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.
I have been working on a series of modules over the last few years based on the Quest of the Mist Golem adventure seed from World of Greyhawk boxed set. I currently have the second adventure, QMG2 - Into the Vesve, blocked out and am actively developing parts of it as I can grab time. This part of the series is much more ambitious then QMG1, covering hundreds of miles overland travel and 10 years of of the Wizard Murq's personal history. Thus, it has been a lot longer in developing then the first adventure, and parts of it and QMG3 are being written in tandem, the first adding to the second.
I will be releasing QMG2 here on Canonfire. The same will hold true for QMG3 which will complete the trilogy of modules. I have a couple of requests for the folks here at CF in conjunction with this.
1. Firstly I will post snippets of development and would welcome any critiques you may have. The NPC capsule for a central non-player character to the last two adventures of the series is the first such, which is included later in this post.
2. I currently have a play-testing group at home ready and eager to try the adventure out. Several of the members are folks who helped me test QMG1 back in 2003. However, every DM and playing style is different - if there are any groups who would enjoy play testing this adventure when it is completed, I would certainly welcome it. I will happily credit your group in the module's credit section as well.
The adventure is laid upon a 1st edition foundation in terms of game rules, however I also include 2nd edition tweaks and additions here and there, since the rulsets are compatible. Folks who prefer either edition are more then welcome to join in and, if the adventure is enjoyable enough, I'd be open to someone who wanted to do a 3rd edition adaptation.
3. If there are any artists interested, I desperately need some cover art for the adventure once it is complete. There is no rush on this and I am willing to accept either color or black & white art. The main idea is to have an adventure-related image that captures something of the first edition feel from Greyhawk, if possible. If there are no takers, then I will simply use my old standby of a screen shot from my Atlas of the Flanaess collection. Again, there is no rush one way or the other, since I have quite a bit of writing and polishing left before I can do a final draft.
So, with all of that said, let me now post the NPC background I mentioned. Meet Oramin Darstan, ranger of the Vesve and follower of Ehlonna...
Oramin Darstan Neutral Good Male Human, 10th Level, Ranger of Ehlonna
(Note: Oramin is not an active NPC in this part of the QMG series, and thus his game statistics are absent. His history is tied intimately into the glade that bears his name; therefore the DM is provided with it for reference during play.)
Oramin Darston was born to farming parents in the Vesve heartlands, southwest of Quaalsten near High Vale border. A druid who ministered to the woodland folk instructed him in the worship of Ehlonna as a boy. At the age of 16 he began training as a scout with the rangers that served the Ehlonnan circle.
Oramin chose to become a ranger after encountering a sprite that taught him how to drive off predators without killing them. The sprite, Zaxis, accompanied the young ranger on a number of adventures and remained a fast friend after Oramin settled his grove stronghold in the western Vesve.
In his years of adventuring, Oramin helped repulse several incursions of Iuz humanoids while the Old One was imprisoned in Castle Greyhawk. One long-term foe was an ambitious shaman of Iuz who fell away from the faith and reverted to the “natural” orcish deity of Gruumsh. The shaman eventually fled, requiring the ranger to travel to the lands of Blackmoor in pursuit. During this time he encountered and befriended several bands of Wolf Nomads, learning the ways of the Wegwiur while crossing their lands.
Darston ultimately spent six years hunting the shaman throughout the Archbarony and into the Cold Marshes. When he returned to the Vesve, he learned Iuz was free and his troops were harassing the northeastern portions of the forest in force. Coordinating with the rangers, elves and druids of the Vesve, Oramin was given responsibility for a portion the central eastern edge of the forest. This domain was his protect, with an eye to preventing Iuz’s forces from spreading southwards down the shores of the Whystil. It was during this time that he located the glade he would eventually settle.
The clearing that came to be known as Darston’s Glade was home and breeding ground to a band of fecund trolls. The Old One’s forces raided the place several times, taking young trolls for training as shock troops as he rebuilt his armies, enraging those left behind in the process. After rescuing a pair of captive wood giants from a trollish war party, Ormain learned of a small settlement of the giants to the north of the glade. Returning them to their home, the ranger allied with the rest of the settlement. After several skirmishes, the ranger and the giants were finally able to clear the trolls from the glade.
