowed the effects of that evil plane to affect the Prime and the fiends there to run amok amongst the populace. Thus, the Baklunish Empire was destroyed in a very short time.

The Rain of Colorless Fire was invoked by powerful Baklunish mages harnessing the power of the artifact, Tovag Baragu, which is so powerful that it resisted the destruction of the rest of the empire by the fiends of the Grey Wastes...


-Yeah, I think that's it, although I don't remember the part about the demons running around.

rasgon wrote:
...I don't really like Maldin's ideas that the Codex or the outer plane of Hades were involved, though. Those aren't really canon either.


-I thought it was canon. Anyway, what's not to like? The explanation for the RoCF i.e., that they magically superimposed a wasteland on their enemy's turf, is actually pretty elegant. My unimgainative explanation would have involved a lot of really big fireballs from the sky. Laughing Tovag Baragu is more obvious, but it fits.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Tovag Baragu part is canon (it's mentioned in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer). What I don't like about Maldin's theory is that it means Incabulos wasn't worshiped by ancient peoples (part of his theory is that he enters the Flanaess for the first time during the Invoked Devastation) and that I think it slightly overuses the Codex of the Infinite Planes, which is a fascinating artifact that works better in moderation. I'd like to see some other sources of cataclysms and unimagined magical power rather than tying it to every major cataclysmic event in history. I also prefer the idea (confirmed by Gary Gygax) that the Bringer of Doom was a minor artifact of the age, not something responsible for the Invoked Devastation (although The Star Cairns also suggests a connection between the Invoked Devastation and the Bringer of Doom).

Gary Gygax answered some questions about the Twin Cataclysms in a Q&A with Paul Stromberg reprinted in Oerth Journal #12. Gygax's description of the Devastation made it sound more like a wave of entropy or increased time:

Gary Gygax wrote:
A wave of something sweeps over the land. Buildings begin to crumble as if being powdered by an oerthquake, only the ground is not shaking. All living things within the area are sickened. Although some survive, most others are less fortunate. The wind is black and howling, and under its strange force the work of the hands of man decays as if time were running a thousand times faster for such non-living matter. Living things suffer increased aging, but not so severely. Trees grow suddenly, deplete their soil, and die. Animals age and die. Children become adults, but, lacking the nutrients for growth, die. A handful of the young adult folk escape as near- and middle-aged wrecks. The remains of the dead are visible for some period, but the habitations are naught but powder and dirt. It is a desolate place that only time will restore. In a score of years, though, the whole is covered by weeds and struggling plants, and slowly, as the bacteria and worms and insects make their way into the soil, the land becomes a wilderness that can support normal life again.


The Baklunish god responsible for the Rain of Colorless Fire, Dorgha Torgu (a greater god, unwisely swayed by the Elemental God, reduced to the status of quasi-deity after the cataclysm), was also described in Oerth Journal #12. I don't particularly like the idea of tying the effect to a single god, either.

In Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, the Invoked Devastation was cast by the apprentices of Slerotin who would later on found Castle Maure. That book simply defined Power Magic as a form of magic far more potent than anything known today - no artifacts needed. That book also suggests that Han-Gra-Dun (originally mentioned in Quag Keep as an ancient wizard) was possibly Slerotin's Baklunish counterpart, his teachings responsible for the Rain of Colorless Fire as Slerotin's were for the Devastation (though Slerotin tried to prevent the Devastation from being cast, arguing forcefully against it to the emperor).

Honestly, my favorite description of the Invoked Devastation is the very non-canon College of Wizardry, which wasn't really written for Greyhawk but had suggestions for placing it there. In that book, the mages of a previous age discovered a secret "first language," the Language Primeval, which when spoken allowed for vast reality-changing magical effects. The same general idea was also used in Dead Gods, Vecna Reborn, and Die Vecna Die! If you go by that backstory, the Invoked Devastation was caused by the summoning of an entity called the Dragon of Shades, "an unrestrained elemental creature made up of equal parts shadow, power, and malice."
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a magic item called the Fire Wand of the Suloise, which is said to recreate the effect (or might have even been used in the event itself). The effect is described like so:

Quote:
The wand can summon a deadly "fire" to rain down in a 60-foot cube from a range of up to 80 yards. The "fire" inflicts five points of damage per round to all creatures, regardless of protections, resistances, or immunities to normal or magical flame. Such damage cannot be cured by any spell less powerful than a (heal) spell. Furthermore, the fire destroys buildings of less than stone construction and evaporates freestanding liquid to a depth of 1 foot per round. Objects exposed to the "fire" must save vs. (disintegration) or be destroyed. Note, however, that matter is burned to dust and ashes, not vaporized.


