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The Lost City of Elders: What's Known?

 
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edmundscott
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:59 am    Post subject: The Lost City of Elders: What's Known? Reply with quote

Since I don't expect Rob Kuntz to publish this anytime soon, I wondered what the Greyhawk community has divined or speculated about this place. I've read a few reports online of people who've adventured there when Kuntz ran the adventure at GaryCon, but all the revealed details mainly concern environmental hazards (differences in time and gravity, overwhelming numbers of unspecified opponents, Kuntz open-form GM style).

What I'd really like to know, or hear speculation concerning, is

--who are the elders?
—why does this place exist?
—what happens there?
—what does Eli Tomorast hope to gain by returning there?
—why would PCs want to collect the pieces of the Octych and go there, other than for pure exploration?
etc.

These are all details that could potentially make any Greyhawk game more interesting, even if the PCs never adventure there.
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rasgon
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Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a wiki here (that I wrote): http://www.canonfire.com/wiki/index.php?title=Lost_City_of_the_Elders

Most of what I know comes from the Kingdoms of Kalamar version of Garden of the Plantmaster. This might not be exactly like Kuntz's original Garden. But according to that module:

Quote:
--who are the elders?


They were the council of tribal elders who ruled the city. They're gone now. They've been gone for centuries.

Quote:
—why does this place exist?


Because of its easily defendable position in a deep canyon and its fertile soil.

Quote:
—what happens there?


The city was deserted after the wondrous Garden of the Plantmaster was possessed by a powerful demon.

Quote:
—what does Eli Tomorast hope to gain by returning there?


Demonic servants, ancient magic, herbs and spices.

Quote:
—why would PCs want to collect the pieces of the Octych and go there, other than for pure exploration?


They could free the Plantmaster from his torment and banish the demon. That'd be nice of them.

In Rob Kuntz's campaign, there's more to the City of the Elders than just the Garden of the Plantmaster, but in the module I have the rest of the city is just assumed to be uninteresting ruins. I'm not sure where Eli Tomorast found Kerzit; possibly in the ruins of the wizard Ahlziz's home.
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edmundscott
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd forgotten about the Garden of the Plantmaster, perhaps because I was rather disappointed with references to the Lost City of Elders therein.

Given how mysterious this place is, and how much trouble someone has to go through to access it, as well as the high opinion of the place held by Eli Tomorast, doesn't it feel like it should be more epic than just an abandoned city in a ravine?

I guess I'd always thought there might be some connection to elder gods (given the Cthuloid predilections of Kuntz's campaign); also for tidbits like this one in area 76 of Maure Castle (Dungeon #112):

May those who don Masks of Chaos
THE ELDERS by names transcended
darken paths by which to guide us
lighting those that blaspheme others
that is known to us save one--
KERZIT!! KERZIT!! KERZIT!!

Of course, this could just be b.s. for Eli's false Kerzit cult, but it makes me wonder if the Lost City might be more interesting than suggested in Plantmaster.

Has anybody who's played this at a convention learned anything about the place? or has anyone done a home-brew version? Are there PCs out there anywhere who actually collected all 8 octychs?
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lightning in the sky depicted on the tapestry made me think the Lost City might be on Luna.

You could make the Elders into Lovecraft's Elder Things/Old Ones and base the city on the story "At the Mountains of Madness," though giving Elder Things contact with demons is a step further than Lovecraft went. You could actually keep Garden of the Plantmaster pretty much as is, only make the original inhabitants of the city and the druid Clahz into Elder Things instead of humans. Or perhaps the reptilian natives of "The Nameless City," who could be troglodytes or serpent people. The Mountains of Madness are more interesting, though, since you can add Shoggoths, an ancient war with illithids and neh-thalggu, maybe a marketplace where denizens of Leng and their boneless masters traded with the Elders. "Masks of Chaos" and demon-summoning makes me think of Michael Moorcock's Melniboneans, too, or the sorcerers of Pan Tang, both capable of traveling between planes to bargain with demons.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an aside, I think the 'Y' served by the Maure family is likely Yog-Sothoth, and 'Uncle' is probably the demon prince 'Nql...' mentioned briefly in Eldritch Wizardry.

