From the Oerth Journal Volume 1, Issue #8 September 5th, 1998; the Council of Greyhawk
This article details the characters and intrigues in the Phostwood in the spring and summer of 591 CY. The campaign material can be used for any level of play, but was written with low level PCs in mind, and as such, many of the NPCs are not those with whom higher level characters would necessarily interact.
The Phostwood is a mid-sized forest almost wholly within the land of Tenh, although that nation has never claimed sovereignty over the woodland. Its borders are roughly given by the Artonsamay and Yol Rivers on the south, east and west, and by the remains of the Gleaming Spire keeps in the north, built to guard Tenh from the denizens of the wood, and most of which were razed by Iuz during his occupation of the country. South across the Yol is the Nutherwood, which many travellers assume is just part of the Phostwood; however, they are quite different - no phost trees grow in the Nutherwood. The Phostwood does extend approximately 2 miles across the Artonsamay, but the forest is thin there.
The Phostwood is distinguishable from other woods by the plethora of phost trees, and the dull glow generated by the rotting wood on the forest floor. It is said by many that this glow attracts spectral undead and will'o'wisps, but this has never been confirmed.
The Phostwood does not have an comprehensive recorded history, and the wood has never been extensively explored, due to the poor quality of the wood and hunting here. There are many poisonous plants here as well, including no few carnivorous ones that have migrated in from the Nutherwood. Thus, a great body of erroneous information is passed off as the truth of the Phostwood. The true background of the Phostwood is given below, in the History section.
The ancient Flan peoples feared the wood, as the phosphorescent light of the rotting phosts boded doom to those who trod in this weald. The Flannae mythology of the region cautioned that the Reaper walked these woods, a belief still held by the common folk of the Tenh, although the dangerous plants and wild elves are the true basis for this mythology. In time, these tales got passed down and distorted, and the stories one hears outside of the Phostwood are usually used to scare children and travellers. A list of possible rumors is as follows:
The truth of the wood's history is considerably less exciting than that recited by its neighbors. It was originally inhabited by a number of the xenophobic grugach. These elves took in a number of wood elves during the period after the Rain of Colorless Fire and the Invoked Devastation. As these wood elves had been driven from the woods of Ferrond and Veluna by the Suel and Oeridians, they were not particularly fond of humans, and even disliked the native Flannae who lived near the wood, and adopted much the same attitude towards humans that the grugach held.
As the Suel and Oeridian peoples moved east, they heard the stories and tales of the Flannae, and took some stock in the Flan fear of the Phostwood. The Suel Houses of Pursuit, who later became the Thillonrian barbarians, fearing magic after the Final Act of Slerotin in 5094 SD, attempted to pass through the Phostwood on their flight north. The elves, in an attempt to protect their lands from the invaders, used powerful illusions of eldritch forest fires, creatures of flame, and other arcane deceptions to ward them off. The magic-fearing barbarians, thinking the fire and poisonous plants were a sign from Pyremius, the Suel diety of fire and murder, bypassed the Phostwood and moved north through the Griffs.
In later years, a mysterious being moved into the wood, and took up residence under the forest. The area it occupies can be found by going to a place the elves refer to as Astigulia, or the "land where trees will not grow". It is a land where the plants have been poisoned, and only dead trees point lifelessly at the sky. This creature lives below the surface and is detailed later.
Recently, the Fists moved into the wood during the Wars, chasing the refugees of Tenh. Due to stiff opposition from the elves and ogres who live here, and the easier targets in Tenh, many of the Fists returned to that nation. However, some remain, perhaps numbering a few hundred, and they hunt the remaining Tenhas.
The Phostwood is home to seven significant factions, and a few other interesting individuals. These are detailed here.
The feral elves of the Phostwood are split into two different groups: the wood elves who moved here over a thousand years ago, and the grugach who have always been here. As this migration was less than five elven generations ago, the wood elves are still treated somewhat like visitors, although the grugach accept that the wood elves are now permanent residents. The grugach control most of the politics, and the wood elves have adopted the dominant religion of the wild elves, that of Fenmarel Mestarine, the elven power of outcasts, grugach, and the dispossesed.
