Sat Jun 22, 2024 5:46 pm  
An Overview of the Flanaess

This is an expansion from my Intro to Greyhawk. It provides brief and simplified summaries of the realms of the Flanaess, around or after the 591 CY starting date of the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. Longtime fans of the setting will immediately note numerous places where nations are grouped together. This is deliberate. This is not meant as a comprehensive gazetteer, but only an expanded summary and overview to introduce the various regions to new players. Greater information of the various regions can be introduced to players as they explore, with detailed information about the lands added or developed by DMs during play.


There are three notable events in the history of the Flanaess. The Twin Cataclysms destroyed the ancient empires of the Baklunish and Suloise over two thousand years ago. The Age of Great Sorrows began about three hundred and fifty years ago and was the beginning of the collapse of the two great successor empires that formed after the Twin Cataclysms. The Greyhawk Wars took place around forty years ago. It marked the end of the Great Kingdom and the rise of Iuz.


Humans descended from four ethnic groups are the majority inhabitants of the Flanaess. The native inhabitants are the Flan for whom the region is named. The Oeridians and Suloise migrated in following the Twin Cataclysms. The Baklunish live on the western fringes. The demihumans – dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings, are generally friendly and allied to the humans. The humanoids – kobolds, goblins, orcs, hobgoblins, gnolls, and others, are enemies of humans and demihumans.


The Free City of Greyhawk stands at the center of the Flanaess and gives it name to the setting. There are six major kingdoms spread across the Flanaess, ten minor nations, and two mysterious realms beyond them.

The Free City of Greyhawk

Greyhawk was the starting point for many famous adventurers, and many adventurers still go there to seek their fortune and make a name for themselves. Located in the center of the Flanaess, the borders fluctuate depending on the fortunes of the city. Currently it claims the entire southern coast of Nyr Dyv between Furyondy and Nyrond, south to the Kingdoms of the Bright Land and Pomarj.

Major Kingdoms

The Kingdom of Ahlissa covers the lands south of Nyrond and the North Kingdom to the hills of the Iron League. The eastern portion of the kingdom was once the clerical fief of Medegia. Invading armies pillaged Mededgia during the Greyhawk Wars and left it in ruins, and Ahlissa and Rel Astra have split the province between them. Ahlissa currently occupies Idee, which was part of the Iron League before the Greyhawk Wars. Ahlissa is another successor to the Great Kingdom. It has made peace with Nyrond but remains in a state of cold civil war with the North Kingdom.

The Kingdom of Northern Aerdy covers the lands south of Rhizia to the Grandwood Forest. The Bone March was once the northern part of the kingdom, but it was lost to invading goblins and orcs nearly two centuries ago. The kingdom is one of the successors to the fallen Great Kingdom, and is a fierce rival of Nyrond, Ahlissa, and Rel Astra.

The Kingdom of Nyrond covers the lands west of Nyr Dyv and the Artonsamay River to the borders of the Northern Kingdom of Aerdy and the Kingdom of Ahlissa along the Harp River. The Duchies of Tenh and Urnst, the County of Urnst, and the Theocracy of the Pale were part of Nyrond before it declared independence from the Great Kingdom but achieved independence for themselves when Nyrond rebelled.

The Kingdom of Furyondy covers the lands east of the Fals Gap to Nyr Dyv. It was the first part of the Great Kingdom to declare independence at the start of the Age of Great Sorrows. Furyondy include the provinces of Veluna, Highfolk, Verbobonc, the Shield Lands, and the Free City of Dyvers, though all possess a great deal of local authority. Furyondy is currently fighting a war against the empire of the cambion Iuz.

The Kingdom of Keoland covers the lands south of the Fals Gap in Bissel. It rose to prominence for a century as the other empires fell during the Age of Great Sorrows, before losing much of it conquests in the century after that. Its remaining provinces include Geoff, Gran March, and Sterich. The Uleks are home to many demihumans and are effectively independent. The free farmers of the Yeomanry declared their independence, though they still serve in large numbers as mercenaries throughout the realm.

The Kingdom of Zeif dominates the Baklunish lands of the west. At one time, most of the lands around it were provinces or paid tribute to the rulers of Zeif, but since the Age of Great Sorrows and the arrival of the Brazen Horde, they have gained their independence. Ekbir, Ket, and Tusmit are former provinces of Zeif. The Khans of Ull are the dominant faction among the warring Paynims, who live as nomadic herders on the vast plains south of Zeif.

