Author Topic: Greyhawk  (Read 27950 times)


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« on: December 20, 2011, 10:37:53 PM »


The Greyhawk campaign depicts a magical land at the crossroads of countless possibilities. The most fantastic of many worlds, Greyhawk's world of Oerth is a place where powerful creatures contest with humanity and other races, where good folk struggle against evil, and Law wrestles with Chaos. Oerth is a world of magic, mystery, and the imagination. Oerth has four continents, the largest of which is Oerik. Oerth has two moons, Celene and Luna, and there are about seven planets that wander the skies. The sun is often called simply "the sun," sol or Liga.

The gem of this world is the city of Greyhawk, a teeming metropolis that attracts heroes and villains alike. Warriors, merchants, wizards, beggars, clerics, sages, and thieves fill its streets in search of high adventures.

The Greyhawk campaign centers on the Flanaess, a multinational land emerging from a dark period of war. Its people face each new day with glowing optimism, but evil lurks in shadowed caverns and decadent courts. The final outcome of this intrigue is ever in question, and new heroes must always be found to keep their realms from destruction.


Six major human ethnic groups share the vast Flanaess with numerous nonhumans. Unmixed human ethnic groups exist in several enclaves, but for the most part the Suel, Flan, Oeridians, and Baklunish have mixed to form a variety of blended types. Ethnicity is given little importance by intelligent folk, particularly in the central lands, though some royal courts promote particular ethnicities, Each ethnic group appears to have developed ages ago in isolation from all others, with its own pantheon of deities, language, and culture. In practical matters of exploration, trade, adventure, and war, color and race have little meaning.

Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings are all found in substantial numbers throughout the Flanaess, though only the Elves have large nations to themselves: Celene, Sunndi, Highfolk, and the Lendore Isles. Major humanoid races include the orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls and kobolds.


The world of Greyhawk encompasses the Flanaess, the easternmost portion of the vast continent of Oerik, on the planet Oerth. Oerik is the largest of Oerths four continents, and four oceans surround them all. Very little is known about the lands beyond the Flanaess.

The Flanaess can be divided into nine broadly defined geopolitical territories, most of which coincide with old national identities that once dominated those regions:

The Baklunish West

Survivors of the Invoked Devastation settled these temperate prairies, forests, and coastal lands about one thousand years ago. Largely separated from the rest of the Flanaess by the great Yatils, Barrier Peaks, and Crystalmist Mountains, these realms are a stronghold of Baklunish culture.

The Bitter North

The lands north of the Yatil Mountains, from the Dramidj coast to the Dulsi River, make up the Bitter North. The climate in this region of steppes and coniferous forests varies from cool to frigid, making this a sparsely settled area home mostly to nomads, orcs, and goblins, except in Perrenland.

The Western Nyr Dyv

The lands from the Nyr Dyv to the Yatils are an old stronghold of Good in the Flanaess. Humans of Oeridian and Flan descent, dwarves, and elves contribute to the vigor of these nations. The rich soil and the pleasant climate, combined with healthy trade relations with their neighbors to the east, south and west, make this a strong and wealthy region.

The Sheldomar Valley

The fertile Sheldomar Valley is almost completely enclosed by mountains until it reaches the Azure Sea. Two great rivers, the Sheldomar and the Javan, water these lands between the Crystalmists and the Lortmils. The climate here is warm and mild, and many
elves, dwarves, gnomes, and halflings live in peace alongside Suel, Oeridian, and Flan farmers and lords.

The Empire of Iuz

The evil demigod Iuz has expanded his territory from his original realm north of Lake Whyestil to include most of the land from the western edge of the Vesve Forest across the north-central Flanaess to the current war zone of Tenh. These lands are generally
wilderness dotted with ruined human towns and active orc lairs, with a cool to temperate climate.

The Thillonrian Peninsula

This isolated, mountainous region at the northeastern edge of the Flanaess is home to many barbarians. These northern Suel call their land Rhizia, which has a ruggedly beautiful landscape of high mountains, coniferous forests, and deep fjords. The climate is
subarctic, with rocky soil and a brief growing season.

Old Aerdy West

These lands between the eastern Nyr Dyv and the line marked by the southern Rakers are temperate and fertile. Folk of Oeridian, Suloise and Flan heritage dwell in relative harmony here. This area was once yeah, part of the Oeridian-dominated Great Kingdom, but it broke away to become the kingdom of Nyrond (now reduced in size).

Old Aerdy East

The lands south and east of the Rakers and north of the Vast Swamp, off to the Solnor coast, were once the heartland of Aerdy, the Great Kingdom. These lands are rich and their climate pleasant, though long years of civil war and oppression have damaged the
economy. Many orcs and goblinoid races live among the numerous, warlike Oeridians here.

Isolated Realms

These strange lands include the deadly Sea of Dust, the jungles of the Amedio and Hepmonaland, the Tilvanot Peninsula, and many islands along the eastern coast. These regions are little known to most inhabitants of the Flanaess. People of Suloise descent are found through out, particularly on the Tilvanot Peninsula, but other races of humanity are also present (for example, the dark Touv of Hepmonaland). Most of these southern regions are hot and suffer frequent storms. Hepmonaland is actually a minor continent, the smallest of the four on Oerth.

People & Culture:

The Baklunish resemble Arabian, Turkish and Persian people, and inhabit the northwestern Flanaess. They once held a great empire that extended much further than their present lands, but centuries of warring with the Suel Imperium to the south sent their culture into decline. The Invoked Devastation ruined their empire, for which the Baklunish retaliated with the Rain of Colorless Fire, burning the Suel Imperium to ash. The Baklunish, unlike the Suloise, retained much of their culture after the fall of their empire. Honor, family, generosity and piety are fundamental virtues. Many skilled wizards are Baklunish, including experts in elemental magic, divination, and summoning/binding extraplanar beings.

The Flan are bronze-skinned and have a culture resembling a mixture of the Celts and Native Americans. They were the first known humans to live in eastern Oerik. The Flan had been a nomadic people for many centuries when they were displaced by the Suloise and Oeridian invaders. The Flan have always been strongly tied to the natural world, as they were nomadic hunter-gatherers for so long. They see nature as an entity to be respected by not controlled, and this is reflected in their myths, legends and culture. Flan wizards normally work in harmony with nature, avoiding destructive magic. Flan clerics are often druids, who are more accepting of agriculture than they once were.

Oeridians resemble the cultures of real-world Italy and Greece. They spent centuries as barbarian mercenaries before settling down and forming their own civilizations. The most powerful empire in the modern Flanaess was created by a conquering tribe of Oeridians, the Aerdi, who subjugated and assimilated all who opposed them. Ancient Oeridians were fierce warriors, yet they also were self-sacrificing and loyal. These traits are not as evident today, but many Oeridians do remain temperamental and prone to violence. They have a preference for strict social order, usually fitting themselves at the top, and their military traditions are strong. The Oeridian skill at warfare is unsurpassed, and many folk have a hard-learned respect for it.

The Olman have a culture that resembles the Aztecs and Mayans. They originated from Hepmonaland, a jungle-filled subcontinent to the Flanaess' southeast. Through centuries of warfare, they built an empire that spanned northern Hepmonaland and reached across the Densac Gulf to include the Amedio jungle, in the central South of the Flanaess. Internal strife, wars with the dark-skinned Touv humans of southern Hepmonaland, and the corruptive influence of Yuan-Ti caused them to abandon their old cities. Many Olman migrated to the Amedio, where they maintained their civilization for several more centuries. Ultimately, these cities also fell to the curses of civil war and supernatural upheaval, until most Olman reverted to barbarism. The Olman of today are now concentrated in the jungles of the south. Many are enslaved in the lands held by the evil Scarlet Brotherhood.

The Rhennee are a gypsy folk, who are masters of inland sailing and navigation. They camp on the shores of the Flanaess many large lakes, and travel back and forth between them on their riverboats.  The Rhennee are not native to Oerth; rather, they are accidental travelers from another plane or world, citizens of a lost homeland they call "Rhop." Music and gambling are beloved amusements. Rhennee have a wide reputation as thieves, and most do learn rogue skills as children, practicing them primarily upon outsiders. Their secrecy and bad reputation cause most people to dislike the Rhennee, and the feeling is mutual. They survive by ferrying goods and passengers, fishing, hunting, selling crafts, theft and smuggling, though they put forth the least amount of work possible to accomplish their goals.

Suloise are a fair-skinned people, with a culture vaguely resembling Germanic and Scandinavian people of the real world. The Suel Imperium was located in what is now known as the Sea of Dust. Wicked and decadent, this empire was destroyed during a war with the Baklunish when the latter brought down the Rain of Colorless Fire. Suloise survivors fled in all directions and many fled into the Flanaess. Some evil Suel were forced into the extreme corners of the Flanaess by invading Oeridians. The Suel Imperium was governed by contesting noble houses, and the fleeing bands that entered the Flanaess were often led by nobles with their families and retainers. Modern Suel retain this affinity for family, although they often use a very narrow definition of the term to include only immediate family. The ancient Suel Imperium was exceedingly cruel. This trait surfaces in the modern day, for more than one Suel organization openly plots against the people of the Flanaess. Fortunately, most Suel have avoided this dark legacy, having inherited the relatively minor flaws of being opinionated, selfish, and blunt. They have a passion for study, especially in regards to magic.

The Touv are a dark-skinned people who resemble many real-world African cultures. They dwell on the southern half of Hepmonaland and rarely leave the subcontinent to interact with the rest of human society, mainly because the only other human groups they have contact with are their ancient Olman enemies and the evil Suloise of the Scarlett Brotherhood, and the ocean currents around southern Hepmonaland are too dangerous for most ships.


Magic on Oerth is normal for standard D&D. It's accepted as a part of life, even if most people never see it in practice.


Religion is important to the people of Oerth, though the deities rarely manifest themselves. No deity above demigod level may enter the Prime Material Plane of Oerth without the consensus of a majority of the gods of Oerth. A few exceptions to this are the deities Ehlonna, Fharlanghn, Obad-Hai, and Olidammara (all gods who claim the Prime Material as their native plane), Beory (who may actually be Oerth itself), and St. Cuthbert (who is allowed to come to Oerth to fight the evil demigod Iuz). Most deities have important festivals and holidays that people across the Flaness celebrate. Most people worship or pay tribute to more than one deity every day, often up to a dozen or more during the year, though a person might hold one particular god as a personal favorite.

Cosmology and the Afterlife:

Greyhawk uses the classic "Great Wheel" cosmology as defined in the Manual of the Planes and the Planescape setting. After death, the souls of the dead travel to the plane of their deity and become petitioners. The souls of those who die believing in no deity vanish from existence, although it is rumored that a dark power is secretly harvesting these souls for some awful purpose.

On-line Resources:

Canonfire! World of Greyhawk on the Web
Greyhawk Wiki

« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 02:11:46 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2011, 10:49:22 PM »
Map of the Flanaess:

Map of the Oerth (drawn by Nerik1):

Notes for the world map:

 :arrow: The location of New Empyrea is a "best guess." New Empyrea is from Frank Mentzer's Aquaria campaign (originally published in modules R1 through R4, and later repackaged as I12 Egg of the Phoenix), and was originally set "5000 miles to the east of the Flanaess" according to the module R4 Doc's Island. However, the Solnor Ocean is only 3000 miles wide, and the only land in that direction is the other side of the Oerik continent. Aquaria was supposed to be on its own continent. Plus, the geography of the map in R4 does not match up with anything in Western Oerik. Additionally, R4 describes a frontier with a minimal human presence, which does not really match the vast empires of Western Oerik. Fireland is the closes approximate landmass in the area and the closest to the same climate.

 :arrow: The Empire of Lynn, Ishtar, Tharque Empire, Red Kingdom, Tribes of Enllaves, Barbarian Seameast are all from Francois Marcela-Froideval's [wiki=Black Moon Chronicles]Black Moon Chronicles[/wiki] comic books. Froideval's campaign was given an official home in Western Oerik by Gary Gygax. The locations ended up being official in a map of Oerth printed in Dragon Annual #1 in 1996.

 :arrow: Khemit is also from the Black Moon Chronicles, but Froideval called it "Erypt" in his works (and it is called that on the Dragon Annual map). It is the home of the character Methraton and based on ancient Egypt. I (and most other Greyhawk fans) feel this is a little too "on the nose" for Greyhawk, so I used the name Khemit from the d20 version of Gary Gygax's Necropolis module. That module was originally written for the Mythus: Dangerous Journeys game, and its world Aerth, but according to the adventure Expedition to Castle Greyhawk, Aerth is one of several "parallel Oerths," so it could conceivably be called Khemit on Oerth as well.

 :arrow: Thalos, Mordengard, the Free States, Ravilla, Drazen's Horde, Ahmut's Legion, and Naresh come from the short-lived Chainmail reboot from 2001 by Chris Pramas.

 :arrow: The Baklien Khanates derive their name from the Chainmail reboot as well--they are described as mongol-like horsemen from the east in Dragon #286

 :arrow: Shaofeng was called "Suhfang" in Gary Gygax's Gord the Rogue novels and "the Celestial Imperium" on the Dragon Annual map, but was named Shaofeng in Expedition to Castle Greyhawk. It is Greyhawk's version of China.

 :arrow: Ryuujin was called "Nippon" on the Dragon Annual map. The name Ryuujin comes from Dragon #277. It is Greyhawk's version of Japan.

 :arrow: Mur, Komal, and Risay are briefly described in Dungeon #136 and the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer

 :arrow: Telchuria is called "Hyperborea" on the Dragon Annual map and "Hyborea" in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. It is called Telchuria in Dungeon #136.

 :arrow: Zahind is a compromise name. It is called "Zindia" on the Dragon Annual map and "Jahind" in Gygax's Gord the Rogue novels. It is Greyhawk's version of India.

 :arrow: "Darak Urtag" is a fan-name for the region called "Orcreich" on the Dragon Annual map.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 11:26:52 PM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 01:07:45 AM »
Pantheons of Greyhawk

Flan Pantheon
Allitur, god of ethics and propriety
Beory, goddess of the Oerth, nature and rain
Berei, goddess of agriculture, family and home
Earth Dragon, spirit of earth, weather, and hidden treasures
Kyuss, god of the undead
Myhriss, goddess of love, romance and beauty
Nerull, god of death, darkness, murder, and the Underworld
Obad-Hai, god of nature, woodlands, freedom, hunting and beasts
Pelor, god of sun, light, strength and healing
Rao, god of peace, reason and serenity
Red Fox, animal spirit that taught men crafts and fire-making
The Serpent, an entity believed to be the personification of arcane magic
Vathris, hero-deity of anguish, lost causes and revenge
Vecna, god of destructive & evil secrets, magic, hidden knowledge, and intrigue
Zodal, god of mercy, hope and benevolence

Suel Pantheon
Beltar, goddess of malice, caves and pits
Bralm, goddess of insects and industriousness
Dalt, god of portals, doors, enclosures, locks and keys
Fortubo, god of stone, metals, mountains and guardianship
Jascar, god of hills and mountains
Kord, god of athletics, sports, brawling, strength and courage
Lendor, god of time, tedium, patience and study
Llerg, god of beasts and strength
Lydia, goddess of music, knowledge and daylight
Norebo, god of luck, gambling and risks
Osprem, goddess of sea voyages, ships and sailors
Phaulkon, god of air, wind, clouds, birds and archery
Phyton, god of nature, beauty and farming
Pyremius, god of assassins, fire, poison and murder
Ranet, goddess of fire (dead)
Syrul, goddess of lies, deceit, treachery and false promises
Vatun, god of northern barbarians, cold, winter and arctic beasts
Wee Jas, goddess of magic, death, vanity and law
Xerbo, god of the sea, sailing, money and business

Baklunish Pantheon
Al'Akbar, demigod of dignity, duty, faithfulness and guardianship
Al'Asran (Pelor)
Al'Zarad (Boccob)
Azor'alq, hero-deity of light, purity, courage and strength
Daoud, hero-deity of humility, clarity and immediacy
Geshtai, goddess of lakes, rivers, wells and streams
Istus, goddess of fate, destiny, divination, the future and honesty
Mouqol, god of trade, negotiation, ventures, appraisal and reciprocity
Xan Yae, goddess of twilight, shadows, stealth and mental power
Zuoken, god of physical and mental mastery

Oeridian Pantheon
Bleredd, god of metal, mines and smiths
Celestian, god of stars, space and wanderers
Cyndor, god of time, infinity and continuity
Daern, hero-deity of defenses and fortifications
Delleb, god of reason, intellect and study
Erythnul, god of hate, malice, panic, ugliness and slaughter
Fharlanghn, god of horizons, distance, travel and roads
Heironeous, god of chivalry, justice, honor, war, daring and valor
Hextor, god of war, discord, massacres, conflict, fitness and tyranny
Johydee, hero-goddess of deception, espionage and protection
Kurell, god of jealousy, revenge and thievery
Kuroth, hero-god of theft and treasure-finding
Lirr, goddess of prose, poetry, literature and art
Merikka, demigoddess of agriculture, farming and the home
Olidammara, god of music, revels, wine, rogues, humor and tricks
Pholtus, god of light, resolution, law, inflexibility, the sun and the moons
Procan, god of seas, sea life, salt, sea weather and navigation
Rudd, goddess of chance, good luck and skill
Sol (Pelor)
Stern Alia, demigoddess of oeridian culture, law and motherhood
Stratis, god of the art of war, strategy and battle skills (dead)
Velnius, god of the sky and weather
Telchur, god of winter, cold and the north wind
Atroa, goddess of spring, renewal and the east wind
Sotillion, goddess of summer, ease, comfort and the south wind
Wenta, goddess of autumn, brewing, harvest and the west wind
Zilchus, god of power, prestige, money, business and influence

Olman Pantheon
Camazotz, god of bats and evil
Chitza-Atlan, demigod who guards the gates of the Underworld
Coatlicue, goddess of the earth, life, and the dead
Huhueteotl, god of time and destructive fire
Hurakan, god of floods and unrestrained fury
Mictlantecuhtli, god of death, darkness, murder and the Underworld
Ometeotl, god of creation
Quetzalcoatl, god of air, wisdom, birds and snakes
Tezcatlipoca, god of the sun, moon, night, scheming and betrayals
Tlaloc, god of rain and moisture
Tlazoteotl, mother goddess of the earth
Tonatiuh, fifth and current sun god

Touv Pantheon
Berna, goddess of passion and forgiveness
Breeka, goddess of living things
Damaran, god of vermin and flight
Katay, god of decay, inevitability, order and time
Kundo, god of building, noise, music and defense
Meyanok, god of serpents, poison, discord, darkness and famine
Nola, goddess of the sun
Uvot, god of prosperity
Vara, goddess of nightmares and fear
Vogan, god of rain, storms and water
Xanag, goddess of metals and beauty

Elven Pantheon
Aerdrie Faenya, goddess of Air, Weather, Birds, and Avariel.
Alathrien Druanna, the Rune Mistress.
Alobal Lorfiril, god of Hedonism, Mirth, Magic, and Revelry.
Araleth Letheranil, god of Light.
Corellon Larethian, god of Elves, Magic, Music, Arts, Crafts, Poetry, and Warfare.
Darahl Firecloak, god of Earth and Flame
Deep Sashelas, god of Water, Knowledge, Beauty, Magic, and Aquatic Elves.
Elebrin Liothiel, god of Nature, Gardens, Orchards, and the Harvest.
Erevan Ilesere, god of Mischief, Change, and Rogues.
Fenmarel Mestarine, god of Exiles, Scapegoats, and Grugach.
Gadhelyn, hero-god of Independence, Outlawry, Feasting, and Hunting.
Hanali Celanil, goddess of Romantic Love and Beauty.
Kirith Sotheril, goddess of Divinations and Enchantments.
Labelas Enoreth, god of Time and Longevity.
Melira Taralen, goddess of Bards and Minstrels.
Mythrien Sarath, god of Protection and Mythals.
Naralis Analor, god of Healing, Easing of Pain, and Death.
Rellavar Danuvien, god of Frost Sprites and Protection from Cold.
Rillifane Rallathil, god of Nature, Woodlands, and Wood Elves.
Sarula Iliene, goddess of Lakes, Streams, Nixies, and Water Magic.
Sehanine Moonbow, goddess of the Moon, Mysticism, Dreams, Far Journeys, Death, and Transcendence.
Solonor Thelandira, god of Hunting, Archery, and Survival.
Tarsellis Meunniduin, god of Winter, Mountains, and Snow Elves.
Tethrin Veraldé, god of Bladesingers.
Vandria Gilmadrith, goddess of War, Guardianship, Justice, Grief, Vigilance, and Decision.
Ye'Cind, god of Music and Magical Songs.

Drow Pantheon
Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders, goddess of the drow, darkness and evil
Keptolo, god of drow males, flattery, intoxication, rumor and opportunism
Kiarnasali, goddess of slavery, vengeance and the undead
Vhaerun, god of thievery, drow males, and evil activity on the surface world
Zinzerna, goddess of chaos and assassins
Elder Elemental Eye (Tharizdun) -- heretical in drow society

Dwarven Pantheon
Abbathor, god of greed
Berronar Truesilver, goddess of safety, truth, home and healing
Clanggedin Silverbeard, god of war and just warriors
Dugmaren Brightmantle, god of scholarship, discovery and invention
Dumathoin, god of mining and underground exploration, protector of the dwarven dead
Gendwar Argrim, hero-deity of fatalism and obsession
Moradin, chief god of the dwarves
Muamman Duathal, god of wanderers, expatriates and lightning
Vergadain, god of wealth and luck

Halfling Pantheon
Arvoreen, god of protection, vigilance and war
Brandobaris, god of stealth, thievery, rogues and adventuring
Cyrrollalee, goddess of friendship, trust and the home
Sheela Peryroyl, goddess of nature, agriculture and the weather
Urogalan, god of earth and death
Yondalla, chief halfling deity, goddess of protection, fertility, the halfling race, children, security, leadership, diplomacy, wisdom, the cycle of life, creation, family, tradition, community, harmony, and prosperity

Gnomish Pantheon
Baervan Wildwanderer, god of forests, travel and nature
Baravar Cloakshadow, god of illusions, protection and deception
Callarduran Smoothhands, god of the earth, mining and protection
Flandal Steelskin, god of mining, smithing and fitness
Gaerdal Ironhand, god of protection, vigilance and combat
Garl Glittergold, patron deity of the gnomish race
Gelf Darkhearth, god of entropy and revenge
Nebelun, god of inventions and good luck
Segojan Earthcaller, god of earth and nature beneath the earth
Sheyanna Flaxenstrand, goddess of love, beauty and passion
Urdlen, god of greed and blood

Orcish Pantheon
Bahgtru, god of strength and combat
Gruumsh, patron god of the orcs, god of conquest, survival, strength and territory
Ilneval, god of warfare and leadership
Luthic, goddess of fertility, medicine, females and servitude
Shargaas, god of darkness, night, stealth, thieves and the undead
Yurtrus, god of death and disease

Dragon Pantheon
Aasterinian, goddess of invention and pleasure
Astilabor, goddess of hoards and acquisitiveness
Bahamut the Platinum Dragon, king of good dragons and god of wind, wisdom and enlightened justice
Chronepsis, god of fate, death and judgment
Faluzure, god of energy draining, undeath, decay and exhaustion
Garyx, god of fire-using dragons
Hlal, goddess of draconic humor
Io, creator of all things, god of dragonkind, balance and peace
Lendys, god of balance and justice
Nathair Sgiathach, god of pseudo-dragons, mischief and pranks
Rais. goddess of intellect and silver dragons
Sardior, the Ruby Dragon, master of the gem dragons and god of neutral dragons, night, psionics and secrets
Tamara, goddess of mercy
Tiamat, the Chromatic Dragon, queen and mother of all evil dragons and goddess of conquest, greed and evil dragonkind

Deities that have no particular race or ethnic pantheon
Iuz, demigod of deceit, evil, oppression, pain and wickedness
Tharizdun, god of eternal darkness, decay, entropy, malign knowledge, insanity and cold
Wastri, god of amphibians, bigotry and self-deception
Murlynd, hero-deity of magical technology
Heward, hero-deity of bards and musicians
Keoghtom, hero-deity of secret pursuits, natural alchemy and extraplanar exploration
Kelanen, hero-deity of swords, sword skills and balance
Boccob, god of magic, arcane knowledge, balance and foresight
Zagyg, demigod of humor, occult lore, eccentricity and unpredictability
Saint Cuthbert, god of wisdom, dedication and zeal
Trithereon, god of individuality, liberty, retribution and self-defense
Ralishaz, god of chance, ill luck, misfortune and insanity
Ulaa, goddess of hills, mountains and gemstones
Ehlonna, goddess of forests, woodlands, flora, fauna and fertility
Joramy, goddess of fire, volcanoes, wrath, anger and quarrels
Mayaheine, demigoddess of protection, justice and valor
Incabulos, god of plagues, sickness, famine, nightmares, drought and disasters
Scahrossar, demigoddess of pain, torture, sadism and cruelty
Nazrn, half-orc hero-deity of formal, ritualistic and public combat
The Green Man, demigod of growth and abundance

Click here to see a list of proper alignments and domains for clerics of Greyhawk deities
« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 01:14:58 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2011, 03:44:39 AM »

(from the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer)

The commonly understood history of the Flaneass begins just over one thousand years ago, when the conflict between the ancient Suloise and Baklunish empires forced massive migrations eastward across, around, and even under the western mountain ranges. This resulted in the mixture of races and cultures that defines the modern Flanaess.

Tales of the era before the migrations are fragmentary and poorly understood. Did monstrous creatures rule Oerik before the advent of humanity? Did the great races of humans, elves, dwarves and the like arise by fiat of the gods or journey here from elsewhere? Did the elves raise humanity to civilization, or did humans achieve this on their own? Did the Flan once have their own empires and civilizations? Who built the oldest tombs in the Cairn Hills, the half-buried ruins in the Bright Desert, or the deserted stone cities in the Griff Mountains? Where were the fabled Wind Dukes of Aaqa, Vecna the Whispered One, the High Kings of the dwarves, or the Elven Kings of Summer Stars? What became of the mysterious Isles of Woe, and who dwelled there? No one knows with any certainty.

Even histories of the early years of the migrations are unclear on many points. The Oeridian tribal realm of Thalland was so thoroughly absorbed by the kingdom of the Aerdy that it survives only in name as the Thelly River. The ancient kingdom of Ahlissa, ruled by the Flan and easily conquered by the Aerdy, is known today only for its founding wizard-queen, Ehlissa the Enchantress, and a magical nightengale she made. (The Flan here have almost vanished though intermarriage.) So it goes through much of recorded time.

What is presented here is a history of the land accepted by most learned authorities and understood by almost anyone with a rudimentary education. The current time is the Common Year (CY) 599, which is also 1243 OR (Oeridian Record), 6114 SD (Suloise Dating), 5061 OC (Olven Calender ["olve" is the Flan word for elves]), 3258 BH (Baklunish Hegira), and 2749 FT (Flan Tracking).

Note: When calculating Common Years prior to the Declaration of Universal Peace in 1 CY, remember that Common Year reckoning has no "year zero." Thus, the time that elapsed between 5 CY and -5 CY is nine years, not ten.

Disaster and Migration

The root cause of the animosity between the Suel Imperium and the Baklunish Empire is lost in time, but the end result of their final war haunts even the modern day. After decades of conflict, the Suloise Mages of Power called down the Invoked Devastation upon the Baklunish, resulting in an apocalypse so complete that its true form remains unknown. Entire cities and countless people were purged from Oerth, leaving few signs of the great civilization that thrived from the Sulhaut Mountains to the Dramidj Ocean.

In retaliation, a cadre of Baklunish wizard-clerics, gathered in the great protective stone circles known as Tovag Baragu, brought the Rain of Colorless Fire upon their hated enemies. The skies above the Suel Imperium opened, and all beings and things beneath the shining rift in the heavens were burned to ash. So terribly did these attacks plague the world that they have been come to be called the Twin Cataclysms, a term understood by nearly every resident of the Flanaess. The Dry Steppes and Sea of Dust are geographical reminders of this unbridled magical power, now lost to all people -- perhaps for the better.

Thousands survived the early years of the Suel-Baklunish conflict by fleeing east over the Crystalmists. The Oeridians, a confederation of barbaric tribes in close proximity to the warring empires, took the wars (and attendant raids from orc and goblin mercenaries in the employ of both sides) as a sign to migrate eastward in search of their ultimate destiny. They were the first group to enter the lands of the Flan, which they termed the Flanaess.

Suloise refugees soon followed, sometimes working with the Oeridians to pacify the land, but more often warring with them over which race would dominate it. For over two centuries, Suel and Oeridian fought for control of the region from the Crystalmists to the Solnor Coast. Many Suloise were debased and wicked, and they lost most of these battles and were pushed to the periphery of the Flaneass.

Though some Baklunish folk migrated eastward, many more fled north toward the Yatil Mountains, or to the shores of the Dramidj Ocean, where their ancient cultures flourish to this day. The very nonhuman mercenaries the Oeridians had sought to avoid found themselves swept up by these migrations. Many of the foul creatures that now plague the Flanaess arrived following the Oeridians and Suel. These renegade mercenaries trailed after human migrants in search of plunder, food and slaves.

Keoland and Aerdy

The most successful union of Suel and Oeridian came in the Sheldomar Valley, where Keoland was founded eighty years after the Twin Cataclysms. The Suel Houses of Rhola and Neheli joined with Oeridian tribes on the banks of the Sheldomar and pledged themselves to mutual protection and dominion of the western Flanaess, an agreement that set the course of history for the region for the next nine centuries. Of all the new realms formed during those tumultuous days, only Keoland remains.

Farther east, the most powerful of all Oeridian tribes, the Aerdi, reached the Flanmi River. From there, they spread outward again, conquering indigenous peoples and fellow migrants alike. In time, the kingdom of Aerdy ruled the whole of the eastern Flanaess and moved its borders westward. One hundred and ten years after the defeat of the last meaningful threat to Aerdi sovereignty, at the Battle of a Fortnight's Length, the leader of the Aerdy was crowned as overking of the Great Kingdom. Overking Nasran also marked the birth of a new calender, and with the Declaration of Universal Peace, the sun arose in east on the first day of the first Common Year. The writ of imperial Aerdy eventually encompassed holdings as far west as the Yatils, controlling the southern Nyr Dyv with a small garrison at an insignificant trading post known as Greyhawk.

From 213 CY on, the Aerdi overkings grew lax, caring more for local prestige and wealth than for the affairs of their vassals in distant lands. This period was called the Age of Great Sorrow. As each sovereign passed, he was replaced with a more dimwitted and less competent successor, until the outer dependencies of Aerdy declared their independence. The viceroyalty of Ferrond led the way, becoming the kingdom of Furyondy. Other regions also broke away from the ineffectual government of the overking over time, creating their own governments after achieving success in their wars of rebellion.

By 356 CY, the ruling dynasty of Aerdy, the Celestial House of Rax, had grown especially decadent. In response, the western province of Nyrond declared itself free of the Great Kingdom and elected one of its nobles as king of an independent domain. Armies gathered from all loyal provinces of Aerdy to suppress the brazen act. At this time, however, barbarians from the Thillonrian Peninsula raided the Great Kingdom's North Province, forcing the overking to divert troops from the western front. Nyrond easily survived and thrived.

The Kingdom of Keoland awoke from a long slumber in the third century, expanding to dominate its neighbors. This short-lived Keolish empire lasted almost two centuries before far-flung wars and internal strife laid it low. The outer dependencies declared their autonomy, and Keoland resumed its peaceful slumber.

The Ivids and Iuz

The darkest chapter in the history of the Aerdy began in 437 CY. In this year, the upstart House Naelax murdered the Rax overking, inaugurating a series of gruesome civil wars called the Turmoil Between Crowns. Within a decade, Ivid I of Naelax was recognized as the undisputed king of all Aerdy. As Ivid was rumored to be in league with powerful evil Outsiders, the Malachite Throne of the Great Kingdom became known as the Fiend-Seeing Throne, and the once mighty and upright empire became a bastion of evil and cruelty.

The lands of the Flanaess soon became acquainted with an altogether less subtle form of evil with the rise of Iuz, in the Northern Reaches loosely aligned with Furyondy. In 479 CY, a minor despot in the Howling Hills left his domain for his "son," a being known as Iuz. Within a handful of years, Iuz had conquered his neighbors, setting up a small realm for himself. Tales told by refugees entering Furyondy spoke of unmitigated evil: Iuz was building a road of human skulls from the Howling Hills to his capital, Dorakaa. Worse, divinations and rumors marked Iuz as the offspring of an unholy union between necromancer and demon; he was seen to be a half-fiend towering 7 feet in height, driven by a thirst for blood, destruction, and conquest.

Political struggles within Furyondy prevented the king from acting decisively in this period, when the evil of Iuz might have been permanently checked. Instead, the cambion lord flourished until 505 CY, when he appeared to vanish from Oerth. In truth, Iuz was imprisoned beneath Castle Greyhawk by the Mad Archmage Zagig Yragerne, former lord mayor of Greyhawk. In Iuz's absence, orc tribes and disloyal former subjects squabbled for control of his lands, allowing the forces of weal to rest for a time.

Three developments kept Furyondy and its allies from complacency. First, part of Iuz's leaderless realm soon broke away to be ruled by a nearly equal evil, the Horned Society.

Second, the notorious Horde of Elemental Evil arose, a collection of cultists an villains headquartered at a temple south of Verbobonc. The Horde was a puppet of Zuggtmoy, Iuz's abyssal consort, who instructed it in bizarre teachings at the behest of her absent lover. The Horde's banditry was finally vanquished in 569 CY at the Battle of Emridy Meadows, where Prince Thrommel of Furyondy led forces from Furyondy, Veluna, Verbobonc, and other realms in victory and the destruction of the temple. Adventurers put down an attempted resurgence of the Temple of Elemental Evil in 579 CY.

Third, faithful orc and human servants of Iuz became zealots dedicated to their absent lord. In time, the leaders of these cults devoted to Iuz displayed magical power, igniting Furyondy's worst fears. In 570 CY, a meddlesome warrior-adventurer named Lord Robilar freed Iuz from his imprisonment. Iuz returned to his lands more powerful and wicked than ever before, with an unholy priesthood leading his forces in his unholy name.

