Author Topic: Greyhawk  (Read 41769 times)

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Greyhawk - The Amedio Region
« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2012, 06:52:09 PM »
The Amedio Region

People of the Amedio Jungle:

The human races of the Amedio Jungle are the Olman and the Amedian. The Olman are immigrants from Hepmonaland and conform to the physical characteristics of those Olman. The term "Amedian" properly refers to any inhabitant of the Amedio Jungle, but most use the term to refer to the tanned and freckled descendants of the Suel, and the remainder of this work will use this definition. The Amedian are physically identical to Hepmonaland Suel.

History of the Amedio Region:

The Olman and Amedian are not the first intelligent races to rule the Amedio Jungle. Fragmentary records from the Olman city of Tamoachan and other sites indicate that the earliest civilization of this region belonged to a race of reptiles almost identical to modern-day troglodytes. These beings lived more than three thousand years ago and were evil and quarrelsome. Worshipping various demon princes, they claimed trophies such as skulls and skins from their enemies -- normally rival tribes that worshipped different demon princes -- and developed advanced means of mummification; preserved bodies of animals and the ancient troglodytes appear in certain sites; and writings imply that their sorcerer-kings had themselves mummified in hopes of continuing beyond death. The empire of the troglodytes fell around -1700 CY. There is evidence that an amphibious race larger than modern bullywugs lived in the jungle at this time, although any interaction they may have had with the troglodytes is unknown. Giant unintelligent reptiles also wandered the land, the descendents of which include the bonesnapper and several varieties of giant lizard.

The power vacuum left by the fallen troglodyte empire allowed a race of intelligent gorillas to gain ascendency around -1600 CY. Calling themselves d'kana, they built a peaceful civilization of large tribal nations based on order and trust. The d'kana evidently developed spellcasting, since remains found in rare crypts or mausolea are often accompanied by unmistakable spell components. There is no evidence of a war during the time of the d'kana, so it is possible that their wizards and priests received troublesome omens and withdrew their people before the violent Olman came to the land in approximately -1200 CY. Most modern Amedian and Olman tribes tell tales of "dakon-apes" in the forested foothills of the Hellfurnaces, probably near-civilized descendents of that once-great empire. Explorers in that region have found modern tools, weapons and jewelry similar to items found in ancient d'kana interments, but locals claim that the "black-hands" do not like to be approached.

Two other intelligent mammalian races emerged during the time of the d'kana. The evil kech actually predate the d'kana, and some mummified remains date back to the time of the troglodytes, but they did not thrive until the reptiles were gone. The benign beastmen also multiplied rapidly while the d'kana were in power, aided by their camouflage ability. It is interesting to note that the kech and the beastmen ignore each other and do not interact in any way; the reason or motivation for this remains a mystery.

The Olman that arrived from Hepmonaland did so around -1000 CY, long after the d'kana vanished. Finding this new land largely uninhabited by intelligent foes, the Olman burned off large swaths of jungle to make their progress through the Amedio easier, stopping when they found sites of which their gods approved. They built great cities, burning away the nearby jungle to make room for farmland. Seven cities were built, each surrounded by villages and farming communities. The land around each city was considered a kingdom, with the city its capital, but all city-states owed allegiance to the high capital city in the central Amedio. While these city-states initially considered themselves colonies of the Hepmonaland Olman empire, all seven had declared independence before -800 CY, when they discovered  that the old empire was dead. From that point forward, the Amedio Olman considered themselves the true Olman civilization.

The new Olman empire extended from the southernmost jungles of the Amedio through the Olman Islands and onto the northernmost part of Hepmonaland, as well as a few scattered settlements on the Tilvanot peninsula of the Flanaess. The city-states prospered for over 500 years, but eventually they turned on each other in a series of destructive internal wars over control of certain mines, choice of emperor and religious differences. Over the course of the next century five of the seven cities were destroyed, their people sacrificed by rival cities' priests and their lands reclaimed by the jungle. Only the northernmost city (Tamoachan) and the southernmost (Xamaclan) survived these wars. Several writings predicted a many-eyed god bringing a fiery death, although the records are so fragmentary that it is unknown if this referred to an event like the Rain of Colorless Fire or something like an invasion of beholders.

Even isolated Tamoachan suffered in these tumultuous times. Priests differed in their predictions of the city's fate, but bad weather caused poor crops for at least two seasons. Although there are no written records of the events around -425 CY, modern explorers have filled in the details with powerful divination spells, which revealed that the arguing priests eventually escalated their conflict to magical warfare. While their battle lasted only a day, terrible spells and summoned monsters ravaged the city, causing the citizens to flee for their lives and not return. The jungle crept over the abandoned walls of Tamoachan and completely hid it within a decade.

The Olman discovered the remnants of the troglodyte culture and declared that their civilization had fallen because the gods had judged them lacking. It is ironic that their own civilzation collapsed due to rivalries between agents of their own gods. It is possible that one of the demon princes worshipped by the reptiles (perhaps Demogorgon) was angered by the rise of the human empire and destroyed their works in the Amedio.

Although most of their cities were destroyed, the Olman might still have regained their former glory and built new cities if it hadn't been for the arrival of the Suel. Fleeing the destruction of their own lands by the Rain of Colorless Fire, many Suel traveled southward along the eastern Hellfurnaces and entered the Amedio, where they immediately came into conflict with the resident Olman. These two races have been fighting each other almost continuously in the thousand years since the Twin Cataclysms. Neither side is willing to negotiate, nor do they take prisoners, both sides sacrificing their fallen and captured foes to their gods.

By -350 CY, one Suel house had reached the northern shore of what is now called Matreyus Lake, where they discovered the ruined Olman city of Elatalhuihle. These Suel were stereotypical examples of their race, cruel and evil. The city fell for unknown reasons around -170 CY; even now the place suffers one or more terrible curses.

Little changed in the next 700 years. The Olman and Suel battled each other and among themselves for food, territory and slaves, and for the glory of fighting. In this churning mass of permanent civil war, the arrival of the Sea Princes  in about 530 CY was barely noticed. The Princes explored the Olman Islands and cut their way into the Amedio, enslaving the natives they didn't kill. The Amedio slaves were sent back to the Hold of the Sea Princes as cheap labor, or kept in their native lands to dig mines, clear vegetation and pick fruits for export.

Thousands of natives died from mistreatment, malnutrition and unfamiliar diseases they contracted from the Holders. Some tribal leaders recognized the threat and managed a few retaliatory attacks against their would-be captors, but most of the natives saw the northern slave-takers as a way to eliminate their ancient enemies, and began slaving raids of their own, selling conquered opponents to the Sea Princes for iron weapons, cheap jewelry, alcohol and minor magic items. The pattern continued until 584 CY, when the Scarlet Brotherhood arrived.

When the Sea Princes surrendered to the Scarlet Brotherhood during the Greyhawk Wars, the Brotherhood acquired all the lands claimed by the Sea Princes. One of their first actions was to clap chains on most of the Holders residing in the Amedio and add them to the cargo fo the slave barges; few of these Holders survived long at the hands of their former slaves. The Brotherhood then recruited among the Suel-blooded natives; offering them weapons and positions in the military, the Brotherhood would grant the slaves freedom if they would fight for the Scarlet Sign. Thousands of Amedians accepted the offer, eager for the chance to fight other outworlders. Olman were not given this opportunity, as they were considered inferior by the Brotherhood. Under the Brotherhood's banner, the captured Amedio Olman and the Olman of the Olman Islands were doomed to even worse treatment than they had suffered at the hands of the Sea Princes: Under the guidance of Father Marshenref (now Father of Thralls), Olman were crossbred with a local lemur-like creature, creating the slave race of rullhow.

The Brotherhood restructured the outworlder presence in the Amedio, halting advances into the jungle and pulling back from some fortifications that were less defensible. The Brotherhood controlled the entire northern peninsual (called "the Hook" by the Sea Princes) and all northern coastal areas within 60 miles of the shore. Using the Sea Princes' fleet stationed at Narisban, and aided by wizards and charmed sea monsters, the Brotherhood completely blockaded traffic between the Densac Gulf and the Azure Sea.

The Holders' uprising in 589 CY caused the Brotherhood to lose most of their land in the Hold of the Sea Princes. While this has weakened their control over the western Azure Sea, the Brotherhood still patrols Jeklea Bay and seeds it with sea monsters. It has, however, caused them to rethink their strategy in the Amedio; they have slowed their slaving activities and instead focus on exploiting the other resources of the Amedio, such as woods, fruits, spices and metals. The Brotherhood has extended its reach to its limits, and is wary about trying to hold on to too much at too great a distance.

Social Ranks, Status, Titles & Honorifics of the Amedio Jungle:

 :arrow: Amedian: The Amedian have developed ideas about power that are very similar to the Olman: Without power, one is unworthy of respect. However, the Amedian have also retained the affinity their ancestors have for magic, and witch-doctors (wizards) are almost as common as priests. Tribal leaders still tend to be warriors or priests, although some witch-doctors have taken over tribes when they grew powerful enough. The tribal leader is addressed as sar, meaning "father," probably a corruption of the Suel word for father, sahar. The Amedian exhibit more equality between the sexes than the Olman, although most people with power tend to be male. They normally don't sacrifice their own tribesmen, reserving that fate for their enemies. Many tribes eat the sacrificial remains, seeking to absorb the strength of their enemies.

 :arrow: Olman: The Olman tribes of the Amedio are brutal savages, thinking nothing of killing all the warriors of a tribe, finding the village of their defeated foes and sacrificing the noncombatants in a bloody ritual. They respect only power, and their terms of respect are all derived from the etli, the Olman word for "powerful." The tribes are led by either the greatest warrior, or, more commonly, a priest; all tribes in the Amedio are male-dominated. The leader and the warriors are the highest rank in the tribe, whereas the women and children are little more than slaves, and the true slaves are completely beneath contempt; a priest may use any non-warrior as a sacrifice if he sees the need for it.

The Olman of Xamaclan are a different matter entirely. The people of this city see duty and thought as more important than power, and their social ranks reflect this. Soldiers receive much respect, as do teachers, priests, wizards and philosophers. The nobles are privileged by birth but respected only if they use that privilege to increase their learning and better the status of the people.

Largely isolated, Xamaclan has weathered the storm of rebellion, disease, warfare and madness that struck down its sister city-states. Now Xamaclan is a heavily structured society of hard-working Olman, worshipping a broad pantheon of deities led by Quetzalcoatl; they have abandoned their peoples' practice of human sacrifice, using prize animals instead. Xamaclan has established a small amount of trade with the foreign nations across the Hellfurnaces, although the difficulty of crossing them keeps this from happening more than once or twice a year.

Cauldron:

The city of Cauldron was founded by Surabar Spellmason around 500-600 years ago.

The city is set in the Hellfurnaces, near the Amedio Jungle, east of the Sea of Dust, and southwest from the Azure Sea and Jeklea Bay. Located in the caldera of a dormant volcano, Cauldron is a medium-sized city. The city has extensive subterranean caverns that connect at various places to the Underdark.

Sasserine:

Sasserine was founded in -124 CY by a group of pilgrims led by a priestess of Wee Jas named Sasserine, who was inspired to found the town after receiving a vision. Not much is known about the early times of the city outside of Sasserine's death in a battle with a marauding black dragon named Zelkarune. However, after her death, the town gradually grew and expanded until it encompassed not merely the area inside the city walls, but a number of farming plantations lying on the outskirts. The success of the city made it a target for raids from pirates as well as attempts of subversion by the Scarlet Brotherhood, which the city would first encounter in 30 CY.

