The Night Shade of Greyhawk and the Hallowed Revenant Amphoras
Stone Circle of Greyhawk
The City of Greyhawk is a recent creation in the grand flow of history. Located just outside of the city walls (location O7), the StoneRing is a remnant of an earlier time when the banks of the Selintan were unmarred by docks and warehouses. This double circle of monoliths with a stone altar at the center sits atop a small artificial hill. Time, wind, and rain have worn the tops of the giant stone pillars smooth and rounded the edges. The ancient construction is less than 300 feet to the east of the Druid's Gate (location CG7), and overlooks the Ery Trail which leads to the many farms further to the east of the city. The trail sees significant traffic, including dwarves traveling to the Free City from Greysmere. The sprawling Wainwright Manor occupies the flatlands to the east of the stone circle.
The druids of the ancient Flannae are believed to have constructed this site, and the StoneRing is one of the oldest stone circles yet discovered. For many years, the StoneRing was not a place of regular worship. Instead, passing druids of Beory and Obad-Hai would stop here for a moment of prayer and reflection before moving on. However, that has changed in the past year when Hildefer Paravis ascended to Great Druid. (See related article: Power Groups – Druids of the Old Faith). Over the intervening months, Hildefer has reclaimed numerous places of power linked to the Old Faith in the Domain of Greyhawk, including the StoneRing.
Two druids tend to the StoneRing. They arrived with the spring thaws in CY 598 to oversee the rituals and provide spiritual guidance to the followers of the Old Faith in the area. The worshipers consist of many local farmers, shepherds, and hunters. Because of the commercial emphasis of Greyhawk, the Old Faith is a small minority in the area and the two druids are more than sufficient to see to the flock. The druids have not yet built any permanent housing. Instead, they dwell in a Flan-style teepee, which they move periodically so that it does not kill the grass. Elaborate knot work paintings favored by the Flannae decorate the stretched cow-hide of the tent.
Theran the Splendid Holly
The druid is a thin, bony middle-aged man, whose skin is leathered from exposure to wind and sun, making his bright blue eyes all the more striking. He has balded badly, leaving a fringe of iron-gray hair and a pair of bushy sideburns. He is dressed in woolen clothes dyed in earth tones and decorated with beads and feathers. The scent of a dozen herbs drifts around him in a delightful aroma.
Hildefer recently asked Theran the Splendid Holly (N male human druid 11) to tend to the StoneRing. Before this appointment, Theran served at one of the groves in the Gnarley Forest. While the Old Faith community at the StoneRing is smaller than where he was, he leapt at the opportunity to be the keeper of what many historians believe to be the most ancient stone circle in the Flanaess. Theran has restored the circle to active use, lead services for the faithful, and advocated the Old Faith philosophy of the Balance and preservation of nature. Since arriving at the StoneRing, he has begun a prolonged dispute with the miners in the nearby Cairn Hills over the disposal of their slag. In addition, he has taken the Directing Oligarchy to task over the city's sewer system and the amount of pollution it dumps into the Selintan River and as a result Nerof Gasgal has banned him from the mayor's offices. Theran has reached an understanding with the woodcutters in the area, instructing them on how to selectively harvest instead of the clear cutting of nearby forestland.
Raised from birth as a follower of the Old Faith, Theran embodies their ideals of patience and determination. He is well aware that his efforts in Greyhawk will not show much fruit for many years, but he is content to take as many years as needed. Theran enjoys low-brow jokes and bawdy songs as much as a dockworker in the River Quarter. He is willing to cast druid spells for PCs at the prices listed in the Player's Handbook if they promise to uphold the Balance.
Jolene the Bounding Hare
This young woman of rather plain appearance has her hair is pulled back into a thick braid and is dressed in woolen clothes decorated with beadwork. On her arm is a hawk whose claws are tightly gripping a thick leather guard on the woman's wrist. A dog plays in the underbrush nearby.