Word of Darston’s deeds traveled. Oramin chose the glade as his home when the Ehlonnan rangers of the Vesve bestowed title of Ranger Lord upon him in recognition of his service to the goddess. He began construction of his stronghold with a wooden palisade around the site. His temporary living quarters consisted of a series of tunnels and caves the trolls had originally inhabited which he slowly expanded. He also dedicated a grove to Ehlonna and created a hedge maze to protect it. Finally, he began building a series of structures above ground as his permanent home.
In early 567 CY Oramin was in need of additional funds to finish his construction. While in Crockport purchasing building materials, he agreed to act as a paid guide a mage seeking passage to the lands of Blackmoor. Darston and the mage returned to his grove before setting out northwards. What became of him after taking this commission remains unknown. _________________ <div>Braggi</div><div>Swain and Varlet at Large<br /></div>
@ Mortellan: Best suited? (Pardon my formality here) you, sir, are far too humble. I have no artisitc bones in my body when it comes to drawing, sketching, illustrating or any other free hand creative work. You might want to kinda turn that one around, as in, "What would you like to do?" Your art lends itself to all sorts of things - cover art, you name it. I'd say its up to you - choose what you like and would enjoy doing. Heck, I'm just writing this thing - but you can draw. (Pardon the genuflection... )
As for promoting, thank you, very much. You have a new blog? I didn't know. Information would be most welcome - a link, a reply here, a PM... I've always enjoyed your work.
@Mystic Scholar: Uh, yes, QMG1 is indeed Quest of the Mist Golem: Mist Hold. I wrote it back in 2002-2003 after poking through the World of Greyhawk boxed set and wishing that the adventure seeds there had been developed into full-blown modules back in the heyday of 1E/2E.
It later turned out that at least two of them had been developed by fans - Randy Richards wrote Suel Imperium - Age of Glory to cover The Lost Passage of the Suloise (which my home game is currently tackling). Eric Boyd covered Clonoc the copper dragon from The Copper Raider in his Wyrms of the Flanaess article in Oerth Journal #5. That still left the rest, so I decided to try and tell Murq's story.
I noticed in building up my collection that, after it was canceled, some Greyhawk stuff had been migrated to other settings - a couple of Len Lakofka's creations from L1 (the Skelter and Zombire) went into an Age of Worms product, for example. Ravenloft got the mist golem as one of its creatures in Monstrous Compendium Appendix III - Creatures of Darkness.
I always suspected that there might have been some development on the WoG adventure seeds before the setting was shelved and that the Mist Golem might have been part of that. Based on that, I decided to include a few items from Ravenloft in QMG1 (the doll golems). That was done to give a grateful tip of the hat to the developers who included GH stuff in another world rather then see it simply tossed into the circular file the way the manuscript for Wasp Nest - The City of Stoink was.
So yes, guilty as charged. I hope it is something you liked/enjoyed - it was my first serious attempt at an adventure. I wrote and rewrote for quite a while to try and get the descriptive tone and feel perfected. (Don't know if I managed to pull off proper "High Gygaxian", as Frank Mentzer called the descriptive style of the early 1E works in an interview after Gary's death, but I gave it my best.) I've always hoped I managed to get things to jell OK. _________________ <div>Braggi</div><div>Swain and Varlet at Large<br /></div>
I did indeed enjoy your Quest of the Mist Golem module.
I regret to inform you that I disparaged your "Temple of the Sun" module though. I had thought that it was an official publication of WotC and that some errors had been made -- which I would find unacceptable from WotC.
I now realize that it did not have some of the errors I thought it did, and I now know that it was fan generated, so my sincere apologies.
I appreciate the efforts you put forth for Greyhawk and Greyhawk fans. Keep it coming . . . please.
I've written a couple of short stories for the site and have several more that I'll be submitting within the week. Feel free to tear them apart, after all, its only fair.