After a time, a family named Teraknian, descended from Sasserine's lover, began to rule predominantly over the city as lord mayors, taking advice from the clergy of Wee Jas and Kord. In 480, Orren Teraknian, the last of the lord mayors, began a reign of terror, and launched a persecution of the church of Wee Jas in the city. Orren was deposed soon after after the city was conquered by the Sea Princes. The Princes kept the existence of Sasserine a secret from the rest of the Flanaess to prevent the city from being taken from them. The subjugation would last for a century, until the Sea Princes were forced to let go of Sasserine due to internal turmoil in their own lands as a result of the Greyhawk Wars. The city is still recovering from its century-long domination and isolation.

Sasserine is located at the westernmost edge of the Amedio Jungle, nestled in a sheltered harbor. Most travelers come to Sasserine via ship, as overland routes are fraught with peril.

Sasserine is split into seven distinct districts, each with its own personality. These districts are separated by inner walls, by networks of canals or rivers, or simply by age. Friendly competition between the districts is common, especially during festival weeks, yet the citizens of Sasserine do not hesitate to come to each other's aid. Perched at the edge of civilization, Sasserine is (and always has been) often the target of assault from land and sea; the pirates of the Crimson Fleet, the navy of the Scarlet Brotherhood, the bullywugs of the surrounding marshland, even gangs of ogres and giants from the nearby mountains keep the city on constant alert, yet to date the fiercely proud city has fallen to the enemy only once, and even then only through the act of the city's most notorious traitor, Orren Teraknian.

Sasserine is governed by a council of seven noble families known collectively as the Dawn Council. Decisions are put to a vote amongst the city's citizens, and their appointed representatives among the nobility take the results of these votes to guide their leadership in the Dawn Council.

Each of the seven districts of Sasserine is represented not only by an appointed noble, but by an allied church. The Azure District is allied with the Azure Church (comprised of three sea deities: Osperm, Procan and Xerbo), the Champion's District is allied with the Church of Kord, the Cudgel District is allied with the Church of St. Cuthbert, the Merchant's District is allied with Fharlanghn's Church, Shadowshore is allied with the Church of Olidammara, the Sunrise District with Pelor's Church, and the Noble District with the Church of Wee Jas.

Just outside Sasserine, nearly 25 miles of jungle and swamp along the Thunder River have been cleared for use as sprawling, privately-owned plantations. Providing food crops and exports for the city, the river's seasonal flooding makes the land particularly rich, although those who farm it constantly battle reencroaching jungle vegetation and beasts. Cassava, cotton, coffee, millet, rice, sugarcane and tea -- as well as some more traditional farm crops -- make up Sasserine's plantations' most abundant products. Aside from their products, a few particular plantations bear noting.

Boudinot Plantation: Run by the obese Boss Remming Boudinot, it's rumored that his fields of high-growing sugarcane disguise a harvest of criminal crops and hide other nefarious dealings.

Dromdal Plantation: the sharp-tongued yet genteel Josiah Imfrid Dromdal commands the largest plantation (cotton and tea) in the area. His greatest prides are his handsome manor house and widely desired daughter, Chablis. Josiah's six strapping sons prove quick to defend both his and their sister's honor.

Misroi Plantation: A cursed place, this untended plantation and burnt-out manor house once belonged to one Anton Misroi, a cruel man who murdered his wife by drowning her in a nearby quicksand bog. When her corpse returned to slay her treacherous husband, the plantation's fearful workers burned the manor house and forever fled.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 11:49:44 PM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Greyhawk - Zahind
« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2012, 06:52:46 PM »
Zahind:
 
Zahindi are a dark-skinned folk who stand, on average, between five and seven feet, the latter of whom are seen as more important within their society.

Social station in this land is, and always has been, of utmost cultural importance to the natives.  Technologically, they are akin to the Baklunish, and it is said that spellcasting is a rare talent in this area, which perhaps explains how they were so easily subjugated by the Suel.  Architecture of this land ranges from stone towers and squared buildings to ornate minarets, often within blocks of each other.  The cities of the Southern Coast are said to rival Ekbir and Zeif in sheer beauty, and as architectural artifacts, they put the Flanaess to shame.

The names and nature of these lands has changed significantly over the millennium since the fall of the Suel, and four large nations are known to exist there today.  Understand that few travelers from the Flanaess have visited this area, as to do so requires either an extended and treacherous sea quest or an overland trek across the Sea of Dust.  Not surprisingly, then, what information we do have comes from daring and lucky mariners.

Beginning due west of the Amedio Peninsula, we find the small nation of Changar that stretches from the easternmost mountains that reach the sea to some 400 miles to the west.  This is the most heavily Suel-influenced of the southern nations, and evidence of this can be found in both the racial admixture of the land and the architecture of the Changa's ancient seaport, Hatanagar.

Jahind, Changar's sworn ally, extends from the former nation's border to the next set of mountains that reach nearly to the sea, some 450 miles in all.  The kingdoms are very similar (save that the Jahindi had more success in repelling the Suel and are thus "untainted" by pale skin and light hair), and Jahind is said to enjoy the benefit of a successful navy.

Mulwar, the next nation to the west, is a dangerous land buttressed by mountains to the north, east and west.  It is said that the land is ruled by a cruel and cunning leader who, many whisper, is in fact an evil spirit, able to change his own form and bend the simple people of Mulwar to his terrible will.

Northwest of Mulwar, the immense Chomur spreads nearly the width of all Aerdy between three distinct mountain ranges.  Chomur is more a wild region than an actual state, and many Suel refugees fled here during and after the horrible wars that shattered the Suloise Empire.  In fact, the northern inhabitants of this land are nearly pureblooded Suel, even after all of these years.  These people often war with their southern neighbors, and are despised by nearly every native resident of the land.  It is also said that Oeridians mix openly with the darker natives of Chomur.  Little else is known about this mysterious place, save that it is inhabited in parts by several organized tribes of hobgoblins.

History:

Millennia ago, there was a vast mountain-enclosed region bordering the sea where scattered tribes of humans and other races lived. The people were of a great many sorts, far more than usual, each having arrived here from their original tribal lands by means they themselves were unable to explain. These barbaric tribes warred with each other over land and food, building small villages and planting crops when the wars had temporarily ended.

There arose among these people an extraordinary individual named Akajahatma (ah-KA-ja-HAHT-ma), a wizard who explored the region and the lands beyond it. In time his studies revealed the secret of his homeland: It was a great Fading Land, a region of Oerth where the interplanar boundaries were very thin. Sections of this region would at times overlap with regions of other worlds and planes, allowing peoples and monsters to cross over to Oerth. This had been going on for longer than could be guessed. Little wonder
that so many types of people, of every skin color and size and ability, lived here now.

Akajahatma soon realized there was more going on. At rare times the Fading Lands here would overlap with outer planes, allowing fiends to enter. Stories of rampaging monsters and demons were common in this region; it would be only a matter of time until the interplanar boundaries weakened again and massively overlap parts of the Abyss, leading to the doom of everyone who lived here. This had to be prevented at all costs.
    
Akajahatma journeyed to hundreds of other lands and planes seeking ways to prevent this. In time, he returned to his land as a quasi-deity, possessed of great supernatural ability, knowledge, and wisdom. He then began to put a great plan into action to seal off this region's contact with other planes and strengthen the interplanar barriers. He would do it by teaching the peoples of this region to work together as a single society and direct their prayers and innate magical abilities toward building the barriers. This could only be accomplished by creating an extremely rigid and conservative social order. As the alternative was complete destruction, there seemed to be little real choice in the matter aside from flight.
    
Akajahatma walked among the peoples of this region, teaching them the basic principles of his plan, cloaked in philosophy. The killing of other intelligent beings was prohibited unless they refused to work toward the ultimate goal of unifying the region. Social order would be maintained at all costs. Migration out of the region was forbidden, as every intelligent being would be required to direct mental and spiritual energy toward building the interplanar barrier. A single unified religion would be established--and Akajahatma would be the head deity of that religion.

Many tribal peoples of all races took up Akajahatma's call for unity. He forged alliances by sheer force of will and charisma. He began assuming a particular form, that of a blue-skinned giant with six arms, to emphasize the work and effort that would go into building the barrier. His followers understood that their prayers, directed toward Akajahatma, gave him more divine power to weave the interplanar boundaries together and keep out the demons and monsters who would otherwise invade. Very few of them grasped the full scope of the plan, however.
    
Akajahatma quickly realized that some races and peoples were not cooperating with the plan. He ordered his followers to drive these peoples out of the region or destroy them, leading to centuries of warfare against all chaotic peoples. Lawful peoples, whether good, neutral, or evil, became the backbone of Akajahatma's LN religion. As Akajahatma's divine power grew, his perceptions of the problem of the region sharpened, and he discovered that the mental and spiritual energies of the humans, demihumans, and humanoids here would not be enough. He cast about for a new plan, and decided that he would have to advance the intelligence and wisdom of the animals of the region, bringing them up to human levels over time to become new followers of his religion. Otherwise, the barrier would be overwhelmed, and all would die.
    
The method he settled upon to bring up the animal races was to gather the souls and spirits of his followers when they died, sending them back to Oerth to appear in the body of an animal. The animal would become more intelligent than usual, but would not be guaranteed to know all that had happened to it in its previous life. By this method of reincarnation, however, the animals could be taught speech and the principles of Akajahatma's teachings. The killing and eating of animals was then banned to all his followers, and the process of reincarnation was revealed to his priests. In time, Akajahatma hoped even the animals would send their mental and spiritual energies to him, and the breach between the planes would be sealed forever. But it would take many centuries more to complete, and it would have to be maintained forever in the face of great opposition from evil forces.
    
Indeed, Akajahatma's plan had already been discovered by various beings in the Abyss and elsewhere. Assaults against the growing spiritual barrier were increasing, as larger and more powerful groups of demonic creatures attempted to break through and invade Akajahatma's homeland. Chief among these were the rakshasas, who longed to feed upon the multitudes here. Occasional battles between powerful beings turned into short-running interplanar wars. Akajahatma began recruiting heroes among his followers, and soon he was joined by a growing legion of enormously powerful beings who took up the burden of defending the land while Akajahatma focused on building the barrier to seal off the other planes.

For many years, the society of the region was that of a theocratic empire, a single kingdom ruling over many different states and provinces according to religious principles. The warring peoples of this region had long ago ordered themselves into castes (which means "color") according to who conquered whom. Each caste was composed of a variety of peoples of different races who held certain functions in the overall society. The various caste levels, speaking
very roughly, were, in descending order:

1. Priests of Akajahatma and other gods
2. The emperor, his subject kings and queens, and warriors
3. Merchants
4. Laborers
5. Pariahs, the peoples who had given everyone else the most trouble and now held the lowest rung as low-class workers.
    
The first animal race to be "uplifted" by reincarnation to intelligence was that of the golden monkeys, who were the most like humanity of all the animals. Elephants are gaining strength as the next most powerful animal race. Only a few other individual animals at random can speak--cattle, goats, etc. All animal life is considered sacred, but animals, like people, must work to keep the society going: cattle plow fields and give milk, monkeys are warriors, elephants laborers, etc.

