Greyhawk

New Depths of the Tower of War
The Mystery Ahead

Delving deeper than ever before into the ruins of the Tower of War our heroes have gone further than most adventurers ever would. The Black Feathers are in control of most of the ruins now that the Elves are Dwarves are ousted. This could prove profitable for all involved parties. Already many new faces are showing up in the garb of the Black Feathers with the influx of wealth. What next? Who is responsible for the undead animation if not Drakmoore? He was slain in a clever ruse, but there is certainly someone else residing within the tower depths that has similar skills to the dark priest. Either his corpse was taken for internment or for some other darker purpose. In time all will be revealed and old debts will be repaid.

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Most unnerving
Ponchovina

As Malna reflected on this last adventure she started to feel her natural tendencies waver. As a forest gnome she is used to staying in the forest, far from the crowds of other races. For the first time in her life she felt that there was something to be respected of these other races, dwarves and men were not as bad as she grew up believing. When her forest was burnt down all those years ago, before she was even out of her parent’s house and her uncle took her under his wing, her path seemed lost to her. They never quite settled in to a new forest, there was never one that seemed to fit her Uncle’s wandering nature. Because of this, Malna stayed with her uncle far longer than most forest gnomes stay with their parents. Perhaps this is why her uncle was keen to have her travel with this band of strangers. Although at first Malna was weary of leaving her uncle, it was important that she start to make her own impact on this world.
After this last encounter with Ponchovina, her respect for her traveling companions increased even more. There is something unnerving about undead that shakes Malna to the core. As a forest gnome she understands that there is a circle that life goes through. The leaves break down into the earth, giving nutrients and new life to the forest, but this was something different. A creature dying with so much unrest that their soul doesn’t have a chance at their final rest is most troubling. After this Malna decided that giving these spirits rest should be one of the most important missions in her life.

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Shiny and New

Borzi had never particularly felt like he drew much attention. Sure, there were times where being a dwarf might have drawn the eye of some yokel who had never seen one before, but usually people didn’t give him more notice than anybody else. But that had changed now.

Taking a moment to reflect again on the beautiful armor that he was about to don, Borzi has to marvel at how it catches the light just right giving it almost an aura. When he wore it, people almost stared at him, which unnerved him at first but after he saw how fast the Black Feathers jumped to attention and took his orders Borzi figured he could get used to it.

Betraying the priest in the ruins had not sat well with Borzi, the action going against the grain of how he normally lived his life. But…. the man was almost assuredly evil and would have turned on them in good time. Fortunately they had eliminated him and his minion with little trouble, even though the specter that was troubling the dwarves was not gone for good.

The group had decided that they needed a few days off, pursuing whatever vices or work they had in the city- which was just fine with Borzi. He used the time well, first making sure the tavern was alright and then checking on all currently deployed Black Feathers and their status. After finishing that he helped take care of whatever chores kept him busy. He wasn’t one for inactivity, and getting back to the ruins or wherever else was something he looked forward to.

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Tilting at Windmills
Efreeti, Derro and Djinni Oh My!

Oh, upon a windswept hill it stood
Marking the time when our world would come to its end
For ill purpose made, the destruction of all good
Degenerate dwarfkin sought their will it to bend
The Doomgrinder woke!

Mighty rumblings of earth, a sail reached the peak
A portal opened, our safety sought within
Derro met us with weapons to turn bodies meek
We fought hard tooth and nail to forge our win
The Doomgrinder rolled…

The puzzle of it’s construct we labored upon
The razing of whole cities it’s plan long ago
It’s spinning shaft was suddenly undone
When we threw their deceased to the depths below
The Doomgrinder shook!_

Oh, the craft bellowed and as the span shattered
Dweomer imprisoning it’s motive force sundered
Escape for us immediately mattered
Revelation of it’s engine appeared and thundered
The Doomgrinder stopped!

In whirling mists appeared a mighty djinn
In flames and cinders beheld scorching efreet
These were the secrets the machine held within
And the terrible visages our eyes to meet
The derro-kin ran!

