I wanted to start a thread on my favourite part of Greyhawk. We've had some good discussion stemming from the excellent Dragon 351 article, and some posters extending the discussion to the neighbouring Iron Hills.
So I was hoping people might contribute ideas to this thread. I'll get the discussion started by outlining some of the questions I have, after thinking about writing articles on these areas.
Firstly I suppose we have some brief official material on both.
Irongate from BSet 83: population 44,000 or 57,000 including surrounding areas. Many demi-humans. Gems. Big on sea commerce. Strong naval squadron, large company of armoured crossbowmen in league service. Can raise 2000 heavy militia infantry armed with spetum and glaives.
FTAshes adds: pop. 48,000, talks about wily Cobb Darg. "Dwarven priests, together with a handful of priests of Ulaa, have bound powerful warding spells into Irongate's defences".
Teleportation link to Mitrik.
There is bugger all on the Iron Hills, other than it is a massive highland realm ruled by King Holgi.
Questions to get the discussion going:
1. Where are the borders of the Irongate's surrounding areas?
2. What are Irongate's military forces?
3. Who do Irongate dwur worship, Moradin, Fortubo or Ulaa?
4. How many dwur in the Iron Hills?
5. Aside from North Anchor, are there any other population centres in Irongate territory?
Irongate's territory is "one day's march" east of the city, but stretches further than that along the coast.
Irongate has a strong core of dwarven heavy infantry, a strong core of elite human crossbowmen; human glaivemen and engineers. Addiitionally have a strong navy with well training crossbow armed marines.
Irongate dwur are less religious than the Iron Hills dwur. While they still acknowledge Moradin as the all father, Fortubo has a very strong following amongst them. Many also follow Ulaa. The Iron Hills dwur follow Moradin, Clangeddin and Berronar very closely.
Dwur in the Iron Hills: around 26,000.
I have several fishing villages being part of Irongate territory and a small walled town east of Irongate along the eastern coast road, called Rockport (population ~1000).
Dwur clans: The Dragon 351 articles mentions two, one from Irongate and one from the Iron Hills. Living Greyhawk gazetteer mentioned another from Irongate (the ones the stone tableau were named after?).
How do the dwur clans from Irongate and the Iron Hills get along?
My thoughts on the divinity issue are that dwarves native to the Flanaess ("Flan" dwarves) worship Ulaa and Moradin together - they worship Ulaa as the patron of mountains, hills, and gems, and Moradin as the creator-god and god of the forge. Along with the rest of the dwarven pantheon.
Fortubo is worshipped - along with Moradin and Berronar - by dwarves and gnomes of Suel descent. That is, those dwarves and gnomes that lived in what is now the Sea of Dust, who revere Fortubo as the one who helped liberate their ancestors from slavery to the human Suel.
I'm not sure whether the dwarves of the Iron Hills are Flan dwarves, Suel dwarves, or both.
Thanks for the gracious comments about the Irongate article. I only wish it could have been more (space restraints for the article were dire)!
If there's any specific info I can help with, just ask. I have alot additional material on the city, as does my collaborator, Maldin (Denis Tetreault). There's also material cut from the article that we can post online. We may propose setting a Dungeon adventure there to scare a little more of it into print.
A few notes:
Yes, Irongate's territory encompasses a few small towns and numerous villages, most of them in the vales between Irongate and Northanchor. Some of them are dwarven settlements. Nothing more than 1500 persons in size, most far smaller than that. We're working on a new map of the region with Anna the Mapping Goddess, which should be a lot of fun.
This old crude map tells you roughly the extent of the Domain of Irongate:
The dwur of Irongate worship many dwarven gods, especially the three you listed. Basically the whole dwarven pantheon, plus Ulaa, Fortubo, and elemental cults have representation there.
There are between 45-50,000 dwur in the Kingdom of the Iron Hillls.
I would LOVE to see material cut from the article if this was at all possible. What about a Dungeon magazine web enhancement?
When Sean Reynolds mentioned he had an adventure in Dungeon magazine set in the Iron Hills I got pretty excited (inner Greyhawk nerd coming out), but unfortunately there was only a description of the area and not much more. Dungeon would seem to be a good vehicle for getting more Irongate/Iron Hills material published - I hope you pursue it.
