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Sharangar the Archlich (SJ2)

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:55 pm
by Havard
Picking up an old discussion from the Spelljammer Forum:
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:No date, but Havard might be able to help*: A tradesman called The Happy Gauntlet launches from the City of Blackmoor, its captain completing many voyages before stumbling into an illithid ambush. The entire crew, except for the captain's wife, Sharanger Szeltune, are destroyed by the mind flayer's mental powers. She is mortally wounded but is able to unleash powerful spells that allow her to take the helm and retreat. She then retreats to a safe world, lands her ship in a hidden location and transforms herself into an archlich. <"I must Go Up to the Stars Again" p 7-8 SJR1 Lost Ships>
It says the "civilization of Blackmoor," not the City of Blackmoor. The distinction is important. The City of Blackmoor was sacked by the Egg of Coot in the 540s CY, only about thirty or forty years ago from the perspective of SJR1.

Now, the module makes it clear that they're talking about something much more ancient: "Her knowledge of space and the worlds to be found in it are so dated as to be almost useless (though she knows where places of power are to be found in Greyhawk, which are now lost and overgrown ruins)."

I don't think the modern Archbarony of Blackmoor ever had much of a "civilization." It's a backwater, cut off from other lands by the Relentless Horde in 320 CY.

It's possible that Sharanger hails from the Archbarony of Blackmoor prior to 320 CY, when it was easier to travel to the lands of the south and the Archbarony was somewhat less of a backwater. That'd place her at 250+ years old; I think the (vague) notes in the adventure imply a significantly greater gulf of time, though.

See, then, my post on Oerth's Blackmoor, where I collected direct quotes from a variety of sources on the ancient civilization in what is now the Archbarony of Blackmoor. This earlier Blackmoor, a technological civilization, existed during the latter years of the Suel and Baklunish empires, declaring independence during those kingdoms' final wars and finally being destroyed by a plague of "Gear Madness." This civilization had contact with the Fraternity of Order, who were founded about 982 years ago.

Note that there wasn't a "City of Blackmoor" in those days. The "City of the Gods" seemed to have been the capital of that land, though it probably wasn't named that, then.

Anyway, the City of the Gods civilization was probably at its height around 1000 years ago, during the Baklunish-Suloise Wars, just before the gear madness hit.
(I wonder how this compares with the Netherese spacefaring dates, and if it will show which of the two spheres was the first to convert from a groundling sphere to a spacefaring sphere.)
The Netherese spelljammed during the Age of Discovery, between -1205 and -1064 DR, or roughly 2400 to 2500 years ago. The City of the Gods civilization in Blackmoor was more like 1000 years ago.

That doesn't mean there weren't spelljammers from Oerth before then, of course. The Suel civilization is about 6000 years old, and the Doomgrinder civilization is about 8000 years old (and I definitely think they ought to have had spelljammers). But in general, civilization on Toril seems to be older, and the earliest mention of spelljamming on Toril long predates the earliest canonical spelljammers from Oerth.


References to Greyhawk aside, let us say that Sharangar and her husband were wizards from Dave Arneson's Blackmoor before they became Space faring Arch-Liches. Probably even as a mortal she would have been very powerful. Perhaps we could link her to some of the other wizards in the Blackmoor setting? Was she a member of the Wizards Cabal in her younger days?


Re: Sharangar the Archlich (SJ2)

Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:31 pm
by Big Mac
Sharanger Szeltune is actually an archlich, rather than a demilich. That's a new type of lich created for the Spelljammer product that she features in.

(In 3rd Edition terms, I think she would be a deathless, rather than an undead.)

Re: Sharangar the Archlich (SJ2)

Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:41 pm
by Havard
Big Mac wrote:Sharanger Szeltune is actually an archlich, rather than a demilich. That's a new type of lich created for the Spelljammer product that she features in.

(In 3rd Edition terms, I think she would be a deathless, rather than an undead.)
Thanks for correcting me on this. I should have known, I think I actually went through this adventure as a player back in the days.

And thanks for bumping this topic too. I would very much like to use Sharanger Szeltune or one of her ancestors as an NPC in my Blackmoor campaigns. I wonder if the Szeltune family were always strong with magic in ancient Blackmoor...