Unfortunately for Akajahatma, the Suel Imperium had plans for the region and after a series of violent wars conquered and subjugated Zahind. The Suel were cruel overlords and looked down upon Akajahatma's ways. The societal changes the Suel made caused great disruptions in Akajahatma's work, and it might have been undone forever if not for the Twin Cataclysms. In the aftermath of the Suel Imperium's collapse, the formerly monolithic Zahind theocracy has been split into four nations. Akajahatma's religion is practiced in all of them, but there are now different sects and beliefs, and the worship is unfocused, delaying the sealing of the barrier by a thousand years. Violence has sprung up between the various nations as each tries to assert their dominance and re-establish the Theocracy. To make matters worse, Akajahatma can no longer attend to the problems himself as he has ascended past the level of demigod, so he must rely on his demigod servants, many of which have become impatient and seek to come up with their own solutions and they do not all agree on the best way to solve the problem.
    
Today:

Zahind is in many ways stagnant. The numerous temples across the land are magnificently carved, but the style of the temples is fixed and varies little. The people think in fairly lawful, rigid ways. Social disruption is the greatest evil, as this will interrupt the sending of spiritual energy to Akajahatma and weaken the interplanar barrier, possibly leading to invasion from other planes and destruction. Civil disorder, rebellion, marrying out of caste, murder, illegal migration out of the empire, sailing, flying, and any other sort of illegal travel are all banned and punishable by slavery (i.e., reduction to the pariah caste). Slavery is the best alternative to killing now, as criminals and pariahs can at least work for the good of their society and might be redeemed later.

Many sorts of humanoids, such as hobgoblins, goblins, orcs, ogre magi, firbolgs, dwarves, elves, halflings, and so on are worked into this society in different castes, with many variations on each race and some subraces going into different castes. The whole social picture is extremely confusing: red-skinned dwarf warriors with black beards, yellow-green goblin merchants, dour albino Suloise who tried to invade the region from the north after the Rain of Colorless Fire (now nonmagical pariahs), and more. Every one of them is worked into the culture, with no innate racial hatreds but plenty of cross-caste and intra-caste jealousies, quarrels, feuds, grievances, fights, etc. that must be overcome on a day-to-day basis.
    
The barrier is strong enough now to make teleportation into this region fairly unpredictable and difficult. Gates, which are of a higher level of magic, may be opened by spell or device, but random openings of gates are very infrequent. Some gates are deliberately opened by outer-planes monsters into this region, so demonic hordes can attack temples and attempt to weaken parts of the barrier. Defending temples has become a full-time occupation for warriors, wizards, and priests here. (Wizards are nearly all on the level of the merchant caste.)
    
While general emigration is banned, heroes may gain permission to leave the empire to explore other lands and gain knowledge or devices to bring home and strengthen their society. Nearly all such heroes are lawful, but chaotic malcontents also flee the region (what few of them are left, as even the elves here are lawful). Of course, no one gets outside the country, so almost no one outside knows what's going on inside. The only boats allowed must remain close to shore to fish. Trade can be conducted from seaports, but only outsider ships may sail back and forth; no regional ships are built or leave to trade elsewhere.

The populace is generally forbidden to have armor or large weapons, primarily to prevent outbreaks of violent bloodshed in the many daily squabbles that go on between different ethnic groups here. Some outsiders compare the region's people to the members of one huge extended family crowded in a small house. Everyone learns to be polite and get along--or else. Compassion for living things is a major virtue, and citizens learn to be truthful, respectful, and show charity to those of lesser castes--while upholding all that is required of them in their own castes, and not forgetting their place in the larger scheme of things.

The military is known for both its ferocity in battle and its tendency to stop fighting too early, as if expecting the other side to realize it has been beaten and should respectfully surrender and end the war and go home. When this does not happen, the army is confused but angered and will again attack, then cease fighting early to let the other side think about things. This can go on for some time. Only against extraplanar monsters do heroes and soldiers toss aside all compassion, and they attack until slain or the enemy is driven off or destroyed. They do not fear death, knowing they will be reincarnated, further serving their empire and deities. They may tend to lump all odd extraplanar beings together as "demons" and merely kill them all unless shown that they are potential lawful allies.

Relgion:

Akajahatma is now a greater deity, the chief of the regional pantheon of hero-gods and allies. Some gods are nonhuman, once being demihuman, humanoid, or nonhuman heroes who advanced to divine level. Several deities were once golden monkeys, and one was an elephant. Though he is the chief deity of this region's pantheon, he seems remarkably tolerant of the worship of other deities. He has learned much about the nature of the multiverse in the thousands of years he has spent weaving the magical interplanar barrier over and through his land, and the resulting religion he began has become extremely complex--so much so that numerous sects and cults of it exist all across the lands. The various aspects of this religion are debated by everyone of every caste, and priests can easily collect crowds on every street by bringing up a particular philosophical point and starting to debate it with passers-by. Outsiders who can speak one or more of the dozens of languages spoken throughout this region find this difficult to get used to; much of this religious teaching completely goes over an outsider's head.

The people of this region appear very talkative and exceedingly polite, but know little or nothing of the world beyond their local neighborhood. A farmer could easily know thousands of lines of holy scripture and debate fine points of theology with a patriarch, but he has no idea of the history of his empire or even its full boundaries. The material world is not of major concern to many citizens beyond the basic needs to eat, sleep, etc. It is the spiritual, immaterial world that fascinates them. They appear tolerant of frustration and exhibit great self-control, expecting that their lives will be nothing but hard work. Yet they are aware of the "other world" and wish to learn more about it through their religion, seeking the truth of what makes the multiverse what it is.

Priests in this region are synonymous with teachers, sages, philosophers, and keepers of knowledge. All priests read and write numerous local languages and regularly walk among the populace to teach or tend to the many temples. Believing that the Fading Lands in which they live have made the material world even less dependable and faster-changing than otherwise, they seek the essence of that which does not change, anything that is stable and not of their world.

Akajahatma passes along much of what he has learned to his followers. 99% of this knowledge is of no practical use, from the viewpoint of anyone studying this who is not from this region or born into this religious culture. However, this is the very knowledge that enables the people to pray in such a way as to send their spiritual energy to Akajahatma to build the barrier.

The religion of Akajahatma does allow fishing and the eating of fish, as these are regarded as too low in intelligence to be worth bringing up; the people need protein, too, to supplement their basically vegetarian-and-dairy diets. Eggs may be eaten, but not chicks. Birds and mammals are the most protected groups, but reptiles (e.g., naga) enjoy some respect and protection.

The temples here are built in a particular domed style because it was found that this best focused the spiritual energy of the people who prayed inside, sending this energy on to Akajahatma. There is a fantastic number of temples in the region, as the more temples there are, the stronger the energy that can be sent above to build the barrier. Each temple as acts as a spiritual anchor for the barrier, preventing interplanar breakthroughs in certain regions.

Titanic statues of the gods of this region are the norm. The sheer audacity of Akajahatma's plan to seal the rift in the planar barriers through the efforts of all his followers, fighting back hordes of demons and nightmare monsters in the process, has inspired religious sculptors to carve stupendous statues of their favorite deities into cliffs, mountainsides, and so forth.

Most of the gods of this region are depicted as dancing or meditating. The dancing, accomplished with many arm, finger, and facial gestures, is actually a reflection of the magical somatic gestures the gods use to weave the barrier against other planes. Some gods are depicted in battle against monstrous rakshasa and fiends.

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Greyhawk - Shaofeng & the rest of Central Oerik
« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2012, 06:54:32 PM »
Celestial Imperium of the Shaofeng

West of Chomur, in a small valley, the Shaofeng outpost of Behow stands as a gate to the wonders of the Far West.  Though largely independent from the Shaofeng Kingdom, the Behoise conform strictly to imperial laws and religion, a fact that gains them few visitors from the east.

Due north of Behow, the legendary land of Sa'han claims the title of easternmost holding of the Shaofeng Kingdom.  Like the empire proper, magic is said to operate on different principles here, and the art of the Wu Jen is practiced widely, as is a complicated from of martial arts that is believed to have been the origin of the forms currently employed by the Scarlet Brotherhood. 

Both Western Realms have been adamant in their hatred for the Suel, and while many, many refugees have managed to work their ways into western society, they do so primarily as low-caste workers or slaves.  The wars between these peoples are legendary, and animosity flows, still.

Aside from these realms, Shaofeng dominates much of the rest of the continent.  It is likely that an actual base of power, in fact called Shaofeng, exists, but the name is also applied to the greater realm as a whole, and it is all rather confusing. Adding to the difficulty of matters is the fact that the Shaofeng Emperor declares the entire western half of Oerik under his care, despite the less absolute reality of the matter. 

The culture of the empire is quite foreign to that of the Flanaess, and places great importance upon mysticism and the elements.  This latter fact has caused the most arguments between the severe Shaofeng and the people of the east.  Aside from the Bakluni, whose entire system of belief and much of their culture hinges upon the importance and veneration of the elements, the Flanaess views the elements (air, oerth, fire and water, of course) simply as a given part of their everyday experience.  There are, certainly, eastern wizards who focus exclusively upon one of the four elements, and the followers of Telchur, Artroa, Sotillion and Wenta are often (incorrectly) viewed as elemental cults, but the elemental forces are not often considered by the average man of the Flanaess.

Not so with the Shaofeng, with whom the elements play, if possible, a more important role than they do in the Near West.  In fact, many of the mages of these western realms are tied intimately to their land, and the inability of their most powerful magi to venture far from the site of their personal elemental connection is often cited as the primary reason this otherwise technologically advanced race has not been able to make itself a serious presence east of the mountain ranges that bisect the continent.

Not only do the scholars of the west place greater importance upon the elements, they also disagree as to the nature of elemental power itself.  Westerners hold that, instead of the four elements generally acknowledged in the east, the multiverse is composed of five elements.  As proof, they offer the existence of the so-called "Imperial Dragons of Shaofang," apparently outer-planar dragons of largest size and power that come in a variety of five colors, each of which supposedly corresponds to one of the elements of the natural world (this relationship is further elucidated in Scholar Thu Kin Boh's extended treatise, Fo Ling-Ku (Elemental Structures),  currently on reserve in the University Library at Rel Mord).

Apparently, these Imperial Dragons each correspond to one of the western elements and are said to live within the elements themselves (whatever that means).  Because these creatures reside outside of the Prime Material plane, they visit worlds such as Oerth and her four sisters only when they so choose--or are summoned.  Golden is the color of the Fire Dragon, green that of Water, while blue is said to represent Air/Wind.  The Imperial Dragon of silvery hue is Metal, and that with a shade of violet is associated with Wood/Nature.

Eastern scholars scoff at the conception of the world as defined by five elements (they say that "metal" is clearly a product of Oerth, and that "nature," as a force of life, simply does not enter the equation).  Indeed, extra-planar travel seems to have assured that those of the east are correct, since beings have thusfar failed to locate a fifth elemental plane.  This brings up the intriguing possibility that the Imperial Dragons and spirits of the western elements do not allow Shaofeng sorcerers the ability to travel off-plane, thus proving the fault inherent to their entire system of belief.  Still, however, the Wu Jen (as most western mages are known) are a terribly powerful lot, and that power must come from somewhere. 

