One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
Whatever you feel like. Tieflings are not a distinct race in Greyhawk but rather the descendents of demons (usually cambions) or humans transformed by some kind of curse or pact.
Dragonborn are not native to Eastern Oerik so their origins (most likely originating from somewhere like the Celestial Imperium, Zahind or nations near the Bakhoury Coast) are up to you. They are most likely to be adventurers or merchants from the Far West, although I gave Resbin Dren Emondav of Sterich a retinue of dragonborn bodyguards to add to the sinister sense of mystery the Zahindian sorceress has to the local populace.
This is convenient, I was just going to start a "Tieflings in GH" thread.
In the core 4e setting, the human nobility of ancient Bael Turath sought to consolidate and expand their power. To do this, they swore pacts with infernal forces which, over time if not immediately, transformed them into the tieflings.
As the tiefling-ruled empire grew, it eventually came into conflict with the dragonborn of Arkhosia. The rest, as they say, is history.
I don't think it's been said officially that the nobility of Bael Turath sought infernal aid as a means to defeat the Arkhosians. But, that's a neat riff on the story and perfectly useable in your game.
Were I setting up a game to include civilizations or former civilizations of Dragonborn and Tieflings as is from the 4E PHB, then I would do it in a corner of the Celestial Empire. The Dragonborn would be members of a fallen kingdom of those who opposed the celestial dragon, at least according to human legend. The tieflings would be a former nation of sorcerers who bound their entire society to infernal realms for greater power, so they could defeat the Dragonborn. Both empires ended up destroying themselves.
I currently have a Dragonborn in my game, and she is from the Celestial Empire, and made her way to the Sheldomar Valley for adventure. The exotic origin has been pretty fun so far.
Tieflings can easily be incorporated into the Flanaess; Iuz is a cambion.
Obvious locations are: Lands of Iuz and Almor
Dragonborn are more problematic but the SB could have engineered them as a breeding experiment or captured them as captive breeding stock within distant lands. Outside of the Flanaess: Draconic Empire of Lynn is an obvious choice.
As I understand it: Dragonborn are the offspring of humans and dragons (humanoid shape).
The races that remained fairly the same (half-elf, dwarf, elf, halfling, etc) I've just updated things as they were (elves still come predominately from Celene, Highfolk, Lendor, etc).
For the new races that have never had a real place in Greyhawk, rather than waving my magic DM wand while intoning "Ta! Da!" and sudently they have always been there I decided to open up the eastern lands.
Here is a sample of how the Eastern lands could be used to import new races. Some material below taken from the "Beyond the Flanaess" project from the Oerth Journal. Many thanks to the Duicarthan, Cebrion, Samwise, and all the others on that project.
Mostly the nations of the East are like the nations of the West... many races and cultures intermingle in most lands while some races choose to live apart and some nations are peopled almost entirely of a single race. We could use the development of these lands as a mechanic to introduce the 4e core races that aren't already a part of greyhawk lore to the campaign. (they would also include all the pre 4e standard races but I won't go into a lot of detail on that).
Draconic Empire of Lynn - An ancient civilization where dragons rule and dragonborn are haughty aristocrats... the god's chosen people. Other races do reside here but are treated as second class citizens, serfs, or slaves... something better than animals perhaps, but just barely.
Fey Realm of Fallen Leaves - Ancient Eladrin kingdom. Cousins to the Elves of the Flanesse. Few other races are welcome to behold the splendors of this realm. The Eladrin, less attuned to flora and fauna than their elven cousins but more so than non-fey races, they are also very attuned to the 'living oerth' and build magnificent cities of living crystal and stone that mix the living earth with the living forest.
Rhop - the Exalted Imperium of the Crimson Throne. An ancient empire that researched extensively into the four elemental forces and planar forces. Over the centuries the level of contact with the elemental forces lead to the gradual evolution of the Genesi. Not actually separate races but a frequent genetic mutation. Children of normal folks could be born with elemental powers while the children of Genesi may or may not manifest the powers of their parents. This is also the ancient homeland of the Rhenee and many of the customs of the Rhenee can be traced back to their racial memory of this homeland.
Celestial Imperium - A vast feudalistic nation with a hard-working peasantry ruled by a complex bureaucracy. Long ago in its dim history internal wars lead to the development of sentient mechanical combatants called 'warforged.' The wars are long past but the warforged survive. Over the generations they have become 'just another race,' an accepted and integral part of society like halflings, elves, and dwarves. One of the most sophisticated and 'evolved' of the nations with the various races living side by side with little prejudice for each other.
