|Setting||World of Greyhawk|
In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, Robilar (also known as Lord Robilar or Sir Robilar) is a powerful warrior who serves as commander of Rary's forces in the Empire of the Bright Lands. Created as one of the very first half-dozen characters to explore the original Castle Greyhawk dungeons, Robilar eventually became one of the fictional world's most powerful and compelling characters.
Castle Greyhawk sessions
Robilar was originally the creation of Rob Kuntz, rolled up on Gary Gygax's kitchen table in late 1972 for the second-ever session of the game that would become known as Dungeons & Dragons. Gygax even suggested the name "Robilar", after a minor character in The Gnome Cache, a novella Gygax was writing that eventually would be serialized in the first few issues of The Dragon starting in June 1976. Kuntz quickly grew impatient with play when it involved more than a couple of players, often playing solo adventures one-on-one with Gygax; their constant (almost daily) play meant that Robilar rapidly gained power and possessions. As the city of Greyhawk was developed and fleshed out, Robilar also became the secret owner of the Green Dragon Inn in the city of Greyhawk, where he kept tabs on happenings in the city. Robilar was not only the first to reach the 13th and bottom level of Gygax's Greyhawk dungeons, but on the way, he was also responsible for freeing nine demi-gods (whom Gygax revived a decade later as some of the first deities of Greyhawk: Iuz, Ralishaz, Trithereon, Erythnul, Olidammara, Heironeous, Celestian, Hextor, and Obad-Hai).
Temple of Elemental Evil sessions
Robilar was also the first to enter Gygax's Temple of Elemental Evil, and trashed it from top to bottom, even freeing the demoness Zuggtmoy from her prison at the centre of the Temple. Kuntz later related that Gygax was very dismayed that his masterpiece dungeon had been destroyed by a single adventurer, and as punishment, Gygax had an army pursue Robilar all the way back to his castle, which Robilar was forced to abandon. Robilar even lost possession of the Green Dragon Inn. Robilar's various adventures were mentioned by Gygax in his column in Dragon magazine.
Robilar was also profiled in The Rogues Gallery, a 1980 TSR publication, along with other notable characters mentioned in Gygax's works such as Tenser and Erac's Cousin. He was described as a world-weary warrior and survivor of many adventures who had changed his worldview from neutral to evil to satisfy his morbid tastes. His three passions in life were adventuring, magic items, and information.
When Gygax was forced out of TSR at the end of 1985, TSR took over the creative rights to all characters mentioned in any of Gygax's articles, adventures and stories, including Robilar. Several years later, TSR created a new storyline for Gygax's World of Greyhawk that featured the murder of several members of the Circle of Eight by Robilar and the archmage Rary. Kuntz, as the creator of Robilar, was unhappy with this, stating that Robilar would never turn on his old adventuring companion, Mordenkainen (Gygax's own D&D character). Although Kuntz had long since left TSR and had no creative control over Robilar's published life, he suggested in print that the person responsible for aiding Rary was in fact a clone or evil twin of Robilar's who had "taken over" Robilar's apparent life while Robilar was off adventuring on a distant plane. This suggestion became a "fact" in 2007 with the publication of Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, where it is revealed that Robilar had been imprisoned by an evil "twin" from another universe named Bilarro, who had then impersonated the hero while he aided Rary in his evil actions.
Robilar is described in Rary the Traitor as a grim-faced, saturnine man with a short goatee, black hair, and deep-set eyes. He wields the Blade of Black Ice, which is said to have been forged by Iuz himself, but which was given to Robilar by Mordenkainen.
Despite his evil alignment, Robilar is friendly, loyal, and charming, if somewhat gruff. He has a soft spot for adventurers, seeing them as the same sort of devil-may-care heroes he himself once was. This was true even during his "Bilarro" days (see below).
Terik is Robilar's brother and adventuring companion. Quij and Otto were at one time his henchmen. Robilar has adventured with Tenser, Mordenkainen, and other members of the Citadel of Eight, as well as, occasionally, Rary. Later, he allied himself with Rary for a time, believing his other former friends had grown soft and weak.
