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    History of the North, Part 1, Arrivals


    The North

    Much had happened in the North, more than one might expect. It’s surprising how many peoples chose to settle in that unforgiving land. The Elves had prospered there, so had the Flan. There had been peace there for many years before the Ur-Flan had swept in and swept aside all who stood against them. Then they too prospered there.
    Some might think that they were lesser than those who came after them, because, were they all that powerful, surely they would still rule all of the Flanaess, surely they would have brushed aside the martial fury of the Oeridians. They would have had they been interested in worldly affairs. They were not. They were concerned with extending life. With immortality. They were concerned with attaining power not seen since eldritch times.
    Were the Ur-Flan wiped out? Those lesser ones, yes. But not all. No, not all. There were many who survived the coming of the Kingdom of Aedy.
    We should hope that we never draw their attention ever again.

    Keraptis

    Some two thousand years ago, the wizard Keraptis established himself as "protector" of Tostenhca--a grand mountainside city of wide streets and towering ziggurats. But the wizard, who had extended his lifespan far beyond that of most mortals in his search for immortality, became more and more corrupt with increasing age. Over four centuries, the cost of his protection grew ever more burdensome, until eventually Keraptis was taking a piece of everything that the people of Tostenhca grew, made, or sold. With the announcement of yet another levy—one-third of all newborn children—the people rose as one, ousting Keraptis and his personal bodyguard of deranged gnomes. Homeless, the wizard and his followers fled to the cities of the south and west. But wherever Keraptis went, his reputation preceded him, and he found no other settlements willing to accept his "protection." During these travels, which lasted most of three centuries, the wizard acquired several implements of surpassing power. The secret gnomish conclave from which he drew his bodyguard gave him the hammer called Whelm. In return for aid that would enable them to crack their divinely ordained prison, the mythical Cyclopes presented Keraptis with the trident named Wave. While future-communing with the last living entities of a dying multiverse, he received the sword called Blackrazor. But true immortality still eluded his grasp. Three hundred years after leaving Tostenhca, Keraptis learned of a great volcano called White Plume Mountain, in which still-living druids of the Elder Age guarded the secrets of immortality. Within the volcano, the wizard found a tangled maze of lava tunnels and an ancient druid serving as the sole protector of Elder secrets. The two fought a titanic battle for ownership of White Plume Mountain and its ancient mysteries, but in the end the wizard prevailed. After casting the druid's remains into a sea of magma, the triumphant Keraptis penetrated to the Druid's Fane, a secret chamber protected by molten rock.
    There, among other treasures of ancient sorcery, he found the archetypal iceblade Frostrazor and an enigmatic statuette. Keraptis used the figurine’s power to pronounce a heinous curse that laid waste to distant Tostenhca, thus exacting his revenge at last. Thereafter, Keraptis focused all of his vast faculties on the problem of death. He embarked on a dozen separate research efforts, all aimed at achieving eternal life without the need for constant magical maintenance and healing. It was one such project, empowered by the four enchanted implements he had obtained, that eventually allowed Keraptis to step forth from the Prime Material Plane into a distant shadowy realm where, he hoped, he would leave behind the constraints of mortality forever. Keraptis quit the volcano some five hundred years past. No one knows whether he achieved his ultimate goal or still pursues it in some far, dim dimension. Whatever his fate, Keraptis never came to White Plume Mountain again. [Return to While Plume Mountain  - 3,4]

    Masterless, the company of gnomes loyal to Keraptis continued to abide within the active volcano, living off the gargantuan fungal gardens that the wizard had magically grown inside the caverns. Generations were born, only to live out stale, sunless lives and finally die within the mount a in. At last, some one hundred years ago, an invasion fractured the placid flow of days beneath White Plume. Lured by tales of treasure, several powerful heroes calling themselves the Brotherhood of the Tome burrowed into the sealed-off chambers of the volcano and stole the wizard’s four implements of power: Wave, Blackrazor, Whelm, and Frostrazor. The theft of these weapons trapped Keraptis in his shadowy realm, preventing his return to the Prime Material Plane. The residents of White Plume realized that more attacks might follow now that outsiders knew about the complex inside the mountain. Seeking protection, the gnomes opened the sealed caverns wherein Keraptis had conducted his research. Though they uncovered many wonders, it was the discovery of Keraptis-imprints that changed life under White Plume Mountain forever. As part of his research into immortality, Keraptis had tried for some time to embody himself as a being of pure thought in the matrix of a certain kind of spell. In that way, he reasoned, he could live forever in the minds of others. Though he ultimately abandoned this idea, the fruit of his research—several variant copies of the spell on scrolls — still remained. Each of these dweomers (called Keraptis-imprints or K-imprints) incorporated a full or partial copy of the wizard’s persona and knowledge, though all were in some way damaged or incomplete. Upon finding these scrolls in an opened chamber, an over-eager gnome immediately memorized one of them, thereby installing a copy of the absent wizard‘s consciousness in his own mind. Believing himself to be Keraptis, he rose up and began to gather back the stolen weapons of power that the ancient wizard had owned. [RtWPM - 4]
    Historical Development of Keraptis: Erik Mona, Lisa Stevens, Steve Wilson

    Thingizzard, Witch of the Fens

    c.-800 CY              There were those who arrived without fanfare. Thingizzard, Witch of the Fens, was one such; she was already dwelling in The Great Swamp, north of White Plume Mountain, when the Elder Druid arrived, so who can say from whence she came. She certainly can’t. 

    Thingizzard was already living in the Great Swamp when Keraptis descended on White Plume Mountain some thirteen hundred years ago. Though the wizard thought nothing of attacking the volcano’s Elder druid guardian, he chose not to trifle with the Witch of the Fens. It may well be that Keraptis thought her insignificant, but it is more likely that he left her alone because of his phobia concerning undead. Though she is not human, Thingizzard appears as an old woman with pure white hair. She doesn’t know her own origins and doesn’t care to learn them; her only interest is maintaining the peculiar” ecology” of the Great Swamp. In fact, regular infusions of Thingizzard’s necromantic potions have made this place what it is. The witch pours these concoctions into the water regularly to nurture her ”children” — the  bog mummies. She can call these creatures to her defense at any time [….] Not only is the Witch of the Fens very strong […]), she [can] also […]: animate dead, […] control weather, curse, dream, [and affect the minds of any within her sight.] In addition, her knowledge of herbalism and potion brewing rivals that of the most respected mages in the land. [RtWPM - 15]


    Tharizdun Heretic

    -563 CY Evil always finds a foothold. The Sueloise acolytes of Tharizdun had ventured out long before the Reign of Colourless Fire, spreading their master’s word of hopelessness and oblivion to any who might listen. Most found their message abhorrent. Just so the Highfolk. The Olven knew much after so many millennia, and they knew Tharizdun’s message well, and were ever vigilant against it.

    The Temple was built in a previous age, a secret place of worship to Tharizdun, He of Eternal Darkness. It drew the most wicked persons to it, and the cult flourished for generations, sending out its minions from time to time to enact some horrible deed upon the lands around. However, a great battle eventually took place between Tharizdun and those opposed to his evil. Unable to destroy him, they were strong enough to over- come his power and imprison him somewhere, by means none have ever been able to discover. Thus Tharizdun disappeared from the face of the earth, and from all of the other known planes, and has not been seen again since. [WG4 - 3]


    A temple to Tharizdun is located near the Realm of the Highfolk, it is cleared, but a mystic force keeps it from being destroyed. [OJ1] (4957 SD/1588 FT)


    After a time his servants returned again to the Temple, deserted as it was of any manifestation of their deity. Amongst these wicked folk were many powerful magic-users and clerics. All sought with utmost endeavor to discern what had happened to Tharizdun, so that he could be freed and returned to rule over them once again. All attempts were in vain, although the divinations and seekings did reveal to these servants of Eternal Darkness that a “Black Cyst” existed below the Temple. By physical work and magical means they delved downward to reach the Black Cyst. What they discovered there dismayed and disheartened them. In the hemisphere of black needlerock (floating as if by levitation) a huge form could be seen. Was this the physical manifestation of Tharizdun? None could tell. The misty form was black and indistinct and enclosed in vaporous purple energy as well. No ritual, no spell, no magic could pierce the enigma. As time passed, the seekers ritualized their attempts to determine if this was their imprisoned deity. An altar of black needlerock was constructed directly under the 12’ long form so that it seemed to rest upon the stone. As generations passed, various other things necessary to survival in the Black Cyst were formalized into a paeon of lament and worship for Tharizdun, and endless services to awaken the being were conducted by route. Then, as time continued to pass, even this ritual grew stale and meaningless. The clerics of Tharizdun began to pilfer the hoard of beautiful gems sacrificed to him by earlier servants – 333 gems of utmost value [….] Replacing these jewels with stones of much less value, the former servants of this deity slipped away with their great wealth to serve other gods and wreak evil elsewhere. 

    In the end only a handful of faithful clerics remained to repeat the daily ritual of attempted awakening. Some of this handful were slain by monsters, others eventually grew old and died. The last High Priest [Wongas], alone, wandered off into the place reserved for his remains in the dungeon, for alone he was unable to take his proper place in the Undertemple. Thus, a century ago, [Wongas] died, and the Temple was without inhabitant of human sort. [WG4 - 3]


    Black Cyst

    “You have dared all and descended the spiralling purple steps formed by the strange column of gray smoke, lilac light, and jet black. This swirling, pulsing column of radiation has opened a means of entrance to somewhere far beneath the surface of the earth - or perhaps to some place not of this earth. All of you feel the press of time, a sense of urgency. How long will this strange gate remain open? You all hope not to learn the hard way as you hurry down a seemingly endless flight of “steps” made of the purple radiance. Ten minutes seems more like ten hours, but at last you have come to what must be your final goal, for the stairs of light give way to more mundane ones of black stone…. [WG4 - 29]


    -458 CY    The people of Oerid had been freed of the oppressive Suel. Their queen Johydee tricked them into teaching her their magic, and into moulding a most singular mask, whose clay had been secretly infused with her very lifeblood. And once free, they chose to leave their homeland west of the Barrier Peaks, for they knew the nature of the Suel.

    About the year 180 OR, the council of [headmen] of this Oeridian tribal confederation, heeding the advice of their shamans, chose to lead the Oeridians out of their ancestral homeland and make them a migrant folk. Some of their gods had said the Oeridians were destined for unsurpassed greatness as a people, and the source of their power lay in the east. [TAB -55]

    Abandoning their lands to the Baklunish and pursued by humanoid marauders who cared for nothing but looting and murder, the Oeridians headed for the great pass between the Barrier Peaks and Yatil Mountains. They crossed through the Tuflik Valley (now Ket) in 187 OR and began their generations-long trek to glory across the Flanaess. [TAB - 55]

    The fierce Oeridian tribes likewise moved east, thrusting aside Flan and Suloise in their path. The Oerid migrations were similar in cause to those of the Suel, in that the Baklunish-Suloise Wars, and the hordes of Euroz and associated humanoid groups used as mercenaries by both sides, tended to pillage northwards and eastwards, driving the Oerids before them. [Folio - 5]


    A Vision of Doom
    -448 CY The Year of the Prophets. They read doom in the cards, the bones, and the tea leaves. Within the span of a generation the empire would fall, they predicted. Repent, they cried. Turn from your wicked ways, they plead, warning against worship of the Chained God, and warding against something they named Shothragot. To no avail. The masses laughed and turned their backs on the doomsayers. But it was plain in their eyes that their laughter was false. They turned their backs on their prophets because they knew their emperor was displeased, and they feared their emperor’s wrath more than their prophets’ doom.

    Seven different prophets foretell of the destruction of the Suel Empire within 30 years. The Emperor, Yellax-ad-Zol has all seven drawn and quartered, even though one of the prophets is a High Priest of Beltar. [OJ11] (196 OR/ 5068 SD/1703 FT)


    -447 CY Not all were deaf to the prophets’ warnings. The Emperor’s son, Zellifar, took heed, for, if seven prophets should face certain death to warn of impending disaster, who was he dispute them. Small wonder: Zellifar knew more than most. He heeded their warnings because he’d read the Lament for Lost Tharizdun, that foul scripture penned by that mad priest Wongas, who’d vanished mysteriously into the East a century earlier. And he’d seen with his own eyes what that dark lord demanded at His worship, when it had been fashionable to be seen to attend such things, and knew what that Chained God desired even if those other revellers did not.

    Zellifar-ad-Zol, son of the Emperor, mage/high priest of Beltar, breaks with his father and takes over 8,000 Suloise loyal to himself, and flees the kingdom, eastward. The ferocity and magical might of the movement scatters the Oerdians in its path, causing the remainder of the Oerdian to migrate. Slerotin, called “the Last High Mage” causes a huge tunnel to be bored into the Crystalmists, through which the Zolite Suel flee. He then seals the tunnel closed at both ends, trapping one lesser branch of the family, the Lerara, inside. The Zolites continue eastward heading toward the southeast as well as to Hepmonoland. [OJ11] (197 OR/ 5069 SD/1704 FT)


    The Suloise Migration soon followed. Not all were as powerful or as cruel and depraved as their ruling houses, and they soon learned that those not as powerful or as cruel were as dispensable as slaves. They were thrown into the war with the Bakluni, and they died in that war while their high Houses looked on, not risking their own sons. And so, they fled. And they brought their own cruelty and depravity with them. (5069 SD)

    The Oeridians were not alone in their drive eastward. Suloise refugees fled in many directions from the cruelties of their tyrannical and war-ravaged empire. Many Suloise crossed the Crystalmists through the Kendem Pass, which they called the Harsh Pass, braving every sort of monster and privation to seek the fabled security of the uncivilized lands beyond. [TAB - 55]


    -446 CY The Emperor was not pleased! Traitor, he screamed, when he heard of his son’s betrayal. His advisors and courtiers bowed and slunk away from their emperor’s wrath, for they knew it all too well, and feared their being heir to it in his son’s absence.

     The emperor commands that the Houses Schnai, Cruskii and Fruztii move [and] bring his son, and the "Unloyal" back to face justice. [OJ1] (198 OR/ 5070 SD/1705 FT)


    -445 to -423 CY  The Zolite scatter the Flanae before them, and move south to the Tilvanot Peninsula. The three pursuing houses, unable to find the magical tunnel, turn north, where they are met by regrouped Oeridians and fearful Flanae who harry and drive these Suel Houses south. (5071 to 199 to 221 OR/ 5093 SD/ 1706 to 1728 FT/ 2216 to 2238 BH)


    -423 CY Zellifar was not the saviour his followers had imagined; indeed, his reading the Lament for Lost Tharizdun had twisted him and he proved as much a tyrant as his father, so, soon after taking flight, there were those among them who saw that they had traded one cruel emperor for another, and they began to steal away in the chaos he fostered as they were driven further east.

    One of Zellifar’s minions, the High Priest Pellipardus, slips away from the Zolites and takes his family. Zellifar does not pursue, fearing that this will take his attention away from the Three Houses of Pursuit: the Schnai, the Fruztii, and the Cruski. [OJ11] (223 OR/ 5093 SD/1728 FT)


    -422 CY Zellifar parleys with the Houses of Pursuit. His Archmage, Slerotin, unleashes a mass enfeeblement on the mages of the three Houses, and a mass suggestion upon the other members of the Houses. Slerotin is blasted by magical energies upon the casting of these mighty spells, leaving the Rift Canyon as the only physical remains of this energy. The remnants of the Three Pursuing Houses flee northeastward.

    The Houses of Pursuit have been mind-swept. They have no purpose and no direction and no mages whatsoever after they are hit by these spells. They do not know why they are searching or what they are searching for. They have two binders but do not realize it! As they move aimlessly, they begin to seek a homeland. They do not remember where they came from. The memories of their gods are virtually blotted out.

    The three houses that eventually settle in the Barbarian States lose almost all contact with the more ‘civilized’ and good gods of their people. As they begin to multiply and prosper Kord and Llerg become major gods to them but Fortubo, Lendor, Lydia and Jascar are forgotten.

    Farther south in Ratik a slightly different mix of peoples assembles. Gods like Phaulkon, Norebo and Phyton are still remembered. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/ 1729 FT)


    Rain of Colourless Fire

    Invoked Devastation and Rain of Colourless Fire Strike

    The war waxed, and in their fury and despair, the Suel and the Bakluni used ever more powerful magic to defeat their enemy, until mere armies were nothing more than a mass of bone and blood to be ground down, and melted into the soil. Their magics grew until the Suel set the Invoked Devastation upon the Bakluni and the Bakluni gathered about the Tovag Baragu and called down the Rain of Colorless Fire in retaliation. Their lands withered and died, and burned, and before long, those once great empires were no more, and those people who survived the fury were fleeing for their lives, for those who tarried, surely died. They were met by their former thralls, who remembered their past bondage, and took steps to prevent their falling into such again.

    These were joined after the Rain of Colorless Fire by a flood of weary survivors who walked through the Crystalmists by way of the Passage of Slerotin. This magically engineered tunnel, which was recently rediscovered and is now being exited at the border of present-day Yeomanry. Though the new land they entered was green and fertile, most Suloise pressed eastward, eager to put as much distance between themselves and their decaying empire as possible. [TAB - 55]

    Some of the Suloise attempted to cross north of the Nyr Dyv, but they were driven back by tribes of warlike Oeridians who had followed the Velverdyva River downstream, still seeking their destiny. Many of these Oeridians settled along the Velverdyva, forming the core of the land that would be later called Ferrond by the Great Kingdom, and Furyondy and Veluna today. [LGG]


    Zellifar enters the Griff Mountains alone

    -419 CY Zellifar enters the Griff Mountains alone. None know where he goes or what he does there. [OJ11] (225 OR/ 5097 SD/1732 FT)


    -417 CY Yellax-ad-Zol was enraged by his son’s betrayal and had sent out three of his most loyal Houses to slaughter his son’s followers and to drag his son back in chains. They had only just left when the Colourless Fire burned their homeland; they had seen the fire fall beyond the Crystalmists; they had seen the Hellfurnaces open up and spit their own molten rain into the sky. And though they continued their pursuit, as they were bid, they knew that they would never return.

