Monday, March 17, 2014

Let's Read: Greyhawk Adventures (Part 4)

Ehlonna, looking remarkably like Counselor
Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation
...and just be aware this series is going to take a while to get through the whole thing. I'll try to step up the pace a bit.

Ehlonna of the Forests is our next entry. Her avatar sees to have been demoted in power more than any of the previous entries. In the gold box, she was an 11th level druid, 12th level ranger, and 10th level magic-user (incidentally, that should give you some idea of the power level intended for the original 1E rules). In this book, she is merely a 10th level magic-user. There is little in the book that is new concerning her, but her clerics are given the information necessary for the 2E rules (their spell spheres), and a new spell, stalk, a 2nd level spell which renders the beneficiary virtually undetectable in natural surroundings. Curiously, however, there is no mention of its impact on surprise, which seems an obvious mechanic that would be impacted by such a spell. The remaining information on the faith of Ehlonna is unchanged; we learn she is honored mostly between the Kron Hills, Ulek, and the Wild Coast. Again unsurprising given the emphasis on the central Flanaess as an adventuring locale.

Fharlanghn is next (skipping Erythnul from the original gold box), whose avatar loses his 20th level thief abilities, staying strictly a 9th level magic-user/9th level illusionist. As before, we learn nothing new about his priesthood or faith, although they do have a unique spell, footsore, a 4th level curse to inflict on others that effectively makes any journey seem to take twice as long as it actually does. Flavorful, perhaps, but not something I'd probably take on an everyday basis. A weak entry.

We then skip over Heironeous and Hextor (!) and go to Incabulous. His avatar undergoes some odd transformations compared to the earlier material; where he was once am 18th level cleric, 18th level illusionist, and 13th level thief, he is now a 13th level cleric and 13th level magic-user. There is again no new information on his clerics or religion, other than that needed for the 2nd edition rules, although they do have a new spell, plague, which is a 4th level spell that weakens enemies (and can spread to others in range), but only for a limited time, after which the effects wear off. I would have liked something a bit more... virulent... especially for a 4th level spell.

5 comments:

Hamlet said...

The fact that the book (and the boxed set to an even greater degree I think) seemed to skip over some of the original godsd from the World of Greyhawk box is a bit troubling for me. It seemed almost as if TSR were censoring its own past, writing out things that it didn't like any more, or just downgrading the Greyhawk setting in little ways so that it couldn't compete with the Realms which were the crown jewel at the time.

Scott Machpants Sutherland said...

Avatars aren't Deities themselves but just a small sliver of their power and consciousness made flesh in the Prime. So Deities have actually been made more powerful, their powers are such to be beyond stats of mere mortals. So going down in class levels is not a reduction in power at all, it makes perfect sense with the 2E way of dealing with Deities.
Killing an Avatar is possible, killing a Deity is not. The destruction of an Avatar brings divine wrath but does not affect the Deity itself.

Joseph Bloch said...

And, if you'll read this and the other posts, that was never actually stated anywhere in this book, Scott. Remember that this came out before 2E - it was a "transitional" book. But there was never any clear explanation of what an "avatar" was, and the differences were only inferred, and then it took a close reading.

Hence the problem with it in this particular book.

Scott Machpants Sutherland said...

I understand this is a transitional product, I have two copies ;) And it is poor form for TSR to not give you even a short sidebar on what an Avatar is compared to a Deity.

I pointed out what an Avatar is because I thought, from your wording, that you were unsure.

But if you and I know the difference so why compare the chalk of a Deities stats with the cheese of an Avatar's stat? I guess you are looking at it through the eyes of someone who picked it up new?

And statting up Deities or Avatars is all cheese IMO ;)

Scott Machpants Sutherland said...

Oh I hope that doesn't sound confrontational! I don't mean it if it does, always a problem with text on the internet :D