Friday, March 7, 2014

Let's Read: Greyhawk Adventures (Part 3)

Next up is Celestian, "The Far Wanderer." Again, we see some of the verbiage in the description taken verbatim from the earlier Guide to the World of Greyhawk. His stats once again go down - in the earlier work he is a 14th level magic-user and 15th level ranger, but his avatar is merely a 13th level magic-user. His magic resistance also gets cut in half, although the power of his magical abilities is given a bit of a boost.

Perhaps one of the worst offenses is that the book actually cuts out information about his priesthood that gives it some color (literally). In the earlier Guide, we learn that there are seven orders of priesthood, and each has an identifying robe color and identifying gemstone. Those details are lost in the Greyhawk Adventures book, but we do learn that temples to Celestian are built far away from city lights, to make it easier for his priests to gaze upon the stars. Apparently light pollution is a problem in the Flanaess!

A rather frivolous depiction of
Celestian that doesn't quite match
the description in the book...
The fact that clerics of Celestian have a working knowledge of astronomy and navigation is a good touch (although giving them a formal skill, like the earlier sage abilities of the priests of Boccob might have been warranted), and they not only get bonus spells from the regular spell lists (like feather fall and levitate), but also have one spell unique to their priesthood: meteors, a 4th level spell that summons 2-5 meteors, each of which does 1d4+4 h.p. of damage. It recalls one of the powers of Celestian's avatar, and again is a nice touch. Clerics of Celestian sacrifice 10% of their earned x.p. for the privileges. (The illustration accompanying the meteors spell, I note, is the same as originally accompanied the description of the Rain of Colorless Fire in the original Greyhawk folio.)

Following Celestian is St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel, well-known to Greyhawk fans as possessor of the famous relic, the Mace of St. Cuthbert. We are told that his following in the Flanaess is large and widespread, if concentrated in the central portion of the continent (i.e., around the city of Greyhawk).

The avatar of St. Cuthbert is a 16th level cleric (compared to 22nd level cleric/8th level druid in the Guide), armed not only with his eponymous bronzewood cudgel as well as his famous mace; a mace of disruption +5 which causes those struck to lose a point of INT permanently on a natural 20, as well as having magical powers. The powers ascribed to the Mace (bless by touch, know alignment once per day, tongues at will, and remove curse seven times per week) don't match up to the power slots given in the original Dungeon Masters Guide, but that's not a fault of Greyhawk Adventures, as the description is taken verbatim from the earlier Guide to the World of Greyhawk.

Clerics get to cast shillelagh, ESP, and friends each once per day at various levels. They also have a new spell, beguiling, a 2nd level spell that combines the effect of charm spell with increasing damage on the club upon which it is cast. There's no new information about the priesthood or its functions, but there are some nice details which are taken verbatim from the earlier Guide. Aside from learning of the spell spheres of the clerics of St. Cuthbert (since the book covers both 1st and 2nd edition), there's really nothing new.

Sphere of Annihilation in Action!

And that's not CGI. It's real (and it talks!). Muhahaha...