I have tried to create Irongate and fill in the surrounds as best I could by myself. While I'm happy with what I have done, I must admit part of me feels the need for some sort of validation of what I have done - which I'm unlikely to get.
If you would be kind enough to share you thoughts on the following, it would be most appreciated.
I have seen the stuff you and Denis did on the old Irongate Project website, which I thought was great.
The map you posted here was great as well. Fits really well with what was in my head.
1. With regards to "Ideegate" on the map - what size do you see this being and is it part of Idee (now Naerie) territory?
The guys on the Naerie Living Greyhawk website have a map around that area, and in Naerie territory they have Castle Rishmar and the small town of Poelitz. Could Poelitz be your Ideegate?
2. Do you have any thoughts on the feasability of a coastal villages east of Irongate? I have creatd a small town (~1000 people) that was formerly a small fishing vilage, which is situated on the coast, along the eastern coast road. I figure this road is used by travellers to Naerie and Sunndi leaving Irongate and vice versa. The town has a tiny port and modest fortifications to prevent sea based raids. It is nestled into the hills (Google: Vernazza, Cinque Terra). I figure there has to be small fishing villages along this hilly coast and they might also support travellers and trade along the eastern coast road.
3. Iron Hills territory bordering the coast. On your map after Irongate territory we have Iron Hills territory bordering the coast. Presumably this acts as a buffer for Irongate against forces from Ahlissa / Naerie. I sort of imagine that the Iron Hills dwur dont care that much about the coast and that human villages might survive there. Do you think they might pay tribute to King Holgi or be largely left to their own devices?
4. Clearly from you article you are going to maintain the mystery around Cobb Darg :-) . I'm going with the gold dragon theory. Since half-dwarves dont exist I dont like the dwarven heritage theory.
5. Would Elayne Mytica still be around Wiz19? Is she a general wizard or specialist wizard? Would she be a member of the United Artificers? I'm guessing she is independant and an important aid to Cobb Darg.
6. Irongate military forces: What sort of size and composition would Irongates standing forces be? Crossbowmen? Glaivemen? Dwarven heavy infantry of course as well. Do you envisage Irongate having marines?
7. At the current year, (what is it now CY591?), after the Scarlet force siege was largely lifted, has Irongate rebuilt its navy?
8. Do you figure Irongate has a formal navy? I have Shipmages as being important part of a sophisticated navy, and am toying with the idea of having the Senior Shipmage as a member of the United Artificers. Then maybe I think they should be independant.
That will do for now. I have a bunch more questions, but I'll think about those a bit more before I post them.
5. Would Elayne Mystica still be around Wiz19? Is she a general wizard or specialist wizard? Would she be a member of the United Artificers? I'm guessing she is independant and an important aid to Cobb Darg.
In Dragon #139, where she first appeared, she was a heavily psionic character. Psions weren't a separate class back then, but if they were I think she might have been one.
The Iron Hills are quite massive. Now the definition of hills is up to 2000 feet in height.
1. Are the Iron Hills tall for hills? I have them peaking around 2000 feet.
2. How forested are the Iron Hills? I read somewhere (Irongate project website I think) that they were "heavily forested". What do you think?
3. How rugged are the hills and valleys?
I have the Iron Hills as very rugged and very tall, with peaks passing 2000 feet. The terrain consists of many steep valleys and ravines. They have significant tree cover, with the valleys in particular being heavily forested. There are also numerous rocks and rocky terrain. Near the coast and closer the Naerie the valleys are less forested and are more fertile, and such land is used for agriculture.
4. Recent Greyhawk updates suggest remnants of Scarlet Brotherhood forces are hiding out in the Iron Hills and Menowood. How big would these leftover forces be? Just small bands of soldiers trying to survive? What are your thoughts on this theory?
1) From the Ashes describes the Iron Hills as a central massif. Massif typically indicates mountains so I think your assessment of height is as good as anybody's.