(continued next post)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 12:26:40 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2011, 03:45:34 AM »
History Continued

Storm Clouds

The years from Iuz's return to the Greyhawk Wars (570-581) are often seen in retrospect to be the prelude to later conflict. Several destablizing forces came into play, upsetting the old balance of power in the Flanaess. The most insidious of these powers was the Scarlet Brotherhood, a secretive monastic order first reported in 573 CY, the same year in which Prince Thrommel of Furyondy, hero of Emridy Meadows, vanished from the world.

Semiregular skirmishes between Aerdy's South Province and Nyrond erupted into open hostilities in early 579, when Overking Ivid V made war against the so-called "Golden League" (Nyrond, Almor, and the Iron League). Though this dreary war lasted through the end of 580, it resolved nothing except to drain the coffers and manpower of both Aerdy and Nyrond, leaving them weakened when continental war erupted in 583.

The ravaging of the Shield Lands by both the Bandit Kingdoms and Horned Society in 579-583 CY similarly served to weaken this entire region, leaving the Shield Lands in ruins. Iuz took note of this and made use of it in his grandiose plans for conquest.

An important though seldom noticed event took place in 581 CY, when an agent of Vecna, the Whispered One of ancient Flan legend, struck down the entire Circle of Eight. The Circle had acted subtly as a balancing agent for years, preventing any one power from dominating too much of the Flanaess. Though the Circle's leader, Mordenkainen, returned his colleagues to life using powerful magic, the group was in disarray when war erupted in the distant north in 582.

The Greyhawk Wars

In 582, the god Vatun appeared to his subjects among the barbarian tribes of the Thillonrian Peninsula. Ancient legend predicted that the return of Vatun, who had vanished centuries ago, would signal the birth of a barbarian empire in the north. Unfortunately, this particular "Vatun" was actually Iuz, whipping the northmen into a war frenzy.

The barbarians invaded the Hold of Stonefist, which allied with them after Iuz ensorcelled Sevvord Redbeard, the Master of the Hold. The combined host then smashed through the Griffs and into the Duchy of Tenh, which was swiftly overwhelmed. The barbarian alliance soon crumbled, but the damage was done: Tenh and Stonefist belonged to the Old One. Returning to his homeland, Iuz then conquered the Horned Society, Bandit Kingdoms, and Shield Lands in quick succession. Furyondy was invaded, and much of its northern territory was captured and laid waste. Iuz held the northern Flanaess in a death grip.

Taking advantage of the chaos, Ivid V ordered the Great Kingdom's armies to muster, with the intention of paying back his foes for centuries of impudence. The war that followed was staggering in scope and consequence. Almor was utterly destroyed; Nyrond was invaded; Sunndi was conquered. The nobles of the Great Kingdom fell upon one another, terrified of their insane overking and eager to steal the lands of their neighbors. In the chaos, Medegia was despoiled and Rel Astra attacked by the Great Kingdom's own military. Ivid attempted to ensure loyalty by having his generals and nobles assassinated and reanimated as intelligent undead (animuses), with all the abilities they possessed in life. He in turn was also assassinated, though the church of Hextor restored him to undead "life," after which he became a true monster known as Ivid the Undying.

The madness of war bred more war. In 584, south of Greyhawk, a half-orc named Turrosh Mak united the vile nonhuman tribes of the Pomarj. Mak's armies boiled north, conquering several of the cities of the independent Wild Coast, then capturing nearly half of the Principality of Ulek. The appeals of Prince Corond of Ulek to Yolande, the elven queen of Celene, fell upon uncaring ears. Celene closed its borders to even its most trusted allies, refusing to let elf blood fall in human wars.

This same year, decade-old paranoia regarding the Scarlet Brotherhood came true, as advisers in courts throughout the Flanaess were found to be Brotherhood agents. The Lordship of the Isles, Idee, Onnwal, and the Sea Princes fell under the influence of the Scarlet Sign, from treachery or invasion. Barbarians from Hepmonaland and the Amedio Jungle were used to secure captured lands. The Brotherhood was revealed as an evil, racist order dedicated to preserving the culture and purity of the ancient Suel Imperium, without regard to the lives of others.

For three years, the whole of the Flanaess flew the banners of war. Nations fell as new empires were born. Demons and devils from the Outer Planes were summoned en masse by Iuz and Ivid V, and hundreds of thousands of mortals died. Finally, the battle-weary combatants gathered in Greyhawk to declare peace. Harvester 584 was to see the signing of the Pact of Greyhawk, fixing borders and mandating an end to hostilities.

On the Day of the Great Signing, however, Greyhawk suffered a great treachery: Rary, one of the Circle of Eight, destroyed his companions Tenser and Otiluke in a great magical battle, then fled. Many suspected that the former Archmage of Ket had hoped to hold the ambassadors hostage, perhaps capturing Greyhawk itself in the process. Instead, he and his cohort, Lord Robilar, went into the Bright Desert to form their own kingdom. Fearing further disruptions, the delegates hurriedly signed the Pact of Greyhawk. Ironically, because of the site of the treaty signing, the great conflicts soon became known as the Greyhawk Wars.

Recent Recovery

The "Year of Peace" (585 CY) saw little of the sort. War raged in the Principality of Ulek against orc invaders from the Pomarj, and efforts to retake Sterich were initiated in the west. The Circle of Eight was brought to full membership once more and began acting against every power its wizards perceived as tyrannical or dangerous to the common welfare.

In the fall of 585 CY, King Archbold III of Nyrond was almost assassinated by his younger son, Sewarndt. Fighting erupted in the capital, but Archbold's eldest son, Lynwerd, won the day, taking the throne in Fireseek 586. In 587 King Lynwerd incorporated much of ruined Almor into Nyrond, but he now struggles to maintain his tottering realm in the face of staggering difficulties.

In Coldeven 586, Canon Hazen of Veluna employed the Crook of Rao, a powerful artifact, in a special ceremony that purged the Flanaess of nearly all fiends inhabiting it. Outsiders summoned by Iuz, Ivid, or independent evils fell victim to this magical assault, which became known as the Flight of Fiends. King Belvor III of Furyondy quickly joined Canon Hazen in declaring the Great Northern Crusade, an ambitious military action aimed at regaining land lost to Iuz in the Greyhawk Wars. By the end of 588 CY, the armies of Furyondy had restored the nation, as well as Critwall and Scragholme Isle in the old Shield Lands. The destruction and debauchery revealed as Iuz's agents fled sickened the crusaders. King Belvor declared eternal war upon the Old One, pledging to settle for nothing short of the complete destruction of Iuz himself. Raids against Iuz from Furyondy and the Shield Lands continue to the present.

Wars on the border of Iuz's empire burned in the east as well. Iuz's control over the ruler of Stonehold ended in 588. Swiftly afterward, a many-sided war began in Tenh, involving the mutually hostile forces of Iuz, Stonehold, the Pale, and Tenha expatriates. The war goes on today.

Immediately after the Flight of Fiends, it was announced in Rauxes that Ivid V was no longer overking, though it was unclear if he had actually died. Conflict engulfed the capital in a matter of hours as many of Ivid's generals and nobles, filled with rage and ambition, marched upon Rauxes. No one can explain the events that followed, but the city itself was soon engulfed in a strange magical field. Few willingly approach Rauxes now, given the bizarre eldritch forces that prevail where the ruined city stands.

The provinces of the broken Great Kingdom are now reunited, but into two mutually hostile powers. In 586 CY, Herzog Grenell of North Province declared himself overking of the Great Kingdom of Northern Aerdy. Overking Xavener I rules the United Kingdom of Ahlissa (founded in 587) from his new capital in Kalstrand. Both leaders would like to destroy each other, but financial problems and internal power struggles have forced them to devote their energies toward rebuilding their armies and infrastructure. Sunndi, the largest surviving member of the Iron League, became a kingdom in 589.

The Scarlet Brotherhood gained much in the Greyhawk Wars but suffered later reversals. In 586, the people of Onnwal rose up against their occupiers, reducing the Brotherhood's holdings to the capital, Scant. Idee was lost to Ahlissa in 587, and the Hold of the Sea Princes collapsed in a bloody civil war that bagan in 589 CY. Still, the Lordship of the Isles remains under the Scarlet Sign, and agents of the Brotherhood creep into courts across the Flanaess, sowing their evil plots.

The Flanaess today stands on the verge of a dynamic new age. The last decade has seen terrific wars, refugee migrations, the rise and fall of whole nations. The exploration of foreign lands is on the rise, trade is surging upward once more, and opportunities for heroism (and profits) are unlimited. The Flanaess awaits those who would seize its adventures and shape its future.

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Re: Greyhawk
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2011, 11:41:55 PM »
The Major Powers:

 :arrow: The Circle of Eight:
The mysterious assembly of wizards known as the Circle of Eight has long benefited from a past obscured by misinformation and enigma. The group's influence reaches from the Baklunish west to the Solnor Ocean, though its secretive methods ensure that few know the extent of its ministrations. Certain members of the Circle are well-known and liked, their talents appreciated throughout the Flanaess. The mages Bigby, Jallarzi and Otto, for instance, are welcome in courts far from cosmopolitan Greyhawk. Others, such as Drawmij, Nystul, and Theodain prefer to operate away from the public gaze. The Circle is led by the archmage Mordenkainen, who founded it as a tool to preserve the balance of power in the Flanaess and keep any one faction from dominating it. Mordenkainen's view of "enforced neutrality" is not tit-for-tat equality, but rather a detailed theoretical philosophy derived from decades of arcane research.

 :arrow: The Horned Society:

No one knows the true age of the Horned Society. Most scholars believe its Hierarchs were opportunist bandits who filled the void in Molag left by the disappearance of Iuz in 505 CY, only to be swept away in 583 after the demigod's return. More ominous speculation places the roots of the organization well before the great migrations of old. Certain old druids speak of the dreaded "Horned Ones," cultists who stalked the night in ancient times and preyed upon the Flan tribes. It is not certain if the modern Horned Society is actually a descendant of this dark sect or simply an imitator exploiting old legends.

In any case, the Horned Society came to prominence in 513 CY, a few years after the disappearance of Iuz in the north, when the cambion's malign kingdom went leaderless. The group seized the city of Molag and set about consolidating the territory around under its rule. Hobgoblins, orcs, and other nonhumans flocked to the Horned Society's dark banner. Conflicting reports placed the group's members as either worshipers of Nerull or devotees of devils. Both seem likely, as it appears the organization was a congregation of many factions, not a monolithic entity. The actual glue that held it together was likely more dogmatic than spiritual.

The Horned Society was made up of 13 leaders, called Hierarchs, including powerful fighters, clerics, rogues and wizards. The philosophy of the Horned Society was rulership through fear and might, with overtones of human supremacy and the subjugation of lesser races to achieve their goals. The Hierarchs and the rest of the leadership were presumed destroyed when Iuz sent his demonic minions into the territory in 583 CY. Still, it is possible, even likely, that they foresaw this event as a possibility and made plans to rebuild in case it became true. Rumors have placed the Horned Society's new headquarters in the Pomarj, Bone March, or even the depths of the Rift Canyon. No one knows for sure, which makes them a threat.

 :arrow: Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom:
Of all the orders of knighthood in the history of the Flanaess, none was greater than the fabled Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom. Once many hundreds in number, their membership has since dwindled to perhaps no more than two dozen today. Throughout their history, these knights were formidable warriors with a matchless reputation for courage and honor. They have become the model for numerous orders of knighthood that have sprung up in the Flanaess in their wake, including the Knights of the Hart and the Knights of the Holy Shielding. Their legends permeate the cultures of all the former provinces of the Great Kingdom.

Founded in 537 OR (-107 CY) when a group of young men foiled an attack upon the Aerdy king by a group of Ur-Flan sorcerers, the order has always been auspicious and legendary. From its inception, the order was unique in the Great Kingdom in that it chose its own membership through contests of skill and courage. Positions were not royally appointed, nor could they be bought, like many other knighthoods in the kingdom that were known to come cheaply (such as the Knights of Medegia). The Knight Protectors numbered followers of both Heironeous and Hextor in their ranks; while this produced strong rivalries, deadly conflicts were few. The goal of the order was always a united and protected Great Kingdom under an honorable and lawful monarch.

Unfortunately, the knighthood was betrayed by the paladin Sir Kargoth in 203 CY, and while he only had 13 followers, their betrayal was so great they all became death knights. The order went into slow decline after this, as many loyal knights spent much time hunting down renegades. The royal House Rax went into slow decline at about the same time. In 443 CY, Ivid I set about hunting down and destroying the remaining Knight Protectors, for they opposed his ascension to the throne after he assassinated the last Rax overking. He did not succeed in destroying them, but they became widely dispersed and many went into hiding. Most Knight Protectors today dwell in Ratik, or have joined the Iron League and dwell in Sunndi. With the apparent passing of Ivid V in Rauxes, some expect the Knight Protectors to emerge from their dormancy and take a more active role in the recovery of the Great Kingdom's former realms.

 :arrow: Knights of the Hart:

Once the least militant major order of knights in the Flanaess, the Knighs of the Hart have lately become more "aggressively defensive" in nature. These knights have a tripartite organization formed in ancient days to serve the needs of the lords of Furyondy, Highfolk and Veluna. Because these states are decentralized and thus severely threatened by sudden invasion by any quarter, the Knights of the Hart bulwark standing armies and hunt potential threats. The Knights of the Hart must swear to serve as a vanguard of defense at an instant's notice, maintaining certain strongholds, serving in local governments, and supporting scouting actions into the wilderness and countryside.

Membership in the Knights of the Hart is open to commoners and nobles alike, provided each candidate is devoted to the protection of Furyondy, Highfolk, and Veluna. Further, each candidate must possess proven combat skills and have performed an act of exceptional honor, bravery, courage and service.

 :arrow: Knights of the Holy Shielding:
Established in the mid-300s CY to support the lords of the petty domains north of the Nyr Dyv, the Knights of the Holy Shielding once made up the core of an impressive army. Unfortunately, the years preceding the Greyhawk Wars saw the Shield Lands fall in humiliating defeat to the Horned Society and the Bandit Kingdoms. Many Shield Knights fled to goodly nations, establishing relations with local rulers in an attempt to regain their lost homeland through military force. Unfortunately, the area was then conquered by Iuz during the Greyhawk Wars in 583 CY. By the end of the Wars, only a third of the order's 1800 squires still lived.

In 587 CY, under the leadership of Lady Katarina of Walworth, the expatriate Knights of the Holy Shielding returned to their homeland in force. With considerable support from Furyondy, they liberated Critwall and Scragholme Island in a series of bloody battles. Most Knights of the Holy Shielding are now engaged in this war of reclamation.

Within the reclaimed lands, the Shield Knights represent the best sort of heroism. Commoners regard the Shield Knights with respect and awe. Outside the Shield Lands, the knights are looked upon with less favor. For all their idealistic chatter, these were the same knights who failed to intelligently defend their own nation twice in the last ten years. Cynics reason that it is only a matter of time before they fall to defeat once again.

The core of the Knights of the Holy Shielding are paladins, though fighters and clerics of Heironeous are found among their number.

 :arrow: Knights of Luna:
The Knights of Luna is an elven order of knighthood dedicated to preserving the monarchy of Celene and the noble traditions of the elves throughout the central Flanaess. They espouse values that call for elven leadership in the cause of Good, and noblesse oblige toward their allied kindred and the lesser races. Most of the leading members of this order are gray elves from the Grand Court of Celene, although they are currently at odds with the policies of their fey queen and her councilors. Numbering just over two-hundred knights, this order includes many high elves and half-elves, many of them wizards as well as fighters. The majority live and operate in Celene, but increasingly they are found in the Duchy of Ulek, with a small presence among the elves of Highfolk and the Fairdells.

No strict hierarchy exists among the Knights of Luna, though Melf, Prince Brightflame of Celene is their acknowledged leader. Generally, the most senior and experienced knights have the most authority, and they are permitted to take squires of any elven or part-elven lineage. Knightly quests are typically the province of young, inexperienced members fo the order. Successful completion of a score or more quests allow a knight to gain rank and a squire.

 :arrow: Knights of the Watch:

The Knights of the Watch was created several centuries ago on the foundation of an earlier organization based in Gran March. Tasked with protection Keoland, Gran March, Bissel and Geoff from the incursions of barbaric Paynims and "westerlings" (civilized Baklunish armies), the Watchers maintain castles, fortresses and strongholds along the border with Ket, as well as in the western mountains.

The Knights of the Watch are devotees of a near-monastic school of teachings based upon the writings of the philosopher Azmarender, who chronicled a code of duty known as the Twelve and Seven Precepts. The Twelve Precepts govern how a knight of the order is to carry out his daily activities, with an eye toward the traditions of battle. The Seven Precepts guide "life beyond the self," giving meaning to the world beyond the field of battle. These latter teachings are jealously guarded secrets, revealed to knights only as they gain station within the organization.

The Greyhawk Wars trimmed the knighthoods members by more than half. They currently count Iuz, the Scarlet Brotherhood and the giants occupying Geoff along their traditional Baklunish enemies.

 :arrow: Mouqollad Consortium:
The Mouqollad Consortium unites the merchant clans of the Baklunish nations into a powerful association to ensure the prosperity of its members. The consortium is organized into territories and specialties, with its headquarters in the city of Zeif. Member clans and trade houses are from every Baklunish nation, and its trading posts and colonies are found in many western states and islands.

In populous realms such as Ket, a merchant clan must administer each urban bazaar. The clan is obligated to guard against theft and violence in the marketplace. In return, it gains control over the allotment of space and collection of fees from individual traders. In poor or less-populated regions, merchant clans are granted larger territories, though such clans are likely to delegate some of their administrative responsibilities to local merchants or groups.

Leadership of the Mouqollad is organized around a group of high-ranking clerics of Mouqol called the Worthy Elders, most of whom are also senior members of prosperous and respected merchant houses. A few wizards have risen in the hierarchy over the centuries, usually noted scholars and masters of divination. Warriors have also risen in the ranks of the Mouqollad, many through service in the merchant fleet. Even rogues are found in the consortium's employ, though they have no place in the leadership.

In fact, the Mouqollad might employ members of any profession, sometimes for lengthy terms. The most demanding service is required on the trading expeditions to distant lands. Caravans travel throughout the lands of the Paynims and sometimes to regions farther south and west, beyond the mountains. The merchant fleet voyages across the Dramidj on journeys that can take many months, while extended visits to the island's trade colonies and distant outposts can last for years.

The consortium maintains a select force of agents who monitor its interests in all major Baklunish cities. It is careful to maintain the appearance of neutrality in political and military matters, but it also works discreetly to secure influence in all levels of government. The Mouqollad strives to police its own constituent clans and houses.

The Mouqollad has few enemies, but also few allies. They are tolerated by the governments of Zeif, Tusmit, Ekbir and Ket; in Ull, the rulers are as likely to seize goods as they are to buy them, so the merchants are often in conflict with the government. Paynim nomads in the steppes and pirates in the Dramidj Ocean constantly raid the consortium's caravans.

 :arrow: Old Faith:
Oerth's natural fertility has inspired the devotion of its people. The cult of the Oerth Mother (Beory) once dominated the entire Flanaess, and the traditions of her worship persist in many lands. The present hierarchy of the Old Faith is built upon the ancient religion of the druids, though deities in addition to Beory are worshiped. Mistletoe, oak leaves, and holly leaves are their emblems. Druids of the Old Faith are completely neutral in philosophy and personal alignment. They yield only to the world-spanning authority of the legendary Grand Druid.

The practices of the Old Faith are generally in accord with those of other nature priesthoods. The druids do not engage in the sacrifice of sentient creatures.

The Old Faith is still widely practiced in the Flanaess, and not only in those regions dominated by descendents of the Flan peoples. The age-old sacred groves and monolithic circles of the Old Faith may include shrines dedicated to any nature deity the resident druids permit, but most often they are unadorned. While Beory the Oerth Mother is the best known deity associated with the Old Faith, any druid of purely neutral alignment may matriculate through the Nine Circles of Initiation, regardless of which nature god that druid venerates.

 :arrow: Old Lore:
The Colleges of the Old Lore are an order of bards appended to the druidic society of the Old Faith. Very few of these archetypal bards are left, as their traditions are primarily those of the ancient Flan. Bards of the Old Lore are distinguished from today's common bards and minstrels by their noble origins, their tradition of scholarship, and their use of druidic magic. The prospective Old Lore bard must be of human descent and noble birth, although half-elves are permitted as well. Tradition demands that each candidate have proven skill in warmaking and stealth, in addition to surpassing grace, in order to receive druidic training. The Old Lore legacy also includes a small number of magical, stringed instruments crafted specifically for each of the seven colleges of the Old Lore. Recovery of any such instrument is of prime concern to the remaining members of the colleges, and the true enchantments worked by the ancient craftsmen only come alive at the touch of a bard of the Old Lore.

 :arrow: People of the Testing:
The mystic cabal known as the People of the Testing is a society of elves whose members are scattered across the Flanaess. These elves are loosely bound by the memory of their experiences in the elven otherworld discovered by the Moonarch of Sehanine. The Moonarch appears only while Oerth's lesser moon, Celene, is in full phase, and the Moonarch is never encountered twice in the same location. Thus far, it has only been reported in the northern region of Celene.

Those elves who pass under the Moonarch must then pass a series of spiritual tests administered by three elven deities. Some elves never return from their journey through the Moonarch, but all those who do are profoundly changed. Some withdraw from the concerns of their previous lives and heed the Calling Away, which many call the Leaving, even though they may have centuries of life remaining to them. These elves immediately travel to the Lendore Isles; what becomes of them is not known. Other elves may become clerics (usually of Sehanine), seers, poets, savants or outcasts. From among all these come the People of the Testing.

The concerns of the People involve the destiny of all elves and their vision of the true nature of elvenkind. They are said to have special insights into the Mysteries of Faerie, but their practices are by no means as sensual as those of traditional elven participants. They see more deeply than other elves and have secret knowledge of forgotten magic, ancient banes, hidden realms, and lost races. They guard their secrets carefully, and few publicly acknowledge membership in the People of the Testing. They are present in all levels of society, however, and they use their influence to keep elven interests secure in the Flanaess, no matter what the cost to other races.

 :arrow: Silent Ones of Keoland:
This ancient society is almost entirely closed to outsiders, but its mystique and influence extend throughout the valley of the Sheldomar. The Silent Ones are said to form the backbone of an eldritch order that seeks to protect the last vestiges of Ancient Suel magic that has remained in Suloise hands since the Rain of Colorless Fire. Whether the order is actually this old is uncertain, since they communicate little outside their own circles. What little is known of the Silent Ones comes from one of the few individuals who departed it alive. Uhas of Neheli chronciled some of their exploits in The Chronicle of Secret Times.

The group's name comes from an ancient Suloise phrase literally translated as "those who must not speak." It is something of a misnomer as the Silent Ones are by no means mute, but they are extremely secretive and do little to dispel the aura of mystery that surrounds them. These ascetics live completely outside the authority of the ruling Keoish king, according to the first lines of the founding charter of the nation, penned nearly one thousand years ago. They do not form a magical guild in the traditional sense, as supplicants are not usually accepted into the order. Rather, they are chosen during pilgrimages conducted by the Silent Ones annually during Needfest, when the scour the countryside for youths especially attuned to their ways. Those chosen are said to be gifted in some way, and most of them are of pure Suel bloodlines. Curiously, many of the chosen are also albinos and frequently are blind. Uhas of Neheli was both.

In centuries past, sorcery was in the hands of a small few in Keoland, and the Silent Ones monitored this tradition with dispassion. That is no longer their role, though they are still viewed with fear and superstition. Silent Ones seem to be drawn to ancient places and items of strong magical power and import. On rare occasions, they openly contend with individuals, both good and evil, who seek magical power beyond the ken of mortals. Recently they have expressed disquiet over the rise of the Scarlet Brotherhood and the uncovering of Slerotin's Passage from the Yeomanry to the Sea of Dust.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 02:17:56 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2012, 05:41:05 AM »

 :arrow: Primary Languages:
Ancient Baklunish
Common (a combination of Ancient Baklunish and the dialect of Old Oeridian spoken in the Great Kingdom)
Old Oeridian
Ancient Suloise
Rhopan (language of the Rhennee)

 :arrow: Dialects and Sub-Languages:
Cold Tongue
Lendorian Elven

 :arrow: Calender:

Standard Week (Flanaess)

Dozenmonth of Luna and the Four Festivals

PlantingBlossomsFrogLow Summer
FlocktimeVioletsTurtleLow Summer
WealsunBerrytimeFoxLow Summer
ReapingGoldfieldsSnakeHigh Summer
GoodmonthSunflowersBoarHigh Summer
HarvesterFruitfallSquirrelHigh Summer

Each month is 28 days long. Each festival is seven days long.

 :arrow: Astronomy: The sun travels once around Oerth every 364 days, visiting the Twelve Lairs of the Zodiac in an appointed round that never varies. The pale Great Moon, called Luna, waxes and wanes in fixed cycles of 28 days each, upon which the months are based. The aquamarine Lesser Moon, Celene, follows a path that reveals her full beauty but four times each year, thus showing the time for civilized festivals. Both Mistress and Handmaiden, as the greater and lesser moons of Oerth are known, are held to be worlds in their own right, though few claim to have met any visitors from those lofty realms (or, for that matter, to have visited those alien worlds personally).

 :arrow: Alternate Oerths: There are known to be 4 other parallel worlds similar to Oerth in some way. They are:
Uerth: a dark reflection of Oerth. It has many of the same people, but alignments are reversed (similar to the "Mirror, Mirror" episode of the original Star Trek)
Yarth: a low-magic world with altered geography. Setting of the "Sagard the Barbarian" game-books.
Aerth: a high-fantasy magical version of Earth, with fantastic names for places. Setting of the Mythus: Dangerous Journeys and Lejendary Adventures role-playing games.
Earth: aka "the Gothic Earth"

 :arrow: Gunpowder: Oerth's deities have decreed that gunpowder (and its magical equivalent, smokepowder) will not work on Oerth for the forseeable future, though they may relax this restriction in the future. The gods have placed an enchantment on Oerth that prevents the chemical reactions of gunpowder from working while in Oerth's atmosphere. Any gunpowder brought to Oerth will become an inert substance while on the world, but will revert back to its original state if it leaves the atmosphere. This means gunpowder will work elsewhere on Oerth's Material Plane/Crystal Sphere, just not on the planet of Oerth itself.

An exception to this are clerics and paladins of the hero-deity Murlynd. As the god of technology, Murlynd allows his clerics and paladins the ability to bypass the enchantment which prevents gunpowder from working.

 :arrow: Published Works set in Greyhawk:

A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity
A2 Secret of the Slavers' Stockade
A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords
A4 In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords
A1-4 Scourge of the Slave Lords
C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness
D1 Descent into the Depths of the Earth
D2 Shrine of the Kuo-Toa
D3 Vault of the Drow
EX1 Dungeonland
EX2 Land Beyond the Magic Mirror
G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief
G2 Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl
G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King
G1-2-3 Against the Giants
GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders
I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City
I7 Baltron's Beacon
I9 Day of Al'Akbar
I12 Egg of the Phoenix
L1 The Secret of Bone Hill
L2 The Assassin's Knot
L3 Deep Dwarven Delve
N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God
Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits
R1 To the Aid of Falx
R2 The Investigation of Hydell
R3 The Egg of the Phoenix
R4 Doc's Island
S1 Tomb of Horrors
S2 White Plume Mountain
S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks
S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
S1-4 Realms of Horror
T1 The Village of Hommlet
T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil
U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh
U2 Danger at Dunwater
U3 The Final Enemy
UK1 Beyond the Crystal Cave
UK2 The Sentinel
UK3 The Gauntlet
UK6 All that Glitters...
WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure
WG6 Isle of the Ape
WG7 Castle Greyhawk (parody; apocryphal)
WG8 Fate of Istus
WG9 Gargoyle
WG10 Child's Play
WG11 Puppets
WG12 Vale of the Mage
WGA1 Falcon's Revenge
WGA2 Falconmaster
WGA3 Flames of the Falcon
WGA4 Vecna Lives!
WGM1 Border Watch
WGQ1 Patriots of Ulek
WGR1 Greyhawk Ruins (the actual Castle Greyhawk)
WGR2 Treasures of Greyhawk
WGR3 Rary the Traitor
WGR4 The Marklands
WGR5 Iuz the Evil
WGR6 The City of Skulls
WGS1 Five Shall be One
WGS2 Howl from the North
Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff
Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad
Die Vecna Die! (the first third is set in Greyhawk)
The Doomgrinder
Return of the Eight
Return to the Keep on the Borderlands
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil
Return to the Tomb of Horrors
Return to White Plume Mountain
The Star Cairns
Axe of the Dwarvish Lords
Dead Gods (primarily a Planescape adventure, but a crucial section takes place on Oerth in the drow city of Erelhei-Cinlu)
The Shackled City
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
Expedition to Castle Greyhawk
The Fright at Tristor
The Standing Stone
Saga of the Old City
Night Arrant
Artifact of Evil
Sea of Death
City of Hawks
Come Endless Darkness
Dance of Demons
Quag Keep
Master Wolf
The Price of Power
The Demon Hand
The Name of the Game
The Eyes Have It
World of Greyhawk folio
World of Greyhawk boxed set
Greyhawk Adventures
Greyhawk Wars board game
From the Ashes boxed set
Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins
Greyhawk Player's Guide
The City of Greyhawk boxed set
The Scarlett Brotherhood
Ivid the Undying online supplement
Living Greyhawk Gazetteer
D&D Gazetteer
Shackled City adventure path in Dungeon magazine
Age of Worms adventure path in Dungeon magazine
Savage Tide adventure path in Dungeon magazine
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 05:10:29 PM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 1
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2012, 03:19:52 AM »
Baklunish West (former Baklunish Empire)

Caliphate of Ekbir

Ruler: His Sublime Magnificence, the Caliph of Ekbir, Xargun
Government: Aristocratic theocracy, ruler must be a high-ranking cleric from one of five royal clans

The caliphate's southern and eastern borders are formed by the Tuflik and Blashikmund rivers, while her northern border follows the Yatils to their terminus in the Yecha Hills. This arm of the mountains is filled by the Udgru Forest, a largely untamed region where the caliph's authority does not go unchallenged, Ekbir, located on the coast of the Dramidj Ocean, boasts one of the most imposing fortresses in all the Flanaess within her capital city; The city is also a destination for pilgrims wishing to pray at the Mosque of Al'Akbar.

The city of Ekbir and the coastal areas of the caliphate are mild and pleasant year-round. The interior of Ekbir is another matter, for the winters there can be quite severe. The Hadash River marks an unofficial boundary between the settled and wild lands of the caliphate. The country is quite fertile, and the interior is almost purely agrarian. The people are very devout for the most part, though few here could be described as zealots. Most citizens follow the Exalted Faith of Al'Akbar, and even those who hold some other deity or deities as patron still have great reverence for Al'Akbar as the Restorer of Righteousness.

Ekbir's military is more than sufficient for the defense of the realm; a large force of seasoned light and medium cavalry patrols her borders and pilgrimage routes, and a one-thousand-man army of maceand scimitar-wielding heavy infantry is personally commanded by the caliph. The nation's formidable war-fleet is based primarily from the capital city, though her mercantile fleet is divided almost equally between the capital and the more southerly port of Kofeh. The shipyards of Hadash Bay are quite busy as well, refitting several ships of state to honor the fiftieth anniversary of Xargun's reign as caliph.


Ruler: His Illustrious Glory, Nadaid, Beygraf of Ket and Shield of the True Faith
Government: Feudal monarchy with semi-hereditary rulership; beygraf must have proven fighting skill and leadership (magical ability also preferred)

Ket occupies the territory between the southern Yatil Mountains and the Barrier Peaks, serving as the gateway between the Western and Eastern Flanaess. The dense Bramblewood Forest fills more than half of Ket's terrain, penetrated by a single main artery, the Irafa Road. This well-kept road is guarded by troops of the Ketite army stationed at eight permanent strongholds along its length. The forest road also serves as the border between the two major districts of the Bramblewood. The Tuflik river finds its source in Ket as well, flowing from the Banner Hills until it emerges from the cover of the Bramblewood and bends its way northward to Lopolla; the river then turns south until it passes the Tusman hills and into the plains beyond.

The northern and western portions of Ket are more civilized country, with tilled fields and many villages, The northern border includes part of the vast Yatil mountain range; much trade and occasional conflict takes place here with Perrenland. The copper mines of the Lower Yatils are the major source of wealth in eastern Ket. The west is open countryside until the Tusman hills are encountered, forming the ambiguous border with Tusmit. The native hill tribes of the Tusmans are stubbornly independent, serving as mercenaries for either or both nations at times.

Ket's own military forces consist of strong infantry pikemen and crossbowmen, and well-respected medium cavalry; both are highly disciplined. The clergy of Ket is still integral to the military hierarchy, despite a loss of prestige in recent years. Every company has its own cleric, and Ketite soldiers are still expected to adhere to the devotions of the True Faith.

The Baklunish merchant clans are currently most influential in Ket. Their hierarchy is international, and while they are not opposed to warfare in general, the loss of Flanaess goods and markets in the aftermath of the Greyhawk Wars proved intolerable. When the territory captured during the Greyhawk Wars was lost following the death of the previous beygraf, the merchants supported the decision to abandon most of them, maintaining only Thornward as a neutral city. Beygraf Nadaid currently enjoys the full support of the merchants, though he must balance their notoriously fickle loyalties against the pervasive influence of the mullahs, whose affection for him is lukewarm at best.


Ruler: His Exalted Splendor, the Pasha of Tusmit, Muammar Qharan
Government: Independent feudal monarchy having only noble houses; only the chosen monarch is considered royalty

The Tuflik River forms the southern border of Tusmit, while the Blashikmund separates Tusmit from Ekbir to the west and north. The Yatil Mountains and the Tusman Hills make up Tusmit's eastern border. The landscape is not as gentle here as in Ekbir, but it is a fertile country. Most of the northern interior is given to farming, and its people are generally uneducated. Along the Tuflik are the nation's larger cities, where nearly anything is available for the right price. Skilled artisans of all trades work in the cities of the Tuflik valley, and Tusmite weapons and armor are among the finest in all the Baklunish lands.