    The Three Houses of Pursuit move into the Thillonrian Peninsula. They turn to the gods they deem to be strong in the face of the harsh climate; Kord and Llerg. Magic is not practiced, and only priests, wise men and skalds may use it without fear. Witches are not uncommon, but are forced away from “normal” men. The skalds and priests develop a runic alphabet that carries mystic powers.

    They do not know where they have come from. Their skalds do not know of the Suel Empire. They have retained memory of their more primitive gods such as Kord and Llerg. Some others like Phaulkon are still remembered but the more civilized gods (Lydia, for example), are forgotten! [OJ11] (227 OR/ 5099 SD/1734 FT)


    -416 CY Zellifar, last scion of Emperors, teleports from the Griff Mountains back to the remains of the Suloise Empire. He is destroyed by the lingering magics and final throes of conflict in the area. Thus ends the Suloise Empire, mightiest and longest lived of Empires on Oerth, and its reckoning (although some skalds of the Northern Barbarians, and the Scarlet Brotherhood still use it to keep records). [OJ11] (228 OR/ 5100 SD/1735 FT)


    Stories tell of a barbarian empire created by the warriors of Vatun, the "Great God of the North." The empire, if it existed at all, lasted only for the lifetime of the first fasstal of the Suelii. Some say Vatun was betrayed by a companion deity, but others blame a rival Oeridian god (Telchur) and his clerics; a few even say that the barbarians proved unworthy, being unable to sustain a mighty god's presence. Regardless, as recorded history dawned in the north, the barbarians' empire was only a tale of old. [LGG]
    Their skalds sang epic tales of that time. They said that were the “Five Blades of Curusk” united, Vatun shall be freed from his imprisonment and work his revenge against Telchur and the Oerids. But those were mere tales of fancy. Everyone knew as much. Had Vatun existed, no mere southern god could have displaced him with such ease. But the old songs dwelt deep in their hearts. They’d been sang to them since they’d lain a-cradle. And so they raided the southern seas and the southern coasts, awaiting Vatun’s triumphant return. For that was what Vatun had commanded them to do.
    And Vatun punished those tribes that did not, sending quakes and high seas and fierce winds until they set sail south once again.

    The Spikey Forest

    The Fruztii settled in the lands north of the Timberway and west if the Spikey forests where the climate tended towards a more temperate temperament. They farmed their fertile lands. They harvested the bounty of Grendep Bay. They even mined the eastern Griffs. But they also raided the southern coasts with abandon, for those people were weak.

    The Schnai settled the land between the Corusk Mountains and the wide Grendep Bay, with only the Spikey Forest separating them with the Fruztii. Despite their identical climes, the landscape of the Schnai is more rugged than the Fruztii’s, though not so rough as the Cruski’s. The same could be said of the people, who are more factious than the Fruztii, but more united than the Cruski. It was these differences that inevitably brought their kin under their dominion.
    They may not have always been the most powerful of the Suel barbarians, but they never come under the rule of either of their cousin states. Perhaps this is due to the superior seamanship of these barbarians, for they have never been attacked by land. [LGG - 106]

    The Cruski settled further east upon Rhizia, the Thellonrian Peninsula, than any of their kin. Theirs is the coldest and most severe of the Suel barbarian kingdoms. Fiercely independent, they hunted and fished and whaled from their seaside towns and their mountain steadings. And like all of their kin, they built longships, for it was and is their way to raid south, and prey upon those plying their trade at sea.
    The Cruski themselves are a people of pure Suel race, speaking the Cold Tongue as their native language. Though they have always been the least numerous of the Suel barbarians, their royal lineage is the oldest. The king of Cruski holds the title "Fasstal of all the Suelii," indicating his preeminence among the nobles of the Suel race and giving him the right to pronounce judgment on any of them. Politically, this has little real importance, for he has no power to enforce his judgments. However, it is said by some that the god Vatun granted this authority to the fasstal of the Suelii; if Vatun awoke, the full authority of the office would return to the fasstal, and a new barbarian empire would emerge under his leadership. [LGG - 54]

    Post Devastation:

    Centuries ago Vecna rose. And Vecna fell. Epic sagas could and have been sung of his dark deeds and exploits. His Occluded Empire lingered long after his passing, as have the cursed tomes he studied and laid down. But none have endured as did his Hand and his Eye, for they were a part of him, and still are.


    The Eye and Hand of Vecna

    Each time one of these artifacts has surfaced, disaster and ruin have followed. Paddin the Vain used the Hand to start the Insurrection of the Yaheetes, a rebellion the Emperor of the Malachite Throne later crushed. With the Hand's power, the so-called Vecna II held monstrous sway over Tyrus for 100 years. The Eye was instrumental in the extermination of the house of Hyeric, once the ruling dynasty in Nyrond, and Miro the Paladin-King was corrupted by the power of the Hand. Each time, the Hand and Eye have failed their owners at some crucial moment.

    Over the years, a cult of worshippers has arisen to venerate the vile Lord Vecna and work to pave the way for his return. For this cult, the Eye and the Hand are powerful relics worth obtaining at any cost. Their servants are always watchful for any reappearance of the Eye or Hand, eager to track down and snatch them up from whomever possesses them.

    The most recent of these reappearances occurred only a few years past, just prior to the great wars that engulfed the Flanaess, when both the Eye and Hand fell into the clutches of the cult. This event was marked by foreboding failures of magic and evil omens across the land. Fortunately by all accounts, the Eye and Hand were cast through the dimensional portal of Tovag Baragu on the Dry Steppes and lost in some unrecorded void of the outer planes. [Book of  Artifacts - 35]


    The Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar

    Indeed, artifacts are slippery things. They pass from hand to hand with a rapidity that baffles the mind. Or, maybe not. They can be dangerous to own, and lethal to play with. A boon, and a bane, both. Such was the case with the Cup and Talisman of Al’Akbar, last rumored to be in Bandit Kingdoms, where they likely fell into the hands of someone of neither lawful, not of good, temperament. They have likely divested themselves of him, for they have minds of their own, artifacts, and fell into the hands of someone more suited to them, or someone who could transport them to someone or somewhere else, if not.

    This pair of holy relics were given by the gods of the Paynims to their most exalted high priest of lawful [and] good [temperament] in the days following the Invoked Devastation. It was lost to demihuman raiders and was last rumored to be somewhere in the Southeastern portion of the Bandit Kingdoms. The Cup is made of hammered gold, chased with silver filigree, and set with 12 great gems in electrum setting [….] [DMG 1e - 157]


    Unfortunately, the miraculous powers of the Cup and Talisman did not bring happiness to the people or peace to the temple. When travelers returned to their distant homelands with tales of these two wonders, emperors, kings, and warlords coveted the items. Driven by greed and fear, they marched their armies and sent their agents, to seize the treasures. Just what battles occurred and who won them is an answer lost with the names of those who warred for the artifacts. Perhaps one rose victorious over the others only to have the two treasures seized from him. Perhaps they were stolen by bandits in the chaos of war. All that is known is that when the wars finally ceased, the Cup and Talisman had disappeared forever. Even today, though, the legend of their miraculous power lives on in expressions such as "cured by the cup" for any miraculous healing or "By the star of Akbar," an oath to ward off disease. [Book of Artifacts - 30]


    c.-400 CY              Once they were on the move, it was only a matter of time before the Oerdian and Suloise settlers arrived in the Flanaess.

               The inhabitants of this region have always been fiercely independent. During the Migrations, the warlike Flan tribes of the Yatil Mountains absorbed most of the Oeridian, Suloise, and Baklunish invaders flooding the great Yatils pass called the Wyrm's Tail, though several Flan tribes were driven from the lowlands by Oeridians who established freeholds for their own clans. [LGG - 85]


    -366 CY    Not all Flan kingdoms were as formidable as the Ur-Flan were. And in the wake of those wizard-priests, they had settled into as far more peaceful and pastoral existence. And so, the coming of the Aerdy tribes incited panic among the citizens of Veralos, for it was only a city of artisans, highly skilled in creating the wonders of ages past, magical tablets and statuary and ensorcelled jewelry, even weaponry that was coveted by all the lords of Sulm, Itar, Ahlissa, and Nuria; but alas, they were not skilled in those arms. Legends say that an Ur-Flan prophet came to that ancient citadel of Veralos, and reaping their fear, he persuaded them to seek the succor of an ancient and sinister force. [Dragon #293 - 90,91] (278 OR/ 5150 SD/ 1785 FT)


    -365 CY     Veralos committed the Dark Rites bid them, and the sleeping power rose up from the depths of the Rift Canyon and the city of Veralos was no more.

    When the Aerdy came upon the Rift Valley, all they found were steep cliffs, howling winds, undulant grasses, and dust-devils. They said the dust-devils swooned and wailed. They said their dreams were plagued by visions of untold horrors. And they quit the cliffs of the Rift Canyon before too long, having never raised a single palisade to defend the howling plains or the twisted forests that surrounded it. [Dragon #293 - 90,91] (279 OR/ 5151 SD/ 1786 FT)


    The Oeridians swept the Flan aside with ease. They were fierce. They were relentless. And they’d come prepared. They had learned from their former masters, and remembered those lessons well. They studied those Suel books and artifacts they’d taken with them. They tinkered. They failed at first to comprehend what they studied, and then one day they didn’t. Great magics were revealed to them. And the art of artifice. Leuk-O was particularly adept at such studies. And he was a wonderful tinkerer. He recreated those marvelous machines the Suel had used against them with such deadly effect. And he used them well. [D82, D299]

    Restless and driven, great pre-Aerdy commanders of warfare such as Andorann, Leuk-O, with his massive magical juggernaut, and Tuerny the Merciless conquered vast swathes of land because this was what they had to do. No matter how rich and fertile any particular land might be, there was always an imperative to expand further, to head beyond, to conquer the vastness of the Flanaess and gain the longed-for glory of triumph and rulership. [Ivid - 6]


    The Oeridians brought a handful of magical artifacts of extraordinary antiquity with them. Until its rumored destruction by the earth elementals of Al-Fasrallah, the Mighty Servant of Leuk-O—a huge war machine/juggernaut resistant to damage from weapons and magic—and the similar machine of Lum the Mad wreaked havoc on opposing armies. Orbs of dragonkind were used to capture dragons from the Griff-Corusk Mountains and press them into service. The effects of a squadron of dragons creating magical fear in a wide swathe was decisive in many a battle. Of course, such artifacts as these and the crystal of the ebon flame and Johydee's mask are well known to sages and students of history. Other artifacts of equal power of non-Oeridian origin are known to them also. But the timing of the use of the artifacts the Oeridians possessed, and the employ of planar travel and teleportation to move them from one site of battle to another with great speed, made the artifacts devastating in the hands of Oeridian combat mages. [Ivid - 7]

    Orb of Dragonkind:         It is written that when certain of the good deities conspired to devise means to easily control the evil dragons plaguing mankind, demon servants of evil changed the magical forces involved so as to include all of dragonkind and then caused the Orbs fashioned to have inimical properties as well. In all, [eight] globes of carven white jade were made, [one] each for each age in a dragon's life span. The smallest is but [three] inches in diameter, the largest is about [ten] inches across. Each is covered with bas reliefs of entwined dragons of all sorts, the whole being of incredible hardness, and somehow imprisoning the very essence of all dragons. [DMG, 1e - 159]


    -217 CY In time, the Aerdy conquered all the lands east of the Nyr Dyv; indeed, most of the Flanaess was theirs, save the Sheldomar Valley, the Thillonrian Peninsula, and the Tilvenot Peninsula.

    The strongest tribe of the Oeridians, the Aerdi, settled the rich fields east of the Nyr Dyv and there founded the Kingdom of Aerdy, eventually to be renamed the Great Kingdom. [Folio - 5]


    -110 CY Battle of a Fortnight's Length

    After several decades of increasing growth, power, and prestige, Aerdy embarked upon a series of conquests, the greatest of which was the defeat of the Nyrondal cavalry squadrons at the Battle of a Fortnight's Length. [Folio] (534 OR/ 5406 SD/ 2041 FT)

    Theirs was no longer just the Kingdom of Aerdy. In their hubris, they named their domain The Great Kingdom, for theirs was the greatest in their memory, surpassing even the breadth of that once vast Suloise Empire.

    Thereafter, Aerdy was known as the Great Kingdom, whose monarch held sway from the Sundi swamplands in the south, westwards along the shores of the Telfic Gulf and the Sea of Yar, to the Nyr Dyv and from thence northwards through the Shield Lands and beyond the Tenh. [Folio - 5]


    After the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, the Duke of Tenh pledged fealty to the King of Aerdy, giving the Aerdian monarch authority over the duke and his personal holdings in Tenh and the Coltens, thus ending Flan dominion over the Flanaess.

    Not all nobles and officials of Tenh bent the knee to the King of Aerdy, maintaining Tenh’s independence, but without support and armies to field, their declaration was tantamount to posturing. They were living in the Great Kingdom now, regardless their delusions of the supposed continuance of a bygone age.


    The duchy joined in a short-lived alliance with the Nyrondal princes until the Battle of a Fortnight's Length. In the wake of that defeat, the duke of Tenh pledged fealty to the king of Aerdy, giving that monarch authority over the duke and his personal holdings in Tenh and the Cohens. Neither the Convocation of Knights and Marshals, nor any of the other nobles or landholders, ever endorsed the duke's pledge. They considered Tenh to be an independent realm, though they chose not to test the Great Kingdom's claim on the field of battle, effectively bowing to Aerdy for over four centuries. [LGG - 112,113]


    1 CY       With his Declaration of Universal Peace, the first Overking was crowned in Rauxes.

    The first Overking was Nasran from the House of Cranden. Proclaiming universal peace, Nasran saw defeated Suloise, Flan and rebellious humanoid rabbles of no consequence and no threat to the vast might of Aerdy. [Ivid - 3]

    But for all his well-meaning words, all power was to be his, and all Houses were to bend the knee to his magnificence.

    However, it quickly became clear to all the noble houses of the Aerdi that power in the Great Kingdom was being centralized in the hands of the rulers of Rauxes, and that the fortunes of the Great Kingdom would now rest with them. The needs and intrigues of the Celestial Houses would soon become subordinate to the politics of the Malachite Throne. [LGG - 23]


    c. 100 CY                The fell sword Druniazth, servant of Tharizdun, had passed from hand to hand in its quest to release its master. Those who wielded it were themselves wielded, used and discarded as each in turn were found wanting, until, centuries after being lost by Baron Lum the Mad at the Battle of the Bonewood, it came to one who would not be so used, and it was cast into the Rift Canyon as she sought to rid herself of its influence.


    108 CY  Overking Manshen desired to secure his northern border. The Fruztii Barbarians were a constant threat, and he meant to pacify the North once and for all.


    In the spring of 108 CY, Aerdi forces massed in the frontier town of Knurl. With Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom in the vanguard, the force swept northeast, between the Rakers and the Blemu Hills, in a march to the sea. By autumn, after having been met with relatively light resistance, the Aerdi succeeded in uprooting most Fruztii encampments, and the foundations of a great stronghold were laid at Spinecastle. The Aerdi freed Johnsport in a pitched battle with the barbarians before the onset of winter. Sensing that this would be only the first phase of a long struggle, Aerdi commanders summoned thousands of contingents from North Province over the objections of the herzog, a Hextorian who had wanted to lead the forces into battle himself.

    With the defeat of the Fruztii at Johnsport, the call went out that winter, and thousands of their kinsmen poured south along the Timberway the next year. Marching through passes in the Rakers, they assembled and attacked the works underway at Spinecastle, focusing their assault on the heart of the Aerdi fortifications. The defenders, including the bulk of the elite Aerdi infantry, were quickly outflanked and surrounded. A young Knight Protector of the Great Kingdom, Caldni Vir, a Heironean cavalier from Edgefield, commanded a large cavalry force patrolling the hills when the barbarian force struck. As part of the contingent led by the herzog into the north, he pivoted and headed back to Spinecastle while anticipating orders from his liege to counterattack. When the courier of the herzog delivered orders for Vir to pull back to the south in retreat, he spat in disgust and ordered the standard of the Naelax prince to be trampled in the mud. He then raised the standard of the Imperial Orb and charged.

    Approaching the site of the battle from the north, he descended upon the barbarians from higher ground, and they were unprepared for the hundreds of heavy horse and lance that bore down on them in the next hour. Their lines were quickly broken, and the Imperial Army was rescued to eventually take the day in what would be called the Battle of the Shamblefield. The Aerdi drove the surviving barbarians out of the hills, controlling the land all the way to the Loftwood by the following spring. Overking Manshen recognized the courage of the young knight Vir, and raised him as the first marquis of Bone March. The land was so named for the high price paid for its taking, as the fallen imperial regulars numbered into the thousands. [LGG - 36]

    Thus the Overking named Vir the first Marquis of the Bone March. And thus were the Fruztii broken.

    It is said that the blood of those thousands of unsanctified and unburied Barbarian and Imperial corpses was pressed into the mortar of Spinecastle. It is also said that the Fruztii laid a curse on its unfinished walls. 


