Wednesday, May 5, 2021

5e Greyhawk Campaign

As I may have mentioned previously, I've been on a gaming hiatus. My job has been more demanding than usual this past year, so I've taken a break for about six months. Although to be honest, there have been fitful, start-and-stop efforts since our last adventure back in December. However, summer approaches and new skies dawn ... 

So, as you likely know, my current game is a 5e game, and my current players 5e players. I've been thinking, though, during this period of gaming quietude about ways to work in some of my preferences. After lots of searching I've found that Greyhawk Grognard has some excellent 5e Greyhawk resources. And several other sites, such as Greyhawk Online have useful information and ideas as well. And given that old school modules port fairly well into 5e, I've decided to run my summer 5e campaign in Greyhawk. 

The player options I'll take from Greyhawk Grognard, which are quite excellent, by the way. And I love this little post at Greyhawk Online to set some of the tone for players new to the Flanaess. I am not entirely sure, but since Ghost of Saltmarsh was recently released by Wizards, I'll head back to my roots and run the original U series as an opening salvo. 

U1 Sinister Secrets of Saltmarsh (Characters will likely be level 2-3 by the end)

U2 Danger at Dunwater (level 4 by the end)

U3 The Final Enemy (finish at level 5-6)

These three adventures cluster fairly tightly around the coasts of The Viscounty of Salinmoor in southern Keoland, which is where the campaign will start. What I'd like to do from there is have the party travel west and north by sea to Greyhawk. From there, they'll sail across the NyrDyv to Radigast City or possibly Alhaster. Likely the hook to get them there will be the poem from Keraptis to the owner of Whelm. Whelm's owner will be in Salinmoor when he receives the poem, and as the characters bring the U series to a conclusion. After hearing of the characters' success, the owner will commission the players to retrieve the artifact from White Plume Mountain. After they return it however, to the owner who now awaits them in his home of Radigast, he will reveal to the party that  his research has uncovered that the hammer actually belongs to the lost Dankil MightyHammer Clan of Dwarves. He then further commissions the party to take the hammer across the central Flanaess to a Dwarven sage in Schwartzenbruin, Perrenland. As motivation for the players, he reveals that this sage has secret information about the location of hidden caverns containing untold wealth in the Southern Yatils. Which will lead them to ... yes, you guessed it, the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. 

S2 White Plume Mountain (finish at level 7-8)

S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (finish at level 8-9)

From there the characters will hear of pleas that are going out from His High Radiance, Owen I, Grand Duke of Geoff at Gorna of strange creatures invading the western reaches of his lands. Thus the characters will be drawn into S3 Expedition to Barrier Peaks. At the end of which they will be around level 10-12.

S3 Expedition to Barrier Peaks

But, with an unexpected twist toward the end of S3, the characters will be shunted away to Dungeonland and the Land Beyond the Magic Mirror! Here they will make it to levels 12 or so and be unceremoniously dumped from the realms of Greyspace back to the southeastern realms of the Flanaess in Sundii. Specifically in the dangerous swampwater border town of Calgen. In fact, they land smack dab in the center of the summoning circle of the infamous Otiluke. Otiluke was in the process of summoning "a being or beings from GreySpace that are capable of "penetrating the Lair of the Lost Lich". Whatever Otiluke was imagining might come through his somewhat unwise conjurational gateway, he was not expecting a party of adventurers. But being as here they are, and despite their doubtless protests he puts a special geas upon them to fulfill the adventure of what Otiluke calls the Lair of the Lost Lich (which is secretly S1, Tomb of Horrors). Thus, south they go into The Vast Swamp to follow Otiluke's somewhat dubious directions towards their their greatest challenge yet, or their doom.

EX1 Dungeonland

EX2 Beyond the Magic Mirror

S1 Tomb of Horrors

After this, who knows? If we even make it this far. This is sort of a bucket list thing for me, to run the entire gamut of the "Special" series modules back to back. Not to mention to run both EX1 & 2, an opportunity which rarely comes up. Granted, it's in 5e, but truthfully my players are have little experience outside of 5e, and certainly haven't any familiarity with the modules above. We did run Tomb of Annihilation, but that adventure is enough unlike the original Tomb of Horrors that I'm not worried there. The biggest challenge is that old school adventures were notoriously large for the level ranges for which they are designed. So, though I detest it, I will likely use something like milestone advancement. And, about half way through the proposed campaign arc, given the fact that a number of magic items will have been gained, I'll have to beef up some the encounters. At least if past experience is any guide. 

Of course you know what they say about the best laid plans ... I'm a little worried about White Plume Mountain, as I'm not sure what my players will do when and if they get their hands on the three artifacts. That could be problematic. Things could go off the rails. But if so, that's fine--I'll improvise.

Oh and in case your wondering, no, my players do not read my blog. I'm not even sure they know I have one :-)


  1. Sounds like an awesome journey! Would love to hear more about how it goes.

  2. I'll post updates as we go! Thanks Paleo!

  3. Thought you were going to try working with a more “basic” system.
    ; )

  4. Yeah, I was :-) Or should I say, am. In fact I've been working on a few things that may make it into actual play someday. Thing is, my current players are really invested in 5e. I don't want to force them to switch just because I prefer it. This has been a long time dilemma for me--from way back in my school club days. This kind of give me a bit of both worlds.