These elves live in treetop huts, in small villages of only 20-24 members. These villages are usually made up of 80% adults and 20% children, and each village usually has a shaman of Fenmarel (80% chance). The villages are usually all grugach or all wood elves, but sometimes they do mix. A few wood elf mages are found in the wood, although they are rarer today than in the past. The total number of elves is just under 1000, about 400 of them wood elves.
All of the elves are feral, dressing in leaves and hides. They have not domesticated any plants or animals, but have made alliances with the treants of the forest, including the lyrannikin (evil treants). They hunt small game and eat the plants they know to be safe. The elves do not allow any intrusion into their part of the forest, which are those parts more than 10 miles from the Yol, and more than 20 miles from Tenh. They do occupy lands right up to the Artonsamay, in which they fish, but they stay away from the river in spring and fall (after and before breakup), when river traffic is significant. Historically, they have only had the ogres and a few humans to deal with, but since the Great Wars, they have many more enemies. The only humans in the forest they deal with are the druids of Obad-Hai and Beory, who guard the Athasiar.
The elves have become experts at traps and ambush, and the long years of practice against the ogres have made them a formidable force. On the ground, the elves have dug innumerable pit traps, often complete with yarpick spikes, and covered in leaves and branches, These pits are designed to stop invaders, primarily ogres, from entering their territory.
Their primary method of travel in the Phostwood is by rope and vine bridge, which are tied from the mature yarpick trees, 20' to 30' above the forest floor. In this way, it is difficult for others to climb up to the bridges. Also, most invaders are poor at watching the low forest ceiling, created by the short yarpick trees, for potential attack.
The leader of the elves is the grugach chieftain Feynar the Wolf, a great warrior about 450 years of age. Feynar stands 4'10" tall. His hair has gone silver, and his skin has the look of tanned leather. Feynar has been chieftain for the last two centuries since the death of his uncle, Feygol the Great, who drove off the Aeridian forces of Overking Tenmil II in 121 CY. Feynar has no love for those not sylvan in the wood, although he does feel some mercy towards the Tenhas, as they have been driven from their homes. Feynar, after pleading by his daughter Hethis, has secretly been sending food to the Tenha refugees. His most senior advisors know nothing of this, and would likely ask for his suicide at this treason.
Feynar has three primary advisors: his son Feyradh, the shaman Martisek, and the wood elf enchanter Galitholian. His son Feyradh is vehement about retaining the elven isolation, and he is supported by Martisek. Galitholian knows that Feynar feels for the men of Tenh, but cautions him from exposing such feelings to his son and priest. Martisek is a mystical woman, who speaks with slowly and distractedly, as if she were not quite fully in this world. Martisek agrees with Feyradh on most issues, but considers consulting Fenmarel Mestarine for omens at regular intervals and whenever a great decision must be made. Feyradh does not hold great faith in Fenmarel, as he has seen little assistance from the priesthood in driving off the humans in recent years.
Feynar the Wolf: AC 5 (elven chain); MV 12; Gr/m/F10; hp 70; THAC0 6; #AT 2; Dmg 1d8+7 (long-sword +4, Str); S18/04 D14 C9 I13 W10 Ch11; AL CG
Feyradh the Hound: AC 6 (leather, Dex); MV 12; Gr/m/F4; hp 28; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6+1(spear, Str); S16 D16 C9 I12 W11 Ch12; AL CN(G)
Martisek the Ethereal: AC 5 (leather, Dex); MV 12; Gr/f/Sh4; hp 18; THAC0 18; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (spear); S11 D17 C8 I10 W14 Ch12; SP all, animal, chaos, charm, elemental, guardian, healing, necromantic*, plant, protection, sun, weather; PW Tracking +1 (Wis15), hide in shadows at 60%; AL CN
Galitholian: AC 10; MV 12; Ew/m/W(En)9; hp 13; THAC0 18; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (staff of command); S8 D12 C9 I18 W11 Ch16; AL N
The elves have many villages in this area, but Feynar holds tight rein in the wood. Any dealings with elves will likely involve the basic tenets of the grugach xenophobia and the religious teachings of Fenmarel Mestarine, which support self-sufficiency and isolation. The one exception to this is if adventurers get involved with Feynar's daughter, Hethis.