Vengeance fell upon the pale under-dwellers
In fire and brute strength they met their demise
Too far astray from their sunless cellars
During battle’s crescendo, we gained our own reprise
Plunder we sought!____

…The campfire glowed as Miallew penned her final strokes of a new song. She couldn’t wait to perform it and regale in applause and adulation.

But there was the matter of the armor and any other tempting pieces left behind in the immense wreck. Still bruising from a stray djinn’s hammerfist , she contemplated that just maybe, maybe she might steal back and see what was left behind.

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The Return
Things to Come

Now that the Doomgrinder has halted, those that were in its path can breathe a sigh of relief. It can only be speculated at what kind of destruction it would have caused. This does not mean all is well in the Cairn Hills. What was once a curiosity is now a fortress full of hostility. Who knows what has befallen the surviving Derro, if any and have the extraplanars returned home after the massacre they wrough upon their release? There is a gaping chasm that leads deep into the earth where the Doomgrinder once rested. It could be explored or perhaps there are pressing needs back at the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk. There has been hardly a word from the Black Feathers or Dwarves manning the surface forts.

Decker has only hinted that his master will soon reveal himself. The Free City lies just beyond the horizon now. Everyone giving way to the party as they approach.

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From Table to Farm... to Madness
The story of Allister Hodge

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You want to know where I came from, why? I am not your triumphant hero or an upstanding citizen, but if you are so inclined to know, I will tell you. It all starts with that wretched house, my childhood home.

See, the walls of Hodge manor were thin and painted with deceit and the ever so popular politically charged hate speech. If I had to listen to one more fat slobbering aristocrat talk about how so-and-so should fall on his blade and blah, blah, blah should drink a pint of piss. I tell you, it’s enough for a young boy to go mad and sure enough, it was. My parents are to blame, for they constantly entertained these brigands and bastards and were usually the ones to stoke the fire on these nonsensical tropes. The anger and hate I felt towards the world, so ingrained into me… You are better than the commoner, better than thy neighbor. Was I? This is why I ran away from the life of cakes and maids, the life of a prim and proper gentleman. I’m sure I was lined up to marry a charming young political tie or become the face of a labor forced empire, but this was not me.

Street life was tough for a young man like me, constant fights and sparse ingestion of foul but life sustaining scraps. It wasn’t until Charles found me when my life started to change. Charles was a farmer on the edge of town and good one to boot. The fullest crops I have ever seen! He gave me shelter and food as long as I helped tend his herd and harvest his crops. It was the earth, the dirt, the cycle of decomposition to create life that really started to fascinate me. This farm, Charles’ farm, is when it started to happen. I felt the earth flow through me; I belonged in the dirt… this dirt. The crops spoke to me, they whispered to me. Ha, I use to blame the voices I heard on fatigue and lack of sleep, but it wasn’t until that day I dug a little too deep and found out who was actually talking to me.

What I unraveled I tell you, would make your stomach expunge the morning’s tea and biscuits. I’ve always wondered why the crops would grow faster and more luscious than the other farms down the road. It was Charles’ other occupation… his night job… murder. The bodies couldn’t have been decomposing for more than a moons length. At first it was unsettling but for some reason I was not scared. I felt an unflinching curiosity which led me to interrogate Charles instead of tell the authorities. Why and how, Charles? He then proceeded to tell me the stories of the countless people that have gone missing in his gardens. They were all bad and they deserved to be reborn he said, reborn through the dirt and into the crops I’ve been ingesting for a year now. This is when he taught me the art of death and life energies. The dirt and earth hold death and life at its grasp. It is the resting place of the living and the womb of rebirth.

Where is Charles now you ask? He is dead, the farm is dead, the lessons are dead, but I am not. This is why I must continue my knowledge… this is why I am here. Can you please pass me the salt?

