On a Facebook Greyhawk page somebody posted a later edition write up of Tenser. Ernie chimed in how it didn't resemble his PC, and then provided some quick Tenser info: "I made it to but 13th level (plus 1 for the Magic Users Crown artifact). I had a staff of wizardry, displacer cloak, ring of pro +2, flying boots and lots of lackeys around 6-9 level. 100 Medium Thoat riders - lancers, elves, dwarves and human troops. I had to give up my 2 Red Dragons when I turned Good since the artifact would only work for Good or Evil not Neutral as is my natural tendency of play."
The Robilar PC sheet I have lists him as level 15, and the Wild Coast PC roster from the ERK DVD shows him as level 14 c. 1975. That's about par XP wise with an MU:
- 14 Fighter OD&D = 740,000 XP required, assuming only 100,000 XP/level to advance beyond 9th; that's not at all clear in OD&D except in the MU table, but Rob's PC sheet shows "15th level +100,000 til next level" which seems to match that progression - 15 Fighter OD&D = 840,000 XP required - 13 MU OD&D = 500,000 XP required
Gary's "D&D is only as Good as the DM" in SR#7 (April 1976) also state that no PC had risen beyond 14th level in Blackmoor or Greyhawk to that time. So, it appears that Robilar was at least 240,000 XP ahead of Tenser, which is interesting to consider since Gary always spoke of Rob and Ernie as the two most talented and successful players in the Greyhawk campaign.
There was this weird era from the late 80's to the early 2000's when people kept trying to use Greyhawk characters like Robilar, Tenser, and Mordenkainen in modules and adventures in ways that always felt inappropriate.
I remember every time that I brought up second edition Robilar with Rob he would change the subject as if to not step on the toes of the then Greyhawk hack slobs.
A sharp contrast from Gary but Gary would also avoid consideration of 2E material. The difference was Rob was quickly "neutral" and Gary was quickly "negative". For instance, "Baldenkainen" was autoshot down as soon as I said it with a volcanic reaction something like "its neither here nor there and it makes me quite sore to see my characters stolen from underneath me." or something to that degree. While Rob, on the other hand, when I brought up the robot horse in RARY THE TRAITOR, in a phone conversation, he at first acted angry and then quickly was almost apologizing for them doing that.
At Gencon 2002, I wandered around with Rob in almost every display. I spotted something that I knew recently featured Robilar on the robot horse (I just looked it up EPIC LEVEL HANDBOOK (2001)) and showed Rob the image. It was like, from the look on his face, he was making a saving throw from a mind blast which he passed then immediately was freaked by the fact we were dead center in the Wizards of the Coast display and I'm mocking their product very loudly. RUN!!!
I had always assumed "Rary the Traitor" was a meta-commentary on Brian Blume betraying EGG, since Rary was Brian's player character. The way it should have played out, in-game, however, was that a whimsical 3rd level magic-user who introduced himself as "Medium Rary" wouldn't have been been able to effectively betray the likes of Mordenkainen and Tenser. He would have just ended up a "Medium Rary" smoking corpse...
Not sure why Rary the Traitor was teamed up with Robilar, however... Did some people think Rob in some way betrayed EGG? If so, I wasn't aware of that perception ever being the case, at TSR, or in the fan community.
While Rob, on the other hand, when I brought up the robot horse in RARY THE TRAITOR, in a phone conversation, he at first acted angry and then quickly was almost apologizing for them doing that.
The 90's are painful to think about because Rob made such an effort at reconciling with TSR right around the time it was bought by Wizards of the Coast, and for a brief golden moment it looked like Rob and EGG were actually going to be "back in" and generating Greyhawk material.
There seemed to be some goodwill from Peter Adkison towards EGG, at least. But in retrospect it was like they wanted to restore the relationship, somewhat, and make use of EGG's name yet at the same time keep him at arm's length and not really give D&D and Greyhawk back to him.
"We want to be able to say we're friends again, and that you're on board for 3rd edition and you think it's great, and we'd like you to write some nostalgic articles reminiscing about the early days -- but that's about it."
I can't say but from my perspective before speaking with Rob I had assumed something was being said in CITY OF GREYHAWK (1989) by Carl Sargent, Rik Rose and Douglas Niles with "Rary" being used to represent "Gary" because it divests him from the Circle of Eight. Where he is retired from the Circle and now lives in Ket but comes to the City of Greyhawk to visit his brother "Arkalan Sammal". "Those who have attended their ferociously learned conversations which stretch well in to the early hourse come away from them exhausted and with a deep sense of intellectual inferiority."
Alright so this establishes that this is how they see Gary Gygax as Rary. The now outsider who is intimidating their crap expansions at Gencon.