The nation's military consists mostly of medium cavalry, led by Farises by no means as noble as their counterparts in Ekbir. A force of heavy infantry is maintained by the pasha, augmented by mercenaries from the Tusman hill-tribes in time of war. In fact, mercenaries from all the surrounding nations can be found in southern Tusmit: Uli, Perrender, Paynims, even dwarves from the Yatils and Crystalmists are welcome. Along with warriors, mercenary thieves and assassins sell their services here, and almost as openly.

Few outsiders visit Tusmit's back country, for the only wealth there is in raw materials, and the natives are not welcoming. The True Faith is dominant in the north, so lawlessness is not tolerated. Only those wishing to visit the grand mufti of the Yatils are known to travel here, for the arduous journey is begun from Tusmit north of the Tusman Hills. Traditionally, the pasha would make this trek at least once, to receive the blessing of the grand mufti that would assure the loyalty of the northern lords. The current pasha has chosen not to do this, nor has he acknowledged the caliph of Ekbir's spiritual authority, instead pledging his loyalty to the sultan of Zeif. So far, this tactic has been successful, but if new challenges arise that require the pasha to call upon the loyalties of his northern nobles, he will be hard pressed to win them.


Ruler: His Illustrious Ferocity, Bruzharag the Misbegotten, the Orakhan of Ull
Government: Very large independent tribal clan composed of many large nomadic families, each ruled by a dictatorial leader (eldest, strongest, or most charismatic); all families loosely ruled by a royal family whose leader is the orakhan, a monarch with dictatorial control over his immediate realm; changes in rulership often occur by assassination or dueling

Located between the Ulsprue Mountains and the Barrier Peaks, Ull is an open area of rich grassland, extending into the Plains of the Paynims. Its northern border is in flux, but is generally considered to be within 20 leagues of the capital, Ulakand. To the south, the caravan town of Kester oversees all traffic to and from the Dry Steppes. The interior of Ull is quite fertile, but not well watered except during the winter rainy season. The climate is generally temperate, though the hot summer winds that blow across the Kester escarpment make southern Ull very unpleasant during that time of the year. Slavery is perhaps the most lucrative trade in Ull.

The Uli are a treacherous people, but it is generally held that the town dwellers are more venal than even the untrustworthy nomads Nearly as many settled clans inhabit Ull as nomadic ones. Their horsemen are as fierce as any among the Paynims, but they are fat less disciplined than those found in the more developed Baklunish nations. Their notorious infantry is based primarily in the southern towns and mountain settlements, as well as in Ulakand. These are seldom encountered beyond Ull's borders, which is fortunate; in battle, they are given to acts as heinous as any monster's, Uniquely among the nations of this region, Ull has no reverence for Al'Akbar. Except for Geshtai, no other Baklunish deities are widely worshiped here; the Uli venerate the spirits of their own ancestors, though some are rumored to favor the patronage of fiends.

Sultanate of Zeif

Ruler: His Omnipotence, the Glory of the West, the Sultan of Zeif, Murad
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with hereditary ruler; advised by a grand vizier and the Diwan, a semi-hereditary bureaucracy; royal line has uncertain claim of descent from ancient Baklunish Empire royalty, but still claims to rule all civilized
Baklunish lands; noble families are all related to the royal family in various degrees; religion is subservient to the state

The Sultanate of Zeif is the largest single nation of the Baklunish. Its northern and eastern boundaries are formed by the Dramidj Ocean and the Gulf of Ghayar (the Janasib Isles remain stubbornly independent), while its eastern border is formed by the Tuflik river. Grasslands give way to fields along the Tuflik, and in most of the area north of the town of Antalotol. Zeifs climate is balmy along the coast, though her interior has cold winters and very hot summers. Zeif's broad southern border is the open plain, still dominated by the uncounted tribes of Paynims.

The Paynims roam freely across the border, for many are mercenaries in the service of the sultan's armies and so are seldom questioned. They are expected to carry the badges of their mercenary units, but these are easily obtained—legitimately or otherwise. Few others travel the plains, though caravans still trek to distant Kanak on the shores of the salt-lake of Udrukankar. Many caravans employ Paynim guards, but this is seldom proof against attack, for the Paynims war upon each other as readily as upon outlanders. Towns like Antalotol and Barakhat still profit from such caravan traffic, but none compare to the city of Zeif, on the green waters of the Dramidj.

Sea trade is vitally important to Zeif, and her coastal cities are by far the most prosperous. The greatest merchant fleet in the western Flanaess is that of Zeif. These ships travel to all the nations of the gulf and throughout the islands of the Dramidj Ocean. Her war fleet is also imposing, but it is divided among the many ports along the vast stretch of coast it must patrol. Special attention must be paid to the Bakhoury Coast client states, whose loyalty to the sultan is ever in doubt. Heavy cavalry patrol the land routes between major settlements, and heavy infantry are garrisoned in the larger towns.

Government in Zeif has many layers. The ministers of the sultan's cabinet, or Diwan, all hold the title of Vizier; the Grand Vizier is the highest-ranking minister in Zeif, and he answers only to the sultan himself. The power of the viziers is legendary, and most of these scholarly officials are also wizards or clerics. The military of Zeif is very strong, yet because its supreme leader is the sultan himself, their interests suffer when his attention is distracted. High in the ranks of the military are the Spahis, the knights of the sultanate; they are landed gentry of wealth and position, but without the discipline of the Farises of Ekbir. The alliance of merchants, called the Mouqollad, is perhaps the next greatest power, for they too have wealth, though no authority. Finally, assassins and spies are also plentiful in Zeif, serving any number of masters or causes.

Zeif has a significant minority of orcs and half-orcs, the distant descendants of nonhuman mercenaries used by the old Baklunish Empire before the Invoked Devastation. These tribeless nonhumans have become fully integrated into the state, though most are within the lower class. A number of noted generals and spies of Zeif were obviously half-orcs.

Plains of the Paynims

Ruler: No central authority; various nomadic leaders
Government: Many petty tribal nobles (khans or amirs) ruled by progressively more powerful nobles (ilkhan, orakhan, or shah) and royalty (tarkhan, padishah, or kha-khan); great variation between nomadic bands in particulars of government

The great plains of western Flanaess are the home of the numerous tribes of the Paynims. In the north are endless leagues of grassland bordering the territories of Zeif and Ket. South of this region, and to the east, are the desert lands under the shadow of the Ulsprue and Crystalmist Mountains, while the vast central plains are more fertile, ending in the lush valleys of the western Sulhauts. Summers are brutally hot in the southern desert, and little better in the grasslands to the west and north. Winter brings rain, and the seasonal migration of the Paynims and their herds to their southern pasturage.

Paynim warriors are lightly armored, the weight and confinement of metallic armor being more of a burden than a blessing in the heat of the day, but they are supremely mobile. Perhaps one quarter of the Paynims ply the light lance, as well as the mace or flail. The rest wield scimitars, and short, horned bows. Most are willing to serve as mercenaries for short periods, though the dervishes of the Dry Steppes and the lands surrounding Lake Udrukankar will normally go to war only under the leadership of their clergy, or for causes they see as righteous.

The city of Kanak on the shores of Lake Udrukankar is the nearest thing the Paynims have to a capital, though the Amir of Kanak claims no authority beyond the lake and the ground within his city's brick walls. Tents are more common in and around Kanak than fixed buildings. Smaller settlements are found near wells or oases in the Dry Steppes, or on strategic spots of high ground on the Plains. Throughout, the Paynims roam at will, alternately warring and trading with one another in a cycle that is unpredictable to outsiders. They count their wealth in horses and livestock, as well as slaves in some cases, but hold their freedom on the Plains to be their greatest treasure.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 12:41:34 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 2
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2012, 04:13:35 AM »
The Bitter North ("Old Blackmoor")

Archbarony of Blackmoor

Ruler: His Luminous Preponderancy, Archbaron Bestmo of Blackmoor
Government: Actual government structure unknown; numerous nonhuman tribal leaders in area

The Archbarony of Blackmoor is possibly the most remote realm in all the Flanaess, situated between the western shores of the Icy Sea and the eastern edge of the Burneal Forest. The land of Blackmoor also includes the northern fringe of the Cold Marshes, and fully encompasses the Gloomfens, as the locals call the northern arm of the marshes. The northern border is vague, but few settlements lie within sight of the ominous Land of Black Ice.

Little is known for certain of the government of the archbaron; his court has no relations with those of the sovereigns of other lands. The militias of the small underbaronies are typically leather-armored villagers, wielding shortspears, longbows, or slings. The archbaron's personal guard includes perhaps three score "knights" (heavy cavalry of offensive mien), and heavy and medium infantry made up of several hundred human and half-orc soldiers. All are located in the town of Dantredun, now the capital of Blackmoor. Many more nonhuman soldiers can be called up from the surrounding area.

Dantredun is a stonewalled city with rotting wooden gates that stand open day and night. Few invaders have ever bothered to threaten the city, though kobolds from the Burneal Forest are a constant nuisance. Many small villages and forts dot Blackmoor's lands, often built near volcanic vents or hot springs. The occasional sharp tremor or emission of poison vapors is a common hazard in this northern land.

The former capital of the archbarony, called Blackmoor Town, now lies in ruins that overlook Blackmoor Bay. Atop its highest hill are the fabled remains of Blackmoor Castle. An orc "king" holds court at the Castle, claiming to rule the town in the name of the Egg of Coot, whose forces conquered the town fifty years ago. It is unknown who or what the Egg of Coot is, though he (it?) seems to possess magical ability of the highest order and is responsible for creating the nonhuman "automata" that populate the land immediately around his home.

The lands of Blackmoor are steeped in magic, often called Oerthmagic, the source of which has not yet been identified. Legend says that the numerous mounds and standing stones throughout the archbarony were created by the Northern Adepts of Old Blackmoor (presumably a cabal of Ur-Flan sorcerers) to constrain the encroaching Black Ice. If so, perhaps the stones also hold power against the demigod Iuz, for he clearly avoids the land.

Concatenated Cantons of Perrenland

Ruler: His Gravity, Karenin, Voormann of all Perrenland
Government: Independent parliamentary republic; Cantonal Council (collective feudal clan leaders) handle legislative matters and elect executive leader (voormann) for eight-year term; voormann conducts diplomacy, commands military, etc.; cantons have
varying internal governments; family heads elect town and city mayors, but clan leader positions are hereditary

The eight cantons that form the nation of Perrenland are cradled between the Yatil Mountains and Lake Quag. Perrenland's frontier sweeps south from the Mounds of Dawn to Krestible and the upper waters of the Velverdyva, then turns north to include the western Clatspurs and most of the Sepia Uplands north of the town of Traft. Perrenland claims the waters of Lake Quag as well, though it cannot hold the northern shore. Considerable traffic is on the lake for most of the year, including Rhennee bargefolk in the summer, though the surface often freezes in midwinter. Special sledlike boats called iceskimmers sometimes sail on the lake then, though it is dangerous to take them far from shore.

Three wide roads and numerous smaller tracks connect the cantons. From Schwartzenbruin to Krestible, then to Molvar in Ket through the Wyrm's Tail, runs the Krestingstrek. Quag Road carries traffic through Schwartzenbruin, from as far south as Highfolk on the southern edge of the Vesve Forest, then continues north along the shores of Lake Quag until it enters the Mounds of Dawn to terminate at the city of Exag. The High Gallery runs through the Clatspur Ridge from Traft until it intersects the Quag Road, first crossing
the canyon of the Velverdyva on an old stone bridge called the Witch's Hinge.

Perrenland's militias, mostly pikemen and polearm-bearing mountaineers, support a relatively small standing army of medium and heavy infantry. Crossbowmen and some heavy cavalry can be found in the lowland regions, especially in the canton of Schwartzenbruin, while longbowmen and bow armed cavalry can be found in the cantons of Clatspurgen and Traft. Such militias will hire themselves out as mercenary bands to neighboring nations, and many are seen to include high elves from Highfolk serving as scouts and light infantry. These bands of mercenaries are the nation's chief export, though trade with the northern nomads and Blackmoor is usually funneled through Perrenland as well. Much river traffic heads south into the central Flanaess along the Velverdyva.

Tiger Nomads (Chakyik Horde)

Ruler: The Unvanquishable Tiger Lord, Ilkhan Gajtak of the Chakyik Hordes
Government: Numerous nomad clans loosely ruled by the most powerful noble of the royal clan

The wide prairie north of the Yatils, between the Dramidj Ocean and the swift running Fler river, is the territory of the tough and ruthless Tiger Nomads. These herders and hunters roam freely across the steppe south of the Burneal, trading with the folk of Ekbir and Perrenland, as well as the Wolf Nomads to the east, and the Chakji tribes of the northern coast beyond the border of the Black Ice, They are also known to raid their neighbors, particularly their nomad cousins, for livestock and prisoners (who may be either ransomed or enslaved), or simply for sport.

The climate is temperate along the coast, but dense fog often rolls in from the Dramidj, terrifying the nomads. The interior is cool in the summer, and bitingly cold in winter. Ice storms might cover the Yecha Hills and northern Yatils in winter, completely cutting off mining towns and encampments for weeks at a time. Tales of yeti and taer rampages are common from the survivors of these storms, and sightings of the rare and auspicious yellow dire lions of the lower slopes are sometimes claimed as well.

The hill town of Yecha that serves as the capital city of the Tiger nomads is a rather squalid encampment surrounded by earth and timber walls. Here can be purchased silver and gems from the southern mines, along with furs, hides, and horses from the northern steppes. Mercenaries can be hired here as well, though they are not always the most loyal or professional. The warriors of the Tiger Nomads are a fearless cavalry, lightly armored and unmatched as mounted archers. Small numbers of infantry are found in the permanent settlements. Their armies are similar in most respects to the other northern nomads, though women make up a higher proportion of the fighters and fighter-clerics among the Tiger Nomads.

Wolf Nomads (The Wegwiur)

Ruler: The Fearless Wolf Leader, Tarkhan of all the Wegwiur, Commander of the Relentless Horde, Bargru
Government: Numerous loosely allied nomad tribes; hereditary leader of the ruling clan has authority (limited by charisma and force) over other khans

The portion of the steppes controlled by the Wolf Nomads is bounded by the Fler river to the west, and the Burneal Forest to the north. To the south, their territory ends at the shores of Lake Quag, and pushes up against the Sepia Uplands and the northern borders of the Vesve. In the east, however lies the uncertain border with the lands of Iuz. The relationship between Iuz and the nomads has never been friendly, and a state of open warfare has prevailed for most of the last decade. The capital city, Eru Tovar, stands ready to endure siege, while the war bands continue to harry the forces of Iuz, though seldom engaging in protracted combats.

The war bands of the tarkhan are gathered from among the many tribes of the steppe, each led by its own noyon. They fight with bow and lance, and are only lightly armored. Sometimes, they will serve as guards for caravans or expeditions crossing the plains
to Blackmoor or seeking trade with the Tiger Nomads to the west. These nomads are loyal to their word, much more so than the Tiger Nomads, but they are very easily offended. This often happens when a caravan is in the middle of the steppe, and it usually requires many gifts and payments to atone for such a transgression. The experienced traveler will certainly plan for such a predicament.

A larger trading town of nomads exists on the shores of Lake Quag, called Ungra Balan, in the territory of the Guchek tribe of the Wolf Nomads. It is more populous, and more prosperous, than Eru Tovar, but its inhabitants are not truly representative of the Wolf Nomads. Many townsfolk are not nomads at all, but some are former nomads who were exiled for some offense. Goods and horses can be obtained here that would otherwise be unavailable to anyone unwilling to travel the plains, so the town continues to grow. Many nomad bands have taken to wintering in the region as well, despite the disapproval of their tarkhan.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 01:15:03 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 3
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2012, 05:31:21 AM »
Western Nyr Dyv ("Old Ferrond")

Domain of Greyhawk

Ruler: His Solemn Authority, the Lord Mayor of Greyhawk, Nerof Gasgal
Government: Lord mayor elected by an oligarchy representing the city's major mercantile, military, legal, economic, criminal, religious, and magical guilds

The city of Greyhawk controls a sizable estate ranging from the northern coast of the Woolly Bay to the southern shores of Midbay in the Nyr Dyv. The Cairn Hills and the Abbor-Alz mark the eastern limits of this domain, while its western boundary is generally considered to lie within the Gnarley Forest and along the edge of the Welkwood. The other towns in the Greyhawk territory each have their own history of independence. Were the entire region not threatened by upheaval in the adjacent lands, none of them would willingly submit to Greyhawk. The "empires" of the Pomarj and the Bright Desert lands are seen as unstable, but quite dangerous. In addition, neither Dyvers nor Celene, Greyhawk's western neighbors, hold any affection for the free city; the Duchy of Urnst, to the east, is a lukewarm ally.

The soldiers of the free city are typically armed with sword and club, and also include a substantial number of crossbowmen. They are provided with chainmail and shield, with the exception of the Hardby Marines, who wear leather armor. The Greyhawk Militia patrols the entire region, dealing with unruly elements such as bandits, Rhennee, orcs, and assorted monsters. The Greyhawk Militia's strength is focused in the south, facing endless raids by orcs and goblinoids from the conquered Wild Coast. The army includes the seagoing Hardby Marines of Woolly Bay, in their six war-galleys, and the Mountaineer Militia of the Abbor-Alz, with a score of griffon-riding "skymen" attached.

The Selintan River and the River Road that runs alongside it are the main avenues of travel in the lands of Greyhawk, connecting Woolly Bay to the Nyr Dyv. The Western Road carries traffic to Dyvers and beyond, while Urnst Trail crosses through the Cairn Hills to the east. Trade from all across the Flanaess passes through the free city, and people of all nations can be found there. In addition to being a center of commerce, Greyhawk is a city of learning. The University of Magical Arts and the Grey College, among others, attract numerous students here. finally, it is also a city of diplomacy; statesmen and politicians from nations throughout the central Flanaess serve as ambassadors to this domain, forging alliances and treaties.

The city of Greyhawk is ruled by its lord mayor, who is selected by the Directing Oligarchy comprised of twelve to eighteen of the city's major guild and military leaders, in addition to important clerics and wizards. The populace of the expanded estate of Greyhawk, beyond the city proper, has only limited influence in government. The Greyhawk Council of Mayors and Manorial Lords ostensibly gives the leaders of the various lesser communities in the city's larger domain a voice in government, but it is recognized that this annual gathering has no real authority. Hardby, in particular, still supports its ruling gynarchy, though the town is occupied by the military of Greyhawk. The nearby settlements and villages also look to the gynarchy for leadership, following the example of the current despotrix by deferring to the authority of the free city.

Free Lands of Dyvers

Ruler: Her Excellency Larissa Hunter, Magister of Dyvers
Government: Democratic meritocracy: magister elected for undefined term of office, on the basis of personal achievement, by the Gentry of Dyvers (minor nobles, landowners, and wealthy merchants)

The city of Dyvers is located in perhaps the most lucrative trading nexus in all the Flanaess, a fact that has benefited it greatly throughout its long history. The city's position on the southern banks of the mouth of the Velverdyva River allows Dyvers to capture the flow of trade from markets such as Schwartzenbruin, Highfolk Town, Thornward, and Verbobonc. Of course, trade flows up the Velverdyva, as well, so Dyvers sees much traffic from the Nyr Dyv and her various port cities. Accordingly, Dyvers is a reflection of many cultures—even the common barkeep can make change in a dozen different coinage systems.

The Free Lands of Dyvers consist of approximately 2,000 square miles on the southern bank of the Velverdyva, including four river islands, the verges of the Gnarley Forest, and the northernmost tip of the wooded Kron Hills. The land nearest the free city is suitable for farming and is leased to freemen by the Gentry of Dyvers, a collection of noble families who proudly trace their lineage back to the city's Aerdi founders. The wild lands beyond the farms are technically owned by the less influential members of the Gentry, but are in fact populated primarily by lawless woodsmen, sylvan elves, and no few fairies, who of course pay tribute to no human lord.

A number of small villages dot the Free Lands of Dyvers. The most notable is Maraven, a burgeoning eastern town near the border with the lands of Greyhawk. Maraven straddles the highly traveled Greyhawk Road, and in the past played the Gentry of Dyvers against the Directing Oligarchy of Greyhawk, managing to remain neutral even through periods of heavy skirmishing between the cities. In recent years, however, the Magister of Dyvers, Larissa Hunter, put an end to this intrigue, stationing a castle to the east of Maraven, solidifying a hold on eastern nobles whose support was once tenuous at best.

Dyvers enjoys temperate weather throughout much of the year, with some accumulation of ice on the Velverdyva in deep winter. Due to its immense size and perhaps magical properties, the Lake of Unknown Depths does not freeze in cold weather; Dyvers runs shipping operations year round. Crews are mindful of the monstrous predators of the lake, however, and prepare accordingly.

The elite of Dyvers' small military forces are the Free Marines, 1,500 well equipped and trained mariners who double as passable cavalry and infantry in times of crisis. Most troops are in the Free Army, roughly three thousand humans carrying either polearms or shortspears and shields. The current magister achieved great success in the wars as the captain of this able force.

Faerie Kingdom of Celene

Ruler: Her Fey Majesty, Queen Yolande, Perfect Flower of Celene, Lady Rhalta of All Elvenkind
Government: Hereditary feudal monarchy in which royal house and all noble houses are elven; currently has no official political relations with any outside nation

Celene is the principal nation of the elves in the Flanaess. Ruled by an elven monarch of Faerie lineage, the Grand Court is imbibed of the Fey Mysteries, from the frolics to the passions, and all rites are observed with deliberate care. Queen Yolande is foremost in these devotions, and this has given her the reputation, in human lands, of being oblivious to events beyond Celene's borders. This is only partly accurate, since the queen sometimes receives ambassadors from foreign lands and displays a clear understanding of events in the larger Flanaess. However, she has also clearly stated that she wishes no elves to die in humanity's wars.

Celene's borders are formed by the Jewel River in the East, and the Handmaiden River to the west and south. To the north are the Kron Hills and the curving eastern spur of the Lortmils, which form a vast natural arena behind the capital, Enstad. The capital is located in the northwestern corner of Celene, by the headwaters of the Handmaiden River. Enstad is a small city, compared to other capitals, and is dominated by the Palace of the Faerie Queen, with its gold-chased silver domes and spires. Parks and meadows,
filled with numerous fountains, pools, and gardens, are the other chief examples of architecture in the elven capital.

All of this is well defended by the Companion Guard, knights under the command of the royal consort. The standing military of Celene is primarily elven light infantry with longswords and longspears, with numerous companies of archers as well. Celene also boasts an elite hippogriff-riding cavalry, chosen from the most noble and experienced gray elven officers in the queen's service. Most forces in the kingdom are loyal to the queen, but dissenting groups such as the Knights of Luna serve leaders with different ambitions. Most of these units are border companies in the Suss or the Welkwood, and many have fought Pomarj orcs in the Principality of Ulek.

Kingdom of Furyondy

Ruler: His Pious Majesty, the King of Furyondy, Belvor IV
Government: Feudal monarchy, hereditary kingship (no current heir) limited by Noble Council

Modern Furyondy spans the land between the mighty Velverdyva and Veng Rivers, from the Nyr Dyv in the south to the southern shore of Lake Whyestil in the north. The nation abuts the grand Vesve Forest, but claims only a small part of that expanse.

The two great lakes moderate the weather throughout most of the year. Rain is more common in the north, making a depressing land even more miserable. Winter brings a great deal of snow, but is not particularly harsh.

Furyondy both profits and suffers from the disposition of its neighbors. The alliance with friendly onetime satellite nations like Highfolk and Veluna balances the depredation suffered at the hands of Iuz and, until recently, the Horned Society. The Greyhawk Wars changed the nation's borders; for several years, much of the northern provinces of Kalinstren and Crystalreach were occupied by Iuz.

War also brought about severe economic depression for the north, and a massive drain on the royal coffers. As a result, much of the king's wealth has been depleted. Much of the nationwide road system, once Furyondy's pride, lies in shambles unless supported
by the wealth of local lords. This has had a deleterious effect upon the nation's economy, and trade is at an alarming low.

Though it suffered great losses in the Greyhawk Wars (582-584 CY) and the Great Northern Crusade (586-588 CY), and stands to lose even more to the newly declared eternal war against Iuz, Furyondy still boasts one of the most impressive standing armies in all the Flanaess. Augmented by war-hungry mercenaries and adventurers from distant lands, the full force of infantry and cavalry stand at about twenty thousand soldiers, with roughly the same number of warriors provided by local lords.

The Furyondian Royal Navy, based in Willip, patrols the Nyr Dyv, keeping the coasts (mostly) free of pirates and dangerous monsters. The Willip Arsenal, the largest dockyard in the Flanaess, has grown considerably in the last six years as the nation replaces dozens of lost ships.

The heartlands of Furyondy are governed by the king and by the Seven Families, each of whom control a single province within the kingdom. These nobles live to the fullest of their grand titles. The courts of dukes, barons, and earls rival that of the king himself. The provinces of Furyondy are: County of Crystalreach, Fairwain Province, Gold County, Barony of Kalinstren, Barony of Littleberg, Duchy of the Reach, Viscounty of the March, and the Barony of Willip


Ruler: The Worthy Sir, Tavin Ersteader, Mayor of Highfolk Town; and, His Most Excellent Highness, Kashafen Tamarel of Flameflower, Lord of the High Elves of the Vesve
Government: Mayor of town elected for life or retirement by popular vote of household leaders; elf communities are governed by hereditary monarchs from noble families

The land along the Velverdyva River, from the Clatspurs to the southeastern spur of the great Yatil range, has long been nominally claimed by Furyondy. Here is a land of beauty, of pleasant, bountiful farmlands tended by simple, honest folk. Everything in the Highvale functions upon a spirit of cooperation. Man, gnome, elf, and halfling live together in harmony, and strangers are greeted with a hearty handshake and an invitation to share a place at the table.

The elven folk call the Quagflow Valley the Fairdells. Because of their numbers, many consider Highfolk an olve realm. In reality, though most in the valley defer to the lord of the high elves, representatives from several races and factions have a voice here.

Trade in the valley follows the Quagflow Road from Highfolk Town to the northern town of Verbeeg Hill, there to Perrenland and beyond. Most heavy cargo is transported by barge along the river, which flows at a comfortable pace. The quality of the roadways, and the halfling taverns along it, are unparalleled. The folk of the valley are proud of their home, and care for it accordingly.

Highfolk is protected from harsh winter weather by the Yatils, which block the furious winds common in the north. Light blankets of snow are common in the colder months, and it has been many decades since the last notable blizzard. For most of the year, the weather mimics the spirit of the people, temperate and good-natured.

In times of danger, the laid-back spirit of the chaotic Highfolk vanishes, and neighbor stands with neighbor against the common foe. Despite their easy natures, these are frontier folk; nearly everyone here learns to wield some type of weapon before they learn how to ride a horse. In times of muster, Highfolk can field frightening bands of halfling slingers, as well as dangerous hill and forest troops. Veluna, a strong ally of the Highfolk, has stationed more than two hundred elite cavalry and footmen in Highfolk Town, to assist the mayor and the lord of the high elves. Highfolk's Knights of the Hart, made up of elite elven and half-elf warriors, represent hope to the people of the valley, and are justly celebrated as heroes.

Archclericy of Veluna

Ruler: His Venerable Reverence, the Canon of Veluna, Hazen, Shepherd of the Faithful
Government: Theocracy ruled by the Canon of Veluna, a powerful Raoan cleric advised by the College of Bishops and the Celestial Order of the Moons (congress of representatives from seven secular noble nouses and Verbobonc)

The folk of Veluna have long represented the best aspects of humankind. Here, humans and elves live in harmony, farming arable land and working together to build a common culture founded upon the tenets of peace, reason, and serenity. The influence of the Church of Rao is everywhere in Veluna, gently enforcing their doctrine through the administration of fair, firm (but not overly harsh) laws. A land renowned for its scholars and seers, Veluna is also a pilgrimage site for those seeking wisdom and stability in their own lives.

Trade in Veluna runs along two primary corridors, the Velverdyva River and the Great Western Road. Though most of the truly important settlements along the Velverdyva belong to Furyondy's duchy of the Reach, Veluna claims a number of small ports along the southern banks. A long-cultivated tolerance for the Rhennee bargefolk, who are generally unwelcome on the northern shores, provides a willing flotilla of barges, and occasional protection for larger vessels when strange creatures crawl from the river deeps. The Great Western Road is well-fortified, and sees more traffic than the river. Most of this traffic flows west, anchored by caravans bound for Lopolla and the rich markets of Ekbir, Tusmit, Zeif, and beyond.

The geography of Veluna is generally unremarkable. All forests of importance have long since been clear cut, leaving only the Ironwood, on the southern border, the Dapple Wood and the Asnath Copse, a small woodland that, in former days, provided most of the lumber that built nearby Veluna City. Veluna claims the northern margins of the Lorridges and a sliver of the Lortmils, which house the nation's precious metal mines.

Veluna's army, based around a highly skilled core of heavy cavalry, also includes contingents of elven bowmen and gnome sappers. The bulk of the troop are pikemen, bulwarked by hundreds of clerics. The Knights of Veluna, a local branch of the Knights of the Hart, number just more than one hundred. These politically active men and women command smaller independent bands of sergeants and men-at-arms, and often can be found at the beck and call of any of the nation's seven secular ruling families.

Viscounty and Town of Verbobonc

Ruler: His Noble Lordship, the Viscount Langard of Verbobonc, Defender of the Faith
Government: Semi-independent realm owing fealty to the Archclericy of Veluna, but nearly autonomous in practice

The Viscounty of Verbobonc is a nearindependent province of the Archclericy of Veluna, ruled in palatine by a powerful viscount. The town of Verbobonc itself is the second largest port on the Velverdyva, bringing much wealth to the local lords. The writ of the Viscounty extends some fifteen miles into the Kron Hills to the south, though the current gnome troubles ensure that the viscount holds little true power there. Though relations with the lords of neighboring villages and strongholds within the Viscounty are not nearly as tumultuous, Viscount Wilfrick's inattentiveness during the latter part of his reign has ensured that some local rulers have more power than they ought to have, a problem that the current viscount, Langard, must deal with on a daily basis.

Verbobonc is not only a human city, but is home to many elves and gnomes, as well. A few of the former live in lofted ipt-houses, structures built within the boughs of trees of the same name. Most gnomes live in "rents," small but comfortable dwellings excavated from the dozens of small hills within the city proper.

The town is rich with trade. The river brings goods of all stripe, with caravans and barges more than happy to leave the region loaded down with gems and copper from local mines. Verbobonc's gnome smiths are renowned across the Flanaess. (Arguably, their most important structure, the Royal Furyondian Mint, spreads their handiwork farther than any other.)

The local temperate is mild, featuring cold winters with little snow. The people of Verbobonc are friendly but cautious—most have seen evidence of true evil in their lifetimes, and know that a stranger could as easily slice your throat as look at you. The folk of Verbobonc have channeled this caution into a diligent work ethic. "Hard work keeps the demons away" is a popular local proverb.

Despite its small size, Verbobonc boasts both a religious and secular army. The First Army of the Church is little more than a collection of club-bearing zealots, beaten so often by the Cuthbertine Overseer Branditan that they have become a formidable and well-trained force. This body numbers perhaps two hundred men and women. The Viscount's Standing Army consists of six hundred pikemen, cavalry and archers, nominally led by the extremely aged (and increasingly disabled) Mayor Velysin. In times of great need, these troops are bolstered by rangers from the Gnarley, contingents of clerics from Veluna, and the famous Bootmen of Furyondy's Duchy of the Reach. An alarming number of adventurers can be found in the Viscounty, augmenting the resident forces in unpredictable, often destructive, ways.

Orders of knighthood are few and small in Verbobonc, though the new viscount recently proposed sponsoring a local branch of the Knights of the Hart. Though controversial (as no love is lost between the town and the Knights of Furyondy), it appears the
proposal is gaining widespread public support so long as the knights were loyal first to their homeland, not to foreigners.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 01:25:31 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 4
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2012, 03:23:24 PM »
Sheldomar Valley ("Old Keoland")

March of Bissel

Ruler: His Lofty Grace, Larrangin, the Margrave of Bissel
Government: Feudal monarchy owing fealty to Gran March and Veluna; monarch currently chosen by leadership of the Knights of the Watch under Gran March

Bissel is at the northernmost reach of the great Sheldomar Valley, on a broad plain bounded by the Barrier Peaks on the west and northwest, the Fals River on the northeast, and the Lorridges on the east. The irregular southern border lies about thirty miles north of Hookhill in Gran March. The northeastern edge of the Dim Forest is claimed and settled by Bisselite woodsmen. Spring flash floods along the Realstream in the west form the only major annual weather problem. Bissel has a temperate if rather dry climate, with the far west getting most of the rain. Its wildlife is greatly varied, and monsters often come down from the nearby mountains. A constant stream of caravans, messengers, and patrols moves along the country's two major highways: Watchtower Road, running from the former capital, Thornward, to Hookhill near the Lorridges, and Fals Road, from Thornward to Mitrik along the Fals River. Barge traffic along the Fals to Mitrik has recovered since the Thornward Division, despite continuing quarrels over river tariffs and attacks on Ket's barges by unknown persons.

Bissel's four famed mercenary Border Companies are being reorganized and retrained after their defeat and disbanding during the Ketite occupation; they are not yet at their former strength. Many scouts and rangers are being sought for active duty in the north and west. A large castle-building project is underway along the southern banks of the Fals (Bissel's new northern border) and along the neutral zone around Thornward. Ket destroyed many forts, minor castles, barracks, signal towers, and army bases when it invaded Bissel and later when it withdrew. These are being rebuilt, but work is very slow due to lack of funds. The massive Castle Oversight, at Pellak, has become the headquarters for Bissel's branch of the Knights of the Watch. The influence of Gran March and the Watch is everywhere, particularly in the new margrave's court. The eventual recovery of Thornward is a core goal of the government.

Thornward is a sprawling, heavily fortified city with a population of about six thousand, surrounded by numerous army camps (limited in size by treaty), further boosting its total population to about eleven thousand. The caravan and river traffic through Thornward is of staggering size; items are often available here that are found only in much larger cities. The atmosphere in the city is tense and political intrigue is thick, but mercantile activity is nonstop; the city is brightly lit all hours of the night to keep trade moving.

