May 6th, 2010: Hello again, Greyfolk! After last week's lengthy history lesson I decided to do a new parody story of those wacky D&D Advertisements, starring our heroes Corellon, Heironeous, Boccob and Mayaheine. Enjoy!
And yes, be sure to read the commentary at the end of the strip.
-mortellan





C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness by Allan Hammack is one of those iconic Greyhawk modules that everyone has heard of but I'm guessing not everyone has played. At least that's my experience. One of these days I'll run it for my friends, so I suppose if any of them or anyone else reading this who hasn't played or ran C2 before, close this page out right now, because it contains SPOILERS!

1. Long time, astute Greyhawk fans will remember that the World Serpent Inn is the location for a nexus of gates to various planes and places. Where else would four gods share a drink? The Green Dragon Inn? Pish!
2. The famed wizard, Galap-Dreidel lived @ 2500 years before the events of the last published W.o.G book (Living Greyhawk Gaz- 591 CY)
3. Evidently Galap-Dreidel lived far back in a time when Boccob still had a full head of hair.
4. Yeah I know, Mayaheine wasn't around back in -2000 CY, but as anyone knows I can justify anything when it comes to Greyhawk gods. ;)
5. The events in the comic are but the untold story of Galap-Dreidel and Inverness. Check out this script from the opening of Ghost Tower:
THE GHOST TOWER OF INVERNESS
Know you that in the elder days before the Invoked Devastation and the Rain of Colorless Fire, when the ancient peaks of the Abbor-Alz still thrust skyward sharp and majestic and the Flan tribesmen were but newcomers to the land, there existed between the Bright Desert and the mouth of the river Selintan a great fortress called Inverness. The walls of this castle were said to be proof against enemies and all things magical or natural.


6. Who was Galap-Dreidel's enemies that he needed such a massive fortress back in -2000 CY?

Know you also that here was said to dwell the great wizard Galap-Dreidel at the height of his power and glory, and that he did lift the Castle Inverness from the very foundation of rock upon which it rested.

7. In the same era as the Suloise Mages of Power and Baklunish Mage-Priests, here we have Galap-Dreidel who was so powerful that he could single handedly change a mountain into a castle. Or so he would like you to think....

Most grand and terrible of all Galap-Dreidel's work was the keep's great inner tower; for it was there that the wizard's most prized possession, an eldritch jewel known only as the "Soul-Gem", was said to rest. Legend says that it was like a great white diamond and that it glowed with the brilliance of the sun.

8. Okay the gem in the comic isn't white and in the module it is the size of a melon. Artistic license.

In years long past it had fallen from the sky and landed in the foothills of Abbor-Alz where Galap-Dreidel discovered it as it lay in the fires of its glory. Through magicks most arcane and knowledge forbidden to mortal men he did bend its power and shape the stone to his will.

9. More lies and tales put forth to mere mortals by Galap-Dreidel.

Stories say that the light of the gem dragged the souls of men screaming from their mortal flesh and trapped them within its many facets. Galap-Dreidel, it was said, harnessed this power and used it against those who opposed his will. They also say that he who controlled the gem could call forth the stolen souls of men and make them do his bidding.

10. This part is key, and demonstrates what a jerk of an uber-mage Galap-Dreidel was and why he may be the single most murderous character in the annals of Flanaess history. More on this later.

For the stone Galap-Dreidel raised up the great central tower and filled his castle with many horrible creatures and deadly traps and, using a great incantation, he did wrest the tower from the very fabric of time and set it apart so that those within would not be affected by the passage of years.

11. Well so much for the deities clearing out that hex of monsters....And it seems like he was ultra-paranoid of losing the Soul Gem. Who were Galap's rivals?

Thus it was that his traps never faltered nor did his guardians age or need food. Townsfolk whispered that Galap-Dreidel would, at times, set a prisoner free in the tower merely for the sport of his beasts. Some legends tell that his power was so great that he even taught the gem to protect itself from those who would take it from him.

12. Ah yes, so Galap-Dreidel's enemy was the poor Flan and demihuman folk in his region. Not Vecna, not the Wizard-Priests of Woe nor Ur-Flan Sorcerers. In fact (SPOILER ALERT) at the end of C2, if the heroes break the Soul Gem it releases millions of trapped souls. MILLIONS. Consider now how sparsely inhabited the Flanaess was when the Suel-Oerid migrations happened. Could have Galap-Dreidel's obsession of playing with his prized Soul Gem been a huge contributing factor? According to certain timelines, Galap-Dreidel used the Soul Gem for over 500 freakin' years before he allegedly grew tired of it all...

But despite his great power there came a time that Galap- Dreidel did leave on a journey northwest, over the river Selintan, and did not return.

So the story goes, but the gods know his true fate, eh?

At this time there came a great multitude of superstitious peoples from surrounding lands who laid siege to the castle and threw down the great tower. And it came to pass that despite this seeming victory over their feared former master the people did shun the area and it was said that on fog-shrouded nights the great central tower of the Fortress Inverness could still be seen.

13. Now do you blame them? The whole of the Flanaess' races must've rallied to bring down that beast of a castle. Even Vecna couldn't have missed noticing such a huge power vacuum. Which leads me to another point. One of the main benefactors in the module is the enigmatic Seer of Urnst, a mage himself who knows much about the Gem. Why him? Why didn't other local vaunted mages like Zagyg or Tenser descend on this place first? How could the migrating Maures miss this ruin? Surely they knew about the stories of Inverness and the Soul Gem. Did they just fear it's power?
14. Here's a DM judgement call on the comic. Are ghosts the same as their souls in a D&D sense? Ghosts are technically undead and so aren't the soulstuff of a living creature right? Ghosts would be the sentience of a person with a strong willpower I'm thinking. So Galap-Dreidel who is an uber-mage could conceivably launch a rescue mission of his soul from within the Gem. I mean if Liches can put their souls in a container, like a Soul Gem, and still run around as a free-thinking undead, why not ghosts? Eh, maybe it's easier to say Galap-Dreidel sent an illusory message from inside the Gem. Speaking of which, how many souls can cram into that thing anyways? That Soul Gem could power the lower-planes for years. Well that's enough questions to saddle you with for now. Comments and insight from those who have played Ghost Tower will be appreciated.

-mortellan


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