May 2022 Update

First a huge thank you to all for supporting my Greyhawk cartography endeavours, there are more of you now than ever before which means I get the resources to do even more. So what is going on?

576CY Atlas - 2022 Edition

With Duane Costa's expert help the revised index is is taking shape, thank you Duane for helping out again!

I've just uploaded a first version of the cover and legend, so please take a look at them and the other maps here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kxzix4c9p8irsit/AABYC8mmlkAfkm-jXdhyYb1wa?dl=0

[cover]

There might be a final tweak to these when I have the index, and then I'll add the credits page as well. Hopefully we can wrap up the this years edition of the 576CY Atlas with in a month from now. Having done the 2020 Atlas taught me to do things a bit different this time. I kept all the text and symbols as vector art, to improve printability and keep the file sizes smaller. I hope the atlas will be a useful addition to the map portfolio of Greyhawk gamers.

598CY Map

The Flanaess & Hepmonaland 598CY Map project is off to a good start. I worked on the 598CY terrain update in parallel to the 576CY version which pays off now, having it ready and in Illustrator underlaying the existing 598CY map. Now it is just to go through all the realms, compare it to the new 576CY map and all the to do list I keep in my Evernote. I'm not sure how long it will take, it depends a bit on work allocation with the other projects. There will be a brand new 598CY map of the Flanaess and Hepmonaland this summer including an Atlas version.

Custom Map Patron Tier

A promised earlier to launch a limited number of spots on a $50/month Patreon tier for those of you who want me to work on a custom content for your campaign. It can be changes to the existing Greyhawk map, custom heraldry or anything else map or Greyhawk related. I'll allocate at least a 4 hour shift each month to your project. We can communicate using Zoom, Discord or the like to coordinate things and share files with you using Dropbox, OneDrive or similar service.

This will be launched when the 598CY map is getting near readiness, as you can choose that as one of the base maps for your custom version. Or you can choose the 576CY as a base to customize from. The content created as part of these projects I will retain the rights to publish what we do together as Creative Common -by -nc -sa content as a part of my Greyhawk related content.

Heraldry

The Heraldry update project is continuing, and as of now I've done 208 shields including some custom made ones for my own campaign. I have about 100 more to do which will take me a couple of more months. When all the shields from the current map (and more) are done it is time for a Greyhawk Heraldry Compendium and poster of of some sort. I'll start looking into formats and layout for that this summer as we get closer to having all the heraldry ready.

Another pet heraldry project of mine is to do the shields of the Death Knights of the former Great Kingdom. With the help of Gary Holian this is now under way, and as a sneak peak here is the Myrhal shield.

Altimira

Jay Scott and Troll Lord Games are going publish do Jay's Free City of Altimira as a box set, and I'm going to do most of the maps! Work has started on the regional map and my goal with this is to set a new standard for campaign setting maps using "PortaPotty Scale". My next step is to make a big decision of what main tool to use World Machine or Gaea, a post on this and more is coming to soon. There are a lot happening in the field of terrain generation at the moment, more than I've experienced in 20 years. Lots of promise but we don't know how much will be delivered and how soon, but it is still of great interest to everyone in the field.

Altimira updates will be a regular feature as the projects progress leading up to the launch of the Kickstarter.

Live Streaming

I've reorganized my office and moved my webcam, streaming software and cabling to a secondary computer, freeing up my main computer to do the mapping and another to handle the streaming like dedicated streamers do it. Next is to test if a software capture is good enough or if I need a capture card. I hope software work (30 frames/ second is good enough) for me , or worst case scenario I need a capture card. My issue with a capture card is the passthrough resolution might not be high enough, and I have to rewire things every time I stream which is a hassle I want to avoid. Video Ninja is promising and will hopefully be enough.

MeyerHawk

I have canceled my participation in DnD in a Castle this year, it was going to be e costly in both time and money and I need spend both wisely this year. Investing in a new computer and Greyhawk mapping projects instead. This means that I don't need to keep the content I worked on for the castle needs to be kept secret, so that will be dispensed here over the next six months.

Expect maps (of course), locations, heraldry, back stories, npc's and monsters and even a few house rules. First out of the monsters are the  Iuzian special breed of Abyssal Trolls.


These are the projects under way, there are several others in various stages from idea to concept or formalizing trying to figure out how to best go about doing them. More on them later....

Again thank you so much for making it possible for me to work on this!! :)

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More Heraldry Updates!