    113 CY  The North was a mystery to most in the Flanaess, a bitter cold, savage land where monsters and barbarians dwelt. Bards sung sagas of what might have once been tall tales, myth, or even what might have been. Alisedran had wondered as much, and so, he set his mind to discovering how tall those tales actually were. He mounted an expedition to those wild lands, and a year later, he returned and published On Sledge and Horseback to the Barbarians of the North, an exploration of that far region, and about a curiosity, a mysterious hanging glacier that now bears his name. Where might that mysterious glacier lie? Who knows? The barabarians and the dwarves are rather closed-lipped about it. [Dragon  #191 - 68, #243 - 90, #265 - 58, FTAA - 67, WGR4 - 93]


    The Ice-Shard Tome

    The Ice-Shard Tome


    Finally, the book contains an accurate map to the Hanging Glacier of Alisedran, with notation in no language known in the Flanaess, either current or ancient. [Dragon #243 - 89]


    The Hanging Glacier of Alisedran

    Another sight believed to be a holy place for Telchur and for over 450 years, is the Hanging Glacier of Alisedran. This structure, found in 113 CY by the explorer after whom it is named, supposedly lies somewhere in the Corusk Mountains. Though the priests of Telchur still search for it, the barbarians of the Thillonrian Peninsula bear them no great love and have made the search a fruitless one to date. [Dragon #265 - 58]


    122 CY  Further buffer was required if the new lands were to be protected from further incursions by the Barbarians. The Fruztii were broken, and the Overking wished to capitalize on their weakness. General Sir Pelgrave Ratik of Winetha was commanded to lead an expeditionary force to push the Aerdian frontier back to the foothills of the Griff Mountains.

    Ratik and his forces inaugurated their expedition by crossing Kalmar Pass, taking the town of Bresht in a blustery winter campaign that cost the Fruztii dearly. After brokering an alliance with the dwarven lords of the eastern Rakers, Ratik proceeded to force a retreat of the Fruztii up the narrow coast and into the northern fastness of the Timberway. He wisely refused to follow them into an obvious trap and instead broke off the pursuit and fortified his gains. He was immediately hailed a hero in the south and his legend grew quickly. [LGG - 89,90]


    He established a fort overlooking Grendep Bay at Onsager Point that he named Marner, and used it as a base to solidify his gains. He fostered an alliance with the dwerfolk, with the gnomes. And he was also fair with those Fruztii who remained on their freeholds, so long as they declared fealty to the Overking.


    128 CY  The Fruztii and Schnai pooled their strength to launch a concentrated naval attack on Marner. They almost defeated Ratik and his forces, for theirs were far greater in number than his. But Sir Percival Ratik knew that he could never defeat such a force in the field, so he set the approaches to Marner aflame, forcing the Barbarians into a narrow salient where they were cut to pieces by the siege engines of his fort and a squadron of the Imperial Navy. Bruised, the Barbarians retreat, only to find their longships ablaze.


    130 CY  The Overking was pleased and elevated Pelgrave to Baron, and gifted him the Timberway as his personal fief. His doing so was a small thing, it cost him nothing. And the Timberway was hardly secure and he and Sir Percival knew it; but Percival was pleased, too, nonetheless, and he campaigned hard to defeat what resistance remained there. And so, again, the Overking was pleased. The walled town of Bresht was renamed Ratikhill in honour of Sir Percival’s victory. That too was another small thing, and that too cost the Overking nothing.

                The overking was sufficiently impressed with the victory that in 130 CY he elevated Pelgrave Ratik to the aristocracy, granting him the title of baron and the new lands as a personal fief. The family of Ratik gained the status of a minor noble house within the Great Kingdom, The walled town of Bresht was renamed Ratikhill in honor of the new baron, and it quickly prospered from trade with Spinecastle passing through Kalmar Pass. [LGG - 90]                


    167 CY  Monduiz Dephaar was born in Bellport to noble lineage. He was elevated at a young age to its Barony when his family fell to Fruztii raids along the Solnor Coast.


    c.         187 CY              
    Monduiz 
    As a member of the Knights Protector, Monduiz Dephaar distinguished himself defending against the seasonal Barbarian raids, fighting alongside such heroes as Lord Kargoth. He fought with a fierceness that was frightening to behold, and in time, as his reputation spread up and down the coast, his name came to be known and then feared by the Barbarians. His atrocities were overlooked, initially; but eventually they could not be ignored. The Knights censured him, but he carried on unabated, then shunned; and in his fury, he left, and settled for a while among the Schnai, where his sword was welcomed, and where he could continue to raid and vent his rage upon the Fruztii.


                198 CY     The Sage Selvor the Younger proclaimed a coming time of strife and living death for the Great Kingdom. Those in power had no ears for such words in their time of unprecedented contentment.


    200 CY     Leukish founded.

    Leukish began as a trading post between Ferrond and Nyrondal. Later the Duchy of Urnst's own treasures, precious metals and stones, were discovered, and the city flourished as the duchy's size and wealth grew. [WG8 - 58]


    213 CY  Royal Astrologers at Rel Astra proclaimed the coming of the Age of Sorrow, vindicating the disgraced Sage Selvor the Younger.


    The new Overking Zelcor began to distance himself from the Knights Protector, for public opinion had swayed against them and their favour.


    233 CY The fell sword Druniazth, servant of Tharizdun, was discovered in the Rift Canyon “by a group of illithids, who traded it to drow merchants in 233 CY. Their caravan, however, was attacked and destroyed somewhere in the Underdark between the Rift Canyon and the Crystalmists and the blade passed out of living memory.” [Dragon #294 - 96]


    254 CY  Far from the influence of the Malachite Throne, the Viceroyalty of Ferrond declared independence from the Great Kingdom, and was thereafter called Furyondy. This marks the beginning of the dissolution of the Great Kingdom. Never again would their influence reach as far. In truth, its influence had not swayed Ferrond for some time.


    Thrommel I crowned in the city of Dyvers. 

    The heir to Viceroy Stinvri (the Viceroyalty had become hereditary some years previously) was crowned in Dyvers as Thrommel I, King of Furyondy, Prince of Veluna, Provost of the Northern Reaches, Warden General of the Vesve Forest, Marshall of the Shield Lands, Lord of Dyvers, etc. [Folio - 10]                


    The migration of Pholtusians from the Great Kingdom increased with the independence of Furyondy, citing religious persecution. The people there had turned away from the Flan gods, remembering the time of the Ur-Flan and Occluded Empire, and having embraced the gods of Oerid, they no longer wished to be reminded of those times and of Pholtus’ failure. Most travel through Nyrond and settle in the western valleys of the Rakers among the Flan in a semi-independent Flannae state.

    [Their message] is simple: "There is now only one hope of salvation, Pholtus of the Blinding Light. Only those blinded to iniquity and its lures can hope to prevail in these terrible times. Look at how the rich live while you travail to pay their taxes; is this right? But this is how Nyrond is. Hence, Nyrond must be changed, and we're the men to do it, just as we are the men to root out the evil within these lands which matches the evils of Iuz and Aerdi outside." [WGR4 The Marklands - 66]


    Tenh, still independent of mind, wished a return to their own dominion. They had heard of the Great Kingdom’s fall into depravity and despotism, and encouraged by the its attention being drawn increasingly inward as the Death Knights ran amok and its provinces gradually sought their own council, they declared independence. They prepared for what response might come. And waited.


    Chendl
    283-288 CY         The capital of Furyondy had always been Dyvers. Dyvers was prosperous, Dyvers was sprawling, and Dyvers, as one might expect of a thriving port, could be, and was, a den of vice and iniquity. Steeped in profit and pleasure, Dyvers had grown secular, and Thrommel III had desired a devout and shining city befitting the glory of The Blinding Light. He had Chendl remade, and moved his court and government there, to be closer to the Archclericy at Voll.

    [S]everal decades after Furyondy as such was formed, the king, Thrommel III, decided he needed a new capital. Thus, a new Chendl was built: a beautiful wealthy, clean, and peaceful city, a city of wide canals and graceful temples. It took five years for the city to progress from plans to reality, and thereafter it has remained unchanging . . . perfect. [WG8 - 83]








    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, Return to White Plume Mountain, WGR4 The Marklands, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, From the Ashes Box Set, The Adventure Begins, Book of Artifacts, The Oerth Journal, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 82, 191, 243, 256, 265, 293, 294, 299.


    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    P-E-A-C-E by huseyinkara
    Keraptis, by Wayne Reynolds, Return to White Plume Mountain, 1999

    Hag by jay-emery
    Heretic by morkardfc

    Vision-in-the-Flames by cobaltplasma

    Rain of Colourless Fire, by Erol Otus, World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980

    The-Frozen-Tundra-Of-Arbistoma by tacosauceninja

    Little-Winterberg by martinamm

    Hand and Eye of Vecna, from Book of Artifacts, 1993

    Forbidden-Tome by 1157981433
    Glacier by mndcntrl

    Monduiz Dephaar, by Adam Rex, from Dragon #291, 2002
    Bastion by oliverbeck


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 09-25-2021 12:42 pm
    History of the Oerth, Part 11, Of The Winds of War


    The Hold of Stonefist

    War can come from the most unexpected places. Who would have thought that the first blow to fall in a war that would engulf the known world would land in the Hold of Stonefist? No one.
    But such was the case.


    579 CY  

    The mage sits down in front of the five Blades of Corusk and meditates for a minute. His hands move over the blades as he reads the magical writings. A frigid wind comes from the west, blowing the powdery snow in swirling whirlwinds. The words coming from his mouth sound like gibberish to you. As he reads the spell, a loud thunderclap sounds above you. As the echoes of the thunder die down, the swords shake and hum. Suddenly the swords disappear with an abrupt popping noise, and the snow turns to steam beneath them. You all hear a sharp “crack” behind you, and a sudden blast of wind pushes you forward. Surprised, the mage stops reading and spins around to see what happened.
    As you turn about, you see a barbarian giant standing before you. Appearing perfectly human, except for his 12-foot height, the man smiles down at you with a kind face. Two huge wolves stand on each side of him: these four beasts eye you with amber eyes. Meanwhile, the troops from the north and the south-west continue approaching.
    “Thank you, my children. You have awakened me from centuries of cursed sleep. In gratitude, I shall grant you your most intimate desires as long as they do not alter the path events are destined to follow. Speak to me.” [WGS2 - 41]


    ‘The deity looks over your heads toward the northeast. A smile breaks across his leathery face, showing pearly white, perfect teeth. “Look, the great armies of the Ice Barbarians come to fight at our side. Behind them, the Snow and Frost Barbarians prepare to join the fray. Our peoples are finally as one. This is the way it was meant to be since the dawn of Oerth.” As you turn to look behind you, the faint sound of seal skin drums and mammoth tusk horns reaches your ears. Riding on beasts ranging from horses to musk oxen, the barbarians approach just as the Great God said. The god turns and looks at the ap- proaching enemy armies. A glint of pleasure gleams from his night-black pupils. He heaves a sigh and turns to look at you. “It has begun.” [WGS2 - 42]


    Vatun, Great God of the North had returned, and he had a plan for his people. They would conquer the North, as they had always been destined to do. And not just the North, they were destined to conquer the world.

    Vatun's appearance surprised even those most convinced by the rumors of the Five Blades, including the barbarian kings who had used the rumors to further their power. Vatun must have somehow proved his power to these doubtful rulers, for the kings of Fruztii, Schnai, and Cruski each surrendered their ancestral sovereignty to "all-powerful" Vatun. [Wars - 7]


    All the barbarians were inflamed by a rumor that swept their lands: that four of five legendary magical swords, the Swords of Corusk, had been found, and that when the fifth was obtained, a "Great God of the North" would rise and lead them to conquest and greatness. The fifth sword never was found, but one calling himself Vatun and claiming to be the Great God of the North appeared before the barbarians of Fruztii, Schnai, and Cruskii, and they swept west into Stonefist under his leadership. [FtAA - 6]


    It wasn’t Vatun. It was Iuz. And he set them upon the Holds of Stonefist.

    The first strike was a stroke of unusual cunning and ingenuity. Constructing an elaborate fiction about a "Great God Vatun," Iuz managed to ally the barbarian nations together. Deluded by dreams of greatness, the barbarians subjugated the Hold of Stonefist. [WGR4 Iuz the Evil - 3]

    The Barbarians swept across the Stonehold with fierce resolve. They would not be defeated. Vatun had returned and said as much. Sevvord Redbeard, Master of the Hold, desperately tried to fend off their assault, but he could not muster his forces fast enough.

    Even as Vatun appeared before his dread-filled followers, the Fists converged upon them to stop the ceremony. In the brief battle that ensued, Vatun easily routed the Fists and thereby won the prostrate praise of the barbarians. [Wars - 7]

    Redbeard was run down, and brought before Vatun for judgement. No one can say what the Great God of the North said to the Redbeard, Vatun cleared the hall of all but him and the vanquished leader, but when the audience was concluded, the Redbeard had committed not only his atamans, but his life to that northern god.

    The Fists were overwhelmed and their leader, Seword Redbeard, underwent a dramatic, if not to say magical, change of allegiance. [FtAA - 6]


    “I have seen the light of a Great Northern God, my brothers,” the Redbeard said to his atamans, “and he showed me the error of our ways! We have spent our strength against the barbarians and the horsemen of the Barrens for too long. We have dribbled it away in small raids, when we should have crushed them under our Fists! Let us not waste it any longer when there is greater loot to be had in the south! The riches of Tenh is ours for the taking! Who’s with me?”

    And although they did not entirely trust the barbarians and their northern god, they trusted in the Redbeard’s strength.

    The Hold of Stonefist remained a threat to Tenh for more than a century, and ultimately brought about its destruction. The first action of the Greyhawk Wars was an invasion of war bands from Stonehold, though this was unlike any previous attack. The Fists had new tactics, and demonic assistance, that overwhelmed the defenses of the city of Calbut, and soon thereafter, Nevond Nevnend. Had the duke been in the city at the time, perhaps he could have rallied his troops to stand; as it was, both citizens and soldiers gave way to panic—though in hindsight, many have suggested that this was demonically inspired fear. The duke and his family fled to the County of Urnst, leaving their nation to the Stoneholders, and the clerics and demons of Iuz.  [LGG - 113]


    The men of Stonefist never conquered [the] castles [of Dour Prentress] and they have no living occupants now. The Fists have no desire to meet the ferocious fen trolls and the eastern lands are virtually unpatrolled by them. All that is known for certain is that madness and plague broke out among the thousands of defenders of these castles as the Fists stormed into Atherstone. Of course, Iuz had a hand in this. Some of the survivors say that fiends stalked the battlements and that black stinking fogs drifted across the walls for a week of unremitting horror. The defenders fled, some insane enough to flee even into the fens, and others from Dour Pentress went across the border to the Brilliant Castles where a few score now serve the Theocracy. The defenders left much behind such as wands, scrolls, magical weapons, magical arrows, and other valuables. Whether the minds and bodies of those entering could survive the ordeal they would face is most uncertain. To be sure, the Fists are wiser than to try. [WGR5 - 70,71]


    The Subjection of Tenh

    The Duke and Duchess of Tenh were as surprised by the fury of the assault as the Redbeard had been. Though their forces fought valiantly to defend their lands, they were stretched thin, having recently fought to clear the Troll Fens. Their army was entrenched upon the Theocracy, and by the time they had marched to face the Fists, their cause was already lost. The Duke and Duchess fled to the County of Urnst, and their people to the borders of Nyrond.

    Within less than two weeks the capital of Tenh had fallen as well, and its duke fled to the County of Urnst. The rhelt of Stonehold was now overlord of Tenh, though under the supernatural control of Iuz, for a powerful and nearly undetectable charm had been placed on [Redbeard]. [LGG - 109]


    All good things must come to an end. Iuz dared too much. He commanded the Barbarians to attack Ratik, and they began to doubt their newly returned northern god. Raiding the Sea Barons and the North Kingdom was one thing, so too striking Tenh, but they had kin in Ratik. And, for the Fruztii, a friend.

    The Vatun ruse did not last long. Commanding the barbarians to strike into Ratik, a long-time ally of the barbarians, was a mistake by Iuz, some think. Others say that he wished to abandon this part of the Flanaess to confusion, since its role as a ruse and feint was played to the full. In any event, the barbarians began to slink quietly home, though the Fists remained in Tenh and occupy it still. Now Iuz could concentrate fully on the war. [WGR5 - 4]


    581 CY  Not all things go as planned. Sometimes, the most unexpected things can happen, things that even the Old One could never have planned for.

    Gradually, Vecna’s cult grew and he assumed the powers of a demigod. The process took a long time—gathering his power, responding to his worshipers, and settling himself among the greater powers. Vecna persevered and eventually reached the point where he was accepted as a minor demigod in the legions of evil.

    Guaranteed immortality, Vecna was still not satisfied. With his scheming mind, he has devised a plan to ascend to greater godhood and humble his rival deities. With his usual long patience, Vecna has been working on this plan for centuries. Working through his avatar or others, the Whispered One has carefully found seven magical items. Each item has been placed in a secret location, the position strategic to his plans.

    These items, when fully powered, will cast a mystical web of energy over all of Oerth, cutting off all other gods from their followers. Already they are creating interference on a local scale. Only Vecna will receive the adulation of his worshipers: the other gods will weaken and leave the path open for Vecna to rise to the fore. Then the Whispered One will open the gates of time and bring forth his faithful followers from the past. Feeding on their devotions, Vecna will become the greatest of gods.