Re: Sharangar the Archlich (SJ2)

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:14 am
by ripvanwormer
Big Mac wrote:Sharangar Szeltune is actually an archlich, rather than a demilich. That's a new type of lich created for the Spelljammer product that she features in.

(In 3rd Edition terms, I think she would be a deathless, rather than an undead.)
I actually like that there can be good and neutral undead. It reminds us that positive energy isn't inherently good and negative energy isn't inherently evil. Sharangar could be deathless, but I'd keep her as a lich. For one thing, the fact that she's a good-aligned lich is one of the central twists of the adventure; if she's obviously positive energy-based the adventure loses some of its effectiveness, I think.

The text says she's from Greyhawk, but she could easily be from Mystara's Blackmoor (or some other world's Blackmoor) instead. It says "when the civilization of Blackmoor was at its height," which makes me think 3500-3000 BC. Sharangar didn't become a lich until after she left her homeworld, so I assume she wasn't that old. James Mishler has Blackmoor developing space travel in his timeline, reaching Patera in 3240, m-Mars in 3180, and "Epsilon Eridani" in 3100. They have interstellar colonies by 3020. Lost Ships says Sharangar was one of a band of humans who sought their fortunes among the stars when the civilization of Blackmoor was at its height, so I'd have their expedition leave somewhere between 3100-3010 BC.

Obviously you could fudge things and have her leave during Uther's reign, or have her be a member of the Ordo Elementarum whose residence in the Outer Planes resulted in a distorted relationship with time. Sharangar is in a spelljammer (a tradesman), which is different from the "technomantic" ships James Mishler ascribed to Blackmoor, but that could be changed too. A wrecked technomantic ship from m-Blackmoor's height, built with tech similar to Serraine, would be a more interesting encounter than a wrecked tradesman.

Re: Sharangar the Archlich (SJ2)

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:52 am
by Zeromaru X
There was an archlich in 4e, it was an epic destiny. I remember it because my brother rolled one of those. They weren't intrinsically good, but neither evil, and their lichdom was product of their arcane research instead of pact with Orcus (or other deities of undead).

I guess I will research into this Sharangar. It would make for an interesting idea for some NPC...

Re: Sharangar the Archlich (SJ2)

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:40 am
by Dartamian
Monsters of Faerun (3.0e) has an entry for Lich, Good. These are liches that sought undeath in order to serve a noble cause. Included are the Archlich (formerly human) and the Baelnorn (formerly elven). Not sure if these were present in 2e (my guess is probably so).

Re: Sharangar the Archlich (SJ2)

Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:12 am
by Khedrac
Big Mac wrote:In 3rd Edition terms, I think she would be a deathless, rather than an undead.
Not convinced by the "deathless" assumption.

In 3.X Deathless are actively good.
2nd Ed archliches are described as usually forming when a wizard didn't notice that they had died (too busy studying to eat etc.).
Seeing as 3.X changed mindless undead (zombies and skeletons etc.) to be evil I think the 3.X argument is that even if the original character was good the act of becoming the archlich would turn them evil...
To become a deathless lich equivalent I think should need either deity (or other good power) intervention or some weird method specifically sought out to be able to continue serving good after death/without dying.

Personally I would prefer to remove the "all undead are evil" rule from 3.X and allow some that are neutral at least.
Negative Energy never used to be evil (and still isn't for spells like enervation) so why should a creature powered by it automatically be evil? Now one can argue that the process warps one's mentality but that should still allow some undead to fight this tendancy, at least for a while...

Re: Sharangar the Archlich (SJ2)

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:51 pm
by Aldarron
I really know next to nothing about Spelljammer or how "canon" it may be for Greyhawk, but I think I can offer one idea for Sharanger Szeltune. By Blackmoore canon (ZG) shortly after Kargas Dolunt publicizes the magical quality of the black soil/rock of Blackmoor, there is an influx of wizards into the Northern Marches. After a decade or so all these wizards running around leads to the Mage Wars, but it seems quite workable to me to put Sharanger and husband somewhere in this time frame, perhaps early in the Wars or just before. In Blackmoor cannon, the wars start around 805. If you like the proposal I made equating the Oeridian Record dating with the Blackmoor calendar, then Sharanger's Blackmoor would have been around 160 CY. That's 400 years or so before present day Greyhawk, and probably long enough to be "ancient" as described in the Spelljammer text.