The History and Disappearance of Bucknard
Date: Sun, April 24, 2005
Topic: Rogue's Gallery

There is a nearly complete lack of background information about the enigmatic Bucknard; there is no canon reference prior to 571 CY (as far as the author can discover). Pursuing this matter, the author contacted Mr. Gygax, the creator of the NPC Bucknard, who was agreeable enough to provide the following information about the origin of Bucknard:

“Bucknard was an NPC I created out of whole cloth. He was based on a neighbor of mine when I was a lad, a Mr. Bucknall. He had a great garden, an apple tree with five different kinds of apples, and he knew astronomy well, assisted me with my 100 power telescope. He did use a small change purse, and from it he would extract a small coin to give to me now and again” (from ENWorld messageboards)

The author has attempted to stay true to the “Mr. Bucknall” spirit as expressed by Mr. Gygax, and to the infrequent references in the canon to Bucknard, while creating a rich and interesting character who may, or not, be of much interest or use to others. Thanks to Wykthor, Tedra, the mystical and magical Zavoda index and others who are lost in the ether.

The History and Disappearance of Bucknard
By: fairylover
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

(as of his disappearance 579 CY) [1]

Bucknard (former member of the Circle of Eight)
18th-level NG human wizard; age 39;
Str 12, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 22, Wis 18, Cha 19; 44 hp
(stats for 3.x edition)

Overview of an Arch-Mage

At of the time of his disappearance, Bucknard is a six feet tall with non-descript, generally Oeridian features; a solid square jaw, dark brown hair and dancing gray eyes. Although not handsome, Bucknard has an easy charisma that invites friendship and laughter. Bucknard is blessed with a photographic memory, a sharp wit and affable nature [2]. He enjoys word-play of all types, and is a lover of verse and heroic tales (he has countless poems and epics memorized, and frequently quotes snippets when particularly applicable), and is an accomplished musician (mainly piano type instruments; he can get by on many string instruments also). He seems to never forget a face or name, and retains an encyclopedic knowledge of the protocols and intrigue in the courts from Niola Dra to Rel Mord [3].

Bucknard has excelled at nearly all the activities he has set his mind to: he is regarded as a powerful mage [4], a fine fencer and an excellent musician (his exploits in the kitchen, however, are unqualified disasters, as the mage Otto can attest). Bucknard’s true interests lay in deciphering the magic inherent in natural systems and objects [5]. He has unlocked the secrets of using mirrors and other objects as arcane portals and tools [6], and is generally considered an expert of interplanar and interdimensional places and travel [7]. He was also renowned for his knowledge and work in the field of “arithmomancy” (i.e., mathematics – especially for his investigations into the nature of light [see his treatises on the geometry of light Spectral Geomectrics, and also on the inherent magic of reflective surfaces, Inexplicable Reflections, copies of both can be found in the Great Library of Greyhawk] and for his invention of a rudimentary form of integral calculus [his work Principles of Athermancy Infinitum is regarded as a seminal text in this rather obscure field]). His interest in mathematics was the by-product of work examining the heavens (thus light and the reflection thereof) and the movements of the celestial objects (perhaps his finest arcane artifice was a large and very complex magical telescope used to inspect the heavens and its elements located at his villa in Thornward. It can reputably peer across vast distances and across planes and dimensions [8]).

Youth and young manhood (548-557 CY)

The famed mage Bucknard was born on 4 Growfest 539 CY in the crossroad town of Dountham in the March of Bissel [9]. He is a scion of the minor noble family Rhypthorn of Bissel, a clan well known for its magical prowess (March of Bissel Gazetteer pg. 39), and is a cousin of the reviled necromancer Evard the Black [10]. Although Bucknard spent his early childhood in the crossroad town of Dountham, most of his teenage and young adulthood were spent in Thornward, the then capital of Bissel.

His magical aptitude was recognized (and expected) early by his family and he was sent to study under the Master of the Academy of High Arts in Thornward when he was nine years old. Bucknard was considered a prodigy; by the time he was fourteen he had overtaken the arcane skills, and displayed a width and breadth of knowledge that easily outstripped all of the other students, and nearly all of the tutors and members of the Academy. Bucknard gained some renown in 556 CY winning a contest of magic in the City of Greyhawk and a fencing contest in Thornward, all in the same day! (at the age of only 17!)