Grand Duchy of Geoff

Ruler: His High Radiance, Owen I, Grand Duke of Geoff (exiled); now ruled by rival giant and nonhuman tribal leaders and shamans, divided by race and religion
Government: (Formerly) feudal monarchy with minor fealty to Keoland; (now) no central government exists

The land of Geoff is utterly devastated. Its villages are ghost towns, and armies of orcs and giants of all varieties have inhabited the cities, taking as slaves those humans they did not kill and eat. Few buildings have escaped ruin, and the land's forests are being harvested for unknown purposes. Nearly everything that once was Geoff has been erased. The giants hold all land from the Crystalmist mountains in all directions but east, where the Realstream, Dim Forest, Oytwood, and Stark Mounds demarcate a chaotic, violent border with Gran March.

Geoff's isolated position accounts for some unusual weather. Morning fog is common near the Dim Forest, giving northeastern Geoff a reputation for secrecy and hauntings. Rain is plentiful, though thunderstorms are short, violent affairs. Winter brings significant snowfall, especially in the west and mountains.

Before the wars, Geoff was well known as a source for wool and furs. Animals, both wild and domesticated, once freely roamed the countryside. Most of these were captured and eaten by giants and orcs, though the deer population has grown following the
loss of their foremost predator (humans—the orcs and giants eat cattle and horses). Roving packs of wild dogs range widely throughout Geoff, creating yet another hazard in an already frightful realm.

Geoffs roads, predictably, are in disrepair. Traveling them is relatively safe, however, since giants ignore roads to take the most direct overland path, carrying their belongings. Few bandits inhabit Geoff, as the giants are dangerous and nothing is left worth stealing.

The giants' gains were hard won. Geoff's archers, predominantly sylvan elves and half-elves, picked off the first giant forays, allowing the full evacuation of the capital and much of the southlands. Eventually, Geoffs defense broke. Cavalry and pikemen were little match for seemingly countless bands of giants and nonhumans. Little evidence of an organized Geoffite army exists today; survivors long ago pledged themselves to Gran March or newly liberated Sterich, and they encourage the retaking of Geoff from afar. The largest group of these warriors is based in the all-but-annexed town of Hochoch, between the Dim Forest and Oytwood.

Gran March

Ruler: His Most Resolute Magnitude, Magnus Vrianian, Commandant of Gran March
Government: Feudal monarchy structured along military lines, with minor fealty to Keoland; overseeing current government in Bissel; noble houses and government are closely entwined with a militant quasi-religious knighthood, the Knights of the Watch; commandant chosen every five years by vote of nobles and knights

Gran March occupies the fertile plains east of the expansive Dim Forest and west of the Lortmil Mountains, bounded by the northernmost fork of the Sheldomar River in the south. A poorly defined "open" border marks the north, where nobles often kept court in both Bissel and Gran March. These days, there seems to be little difference between the two governments, though the land within 30 miles north of Hookhill is considered part of Gran March proper. This territory also includes portions of Dim Forest and the Rushmoors, a haunted fen that has plagued the southern march for much of its long history.

The northern baronies enjoy a temperate, dry climate not unlike that found in Bissel. The south, however, is a land of dark mists and frequent showers, particularly near the forest and swamp.

Gran March is an exceptionally martial nation. At age fifteen, all fit males enter mandatory conscription for a period of up to seven years. Girls may join the rank and file, as well, though this is something of a modern development, and their participation is not seen as mandatory (though several influential women in the military hierarchy believe it should be). It is a testament to the national pride of the nation's young people that many continue after their required service, and those who do not are generally members of local militias.

Internationally renown mailed cavalry forms the core of Gran March's impressive army. Armed with lances, crossbows, and swords, these riders are the bane of giants inhabiting Geoff. The Knights of the Watch and Knights of Dispatch offer support and welcome tactical expertise. The total standing army includes more than eighteen thousand soldiers. At least three times as many trained troops can be called up within a single week.

Kingdom of Keoland

Ruler: His Peerless Majesty, the King of Keoland, Kimbertos Skotti
Government: Feudal monarchy with rulership that passes between two or more royal houses that are primarily descended from ancient Suel nobility with many Oeridians and some elves, gnomes, or halflings in Council

Older even than Aerdy in the Flanaess is ancient Keoland, mainspring of the Sheldomar Valley. The foundation of Keoland, represented the birth of the first postmigration human kingdom in the Flanaess. For nearly a millennium, the Keoish heartlands have spanned the lands from Gradsul at the Azure Coast to the Rushmoors in the north, between the great Sheldomar and Javan rivers in the east and west. These lands are some of the most provincial and bucolic in the Flanaess, having been largely untouched by war and conflict for centuries. The climate is customarily temperate year-round and the soils of the central valleys are rich, allowing the kingdom to grow wheat, rye, and other grains in great abundance. The country has never been rich in terms of mineral wealth, and perhaps for that reason it has always conducted a brisk trade with its neighbors, to whom it supplies staples such as foodstuffs in return for hard coin.

The folk of the land can be friendly and generous, but they are primarily noted for their superstitious natures, particularly their wariness of foreigners. The people are a mixture of Suel and Oeridian bloodlines, well blended for the most pan in the provinces of the
nation, except in certain rarefied circles such as the nobility and other closed societies. Flan still exist in small pockets in the kingdom, no longer numerous in the heartlands and now driven to the peripheries of the valley. The common tongue is spoken here, but the primary dialect is called Keolandish. The speech of the common folk is highly recognizable for its accent.

For most of Keoland's history, the study of magic was banned to its citizenry, and its practice was restricted to secret societies and certain nobles. Little evidence is seen by the casual observer of powerful wizards' magic, as commoners fear those who practice
spellcraft. Many priesthoods are present in the realm, though religion was never a dominant force in the kingdom, either.

Keoland is a true monarchy in that its kings rule for life and have great powers and authority at their disposal, but officially the government is a permanent regency. Ruled in the trust of the noble houses, the matter of succession has always resided in the Council of Niole Dra. This deliberative body, composed of the major nobility and heads of certain long-established guilds and societies in the kingdom, has the responsibility to authorize succession and oversee matters dealing with the nation's founding charter. It is the founding charter, penned some nine centuries ago, that ascribes rights and obligations on the part of all the citizenry of the country, whether lowborn or high. The Throne of the Lion, as the office of the king is referred to in Keoland, is currently held by Kimbertos Skotti. The monarch is besieged by factions who constantly demand his attention, making changes or decisions often painfully slow in coming. Most of these petitioners are peers of the realm, who have varied and often conflicting self-interests.

Over two dozen political subdivisions exist in Keoland: The Barony of Axewood, County of Cryllor, Duchy of Dorlin, County of Flen, Union of the Good Hills, Duchy of Gradsul, Barony of Grayhill, March of Middlemead, Royal Capital and District of Niole Dra, County of Nimlee, Viscounty of Salinmoor, and the March of Sedenna.

Orcish Empire of the Pomarj

Ruler: His Most Ferocious Majesty, the Despot Turrosh Mak
Government: Dictatorship governing numerous rival nonhuman tribal leaders and shamans; dictator has large personal army composed of warriors from his own orc tribe

The Pomarj is a long arm of land extending from the Sheldomar Valley to separate the Azure Sea from the Sea of Gearnat. The "empire" of nonhumans here encompasses the whole mountainous Pomarj peninsula. Its western border begins at the foothills of the central hills of the Principality of Ulek, invaded Jewel River on the eastern border of the Principality of Ulek and sweeps north to include most of what was once referred to as the Wild Coast before it was absorbed into the Orcish Empire of the Pomarj during the Greyhawk wars. The boundaries of the Pomarj along the Woolly Bay continue north to the outskirts of the city of Safeton, where a contentious border is generally acknowledged with the domain of Greyhawk.

Dominating this land are two major features, the rugged and monster-infested Drachensgrab Hills in its central fastness and the dark and foreboding Suss Forest in the west, which separates the Pomarj from Celene and the County of Ulek. Neither place is very well populated by humanity, which has generally favored the valleys and the lowlands along the coasts since the region was first settled. Instead, these areas are under the firm control of orc and goblin tribes that claim the land under the banner of eternal hatred.

Few lands in the Flanaess are as malign as the Pomarj aspires to be. Slavery is rampant here, and humanity is treated as the lower class. The capital of the Pomarj is the city of Stoneheim, a thick-walled citadel that sits in the shadows of the southern face of the peaks of the Drachensgrab mountains. This squat, affluent place was once the center of the mining operation inaugurated by the Keoish throne three centuries ago, and was built largely by dwarven hands from Ulek. It is now held firmly by the orcs and their leader Turrosh Mak. It has only two primary purposes: the training and deployment of troops to the provinces of the empire and as a headquarters for the continued exploitation of the mineral resources of the hills. Gold is still brought out of these mines in abundance, and it is the primary means of supporting the orcs.

Blue, the peninsula's second largest settlement, is an anchorage on the eastern tip of the Pomarj. It has a different character, having been an open port and home to pirates and smugglers for centuries. Mak has strong alliances with the largely human mercenaries
there, paying them well to harry the shipping lanes between the Azure Sea and the Sea of Gearnat, which makes them a bane to the city fathers of Irongate and Gryrax. The presence of the Scarlet Brotherhood and their vessels has also been noted here.

Highport, on the northern coast, is the largest city in the Pomarj, though fewer than fifteen thousand people live in the former capital. Portions of the city are still in ruin to this day, though inhabitants have largely restored the markets and shipyards that once made it an important commercial center. Humanity still outnumbers other groups here, and Highport remains a place of brisk business during the day, run by a coalition of mercantile and mercenary factions that sit in a council that reports indirectly to Turrosh Mak. However,
despite these appearances, Highport's reputation at night is as dark as any place in the Flanaess. It is correctly rumored that press gangs roam the broad streets at night, seeking those foolish enough to wander around unprotected, and that a second nocturnal
society emerges after dark, one not quite as amenable as that observed during the day, nor as predominantly human. It is whispered that during these hours goblins walk openly and conduct business with orcs and other creatures who descend from the hills in the darkness, and that other even more fell beings such as ebony-skinned elves stalk its more desolate ways before the sunrise.

North of Highport, along the coast, are the cities and towns of the southern Wild Coast that are now under the control of the "empire." The Wild Coast, called such by Keoish and Aerdy monarchs alike since neither group ever had control over the region, had long been a haven for dissidents and outcasts from other realms. These independent city-states, including Elredd, Badwall, and Fax, were no match for the marauding orc juggernaut that overran the area during the Greyhawk Wars. Now, each city (in ruins and mostly emptied of humans) exists as an armed orc camp under Mak's control.

Hold of the Sea Princes

Ruler: Contested: (eastern isles and cities) Elder Brother Hammandaturian, Shepherd of the Sea Princes; various local warlords, tribal clerics, and foreign armies hold the remainder of the region
Government: see "Ruler"; region in civil chaos

The Hold of the Sea Princes is a land bordered on all sides by the protection of natural terrain. To the north, its reaches extend to the Hool River at the heart of the marshland of the same name. To the west and south, the lands of the Sea Princes are walled in by the Hellfurnaces. The Hold's eastern border, along the Jeklea Bay, accounts for the nation's former prosperity.

That prosperity, however, is now gone, perhaps forever. Now, the Hold is wracked by violent political upheavals, invasion, and bitter ethnic conflict—a beautiful, tropical land marred by the sins of the past and the conflicts of the present.

Despite the political climate, the Hold is renowned for its beautiful weather and pleasant beaches. Before the Greyhawk Wars, nobles from as far as Nyrond flocked to Monmurg every winter, hoping to escape the dreary north for a few months of relative paradise.

The land here is fertile and suitable for farming all manner of crop. Fruit production is perhaps the Hold's most famous industry, though a traffic in slavery brought it the most prewar enemies (and whole ships filled with coin, thanks to the greedy lords of Ahlissa and elsewhere). In fact, the slave trade of the Sea Princes was so lucrative that captains called their captured Amedio slaves "two-legged admirals," referring to the platinum coinage of the realm.

The Sea Princes once commanded the grandest navy in all the Flanaess. Now, most of these ships are sunk or used by the Scarlet Brotherhood. Regardless, few still dock along the coast. The Hold's small but effective army fell early to the armies of Amedio and
Hepmonaland savages, imported by the Brotherhood during the Greyhawk Wars.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 01:38:37 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 5
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2012, 03:49:07 PM »
Sheldomar Valley ("Old Keoland") Continued

March of Sterich

Ruler: Her Magnitude, Resbin Dren Emondav, Marchioness of Sterich, Stewardess of the Great Western Gate
Government: Feudal monarchy owing fealty to Keoland; ruling family has been weakened, and noble families are suffering from infighting and confusion over post-war claims of nobility, precedence, and land ownership

Sterich is a land rescued from nonhuman occupation only to find itself embroiled in struggles between returning nobles. The boundaries of the reclaimed territory generally extend from the western banks of the Javan River to the east, through the lowlands of the Stark Mounds, down to the Davish River and around, in the south, to the Jotens (where fighting continues). The mountain lake, the source of the Javan River, remains a hive of evil activity, and the villages and mines nearby are completely abandoned.

The distant western Crystalmists were once the home of several competing clans of mountain dwarves. When the nonhumans invaded in 584 CY, many clans withdrew into their strongholds, while others fled the hills to warn their human allies. Since the nation has been reclaimed, five different clan holds have failed to send representatives to the court in Istivin. Most Sterish fear the worst, though hardy exiled dwarven lords (often at odds with each other) are organizing several bands of adventurers for reclamation missions.

Sterich claims no notable woodlands within its borders, and has had to conduct considerable trade with Keoland and Gran March for lumber to rebuild fallen towns and villages. The most heavily defended portions of the reclaimed lands are perhaps the passes of the Stark Mounds, which offer a relatively safe route of passage for logging missions to the Oytwood.

The military of Sterich, though blooded badly in the reclamation campaigns, has emerged as a well trained force with a handful of canny generals experienced in battling (and beating) nonhumans. A strong contingent of 1,500 halberdiers forms the heart of this force, which is supplemented by light infantry and renowned light cavalry. Unfortunately, the military's division of power declares that most units are under the control of a lord. Since the lords are now squabbling among themselves for regained land, soldiers once united against a common enemy have turned upon each other.

County of Ulek

Ruler: His Noble Mercy, Lewenn, Count Palatine of Ulek, Archdruid
Government: Hereditary feudal monarchy; count must be member of druidic hierarchy and fulfill ritual requirements unique to this county

The mid-most of the three Ulek States, the county is separated from the duchy to the north by the Kewl River, while the Old River to the south forms the border with the principality. The eastern limit of the county is marked by the Handmaiden River, beginning several leagues north of Courwood, continuing through the Suss until it joins the Jewel River, and another 20 leagues beyond. The county has retained its territory in the Lortmils, due primarily to the staunch efforts of the Suss Rangers and mountaineers who protect the forested eastern highlands.

The county's defenders are organized into racially separate companies. Medium and light cavalry units are made up of humans wielding lance and sabre. The heavy infantry units of the western regions are human pikemen and billmen, supported by gnome and halfling slingers and archers. Gnomes and halflings also form their own companies of spearmen. In the eastern county are ranger-led mountaineers wielding axes, swords, and spears. These are on very good terms with the elves and half-elves of southern Celene.

Agriculture is the main occupation in the County of Ulek. Halfling and human farmers from the rolling countryside of the western and southern county provide grain to the mills of Keoland, while Gnome brewers and woodworkers produce goods for export as well as local consumption. The county benefits greatly from druidic oversight in all these areas, and the count himself is required to belong to the druidic hierarchy. The current count and his family belong to the faith of Berei, but many folk are devotees of Ehlonna and Obad-Hai. The nonhumans especially favor Ehlonna, but the county's citizens are not given to conflicts based on faith or creed, caring more about their land and fellows than differing religious beliefs.

Duchy of Ulek

Ruler: His Noble Radiance, Duke Grenowin of Ulek
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with hereditary rulership, royal and major noble houses are exclusively elven

The duchy is one of the three Ulek states, former subjects of the Keoish throne, which still maintains friendly relations with its immediate neighbors. As one of the few countries in the Flanaess ruled by an elf sovereign, the Duchy of Ulek also manages to preserve a harmony between its citizens of differing races. The duke has long tried to encourage the same cooperation among differing groups in other nations, though with limited success, The duchy continues to be prosperous commercially, trading with Keoland, the lower Uleks, and Veluna, as well as Celene and the gnomes of the Kron Hills. The duchy's half-elven merchant clans are considered to be some of the most resourceful and honest in the Flanaess.

The lands of the duchy lie between the Kewl and Sheldomar rivers, with the Lort River separating the duchy from the Gran March. Its northeastern boundary is found somewhere within the Lortmil Mountains, though duchy troops guard the entire length of Celene Pass. The duchy is unofficially divided into a northern and southern region. The lands between the Axewood and the Kewlstone Hills, and areas south, are primarily occupied by gnomes and wood elves. The northern portion, from Ulek Pass to the city of Waybury, is home to the high elves, as well as most of the half-elves and humans.

The army of this small nation consists of cavalry, Infantry and archers, in nearly equal proportions. The heavy and medium cavalry are almost entirely made up of human warriors wielding lance and mace, while the light cavalry has both high elven horse archers and lancers. Units of human billmen and pikemen complement the wood elf archers of the southern duchy. Knights of Luna are present here, as well, though not among the duke's forces. Most are guests at the mountain keeps of high elven nobles near Celene Pass. Knights of the Watch sometimes visit the duchy as well, but they are far less welcome by the natives.

Principality of Ulek

Ruler: His Serene Highness, Prince Olinstaad Corond of Ulek, Lord of the Peaks of Haven
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with hereditary rulership, in which the royal and noble houses are all dwarven; royal family (House Corond) owns Gryrax and closely administers affairs of the realm, including some internal affairs of the noble realms

The Principality of Ulek is the southernmost of the three independent Ulek States. It is likely the largest mixed dwarven and human realm in the Flanaess, and one of few that is both possessed and administered by the dwur themselves. The principality sits in the western Flanaess along the coast of the Azure Sea, bordered by Keoland to the west and the Pomarj peninsula to the east, between the Sheldomar and Jewel Rivers, respectively. Its northern border with the County of Ulek has traditionally been observed as the Old River, from its source at the southern tip of the Lortmil Mountains to where the river flows into the Sheldomar. Some logging has been conducted in the northeastern corner of the realm, where the Suss verges across the Jewel, but the most dominant feature of the principality is the broad set of lofty hills that dominate the central fastness of the realm, separating it into two distinct regions all the way south to the sea.

The Principality of Ulek is easily the most cosmopolitan of the three Ulek States. Its large and busy port at Gryrax is second only in size to the great cities of Gradsul and Irongate on the Azure Sea. It prospers tremendously from the trade that passes through its
markets, including goods from as far north as Celene and the Duchy of Ulek. Traditionally dominated by nonhumans since ancient times, the Ulek states are notoriously provincial, but the prince and his court conducts foreign policy and engages in trade and commerce with his neighbors as would any human lord. Taken together, halflings and dwarves outnumber humanity in all of the provinces but the city of Gryrax. This breakdown carries over to the military forces of the realm, highlighted by the elite heavy dwarven infantry armed with battleaxes and dressed in adamantine chainmail. Halflings are used frequently as scouts and slingers. The principality maintains a strong naval presence on the Azure Sea to both patrol the southern coast and keep shipping lanes secure from pirates. These vessels are mostly crewed by humans in the service of the prince, but they are frequently staffed with dwarven marines of unusual discipline and courage.

Mining and metalwork are the primary industries of the Principality of Ulek, and competition with Irongate for supplying such goods to other nations in the Flanaess has been fierce for centuries. The dwarven-fashioned city of Havenhill, more than a day's march north of Gryrax, is the center of this trade. The surrounding hills are honeycombed with warrens and deep excavations, with some dwarves still preferring these tunnels to the surface. Human farms and steadings are most common in the provinces west of the hills, especially as one approaches the eastern bank of the Sheldomar. The humans are primarily a Suel-Oeridian mix, like their brethren in Keoland. All citizens owe fealty to the prince, the hereditary lord of the realm who maintains a palace in the hills north of Gryrax.

Valley of the Mage

Ruler: His Most Magical Authority, the Exalted Mage of the Valley and Laird of the Domain, Jaran Krimeeah
Government: Magical despotism

The Valley of the Mage lies hidden within the central Barrier Peaks mountain range, concealing within its confines the source and headwaters of the Javan River. The only natural passage through the surrounding wall of mountains lies near the northern end of the valley. From here the river exits, flowing beneath the trees of the Dim Forest, This lush valley is one of the most naturally isolated realms in the Flanaess. The closest neighboring states are Bissel and the lost realm of Geoff. Across the Barrier Peaks to the west are Ull and the Plains of the Paynims.

Valley elves patrol the entrance, often in force, and gnomes are sometimes found among their ranks, These patrols are comprised entirely of infantry, usually wearing chainmail or studded leather, and armed with longsword and bow. The tenor of encounters with these elves is highly variable; sometimes they are wont to attack immediately, while at other times the elves turn back intruders with only a warning The patrols do not seem to be highly disciplined or organized, and the elves are just as unpredictable when encountered outside the Valley.

The sovereign that is said to rule here is known as the Mage of the Vale, or the Black One. His court has no formal relationship with any other government, though he is suspected of maintaining a ring of spies in several cities in the neighboring realms. There is almost no trade, either; it is thought that the Black One prefers to send his servants on errands of theft and banditry instead. Henchmen of the Mage that were captured have either escaped or wasted away, dying if not allowed to return to their master.

Little is else is known of the Mage or the interior conditions of his domain. Those who have traveled there describe passing from under the deep shadows of the Dim Forest, through a wide gap in the mountains, to find a warm and fertile countryside within, with few inhabitants. The broad northern basin is grassy and pleasant, while the high southern valley is rocky and tree covered. Little apparent danger is here during the day. Nightfall in the valley is quite sudden, and the landscape comes alive with monstrous predators. It is not known if these are conjured in response to trespassers or are hazards for the subjects of the Mage as well. It may be that serving the Mage of the Valley is as perilous as opposing him.

The Yeomanry League

Ruler: His Steadfastness, Marius Lindon the Freeholder, Spokesman for the Yeomanry League
Government: Independent democratic republic governed by an elected Freeholder (who conducts diplomacy, negotiates treaties, and commands the military) and Council of Common Grosspokesmen (a parliament handling legislative affairs); suffrage exists for all adult citizens (human and nonhuman, male and female) who have military service or are gainfully employed in the realm

The Yeomanry League, also known as the Yeoman Freehold, is situated in a valley between the Jotens and the Tors in the southwest corner of the greater Sheldomar Valley. The moderately sized realm is nearly surrounded by the Crystalmists and its spurs, though its eastern border with Keoland is generally regarded as the western bank of the Javan across from the county of Cryllor. Its border continues south to where the great river enters the Hool Marshes and the lands of the Sea Princes. The climate is hot nearly year round in the central valley, though the temperature moderates as one approaches the foothills, particularly in late fall and winter. The Yeomanry is a land populated largely by freemen farmers, who are mostly a Suel-Flan mix. With foodstuffs and cloth the major industries of the nation, the town of Longspear on the eastern border forms the major trading center for the country and the destination for most of its excess goods. Here, foreign visitors are usually welcomed, and much commerce is conducted, particularly with Keoland, the Yeomanry's nearest neighbor.

The Yeomanry is one of very few representative governments in Flanaess. Any citizen of majority who has carried a spear for the nation, either now or in the past, is eligible to elect spokesmen on his behalf from his community. In turn these spokesmen elect representatives, until one reaches the approximately one-hundred-member Council of Common Grosspokesmen. The council meets in the capital of Loftwick four times a year during the festival weeks to decide the affairs of the nation. These delegates act largely as a legislative body, and choose from among the greater landowners of the nation a citizen to act as Freeholder. The Freeholder is charged with being the chief administrator of the nation, and he also directs diplomacy and the heads the armies of the Yeomanry by leading the Free Captains of the Battles. The current Freeholder is Marius Lindon, a ranger from the eastern territories of the Yeomanry. He has held the office for scarcely two years, but was chosen for his expertise in dealing with the nonhuman invasions that have increased with frequency in recent years.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 01:49:53 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 6
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2012, 04:15:35 PM »
Empire of Iuz ("Northern Reaches")

Empire of Iuz

Ruler: Iuz the Old, lord of Evil, Lord of Pain, etc. (evil demigod/cambion)
Government: Imperial theocratic dictatorship; empire directly but inconsistently ruled by an evil demigod and managed by his priesthood and other spellcasters

The Greyhawk Wars began as a result of a dangerous gambit of Iuz, the so-called Old One, who has for so long dominated the north-central plains of the Flanaess. No single being can claim personal responsibility for as much bloodshed as can the Old One, a vicious, scheming creature who revels in his own debased wickedness. Though Iuz is a Power unto himself, his political might is given form by a chaotic though nonetheless effective dominion known as the Empire of Iuz.

Attempts to mark out lesser political boundaries within the empire prove difficult at best. The following general political regions are recognized by mapmakers as part of Iuz's territory, though they do not seem to be actual provinces in the empire.

Land (often Homeland) of Iuz, consisting of the region north of Whyestil Lake, south of the Cold Marshes, and between the Opicm and Dulsi Rivers. Two important conquered regions lie adjacent to the Homeland. Iuz recently dominated the Howling Hills west of the Dulsi River, a land long held as sacred ground by the Wolf Nomads. This haunted, blood-soaked region is administered by Urzun orcs from Fortress Kendragund, in the eastern hills. The second territory is the northeastern Vesve Forest, a site of continuing warfare ruled from the regional capital of Izlen.

Bandit Lands, that realm once dotted with the so-called Bandit Kingdoms, west of the Artonsamay and Zumker and partly bounded by the Bluff Hills, Fellreev Forest, and Ritensa River. These days, this area is not actually a province as such, instead being broken into huge warlord fiefs centered around four regional capitals (see Bandit Kingdoms).

Barren Lands, also called the Barrens, Barren Plains, or Northern Barrens. These cool grasslands lie south of the Wastes and the Icy Sea, and north of the Fellreev Forest. The Bluff Hills, western Griffs, and Forlorn Forest mark its eastern borders, and the
Opicm River and Cold Marshes the western end. No towns lie here, except sprawling Grossfort. Iuz's human and nonhuman troops have difficulty living off the land, and frequently can be found at each other's throats. Though Iuz once thought the Barrens
completely under his control from Grossfort, the situation recently grew more problematic (see Rovers of the Barrens).

Horned Lands, the region once ruled by the Horned Society between Whyestil Lake, the Veng and Ritensa Rivers, and the Fellreev. Once the demesne of the proud and villainous Horned Society, this area has lately been divided into two fiefs, east and west, to better combat Furyondy's guards and raiders from the Bandit Kingdoms. Most of the evil humans who once lived here have fled, leaving the land to hobgoblins, orcs, and other evil nonhumans.

Shield lands, the fertile region east of the Ritensa, north of the Nyr Dyv, and southwest of the Rift Barrens. A fraction of this area around Critwall and Scragholme Island was retaken during the Great Northern Crusade by ex-Shield Landers, but most of
the region remains firmly in the hands of Iuz's occupying forces (see Shield Lands).

Though the above accurately summarizes the assumed divisions of Iuz's political power, the actual situation is more complex and confusing. Since 584 CY, Iuz has designated certain towns and cities within his empire as "regional capitals," starting with Riftcrag, Rookroost, and Stoink in the old Bandit Kingdoms. However, the exact areas these capitals control were never specifically outlined by Iuz, and those placed in charge of those capitals hold only as much territory in Iuz's name as their human and nonhuman armies can conquer and intimidate.

Lately, several other regional capitals have appeared, serving as strongholds and garrisons in increasingly troubled regions. Each regional capital (other than the imperial capital, Dorakaa) is ruled by a spellcaster of Iuz's Greater Boneheart or Lesser Boneheart, or else a
particularly powerful human or half-fiend. Lesser Boneheart rulers are typically chaotic evil humans who are wizards or clerics (of Iuz) of levels twelve to seventeen; a few are believed to be undead. Greater Boneheart rulers are spellcasters of levels eighteen and up.

At the start of 591 CY, Iuz's regional capitals in the Homeland, Horned Lands, and Barren Lands include the following. (Major holdings in occupied nations are covered in the individual entries of those nations.)

Delaquenn rules western Horned Lands between the Veng River and the eastern shore of Whyestil Lake, sharing a border with Furyondy along the Veng River. Many nonhuman survivors of the Great Northern Crusade live here and passionately hate Furyondy, desiring to invade it again as soon as possible. The ruler is known to be an old vampire from Aerdy named Maskaleyne, a puissant wizard once of House Naelax.

Dorakaa rules the Homeland of Iuz and north shore of Whyestil Lake. Iuz's mighty capital, Dorakaa, would not be out of place in the heart of the infernal Abyss. Even after the Flight of Fiends, demons walk the grim battlements, occasionally leaping from their height to savage a passer-by, sometimes upon orders, but more frequently because they like the way blood feels between their fingers and teeth. The city is always overcast with black clouds in a 4-mile radius. Beyond the city's massive Iron Gates, clerics in gore-splattered robes lead armored contingents of orcs and goblinoids through a chaotic jumble of streets, past buildings in horrible disrepair, trampling the bones of the freshly dead. Though the city retains the docks that once made it one of the most lucrative stops in the Northern Reaches, no trade comes to Iuz. The Old One imports only what his armies plunder; his chief export is misery.

The Old One resides in a skull-bedecked stone palace that dominates Dorakaa's skyline, a dark edifice that also houses the Legion of Black Death, Iuz's elite orc, human, and fiend army. Not far from the palace is the demesne of the Lord of Pain's administrators, a cabal of wizards and clerics known as the Boneheart. The Boneheart Citadel and Iuz's palace are the center of the cancer that inflicts the northem Flanaess. Given the defenses of Dorakaa, little hope exists of destroying that cancer in the near future.

Grossfort rules all of Barrens except for the far eastern end. The troops ("Marauders of the North") are primarily human and made up of Grosskopf bandits who moved in from the Bluff Hills. Though sent here to fight surviving Rovers and plains centaurs, these evil bandits lately have begun adopting Rover mannerisms and tactics in the Barrens, and they often attack small groups of nonhumans from other forts. Grossfort, once a large open military camp, is now a walled town with huge horse and cattle herds and some outlying farms. The city is supposedly ruled by the archmage Jumper of the Greater Boneheart, but he rarely comes here of late.

Izlen rules the Iuz-controlled northeastern end of the Vesve Forest and west coast of Whyestil Lake. High Priestess Halga, of Iuz's Greater Boneheart, is the ruler. Izlen's nonhuman forces, under Panshazek the Vile, battle the Vesve elves and assorted forces of Philidor the Blue, a mysterious archmage who appeared in the Flanaess less than a decade ago. Philidor has been little seen since the Great Northern Crusade, but peculiar spells and magical constructs undoubtedly of his creation cause great trouble for orcs in the woodlands.

Molag rules the eastern Horned Lands to the Ritensa River. It holds the border with Furyondy, but suffered terrific damage during the Great Northern Crusade and is still attacked at irregular intervals. Molag is dominated by hobgoblins and humans. Though mostly ruined, it is still very powerful defensively; the town has an extensive system of underground tunnels. It is set on a low hill two miles east of the Veng River. The current military commander is unknown, as so many (often successful) assassination attempts are made here by Furyondians. Iuz's high priestess Althea, the nominal ruler of the city and land, comes here annually despite the attempts on her life.

In the Bandit Kingdoms, the towns of Hallorn, Riftcrag, Rookroost, and Stoink are regional capitals. Hallorn rules the western Bandit Kingdoms, Riftcrag the Rift and Rift Barrens, Rookroost the region between the Rift and the Bluff Hills, and Stoink the southeastern Bandit Kingdoms. Admundfort was designated the regional capital of the Shield Lands in 587, but the island is almost completely cut off from the empire by a naval blockade.

In the core Homeland and Horned Lands, the climate is universally bleak. Some claim that Iuz himself controls the weather here, and its dark character reflects the spirit of the tyrannical demigod. Cloud cover is a constant menace, particularly during battle, as Iuz's nonhuman troops have little trouble seeing in the dark and gleefully press that advantage upon a blinded enemy. The concept of mercy is alien to the countless warriors under Iuz's banner. Exact numbers are impossible to determine, but reliable estimates place the total number of soldiers under Iuz's command at thirty thousand (mostly orcs, but some ogres, hobgoblins, humans, and assorted sentient detritus). No one knows how many demons survived the Flight of Fiends in 586 CY; few have surfaced.

The Fellreev Forest has increasingly become a center of anti-Iuz resistance. However, the factions here are mutually hostile and do not cooperate. Human, nonhuman, and undead forces of the old Nerull-worshiping Horned Society are gathered under Hierarch Nezmajen  in the north-central Fellreev and across the southwestern spur, particularly around Ixworth and Kindell. A powerful alliance of Reyhu bandits and sylvan elves rules the south-central Fellreev under a Reyhu lord, Skannar Hendricks. Independent orc bands, groups of sylvan elves, Flan foresters, Rover refugees, and renegade bandits roam the woodland as minor groups. The eastern Fellreev, across the Cold Run, is supposedly controlled by Iuz's orcs at Fort Skagund, but they are often raided by renegade bandits, most from the old "kingdom" of Greenkeep, which followed Olidammara. A large group of sylvan elves, lately reinforced by Rover forest tribes, holds the woods just east of Lake Aqal. Finally, a rogue lich named Dahlvier rules a small independent region between the western Fellreev and its southwestern spur, on the west side ("Dahlvier County").
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 02:13:20 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 7
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2012, 04:49:48 PM »
Empire of Iuz ("Northern Reaches") Continued

The Bandit Kingdoms

Ruler: Various petty warlords and tyrants or Lesser Boneheart mages, all supposedly in service to Iuz
Government: Many loosely allied petty dictatorships, currently "administered" (often in name only) by occupying forces of Iuz

The lands of the Bandit Kings are arable but not especially fertile, being rocky and grossly overfarmed. Some scholars believe the rowdy disposition of the natives can be traced to these agricultural difficulties, since they discourage large settlements and set the stage for banditry by poor farmers against trade caravans moving from city to city.

Despite being largely a land of flat, featureless horizons, the area is home to one of the most stunning geographical features of the continent: the foreboding Rift Canyon. Hundreds of tales and legends tell of how the great canyon came to be. Most know it as a den of foul creatures and strange magical conditions. Presently, it is infested with bandits fighting against the occupying forces of Iuz.

