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    Do nagpas fly south for the winter?
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 17, 2008
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    Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:29 am  
    Do nagpas fly south for the winter?

    I'm looking through old modules and came across the X4-X5 modules Master of The Desert Nomads and Temple of Death.

    They seem to have some seriously good reviews so I'm curious if any of you have placed them on Greyhawk.

    If so, where?

    And did you adapt any of the content to tie it more to Oerth?

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:26 pm  

    I played through them with another DM way back in the 80's. We didn't try to place it in the WoG back then, but I can tell you that they are very good adventures.

    If I was going to place them now and wanted to keep their location within the Flanaess, I would think that somewhere in the Dry Steppes would be most appropriate. The Bright Desert isn't populated enough, nor is the Sea of Dust.


    Last edited by SirXaris on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:17 am; edited 1 time in total
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:40 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    If I was going to place them now and wanted to keep their location within the Flanaess, I would think that somewhere in the Dry Steppes would be most appropriate.

    I think you hit it out of the park again.

    I'll go into more detail later; thanks so much for the input.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:48 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    If I was going to place them now and wanted to keep their location within the Flanaess, I would think that somewhere in the Dry Steppes would be most appropriate. The Bright Desert isn't populated enough, nor is the Sea of Dust.

    From Master of The Desert Nomads, p. 18 ▼

    This massive mountain range is among one of the highest and most dangerous mountain chains in the known lands of the campaign.

    That would certainly describe the Crystalmist Mountains. However, I'm having a rough time placing many of the other encounters, though Sterich was looking good for a bit.

    I may end up just picking pieces out of both X4 and X5. As part of that plan I was thinking of making the Temple of Death part of a "lost Baklunish city" deep within the Dry Steppes.

    The Guide to the WoG, p. 60, has information that makes the idea both fascinating and suitable.

    Your thoughts (and those of others, of course) are not only welcome but desired.

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:33 am  

    Sorry to be coming to this one late. Embarassed

    Reading through the first of the Module, my first impression is that Sterich doesn't really suit the purpose, although it's probably the most likely place. Confused

    The Crystalmist between the Dry Steppes and Sterich is nearly impassable. The breadth of the range, as well as the Giants and other hostile humanoids dwelling therein, make it unlikely that Sterich, or Geoff, have any "real" dealings with the area.

    Ull, on the other hand has regular dealings -- through trade -- with the Dry Steppe inhabitants. They even have the same troubles with desert "wild men" as is alluded to in the Module. Sadly, Ull would hardly qualify as "the Republic" spoken of in the modules, thus requiring some serious adjustments.

    As I say, the whole thing is problematic if you want to run the module "unchanged." Adjustment will be needed. For myself, I'd probably go with making minor adjustments to Ull and using it as the basis for running the module. I'm sure Mortellan could give you all sorts of information on the region, it is his "backyard" after all. Wink
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    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:47 pm  

    X4: Master of the Desert Nomads

    Any invasion of the Flanaess from the Baklunish lands is likely to cross through Ket. "The Republic" should therefore be Bissel, the Flanaess's first front against Baklunish invasion. In general, though, the king of Keoland might be the one who issues the call to arms for mercenaries willing to defend against the Paynim horde (the "desert raiders" of the module). The canon of Veluna might issue a similar call if the PCs begin there, and PCs in the Gran March, Verbobonc, etc. might well hear of this opportunity for adventure.

    The "Republic Main Army" are the Knights of the Watch.

    The "Settled Areas" don't need to be in the Flanaess proper, however. These are just the fringes beyond the lands of the Paynims, and they're as threatened by the Paynim horde as anyone else. The PCs need to travel through Ket into Baklunish territory to reach their destination anyway, so the "Settled Areas" are probably firmly in Baklunish lands. The village of Pramayama should be on the banks of the Tuflik River, either in Ket or Tusmit, or perhaps on the border between.

    Assume that the civilized Baklunish are not allies of the Paynim horde or their Master. The PCs can pass through these territories without any major problems with the human natives.

    The Asanda River in the module is the Tuflik River in Greyhawk. This is the main river out of the Flanaess as characters venture into Baklunish territory, so it's the most logical place for the adventure to begin.

    Place the Salt Swamp somewhere along the Tuflik River. It isn't the river's source, of course, but it's in between where the PCs begin and the beginning of the caravan route, and the PCs have to cross through it.

    The Master of the Desert Nomads in the module is the Mahdi of the Steppes in Greyhawk, or somehow controlling the Mahdi. Probably. See below.

    Sarras is a relatively high-ranking (let's say Magnificent Elder Gorgon) Knight of the Watch posted in this remote village as commander of a reserve force on the edge of Paynim territories. The knights have sent this force here without conferring with local governments, whose authority they do not recognize anyway. The rulers of Ket and Tusmit are aware of their presence, but as they are only battling Paynims they are tolerated for now.

    Bishop Guillarme is a cleric of a lawful deity such as Heironeous, Jascar, or Saint Cuthbert. He is on a mission for the Knights of the Watch.