No source I have goes into any great detail on the Iron Hills themselves, with the exception of Maldin's "Geology of the Irongate Region" on the Irongate Project webpages. Maybe Maldin can clear this up but my impression is that the description applies to the localized area around Irongate and not necessarily the main body of the Iron Hills to the east. So you wouldn't have the wildly rugged karst topography occuring throughout the range, though it might be localized in other areas of the hills. I'm no geologist so maybe someone with better knowledge can give a more definitive answer.
2) The description in the Irongate Project talks about a clan of halfling loggers (Funny mental image) who supply wood to the city for construction, ship building and charcoal production. Combine this with how rugged the terrain is and you probably have large areas of heavily forested terrain that have been left alone due to their inaccessibility to loggers. At the same time farmers in the river valley provide vital food to the city and overlogging these areas would create runoff problems for these farms in heavy rains so there would probably be restrictions to control overlogging the areas that are easily accessible. There is probably a complex balancing act between the parties involved, with the loggers and farmers at odds and the city keeping both of these parties that are vital to the economy from hurting each other's interests.
3) If my ideas in question 1 above are correct at least the area around Irongate is VERY rugged. Again, if you haven't read "Geology of the Irongate Region" do so.
Really? I seem to recall her being a wizard from somewhere.
Yes. In 1st edition, she was a 19th level magic-user with psionic abilities. She was born among the Lerara but was trained in magic by elves of the Oytwood. After six years, her psionic powers began to manifest. It seemed to me that the "mystical" element of her character was the most salient part.
Rereading her descriptions in Dragon #139 and #241, however, makes me think that the wizard part of her may be important after all. Dragon #241 says she has one of Slerotin's old notebooks. Perhaps she could be a cerebremancer, combining psionics and spellcasting.
Last edited by rasgon on Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
Nothing, except I imagine a bunch of flannel shirt, suspender and toque wearing halflings wolfing down stacks of pancakes while singing the Lumberjack Song. But that's a personal problem I guess.
I'm imagining a low level scenario where a community of farmers are pissed off because their crops washed away and they blame a local clan of hobloggers. So the farmers hire some mercenaries to drive off the hobloggers who in turn hire the PC's to protect them.
Or a band of hobloggers hire the PC's to clear out a small wood that they want to log that is infested with monsters.
I'm telling you these hoblogger scenarios just write themselves.
I think you are right about the very rugged terrain being closer to Irongate, rather than the Iron Hills. I forgot the stuff about the Hobloggers, but that does mean forests and it does talk about the difficult of logging.
I'm guessing then that the Iron Hills, while very tall aren't quite as rugged as near Irongate, but still have their share of secluded valleys and a few secluded forests.
Hi Phalaster! Many thanks for your kind words about our article! I apologize for not jumping in earlier... RealLife(tm) lately has been keeping me annoyingly preoccupied, however I've tried to keep an eye on the forums.
I have been working on a complete revamp of the Irongate Project section of my website, and hopefully by the end of next week I'll have enough done to upload (alas work deadlines are limiting my time this weekend). I meant to have this all done a month ago, but you know how things go!
Anyways, some of your questions about the Irongate region will be answered, along with new maps! And these are pretty cool maps, even to my jaded eye. They are the result of a collaboration between myself and Anna, the MappinQueen herself. The first of many projects we've been banting about.
smillan, I like your self-writing hoblogger scenarios! If you want to fill those out, I'd be happy to put them up onto the IGP site.
To try to quickly answer some of your questions now, though... umm... lets see....
The seriously rugged karstic topography is more pronounced in the area of the Dragonshead "narrows", the isthmus that connects the Onnwal region to the Iron Hills region, and diminishes as you head off into those marginal regions. The Iron Hills are not quite as rugged, but do have many difficult-to-traverse regions.
As you suggest, they reach heights of "more the mere hills" but not quite "almost mountains", so feel free to assign maximum heights towards their core of higher then 2000 ft. Certainly individual "peaks" are higher then that, but not enough of them (or enough density of them) to call the region "mountainous".
The area has a wet season that produces fair amounts of rainfall, so the region definitely is forested (as described on the IGP). Valleys close to settlements (and around Irongate itself, of course) have all been logged, but the rugged hill tops and more distant valleys are still forested, making off-trail travel even more difficult. Because of the rockiness of the Iron Hills interior, forests are a bit thinner and much easier to travel through, but do have isolate areas of denser forest.
