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    Ideas for Dreadwood encounters
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 17, 2020
    Posts: 9
    From: Mogi Mirim, Brazil

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    Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:45 pm  
    Ideas for Dreadwood encounters

    Good morning/afternoon/evening folks!

    As i work in my Keoland campaign, i realise the Dreadwood is probably going to be a big part of it, seeing as it covers a lot of the region we're going to adventure. Any suggestions of cool encounters in the place?
    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

    Joined: May 29, 2018
    Posts: 1470

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    Mon Sep 07, 2020 2:41 pm  
    Re: Ideas for Dreadwood encounters

    Ralf wrote:
    Good morning/afternoon/evening folks!

    As i work in my Keoland campaign, i realise the Dreadwood is probably going to be a big part of it, seeing as it covers a lot of the region we're going to adventure. Any suggestions of cool encounters in the place?

    Depends on what you want to with it. I run a very cthulhuhawk Keoland especially around the Dreadwood. I go for otherworldly horrific rather than just regular monsters. Distortions to time and space, players plagued by nightmares, mutated creatures, evil cults, decaying, defied monastaries, weird hermits driven insane by their encounters with evils beyond the understanding of mortals...
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
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    Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:40 pm  

    Going back to the original (pre-war) box set...

    Some 8,000 sylvan elves live in the Dreadwood and patrol parts of it on behalf of the King of Keoland. There's apparently an ongoing state of war between these elves and various humanoids and/or bandits in the forest. I expect this means that there will also be soldiers for Keoland garrisoning strongpoints in the forest; a purely elven contingent would eventually be worn down by fast-breeding humanoids. This is supported by there being 5,000 human residents in the forest. There's also around a thousand gnomes and a small number of halflings around.

    It is rumored that certain Sea Princes give covert aid to these raiders, presumably to keep Keoland from having a secure invasion route through the forest to punish the Princes for their ongoing if 'unoffical' support of piracy in the area.

    The wandering monster charts, curiously, don't mention bandits at all, but do include a curiously high chance of encontering 'marshmen' - that is, humans of a tribal nature native to the Hool marshes. The rest of the chart includes Sylvan elves, small numbers of gnomes or halflings (curiously, no mention of the human population or soldiers), humanoids in general, and some ogres, treants, and trolls before referring to the 'standard' forest encounter chart in the Monster Manual.

    So long and short, various woodland creatures might be encountered, with a good chance of getting caught up in a humanoid or mashmen raid into the area.

    The Anna map online show quite a few locations of interest in the area between the Hool Marsh and the Dreadwood, and I expect the two tend to blend together around the border. Plugging these locations into the Greyhawk Wiki should provide more ideas to play with as well.
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
    Posts: 672
    From: on the way to Bellport

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    Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:54 pm  

    Hi Ralf.

    I've just begun researching the Dreadwood too: my new 5e campaign started last night on the Azure Sea outside of Gradsul and bound for Monmurg, and one of the PCs is a Dreadwood elf.

    Besides the classic published adventures that are set in and around the Dreadwood (e.g., I2 Tomb of the Lizard King (1982) and I7 Baltronís Beacon (1985)), I suggest reading Gary Holian's "The Kingdom of Keoland" article in Living Greyhawk Journal #1 (available on for two bucks) and related Canonfire! articles by Samwise, including: Grand Sheldomar Timeline, Part I and The Yaheetes and Tyrus: The Wars Against the Hand and the Eye in the Sheldomar.

    With those in mind, you'll see that the ancient Suel House Malhel, its ruined tower of Valadis, and the ghosts of the Yaheetes (a Flan people) present a compelling set of adventure ideas.

    Jason, I'd love to hear more about your Cthuluhawk version of the Dreadwood. Have you already posted articles or in the forums about it? If not, are you interested in doing so in the next few months?

    As Vulcan summarized, the original presentation of the Dreadwood presented a classic contest between sylvan elves and woodsmen versus humanoids. The Malhel / Vecna-esque / Cthuluhawk versions that was later created feels compelling to me, but the version presented in Ghosts of Saltmarsh goes too far for my tasteómaking the entire Dreadwood mind-bending instead of reserving that for certain fell places.

    I'll post more as I read old CF! articles and forum threads. Right now, my campaign is east of the Dreadwood in the Azure Sea, but I'm keen to imagine / locate some sylvan elf villages/towns (in a general way) and to roughly map out places of fell powers, madness, and nightmares.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 10, 2003
    Posts: 347
    From: Harker Heights, TX

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    Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:31 pm  
    Keoish Internal Security Report

    Let me throw in my two coppers,

    I have an article on Canonfire, Keoish Internal Security Report on Salinmoor that you might find interesting. This article mostly deals with the province of Salinmoor as a whole, but I have a couple hooks about the Dreadwood that you may find useful:
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 29, 2006
    Posts: 500
    From: Dantredun, MN

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    Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:56 pm  

    The Dreadwood content in Ghosts of Saltmarsh is great.
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