Weather conditions here are generally temperate, though winters tend toward harsh storms and even blizzards throughout late Sunsebb and early Fireseek. In contrast, high summer often brings drought, threatening grain crops and cattle production.

Prior to the Greyhawk Wars, the local lords frequently made war with one another. When the entire realm came under threat from exterior foes (usually the Shield Lands, Tenh, or the Horned Society), each lord sent a portion of his troops; bandit army counts often totaled as high as fifteen thousand troops.

Though the forces of Iuz now occupy and administer much of the lands of the Bandit Kingdoms, some old political divisions remain, even if entire populations do not. Some states here have survived or even returned to life after Iuz's conquest of this region, adding chaos to a very tumultuous empire. The following is an outline of these old states and their current status.

Abbarra: A wilderness of rugged plains situated between the Fellreev and Tangles, immediately west of the Midlands, Abbarra was long run by a syndicate of formidable assassins. In a land as chaotic and lawless as the Bandit Kingdoms, the blade of a trained killer is highly prized. Because of this, the Abbarrish have generally managed well as a people, despite the inferiority of their overfarmed land. Abbarra lost most of its able fighting men at Steelbone Meadows in northeastern Wormhall, the scene of a frightful massacre in Brewfest 584 CY brought on by a deranged cleric of Iuz. However, some assassins survived (perhaps organized by their former leader, the ruthless Kor and now prey on Iuz's rare patrols in this area. These "terrorists" strike from hidden bases and live off the land. Abbarra is technically governed from Hallorn, but it is generally ignored by the empire.

Artonsamay, Duchy of the: Located along the riverbanks north of the Great Northern Bend of the Artonsamay and the plains within 30-60 miles of the Rift Barrens' eastern end, the duchy was a curiosity in this land of criminals and murderers. Though a purse was as likely to go missing here as in any holding, Artonsamay had about it a certain honor lacking in most of its neighbors.

Rumored to have been ruled by a puissant noble adventurer of Urnst's Gellor dynasty, Artonsamay was a favorite haunt of thrill-seekers and lawless folk lacking an evil or sadistic bent. None of this, however, served to aid the duchy when Iuz's forces invaded in 583; the realm's castle "capital" was destroyed, and most of the land's residents fled to the County of Urnst, Stoink, or the Rift. Great magic was employed in the battle, and Artonsamay is now mostly uninhabited wilderness (much of it barren) with poor hunting, governed from Stoink. Many, including Countess Belissica, believe that Duke Gellor is dead, though the folk of Stoink whisper that no less than Iuz's high priestess, Halga, was seen there, tracking a man bearing an all-too-familiar appearance.

Dimre, Grand Theocracy of: Dimre includes the far end of the Phostwood west of the Artonsamay, and the plains 60-75 miles west of that wooded bend in the river. A small, powerful state, Dimre once raided Tenh and Nyrond through the Phostwood and Nutherwood. Founded prior to the Great Council of Rel Mord by the charismatic canon of a heretical apostate cult of Pholtus, Dimre is greatly reviled in the Pale. Brave young templars are often sent by the Pale's theocrat to undermine the little realm. The appalling failure rate of such endeavors has led many to suggest (in private) that Dimre presents the Pale with a convenient means for disposing of challengers to the status quo. After several embarrassing defeats in the summer of 583 CY, even the armies of Iuz chose to let matters stand, signing a pact of non-aggression and alliance with Dimre. Dimre is technically governed from Stoink, though it is autonomous in reality. Dimre's clergy preaches that to understand the glory of Light, one must first walk hand-in-hand with Darkness. Its army keeps watch on all borders, allowing none but the faithful to pass into their sacred land.

Fellands: The western Bluff Hills, eastern Fellreev, and lands between were part of a warrior realm based in the town of Groucester. The Fellands were conquered by the forces of Tenh in the spring of 578 CY, and ceased raiding eastward for a time. This
realm was absorbed by the Grosskopf clans in 581, following a marriage between their ruling families.

The invasion of 583 brought with it new leadership in the guise of Xavendra an oddly refined and graceful cleric of Iuz. Lacking the fiends that provided most of her security, the cleric has had to accept former bandits into her circle of leadership in Groucester, (She
reports to the regional capital at Rookroost.) The bulk of the bandits working with her have turned to dark religion and evil debauchery. Xavendra has a well-known distaste for orcs, and some suspect she may make a play for independence (despite being a cleric of the demigod) should Iuz's full attention fall elsewhere.

Freehold, Mighty: The realm in the inner crook of the Fellreev Forest, south of the Artonsamay, was named for its sole fortified site, a huge walled keep, The Freehold allied itself with Iuz when the latter invaded in 583, but its forces were treacherously destroyed at Steelbone Meadows the following year. The land is patrolled by rogue orcs now, and surviving Freeholders are very few. Few troops from Hallorn check on it.

The Freehold keep itself was altered in the early months of Iuz's occupation, becoming the grisly castle known as Fleichshriver. Remolded by fiendish hands, the citadel is an imposing reminder of the evil, otherworldly forces that once infested the local countryside. Though passers-by no longer need fear the claw and tooth of marauding demons, strange, haunting screams can still be heard from the seemingly abandoned keep; locals give it a wide berth. Iuz's archmage Null, of the Greater Boneheart, was known to come here
in the past and might do so still.

Greenkeep, Defenders of the: The eastern Fellreev south of the Artonsamay River was a state dominated by humans but with significant numbers of renegade sylvan elves and half-elves. Merry followers of Olidammara, the Greenkeepers escaped the massacre at Steelbone Meadows and withdrew into their corner of the Fellreev. They suffered much from raids by wizards, clerics, and orcs under Iuz, but some hang on, helping and helped by the Reyhu-elf alliance across the river. They avoid the plains to the south.

Grosskopf, Grand Clans of: The eastern Bluff Hills and lands south to the Zumker were held by Grosskopf, long friendly with orcs and their kin, Grosskopf was invaded by Duke Ehyeh Ill's forces in 578 and forced to restrain its banditry. This warrior realm absorbed the Fellands in 581, following a marriage between their ruling families, and raids into Tenh began anew late that year.

In 583, with the troops of Stonefist crowding Tenh and demon-led orc and hobgoblin armies rapidly approaching from the west, Grosskopf capitulated to Iuz. (Some men fled into the Bluff Hills, where they hold out yet.) Many Grosskopf raiders with cavalry skills elected to take Iuz's suggestion that they relocate to the Barrens to fight the Rovers, with whom Grosskopf had clashed for many decades. The raiders live now at the Barrens' regional capital, Grossfort, forming the basis of a sizable army known as the Marauders of the North. Other Grosskopf troops work with allied orcs and goblins at Senningford and Narleon, fighting Stonehold skirmishers and supplying Iuz's troops in Tenh. Grosskopf and Fellands are both now controlled from the regional capital at Rookroost.

Johrase, Kingdom of: One of the oldest holdings in the Combination of Free Lords, Johrase has long held the lands west of the Zumker-Artonsamay confluence, extending southwest from the town of Kinemeet (the capital) to the Rift Barrens and the Tangles. Formed in 324 CY by Andrellus, a debauched scion of Aerdy's Rax dynasty, Johrase represented a miniature Great Kingdom, replete with its own king and commoners (represented by local Flan plainsmen).

Over time, the realm's society became increasingly dominated by the warrior instincts of the Flan, the throne being held by the most powerful warrior, regardless of race. Annual raids against Redspan ensured that the brutish influence of Johrase was known throughout the Flanaess. Nonetheless, Kinemeet became a neutral meeting ground for bandit chieftains and a marketplace for cattle and horses.

Johrase allied with Dimre and fought Iuz's forces in 583, but it was routed and its men scattered to the east. Many have taken to the mercenary life in Tenh, fighting for the Tenha, the Pale, or whoever offers the most coin. All fly the black morning star emblem of Johrase in combat, and Johrase men never fight each other, regardless of professed allegiances. Johrase bandits hate orcs and goblins, and attack them on sight; they are proud but very bitter about their loss.

Kinemeet is now primarily an orcish city, its forces charged with controlling the plains for 100 miles or more in all directions. The commander here, usually a gigantic orc or intelligent ogre warrior, reports to either Rookroost or Riftcrag, depending on whim. The commander is replaced about once a year, however, thanks to duels for leadership. The orcs here are warlike in the extreme but loyal to Iuz, despite the fact that they frequently use Johrase shields and flags along with those of the Old One.

Midlands, Stronghold of the: Once located between the Fellreev and the Tangles, this plains domain was ruled from a fortified Hextorian temple across the Artonsamay River from Rookroost. Throughout history, the bandits of Midlands acted in concert with and against the armies of Rookroost, depending upon fortune and agreements between the local graf and the plar of the region's capital. By 583, the Midlands and Rookroost were allied. Iuz's armies encountered staunch but ultimately pointless resistance on the Midlands fields. When the defenders fell, the route to the capital lay open, Most surviving forces were destroyed at Steelbone Meadows, and the temple has been razed. The region is now under the control of Kinemeet's orcs, who usually answer to Graf Demmel Tadurinal, a toadying cleric stationed in Rookroost. The graf also handles patrols along the Artonsamay.

Redhand, Principality of: The Combination's only coastal "kingdom," Redhand holds a section of the north coast of the Nyr Dyv, from the old Shield Lands to the mouth of the Artonsamay. "Prince" Zeech, an effete renegade Shield Lands lord who broke with
his nation in 577, swiftly allied himself and his forces with Iuz in 583. The alliance saved his realm from destruction, though the old lords and soldiers of the realm chafed at taking orders from half-orcs and worse. Redhand's capital is at Alhaster, but Zeech must report to the clerics of Iuz at Balmund, which he hates. Deadly conflicts between "Reyhu" orcs in the north and Redhand humans in the south are becoming common.

Now that most of the Old One's demonic officers are gone from the land, many believe Zeech and his men are set for a rebellion. Word of this surely has reached Dorakaa, and all eyes watch the debased prince with grotesque curiosity, guessing at his fate should he defy Iuz. Zeech would get no help elsewhere, as he is greatly hated in Urnst and Furyondy.

Reyhu, Great Lands of: Though the city of Rookroost commonly held the distinction of the "capital" of the old Bandit Kingdoms, the Allied Townships of Reyhu (Balmund and Sarresh) controlled the most fertile land, granting them much power in this land of arid plains and sickly woods. Sworn enemies of the Shield Lands, Reyhu men became skilled raiders and defenders by necessity; tales of the prowess of the Reyhu armies were told as far west as Lopolla.

The rulers of Reyhu, a long line of self-named tyrants, curried favor in the County of Urnst, even coming to the aid of the count when Nyrondal cavalry crossed the county's eastern border following Nyrond's break from the Great Kingdom. Because of this, Urnst funnelled much unofficial (and often illegal) trade to Reyhu through Hardwyn, across the river from Sarresh. This went on despite the wicked nature of Reyhu's folk, many of them followers of Erythnul, as many family ties crossed the Artonsamay in this region.

Though Reyhu men invaded the Shield Lands with other Bandit Kingdoms after 579 CY, they feared Iuz and fled from his huge, eastward-moving armies in 583 CY, heading north into the Rift Canyon or the Fellreev, or southeast into the County of Urnst. Reyhu men now raid their old homeland from bases in Urnst, or else hold out in the central Fellreev in alliance with sylvan elves there.

The old Reyhu region is administered by a quartet of clerics of Iuz in Balmund, who in turn report to either Riftcrag or Stoink (their orders are often confused on this point). Their incompetence does not eliminate the fact that the countryside literally crawls with orcs and their allies, and hence is well defended, if only by the sheer number of defenders. Reyhu's celebrated fields lay fallow, its crucial resource completely ignored and turning into wilderness.

Rift, Men of the: Rift Canyon and nearly all the rough lands around it (the Rift Barrens) were ruled from the town of Riftcrag, which long had a notable nonhuman population of orcs, gnolls, bugbears, ogres, and the like. The original bandit force here largely abandoned the city to Iuz's forces in 583, gathering in the deep recesses of the Rift and planning a dark revenge. These forces are augmented by many refugees from Iuz's attacks (notably Reyhu), and they are led by the charismatic self-proclaimed Plar of the Rift, Durand Grossman. Native nonhumans and a few magically controlled monsters round out what is one of the three most active and well-defended resistance forces inthe Bandit Kingdoms (the others being in the Fellreev). Rift folk are mostly as chaotic and evil as the
nonhumans, but they are clever and skilled at mountaineering and trap-setting. Many thieves and berserkers are among the warriors here, and Erythnul worship is widespread.

Iuz's agents inhabiting Riftcrag made it a regional capital in 584. They keep watch over the canyon from the city and from the Leering Keeps, five citadels perched on the northern edge and eastern end of the enormous chasm. Led by Cranzer, a powerful member of Iuz's Lesser Boneheart, these forces patrol the Rift, attempting to contain the plar's growing army while continuously assaulting the Tangles with axe and fire. The Rift holds mines that provide the region's best silver veins. Of late, Cranzer has made deals with the Rift bandits in order to make the regular silver shipments personally demanded by Iuz.

Rookroost, Free City of:

The large walled city of Rookroost was founded in 329 CY by an Oeridian robber-baron named Latavius, who preyed on river and road traffic within many leagues of his base. The town grew rapidly; for most of this century, it has been the major state in the Bandit Kingdoms, controlling all land up to seventy-five miles north of the Artonsamay-Zumker confluence and pulling in much legitimate trade. Rookroost's rulers have traditionally been warriors who assassinate their predecessors, controlled all the while by the city's powerful gang of thieves, which also controls the local assassins. Oeridian humans are dominant, but a large orc and half-orc population is present, with many other nonhumans besides (including half-fiends after the Greyhawk Wars).

A local legend says the city on the hill will never be conquered, so long as its huge raven population roosts in the city's central square. So far, the prophecy has held true. The city resisted a siege by Tenha forces in 578 CY but was forced by treaty to stop raiding western Tenh. It wisely offered to join Iuz in 583 when the demigod's armies laid waste to the Midlands realm to the south, and in 584 it became a regional capital. Rookroost now governs all plains, forests, and hills between Cold Run and the Zumker River, all Iuzite forces in Tenh, and the plains across the Artonsamay south to the Rift Barrens.

The city's newest ruler, Lord Marshall Arus Mortoth, murdered his predecessor, General Pernevi, following the loss in 586 of many of Pernevi's fiendish advisers. Mortoth has restructured the government, heavily favoring humans over other races, except for a brutal hill giant employed as chief constable. Some say thieves and their agents really control the city, though the current administration has not overtly tried to sour relations with Dorakaa. Lord Mortoth is rumored to be disenchanted with Iuz, but he has no known relationship with Rookroost's rogues, being a very self-centered dictator. It may be that the humans in his administration, which include very few priests of Iuz, feign their loyalty to him. Rookroost forces use their old heraldry with that of Iuz, and relations with Iuz's local clerics are strained.

Stoink, Free City-State of: The land within the two lower bends of the Artonsamay just west of the Nutherwood are controlled by Stoink, long known as the "Wasp Nest." One of the most powerful states among the bandits, walled Stoink had a major export business in weapons until the Greyhawk Wars began, trading with and raiding both Nyrond and the County of Urnst. It also commanded a great smuggling business by river and road, and its thieves and mercenaries were renown across the Flanaess for their superb skills and bad manners. Stoink declared for Iuz after witnessing the fate of Artonsamay and Johrase, and Iuz's "capture" of the city had little real effect on its daily life. Stoink was one of the first three regional capitals designated by Iuz in 584 CY.

Currently ruled by the fearless and grossly overweight Boss Renfus the Mottled, Stoink sponsors brigand raids into northern Nyrond, and its forces loot the supply trains of the army of Tenha expatriates attempting to retake their homeland under Duke Ehyeh III. Cross-river raids between Stoink and the Urnst fortress Ventnor are increasing, but they have not yet invited an invasion by the County of Urnst north of the Artonsamay. The northern border with Dimre is stoutly defended to prevent raiding by overzealous minor priests.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 02:00:48 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Blue Bomber: The Justice, Not You, since 2002.
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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 8
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2012, 05:14:52 PM »
Empire of Iuz ("Northern Reaches") Continued

The Bandit Kingdoms Continued

Tangles, Earldom of the: Encompassing the entire Tangles, the far western Rift Barrens, and the clear plains bordering Warfields and the old Shield Lands, the Earldom of the Tangles suffered greatly from the incursion of Iuz's armies. Formed from an
easygoing adventuring band devoted to Olidammara, the folk of Tangles had their jovial nature put to the test by hobgoblin raids and ultimately full occupation of all but the most inaccessible forest depths.

Iuz rules this area from the small town of Hallorn, the earldom's former capital and now one of Iuz's regional capitals. Hallorn was once a grim place filled with little more than zombies, thanks to an insane priest of Iuz and his numerous demonic allies. After the Flight of Fiends and the priest's death, the town's current ruler restored some normalcy to the locale, albeit of a decidedly evil bent. The wildly insane Earl Aundurach, a new addition to the Lesser Boneheart, commands the surviving Tangles folk harshly and ineffectively. He prominently displays a magical scepter crafted from the bones of Reynard, the land's rebellious bandit chief, captured and slain in 589 CY. The earl is supposed to control all activities in the Bandit Lands to the north and west, but it is very doubtful that he does.

A few hundred men and half-elves have withdrawn entirely into the small woods, and from 585 CY on have gained assistance from clerics of a Trithereon sect in Furyondy, with access to considerable magic. Attempts to destroy the Tangles from Hallorn and Riftcrag have always failed, as the forest seems to regrow damage very swiftly.

Warfields, Unified Bands of the: The original claimant to the lands along the eastern Kitensa River has been lost to history. Since well before the formation of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, Warfields has been a chaotic land wracked by nearly endless warfare.
Situated at the crossroads of the Shield Lands, Horned Society, and the rest of the Bandit Kingdoms, Warfields hosted some of the most titanic battles in the region's long history.

The "Unified Bands" of the Warfields were hardly unified at all, and were governed as a single entity simply because one ruler was usually powerful enough to either capture or coerce the leaders of rival bands. This overlord, known as the Guardian General, ruled through oppression. Generations of chaos and lawlessness left him little option.

When Rovers of the Barrens overran the northern border of the Horned Society in 578 CY, the Guardian General of Warfields was among those bandit lords who pledged their support to the Hierarchs. Shortly thereafter, the duke of Tenh's troops crossed the Zumker and threatened Grosskopf. Warfields withdrew its support for the Horned Society, triggering a punitive invasion. The miniature kingdom was controlled by Molag until the Greyhawk Wars.

In spring 579, Warfields and Wormhall, directed and aided by the Horned Society, attacked the western Shield Lands; they were joined after their initial successes by armies from Reyhu, Redhand, the Rift, and other minor kingdoms. The Shield Lands fell, and Warfields men looted their way to Critwall and Axeport. They withdrew in early 583, concerned about a sudden change of orders sent to Horned Society troops (caused by Iuz, who had slain most of the Hierarchs and seized control of that realm). Warfields' army joined Iuz's, but it suffered gross losses at Steelbone Meadows massacre and rebelled. Warfields was then invaded and destroyed by Iuz's hobgoblins. Warfields' soldiers and citizens are scattered to the winds.

Warfields is much less a center of military activity these days, consisting mostly of wilderness and ruined towns. Administered from the regional capital at Hallorn, the land is rife with hobgoblins, and few humans remain. The hobgoblins send many of their number south to fight returning Shield Landers at Critwall. The former Guardian General, an imposing warrior called Hok, has not been heard from in over five years.

Wormhall, Barony of: Though Iuz the Evil dominates the bedtime monster stories and threats experienced by most children in this dreadful realm, the ghoulish edifice known as Wormhall, and the twisted land governed by those who dwell within it, provide more localized chills. A desolate and largely uninhabited wilderness in any era, the so-called Barony of Wormhall comprised most of the land north of Warfields, along the upper Ritensa River within 75-90 miles of the east bank.

Wormhall fell to a Horned Society invasion in 578 CY, though it remained occupied for but three months. Reports that the dreaded Unnamable Hierarch himself visited Wormhall were never substantiated, but most believe that the grim lords of the land entered into some pact or bargain with the leaders of Molag, granting local autonomy. Wormhall men took part in the invasion of the Shield Lands (579 CY) and later joined Iuz's troops, but they were slaughtered at Steelbone Meadows. Surviving troops and citizens fled into the Fellreev.

Iuz's invasion in 583 CY brought about a similar result. The Wormhall itself still stands, and its strange masters are said to dwell there, about 40 miles west of Steelbone Meadows. Iuz's orders to his troops in this land go first to the Wormhall, bypassing Hallorn, the regional capital. The common folk who have not fled the region have experienced few changes in their daily lives. Still, Wormhall is a part of the Empire of Iuz, a point lost on no one. After meeting with the lords of Wormhall for three full days, the Old One's representative had Baron Oltagg, the speaker for the lords, sent to public execution. His still-beating heart remains magically preserved in the central village of Obresthorp.

No one knows the true faces of the lords of Wormhall. Rumors suggest they are ordinary humans, fiends, reanimated lords of old, or worse. The structure and province are named for the tenebrous worms that literally crawl on the walls of the Wormhall, a revolting feature that has led many to suggest magic created by the infamous arch-cleric Kyuss is somehow involved in the affairs of the land.

Rovers of the Barrens (Arapahi [translated: People of the Plentiful Huntinglands])

Ruler: His Mighty Lordship, Ataman of the Standards, Durishi Great Hound, Chief of the Wardogs
Government: (formerly) Four loosely allied Flan clans, each composed of several nomadic tribes; each tribe led by a chieftain elected for fighting ability and leadership; best warriors joined the Wardogs (not aligned with any tribe), and best warrior of the Wardogs had limited authority over all tribal chiefs; (now) tribal organization in grave disarray, tribes scattered

The Rovers are a group of Flan barbarians driven nearly to extinction by Iuz and his fiends. Their territory has traditionally been the lands north of the Fellreev, between the Opicm River and the western edge of the Griff Mountains and Bluff Hills, They are seldom found in any numbers now, living instead a furtive existence and confining themselves mainly to the northern and eastern parts of the Barrens. The land is aptly named, for it is poor and the living has always been difficult. The hardy tribes of the Rovers have adapted well to this land, enduring its bitter winters and dry summers, while taking from it all they need to survive.

Among their war bands are riders as expert as any among the Wolf or Tiger Nomads, and a group of fleet-footed runners of legendary endurance. These are the Wardogs, masters of close-fighting techniques whose weapons are the hatchet and knife, their agility and outrageous bravado are renowned throughout the Flanaess, giving rise to the expression "wild as a Wardog." The Rovers are only lightly armored, if at all. They typically use hide-covered shields, and ply the lance and javelin, although they have many excellent bowmen as well. In addition, some of the Rovers specialize in using the lariat, and their skill with rope is extraordinary.

Traditionally, they live by the hunt. Elk and bear are their favorite prey, though any beast is fair game to the tribal providers. The Rovers once actively exchanged furs and hides with their neighbors, but this trade has ended. Mostly, the tribes now scavenge and hide, hoping to find enough to survive each day. Their skills as warriors and hunters are not lost, but they despair. Their last ataman, Durishi Great Hound, no longer leads them and waits for death at Dogwind Bay. Few tribal elders have the will to endure, and the people now put their hopes in a young war sachem, Nakanwa.

Shield Lands

Ruler: Her Most Honorable Ladyship, Countess Katarina of Walworth, Knight Commander of the Shield Lands
Government: Commonwealth of local lords ruled by highest ranking noble of Walworth Isle, who is also Knight Commander of local religious army

The Shield Lands consisted of two dozen provinces of various size, stretching from the Ritensa River in the south to the Vigilant Highway, from Plague Fields to Alhaster (which joined the Bandit Kingdoms in 577 CY as part of Redhand). The nation's northern border has shifted throughout the centuries, but it was generally defined by the southern margins of the Rift Barrens.

The current nation, often referred to as the "New Shield Lands," encompasses only the 20-30 miles surrounding the city of Critwall and Scragholme Island, at the mouth of the Veng-Ritensa River. A keep on Scragholme Isle, Bright Sentry, guards a small bur growing port that bears the same name and serves as the island domain's local capital. The current government proclaims that the recapture of all lost lands is its primary goal, though fighting has ground to a virtual standstill within the last year.

The rest of the Shield Lands are under the administration of Iuz, through his agents in Admundfort, proclaimed a regional capital in 587 CY. The effectiveness of the rulership in Admundfort is questionable, as the island is currently besieged by the Furyondian navy and occasionally invaded by fanatical adventuring groups. The isle is thought to be defended entirely by orcs, who may have killed everyone else present. The current ruler is a Lesser Boneheart mage, Vayne, about whom little has been heard since the Great Northern Crusade. Tens of thousands of humans live in the occupied lands, eking out a horrible existence of slavery and degradation. Towns such as Axeport and Stahzer were completely leveled and depopulated.

Prior to the wars, the Shield Lands had established perhaps the most modern and well-cared-for system of roadways in the Flanaess. When armies overran the nation from the north and east, these roads helped to speed the land's downfall. Most roads remain in good condition, and are used by the forces of Iuz to ship goods to northern lands.

The local climate is temperate, and less harsh that the Bandit Kingdoms to the north. Though far from tropical, the southern coast of the Shield Lands provide the most hospitable beaches in all the Nyr Dyv coastline.

Iuz controls a chaotic array of nonhumans here, numbering in the tens of thousands. The Shield Lands forces, stationed in Critwall, consist of some 5,000 infantry and cavalry. Though most of these men and women are elite, battle-hardened veterans, they are war-weary and know that the sheer numbers of nonhumans in their homeland makes a direct assault suicidal.

The people of the New Shield Lands have changed considerably in the last two decades. What once was overweening pride has changed to determination to regain lost lands. These are good, dedicated (if occasionally overzealous) folk who see their mission clearly. They are willing to sacrifice their lives to regain what once was theirs.

Duchy of Tenh

Ruler: Contested: His Radiance, Duke Ehyeh III of Tenh vs. forces from Iuz, the Pale, and Stonehold
Government: (formerly) Independent feudal monarchy whose royal and noble houses were strictly Flan; (now) court exile, lands fought over by several rival armies, who are the only effective authorities.

The war-ravaged lands between the Griff Mountains and the Artonsamay River, north of the Yol, hold the remains of the former duchy of Tenh. The Greyhawk Wars that destroyed this country have not yet ended here; Tenh, the first victim of the wars, seems destined to be its last. Duke Ehyeh III, scion of an ancient Flan lineage, attempts to reclaim his homeland with meager assistance from the County of Urnst. He has other supporters, of course, including the mage Nystul of the Circle of Eight, but few followers, troops, and resources are available to him. His once-great reputation as a leader was destroyed along with his nation, leaving him little more than a noble title and moderate riches. The duke himself has not set foot on his native soil in nearly a decade, a fact that is reflected in the uncertain morale of his troops in Tenh.

The Palish have a much stronger force in Tenh, in the form of a zealot army. Many Tenha exiles were converted over time to the worship of Pholtus, as practiced in the Pale, and organized into an army known as the Faithful Flan. A fighting force utterly loyal to the theocrat, two contingents of the "Faithful Flan" have crossed the Yol into Tenh. The larger contingent entered at Atherstone, which they now occupy, and the smaller passed through the Phostwood. Some of Duke Ehyeh's troops have defected to the Faithful Flan, who are better fed and supplied in addition to having a larger army.

Two former allies, Iuz and the Fists of Stonehold, are now at each other's throat. The Fists occupy a strong defensive position in the cities of Nevond Nevnend and Calbut across the Zumkend River, guarding Rockegg Pass through the Griffs against all other groups in Tenh. Iuz has sent troops across the Zumker River from the town of Rookroost in the Bandit Kingdoms, in an attempt to occupy the abandoned territories. Currently, the forces loyal to Duke Ehyeh hold Redspan, where they are supplied via the Artonsamay River. The Palish armies control southern and eastern Tenh, from the edge of the Phostwood to the town of Oxton, making frequent attacks on the troops of Iuz that move through the no-man's land of central Tenh. Iuz controls both banks of the Zumker to within sight of Nevond Nevnend, though his soldiers avoid corning within bowshot of the city's walls.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 02:03:57 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 9
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2012, 07:20:53 PM »
Thillonrian Peninsula ("Barbarian North")

Frost Barbarians (Kingdom of (the) Fruztii)

Ruler: His Most Warlike Majesty, King Hundgred Ralffson of the Fruztii
Government: Hereditary feudal monarchy; member of the Northern Alliance

The Frost Barbarians, or Fruztii, dwell in the lands above the Timberway Forest, bounded by the Griff and Corusk Mountains to the west and north. The western edge of the Spikey Forest marks the border with the Snow Barbarians, and the southern and eastern shores of the kingdom of Fruztii end at the waters of Grendep Bay. The climate here is much more temperate than in the northern parts of Rhizia (as the Thillonrian Peninsula is named in the Cold Tongue), and farming is an important part of the economy of the kingdom (though the growing season is short). Fishing is also very important on Grendep Bay, as is mining in the eastern Griffs. However, the most notorious pursuit of the Frost Barbarians is raiding, and it often proves the most lucrative, as well.

Longships of the Frost Barbarians, often in cooperation with the other Suel barbarians, raid southward in spring to pillage along the coast of the new Great Kingdom of Northern Aerdy and sometimes further south. The crews are typical examples of barbarian warriors, wildly brave but rarely disciplined. No lack of discipline afflicts the soldiers of the king of Fruztii, however; his standing army is highly organized and well trained. The king's men are also well armored with chainmail and shield, bearing swords or battle-axes. Several companies of archers and a small force of cavalry based in Djekul are present.

The Fruztii are strongly allied to the Archbarony of Ratik in the south. Their young king has even married a beautiful but headstrong Ratikkan noblewoman eight years his senior. Changes are already apparent in the royal court at Krakenheim, with more formal (or "civilized") trappings in the organization of the government and the military. These changes do not meet with the approval of many of the older jarls, but they remain loyal to Hundgred out of respect for his noble father.

Ice Barbarians (Kingdom of (the) Cruski)

Ruler: His Most Ferocious Majesty, Lolgoff Bearhear, the King of Cruski, Fasstal of all the Suelii
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with hereditary rulership, though with little actual control over jarls, who act independently of one another; king controls the area around the capital and farms within 30-50 miles

The northern and eastern coastal regions of the Thillonrian peninsula are home to the Ice Barbarians, or Cruski. Their land is the coldest and most severe of the Suel barbarian kingdoms, but the hardship has served to strengthen their independence. Dwelling in seaside towns and mountain steadings, they make hunting, fishing and whaling their major occupations. Shipbuilding is clearly important, and piracy is as well, with seasonal raids southward providing both wealth and the opportunity for battle that the barbarians crave.

Their military consists primarily of war bands of medium and heavy infantry led by local jarls. Shipcaptains lead crews of sea-raiders gathered from the same infantry, who serve as rowers at sea and warriors on land. They are usually armed with sword or axe, wearing chainmail and iron helms, and carrying the round shields favored by all barbarian Suel. Cavalry is not unknown on the western tundra, but few tundra-dwellers are Ice Barbarians, most having Flan ancestry and being related to the Coltens of Stonehold. They do not serve as warriors for the Cruski, instead paying tribute to their Suel overlords to be left alone.

The Cruski themselves are a people of pure Suel race, speaking the Cold Tongue as their native language. Though they have always been the least numerous of the Suel barbarians, their royal lineage is the oldest. The king of Cruski holds the title "Fasstal of all the Suelii," indicating his preeminence among the nobles of the Suel race and giving him the right to pronounce judgment on any of them. Politically, this has little real importance, for he has no power to enforce his judgments. However, it is said by some that the god Vatun granted this authority to the fasstal of the Suelii; if Vatun awoke, the full authority of the office would return to the fasstal, and a new barbarian empire would emerge under his leadership.

Archbarony of Ratik

Ruler: Her Valorous Prominence, Evaleigh, the Lady Baroness (also Archbaroness) of Ratik
Government: Independent feudal monarchy having severed all fealty and ties to the former Great Kingdom, its successor states, and noble houses; member of the Northern Alliance

Ratik is a small but prosperous nation located in the northeastern corner of the Flanaess. It is seated in a cultural crossroads between the otherwise civilized south of the former Aerdi Great Kingdom and the barbaric north of the Suel on the Thillonrian Peninsula. Ratik stretches between the Rakers and the Solnor Coast, where the modest city of Marner, the capital, is its only major port. Its southern border is marked by the fortified hills separating Ratik from Bone March. These extend east all the way out to the Loftwood, where the hearty woodsmen are allied with the archbarony. Ratik's northern border divides the Timberway between itself and the Frost Barbarians, a long-standing informal boundary that has been respected by both sides for centuries and only recently was acknowledged by formal treaty. While these barriers have profoundly isolated Ratik from the rest of the Flanaess, they also have served to protect it from invaders for centuries.

The climate of Ratik is wintry much of the year, with heavy snows swollen with moisture from the Solnor falling steadily during the height of Telchur's sway. The windswept Timberway remains the greatest focus of the realm. It is a hunting ground that produces the pelts and furs used widely in the dress of the nation. It also provides Ratik with its greatest bounty, the timber and shipbuilding supplies that drive much of the economic activity of the archbarony. The western border of Ratik is an endless range of foothills, inhabited by dwarves for millennia. These mountains are dotted with mines of gold and precious gems situated between citadels of stone that protect the ways from the denizens of the deep mountains. Some farming is conducted during the short growing season in the open lands between Marner and Ratikhill.

Ratik is populated chiefly by folk of Aerdi descent, with an Oeridian-Suel mix being common. Few Flan are here, though many Fruztii and some Schnai are present, expatriate farmers from their homelands. Dwarves and gnomes are numerous in rougher lands. Only humans prefer the coasts, where their fishing villages are located. Ratik is well settled despite being located so far north of the population centers of the former Great Kingdom, partly because so many refugees fled here from Bone March.

While the rulership of the realm rests completely with the hands of the baron or baroness, its lord takes counsel with numerous constituencies, including the Council of Great Lords (fourteen human and dwarven peers), as well as the burghers of the small cities and towns. The current baroness, Lady Evaleigh, is the widowed stepdaughter of old Baron Lexnol, who yet lives but has been incapacitated for several years. Baroness Evaleigh is mistrusted by many in the kingdom, for she was not born in Ratik and does not always seem to understand its precarious position. It was the old baron who won the trust of the Fruztii and negotiated a treaty with their king. The dwarf and gnome lords respect decisiveness, and Evaleigh has shown little during her short tenure. While the military is loyal to the crown, many grumble that the count of Knurl, Evaleigh's father, has grown far too influential in the affairs of Marner. Lexnol had been working on a treaty with the Schnai to shore up his position against Bone March and its allies in North Kingdom, but these efforts are currently in shambles. Few things would please North Kingdom's "Overking" Grenell more than to see this realm succumb to chaos.