It appears that this cult of elemental dragons extends to the boundaries of the Shaofeng Kingdom's vast empire (although, disturbingly, Nerull seems to hold some degree of influence, as well), just as do their strict and often draconian laws said to have been drafted over seven thousand years ago.

In fact, many of the Shaofeng colonies south of the great bay that intersects southwest Oerik are almost wholly independent from this rule, despite the wishes of the greater government.  Most prominent of these is the large theocracy known as Tsing-Chu.

There, a devoted caste of priests diligently follow the teachings of the god Khuzkan (a complicated figure who may or not be Pelor under a different guise), who implores them to scour the world, rewarding the actions of kind men and the dispatching of evil.  Of course, Khuzar conceptions of evil often vary significantly from the morality of the rest of western Oerik, and this alone has been the cause of several prolonged disputes.  The justice of Khuzar priests is swift and unflinching, and few understand what is happening to them before their sentence has been carried out.

Another spur in the side of Tsing-Chu's neighbors are the Tsongs, large groups of malign humans exiled from their homelands.  These men and women prey upon the shipping lanes of the southwest, and are an annoyance to the people of the south, who view them both as a subtle diplomatic weapon employed by the rulers of Tsing-Chu and as proof that the "sentencing" of the Khuzar priests is often less strict within the nation's own borders than it is without.

To the north, the Shaofeng have constructed the Wall of Tsian, a massive fortification separating Shaofeng from Darak Urtag, a formidable deterrent to anyone but the king of Darak Urtag.  The Imperium has begun another, even grander wall farther west.

Ryuujin:

A densely populated island nation of fishermen, warriors, and poets, Ryuujin is ruled by an emperor claiming lineage from a divine dragon, similar to the types of dragons the Shaofeng venerate. The emperor of Ryuujin is said to have absolute power and commands fierce loyalty, however it is believed that the real power of the nation comes from the many feudal lords known as shoguns. The shoguns are responsible for maintaining the armies of Ryuujin; fierce elite warriors known as samurai, as well as cadres of secretive stealth agents known as ninja (though if asked, no shogun will admit to having ninja in his employ). Ryuujin has a powerful navy and dominates the Sea of the Dragon King (named after their emperor), as well as the large peninsula extending south of Shaofeng and Zahind.

Other areas in Central Oerik:

 :arrow: The Baklien Khanates: The Baklien are a fierce nomadic warrior society, made up of Baklunish and Shaofeng ancestry. Their society is often referred to as the "High" and "Low" Khanates. The High Khanate is an arid land peopled by two tribes of sturdy nomads.  The inlanders resemble the horsemen of the Baklunish Basin, but on the coast they take to boats. The Low Khanate is a companion realm to the High Khanate; named more for its location in a deep vale below the mountains than for any inferior status.  A hidden valley reputedly contains the tombs of khans from both realms.

 :arrow: Darak Urtag: A nation of orcs ruled by a tyrannical king. The orcs seem to thrive under the brutal regime.

 :arrow: Mur: Technically part of the Baklunish West on the Flanaess, Mur borders the Gulf of Ghayar and includes a chain of tall mountains. The warm currents of the ocean join with the cold air blowing from Telchuria to the north to create a very wet land that includes a temperate rain forest. The rain forest spreads through the mountains themselves, along with many spectacular waterfalls. The lowlands are somewhat drier, and include several ports through which trade is conducted with the outside world.

The people of Mur are not Baklunish, nor are they a member of any of the other human sub-races known to the Flanaess. Rarely, a child of Mur will be born with four arms. This is considered a blessing of the nature spirits the people worship. Animals of Mur sometimes are born with the same trait, and the land is full of displacer beasts, kamadans, shensahti, and girallons. It is possible that all of these creatures originated in Mur. Those born with four arms are known as the obah-blessed, while those who offend the obahs become twisted, charred parodies of themselves and are known as the scorned.

The folk of Mur are plagued by their Komali neighbors, whose warlike ways force the population of Mur to dwell primarily in villages and cities built into the sides of the mountains.

The people of Mur worship the 3,000 obahs, a word they use for divine spirits believed to influence every aspect of their lives. Mur is home to the Order of the Shensites, a group of pacifist monks who withdraw from ordinary society in order to avoid the corruption of day-to-day existence. The Shensites are named for their patron obah, Shensi the Serpent.

Apart from Shensi, named obahs include Balim (actually an archdevil), Tektek the faithful, and Karkush, patron of girallons.

The nation of Mur is believed to be ruled by a divine monarch who rules from a hanging palace somewhere in the mountains.

Mur formerly traded with Zeif, but pirates and sea serpents have made trade routes to Mur unreliable.

 :arrow: Risay: Risay is a state on the Gulf of Ghayar. Diplomatic relations with Zeif extend back to the rule of Sultana Ismuyin the Wise (2529-2577 BH). Risay was ruled by an Imam. In 3186 BH, the government was overthrown. No information about subsequent government exists. Risay has been visited by Deshani, daughter of the sheik of Barakhat. Risay is now a sharifate, and we know it is south of Barakhat.

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Greyhawk - Black Moon Chronicles
« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2012, 06:55:25 PM »

While ancient legends envisaged that the Tharque Empire would endure forever, a black dawn rose with the appearance of the Magocracy of Obart, which created an army of walking corpses. As it crushed villages and towns before it, its army of the dead grew stronger. Destroying everything in their path, the demonic hordes supported by the endless stream of undead rose to the heart of the empire leaving behind ruins and flames. Thus the death knell of civilization was sounded.

However, the unthinkable occurred in the third province of the Tharque Empire. In Altenberg, which was still a small citadel at the time, the soldiers managed to stop the invasion of twice-born. For a month, when all seemed lost, the men and women, guided by the Light delivered a desperate fight for their lives and for the salvation of their souls. Born in the blood paid by the war, the Order of Light had come to be victorious. Then, little by little, hope blew over the ashes and ruins, sweeping everything in its path. In Sysigie an Archangel of Justice appeared, then in the rest of the empire afterward, the people raised their heads and fought. The Order of Light, the Knights of Justice, and the army which would become afterward the Imperial Army allied with the Dragonmasters and converged to deliver the ultimate battle, driving the necromancers away in the province of the Big South of Der Hem Shelbem.

The victors, having saved their way of life, then turned to the Oracle for guidance. In the center of what would become the empire was a vast plain, and in its center, surrounded by a disproportionately large mound, was chained the Oracle, knowing all but unable to do anything, ever sought, forever torn. At the heart of a huge fireball, he lies chained by the gods of fate for a forgotten crime. Only one can know his destiny, and it was the General of the victorious army. The Oracle predicted that he would become emperor and he would bring peace and prosperity. The Oracle promised to help each new emperor by revealing their coronation. This mortal, guided by the multiple voices describing a prophetic kingdom, would be able to better manage the empire.

Before his coronation had even concluded, this new emperor formed a covenant with two holy orders. This second pillar of the empire, more unsung than Oracle, was sealed between the god Rao and the empire. In the form of crystal tablets guarded by angels who only let humans approach them, these tablets of law were a very important assurance of protection from a demonic invasion of the empire. These tablets bring power and protection to the various religious orders who have decided to pray to Rao. In order to preserve them, the emperor made orders wall them up and in the exact place where they were began the most fabulous construction all the time, the Imperial City of Lynn. This compact, now forgotten, lies in a crypt beneath the throne of the emperor. It is based on these two major assets that the new emperor decided to raise the high banners of the double-headed eagle on a background of scarlet blood. The Empire of Lynn was born.

The story does not stop there. As one chapter ends, another begins. The rest of the Tharque Empire, who had ruled the known world for over a millennium, came to close on its original borders. The two most important orders are the Order of the Light and the Knights of Justice. The first one led a quest against all evil within the empire, marking any place bathed by the Light by castles. The Knights of Justice retired to Sysigie to heal its wounds. The time of the human beings had come. As for the other races, the dwarves are withdrawn in the city of Ghrunkedash, while the immortal elves, facing so many horrors before them, longed to decline and disappear in peace, leaving humans fight for an empire which, as all human empires would, disappear. To the north, barbarian invasions become more and more frequent, in the south, the kingdom of Khemit intended to draw riches from the thin possessions of this still weak empire. It is in this chaos arose the cult of the Black Moon. Built on the worship of the archmage Haazheel Thorn, this religion was threatened at first by the Order of the knights the Light. But this order benefited from a new magic, that of the menthats (a type of psion) and from the almost divine power of its founder. The latter, rather than respond to Order of Light, proved his membership to the Empire by helping the Baron of Moork definitively rule out a barbarian threat by retaking lands stolen by the Kingdom of Khemit. The emperor endorsed this new religion. The menthats were more numerous in the empire, some from the Black Moon.

The borders of the Empire of Lynn changed little. Centered physically and spiritually on the citadel of the Oracle, he saw the coronation of Haghendorf I. The stone mask of the Oracle speaks to all, but only Haghendorf can see its true face. After his coronation, this mortal, carrying only the weight of his destiny, has acquired the power to change the course of his life and empire. Although he appears meek, the emperor is considered by many as a tyrant. Living in his millennium palace, his policies favor without any discretion the human beings. So that among other peoples, and even the green skins, resistance is growing.

The Empire of Lynn

Lynn, capital of the Empire:

Lynn is the all-powerful capital of the empire. Immense and fabulously rich city, Lynn welcomes everything, and everything is in profusion there: silk, gems, works of art, jewelry, weapons and armor... From the ramparts, it is possible to contemplate the most gigantic naval port of the Empire. A lighthouse guiding ships is at the top of the imperial palace. This colossal edifice is both the place of imperial residence, barracks for the guards and also contains the important ministries. The walls are able to resist the attack of giants and the most powerful siege engines. It is said that the heaviest stones were cut by dwarves in order to have a perfect finish. Yet, their sheer size means that they can only have been placed by several giants. A little farther, in the shade of this disproportionate structure is the district of the temples within which almost all the religions of the empire are represented. One cannot describe Lynn without mentioning the imperial college, training many thaumaturges; and its library which constitutes the largest gathering of knowledge. There, mages study constantly, waiting to accompany the imperial armies. We find finally numerous military academies, training the best legionaries as well as the best strategists who will become imperial centurions.


The Plain of the Oracle:


In the center of the Empire is a vast plain set with a disproportionate rock in which the Oracle is chained. The doors of the immense cairn only open to let pass those whom the Oracle has chosen to see. It is known to be infallible, also the latter are legions. Some wait months to hear its call. The path to the oracle is lined with stalls of false seers, soothsayers and magicians and real charlatans in addition to those who wait the call and those who watch politicians go. Only one can know its destiny but the reflection of the Oracle agrees to answer a question put aloud. To come to him is nevertheless frustrating because his cryptic answers bring often more questions than of answers. The Oracle's sanctum is a sacred place where fighting is not allowed.

Altenberg, all-powerful fortress of the Order of the Light

Never conquered, never subjugated, Altenberg is the lighthouse of the purity, the seat of the Order of Light. It is the stronghold of the Grand Master Frater Sinister... There, the brothers train tirelessly to ensure that their actions are as safe as their souls immaculate. Their faith is always forged in fires of the sun and the Lord. A good part of their spare time is dedicated to the saving prayers and to the purificatory ablutions. This city is in fact made up of gigantic fortresses inside larger fortifications still. Saint-of-the-Saint, the ultimate keep, is located in the middle of the citadel. It includes the room of the high commander and a gigantic cathedral from which rise litanies and the sounds of bells seven times blessed. From these emanate the most powerful clerical spells that guide the arms of the faithful throughout the empire. This warrior order depends on the authority of the emperor, and been able to raise many castles within the empire making this order more popular than the Order of Justice. In fact, this order is managed militarily by the Grand Master Frater Sinister and morally by its Archpriest.

