Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Sleeping Ones


As mentioned in a previous post, there are certain forces at work in Blackmoor, seeking to use ancient Sar Aigu Rituals to achieve their dark goals. The purpose of these rituals is to awaken the Sleeping Ones. Millions of years ago, there existed Beings whose power rivaled that of the Gods. While these Outer Beings were eventually driven out of the Multiverse, many of their dark servitors remained. In the Cthonian Age, members of these Servitor Races were able to aid creatures like the evil Carnifex in their dark quest for power. But even the reign of the Carnifex came to an end and the creatures who had supplied them with power were destroyed, or imprisoned beneath the earth, in the depths of the sea or on other planes of existence. There they were placed into unnatural slumber, so that they could no longer do harm.Thus they slept through the last Ice Age.

During the last Stone Age, 6.000 years ago, the many of the Brute Men of the North were magically influenced by the dreams of such Sleeping Ones, known as Burrowers. These Brute Man Wars were also finally ended, though it is unknown if the corruption that comes in the form of dreams has been fully stopped.

Some scholars believe that the Egg of Coot is one such Greater Servitor of the Outer Beings. It was buried beneath the sea, but it was once again awakened by the energies released during the Mage Wars. It stands to reason then that the servants of the Egg of Coot and its allies, such as the Priesthood of Id, are interested in awakening other such Sleeping Ones. As only divine intervention has succeeded in defeating these entities in the past, it seems that the future of Blackmoor would be forfeit should these agents succeed.



Image Source: http://craigspearing.com/#challenge-entries-personal

The Outer Beings were created by James Mishler and Geoff Gander.
Thanks also to Freedom92 for suggestions and encouragement! :)



-Havard

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Greyhawk Mapper Darlene Speaks!

Darlene Pekul, TSR illustrator and map maker, began answering questions to fans today over at The Piazza D&D Worlds Forum. Perhaps best known for the first published versions of the World of Greyhawk maps, Darlene is happy to get back in touch with her fans after decades: "I feel like I'm a comet in an elliptical orbit on a return journey after 30-years" says the 58 year old artist.

Parts of The Darlene Greyhawk Map



In the Piazza discussion forum thread, she talks about her friendship with other well known former TSR employees such as Joe Orlowski, Dave Sutherland,Jon Pickens, Kenneth Reek and Tim Kask as well as her relationship to game designer and Blackmoor alumni, Mike Carr.

In her first batch of answers to curious fans, she also talks about her first jobs for TSR:

"Among the first jobs I was given to do was to design and produce an outdoor sign for TSR's Williams Street building. I made the sign in the shape of a shield and painted The Dragon on one side and TSR on the other. Although I had earned my BA degree in Art, nobody initially associated me with illustration. I was first and foremost associated with graphics design, happy to receive any freelance work I was given..."


It is going to be interesting to follow this discussion with Darlene and listen to her experiences and see what they tell us about the early days of TSR and the early development of Greyhawk.

Also, make sure to visit Darlene's Facebook Fan Page and her website.


-Havard

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Sar Aigu Ritual

The Sar Aigu Ritual is something that has become a central element in my current regular group campaign. I have found that it is a way to connect several elements of the Blackmoor Mythology. The Sar Aigu were introduced in Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor. That book describes how the Sar Aigu were the first race to climb onto the rocks where Castle Blackmoor was built thousands of years later.

In my campaign, the Sar Aigu were directed to that place by their God, the Power behind the Temple of the Frog. On the Blackmoor peninsula, they performed some kind of dark ritual. However, instead of summoning their God, they istead summoned a much older power. An Old One.

This scared the Sar Aigu and forced them back into the dark waters of the Black Sea. The magic of the Old One was what was infused with the rocky foundation of the Blackmoor peninsula. It is that magic that later drew large numbers of mages to the region, resulting in the Mage Wars. During that time of magical conflict, so much energy was released that it awakend the Egg of Coot from its dark slumber.

And here we get to another dark secret from my campaign. The Egg of Coot is just one of several ancient evils who were put into a state of unnatural sleep by the Gods. The servants of the Egg have now uncovered the ritual originally used by the Sar Aigu. They believe that they can use this ritual to draw fully from the power of the Blackmoor Peninsula. Their purpose, to awaken the other Sleepers. This is why the Egg of Coot and its servants keep attacking Blackmoor. And in my campaign, the ritual is about to be performed....




-Havard

Image source: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/raven-home/wikis/deep-ones