Snow Barbarians (Kingdom of (the) Schnai)

Ruler: His Bellicose Majesty, King Ingemar Hartensen of the Schnai
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with hereditary rulership, loosely governing powerful jarls; jarls meet yearly at the Assembly of Knudje (without king present), then send representatives to Soull to negotiate with king or have him resolve judicial
disputes; king and jarls each have a retinue of advisers (clerics and skalds)

The Schnai, as the Snow Barbarians are named in their native tongue, are the most numerous of the Suel in the north. They are also considered the best example of the unmixed Suloise race, many being as pale as their namesake northern snows. They still assert their supremacy over the Ice and Frost Barbarians, but such claims are now ignored by their neighbors. Trade continues between the three barbarian states as it always has, and they freely mingle together on raiding expeditions to the southern lands. Shipwrights of the Snow Barbarians are still considered to be the most skilled in Rhizia, and Schnai captains are felt to be the luckiest.

The warriors of the Schnai are typical of the Suel barbarians. They usually ply axe or sword in battle, and wear sturdy chainmail coats. All use round shields, including the berserkers, who otherwise go unarmored except for skins. Those berserkers dedicated to Vatun wield shortspears or battleaxes, while the followers of Kord favor the broadsword. The king himself favors Kord and has a company of berserkers among his household. They are usually kept at Knudje, rather than at the king's court in Soull, though the king sometimes sends them to guest at the halls of particularly troublesome jarls. The king's other troops are of a more standard variety, including companies of good archers. He has a few horsemen as well, masters of the long, scything axe.

The king of Schnai rules the land between the eastern Corusk Mountains and the wide Grendep Bay. The Spikey Forest separates the territories of the Snow and Frost Barbarians, though the lands on both sides are very similar. The climate of both kingdoms is nearly identical as well, with a relatively temperate southern zone. The landscape of the kingdom of Schnai is more rugged than the Fruztii region, however, though not so rough as that of the Cruskii. The same could be said of the people, who are more factious than the Fruztii, but more united than the Cruskii.


Ruler: His Most Grim and Terrible Might, Rhelt Sevvord I, Master of Stonehold
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with hereditary rulership, governing four ataman nobles (ruling from the towns) and four nomadic tribal chieftains, with the standing army commanded by the rhelt (king); current rhelt is charismatic and has near-dictatorial powers

A frigid climate and brutal regime combine to make Stonehold one of the harshest lands in all the Flanaess. Bounded to the west and north by the Icy Sea, Stonehold's southern and eastern borders are formed by the Griffs and Corusks. The majority of Stoneholders live a seminomadic existence, moving to the northern tundra in summer and migrating south in the autumn. The remaining third or so of the population dwell in permanent settlements, mostly west of the Frozen River. Brute strength has long been the main virtue espoused by the people of this land, and treachery the byword of her leaders. All of the bordering nations are Stonehold's enemies. Stonehold has no trade, her only export being war, and in this she excels.

The armies of Stonehold are comprised of "Fists", war bands of about 250 fighters, of either infantry or cavalry. The bulk of heavy infantry is drawn from the settlements, while the tundra and forest dwellers provide most of the light infantry and cavalry. Rhelt Sevvord is the absolute master of these people, and his troops are expected to obey him without question. The punishment for disobedience is slow death, though the rhelt always rewards his loyal troops with plunder and captives. So far, Reword Redbeard has maintained his personal authority and become the most important figure in his nation's history since Stonefist himself. Still, many feel that his time has passed, and wait for a leader who will be strong enough to challenge him.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 02:08:17 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 10
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2012, 07:52:21 PM »
Old Aerdy West ("Old Nyrond")

Kingdom of Nyrond

Ruler: His August Supremacy, Altmeister of All the Aerdi, King Lynwerd I of Nyrond
Government: Hereditary feudal monarchy

Nyrond has long commanded the central plains east of the County of Urnst. The Nesser-Franz river system to the west provides access to the Lake of Unknown Depths and the Sea of Gearnat, which gives Nyrond access to foreign ports. Nyrond's eastern border is marked not only by the picturesque Harp River, but also by the Flinty Hills uplands, where hardy hillfolk and gnomes man royal mines, always mindful of the threat of invasion from Bone March. To the north, the deep shadow of the Pale looms large, engulfing many of the king's subjects in a bitter game of religious politics. The rocky southern coast, along Relmor Bay, is a haven for fisherfolk and pirates alike.

Nyrond's navy, commanded by Fleet Admiral Hugarnd and stationed along the coast with centers in Oldred and Mithat, patrols Relmor Bay. Long-standing tensions between Ahlissa and Nyrond seem to have cooled, but the area remains a potential military flash point.

Nyrond is a land nearly destroyed by the emotional and monetary costs of war. Major roadways remain in ruin, making travel difficult. In certain provinces, trade is nearly impossible. After a long period of dormancy, the mail service has returned to active duty, and communications were reestablished between the capital and all major nobles.

Desperate times have called for desperate measures for many of Nyrond's subjects. Banditry is on the rise. Because the country is in such dire economic straits, heavy fines are favored over imprisonment. Debtors prisons, a new development in law enforcement, now dot the countryside.

Nyrond's armies are commanded by General Myariken, a young buck who is said to be great friends with the nation's new king. Though many of the peasant and freemen levies have returned to their farms, major regiments remain in Old Almor and Womtham. Special elf scouting regiments, centered in Woodverge and Flinthill, once provided strong service to the crown, but have not filed reports in the last three years.

The local climate is temperate, with moderate snowfall in the winter months. Summers in the nation's interior tend to be very dry and quite hot, with cool, pleasant evenings throughout much of the year.

So great was the internal disruption of Nyrond as a result of the Greyhawk Wars that, in late 590 CY, King Lynwerd restructured Nyrond's provinces. He did this in a manner that rewarded those lords who remained loyal to his father during his brother's brief revolt, and his system also provided increased revenue to the Royal Treasury. Much confusion has resulted from this reorganization, though Lynwerd believes it will benefit the realm from 592 on. Nyrond's new provinces, which came into effect on Needfest 1, 591 CY, are: Almorian Protectorate, County of Brackenmoor, Viscounty of Eventide, Duchy of Flinthill, Earldom of Gamboge, Justcrown Province, Duchy of Korenflass, County of Mowbrenn, Duchy of Orberend, Royal Duchy of Womtham, March of Woodverge, and the Barony of Woodwich.

Empire of the Bright Lands

Ruler: His Percipient Magnificence, the Archmage Rary, Monarch of the Bright Lands
Government: Dictatorship; realm functions as a minor city-state surrounded by barbaric nomad tribes

In the midst of the Bright Desert, atop the craggy peaks of the Brass Hills, a single tower stands proud, defying the harsh, arid winds. Unlike the hide and cloth tents of the desert's villages and oasis settlements, this tower is finely crafted of stone, topped by an onion dome common to the Baklunish West. It is the tower of Rary the Traitor.

From this tower, the archmage claims the entire Bright Desert as his personal demesne. From the feet of the Abbor-Alz to the rocky shores of Woolly Bay, armies of desert nomads, goblinoids, and mercenaries ride, enforcing the will of their liege upon the simple folk of the desert, proclaiming every oasis for their reclusive ruler.

As befits its name, the Bright Desert offers an oppressively unpleasant climate, with high summer days hot enough to cook food without fire. Evenings bring cool temperatures. Colorful desert plant life exists, if not thrives, in the more temperate regions near the coast, and along the northern hills, where sickly bushes and centuries-old pine trees live a meager, pathetic existence.

No roads cross the Bright Desert. Land closer to the Abbor-Alz tends to be rocky and less sandy than the desert proper, so most caravan routes avoid the heart of Rary's lands altogether. Sparse traffic from Urnst arrives through Knife's Edge Pass, though the duke has forbidden all trade with those who fly the banner of the archmage. Hardby, however, is not so moralistic. Despite strict instructions from Greyhawk, the despotrix of Hardby personally (though secretly) authorizes trade with Rary's go-betweens in the neutral village of Ul Bakak, on the eastern end of Hardby Pass.

Rary's armies are commanded by the doughty Lord Robilar. They range far and wide, seeking out enemies of the state, protecting emissaries to enclaves in the Abbor-Alz, or causing trouble for local tribes and desert centaurs, who resent claims of empire upon their sovereign homelands. The independent and reclusive dwarves of the Abbor-Alz have not yet been troubled by Rary or Robilar's forces.

Theocracy of the Pale

Ruler: His Worshipful Mercy, Theocrat Ogon Tillit, Supreme Prelate of the Pale
Government: Theocracy administered in the name of the god Pholtus; clerics hold all government positions

The Pale is a moderately sized realm located in the shadows of the Rakers, bordered by the Phostwood and the Gamboge in the west. These forests are shared with the duchy of Tenh and Nyrond, respectively, while the mountains in the east form an almost impassable barrier to Ratik and Bone March on the Solnor Coast. The Pale is ruled from the city of Wintershiven by a religious bureaucracy with direct command over the military, law enforcement, economics and trade, and nearly every other aspect of life in the kingdom. The clerical hierarchy rules the land in the name of the god Pholtus and the most powerful of their number, the theocrat, is said to be chosen by their god to hold the Throne of the Sun for his lifetime. He is selected from the ruling body known as the Council of the Nine, which assembles four times a year in Wintershiven to advise the theocrat. The intolerance of its rulers has become legendary, and the Pale is generally perceived as having territorial ambitions on all its neighbors. This may be true, but the society cannot always be so easily categorized.

Winters in the Pale are harsh and unforgiving and the land and its people seem to reflect this attitude. Only two seasons exist in the Pale (it is said): the unbearable winter and the barely bearable "summer," when crops are grown with difficulty. A sizable portion of the population herds animals instead. Food is also imported from other realms.

The Pale is composed of nine large provinces, surrounding a like number of cities that serve as regional capitals, each controlled by a prelate who sits on the Council of the Nine. The population is about evenly divided between people of relatively unmixed Oeridian and Flan stock. The Flan are considered lowborn by the Aerdi upper class, and intermarriage is rare. Oddly, the Flan are thought of as the comelier race by all, but they hold fast to "pagan" teachings despised by the Pholtus-worshiping Oeridians. The former frequently eschew the large cities of the Pale, where they often work as servants and day laborers, preferring the countryside and the opportunity to work their own family farms. A few Palish families include half-elves, particularly in the south.

The society has been relatively closed for the last two centuries, and this stagnation largely has been attributed to the class structure and the pervasive prejudice of its leadership. The Pale has been living under an inquisition for more than two centuries, since Nyrond first invaded the country. Evil priesthoods and hostile cults are actively routed out and destroyed, while other faiths are suppressed. Mages and other so-called "consorts of demons" are closely watched in the Pale and must be careful not to draw too much unwanted attention. The Templars of the Church Militant work within the religious and military hierarchies, and are charged with conducting the inquisition. The roaming High Legates are given great authority and are much feared in the Pale for their ability to put someone to the Question.

Despite these unpleasant aspects, Good exists in the Pale. Monasteries near the western woods and in the eastern foothills of the Rakers have some of the most impressive libraries and respected philosophers around. The city of Ogburg in the southeast is a prodigious trading center and its leaders display unusual tolerance for outsiders. Many dissidents can speak more freely here than elsewhere. Finally, the soldiery of the Pale is among the best trained and most disciplined in the Flanaess, and the borders are well patrolled and defended, making travel within the Pale among the most peaceful in the Flanaess, though the Trolls Fens on the northern frontier remain a constant bane.

County of Urnst

Ruler: Her Noble Brilliancy, the Countess Belissica of Urnst
Government: Feudal monarchy owing fealty to the Duchy of Urnst, though internal affairs are conducted independently; hereditary rulership out of a very broad noble (not royal) family (House Gellor) with strong adventuring and military service

The County of Urnst has held its current borders for centuries. Nestled along the pleasant coast of the Lake of Unknown Depths, much of the nation's economy comes from mercantile pursuits. Urnst's eastern border, along the Stone Road and Franz River, was once heavily garrisoned against threat of invasion from Nyrond. Now, old keeps and castles are used once again, this time to keep track of the swarms of refugees seeking better life in the west.

The great plains of Urnst account for its staggering production of foodstuffs in every part of the nation. Though small forests and woodlands dot the plains, Urnst is not known for its wilderness. The influx of refugees has ensured that free farmsteads and even brand-new lordships can be found almost anywhere.

The great towns and villages of the County of Urnst are connected by a brilliantly designed and well-cared-for series of roads, fashioned in the (some say magical) style of the old Great Kingdom. Indeed, much of the great architecture and infrastructure of Urnst can be traced to the Aerdy occupation, a fact that does not go unappreciated despite the distrust most Urnstmen feel toward nations to the east.

Urnst maintains a small but efficient squadron of warships on the Nyr Dyv, stationed in the largely military town of High Mardreth. A standing army of some three thousand horse and footmen stock key garrisons along the northern border and throughout the nation. Noble levies can raise ten times that number in a week or two.

Duchy of Urnst

Ruler: His Most Lordly Grace Karll Lorinar, the Duke of Urnst, Warden of the Abbor-Alz
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with hereditary rulership, owing fealty (in theory only) to the old Great Kingdom; duke advised in all matters by the Honorable Chamber, a delegation of noble and high-born Suel

Urnst is blessed with ample access to both the Nyr Dyv and the Nesser River, waterways that provide critical passage for the duchy's legendary mineral wealth and foodstuffs (mostly seasoned sausages and rye).

Likewise gifted with a moderate climate, the farms of Urnst produce crops in all but the deepest winter Summer rains commonly flood the banks of the Nesser well south of the capital; wise farmers construct low stone walls around their fields, building outbuildings on short stilts. The famous rolling foothills of the north prevent serious flooding there, and make for breathtaking landscapes remembered in travelogues read across the Flanaess.

Though Urnst enjoys natural defenses on every border, standing border armies have long augmented the nation's strength. Problems from the old Bandit Kingdoms, Rhennee, desert nomads, primitive hill folk, and the odd band of ravaging nonhumans have found swift solutions under the well trained hooves of the Bar Rampant, Duke Karll's elite cavalry, stationed in Seltaren.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 02:11:56 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 11
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2012, 08:35:40 PM »
Old Aerdy East (former Great Kingdom)

United Kingdom of Ahlissa

Ruler: His Transcendent Imperial Majesty, Overking Xavener I, Grand Prince of Kalstrand, Crowned Head of House Darmen
Government: Feudal empire with hereditary rulership; principalities are loosely governed by monarch whose powers are limited by written agreements with major nobles

The United Kingdom of Ahlissa is the official title of the remainder of the central and southern lands that once comprised the vast Great Kingdom. At its height, the empire spanned the Flanaess from the Solnor Coast to the Fals Gap, from the Azure Sea in the south to the Icy Sea in the north, leaving its cultural imprint on every realm in between. Today, the kingdom is a shadow of its former self, as wars of independence and centuries of conflict have sundered the once great empire. It is now colloquially referred to as the New Kingdom of Ahlissa, or more often just Ahlissa, borrowing the name of an ancient Flan realm that the Aerdy defeated to win these fecund southern lands during the migrations.

Most of the territory of Ahlissa lies between the former South Province of the Great Kingdom and the Grandwood Forest; portions of it extend as far north as Innspa, near the Adri. These lands are densely populated, with most of the citizenry clustered around a series of large river cities. The people of these lands are largely an Oeridian-Suel mix; some orcs and goblinoids are here, but few elves, gnomes, and halflings exist except in the forests and hills. At one time these were the richest provinces of the Great Kingdom, but years of war have reduced much of the economy to tatters. The last five years were dutifully spent rebuilding infrastructure.

These lands center around the vast, temperate plains formed by the Flanmi, Mikar, and Thelly river systems of the eastern Flanaess, which have for centuries nourished the Great Kingdom and its predecessor states. Most native predators were long ago exterminated by the Aerdi, though some survive on the wild plains far from the river valleys, where the majority of Ahlissa's cultivated lands are found. The rivers of Ahlissa carry the products of the countryside to the large cities, which contain the markets of the kingdom and produce manufactured goods and services. The Adri and Grandwood are all that remain of a once-vast deciduous forest that legends say met on the broad banks of the Flanmi. The Aerdi cut back the woods ages ago, and continue to reduce both forests, particularly the Adri, with aggressive logging and clearing for pastures and farmland. These central farmlands once grew vast amounts of grain to support the burgeoning populations of the kingdom, but the fields near the disputed borders now lie mostly fallow. Most large wildlife in the kingdom consists of grazing animals such as aurochs (wild cattle) and many sorts of deer and horses.

The whole of these lands is now ruled from a newly sired capital, Kalstrand, where Overking Xavener of House Darmen has established his royal court. Use of the term "Malachite Throne," which once described the office of the overking, is now considered vulgar. House Darmen, the priesthood of Zilchus, and the Royal Guild of Merchants constitute the most dominant power block in the kingdom through their control of trade and administration of the cities.

The mandate given to Overking Xavener by these factions is very clear: They want him to reestablish Aerdy as the preeminent economic and political power in the Flanaess, avoiding further warfare at all costs. An enormous black market in medicines, weapons, clothing, livestock, and food threatens the legal economy, and Xavener has acted to tightly draw together the provinces under his banner by restoring the imperial hierarchy. His recent restructuring of the system of nobility, once top-heavy with princes of minor power, has created much ill will between lesser and greater noble houses for control of territory, taxes, and merchant traffic within Ahlissa and with outside states. Most of Ahlissa's lords, however, are loyal to the new order because it has reduced the chaos and restored a sense of purpose to the kingdom.

The major political subdivisions of the United Kingdom of Ahlissa are: Marchland of the Adri Forest, Principality of Ahlissa, Marchland of Chathold, Marchland of the Grandwood Forest, Principality of Innspa, Principality of Jalpa, Capital Principality of Kalstrand, Marchland of Medegia, Principality of Naerie, Principality of Nulbish, Marchland of Rauxes, Principality of Rel Deven, and the Principality of Torrich.

Bone March

Ruler: His Nobility, Clement, the Marquis of Bone March (presumed dead)
Government: Formerly a feudal marchland of the Great Kingdom, now controlled by a conclave of nonhuman chiefs

Bone March is a small realm located north of the treacherous waters of the Teesar Torrent, nestled between the Rakers and the coast of the Solnor. While the march once held the distinction of being the northernmost frontier of Great Kingdom before the founding of Ratik, it ceased to be a part of that empire after 563 CY. Bone March is now steeped in discord, ruled by a coalition of invading nonhuman tribes, particularly orcs, gnolls, and ogres. Humanity, which once thrived here, is generally enslaved and subject to the capricious whims of petty bandit chiefs and nonhuman warlords who raid Ratik and even North Kingdom at will, going as far as Nyrond and the Flinty Hills to pillage. Nomadic bandit gangs, survivors and descendants of the once-proud human culture, prey on one and all. Only the small, autonomous county of Knurl is secure at present, aside from a handful of nearly forgotten gnome strongholds in the Blemu Hills. Knurl is ruled by Count Dunstan, the last noble of Bone March left in the region and an ally of Ratik.

The cool, rocky farmland of Bone March is relatively poor and never supported a dense population or large cities. Its farmlands are now largely desolate wilderness. Spinecastle, from which the marquis ruled a prosperous realm before its fall, has gained an increasingly baneful reputation in the last decade. The city is a partial ruin, surrounded by armed camps of nonhumans who still rule the surrounding town, but avoid the fortress itself, which they believe is cursed. The nonhuman chieftains gather in council infrequently, acting for the most part independently of each other. They have carved up Bone March into dozens of territories that they rule as minor fiefs; in reality, their little realms are merely their normal raiding areas. The influence of North Province (now North Kingdom) has led to
greater organization and military effectiveness among these barbaric tribes.

The tribes from the Rakers and Blemu Hills are likely to remain in firm control of most of the march, failing an invasion by either North Kingdom (unlikely) or the concerted effort of Ratik and its allies among the Suel barbarians (who have had successes and failures here in the past). Grenell, the self-styled "overking" of North Kingdom, covets these lands and would gladly see them under his thumb, but past alliances with the nonhumans have brought many under his own banner, and he cannot risk losing their support. His own realm is not yet solid enough for the assault, as well. Ratik harries the nonhumans, sure to punish them for any incursions to the north.

Free City of Irongate

Ruler: His Resolute Honor, Cobb Darg, Lord High Mayor of Irongate
Government: Lord mayor elected by city council for a ten-year term; city council made up of old nobles, merchants, clerics, military heads; founding member of the Iron League

Irongate is a free and independent city located on the eastern coast of the Azure Sea in a bay framed by the imposing set of hills known as the Headlands in the west and the Iron Hills in the east. The Fortress City is one of the few Oeridian-controlled ports on the largely Suel-dominated southern waterways. The metropolis proper sits upon a hillock at the mouth of a narrow valley that runs north to south across the isthmus that connects the Onnwal Peninsula to the rest of the Flanaess.

Irongate's large and heavily fortified walls form a bottleneck to the flow of traffic between the southern provinces of the Great Kingdom and Onnwal. Its natural harbor is one of the few sheltered ports along the long coast stretching from Scant to Naerie, and it is typically the refuge of many scores of seagoing vessels at any given time. Irongate's territorial control stretches north to the shores of Dunhead Bay in the Sea of Gearnat, where the small town of Northanchor acts as an ancillary harbor connected to the city proper by an efficient portage system run largely by dwarves. The city controls the surrounding hills to the west, about a day's march into the Headlands. To the east, Irongate claims the hills as far as the border with the dwarves' Kingdom of the Iron Hills. This is generally accepted to be the Ahlissan Road, a pass that cuts through the hills between South Province and the Azure coast. A handful of minor villages lie within the region controlled by Irongate, as do the strongholds of dwarven clans aligned with the city.

The local climate is generally warm and comfortable year round, as the vast waters of the Azure Sea prevent the extremes often suffered inland. The land surrounding the city is hilly, and affords little soil to till and cultivate for food. However, the place is rich in mineral resources, including many gems and some platinum. Of course, Irongate is most famous for the high-quality iron ore that has been the stock and trade of the local dwarves for centuries. By virtue of its position, Irongate also has controlled a large portion of the trade coming from the Sea of Gearnat and the western shores of the Azure Sea to points in the Aerdi interior, Idee, and Sunndi. However, its most important industry is undoubtedly the mining and metalwork for which the place is universally heralded. The city was often referred to as the "Overking's Armory" in the days before it gained its independence, and the weaponsmiths of Irongate are generally accorded the best in the Flanaess, a combination of the best talent fielded by the human and dwarven populace. An often-heard remark is that if something is found to be unbending or unbreakable, it must have been forged in Irongate.

Irongate is both a founding member and the headquarters of the alliance known as the Iron League, making it a nexus of political and economic intrigue for the region. Due its strategic location and the pervasive siege mentality exhibited by its denizens, Irongate
maintains a large and powerful standing force that includes human and dwarven regulars. It also sports a large and well-trained navy, one of the most highly respected in the region. Its large bay is warded by an island citadel, and a series of interlocking gates controls access to the city from the northern valley. All of these formidable barriers well suit the city's lord mayor—a short stocky and wily old man named Cobb Darg. Darg has ruled the city with aplomb for decades and has earned the respect of friend and foe alike.

North Kingdom (Great Kingdom of Northern Aerdy)

Ruler: His Righteous and Transcendent Majesty, the Overking of Northern Aerdy, Grenell I, Grand Prince of House Naelax
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with strong theocratic elements; current monarch is the highest-level cleric of Hextor in the realm, simultaneously commanding the forces of the church, the northern branch of the royal house (Naelax), and all feudal nobles and nonhuman leaders in his service

As recently as a decade ago, the lands that now constitute the notorious North Kingdom included both North Province and other northern possessions of the old Great Kingdom. After the sundering of the empire following the Greyhawk Wars (584 CY) and the subsequent devastation of Rauxes, these lands united as an independent realm, ruled from the old provincial capital at Eastfair.

North Kingdom's northern border remains the Teesar Torrent, stretching from the independent county of Knurl in Bone March to the hills of Bellport and the Solnor Coast. The southern border is more tenuously defined, as the claims of the newly formed kingdom often exceed its actual grasp. This informal boundary currently extends from the northern verges of the Gull Cliffs at the Solnor Coast (including the city of Winetha) and continues west through the Principality of Delaric to the Adri Forest, some three days south of Edgefield. The lands farther to the south are in active dispute between North Kingdom and Ahlissa. That domain is defined by a triangular region between the Gull Cliffs, the northwestern Grandwood, and the southeastern Adri. It includes some independent towns like Dustbridge, which have yet to choose their ultimate master, but most importantly it includes the environs of fallen Rauxes. Ownership of this region will likely be settled (soon) by force of arms.

North Kingdom enjoys few of the rich natural resources abundant in the rest of the former Great Kingdom. Only a small fraction of these lands exhibit the fecundity of the river basins in the south, and these tracts are generally clustered around the banks of the upper Flanmi. The rest of the soil of the kingdom, particularly along the extensive coasts, is especially rocky and more suitable for grazing than tillage. Mineral resources are also few, but the ores drawn from the extensive hills between the cities of Bellport and Johnsport are key to the economic well-being of the country. The vast Adri Forest in the west also provides a rich source of forage and pillage, though its denizens resist such efforts. Coastal cities like Kaport Bay and the port of Atirr thrive on fishing and whaling, industries whose products are in high demand to feed and supply the masses who labor inland in the central cities and towns. In its favor, North Kingdom has an extensive system of dirawein, magical highways built by ancient Aerdi that allow quick transport over long distances. One dirawein runs south to Ahlissa and is carefully watched.

The people of the land differ somewhat from their brethren elsewhere in the former Great Kingdom. While the Aerdi of the south are more commonly an Oeridian-Suel mix, in the north and most particularly in the former North Province they are more typically
Oeridian-Flan, often displaying darker features and hair colorings. A sharp and worrisome increase in the numbers of orcs and other evil nonhumans has been noted in recent decades. These races are considered inferior by the Aerdi gentry but are widely employed as laborers and mercenaries throughout the northlands.

Grenell of House Naelax rules North Kingdom, and he is an utterly ruthless and cold-blooded monarch. Grenell's temporal authority is augmented by his dominance of the church of Hextor in the north, of which he is the titular head. The line of succession in North Kingdom is unclear, with many potential claimants to the throne; Grenell has no children of his own. Fawning Naelax princes abound in the debauched court of Eastfair.

While the attention of Grenell is turned to the south, that of his evil humanoid allies remains, to the north, for the orcs and gnolls of the Rakers greatly desire the destruction of Ratik While the presence of the rapacious orcs threatens to send North Kingdom into chaos, they may also be one of the most important factors holding the nation together. Every prince and lord in North Kingdom realizes that crossing Grenell may bring down his wrath in the form of a raid from his orc allies, who are organized as shock troops with no love of humanity and its culture (though they have benefited greatly from human arts of warfare and command).

The major principalities of North Kingdom (generally named for their local capitals) are: Atirr, Bellport, Darnagal, Delaric, Eastfair, Edgefield, Highlander, Kaport Bay, Rinloru, Stringen, Winetha


Ruler: Contested: (Scarlet Brotherhood) Exalted Sister Kuranyie; (rebels) His Noble Authority, Jian Destron, the Szek of Free Onnwal, and His Honor Rakehell Chert, Commander of the Free Onnwal Army of Rebellion
Government: Hereditary feudal monarchy (currently contested)

Onnwal is a small realm, located on a large peninsula that extends westward from the Principality of Ahlissa (of the United Kingdom of Ahlissa), dividing the eastern Sea of Gearnat from the Azure Sea. Most of its lands are accessed primarily from the sea, for the neck of the peninsula is choked by the Headlands, which are almost impassable to most traffic. The city-state of Irongate, with its warding walls and fortresses, borders Onnwal in the east and guards the few passes onto the peninsula. These formidable barriers have generally isolated the realm from the affairs and conflicts of the continent.

The lowlands that form the head of the peninsula are covered in rich pastures. These lands are home to clusters of small farms that surround villages connected to each other by a spidery road network spreading out from Scant. Mining of silver and platinum in the western foothills of the Headlands is the primary industry of the nation, but this activity has slowed to a crawl since revolt spread across the countryside. Food was once exported to Irongate, but the Scarlet Brotherhood halted such shipments out of Scant.

Most Onnwal citizens are an Oeridian-Suel mix, descendants of settlers who displaced the original Flan natives to build farms. Some Flan tribes remain in the region, but they are not considered citizens and live in the hills, herding animals. Many dwarf clans live alongside these Headlanders, and the lot of them owe fealty to no one though remain on friendly terms with the Iron League.

Currently, Onnwal is divided into two controlling camps. Agents of the Scarlet Brotherhood command the fortified port of Scant and the immediate precincts of the city. While this represents less than 10% of the country, Scant is still the primary gateway to the rest of the Flanaess and the Scarlet Brotherhood fleet can use this city as a base to extort levies from sea traffic passing through the Strait of Gearnat. However, the hinterlands of the country are no longer theirs. A movement calling itself "Free Onnwal" has taken control of most of these lands since a general revolt against the Brotherhood invaders was launched in 586 CY. They have the support of most of the lairdships in the villages outside the capital. These insurgents are led by Lord Jian Destron, son of the deposed and assassinated Szek. His closest adviser is Rakehell Chert, the former leader of the thieves in Scant and now commander of the (ex-thief) guerrillas. These rebels are strongly allied with Irongate and the surviving states of the Iron League, who support them with goods, weapons, and intelligence.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 02:16:25 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 12
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2012, 08:52:24 PM »
Old Aerdy East (former Great Kingdom) Continued

Rel Astra and the Solnor Compact

Ruler: His Most Lordly Nobility, Eternal Custodian and Lord Protector of Rel Astra, Drax the Invulnerable
Government: Sovereign city-state, a dictatorship under an undead (but charismatic) administrator advised by a demon (the "Fiend-Sage")

Rel Astra, literally "City of the Heavens" in Old Oeridian, rests on the Solnor Coast and is by some accounts the Flanaess's greatest metropolis, though Dyvers and Greyhawk are certain to disagree. For centuries, Rel Astra was viewed by many as a shining beacon. Ship crews crossing the Spindrift Sound even now see the glow of majestic Rel Astra and take comfort, knowing that its vast shipyards offer safe harbor. In its expansive markets are displayed half the wonders of the world, and its streets are trodden daily by dark-skinned folk of Hepmonaland, golden Baklunish in flowing cloaks, and pale, gruff barbarians of the far north. At any time, a great chaotic fleet of ships chokes its harbor, bearing the flags of numerous states, but dominated by those of the Sea Barons and the Free Cities of the Solnor Compact. The compact unites Rel Astra and the seaports of Ountsy and Roland in a state of mutual protection and trade, but no doubt exists as to which city is the preeminent member of this triumvirate.

Rel Astra is roughly divided into three major districts: the Old City, the sprawling Common City, and the Foreign, or Barbarian, Quarter. The Old City is the heart of Rel Astra, a ward devoted to soaring towers, impressive palaces, and the headquarters of the government. This district is home to the nobility and privileged of the city, though traffic between it and the Common City is not widely regulated. Here, power and prosperity are often judged by the height of one's walls. Few edifices in the Old City ascend fewer than three or four stories, with five being typical, and many of those are connected to each other by flying bridges and buttresses. Some buildings truly soar, such as the towers of the wizened Royal Astrologers or the labyrinthine Sorcerer's Nexus, the guildhall of mages near Stannic Hill. The palace of the lord protector sits in the middle of the Old City, its massive walls and towers barely dominating the already lofty landscape of the quarter. From here the grand princes of old Aerdy ruled the entire kingdom
before the capital was moved to Rauxes more than six hundred years ago. It is now a possession of House Garasteth, a powerful founding family of the Great Kingdom.

Surrounding this district is the Common City, which accommodates the homes and businesses of the mercantile and trade class of the city. By civic regulation, no building can rise over three stories in this district, so it is full of long, squat structures spread out in over twice the area of the Old City. More than three quarters of the population lives in this community, which spreads from the north and west gates and opens onto the East Docks.

The district around the larger South Docks, surrounded by walls pierced with gates into the Common City, forms the raucous Foreign Quarter. Visitors and foreigners in Rel Astra are typically relegated to this quarter unless their business in the city conducts them elsewhere.

Rel Astra has been essentially independent for nearly a century and a half, since the end of the Turmoil Between Crowns, when it gained palatinate status from the Malachite Throne. For most of that time, it controlled a large swath of the Solnor coast in a great arc extending over 30 leagues from the city's walls in all directions. This border begins in the north and includes nearly all of the Lone Heath to the town of Ernhand, proceeding west into the vast expanses of the Grandwood, and south to the border of Medegia at the town of Strinken. While the city of Ountsy is largely independent of Rel Astra, its lord has been subject to the latter for a large part of its history.

Rel Astra is currently ruled by Lord (actually Prince) Drax of House Garasteth, who has held sway over the city since 557 CY. Lord Drax styles himself an enlightened despot, despite the fact that he is undead (an animus). By most accounts, he lives up to his reputation, as he can be harsh but also practical, intelligent, and controlled. He even has a dry sense of humor. He commands a large standing army and a navy the equal of any city's on the coast. He rules with austerity and wisdom, but also with a tight fist; he has little opposition within his realm.

Ountsy, Free City of (pop. 29,500; 83,000 in surrounding area): Ountsy is an Aerdi city situated up the Solnor Coast from Rel Astra, at the eastern verges of the Lone Heath. It is an old seaport, nearly as old as Rel Astra, but it has been living in the shadows
of the Crown of the Solnor Coast since its inception. The city is not as cosmopolitan as its neighbor; indeed, it is often described as puritanical and mean, and its people rude. Ountsy is an independent feudal principality with a hereditary ruler belonging to House Garasteth. Her Noble Ladyship, the Princess Emmara of Garasteth, Trine of Ountsy rules Ountsy and is related to Lord Drax by marriage. She was a Darmen noblewoman until the death of her husband (a cousin of Rel Astra's mayor) during the Greyhawk Wars, upon
which she assumed control. She is now closely advised by a formal committee of astrologers and Svenser, the Court Mage of Ountsy, who was exiled from Rel Astra many years ago. Espionage and assassination by the Scarlet Brotherhood are greatly feared by the Trine, and she looks to Rel Astra for aid in warding the Scarlet Ones from her court. It is said she would join Ahlissa if given the opportunity, but her city is wedged between Roland and Rel Astra, and she knows such a move is impossible.

