More on White Plume Backstory Development II
Date: Wed, July 28, 2004
Topic: Greyhawk Apocrypha
The continuation of the first presentation behind the development of the history behind White Plume Mountain...
More on White Plume Backstory Development II
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Erik's version submitted to Bruce
Return to White Plume Mountain
By Erik Mona (with Lisa Stevens and Steve Wilson)
More than 2000 years ago, the Flannae peoples indigenous to the Griff Mountain valleys erected a strange and fantastic city. Unlike their primitive brethren throughout what would come to be known as the Flanaess, these Griff Flan, perhaps aided by hands eldritch and divine, ascended to technological heights unparalleled on the continent. These men were the first to develop complicated tools of bronze, the first to build castles, the first to develop meaningful transportation by taming plains horses and introducing them to crudely fashioned wheeled carts. The pride of these folk, however, was Tostenhca, a vast mountainside city featuring wide streets, towering ziggurat pyramids and fantastic temples to common men worshipped as gods.  On a largely uncivilized continent, Tostenhca shone brightly amid a tapestry of campfires and torchlight.
Into the radius of this glorious light, however, crept a powerful darkness. Among the civilized Flan of Tostenhca lived a man of simple ways, a follower of an ancient god long ignored in the rush to innovate and accelerate. That man’s name was Keraptis. His patron was Nerull, the Reaper of Life. Keraptis was an oddity among the Flan, a man well used to the decadence of Tostenhcan life yet steeped in the ancient lore and traditions of the Ur-Flannae mystics, traditions bathed in the blood of unholy sacrifice. 
Keraptis’ power and influence grew slowly. From his mountain stronghold outside the great city, he gathered a small army of depraved souls and filled their minds with talk of dark prophecy and ancient rites. A nearby enclave of gnomes, long abused by the humans of the Griffs, were the first to swear fealty to Keraptis, though the sorcerer demanded that their alliance remain a secret.  So it was that the gnomes granted Keraptis unheard of wealth in the form of gems, which he in turn used to gain influence in Tostenhca. Soon, however, Keraptis’ dark dealings got the better of him, as did his unquenchable lust for power.
Realizing that his devoted followers amounted to an army within the shadow of Tostenhca’s walls, and that his rapid rise in magical power made him one of the most powerful men in the region, Keraptis began to exert his agenda in more profound ways than money could offer. His proposal was simple. He and his army offered to protect Tostenhca from marauding monsters (a much more significant threat before the migrations than today) and bandits, in exchange for a simple tithe. At first, the offer was presented as a benign ploy to help a valued neighbor. The astute among Tostenhca’s elite saw it for what it was: blackmail. 
In the beginning, Tostenhca found the cost of Keraptis’ protection worthwhile. Though most suspected that his enemies met unspeakable ends, those enemies were also seen as the enemies of Tostenhca. Common cause made siding with an evil man palatable. Within a year, however, Keraptis’ demands became ever more severe. Those lords who would not capitulate to his demands found themselves the targets of frightful threats -- threats which were all too often carried out in full view of the public. A few disjointed attempts were made to break free of the unholy pact with Keraptis, but these would-be uprisings were put down within hours of fruition. Keraptis’ power was indeed strong, his yoke unbearable. The only mitigating factor, in the eyes of the pragmatic people of Tostenhca, was the relative safety they enjoyed from anything but their powerful protector.
During the years of this relationship, rulers in name only put forward an appearance of displeasure, all the while arranging wagonload deliveries of the city’s spherical gold coins twice a month. So endured Tostenhca for decades, its powerful shepherd growing more influential by the year. With every jump in power, however, came a jump in depravity. Eventually, a portion of everything that was grown, made or sold in the Griff valleys, including the newborn young of livestock, went to the terrible keep of Keraptis, where it was used for unknown purposes.  At this time, new threats assailed Tostenhca, threats that appeared to challenge even Keraptis.
Demons and devils appeared in the Griff valleys, perhaps drawn by the increase in evil, or perhaps by the summonings of a desperate people. Dragon raids increased, and manticore flights were a monthly occurrence. Undead creatures of all descriptions poured from ancient, abandoned mines and barrows. Unknown terrors lurked in the darkness of every shadow. Still, Keraptis and his servants defeated them all, protecting Tostenhca in the process. Some said these evils were defeated too easily, as if they had somehow been ordered to fall beneath Keraptis-led blades and spells. Those who suggested as much indiscriminately were publicly executed by Tostenhcan politicians, though few doubted the true origins of the orders.