    There is only one difficulty that remains for Vecna—finding his Eye and Hand. They are the final keys to fully empower the web, the final keys that open the gate of time. He knows not where these are. In the final confrontation with Kas, when they were sundered from his body, the gods (perhaps foreseeing his powers) hid them from his senses. Vecna cannot detect their energies; he can only find them by seeing their effects on others, much like finding a boat by the wake it creates. Too many times he has come close, only to have them escape his grasp. This time, he is determined not to fail. [WGA4 Vecna Lives! - 7]


    The Circle of Eight sensed a great danger, but somehow their divinations were blocked. Mordenkainen sent some of his most trusted mages to investigate. And they died. Every last one of them: Bigby, Drawmij, Jallarzi Sallavarian, Nystul, Otiluke, Otto, Rary, and Tenser. Of course, death was not the end of all of them, but that is another tale. Mordenkainen sent others; their path led ever west and the name Vecna was raised time and again. And Kas. And Iuz.

    Tovag Baragu

    Their investigations led them to Tovag Baragu, where they came upon an avatar of Vecna, who had opened a portal to Vecna’s past, the ruins of the palace of the Spidered Throne.


    Through the gateway can be clearly seen a great mass of people. They are all surging and milling forward, their attention focused on the window as if they can see through into the present. They, too, seem drawn by Turim’s chant. The first are just preparing to step through the opening. [WGA4 - 66]


    Against such odds, the Circle’s heros couldn’t hope to win, so they did the unthinkable, they summoned Iuz, for only a demigod could hope to defeat a demigod.

    Iuz came, and Iuz battled Vecna, and very nearly perished. He didn’t perish, though, but had had he, the world might have been in very dire straights. Had Vecna won, he would have severed Oerth from the celestial and outer planes, and it would certainly have plunged into an age darker than it had ever known, an age from which it would never be freed. But, he hadn’t; and it hadn’t. But Iuz didn’t win either. He and Vecna plunged into the portals of Tovag Baragu. What became of them? The heroes couldn’t say.

    And so, strangely, to our most beleaguered incredulity, we owe a debt of gratitude to Iuz, for if it were not for him, the universe would have been plunged into darkness. But let’s not get carried away, his confrontation with Vecna gave Iuz ideas. He imagined a world which bowed to him, and him alone.


    584-585 CY         The Loftwood burned. The orcs had attacked Ratik and been thrust aside. Little Ratik! In their rage, the orcs set their wood ablaze. And when the men of Ratik rushed to save their precious trees, the orcs meant to set them ablaze, too.

    The site of a great Ratikkan victory over Bone March orcs (578 CY), the wood was partly despoiled by nonhumans setting fires (584—585 CY). It is once again a battleground between Ratik in the north and orcs and gnolls in the south. [LGG - 141]


    584 CY  The Bone March skirmishes with Ratik and Nyrond.

    Bone March is now steeped in discord, ruled by a coalition of invading nonhuman tribes, particularly orcs, gnolls, and ogres. Humanity, which once thrived here, is generally enslaved and subject to the capricious whims of petty bandit chiefs and nonhuman warlords who raid Ratik and even North Kingdom at will, going as far as Nyrond and the Flinty Hills to pillage. [LGG - 35]

    Despite the fact that those tribes abut the North Kingdom still raided those towns with impunity, the Bone March still expected the debt of their having helped the North Kingdom by attacking Nyrond to be paid: "We helped you fight Nyrond, now you help us storm Ratik." They and the North Kingdom shared a border, and common interests, were mentioned. Grennell could not help but notice the implied threat.

    Grennel

    For himself, Grenell doesn't give a fig about Ratik. Unfortunately, no few of his most powerful local rulers care a great deal about Ratik—as do many ordinary folk. Many of them share the same Oeridian-Flan racial mix as the men of Ratik, and they admire the rugged bravery of Ratik's warriors in having kept the humanoids at bay for so long. They are opposed to any plan to conquer Ratik, and some of them are ready to go and fight for Ratik should Grenell dare act against that nation.

    There is another twist to this. The barbarian nations are strongly allied with Ratik. At the present time, their raids are focused on the Sea Barons and they do not often raid most points along the eastern North Province seaboard, save for Bellport. This is because many of the rulers and armies of that eastern seaboard have managed to make a peace of sorts with the fierce [Suel] barbarians, Prince Elkerst of Atirr being a notable example. Indeed, the barbarians increasingly trade with some North Province coastal towns and villages, and that trade brings much needed wood, furs, and other commodities in short supply in North Province. [Ivid - 44]


    Kaport Bay

    Kaport Bay is the most rugged of North Province's towns, a whaling station and fishing town of 5,200 souls. Together with its twin satellite villages of Low and High Scarport, this town has a characteristic atmosphere. The people here are hardy men and women with little time for frivolity—or outsiders. They term themselves "Kaportlanders" and are proud of this. Flan blood is strong, and the Kaportlanders are no friends of Grenell and his court. Kaport Bay maintains three stout war galleys used to protect its whaling fleet, not least against the attacks of deep-sea kraken in the Solnor Ocean. Barbarians rarely raided here in the past, given their blood ties with the fair-haired Kaportlanders, and they do not do so now. [Ivid - 56]


    Grennel thought on what might happen if he honoured his debt to the orcs. If he attacked Ratik, the Barbarian raids would surely recommence. His was a precarious balance. And besides, he’d already aided the orcs when he sent agents to liberate the Seal of Marner from the Baronial Vault. And they did, and they passed the Seal on the orcs waiting in the Kelmar Pass. It wasn’t his fault the orcs had lost the Seal to the Ratikkans pursuing them.

    Besides, hadn’t he already helped them enough?

    The influence of North Province (now North Kingdom) has led to greater organization and military effectiveness among these barbaric tribes. [LGG - 35]


    Trade shrank as the Tilva Strait closed, and piracy had plagued the seas north of it since, if the reduction of trade could actually be conceived as its cause, for indeed, the Solnor Coast had always been beleaguered by pirates and privateers.

    In truth, the Scarlet Brotherhood controled the sea lanes between the Aerdi Sean and the Densac Gulf, and the Azure Sea.

    Spindrift Sound itself is navigable, but shipping is menaced by the Scarlet Brotherhood and the activities of a few pirates based on the eastern Medegian coast. [LGG - 68]


    Frolmar Ingerskatti
    The Lordship of the Isles quickly became a hotbed of intrigue. The new prince, a little-known Suel lord named Frolmar Ingerskatti of Ganode, immediately withdrew the Lordship from the Iron League and set about lending his naval forces to the maneuvers of the Scarlet Brotherhood, including the blockade of the Tilva Strait that continues to the present day. 
    [LGG - 72]


    The Brotherhood commands the southern seaways, with naval blockades in the shark-infested waters of the Tilva Strait, and in the so-called "Southern Gates" of the Azure Sea, between the Amedio Jungle and the Tilvanot Peninsula neat the Olman Isles. [LGG - 98]


    Ratik understood its peril, and it began an ambitious project, one that taxed its resources, but was deemed essential by Luxnol. What good would minding the nations finances do were they slaughtered by the orcs and gnolls to the south, and the Fists to the north. Castles and fortresses and redoubts sprang up along the Kelmar Pass and the Flinty Hills, and in the northern Timberway. More rose up within the Kelten Pass, for surely the Fists would come again.

    Ratik is developing an ambitious castlebuilding program, constructing strong keeps along its southern margins not far from the foothills of the eastern spur of the Rakers. They are digging in for a long struggle against the humanoids of the Bone March. Ratik is seeking mercenaries to defend the builders during the coming spring and summer. [FtAA - 73]


    c.586-591 CY      Grennell wondered about the tactics of the orcs, for in truth, they had developed a cunning and patience hitherto unknown to those savage tribes, and strategies he had not taught them. Rumours abounded that the hierarchs of the Horned Society were not dead after all, that a few, if not all, had escaped Iuz’s wrath, and were now headquartered along the coast of the Pomarj, or even in the Bright Desert or Rift Canyon. Rumours persisted that they had found their way into the Bone March.

    The Hierarchs of the Horned Society
    The Hierarchs and the rest of the leadership of the Horned Society were presumed destroyed in Coldeven 583 CY, during the night of the Blood-Moon Festival. Demonic forces sent by Iuz slew the Hierarchs there and allowed Iuz to quietly take command of their nation. It is possible that one or more Hierarchs survived the incident and is attempting to rebuild the organization, but most assume that the group is no longer a threat. Still, Arkalan Sammal, the renowned sage of Greyhawk, made an interesting appraisal based on reports gathered by the old sage in recent years. The society, he claims, survives in the present day and has metamorphosed from a group centralized within a single nation to one with its secret tendrils buried across the Flanaess. "The Horned Society must surely have known that the return of Iuz would spell its ultimate downfall," he reasons. "It would have planned for this eventuality, most likely by moving its operations out of Molag before the Old One's axe fell." Rumors during the last five years have placed the group's headquarters along the coast of the Pomarj, in Bone March, or even in the Bright Desert or Rift Canyon. Most people no longer care, for Iuz is now perceived as the true threat. However, suggests Arkalan, the Horned Society has become even more dangerous since its dispersal. As the Archmage Mordenkainen was heard to comment last year during a conclave in Greyhawk, "Are their members now dozens, hundreds, thousands? Where are they headquartered? What do they plot? Can we rest assured of the death of the Unnamable Hierarch? To the one who could answer these questions would go the thanks of a free people." 
    [LGG - 156,157]


    Fellreev Forest: This entire expanse of birch and scrub oak is claimed by Iuz, though the Old One enjoys little power here. Most of the forest is ruled by clans of sylvan elves allied with Reyhu refugees since the Greyhawk Wars. A significant force of undead is also here, rumored to be led by an escaped Horned Society Hierarch. Iuz gains little by sending traditional soldiers here, so he uses the Fellreev as a hunting ground for trained monsters. [LGG]


    586 CY  The Flight of Fiends

    In Coldeven 586, Canon Hazen of Veluna employed the Crook of Rao, a powerful artifact, in a special ceremony that purged the Flanaess of nearly all fiends inhabiting it. Outsiders summoned by Iuz, Ivid, or independent evils fell victim to this magical assault, which became known as the Flight of Fiends. [LGG - 16]


    No one knows how many demons survived the Flight of Fiends in 586 CY; few have surfaced. [LGG - 61]


    Alain IV, Archbaron Lexnol’s son, was never a patient man. He had a vision the Bone March and Ratik as one, just as his father and the Marquis Clement had intended, and had discussed. He vowed to make it so. And thus, he launched a raid to repatriate Bone March.

    It failed.

    Disastrously.

    Bone March is now steeped in discord, ruled by a coalition of invading nonhuman tribes, particularly orcs, gnolls, and ogres. Humanity, which once thrived here, is generally enslaved and subject to the capricious whims of petty bandit chiefs and nonhuman warlords who raid Ratik and even North Kingdom at will, going as far as Nyrond and the Flinty Hills to pillage. Nomadic bandit gangs, survivors and descendants of the onceproud human culture, prey on one and all. Only the small, autonomous county of Knurl is secure at present, aside from a handful of nearly forgotten gnome strongholds in the Blemu Hills. [LGG - 35]


    Infighting soon broke out between several of the nonhuman tribes, and the sides remained stalemated until 586 CY, when Alain IV, Archbaron Lexnol's son and heir, launched a raid into the fallen realm that was composed in large part of expatriates of the march, it was a doomed mission. The unusually organized nonhumans laid a trap for the force in the hills north of Spinecastle. Horrified survivors who escaped back to Ratikhill reported that the trapped raiders were dragged from their horses, torn apart, and eaten alive before their eyes. Raids into the archbarony from Bone March have resumed. [LGG - 37]


    Baron Lexnol collapsed from the news and was rendered unfit to rule. Lady Evaleigh, Alain’s wife, understood that were he to fail, Ratik would be lost, so she hid his infirmity at first, ruling in his proxy. But the state of his health could not be hidden forever. And soon, she dropped the pretence of her speaking on his behest and became Her Valorous Prominence, Evaleigh, the Lady Baroness of Ratik. Not all were pleased. The Fruztii had loved the old Baron, and the Schnai were less inclined to treat with a woman, especially one as young as she.

    Upon hearing of his son's demise, old Baron Lexnol collapsed. He awakened the next morning with a shock of white hair and a palsy that confined him to bed. Lady Evaleigh, now widowed, assumed the throne and has guided Ratik through the trouble that has befallen it. Raids from Bone March have become progressively stronger and more organized the last few years. Her father's realm, the county of Knurl, was attacked a few months ago and was only saved by the snows of winter. [LGG - 91]


    Across the Solnor Sea

    Trade need be found if the markets to the west were closed to the East. Maybe there were markets to the east? There was the rumoured Fireland. And there had to be other lands east of there. There was only one way to find out. Small Fleet from Asperdi (Sea Barons) sets sail across the Solnor Ocean.

    Ships from resource-hungry lands of the eastern Flanaess are striking out in search of trading partners, hoping to rebuild from the wars. The Sea Barons and the east coast city-states of Rel Astra, Ountsy, and Roland are now exploring the mini-continent of Hepmonaland, returning with fantastic tales and riches. (Many fall prey to disease, pirates, monsters, and privateers from the Scarlet Brotherhood and Lordship of the Isles, however.) Several major kingdoms full of new peoples are said to lie in this tropical land, some rumored to be at war with the slave-taking Brotherhood. [TAB]


    Several ships captained by half-elven smugglers joined a flotilla of the Sea Barons in their journey over the Solnor. They had an ulterior motive. The half-elves were reportedly searching for the last members of the dispossessed Council of Five of Lendore.

    In the years since the Greyhawk Wars, some of the surviving exiles have joined together with half-elven captains on the Medegian coast. It is an open secret that they are smugglers, willing to transport any cargo for a price. Several of these ships secretly accompanied the flotilla of the Sea Barons in their voyage over the Solnor in 586-589 CY. The Spindrift exiles were thought to be searching for the last members of the Council of Five, who had fled across the waves when the clerics of Sehanine usurped their authority. It is not clear what benefit they seek by contacting their deposed leaders, but the half-elves clearly wish to return to their birthplace and free it of the magical affliction of Sehanine. [LGG - 69,70]


    588 CY  What became of Vecna and Iuz? Who can say? But where Vecna could not be scyed, Iuz somehow remained upon Oerth. Iuz’s empire remained intact. And his tyranny marched on, unabated.

    But, all good things must come to an end. The fiends had fled and Iuz was stretched thin, tasked not only with administering his newly acquired empire, but beset with rebels and banditry and the persistent attacks of those who didn’t appreciate his desire to remake the whole of Flanaess in his own image.

    The use of the Crook of Rao by Canon Hazen of Veluna, in 586 CY, had dire repercussions for Iuz's armies. Bereft of their powerful masters, many lesser nonhumans and ambitious human generals attempted to stage coups throughout the occupied lands, even as rebel bandits and indigenous populations took advantage of the Flight of Fiends to strike back at their oppressors. [LGG - 62]


    It was inevitable that he would lose control of Sevvord Redbeard of Hold of Stonefist. He cared not for that cold and distant land. It had little of value, except grist for the mill. And he knew that it would continue to slip into the state of chaos it has always courted. So, he turned his back on the Stonehold, so as to focus on the conflict that really mattered, Furyondy.

    Sevvord flew into a rage when he awoke and realised that he’d been played a puppet to another’s schemes. He fumed! He raged! And all those within his gaze cowered from his anger. He gathered Fists from across Tenh, and killed every cleric of Iuz he could find, impaling them on posts and leaving them to rot in the wind. He and his slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands, of Tenha slaves when he could not find enough Iuzian clerics to sate his need. He wished to kill more, to line every road with the spiked corpses of an entire nation as a warning to any who might ever try to subjugate him again. However, he had not the time. He need return home. When he ran out of slaves, he left a rearguard to occupy Calbut and marched to drive the hated barbarians from his homeland. He would paint the Kelten Pass with their blood, he promised, and its flowing would thaw the Frozen River for all time.

    For six years after the invasion, the Stoneholders held the Tenha enslaved. The evil of Iuz was present throughout the land as well, though never in plain sight. Perhaps this state of affairs would have persisted indefinitely had not an unnatural rage come upon the rhelt of Stonehold, during a meeting in the ruins of the duke's palace at Nevond Nevnend. [LGG - 113,114]

    By means not yet known, Iuz's charm-like control of Sevvord Redbeard was broken in mid-588 CY. Enraged at the abuse he suffered, Redbeard vowed revenge. [TAB - 22]

    In an astonishing turn of loyalty, he gave the command to put the clerics and agents of Iuz to the sword, also letting his warriors murder Tenha slaves out of hand. [LGG - 114]

    Iuz priests, soldiers, and advisors in the area were slaughtered on sight, and Tenh was plunged into bloodshed once again. The Master then ordered a looting of Tenh and a retreat to Nevond Nevnend and Calbut. Stonefist warriors meant to keep this area so as to guard Thunder Pass (called Rockegg Pass by the Tenha), the route through the Griff Mountains back to Stonefist. Reports were already filtering back to the Stonefist troops that a force of Ice and Snow Barbarians was raiding and burning its way across the Hold, and all wished to go home and do battle. [TAB - 22]

    The Fists then withdrew from all but the northernmost part of Tenh, which they still hold. Armies from the Pale and forces loyal to the exiled duke quickly crossed the borders, battling each other for possession of the southern and eastern regions of the duchy, including the Phostwood. [LGG - 114]

    There are 20,000 Stonefist men in Tenh, with conflicting desires. On the one hand, rulership of this fertile land is good, but on the other, their instincts are to pillage, maraud, decimate, and then go home with all the loot they can carry. Instead, they stay here as slave drivers. Spending days overseeing slave farmers is not exactly what Fist men find exciting. The Stonefist nation is young, born in adversity and constant marauding. Constant movement on attack and retreating to defensive fortifications after that attack, not occupying their conquests, is what makes the Stonefist men feel comfortable. There is another problem weighing on the minds of the Fists. Since the sham of the "Great God Vatun” was exposed and barbarian shamans and priests have begun to see that Iuz was behind it all, the Fists face more hostility and raids from their traditional foes, the eastern barbarians. No longer are these two uneasy allies. Having occupied Calbut and secured Thunder Pass is useful to the Fists, but keeping men in Tenh when they are needed to defend Stonefist against the barbarians is irksome. Many seek to go home, putting Tenh through one last ordeal of slaughter and pillage before they go. In the interim, many are restless and bored, prone to drunkenness and mindless violence against the Tenhas. [WGR4 - 67]

    [A] many-sided war began in Tenh, involving the mutually hostile forces of Iuz, Stonehold, the Pale, and Tenha expatriates. The war goes on today. [LGG - 16]


    590 CY  The fleet from the Sea Barons had set sail three long years earlier and had not yet returned. Had they found Fireland? If they had, that is a tale for another day. But in truth, whether they had found Fireland or not, Fireland found Ratik. One day, much to Marner’s surprise, a longship from Fireland sailed into its port, its flanks scorched, its sails torn and tattered.