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Enzo's Folly

The City of Greyhawk at night is a parallel reality to that of the day. Once tranquil streets where laughter can be heard as warmth fills the air, take on a strange mask, devoid of life, cold and dangerous.
On one such evening a cloaked figure moves along the cobble-stone streets. Loud guffaws and drunken revelry can be heard distantly. These streets in this neighborhood always seem the reek of urine, with unknowns creeping in the shadows. Ne’er do wells and winos stumble here and there and the clip-clop of booted feet can faintly be heard as a dark silhouette of the cloaked figure meanders along, and then, gone…
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A mangy stray cat howls in the night as Enzo creeps along a dark, narrow back alley.
This looks life the place, he thinks to himself.
He kneels in the filthy, mold-stenched, impossibly wet dark recess. Slipping off his backpack, he pulls out a rope with a strange looking grappling hook that has been wrapped with fine custom made leathers to silence it. His hand wanders to a hidden vest pocket where a uncharacteristically high quality black leather roll lay. Touching it reassures him.
Grasping the silenced grappling hook, Enzo starts whirling it in a short circle, until its spinning is as fast as a buzz saw.
Uuahhh! the hook flys into the pitch black.
Then, nothing.
Good, the burly, stout, ginger dwarf rouge jerks the rope three times and with solid satisfaction and starts climbing up the rope as deft as a spider.
Enzo quickly gets to the crest of the roof to the nondescript warehouse. No windows, no light, perfect. He spots griffon statues on each corner of the roof, a red sash tied around the one on the northeast corner.
The secret signal the guild said their undercover agent promised would mark the target. A small but very ambitious rival gang, who use this warehouse as a secret location from where its said they hide a trove documents recording their illicit operations. These documents are said to detail records of public officials who’ve taken brides, locations of safe houses, and who knows what else.
Enzo really couldn’t care less about any of this hog wash, as long as he’s paid. The Guild house could burn down right now and it wouldn’t bother him.
He crouched in front of the metal door which housed an intimidating heavy-duty lock.
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He pulled out the black leather roll and unrolled it to reveal a set of mastercrafted lock picks. His gloved hands deftly maneuver the picks about like a artist, jiggle, jiggle-jiggle- click!
He slowly opens the door to reveal a large room with wooden boxes stacked about. Enzo creeping slowly into the room, peers through the darkness, but strangely his dwarven eyes can’t pierce the darkness… just as his senses warn this doesn’t seem right, a cascade of colors and sparks light up the room in a blinding flash.
All he can hear is a monotone, deafening buzz in his ears. Slowly the ringing subsides and his vision partially returns. He is surrounded by three dark figures, each of his arms being held out stretched like he’s on a crucifix.
Look at this fool! The figure standing in front says, emphasizing the last word with spittle hitting Enzo face.
The shadowy figure paced back in forth, and Enzo still couldn’t see clearly. It felt like his eyes weren’t burnt from the light.
The man standing in front of Enzo was the only one who spoke, the other two brutes smiled and grinned with evil satisfaction like a cat playing with a cannery with a broken wing. The man in the middle gave a lightning fast kick to Enzo’s family jewels. he could feel the pain all the way to his throat. He could see he was still in the warehouse room. One solitary lantern faintly lit up the area around him. The men holding him had body oder that smelt of spoiled meat and spirits. The man in front wasn’t as large and imposing as these underlings, but he possessed a more deadly presence.
My name is Valen. I don’t care who you are, but I know who you work for and why your here. Tell your masters that they will acknowledge our turf.
Valen a delicate, blonde haired half-elf, He walks over to a box a few feet away.
Bring him.
The two brutes drag Enzo, his feet trailing behind him. Still dazed, but now Enzo’s hand was splayed out palm down on the box. He looks up at Valen who’s looking him in the eyes, smiling cruelly. Valen reaches to his belt and pulls out dirty looking rusty meat cleaver. Enzo’s body is covered in a flop sweat, he can barely keep from vomitting, then… THWACK!!!! AAAGGGHHHHhh AHHH!!!!
Pain is all Enzo can feel.
They drag him from the room, off into the night, leaving behind a bloody little digit, sitting in a pool of blood.

