Thursday, September 29, 2016

Linguistics in the Flannaes: Oeridians are still from outer space

Over on Canonfire I found this cool article An Alternative Linguistic History of the Flanaess  written by someone identified only as Ullmaster [EDIT 12/21/16: Actually, Ullmaster is just the dude who uploaded the post, Joe Chevalier is the actual author of the piece.].  If you're a Greyhawk weirdo like me then you'll find that it's definitely worth your time.  Here's a highlight:
"I subscribe to the theory that they arrived on Oerth from another world, and brought their language with them." Ullmaster, An Alternative Linguistic History of the Flanaess
Anyone who remembers my bit on the Oeridians being extraterrestrials based on linguistic and spaceship crash-site evidence will think I've found my soulmate here, except that the "they" that the author is referring to in this case is the Olman people who occupy the jungles to the south of the Flannaes, not the Oeridians.  Ullmaster, offers no justification for why the Olman (Olmen?) might be from a galaxy far, far away, and yet by his very name he should know damn well that the Oeridians landed their starfleet in or near Ull some 1200 years ago. As the Oeridians are very secretive about their origins, it's only natural that Ullmaster--indubitably an Oeridian himself--is trying to deflect attention from UFO seekers to a point as far from Ull as possible.

To further demonstrate the lengths to which the Ullmaster is willing to go to mask Oeridia's true origin, s/he has this to say: 
"Oerid:  This people came from a land to the northwest of the Suel, in a coastal land ruled by dragons." 
Only by tacking the words "and unicorns" to the end of that sentence could it be made into a more blatant fabrication. We're on to you and your alien-people, Master of Ull.

All kidding aside, it is a pretty fascinating read wherein the author compares Greyhawkian languages to earthly ones. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Nortonian Greyhawk Part III: The Quag Keep Companion

No way did I think it would take an entire month to get around to this, but here it is September 1 and I still haven't put that friggin' map together. So I'm moving on without it. That's right, we're skipping the map and going straight to Part III of the Nortonian Greyhawk series: The Quag Keep Companion, my heavily researched reference guide to the Land of Greyhawk as depicted in Andre Norton's groundbreaking novel Quag Keep.

I intended to keep this thing a straight-up reference work, using only info gleaned from the book. But, alas, too many items were only mentioned by name with no further details given or inferences made, so I started applying a little of the ol' blogger's license. It made the thing a lot more fun to write though it'll be a bit more irritating for you to read.

Remind me to scan that friggin' map and I'll put it up soon.



Quag Keep Companion: A Guide to Nortonian Greyhawk

A note on abbreviations: I use two abbreviations prominently throughout this guide
  • CoG referring to the City of Greyhawk, and
  • LoG referring to the Land of Greyhawk, which encompasses the entire continent on which CoG resides.
And a note or five on page citation symbology:
  • Page numbers are given in parentheses following statements which are lifted directly from the text or can be reasonably inferred from it.  
  • Page numbers coincide with the first Tor trade paperback edition: May 2006.
  • Where a number sign (#) is given, the preceding statement is derived from the book, but the cataloger is just too damned lazy too look up the page number for you at the moment. 
  • Statements which are not followed immediately by a page citation are fabrications of the cataloger and should not be trusted.
  • Statements followed by the word (Map) are inferences made based on the Olde Thyme Map of Greyhawk (Figure 1), not the Darlene maps published by TSR in 1980. 
  • Other symbols are just there to sow chaos.
eg. the first entry below indicates that the word Blackmoor appears on pages 28 and 47 of my trade paperback edition of Quag Keep, the bit about it's location is based on the map, and the rest is just made up stuff.

Blackmoor (28,47) A barren land on the western shores of the Great Bay. (Map) Home to many peculiar locales including the Pinnacle of the Toad and other oddities.

Brethern A band of mercenary-adventurers responsible for armed incursion into some of the most notorious regions of LoG in search of legendary treasure hoards.

Castle of Kyark Citadel of the great wizard Kyark, built in the outskirts of the City of Greyhawk (CoG), the place is believed to induce madness in those who visit. (71) First built centuries ago, it is believed to be so enchanted that it has continued to build and reconfigure itself ever since, an ever-growing labyrinth of constantly changing chambers and corridors populated by an ongoing influx of monsters, tricks and traps; all of which keep adventurers returning time and again.

Dom A discipline of eldritch magic named after Dom, a mage of antiquity who developed much of the body of knowledge upon which the school is founded. It concerns itself primarily with the summoning and abjuring of demons and other beings of Chaos.