Here are 30 updated heraldry!

There are some of my new favorites in here, I'm really happy with how the Order of the Heart and Mastryne shields turned out. They look so simple in vector format, but now I like them a lot. The Knights of Luna is a bit of an experiment, but I kind of like the different style to it. The Knurl shields I didn't like until I had worked on them a while and now I really like them.

You can grab them all in a zip file here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ah80yi8bzzfe3hz/Heraldry%20new%203.zip?dl=0



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Loose Thoughts on Lichdom

Tonight's Legends & Lore Show is going to be about Liches of Greyhawk so a a part of my research on the topic I thought I gather my thoughts and share them with you guys. I'm pretty certain Jay and Mike have are looking through every adventure module to find them, so I'm going to focus more on the nature of lichdom in the World of Greyhawk.

Failed or Ambitious?

Liches are an interesting kind of monster, undead that show some traits similar to deities , they manage to overcome their own mortality and their ability to transfer their "essence"  to an object . So in a way I look at them as a form of "failed" deity, a creature determined to achieve immortality but don't have enough power or divine sponsorship.

The role of the lich is to be an evil supervillain, powerful, eternal and really hard to destroy. In my Greyhawk I want to be not only something to the PC's to try and destroy, but also a type of powerful inhabitant that have a (sinister) role in the world. And when we look at the most famous liches they seem be a kind of "relics" of history, still around to stir up trouble at least in their surroundings.

Witch Kings of Old

What if we look back in ancient history, how long have liches been around? It is rumored that Vecna was the first lich, but can we be sure? The Ur-Flan's history is filled with legends of cults and evil, where there liches involved and Vecna was but the latest and best known in a culture that spawned evil leaders that in order to rule where willing to sacrifice their own life to get power and longevity.

In my campaign most gods are created by their worshippers which means that there where fewer gods back in history, and in earlier times could evil leaders who aspired to divinity have regularly embraced lichdom  as a way to achieve this when it was one of the quickest ways to the ultimate power. I can se a culture of Ur'Flan witch-king liches competing for power by being the most feared of the Flan as a new competition to the worship of natural forces, the sun and animals. A step towards more modern religions.

Vecna and Acererak are late version of this who have "survived" into modern times as divine beings or crumpled bile of bones people still remember the names of. The world of old Flan probably held many more where they came from that we don't know the names of, or maybe we do....

Some of the old Flan evil deities might have started out  as some of the first flan liches early on in Ur-Flan times and then ascended into godhood and have stayed powerful ever since, I'm thinking of especially of Nerull, Incabulos and Kyuss. Vecna is just the latest example of a Flan "witch-king" lich making it to god status.  These are Flan possible lich history in my  campaign, what about the other cultures and creatures?

Oeridians

Doesn't seem to have their own culture of lichdom, it might be that a lit of the Flanaess lichdom history has more Oeridian in it that have been blamed on the Flan to make them more barbaric than that actually where.  The "Witch-King past" of the Oeridians might have happened before the migrations somewhere back west and now forgotten, except for those unfortunate to venture to the areas that still holds the remnants of the Oerliches....

Suel Liches

The Suel have given rise to a more feeble but nastier parasitic form of lich that seems to be less suited for long term positions of power, but  maybe even more of a disruptor than the standard lich of the Flanaess. A Suel Lich constant need for new bodies mean that fewer of them survive long term and reach the widespread notoriety needed for divinity.

Despite this shortcoming, maybe at least one of them made it to godhood a long time ago in ancient Suel pre-history. A lich so disruptive and powerful that few things stood in his way of achieving true immorality, but it kept the nasty characteristics of wrecking this typical of Suel liches and its name lives on. A name still only whispered among the knowledgeable - Tharizdun.

The Baklunish

The Baklunish seems to not have a special place for liches in their culture. The only known Baklunish lich I have found is Lyzandred and he seems to have found his path to lichdom from the Suel slavers who have overtook the village he grew up in. I'm letting the Bakluni off the hook for this discussion, for now...

Other creatures...

We can be certain that there are plenty of other creatures that can and have achieved lichdom, we know of dragons and undead beholders. The Olman seem to have enough reptilian curses to bother much with lichdom. So what about the demi humans?

The elves are long lived which I think will lessen the appeal to kill yourself to exist forever. Elves also tend to to be good which is another deterrent. In my Greyhawk elves who abandon the elven faith will not be able to embrace their  Fey ancestry and become Grey elves when they get old, some of them realizes to late what thy have missed and become hateful and wither away to become Banshee's, which might be the closest to elven liches.