The symbol of the Knights of the Light is a scarlet cross placed on the pristine white of the Light. It represent the blood shed by these warlike monks for the continual defense of the imperial colonists against the brutality of nonhumans. The spearhead of the army is composed of the nobility and the youngest son of each major family.

Sysigie, Kingdom of Justice

On the borders of the empire is the principality of Sysigie. The latter is named after the astronomical phenomenon that is its origin. Indeed, the “basin” which constitutes this territory comes from the fall from an enormous meteorite caused by a syzygy (or syzygia) or alignment from celestial bodies. Led by Prince Parsifal, Commander of the Order of the Knights of Justice, this land bathed by a sea of ​​clouds is a place of peace and of harmony. In the shelter of strong walls of granite, has developed a secular order of pure-hearted knights. These obedient servants of the Lord are composed mainly of monks, warriors, and ordained priests. This vast kingdom is bordered by high, impassible mountains. Its only access is a gorge a few hundred meters wide. There, a huge fortress wall was raised by his government in order to protect access. The gates of brass, also called gates of Dawn, are controlled by a powerful machine.


Defended by the twice-blessed swords of master paladins, Sysigie also hosts a population of strange dracomorphs (draconic shapeshifter, like a were-dragon) dedicating themselves to the cause of Rao.

Barony of Moork, home of the Black Moon


Situated in the northeastern portion of the Empire, the Barony of Moork sits between the powerful provinces of Northhind to the west and Horkher to the east. Benefiting from lands less rich than its neighbors, the Barony of Moork became allied to the Black Moon to protect itself from barbaric kingdoms situated even more in the North of the north marches of the Empire. According to legend, the Black Moon lives in a gigantic palace situated in the borders of the marches of the empire at the end of the Barony of Moork. What few people know, is that the Grand Arch, which separates the two fiefs, is actually a portal between Oerth and the Black Moon, as only a reflection of the palace on Oerth. In fact, the structure exists on the surface of the moon Celene itself, a symbol of the power of the archmage Haazheel Thorn. From there comes the nickname of the Black Moon. The titanic palace, protected from all, accommodates a million faithful. The nerve center of his power is a huge ball room whose wall is divided in small cavities resembling a honeycomb. These cells host, for a while, the soul of a believer in prayer. The energy of his faith is concentrated in that room. Stored, it is then distributed among the various priests.


Drach, the Kingdom of Dragons

The Pass of Dragons is one of the rare entrances to legendary kingdom of the wyrms, within an immensely rocky and jagged part of the country. There are sleeping dragons whose number is unknown. The oldest dragons reign mercilessly over their offspring by means of some human knights with whom they enter into an alliance. These "Dragonmasters" watch carefully and forbid all access to the Kingdom of Drach.

Dragonmasters are descendants of humans who had a pact with the dragons. Combined with the wyrms in the Kingdom of Drach, they protect the Pass of Dragons and forbid access. They also raise the offspring of dragons. A veritable symbiosis develops between the dragon and its rider. Indeed, by weaving an empathic link the creature sees its intelligence increasing and the human being sees his life expectancy prolonged.

Kendrhir Vale


Kendrhir, the city of Grand Magi, has the distinction of being governed by the directors of the different schools of magic that comprise it. This city was built by the sorcerer's apprentices who wanted to find calm and rest for a place conducive to study. Unofficially, it is rather composed of students who were rejected at Imperial College.

Feyhin Forest


Feyhin Lockthat, the city of gladiators and the game is home to many adventurers and merchants. By exempting travelers from taxes, it attracts a more heterogeneous population.

Sunken Glade of Magistrya

Magistrya is a city winding as a stony snake around a rock peak forming an amazing maze of lace. The most beautiful houses spread out to higher ground. Magistrya is also home to the palace of the Magister, a powerful mage that many say is immortal. He rules the city with an iron fist and keeps order. The guards are numerous, well-trained and brutal.

The Territories of the Marches


The Territories of the Marches are a succession of small bordering provinces in the empire. Ruled by lords who are trying to ensure their own protection, these realms have only relatively dry land. It is, however, these limited resources that provide better protection. Nevertheless, Taarak, Klindor,  and Hazol are often subjected to barbarian raids. These cities are the three largest cities of the Territories of the Marches.

Ghrunkedash, the Crater City:

The dwarf city of Ghrunkedash is famous in the empire for the quality of its metals. The city gates are steel and appear to be impregnable. The interior resembles that of an anthill. At the heart of the maze of fire and steel are the masters of the forges. All that is built and much more is to be sold still there. Everything has a price. The masters of the forges work for all nations. The city is built on an active volcano. The sinking lava transforms the landscape into a blood-red hell.

Tharque Empire:


The Empire such as it is known at the moment consists of only the ancient third province of the Tharque Empire. The Obart Magocracy left a ravaged land, but little by little, the humans rose up and began to reconstruct what had been destroyed. In spite of these losses, the Tharque Empire remains powerful. The Empire derives its name from the ancient capital city Tharquatis.

The Tharque Empire seeks to reclaim its lost territory, namely the present-day Empire of Lynn. To this end, the Tharque Empire is willing to join forces with anyone seeking to unseat Haghendorf. Meldrim is the current emperor of Tharque, and his younger brother Sierholt controls Tharque's navy, possibly the largest navy in the world.

Khemit, the Kingdom of Pharaoh

The kingdom of Khemit is crossed by the Iteru, the big feeder river. At its center is an island where the sacred city of the magi of Khemit is located. This city does not have a name so that no one can find it.

More to the north is Inebou-Hedjou, the capital of the two kingdoms of high and low Khemit. The place ruled by the almighty Pharaoh. Surrounded by gigantic walls, no other city of Khemit is as beautiful, as large nor as richly decorated. Protected by magic canals, the main channel, also called royal canal, leads directly to the palace reserved for the Pharaoh, the Magi and the great nobles. This huge canal is lined with high walls decorated with countless statues and covered by a number of vigilant archers. Immense, magnificent and teeming with people, Memphis finds an equivalent in the superlative degrees only with the capital of Lynn. The city of the Pharaoh was, however, far more prosperous for many years. And the rich are much richer and the poor have given up their freedom. There are many palanquins advancing slowly on the large esplanade of the palace of the Great Vizier. Memphis has many architectural wonders, most notable are the gigantic pyramids, royal tombs of the preceding Pharaonic dynasties, and the great royal square, so large that it could contain a whole city. The wonders of Inebou-Hedjou stretch out of sight and seem to have no end.

The Kingdom of Khemit was born of the alliance of the Nubian people to share, for a time, with the Tharque Empire with the largest area of ​​the world. Nevertheless, contrary to Atalyans and Tharques, Khemit knew how to moderate its ascent as well as its fall. Governed by the living God, Pharaoh, the land includes the greatest fighters (the Sphinx Guards) as well as the most powerful mages.

The Tribes of Enllaves:

A land of proud desert nomads who eke out a living on a high plateau that escapes the worst heat of the sand sea.  A few tribes-men live in mud-brick towns built around central squares that contain steep-sided pyramids.  It is unknown whether the pyramids serve as monuments, tombs, temples, or something else altogether

lshtarland:

A land watered by southern storms and at least two great rivers.  The city of Ishtar vies with the merchants of Lynn and the warlords of Tharque for control of coastal trade.

Red Kingdom:

This land is so named for the color of its rocks.  Its inhabitants remain unknown to the rest of the Oerth.

Barbarian Seameast:

A windswept land covered with primeval forests where fiery but convivial tribesmen dwell.

« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 12:08:00 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Greyhawk - Aquaria
« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2012, 07:00:34 PM »

Long before the arrival of humanity to the shores of what would become known as Empyrea, demihumans struggled there against the hordes of the Princes of Elemental Evil, until the elemental armies were banished through a planar nexus in a volcano now called Northending Mountain.

In -195 CY (or 450 OR, the calendar used at the time), some groups of mixed Oeridians and Flannae descent dwelling near the Gull Cliffs developed more advanced nautical skills than was typical for the natives of the Kingdom of Aerdy of that time and so became known as the Aquaerdians. They launched two expeditions across the Solnor Ocean; both returned with news of a habitable land far to the east, ripe for colonization though, they judged, unsuitable for trade.

In -122 CY (522 OR), disenchanted as they were with the current expansionistic politics in Aerdy, the majority of the Aquaerdians departed the Flanaess for this new land; those that remained behind were among the ancestors of the Sea Barons. They disembarked at Arrowhead Bay, where survivors of the earlier expeditions warned them of warlike demihumans and a clan of green dragons on the nearby peninsula. Taking heed of their warnings, the new colonists settled in a valley to the southeast. They named their first town, Garythane, after their last ruler, a good man whose ship had been lost in the three-month crossing. Settlement spread eastward along the Greencourse River, and the next major town, Fair Passage, was built in a mountain pass to the east of Garythane, with trade between the two settlements commencing shortly thereafter.

It wasn't until 1 CY (645 OR) that the local demihumans deigned to contact the human settlers. First were the elves of the Dark Woods south of Garythane, then dwarves and gnomes began to trade with Fair Passage. Relationships with all three groups were greatly smoothed through the diplomatic talents of one John Asperman. The relationship between the elves and dwarves, however, was hostile and skirmishes and outright war between the two were known to occur. As they deteriorated again, the gnomes retreated to their own lands and took advantage of their neutral position to grow as powerful merchants trading with humans, elves, and dwarves alike.

Inspired in part by the gnomes, the militocratic governments of Garythane and Fair Passage soon became a confederacy of syndics. Yet as the humans grew in strength and civilization, they yearned for a king as their ancestors had in Aerdy. In 14 CY (658 OR), John Asperman was coronated as King John the First, and the following year (15 CY/659 OR) was declared Year One of the new John's Rule (JR) calendar. The next few centuries became known as the Age of Kings.

John I proved to be a capable leader, and thanks to his leadership the hostilities between the elves and dwarves eventually gave way to armistice. As humanity spread, new races were discovered: orcs, goblins, and halflings. The first two were hostile, though they were driven south after a series of battles. The halflings, native to the woodlands, proved friendly and trade with them introduced new foods to human cuisine.

John I fathered four sons and died at the age of 112 in 78 JR (92 CY). His eldest son, John II, moved the kingdom's capital to the new town of Bankspret on the banks of the Ruling River on the plains to the east. In 100 JR (114 CY) he renamed Bankspret as Empyrea, which would give its name to the entire kingdom.

John II, known as the Builder, began many ambitious construction projects, including roads, bridges, and castles. He was also obsessed with what were known as the "black arts of Technology," but as he was well-loved and a skilled diplomat this was politely tolerated by his people. John II would die in 148 JR (162 CY) with his projects still incomplete. His 17-year-old son John III succeeded him.

John III, who would become known as the Wise, spent a decade among the elves, gnomes, and dwarves (he chose to avoid the hedonistic halflings), reluctantly completed his father's projects. He was also known for the signing of the Pact of Neutrality in JR 177 (191 CY), which cemented peace and alliance between the humans, elves, gnomes, dwarves, halflings, and elves.

