Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Forgotten Realms Journals
 General Forgotten Realms Chat
 Jennell Jaquays and the Savage Frontier
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  


2 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2024 :  20:55:07  Show Profile  Visit Mira_Mucklebones's Homepage Send Mira_Mucklebones a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
As many of you may know, Jennell Jaquays - author of the excellent 1e FR supplement The Savage Frontier - passed away yesterday.

I am currently doing research on the various work she did in TTRPG settings and I was wondering if Ed Greenwood had previously established how much of that book was based on his notes for the setting vs of her creation. There are a few elements that I think tie into work she did for other companies, but I am unsure.

Does anyone know if he's addressed this before?

Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
182 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2024 :  22:51:59  Show Profile  Visit Werthead's Homepage Send Werthead a Private Message  Reply with Quote
DM's Guild is a good source here:

Origins. The most obvious origin for "The Savage Frontier" is that TSR wanted to continue detailing the world of the Forgotten Realms. Though "The North" had theoretically gotten some coverage in FR1: "Waterdeep and the North" (1987), Realms creator Ed Greenwood had warned from the start that Waterdeep was going to fill most of that book. As a result, most of "The North" got cut.

Enter freelance Jennell Jaquays—best known for her work at Judges Guild, but also an author for Chaosium and (most recently) TSR. Jaquays was given a sheaf of notes from Ed Greenwood, detailing many parts of the North. However, Jaquays would expand that information for "The Savage Frontier," in part using material from several past books.

The first predecessor of "The Savage Frontier" was "The Enchanted Wood" (1981), a wilderness adventure for SPI's DragonQuest (1980). Not many people saw "The Enchanted Wood" because of SPI's demise shortly thereafter, so Jaquays was happy to revise it for DragonQuest's new owner, TSR. However that project changed to eventually become a new adventure for DragonQuest: DQ1: "The Shattered Statue" (1987). It did still feature one element from "The Enchanted Wood," a wizard named Amelior Amanitas. The second predecessor of "Savage Frontier" was Griffin Mountain (1981), a RuneQuest (1978) adventure co-authored by Jaquays that was set in Glorantha's barbaric wilds of Balazar. When the book was being revised by Chaosium as Griffin Island (1986), Jaquays contributed a new set of distinctive barbarian tribes for the setting, but they were returned unused. The third predecessor was I12: Egg of the Phoenix (1987), a set of adventures by Frank Mentzer that Jaquays had developed in the previous year, and which included characters like "Doc" and the demon Grintharke.

So, take the past Realms writing of Ed Greenwood and R.A. Salvatore and add in a melánge of people, places, and things from these three past adventures... and you have the origins of "The Savage Frontier."

"The Enchanted Wood" contributed encounters, features, and events for The High Forest, including Jingleshod the Iron Axeman (who was based on the Tin Woodsman of Oz). It also was the source of the wizard Amelior Amanitas, who is the narrator of "The Savage Frontier".
The material originally intended for Griffin Island became the Uthgardt Barbarians tribes.
Egg of the Phoenix offered two refugees from other lands: Doc and Grintharke. That adventure's strange gate cube also reappears in the ruins of Gate.
Continuing the "FR" Sourcebooks. Though the format of the "FR" books hadn't settled down yet, "The Savage Frontier" was what would be a typical "FR" sourcebook, giving details on a broad geographical area. As such, it matched FR2: "Moonshae" (1987).

Expanding the Realms. When Jaquays was handed the North, it contained the Icewind Dale lands, as detailed in R.A. Salvatore's novel The Crystal Shard (1988); some unrelated barbarians; and a largely featureless forest called the High Forest. Greenwood's notes for the area focused the most on the economies of the towns and villages in the area.

Jaquays filled in the details of the North from there, expanding what would become one of the best-known adventuring areas in the Forgotten Realms: the Sword Coast. Among the notable places touched upon in "The Savage Frontier" are the Dungeon of Death, Hellgate Keep, Longsaddle, Luskan, Mirabar, Mithril Hall, Neverwinter, Silverymoon, the Spine of the World, and Waterdeep.

This cooperative construction of the North shows how much the Forgotten Realms is the work of divers hands, even from its earliest days. Of course those many hands also offered differing views of the setting. Jaquays says that you can often see who invented what part by looking at the character of the people and things therein: Greenwood tended to create larger-than-life characters and settings, while Jaquays' characters were more eccentric and quirky.

NPCs of Note. "The Savage Frontier" contains the first ever stats for Drizzt Do'Urden (and his friends) from The Crystal Shard. It also touches upon the Nine, which was one of Greenwood's player groups in the Realms. Jaquays enjoyed turning them into warring enemies and madmen in "The Savage Frontier."

Future History. The Savage Frontier continues to be a popular corner of the Realms. Two later sourcebooks returned to the area: Volo's Guide to the North (1993) and The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (1996). In addition, three adventures are set in the area: "Hellgate Keep" (1998), "The Accursed Tower" (1999), and "The Dungeon of Death" (2000).