The text then goes on to say that it can be recharged on the plane of ash, between the planes of fire and negative energy, suggesting the effect is linked to both kinds of energy.

I'd assumed the Invoked Devastation to be linked to the Bringer of Doom, but it doesn't seem like that's part of the original storyline. (EGG said the event didn't involve any hordlings, like the Bringer of Doom produces.)
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Azoriel wrote:
There's a magic item called the Fire Wand of the Suloise...


1) I think I've seen that somewhere. Source? Greyhawk Adventures?

2) My impression is that its intended to be a mini-ID, created after the real thing.

rasgon wrote:
The Tovag Baragu part is canon (it's mentioned in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer). What I don't like about Maldin's theory is that it means Incabulos wasn't worshiped by ancient peoples (part of his theory is that he enters the Flanaess for the first time during the Invoked Devastation)...


-Eh. I can take it or leave it. Incabulous is an underused deity. If he's new, it would explin why he's not associated with a specific pantheon.

rasgon wrote:
...I think it slightly overuses the Codex of the Infinite Planes, which is a fascinating artifact that works better in moderation...


-Yeah, that I can see. It's sort of like when every oddity in the Flaneass has its origin in something either Iggwilv or Zagyg did. Confused

rasgon wrote:
...Gary Gygax answered some questions about the Twin Cataclysms in a Q&A with Paul Stromberg reprinted in Oerth Journal #12. Gygax's description of the Devastation made it sound more like a wave of entropy or increased time...


-Yeah, now that you mention it, I do remember reading that. All things being equal, I'd just as soon go with EGG.

Here's the other version:

http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=593
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha! I think I was remembering both Maldin's Codex of the Infinite Planes theory and the hordlings from the Bringer of Doom and combining the two. Razz

Well, they are all good theories, that should leave players and their PCs guessing as to the true nature of the Twin Cataclysms. Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirXaris wrote:
...that should leave players and their PCs guessing as to the true nature of the Twin Cataclysms. Happy


-True. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamesdglick wrote:

1) I think I've seen that somewhere. Source? Greyhawk Adventures?


That would be correct. I've got an old TXT document with the magic items for it - I can't for the life of me remember how I got it... (I think it used to be on the WotC website before they took down the pre-3rd Edition downloads.)

jamesdglick wrote:
2) My impression is that its intended to be a mini-ID, created after the real thing.


Erm, it was the Rain part. But, yeah. Wink Sorry, I went from talking about the Rain of Colorless Fire to the Invoked Devastation with the Bringer of Doom right after, and I forgot to clearly mark where I was talking about what.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the Rain of Colorless Fire had been a nuclear exchange, the Sea of Dust would still be "hot".
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirXaris wrote:
The Twin Cataclysms were envisioned as a fantasy equivalent to a real world nuclear war followed by a nuclear winter. However, I don't believe EGG ever intended for the truth to be that the space/time travellers from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks brought nuclear weapons with them. Wink

The Invoked Devastation was brought about by the Suloise Mages of Power via the Codex of the Infinite Planes, an artifact that allowed a portion of the Grey Wastes to be superimposed over the Prime Material coinciding with the Baklunish Empire. This allowed the effects of that evil plane to affect the Prime and the fiends there to run amok amongst the populace. Thus, the Baklunish Empire was destroyed in a very short time.

The Rain of Colorless Fire was invoked by powerful Baklunish mages harnessing the power of the artifact, Tovag Baragu, which is so powerful that it resisted the destruction of the rest of the empire by the fiends of the Grey Wastes. The Rain, in my mind, is a magical analog to extreme nuclear, acid rain that literally burned everything it touched to ash.

SirXaris


Do you all realize that after 35+ years of D&D, this is the first time I've seen this explanation? Have I been looking in the wrong places? Was this a secret? Or is it not canon? (I'm leaning toward my being in a fog for a lot of that 35 years lol)

Either way, thanks for posting that Sir X. You've answered a buring question that this inquiring mind wanted to know...
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"So, it was nukes what did it, right?"

"No. It was MAGIC. You know, that thing that exists in a FANTASY world?"

"So, something like this was the cause then?"



"No, it was caused by something like THIS, but...less colorful."



"That doesn't look like it could really happen though."



"Well of course it doesn't look like it could really happen- that's why we call it...


Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome!