Regarding the military forces of Irongate, EGG had a "From the Sorceror's Scroll" article in Dragon Magazine Issue#57 which listed those forces, if you have access to that issue. I don't have that info at hand at the moment I'm writing this post, but it will be summarized on the IGP revamp.
The material I wrote that was cut from the Dragon article (both stuff that was cut by Gary and myself before submission, and stuff that was cut by editing over at Dragon) will most definitely be on the new IGP pages soon. I've asked Gary if he wants to spruce up his cut sections for the site as well, but no answer yet. He may prefer to post it to CF at some later date. Wherever he decides, I do hope he posts someplace.
Ok... back to work. The sooner I get this other stuff done, the sooner I get to working on my website!
Denis, aka "Maldin"
Maldin's Greyhawk http://melkot.com
Loads of edition-independent Greyhawk goodness... maps, magic, mysteries, mechanics, and more! And home to the Irongate Project, of course.
Thanks for the post. That real-life stuff sure gets in the way of our fun from time to time doesn't it?
Sounds like your website update is going to be extremely useful to me - I'm really looking forward to it.
Your description of the Iron Hills helps a lot, as I was unsure about the height issue - I like the idea of them being generally "hills" (which tends to mean up to 2000 ft), with some individual peaks surpassing that.
New maps would be fantastic. Is there one of the city? I've been to your site many times before, but I never noticed the map of the dock quarter before - it would be good to see the rest of the city.
I dont have Dragon 57 - I've been after that information for ages, as well as the issue that describes Elayne Mystica (139?) but no luck I"m afraid.
Does anyone have any thoughts on whether Elayne Mystica would be part of the United Artificers?
I've finally managed to complete enough of my personal web-enhancement for our Irongate article in Dragon 351 to actually post it to my website. It contains some pretty cool new maps (if I say so myself), extra material of mine that was cut from the article, and a heeping helping of all-new material that was never part of the article. Point yourself to the original Irongate Project page (which has now become the main page for the updated Irongate Project).
Finally got a chance to sit down and read over this in detail. Awesome stuff Maldin -- and Anna! Seeing the local geography detailed to that extent is very nice. I was especially intrigued with the Kurst Islands, and the Hoblogger additions of course. Thanks!
smillan, I like your self-writing hoblogger scenarios! If you want to fill those out, I'd be happy to put them up onto the IGP site.
Okay Denis, I finally sat down and wrote out some Hoblogger plot-lines, plus some background info on the Hoblogger guild and their president which I'd be more than happy for you to use if you like it.
• The Hoblogger guild hires the PC’s to clear out a wooded area in the hills where they have repeatedly been attacked by large stinging insects (giant bees or wasps). The source of the insects is a dryad druid inhabiting a very large tree at the center of the wood where the nest of the insects lies. The dryad is determined to defend her home at all costs.
• To make the above even more complicated, during the course of their encroachment on the wood the PC’s find a small, vine-covered shrine dedicated to a nature spirit (the dryad). They recognize the name of the family that dedicated the shrine as a very prominent noble family in the city. If the players don’t take the hint and leave to investigate this matter in the city archives, the DM should encourage them to leave the wood at this point by arranging an overwhelming assault by the giant insect servants of the dryad. Investigation reveals that not only did the family indeed dedicate the shrine but one of their illustrious ancestors was married to the dryad and they are her descendants, though this is not well known to most members of the family. Needless to say if any word of the PC’s desecrating this grove, much less killing the dryad, were to reach the ears of the noble family, they would be extremely displeased.
• If the party contains a cleric the Hoblogger Guild hires the PC’s to clear out a wooded area where they have been attacked by a ghostly wyvern. As the PC’s investigate, after driving off the wyvern ghost, the wood is the site of a tomb belonging to a long dead Flan warrior of the ancient Ahlissan kingdom. The ghost wyvern was his mount in life. To exorcise the ghost they will need to enter the tomb complex, which, depending on the party’s strength, may be haunted only by the ghost of the warrior himself or he and his entire bodyguard. Of course the exorcism of the ghost of a once noble warrior from his rightful resting place may raise ethical questions among the party members.
