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    Greyhawk Wars 579-582 CY
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 30, 2022
    Posts: 118
    From: France

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    Wed Mar 13, 2024 4:04 am  
    Greyhawk Wars 579-582 CY

    Hello, the beginnings of the Greyhawk Wars, described in the DRAGON magazine articles, end in 579 AC, where everything is ready for war. But official wars began in 582 AC. How to explain this discrepancy ?
    What happens between 579 AC and 582 AC, the start of the official Greyhawk Wars. Particularly in the south where 3 armies of the Great Kingdom converge?
    Thank you for your answers.

    Among the best-known elements are the famous AD&D adventures:

    Temple of Elemental Evil (T1-4)
    Year: 579 AC
    Location: Hommlet, Nulb and the Temple (hex N4-96 and N4-95)

    Adventures: A1 “Slave Pits of the Undercity”, A2 “Secret of the Slaver's Stockade”, A3 “Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords” and A4 “In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords” and compiled into A1-4 Scourge of the Slavelords
    Year: 580 AC
    Locations: A1 in Grandport (hex A4 – 101), A2 south of Grandport (hex A4 – 102), A3 and A4 in the Drachensgrabs (hex A4 – 104)

    Adventures: G1-3/D1-3/Q1, compiled in GDQ 1-7, Queen of the Spiders.
    Year: 576 to 580 AC
    Locations: G1 “Steading of the Hill Giant Chief” (hex P5-129 in the Giants), G2 “Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl” (hex S5-134 in the Crystal Mists), G3 “Hall of the Fire Giant King” (hex M5-138 in the Hellfurnaces), D1-2 “Descent into the Dephts of the Earth” under the Hellfurnaces (hex M5-138), D3 “Vault of the Drow” in the Furnaces of Hell (hex N5-138), Q1 “Queen of the Demonweb Pits” a level of the Abyss accessible through the Vault of the Drow (hex N5-138).

    The Falcon trilogy: adventures WGA1 “Falcon’s Revenge”, WGA 2 “Falconmaster”, WGA3 “Flames of the Falcon”
    Year: 581 AC
    Location: Greyhawk

    WGA 4 “Vecna Lives”
    Year: 581 AC
    Location: Verbobonc, Greyhawk City, Tovag Baragu, etc.
    The beginning of this adventure is one of the most famous in D&D. Within minutes, the Circle of Eight was destroyed. In the canonical Greyhawk story, Mordenkainen collects the remains of his allies and clones them.

    The following two adventures prefigure the Greyhawk Wars:

    WGS1 “Five Shall Be One” and WGS2 “Howl of the North” allow a group of adventurers to travel to the icy North to recover the Five Blades of the Corruscans, allowing them to free the imprisoned god Vatun. In the canonical story of Greyhawk, Iuz poses as Vatun and launches the Barbarians to attack the North.

    Other events

    579 A.C.
    The heir of Baron Lexnol, Alain IV, marries Lady Evaleigh, the daughter of the Count of Knurl. The county was the only surviving province from the Bone March and this union was intended to strengthen both parties.
    Alain fell in love with the dream of uniting Ratik and the Bone March, but he failed to convince the king of the Frutzi to participate in his plan to repel the humanoid tribes.

    Frequent skirmishes between the South Province and Nyrond escalated into open hostilities in early 579 AC, when Overing Ivid V went to war against the Golden League (Nyrond, Almor, and the Iron League). Even if this monotonous war which extended until the end of 580 AC did not change the geopolitical situation in any way, it had the effect of emptying the coffers and reducing the troops of Nyrond and the Great Kingdom, two powers weakened when the subcontinent burned in the Greyhawk Wars.

    The plundering of Shield Lands by the Bandits Kingdoms and the Horned Society between 579 and 582 AC just as effectively weakened the entire region, leaving the Shield Lands in ruins. Iuz took note of this situation and took advantage of it in his grandiose plans of conquest.