In 179 JR (193 CY), the orcs and goblins returned from the south, bringing with them for the first time the plagues of lycanthropy and undeath. After many costly battles, the united humans and demihumans managed to check their expansion, but pockets of evil remained within Empyrea, lurking in ruins and in the wilderness. The human towns were forced to build defensive walls for the first time. Using his father's plans, John III completed the Castles of Rulership, which combined magic and technology in their defenses. These included the castles of Northending, Hydell, Seascarp and Felonius, though there were seven in all.

John III grew ill in 199 JR (213 CY), largely retiring from the affairs of rulership. Because the Age of Great Sorrow began at this exact time in the Flanaess, some sages have suggested a connection between the two events, though what this might be is unknown. He told his eldest son secrets on his deathbed in 203 JR (217 CY) that left his heir's hair entirely white and drove an eavesdropper insane. His son was coronated as John IV the following day.

John IV tied his royal line more closely to the elves by marrying a half-elf. He traveled the newly constructed Greatroads and bridges of his kingdom, urging his people to prepare for a time of desolation to come, but these warnings were poorly heeded.

In 231 JR (245 CY) the forces of evil rose again led by a mysterious figure known as Krellokk the Tangg-lord. The human-demihuman alliance barely held the armies of the Tangg-lord back, but all but the human cities fell. The gnomish and dwarven citadels of Rock Haven and Loamburrow were conquered by goblins and orcs; Loamburrow was renamed Uriah Kazar and Rock Haven was called Neang Kazar by its conquerers. The Tangg-lord pushed patiently northward for five years, and in Brewfest of 236 JR (250 CY) he began a siege of the Empyrean capital. Though both sides displayed great magical power, the walls of Empyrea (created according to the eccentric plans of John II) held fast for three years.

In the summer of 240 JR (254 CY) a mighty storm blew from the south. At midnight there was a massive roar and a flash of light, and the city of Empyrea vanished from the face of the Oerth, leaving a great swamp in its place. With the capital gone, the hordes of Krellokk overran the region; only the city of Northending held fast, obeying as it did the very strict instructions of Prince Harl the Strong, brother of John IV.

The forces of evil weakened over the next century as the factions under Krellokk's nominal control began to turn on themselves. The humans and demihumans slowly gained back some of their numbers and managed to win back a balance between Good and Evil after a few decisive battles. The Greatroads and fortresses built by John II and John III suffered over the decades, degenerating into overgrown paths and empty shells, but ruined towns were rebuilt and new towns built as well. The towns never reunited under a king, and for a time there was no organization among those of good bent outside of Northending.

In 524 JR (510 CY) the forces of evil began to rebuild as a flight of vengeful dragons turned into an extortion scheme. Three green dragons, who had come to a town to avenge the capture of a young blue dragon, allied themselves with lawful evil humans and nonhumans, threatening nearby towns with destruction unless tribute was paid. Soon the evil powers, making Garythane their new capital, had captured the nearby town of Fairway (presumedly the town formerly known as Fair Passage) and all lands west of the Ruling River. In response, the Council of Northending allied itself with various neutral organizations and the towns of Endril, Newford, Hillbrook and Nimbortan, forming the realm called New Empyrea.

The "present day" in which the R-series and Egg of the Phoenix supermodule are set is 565 JR (551 CY). At this time, the forces of Evil under the command of the Tangg-lord are poised to strike again, having rediscovered some of their old magics. This time they plan on using subtlety rather than overt battles to seize control of the region. Firstly, he intends to corrupt the minds and allegiances of humanity. Secondly he intends to gain control of the artifact known as the Egg of the Phoenix.



The Rest of Fireland:

The barbarians of the Thillonrian Peninsula have long told sagas of an island east of them, which they called Fire-land for the many volcanoes there. These legends frequently claim that colonies of Cruski and Schnai (Ice and Snow Barbarians) were established here
along long fjords, battling various giants, dragons, native barbarians, and other fell beasts for their survival. These tales also mention ruined cities, long broken walls, huge metal monuments, marvelous geysers, horrid things frozen in glacial ice, and intelligent races unknown to those in the Flanaess. It may be that Fireland is subject to volcanic cataclysms that destroyed all previous civilizations there.

The existence of Fire-land  (also written as Fireland) has been confirmed in the last century, though public mention of it is limited, it is of little interest to most traders due to its remote location and unfriendly reputation. The Thillonrian barbarians, however, accept its existence as casually as we do the existence of Admundfort Island across the Nyr Dyv, and they occasionally send out longships to trade goods and news with their fellows across the Solnor Ocean.

In 565 CY, the explorer Korund of Ratik sailed with a number of barbarian friends to Fire-land, returning with a crude map made with respectable instruments and a bit of magic. From this, the Savant-Sage and others have concluded that Fire-land is a collection of islands. No single island is great enough to be a continent, though the largest might be the largest island on Oerth. The whole surface area of Fire-land would likely cover less than one million square miles. Sages would so like to have a more accurate and recent assessment!
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 01:34:57 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Greyhawk - Chainmail
« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2012, 07:01:16 PM »

The Sundered Empire:

The lands of the sundered empire are in western Oerik on the world of Oerth. This area has never been explored by the denizens of Greyhawk. So it has remained a mystery for countless generations.

People & Places:

The elves of Ravilla once dominated western Oerik, but as vigilance waned the empire crumbled. While the region was no stranger to warfare recent events have all but ensured that the fires of war will burn for decades to come.

AHMUT’S LEGION: Three hundred years ago, the nomad warlord Ahmut terrorized Ravilla before an assassin’s knife put him in an unmarked grave. This dread warrior was reanimated by the spear of the God of War, and he now leads an undead army in a mad quest for vengeance. He has the aid of a forbidden death cult, whose powerful necromantic magic helps keep his army in the field.

DRAZEN’S HORDE: The savage humanoids of the Southlands were never a real threat until the hobgoblin commander Drazen forged the orcs, goblins, ogres, and hobgoblins into a cohesive army. They crossed the Blasted Desert in an epic march and attacked with complete surprise. With Stratis’s axe in his hand, Drazen is all but unstoppable.

THE PEOPLE’S STATE OF MORDENGARD: Just over one hundred years ago, the dwarves of Mordengard toppled their Tyrant King and established a worker’s state. Now the People’s Legion has taken to the field to fight for the freedom of the dwarves. With skill, bravery, and ingenious elemental weapons, the dwarves safeguard their revolution.

NARESH: Jangir, a gnoll priest with demonic blood in his veins, has united the gnolls under the banner of his abyssal patron Yeenoghu. Now gnoll and demon march in step, as Jangir spreads chaos and terror for the glory of his god. If Jangir succeeds in reopening the Abyssal Gateways in the heart of Ravilla, his demon horde would sweep away all opposition.

THE EMPIRE OF RAVILLA: This elven state used to rule the whole region, but now it is an empire in name only. Ravilla lost most of its land in a long series of disastrous wars. Now the city-dwelling gray elves and their wood elf allies have been driven back to their original borders. They are engaged in a life-or-death struggle with not only the forces of evil but also the crusading humans of Thalos.

THALOS: Thalos was founded by human tribes fleeing from the advancing armies of Ravilla. The current queen, Almira XXI, declared a holy crusade that fired up the Thalish people. She aims to conquer the ancient lands of the human tribes, lost so long ago. Her armies, led by paladins and assisted by gnome engineers, have enjoyed great success in their initial campaigns.

History:

Godwar

It began with good intentions.

Imagine a world without war. A perfect realm where all beings are free to grow and develop without having to fight against their neighbors.

Imagine you see a way to make this dream a reality.Would you risk your life to end war? Your soul?

In the west of the world, the elven hero Marinn took the risk. The God of War, a four-armed warrior named Stratis, walked among mortal races for the pleasure of their combat. Wherever he went, he drove mortals to rise against one another in bloody battle. Marinn recruited heroes of all the mortal races, gathered artifacts that could slay a god, and lured Stratis into an ambush.

In daylong combat, Stratis slew all but three of the heroes. The fight had weakened him, though. Marinn’s allies seized the God of War, and Marinn pierced his heart with an ancient elven blade.

Stratis was slain, but divine power gave him time to utter his curse. “You think your people will be free? You think you have escaped me? You mortals will have nothing but war, not a moment of peace until a new God of War rises to replace me.” Stratis staggered to his feet and erupted toward heaven, spraying his blood and weaponry over the world as his soul blasted upward. His weapons scattered away from his ascent as meteorites, burning through the smoke of the warzone.

Even as he died, the God of War knew how to place his weapons. Stratis’s axe dropped among the savage tribes of the southern lands and was seized by a hobgoblin chieftain named Drazen. Stratis’s spear plunged to the forgotten grave of an ancient human warlord, Ahmut, who rose screaming for vengeance and the death of all living things. Stratis’s flail came by the hands of a child to the half-fiend gnoll Jangir.

But the real danger lies not in the weapons that fell into evil hands—it’s the power promised by Stratis’s undiscovered artifacts. It is commonly believed that anyone who can assemble enough of Stratis’s divine panoply and blend it with his or her own supernatural power will become the next God of War.

The dead god’s promise of war unfettered has come true. It is now the fifth year of the Godwar. The only thing preventing universal apocalypse is the supernatural chaos left in the wake of Stratis’s fall. This turmoil hinders armies of thousands from mustering, much less marching against enemies. Common soldiers no longer remember orders without their commanders’ constant presence; they lose themselves to the frenzy of war instead of its efficient execution. Decisive warfare is now possible only with bands of elite combatants who can maintain their focus and cohesion. These same small bands spearhead the search for Stratis’s scattered panoply.

Stratis’s curse has left some room for hope. Unfortunately, it is the hope that one’s own people will sponsor the next God of War. Every kingdom and tribe fears the consequences should its enemies win. And no one can afford to trust the good intentions of those who, under other circumstances, might be friends. Because we know where good intentions have taken us . . .

It ends in war.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 01:37:19 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Greyhawk - Chainmail - Ravilla
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2012, 12:42:33 AM »
RAVILLA

Ravilla knows what is best for the world. The equation is simple, despite what other races and nations like to believe. What is best is that the Abyssal Gateways remain closed. Each gateway is locked and buried deep in the heart of a gray elf city. The cities have grown into great (and sometimes) urbane metropolises, but at heart, each exists only as containment for a portal to the unspeakable horrors of the Abyss.

One thousand years ago, Corellon Larethian charged the elves of what is now Ravilla to defend the Abyssal Gateways, to keep them from opening and their evil from consuming the world. The elves followed their deity’s orders by ensuring that no enemies, or potential enemies, could grow strong enough to challenge Ravilla and smash a path to open a portal. For hundreds of years, the hegemony of the elves’ Dragon Empire was a necessary burden, a duty imposed by Corellon’s sacred trust. That was the theory, in any case. In practice, the distinction grew fuzzy between guarding the Abyssal Gateways and playing the game of empires for its own sake. The “Empire” was governed by a Grand Council of Oligarchs who maintained the Empty Throne for Corellon Larethian, against the day when he would return to commend them for their sacred dedication. Many Oligarchs exercised power for its own sake rather than as a necessary evil. There is scarcely a people, tribe, or nation that has not been invaded, betrayed, or dominated at some point by the Dragon Empire or its current Ravillan heirs.