    From Distant Fireland
    In Marner, capital of Ratik, a lone long ship sailed into port in late 590 CY. The pale barbarians aboard the ship spoke a dialect of the Cold Tongue and claimed to be from a distant northeastern island called Fireland. They came with four other ships in search of help for an undisclosed problem facing their people; their other long ships were sunk by sea monsters or Ice Barbarian raiders. The aged explorer Korund of Ratik can supply maps and some information to anyone wishing to return to Fireland with these barbarians, but he is too infirm to travel and is growing senile as well. Frost Barbarians believe “Firelanders” are descended from sailers from the Thillonrian Peninsula who settled there centuries ago; the barbarians wish to establish contact with them. The glaciated land is called Fireland for its volcanoes, visible for many miles at night as red fountains in the sea.
     [TAB - 38]


    Ratik:     Alain was not the only one to desire the freedom of the Bone March. Lady Evaleigh wishes the same, for her father’s city of Knurl is hard pressed and in need of succour. And in truth, war will continue between the Bone March and Ratik, as it must, for each cannot rest while the other exists. The Bone March shall never forgive Ratik or the Frost Barbarians for their incursions into its territory.

    In 590 CY, a full-scale assault over the Blemu Hills into Knurl was also attempted, but failed. Thus far, the defenses of the count have held firm, but he expects another wave of attacks this year. [LGG]


    Humanoid tribes and bandit gangs appear to be cooperating of late. Masked advisors were seen by spies in the councils of the orcs and gnolls at Spinecastle. Treasure seekers have entered the abandoned keep at Spinecastle, but few have returned alive. Without aid from Ratik, Count Dunstan of Knurl might ally with Ahlissa or North Kingdom to save his realm. [LGG - 37]


    Ambassadors from the Scarlet Brotherhood were spied in Djekul. Ratik wants to expand the alliance against Bone March and North Kingdom to include the Snow Barbarians, but the Schnai will negotiate only with Lexnol. Agents of the Sea Barons have approached Evaleigh to gain access to Marner. A half-orc spy working for North Kingdom was discovered in Ratikhill but escaped. [LGG - 91]


    Frost Barbarians:              Nobles from Ratik have great influence at court but are not always trusted. Scarlet Brotherhood agents are well received but bring strange news and promises. Merchants from the Lordship of the Isles have a growing presence, offering unusually generous trade deals that make some jarls suspicious. Hundgred's court is growing isolated from other northern barbarian nations. [LGG - 45]


    Snow Barbarians:             An intermittent war smolders with Stonehold. King Ingemar generously feasts and rewards his chaotic jarls to insure their loyalty. Frost Barbarian jarls also being feted to gain their friendship and influence; this is viewed as blatant bribery, but it works. The king receives Scarlet Brotherhood agents at court, but privately says he does not trust them. [LGG - 106]


    Ice Barbarians:  Royal hatred of the Scarlet Brotherhood grows, as does distrust of the Frost Barbarians. Stonehold accuses the Ice Barbarians of attacking Vlekstaad. There are secret parlays between the Snow and Ice Barbarians for raids against the Sea Barons and possibly the Lordship of the Isles. [LGG - 55]


    Stonefist:            Rhelt Sevvord is the absolute master of these people, and his troops are expected to obey him without question. The punishment for disobedience is slow death, though the rhelt always rewards his loyal troops with plunder and captives. So far, Reword Redbeard has maintained his personal authority and become the most important figure in his nation's history since Stonefist himself. Still, many feel that his time has passed, and wait for a leader who will be strong enough to challenge him. [LGG - 109]

    Revenge is widely sought against the northern barbarians for the burning of Vlekstaad, but Iuz's forces are hated even more. Conspiracies are suspected between Iuz and several war band leaders to gain control of Stonehold. Murders of war band leaders (by their fellows) are on the rise. [LGG - 110]


    The Sea Baron Fleet returned from expedition across the Solnor.

    Ships from resource-hungry lands of the eastern Flanaess are striking out in search of trading partners, hoping to rebuild from the wars. The Sea Barons and the east coast city-states of Rel Astra, Ountsy, and Roland are now exploring the mini-continent of Hepmonaland, returning with fantastic tales and riches. (Many fall prey to disease, pirates, monsters, and privateers from the Scarlet Brotherhood and Lordship of the Isles, however.) Several major kingdoms full of new peoples are said to lie in this tropical land, some rumored to be at war with the slave-taking Brotherhood. [TAB - 38]

    The Sea Barons do not desire a permanent alliance with the Cities of the Solnor Compact, distrusting Drax's motives, but they feign friendship. The Sea Barons fear assassination or worse by the Scarlet Brotherhood, and treat with strangers in their lands harshly. Expeditions launched to the mysterious south in the last few years have returned with tales of fantastic wonders and riches. [LGG - 100]


    Rovers of the Barrens:   The Rovers are a feeble folk now, but they still mount small raids into neighbouring lands. They spend most of their time hunting bear, wolf and northern deer. They fish the Icy Sea. They harvest pine and fur from the Forlorn Forest. They hunt deer and bison. They lay low. As they must. For they must rebuild their strength, as they did after the Battle of Opicm River.

    A secret alliance with the Wolf Nomads is being negotiated. Scouts are searching for survivors from the scattered war bands, including allied centaurs and elves. Horses are supplied to tribes loyal to new war sachem, Nakanwa. All forces of Iuz that hunt Rovers (including Grossfort) are closely watched, to be either avoided or destroyed. [LGG - 95]


    Iuz:         Iuz retains a precarious hold on the East. The Bandit Kingdoms chaff under his rule. The remains of the Rovers of the Barrens and the remnents of Tenh strain against his rule. Stonehold has no love for Iuz, and he must resort to influence and stratagems to retain control when that does not appeal to his paranoid and visious self, who’d rather rule by bane magics and brute force.

                    Though some remain, the loss of the bulk of Iuz's fiends has resulted in low morale, revolts, and disorganization within an already chaotic regime. [LGG - 63]


    Now embroiled in what Furyondy has termed a "permanent and unalterable state of. war," Iuz's attention has been drawn to his southwestern border, perhaps at the expense of holding in Tenh, the Barrens, and the old Bandit Kingdoms. Though bereft of the bulk of his demonic aid, Iuz's armies are far more numerous than those of his enemies. They not only follow the Old One, but worship him, believing that to fail their infernal master is not only to fail their liege, but their god, as well. [LGG - 62,63]



    Did I not mention Vecna? How thoughtless of me. Last we saw of him, he was imprisoned in the Shadowfell after an epic battle with Iuz back in 581 CY. But, ever the paranoid soul, Vecna would never have lived as long as he had were he not a cagy one. He knew that one day he might be defeated. He knew that one day he might need a means of return. And he prepared for such a day. And that day had come.
    He’d been plotting. He’d been scheming.
    And he wanted revenge. Against Iuz.

    "No matter how powerful a being is, there exists a secret that can destroy him. In every heart is a seed of darkness hidden from all others; find that evil seed, and your enemies are undone. Strength and power come if you know and control what others dare not show. Never reveal all that you know, or your enemies will lake your seed, too." [LGG - 186]


    Vecna

    Despite Vecna’s entrapment in the Demiplane of Dread, long-laid plans have come to fruition. In Vecna’s quest to achieve full and permanent godhood, he instigated several alternative strategies in the millennia of his existence. Many of these designs have played out with little to recommend them, but elements of more sinister schemes continue to move unnoticed.

    One such plan has promise at this point. Sometime during the span of years before his imprisonment, Vecna went to a lot of trouble secretly fabricating two tablets inscribed with a true dweomer in the Language Primeval. Then he buried them in a plausible archeological site. […]

    Though any of a handful of demipowers would have served Vecna’s purpose, the corpse king Iuz took the bait. Having stolen the tablets from their original discoverers several years ago, Iuz has slowly brought his considerable resources to bear on the tablets. The more Iuz learned, the more the ancient formula seemed, to him and all his divinatory means, an ancient dweomer of stupendous strength, whereby a demipower might bootstrap itself to full ascension! […]

    The tablets lie. [Die Vecna Die - 2,3]


    Iuz enacted the formula, and the formula drew the power from him, a conduit to Vecna, who then had the means to break free from the Shadowfell and emerge with the power of a greater god. Vecna then entered the city of Sigil, where he came perilously close to rearranging all existence to his whims. When Vecna was ejected from Sigil by a party of adventurers, Iuz was freed and Vecna returned to Oerth greatly reduced in power, though still a lesser god.


                   


                   







    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, WGA4 Vecna Lives, Die Vecna Die, WGS2 Howl from the North, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine.


    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Stillness-And-The-Fading by ardak
    Failed-Crusade by seven-tenth

    Vatun, by Ken Frank, from WGS2 Howl from the North, 1991
    Tovag Baragu, by Ken Frank, WGA4 Vecna Lives!, 1990

    Portrait-of-a-Rogue by kirin12090

    Pirate-Wizard by kashivan

    Battle Looming by David Shong

    The Death of Alain IV, by Joel Biske, from Living Greyhawk Gazatteer, 2000
    Ocean-Wind by nele-diel

    Arrival Again by David Shong

    Vecna by juliedillon



    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1043 The City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1989
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    2138 Book of Artifacts, 1993
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9253 WG8, Fate of Istus, 1989
    9317 WGS1, The Five Shall be One, 1991
    9337 WGS2, Howl from the North, 1991
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    11442 Bastion of Faith, 1999
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda 

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 09-20-2021 06:09 pm
    I'm published!


    Oerth Journal #31

    Although I'm likely known for my History of Oerth posts, I'm deviating from the norm to announce weird and wonderful news. I'm published!

    I've been writing for years, and have completed two novels and a handful of short stories, none of which could be considered Fantasy, or even speculative in any shape or form. I wrote contemporary stories, and turn of the century novels, one set in Timmins, my hometown, in the year of its birth, and the other a faux history of my great grandfather's supposed experiences in the Great War. I say "supposed history" because he never once spoke about his experiences while in uniform.

    This is not to say that I'm not acquainted with fantasy or Dungeons and Dragons, because I most certainly am. I read science fiction when I began reading, and then Lord of the Rings in my early years of high school. I picked up Gary Gygax's "Gord" of Greyhawk novels, and the original Dragonlance trilogies as they came out. I must say that I tired of the Forgotten Realms novels rather quickly, even as I continued to buy and read them for many years. I preferred the Black Company series to them. Time passed, my friends who played D&D moved away, and the game slipped into the past. That's likely a similar story to many readers of this blog.

    I swapped fantasy for classics and histories and literary novels like Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Faulkner, and a host on Canadiana I won't bore you with since you've likely never heard of Findley and Robertson and so many other Canadian authors, and there I stayed until relatively recently, when the nostalgia bug hit me.

    I was "lured" back to D&D by a friend at work. We played for about a year, then not as we had a hard time finding players not on shiftwork, or inclined to play with a couple of middle-aged old farts. But the desire remained. I browsed my old modules, and felt the tingle of nostalgia. 5e was fine, it's good in fact, but it was those old books of my glory years that brought on those feelings of love and longing. I've a reverence for those old books. That's probably the memory of the love of old friends, but there you have it. I got the bug, and began watching YouTube videos of Matt ColvilleSeth SkorkowskyRPGmodsFanCritical Rolecaptcorajus, and AJ Pickett. I also watched a few streams too, like Lord Gosumba's game and Return to the Bandit Kingdoms and the like.

    And then Legends and Lore, where I was inspired by a number of Greyhawk contributors who'd never lost the love of that old setting. I thought that maybe I could take a stab at contributing to the Greyhawk community, too.

    So, I began a blog. But I had to delve deep into all those old sourcebooks to refamiliarize myself with Greyhawk. Did I really know it, back then? Not really. It was intimidating. It seemed so much work to flesh it all out, when I leafed through its pages. So I created my own stuff, doing exactly what Gary Gygax wanted me to do with the Greyhawk setting; the funny thing is that my homebrew world was almost identical to Ratik and the North Kingdom and the Thillonrian Peninsula. Was I having a Freudian moment when I was brewing it? Maybe.

    Oerth Journal #31

    Long story short, I submitted some of my stuff to Greyhawk Online, and I soon saw my work posted on a website that was not my blog.

    Then the unthinkable happened: they asked me to contribute to the Oerth Journal. My deadline? About 2 weeks. I ought to have panicked. I'd never written fantasy before. But I didn't. I had 1400 words of a short story written within a few hours. And a 1st draft a few days later. I rewrote. I refined. I had a few people read it and make suggestions. Actually, only one person made suggestions. I completed the last rewrite and sent it in for rejection.

    But they did not reject it. They published it! Wonders never cease. So, here it is! I give to you my first published work of worry (we writers are a particularly self-denigrating sort, always convinced that no one will actually like what we've done). But don't just read my story; there's lots of creative material within. And don't stop there, download all 31 issues if you're a fan of that wonderful old setting.
    You must be. You're reading a blog called "Greyhawk Musings," after all.



    Posted: 09-17-2021 11:17 am
    History of Oerth, Part 10: Of The Fog of War


    Fruztii Barbarian

    Iuz was loose upon the land. But he was not alone. The Horned Society had risen in his absence. Banditry had sprung up as prolific as spring flowers across the breadth of the north. The sun that had once shone across the Great Kingdom had set, and in its twilight, that once celestial nation lay in disarray, riven by schemes and betrayal. Orcs had sundered the Bone March. The high seas of the Solnor Coast were beset with conflict and piracy.
    And those east of the Rakers found themselves ever more isolated.

    574 CY  The Fruztii consulted with Ratik concerning what wonders may be hidden within their mountains, eager to see whether the lore of their skalds was to be found in the dusty tomes the southerners worshiped so. So, Ratik consulted the Library in Marner, and those sages and wizards employed there, and within those dusty tomes they exhumed references to lost cities of the Flan, to ancient relics of the dwerfolk, and to sunken cities of the Solnor Sea. And of course, they dug up references to dragons and the hordes they amassed. All these they brought to the attention of the Fruztii, and the Fruztii listened with great interest. And armed with this knowledge, the Fruztii and those of Ratik brave enough to accompany them, they climbed into the Griffs and the Corusks in search of such things.


    The History of The Ice-Shard Tome

    While searching for the lair of a white dragon, the barbarians chanced upon an illusion-cloaked dungeon entrance and ventured inside. There they fought evil, cold-dwelling creatures and passed through strange areas of chilling, life-sapping vapor. Finally, they reached a great ice-encrusted chamber. While the intruders were busy digging out a chest from the ice, their activity awakened the dungeon’s most dangerous guardian: a massive automaton fashioned—so swear the barbarians—of steel-hard ice.

    Although the golem slew two of their number, the barbarians were ultimately triumphant and claimed the icy dungeon’s treasures as their own. Among the hoard was the book that was to become known as the Ice-Shard Tome. Of the book’s owner there was no sign. [Dragon #243 - 89, by Anthony Nixon and David Head.]

    The Frost Barbarians were distrustful of wizardly magic and eager to sell what came to be known as the “Ice-Shard Tome” upon returning from their expedition into the Corusk Mountains to Crylandren, a wizard of Marner.

    He copied what he wished from the book before selling it, and over the next few years, the Ice-Shard Tome was sighted variously in Rel Astra, Rauxes, and Rel Mord, moving ever deeper into central Flanaess. On its journey the tome acquired both its popular title and a sinister reputation.


    The Kelten Pass

    575 CY  Where the Schnai sent promises and warriors to support the Fruztii front lines as a rear guard within the Bluefang-Kelton Pass, Ratik did one better. Although already hard pressed in the south with the orcs and gnolls, they understood that they must also secure their north, so, they sent battle hardened troops to stand shoulder to shoulder with their northern kin. The Fists came, as they knew they must, and they came with ogres and orcs and gnolls, and the alliance held the pass against them. But holding the pass was not enough. Securing it was essential, as was securing the lands north of it.


    The Battle of Kelten Pass, as the Fist called it, only severed to divide the Atamans of Stonefist. Were it not for Vlek’s iron rule, the Hold might have fallen into strife.

    The Coltens, despite generations of servitude to the invaders, have slowly emerged as a competing form of leadership, offering their method of election of the most popular warrior as an alternative to the Rite of Battle Fitness. So many aspiring leaders were slain in the often useless raids of the latter method that its proponents have grown scarce. When Ratik and the Fruztii made peace, the subsequent battles for the Kelten Pass brought several telling defeats to “fists” led by the descendant warband leaders. The Hold was then divided between those who followed the laws laid down by Vlek Col Vlekzed, and those who claimed that Stonefist’s methods are no longer appropriate and the Coltens Feodality should be restored. The nomads and settlers west and around the Frozen River championed the ways of Stonefist. The population around Kelten and the Hraak Forest wished to establish new forms of leadership. [Dragon #57 - 13]


    The successful alliance of the Barony of Ratik and the Frost Barbarians has caused much consternation in Bone March. A joint Ratik-Fruztii army wreaked havoc within the March after the signing. Leaders of the humanoids have determined that the northern alliance must be dissolved. [WoGG - 29]

    Knight of Ratik


    576-582 CY         The alliance between Ratik and the Frost Barbarians was mutually beneficial. Not only had they begun to secure the Fruztii’s northern pass, they had begun to make gains against the Bone March to the south, too. But at a cost. They were small nations, their resources were limited, and were the orcs not soundly defeated, and soon, they knew all might be lost.