    Bucknard of the Circle of Eight disappears.

    Resurgence of the Temple of Elemental Evil (see adventure T1-4)

    580 AC
    Intruders from the Bone March attempted a daring act by stealing the Seal of Marnera, an object blessed by the Suel barbarians and symbol of the new Northern Alliance. The plot was foiled when the group of thieves was caught in the Kalmare Pass, before they reached Spinecastle with their loot, but the news of their theft still cast a slight chill in relations between the Frutzii and Ratik.

    The Wanderers of the Lost Lands experienced a few more victorious campaigns against the Horned Society, notably in 580 AC, even managing to take part of its territory to the north, but these gains were short-lived.

    End of the war between Ivid V and the Golden League.

    End of the Slave Lords (see adventure A1-4)

    An attempted insurrection led by necromancers, presumably allied with a disgraced mage-lord known as Evard, breaks out in the territory of Bissel. It leads to brutal repression. A general feeling of distrust is emerging in Bissel, undoubtedly encouraged by certain powers who wish for his downfall.

    The Prophets, wizards-priests of Boccob and Istus, proclaim the fall of Tenh within 3 years.

    581 AC
    Earlier this year, the Torch Company met again in Greyhawk after Grimmri Fischer acquired a map to a treasure located in the Cairns Hills. There they discover the Torch of Anazander which gives its name to this group of adventurers.

    Jallarzi Sallavarian joins the Circle of Eight to replace Bucknard.

    A plague, the Red Death, rages in Aerdy.

    Assassination of the Circle of Eight (see the WGA4 adventure)

    The Falcon, an evil priest, attacks the temple of Saint Cuthbert in the free city of Greyhawk (see WGA adventure 1-3)

    Turrosk Mak becomes the leader of the Pomarj.

    The Scarlet Brotherhood begins the enslavement of the Olman and Touv peoples. She recruits Suels from Hepmonaland as mercenaries.

    A group of adventurers infiltrate the Scarlet Brotherhood headquarters in Hesuel Ilshar and shatter the Bloodstained Hexagram, a cursed artifact, which has a connection to the Zigurat of Blackness, a sacred site of Tharizdun, located in the Tilvanot Peninsula.

    Almost all the Shiel Lands has fallen to the Horned Society, the troops of the Bandits Kingdoms and the goblinoids. Only Crittwall remains free.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 11, 2009
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    From: Verbobonc

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    Thu Mar 14, 2024 10:45 am  

    I see the Flanaess as on the verge of a general conflagration in 579 CY, but the actions of various adventurers delays the advent of a general (as opposed to regional) war until 582 CY when Iuz sets his gambit in motion against Tenh.

    The defeat of the second rising of the Temple of Elemental Evil delays Iuz's strikes against Furyondy-Veluna.

    The defeat of the slave lords slows the Scarlett Brotherhood's efforts to build its powerbase in the Pomarj.

    The defeat of the giants and drow (I found this invasion hard to reconcile, and am thinking of delaying it until the wars themselves) protected the Sheldomar Valley from incursions.

    As far as the Shield Lands, I look at the situation being more that the Horned Society and Bandits had overrun the countryside, but had not taken many, if any, of the lands' fortresses. This to me would make the mission of the Knights in Greyhawk more sensible. Basically, the bandits and Horned Society would be conducting a prolonged chevauchee

    Since, according to the Greyhawk Wars, the Great Kindgom does not go to war until Nyrond is engaged in the Phostwood with the Fists, Ivid may well have ended a stalemated conflict in 579/580 waiting for another opportunity to strike, and he didn't have long to wait. Ivid may have thought he was merely husbanding his strength, while the Golden League may have thought they had won a decisive victory, much to their eventual regret.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
    Posts: 723
    From: Bronx, NY

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    Fri Mar 15, 2024 6:32 am  

    Start with declaring that the Greyhawk Wars did in fact start in 577 CY with the various mobilizations and skirmishes noted in those articles. Just because there were no major conquests and a bit of a lull from 579-582 does not mean the wars were not going on, just that they were proceeding on a smaller scale.
    From that, quite a few other things can be plugged in as elements of the Wars.