Hethis: AC 10; MV 12; 1/2Gr1/2Ew/f/R1; hp 4; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1d4 (dagger); AL NG
Hethis is Feynar's daughter by his second wife, a wood elf. Hethis is not convinced that the isolationism of her people is the best option. She holds to a larger view, and worships the human god Rao in her own way. She is becoming an accomplished spy and tracker, and through the influence she holds over her aging father, has been able to help some of the Tenha refugees in the forest.
Travellers who encounter the elves will probably encounter them first via either a trap or ambush. Grugach pit traps, usually lined with spikes, and poisoned if close to a village, are common, as are deadfalls and rope snares. A grugach ambush usually begins with a net trap, followed by short bow attacks from a distance, and thrown spears if the trees are sparse. The arrows are often laced with a sleeping herb, which allows the elves to drag the prey off and release them away from the villages. This sleep poison exhibits an amnesia effect in about 80% of those so poisoned, which makes travellers forget about that which has befallen them in the previous 1d3 days.
A standard elf patrol consists of 12 to 16 elves, of the following grouping:
Grugach Serjeant (1): AC 8 (leather); MV 12; F2; hp 10; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (spear); AL N
Grugach Shaman (1): AC 8 (leather); MV 12; Sh1; hp 5; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (spear); SP command, entangle; AL CN
Grugach/Sylvan Archers (6): AC 8 (leather); MV 12; F1; hp 7; THAC0 19 (Dex); #AT 1; Dmg 1d8 (sheaf arrows); SA sleep poison; AL N
Grugach/Sylvan Footmen (6): AC 8 (leather); MV 12; F0; hp 4; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (spear); AL N
Grugach/Sylvan Ranger (1): AC 8 (leather); MV 12; R1; hp 6; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1d8 (sheaf arrows); SA sleep poison; AL NG
Grugach/Sylvan Thief (1): AC 8 (leather); MV 12; T1; hp 3; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1d4 (dagger); AL N
The split between grugach and sylvan elves is usually 60/40 or so, but there are entirely grugach parties. An additional danger is that any party has a 10% of having a sylvan wizard along. There is a 20% chance of this wizard being an enchanter, otherwise it will be a standard mage.
Sylvan Wizard: AC 10; MV 12; W1-3; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (staff); AL N, CN, CG, NG
The primary method of attack is to pin the invaders down with arrow fire and spears, and then hit them with sleep poison or spells. Once the invading group has been subdued, the grugach will take anything they find valuable (metal weapons, magic items, etc.). They will then take the invaders away from the villages and leave them tied up deep in the forest, often hung from tree boughs by their ankles.
The ogres of the Phostwood are a fairly civilized group, not entirely like the stereotypical brutes envisioned by the human populations of the neighbouring lands. The ogres like this just fine, as they do not mind being feared, since it means they are normally left alone.
However, these are not ordinary times. The Fists who have invaded the forest have not taken kindly to the presence of ogres, and have begun to attack them when possible. The ogres have had to take up far more defensive positions than before the Wars. They are not totally unknowledgable about warfare, however. The ogres have fought numerous battles and skirmishes with the elves over the years, and although the humanoids are large, they are quite adept at getting around in these woods without being obvious. The ogres also dislike the presence of the Tenhas, for the humans have been hunting the game that the ogres have historically viewed as their own. Thus, the Tenhas have become regular targets of the ogres.
The ogres' primary method of attack is by ambush, usually a simple surprise rush by heavily armed tribesmen. They also dig massive pits and cover them with boughs and leaves, and sometimes with illusions cast by Kragan of the Fire. The pits are usually 20 feet deep, partially supported with logs on the sides, and sometimes (50%) with large wooden stakes in the bottom.
The three villages of the ogres are all towards the north, near Tenh. They consist of many large wooden huts, and each village has a few stone buildings, including a house for the ogre queen, Fragga, in the largest village. Fragga obtained her position as queen upon the death of her father, Derga, nine years ago. She held her power with the assistance of her consort, Verton, priest of Vaprak. Together, they have unified the tribe, helped it grow in numbers and health, and fortified the southernmost village against the humans and elves.
Fragga: AC 5; MV 9; Og/f/F4; hp 26; THAC0 14; #AT 1; Dmg 1d10+7 (club); S19 D12 C15 I11 W12 Ch11; AL NE; XP 420
Fragga is a large ogress, slightly more intelligent than many would expect. She speaks ogrish and common, as well as some elvish. She has lived her entire life in these woods, save for an expedition to the Rakers as a youth to prove herself fit to challenge her late brothers for rulership.