Then in GREYHAWK WARS (1991) by Dave "Zeb" Cook. Crapster Cook runs with this ball and even revises "Zagyg" as a unintelligent schlub:
Tales of Zagyg’s capriciousness and power suggest that he may have performed the kidnapping alone. More likely, however, Zagyg was assisted-possibly by St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel or one of his priests. St. Cuthbert’s participation in the capture could certainly explain Iuz’s great hatred of that faith. Note: The author of this tome has chosen to use the “Zagyg” spelling, though “Zagig” also has full acceptance among sages. Documents unquestionably penned by Zagyg bear signatures of both spellings, hinting that the madman himself was uncertain which to use.
But the real piece that got was the nerdrage torching of Kuntz and all the Gygaxs:
When the fire and dust cleared, constables discovered smoldering robes belonging to two powerful members of the mysterious Circle of Eight-Otiluke and Tenser. The murderer of these wizards, undeniably a powerful mage, was discovered to be a third member of the Circle of Eight-Rary. Using secrets gained in confidence, Rary not only vaporized his two fellows but also tracked down and destroyed every clone the pair held in preparation. clouded. According to many who knew him, the wizard probably saw an opportunity to seize power and land in the confusion that would follow the assassinations. Others suggest Rary was a pawn of the Scarlet Brotherhood. With the plot discovered, though, Rary and his co-conspirator Lord Robilar fled the city. Unable to return to Robilar’s castle, which was immediately seized by the troops of Greyhawk, the pair escaped into the Bright Desert. There they conquered the savages and established a kingdom of their own. Though small and mysterious, this growing state could someday threaten the very borders of Grey hawk.
I think FATE OF ISTUS (1989) was primarily, in my mind at the time, made appealing that it had the name of someone from real TSR stuff because frankly who knew in 1989 that Gary Gygax was the only thing that held D&D products together? I certainly didn't. I had an inkling but thats about it. We knew GAMMA WORLD hit the shitter sooner for some reason. Little did we know that was plainly because Gygax was not involved in most 1980's TSR projects with the exception of D&D.
We were so hyped by MARVEL SUPERHEROES with all its recycled Marvel artwork but that eventually wore me thin. Especially by the time the character guides came out in the late 80's I was done because it was the same shit all over again. The MSH rpg fail was the catalyst that really made me pissed because I literally bought everything year after year and it was pure unplayable garbage with it's "feat percentile". Ugh! What a joke!
Anyway back to what Ernie was looking at when he was blowing fire at LGGC 2007. I think that I found it:
I would have wanted a Tenser action figure in the style of the first series. Did anyone ever confirm if the Tenser image (EDIT: in ISLE OF THE APE) was anywhere near what he looked like or was that off the mark completely?
Last Edit: Jan 9, 2017 14:24:14 GMT -5 by geneweigel
That's a good question... I'd like to hear Ernie's reaction to that image, as well as the descriptions of Tenser in I6 and the Gord book ARTIFACT OF EVIL. EGG's descriptions are most likely accurate, however he was occasionally known to change details for published works. The drawing with the pharaonic head-dress was, I always assumed, a bit of artistic license.
This module is also where a lot of the confusion between EGG's "Citadel of Eight" (Mordenkainen and his eight PC associates from original game-play) and the magical "Circle of Eight" (Mordenkainen and a group of wizards, possibly joined together for a higher cause, a seemingly different conception) originates.
Last Edit: Jan 11, 2017 10:38:27 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
The characters of the module ISLE OF THE APE are NCOs of the lowest rank so I think membership means a thief character has to be "circle 0" waits for the call then if proven worthy and neutral enough they start in Thief Circle One and so on until they reach "Circle 8" the highest position. Thats why it is Mordenkainen and the "Magic Circle of Eight". They are at Circle 8 so they assist a principal. So Yrag would be frequently assisted by the Fighting Circle of Eight of which Franz Lord of Torkeep would most likely have been initiated after the mission from 8th Magical Circle(Tenser).
So, was Tenser originally a character of some neutral alignment who only switched to good alignment so he could use a Crown of Power?
Switching to a good alignment for selfish reasons?!?
Yes, I think that this is the reason for the switching alignment penalties in AD&D. IIRC, several of the PCs switched alignment during the campaign, primarily either a) to get artifacts, or b) to get/keep dragons. Robilar was Neutral then turned Evil; Tenser was Neutral and then turned Good. I'm sure Scott remembers the particulars better than I do.
Did Tenser and Robilar ever fight each other? I seem to remember them at least making preparations or having counter-measures ready in case they would come to blows. But I can't remember if they ever had any open conflict.
Post by geneweigel on Jan 20, 2017 13:01:15 GMT -5
I think as Gygax was removed from the property the idioms of magic experiments became precious commodities hence all the cheap frowning on magic-use.
Looking back at myself interacting with Ernie, Rob, Gary and even Dave Arneson and hearing them talking like thats what the game was for and I had the feeling that I was brainwashed with all the wishy washy, "keep it bland" type trends coming out of products, mags and gms/players off the street.