Roland, Free City of (pop. 5,500; 79,000 in surrounding area): Roland is a very old anchorage located north of Ountsy and Rel Astra along the Aerdi coast. Nestled in the heart of the Gull Cliffs on the shore of the Bay of Gates, it is a well-protected and fortified town known for its catacombs. The passages are occupied by all manner of folk, mostly gnomes and dwarves.

Roland was held for centuries by House Garasteth, distant relatives of Lord Drax and Lady Emmara, though its despotic rulers were deposed during the Turmoil Between Crowns in favor of a ruling council subject to the Naelax overkings. This oligarchy, representing
the town's military, magical, religious, and economic interests, is known as the Five of Roland and became an independent body following the Greyhawk Wars. The Five currently include Admiral Lef Quaanser, Master Ramshalak, Lady Barbern, Master Vornekern, and Magus Isrilhan of House Garasteth.

The fear that Ahlissa or North Kingdom would attempt to annex the town and its holdings after the wars has driven the Five into the arms of Lord Drax. While the Five of Roland know they are taking a great risk in trusting Rel Astra, they believe they have no other workable choice. The small towns of Grelden (pop. 1,600) and Farlen (pop. 1,350) are also held by Roland, in cooperation with the other coastal cities of the compact.

Dominion of the Sea Barons

Ruler: His Noble Prominence Basmajian Arras, Lord High Admiral of Asperdi, Commander of the Sea Barons
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with hereditary leadership; a different noble family governs each island, but all owe fealty to Asperdi

The sovereignty known commonly as the realm of the Sea Barons is located off the eastern coast of the Flanaess in the Solnor Ocean, separated from the Aerdi coastline by the Bay of Gates. These isles were among the last lands to be settled by the Aerdi, and were expressly established to provide the Great Kingdom with a naval power. The five major islands here include (from largest to smallest) Asperdi Isle, Oakenisle, Fairisle, Leastisle, and uninhabited (and possibly cursed) Serpent Isle. Each of the four main islands is ruled as a minor barony, the personal fief of an Aerdi lord who no longer pledges allegiance to the Malachite Throne. Asperdi Isle was once the headquarters of the Aerdi Admiralty during the height of the Great Kingdom, and it was the provincial capital of these lands. Today, the barons of Oakenisle and Fairisle are not subjects of Asperdi, but all three work closely together. Leastisle's baron was overthrown in 584 CY, and the isle is in complete anarchy.

The four major isles of the Sea Barons are fertile and lush, even idyllic in the case of Fairisle. The climate is generally warm and mild most of the year, and while not tropical in nature, it can sometimes get very hot during the summer months. These islands are home to an abundance of resources, including fruits such as bananas, galda fruit, and figs, which fetch high prices on the mainland. Additionally, the waters surrounding the islands are rich in seafood, and the shellfish collected just off the shore of the islands are highly prized delicacies. Oakenisle is home to a unique species of oak that is generally regarded as the best available for shipbuilding. Oakenheart, the capital of the isle, accordingly sports highly renowned shipyards, where most of the matchless vessels of the Sea Barons are constructed and repaired. Most of the activity and trade of these islands revolves around the sea, and much of the population owes its livelihood to it Temples to the god Procan are very prominent on these islands, though smaller shrines to Xerbo are not uncommon as well.

In the opinion of many of the rulers along the Solnor Coast, the Sea Barons are little better than the pirates and freebooters who they once fended off for the Great Kingdom. Slavery is sanctioned on the isles, and it is said that the Sea Barons would gladly take over the illicit southern trade of the Scarlet Brotherhood if given the opportunity. Currently, Lord Basmajian of Asperdi leads the Sea Barons, following the untimely death of Admiral Sencho Foy during the wars. The greatest threat to the Sea Barons remains the alliance between the Lordship of the Isles and the Scarlet Brotherhood. The rest of the Sea Barons are now bound in alliance to the Free Cities of the Solnor Compact, led by Rel Astra and its Lord Drax. The Sea Barons provide protection to these mainland ports by patrolling the waters along the coast in return for the ability to anchor in their harbors and trade goods in their markets.

Kingdom of Sunndi

Ruler: His Brilliant Majesty, Olvenking Hazendel I the Defender of Sunndi, Protector of the South
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with a gray-elf royal family governing numerous noble houses of humans and nonhumans; member of the Iron League

Sunndi is nestled in a natural basin between the Hestmark Highlands to the east, the Glorioles to the north, and the Hollow Highlands to the west. The climate is very warm but temperate, with much rainfall throughout the year, especially in the winter; snow is unknown, and freezing temperatures are a sure sign that foul magic is afoot. The western and southern ends of the country lie within the meandering Pawluck River valley, and the aptly named Vast Swamp forms the southern border of the kingdom. The Rieuwood is considered part of the realm, and the northern border is the Grayflood River, from the Ahlissan city of Hexpools to that nation's new capital of Kalstrand. The Menowood is not part of Sunndi, but its nonhuman clans are loosely allied with it.

Sunnd army units are posted along the southern banks of the Grayflood River and for a short distance along the Thelly across from Kalstrand. The lands south of the Thelly, down to the Glorioles and Hestmark Highlands, are currently claimed by Ahlissa but not held in force; some Sunndi units pass through here in pursuit of bandits, but it is unlikely Sunndi could take and hold this area against Ahlissa's might, if push came to shove.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 02:19:48 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - Flanaess Overview pt. 13
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2012, 09:14:59 PM »
Tilvanot Peninsula and the Oljatt Sea

Great and Hidden Empire of the Scarlet Brotherhood

Ruler: His Peerless Serenity, the Father of Obedience (true name unknown)
Government: Tilvanot lands appear to be governed by feudal plantation lords who in turn are managed by ever-present red-robed monks representing a mysterious government based in the hidden capital; conquered lands are administered by a singular "shepherd," usually a monk, who enjoys nearly unassailable sovereignty but is ultimately subservient to the Father of Obedience

The Scarlet Brotherhood was until recently a secret, apparently isolated power in the Flanaess. It came into its own during the Greyhawk Wars, toppling governments in a campaign of espionage, blackmail, and assassination. Prior to revealing itself, the Brotherhood had planted agents in the courts of rulers throughout the Flanaess. The revelation of the order has caused much paranoia and (often undeserved) exiles and assassinations within circles of rulership.

If reports from northern spies (often suffering climate-induced fever, insect-borne disease, or worse) can be believed, the Scarlet Brotherhood controls the whole of the vast Tilvanot Peninsula, from the confluence of Vast Swamp and Spine Ridge to the immense tropical island of Lof Bosok, off the northeast coast of the mainland.

The nation's capital, said to be a marvelous walled city, has seldom been seen by foreign eyes. It is believed to be hidden somewhere on the massive Okalasna Plateau. The formerly closed port city of Kro Terlep now welcomes ships from distant ports, though few sea captains brave waters rife with piracy and sea monsters to trade with the Brotherhood. Vessels flying the colors of the Lordship of the Isles anchor in the eastern port of Ekul, near squalid shipyards teeming with activity. At least one ship departs Ekul for Hepmonaland every day—the purpose of these voyages can only be speculated upon in the north, though few believe the activities of the Brotherhood in Hepmonaland and the Amedio Jungle to be charitable.

The armies of the Brotherhood, or at least those offloaded in occupied ports to the north and west consist primarily of savage warriors from the southern jungles, soldiers who give no quarter, and who are said to indulge in ritual blood sacrifice. These forces are supplemented by orcs, hobgoblins, and other creatures. Many in the north speculate that the Brotherhood boasts a standing army within its own borders, but little is known for certain. Many nations have met the impressive navy of the Brotherhood, which as often as not is supported by "independent" ships ostensibly from the Lordship of the Isles.

Lendore Isles

Ruler: The Most Radiant Bow of Sehanine, Orb of the Heavens, High Priest Anfaren Silverbrow
Government: Theocracy in which the church of Sehanine takes on all government responsibilities and authority, and the highest-level cleric rules the realm; each island is governed by its own religious authorities, who are advised by various community leaders but need not take this advice into consideration when rendering judgments and decisions

The Lendore Isles, as they are now known, were until recently named the Spindrifts. This group of five islands, located some 100 leagues east of the Medegian peninsula, is now a fog-shrouded navigational hazard to all but elf-piloted ships. Located in the midst of the Asperdi-Duxchan chain, most charts show the five islands of the Spindrifts (though some older charts show only four) as the easternmost in the Aerdi Sea.

Spindrift Sound itself is navigable, but shipping is menaced by the Scarlet Brotherhood and the activities of a few pirates based on the eastern Medegian coast. Elven vessels are sometimes seen to cross the Aerdi Sea in the direction of Lendore Isle, presumably shipping from secret ports cut beneath the Hestmark Cliffs. A number of elven warships also travel to or from the Lendore Isles as escorts for passenger craft. They will certainly intercept any seagoing craft that manages to bypass the barrier of magical mist that envelops these islands. Elven ships were also sighted farther east on the Solnor by Sea Barons' ships in the late 580s, perhaps exploring or trading with distant elf colonies.

The primary inhabitants of the Lendore Isles are the elves, with a small number of half-elves scattered throughout the islands. Most half-elves left in protest following the subjugation of Lendore Isle; those that remain, along with the human menials who are permitted to stay, now form a protected underclass of the elven-dominated society. Since they are unable to acquire the use of Lendorian Elven, they are required to keep silent in all public places, unless addressed by an elf directly. The government and society are otherwise entirely elven, led by the cult of Sehanine.

The Lordship of the Isles

Ruler: His Exalted Highness, Prince Frolmar Ingerskatti of Duxchan, Lord of the Isles, Scourge of the Waves
Government: "Independent monarchy" (principality) that is actually a puppet state of the Scarlet Brotherhood, which manages most military, judicial, religious, and economic affairs; prince has real but limited powers, affecting the Brotherhood's rule only through force of his own charisma and cleverness

The Lordship of the Isles is the collective name given to a series of small island states off the southeastern coast of the Flanaess. These seven isles separate the Aerdi Sea from the warmer waters of the Oljatt Sea and range in size from an area nearly equal to the largest of the Lendore Isles to a tiny islet barely thirty miles in length. The climate of these islands is very tropical, and stifling warmth and humidity persists almost year round, save in the late summer months when the great tropical storms that sweep in from the Oljatt are not uncommon. Much of the terrain on the isles, except for the rocky volcanic peaks central to most of them, is covered in thick tropical forest. These forests are a rich source of the exotic animal and plant life that sustain the economy of the islands, primarily through their export to the mainland, where they are exchanged for hard coin. In the areas cleared by humanity near the coastal towns and seaports, sugarcane, pineapple, and coffee plantations are commonplace. These isles are also one of the few sources of rare woods such as mahogany, ebony, and teak, that are highly prized on the continent. Since the Lordship of the Isles guards the ways between the mainland of the Flanaess and the Tilva Strait as well as the shores of mysterious Hepmonaland, much income is derived from exacting levies from trading vessels passing through local waters.

These isles were ruled centrally by an Aerdi prince in the capital of Sulward for centuries. The largest three main islands are Diren, Ansabo, and Ganode. Each isle is the size of a small province on the mainland, and together they accommodate the majority of the population of the isles. Ansabo and Ganode were ruled by dukes since their establishment, their lords second in authority only to the prince of Diren in Sulward. The smallest isle, located between Diren and Ganode, is called Temil. It is ruled as a petty barony subject to the lord of Diren and is treated similarly to other minor subdivisions of the island, which include numerous baronies subject to the prince. The three islands of middling size, located one after the other off the eastern coast of Diren, are known as Jehlum, Mirim, and Luda. All three are ruled by counts who are closely allied to the court at Sulward. Luda, the northernmost isle, is the closest to the Lendores, and its eastern coast marks the border between the elven realm and the Lordship of the Isles. All affairs of state are conducted through the court in Sulward.

This chain of islands has been occupied by the Suel for nearly one thousand years, and this race remains the most dominant population of the isles, most notably on Ansabo and Ganode. The Oeridians have emigrated to these islands in large numbers only over the last few centuries; they are most common in Diren and the smaller isles of Jehlum, Mirim, and Luda. Olman and darker-skinned natives of Hepmonaland live in abundant numbers here, but these people are treated as baseborn and often enslaved, working the plantations of the unscrupulously rich gentry. Slavery is becoming increasingly important to the economy of the isles, particularly with the emergence of the Scarlet Brotherhood in its centers of power. Sulward, the putative capital, is a small port city that still evinces a strong Aerdi character, but Duxchan on the isle of Ansabo is the larger city of the two and is clearly influenced by its Suel heritage. The centers of power and commerce have slowly been flowing toward the latter for the last century and half, since the isles declared their independence from Rauxes in 447 CY. Travel through the Lordship of the Isles has dropped considerably in recent years, and while its not impossible, it remains dangerous for those known to be openly antagonistic toward the Scarlet Brotherhood, most particularly citizens of Sunndi and Irongate.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 02:22:20 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - The Free City of Greyhawk pt. 1
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2012, 05:02:47 AM »
A Guide to the Free City of Greyhawk

Nestled in a river valley near the geographic center of the Flanaess, the City of Greyhawk is perfectly suited for trade coming from the Lake of Unknown Depths to the north and Woolly Bay to the south. Here the rich and the poor share the same outer walls, though their worlds are divided into separate cities, new and old. Coin from as far away as Blackmoor changes hands in the city's markets, and the opulent mansions on the hill overlooking the city attest to the wealth generated by its markets. This wealth brings artisans, scholars, and laborers to Greyhawk. It also breeds a brand of thieves that has given Greyhawk a reputation for shadowed villainy that spans the continent.

Treasures plundered from ancient tombs in the nearby Cairn Hills first brought Greyhawk to prominence hundreds of years ago. Every decade or so, someone discovers the entrance to an unexplored cairn, and the hills crawl with swordsmen and wizards consulting
ancient maps and bizarre historical riddles. The presence of Castle Greyhawk, the greatest treasure-laden tomb of all, ensures the interest of those who live by sword and spell, making adventurers an important part of the city's social fabric.

Governance of the city falls to fifteen members of the Directing Oligarchy, a council of coequal members who represent various interests in the city. The Directorate, as it is sometimes called, elects one of its members to sit as Lord Mayor, with ihe current title held by Nerof Gasgal, an aging politician who has strong ties to the Thieves' Guild. Due to his influence and the presence of several of his guild fellows on the Directorate, many believe that the city is managed by thieves, an assumption not far from the truth.

In Old City, south of the grimy Black Wall, agents of the Thieves' Guild are everywhere. In this long-shadowed area of leaning tenements and filthy streets, a man's life is worth less than his shiny brass belt buckle. The penniless laborers who keep the city running dwell in squalid conditions here amid the wanton criminals and desperate beggars. Opportunity and wealth seem distant notions, zealously guarded privileges kept forever out of reach.

North of Black Gate, in the so-called New City, merchants, students, riverfolk, and adventurers flock to Greyhawk's markets, to her influential universities, to her boisterous taverns. The city's reputation for all these and more brings it fame across the continent. Even in the distant Gran March, a common clerk knows that any thing can be bought for a price in Greyhawk, that the metropolis is an excellent place to disappear or to be seen. It is all things to all people.

River Quarter

Greyhawk's wharves bring products and people from all corners of the Flanaess and beyond. Nowhere is this garish combination of cultures and influences more apparent than in the city's River Quarter, a boisterous district of taverns, brothels, and gambling dens just inside the Cargo Gate to the Wharf District. Here lifelong sailors, smugglers, and dockmen mix with river-gypsies, slumming nobles, brazen students, and adventurers to create a community of extremes, worldly i n knowledge and experience but poor in coin and character.

By day, the River Quarter swarms with laborers hauling cargo from distant markets to the artisans and bazaars of the Free City. Cargo Street, running roughly parallel to the Nobles' Wall, sees the greatest traffic in the district, and one must walk with care through the muddy streets to avoid being trampled by horse and wagon. Most of the structures along the city's west wall serve as warehouses for merchant houses and local market barons, and might hold any number of treasures. At night the life of the district flows to a notorious avenue of vice and delights called the Strip, where a wise man goes armed if at all.

Tales from a thousand foreign ports draw adventurers like rust monsters to a suit of mail, enhancing the unpredictable nature of the quarter. Each night brings a flurry of arrests for larceny, indecency, and fighting into an overtaxed system that constantly strains police from the wildest district north of the Black Gate to Old City.

Businesses: Armorers, bakers, bawdy houses, boarding houses, boats/nautical equipment, boot maker/leatherworker, butchers, eateries, expedition suppliers, shipper and haulers, tailors, taverns, warehouses, and weaponsmiths.

Notable River Quarter Locations:

The Green Dragon Inn is a favorite haunt of adventurers and of those seeking adventurers for various tasks. It offers relatively mundane fare, but in copious quantities. Its location on Blue Boar Street, just off of the Strip, insures that it stays a little quieter than most of the establishments in the quarter. Occasionally a bunch of students may be found here, or a Watch party hunting some criminal.

The Low Seas Tavern has a well-lighted porch and lively sounds of laughter coming from within. It is a favorite of the River Quarter, though its standards are a trifle higher than most of the inns in the district. Weapons longer than daggers, for example, must be checked at the door.

The River Rat is the central gathering place of the Rhennee in the Free City, when they leave their barges, that is. Located in the busiest part of the Strip, the River Rat never closes and never seems to want for rowdy customers.

The Barge Inn is another of the thriving taverns on the Strip, a favorite of dwarven visitors to Greyhawk. Generally about 50% of the clientele consists of these stocky demihumans, the rest being humans of the city, bargefolk, mercenaries, and sailors.
The largest inn in the quarter, the Barge Inn occupies a commending curve on the Strip as well. Thus it is one of the busiest and rowdiest taverns in the city.

The Silver Garter is one of the most infamous social establishments in the Free City. While its exact nature is too delicate to be discussed in a scholarly study such as this, it must be stated that the name of the establishment pretty much sets the tone. But for all this the Garter is a friendly, convivial establishment. The invitations to handsome passers-by from the hardworking ladies perched on the house's second floor balcony are nothing if not sincere. And the welcome given one who steps through the door is even warmer. The proprietress is a battered old ogress known only as Rhina. She has a handful of musclemen discreetly available to help in times of disturbance.

High Quarter

Nestled atop a low rise, the magnificent mansions of the High Quarter cast a long shadow over the Free City. To the poor of the Slum Quarter they are unattainable palaces, symbols of the uncaring elite. Others see the palaces and temples as goals. A High Quarter address makes one the social equal of lords and ambassadors in the cult of public opinion that holds sway in its ostentatious taverns, casinos, and theaters. The High Market at the heart of the district attracts customers from all over the city and the region, but the local constabulary and even several mercenary bands hired by locals keep an eye on strangers. Those who do not live here are not made to feel welcome once their market business has concluded.

The homes and monuments of the High Quarter span centuries in their influences, bringing an unpredictable nature to a stroll through its well-maintained streets. Beside a handsome home of wooden towers and garden mazes looms the mighty headquarters of the city's Guild of Wizardry, a six-story stone ziggurat designed by Zagig from images he experienced in a dream. Elsewhere, the sprawling grounds of Lord Henway's Menagerie contribute to the district's visual and aural atmosphere. The noble's massive aviary, looking for all the world like a giant barred birdcage, draws visitors of all social strata. The shrieking creatures within ran, on a quiet night, be heard as far south as the Thieves' Quarter. The Wharf Gate at the district's edge opens directly to an outlander shanty town called Barge End, where the terminally poor share leaky hovels with disease victims, addicts, and fugitives from the law. Needless to say, the gate remains tightly shut throughout the day and night.

Though most of the district's manors are protected by pact from the depredations of the Thieves' Guild, fearless independent thieves or opportunistic transients often find the High Quarter too alluring to ignore, getting themselves into a great deal of trouble.

Garden Quarter

If the posh inhabitants of the High Quarter represent the influence of Greyhawk's oldest wealth, the folk of the Garden Quarter are the city's future. Their mansions aren't quite as ornate, their estates not quite as large, their statuary not quite as self-aggrandizing, but they make up a vibrant part of the city's social tapestry. Ennobled heroes, made-good prospectors, acclaimed artists and artisans, and retired adventurers combine to form a community open to new and challenging ideas, in part because many of them had to work for what they have made. Despite this subtle distinction, the folk of the Garden Quarter still fall firmly into the upper class, and just because they are willing to entertain the concept of respect for their social inferiors doesn't mean they necessarily subscribe to it themselves.

The district sprawls across a wide swath from wall to wall of the High Quarter, a collection of beautiful estates, placid ponds, manicured gardens, topiary displays, and private green spaces. By far the most fragrant of Greyhawk's neighborhoods, the Garden Quarter is a favored site for romantic strolls. Although visitors from south of the Nobles' Gate are tolerated, the City Watch and a host of private security teams keep a close eye on strangers.


The north end of New City, east of the Processional, swarms with students from the dozens of colleges, universities, and academies that have made Greyhawk one of the foremost cities of learning on the continent, yet another improvement initiated during the reign of Zagig Yragerne. Called Clerkburg or simply The Halls, the neighborhood also houses the professors, administrators, and menials necessary to keep the schools running. The presence of scores of private libraries—as well as the Great Library of Greyhawk itself—ensures a healthy presence of scholars and sages in the neighborhood, many of them experts on the ancient cultures that once inhabited the region surrounding the Free City. The Street of Temples along the southeast corner of the district boasts edifices in honor of Celestian, Kord, Lendor, and Boccob.

Clerkburg maintains a laconic atmosphere that makes it popular with students, artisans, and laborers from other districts. Most of the quarter's small taverns and eateries have seating on the street or a veranda, resulting in a social atmosphere. Students walk and relax along the Millstream that bisects the district, which is second only to the Garden Quarter in its quantity of plant life and small parks. Some of Clerkburg's taverns erupt into violence now and again, and events at the popular Free City Arena occasionally get out of hand enough to attract City Watch patrols with truncheons to break up unruly crowds, but Clerkburg is, in the main, a sleepy community, and its streets are some of the safest in all of Greyhawk.

Businesses: Art Galleries, Bakeries, Boarding Houses, Book Binderies, Butchers, Inksellers, Launders, Leatherworkers, Locksmiths, Potters, Private Libraries, Scribeshops, Tailors, Taverns, Tiny Food Shops, Weaponsmiths, and Weavers.

Notable Clerkberg Locations:

Originally a small adjunct to Grey College, the Bardschool broke away nearly a century ago over a dispute in the curriculum. The college attempted to channel students into a specific area of expertise, whereas the Bardschool offered a much broader, more general program. As it happens, many of the Bardschool's graduates have gone on to become great bards of the harp, lute , or flute. Though small, with only 30-40 students at a time, the Bardschool features superb instructors in each of its fields. These are men and women motivated more by a desire to spread knowledge than to live well, for their skills could command high teaching fees.

The Black Dragon Inn is the largest inn in Clerkburg, offering 60 rooms for rent as well as good food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner---and all night long, for that matter. The Black Dragon Inn also has a large common sleeping room, where a traveler can rent a straw pallet, together with his supper and a pitcher of ale, for 2 sp. A good private room can be had for 5 sp, and the inn offers several comparatively luxurious suites for 1 to 2 gp. A small stable is located behind the inn, with stalls for a dozen steeds and a courtyard large enough to hold several carriages. The inn employs many young men and women, mostly students, during the full 24 hours of the day. At any one time there might be two stable hands, four cooks, three bartenders, 10 or 12 serving maids, four bouncers, and four housekeepers here.

The front of the Great Library, facing the Processional, is a grand sweep of granite walls and tall columns. Three wide stairs lead to a pair of massive front doors, suitable for a castle or fortress. The building beyond the facade is not so grand, but its true worth lies in the treasures kept within its wall. And indeed, the Great Library of Greyhawk is repository for more volumes than are gathered in one place anywhere else in the Flanaess. The library is unlocked during the hours of daylight, and all free citizens of the city as well as foreigners are welcome to enter the library and browse through its cool, musty halls. Silence is expected of all visitors, and weapons and armor are not permitted. Any visitor is welcome to peruse the volumes in the six public halls in the front of the buildings. Only those who are Contributing Members of the library board can remove these volumes, up to three at a time. Contributing Members must donate at least 100 gp annually to the library in order to maintain membership status.

The Free City Arena began as a joint effort between Grey College and Lord Mayor Zagig ( past mayor ), to be used for college assemblies and events as well as entertainment for the citizens of the city. It provided somewhat of a bust as the latter--apparently the citizens of Greyhawk had plenty of ways to entertain themselves without the grandiose spectacles hosted by Zagig. And indeed, the arena can seat but 18,000 souls, of they squeeze together, so the bulk of the city's population had to miss each event.
As a college focal point, however, the arena has been a grand success. It serves as a neutral ground for representatives of all the schools in Clerkburg, as well as self-proclaimed fraternities of students using individual tutors, to gather and face off in the endless series of games and contests these students use to amuse themselves. In addition to these contests, the arena is still used by the city for those occasions when a grand celebration is required. Many holidays are commemorated with a service here. Illusionist shows, offered once or twice a year, are extremely popular. And every few years a traveling circus comes to the Free City, remaining for two or three weeks. These festive occasions are cause for nightly crowds in Clerkburg, even though they occur over Midsummer when the colleges are not in session. Also, the men of the City Watch hold drills and mock battles here. Only twice a year are the mock battles performed before an audience, once in spring and once in autumn, but the troops often practice here during the day, or even under the light of a bright moon.

The boisterous Roc Oliphant Inn is a favorite of students, renowned for cheap drink and ample portions of tolerable food. It is busy at mealtimes, and during most evenings. Earthday evenings are the wildest, usually with music from some group of minstrels or bards. Since most colleges do not hold classes on Freeday, the carousing goes on until well past midnight.

The renowned Grey College has long produced many of the best-educated men and women in the civilized world. It has rigorous entrance requirements and offers scholarships to excellent students from distant lands or poor households.
The main buildings of the college are centered around University Street. But certain parts of the school are scattered throughout other small buildings in Clerkburg and even beyond, for the small observatory of the Astronomy School is located outside Garden Gate.

Tradition holds that the Millstream Bridge is the finest setting for romance in all the reaches of the Free City. During all hours of day and night, in weather fair and foul, one can always find a couple, or two, or occasionally three couples, engaged in quiet romantic conversation. Of course the bridge serves as a thoroughfare and carries a fairly significant amount of traffic each day. The Millstream separates Clerkburg into two parts, and the bridge is the only one in the district. Each of the mills has a dam, with a walkway across it, but this bridge is the only crossing that can carry a horse or coach across the Millstream during its entire course from Temple Row to the Processional. But travelers use the roadway, and lovers use the balconies set off the road at the highest point of the bridge. One of these balconies overlooks each side, and each has a small bench in it, large enough to hold only two. If a couple comes along, but there is already a pair on each balcony, if the time is right, the space will be there--or so go the stories.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 02:27:45 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

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Re: Greyhawk - The Free City of Greyhawk pt. 2
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2012, 05:23:02 AM »
Artisan's Quarter

I he sleepy district surroundingGreyhawk'S Low Market lacks the infamous taverns and crowded streets of the city's more famous quarters, but its influence is felt in other ways across the city and in distant marketplaces. Most of Greyhawk's finest artisans live and work here, carting their wares to the Petit Bazaar a few days a week or running respectable permanent businesses from a storefront deeper in the district. Most of the city's trade guilds are headquartered here, and the residents keep tabs on one another out of compassion or the hope of discovering some competitive advantage. With the proximity of the Low Market, locals don't have to travel far to acquire the supplies they need, making the Artisans' Quarter one of the most insular and self-sufficient communities in the Free City. It is also one of the safest.

Businesses: Shipper and Haulers, Brewers, Leatherworkers, Weavers, Tailors, Metalsmiths, Jewelers, Gemcutters, Furniture Makers, Carpenters, Stonemasons, Architects, and Taverns with food

Notable Artisan's Quarter Locations:

The Fat of the Hog is a friendly neighborhood bar famous for the variety of its pork menu. Waldo Parstiche (commonly known as "Wide Waldo"), the honorable proprietor, considers it a personal insult if a quest refuses to try whatever delicacy is the special of the day. The tavern is small, with a dozen tables and twice as many seats at the bar. Open from noon until midnight, it always seems to be crowded. The prices are very reasonable and the portions more than ample. Waldo's brother, Ernest, is lord of a manor a day's ride west of the Free City. Ernest Parstiche has focused the attention of the farmers around his holdings into hog breeding. These hogs are regularly herded to the Free City slaughterhouse, which gives both brothers a sizable discount because of the volume of their business.

The Fruit of the Mill is a delightful little shop that offers wine and ale for sale, together with a variety of pastries salty, sweet, or meaty. It caters to workers especially. The proprietor is Karin Keoffel, a petite woman who has originated most of her own recipes. She hires several young women as barmaids and cooking help. The eatery is open from dawn until an hour after dark. Meals are good and filling, with a variety of pastry for every taste.

Foreign Quarter

Despite the ease with which one can slip into the City of Greyhawk, attaining formal citizenship is an onerous process that begins with a strict requirement of seven consecutive years of residence in the city before one can so much as tender an application. Provided an applicant can produce two citizens to vouch for her and has no record of troubles with the City Watch or any influential guilds, citizenship is granted.

While they wait, petitioning residents must dwell within the Foreign Quarter, amid refugees from distant lands, wagon-gypsy Attloi, and other strangers. Accordingly, the Foreign Quarter is the most crowded district in the New City. Similar ethnic groups band together, creating several small neighborhoods within the context of the greater Foreign Quarter, and ensuring that the quarter's restaurants remain popular with adventurous gourmands. Residents of the Foreign Quarter take pride in their district and do not appreciate visitors who disturb the peace.

Notable Foreign Quarter Locations:

The Mercenaries' Guild Hall is a sturdy block of a building, containing the headquarters of the Free City's organization of hired swordsmen and other warriors. While the guild cannot claim the membership of all mercenaries in the city, a great proportion of them make certain to pay their dues immediately upon entering the city, though at ten gp per year, theses are more costly than most guild memberships in the city. Membership in the guild gains for mercenaries several advantages. Firstly, the guildhall maintains a well-stocked bar, with drinks at no cost to members. A bunk in a community sleeping room is also offered, free, for a member who needs shelter for a few nights. Those mercenaries in town for a week or longer are expected to eventually arrange their own lodgings. But even more importantly, the guildhall is the most commonly used employment center for mercenaries. Hired fighters who betray their employers are forever barred from guild membership. The guild requires most prospective members to pass a combat test (requiring 1st-level fighting skills). Thus one who seeks hired fighters can be fairly certain of finding skilled, reasonably loyal troops at the guildhall.

The Silver Dragon Inn is the grand inn of the Foreign Quarter, often the first place sought by new arrivals in the city. Prices are average and servings are huge. From the spicy bean recipes of the south to the seafood delicacies of the wild coast to the rice and vegetable concoctions made across the plains of the Flanaess, every manner of food and every means of preparation is available here. Weapons larger than daggers must be checked at the door, together with shields. Customers wearing metal armor are not admitted. A pair of bouncers stands at the door politely enforcing the rule. The Silver Dragon Inn has three different restaurants on the first floor and in the cellar, specializing respectively in frying, grilling, and baking. Much of the cellar is given over to the kitchens. The second floor is a vast drinking hall always crowded with an assortment of dwarves, halflings, ruddy barbarians, dusky sailors, nomads in furs, other nomads in turbans, even half-orcs and squinting mercenaries from unknown distances.

The owner of The Blue Dragon Inn, Felipe Namarhz, doesn't have a lot of originality, but he knows what he likes. And he likes the Silver Dragon Inn. Felipe set out to copy the Silver Dragon in every way possible, from the appearance of the building to the contents of his menu. He has succeeded in every aspect save one: quality. The Blue Dragon Inn is indeed a poor sister to the grand establishment next door.

The Pit is a large and distinctive building in the Foreign Quarter. Various forms of gladiatorial-based entertainment are held here: both warrior against warrior (lethal and nonlethal), and warrior against monster. The Pit is visited by the respectable and well-to-do, whenever they feel like slumming and indulging their jaded tastes, and by the common rabble, simply to satisfy their lust for mindless violence.

This Red Serpent Restaurant specializes in an assortment of pepper-and-rice dishes, all of which are exceedingly spicy to the unprepared Greyhawk palate. The Red Serpent has a small but slowly growing and very loyal clientele. Also served here is an assortment of strong, cold drink, much recommended for soothing the fiery burn that lingers long after the food is gone. The meals are expensive but proclaimed very much worth it by the restaurant's loyal customers.

Old City

At one time Old City was the entirety of the City of Greyhawk. Although the walled-off district is today a crumbling collection of leaning tenements and makeshift hovels, one can still detect a trace of greatness in the structures. Many of these ancient buildings, though now in advanced decay, once housed nobles and government structures critical to the city's survival. An ancient bathhouse along the Processional bears monolithic sculptures from an earlier time of prosperity, while the infamous Thieves' Guild dwells in the moldering ruins of Greyhawk's old City Hall. South of the Black Gate, the city's main avenue is a littered, ill-maintained mess filled with potholes and refuse. Old City is home to the working poor and criminals with few options. The whole place breeds corruption and desperation. To venture here is to put one's purse and life at risk.

The danger is much worse at night, when the district's unlit streets swarm with trouble-seeking young gangs, bands of thieves, and beggars engaged in nefarious business. The City Watch operates on the assumption that anyone on the streets of Old City at night is a criminal. The Watch seldom ventures into the district and almost never patrols, leaving the desperate folk of the Slum and Thieves' Quarter to maintain their own sort of law enforcement. The Thieves' Guild and the Beggars' Union represent the most significant order here, and those expecting to make a mark on this district will need to deal with them.