Consequently, the new potentials of the Godwar come as a major threat to the people of Ravilla. The Dragon Empire is long broken, limping along as a collection of gray elf citystates, wood elf strongholds, and draconic allies. The Oligarchs still rule, and the Abyssal Gateways remain closed, but even the good-aligned nations of Thalos and Mordengard have reason to despise the elves. And to Ahmut, the once-slain lord of undeath, and the demonic gnolls of Jangir’s crusade, the elves are a most hated enemy who must be slain at any cost.

With so many enemies, it is a wonder that Ravilla endures. At this moment in the Godwar, the reasons for its survival are two. First, the chaotic conditions make full-scale invasions and sieges difficult: The elven cities endure constant harassment and raids, but no death blows. Second, there is more power in Ravilla than the Oligarchs themselves realize. A young elf named Tarquin, son of an ancient and illustrious family, possesses Stratis’s sword. Tarquin’s plans are not known, and he has not yet revealed his full power. But in the streets, in the academies, among the Oathbands of the forest, there are whispers that what the ancient Dragon Empire needs is a true emperor at last.

Despite the fact that they have won several engagements in the war, the elves have only recently gotten off the back leg. After the youth with the sword of Stratis was crowned Emperor after the death of the previous one 4 years ago, he shifted the focus of the war, splitting Ravilla’s army into grey and wood elf forces. Calling upon rarely seen grey elven druids, he created pacts with the seelie courts, bringing the fey into the war. Dryads, satyrs and treants join forces with the wood elves, while sylphs, nymphs and pixies would march on the grey elven front. He also made overtures of peace to humans not aligned with Thalos in the wake of the Free States disaster, and it is met with no small amount of enthusiasm. New Govis became a buffer state for Ravilla, just as it did all those years ago, although now humans are seen as full (although certainly not equal) members of the empire in an attempt to avoid the mistakes of the past.

Before the Demon war, the elves were split into two main groups. The wood elves as their name suggests, lived in the primeval forests of the interior. While the gray elves lived in remote mountain cities. There was little communication between the branches of the elven race, but the Demon war changed everything.

Without warning enormous portals opened up in the depths of the forest. Armies of demons direct from the abyss poured into western Oerik. The wood elves were caught by surprise, thousands died. Wildfires raged out of control, destroying the heart of the forest and the wood elves homesteads with it.

Aid was slow in coming, and the wood elves were on the brink of annihilation. At this hour, the wood elf hero Peramil mounted his giant eagle and flew through the blackened sky to reach the mountain homes of the gray elves. He fought off winged demons and vicious harpies along the way, but no evil could slow him. Peramil reached the gray elf city of Ventia and told his kin of the holocaust consuming the wood elf homeland. The gray elves acted quickly. Within the hour, powerful wizards were flying above the battlefields, reconnoitering the enemy positions. Elite strike teams were dispatched to distract the demons while the gray elves mustered their army for war. Soon a hundred thousand elves were marching from the mountains to engage the demonic armies. Bahamut the platinum dragon led his metallic dragons into the fray, and together the allies saved the wood elves from destruction. To show their gratitude, the wood elves swore a great oath, binding them to their kin for the duration of the conflict. Throughout the long war that followed, wood elf units served with the gray elf army. They became known as Oathbands, and the demons learned to fear their guerrilla tactics and deadly accuracy with the long bow.

An Elven Nation After the Demon War, Corellon Larethian tasked the gray elves with guarding the Abyssal Gateways. The elves sealed up their mountain cities and hid them from the world with magic spells and wards. They built new cities around the portals. Should they ever prove lax in their duties, the gray elves will pay a heavy price. What was left of the wood elves returned to their forest homes after the war. Due to the destructiveness of the conflict, only a small part of the forest remained. They made a formal agreement with the gray elves to ensure their own protection. The wood elf lands would become part of the new elven nation, but gray elf control would end at the borders of the forest. The wood elves also agreed to provide Oathbands for service with the gray elf army in times of war. The City States At first the gray elf cities were fairly autonomous. The city-states that emerged had many forms of government, with a Grand Council that addressed issues of import to all the elven lands. This state of affairs lasted for nearly five hundred years, during which time human tribes and dwarven clans spread into Western Oerik. In the year 499, the Abyssal Gateway in the city of Xanos opened, and demons flooded out once again. The attack was contained quickly and bloodily, but the complacency of the previous centuries had been shattered. Everyone wanted answers and the Grand Council had none to give. To address the concerns of the common citizen, the Grand Council tasked a small group of wizards with the investigation of the Xanos Incident. In 505 the wizards reported their findings. It was their opinion that the gate’s activation was due to the abnormally large number of sorcerers in Xanos. In a stunning declaration, the wizards claimed that the secret and previously unknown root of sorcerous power was the Abyss. The scientific method of wizardry was thus the only safe way to practice arcane magic. Sorcerers across the city-states protested vehemently. They argued that it was the blood of dragons that gave them their power, not the influence of demons. The Grand Council was looking for a scapegoat, however, and the wizards had given them one. To protect the elven people, the Grand Council turned from an advisory body to a ruling one. The city-states were now to become parts of a greater whole. The gray elf citizens, frightened by the taste of war they had received, wholeheartedly approved of the Grand Council’s action. From City-States to Empire The Grand Council’s next move was to enact an official ban on sorcery. Its practice was specifically linked to demonology and its practitioners were declared a danger to elven security. Over the ensuing five years, sorcerers in the city-states were hunted by specialized teams of mage hunters. They were forced to renounce their sorcerous ways or go into exile. Many left and never returned.

The most successful mage hunter was an elf named Trigorian. He unearthed a cabal of sorcerous cultists, and their public trial made Trigorian a hero. When the sorcerers of Ravilla had been dealt with, the ambitious Trigorian turned to politics, and in 513 he was elected to the Grand Council. He immediately agitated for a wider effort against sorcery. He argued persuasively that city-states could not be kept safe if sorcerers were allowed to run wild beyond their borders. The council tripled the size of the army, while Trigorian urged the citizens to war. Hostilities commenced in 515. Gray elf armies swept south and east for the next twenty years, aided by Oathbands of their wood elf kin. They overran a myriad of petty kingdoms and drove humans and dwarves before them. By the time the campaign had run its course, the elves controlled all of Western Oerik north of the Blasted Desert with two exceptions: the dwarven kingdom and the new human nation of Thalos. The dwarves were not a sorcerous people, so costly assaults on their mountain strongholds were considered unnecessary. The island nation of Thalos was assaulted in 550, but the inspirational leadership of their Queen Almira helped the humans defeat the veteran elven legions. Although Trigorian agitated for a renewed attack, none would back him. The elven people were tired of war. Thus the elven city-states became an empire. The official year of this event is 525, when the city-states unified permanently as the Empire of Ravilla. The members of the Grand Council became known as the Oligarchs and their power was vast. They presided over the zenith of Ravillan achievement, the Elven Peace of 552-698. Everything Falls Apart The Empire of Ravilla could not last.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 01:38:33 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Greyhawk - Chainmail - Naresh
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2012, 12:44:07 AM »
NARESH

The Demon War opened gateways from the Abyss into western Oerik, through which swarmed hordes of fiendish troops alongside minotaurs and gnolls. When the gray elves defeated the Abyssal forces, sealing the portals, the surviving gnolls scattered into the mountains. There they nursed their wounds, and their grudges.

Yeenoghu, demonic patron of the gnolls, still nurtures red dreams of power. Fiends yet mingle with his children, whose numbers have grown again in their remote mountains. And forty years ago, a mighty demon fathered Jangir with a gnoll woman. The half-fiend rose to become high priest of Yeenoghu—and now he wields the flail of Stratis. Jangir, self-styled Priest-King of Naresh, sees two paths to victory. The first is to win the game the rest of the factions are playing: Collect more of Stratis’s divine panoply and attain the power of the god. The second is uniquely available to Jangir: Achieve Yeenoghu’s favor by opening the Abyssal Gateways within the elven lands once more and letting chaos loose upon the world in a full-scale demonic invasion.

Since Stratis’s flail came to him as a gift, brought by a gnoll child who had seen it fall from the sky, Jangir thinks of himself as chosen by the gods. He was already an exceptional warrior and commander who led his followers against the elves of the former Dragon Empire. Victory comes naturally to him. Now all the gnolls and most of the demons follow his banner and that of his deadly patron. Some other warlords possess Stratis’s weapons, which makes them troublesome, but Jangir expects to acquire more of the dead god’s panoply—if not as gifts from commanders, then as personal spoils of war.

Invading Ravilla directly has been a thornier problem. Jangir’s demonic allies are ferocious but undisciplined. Instead of massing to attack Ravilla’s weak spots, they tend to prefer the short-term satisfaction of hunting individual elves and slaying them messily. So for now, Jangir follows the first strategy, attempting to increase his personal power until he can guide masses of demons as effortlessly as he motivates tribes of gnolls.

Rebirth

The days after the Demon War were dark ones for the gnolls. Yeenoghu and Baphomet became enemies, each blaming the other for their defeat. As if fleeing from vengeful elves was not enough, the gnolls also found themselves in constant skirmishes with their minotaur allies. Crossing the mountains with few supplies and no native guides only added to their misery. As a result, many of the gnolls perished before they ever reached safety beyond the mountains. The gnolls arrived in a lawless region well away from civilization. Yet even with reduced numbers, the veteran gnoll warriors were able to claim a section of the forest as a new base. Once established, they sent out rangers to survey the area. They discovered that several humanoid warlords were operating in the wild and that a strong nation rumored to be ruled by dragons dominated the south. The gnoll tribes, having little to offer anyone but their battle experience, began to hire themselves out as mercenaries to the various warlords. They quickly established a reputation for bloodthirstiness and ruthless efficiency. Once a warlord became completely dependent on gnoll troops, he would be overthrown and his lands added to that of the tribes. Every year, gnoll numbers and territory grew, and they dubbed their new land Naresh, meaning “far home” in their native tongue. The gnolls showed little interest in Western Oerik, and it is unlikely they would have turned their attention that way if not for the minotaurs. The servants of Baphomet had settled deep under the mountains, away from both elves and gnolls. When the demon lord deemed the time right, he unleashed his minotaur bands against Naresh. Baphomet, it seemed, continued to nurse a grudge against Yeenoghu, and he wanted his rival’s worshippers to suffer. A vicious war ensued. Surprised at this onslaught from an unexpected quarter, the gnolls initially gave ground. Under the skillful leadership of their rangers, however, the gnolls “ceded” more territory to the minotaurs and lured them deep into the forest. This was the invaders’ undoing. Being masters of irregular warfare, the gnolls began whittling away at the minotaur forces with traps and ambushes. Eventually, the sheer number of gnolls began to take its toll on their attackers, and they pushed the minotaurs back into the mountains.