Fireland Islands - The harsh cold and volcanic activity of these islands make them a difficult place to live but hardy member of many races have settled the coastal fjords along with the tiefling natives of the island. The Tieflings were until recently a barbaric people but they have accepted many of the 'civilized' trappings of their new citizens, although it is often jested that Tiefling temperament was breed from the weather, sea, and volcanoes of their homeland.
There is a lot of exceptions to the rules above... there is nothing to say that a mercenary force of warforged long ago hired out to the Republic of Istus and ended up settling there. A family of Tiefling traders from were shipwrecked and settled in the Tharquish empire. Changelings, with their abilities to look like any race have settled scattered across most of the world. A tribe of Suel might of fled East from the Rain of Colorless fire and displaced the previous inhabents of the Sunela Coast. etc. Depending on your campaign these new races might be unheard of, rare and exotic, or rather common in the Flanaess.
Goliaths are easily put anywhere there are mountains. They are itenerate mountain people who gather in small tribes - they don't need sweeping origins. They keep to themselves, so its not hard to just plop them in whole cloth, no worry, no change :)
Warforged is another matter entirely. Hadn't thought of the Celestial Imperium makign them - basically a take off of the terracotta warriors?
One other thing I've done is have Eladrin be from Celene - most folks just never knew the difference between them, and the elves weren't really interested in correcting them, and still aren't. As far as everyone knows, they are all elves. The fact that some can teleport is completely secondary :)
“Hundreds of years ago, the leaders of the human empire of Bael Turath made pacts with devils to solidify their hold over its enormous territory. Those humans became the first tieflings, and they governed their empire in the name of their infernal masters. In time, Bael Turath came into conflict with Arkhosia, the ancient empire of the dragonborn, and decades of warfare left both empires in ruins. Bael Turath’s grand capital was thrown down in ruin.” - PHB4E, p. 49
So, the humans that were to become tieflings didn't make their pacts in order to fight the dragonborn, but to control their empire. According to the general information in the PHB4E, both dragonborn and tieflings have no empires/nations of their own any longer and make their way in the world as they can, unless you decide otherwise in way of inserting them into Greyhawk. There may be more information on dragonborn and tieflings(it wouldn’t surprise me), but you will have to hunt it down yourself. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Can the Mist Kingdom be a possible place of origin for dragonborn? Is there any latitude to assume that the mist dragons there gave rise to the dragonborn. Living Greyhawk asserted that a society of kobolds came from the archipelago. Can the same notion hold true for dragonborn? _________________ Don (Greyson)
I confess, starting up this recent 4E campaign set in Greyhawk I took the stance that, indeed, both Tieflings and Dragonborn had always been there, in very small quantities; Tieflings were not unknown in the Lands of Iuz, the Horned Society, or even in exceedingly small quantities in the Great Kingdom (once it won the title of the Fiend-Seeing Throne).
As for Dragonborn, I simply had them as occasional wanderers; no more need for explanation for them than for where Lizardmen come from. They have no great societies here, no massive crowds; just the occasional Dragonborn, more common in the southern lands; perhaps they originate south of the Amedio, or over in Hepmonaland.
Putting dragonborn somewhere off in the utter West seems like a wasted opportunity - it means that all dragonborn PCs need some convoluted explanation for what they're doing in the Flanaess. There are plenty of humanoid monsters in the Flanaess - lizardmen, troglodytes, minotaurs, the dragonkin from Dragon Mountain, and the dragonspawn of Tiamat from 3rd edition - and I think there's room for dragonborn there too.
If you want a 4th edition Greyhawk campaign to be maximally compatible with 4th edition core, then I think including a fallen dragonborn kingdom in the Flanaess is the way to go. Figure out roughly where it went, some time long before the Great Migrations, and an explanation for why it collapsed. Then you can put Arkhosian ruins throughout the campaign, if you have need of them. It wouldn't necessarily have to be a war with tieflings/Bael Turath, but perhaps it warred with Sulm or the Tyrants of the Trask, or Keraptis or the Isles of Woe. Since then, dragonborn are wanderers found in small communities or mercenary bands wherever you need them to be, sometimes dwelling in human or dwarven towns or serving in dragon lairs.
