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WGR3 Rary the Traitor (2e)
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WGR3 Rary the Traitor (2e)

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"In the agonizing aftermath of the Greyhawk Wars, when conflict touched virtually every corner of the continent, few gained more infamy than Rary of the Circle of Eight. Once considered a quiet, peaceful man with few ambitions, the great mage instead was corrupted to the ways of evil, and in the process slew two of the wisest and most powerful wizards of the Flanaess. Now, fleeing south with his co-conspirator and their loyal troops, he has carved out an empire in the wilderness, and threatens to inflict more harm and chaos on a world long grown weary of war and strife."

Thus begins this supplement for the Greyhawk campaign setting, the first since the world-shattering Greyhawk Wars boxed game. Descriptions of Rary's desert fortress in the Brass Hills are here, as are statistics on his co-conspirator, Lord Riobilar. The Backbreaking mines of Abbor Alz, home to the duergar, and the Ghost Tower of Inverness are detailed as well, along with dozens of other places, things, and persons.

It is not necessary to have played the Greyhawk Wars boxed game in order to use this material. Some of the original maps that were intended for this title are not avilable in this PDF.

The campaign material contained in this booklet is suitable for players and referees of all levels; the adventures, however, are aimed at characters of levels 8 and up.

Product History

WGR3: "Rary the Traitor" (1992), by Anthony Pryor, is the third book in the World of Greyhawk Reference series. It was published in July 1992.

Continuing the "WGR" Series. Prior to the release of "Rary the Traitor", the "WGR" series wasn't very big on reference; instead, the previous two releases were adventures. Granted, WGR1: "Greyhawk Ruins" (1990) detailed Castle Greyhawk, the most iconic dungeon in the world of Oerth, but WGR2: "Treasures of Greyhawk" was a simpler anthology of adventure.

"Rary the Traitor" was Greyhawk's first geographic reference, which made it a pretty big change for the series. It was also the first Reference book set after Greyhawk Wars (1991), which meant that it provided the first detailed look at the revamped setting. With that said, "Rary the Traitor" now lies at a somewhat odd juncture, because it was published after Greyhawk Wars but before From the Ashes (1992), which more fully embraced the new era. It's a part of the "Ashes" setting, but it's the only Reference book of the post-Wars era that doesn't have Carl Sargent's stamp on it.

Adventuring Tropes. "Rary the Traitor" is largely an atlas, but it details enough specific locales, that it can also act as a sandbox adventure for the Bright Desert after the Wars.

Expanding Greyhawk. Besides expanding Greyhawk into the From the Ashes era, "Rary the Traitor" also provides details on two important Greyhawk characters and one totally new country.

The first of these characters is the eponymous wizard Rary. He was briefly played in the early '70s by Brian Blume, who wanted to introduce him as "Medium Rary", using the first-level title for wizards in OD&D (1974). Though Gary Gygax later attached Rary's name to a few spells, the character only became truly important after Gygax left TSR; afterward, Rary was acknowledged as a member of the Circle of Eight in The City of Greyhawk (1989) — a group that had only included Gygax's characters in the original D&D campaigns. Rary didn't received a lot of attention before becoming a traitor in Greyhawk Wars; "Rary the Traitor" was his starring role.

Robilar was a much more long-lived character, having originally been played by Rob Kuntz as far back as 1972. He's well known for reaching the bottom of Castle Greyhawk, for surviving the Tomb of Horrors, and for discovering the Temple of Elemental Evil. Though Robilar had appeared in "The Rogues Gallery" (1980) and T1-4: Temple of Elemental Evil (1985), he was also a pretty minor character in published Greyhawk lore prior to Greyhawk Wars. Kuntz was a bit discomfited by Robilar's turn toward evil, which is probably why Wizards of the Coast reversed it years later. Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2007) reveals that it was actually Robilar's evil copy, Bilarro, who appeared thanks to an Orb of Opposition, that aided Rary in his plans.

"Rary the Traitor" also describes the Bright Desert to the south of the City of Greyhawk — an area which had been only lightly touched upon in previous supplements, including the adventure C2: "The Ghost Tower of Inverness" (1980). The area has now become Rary's Empire of the Bright Lands. It's extensively described here.

Whoops! A few maps of Rary's fortress are missing from "Rary the Traitor". They were published in Dragon #194 (June 1993) and later on the Wizards of the Coast website.

Future History. More recent publications have frequently returned to the Bright Lands. Dungeon #98 (May 2003) includes an article called "Into the Bright Desert"; Dungeon #103 (October 2003) expands on that with "Denizens of the Bright Desert"; and Dungeon #109 (April 2004) features a nearby locale in "Hardby: City of the Scorned".

These articles were all part of the Living Greyhawk campaign's contributions to Dungeon. Living Greyhawk later dove even more fully into the setting with their "Blight on Bright Sands Sourcebook" (2005), a core plotline that was followed by almost a dozen related adventures (2005-2006).

Even more recently, "History Check: Rary the Traitor" recounted Rary's history in Dragon #405 (November 2011).

About the Creators. Pryor started freelancing for TSR in the previous year. "Rary the Traitor" was one of two Greyhawk books he wrote in 1992, the other being WGQ1: "Patriots of Ulek" (1992).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons—a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Product Information
Author(s)
Pages
48
Edition
1.0
ISBN
1-56076-497-X
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9386
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11.08 MB
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on September 16, 2014.