    The humanoids so soundly defeated in the campaign of 575 were again raiding over the border, and the gnomes of the Lofthills (west of Loftwood) were being continually besieged. Losses from the campaigns in Bone March and with the Frost Barbarians could be replaced by mercenaries and volunteers from foreign lands only. [Dragon #57 - 14] 


    Zeai upon the Icy Sea

    The Frost Barbarians had not turned their backs on their cousins, the Schnai and Cruski, for they had common cause. They each hated the Hold of Stonefist, as did their distant cousins, the Zeai, the whaling Sea Barbarians who dwelt upon the far Brink Isles and Tusking Strand, east of the Black Ice. And the Snow and Ice Barbarians shared common cause against the North Province and Sea Barons, for life was harsh upon the Thillonrian Peninsula, and thought their seas were plentiful, their slim growing season could not support them.

    The Schnai noticed their Fruztii cousin’s absence from the seas. And they saw their cousin’s increased reliance upon Luxnor of Ratik. But they were not worried. Let them break themselves upon the Fists and the Bone March, the Schnai said. They will weaken beyond recovery, and will be forever under our suzerainty when Ratik finally fell, for fall it must, in the end. 

    And in the Fruztii’s absence, the Schnai increased their raids on the Great Kingdom, knowing that they needn’t share the spoils with them.

    The Schnai weren’t the only ones to note the Fruztii’s increased presence in the northeastern theatre. Tenh had heard of the Frost Barbarian’s alliance with Ratik, and they’d heard of their joint strike into the Bluefang-Kelten Pass, and they sent emissaries to treat with them, for, as they explained to them, we have common cause against the Fists of Stonehold, and the Fruztii listened.


    576 CY  Bonded by blood, and having shed blood to protect one another, the Fruztii and Ratik ratified their bond in the eyes of both their gods, for they knew that their only hope of their standing against their enemies, they would need to stand as one.

    This symbolic parchment was endorsed and blessed by the gods of both Ratik and Fruztii, and the superstitious Frost Barbarians place great store in its safety. [WoGG - 29]


    577 CY  Bellport grew tired of the repeated raids by the Schnai, and demanded the protection due them as a city of the North Province and the Great Kingdom. Lord Captain Aldusc was dispatched from Asperdi of the Sea Barons with a squadron of warships and troops to do just that.

    The warships are now reported to be operating along the coast. Included are no fewer than six large galleys and perhaps a score of other war ships. The troops were divided after landing into main [joining Herzog Grenell] and reserve [defending Bellport's landward approaches] groups. [Dragon #63 - 15]


    Although the Schnai had not raided as far and as often as the Fruztii had in their days of glory, they were no strangers to such things; indeed, they were the most accomplished of seafarers, and they were truly as fierce as their cousins, as were the Cruski. They increased their raids, and their longships swept down the coast, striking the North Province and the Baronial Isles both, luring those who chased them or sought to stop them far out to sea where they could lose them with ease.

    But not all were so lucky.

    Some raiders were met and actions were fought; some slipped through, some turned elsewhere. Reportedly a squadron of seven Schnai longships were set upon whilst sinking the hulks of two provincial merchants, the vessels Marntig and Solos. Guided by the smoke and flames, a flotilla of Baronial warships surprised the barbarians. Three of the Schnai were rammed and sunk. In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the barbarians’ fleet was captured, but the three remaining longships escaped after jettisoning all of their captured cargo.

    In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the barbarians' fleet was captured. Jarl Froztilth, leader of the Schnai, many of his men, and the captured ship were all taken to Asperdi. News of this success was said to have greatly heartened the Herzog. [Dragon #63 - 16]


    The Schnai recalled how once they and the Fruztii were the terror of the seas, and they wished the southerners to fear them so again. So, the Schnai treated with their cousins, the Cruski. And the Cruski were glad to treat with them, for the Schnai held what was theirs. The Schnai gave up the lands south of Glot along the east coast [and] the Cruski regained their southern harbors. This made the raids into North Province and the Isles of the Sea Barons all the easier next year, and most of the able-bodied men were away on those journeys when the warbands of Stonefist (now Stonehold) rode into the tundra which the King of Cruski claimed. The few wandering tribes of Coltens there welcomed the invaders, while surviving Cruskii headed east as quickly as possible. The returning warriors were enraged at the boldness of the invasion. [Dragon #57 - 14]


    The History of the Ice-Shard Tome

    Crylandren’s corpse was found shortly after selling the Ice-Shard Tome, his corpse frozen, his veins reputedly filled with ice. The windows to his study were thrown open, despite that winter being the bitterest in living memory. Rumors persist that the tome is under some kind of curse, that a powerful, extraplanar mage has been tracking the book, slaying those who have handled it, but always failing to possess it himself. A list of similar deaths follow in its wake, always grisly, if never substantiated. [Dragon #243 - 89]


    578 CY  Despite his youth, King Ralff II of the Fruztii understood subjugation. His people had turned to their cousins to the east in their hour of need and found the duplicitous hand of the perfidious Schnai. The Schnai had lent their support. Yes, they had. But that help came at a cost: suzerainty. The Fruztii had lost their governance. Indeed, they’d lost their pride. Once, they were the terror of the Solnor Sea. Now, they were a subjugated people. The Shnai commanded them, calling their commands guidance. They had learned their lessons well from the diplomats of Shar, long ago.

    No more, he thought. He extended his hand to Ratik and they’d taken it, and they’d been true to their words. They’d stood side by side with his people when the tribes of Schnai had not. And so, he turned to Ratik again: Train my people, he said, and when he sent the pride of their youth to Marner, the Archbaron not only trained them in the modern art of War, he equipped them for such. And so, when Ralff looked again to the East, he understood that he had kin there, he had obligations there, but he also understood that he had no friend there.

    The Fruztii sent raiding bands to sea with the Schnai, but due to careful urgings, numbers of mercenary troops also moved southward into Ratik and joined the Baron’s troops there. These Fruztii returned with knowledge of organized warfare and good-quality arms and armor and formed the core of a new standing army organized by King Ralff II in 578. The four companies of foot and one troop of horse actively patrolled and brought most of the realm under order. Chief men and nobles not raiding were prevailed upon to contribute men to patrol their own territories, so that by the end of the year, the frequency of banditry and humanoid raiding bands had been reduced to an all-time low. Even the high country around the head of the Jenelrad River was peaceful, and its Jarl swore an oath of fealty to Ralff. Without actually declaring independence from Schnai overlordship, the King of Fruzti showed that he was again capable of fielding an army capable of either defending his territory or taking another’s. The Schnai conveniently ignored the resurgence, probably hoping that the involvement in Ratik would again reduce the Frost Barbarians to vassal status. [Dragon #57 - 14]


    Battle of the Loftwood
    Battle of the Loftwood

    Their expedition into Bluefang-Kelten Pass thus far successful, the Ratik-Frutzii alliance turned their attention south, their aim to destroy the humanoid forces under the Vile Rune orcs of the Bone March.


    The manpower pool of the Archbarony was totally dry in 577. Because of the relatively good relations between the Fruztii and Ratik, the woodsmen and elven warders of the Timberway were moved south to the Loftwood, and new recruits were formed into units of light troops called the Volunteer Borderers. [...]

    The usefulness of the new Volunteer Borderers was proved in the summer of 578 when one of this formation’s patrols discovered that the orc tribe of the Vile Rune was indeed moving northward. In addition to 5,000 tribe members, the force had 2,000 goblins, 1,000 norkers and xvarts, and 1,000 hobgoblins, orgrilIons, gnolls, and ogres. With this detestable agglomeration were nearly 2,000 bandits and brigands serving as mercenaries. Its forerunners were worgmounted goblins, a handful of whom were slain to obtain the intelligence.

    Thus alerted, the Marshal of the Archbarony laid a trap which the unsuspecting invaders blundered into. The humanoid horde moved north along the fringe of the Loftwood where it butts against the hills. At the northern terminus of the trees there awaited the full army of Ratik, its numbers made to appear three times greater by magical means. The gnomes held the western (hillside) flank, while the light forester troops and elves formed the other arm of the “U,” well concealed in the dense timber. 

    The Battle of the Loftwood saw considerable magical competitions in addition to the standard hand-to-hand combat between the strongest fighters on the opposing forces. The real fighting was between the masses of troops, however, and this was fierce in the extreme. At one point, a score of foreign volunteers saved the day because their leader, Queg, a Fruztii, had prepared an extensive ambush with rocks, tree trunks, pits, and trees to set fire to. This action turned back 250 or more hobgoblins, killing or wounding half of them, so that the flank of the Archbaron’s army couldn’t be turned. Simultaneously, the gnomes on the left flank were nearly broken by a rush of gnolls, bandits, and goblins, and were saved only by the superb slinging of a flanking group of the Hillrunners and the innate tenacity of the gnomes themselves. 

    Finally, the scale was tipped by an attack on the right (of the orc horde) by the elves and foresters. The humanoid invading force broke and fled, and in the rout there was a great slaughter. [Dragon #57 - 14,15]


    Seuvord Redbeard saw dissention among his Atamans, and knew he had to suppress it. He knew that he could not afford to be embroiled in a civil war. His “nation” was surrounded by enemies: The Rovers were once again increasing in strength to the west, and raids into those Barrens were far more perilous than they had been short years before. And except by all but the strongest of efforts, the passes to Tenh and Fruztii were closed to him. Were civil war to divide his lands, those enemies were sure to fall upon them and destroy them. He needed to unite his people. He also wished his own line to retain the Mastership of the Hold as a hereditary right, so he called a great council at Purmill, with promise safe conduct for all who attended. The Atamans were dubious. And they had right to be. Vlek had promised the very same, and look what happened to the Coltens? They came, but they came with a show of strength. With spears extended, and hands upon the pommels of their swords.

    In CY 578, shortly after Tenh had coronated its new Duke, the Master of the Hold became Rhelt Seuvord I of Stonehold. Several of his cousins took ill from a mysterious flux shortly after the coronation, and about a dozen others were reported fleeing into the Griff Mountains with a small band of loyal followers. [Dragon #57 - 14]


    Magic is not the only force that can wreak havoc. Those of the Old Faith can tell you that those who dismiss the forces the natural world do so at their peril. Nature can and will do more damage than mere wizards, indeed, most wizards, arcane or divine. Those who live in the shadow of smoking volcanoes can attest to such, as can those who live on the banks of rivers, and the sea…. Hurricane "Ivid" is one such reminder. It ravaged the Solnor Coast, crippling the Sea Barons’ majesty over the sea lanes of the north. Trade ground to a halt. So did piracy, for that matter. But that was the least of the coastal settlement’s concerns, as they fled before “Ivid’s” landing.

    [Most] people [of the Sea Barons] recall this three-day storm, which some laughingly called "Hurricane Ivid." [Ivid - 90]


    579 CY  Baron Lexnol’s heir, Alain IV, marries Lady Evaleigh, the daughter of the count of Knurl.

    In 579 CY, Lexnol's only son, Alain IV, the heir to the throne of the archbarony, married Lady Evaleigh, the daughter of the count of Knurl. The county was the only surviving province of Bone March, and the union was arranged to improve the lot of both realms. [LGG]

    Alain acquired the dream of uniting Ratik and Bone March, but failed to convince the king of the Frost Barbarians of his plan to drive out the nonhuman tribes. Many whispered that Alain was encouraged in these ambitions by his step-family, particularly the count of Knurl, whose position between Bone March, North Province, and Nyrond was grossly precarious. In certain agreement were the immigrants from Bone March, who were driven from their lands by the invaders. [LGG - 91]

    The Ratik-Fraztii alliance cleared the Kelten Pass to the Hold of Stonefist, pressing the Fists back, but not taking the town of Kelten. Rhelt Seuvord rallied his forces, pushing the Fruztii back into the Griff Mountains.


    580 CY  The Bone March was displeased. Had the Fruztii not allied with Ratik, they’d have surely overwhelmed the little nation. Ratik could only fortify and man so many passes and still secure the wide expanse of the Loftwoods. If only the pact could be broken.  To break the alliance between Ratik and the Fruztii, the Bone March conspired with the North Province, for they could not enter Marner undetected. Thus, the Seal of Alliance stolen from Ratik's Baronial Vault.

    In 580 CY, intruders from Bone March attempted an audacious act of treachery by stealing the Seal of Marner, an object blessed by the gods of the Suel barbarians that was the symbol of the new Northern Alliance. The plot was foiled when the raiding party was captured in Kalmar Pass before making it back to Spinecastle with their prize. [LGG  - 36,37]

    [But] not before news of the theft drove a small wedge between the Fruztii and Ratikans. [LGG - 91]




    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

     Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 57, 63, 243.

    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Viking Repose by sebmckinnon
    Snow by all-my-life-i-dream
    Medieval-Knight by lijinbo78
    Vikings by kristmiha
    North-war by castaguer93


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Dragon 57, 63, 243
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 09-16-2021 08:34 am
    History of Oerth, Part 9: Of A Rumour of War


    Chaos Has Risen

    The Great Kingdom has all but collapsed under the weight of its own wickedness. New powers have taken to the field in the wake of its collapse, each eager to snap up what is unclaimed. But in the absence of law and order, chaos has risen. Evil is sweeping the land.
    Two names will enter the fray: Iuz and Ivid, and the Flanaess will fall into such tyanny as it had not known since the name Vecna was whispered by those under the weal of his Occluded Empire.

    505 CY  King Avras of Furyondy took note of the doings of Iuz, for what king wouldn’t be concerned about the rise of Evil on his border. The Vesve was already hard pressed by this Iuz, as orcs and hobgoblins bearing Iuz’s mark had penetrated their canopy and were laying waste to all they encountered. Avras mustered his troops and sent them north. But even as they engaged his vile forces, the armies of Iuz had already begun to break apart. For Iuz was not to be found. And it was his tyranny that had held them together.

    But neither Furyondy nor Vesve was directly involved in the banishment of Iuz, generally dated to 505 CY. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil - 3]


    St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel has been allowed to strike against Iuz, when his avatar assisted those imprisoning Iuz in 505 CY. That St. Cuthbert would wish to fight Iuz is not unexpected. Of the "martial" [...] Powers, Heironeous has his great struggle with his hated brother Hextor [....] But St. Cuthbert is a doughty, tough fighter, and he hates Iuz's [...] nature. That he was allowed to strike against the Old One is surprising. He could only have done so if [the other] Powers agreed to this, for all Powers must agree to such an action. Istus could tell us that Incabulus cared not, but Nerull's croaking voice was decisive in giving permission. [WGR5 - 6]  


    Other blows beset [Iuz]. His mother offended Graz'zt, who drew her to the Abyss and imprisoned her there; Iuz's growing alliance with Zuggtmoy, tanar'ri Lady of Fungi, never had the chance to grow to fruition. Within Iuz's own lands, many factions struggled for power when their master left. Tanar'ri and gehreleth came to odds with each other and decided to leave the barren lands to their own fate. Orcs and evil humans began to squabble and fight. Chaos reigned, and the good folk of Furyondy and the Vesve breathed a sigh of relief. [WGR5 - 3]


    511 CY  Evil was on the rise across the lands. It rose from the marshes and fens just as it had flowed out of the mountains, unexpected, and en masse. What stirred the trolls so, none can say, though the name Iuz was whispered more than once. It’s the Old One, they said, nodding knowingly. But Iuz was imprisoned, as those privy to such information knew, so it couldn’t have been him. Other names were whispered alongside his: Keraptis, for one, for all the Tenha know it, and all expect him to return.


    Battle of Dour Prentess

    Dour Pentress was so named because of a spectacular siege-battle there in 511 CY when over two thousand trolls surrounded the castle, cutting it off from supplies in a Troll Winter, for a period of over three months before it was relieved. [WGR5 - 70]

    513 CY  Despite Iuz’s absence, Evil flourished everywhere in the North. A new force rose up and took the name of The Horned Society, a foul haven of deviltry. And like Iuz before them, they had designs on the North. But first, they must gather their forces were there plans to come to fruition.

    Deprived of their lord [Iuz], the euroz and jebli armies massing on Furyondy's borders rapidly dissolved. The barbarous creatures fought the regents of Iuz and won for themselves the east and west shores of Whyestil Lake. East of the lake, savage chieftains and unscrupulous humans founded the Horned Society. [Chronological History of Eastern Oerik, by Keith Horsfield]


    The Horned Society

    515 CY  The Horned Society sought to make great gains in Iuz’s absence, and indeed, so did the petty despotic fiefs that were once under Iuz’s heel. They each and all sought to expand south, for that was where the riches lay, and that was where the yet untapped sources of slaves lay. But they could not march south, not whilst the Nomads and the Rovers were ever a nuisance to them, raiding across the Cold Marches and Howling Hills. So, they put aside their differences and gathered as one and marched north to put an end to that nuisance, once and for all.

    The Nomads and Rovers darted in and out of their armies’ reach, and revelled in their early successes, but as those armies marched ever north and as the Barrens open to their maneuvers were ever squeezed smaller, they had no choice but to turn and fight. The inevitable battle did not go well for the Rovers. They were all but massacred at the Battle of Opicm River.

