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Dating Modules: Giants, Elemental Evil, and Slave Lords

 
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GreyhawkGrognard
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:23 pm    Post subject: Dating Modules: Giants, Elemental Evil, and Slave Lords Reply with quote

New on the blog: I do a Deep Dive into the dating of three early classic module series, and come up with some unexpected answers. Enjoy!

https://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2018/04/dating-modules-slavers-elemental-evil.html
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nicely done, GreyhawkGrognard.

PCs are never of appropriate levels to adventure through the Temple and follow it into Slavers, then the Giants series. I always thought it should be different groups of adventurers wading into battle against those three groups of evil.

SirXaris
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth, "Touch of the Abyss" in Dungeon #117 and "Shadow of the Abyss" in Dungeon #118 and "Wrath of the Abyss" in Dungeon #119 date the climax of the Queen of the Spiders supermodule (Lolth's black bubble) to 576 CY. It says "eighteen years ago" from an assumed date of 594 CY.

What From the Ashes referred to as "the giant troubles" are dated in those Dungeon adventures to "ten years ago," which matches with the 584 date given in From the Ashes.

Fred Weining's article on the Vault of the Drow in Dragon #298 also distinguishes between House Eilservs' initial plot in the GDQ series and, after that house's fall, Lolth building on the foundation laid by Eclavdra to assemble her own giant invasions during the Greyhawk Wars.

We talked about this before in this thread.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The timeline in The Temple of Elemental Evil supermodule is notoriously buggy, but:

Iuz was imprisoned in 505 CY and freed from beneath Castle Greyhawk in 570 CY.

The Temple of Elemental Evil was initially constructed in 566 CY, while Iuz was still imprisoned beneath Castle Greyhawk.

Zuggtmoy was imprisoned beneath the Temple at the Battle of Emridy Meadows in 569 CY, and remained there until at least 579 CY, when she was possibly freed during the events of Temple of Elemental Evil (in Gary Gygax's campaign, by Robilar).

Temple of Elemental Evil tells us that Iuz "requested an audience with Zuggtmoy" to "help the demoness and her Temple to grow" so that they could oppose Furyondy and Veluna and be a strong chaotic evil ally against the "growing might of the Horned Society."

The plain implication here is that this happened while the Temple of Elemental Evil was still being constructed between 566 and 569 CY, because, as Temple of Elemental Evil stated, Zuggtmoy "saw the advantage of having Iuz's magic to aid her in building her fortress."

Except Iuz was imprisoned and wasn't using his magic to build anything.

Since the Horned Society wasn't a thing until after Iuz's imprisonment, this must have happened after Iuz returned in 570 CY... except Zuggtmoy was already imprisoned then and in no condition to help in the (re)growth of her temple.

Also, Zuggtmoy agrees to accept Iuz as an (almost) equal due to a sharp check recently dealt to Lolth's plans. If this refers to the events of the GDQ series, it must have happened after 576 CY, or whenever you choose to date the events of the GDQ series, a time when Zuggtmoy was imprisoned.

Alternatively, ignoring the reference to the Horned Society (or assuming Frank Mentzer imagined them forming much earlier), perhaps this meeting happened before Iuz's imprisonment in 505 CY, referring to nascent plans for a temple only realized decades later, when Iuz was in the Castle Greyhawk dungeons.

If that's the case, it makes me wonder if the "sharp check" dealt to Lolth refers not to the events of the GDQ series, but to something that happened prior to Iuz's imprisonment in 505 CY. What other plots might Lolth have been involved in at the turn of the sixth century? Given that Lolth's webs touch many worlds, it might not even refer to anything that happened on Oerth. I'm not aware of anything particular that happened to Lolth on Toril during that period (which I think would have been approximately 1285 DR). The closest event seems to be the chitine rebellion in 1305 DR, which seems more likely to have been a result of Lolth's recent weakness rather than a cause of it (and it didn't really hurt Lolth anyway, since the chitines continued to worship her). In Q1, Lolth seems to be launching simultaneous attacks into multiple worlds at the same time; she isn't said to have been particularly active 70-odd years before (which doesn't mean she wasn't, only that we don't have any obvious canon for that).

Another possibility: it wasn't Iuz who met with Zuggtmoy at all, but one of his servants or imposters.