• Same as above but the dead warrior has become a wight or wraith (possibly along with a bodyguard of lesser wights and wraiths. He was kept in his tomb by a ring of standing stones placed around it but one of them was knocked over by the Hobloggers during the course of their logging. Now he is roaming free and wreaking havoc among the loggers and could become a larger threat to the local farmers as well. In this case there will be no ethical considerations other than removing a great evil.
• The PC’s are approached by a group of farmers some of whom have had their crops washed away. They blame a camp of Hobloggers that have been cutting in a nearby wooded area for the increase in runoff from the hillside and want the PC’s to scare off the Hobloggers. The Hobloggers are not easily scared and hire a tough band of mercenary dwarves (or others) to deal with the PC’s.
• The opposite of the above with the Hobloggers hiring the PC’s so they can practice their trade free from the threat of the mercenaries hired by the farmers. In either case it should result in a climactic battle between the two groups.
• Hoblogger scouts checking a new wooded area, hoblogger children wandering in the woods near the camp, etc... have gone missing. A shoe was found near an abandoned mineshaft covered with brush and it looks like they may have fallen in. The Hobloggers who entered the mineshaft by lowering a rope were attacked by giant spiders, ettercaps, hideous mutants of unknown extraction, etc... and fled. Now they want the PC’s to enter the mines and find the missing members of their community.
The Hobblogger's Guild - In the rough hills surrounding the city of Irongate live a curious clan of halflings of Stoutish strain known by the locals as Hobloggers - “Hob” coming from Hobniz, the Flan name for halflings, and “loggers” for their profession. That profession is the logging of the trees of the rugged surrounding hills to supply primarily the demands of the city’s charcoal-burners and shipbuilders. The Hobloggers maintain a guildhall outside the city walls to the northwest of the Valley Gate, but actively working Hobloggers rarely are in residence in that area. The small cottages clustered around the guildhall are inhabited most of the time by the wives (and in some instances, husbands) and children of the members of the guild. The active guild members spend most of their time in the surrounding hills in ever-moving camps, wherever they are currently at their trade.
The guildhall is unusual in that it operates as much as a tavern as a guildhall. The proprietor and guild president is a rotund, amply-bosomed, older female halfling known as Mama Perdalla. Contracts between Mama and the city’s charcoal-burners, carpenters and shipwrights usually take the form of representatives from the above gradually raising their offer as they nervously down several mugs of the frothy brown ale brewed on the premises, while Mama stares at them and smokes her pipe. Negotiations are done when she pulls her pipe from her mouth, taps the bowl empty against the edge of the table, spits in her hand and offers it to the chief negotiator.
Love the stuff on the hobloggers. Lots of plot ideas to use there.
Given the new maps on Maldin's website, I can now see clearly where the Ahlissan road branch from the coast road, and heads up through the Iron Hills. This is also roughly the extent of Irongate's domain, which is largely unclaimed by either Irongate or Iron Hills dwur.
I have a small town of Rockport (pop. 1040) located at this junction. It is a mix of humans (65%), dwur (25%), and halflings and gnomes. It is a small fishing port that has recently been walled. A great place to luahc adventures into the Iron Hills, or to Irongate, Naerie and even Sunndi. The authority in the town is a wizard, formally from Irongate, but born in Rockport when it was a village. He is a dedicated agent of the Iron League and on good terms with the Iron Hills dwur.
The dwur dont care much about the coastal road, but are happy to see it being safer and better patrolled. Irongate likewise have not challenged this new authority, since the wizard is pro-Irongate (and well knwon to them) and has fortified the town, which they see as a buffer (more acurately a speed bump) against Ahlissan forces in Naerie.
Nice hoblogger material, smillan! We'll get up a hoblogger page on the IGP.
Phalastar... yup those are Iron Hills' dwarven strongholds. They will be underground, carved into the face of the steeper hills, and extending downwards deep into the earth. All will have some sort of mine attached to it. Either a currently active mine, or an ancient "played-out" mine. If the latter, there will most certainly be another mine that is still active very near by (and connected to the stronghold via underground tunnels). And yup. the Ahlissan Road eventually gets all the way to Zelradton, as shown on Gary's old original map. We'll have to get that one updated too.
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