About the Creators. Jennell Allyn Jaquays was freelancing increasingly for TSR from 1986 onward. During 1988, she also contributed to WG7: Castle Greyhawk (1988) and TS3: Orion Rising (1988). Meanwhile, she was simultaneously beginning her well-known Central Casting series (1988-93) for Task Force Games.

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

Edited by - Werthead on 13 Jan 2024 12:38:11
Go to Top of Page


2 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2024 :  01:56:24  Show Profile  Visit Mira_Mucklebones's Homepage Send Mira_Mucklebones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you! That's all very helpful.

I wish I knew more about the relationship between Enchanted Wood and Griffin Mountain (and her work for Judges Guild before that) but that's outside the scope of this forum.
Go to Top of Page

Senior Scribe

759 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2024 :  04:37:18  Show Profile Send AJA a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Werthead
The material originally intended for Griffin Island became the Uthgardt Barbarians tribes.

(re: deadnaming, please note the date of the quotes)

Originally posted by Questions For Ed Greenwood (2005), 01/17/05
I had barbarians in the Sword Coast North from the first, but mine were Celtic-like or Cimmerian-like only in that they had dark hair, black or brown, brownish skins, and were not fair-skinned and fair-haired. I envisaged them as ‘live off the land’ proud nomadic warrior tribes who worshipped bears and rejected human civilization, which they saw as weak and decadent (but note: a rite of passage for the young males was to venture to Waterdeep, see its sights, and return alive, without advice from any other barbarian, though they could seek advice from anyone else). In other words, they weren’t ignorant of civilization or unable to comprehend it; they measured it and rejected it.
        Paul Jaquays gave them the Uthgardt name and the tribes we know in the published Realms today, when he wrote FR5 from my copious notes (he had to: I had just a single paragraph about the barbarians!). (Most of FR5, from ship tables to entries on geographical features, was “the North” part of FR1 that wouldn’t fit, and so got chopped and made into a separate product.) Eric Boyd and later Steven Schend and George Krashos have developed the barbarians from there.
To your specific question: “Did you intend them to be friends or foes of your adventuring bands, or a more unpredictable force, likely to heal as to harm?” my reply is this: in the original, pre-TSR Realms, my barbarians of the North were in the latter, unpredictable category: if you as a non-barbarian treated them right, and didn’t unfortunately blunder into the middle of something where your actions or very presence could be misinterpreted, they could be friendly.
        Moreover, they were ALWAYS gentle and rescuing with women and children, because they valued their own so highly (as vital to their survival, particularly in the face of orc battles; they slipped away when orc hordes formed, but otherwise battled orcs daily, therefore saving civilized human holdings much grief by ‘keeping down’ orc numbers and making hordes fewer and farther between). There were many instances in my pre-D&D short stories when barbarians rode into human towns, burst into taverns, and as every man there shouted and grabbed for weapons, silently presented some women or children they’d rescued from wolves or bandit attack or an orc raid to the tavernmaster, and left. Women were NEVER raped or molested by the barbarians, but revered. In many cases observed by “civilized” folk of the Realms, husbands (or guardian uncles or fathers) who beat women were themselves beaten by barbarians, who would then take the woman and children away if (and only if) the woman desired to escape.

Originally posted by Questions For Ed Greenwood (2010), 03/18/10
Yet by way of a beginning of an answer to it, here's what I know: the Uthgardt were substituted for Ed's barbarians (which he sent VERY little in to TSR about) by, I believe, Paul Jaquays. In play, we encountered individuals from Ed's Sword Coast barbarian tribes, and here's the skinny: they were hardy, black-haired, brown-skinned, burly nomads who had a culture centered on: place-spirits, moving around the landscape to stay near herds of "oroths" (musk oxen), "garauthae" (rothe) and "halagar" (stags, caribou, reindeer; the barbarians knew there were different sorts of hooved and antlered beasts, but didn't have different names for then) and to choose the times and places for fights with numerically-far-superior orcs (and hobgoblins, whom they hated especially and fought an ongoin war of extermination with), and whose clothing was, yes, hides and fur. Young males did "go wandering" down into warmer areas, often showing up in Silverymoon or Waterdeep, as part of their "coming of age" in barbarian culture, and Ed portrayed them as cunning, wary, tremendously strong and stubborn "Breckenridge Elkins" types (q.v. Robert E. Howard's A GENT FROM BEAR CREEK): innocent, amiable, sticking to a personal moral code, but easily duped by "city folk."
        Centuries of warfare with the orcs, trolls, and hill giants of the North had pruned their numbers so that although Ed's barbarians did have rival tribes, they were far more apt to stand together against common foes than fight each other (barbarian-on-barbarian fights were unarmed and to first blood, not armed and to the death). Affairs were decided by elders, there were shamen but they advised and deferred to elders rather than trying to rule them, and all barbarians were omnivores skilled at living off the land. They were used to extreme cold, and would snowbathe naked in weather that left other humans, from warmer climes, huddling to keep warm inside shelter. They were used to long daily travels on foot, fighting with spears and rolled boulders and slung stones, and had stone daggers and axes if they hadn't won better (metal) weapons by scavenging them from the fallen. Dwarves often paid barbarians with metal weapons or tools in exchange for guiding across country on surface jaunts, and/or providing "large meat meals" for dwarves by hunting.
        One of the Sword Coast North barbarian tribes were known as the Dahareen (pronounced "Dah-har-EENE"). I know this was a name they themselves recognized and accepted without anger or demur, but I don't know if it began as a barbarian name, or a name by which non-barbarians called them.