Half Elves are another story and there are several other elven variants like the Drow and the Valley Elves  that have forsaken the Seldarine, maybe some of them have taken to lichdom. I can see Drow liches and who knows what lurks in the Valley of the Mage.....

Dwarfs seems to hold on to their secrets and we might not know if there have been a Dwarven lich. Their lack of interest and/or ability of the arcane arts might mean that the path to lichdom are limited for them.

Halflings are probably lich fee for the same reason, not enough arcane power and evil urge for eternal life for them to create liches.

Aquatic liches...

What about the Aboleths, they are evil, ambitious and knows magic maybe there are Aboleth liches out there we don't know about...

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Knight Protectors, again!

The heraldry of the Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom are something I have a hard to not coming back to. They are part of Greyhawk lore, and have several heraldry concepts floating around already but I felt there was room for one more.

The Living Greyhawk campaign introduced a shield based on the black Cranden shield flanked by the Heironeous axe and a Hextorian arrow. 

To me it was a good idea but not well balanced graphically so I have played around with the Heironean hand grasping a lightning bolt and an Hextorian gauntlet holding red arrows. This  feels to me more even handed, pun intended, and better balanced. 

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The New Website is live...

Welcome to my new site!

It is far from fully featured yet, only a blog and a download page but more is coming soon. The blog posts are all my post from my Patreon blog, and a lot of them are only for patreon members. I will go over all the old posts and make them fully available for everyone, normally I keep some of my patreon post exclusive for patreon members for a month or two.

A page for heraldry is coming, posts will be categorized and tagged to make things easier to find. I hope what is here is working so I can work on add more stuff!

Thank you again for all your support, it makes this possible!! :)

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MeyerHawk - Rules of the Gods

Here comes a test, I've written up some guidelines for how I want gods to function in my campaign and wanted to share them with you guys. The topic for Legends & Lore Show this  week are Quasi Deities so I thought it was about time I got this published here as an inspiration for the discussion and  see what you like about me publishing more other type of Greyhawk content besides maps from time to time.

These rules are intended to be seen as guidelines to inspire your worldbuilding and ideas for campaigns and not as hard coded. This is also draft and not refined and tested. This is a first to see you you find more than my maps interesting and want to see more of this type of content for use in your games.

The reason behind this is that I felt a need to figure out how the gods came to be, how they wield their powers and how to get rid of them. For example what is the true story of Tharizdun. Whit these guidelines we can make him an ancient lord who rose to power thousands of  years ago and and ascended to divinity, or he could be the first god of death feared by scared mortals hearing his name whispered as the one to be afraid of or else... Or he could have risen from Hell itself and conquered souls throughout the multiverse.

Ideas for how Tharizdun was brought down can also be deduced using these rules. If he was a Tier 8 God his enemies needed to seek out his avatars and kill them first, then conquer and destroy his realm. If he was a Tier 9 God they needed to also hunt down every single priest of Tharizdun and kill them to destroy him, and if he was a supreme being they needed to hunt down and kill every creature that feared or worshipped him. Maybe even everyone who know about him, the most powerful gods can hide in the minds of people as long as they are revered in some form. So to truly destroy Tharizdun even the ones that defeat him might have to kill themselves to make sure he doesn't come back.

Divine Creation

Gods can be created in two different ways in my campaign, by ascension or by emergence.

Ascending Gods

These are creatures who become powerful first by using natural means the same way characters do. The other part needed is for the creature in question to be worshipped, feared or both by others. If the influence over others this way is strong and persistent over time this creates the conditions for a possible start of a divine career.

We have examples of this in Greyhawk from Vecna to Zagyg and St Cuthbert.

Emerging Gods

Sometimes the devotion, or fear, comes first and the object for the devotion are a natural phenomena like the sun, a volcano or nature in general. If the devotion is strong and consistent, over time that creates a ground for a divine phenomena to emerge in the area.  This usually takes far longer than an ascension, and can span over thousands of years.

Examples of deities that emerged in most of the deities of the Old Faith like Beory, Pelor and Obad-Hai. I also want to include the Earth Dragon of the Pomarj as a recent still ongoing case of an emerging deity.

Agents

Worshippers a divine being have promoted to receive powers from them, like spells and other special abilities. Examples are clerics, paladins, witches, warlocks.