Robilar once ruled a castle west of the Free City of Greyhawk in which a large army under his control was garrisoned. When his castle was sacked by an army of Good led by Tenser, Otis, Rufus, and Burne, many of his high-level cohorts were slain. His surviving forces fled to the Pomarj, and were composed as follows:
- Heavy Cavalry: 50 (Regulars)
- Medium Cavalry: 100 (Regulars)
- Light Cavalry: 50 (Regulars)
- Light Horse Crossbowmen: 50 (Regulars)
- Heavy Infantry: 100 (Elite Orcish)
- Light Infantry: 100 (Levied)
- Heavy Archers: 50 (Elite Orcish)
- Light Crossbowmen: 50 (Regulars)
- Pole Armed Infantry: 100 (Regular Orcish)
Robilar's former home in the Domain of Greyhawk is now a gutted ruin, though the dungeons beneath, carefully warded and boobytrapped by Robilar, are still intact. The castle is a square construction set around a central courtyard; the outside walls are intact, though some of the inner walls have collapsed. It is rumored that in the dungeons is hidden a great hoard of treasure, or some artifact wrested from beneath Castle Greyhawk. Out-of-date maps of Greyhawk Castle also likely exist beneath Robilar's home.
Nearby is the hamlet of Furzehill.
Robilar now owns the "Green Dragon Inn" in the City of Greyhawk, which he occasionally visits in disguise.
Robilar's origins are unknown. Some claim he was born on the Wild Coast, though a few say he is a scion of one of the Celestial Houses of Aerdy, perhaps Cranden, Rax, or Naelax. A few even whisper that Robilar may be Mordenkainen's illegitimate son.
Robilar first came to prominence in the early 560s, when he joined Mordenkainen's Citadel of Eight. Later, he gained more fame in the Free City of Greyhawk in 565 CY, when he and Yrag captured Sir Bluto Sans Pite, the perpetrator of the River of Blood mass murders. For their efforts, both men were ennobled by the city directors.
In 570 CY, Robilar, with Riggby and his orc henchman Quij, released Iuz from his captivity in the Godtrap using magic supplied by Mordenkainen. Bigby, Tenser, and Neb Retnar attempted to stop the plan, but arrived too late. The six adventurers battled Iuz together and nearly succeeded in destroying the cambion with one of Bigby's Crushing Hand spells, but Iuz managed to teleport away at the last minute. The release of and failure to destroy Iuz would have grave consequences on the future of the Flanaess.
Nine years later, Robilar and Quij ventured to the Temple of Elemental Evil atop a carpet of flying. Leaving Quij outside to guard his carpet and griffons, he bullied his way into the depths, slaying vast ranks of monsters and freeing the demoness Zuggtmoy.
This incident resulted in Robilar's being forcibly evicted from the Domain of Greyhawk by Tenser's army and being named persona non grata throughout the region. It may have been around this time that Robilar took a journey to the eastern land of Lynn to study with the Dragonmasters, where he gained their respect through his own skills in handling dragons.
Shortly before the outbreak of the Greyhawk Wars, Robilar returned to the dungeons underneath Greyhawk Castle, where he encountered a potent artifact called the Orb of Opposition, which swapped him with a somewhat ideologically different double from an alternate Oerth called Uerth, named Bilarro.
In 584 CY, at the end of the Greyhawk Wars, Robilar/Bilarro, with Rary, betrayed the Circle of Eight. Whilst Rary (himself a Circle member), killed Tenser and Otiluke, Robilar helped destroy their clones in order to prevent the wizards from returning to life. Rary and Robilar were unmasked and have now fled to the Bright Desert where they established the Empire of the Bright Lands. Tenser in the meantime has returned to life, while Otiluke is still dead.
In 597, Robilar was returned from Uerth through the aid of adventurers who had foiled the plans of Iuz underneath Castle Greyhawk.
He also developed an aggressive fighting style known as "Robilar's gambit" at some point in his life.
Robilar bears as his coat of arms the following blazon: Or, a dragon rampant vert. He has also been known to go to battle with a banner emblazoned with a black unicorn.
- "Robilar Remembers: Robilar's defeats". Pied Piper Publishing. 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Gygax, Gary (June 1976). "The Gnome Cache". The Dragon. Lake Geneva WI: TSR (1): 28.