Verton: AC 3 (leather); MV 9; Og/m/Pr5; hp 35; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d10+2 (club); SA spells; SD spells; S18 D10 C19 I9 W12 Ch9; SP all, combat, divination, healing, protection, sun; PW berserk rage (+2 to hit and damage, -2 to AC); AL CE; XP 1200
Verton is the high patriarch of Vaprak for all of the ogres of the Phostwood, and the ogres from the Rakers who follow Vaprak also make pilgrimages here to be blessed by the priest. Verton is the protector of the Vaaprki, the holiest shrine to Vaprak on Oerth. The shrine is said by the ogres, and some human sages, to be the location of Vaprak's death at the hands of Grolantor, the hill giant god. The shrine is deep within the floor of the wood, under a circle of worn and ancient stones. Many who have travelled here believe the stones to be those of the druids, but the druids are one of the few to know the truth. Should anyone detect magic here, they will feel the taint of evil, and also the strength of Vaprak. The tomb is however, missing its most valuable artifact. Verton has determined that Vaprak's Club was stolen long ago by one Zagig Yragerne. He believes, and he might be correct, that the Club lies in the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk.
The other ogres are standard ogres, save one: Kragan of the Fire. Kragan travelled here some years ago to worship at the shrine to Vaprak. While at the shrine, he encountered a mysterious traveller from far away. This traveller saw a flicker of brilliance in Kragan, and taught him the ways of magic.
The other ogres have named him "He of the Fire", for Kragan can cast many spells, and his greatest offensive power is that of the fireball. Kragan assists his queen, and wishes to drive the humans from the forest. Wisely, on the advice of Verton, Kragan does not go with the raiding parties, but stays behind to guard the villages. This tactic has worked, and many of the humans have heard fearful stories of the "giant" who throws fire.
Kragan of the Fire: AC 5; MV 9; OgM/m/M7; hp 29; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (scimitar); S15 D10 C17 I16 W9 Ch6; SA spells; SD spells; PW gaseous form 1/day, invisibility 10' radius at will, regenerate 1 hp/round, darkness 10' radius at will, polymorph self to any bipedal creature; AL CE; XP 3000
Kragan's spellbook contains the following spells: color spray, burning hands, detect magic, read magic, cantrip, audible glamer, phantasmal force, alter self, stinking cloud, strength, dispel magic, fireball, hallucinatory terrain. He is always interested in learning more. He demands that any spellbooks found by the ogres be brought to him undamaged.
Ogre (500): AC 5; MV 9; HD 4+1; hp 20; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d10 (club); AL CE,NE; XP 175
There is one place in the forest that the ogre tribe fears immensely. They know of a crypt, deep in the forest, that is occupied by undead, and that a human who can cause disease is living near it. This place is the Tomb of Tzunk's Foot, and the priest seeking it is Nizpharesis, priest of Incabulos (see below).
The Fists, as they are commonly called, are simply marauders in this land. They have no villages, simply moving camps. They hunt the Tenhas and the ogres, and try to stay out of the way of the elves and Nyrondese. The Fists are barbaric men, no better than the bandits who roam the lands west, and in some ways less civilized. Many here call them barbarians, although they are not particularly similar to the barbarians of Thillonria.
Originally led into the wood in 584 CY by two men called the Gauntlets, the group that remains consists of less that 100 men. They are trapped here by the ongoing war in Tenh, which has cut them off from Stonehold. One of the Gauntlets was killed by a Nyrondese brigade in 587 CY, and many of the Fists chanced fleeing north after this.
The remaining Fists move about in hunting and scouting parties of six to twelve. They keep their camps moving, as they quickly realized that if they settled into one location, the ogres and elves would attack in force. The remaining Gauntlet is rarely seen, but is said to be a warrior of some experience and intelligence.
Gauntlet: AC 5 (studded leather, Dex); MV 12; Hu/m/F7; hp 60; THAC0 12; #AT 3/2; Dmg 1d8+3 (battle axe +1, Str); AL LE
Fists: AC 7 (studded leather); MV 12; Hu/m/F1; hp 8; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 1d8 (battle axe) or 2d4 (morningstar); AL LE to CN
The Fists do not care for the forest, nor its occupants. They have no allies here at all.
