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    Refitting I9 Day of Al-Akbar for Greyhawk
    Posted on Fri, February 18, 2005 by Dongul
    Braggi writes " One of the things that has always annoyed me a bit is the module I9. It was a good enough adventure for the time it was published, but it did Greyhawk a disservice by removing two of its milieu-specific artifacts and throwing them into the limbo of the generic. Not only was this done, but the geography of the adventure is largely incompatible with the Baklunish territories, both modern and pre-cataclysm, which are the logical setting. In fact, the adventure setting is largely incompatible with Greyhawk’s geography in general. This article is aimed at “reclaiming” the module, to try solve these problems and bring it into line with the game world.

    Refitting I9 Day of Al-Akbar for Greyhawk
    By: Braggi
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Adventure Synopsis

    The module officially takes place in the land of Arir on some unspecified Prime Material plane. The Cup and Talisman have been locked away by a deceased Sultan in a trap-riddled place of safety within the ancient capital city of Khaiber, which has since been abandoned after falling into chaos.

    Adventurers are sought to retrieve the relics and return them to the Arir priesthood in the city of Ber-Gathy because of a plague that only the artifacts can cure.

    The adventure takes the PCs into a sand-and-salt-flat desert, bordered by mountains to the north, east and south. They proceed many miles along a path leading south, and then east through the desert. Once they reach Khaiber, they can either seek a stealthy entrance into the sewers or enter the city proper to try and recover the cup and talisman from its place of hiding.

    Approach

    Dungeon Masters running this adventure have a few options in trying to fit it into a Greyhawk campaign.

    The first is the simplest, namely have the party travel to an alternate Prime Material plane and then to run the module as it stands. The only things required are to provide a decent hook leading into the adventure and to get the PCs to and from the alternate Prime plane in a reasonable manner. If the DM is short on time or creativity, this is a good “quick fix”.

    The second is to somehow try to shoehorn the module into the Bright Desert. This does not work very well due to the terrain of the desert.

    The next option is what this article is really all about, namely refitting the module so that it takes place in Greyhawk and the Baklunish lands as we know them.

    Setting Up

    According to the Baklunish Hierarchy portion of the timeline given in Oerth Journal #1, the Cup and Talisman were created by the priest Al Akbar in 1381 BH / -1279 CY.

    The first edition DMG reports that the Cup and Talisman were lost to demi-human raiders and were thought to have ended up in the Bandit Kingdoms.

    The Greyhawk Adventures hardcover mentions the two relics in conjunction with the Pinnacles of Azor’Alq, stating that these islands are the resting place and true home for the artifacts. It further states that interactions could be set up between Tovag Baragu and the cup and talisman.

    Finally, the entry on Ekbir in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer mentions that the artifacts were stolen in 219 CY from a procession led by the Grand Mufti of Ekbir (it is to be assumed then that Al Akbar was either the founder or a member of the Ekbirri family that settled here after the Invoked Devastation and founded the city, before his divine ascension). The raiders were said to be elves as tall as men. They escaped on giant eagles and flew over the Paynims towards the Barrier Peaks. The Grand Mufti was exiled from Ekbir over the theft and fled to the Yatils where he found a safe haven amongst the mountain tribes.

    The first edition DMG information is intriguing, but it does not fit the module as written and thus leaves much to be desired for placing the adventure.

    The Greyhawk Adventures information is interesting but not very germane to the module. Why would the two sacred relics of the Bakluni be permanently located by the church on an island far north of the original Baklunish homelands?

    Using the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer’s information allows us to do some creative placing that fits reasonably well with both Greyhawk canon and the module’s setting.

    A final note on the various sources: Although there is obvious conflict between some of them, these references can still be used in the adventure. Since these are legendary items lost centuries ago, it is only to be expected that tales and myths would be woven around them. Thus portions of these rumors can be fed to the party as the DM sees fit, either as possible links to side quests of the DM’s creation, adventure dressing or misdirection to keep the players on their toes and interested.

    Locating the City of Khaiber

    The next question is where would be a logical place to locate the adventure. Two considerations need addressing here: Baklunish History and Geography.

    Baklunish History:

    The Baklunish were known for creating powerful artifacts, as is seen in the form of Tovag Baragu, the only obvious item of their culture to survive the Invoked Devastation. This circle of standing stones is regarded as the holiest site of the Bakluni and the place from which they launched the Rain of Colorless Fire in retaliation against the Suloise. As a pilgrimage site, this sacred place would have been set well within Bakluni lands. The eastern borders of the Bakluni territories were marked by the Crystalmist Mountains.