Agent of the Margrave (557-569 CY)

Bucknard’s ample and diverse skills were noticed by the Margrave of Bissel. Over the next decade he was sent on various missions for the Margrave. Bucknard traveled to the far reaches of Zief (Bucknard was known to be fluent in both High Bakluni, and in many of the Low Bakluni dialects), Lapolla (where he met and eventually became close friends with Rary the Archmage of Ket [11]), Niole Dra, (where he met and famously dueled Lashton of Greyhill [12]), Mitrik, Chendle, Dyvers, and Greyhawk [13]. During his tenure as a representative of the Margrave, Bucknard became an expert diplomat (and spy...), using his ample charm, intellect, and photographic memory to become, by the time he was only 30, one of the closest and most influential advisors to the Margrave of Bissel.

By this point, (569 CY) Bucknard was a skilled mage (Wiz13?) who had developed a network of informants and spies in the courts of all the major nations from Greyhawk to Niole Dra. During this period he had also developed no small skill as an artificer, specializing in the creation of useful arcane items of common appearance that would assist Bucknard’s agents in disposal of their duties (such as the eponymous Everfull Pouch) [14].

Up to this point, Bucknard was a familiar and popular figure at the Margrave’s Court, enmeshed in the political wheeling and dealings of the day, seemingly excelling at all of his endeavors. However, for reasons unknown, in early 569 CY, he took leave of his service to the Margrave (some suspect that this change in heart was connected with the murder in late 568 CY of Bucknard’s close friend and confidant Maduen of Wynaithe, a handsome young promising poet and composer)

Travels (569-571 CY)

The next two years found Bucknard traveling widely; exact information about Bucknard’s whereabouts during this period are inexact, however, it seems to have included journeys to the Baklunish west (supposedly investigating the ruins of the ancient artificer Kwalish [15]) to the depths of the Castle Greyhawk and across many planes of existence (including several layers of the Abyss!). During the infrequent periods when he was in Thornward, he worked night and day in the workshop at his villa on diverse projects, both mundane and arcane.

Herald of the Circle of Eight (571-579 CY)

In early 571 CY Bucknard was approached by the Archmage Mordenkainen to join the nascent Circle of Eight [16]. Mordenkainen was impressed by the wit, charm and boundless raw intellect of the young mage, and especially by the ease and subtlety of his craft. Mordenkainen also needed the network of political connections that Bucknard possessed, and envisioned Bucknard as the “Herald of the Circle of Eight” [17]. Bucknard eagerly accepted the offer.

As a representative of the Circle, Bucknard extended his network and knowledge to include the width and breadth of the Flaeness; Bucknard was known and welcome in courts from Ratik, to Celene, to the Sea Princes. Bucknard was known to frequent the mad court of the Malachite Throne, the blood spattered throne room of Dorakka and the depraved wooden halls of Dantredun far to the north [18].

Through his service to the Circle, Bucknard was introduced to many people and entities, but none impressed the young mage like the being known as Keoghtom [19]. These two became immediate friends. They had similar personalities and interests; Bucknard is drawn to the exploration of the magic inherent in natural systems; similar to the arcane mysteries that Keoghtom represented.

Bucknard spent a great deal of time with Keoghtom, traveling across the Oerth and the multiverse. Keoghtom pushed Bucknard to the limits of his abilities and with such a patron, Bucknard rapidly increased his skills and abilities, becoming an arch mage (Wiz18) by the time he was 37 (576 CY).

The Disappearance of Bucknard (579 CY)

The Co8 has always been generally opposed to the machinations of the Old One, and has generally been unable to gain significant leverage. To change this, the Co8 devised a plan. This plan involved most of the members of Co8; Bucknard was involved extensively with this scheme, working from 577 CY to 579 CY, developing spies and currying favor within the dread halls of Dorakka.

The plan was simple and audacious, it called for the location and capture of the soul object of Iuz.

Through Bucknard’s spies and personal reconnaissance, the soul item of Iuz was discovered to be secreted in a citadel located in the foulest home plane of the demoness Tzuggtmoy, defended by some of her most depraved slaves.

In mid-579 CY Bucknard and other agents of the Co8 infiltrated the citadel, pierced through all the defenses with well wrought magics, cunning, skill and luck. The sanctum of the soul item was entered (after the bearding of the fearsome nalfashee master of the citadel), only to find a most unexpected, and for Bucknard, untenable situation.