The people of Tenh, fleeing before the Fists, have taken up residence in the forest. They are almost a beaten people, but have not surrendered due to their strong leaders. They have not made friends here in the Phostwood, but have gained some assistance from the Nyrondese, and secretly from the elves.
The Tenhas were not wilderness people, but farmers, craftsmen and merchants, with a few soldiers. They have been trying to set up some farming land, as they are not experts at foraging in a forest they fear. Near the edge of the wood close to the Theocracy, they are slowly building some stronger lean-tos, and breaking the soil. The druids are not happy about this situation, but understand their plight.
Most of these Flannish people are not skilled in the ways of war, but some of their leaders are. They followed a former landholder, Hadar Greoun into these woods in 583. Greoun was a balding, portly man, not the type of person you would expect to find in the wilds, and the wilds were not kind to him. He perished in the hard winter of 585-6, as did many of his people.
The Tenhas are defended by a detachment of Greoun's household guard, and some of the Duke's army, although they are few. They are all commanded by Greoun's commandant, Julian Yeff.
Julian Yeff: AC 2 (plate mail, shield); Hu/m/F4; hp 23; THAC0 16; #AT 3/2; Dmg 1d8 (longsword); AL LG
Julian is a strong figure, but a weak character. Julian made an excellent guard commander, but failed when the Fists came in 582. He is but a facade, with the real power in the hands of another: Octinit of the Rovers of the Barrens. Octinit was one of the first to recognize that Julian was not a good leader, but made a good figurehead as the civilian population trusted him.
Octinit: AC 4 (leather +3, Dex); MV12 R2; hp 15; THAC0 18; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (broadsword, shortbow); AL NG
Octinit is pure Flannae. His father was a Rover, and Octinit grew up in the Barrens. With the return of Iuz in 570, Octinit and his mother fled to Tenh. When the men of Stonefist came south in 582, Octinit suspected Iuz as a figure powerful enough to initiate and encourage (albeit covertly) the unprecedented assault. Octinit is a man with strong beliefs, and his primary one is that Iuz has far more cards up his sleeves than anyone knows. He believes that it may be possible to make closer alliance with the elves, and defend his people from the ogres and remaining Fists. It is Octinit who has had contact with Hethis, daughter of Feynar, and he has carried on this secret relationship for some time.
Octinit is a broad shouldered man, dark of hair and skin. He stands about 5'9" tall, and is quite strong. The ranger is also a devout follower of the Shalm, and has had some contact with the druids of the Phostwood. Octinit is accompanied by a raccoon, which follows him everywhere, and regularly helps the ranger out.
After the death of Greoun, another member of the household guard (one Reghes) believed that safe haven lay in the Theocracy, and feared this forest. Unfortunately for Reghes and those that followed him to the Pale in the spring of 586, the first encounter they had was with a band of Knights Valorous who had been whipped into a demon hunting frenzy by a fanatic priest of Pholtus. Seeing this ragamuffin group emerging from the "haunted" wood, they slew them on the spot, burning their corpses to drive off the demons.
Other important Tenhas here are the priests of Beory, Rao, Allitur and Telchur. The only other character of note is the lone wizard of the Tenhas:
The Hodh: AC 8; 1/2E/m/M(I)7; hp 18; THAC0 18; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6+3 (staff of false belief); S9 D16 C9 I15 W11 Ch10; SA spells; SD spells; AL N(E)
The Hodh's spellbook includes the following spells: audible glamer, cantrip, phantasmal force, spook, blur, improved phantasmal force, misdirection, spectral force, wraithform, fear, hallucinatory terrain, dancing lights, levitate, plant growth, glitterdust, monster summoning I, detect magic, read magic, identify, know alignment, wizard sight.
The Hodh is a mysterious man, a hermit who lived on the outskirts of a village in Tenh near the wood. When the Fists brought war south, the people of the village would not let the Hodh stay behind. Thus, he is here. The Hodh stays to himself, and speaks rarely. The people thought he was a useless old man until one day when he drove off some approaching ogres with an illusion of a horrible looking creature. In truth, he used improved phantasmal force, audible glamer, and fear, making the ogres believe there is a fiend stalking this part of the wood.