At the height of these outrages came Keraptis’ tax collectors with word of a new levy -- one third of all newborn children would henceforth be turned over to the wizard! As if this final insult had been too much even for the corrupt leaders of Tostenhca to bear, the people of the city and valleys rose up against their “protector,” overthrew his armies and laid ruin to his holdings. Led by a powerful cleric of Pelor, Lord of the Sun, the united folk of Tostenhca purged the darkness from their lands. Harried by rangers and Shalmist druids, those loyal to Keraptis soon fled or surrendered. Somehow left without power in the hour of his failure, Keraptis barely escaped with his life, taking with him the fanatical gnomes that had been so crucial to his overlordship as the only testament of his once absolute power. 
With his flight from the Griffs, Keraptis entered a new phase of his life. Separated by the apparatus and magics that had allowed him to cheat death for centuries, the wizard sought a manner by which he might escape Nerull’s grasp forever. Passing south to the plains of the Flanmi River and its tributaries, Keraptis learned still more from surviving Ur-Flannae mystics, ancient men bound to ancient pacts with the god Keraptis secretly planned to betray.
He and his remaining servitors found succor in many Flannish enclaves, only to find that word of his evil spread far, forcing him to move frequently. The journeys brought him as far south as the Vast Swamp, where it is said he gained conference with Acererak the Devourer, gaining untold secrets and lore in the passing.  He passed through the ancient kingdom of Sulm on the eve of its destruction at the hands of the insane tyrant Shattados, from whom Keraptis learned what would become the key to his bid for eternal life. In whispered tones, the debased Scorpion King suggested a location of great power north of the Nyr Dyv, a great volcano rich in ancient power. Here, under an eternal plume of white, lay the secrets of immortality granted to the Hierophant druids of the First Gods. Leaving Sulm to its pitiful fate, Keraptis turned his attention north, to White Plume Mountain. 
During the arduous journey across the bottomless waters of the Nyr Dyv, thoughts of his betrayal at the hands of the people of Tostenhca, people he had come to see as his own, weighed heavy in Keraptis’ demented mind. By the time his band put to shore on the lake’s northern shore, the wizard had dreamed up a thousand cataclysms for the city, and imagined the smallest detail of each and every one.
Using powerful magics, he scattered the few Flannae tribes that stood between his men and their charge, and after years of travel, Keraptis finally came upon his best chance at eternal life. He knew not what lay within the natural caves of White Plume Mountain. His trust in the ancient knowledge of Sulm was absolute, however, and he entered the place defiantly, if not cautiously.
He needn’t have worried. Though the defenses of the ancient druid who inhabited the mountain as its sole protector were powerful indeed, they did not pose a serious threat to Keraptis, and after a furious fight in the sacred fane beneath the mountain, Keraptis slew the mountain’s protector, casting his remains into a lake of fire. 
After the battle, Keraptis’ mind spun at the complexity of the magics present in the fane. Perhaps most enticing was the Null Enigma, a dull black statue of exquisite beauty that offered to grant him any desire, but promised a terrible price.  Had the wizard asked for eternity, perhaps his quest would have ended there. Instead, the hatred and pain following his betrayal took precedence, and his need for revenge occluded all wisdom. “The greed of the Tostenhcans bid them to deny me my tithe. Let the money they saved by betraying me cause their downfall forevermore.”
So it was that the strange, spherical coinage of Tostenhca was befouled by a terrible curse. Within a month, all Tostenhcans had fallen still, thick tongues protruding from spotty, diseased lips. Keraptis was shown the outcome of his desire, and was pleased with the Null Enigma’s creativity. His delight became sated, however, when that creativity was brought to bear upon his own fate. The Enigma had promised a terrible price, and this came in the form of a curious magical deterioration. Over the period of the next month, which saw Keraptis and his men inhabit the caves of White Plume Mountain, the wizard began simply to fade out of existence. Magical divinations proved the tyrant’s worst fears, parts of his body faded in and out, losing color and eventually substance. While white steam poured from the mouth of the ancient mountain, a once-powerful man faded into black obscurity. Pleas to the Null Enigma offered no succor. Keraptis had hoped White Plume Mountain would grant him eternity. Instead, he had become ephemeral. 