Businesses: Armorers, Bakers, Bawdy Houses, Blacksmiths, Boarding Houses, Brewers, Butchers, Carpenters, Embalmers, Expedition Supplies, Inns with Food, Jewelers, Laundry Services, Leatherworker/Tanners, Livery Stables, Locksmiths, Pawnbrokers, Potters, Scribes, Shipper and haulers, Stonemasons, Tailors, Taverns, Warehouses, Weaponsmiths, and Weaver/Dyers

Notable Old City Locations:

The Dragon Turtle Tavern is a small inn is surrounded by large, shady oak trees. It has a remarkably rural atmosphere for a place located on a backstreet in the city's dingiest quarter. This is the cheapest tavern in the Free City, though its fare is far from the lowest in quality. True, the straw beds are lice infested, the ale warm, and the servings of food small. But that same food is delicious, and the warm ale flows many pitchers for 1 sp, and as for the beds, they're usually left for those who have had too much of the warm ale.

Slum Quarter

The poorest, most desperate region within Greyhawk's walls, the Slum Quarter is home to penniless immigrants and common laborers whose paltry wages afford them only the sodden, crime-ridden apartments common here. The district is the territory of the Beggars' Union, a grimy organization of con artists and information brokers with ears in every district of Greyhawk. The union has a better sense of what's happening in the city than any other group, including the government.

Thieves' Quarter

Despite its squalor, the Thieves' Quarter boasts two of the most important buildings in Greyhawk. The Directing Oligarchy governs from the High Quarter, but many of its key decisions are decided in the Old City Hall, where the highly influential Guild of Thieves decides matters of city policy far from the eye of the general public. The thieves keep a relatively tight leash on the inhabitants of the quarter; while petty crime such as shakedowns, confidence schemes, and burglary are common, more serious crimes (such as murder) that attract the attention of the City Watch and government officials are frowned upon. The Guild tends to launch its own investigations of grisly crime, frequently administering street justice (often fatal) before the city's legitimate authorities realize the original crime has been committed.

The buildings of the Thieves' Quarter are slightly less run down than their Slum Quarter equivalents, its people marginally better off. Such wealth is relative in Old City, however, where a handful of silver is enough to make one a prince for a day—or simply an easy target for a jealous criminal.

Notable Thieves' Quarter Locations:

The Hanged Man Inn services as motley a collection of thieves, assassins, cutthroats, river scum, and the like as any honest citizen could hope to meet in a lifetime. The outside maintains its splended appearance, with gold paint splashed over trim, and the walls whitewashed regularly. Inside, the rugs are threadbare, and it smells more like a river dive than a comfortable club. One can usually find many of the Free City's most important thieves and assassins here, though the inn is occasionally visited by respectable merchants, officers, and even a rare noble. Located in the deepest heart of the Theives' Quarter, the Hanged Man Inn is considered by the privileged to represent the purest sort of "that Old City atmosphere." Theft is forbidden within the walls of the Hanged Man. Any thief apprehended here (including cheaters at the gambling games often played between customers) is killed on the spot. It goes without saying that these must be nonguild thieves, since teh prohibition against theft is universally observed by members.

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Re: Greyhawk - Roleplaying Characters from the Flanaess pt. 1
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2012, 05:45:48 PM »
Roleplaying Flan Characters:

The Flan were the first human race in the Flanaess, sharing its lands with demihumans and humanoids. Before the arrival of other humans, they lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers, but in the millennium since the Oeridians, Suloise and Baklunish immigrated, they have adapted to the evolving culture of the Flanaess. Many pure Flan still live in the Duchy of Tenh, Geoff and Sterich, and to a lesser extent the Barrens, Stonehold, and the Theocracy of the Pale.

The Flan have always had a close connection to their land, and this can be reflected in the skills and feats they choose, such as hunting, setting traps, direction sense and weather sense. The Flan have a strong storytelling tradition, which makes them excellent bards.

In some areas, a Flan character is defined by the season in which he is born, similar to the horoscopes of the Baklunish. His season indicates what customs or taboos he is expected to follow: some of these customs are rooted in antiquity, when the Flan were the only humans to walk the Flanaess; others are more recent but mysterious origin.

Breath celebrates those living things that survived the winter, and by extension all animal life. Children of Breath (as they are called) must offer a brief prayer for every creature that dies in their presence. They are also required to offer a gift to their mounts, pets and familiar once a year (usually on the character's birthday if known). Breath children are also forbidden to eat meat during the spring.

Flesh symbolizes humanity and demihumanity, identified with the time of year when bodies starved over the winter regain their fat. While many Flan choose to ornament their bodies with tattoos and other permanent marks, only Flesh children must have at least one tattoo or body piercing. They are also required to offer aid to anyone who asks for it (though the aid doesn't have to be what is requested: for instance, someone asking a Flan to escort her to Ket may instead be given a silver piece -- which is, after all, helpful). They permanently wear leather bands knotted elaborately around one wrist for every person they consider kin or a friend.

Sun symbolizes both the days of midsummer when the sun is at its highest, and fires in general, which are seen as little suns. Each time Sun children eat in the presence of a fire, they must toss the first morsel of food into the fire. They are also required to pray briefly each time they start a fire, whether magical or not. Whenever their hair or nails are cut, they must burn the scraps.

Water represents high summer, because that is the time of year for frequent rain showers, but the affiliation is broader than that, encompassing all forms of water, including ice. Water children are required to dip their weapons in any free-flowing water they cross (rivers, lakes, streams, seas and so forth, but not swamps or water controlled by men such as mill races or wells). They must bathe in water at least once a week. They are forbidden to drink wine or beer unmixed with water at any time.

Seed celebrates the time when trees, grains and berries are at their richest, and when animals are at their plumpest -- an important time for the primitive hunting-gathering Flan so long ago. Seed children must carry herbs or wear herbal ointment to ward off evil and disease. During the harvest season, they are required to offer some morsel of food to anyone they meet: a handful of nuts, a scrap of bread or a honeyed sweet are all traditional "seed gifts."

Wind symbolizes the sharp winds of early winter, but also air in general. Wind children must start each night's sleep lying down with their head facing the direction of the wind at that time. For each bird they kill, they must weave a feather into their hair, leaving the feathers there until they fall out naturally.

Dark stands for the darkest time of year, the midwinter, as well as for death, sleep and drastic changes of most sorts. During the longest night of the year, Dark children decorate their faces with charcoal and black henna; they are not allowed to wash their faces for a day and a night after this. Dark children must never ride black mounts, and they must pray each time a room or indoor area is made dark (for instance, if a torch is extinguished).

Stone symbolizes the ground underfoot, exposed by melting snow, but still sleeping in the late winter. A Stone child must wear an amulet around his neck: the amulet, a tiny sealed pottery jar, contains a single gold piece, tiny stones or something similar; to break it is considered very bad luck, and it must be replaced in the land of the person's birth. Stone children are not allowed to wear one material as jewelry, though they are allowed to carry money or weapons in a forbidden metal (Roll 1d6: 1=silver, 2=gold, 3=copper, 4=tin, 5=iron, 6=crystals, including quartz, glass and most colored stones). Stone children must leave an offering at any menhir, dolmen, standing stone or stone ring they encounter.

Roleplaying Oeridian Characters:

The great nations of the Flanaess (Furyondy, Nyrond, and the Great Kingdom) were founded by Oeridians migrating from the west, and Oeridian culture has gone a long way toward shaping "generic" Flanaess culture. They are generally straightforward pragmatists with an interest in empire building and a passion for fighting and exploration.

The historic Oerid respect for organizational hierarchies makes an Oeridian more likely than someone from another race to settle easily into strictly regulated miltary groups such as knightly orders, or into a position of responsibility reporting to political leaders -- for instance as a sheriff to a county or shire.

While he will usually follow orders without too many questions, a typical Oeridian is somewhat short-tempered and given to direct action when solving what he sees as a problem. There is a story about an ancient Oeridian who, when confronted with a door he could not unlock in a building he wished to enter, simply burned the building down. Even now, when someone in Furyondy speaks of an "Oeridian key," he is referring to any drastic confrontative solution to a (usually) minor problem.

However straightforward the Oeridians of the central Flanaess are, surviving Oeridians from the now-fallen Great Kingdom are likely to be very political, avoiding direct conflict but willing to manipulate others by any means available. After lifetimes spent under an irrational and terrifying tyranny, they may seem paranoid and suspicious. They may rebel in covert ways against authority, or they may follow even absurd or destructive orders without question. Oeridians from the former Great Kingdom are more likely to be rogues, or have taken on certain rogue skills and feats, such as disguise or reading lips.

Many Oeridians become warriors. Raised since childhood to respect men and women of arms, most have studied at least one melee weapon before they are adults. They usually take skills and feats that improve their agility, such as dancing, juggling, tumbling and tightrope walking. However, mages who specialize in combat and protection spells are also common. Oeridian mages create many combat-related magic items.

Oeridians also value the making of weapons and armor. An Oeridian is likely to have spent at least some time as a child or adolescent observing or assisting an armorer or weaponsmith.

Roleplaying Rhennee Characters:

The Rhennee deeply dislike non-Rhennee and are treated with suspicion by others. A satisfactory backstory will be needed to explain why your Rhennee has chosen to befriend non-Rhennee and abandon the barge life -- and why non-Rhennee tolerate and accept your Rhennee.

Possible reasons for leaving your family are:

 :arrow: Abandoned as a baby or child, either accidentally (when family barge moved without warning) or intentionally.
 :arrow: Permanently banished because of a major crime against the family (such as accidentally or intentionally killing or betraying a family member).
 :arrow: Temporarily banished because of a minor crime against the family (ignoring orders, stealing from a family member): banishment can run from 1-5 years.
 :arrow: Left voluntarily because of disagreement with Rhennee customs or taboos.
 :arrow: Left voluntarily because of disagreement with wise woman or family noble.
 :arrow: Left voluntarily to pursue a career or calling the PC could not follow to her satisfaction among the Rhennee (such as a knight or bard).
 :arrow: Left for reasons of personal safety after a romantic entanglement went bad.
 :arrow: Stayed onshore when family moved on because of a romantic relationship with a non-Rhennee, now over.
 :arrow: Left behind (in jail or elsewhere) when family barge moved without warning; PC currently may be trying to locate and return to barge.
 :arrow: Wise woman or noble of clan secretly sent PC out to gather information or steal specific item.

Culturally, Rhennee do not have clerics, druids, rangers or paladins; their beliefs are deeply secret and never discussed with outsiders. After a youth as a rogue, a Rhennee woman of importance is likely to become a wizard; a Rhenne man is likely to become a fighter.

The Rhennee are physically small, with males never exceeding six feet in height and averaging 5'6". Females are slightly shorter. Both sexes are of wiry build and especially strong.

Newly created Rhennee PCs start with a set of homemade leather armor, which they always wear. Many Rhennee are neutral in alignment; some are of chaotic neutral, lawful neutral, neutral evil or neutral good alignments.

Because all Rhennee speak Rhennee Cant, new PCs gain this ability as well. The "cant" is actually their original language, which has borrowed some local terms.

Roleplaying Suloise Characters:

Nearly all Suloise have a strong respect for and interest in magic, so that a high proportion of them become wizards, and their familiarity with and interest in magic is likely to encourage them toward the spellcraft skill, regardless of character class.

Family obligations are strong among the Suloise, who will fiercely protect what they see as their home land and family -- though their definition of family may be quite narrow, extending only to immediate relatives. An adventurer may well send wealth back to his family, or summon a sibling and train her in the arts of adventuring. A Suel can be aware of his ancestry back even to the days of the Suel Empire a thousand years ago.

The Suel are shorter-tempered than people in the Flanaess generally. To resolve an issue, they are as likely to use direct means including force (whether political, magical, or physical) as they are to use indirect means such as negotiation or manipulation. They are often proud and may not allow others to know if they have financial or personal problems.

The ancient Suel Empire was deeply evil in nature and even now some Suel organizations tend to slide this way.

Players choosing to roleplay a Suloise can choose from several subcultural options:

 :arrow: Thillonrian Peninsula Barbarians: Many savants consider the Snow, Ice and Frost Barbarians of the far northeast to be the purest-blooded of existing Suel. Because their culture is based on a combination of raiding and exploring (supported by the more peaceful arts of farming and fishing), all Suel from this area can be considered to have low-level seamanship, fishing and swimming skills. Most Thillonrian Suel are exceptionally short-tempered, and it is possible to see berserkers among these people. The Suloise of this area have a strong exploratory streak, and are quite likely to go adventuring. They are the least likely of all Suel to be interested in spellcasting

 :arrow: Island Realms Suel: Many Suel settled in the island realms off the southeast shores of the Flanaess, specifically in the Lordship of the Isles. Like their brethren of the Thillonrian Peninsula, they may have bonus seamanship, fishing and swimming skills. With their strong tradition of trading, they are better at negotiating than most Suel.

Lately, the Suel (along with all other non-elves) have been expelled from the Spindrift Isles. Many of these Suel have relocated in the eastern reaches of the former Great Kingdom; but others have joined the Scarlet Brotherhood or drifted into the central regions of the Flanaess, where they may turn up as adventurers.

 :arrow: Central Flanaess Suel: In the Suel-dominated Duchy of Urnst and in the Sheldomar Valley, the justly famous temper of the Suloise has civilized itself to become no more than a certain impatience in negotiations. Except for followers of the Scarlet Brotherhood, many Suel in this area have allowed their culture to mix with others, so that they may be more "generic" culturally, sharing more with their geographical neighbors than with their brethren. Suloise mages from this area are likely to have been formally schooled at the University in Greyhawk or elsewhere.

 :arrow: Amedio Jungle and Hepmonaland: After the Suel-Baklunish wars of a thousand years ago, some fleeing Suel settled in the Amedio Jungle and Hepmonaland south of the Flanaess. They remained there, ignored and forgotten except for occasional slave-raids, until the Scarlet Brotherhood discovered their fighting ability and began stealing their warriors to fight for them in the Flanaess.

Amedio and Hepmonaland Suel are heavily freckled and tanned. Their native culture is based on small tribal villages. The hostile creatures of the regions and frequent raids between villages have given the Suel of the jungles highly-developed fighting and hunting skills. Their culture is primitive by Flanaess standards and there are rumors that some tribes practice cannibalism. The jungle Suel one is more likely to encounter in the Flanaess are generally escaped slaves from the Scarlet Brotherhood's armies, and as such they are likely to have some familiarity with arms. They may be multi-classed: fighters and whatever they did before (or after) their enslavement.

 :arrow: Scarlet Brotherhood: The Scarlet Brotherhood is based on the Tilvanot Peninsula, but its followers and informants are everywhere. The Brotherhood is a racist organization that utilizes sabotage, crime and subversion in pursuit of its goal, which is to make the Suloise the masters of the Flanaess. Not surprisingly, members are almost exclusively Suel often of the rogue, monk, or assassin classes, and always evil. Informants can be of any class.

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Re: Greyhawk - Roleplaying Characters from the Flanaess pt. 2
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2012, 06:51:03 PM »
Roleplaying Baklunish Characters:

Baklunish culture in the Flanaess has evolved in two distinctive directions. In the northwest as the Tiger and Wolf Nomads, and through the Dry Steppes and Plains of the Paynims of the west, the Baklunish have developed nomadic societies centered around raising powerful, fast horses for their own use and for trading. In the settled lands of Ull, Ekbir, Tusmit, Zeif and Ket, the Baklunish people have created an urban-centered society based on trading in all its forms. Located at the western edge of the Flanaess, they are uniquely situated for trading and exploration beyond its borders.

Beneath these differences are fundamental similarities. All Baklunish have been raised to believe strongly in what they call the Four Feet of the Dragon: honor, family, generosity and piety, which a good Baklunish will strive for in all things. All acts, great or small, serve to enhance or erode honor, and awareness of this affects many of a character's actions. However, which acts will affect his honor in which way may not always be clear to outsiders. While loyalty is generally a virtue which enhances honor, there are situations where apparent treachery is the only honorable course, as when a character finds that his sister has dishonorably killed his current employer.

The family is considered the basic unit of Baklunish society, though the definition of family varies, from three generations living under the same roof, to a hundred-plus members of a nomadic clan and their often-distant family ties. Beyond the family, this loyalty is offered to one's guild, school or military group (all of which are called "little families" by the Baklunish), and to one's state. Most PCs have a large family back in their homeland.

Generosity includes the giving of alms and hospitality to guests. Baklunish are exhorted to acts of kindness to those less fortunate than themselves. For many, this takes the form of tossing coppers to beggars, but as a character's wealth increases, so is his generosity expected to grow. He may donate to a public service such as a library or bath; he may "adopt" a small community and watch over it from a distance, offering resources anonymously in times of difficulty; he may supply scholarships or seed money for promising but impoverished youths; he may outfit adventurers who are down on their luck. Whatever he does is expected to be discreet.

Hospitality to guests is considered sacred. Baklunish have been raised to believe that anyone can request shelter from a Baklunish at any time, and that a man of honor must respect that request to the best of his ability. This can be an advantage for a Baklunish PC; he is virtually guaranteed shelter anywhere in the Flanaess he can find another of his race. On the other hand, he may also be called on in this fashion.

In a land of many gods, piety is a flexible virtue. Most Baklunish worship Istus, but may also follow other gods. Gifts to churches are not considered the same thing as generosity to others. In some communities, Baklunish are expected to respect taboos based on birth months as a sign of their piety. PCs have an 8% chance of being born during a festival week, in which case they are required to fast each year for the festival week of their birth; if they are born during a regular month (92% likelihood), they may roll once on the following table:

In all nomadic Baklunish tribes, the breeding and training of horses for farming, transportation and warfare is a necessary and well-respected occupation, and as a result nomadic Baklunish characters often have the ride skill. The animals are treated well, receiving high-quality food and daily exercise. Their saddles, tack and harnesses receive careful attention. In inclement weather, some nomads actually raise tents or yurts for the protection of their horses.

The highly trained Baklunish cavalries are known far and wide. Anyone who has ever witnessed them in action has come away with wondrous stories to tell; anyone who has ever faced them in battle has probably not come away alive. The horses are swift and agile, the riders are skilled and strong; together, they are a force taken seriously by every opponent in the Flanaess.

Baklunish lore is filled with legends and tales revolving around horses. The legends tell of horses that saved entire clans from fire and stampeding hordes, those that saved their owners through not only strength but cleverness, and beasts that were sent by the gods to deliver messages of warning or encouragement. The tall tales include that of a gargantuan horse that tows Oerth through the heavens, the horse that became angered and stamped down part of the Barrier Peaks to form Ket, and the beast that several centuries ago splashed in the Dramidj Ocean to spare Ekbir and the Tiger Nomads from a severe drought.

These folk observe a number of customs relating to horses. In many homes, before beginning the evening meal, a toast is raised to the family's horses, naming each of them before the meal is begun. Warriors typically exchange a lock of hair with their animals; the rider braids hair from the mane or tail into a necklace or bracelet for himself, and braids some of his own hair into a plait in the horse's mane. Each animal's birthday is also celebrated by placing a wreath of flowers around the horse's neck and serving special treats to the animal.

All Baklunish are fond of singing, dancing and, curiously, puppetry. Their celebrations include a wide range of festive songs and dances. For major holidays, parades are conducted using life-size (and larger) puppets. Baklunish funerals have their own repertoire of slow, solemn, harmonic songs that are sung by all in attendance. Many Baklunish greet the morning or end of the day with a song.

Roleplaying Mixed Human Characters:

While many people are able to identify themselves with a single race, others are of mixed blood or have a strong affinity to more than one race: a PC with an Oeridian mother and Baklunish father, for instance, or a nearly pure Suel family living in a primarily Flan village in Perrenland. Players can reflect this in their characters by demonstrating characteristics of both (or all) the races in their background.

In addition, some characters may not care about their race or origin, or may come from families, communities or groups who have little or no racial affiliation. For example, a character growing up and living in the City of Greyhawk can demonstrate as many or few racial characteristics as his player desires.

Names and Forms of Address:

Systems of naming are wide and varied in the Flanaess, with many local customs. Following are a few general guidelines.

Common humanity: Most ordinary folk have a single name. If an individual has a trade of any kind, this might be added to his name, as in "Dormir Gemcutter" or "Thadeus the Armorer." If an individual is easily identifiable by some physical or behavioral characteristic, it is possible that he will be tagged with this, as in "Janko White-Eye" or "Gitta the Quick." If a family member within a couple of generations has some reasonable local fame, that might be substituted for the career tag, as in "Marran, cousin of Hewell Orc-Cleaver." When traveling and identifying oneself to strangers, one's home becomes part of his name: "Kendren of Hookhill" or "Stonehold Jakk."

Exiles: Many people have been uprooted by the Greyhawk Wars and continuing unrest throughout the Flanaess. They often use their original homeland as part of their name. This takes precedence even over earned heroic titles, so that "Jenna Gorgonstab" becomes "Jenna of Geoff" now that she is exiled to Furyondy. Identifying oneself by homeland is considered a matter of pride.

Nobles: In almost all lands, nobles in a formal situation are addressed by title and first name, then by family or location. Lord Nellist Egremont (family) of Woodwych (home), would be content to be referred to as "Lord Nellist" in everyday discourse; in court he would expect his full name and title to be used. Many exiled nobles do not use their homeland as part of their name, because this emphasizes the sorrow and embarrassment of their loss. A tactful host would refer to their guest as "Lord Nellist" or "Lord Nellist Egremont," if that unfortunate individual has lost his lands. A number of unscrupulous individuals have used this circumstance to set up false nobility, either to trade on the goodwill of people who think they are exiles, or for other, more damaging cons.

Wizards: Regardless of background, most wizards are identified by a single name: Mordenkainen or Bigby are examples. Generally, the higher a mage's eminence, the more likely this is, though there are extremely powerful mages with multiple names, such as Jallarzi Sallavarian amd Warnes Starcoat.

Clerics: Priests are known by their name and the location of their temple, such as "Hamras of Leukish," though occasionally a noble priest will be referred to by his personal and family names.

Elves: Elves always use family names, unsurprising given that siblings and half-siblings may be a century or more apart in age. Family names in translation are usually romantic and flowery: Starglow, Silverfrond and the like. Even in the original tongue, they tend to be melodious: Theodain Eriason of the Circle of Eight and Fioranna Aielestriel, Nyrondese ambassador to the City of Greyhawk are typical examples. Half-elves and elves living near human communities may add a career or location tag to their names for ease in dealing with humans.

Dwarves: Deeply proud of their lineage, dwarves always use family names, and a highly formal etiquette applies to their usage. A dwarf will introduce himself to a stranger by mentioning his first name, his clan and a list of his ancestors. Four is standard, though a modest dwarf may only go back three; a dwarf citing five generations is either boastful or showing a high degree of trust in whoever he is talking to. Only a leader cites his ancestry back six generations. After the first introduction a dwarf is likely to permit first-name terms unless he is a leader, in which case his full name (but not his ancestry) will continue to be used. Dwarves exiled or driven from their homelands do not commonly proclaim this by using their homeland as part of their name. Humans generally call dwarves by their first name and clan name, though on occasion they may substitute a nickname for the clan name, as in "King Holgi Hirsute of the Iron Hills."

Gnomes: Gnomes use a first and family name, and always add an additional tag as well. This might be the family home, or a workplace, or anything that might seem important to them at the moment. At different times in his life, Grimmri Fischer might be known as "Grimmri Fischer the Jester," "Grimmri Fischer of the Highfolk," or "Grimmri Fishcher, Locksmith of Greyhawk."

Halflings: Like gnomes, halflings use a first and family name, but they also use and identify themselves by nicknames, pet names or other devices that most races find irksome. Thus the halfling Harriet Thorngage might also be known as "Goldie" for her hair color, "The Gager" for her last name, "Greensleeves" for a favorite gown, or "Nettles" or "Netta" from an old family nickname -- all within an hour.

Humanoids: Humanoids typically use a simple first name, with a clan or family allegiance if appropriate. Captains and clan leaders may be referred to by honorifics that may have to do with favorite weapons, execution or torture tactics, disgusting personal habits or physical prowess. Sometimes, these honorifics refer in some fashion to the clan name, so that a chieftain of the Broken Skull clan might be known as "Arakkosh Headcleaver."

Popular Expressions:

A few local greetings and other expressions of note are listed here, for the use of travelers and the satisfaction of the curious.

"Cold iron avail you" is a common exchange between warriors among the Highfolk and in Furyondy, referring to the power of cold iron against certain undead, particularly the servants of Iuz.

Among the same folk, "I spit on the Old One" is an aggressive greeting or expression of bravery or disdain.

"Stone endures" (and its many variations, such as "as long as stone endures" and "stone endures still!") is a greeting and sign of friendship among those allied with Irongate, as an acknowledgement of the bravery of the dwarves there and the strength of their walled city.

"'Ware and were, friend" is a greeting used by and to rangers of the Gnarley Forest, who have many friends among the werebears there. When used by an outsider, it indicates the courtesy to learn something of the rangers' ways.

"Hands in your pockets, eyes on your purse!" is a common farewell in the City of Greyhawk, where thieves are everywhere.

"Until the starbreak" is a farewell and oath of fidelity among the northern barbarians. It has two meanings. In bitterly cold weather, the exhalation of breath causes a tiny cloud of frost to form and fall, and these falling flakes are referred to as "the breaking of the stars," hence, "until the starbreak" can mean "until we speak again." It can also mean "until the end of the world," since certain barbaric myths indicate that the world ends with a shower of stars that fall when the heavens break.

"May the axe grow great" is an expression used among the exiled Knights of the Holy Shielding. It refers to their deity Heironeous, who possesses an axe that can grow or shrink in size. It expresses the hope that good will thrive and grow great, that the Shield Lands will be reclaimed, and that better times will come.

"Are you athought?" ("Are you thinking?") is a half-challenge used by seniors of the Scarlet Brotherhood to intimidate their juniors. The implication is that proper followers should not think but follow orders.

"Great Kingdom, Great Kingdom" is a Furyondian phrase of recent coinage, used when a situation changes without apparent effect. Referring to the fact that the collapse of the Great Kingdom was followed by the founding of two new contenders for its dominant position, it means that things never really change -- except to get worse.

"Sure as a Shielding oath" refers to the Knights of the Holy Shielding, famed for their loyalty. It indicates a thing is a near-certainty.

"Sweet as the Mistmarsh" is a phrase used ironically throughout the Domain to indicate a business deal or agreement that smells fishy to the speaker.

"Kill your father, eat your mother" is an exhortation used to encourage the orcs of the Pomarj to acts of evil and vice. However, it becomes a horrible insult if an orc's parents are both dead, since that implies he is incapable of true evil. Such a use generally leads to a fight to the death.

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Re: Greyhawk - Hepmonaland
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2012, 06:51:35 PM »

People of Hepmonaland:

The Olman of Hepmonaland have a rich red-brown or dark-brown skin, straight black hair and dark brown eyes. They have high cheekbones and high-bridged noses, although those of more common stock have less definition in these characteristics. Some consider the Olman to be distantly related to the Flan, but there is as of yet little evidence to corroborate this.

The Suel living in Hepmonaland have changed significantly from their kin in the Flanaess. Most are at least lightly tanned, with some individuals approaching light-skinned Oeridians in coloration. Freckles are common for all skin colors, especially on the face and shoulders. Hair color and texture have remained much the same, with the lighter colors slightly less common than in the Flanaess. Red hair coloring approaches auburn at times. Albinos are the exception to these rules, and this trait still manifests itself regularly in the Hepmonaland Suel.

The Touv people have dark brown or black skin; blue or brown eyes, with black eyes being rare; and straight or wavy hair. They have rounded facial features and are typically shorter than most people of the Flanaess, with the tallest Touv reaching about 5'10" in height. While most Touv males do not have facial hair, certain subgroups grow narrow beards from their chins. Women's figures are often rounded and lush.

History of Hepmonaland:

As in most places on Oerth, the first human occupants are lost to the mists of time. By two and a half thousand years ago, tribes of Touv wandered the savanna and lower jungles of Hepmonaland, farming small plots and chasing herds of wild cattle. In the deeper jungles to the north, similarly uncivilized tribes of Olman warred with each other and built shrines to their gods, occasionally discovering or destroying a ruin their legends said had been built by a bat-like humanoid race that had left or been exterminated several hundred years before.

Over the next 400 years, the Olman learned to work stone and bronze and built great cities in the heart of the jungle -- clearing the land around them for farming -- and raised great temples to honor their deities. Four Olman city-states formed from the original tribes, and all delighted in warring on each other, claiming prisoners as live sacrifices. The northernmost nation, Xuxulieto, was broken by a combined effort of two of its neighbors, and its resources were divided up among the survivors; its capital was abandoned and soon overrun by humanoids (see I1 - Dwellers of the Forbidden City).

Meanwhile, the Touv in the south lands collected into larger groups and founded permanent settlements. Though there were a few fights over land and cattle, the majority of the Touv worked amiably with their distant cousins. A charismatic tribal leader named Onatal convinced three of the larger tribes to combine into one, and the agglomerate tribe took great leaps in metallurgy, farming and herding. The remaining tribes quickly joined the large one, and Onatal proclaimed himself King of the Cities. The Kingdom of Kunda was born. The Kundali began to settle a larger and larger area, eventually coming into contact with the martial Olman city-states to the north. Repulsed by the Olman use of human sacrifice and their worship of a serpent god -- the primary evil Touv god was Meyanok, a serpent deity -- the Kundali declared war upon the Olman.

The unfamiliarity of the Kundali with the deep jungles hindered their war efforts at first, but in time they learned the ways of the jungle, and their advanced metalworking skills, especially the use of iron, gave them a serious advantage over the Olman. Furthermore, the war to the south did not stop the Olman states from fighting each other, this time about how to deal with the invaders and who should be responsible. The capture and conversion of two of the Olman city-states into yuan-ti communities wounded the Olman morale, and eventually a large number of Olman migrated to the north end of Hepmonaland and onto the Tilvanot peninsula and Olman Islands, with most settling in the Amedio jungle. The Kundali had little trouble sacking the remaining Olman cities, usually driving the survivors into the wilderness.

These survivors were later discovered by Suel fleeing from the Rain of Colorless Fire. The fair refugees built their own cities in the northlands, normally keeping themselves separate from the other peoples, but in some cases merging with the Olman or Touv people they discovered. Over the subsequent years, the Suel adapted to their jungle environment and lost most of their original culture and history.

After fortifying its new northern borders, the Kundali returned to their previous existence of learning, herding and building. However, agents of the Touv snake-god corrupted the prince of one of the cities and caused him to break from the Kingdom. Barely checked resentment burst forth in two other Kunda city-states, and they also seceded. Trouble within the capital prevented the king from acting, and his successor was unable to reunite the states. The Kingdom of Kunda lasted a little over 1200 years.

The snake-priests also destroyed one of the northern cities by a magical famine; even now, the land is cursed and few willingly travel near it. The famine provided a distraction for the city-state of Ichamamna, which had long ago sought to take over the once Olman yuan-ti city of Xapatlapo. An army of Touv warriors stormed Xapatlapo, but fell to traps and poison, while yuan-ti turned their friends and family into snake-men as well.

The most remarkable thing to happen in recent years has been the arrival of fair-skinned visitors from across the sea. The severe storms and dangerous waters around Hepmonaland prevented the natives from developing watercraft beyond small coastline-hugging vessels, and so the arrival of humans from beyond what was considered an impassible barrier caused surprise. Reaction towards the strangers has been largely neutral or positive, with most local nations awaiting indications of the visitors' intent.

Social Ranks, Status, Titles & Honorifics of Hepmonaland:

 :arrow: Olman: The Olman are a fierce, religious people. They prize strength and power, and if you lack those things you are fodder for the war machine or a sacrifice for the bloodthirsty gods. Honorifics convey this philosophy; any number of titles referring to combat prowess, the ability to terrorize, and martial skills are appropriate. Often several members of the same family share a title, but they are usually not passed on to offspring.

Nobles are often priests and nobles are the only people worthy of consideration; the greatest warrior must accede to the commands of the weakest priest. There is a complex interaction between the priests and nobles to determine their states relative to each other, both exploiting the commoners for their own purposes and for the pleasure of the gods.

 :arrow: Suel: The savage Suel still retain some vestiges of their ancient culture. Many of the Hepmonaland Suel nobles bear the title of their Imperial ancestors, such as "duke," "countess" and "baroness," although the savages have largely forgotten their original meanings, other than the implication of leadership. Another remnant of their old language is the use of the prefix ker- for brave warriors, which they combine with the person's surname; thus Ixeptan becomes Kerixeptan. They also give themselves titles based on their exploits or prowess.

These people technically have two social levels, the leaders and the followers, although the boundaries between the two are flexible as once a year the leader may be challenged in combat for leadership of the tribe. If the challenger wins, he becomes the new leader, assuming the loser's noble title, if any; personal titles such as "the left-handed" or "bear-killer" are not adopted by the winner, nor is the ker- prefix, altough the old leader loses the ker from her name when defeated. Outside of this organization are the tribal priests, who cannot be leaders; the leader must listen to the counsel of the priest and cannot harm the priest if he disagrees. The priests otherwise have no direct power over the tribe, although they can still influence it by applying or denying their abilities to the people.

 :arrow: Touv: Given the great influence that religion had on the shaping of Touv countries, it is not surprising that spiritual qualities are highly valued by their people. Titles such as "insightful" and "wise" are frequently used to connote respect. A deference to elders follows from their respect for wisdom, and being called "old one" or "grandfather" is a compliment.

Warriors who serve with distinction or exceptional bravery receive the title of bala, equivalent to knighthood in the Flanaess. Touv nobles bear the title of Lord or Lady, with the ruler being called Prince or Princess. During the days of the Kingdom of Kunda, the ruler of all the Kundali people were called King or Queen; this title is no longer used, even though each of the ruling princes of the Touv nations can be considered King of his nation.

Other titles are granted for great deeds, oaths, or commitments; these are handed down to successive generations. For example, Odagan of Kevot is known as the Steward of the Grand Calendar; this title passes down his branch of the noble family of Kevot, and is independent of his status as prince. It is common to mix titles of all sorts, whether hereditary, political, or merit-based.

The common people are all considered equal, whether farmer, miner, merchant or craftsperson; the core belief of the Touv religion is that things change with time and prosperity may come to anyone, so everyone should be respected as at least a potential equal or superior. The nobility work closely with their subjects, and cannot afford to think too highly of themselves, since they might be replaced with other members of the royal family more sympathetic to the public voice.

« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 11:33:48 PM by Bluebomber4evr »

Blue Bomber: The Justice, Not You, since 2002.
Averted the Oozepocalypse of 2011