    The A series becomes the overture of Turrosh Mak taking over the Pomarj. Tweak the identities and relevance of the Slave Lords a bit, and the whole thing becomes a branch of the Scarlet Brotherhood operation. The sequel is post-wars, but there is not much functional difference in the mission.

    The G series (with or without the D and Q elements) remains in it curious position of being a duplicate of the Wars era invasion, particularly with the supermodule elements. Given how much I dislike the rather strained political elements of the official Wars history regarding Geoff and Sterich, I would simply retcon the Wars invasion and Lost Lands to begin in 577, with the liberation of Sterich via the G series pushed back a few years.

    The I module Dwellers of the Forbidden City can become a foreshadowing of the Scarlet Brotherhood involvement in the south.

    The N module can be shifted forward a few years and the "Troll Wars" become an element of the Lost Lands giant invasion. Keeping that road open becomes critical to the attempts to liberate Geoff. The naga can be refluffed as an agent of Iuz like the one in the Falcon series.

    The S series are independent of each other, but all can be tied into the overall story.
    S1 starts as a prelude as the armies muster in 577. The return to boxed sets becomes a desperate mission during the period Sunndi is overrun then liberated by Osson and before Idee is conquered.
    S2 is another prelude before the Shield Lands are lost in 581, with the Return to another desperate mission to find weapons to fight back against Iuz. As a side note, there is a minor entry in Iuz the Evil regarding a wizard who appears to be pure Flan with gnome servants living in a tower on the eastern edge of the Rift Barrens who pays a tribute of magic weapons to Iuz to be left alone. That description sound suspiciously like Keraptis, enough to be connected to the Return adventure.
    S3 is a prelude to the giant invasions, or possibly a mission to find the source of the raids that turns into a quest for arms to save Geoff.
    S4 becomes an obvious mission to find "secrets" about Iuz's mom to help fight him.

    The T supermodule is Iuz trying to start a second front.

    The U series is another Scarlet Brotherhood prelude scheme, setting up a secret base against Keoland.

    UK2-3 can become part of the conquest of the Sea Princes or deferred and become part of the fight to free it.

    The WG modules are multiple series with different focuses.
    WG4 is a side trek that introduces Big T.
    WG5 is a minor side trek for super-weapons.
    WG6 is a direct quest for the Crook of Rao.
    WG8 is probably best ignored as not contributing much.
    WG12, if used, could be connected to the giant invasions.
    WGA1-3, the Falcon series, is what it is - a diversion by Iuz.
    WGA4, with its side sequels if used, sets up a way to remove Iuz from the Wars for a critical period. Specifically, it explains why Iuz does not act from 577-581 - he is off fighting the V-man.
    WGM1 is written as a post-wars adventure.
    WGQ1 is written as a Wars era adventure.
    WGR1 has yet another invasion threat.
    WGR2 is a bunch of minor adventures that can be connected to various Wars events.
    WGR6 is a specific post-wars quest.
    WGS1-2 are specific Wars set-ups.

    Return of the 8 is overtly post-wars.

    Lost Tombs is post-wars but could easily be made side quests during the war for extra mayhem.

    Set up that way, while they do not fill in the military campaigns, they provide proper support and backdrop to the non-military maneuvering that goes on, allowing the military events to be seeded in at select points to improve players participation in the now seven years long war.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 11, 2009
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    From: Verbobonc

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    Sat Mar 16, 2024 6:23 pm  

    A lull in the fighting, as you described, makes perfect sense; medieval wars often had long lulls as maintaining a standing army was incredibly hard and expensive for such societies, even if magic is employed. If both sides kind of "cooled off" as they didn't see an immediate advantage, it does not mean peace was declared, just that fighting stopped for a bit. After all, the treasury could only maintain so much effort for so long. Perhaps it is the actions of some adventurers who do delay matters, giving the forces of good just that much of a better chance of surviving...