    The Nomads were more fortunate. They did not have the Icy Sea and the Corusks blocking their flight. They did not have the Fists of the Stonehold at their back, either. They broke into smaller bands and slipped away into the vast expanse of the northern plains and the tangles of the Boreal Forests and vanished as though they were one with the wind and trees.

    At the great battle of Opicm River, the might or the Rovers of the Barrens gathered to war upon a combined host from the land of luz and the newly formed Homed Society. The wardog soldiers and light cavalry of the Rovers were decimated and scattered, and many of their chieftains were slain. Perhaps three or four clans of but a few tribes each are all that now remain of the force which once sent the tumans of the Wolf Nomads flying back across the Dulsi without their gray-tailed banners. [Greyhawk Gold Box]

    There were those who remained loyal to Iuz, though, for they knew the Old One could return, would return. They knew they must survive were they to be of use to their absent master when he did, so, they feigned allegiance, and added their strength to that gathering, their aim to placate those who would otherwise take His lands, and as they seemed lend aide, they held back, all the while watching their foes weaken their selves. They bided their time, and waited.


    520 CY  To the east, those upon the Thillonian Peninsula had little concern for the doings of those across the Griff Mountains, excepting those few Fists who managed to cross those imposing peaks. Their relative security aside, they understood that one day those Evils to the West might come; so, they searched for what uncharted passes might be hidden from them. And they searched for fabled Skrellingshald, for the elder wives wove tales of the wonders that one might find there. But where was it? None could say, but the fancy tales told of a becalmed climate and rich soils and steeply walled, easily defended, paths to it. That in itself made it worth seeking out. But did it ever actually exist? Or was it just the grist of fancy tales?

    Most scoffed. It was just the stuff of fancy, they said. But there were those who thought differently. There’s a kernel of truth in even the wildest of fables, they believed, and so, they shouldered packs and girded themselves for the great dangers that lurked within those peaks. And of those who did, few returned.

    Skrellingshald

    Hradji Beartooth was one who had. He returned with wonders and curiosities and what they hoped was a tale to tell. They expected him to gather the clan around the hearth and regale them with the tale of his exploits and heroism. But he didn’t speak on it. Not to a single soul. And neither did those who’d staggered out of those lofty mountains with him.

    What, you’ve never heard of Skrellingshald? Maybe you have, for Skellingshald is what the northern barbarians called that long forgotten city of Tostenhca.

    Hradji returned later that year with a diminished following and with greatly increased wealth which consisted largely of […] golden spheres. He quite naturally refused to disclose the location of the mountain, as he planned to gather a stronger force for the next season and return with still greater booty. Unfortunately, Hradji and the majority of his men died within the year, some of them as soon as they arrived home. What is more, all those who had any prolonged contact with the gold similarly sickened and died. Hradji’s heir disposed of the hoard by trading it to merchant interests in the Great Kingdom, and reputedly the curse still circulates as the coin of that land, although this last may be a tale fabricated to weaken the Emperor’s currency. [GA - 93]


    c.550 CY               In truth, Hradji Beartooth, although as ever distrustful of magic as all Fruztii, had braved the dangers of the Griff Mountains because he knew his people might need a haven, and that they sorely needed what wonders Skrellingshald might have wielded to keep them safe those eons past, for the Fruztii had been greatly weakened by the Battle of Shamblefield, and were a shadow of their former selves.

    Not so the Schnai. They had not spent themselves against the shields of the south. They had taken to the seas instead. And so, when the Fists of the Stonehold had swept out from the Griff Mountains, the Frutzii had little choice but to treat with their cousins to the East. Help us fortify the passes, they pled. And the Schnai were only too willing to help. They sent warriors to strengthen the Bluefang-Kelten Pass. But not so many as did the Fruztii, for they sent longships to Krakenheim to protect their poor cousins from what retaliation might come from the Great Kingdom’s North Province and the fleets of the Sea Barons. And the Fruztii found themselves under the suzerainty of the Schnai. Their king was but a puppet. And they chaffed under their cousin’s rule.

    While the Fruztii were historically the most persistent in their raids upon the Aerdy, the Schnai explored the seas and the northern isles. Their discovery of Fireland during the early years of Fruztii raids southward was a great distraction. Rather than seek conquest in the Flanaess, they chose to explore the Lesser and Greater Isles of Fire, while they built settlements on the more habitable islands of Sfirta and Berhodt. They would inevitably return home with tales of monsters and giants, and of treasures almost obtained. [LGG - 16]


    555 CY  The turmoil in the Great Kingdom settled once Ivid V was crowned Overking. But much to the displeasure of the Scarlet Brotherhood, the new Overking banished all foreign advisors from the courts of his nation. The Brotherhood had lost its foothold in Suundi, so they took measures that they hoped would distract the Overking. Indeed, they hoped for far more than that. 6071 SD


    558 CY  The Scarlet Brotherhood set out to stir up trouble for the Great Kingdom. They sent agents into the Rakers and whispered into the ears of the Euroz, the Kell, the Eiger, and others, to encourage the orcs and the gnolls there to raid the Bone March, for if Ivid’s attention was in the north, they might once again gain influence in the south. 6074 SD


    559 CY  Humanoids began raids into Bone March. These were limited in scope at first, for the orcs and gnolls did not fully trust the red-robed agents that whispered in their ears. They are not prepared, the whispers said. They look to the barbarians to the north and have not guarded against you, they said. But the orcs were cautious. For they knew not what these red-robed whisperers hoped to gain. And because they had heard the whispers of Men before, and knew that Men had always used their people to blunt the swords of their enemies with orcish blood. The gnolls were less cautious, for the whispers promised them blood, and they do so love the smell of it.


    560 CY  Finding resistance limited, the orcs and gnolls made more forays into Bone March, striking widely so as to keep the Marquis’ forces rushing to and froe across the breadth of his lands to defend against them, never once conceiving that the orcs were acting far more strategic than they ever had before. They were a savage species, after all.


    561 CY  The forces of Marquis Clement tired. And still the orcs came. And when the orcs found no resistance, the whisperers said, “The time is ripe. He has not the strength to defeat you!” The orcs still did not trust the whisperers from Shar, but they saw the truth in their words. And so the tribes flowed from their mountains into the Bone March and laid waste to all that stood against them.

    They flowed out into the Theocracy of the Pale, and into neighbouring Nyrond. They flowed out into Ratik. Because that was what the agents of Shar instructed them to do. But the greatest of their hosts spilled out onto the Bone March, for the agents of the Brotherhood knew that turmoil within the Great Kingdom was so great that it could not muster effective opposition. And because they had parleyed with Herzog Grace Grennell of The North Province, and he had promised to delay his defense. But also because they’d parlayed with others, far darker in purpose than Grennell.

    Thus, the orcs and the gnolls made great gains into the March in so little time. But not so in the Theocracy of the Pale, Nyrond, or Ratik, for there resistance was stiff, swift and sure.


    563 CY  The Bone March fell to the humanoids and all humans in that area were either enslaved or killed, Lord Clement among them, as he was held up within the walls of Spinecastle, waiting for succor from Ratik and the North Province, when it fell after a prolonged siege, virtually overnight. Survivors say that the orcs and gnolls had nothing to do with its fall, that it fell from within, that dark forces rose up from its very foundations, causing those within to throw open the gates in their haste to flee, and only then did the humanoids gain entry. It was the castles’ curse, they said, making some gesture they thought would ward off the Evil they said they saw that day.

    Spinecastle


    The hordes did not hold the castle for long; for they too were struck by such horrors that drove them from its halls. While within, they were driven mad; and those that survived said that blood flowed from its walls, that rooms rippled and disappeared, and that they were induced to strike one another down. Retreating from Spinecastle’s horrors, they never again entered it.

    The Knight Protectors of the Bone March were overwhelmed by the hordes, and those who could fled to Ratik, bolstering the defenses of Ratikhill.

    This land fell to the horde of invaders [Euroz, Kell, Eiger and others], its lord slain, and its army slain or enslaved. Humans in the area were likewise enslaved or killed, and the whole territory is now ruled by one or more of the humanoid chiefs. [Chronological History of Eastern Oerik]

    The Euroz orcs and the gnolls continued to flow out of the Rakers, betraying and attacking the North Province in their blood frenzy, even as Spinecastle held out against them.

    Grennell expected as much and was prepared. He met them within the March, and drawing them into defensive redoubts, he slowed their advance, and then halted it altogether; and having done so, he parleyed with them and allied with them against Nyrond and Almor, for he believed that such a force could not be defeated until it had blunted itself against hard resolve, and he much rather it do so against that of other lands and not his. Then he would turn on the humanoids, and take their spoils as his own.


    What did the Scarlet Brotherhood think about their success? They were elated. They were infuriated. The orcs slaughtered their agents along with all the other humans, for the orcs understood that those red-robed whisperers were not their friends. They understood that they were pawns in a greater game that was not their own. And they recognized the scent of slavery when they smelled it.


    The Death Knight Lord Monduiz Dephaar made good use of the chaos that ensued, craving a kingdom for himself out of the lands surrounding his stronghold somewhere in the Blemu Hills in the wake of the collapse of the Bone March, and even now commands legions of humanoids and bandits, who call him Dreadlord of the Hills.

    Both Prince Grenell of the North Kingdom and the humanoids of Spinecastle gave the Dreadlord wide berth.


    565 CY  Ratik was in need of allies. Their most stalwart ally, Marquis Clement of the Bone March had fallen and his lands were in the thrall of orcs and ogres and Death Knights. Tenh was beset by Stonefist and the Theocracy of the Pale, and indeed, the Fists had raided Ratik’s very north. Their only “ally” was the Theocracy of the Pale, if having a common enemy could necessitate their being allies, for the Theocracy was, if anything, hostile to all who weren’t blind adherents to the Faith of their Blinding Light, and the people of Ratik were not.

                    But they were not entirely without hope. They had kin. Of a sort. The Fruztii had passed them by in their raiding. Why? They’d been enemies once, after all. Because the Fruztii had kin within their domain, and their kin had become a people of Ratik.

    Marner gathered those elders of Fruztii descent and asked them, “Will your brothers to the north treat with us?” After much talk and deliberation, the elders agreed that the Frutzii would. The Fruztii wished to be free of the Schnai. They were beset upon by the Fists. And their strength had been broken upon the shield of the Great Kingdom.


    Korund of Ratik

    But who? They chose Korund of Ulthek, for his mother was of Fruztii decent and his father was the Ward of the North. And Korund sailed north to visit his kin north of the Timberway. And with their aid, he secured a meeting in Djekul. And then in Krakenheim, where His Most Warlike Majesty, King Ralff listened carefully and was intrigued.

    Soon, Marner came to Krakenheim, and Krakenheim came to Marner.

                “Where else might we find allies,” His Valorous Prominence, Lexnol, the Lord Baron of Ratik asked.

                The Fruztii pondered this question. Fireland, they said.


    Fireland

                 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 I 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. We would so like to have a more accurate and recent assessment! [TAB - 11]


    566 CY  The Rovers may have been defeated by the Horned Society at the Battle of Opicm River, but they could still be a thorn in its side. Pride dictated that they spit in the face of defeat. Pride dictated that they regain their lost lands. They allied with the Weigweir and together, they began raiding northeastern edge of Fellreev. 

    The young tribesmen who matured into warriors during the last two generations avoided their old battling and hunting grounds along the Fellreev Forest and the plains of the Dulsi, for they feared the might of luz’s hordes. Instead, these nomads and woodland hunters withdrew to the steppes and other sites to the north and east. Their numbers increased, and they practiced their fighting skills against the men of the Hold of Stonefist and the savages and humanoids they met on raids into the Cold Marshes. Despite the difficulties of communication, the western tribes of the Rovers of the Barrens actually made alliances with the Wegwiur.

    In 566 CY there were a few light raids into the northeastern edge of the Fellreev. In a few years, wardog parties were reported in the forest west of Cold Run. [Dragon # 56 - 28]


    570 CY  Though few knew of it, Iuz had been freed from his imprisonment beneath Castle Greyhawk.

    Whether this was by error or perhaps design on the part of Robilar, who secretly carried a pair of highly unusual dispelling magics about himself on that fateful day, sages cannot say. What is known is that at the moment of Iuz's being freed, Archmage Tenser arrived on the scene together with Bigby the mage and a powerful fighter going by the unlikely name of Neb Retnar. Tenser had learned of Robilar's plan, feared that Riggby was being duped, and came post haste to prevent their action. Tenser and his cohort began battling the freed, enraged demigod. Riggby at once aided the assault. Robilar and Quij considered flight and felt their chances would be best if they made odds of four against one into six against one. Iuz was very nearly destroyed in that conflict, escaping to the Abyss just before Bigby would have destroyed him with his infamous crushing hand spell. He left behind him a backwash of chaotic evil magic which altered the alignment of Retnar, left Riggby catatonic for days, and caved in a large part of Castle Greyhawk's deepest dungeon complexes. Since that time, Iuz has always protected himself with a carefully secreted soul gem hidden on an unknown, unbelievably well-guarded Abyssal plane. [WGR5 - 5]


    Iuz

    He seethed. He raged. He could think of nothing but revenge. Against those who’d imprisoned him, against that overblown pup Robilar who’d tried to kill him, against Bigby who almost had. Indeed, against all of the Flanaess. And he was far more powerful than when Cuthbert had locked him away.

    He returned to Dorakaa, and finding his fiefs disloyal, he exterminated most of the “independent” lords of the lands he still claimed as his own.  Their bones, along with those other “unfaithful” he murdered, lengthened his Road of Skulls.

    After his release, Iuz was filled with a desire for vengeance and conquest. Sixty-five years of banishment had concentrated his mind wonderfully. With a savagery and cruelty allied to plans formed over many long years of thought, Iuz acted to gather together the warring bandits and humanoids of his land with an iron grip. He drew together his Boneheart, a Greater and Lesser circle of spellcasters, six in each echelon. His agents began to scour the Flanaess, seeking arcane evils and relics. Iuz readied his forces for a great war. [WGR5 - 3]




    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

     Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 56, 293.

    The Art

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    It's Medieval Time by kozivara
    knight-full-plate-armor Wallpaper
    Elsest Fortress by aikurisu
    Spinecastle, by Kalman Andrasofszky, Dragon 293
    Viking by matejko77
    Viking Metropolis by ourlak
    Iuz, Age of Conan


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1043 The City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1989
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9386 WGR3, Rary the Traitor, 1992
    9398 WGR4, The Marklands, 1993
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood, 1999
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    WGR Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon 56, 293
    OJ Oerth Journal, produced by the Council of Greyhawk, and appearing on their website
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 09-13-2021 10:37 am
    History of Oerth, Part 8: Of The Dissolution of the Great Kingdom


    Court of Deception

    The Great Kingdom had waxed and waned, and it its waning, the western principalities declared their sovereignty, for in truth, they were already self-determining and self-governing. Others closer to its heart were soon to follow, for in its Turmoil Between Crowns the Great Kingdom’s reach was surely foreshortened. And the Houses of the Celestial Circle, knowing this to be true, were plotting and maneuvering, but then again, when were they not?
    Why had the Great Kingdom fallen so? Had depravity outweighed morality? Had personal gain outstripped duty? Had Evil bettered Good? Its Houses schemed against one another, dread Death Knights had risen, and with them, the much-celebrated Knights Protector had fallen. Raids and piracy plagued her seas. And lesser races, when not actually serving the Malachite Throne, were snapping at the hand that had once kept them at bay, for they could smell its death on the wind.
    To make matters worse, a madman was set to soon sit upon the Malachite Throne.

    The Houses used what tools were available to them in their intrigue. Rumours. Misdirection. Subterfuge. But there were other, more direct, means at their disposal, and they were not above or loathe to use them: the dirk and a dram of poison. Such crass deeds would always be hired out, of course. And only if they couldn’t be traced back to them.

    c. 300 CY              The History of the Book of Darazell

    This spellbook has a dark and evil history—a legacy that mirrors the land from where it came, the blighted Kingdom of Aerdy. Its spells were first put to paper sometime in the 4th Century by the assassin-wizard Darazell. Little is known of the history of this evil mage save the infamous and rare spells he perfected, especially his trademark Darazell’s noose. Darazell met an ironic fate when he himself was assassinated by unknown hands, his body found slumped over his beloved spellbook. It is a puzzle to those who know his tale that such an efficient killer was taken unawares and murdered. It is sometimes said that Darazell knew rare rituals and had made a pact with a dark power, one that would allow him to rise in eternal undeath. Indeed, it is said that Darazell ordered his own assassination as the final stage of the ritual.  [Dragon #243 - 92, by Anthony Nixon and David Head]


    Such deeds were not just the purview of the luminary Celestial Houses. They were used far and wide, albeit with less flair and plum, by those the luminaries deemed unsophisticated and savage. Although, those “savages” were usually more direct in their application. After all, once all their enemies were dead, what did they have to fear?

    430 CY  Some say that Vlek Col Vlekzed was a Rover, who after years of plundering the lands around his, had fled his lands for the northern peninsula, and with those Rovers and bandits who followed him, took the lands of the Colten Feodality for his own, having lured them to their deaths on the pretense that they were to treat and come to an accord of peace. Others contend that he, himself, was one of the Colten Atamans, and that he seized control of all their lands when he betrayed his peers, slaughtering them while they revelled in his Hold, besotted on his wine. Still others contend that he was from Tenh. Wherever he came from, and however he came to control the Atamans, he drew them into his fold, and collectively, they came to be known as the Hold of Stonefist.