Keraptis immediately set to work. Further divinations had revealed that his corporeal form was not in fact fading out, but was consuming itself, leaving a shadowy, indeterminate substance where once had been flesh. The mountain still held the secret of immortality, he knew, but it would take far longer than he had to unlock it. As his form continued to dissipate, he discovered that he could be safe in only one location, the Demiplane of Shadow, a dark realm with strong spiritual ties to the world of Oerth. 
With the help of his most trusted gnomes, Keraptis quarried much of the volcanic, black rock from the chamber of the Null Enigma, and fashioned it into powerful golems. The golems in turn slaved tirelessly to craft an elaborate chamber beneath White Plume Mountain, a chamber that would act to siphon the lambent magical energies of the place, directing them to form a dimensional gate to the Demiplane of Shadow. The energy of the mountain was crafty, however. Opening the gate required a balance of power, which Keraptis provided in the form of several artifacts he had acquired during his long, evil life.
The first such item was Whelm, a powerful hammer gifted to his gnomes by an ancient dwarven race that originated in the Griff Mountains. Whelm was used to craft much of the chamber itself. The wizard next added Wave, a powerful trident said to have come from the salty kingdom of Procan himself. With the power of Wave, Keraptis cooled the volcanic rock of White Plume Mountain, adding durability to the golems’ work. Next, Keraptis installed Seeker, an arrow of ancient olven make, said to provide vast divininatory powers and to always hold true its aim. This he placed within the body of the largest golem, hoping to create an eternally vigilant guard to watch over his gateway. Lastly, the mighty sword Blackrazor, a gift from the insane Emperor Shattados, himself, was thrust into the chamber’s floor, its dark, forbidden power completing the necessary balance to open a permanent gate, and tipping that balance very slightly in favor of darkness -- perfect for opening a gate to the realm of shadows. If the Null Enigma noticed, or cared, it did not take any action to halt Keraptis’ escape. 
But the escape was without purpose. In the Demiplane of Shadow, Keraptis could not continue his quest for eternal life. Indeed, time seemed to pass differently in this realm, and nothing seemed real. He traveled the weird, alien landscapes of that fell place, all the while hearing whispers from its inhabitants about a process that might grant him what he wished for. It would be a long process, to be sure, but his life had been long, his goal ever beyond his grasp. Now, so far from where he had begun, it looked as though immortality might be within reach. 
The further he ventured into his new realm, however, the further he fell from White Plume Mountain. Without his guidance, the gnomes fell to warring with each other. During one such battle, they managed to seal off the mountain’s entrance, and their battles became more desperate. Fungal gardens planted early in their inhabitation provided adequate (if uninspiring) food, but the pressure of being pent up within the mountain became too strong for many of the gnomes. After months of warring, one faction won out, and began to stabilize their holding. They knew that the fane beneath the mountain was sacred, and that Keraptis might return at any time. Instead of guarding his chamber, however, the gnomes focused on the upper caves of the mountain. They could not, they reasoned, escape, so instead they focused on making the place as interesting as possible. One room included a magical flow of water, another featured an inverted ziggurat, a parody of the great pyramids of Tostenhca. 
After three generations of inhabitants, the somewhat inbred gnomes began to take on increasingly strange characteristics. Some began to worship Keraptis as a god. Others became convinced that the mountain itself was alive, and began to worship it. A schism developed, with the mountain worshippers defeating the Keraptis worshippers after a pitched battle. Because wiping out the wizard’s followers meant ridding the gnomes of at least half of their manpower, the leaders among the mountain faction created an “indoctrination center,” where errant gnomes could be reminded of the true way of the world within the mountain. A state of mad chaos and paranoia developed, with nearly every gnome becoming suspicious of everyone they met. Clearly, the situation would not hold. The gnomes could only agree on one thing. They had to escape from White Plume Mountain.
The magical ward barring their exit was powerful, however, and dated back to the time of the Flannae druids who inhabited the mountain in the time of the First Gods. It took the form of an impenetrable steel wall. The only way through, the gnomes reasoned, could be found in the teachings of the now mostly extinct Keraptis faction. The hammer, Whelm, could get them out.