Thanks for sharing that, Ceb! Laughing Laughing Laughing

I still haven't figured out how to post pictures here yet, but I'll get it figured out. Wink Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bugsy wrote:
...Do you all realize that after 35+ years of D&D, this is the first time I've seen this explanation? Have I been looking in the wrong places? Was this a secret? Or is it not canon? (I'm leaning toward my being in a fog for a lot of that 35 years lol)...


-I haven't checked (do I ever?), but according to Rasgon, the RoCF being initiated from Tovag Baragu is canon, but the story of the Invoked Devastation is not. Meanwhile, EGG had his own explanation for the ID. So we have competing explanations.

Cebrion wrote:
"So, it was nukes what did it, right?"

"No. It was MAGIC. You know, that thing that exists in a FANTASY world?"

...


-Nevertheless, the material component might still have been a big ball of plutonium... Wink Razz Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamesdglick wrote:
. . . the material component might still have been a big ball of plutonium . . .


Oerthblood, my friend! Oerthblood! Evil Grin
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember the very first time I read about the RoCF and immediately went, so these two civilizations had used magic and the Bakluni had somehow gotten a hold of nuclear technology. Since the Suel were scattered and in some cases reduced to savages, the Bakluni (at that time) were little known and on the fringes of the game map. Good times, good times...

In retrospect, I like EGG's explanation of a time wave. I imagine chronomancy to be a highly esoteric and very powerful school of magic. A few Suel mages somehow discovered/learned/were taught some spells, that, when used with an artifact and perhaps the blessing of a deity too, (maybe they found the Primeval language?) were able to literally advance time in the form of the ID.

This interference or aid from a Suel deity obviously offended the Bakluni gods. I can't remember where, From the Ashes mabe(?) but it's been clearly stated in canon that the gods of Oerth can't just "show up" to stop Iuz because it's his home plane. What the Suel did was in my mind and based on what Gygax described as breaking that rule of acting directly on Oerth. Thus, Dorgha Torgu, with a little egging on by the EEG, felt he could act and he in turn gave the keys to the Bakluni for a counter strike we know as RoCF
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a few of you know, I'm an Herbalist and a Pagan, so I get to meet all kinds of interesting people with all kinds of interesting philospohies and theologies.

While I am not a serious student, I know several people who are scholars of "RL" Magick. There are many theories out there; from probablity-manipulation, to synchronicity, etc., etc.

One of the ideas out there is that Magick is the manipulation of energy on the most basic level. If this is true, it would seem in a mana rich enviornment like Oerth, only a matter of time before somebody got around to causing a chain reaction, splittong an atome, making a big mess. Big Bada Boom, as they say.

Just an observation, for schnitzengiggles...
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found interesting the "first darkness" concept in Golarion, when orcs swarmed over the earth and dwarves built their citadels, helped by the black clouds that hanged in the sky covering the sun for years. I borrowed (read "stole" :)) that concept for my Greyhawk campaign. After the twin cataclysms the whole continent was covered in black clouds and we got a "nuclear winter" that lasted days, a period which Flan called "the age of Nerull" (for the cold/winter/darkness concept). That brings up a lot of interesting ideas like a probable "promotion" of Nerull to even greater power (maybe it was an intermediate before?) or a surge of dark-dwelling humanoids on the land.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a great adaptation, MToscan. I think it is a very reasonable consequence of the Twin Cataclysms.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rather than creating a new thread, I thought I'd give this a bump:

rasgon wrote:
...What I don't like about Maldin's theory is that it means Incabulos wasn't worshiped by ancient peoples (part of his theory is that he enters the Flanaess for the first time during the Invoked Devastation)...


-In the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer, I noticed that the Tiger Nomads and the Ulli seem to be the only peoples listed as worshipping Incabulos. Hmmm... connection?

2) While I'm on the Bakluni kick, anything on the Grand Mufti of the Yatils? There's some mentions in LGG (pp. 67, 116, 165, plus the theft of cup of Al Akbar, the Exhalted Faith /True Faith schism, etc.).
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamesdglick wrote:
-In the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer, I noticed that the Tiger Nomads and the Ulli seem to be the only peoples listed as worshipping Incabulos. Hmmm... connection?


Well, I mean, if you want there to be. I would assume it was a coincidence. There are a number of Incabulos worshipers in a variety of cultures in other Greyhawk products - the wererats beneath the City of Greyhawk, hidden priests in Rel Deven, some in the ruins of Chathold, one in Midmeadow, and one in Skorane. Ivid the Undying says that common folk in the Great Kingdom notably leave offerings to Incabulos to ward off diseases.