Go to Top of Page

Senior Scribe

759 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2024 :  08:23:37  Show Profile Send AJA a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Ooh, and from, Realms Events / The Uthgardt (01/11/05)

So saith Paul Jaquays (author of The Savage Frontier) on the inspirations/origins of the Uthgardt.


It has been over 15 years since I wrote the source book, so many details may
escape me (and my copies are in storage somewhere else in the house), so I'm
pulling from memory here. If I remember correctly, Ed's notes specified that
there were barbarians in the region, but that the Uthgardt were my own
creation. I probably made them dark haired so that they wouldn't be
immediately imagined as Nordic Viking types. While I am a fan of Conan, at
that point I wasn't trying to emulate anybody else's barbarians ... only to
make my own. And I wanted to stay away from D&D's "known world" habit of
co-opting familiar cultures with a fantasy spin (I edited several of the D&D
known world source books during that time period). They are intended to be a
unique force of nature, not necessarily friend or foe to adventurers. The
actual tribes came from some work I did for an update to Griffin Mountain in
the early (I source book I co-wrote for Chaosium's Glorantha world). I had
expanded upon the Balazaring tribes in Griffin Mountain and made them more
varied and with special features. Chaosium chose not to use that work and I
re-spun it and made it more compatible with the AD&D game system and Realms
world mythos. Places like Grandfather Tree and the burial mounds were based
on art that I had originally done and were not used in Griffin Island (from
Avalon Hill).

The realmslore of the Savage Frontier came from seven sources: The Forgotten
Realms boxed set; the Waterdeep source book; Ed Greenwood's notes, which TSR
supplied as pages of photo-copied clippings that had come from many of Ed's
notebooks; the unused work for Griffin Island; the as yet unreleased novel
The Crystal Shard by Bob Salvatore (the original appearance of dark elf
ranger Dritzz Do Urden ... for whom I created the first game stats), The
Enchanted Wood (an adventure I had written for SPI's Dragon Quest game, for
which TSR owned the copyright due to their acquisition of SPI in the early
80s), and my own imagination.

Much of the prehistory and lore of the place derived from the Enchanted
Wood. I was very amused (and flattered) when later writers used content
derived from there to flesh out the ancient history of the realms.
Characters like Amelior Amanitas and his side kick Eric were based on people
I knew. Amelior was a player in one of my early FRP games and fist appeared
in The Enchanted Wood as a mission sponsor. The evil Wulgreth and the
demigod Karse came from the same source. If you can find a copy of The
Enchanted Wood, you will have access to much of my original source material.

I had a lot of freedom in what I did. Maybe too much freedom. I left the
geography and most of the cities as Ed had designed them, but I took a free
hand with some of the characters and places and perhaps did things with them
that Ed did not like ... since I learned later that he wrote material that
went and rescued and redeemed some high level adventurers whom I had caused
to come to an unhappy end. If it didn't contradict something in the
published world or in Ed's notes, I felt free to interpret as I chose in
order to make interesting situations.

Some of my work became Realms canon. Others of it tumbled into the dust bin
of history.

Go to Top of Page

Forgotten Realms Designer

2067 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2024 :  16:15:29  Show Profile  Visit ericlboyd's Homepage Send ericlboyd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great collection AJA!

In addition, most of the NPCs and storyline around Wulgreth and Tianna Skyflower were new to the Realms as well. If you want to get an interesting look at another product by Jennell, take a gander at "The Enchanted Wood", a DragonQuest product published in 1981. "The Enchanted Wood" is not a DND or Realms product, and it was not released by TSR, but you'll see some interesting character and storyline overlap with FR5 The Savage Frontier.

For another perspective on Grintharke, look at I12 - Egg of the Phoenix and compare it to the original tournament modules (R1-R4) by Frank Mentzer. Jennell Jaquays took the original Mentzer products, added some material, and packaged them up into the published module. I think Jennell got editor credit, IIRC. Then those same parts of Egg of the Phoenix made it into FR5.



Edited by - ericlboyd on 12 Jan 2024 17:42:10
Go to Top of Page

Master of Realmslore

1621 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2024 :  17:40:30  Show Profile Send Gyor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My Condolences to her fans and loved ones.
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2024 Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000