    If Khaiber was set as the eastern-most city-state established by the pre-Devestation Ekberri family, then it would fit easily somewhere within the edge of the mountain range. This ties in with the history of the Bakluni people, since their empire extended from west to east during its settlement. Further, in fleeing the effects of the twin cataclysms, their movements were north and then eastwards from their heartlands.

    Geography

    Geographically, the module calls for a deep-desert, Arabian Nights setting. Further, if the overland maps given with the module are not to be completely ignored, the terrain should include mountains roughly to the north, east and south of the city’s location.

    This presents a problem on two fronts. The Dry Steppes, which were the original Baklunish homelands, are more arid grasslands punctuated with salt flats then true sand-based deserts. However, if the magical repercussions of the Invoked Devestation are coupled with the geography of the rocky terrain on the eastern edge of the Crystalmists, a compromise can be struck.

    It would be reasonable to assume that there could be a portion of the mountain range’s border, which, through the pre-existing climate’s nature (lack of rain, prevailing winds and rocky terrain), enhanced the effects of the Devastation, creating an area of true desert.

    The second problem is in the layout of the terrain maps that come with the module, since they assume a party will be traveling from the east to the west. The Cup and Talisman adventure will likely originate in one of the Baklunish states, far to the north. It is unlikely a party would be willing to spend weeks of torturous slogging through the mountains, after traversing much of the Sheldomar Valley, to get to their eastern starting point. A more reasonable assumption is that the PCs will be traveling south, through the Paynims, Ull and along the fringes and spurs of the mountain range from one of the modern Baklunish states.

    Location and Map Adjustments

    With these considerations in mind, I would locate the module on the edge of the ancient Baklunish heartlands, at Hex D6 148 on the Darlene maps or in the northern tip of Hex I1 29 on the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer map.

    If this premise is followed, then the original overland maps could be used if they were simply mirror-imaged. The city of Ber-Gathy can be outfitted as a Paynim settlement, if you intend to use any of the starting points given under “Adjusting the Plot” in part two.

    Coming Soon

    The next installment in this article will cover plot hooks, adjusting the plot, major NPCs and how to tie the adventure in properly.

    References:

    Module I9 Day of Al Akbar, First edition Dungeon Master’s Guide, Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, World of Greyhawk boxed set - A Guide to the Flanaess, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, and Oerth Journal #1.

    "
     
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    Re: Refitting I9 Day of Al-Akbar for Greyhawk (Score: 1)
    by Raphael on Fri, February 18, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    I really enjoy seeing this sort of article. Much of the 2nd edition (and 3rd edition) material turned classic Greyhawk items into so much generic fluff. I would love to see someone do something like this for the Axe of Dwarven Lords. I guess it was the 2nd edition Book of Relics (sorry if I've fudged the name - I don't have my material with me at the book) that provided some generic material of this otherwise Greyhawk relic.



    Re: Refitting I9 Day of Al-Akbar for Greyhawk (Score: 1)
    by mortellan on Sat, February 19, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Good writing. I've always intended to get I9 as part of my completist collection but have slacked on that. Given my interest in things Baklunish I think your efforts to bring it back into GH are excellent. I look forward to the next part.

    BTW, Any chance you've hooked Ull into it? ;)



    Re: Refitting I9 Day of Al-Akbar for Greyhawk (Score: 1)
    by Cebrion on Sun, February 20, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal)
    Great article idea and submission Braggi! The Baklunish have been one of the most pivital cultures to impact the Flanaess(the Suel would have never gone east but for the Baklunish). The Baklunish(and the Flan) are also one of the most overlooked cultures with regards to campaign development. More needs to be done with them(and the Flan).

    I look forward to the rest of the the article installments.



    Re: Refitting I9 Day of Al-Akbar for Greyhawk (Score: 1)
    by Scottenkainen on Thu, March 17, 2005
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    I don't normally read articles on the Baklunish lands, not being familiar enough with them to really comment. I like articles that deal with existing modules, though, and was disappointed to see this one end so abruptly! Hopefully the second half is coming soon?

    ~Scott C.



    Re: Refitting I9 Day of Al-Akbar for Greyhawk (Score: 1)
    by rasgon (notnotallowedyet@hotmail.com) on Thu, October 27, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Note that, according to the Living Greyhawk Journal, Al-Akbar came into prominence after the Invoked Devastation, much later than the Oerth Journal calendar has him.



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