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    Canonfire :: View topic - The Great Western Gate
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    The Great Western Gate
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 21, 2003
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    Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:47 am  
    The Great Western Gate

    The Great Western Gate

    So, if the Earl/Margrave/Marchioness of Sterich is the Steward of the Great Western Gate, what exactly is the Great Western Gate? My assumption is that it is the one pass over the Crystalmists to the Dry Steppes. This pass appears on Anna B Meyer’s map as “The Abandoned Pass”. If this is the case (as opposed to the Gate being, say, the entrance to the Dwarven realm of Num-Theraz or a general term for access into the more western portions of modern day Sterich), then who used the Pass?

    Was it a pass used by the ancient Flan to enter the Sheldomar Region?

    Why wasn’t it used by the ancient Bakluhnish to escape their doomed homeland?

    Could this be a more realistic route for at least some Oeridians to enter the Sheldomar region as opposed to the route shown on the Greyhawk migrations, especially as Vecna’s empire in the northern Sheldomar-Rushmoors-Dim Forest Region doesn’t collapse (-357 CY) until a century after the Oeridian Migrations reach their peak in Ket (-458 CY)?

    Kwint
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    Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:25 am  

    What a great question! I've been running campaigns in Sterich for years and years and I've never thought about this before. Where exactly is the Abandoned Pass you mentioned? I don't remember seeing that before.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:30 am  

    Okay, after some serious squinting at the CY576 map, I found the Abandoned Pass west and slightly SW of Num-Theraz. I have never seen that before, perhaps because it's just a label, no dotted line or such indicating passage.

    Does anyone know the source for the Abandoned Pass? What's the story there?

    I am intrigued.
    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

    Joined: May 29, 2018
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    Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:33 pm  

    edmundscott wrote:
    Okay, after some serious squinting at the CY576 map, I found the Abandoned Pass west and slightly SW of Num-Theraz. I have never seen that before, perhaps because it's just a label, no dotted line or such indicating passage.

    Does anyone know the source for the Abandoned Pass? What's the story there?

    I am intrigued.


    It may be a Living Greyhawk addition. Anna added a lot of LG material to her map.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:23 pm  

    If the pass is abandoned, probably it's no longer a practical route, whether because of monsters, bandits, avalanches, landslides, sinkholes, weather, planar anomalies, or some other reason. If that is the case, it would be strange for the ruler to continue to brag about it in his title. Could the Great Western Gate not be the gap between the Good Hills and the Jotens, west of Keoland? The duty of the ruler of Sterich is to protect Keoland's western frontier.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:10 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    If the pass is abandoned, probably it's no longer a practical route, whether because of monsters, bandits, avalanches, landslides, sinkholes, weather, planar anomalies, or some other reason. If that is the case, it would be strange for the ruler to continue to brag about it in his title. Could the Great Western Gate not be the gap between the Good Hills and the Jotens, west of Keoland? The duty of the ruler of Sterich is to protect Keoland's western frontier.


    I think the pass on Anna’s map was her interpretation of the Great Western Gate...

    I also think it could be a description of the area between The Stark Mounds and The Jotens around the Fitela region; between the Good Hills and The Jotens seems a bit too far south...

    And finally, I couldn’t find a reference to it prior to the LGG, so I think Jason’s assertion seems correct as to it’s RW genesis...

    Kwint
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
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    Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:17 pm  

    The Great Western Gate might be metaphorical, in that Sterich (and arguably Geoff and the Yeomanry) are the gates protecting the Sheldomar lowlands against the giants of the mountains. They were most recently put to the test in the Greyhawk Wars and the subsequent battles to retake Geoff and Sterich, but while they've bent, they've never truly fallen, particularly if they actually won the Wars like they did in my version.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:25 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    If the pass is abandoned, probably it's no longer a practical route, whether because of monsters, bandits, avalanches, landslides, sinkholes, weather, planar anomalies, or some other reason. If that is the case, it would be strange for the ruler to continue to brag about it in his title.


    Didn't the RL kings of England/Great Britain have "King of France" in their official titles for centuries after they ceased to control any part of France?
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Sun Jan 17, 2021 9:10 pm  

    I dunno, I think bragging about a pass nobody uses isn't as impressive as claiming to rule France.

    I think that as Sterich is a vassal state of Keoland, it's likely "steward(ess) of the Great Western Gate" is from Keoland's perspective. Sterich was founded with "the primary purpose of creating a stable political power with easy access to the mines of the surrounding hills and mountains," so Sterich is the gate to the wealth of the mountains.

    However, rereading the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, there's some possibility that "Stewardess of the Great Western Gate" isn't a hereditary title of the ruler of Sterich, but instead a personal title of Marchioness Resbin, and relates to her unknown homeland and not Sterich at all. Perhaps it's a gate to another plane, and she is the custodian of its only key. Perhaps that plane is her homeland.

    I'd also add that the abandoned pass doesn't necessarily go all the way through the mountains to the Baklunish lands. It could be a pass to a valley in the interior of the mountains. Perhaps it was abandoned not because there's anything wrong with the pass itself, but because the valley is no longer a desirable destination (its mines ran out of ore, it was overtaken by giants, there was a plague, it's haunted, etc.).
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:52 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    However, rereading the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, there's some possibility that "Stewardess of the Great Western Gate" isn't a hereditary title of the ruler of Sterich, but instead a personal title of Marchioness Resbin, and relates to her unknown homeland and not Sterich at all. Perhaps it's a gate to another plane, and she is the custodian of its only key. Perhaps that plane is her homeland.


    Greg Vaughn, writer of the Dungeon Magazine adventure trilogy (Shadows Over Istivin), which is the source of most of the Sterich info during the LG period, included in his posts over on the Paizo boards some of the edited info concerning Sterich:

    "415 O.R. (-229 CY): Brellis Krelont appointed Warden of the Marchlands of the Great Western Gate. Istivin relocated. Foundations of Krelont Keep laid.”

    So, if BK was the Warden of the GWG, the term goes back over 800 years and is associated with Sterich, BK and the House of Qualtaine...

    Kwint
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    Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:58 am  

    My two cents is that an abandoned pass through the Crystalmists in western Sterich is absolutely bad-**** and adventure-worthy, and it should be a real thing and not metaphorical.

    Also, given what an insanely big deal a functional pass would be, there must be something TRULY TERRIFYING that has prevented the pass from being made clear and safe.
    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

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    Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:50 pm  

    I have a version of the monks from X4 inhabiting the pass and preying on travellers.
    Adept Greytalker

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    From: Dantredun, MN

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    Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:47 pm  

    Looking at the Folio and LGG, Sterich was created to do two things:
    1) "always remain on guard to the west" where monsters come down from the headwaters of the Davish (Guide 36).
    2) "the primary purpose" of the land was to give Keoland easy access to the riches of the mines in the hills and mountains (LGG 107).

    Thus Sterich AKA The Great Western Gate is like Calbut. Calbut protected Tenh's platinum mines and stopped barbarians. Sterich traditionally protects Keoland's riches and stops the humanoids.

    Looking at the long chain of forts on Anna's map, Sterich obviously maintains a network of passes, mines, and fortifications to extract and protect all of their precious metals, with a focus around the source of the Davish, which is mentioned in both the Folio and LGG.

    A mountain lake referenced in the LGG doesn't appear on any maps yet. The authors say it's the source of the Javan, but they clearly mean the Davish. There should also be roads in the Chrystalmists to the vassal mountain dwarf clans who are MIA (107).

    A word search of my mostly-complete LG pdf's doesn't reveal any other mention of the Great Western Gate.
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