A Guide to the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Setting defines "common" as a deity designation as "common in most areas," which means that Incabulos is commonly known in most areas. Rather than assuming such deities don't belong to a pantheon, I assume it means they're part of most or all pantheons. Incabulos is thus as much a Suel deity as Kord or Wee Jas, and as much a Baklunish deity as Geshtai or Xan Yae, and as much an Oeridian deity as Heironeous or Hextor, as much a Flan deity as Obad-hai or Beory, as much an elven deity as Sehanine Moonbow or Corellon Larethian, and as much a dwarven deity as Moradin or Berronar.

Some of the deities originally listed only as "common" by Gary Gygax have since been given canonical pantheons of origin, mostly by Sean K. Reynolds in the LGG, but I think that's a misunderstanding of what Gygax was trying to convey.

In any case, some common deities may be younger than the Great Migrations, but I prefer to think that Incabulos was known to every people in times of old. It's not hard to imagine elves depicting Incabulos as a shrouded, deformed elf with skeletal hands, or giants depicting him as a shrouded, deformed giant with skeletal hands, or imagining the orcish deity Yurtrus White-Hands as an aspect of him.

I really like Maldin's ideas for the most part, but I don't agree with him on a few things (the outer planes aren't made of matter, the Codex and Incabulos weren't involved with the Twin Cataclysms, the Isles of Woe sank long before Maldin thinks they did, and I vehemently believe that it's Tzunk's hands buried in the Barren Waste, not Yagrax's hands... I actually yelled at him over that - I mean, c'mon, Yagrax DROWNED, that's the end of his story, it was Tzunk who was dismembered by the efreet).

But back to the subject of the Twin Cataclysms, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the Baklunish-Suloise wars were really only a proxy conflict between the Silent Ones and the Elders of Mathghamhna (from College of Wizardry) over the question of whether the Language Primeval should remain spoken or unspoken (remaining neutral in the conflict was Vecna, the Whispered One, who believed the Words of Power should only be whispered, and of course only by himself). Slerotin allowed his homeland to be destroyed if it meant destroying his enemies, and arranged for Keoland to be founded purely to be a secure place from which the Silent Ones could continue their work of ensuring the Language Primeval remained silent.

Quote:
2) While I'm on the Bakluni kick, anything on the Grand Mufti of the Yatils? There's some mentions in LGG (pp. 67, 116, 165, plus the theft of cup of Al Akbar, the Exalted Faith /True Faith schism, etc.).


I think that's it. But it might be relevant that the Arcane Order (the successors to the Elders of Mathghamhna) is based in the Yatils. You can read the wars between Keoland and Ket as a later proxy conflict in the same ancient, magical war that destroyed the Suel and Baklunish empires.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
jamesdglick wrote:
-In the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer, I noticed that the Tiger Nomads and the Ulli seem to be the only peoples listed as worshipping Incabulos. Hmmm... connection?


Well, I mean, if you want there to be...


-Isn't that how it always works? Wink

rasgon wrote:
...I would assume it was a coincidence.


-Probably. But it might be what Maldin was looking at when he came up with his theory. But it is an interesting idea...

rasgon wrote:
... There are a number of Incabulos worshipers in a variety of cultures in other Greyhawk products...


-No argument there...

rasgon wrote:
... A Guide to the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Setting defines "common" as a deity designation as "common in most areas," which means that Incabulos is commonly known in most areas. Rather than assuming such deities don't belong to a pantheon, I assume it means they're part of most or all pantheons...


-Ah, but for that, the notation (using Istus as an example) is something like "BC." I didn't check, but I think Incabulous is just "C." (IIRC).

rasgon wrote:
... In any case, some common deities may be younger than the Great Migrations, but I prefer to think that Incabulos was known to every people in times of old...


-Could be. I'm just arguing that either option is plausible. I'm agnostic for now.

rasgon wrote:
...Honestly, my favorite description of the Invoked Devastation is the very non-canon College of Wizardry, which wasn't really written for Greyhawk but had suggestions for placing it there. In that book, the mages of a previous age discovered a secret "first language," the Language Primeval, which when spoken allowed for vast reality-changing magical effects. The same general idea was also used in Dead Gods, Vecna Reborn, and Die Vecna Die! If you go by that backstory, the Invoked Devastation was caused by the summoning of an entity called the Dragon of Shades, "an unrestrained elemental creature made up of equal parts shadow, power, and malice."


-I bought College of Wizardry about 10 years ago, but then sold it. It was supposed to be tied in to Bastion of Faith (which I did use, heavily modified). I didn't think they fit that well. But Language Primeval was an interesting idea. I think it was they largely as a parallel to the dangerous "Secret Doctrine," but it was still interesting. I wouldn't have a problem with making it more "canonical."
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