    After leaving the Salt Swamp, the PCs end up in the Plains of the Paynims, north of Ull. This is the equivalent of the Sind Desert in the module, and you can assume the description is much the same in this part of the region. They find the caravan track leading through Ull toward the Dry Steppes. This track is likely what Mortellan calls the Barrier Trail, passing near the Barrier Peaks in order to avoid Ulakand (the PCs are trying to be stealthy, remember).

    Pause and download a copy of Wonders of Ull by Mortellan and Braggi.

    Surna Lamshar is a Kettite or Tusman merchant and a member of the Mouqollad Consortium. For a darker twist, he is traveling to Ull in order to trade for opium.

    The bandits could be Uli, Yoradhi, or Paynims.

    See where it says "Oerid ruins" on the Wonders of Ull map? That's the buried temple in X4. The buried temple may date back to the age of the Baklunish Empire, or it might have been something built by terrified Bakluni in the grim days immediately following the Invoked Devastation. It might actually have been built by Oeridians at some point, then seized by Baklunish, then abandoned and forgotten; it doesn't really matter now.

    Talel el Hereidhin is a cleric of the True Faith of Al'Akbar.

    From here on it really depends on how long you want the adventure to be. The Plain of Fire would logically be the Dry Steppes beyond the border town of Kester, which could make the Great Pass somewhere in the Sulhaut Mountains. But that's a long journey; you could probably squish the Plain of Fire into southern Ull and put the Great Pass in the Ulsprues or northern Crystalmists instead. In that case, the Master of the Desert Nomads might be some upstart presence in Ull instead of the vaunted Mahdi of the Steppes.

    The next module in the series, The Temple of Death, takes place in a despotic theocracy to the west known as Hule. The description is pretty incompatible with making it the Dry Steppes (without a lot of adaptation; Hule is far too civilized, forested, and temperate), so if you're going to play on to X5 you might decide to have the PCs travel all the way to the Tyurzi Mountains on the other edge of the Baklunish Basin, placing the Great Pass there. Hule, then, would be part of the exotic Far West in the region broadly labeled Celestial Imperium. This is likely the homeland of the Baklunish before the War of Light and Darkness, with the evil, chaotic deities of the Huleans as the dark powers worshiped by the faction that drove out the virtuous imperial family who founded the Baklunish Empire. The people of Hule might also have been the evil empire that oppressed the Oeridians before they were freed by Johydee. In any case, Hule is still dominated by worshipers of evil gods the people of the Baklunish Basin have long since forgotten. In the Mystara setting, the chief god of Hule is an aspect of Loki; in Greyhawk he might be Nerull, various demon lords, the Elder Elemental Eye, or evil Chinese-inspired deities like Sung Chiang, Chih-Chiang Fyu-Ya, Lu Yueh (who might be Incabulos), Tou Mu, and Lei Kung. You might even use Lovecraftian deities like Nyarlathotep and Hastur.

    Or, if you're comfortable with the PCs traveling a very long way, the Plain of Fire could be the Sea of Dust and Hule could be part of Zahind to the far south.

    Or yeah, you could just make the City of Death into the city of Kanak on the shores of Lake Udrukankar on the Dry Steppes, with the Amir of Kanak as the Master of the Desert Nomads. And just ignore all the rest of the Hule stuff.

    Another possibility: the Master of the Nomads is some kind of negative twin of the Mahdi, a dark messiah chosen by the forces of evil as the Mahdi has been chosen by the forces of good. The problem with this is why, then, doesn't the Mahdi deal with this threat instead of leaving the player characters to do it? Has he been imprisoned somewhere?

    The Evil Abbey was once, in its heyday, a mosque of some good-aligned sect. Characters familiar with the beliefs of the Knights of the Watch might be struck by the similarity between the Twelve and Seven Precepts of the Knights and the 111 Precepts of Understanding taught in this mosque, perhaps suggesting that it was founded by renegade or long-lost Knights of the Watch who fell into heresy. Perhaps in their isolation they ascended into enlightenment instead, discovering new precepts far beyond any the Knights in Flanaess know. Whether this lore would be considered heresy or a treasure more precious than any gold depends on who receives it; it's likely that the existing leadership of the Watch, whose authority is based in part on their secret mastery of the Seven Precepts, would consider the idea of precepts beyond their own to be a threat to their power.

    "The essence of Truth rising above a mob of deformed beings." Regardless of the origin of the Abbey's beliefs, this is likely a depiction of Azor'alq.

    "A guardian creature driving evil spirits away." This is likely an image of Al'Akbar.

    The stone rod topped by an orb: this might be the spindle of Istus or perhaps even the Mace of Saint Cuthbert. It might also be the solar orb of Pelor.

    "Paintings representing various deities." This might be a mix of Baklunish gods and gods of the Flanaess, if you subscribe to the "heretic branch of the Knights of the Watch" theory. If not, it might just be depictions of the various good and neutral Baklunish gods: Al'Asran (Pelor), Istus, Geshtai, Azor'alq, Zuoken, Xan Yae, Mouqol, Azor'alq, and perhaps Daoud. If the abbey is very ancient, it might also include obscure deities like Dorgha Torgu.

