Saturday, December 3, 2022

Barbarian Warlords of Greyhawk Part III - Shadows & Doors of Hommlet - OSR Commentary on T1 The Village of Hommlet By Gary Gygax For Your Old School Campaigns

 "The Village of Hommlet has grown up around a crossroads in a woodland. Once far from any important activity, it became embroiled in the struggle between gods and demons when the Temple of Elemental Evil arose but a few leagues away. Luckily of its inhabitants, the Temple and its evil hordes were destroyed a decade ago, but Hommlet still suffers from incursions of bandits and strange monsters" 

T1 The Village of Hommlet is the sort of place found along any back road route in a world of Sword & Sorcery. The real secrets of Hommlet are the back room influences that have come into the village. There's plenty of opportunity here for a party of penniless & dangerous adventurers. That late Roman empire vibe of Adventurer, Conqueror, King fits right into the back end of numerous classic elements of the village of Hommlet. We pick up where we left off here. 
But the village itself is the top of evil waiting for the unwary to fall into the snare of the Temple of Elemental Evil's various cults. Because in an Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg campaign Hommlet becomes the party's literal point of reality against the unrealities of T1-4 later on.  After all of the ubious traders, double agents, backroom deals, and more all centered around the moat house itself are done Hommlet will remain. And as it remains it will become the center of player's  PC's lives. 

If we use B2 Keep on the Borderlands By Gary Gygax as a side quest after the moathouse then the keep begins to make a lot more sense. The cults of Chaos with the caves of chaos are being fueled by the forces of the Temple of Elemental Evil. Now add to the mix a group of Sword & Sorcery adventurers and we begin to see the possibilities. 

'The Heroic Fantasy Handbook' has all of the PC classes to allow one to move to a mid level fifth or so party of adventurers ready to tackle T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil. But what does this mean in the long term?!
It means that the forces of Chaos which are so often talked about in ACK's are going to be full on horrors trying to take Greyhawk by looting, murdering, & pillaging. For Barbarian Warlords this is going to be unexpectable. And the PC's will be making the transition from warlord to king if & this is a big 'if' they complete the temple of elemental evil's dungeons. 

Why is this significant?! Because of the fact that we go from warlord to king means that on Greyhawk the PC's are going to be a power to be reckoned with. And heavy is the head that wears the crown. Think I'm kidding think again. The PC's are going to be responsible for every low life beast & half formed monster of Chaos that comes calling on every surrounding minor kingdom. 
What if they don't live that long?! The village of Hommlet is actually a den of thieves, traders, and NPC thugs waiting to gank a PC when their back is turned in true NPC style. Don't believe me!? Check out everything centered around the moat house. 

That moat house is the sink of evil within Hommlet and the secret enterance to the temple of Elemental Evil. The number of times that I've used the secret tunnels into the temple bit is numerous over the years. 

  1. T1 The Village of Hommlet should have a lot of traveling NPC's within it. Not only to keep the players interested but to act as a spy network that is carrying information from the village into the temple.And this also works very well for the fact that the PC's may not catch this spy network on the first go around. We didn't. 
  2. Assassins are not the usual monster but the village of Hommlet provides the perfect excuse to include this 'evil' NPC class. 
  3. Need a perfect venue for your down & out sell swords?! Welcome to Hommlet. Remember the PC's are not the only penniless wanderers in town. 
  4. Was there more then one battle in the area of Hommlet providing the influx of drifters, wanderers, & thieves?! I think so! 
  5. The fact that you've got a village in the middle of no where squared Greyhawk means that the village is a crossroads of commerece. And there's going to a cross section of Greyhawk people's within the village itself. 
  6. Getting players to respect the inhabitants that they encounter isn't going to be easy. And Hommlet is the perfect venue to get PC's into trouble especially with the cult of evil elemental cults. 
  7. The monsters of Hommlet are extensions of the temple & could be perfect candiates for ACK's Lairs & Encounters. 
  8. Hommlet is the perfect venue to bring in turn coat NPC's to offer the ACK's adventurers help only to betray them to the cult later on. 
  9. The numerous evil humanoids of the AD&D first edition Fiend Folio are perfect too add into T1 to mix it up abit. 
  10. Keep the treasure in Hommlet low but the adventure high. 

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