Upon entering the inner sanctum of the horrid fortress, the cunning and hatefulness of the Old One was realized; the Co8 agents discovered that Iuz used the living hearts of innocent children as the receptacle of his hateful, bitter soul. Bucknard was able to discern which of the children was the current receptacle of the Old Ones spirit, and immediately offered succor to the wraith of a child, who appeared aged, sickened and cloaked by barely visible shadows. The agents proceeded to argue over what to do with the child and the other children. Bucknard insisted that they take all the children with them back to Oerth. It is suspected that deep down Bucknard knew this task was impossible; yet he still attempted to open a gate to remove the children (supposedly using a wish), against the wishes of most of the Co8 agents.

The agents knew when Iuz had arrived; the child bearing the Old Ones sprit was instantly slain, collapsing in a pile of dust, as a torrent of magical fire and destruction enveloped the agents. (reportedly, Iuz himself and most of the Greater Boneheart appeared). All but ten of the children were slain and/or un-recovered [20]. Out of the eight agents, only two survived; Bucknard and his henchmen Hokerbrecht [21], both of whom were grievously injured.

Mordenkainen and the rest of the Co8 were very disappointed with the mission and believed that Bucknard was solely responsible for the failure, primarily because it was perceived that his concern was for the children, not gaining the soul object and completing the mission. Bucknard disagreed, and quarreled bitterly with Mordenkainen and other Co8 members. This created a lasting rift in their relationship.

Iuz had recognized Bucknard, and sent his agents to capture and slay him. Bucknard retreated to the demi-plane of Keoghtom, then set out into the void, and has yet to return.


1--The town of Thornward in Bissel provides a “cosmopolitan” atmosphere for the nascent mage to cut his teeth, and also a setting that was not well developed in the Canon, thus providing space for sufficient artistic license.

2--Bucknard was on good terms with his cousin Evard (circa 579 CY), counting him as an ally, even though Bucknard has serious concerned about his cousin’s work into the field of necromancy and perusal of Ur-Flan rituals and secrets of the maimed lich lord Vecna. It is unknown if Bucknard even knows (or cares) about the horror that his cousin Evard has become

3--Bucknard’s library is filled with journals detailing the movements of celestial objects found not only in the skies above Oerth, but also those found on other Prime Material Planes, alternate dimensions and sundry quasi-planes. It is no surprise that Bucknard holds the Far Wanderer in higher regard than Boccob, the typical patron revered by mages. The telescope, along with Bucknard’s fine orchard of fruit trees, was destroyed when his villa was sacked during the Greyhawk Wars (584 CY) by agents of Iuz.

4--Bucknard possesses the minor artifact known as “The Compass of Kwalish” This artifact can reputably find the way from one point to another unfailingly, even across dimensional and planar space, finding the bearer conveyance, gates or portals needed to make the voyage from point to point. It appears as a brass compact, the covers intricately enameled and set with semi-precious stones. Inside are several finely crafted arms that swing and point the owner in the direction requested.

5--It is the general consensus of Canon that Bucknard was indeed a likeable and extremely talented fellow:
“…affable Bucknard…replacing the much esteemed Bucknard, who had vanished two years earlier.” (LGJ#0 pp. 6)

“…replaced the powerful wizard Bucknard, who vanished in 579 CY while exploring an unknown demiplane. His fate is not known. Bucknard was fairly young when he disappeared, but he was rumored to have become and archmage and was well-known in royal courts from Keoland to Nyrond.”(PGG pp. 23)

6--During the late part of 578CY shortly before his disappearance, it was noted by the famed mage Kieren Jalucian (after a visit from Bucknard) that Bucknard seemed to have mastered the most “complexe, powerful and dangerouse of mysteries“ and was truly now the “Arch-Mage of Bissel”(PGG pp. 23)

7--Bucknard has mastered the duplicitous art of scrying (i.e., the spell Greater Scrying), and the rare skill of mirror walking (and example can be found Manual of the Planes 3.0 Ed., pg. 205)

8--Bucknard can be assumed to know, or have access to nearly all spells associated with movement across the Oerth, such as teleportation, gates and portals between dimensions and to other planes of existence

9--Bucknard counts Rary as one of his closest allies, and was the one to recommend and lobby for Rary’s inclusion in the Circle of Eight. The thoughtful and gentle nature of the Arch-mage and love and pursuit of knowledge (RtT pg. 3) attracted young Bucknard, and eventually developed into a close relationship. These two mages would spend countless hours engaged in thoughtful discussion about all topics over rare foreign liquors and wines. Bucknard has entrusted Rary with his clone materials, secreted in a secret level of Rary’s tower in Lopolla. The current status of this material is unknown.