The Return

With their enemies retreat, the gnoll tribal chiefs were in favor of declaring victory and ending the war. The priests of Yeenoghu, however, insisted on a counter invasion of minotaur territory. They claimed that their demon prince demanded vengeance, and faced with the word of Yeenoghu, the chiefs had little choice but to acquiesce. The war raged on. This time, the minotaurs had the advantage of fighting on their home turf. The gnolls fought through endless underground labyrinths, and while they were ultimately victorious, the price they paid was terrible. Another period of rebuilding followed, and the gnoll tribes once again regained their strength. With the former minotaur territory now under their control, the gnolls found themselves, almost by accident, near Ravilla. As time passed, gnoll rangers reported that the eastern defenses of Ravilla were eroding. The elves had never faced invasion from the mountains, and convinced that an attack from this direction would never come, they had grown lax. In light of these reports, the priests of Yeenoghu once again demanded action—here was an opportunity to take vengeance on an ancient foe. Spurred on by the priests and aided by demons, a coalition of gnoll tribes attacked Ravilla’s eastern defenses. With ease, they rushed through the elven lines and then pushed on out of the mountains. Here, they met their match. In a series of bloody battles, the elves and their centaur allies stopped the gnolls and established a new border for Ravilla. Nevertheless, the elves were in shock—the gnolls, gone for so long, had returned with a vengeance.

Jangir’s Rise

Knowing that if the gnolls ever succeeded in breaking open the Abyssal Gateways at the heart of the gray elf cities all would be lost, the elves expected the worst. After their stinging defeat in the forest however, the gnoll tribes began squabbling. Some wanted to attack again, others wanted merely to enjoy the spoils they had already won. Lacking a strong leader, the gnolls ultimately mounted no major campaigns for over a hundred years. Some forty years ago, a powerful demon fathered a son with a gnoll woman. This boy was called Jangir, and from a young age he proved a mighty warrior. He joined the priesthood of Yeenoghu and quickly rose through its ranks. With strength, charisma, and the power of demonic blood, Jangir dominated the priests of Yeenoghu and became high priest by the age of thirty. When Stratis was slain, Jangir had already decided to take the tibes to war. Several weeks after the death of Stratis, a gnoll child came to the temple with a gift for Jangir. It was the flail of the slain god, which had fallen from the sky after the final battle. Here was an undeniable portent. With the flail in hand and Yeenoghu’s blessing, Jangir was unstoppable. He united the gnoll tribes under his own leadership and declared himself Priest-King of Naresh. Now Jangir and the gnolls march to war with summoned demons at their side. If the Priest-King has his way, the Abyssal Gateways will be torn asunder, and Yeenoghu’s legions will once again terrorize Western Oerik. The elves ask and grant no quarter. They know they are one step away from annihilation.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 01:39:48 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Greyhawk - Chainmail - Other Sundered Empire Regions
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2012, 12:53:07 AM »
AHMUT’S LEGION

Three hundred years ago . . . The Third Oligarch of the Empire of Ravilla contemplated his scrying pool. “The nomad appears to have won again.Our warriors think themselves above mere humans. ‘Horseeaters,’ they call them. But this Ahmut may yet reach the cities.”

“That cannot be allowed to occur,” said the Second Oligarch from her couch. “Should one city fall, the Gateways might open. The Abyss? Let us avoid that path.”

“Agreed,” said the Third Oligarch. “I think another bid at assassination is in order.”

“The last failed.Why should this be different?”

“This time I will send Prisca.”

“Oh,” said the Second Oligarch. She considered. “It will be painful, then.”

“She will make it permanent. And unpleasant.”

“Then I declare quorum. Make it so.”


The elven assassin succeeded. Ahmut fell, slain by a magic blade. No magic could recapture his spirit. Despairing of raising their commander, and not wishing to leave his body for the elven armies that closed in upon them, Ahmut’s remaining lieutenants buried him in an unmarked grave.

Now Ahmut learned what it meant to be an enemy of Ravilla. His spirit was trapped within his corpse in a fragment of the assassin’s blade, fully conscious but incapable of occupying his decaying flesh or of moving on to other planes. He was sane for the first twenty years.

Nearly three centuries later, Stratis’s spear plunged from the sky to pierce the earth and what was left of Ahmut’s ribcage. Three centuries of hate fueled the magic that brought Ahmut surging from the earth. In Ravilla half the children woke at that moment, screaming.

Through his unnatural condition and the power of the spear, Ahmut maintains extraordinary control of the undead. He has usurped command of the cult of Nerull known as the Red Scythes, demanding their worship as the Death God’s emissary.

Every battle increases the power of Ahmut’s undead legions. If their supreme commander paid his full attention to the Godwar, the rest of the Sundered Empire might fall within two years. But Ahmut’s concentration is not perfect. He is content to spend a day grafting new limbs to a prisoner’s body and then ordering those limbs to mutilate and kill their new owner. The priests and assassins of the Red Scythe are left to prosecute the Godwar to the best of their abilities, sometimes even daring to keep artifacts for themselves instead of turning them over to their dread lord.

In truth, Ahmut pursues this war out of a simple desire to slay every living soul that does not worship him. Unlike other Godwar combatants, he is not troubled by the thought that some rival might seize Stratis’s power first. Ahmut feels he already has enough power to slay the world. The longer the others fight among themselves, the closer his victory becomes. Life is short; death drags on and on.

DRAZEN’S HORDE

On a high plateau in the blasted lands of the south, twenty-nine hobgoblin warlords answered mighty Drazen’s call for a parley to discuss confederation. They brought their bodyguards, their shamans, and enough of their warriors to feel secure. The first night they pounded each other’s chests in greeting, drank, and diced. On the second night, an hour before the treaty talk, life changed.

The falling star flamed out of the darkness and blew the Snakehold Tribe’s encampment into sparks and dust.

A good place for a star to fall, thought Drazen, looking at the smoking crater where his chief rival’s tent had been. Too good for luck, they’ll think. He was right. Snakehold survivors, scattered among the milling warriors of the thirty tribes, yelled that Drazen was to blame, that he had called them to this spot to betray them all.

Drazen kept his sword sheathed and stepped forward to answer. Then he saw what was at the bottom of the pit: an axe, a giant bloody axe, humming with so much power that he could taste it from the crater’s edge. “With this axe, I will be unstoppable,” said Drazen, shocking himself by speaking his thought aloud.

The other warlords spotted the axe moments later. Crying in voices ripped by bloodlust and desire, they threw themselves down the crater walls. They flailed at each other with their swords and screamed as they stumbled into still-molten rock. Drazen drew his sword and chose his route. “Mordek,” he hissed to his finest shaman, “ward me. Fire. All you have. Then get away from here.” Mordek cast the spell and scrambled away. Drazen sprinted around the crater along the path he had marked, veering right at the last moment to throw himself into a knot of adepts casting spells indiscriminately at the warlords fighting below.

The first adept saw death in Drazen’s sword and blasted him with fire. The fire rolled off Drazen’s ward. The adept’s head rolled into darkness. The warlord spoke. “The axe is mine. Follow me down and fight for me, and you will serve me as champions. Fight against me and die now.”

One by one the adepts pounded their foreheads in assent. They followed Drazen as he cut through the melee, charging and tumbling over the molten rock that boiled other warlords’ flesh inside their armor. Drazen took hold of the axe. His roar shook the plateau. He spoke no words, but all understood: “You are MINE!”

Drazen’s gifts of strength, tactical insight, and force of personality have been supercharged by the power of Stratis’s axe. Other hobgoblin warlords measure success by how many orcs, ogres, and savage beasts they can kill. Drazen has overpowered these chaotic rivals of the hobgoblin peoples and forged the whole alliance into a mighty kingdom. Out of the grim lands of the south, across the Blazing Desert, they cut into the soft belly of the Sundered Empire like an axe swung by ten thousand thousand hands.

MORDENGARD

“The motion has been moved and seconded. Shall the Republic enter the great conflict, colloquially known as the Godwar, and prevent the other combatants from raising one of their own as the new God of War? Brewers, you have the first vote.”

The representative of the Brewers’ Guild took his feet at the round table. “Aye.What needs to be done.”

“Crafters?” asked the scribe serving as moderator of the meeting of the Workers’ Council. “Aye.”

“Engineers?” “Aye, though we have reservations, as these three days of debate have indicated. I will not repeat them now. But yes, we vote for war.” And so on, through the various guilds: farmers, miners, priests, scholars, soldiers, wizards, and artists. Only the Soldiers’ Guild representative voted against the motion, to everyone’s surprise. “The Soldiers’ Guild votes nay. No, no, hold yourself together there. We of the guild are in favor of this war, and we advanced arguments in support of it. We wish only to make one thing clear: We will win, but in winning, we do not wish to raise one of our own to be a god. The power that was Stratis’s can be gathered and controlled, but then the Workers’ Council as a whole must decide what to do with it. Not the soldiers who happen to achieve the victory. It is not a matter for a . . . battlefield promotion. The Comrade-General agrees with me on this, I believe.” He nodded to a grizzled, one-eyed dwarf in plate at the back of the room, the soldier named Baruk who led the People’s Legion that term. “We will win the war, but we will not let victory cost us our revolution. Long live the Republic!”

And so the People’s Republic of Mordengard went to war. A century ago, the dwarves of Mordengard overthrew a tyrant king. Most of the nobility was slain along with him, thrown down by a revolution from below, a final attack by the aggrieved masses. Instead of setting up a new king, the dwarves have invented something new: a republic of the people, by the people, and for the good of the people. Every citizen of Mordengard belongs to a guild, and the Workers’ Council are elected every five years from the guild rolls. Members of every guild serve in the People’s Legion, though most of the commanders are from the Soldiers’ Guild. Traditional dwarven virtues of duty, perseverance, toughness, pride of craft, and bashing in orcs’ skulls have survived the transformation of the government. In fact, Mordengard is stronger than ever as the new soldiers, commanders, and heroes of the people strive to show that they are every bit as capable as the nobles who used to lead by virtue of their blood. Allies from the Elemental Planes add to the Republic’s confidence, as do elemental weapons crafted by the artificers of the Crafters’ and Engineers’ Guilds. “An elf started this war,” say the people of Mordengard, “but we will end it.”

THALOS

Queen Almira I founded the island nation of Thalos to unify human tribes fleeing from the advance of Ravilla’s armies.When Almira I was an old woman, the elven empire sent a fleet to take back the slaves that had sought to escape its control. In five days of combat, the Thalish defenders took a heavy toll on the superior elven navy, then repulsed the invasion, fighting hand to hand and spell to spell on the beaches. Thalos has never forgotten the Battle of the Bloody Tide, the moment of their ultimate liberation from elven domination. An elf slew Stratis, who was the son of Stern Alia the Shield Mother, the goddess whose countenance peers out from every Thalos shield and ornament. Now Queen Almira XXI has chosen to meet violence with violence. Popular mythology in Thalos has built up a cult of heroism, starting with Almira I. Thalish soldiers think of themselves as bands of heroes fighting the good fight. The presence of aasimars and even celestials amid their ranks reinforces this idea, as does the organization of their warbands. Thalos does not favor homogeneous assemblies of troops, but rather groups of specialists. Joining Almira XXI and her paladins’ crusade are gnome engineers, the automatons they create, and an established school of sorcery whose power rivals the wizardry of Ravilla. Each member in a warband has a role, and by combining their specialized abilities they become stronger. Though most Thalish warriors would not appreciate the comparison, the composition of their warbands recalls the party of mortal heroes who slew Stratis and touched off the Godwar in the first place. Thalos could try to stay out of the Godwar. It might be able to remain isolated, hoping that the eventual victor would have other islands to fry. But Queen Almira XXI is a paladin of action as well as a woman of ideals. Since she and her subjects are all the Shield Mother’s children, Almira XXI knows that one day, the people of Thalos will replace the child that the Shield Mother lost with another she can recognize as her own.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 01:42:48 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002