    The Temple Compound: The sun symbol between the bull horns might indicate that the order was indeed dedicated to Pelor first and foremost. It might also indicate that the bhuts are now servants of Baphomet, which might tie into a parallel between the heretical Knights of the Watch and the accusations against the Knights Templar in our world. The "demonic creatures" depicted on the wheel might be named demon lords like Graz'zt, Azazel, Ahrimanes, Pazuzu, Areshkagal, Nurgal, Lamashtu, Orcus, Kabiri, Azidahaka, Aldinach, Pale Night, and Sifkesh. The elemental symbols might correspond to the elemental rulers Kossuth, Grumbar, and Akadi. I'm going to say that the "fierce and ugly godlike creature" is some terrible Kali-like goddess from the far west or Zahind. She is battling demon lords such as those mentioned earlier in this paragraph.

    K3: The dragon is Bahamut. The serpent with a woman's face is an aspect of Tiamat, Beltar, or the naga goddess Shekinester.

    K8: As I said, I'm inclined to think that the patron of the bhuts is Baphomet. Other possibilities: Ralishaz, Nerull, Orcus, the Elder Elemental Eye.

    L1: I'm inclined to think that the ogre-faced man is a Greyhawk version of the Chinese deity Lei Kung, lawful evil god of thunder and vengeance. But he could just be a bestial aspect of Al'Akbar or even Saint Cuthbert. The woman with the veil is Istus.

    L2: An aspect of Delleb? A servitor of Baphomet?

    X5: Temple of Death

    The Palace of Fungi: there might be a shrine to Zuggtmoy here, worshiped by the dusanu. If so, Zuggtmoy might be among the demons depicted in the Evil Abbey in X4, for the purpose of foreshadowing.

    The Plain of Horses: the local centaurs are similar to Paynims culturally.

    The Well of the Moon: because Celene is airless, this probably leads to Luna. See Return of the Eight and Greyspace for details.

    As I said above, I'm inclined to think that Hule should be placed beyond the Tyurzi Mountains to the west of the Baklunish basin, with the Master manipulating the Paynims to the east in his guise as the Mahdi of the Steppes. Or maybe he's not related to the Mahdi of the Steppes at all, but he's imprisoned the Mahdi and controls the Paynims by threatening to kill their Mahdi if they don't comply. The people of Hule are (I think) of the same original stock as the Baklunish, but more Chinese in culture. This is not the Celestial Imperium, but a wicked nation to the east of it that has long warred with the Celestials.

    Since this nation is so far from the Flanaess, most of the module can be used without much adaptation; there's no need to figure out how it fits into places like Ull or Tusmit or the Dry Steppes because it's separated from all of those places by a huge mountain range, probably the highest mountains in the world. But its evil is leaking out, stirring the Paynims into a conquering army.

    There's not much to alter, then, though a DM might want to expand upon the local culture. I'd suggest possibly replacing familiar creatures like bugbears with more exotic monsters from Oriental Adventures.

    Spectral hounds are natives of the Astral Plane, by the way. Githyanki often use them as hunting animals. The Dimension of Nightmares, from which the malferas hail, is in the AD&D/Planescape cosmology known as the Demiplane of Nightmares. 3rd edition sources claim it exists on the border between the Plane of Dreams and the Far Realm.

    X10: Red Arrow, Black Shield

    This module was intended to cover all-out war between the Master of the Desert Nomads and the Known World to the east. If you wanted to use this as a sequel to X4 and X5 in Greyhawk, some extensive modifications would have to be made. The various armies of the Known World would have to be replaced with armies of the Flanaess. I don't feel like doing that work right now.

    The Master may have already been defeated at the end of X5, leaving this module pointless. He's difficult to keep down forever, though. He can jump bodies and teleport.

    The city of Akesoli should be replaced with Thornward, which would be the first city of the Flanaess to be hit by the invasion (assuming Tusmit and Ket have already been overwhelmed). Except for a name change, the description should work pretty well. Thornward doesn't have a lake, but it has a major river with shipping traffic. Refugees escape by river rather than by lake.

    The Republic of Darokin is replaced by Bissel and its allies, with the Knights of the Watch at the forefront. On behalf of Keoland, the PCs travel to various other nations of the Flanaess looking for allies. This all has to be completely rewritten to fit the Flanaess.

    The Soul Gem of Light might be the same as the Soul Gem from Ghost Tower of Inverness. Change "Cymorakk" to Sol (Pelor) and "Thanatos" to Nerull or possibly Tharizdun.

    Sayr Ulan is supposed to be a new city, so it could be anywhere. But it could also be replaced with Ulakand in Ull, which would be a handy staging ground for armies coming from the Dry Steppes into the Flanaess.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    From: So. Cal

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    Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:08 pm  

    I am going to run X4 and X5 in this way very soon, as a conflict between the Baklunish lands and Bissel, just prior to the GH Wars. This info will cut down my thinking time a bit. Wink
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