Druids Members of a “close knit, secretive fraternity” (p.23), often aligned with the dark forces of chaos, who have some ability to use magic. (#)

Dry Steppes Vast, arid plains on the western extreme of the Land of Greyhawk (LoG). What few watering places there are within the Steppes are considered the hereditary property of the Nomads of Lar. (#) See also Kalastro.

Elves A race of humans who have mastery over communication with all animals and birds (p. 21, 28). They are also possessed of Power Lore, a body of insight into the machinations of the world about which most humans are not capable of giving a damn. (51)

Faltforth the Sun Crown Deity of LoG mythology represented by the sun.(#)
Figure 1: Is this the map Gygax showed Norton?

Fane of Wings Ancient temple of unknown provenance. Noted for its unique architecture, it predates all current civilizations in LoG. (88)

Faraaz A land to the west of Greyhawk between Geofp and Verocunby. (Map)  It is comprised of loosely affiliated city states, each run by a “Holy Lord.” Also known as “Holy Lords of Faraz” or “Land of the Holy Lords.” They use copper coins in the shape of a cross, and half moon silver coinage.(52)

Fon du Ling One of the “Holy Lords” of Faraaz. An adventurer and collector of rare and fabulous animal species. He is rumored to have found and explored the secret Temple of Tung. (65)

Foreteeth of Gar An epithet (#) referring to the prominent mandibles of a minor deity with no small following in Narm. Also refers to two prominent peaks which stand guard at the headwaters of the unnamed river that separates the lands of Geofp and Narm.

Ganclang Lesser deity of LoG, noted for his (or her) brazen voice. (192)

Gar A deity heeded primarily by mountain tribes in Narm and Geofp. He is seen as a protector of the mountain people and is noted for having large tusks and for belching lightning from his mouth.

Gar-Eagle A very large bird that resides in mountain regions, roc.(#)

Geofp Region of Greyhawk in the foothills of the Western Mountains which separate the Sea of Dust form the fertile eastern lands. The Grand Duke rules the land as a stronghold of Chaos. And yes, there is a “p” on the end. Obviously it's a typo, but they were diligent in repeating it throughout the book, so it's now canon. (#)

Great Kingdom A realm to the north of Urnst along the southern shores of the Great Bay. (Map) It comprises five legendary cities which pre-date current history. (88) The lands of Blackmoor, Parth, and the Wild Coast have at times been considered a part of this realm, though citizens of those lands rarely acknowledge the sovereign. (𝞯)

Greyhawk, City of (CoG) A free city with no master where the struggle between Law and Chaos often plays out its drama.(#)

Griff Cat griffin (😼)

Han-gra-dan A wizard of legend, the “mightiest of Northern Adepts” lived a millennium ago or more. His scholarship in arcane knowledge is unsurpassed and artifacts of his creation are still highly sought after by wizards and sages alike.(#)

Harrowing of Ironnose Bardic saga regaling the epic battle between Lichis the Golden and Ironnose. (#)

Harvel's Axe, Sign of An inn of dubious reputation on the edge of the Thieves Quarter in CoG frequented by wereboars and druids. (#)

Hither Hills Hilly region to the north of Narm. (map) The tribesmen of these hills are known to be adepts of some renown though it is often said that they are descended from the intermixing of men and demons of chaos. (67)

Kalastro, Empire of Land of legend located in the area that is now the Dry Steppe. (#) Kalastro was a vast and powerful empire that fell to decadence and depravity before turning to Chaos entirely. In what has become known as the Plague of Fire, Lichis the Golden lead a flight of dragons over the land and scorched it to the barren waste that it remains to this day. (🙊)

Keoland The largely depopulated lands to the south and east of CoG. (71) Made up of dry plains in the south and west. (#)  Most of the remaining population of Keoland lives in a hilly region to the east of Greyhawk which is sometimes referred to as Keo Major when differentiating it from the dry plains to the southeast, aka Keo the Less. See Rieving of said land for more info.

Kyark Legendary wizard who built a stronghold on the outskirts of CoG. It is widely believed that  any who enter his stronghold will succumb to insanity or worse. (71) Nonetheless, adventurers flock to the stronghold in search of treasure and glory.