Or, instead of sticking a Dragonborn kingdom into the Flanaess(some may see that as a bit too heavy handed an introduction of them), you can also say that Dragonborn are servants/agents of true dragons, and that they are encouraged to go out into the world on their own for at least a portion of their lives. Some choose to remain; others go back to being servants/agents of the true dragons.
For a PC Dragonborn they could be servants/agents, outcasts, or might simply have left to see the world on their own. By not tying them down to a kingdom as such, Dragonborn can potenially be from any number of places. Anywhere there are true dragons, there may also be Dragonborn. Dragonborn could be rare, but not nearly so rare as true dragons, and could be found in nearly any land. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Putting dragonborn somewhere off in the utter West seems like a wasted opportunity - it means that all dragonborn PCs need some convoluted explanation for what they're doing in the Flanaess.
Yeah but every player needs a convoluted background of one kind or another and realistically how many players are going to play new dragonborn characters in any event? I just said that Resbin Dren from Zahind came to the Flanaess with a retinue of dragonborn so you have her agents, deserters, merchants, messengers from zahind etc. You can also have bodyguards for foreign merchants, escaped slaves, far-travelled adventurers etc. And none of those backgrounds are unique to dragonborn either.
I'm loathe to adjust canon to accommodate trendy rule changes. The books already state that eladrin are also known as high elves and grey elves so that should be uncontroversial but finding a nich for the 'official' fluff for all the other new races that keep on coming is just too much for a campaign that has been running for 20 years this year.
There will be no happy groups consisting of a dragonborn, a gnome, a tiefling, and a minotaur in my campaign - lol - they'd be run down and executed by the Knights of the Watch in no time! We have a dragonborn, five humans humans, two humans who have been magically altered (mechanically a changeling and a shadar kai), a half-elf who has been magically altered (mechanically a genasi) and a grey elf eladrin.
I didn't read every single reply, but I wanted to throw in my two cents worth. You might recall, there is a specific dragon native to Greyhawk, aptly named the Greyhawk Dragon. Unlike normal dragons, these dragons can not only take human form, they prefer it, and take human mates and companions.
In my campaign, which hasn't started yet, I ruled that the dragonborn are the result of these unions. As such, (IMC) their physical appearance alters substantially. They are born as human's, and for the most part, look like humans, barring some tell-tell differences, like draconic eyes, or scaly patches of skin. _________________ The Golem<br />
Honestly, I hate dragonborn and my preference wouldn't be to include them on Oerth at all. But I like the idea of a previously unknown now-fallen, long-vanished kingdom in the Flanaess better than a currently active kingdom in the far West; both seem equal violations of canon to me, but the western origin is the more offensive of the two. There's convoluted and there's painfully convoluted, and "Oh, my character also happened to wander thousands of miles from his homeland for some reason" gets more painful for me every time it's used, even if they all came at the same time.
The pre-Migrations past is in many ways as mysterious as the far West, and we know as little about it.
Is it that uncommon for players to want to play them, though?
Actually, from what I understand, there ARE rumors of a forgotten empire. I think the official rumor is that its remnants of the Flan's former glory, but who knows?
I'm jumping back and forth between allowing them, or just having them be rumors. I don't even allow Tieflings. Demons are evil, PCs are good. I dont allow shifters either.
Also, I've half a mind to disallow Deva. I read somewhere that only 1% of a population is fit enough to even have a first level, and the frequency of any thing higher is reduced by 2, for each level. Deva, who are so rare that they can go LIFETIMES without seeing another of their kind, are somehow common enough to be an adventuring race? Or because they're "touched by gods" they have no issues with this 1% rule I read about? _________________ The Golem<br />
Honestly, I hate dragonborn and my preference wouldn't be to include them on Oerth at all. But I like the idea of a previously unknown now-fallen, long-vanished kingdom in the Flanaess better than a currently active kingdom in the far West; both seem equal violations of canon to me, but the western origin is the more offensive of the two.
Ah I see, but I was assuming that they come from a long-vanished kingdom in the far west... best of both worlds.
Much easier than trying to justify why there is a minotaur wizard wandering around Greyhawk City...
Last edited by PaulN6 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
I am leaning towards Dragonborn originating from the Pinnacles of Azor'Alq. The place is full of dragons of all kinds, and it brings some attention to the mostly forgotten northwestern Flanaess.
I've also warmed to the draconic link of kobolds since it was made, so I put them there too as menial servants of the dragons. Some do have high ranking positions, though these are few.
