Thursday, July 04, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 23: The Strategic Review #6

The February 1976 issue of The Strategic Review sees it expand into a number of different topics aside from D&D. It features articles on Fight in the Skies, War of Wizards, the Dungeon! board game, and Ancient Conquest. There's also an optional rule about how bravery affects shooting in Boot Hill, which may or may not be relevant in my campaign, depending on how deep it goes into Old West territory. In TSR news, the Dungeon hobby shop is just about ready to open, and Gary's Classic Warfare (which he had apparently worked on for over seven years) is now available. A line of D&D miniatures from Mini-Figs is on the horizon, and we see the first inklings of the mass combat supplement Swords & Spells.

The Meaning of Law and Chaos in Dungeons & Dragons by Gary Gygax: Gary goes into a deeper explanation of alignment and how it works in the D&D setting, adding Good and Evil to the system along with Law, Neitrality and Chaos. He begins with this chart:

From this chart we get the first proper mentions of:

  • Hades, the plane of Evil
  • Limbo, the plane of Chaos
  • Nirvana, the plane of Law
  • Paradise, the plane of Good
  • Hell, the plane of Law and Evil, inhabited by Devils
  • The Abyss, the plane of Chaos and Evil, inhabited by Demons
  • Elysium, the plane of Chaos and Good, inhabited by Godlings
  • Heaven, the plane of Law and Good, inhabited by Saints
Instead of three alignments, there are now five:
  • Lawful Good (apparently typified by paladins)
  • Chaotic Good (typified by elves)
  • Neutral (typified by elementals)
  • Lawful Evil (typified by vampires)
  • Chaotic Evil (typified by demons)
Another chart is given that reclassified some monsters in the new system:

The reference to multiple Platinum and Chromatic Dragons might best be ignored, or applied in a multiversal sense (i.e. there's only one of each in every world, but multiples across reality).

It's mentioned that any character that follows any alignment (save neutrality) to the absolute letter must eventually move into the appropriate plane of existence - perhaps this could be one way of achieving demi-godhood.

This is interesting: "Also, law and chaos are not subject to interpretation in their ultimate meanings of order and disorder respectively, but good and evil are not absolutes but must be judged from a frame of reference, some ethos. The placement of creatures on the chart of Illustration II reflects the ethos of this writer to some extent".

The "universal constant" is said to be between law and chaos, and that in any final struggle both sides would be represented by creatures both good and evil. Barring that conflict, good creatures are more likely to band together, as are evil ones.

Paladins are now able to quest to regain their status should they lose their paladinhood due to evil/chaotic acts. High level clerics can also do so, but failure merely drops them back to 7th level.

Most humans are lawful, and somewhere in the middle between good and evil. The majority can be led to lawful good with the right leadership. Few are chaotic, and very few are chaotic evil.

The introduction of a new alignment axis should be a fairly world-shaking event, as it strikes at the fundamental nature of the D&D world. In the past I've considered using the introduction of various individual deities at this time as the catalyst, and that's still probably how I'll go. There are also discrepancies between the planes as charted in this article, and the planes as they'll eventually be revealed. I might chalk that up to faulty research by scholars.

The Quest for the Vermillion Volume by Rob Kuntz: This is a short story, which I'd normally ignore but am going to try to work into the campaign because it's written by Greyhawk co-DM Rob Kuntz. It tells the story of a group of adventurers who are hired by an elven queen to retrieve a book from agents of the enemy land of Stra-Tac. The adventurers manage to retrieve the book from enemy agents, but they fall into a trap set by a mysterious thief named "RST" who absconds with the book.

Here are some elements from the story for me to add to the campaign:
  • The Greenwood, home to a number of elves (possibly the Elf-Land referred to in D&D Vol. 1: Men & Magic).
  • Queen Evvolon, elven ruler of the Greenwood.
  • The nearby land of Stra-Tac, which is an enemy of the Greenwood. The only people we know of that live there are human spies and hairy, brutish humanoids. These might be Orcs, but given the hair they could also be Bugbears.
  • Dunn-Red, the ruler of Stra-Tac.
  • Drystaff the Necromancer, leader of the adventurers searching for the book. He has a beard, a staff, and a pointy hat. A number of men-at-arms are in his employ, and he's working with elven scouts. Due to some anachronistic Earth references, he might have travelled there somehow, or simply scried it with his crystal ball.
  • Grimm the Thaumaturgist, who was Drystaff's teacher.
  • Drystaff's wife, who apparently cheats on him.
  • Grumbold, Drystaff's mule.
  • The Hog, a barbarian that Drystaff met in the past in the far north-east.
  • Highton, the elven leader of the scouts, assigned to the mission by Evvolon.
  • Lamhand, a Hero who works with Drystaff, possibly as his henchman.
  • RST, the mysterious thief about whom very little is revealed.
  • The titular Vermillion Volume. Not much is revealed about it, but it's sought after by Queen Evvolon and Dunn-Red the Enemy.
  • The elves in this story are depicted less like Tolkien elves, and more like Christmas elves, with smaller stature and pointy shoes.
The lands mentioned in this story will have to small and of little importance in the larger scheem of the World of Greyhawk, because I'm pretty sure they don't appear on the official maps. I'll have the story as having happened recently, so that the PCs might get embroiled in the search for the book.

Bards by Doug Schwegmen: The Bard class is introduced for the first time, in a form much closer to the 3rd edition incarnation than the weird AD&D version.
  • Bards and Druids belong to the same sect, and must aid each other when in need.
  • There are a number of bardic "colleges", in order from lowest to highest: Fochlucan, Mac-Fuirmidh, Doss, Canaith, Cli, Anstruth, Ollamh.
  • An adventure hook is given: a dragon who refuses to let a bard stop playing his restful melodies.
Mighty Magic Miscellany: A number of Bard-related magic instruments are introduced:
  • Fochlucan Harp
  • Mac-Fuirmidh Harp
  • Doss Lyre
  • Canaith Lyre
  • Cli Mandolin
Sage Advice by "Theronius": Errata is given for Supplement I, giving details for the Homunculus, Golems, the rod of resurrection, the gem of seeing and the gauntlets of dexterity.

No comments:

Post a Comment