The Hodh also possesses the Staff of False Belief, which is a powerful and unique magical creation. He obtained it many years ago from his mentor, and has found it extremely useful is hiding himself from his enemies, tricking just about everyone, and making his life entertaining.
The Staff of False Belief is a dark hardwood staff shod in tarnished bronze. The staff has the following spell-like powers: improved phantasmal force, fear, phantasmal killer, dream, seeming, veil and weird. These spell-like powers are not illusions, but phantasms, and in the area of affect any being "believes" the surroundings are that which the holder of the Staff wishes them to believe.
The 1500 or so Tenhas will take whatever help they can get, and some of them will look favourably on those that would help make friends with the elves, or help drive off the Fists and /or the ogres.
Archbold, king of Nyrond, originally feared that the men of Stonefist were using the Phostwood as a mustering point for the invasion of his land. In fact, the Fists had no such plan. With their withdrawal from Tenh, his heir Lynwerd knows that they are no longer a threat. However, Lynwerd's advisors warn that Iuz's minions and bandits may still occupy the wood, so the garrison on the edge of the Nutherwood along the Artonsamay, 40 miles from Bestian's Towers (which watches over the border between Nyrond and the Pale), has grown into a walled stockade.
Lynwerd has permission from Ogon Tillit in Wintershiven for this expedition. The Theocrat is perfectly happy letting the heretic king guard the Pale's borders against the incursions of the refugees, Fists, and other heretics.
Nyrond's army in this area is commanded by a knight, Sir Galois, a veteran of the eastern front at Innspa during the assaults of the Overking. Galois has at his disposal some 1000 men, but on orders of Lynwerd, cannot let more that 200 cross in the Phostwood at any one time, and in patrols of no more than 50. Galois took command of this division after the abdication of Archbold, but is not happy, as he believes that if Nyrond really wants to clean out the forest, he needs about 2500 men, but he would be happy to send his present thousand all at once.
Sir Galois of Midmeadow: AC 0 (full plate +1); Hu/m/F4; hp 28; THAC0 16; #AT 3/2; Dmg 1d8+3 (battleaxe, Str); S18/06 D10 C15 I9 W17 Ch9; AL NG(C)
The Nyrondese army is stationed just south of the Nutherwood, and sends in patrols every few days.
Patrol Captain: AC 5 (chain, shield); Hu/m/F2; hp 13; THAC0 18; #AT 3/2; Dmg 1d8+1 (longsword); AL
Patrol Sergeant(4): AC 5 (chain, shield); Hu/m/F1; hp 6; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1d8 (longsword); AL LG
Patrol Soldier(40): AC 5 (chain, shield): Hu/m/F0; hp 3; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg 2d4 (broadsword); AL NG
Each patrol is on foot, and each man carries his full complement of gear. The patrols have learned the hard way that the elves are the ones truly to fear in this wood, and he is quite happy keeping his men away from them. He feels comfortable with this as he knows the Fists can't be having any more luck than he is with the feral elves.
The Theocracy may be content to let the Nyrondese army patrol the Phostwood, but by no means do they trust anyone. The Pale has sent in about a dozen spies, who travel in three groups: a mercenary party of 5, a bandit group of 6, and a solitary ranger. These groups are here to infiltrate the Tenha, Fist, Nyrondese and druid groups. The ranger, Asveta, has infiltrated the Tenha camps, and is working to ensure that the remaining Tenhas do not move towards the Pale -- the Theocracy has no interest whatsoever in more refugees. She avoids contact with the druids, as they would be able to determine her true purpose.
Asveta: AC 7 (leather, Dex); MV12; Hu/f/R3; hp 15; THAC0 18; #AT 1; Dmg 2d4 (broadsword); AL LN
Asveta is a small woman, about 5'3" tall, with dirty blonde hair and pale skin. She is not exactly pretty, but has a strange appeal to some men. She is tough, and knows her way around the Phostwood. She is one of the few people to have encountered the quasi-elemental of the Blight and lived to tell of it.
The bandit group has been travelling the wood, trying to find out what the Fists are doing. They are led by a Knight Valourous, Tristan Cuenar, a brash man, who is a true follower of Pholtus.