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Another Day, Another Gold

The door swung open revealing three stout figures. The trio, recently arrived from the ruins of Greyhawk, were known to Bofi. It wasn’t rare to see dwarves outside of his homeland but they were not in the same abundance as the humans or other intelligent races. Bofi made sure to make friends with them all though, for he truly missed conversing in his native tongue.
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Setting down the mug he had been cleaning he hurried over to see them to a table, relying on the bar maids to continue service of the scattered patrons that had chosen his and his brother’s establishment this evening. Smiling his best smile Bofi puts his arms wide in a welcoming gesture.

“Greetings! Talc, Dalic and Pollis, it is good to see you each. Come, Come, let me set you up at a good table.” Bofi says with genuine warmth. The Dwarven language sometimes sounded harsh to those who were unused to it, but to him it was home.

“No singer tonight?”

“Is that stew?”

“I’ll have your darkest ale”

Sitting them at one of the shorter heavy oak tables, Bofi rushed to fill their requests, moving with a practiced ease in the place that had become his home. At the Raven’s Roost they attempted to be as welcoming as possible. Often times the shorter races would be overlooked in most taverns since they were in lower abundance than humans. Borzi had convinced Bofi that this meant that they would become the place for them to go, if only they were sure to cater to their needs.

Unfortunately they had yet to establish meaningful trade routes to the dwarven homelands and were unable to get some of the more popular brews. Bofi remedied this by brewing ale himself, doing his best to make due with the substandard grains and materials in Greyhawk.

While he didn’t share his brothers ambitious goals of creating a whole trade network, he did share in his brothers love of his home. This had led to him preparing recipes that would entice any homesick dwarf or gnome and be the envy of even halfling chefs. Most of their clients at this point were Black Feathers and their friends, but that had slowly been changing as their resident performer (Mialliw) drew in more and more fans.

The next step (and coincidentally Bofi’s part in it) in Borzi’s plan was to recruit a number of Dwarven fighters from the Griff Mountains. This could bring a strong set of fighters seldom seen in these lands to the Black Feathers and provide them with a means to expand their operation. First he had to find somebody to convince to go recruit for them. The simple messengers they had sent had been unable to turn up more than the most adventurous of dwarves.

Smiling, he went back to work… This trio might be the ones to do it.

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Onward to Doom or Glory

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They continued their trek east… At least this gave them the chance to stop in outlying villages and to sow the seeds of his business venture. The Black Feathers much like his Inn were a risk- one that might well sink him. Hopefully though it would bring him and his clan fortune as time went on.

If they had judged it correctly they should reach the Doomgrinder tomorrow. They followed on the heels of Malna, not catching her but hopefully not too far behind. The ritual of setting up the tent, prepping the camp fire and going for a nightly circuit around the camp began almost immediately upon stopping. Good habits like these were what kept things going efficiently.

The others generally excelled at things OTHER than cooking, so Borzi usually did his best to make something out of their trail rations and make it better than the tasteless lumps they usually got. Sometimes all you needed was spice!

Staring at the sunset Borzi used the time to think and plan out the future. Assuming they survived their encounter with the Doomgrinder (or if it was a bunch of hooey), then he would have to keep moving forward with expanding his trade. The Black Feathers were a great start.. but they were only part of it. True lasting income wasn’t generated by war (which he had seen drain his Clan’s resources every time they had significant clashes with Orcs), it was generated by trade. If he could only find some land on a viable shipping lane and create a safe stop for people then he could begin his own small township that protected merchants going too and from it!
Maybe even someday some ships or teamsters and wagons… A dwarf could dream….

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On Doomgrinder
The ravings of a madman

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Ticking away through the ages

While we mill about blindly

The last click will be here soon enough and we’ll all be ground to dust

-Mad Melrik of Greyhawk City

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