So, for the first time in centuries, the gnomes snuck into the underground fane and eventually into the chamber holding Keraptis’ still open gate. In nearly half a millennia, the wizard had not returned to Oerth. Risking a painful death at the hands of the golems, the gnomes overran the chamber, grasping for the powerful hammer. As if as an afterthought, they gathered up Wave and Blackrazor, too. Thirty seven gnomes were killed by the golems, though the creatures managed to destroy a single stone guardian and escape with the artifacts. The gateway was sealed, possibly forever. After a short period of trial and error, the gnomes did manage to use Whelm to break the magical barrier (though doing so drained the hammer of much of its destructive capability). The bulk of the insane creatures fled the mountain, leaving behind only a tiny sect of gnomes, secret members of the Keraptis faction still loyal to their one-time master.
The situation remained largely the same until roughly 576 C.Y., when one of the inbred gnomes still living within the Indoctrination Center declared that he was Keraptis reborn. This fellow reasoned that, if he could somehow get the items that had been plundered by the mountain-worshipper faction so long ago back to the fane chamber, he might be able to re-open the gate, and either free the real Keraptis, or move on to the next “level,” as the original had done. The gnome left the Mountain for a time, and recruited a number of creatures and agents, who would help him steal the items he needed. These items, by happenstance, were found within the walls of the City of Greyhawk. In a letter to the weapons’ former owners, the new “Keraptis” taunted the heroes of Greyhawk, inviting them to stop him in the dungeons of White Plume Mountain. 
The events of the novel occur in or around 585 C.Y., and the Silver Anniversary module will likely take place in 591. I’ve left things deliberately vague near the end of this document. Whether or not the fake Keraptis survives to the present day, what happens when/if the real Keraptis returns, etc. is up to Bruce, providing he likes any of this, at all. One idea we had was to have the party enlisted by Marshall Iaba, a one-time regent of Tenh who seeks a new leader for his broken nation.  History has a way of forgetting the evils of man, and Tenh badly needs a powerful leader. With Ehyeh III and his court in exile in Radigast City, it’s likely that some factions would emerge, seeking to replace him.
For added fun, Iaba could be given a gnomish assistant, actually the mastermind “fake Keraptis,” who hopes to use the broken-spirited Marshall, and the adventurers, to gather the weapons and return, once more, to White Plume Mountain.
 Tostenhca, or “Skrellingshald,” as it is now known by the northern barbarians, is described on page 92 of “Greyhawk Adventures.” See also my work on the ancient Flan for publication in the big Greyhawk book (Kij should have a copy of this).
 We know virtually nothing about Keraptis within the context of existing Greyhawk history. To have lived in the Flanaess at the time of his reign (“well over a millennium ago,” White Plume Mountain, 15), Keraptis would have to be Flan. As most Flan wizards at the time were affiliated with the Ur-Flannae (see “Ivid the Undying”), it’s a reasonable assumption to make Keraptis an Ur-Flannae mystic, or at least to suggest that he consorted with them. Since the Ur-Flan worshipped Nerull, it stands to reason that Keraptis did, too.
 The gnomish alliance matches with “. . .taking with him his fanatically loyal company of renegade gnomes” (White Plume Mountain, 2).
 Per White Plume Mountain, 15, we know that Keraptis “[brought] the local warlords under his thumb with gruesome threats – threats that were fulfilled just often enough to keep the leaders in line.” I don’t think Keraptis took a title of rulership over the people of Tostenhca. Rather, he stood within the shadows of their walls, an awesome wizard with a fiercely dedicated army. Think of it as a large protection racket.
 These events fit with the first two paragraphs of White Plume Mountain, 15.
 The details of Keraptis’ fall are outlined on page 15 of White Plume Mountain. The “powerful and good” cleric who led the raid would worship either Pelor or Rao. I believe the first to be more appropriate, fitting with the militaristic portion of Pelor’s portfolio (an outlook that, in the current era, has been absorbed by Pelor’s servant, Mayaheine). The rangers are a tad problematic, but I’d make them good woodsmen dedicated to the Beory/Obad Hai “Old Faith” (which, at this point, wasn’t so old). I’ve added druids, here, because I like them, and think they fit.
 Per page 61 of the From the Ashes Atlas, Acererak is said to have ruled the Vast Swamp “in the distant past.” Acererak is listed in several other sources as a legendary figure. Prior to “Return to the Tomb of Horrors,” I saw him as Ur-Flannae (which might still be at least half-possible). If Keraptis is to make the tour of pre-devastation “power points” of Flan culture, a visit to the Vast Swamp, and Acererak, makes a good deal of sense.