Tristan Cuenar: AC 3 (chain +1, Dex); MV 12; Hu/m/P5; hp 25; THAC0 15; #AT 3/2; Dmg 2d4+2/1d8+2 (bastard sword); SA/SD as paladin; AL LG(N)
Tristan has determined that the Fists do not have any designs on invading either Nyrond or the Pale from the Phostwood, and that many of the Fists have returned to Tenh or even Stonehold. However, he conveys other information to the soldiers of Nyrond, as the Pale is still happy to have the forest patrolled by someone else. Cuenar has discovered something horrible, however. He has found evidence of Nizpharesis' activities, and has been attacked on two occasions by Nizpharesis' undead. He believes this to be the work of Iuz, as his men killed a group of orcs wearing the colours of Iuz' armies. This, and information from Asveta, makes him believe there is a mage or priest of Iuz in the wood.
The bandits with Cuenar are anything but. All soldiers of the Valorous League, they are a well trained skirmish unit.
Soldiers Valorous(5): AC 5 (chain); MV 12; Hu/mf/F1; hp 7; THAC0 20; #AT 3/2; Dmg 2d4 (broadsword); AL LN
The mercenary band from the Pale is exactly that. They are simply wandering the forest, trying to confuse the complexity in the forest even further, acting as though they are bandits from Rookroost who fled in front of Iuz' horde. They are simply mercenaries, but their leader is not.
Utycyce: AC 9 (Dex); MV 12; Hu/m/Pr3; hp 10; THAC0 19; #AT1; Dmg 1d6+2 (footman's mace +1); AL LN
Utycyce is a priest of Pholtus, and he is looking for any evidence that Iuz is in the wood. His communication with Cuenar indicates that there is, but he is suspicious that this is not the case. Neither of them know the truth. Utycyce is a strange figure, clad in grey robes, and leading a mercenary group through the woods on foot. He has been known to heal Tenha refugees, as well as Fists, and many believe him to be some sort of prophet. This suits Utycyce, as he finds it a useful facade under which to operate.
The Old One does not take much interest in the Phostwood, but one of his minions has. The Ekbiri mage/priest Said ibn Fal Nyskos has taken an interest in the forest, as he has divined that some great magic (in fact, the Foot of Tzunk) lies within the forest floor.
Said ibn Fal Nyskos: AC 4 (bracers of defense AC6, Dex); MV 12; Hu/m/M4/Pr5; hp 18; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6+3 (flail +1, Str); S16 D16 C9 I15 W15 Ch5; AL CE
Fal Nyskos is a notorious man, having perpetrated ingenious plots to rob towns in Urnst and Nyrond. Fal Nyskos actually resides in a manor some 30 miles west of the wood, north of the city of Stoink. He does not travel to the wood regularly. Instead, he has a small group of men, led by Abdulla al'Memrim, searching the forest for evidence of any tomb that might contain some ancient magic. At this point in time, he does not know of the presence of Nizpharesis, who is doing a good job of concealing himself.
Abdulla al'Memrim: AC 5 (chain mail); MV 12; Hu/m/F4; hp 26; THAC0 17; #AT 3/2; Dmg 1d6+4 (staff, specialization, Str); S18/36 D12 C15 I13 W10 Ch17; AL NE
Nizpharesis, priest of Incabulos, is searching for the Foot of Tzunk, which he believes holds great power. He is wary of adventurers, mercenaries, or anyone else, and thus has taken up residence in a crypt he believes to be the entrance to the Tomb of Tzunk's Foot. He has animated many of the corpses here, and has sent them to obtain more bodies to be animated. Further, he has gained control over the one sentient undead found in the crypt.
Nizpharesis: AC 6 (bracers AC 6); MV 12; Hu/m/Pr8; hp 40; THAC0 16; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (staff); S13 D13 C13 I11 W15 Ch5; SP Astral, Divination*, Healing (rev), Necromancy (rev), Summoning, Sun(rev); PW 32% immunity to slimes and diseases, hypnotism 1/day, contagion 1/day; AL CE
The priest is garbed in the black, orange and green raiment of his faith, and is the faithful priest of the god of plagues. He is also interested in the Blight, but has not yet had time to investigate it.
Nizpharesis has many undead minions, but most are just skeletons and zombies.