    I like where your head is at.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
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    Tue Mar 26, 2024 8:45 pm  

    Both of the World Wars had smaller conflicts that happened right before the larger conflicts and arguably helped shape them. World War I had the likes of the Balkan Wars and the Italo-Turkish War, while World War II had the likes of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, the Winter War and the Second Sino-Japanese War.

    The conflicts leading up to the Greyhawk Wars between 579 and 582 CY could be seen as preludes to the Greyhawk Wars and shaped them in the same way. The conflict between the Golden League and the Great Kingdom was inconclusive and stirred up mutual hostility between them; the Horned Society's conquest of the Shield Lands gave Iuz an opportunity to strike while the Hierarchs' attention was focused south; the GDQ modules planted the idea of invasion in many giants' minds even after Eclavdra lost control of them; the defeat of the Slave Lords created a power vacuum that the much more militaristic Turrosh Mak took advantage of and the beginnings of an organization he could exploit.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 29, 2006
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    Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:42 pm  

    Good thread. The only thing I'll add is don't forget about unofficial products and consider addressing some of TSR's mistakes and hasty changes.

    For unofficial products, Carl Sargent canonized events from the first two Gord novels in the COG boxed set, then reversed and brought some deceased characters back in WGR5. You may want to reconcile this. You might also go a little further down the novel line and add events from Sea of Death in the 579-581 period.

    Rob Kuntz built on the Dragon articles (Zayne and Dawnbreaker Clan) both in Fate of Istus and his thinly-veiled Greyhawk modules for the Zayne series. Zayne and Karolook's (sp?) power struggle, player actions, and Ivid's compromised health and mind could explain the GK's pause before the Greyhawk Wars.

    In the Verbobonc chapter of WG8, Kuntz also had the ToEE still in flux, meddling in the Pomarj and making gains around there. See Paul Stormberg's analysis:

    Also in the Great Kingdom, Allan Hammack's Night of the Black Swords would be a perfect one-shot starting here. I tweaked a few things to tie in with the Baalzy plot in WG8 and give players a chance to swing the outcome of that.

    Kuntz's To the City of Brass and any of the CoB modules (Secrets of the Lamp, Sir Robilar's City of Brass, Necromancer's boxed set, or Anthony Huso's Lulu offering) are a great way to continue to the plots in S4/WG4-6 AKA the "super weapons" Samwise calls them. High-level characters can continue to race around the multiverse and protect/secure resources alliances from agents of evil or sink alliances before the coming wars.
    Then there's TSR's mistakes and the impact of weird brand management and infighting.

    First off, I would fix the double invasion of the Shield Lands. It's obvious Zeb Cook didn't bother to read the Dragon articles OR the Gord novels OR the COG boxed set. You could move the date back to a single invasion or say only half the Shield Lands fell the first time.

    Second, I don't like the clumsy plot mechanism in the WGA4 prelude or the idea of the entire Circle being easily cloned. It also seems like Zeb had somekind of axe to grind, killing the entire Circle once and a couple more a second time in the Wars box. I'd recommend using other characters for the Vecna start or altering it

    Dragon #36 has Mordenkainen vanished out west aiding an evil ally. Ideas like this can explain the Circle's inactivity before the Wars without killing them all. It also keeps them from becoming goody two-shoes forever on the front line, saving the world, like Elminster. That's fine for Tenser, but not the entire Circle.

    Finally, TSR messed up the WGS series. Sargent's planned trilogy was scrapped, all of the plot hooks in the first module were ignored, and the worst staff writer (Slade) was given the task of wrapping everything up in one module instead of two, for which he did verifiably zero research and came in under word count.
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