 The artifact material I wrote for the “Big Book” contains a summary of Blackrazor that includes some of the sword’s history. Rary the Traitor tells us that Sulm entered a “long slide into decadence” some 2,000 years ago. It’s a bit of a stretch to say that this decline lasted some 700 years, as we need it to, here, but I don’t find it outside the realm of possibility. Having Keraptis visit Sulm on the eve of its destruction is too enticing to pass up. Also, the wicked kingdom, with its ties to Tharizdun and other dark powers, makes it an ideal birthplace for Blackrazor.
The idea that White Plume Mountain was the site at which the “First Gods” (this may refer to the Flan pantheon, or something else entirely, and is perhaps best left vague) is my own. It seems interesting and logical that Keraptis would seek out such a location, for his need to live past his already advanced age would be great.
 This “lake of fire” is logical within a volcano. It is mentioned at the end of Paul Kidd’s novel, “White Plume Mountain.”
 The Null Enigma is not from any real source. I came up with it in an attempt to put something interesting beneath White Plume Mountain.
 One of the more interesting things about Kidd’s novelization is his description of Keraptis as a figure obsessed with both light and darkness. While this duality will come to play in a moment, I thought making him fade between this world and another fit quite well.
 One of the most common perceptions about Oerth is that it has strong ties to the Demiplane of Shadow. Aside from some mentions in the Valley of the Mage product, however, not a lot has been done with this connection. White Plume Mountain provides us with a great opportunity for a tie-in.
 Obviously, a lot of this has to do with the plot outline I came up with, and can be dropped if Bruce decides to go another direction. The origins of the items make sense, though. Whelm works perfectly as a dwarven artifact. Wave, originally an artifact dedicated to Poseidon, should really fit with Procan, since Poseidon doesn’t really have access to Oerth, and Procan is a direct copy of him, anyway. The arrow, Seeker, s something Steve Wilson and/or Lisa Stevens came up with, building off the premise that it would be neat to introduce another weapon that has remained within the Fane (which, I imagine, is placed somewhere below Keraptis’ “Indoctrination Center.” Also, four weapons makes a nice analog to four elements, though how exactly this should be tied together remains to be seen.
 Keraptis going “somewhere else” makes sense when compared to his legend, and suggests that the “Keraptis” from the original White Plume Mountain might not have been the genuine article. One of the biggest “problems” with revisiting this module is that the set-up of the original is very grim, with dark magics, child sacrifices, etc. However, when the PCs actually make it to the dungeon, they find it to be a somewhat silly romp, replete with a bored-looking sphinx receptionist. What follows attempts to explain some of this.
 The ziggurat parody is quite fortunate, as it fits this set-up perfectly. Also, attributing many of the “weird” locations within the mountain to gnomes makes a good deal of sense, as they are such weird creatures.
 Somehow, this fellow’s plans failed (since we should assume the parties who went through the original module were successful).
 Details of the brief reign of Marshall Iaba can be found in one of Gary Gygax’s old “Around the Flanaess” articles. I believe the exact article was called “Events from Stonefist to South Province.”
Roger''s Notes on Bruce''s MS (pre-final edition)....
Notes on Keraptis MS
by Roger Moore
The following are my comments on the Keraptis ms. indicate quotes taken from the document. I do note that the author uses "its" and "it''s" incorrectly. There is a reference in the 1983 World of Greyhawk Guide (page 52, "Griff Mountains") to a place that sounds a lot like the story of "Skellingshald" in Greyhawk Adventures (pages 92-93). It''s interesting to look at the two and compare them. This earlier bit might be of use to the author as rumor material.
Okay, I can buy this.
The double use of "group" makes me nervous, as this is not good writing and indicates the author did not look over his work. Anyway, I picture there being a significantly large number of each group of demihumans present in order to cause Keraptis concern. Was Keraptis a follower of Nerull? (Oh, I see he was, later on.) Who (in the author''s opinion) were the Ur-Flannae, and what was unique about their wizards? I have the impression the Ur-Flannae sorcerers were evil necromancers, maybe Nerull followers.
I would take out Obad-Hai and put in Pelor, Rao, etc. Taking sacrifices away from the "Old High Gods" would be a really bad thing! "Tostenhca" is misspelled above.
Clerics of Pelor and Rao should be right here, as they are Flan good gods. Rangers, being good, would also hold these gods in esteem, maybe more than Obad-Hai or Beory, or with Beory in second place.
WGR3 Rary the Traitor says that Sulm existed over 2,000 years ago, but a "long slide into decadence" is allowed for, so I can buy this. He does seem to have met some famous old guys.