Skeleton (20): AC 7; MV 12; HD 1; hp 6; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (spear); AL N; XP 65 Zombie (16): AC 8; MV 6; HD 2; hp 13; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1d8; AL N; XP 65
Ghoul (2): AC 6; MV 9; HD 2; hp 12; THAC0 19; #AT 3; Dmg 1d3/1d3/1d6; SA paralyzation; SD immune to sleep and charm; AL CE; XP 175
Heucuva (1): AC 3; MV 9; HD 2; hp 14; THAC0 16; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6; SA disease, polymorph self 3/day; SD +1 weapon to hit, turn as wight; AL CE; XP 675
Nizpharesis has not yet discovered one of the great horrors of the Tomb of Tzunk's Foot, but in time he or someone else will open the gate to the lower tomb and find the Sons.
Sons of Kyuss: AC 10; MV 9; HD 4; hp 24; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d8; SA disease, worms of Kyuss; SD regeneration 2hp/round, turn as mummies; AL CE; XP 1400
The Blight, called Astigulia by the grugach, has been in existence for some 200 years. It is an area approximately one mile across, in which nothing can grow. There are a few dead trees remaining, but the soil is dry and cracking, and has a white crust to it after rain. If anyone tastes the soil, they will come away with a very strong salty taste, and suffer a reduction in Constitution of 3 points for 1 day, and 1d4 points of damage unless they save versus poison. This is due to toxic nature of the salts that cause the Blight.
The root cause of the Blight is a quasi-elemental from the Plane of Salt that has taken up residence here. Under the Phostwood are large salt caverns and potash deposits, and the elemental has found this to be a very pleasant place to be. However, his actions underground have poisoned the groundwater here, creating the Blight.
Salt Quasi-Elemental: AC 2; MV 12; HD 12; hp 64; THAC0 9; #AT 1; Dmg 4d8; SA dehydration; SD +2 weapon to hit; MR nil; SZ L(12'); ML16; AL N; XP 7000
The dehydration effect of the elemental takes effect if the elemental hits its target, and the target fails to save vs. paralyzation. This effect causes the victim to lose 6 points of constitution per blow, and they are withered as much of the free water in their bodies has been removed, causing a 6-point penalty to any action they attempt. The victim loses approximately 10% of his or her body weight with each failure to save. This will cause death in two to eight hours, unless the victim is provided with lots of water and a cure disease spell. A restoration will also perform this feat.
The quasi-elemental just wants to feed, and has no interest on the people on the surface. He will defend his motherlode if intruders stumble upon it.
The druids of the Phostwood are interesting. They wish to protect the forest, but find these days difficult, as the population of the forest has tripled, and many of the newcomers are not as good as the ogres and elves at using only what they need.
There are only four druids here, including the archdruid Lorephost, a treant of great age. Lorephost is a druid of Beory, Oerthmother, but he is revered by the druids of the Shalm, as he has seen many things come to pass in these woods.
Lorephost: AC 0; MV 12; Tr/?/Pr12; hp 80; THAC0 9; #AT 2; Dmg 4d6/4d6; SA as druid; SD as druid; MR nil; SZ H(18'); SP Animal, Charm*, Divination, Elemental (all), Guardian*, Healing, Plant, Protection*, Summoning*, Sun, Weather; AL CG; XP 7000
Lorephost moves slowly about the forest, observing its inhabitants. Lorephost is also the guardian of the Athasiar, or Rod of Wasting, which was created by an evil wizard many years ago. It holds the power to wither foliage, and was the primary instrument of destruction that reduced the Nutherwood to its present boundaries. The Rod has recently been stolen, however, by a very skilled thief, and is presently in the possession of the town watch in Dryburgh, Urnst.
Lorephost has one henchman, the lizard man ranger, Sleericalk. Sleericalk must move carefully in these woods, but gives the treant the ability to gather information from across the Flanaess.
Sleericalk: AC 2 (natural, Dex); MV 6; Lz/m/R4; hp 25; THAC0 16; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6+2 (staff +2); AL N
The following references were used in the development of this documents: A Guide to the World of Greyhawk (1983), The Atlas of the Flanaess (1992), WGR4 The Marklands (1993), and
WGR5 Iuz the Evil (1993)
Details of Vaprak's priesthood were found in the following sources: WGR1 Greyhawk Ruins (1990), and DMGR4 Monster Mythology (1992)
The quasi-elemental of Salt was created by the author, based on the abilities of the standard AD&D elementals and the lightning quasi-elemental from the 1st Edition Fiend Folio (1980).