I suppose Iuz could have traveled to the ruins of the Temple after the Battle of Emridy Meadows to commune with the still-imprisoned Zuggtmoy too, except Temple of Elemental Evil indicates that Zuggtmoy was imprisoned after this meeting.

Quote:
And so the alliance formed, and actually worked, but saved not the Temple. Zuggtmoy was bound in its dungeons, but luz remained free (just as he had planned). After the mighty magicks had been wrought to bind Zuggtmoy—powers which most certainly involved great wizards, high priests, and deities—luz determined to occasionally return to the Temple in hopes of gaining advantage for his past efforts. If he could somehow free Zuggtmoy, she would certainly be much in his debt.


That clearly places the meeting prior to 569 CY. So perhaps it was Zuggtmoy who traveled to Castle Greyhawk to meet with the still-imprisoned cambion, though that contradicts Temple of Elemental Evil's assertion that "Iuz himself requested an audience with Zuggtmoy." Unless you imagine Iuz was capable of communicating from his prison...
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jamesdglick
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirXaris wrote:
...PCs are never of appropriate levels to adventure through the Temple and follow it into Slavers, then the Giants series. I always thought it should be different groups of adventurers wading into battle against those three groups of evil.
SirXaris


-I never thought it made sense that one group of guys was running around solving every single mega-problem on their own.

rasgon wrote:
...Except Iuz was imprisoned and wasn't using his magic to build anything.
Since the Horned Society wasn't a thing until after Iuz's imprisonment, this must have happened after Iuz returned in 570 CY... except Zuggtmoy was already imprisoned then and in no condition to help in the (re)growth of her temple...


-Another possibility might be the nature of Iuz or Zuggtmoy's "imprisonment". Gang lords have been known to run their enterprises from inside prison.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The biggest problem: if Iuz (or any of the imprisoned demigods) could communicate from his prison, why not ask one of his worshipers/allies/loyalists to set him free? If Iuz was trying to free Zuggtmoy, wouldn't Zuggtmoy have the same motivation to free Iuz?

She tried, but couldn't is an answer, but I think the story works better if his whereabouts are unknown, and Robilar and co. discover him accidentally.
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jamesdglick
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
The biggest problem: if Iuz (or any of the imprisoned demigods) could communicate from his prison, why not ask one of his worshipers/allies/loyalists to set him free?...


-That would be a little like showing weakness?
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vestcoat
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What if the Godtrap's bonds weaken over time?

Excepting Iuz and Zouken, most of its captives have escaped with little fanfare.

According to WGR5, we know that Iuz wasn't a demigod when he was imprisoned, but was when he escaped. (Expedition to GH Ruins conflicts with this somewhat, saying that Zagig used the Godtrap to imprison nine "gods" and drain their power to fuel his rise to divinity, but it also says that Iuz's capture was "a political imperative" and had less to do with Zagig's ambitions then the capture of Zouken and others.)

So, Iuz couldn't communicate with his followers when he was imprisoned, but as decades passed and he gained power, his bonds weakened and he exercised more influence in the Flanaess. During the last ten years, he began to grant spells, project image, contribute to the Orb of Golden Death, and craft his Soul Husks. All that remained was freeing his physical form.

By the time Robilar freed him, Iuz had already established the cultists described in WGR1 who were trying to find the trap and release their master. Halga, Althea, and Patch were already well on their way to being high-level spellcasters. His priests were dropping flame strikes at Emridy Meadows, etc.

This is really the only way to explain eternal conflict between Iuz's imprisonment and his aid to the ToEE.
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vestcoat
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamesdglick wrote:

I never thought it made sense that one group of guys was running around solving every single mega-problem on their own.

+1. Trying to the justify the T1-4/A1-4/GDQ1-7 trainwreck is an impossibility that should be thrown on the Greyhawk garbage heap with WG9-11.

The recommended levels don't work. The timeline doesn't work. The NPC's and pregens don't work.

The supermodule reprint adventure path was a post-Gygax paycheck for TSR to coast on while they scrubbed his name off 2e.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My preferred solution is that Iuz and Zuggtmoy initially planned the Temple prior to 505 CY, but their plans were interrupted by the cambion's imprisonment and Zuggtmoy eventually continued on her own.
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