Landron of the Inner Light A deity who serves the forces of Law. His disciples are known to carry nought but a knife to defend themselves. (#)

Lar Region of land on the fringes of the Dry Steppes inhabited by warlike nomadic tribes who engage in raids on their neighbors for resources. Noted for their steeds, see Steppe Mounts. (#)

Liche A form of undead, much like a zombie but possessed of greater quickness and intellect. If severed into pieces, its parts will continue to fight on independently of each other.(#)

Lichis Legendary golden dragon who supported the side of Law through thousands of years of struggle with the forces of Chaos. Was the adversary of Ironnose in the legendary battle that became the subject of the “Harrowing of Ironnose.” Has retired form the world and no longer interacts with humankind. Resides in the Southern Moutains which divide the fertile east from the arid west. (#)

Loice, Mirror of This artifact of the great queen Loice is a flat stone of a shimmery, reflective rock that is said to have mystical properties. As with the Standard of King Everon, it is said to be lost in Troilan Swamp, though a group of mercenary adventurers known as the Brethern claimed to have acquired it in recent years.

Loice, Spectre of The ghostly embodiment of Loice, legendary queen of Troilan who reigned over the land before it sunk into a swamp, is said to rise from the mire and command its denizens in defence of her soggy domain should it be threatened by outsiders. (#)
Lyra Gems (65) Low quality gemstones that are often crafted into cheap jewelry and hawked in shoddy merchant stalls throughout the LoG.

Maritiz An island nation noted for its coinage made of mother of pearl and incised with the “fierce head of a sea serpent.”(52)

Narm (61) Region to the north of Geofp in the area labelled "Neron March" on the map.

Never-fail Shield Shields of legend purported to have magical powers. (65) Vendors of dubious reputation are known to offer counterfeits for sale to gullible adventurers. They originally were used by certain elite regiments of the lost Empire of Kalastro. They were round shields of light weight yet impregnable steel with a silver star in the center and could, in the hands of a skilled soldier, be thrown as a weapon and would return to the hand of the wielder.Very few of these are known to still exist. (♘)

Northern Bands Matriarchal society that inhabits the land of the far north. Its women are fierce warriors referred to alternately as amazons and Valkyrie. They are ruled by the High Horned Lady and fight under the banner of the Unicorn. During a time of famine some years ago a regiment of amazon warriors of the Northern Bands went south to offer their services as Mercenaries in order to provide for their starving families. In the employ of the Regor, Lord of Var, they were on hand for the Rieving of Keo the Less. Great numbers of these proud warriors were not merely killed but tortured, defiled, and dismembered in unimaginable fashion.(#)

Om The pattern which maps all human activity, no matter how insignificant such activity may seem. The pattern is invisible to men and their "earth-tied" senses. (217)

Oszarmen Desert nomads of indeterminate provenance. (209)

Outer Dark source of mystical powers available to adepts aligned with Chaos (23)

Parth Seafaring nation (178) located on a peninsula at the mouth of the Great Bay.

Paynim Nation in the northwest of WoG. (map) Wine from this region is widely regarded as among the best in LoG.

Plague of Fire A cataclysmic event that breathed forth from the from the Southern Mountains destroying the Kalastro Empire (192) in what is now the Dry Steppes (Map). Lichis the Golden lead a host of Dragons over the decadent Empire, burning and laying waste to its cities, which had turned to Chaos. (🎱)

Prim Lizard A lizard that appears to be made of stone.

Regor of Var🎰oubles a generation ago. Their names were added to the death toll during the Rieving of Keo the Less. (74) It is not known whether it was he who was responsible for calling down the Rieving or if the opposition took that tragic step or another party entirely, but it is certain that everyone involved met a grievously horrible end.🎯

Rieving of Keo the Less Described as “a treachery so black that it blotted the dark pages of Chaos's own accounting—death so hideous a man might retch out his guts if he thought too long upon it.” (#) This horrifying event took place during the wars that wracked the lands of Keo a generation ago. During the siege of Var, someone called upon a force so dark that the entire city was razed, everyone in the vicinity--including all inhabitants as well as the besieging army--was slaughtered, their tortured, twisted corpses were found in a fetid stinking heap.  Sounds bad, right? It effectively ended the uprising and left Keo as a derelict state. 🎳

Rockna the Brass Dragon residing in the Sea of Dust. Possibly aligned with Chaos. (207)

Salzak the Spirit Murderer A menacing demon who committed 96 sins, at least one of which was murdering souls. (35)

Sea of Dust A fatal trackless wilderness of fine dust so shifty it is impossible to walk on it without special equipment (49). Dunes of shifting dust sweep across this land much as waves of the ocean. An ancient civilization once plied these dunes on sailing vessels, the remains of which—along with their valuable cargoes are said to litter the “Sea.”(#)