Divine Tiers

0 - Prospect

Creatures who have reached enough abilities and power to start the journey to godhood

1 - Hero

Creatures who have acquired worshiping followers willing to devote their life to follow the whims of the hero even from a distance, or caused enough persistent fear in a large group of creatures, or gained divine promotion or a combination.

Agents:  Promote an agent per month

Special Abilities: No need for food or water, cast 1st level magic at will

Senses: Perceive the world through a praying single worshiper as a action,  as long as they are on the same plane. Also Gain Aura Sense

Representation: Normal or create a phylactery and live as a single avatar

Mortality: Maintaining current age as long as they can are worshipped/feared. Killed by by phylactery destruction or normal means.

2 - Quasi Deity

Expanded their worship beyond their core group to cover a whole culture, region of the world or plane. Your worshippers are now organized in some form and some form of priesthood of divine agents is taking shape.

Agents: Can promote an agent per day

Special Abilities: control environmental conditions within 30 feet, cast 2nd level magic at will

Senses: Perceive the world through a divine agent at will,  as long as they are on the same plane. Gain one special sense

Representation: Normal or create a phylactery and project a single avatar

Mortality: Maintaining current age as long as they are worshipped/feared. Killed by by phylactery destruction or normal means.

3 - Minor Demigod

Secure a dominant influence over a large group of creatures, recognition from other deities or minor influence over a part of the natural world.

Agents: Delegate agent promotion to subordinates

Special Abilities: control environmental conditions within 60 feet, cast 3rd level magic at will.

Senses: Perceive the world through any creature bearing your symbol,  as long as they are on the same plane. Gain or expand one special sense.

Representation: Normal or create a phylactery and project a single avatar.

Mortality: Exist ageless as long as they are worshipped/feared. Killed by by phylactery destruction or normal means.

4 - Major Demigod

Defeat a divine opponent and/or significantly expand your reach, establish permanent places of worship.

Agents: promote up to 10 agents per day

Special Abilities: control environmental conditions within 120 feet, cast 4th level magic at will.

Senses: Constantly perceive the world through all your permanent places of worship. Gain one special sense, or extend the range of a sense.

Representation: Distributed phylactery and single avatar projection.

Mortality: Killed by by phylactery destruction.

5 - Minor God

Hold on to your power for far more than your natural lifetime.

Agents: promote up to 100 agents per day

Special Abilities: control environmental conditions within 500 feet. Cast 5th level magic at will.

Senses: Notice every time you name is spoken, on the same plane you are currently on. Gain one special sense, or extend the rage of a sense.

Representation: Distributed phylactery and double avatar projection.

Mortality: Killed by avatar and majority of phylactery destruction.

6 - Major God

Recruit worshipers that hold divine power, and expand your presence beyond your plane of origin, and/or acquire at least a million levels of followers.

Agents: promote up to 1000 agents per day

Special Abilities: control environmental conditions within 1,000 feet. Cast 6th level magic at will.

Senses:  Your senses now extend into neighbouring planes.

Representation: Distributed phylactery and triple avatar projection, plus simultaneous projection into all permanent areas of worship.

Mortality: Killed by avatar and complete phylactery and temple destruction.

7 - Planar Nobility

Establish a permanent hold on one of the outer planes, inner planes, transitory planes or a create a demi plane of your own.

Agents: ascend one divine being per year

Special Abilities: control environmental conditions within a mile. Cast 7th level magic at will.

Senses:  Use the senses of any of your worshippers at will.

Representation: Area phylactery and project up to four avatars on your plane of presence, plus simultaneous projection into all permanent areas of worship.

Mortality: Killed by avatar, phylactery area, and temple destruction.

8 - Planar Lord

Secure and defend a significant part of a plane, recruit other gods to your cause

Agents: ascend two divine beings per year

Special Abilities: control environmental conditions within 5 miles. Cast 8th level magic at will.

Senses:  Use the senses of all of your agents simultaneously.

Representation: Area phylactery and project up to five avatars on your plane of presence and neighbouring planes, plus simultaneous projection into all permanent areas of worship.

Mortality:  Killed by avatar, realm, and temple destruction.

9 - Ruler of Pantheons

Combine forces with other gods and/or control a whole plane of existence

Agents: ascend three divine beings per year

Special Abilities: control environmental conditions within 10 miles. Cast 9th level magic at will.

Senses:  Use the senses of all of your worshippers simultaneously.