Minor Nations

The Principality of Rel Astra covers the lands west of the Grandwood Forest. It is comprised of coastal holdings and claims the island archipelago of the Solnor Ocean. The coastal holdings are a series of free towns and small cities that have pledged fealty to the Eternal Lord of Rel Astra, Drax the Undying. The archipelago is composed of the Asperdi Sea Barons in the north, the Duxchan Lords in the south, and the Spindrift Isles in the center. The Duchan Lords were once part of the Iron League but the Kingdom of Shar assassinated the ruler during the Greyhawk Wars and placed a puppet on the throne. Drax has spent considerable effort to remove that puppet and claim the islands for his growing nation. A mysterious cabal of elves that ignore Drax’s claim to rule them controls all of the Spindrift Isles save for the southernmost, Lendore Isle. While Drax has sent a governor with a small garrison there, the inhabitants consider him no more than another local petty lord. Drax is the third successor to the Great Kingdom. He plays North Aerdy and Ahlissa against each other, biding his time until he can claim the imperial dignity for himself.

The Iron League is an association of minor states south of Ahlissa formed when they rebelled against the Great Kingdom around two hundred years ago. Its provinces include the dwarf nation of the Iron Hills, the elf nation of Sunndi, and the human nation of Onnwal, with its capital in the free city of Irongate. During the Greyhawk Wars, the Kingdom of Shar conquered the human nation of Idee, later conquered by the Kingdom of Ahlissa. Its loss has split the league into two parts.

The Suel clans of Rhizia control the lands around Grendep Bay and the coast north of the Corusk Mountains. In the past they were a single united kingdom but now the clan lords have always been strongly independent and that kingdom fell soon after the Suel were expelled from the Bone March two centuries ago. Now divided into the three kingdoms of the Cruski, Fruztii, and Schnai, they raid the Kingdom of Northern Aerdy, the Principality of Rel Astra, and the lands of Stonefist. Their sole ally is Ratik, cut off from the Kingdom of Northern Aerdy when the Bone March was conquered.

The Kingdom of the Bright Lands is a new nation ruled by the Wizard-King Rary the traitor. Rary has united the nomads of the land with a vision of breaking an ancient curse and making the desert bloom.

The Cantons of Perrenland are a small semi-independent state that broke off from Furyondy. They maintain their independence by providing mercenaries to their former ruler.

The Empire of Iuz covers the lands north of Nyr Dyv between Furyondy and Nyrond. It is an evil nation, with many orcs and goblins, and the ruler is a foul cambion. It is the largest and strongest of the minor nations, but despite its size, it very disorganized and not counted as a major kingdom. It has been at war with the Kingdom of Furyondy since the Greyhawk Wars.

The Kingdom of Celene is an elven land located between Furyondy, Keoland, and Greyhawk. It was neutral during the last great war, and that isolationism alienated its former allies.

The Kingdom of Pomarj is an orc land on the peninsula east of Keoland and south of Greyhawk. Founded during the last great war, it is an enemy of its neighbors, and has a great hatred for the elves of the Kingdom of Celene.

The Holds of the Sea Princes were vassals of Keoland that rebelled as that kingdom fell. They lived as pirates for several decades before making peace and becoming merchants. The Kingdom of Shar conquered the land during the Greyhawk Wars and Keoland is now fighting to liberate it.

The Baklunish Khanates and the Flan Arapahi split the lands known as the Bitter North. The khans rule the western portion, from the Dramidj Ocean to Howling Hills. Once united, the Chakyik and Wegwiur have split, with the Fler River as their border. The rival khans war on each other and their neighbors to the south. The Arapahi have also split. The majority of the clans remain true to their old lifestyle and battle Iuz, as well as the Horned Society and Free Lords before they Iuz destroyed them. A minority follow the descendants of Vlek Col Vleksted who conquered the related Coltens people and settled down. They have betrayed the old ways, and have become savage raiders, battling the Rhizians and Tenh.

Mystery Realms

The Kingdom of Shar is a mysterious nation on the Tilvanot Peninsula. Its rulers use assassination and subversion to conquer rivals. The kingdom conquered the Holds of the Sea Princes and most of the Iron League during the Greyhawk Wars but has since lost control of all their new territory, losing Onnwal to rebellion, Idee to Ahlissa, being driven from the Sea Princes by rebellion and counter attack by Keoland, and now losing the Duxchan Lords to Rel Astra.

The Land of Blackmoor is a mysterious place in the far north, just below the Land of Black Ice. There is very little information about the realm. It was the most distant territory of the fallen Great Kingdom until three centuries ago, and the rulers still use the titles of baron from that time.