10--The young Bucknard (22 at the time) found the mage Lashton of Greyhill to be a sneering, scheming and greedy boor, with a complete lack of subtly and wit, an opinion he expressed to the young (and beautiful) Baroness Fiolaidh of Middlemead, a courtier in whom both men were interested. The two dueled (with swords!) after Lashton had given the comely Baroness an emerald brooch, and upon seeing it worn, Bucknard (in court) suggested it was insult to adorn such a beautiful woman with such an “insignificant and insultingly poorly crafted jewel”. Bucknard was the better swordsman, and by all accounts, mage also.

11--Bucknard was well known in Greyhawk, frequenting the better taverns and festhalls. He was also a member in good standing of the Greyhawk Guild of Wizardry (among others), frequently sharing tables, and conversation with Master Jalucian, whom he found to be an engaging and stimulating conversationalist, and excellent fencing partner. The two counted each other as close friends; Bucknard usually stayed at Master Jalucians villa when in Greyhawk.

12--Reproduced here is an aside (?) from the DMG1 describing the reason for the Everfull Pouch : This item was designed to maintain spice, providing a constant source of funds without attracting undue attention to the bearer or necessitating chests of treasure. (DMG1 pp. 140). The creation of clever devices that do not attract attention to the bearer seems to be the sort of item not only coveted by countless non-descript adventurers, but also by “agents” to whom discretion is of paramount concern.

13--The author uses the timeline for the Co8 found in the LGJ #0.

14--The author has ascribed the duty of “Herald of the Co8 through interpretation of the following: “Once timid and cautious, Bigby now acts as an ambassador for the Circle, traveling the Flanaess in search of new contacts or information.” (LGJ#0 pp. 8). I reason that Bigby has replaced (see“now acts as” above) Bucknard after his disappearance.

15--The welcoming nature of various courts is interpreted by the author from: “...and was well-known in royal courts from Keoland to Nyrond”(PGG pp. 23). Although Bucknard generally impressed all with his affable nature and charming wit, he has earned the dislike of some, but of special note, the enmity of the Archmage Kermin Mindbender. Bucknard’s first Co8 mission regarded horrible machinations in the court of the Sultan of Zief. Bucknard and the wise Alhamazad uncovered a plot led by Alhamazad’s own apprentice Kermin to command demonic and elemental forces in a plot that threatened to destabilize the region (through assassination of the Sultan of Zief and the Pasha of Tusmit). Bucknard was instrumental in casting Kermin from the West. .

16--The author has extrapolated the relationship between Bucknard and Keoghtom from the indication of the close relationship between Mordenkainen and various quasi-deities found in the encounter tables found, among other places, Gloss for WoG pp. 35.

17--The author has fabricated most of the information in this article about Bucknard from the following snippet, “…replaced the powerful wizard Bucknard, who vanished in 579 CY while exploring an unknown demiplane. His fate is not known. Bucknard was fairly young when he disappeared...”(PGG pp. 23).

18--“...and was well-known in royal courts from Keoland to Nyrond.”(PGG pp. 23)

19--The always modest Bucknard regards himself as “...merely a sage of little worth or skill...”. Bucknard regards his exhaustive research in the arcane fields as merely support to his many odd lines of study!

20--Hocherbrecht is a NPC/PC encountered in S4. It is supposed by the author that Bucknard was one of the schemers putting together the expedition to the lair of the Witch of Perrenland, (see pg.3 of S4). Hocherbrect is imagined to be, (and have been) during S4, and agent of Bucknard.

21--One of these children, Skye, is encountered in the Return of the Eight (pg. 8) as a student of Jallarzi. She does not know of/remember her ordeal in the clutches of Iuz. Other children were placed in foster care with other worthy citizens in the Central Flaeness.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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