Tieflings as PCs is a bit odd. Kinda difficult to leave the baggage of that heritage behind and be even somewhat accepted anywhere that isn't a hellhole literally or figuratively. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
...There will be no happy groups consisting of a dragonborn, a gnome, a tiefling, and a minotaur in my campaign...
This thread interests me because I might be starting a new group (seperate from my old player from 1988) but in the same GH world/timeline. From what I read, tieflings and droware now all the rage, so I figured I'd better be ready. Without going into detail, I'll give players "loyalty" points for participating in sessions (3 for long, 2 for short, 1 for play by e-mail). If they spend 10 points, they can have a "weird" PC of LA +0 e.g., orc, kobold, forst gnome, aquatic elf, etc. 20 points can get you a LA +1 e.g., aasimar, tiefling, half-ogre, duegar, etc. And so on. They can also spend points to get PCs from outside the Flanaess (for those who want Ninjas or Samurai or whatever); 5 points gets you "augmented" stat's (28 points as per LGG instead of the 25 they will start out with) etc, etc. The upshot is, their very first PC will have to be "conventional," and the "weirdness of any follow-on PCs will limited, so the party won't look like the "Cantina" scene from Star Wars. Dwarves and gnomes are weird enough...
...Tieflings are not a distinct race in Greyhawk but rather the descendents of demons (usually cambions) or humans transformed by some kind of curse or pact...
-I haven't bought it yet, but I'm under the impression that The Age of Worms AP describes a tribe of humans in the Cairn Hills or Abbor Alz who had been cursed into Tieflinghood.
...Obvious locations are: Lands of Iuz and Almor...
-I assume that most tieflings are the result of war or slavery. Of course, maybe Iggwilv gets around... Pre-Greyhawk Wars, I'd go for Land of Iuz or the Horned Society. Maybe Rauxes or Eastfair.
...Tieflings as PCs is a bit odd. Kinda difficult to leave the baggage of that heritage behind and be even somewhat accepted anywhere that isn't a hellhole literally or figuratively.
-A little more extreme than half-orcs or half-ogres, but similar.
The Dragon issue that was paired with the Dungeon issue for The Age of Worms AP adventure set in Alhaster has a picture of the female Tiefling character trying to gussy herself up while a matron tries to figure out what to do with her tail, while the cleric of Wee Jas looks on in sympathetic embarrasment...
...Dragonborn are more problematic but the SB could have engineered them as a breeding experiment or captured them as captive breeding stock within distant lands. Outside of the Flanaess: Draconic Empire of Lynn is an obvious choice...
-The Scarlet Brotherhood makes engineered creatures, but the deadly ones are stupid and easy to command, while the smart ones are weak. Of cousre, mistakes happen, in which case the breeders probably got demoted to serf, assuming they survived. Of course, that would be back story...
...Here is a sample of how the Eastern lands could be used to import new races. Some material below taken from the "Beyond the Flanaess" project from the Oerth Journal...
-Having them come for "out of area" is another possibility. You just need a rationale to get them to the Flanaess (and possibly a few adventures). I assume they would either come in through Zeif, Ull, or by sea from the north or south.
First stop, Seaton!
...You might recall, there is a specific dragon native to Greyhawk, aptly named the Greyhawk Dragon. Unlike normal dragons, these dragons can not only take human form, they prefer it, and take human mates and companions...
-Gold dragons are often noted doing this, and any dragon with suffcient levels as a spellcaster could it.
In some people's campaigns (not mine), Cobb Darg is some sort of polymorphed dragon.
Interesting idea, James, about letting experienced players buy an exotic character. Also good in that by that time they've had some experience with the campaign and will have a better idea of how to fit in said exotic character.
IMC tieflings are definitely unusual, more suitable for a character or powerful NPC's than something you'll see commonly, even in places where interaction with fiends is more likely.
Shifters are slightly more common, although still unusual, most being from the Wolf and Tiger Nomads, although there would be some from the Gnarley were there is a notable werebear community. Other rare individuals may occur. By nature I see them as the offspring of werebeasts and normal humans.
Dragonborn, I would probably never allow as a PC, and would probably never use as an NPC. For me it just doesn't fit IMC, although if I was to do it I'd go with the dragonborn being the product of the union of a shape-shifting dragon and a normal human.
Same thing with Warforged, although I can see a way to fit them in through Nimblewrights or some remnant mechanical race related to the City of the Gods or the Egg of Coot.
Typically though, monstrous humanoids are going to be a hard fit into the kind of campaign I run.
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