Author Topic: Greyhawk  (Read 27183 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 »

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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 »

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