Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Dangerous Violence & Conquest of T1 The Temple Of Elemental Evil By Gary Gygax & Frank Mentzer - Barbarian Warlords of Greyhawk Part Seven

"Thousands of humanoid tribes of orcs, ill spawned things of chaos have come from out of the hills! They've laid waste to hundreds of villages, farms, & set fire to ancient groves. There are whispers of demons, wizards, & worse commanding them! But the worst of it was when the raiders came! "
Lets face facts war breeds opportunity & the barbarian tribes of Greyhawk are not going to sit still while hundreds of humanoids raid their lands & slaughter their people under the influence of some ancient Lovecraftian demoness. The T1 The Temple of Elemental Evil by Gary Gygax & Frank Mentzer are hates of old. Their pits of incredible evil that allows the evil influence of a vanquished demoness to influence Greyhawk's people & its most foul sorceries.

So continuing on with 'The Barbarian Warlords of Greyhawk' campaign setting today. I want to look at the quick & bloody rise of black sorcerous violence  in the central Flanaess  with the rise of the various humanoid races being spawned by ancient generators. If you've played through the moat house dungeon & then linked it up by tunnels to the Caves of Chaos from B2 Keep on The Borderlands then you know that those caves are only one set of these ancient hell hole creations. The rest of them have been churning out thousands of humanoid warriors ala the video game Gauntlet. So what brings down  the city-state of Verbobonc? A hybrid army of humanoids & human raiders under the hellish influence of the demoness Zuggtmoy

So where did the other barbarian tribes come from then? The refugees & survivors of these raids who survived the sacking of the city-state of Verbobonc! I've said that this is an alternative version of Greyhawk which I'm testing various systems of   The Heroic Fantasy Handbook play test document . Events here go quite differently during the sacking of the the Horde of Elemental Evil. What I'm I talking about? According to the Wiki Entry here's where things start going in a different direction;"
In 569 CY, a combined force was sent to destroy the Temple and put an end to the marauding. This allied army clashed with a horde of evil men and humanoids, including orcs, ogres and gnolls, at the Battle of Emridy Meadows. Men-at-arms from Furyondy and Veluna united with dwarves from the Lortmils, gnomes from the Kron Hills, and an army of elven archers to face the threat of the Horde of Elemental Evil, consisting largely of savage humanoids such as orcs, ogres, and gnolls. The arrival of the elves from the shadows of the Gnarley Forest turned the tide of battle, trapping the savage humanoids against a bend in the Velverdyva where they were routed and slaughtered.

At some point in this battle, Serten, cleric of Saint Cuthbert and member of the Citadel of Eight, was slain. The Citadel was notable for its absence at this pivotal moment in the history of the Flanaess, and their failure to take part in the Battle of Emridy Meadows contributed to the group's decline and eventual disbandment.

After dispersing the Horde of Elemental Evil, the allied forces laid siege to the Temple of Elemental Evil itself, defeating it within a fortnight. Spellcasters loyal to the goodly army cooperated on a spell of sealing that bound the demoness Zuggtmoy (a major instigator in the Horde of Elemental Evil) to some of the deepest chambers in the castle's dungeons."

Yes the demoness Zuggtmoy was sealed away but she did not go quietly. She took out Serten, cleric of Saint Cuthbert  & various  members of the Citadel of Eight.

Hundreds of humanoid tribes have overrun the Pomarj peninsula  from Tim Truman, Dragon 167
Over the centuries her black influence continued to fester through cults, agents circling through Greyhawk, bandits & brigand forces loyal to her, thieves & assassins guilds whose inner circles were loyal to her, & finally those cults who maintained the spawning mechanisms of Luz.

The dusanu, or rot fiend  also by Tim Truman is a perfect example of the undead monsterous horrors stalking  in the shadows of Greyhawk during this time.

What about Vecna? Well Vecna is an Osris god of necromancers & black wizards whose worship will get your throat slit during the night. The undead are a curse on the living & another hate of old, one of whom the warriors will have to deal with in time. But not right now. At the moment his cult is one that deals as if one would if they were old black magick in ruins dealing  from the shadows bidding its time & amused at the events around it.

Meanwhile hundreds of raiders take to the saddle, foot, boat to take out other citystates taking full advantage of the chaos to get their own pieces of Greyhawk. The chaos has emboldened the various factions. More blood shed & violence are sparking off of the paranormal chaos of the Elemental Evil Temple.

T1 The Temple of Elemental Evil's fires were stoked by the sacking  of the city-state of Verbobonc  & the activating of one of the primary artifacts of Greyhawk killing hundreds in its wake & shattering the time space continuum of the nearby army & innocents across the countryside.
Here's where the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide comes in and yes I'm playing fast & loose with the DM's Guide's artifacts to keep my players guessing.

The  the city-state of Verbobonc  is a smoldering ruin where the screams of the damned, the dying, & those taken as slaves are the lucky ones. The humanoid armies haven't had time to enjoy their victory as they too have fled the scene as magical plagues have been unleashed, demons & monsters stalk the ruins & strange warriors from other lands across the Boreas winds have made 'the crossing'.
This turn of events might not be the one that the demoness Verbobonc was counting on. Yes I'm going to use Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition & the Fiend Folio to fill out some of the ruins of  Verbobonc .

AS&SH second edition cover by Charles Lang.
Why? Because the heart of the the central Flanaess   needs another dungeon location to test the mettle of the players once the Temple of Elemental Evil has been conquered. 

So what's happening here? Well there are several reasons why this is happening:

  1. There are several high end treasures that are up for grabs during the events surrounding T1 coming into its own of evil. This gives the perfect opportunity to test out some of the sacking options that   The Heroic Fantasy Handbook play test document . 
  2. I've already had various Greyhawk purists getting on my case. This is an alternative Greyhawk where the Sword & Sorcery & Weird Tales elements are turned up to 'eleven'. 
  3. Events of campaign can go in lots of directions during play & that's what we're looking at. 
  4. Blood, battles, broadswords are fun & this is a round about 'what if' campaign. 
  5. So far I'm not disappointed by The Heroic Fantasy Handbook play test document.
  6. The ACK's system seems to handle this whole affair quite nicely. The PC's can start at first level & retire on the high end of the ACK's scale if they survive. 

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