Seven Swamps Homeland of the Lizardfolk and their reptilian steeds(#), this large Wetland complex lies between Faraaz and Geofp. See also Troilan Swamps.⚄

Sign of the Pea Stalk An inn and provisioner located in the City of Greyhawk. Noted for providing good value on merchandise to the adventuring class. (#)

Song of Far Wings Enchanted shanty which, when sung by a skillful bard, summons gar-eagles and/or other winged critters to the aid of the songster. (139, 143)

Song of Herckon Soul shredding tune played by expert bards which will temporarily reduce certain spirit forces to pools of quiescent liquid. (137-8)

Southern Mountains Mountain range which holds the Sea of Dust at bay from the LoG to the east. Inhabited by Lichis the Golden and other dragons.(#)

Standard of King Everon Banner of the afore-named monarch, last king of Troilan. Under this banner, Everon led his people against an invasion but was overwhelmed and met his end on the field of battle. At his death, the land of Troilan sank into a mire into which his banner was lost. Just as the meadows of Troilan sank into a dismal swamp, its people morphed into a lizardlike breed which holds drylanders with contempt. This item was captured by a group known as the "Brethern" [sic].

Stranger's Tower A prison tower in the CoG primarily occupied by drunks and brawlers.(66)

Steppe Mounts These light horses are bred by the Nomadic tribes of Lar on the fringes of the Dry Steppes. They are known for their endurance. They are trained to answer only to the call of one master. Strangers caught riding on a Steppe Mount by Laric nomads are likely to face serious sanctions. It is said that an elf or were-being can influence such steeds to allow someone other than their trained master to ride them. (59-62)

Sword of Seven Spells Enchanted sword (65) that reputedly allows the bearer to cast one of seven spells. Such a sword may once have existed but those on sale in the markets of Greyhawk are unexceptional frauds in every way.௹

Temple of the Frog Sacred temple believed to be at the heart of Troilan Swamps from whence malignant creatures are spawned. Few who have seen it have survived to tell of it. No one is known to have entered it and returned to pass on their tale. (221)

Temple of Tung Legendary temple believed to be filled with treasures of great value. (65) It is thought to be located in the Hither Hills. Many adventurers claim to have found it and made off with booty from its crypts. It is believed that doing so bears a horrendous curse.🌝

Thera “The Maned Lady” Lesser deity of the LoG, aligned against Chaos. The tribes of Lar are known to pay heed to her. (61)

Toad, Pinnacle of the Located in the northern reaches of LoG (107), perhaps in Blackmoor, the Pinnacle is an enormous, grotesque obelisk dedicated to the Toad God. It is said to mark the “navel the world” and the gateway to the realm of the greater beings. It is central to the worship of a malignant cult of festering chaos called the Fellowship of the Toad.

Toad, Fellowship of the A cult dedicated to the worship of the foul toad god. (107) Though their agents are hidden throughout lawful society, their territory is located in a fen on the northern fringe of Blackmoor. (𝞫)

Troilan Swamps A forested wetland that is home to several tribes of lizardfolk. (85) It lies between Geofp and Faraaz and is also known as the Seven Swamps.(Map)

Two Harpies A tavern in CoG noted for its inexpensive and potent fortified wine. It is a favorite watering hole of caravan guards (66), possibly due to its proximity to the municipal stables. The place is notorious for brawling. As such, the furniture is quite stout and fixed to the floor to prevent its use as weaponry. The cups, on the other hand, are cheap wooden affairs that break quite easily, providing a satisfying spray of splintered wood and cheap wine while causing relatively little damage. Patrons of this establishment often find overnight accommodations at the Strangers Tower.

Ulik (#) A mage of great power who spawned a discipline of magic that bears his name.

Urnst Province to the north of the free city of Greyhawk. Currently ruled by a Grand Duke. (47)

Var (#) A devastated city located on the arid plains of Lesser Keoland. It was razed during the Rieving of Keo the Less and remains a cursed and ruined place to this day.

Vold A river originating in the foothills of the Southern Mountains which flows northward from the plains of Keoland, eventually becoming a mighty river as tributaries feed into it. (77)

Wild Coast Coastal region over which Ironnose was at least partially harrowed by Lichis the Golden. (#)

Wine of Pardos Legendary tipple with healing properties. (192)

Yerocunby Land to the west of CoG. Other possible spellings include Yerocundy, Yerocanby, and Verocunby. (#)