Representation: Mind phylactery in agents and project up to five avatars on any plane of presence and neighbouring planes.

Mortality: Killed by avatar, realm, temple, and agent destruction.

10 - Supreme Being

Conquer more than a plane, slay another major god or persist for a very long time.

Agents: ascend a divine being per month.

Special Abilities: control environmental conditions within 100 miles. Cast 9th level magic at will.

Senses:  Use the senses of all of your worshippers simultaneously.

Representation: Mind phylactery in worshippers and project up to six avatars on any plane of presence and neighbouring planes.

Mortality: Killed by avatar, realm, temple, agent and worshipper destruction.

Mortality and Avatars

Avatars take 10+10 years per divine tier to bring back if killed.

If a divine being looses all its avatars it can only form again after 100 years per divine tier. The powers of the reconstituted deity depends on what remains of its holdings, agents and worshippers. If they are also gone, the god is effectively extinct. There might be some old temple or artifact hidden away that make it possible for the god to reemerge again. This explains booth the need for remote hidden temples with artifacts and a thorough hunt to try and cleanse the world of them.

Senses

Special senses divine being can acquire are, Moonsight, Darkvision, Ethereal Sight, Shadow Sight, Truesight, Life Sense, Arcane Sense. the are the ones I have come up with so far there might be more!

Divine being can use not only their avatars as a base from which to sense things but also their places of worship, which is one of the main reasons that temples often include features like towers, high domes and such. It makes it possible for the deity to keep an eye of a larger area. Also a reason to build temples on hills. Scrying works in a similar way in my campaign, which is why a lot of wizards reside in towers.

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More Heraldry - Old Favorites of Greyhawk
Back home from a great Gary Con, it was so much fun to meet gamer friends again after two years of hibernating at home. The bad side to it are a severe case of Con Crud, but thankfully not covid. After a day recovering in bed its time to get back to work, and first out are some more heraldry digging into Greyhawk history. First are the infamous Tharizdun, what would a shield used by his followers look like? Below is my take on what a Tharizdun cultist shield might have looked like back in its prime. The purple color is inspired by Mike Bridges cartoon cultists, which I tried to bled in with a some shine and harsh effects to create a slightly crazy looking shield with a magic flare.  What would such a shield look like found in "modern times" in the Flanaess. Below is my take on that, a corroded mess shipped away at the edges. Tharizdun doesn't offer much protection from decay even for his own magical items, but some of its power are still present. Next up is everyone's favorite (it seems) Vecna. The first shield is from the time of Vecnas tyrannical rule of the Flanaess, when he still has both his hands and eyes and was working on his lichdom. His symbol has an eye in the center with radiating spokes, meaning he the ruler of all that sees everything. Below is what that shield might look like found in a hidden stash in the late CY 500's. In a bad state but much better than the sorry state of the Tharizdun shield.  Finally a look at the Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom and their heraldry over the years. First is the initial shield they used in their early days after saving the Overking from some sort of a dragon.  The design is from the 3rd edition Sword and Fist supplement. Next is the LG version of the Knights heraldry, the black Aerdy Cranden base later used during the Cranden hold of Rauxes. Didn't like this design at first but its is starting to grow on me a bit.  and finally a design by Brian Blumklotz sporting a pattern of Aerdy stars on the later Great Kingdom Blue. I can see this design being adopted as a way of "depoliticize" the order and make it about the Empire and less about Heironeans and Hextorians. This was it for today, I will get into the hexed version of the Flanaess  & Hepmonaland map now. 
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Flanaess & Hepmonaland 576CY - 2022 Atlas
All the 98 maps are done, and you can grab them as JPG and PDF's here:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/kxzix4c9p8irsit/AABYC8mmlkAfkm-jXdhyYb1wa?dl=0 Covers and index will coma a bit later, now I'm just about to leave for Gary Con. I hope to see some of you there!
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More Updated Heraldry!

Here is the next batch of updated heraldry, it took a while due to real world interference but here they are. There are some good ones in this set, like the Justcrown Province of Nyrond and the Hommlet shield.

Here are all of them in a single zip file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6tlf0gt7w0bnzvy/new%20post.zip?dl=0

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Flanaess & Hepmonaland 576CY - Illustrator AI-file

For those of you who want to customize the new map here is the AI-file (1.19GB):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/gz76a3vq1rcq6zp/Flanaess%20Hepmonaland%20Full%20Map%20576%20CY%20-%202022%20public.ai?dl=0

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