@Mystic Scholar: No worries about anything and thanks very much for your PM reply. If you need any help in sorting out some of the tangled threads of multi-edition Greyhawk you are definitely on the right website. You can poke Robbastard, DMPrata, Grodog, Cebrion and a host of others here for lots of insight and details.
I will be checking out your stories too - for the enjoyment of it. (Good stories are real treasures.)
To the Floor:
Since Dane is busy plugging me in the post above, it seems only fair to return the favor - Dane has proofread several of the module manuscripts I've worked on for grammar, spelling and continuity errors. He is very good at it too. From what I understand he has his own retrofitting/conversion project in the works. I won't say more, since I don't want to steal his thunder... but I, for one, am really looking forward to it.
Anyways, I'm looking for materials to post in the next reply.
More to come... _________________ <div>Braggi</div><div>Swain and Varlet at Large<br /></div>
The copy of RR1 I have, I downloaded some four or five years ago and then proceeded to reformat, adding new maps, some adventure content in the Sea of Dust. I also re-worked some of the original maps to make them a bit more modern in appearance.
I would happily offer to send you my copy but, because it alters someone else's hard work and I do not have their permission to distribute my changes, I 'm stuck. I have never met Randy Richards offline or spoken to him online and I have no clue as to how to contact him. The adventure was created back in the late 1990's so I have no idea where he is now.
You might want to contact Cebrion here at CF. He has a thread dedicated to reporting bad or broken download links here:
Also, once they can get the download link working, I did submit pdf versions of the Sea of Dust map and Ancient Suel Basin map (the updates I mentioned above) to CF a couple of months ago as separate files. Those should eventually be available once they get them linked for download. If they have any trouble locating and/or linking them, I can at the least e-mail you the maps.
Mr. Richards was the president of the online Greyhawk fan club. His adventure was included in one of two .zip files the club distributed, known as the "Greyhawk Grimoires". That version of the adventure is in plain text format with .gif file maps. They used to be hosted on the Greyhawk Fan Club's AOL site, but that has long since gone into the 404-file-not-found abyss. I still have archived copies of my own from before the site went down and I can send you those if you like, since they are the original files, unchanged in any way.
Regards! _________________ <div>Braggi</div><div>Swain and Varlet at Large<br /></div>
Thanks for the info, Braggi. I checked out the thread to report broken links and it looks like someone has already called attention to this particular problem just a few days ago.
I'll be sending you a PM regarding your kind offer of sending along the "Greyhawk Grimoires" file(s). Now that you mention it, I believe I may have once had a copy of that document a few fried computers ago.
I'm still hacking away at QMG2. One of the time drainers has been detailing the pre-Wars city of Crockport (using a re-do of Yabusama's map with his gracious permission) and getting a stat block format sorted out that I like.
Anyways, I have gotten a good chunk of the adventure finished. There looks to be around six or seven "parts" or "chapters" to the adventure - it is much bigger in scope then QMG1, since it takes the PC's from Veluna through the Vesve to Eru-Tovar in Wolf Nomad territory.) Parts 1 and 2, which get the PC's on the first leg of their journey to Crockport, have one major encounter to sort out/detail and then it will be ready for a basic play test. (Cough DANE cough. I welcome other play testers too.)
Timeframe? I hope to have the introduction, overall campaign map and first two sections polished enough to be playable by early- to mid-May. If you are interested , post here and I'll send a pdf copy of the playable stuff to you for enjoyment and critiquing. I will use changes offered too, btw, as long as they make sense to the overall story, so keep an eye open for plot holes, inconsistencies and anything that feels "wrong" when you play. I'll credit you for your genius (and we can all share in the bazillions we'll make... oh, right... fan publication. Oops, forgot.)
(Ahem.) And now, back to writing!
_________________ <div>Braggi</div><div>Swain and Varlet at Large<br /></div>
Sorry Dane, my daughter's high school graduation and attendant celebration was this weekend past - preparations for it drove everything else out of my mind.
(Just as well - the last encounter for the first section hit some writer's block on my part; the two weeks off from writing seem to have helped ease that.)