I thought White Plume Mountain got its name because it is a dormant volcano and issues steam from its peak, as shown in some drawings of it (see the back of module S2 in some versions). The steam is the "white plume." See 1983 World of Greyhawk Guide, page 60. Also, that is "its," not "it''s."
These four items are not entirely of Ur-Flannae making, as noted above. Dwarves made Whelm, elves made Seeker. "Wave" is devoted to a sea god, someone like Procan or Xerbo (not Poseidon as per S2); it is neutral, so it can''t be for an evil god, and the Sinking Isle folk were surely evil, as are sahuagin. Why did elves give an arrow of slaying to Acererak? I did not see Blackrazor as a fire weapon, given its description; it is a negative-energy weapon, maybe tied to the Negative Material Plane. Still, this is closing in on making sense, so I applaud the author for his research. I''d never thought about some of these connections. Blackrazor could be used to open a rift to the demiplane of Shadow, maybe.
Well, Tostenhca (misspelled above in a new way) is inhabited nowadays, so the curse must have worn off after it killed everyone there. Is this the curse on the gold mentioned in Greyhawk Adventures?
So.... Keraptis has gnome girlfriends? That''s what "leman" means. Or was the gnome a wizard apprentice? Wait, the gnome is later said to be a "he." Hmmmmm....
Couldn''t be. He would be out of touch for only one millennium. (Check spelling of "millenia.")
Not a good sentence.
Which country was he from? I figured, as a knight, he was probably from Furyondy (a Knight of the Hart).
The problem here is that in S2, Keraptis deliberately tried to get adventurers to come to his stronghold on White Plume Mountain. Why he would tempt them is never made clear; they seem to have been set up to go through deathtraps, only to be taken by Nix, Nox, Cox, and Box to the "Indoctrination Center," whatever that is. Keraptis''s purposes are never clear in S2.
Tenh, in 591, is being fought over by Stonehold (in the northern Calbut/Nevond Nevnend section), Iuz (from Redspan and Rookroost in the west), the Pale (in the east), and returning Tenha from the County of Urnst (where Duke Ehyeh III (not Prince E) is in exile) in the south. Nyrond has little interest here--it is weak from the Greyhawk Wars. I also did not see General Iaba as Regent of Tenh because Duke Ehyeh III is still "in charge." Iaba, from Dragon issue #56, pages 21-22, was a Marshal who took charge when Duke Ehyeh II was killed in 577, but the new duke took over after. Iaba ran one of the armies of Tenh into the Bandit Kingdoms and beat them there. The status of Regent implies Iaba ruled in place of a duke who was too young to rule, but Duke Ehyeh III is a Ranger (11th level) in Dragon issue #56. Given the nasty tales, legends, and rumors about Keraptis, and the fear in which his name is held, I had trouble believing Iaba would want him back. Granted, Ehyeh doesn''t look good right now, despite his earlier sucesses, but Keraptis is a radical (and terrible) alternative as a ruler.
Oh, my! This is a crazy plan. This is like summoning Vecna to rule in the Shield Lands because things are sort of messed up there, and he might straighten things out. The real Keraptis destroyed a whole civilization; he would surely kill his saviors and set himself up as a new super-dictator to rival Iuz in time. Tenh, as I wrote it up, is a huge mess with four forces warring over it. How would Keraptis restore order when the Tenha themselves are scattered or enslaved or slain? If he managed this, Tenh would be a true horror-land. The Pale would certainly attack, as might Iuz.
I can''t see something this powerful, just one rank below artifact, be traded around like this. It should be used by armies fighting giants, or sought by dwarves on big quests, etc, but not traded around.
I think the Great Kingdom had little or no contact with Greyhawk when Zagig came to power. Nyrond had come to power, and Nyrond and the GK (I imagine) actively blocked all trade to one another. I don''t think the GK would have been welcome around Greyhawk, anyway. Maybe the item was stolen and taken to GH, where Zagig got it as a gift or something. This item is so powerful, however, that I cannot imagine anyone collecting it; it would be beyond price, like Whelm.
Wait--didn''t all the gnomes of Keraptis get killed in the interplanar disaster except for his "leman"? When did this happen?
Acererak, from what I''ve read, was probably evil even early in his career, so I can''t see elves being fooled by him in this manner. Maybe they tried to kill him but failed, losing the arrow there in the Tomb of Horrors.
That''s it for me..... Roger Moore
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