Jolene the Bounding Hare (N female human druid 5) is an initiate of the 3rd Circle and the daughter of Theran. She followed her father here when Hildefer asked him to restore the StoneRing to its former use. She has been slower to acclimate to their new home than Theran, and she misses the Gnarley Forest with its abundant wildlife. She spends her days with her beloved animals. At least once a week Jolene tours the city to examine the cargos of traders from far-off lands for exotic animals that are only available at a crossroads such as Greyhawk.
Jolene is a soft-spoken woman who is uncomfortable in the urban atmosphere of the Free City. She is reclusive and the crowds of the Free City confuse and frighten her. With the exception of her scouting trips for animals, she rarely leaves the StoneRing. She does not like to talk much, and she looks at the ground and mumbles when dealing with strangers. Jolene is very skilled at training animals, including exotic ones from distant lands. She happily trains an animal for another if she thinks that person will treat it well.
This impressive-looking centaur has a broad human chest and the chestnut body of a horse. His dark-red hair is braided with bones and carved pieces of wood. He has painted the left side of his face and chest with abstract lines, while leaving his right side unmarked. His only clothing is a baldric made from the carapace of a monstrous scorpion.
Tompal Redmane (N male centaur druid 3) is the spiritual leader of a tribe of centaurs in the Cairn Hills to the north of Greyhawk. He guides his people by interpreting the will of the gods of the Old Faith, announcing when the tribe should migrate, advising the chief, and so on. Tompal is a regular visitor at the StoneRing since Theran arrived. While at the circle, he sees to the spiritual needs of the centaurs that have come to live in or near the Free City. Tompal is quiet when dealing with non-centaurs, but he has a weakness for alcohol. He knows its effect on him and avoids it. Tompal uses his unmarked right hand for eating and mundane tasks, but he only casts spells with his painted left.
The StoneRing has numerous secrets bound in its ancient stones, but one power that is well known throughout the City of Greyhawk is its ward against divinations. A person standing among the central stones of the StoneRing can speak, act, and think without being observed by any magical means. Greyhawkers from a wide variety of backgrounds find this feature useful and arrange for meetings at the StoneRing. True to his neutrality, Theran has not interfered with these meetings as long as the participants do no damage to his circle.
The StoneRing does not have a trilithon that accesses the Ways of the World, as the druids created the Ways after the StoneRing was constructed. However, Theran plans on changing that in the near future. Raising the stones to form the gateway is a simple task with summoned earth elementals, but to bind the stones to the Ways Theran needs a fey spirit to become the guardian of the portal. Finding a willing fey spirit is proving a challenge, and the druid expects that he will need to recruit adventurers to aid him in the task.
Occasionally, Theran acquires minor magic that he is willing to sell.
Rumors and Whispers
1.Hildefer Paravis, the new Great Druid, is scouting Greyhawk in preparation for war to push the Domain's forces out of the Gnarley Forest. The reclamation of the StoneRing might appear peaceful and innocent, but the druids there are gauging the city's strength and determination to defend the villages near the border of the forest. Once the city is significantly distracted and their preparations are complete, an army of forest creatures will erupt from the ancient woodlands and drive everyone away.
2.The StoneRing contains a portal to another world. On the nights of the half moon, the air at the center of the ring shimmers and the faint image of a strange world becomes visible. Enormous trees crowd out the sky while wild beasts prowl the forest floor. The image could be of the Beastlands or of a Fading Land where the fey rule. If someone was to step into the shimmering air, that individual would enter this other world and vanish from Oerth forever.
3.The druids of the StoneRing are actually cultists of Iuz. They pretend to be druids of the Old Faith as a cover to avoid notice of the constabulary and the watchful priests of St. Cuthbert. The druids summon a thick fog to hide their blood sacrifices on their foul altar at the center of the StoneRing. The corpses are then given to Jolene's animals to eat.
4.The StoneRing was not built by the Old Faith at all. The Wind Dukes of Aaqa erected the stones millennia ago as a tomb in memory of one of their own who died at the Battle of Pesh which legend says took place in the Cairn Hills. They buried their fallen brother with treasure, and this hidden trove contains clues on how to find one of the pieces of the Rod of Seven Parts.