I will put the pedal to the metal this week and see if I can get that last pesky encounter sorted out. Would you like me to e-mail it of give you a direct download link for the file once it's done? _________________ <div>Braggi</div><div>Swain and Varlet at Large<br /></div>
After months of delay (due to various on and offline concerns), I can finally announce that the introduction and parts 1 and 2 of QMG2: Into the Vesve are ready to be play tested.
I have already sent a draft off to Dane and am open to others who would like to run a test group through things so far. If anyone else is interested, PM me with an e-mail address to send to. Be aware that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that the pdf file currently clocks in at about 6 MB in size. (You'll need an e-mail that can handle attachments between 15 or 20 MB and possibly more, by the time things get done.)
Alternately, if e-mail is too limited, I can also create and send a Dropbox link. (No registration required - just click the link and download using your web browser.)
Part 3, set in and around Crockport, is past the 3/4 stage. The keyed DM and unkeyed player maps of the city, based on Yabusama's excellent work, are already in the pdf. (Thanks for the gracious permission to adapt it Yabusama!) As soon as I have the bugs and kinks worked out of the manuscript, it will be ready for the same process.
So, let me know folks!
Quick post script:
If you are not able to get a play testing group together but would like to proofread for canon, spelling, grammar or plot, I'd welcome that as well. _________________ <div>Braggi</div><div>Swain and Varlet at Large<br /></div>
I wrote my first adventure for CF during the last post fest no play testing or editing. I could of used some at that time. However, I think it still came together well. All Dried out part 1 and 2 it takes place in Shandalanar a small town in Veluna.
Sorry for the slow replies gang - been hacking away on the Crockport portion of the adventure. (Holy cow... Detailing a small city is a lot of work!)
@ Argon: I took a little time yesterday to look over your two- part adventure in postfest. You did a lot of good, well-thought out work there. Had you considered submitting something to the Oerth Journal? If not, you might want to consider it.
@ Peshkuari: PM received and replied to. Reply back and let me know.
I need to give some thanks to Mortellan, while I'm at it. Letting me adapt his Ull material broke a low-level case of writer's block and got my creative muse into gear. This is the main reason I've been able to make some inroads on the adventure the last week or two.
Finally, I may have been a bit vague in my last post (chalk it up to being in a creative stupor the last week or so ): QMG2 is shaping up to be a fairly large piece of work. I'm looking at 7 parts to it, but they will be released as one entire adventure. I'm not certain how many pages the pdf will have but between 50 and 100 is entirely possible. I'm trying to build in a number of side adventure seeds tied to new items from the work and fan items that already exist. This is the first time I've tackled a non-adapted work (i.e. all my own from scratch) this large and complex. It certainly is fun.
Anyways, that's why I'm asking folks to proofread and/or play test sections as I go - to try and get bugs out as early as possible. I'll also be play testing the adventure with my home group, so it will get a good going-over from multiple sources.
_________________ <div>Braggi</div><div>Swain and Varlet at Large<br /></div>
Thanks for taking a look Sir Xaris. I'm really glad you are enjoying it. (That gives me lots of motivation to keep slugging away.)
Take your time - I want to finish Crockport & area and then give it some polishing, so no rush. I also need to hear back from Dane, whenever he has a moment to spare. _________________ <div>Braggi</div><div>Swain and Varlet at Large<br /></div>
@ Cawdmorris: Hi! Welcome and thanks for the vote of confidence. Feel free to poke around, ask questions, kibbitz and generally enjoy the thread. I'm always open to suggestions and ideas.
@ The Floor in General: Crockport is coming along nicely. So far, the page count for Part 2 of the module is hovering around 13, but it will likely be 15+ after all is said and done. The city maps are done now with properly keyed entries and corrections. I've also scatted a ton of plot hooks and rumors (including one or two pointing to other fan-written adventures) here and there in the city key entries. In fact, I just finished adding a short index (including download sources) of fan adventures, all compatible by geographical location, to the city's introductory section.
Things are cooking well now... _________________ <div>Braggi</div><div>Swain and Varlet at Large<br /></div>
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