Lovecraft aside, detailing the home/tower/school/laboratory of the wizard Ahlziz seems like the most obvious way to expand the city beyond the Garden of the Plantmaster. Ahlziz crafted the binding circle used to trap Lamash, and he was likely responsible for initially summoning Kerzit as well.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where is the Lost City of the Elders?
- in the southern jungles
- on the moon (Luna)
- Under the Azure Sea
- in Blackmoor
- on the South Pole
- in the Dreamlands
- on a plateau far to the west
- in Kalamar
- in Kalibruhn (Rob Kuntz's campaign world)
- in a demiplane
- in the Astral Plane

Could the Lost City of the Elders be another name for an otherwise-mentioned city?
- It's the same as the City of the Gods in Blackmoor.
- It's the Forgotten City of the Suel in the Sea of Dust.
- It's the Forbidden City from I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City.
- It's Cynidicea from B4 The Lost City.
- It's Panchengjuduohuh, the Sunken City of Many Doors from module OA5 Mad Monkey vs. the Dragon Claw.
- It's Sigil, the City of Doors from the Planescape campaign setting.
- It's Rigodruok from Greyhawk Adventures.
- It's Rl'yeh
- It's Carcosa

What's there?
- A wizard's tower/academy
- Temples to the Elder Gods
- Portals to other planes. Possibly a lot of them.
- The Garden of the Plantmaster
- Mind flayers, searching for the secrets of the Elders.
- Githyanki, hunting the mind flayers.
- Elder Things, sleeping until the stars are right.
- Mi-Go, neh-thalggu, denizens of Leng, Yithians, moon-beasts, etc.
- Demons
- The wealth of other nations conquered by the City of the Elders at its height.
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Mystic-Scholar
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting.
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Mystic-Scholar
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seem to have lost my Avatar. Bummer. Sad
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grodog
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some good info in the MC forums on Paizo @ http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/olderProducts/dungeon/maureCastle

Two other sources worth digging into include:

- Player account of gaming in LCotE @ GaryCon @ http://unvisiblecitadel.blogspot.com/2013/03/lost-city-of-elders-out-of-box-play.html
- RJK's article "Advent of the Elder Ones: Mythos vs. Man in the Lake Geneva Original Campaign, 1973-1976" in AFS#2 @ http://hallsoftizunthane.blogspot.com/2012/12/afs-issue-2-is-released.html
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From here:
Quote:
Some parties got into more combat situations than others did; but all of them experienced the same strange dimensional environment; and in doing so they had to contend with many out-of-the-box situations that at once challenged their acclimating to it in order to become fully operable as a party thereafter. Key phrases that describe these challenges: time compression; gravity change; ultra-magical complications.


The best way to approximate the Lost City of the Elders might actually be to randomly generate the city's districts. Roll randomly to determine the nature of the district (temple, marketplace, residential, prison, etc.), the level of gravity in the district (light gravity, heavy gravity, normal gravity, no gravity, reverse gravity, etc.), the nature of time in the district (normal time, faster time, slower time, erratic time, timeless), alignment traits, magic traits (normal magic, dead magic, wild magic, enhanced or impeded magic), and so on. Then roll for the type of portal that leads to the next district. The portal might involve a key that has to be discovered or a puzzle that needs to be solved, or it might require cooperation to reach in a zero-gravity environment. Then roll for random monsters. The City of the Elders might actually be indefinitely large, with an endless succession of districts encountered until one of the portals leads somewhere else (which might not be Oerth). It might be constructed around a greater artifact that created and maintains it (the Throne of the Gods, the Machine of Lum the Mad, the Codex of the Infinite Planes, Tovag Baragu, maybe even Johydee's Nightingale).

If you happen to have a copy, Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia from Necromancer Games has a very well-done variation of the "lost city" trope called the Ruins of Ibnath. What's unusual about this sourcebook is that while it begins with the idea of a campaign set in legendary Mesopotamia, it quickly seems to abandon any pretense of historical/mythical accuracy and throw itself into a pastiche of pulp authors like Lovecraft, Smith, and Howard. Ibnath is dominated by a great ziggurat in which ancient hierophants slumber in stasis. A nearby palace is inhabited by an imprisoned vampire-priest and his servitors. There's a priests' district inhabited by huecuvas, a temple of strange gods with names like Yaazotsh, Kthan, and Ub-Xathla, and there are jackleweres, ghouls, and a bound vrock demon. There's even a temple garden district on the map where you could drop the Garden of the Plantmaster (it's supposed to be inhabited by carnivorous plants, so it's basically the Garden of the Plantmaster in any case).
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