- Kuntz: "Robilar's name is derived from Gary's novel, The Gnome Cache. Written prior to the formation of TSR, Robilar occurs therein as the baron who sends the questing Dunstan after the gnome treasure. Since I had contributed a minor sequence idea to the novel (wherein Dunstan, having succeeded, requires the Baron Robilar to uphold his part of the bargain by knighting him, which he does, quickly and without ceremony and then runs off to claim fame from higher-ups for "his", the Baron's, success) Gary later suggested the name for my primary PC in Greyhawk.""Robilar Remembers: Journey to the City of the Gods". Pied Piper Publishing. 1997. Archived from the original on 2009-10-17. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
- Q:"What was the largest party Robilar ever adventured with (I mean, with other player characters)?" Kuntz: "Probably 6-7 in the earlier days. That then was too much for my wonts, which spurred me to seek solo adventures when possible.""Robilar Remembers: Robilar Q & A". Pied Piper Publishing. 2007-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Kuntz, Robert J.; Behringer, Douglas J. (June 1994). "Tales from the Green Dragon Inn" (PDF). The Oerth Journal (7): 41–44.
- Kuntz: "Gary was none too happy with Robilar's adventure beneath the Temple of Elemental Evil. Robilar had a great time dismembering creatures, crunching things and watching Gary's look of consternation grow with every toppled column. The final straw was the releasing of Zuggtmoy. The DM's vendetta pursued Robilar all the way back to his castle, which he was forced to abandon." "Robilar Remembers: Lord Robilar and Co". Pied Piper Publishing. Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Kuntz: "Losing my castle was a major defeat, but I decided to abandon it because [Gygax] was noticeably intent on getting even with me for the Temple of Elemental Evil sacking I’d perpetrated.""Robilar Remembers: Robilar's defeats". Pied Piper Publishing. 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Kuntz: "The city, at the instigation of those Good forces, especially Tenser, had [the Green Dragon] confiscated." "Robilar Remembers: Robilar's defeats". Pied Piper Publishing. 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Blume, Brian; Wells, Jean; Cook, Dave (1980), The Rogues Gallery, Lake Geneva WI: TSR, Inc., p. 46, ISBN 0-935696-18-0
- "Robilar Remembers: Lord Robilar & Co". Pied Piper Publishing. 2007-01-29. Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Broadhurst, Creighton. "Into the Bright Desert." Dungeon #98 (Paizo Publishing, 2003).
- Brown, Anne. Player's Guide (TSR, 1998).
- Bulmahn, Jason, James Jacobs, and Erik Mona. Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2007.
- Cook, David. "History of the Greyhawk Wars." Wars (TSR, 1991). Available Online: https://web.archive.org/web/20060206031911/http://www.nyrond.org/turbine/page/university/greyhawkwars.html
- Gygax, Gary, and Frank Mentzer. The Temple of Elemental Evil (TSR, 1985).
- Holian, Gary, Erik Mona, Sean K Reynolds, and Frederick Weining. Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (Wizards of the Coast, 2000).
- Kuntz, Robert J. "Chambers of Antiquities." Dungeon #124. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2005 (pp. 70–101).
- Kuntz, Robert J. "Robilar Remembers: Journey to the City of the Gods." Oerth Journal #6. Council of Greyhawk, 1997. Available online:
- Kuntz, Robert J. and Douglas J. Behringer. "Robilar Remembered: Lord Robilar and Company." Oerth Journal #7. Council of Greyhawk, 1998. Available online:
- Looby, Paul, and Creighton Broadhurst. "Mysterious Places: The Lands of Robilar." Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008. Available online:
- Mona, Erik, and Gary Holian. "Wheels within Wheels: Greyhawk's Circle of Eight." Living Greyhawk Journal #0 (Aug 2000). Available online: http://www.wizards.com/rpga/downloads/LGJcircleof8pdf.zip
- Moore, Roger. Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins (TSR, 1998).
- Moore, Roger E. Return of the Eight (TSR, 1998).
- Pryor, Anthony. Rary the Traitor (TSR, 1992).
- Sargent, Carl. From the Ashes (TSR, 1993).