    The inhabitants of the area, the Coltens Feodality, were tricked into negotiation with Vlek. These negotiators and their escorting force were slaughtered, the remainder of the Coltens host routed by surprise and ferocity, and Vlek settled down to rule over the whole territory. [Folio - 16]

    The Coltens folk had no place in this hierarchy, and many fled to the Hraak Forest, or beyond the Big Seal Bay and the northern thrust of the Corusks to dwell in the Taival Tundra, in the land of the Ice Barbarians). [LGG - 109]


    c.440s-460s         Torn by its turmoil, the Great Kingdom began to break apart. Beginning with the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, Veluna soon followed suit, Furyondy being less devout than she wished. Then Perranland. The Malachite Throne took no action against them, could up as it was in its own tribulations. But as the tapestry of state continued unravelling, it had little choice but to rise from its stupor, lest it lose the entirety of its lands. But try as it might, it could not stem the tide. The Iron League formed. Nyrond seceded. Alain II of Ratik declared his fief an arch-barony, not entirely willing to completely sever ties with the mother country, as yet. But in truth, he ruled Ratik as though it was indeed independent, as did the Marquis of Bone March. What choice did they have? The Crown was embroiled in what came to be known as the Turmoil Between Crowns, and it took no interest in the administration of its provinces.                                                


    446 CY  Paradoxically, the disintegration of the Great Kingdom paused a while, despite a wretched change at its very crown. The House of Rax became decadent, self-absorbed, weak, and ineffectual. Petty nobles began to scheme, to openly flout the Overking's edicts, and to enact their own laws and pursue their own mean-minded grudges. It was only a matter of time before Rax was overthrown and a new tyrant installed as Overking and, in truth, many petty nobles were glad when it happened. After decades of pointless strife, it was almost a relief to have central power and authority again. However, few of them would have chosen Ivid I as their new master.

    No direct evidence links Ivid, ruler of the North Province at the time, with the assassination of the entire House of Rax in 446 CY. But Ivid ensured his ascension by the simple expedient of killing every other minor princeling who made a claim on the throne, and plenty more besides. Madness had gripped the Malachite Throne when Ivid I, scion of the House of Naelax, was proclaimed His Celestial Transcendency, Overking of Aerdy, and many knew it.

    The Malachite Throne became known as the "Fiend-seeing Throne." It was whispered that the House of Naelax had willingly entered into a pact with fiends—lords of the infernal tanar'ri—a pact that would endure down all the generations of their descendants. A time of terror had begun. Blood would wash the feet and hands of the madman enthroned in Rauxes. Little wonder that further secessions beset his lands.

    Civil war erupted in the Great Kingdom. The North Province, now ruled by Ivid's nephew, soon established independence, as did the wily Herzog of Ahlissa in the the South Province. He allied himself with the seceding Iron League: the lands of Onnwal, Idee, Sunndi, and the Free City of Ironwall.

    The Holy Censor, High Priest to the Overking, sought freedom for the See of Medegia. Almor grew in strength and freedom, supported by Nyrond as a buffer state between itself and the declining power of Rauxes, although Ivid managed to drag it back under his influence in later years. Momentous change beset the Great Kingdom. Not until Ivid V ascended the Fiend-seeing Throne would the Great Kingdom appear to increase in might again. This would take a century to happen and also be ultimately a temporary hiccup in the terminal decline of Aerdy. If all eyes were on the Great Kingdom for decades after Ivid's rise, it would help explain why they missed seeing the rise of a new power far to the west and north. [FtAA - 4,5]


    448 CY  The isles of the Sea Barons had always been given a degree of autonomy not enjoyed by the Baronies of the mainland. They’d been tasked by Overking Manshen in 102 CY to pacify the seas, to contain the Barbarians in the north, and to stamp out piracy in the south. They required freedom to do so, they said. They could not accomplish these tasks were they to account for each and every action, they said, citing the impossibility of their fleets to communicate with their home ports when they could be at sea for months at a time. Rauxes reluctantly agreed to their terms. But the crown made it abundantly clear that the Barony’s autonomy in these matters was contingent on results. The Sea Barons agreed to the Throne’s terms.

    They never truly succeeded in containing the Barbarians, but in 168 CY, they finally defeated the fleets of Duxchan, all but eliminating piracy in the south. But the Barony and the Overking had grown accustomed to reaping the spoils of captured pirate ships, thus the Crown bestowed writs of privateer to those ships sailing the Azure Sea against those vessels of the Iron League.

    The captains of the fleet were accustomed to keeping their own council as to who the foes of the Kingdom were, and long voyages without the oversight of the throne strengthened that sense of independence. Asea, and then in their home ports.

    In time, the authority over the seas was divided between the Sea Barons and the Lordships of the Isles. Never friendly, the two provinces became heated rivals, vying for control of trade routes. The Lordship were given the writs of privateer, and preyed upon merchant fleets, while the Sea Barons weathered the far more vicious conflict with the savage Barbarians during the raiding season.

    All that changed with the continued dissolution of the Kingdom.

    In 448 CY, the Sea Barons suddenly gained sole authority over naval pursuits in the eastern Great Kingdom, following the affiliation of the Lordship of the Isles with the Iron League. Overnight, the prince of Sulward and the baron of Asperdi became nemeses instead of rivals, with the Aerdi Sea as their field of battle. [LGG - 100]


    450 CY  Dunstan I of Nyrond realized that once The Great Kingdom stabilized, he would need allies. His borders must be secure. But mostly, he would need others to come to his aid in his time of need, should that time come, and who else would stand by him than those that had also recently seceded for the Malachite Throne’s fierce rule.

    He called the Great Council of Rel Mord, and representatives from Almor, the Iron League, the Duchy of Urnst, and Greyhawk arrived to treat with him. There was a cost. He need withdraw Nyrondal troops from the Pale and the County of Urnst, for those who would ally with him would not do so if he too occupied lands not his, for they would not throw off the yoke of one Overking only to treat with another. They came to an accord, and roundly condemned the Great Kingdom.

    By 450 CY, Aerdy had survived two distinct civil wars. Ivid and his court had defeated their enemies in the aristocracy, and had entrenched themselves in the empire's political machine. With a stabilized foe, Dunstan realized in his old age that he still needed willing allies, should Aerdy take the offensive. In Harvester, he called the Great Council of Rel Mord. Delegates from every Nyrondal principality and subject state attended, as did representatives from Almor, the Iron League, the Duchy of Urnst, and even Greyhawk. After a month and a half of negotiation, Dunstan the Crafty withdrew Nyrondal troops from the Pale and the County of Urnst, and realigned the internal borders of his subject lands. Furthermore, he publicly threw his considerable support behind the Iron League, and rebuked the Great Kingdom of Aerdy as a "corpulent reanimated corpse, spreading contagion and sorrow to all that it touches."  [LGG - 77,78]                


    From its “Emancipation,” The Theocracy of the Pale was not a tolerant land; indeed, it never had been. It chaffed under the lack of self-determination and freedom they themselves denied any who didn’t proscribe to their narrow view: that was only one god, Pholtus, henceforth known as The Blinding Light, and that there was only one Truth and that was His. Nyrond saw otherwise, and had seen fit to exert their authority to that effect. The Theocracy determined that no other authority would supress their Truth again. They were the Chosen of The Blinding Light, selected by the god Himself, and governed by His priests. His Word was Law, and woe to those who deviated from His path. The Theocrat demanded that an “Inquisition” be enacted, heretics were rooted out, imprisoned and even slain. Those not of the faith were discouraged from entering their domain, lest they spread their false gods among the faithful. Judgement was always swift when “under the Question,” for the defendant was always considered Sinful until proven Innocent.

    Not all were pleased with the Council of Nine and its inquisition. A splinter group rebelled against Wintershiven, claiming that faith was a personal path, not to be interfered with by the State and the Council. The Council saw the matter differently. They swiftly put down the heretical clerics with a division of the army personally led by three members of the council. And thus the Church Militant was born, the paramilitary body of warrior priests responsible for ensuring the purity of doctrine and safeguarding church properties, especially the Basilica of the Blinding Light.

    They and the Council did not always see eye to eye.


    467-469 CY         Plague swept the lands, beginning in Rookroost and fanning out faster than a man could run. It arrived as all plague does, suddenly: one week they were disease free, or as free from such as any populace ever is, and then scores were afflicted the next. The afflicted complained of lassitude, joint pain, and headache; soon, red boils appeared and the headache grew crippling. Hours later copper coins rested atop eyelids. Poultices, infusions, leeching were ineffective; indeed, even magics and the ministrations of the clergy proved useless. Thousands died; and just as swiftly as it began, it disappeared having burned itself out. Rookroost was ever vigilant of The Red Death’s return. But as in all of these cases, vigilance lasts only as long as a generation before it becomes the grist of old-wives tales and fairy fancies.

    Old records describe a plague that decimated the Bandit Kingdom's population as it swept across the Flanaess some four score years ago. [WG8 - 6]

    [A] bardic song talks of a 'wasting disease' that swept Oerik nearly a century ago[....] [WG8 - 40]


    476 CY  The Hold of Stonefist is an unforgiving land. It was born of deceit and violence. It has poor soil, a growing season shorter than any save Blackmoor. Only the Coltens have ever shown any inclination to till the land, to fur, and to fish. The rest proved as cruel and restless as their master. They wished to roam and raid widely, for to do otherwise invited subjection. Vlek Stonefist knew this, for he believed the same. Thus, he set about occupying his people in the manner to which they were accustomed: raiding. The Rovers were poor, and they moved about too much to be easy prey, so he set his people upon the Tenh. When they mobilized against his “Fists,” he sent them over the mountains to raze the Fruztii and Ratik. He sent raiding parties north against the Cruski. Resistance was everywhere, but the Fruztii, gravely weakened by having repeatedly thrown their might against the shield of the south were ill-prepared for attacks from the north. The Fists grew ever bolder, so the Fruztii began to raise palisades against them, but they no longer had the strength to man the breadth of the Fists’ onslaught. The Frost Barbarians parlayed with their cousins, and together, they came to an accord, they must ally against the Hold of Stonefist.


    Iuz

    479 CY  When was Iuz born? Where did he come from? None know. It is believed that he was the son of a forgotten despot of a petty fief. It truth, only the wide ruled there in that rock, heathered marsh. It was a petty land, ruled by a petty man, who when he died in 479 CY, few if any mourned him. His dismal patch of marsh fell to his son, a boy who was named Iuz. Was he the despot’s son? Few deny the claim. None believe it.

    Iuz was born of a human mother, the necromancer Iggwilv, and a great tanar'ri lord, Graz'zt, ruler of several Abyssal planes. The young cambion tanar'ri soon used his powers to great effect. Realizing that his warriors could not hope to triumph by simple force, Iuz began to ally his men with other minor clan leaders to beat off stronger enemies. Of course, those allies always ended up suffering most of the casualties and their leaders died in battle with astonishing predictability. Slowly, the size of Iuz's warband increased. Celbit and Jebli ores of the Vesve margins began to join. The human scum serving Iuz didn't like the ores overmuch, but they soon saw how their enemies liked them even less. And of course, there was Iuz's magic. Many cambions wield magic, but that of Iuz, aided by his mother, was far more powerful than anything the competing hordes could muster. Iuz had control of the entire Land of Iuz in little over a decade. [Iuz]


    Iuz

    Few took note of this new presence in that secluded northern waste, despite the tales of refugees that fled south of slavery and ghastly abominations, the risen dead, and the road of skulls that stretched from Dorakaa to the Howling Hills. The fiefs always fought one another. Petty lords rose, and fell with regularity. This Iuz would do just the same, they imagined. He had risen. He would fall in due course. And if he didn’t, his was a secluded land of no consequence. What harm could he do?


    c.500 CY               The History of the Book of Darazell

                So, the book was sold, bartered, stolen, lost and found from the See of Medegia to North Province and back over the next 200 or so years, falling into the hands of various lesser mages. The common thread that bound these mages together was that none kept the book for any length of time, and many reported strange phenomena surrounding the book. A rumor persists that Darazell, cheated by the dark power, lives on within the book as a rare form of undead, a “tome-haunt.” Supposedly, he searches for a particular type of owner to possess in order to finish some unknown goal. It has been said that there are a couple of secret pages within the book that give clues to what this is, but no one has been able to record what they hide. The spellbook is compact and bound in bleached, patchy, green leather. It has silver corner caps and an ornate silver dagger device, blade pointing downward, painted on the front.

    [In addition to a list of hitherto unrelated necrotic spells, [t]here are also descriptions of methods of assassination, and writings on efficient and subtle ways to commit murder. Oddly, there are 10 blank pages at the end of the book— pages that defy any attempt to write on them. [Dragon #243 - 92]




    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

     Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, From the Ashes Box Set, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine.

    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Cleopsis-Eater-of-the-Dead by steveargyle
    Plague, by Karl Waller, WG8 Fate of Istus
    Iuz, by Eric Hotz, WG5 Iuz the Evil
    Iuz, Age of Conan

    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2138 Book of Artifacts, 1993
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9253 WG8, Fate of Istus, 1989
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, #1, #11
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 09-12-2021 09:07 am
    History of Oerth, Part 7: Of The Rise and Fall of The Great Kingdom


    Orb of Power

    The Aerdy have migrated across the Flanaess and have gazed upon the Solnor Sea, scattering those Flan and Suel who would not submit to their dominion to the far reaches of the land. The Ur-Flan resisted the Oeridian tide, but they too fell, no match for the Aerdian ferocity. Their settlements grew with their waxing, and upon those foundations, their great cities rose: Rauxes, Rel Astra, Rel Deven, Rel Mord. Thus began the Pax Millennius, the peace that would last a thousand years. And thus began the Great Kingdom, for that is what they eventually named that vast land of theirs that stretched from the Solnor Sea in the east to the Yatels and Crystalmists in the west, and from the Barrens to the north and the Azure Sea to the south. From the heavens to sea to sea, as they said. I leave it to you to decide if it was truly great or not, for sometimes the best of intentions can be led astray, and the Great Kingdom was eventually led very far astray, indeed.


    1 CY       With his Declaration of Universal Peace, the first Overking was crowned in Rauxes.

    The Aerdy calendar dates from the crowning of the first overking, Nasran of the House of Cranden, in Rauxes in CY 1. Proclaiming universal peace, Nasran saw defeated Suloise, Flan and rebellious humanoid rabbles of no consequence and no threat to the vast might of Aerdy. [Ivid - 3]

    But for all his well-meaning words, all power was to be his, and all Houses were to bend the knee to his magnificence.

    However, it quickly became clear to all the noble houses of the Aerdi that power in the Great Kingdom was being centralized in the hands of the rulers of Rauxes, and that the fortunes of the Great Kingdom would now rest with them. The needs and intrigues of the Celestial Houses would soon become subordinate to the politics of the Malachite Throne. [LGG - 23]


    The Oeridians were all but invincible, it seemed, to those who stood before them, but they had artifacts of old, some taken by the fabled Johydee from the Suel. They used them well, and were served by them well, but such things should be handled with care, for they care not who wields them.

    Crown, Orb, and Sceptre of Might:
    According to tradition, great items of regalia were constructed for special servants of the deities […] when the gods were contending amongst themselves. Who amongst them first conceived the idea is unknown. The champion of each [ethos] - Evil, Good, Neutrality - was given a crown, an orb, and a sceptre. These items have been scattered and last over the centuries of struggle since they first appeared. [DMG 1e - 157]
    And woe to he who should touch them who is not of its ethos.

    Iron Flask of Tuerny the Merciless:
    This artifact is reported to be a small and heavy urn, easily carried in o pack or by hand despite its weight. The Flask is stoppered with a turnip-shaped plug, engraved and embossed with sigils, glyphs, and runes of power so as to contain the spirit therein. The possessor need but know 3 words to have the Flask function properly, i.e. the word of OPENING, the word of COMMAND, the word of CLOSING AND SEALING. Tuerny's Flosk is rumored to imprison one of the following: a greater devil, a groaning spirit, a major demon, a night hag, or a nycadaemon. [No one can say which, for it is said that these are WORDS for each.]
    It is generally conceded that the Servant of the Flask can be loosed only to perform evil deeds, and it must always kill before it can be commanded to return to its prison. [DMG 1e - 158]


    11 CY     The Flan continued to be pacified. Theirs was a futile struggle, as the lands of their dominion shrank and shrank, they retreated into high valleys and the northern barrens. But still they fought where such resistance could be gathered. Until they threw all their remaining might into one last stand at Arrowstrand against the ever waxing Aerdian Kingdom. They were brave. They were valiant. But fate was against them that day, and they fell. But their fall was glorious.


    c. 100CY                The fell sword Druniazth, servant of Tharizdun, had passed from hand to hand in its quest to release its master. Those who wielded it were themselves wielded, used and discarded as each in turn were found wanting, until, centuries after being lost by Baron Lum the Mad at the Battle of the Bonewood, it came to one who would not be so used, and it was cast into the Rift Canyon as she sought to rid herself of its influence.


    108 CY  Overking Manshen desired to secure his northern border. The Fruztii Barbarians were a constant threat, and he meant to pacify the North once and for all.

    In the spring of 108 CY, Aerdi forces massed in the frontier town of Knurl. With Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom in the vanguard, the force swept northeast, between the Rakers and the Blemu Hills, in a march to the sea. By autumn, after having been met with relatively light resistance, the Aerdi succeeded in uprooting most Fruztii encampments, and the foundations of a great stronghold were laid at Spinecastle. The Aerdi freed Johnsport in a pitched battle with the barbarians before the onset of winter. Sensing that this would be only the first phase of a long struggle, Aerdi commanders summoned thousands of contingents from North Province over the objections of the herzog, a Hextorian who had wanted to lead the forces into battle himself.

    With the defeat of the Fruztii at Johnsport, the call went out that winter, and thousands of their kinsmen poured south along the Timberway the next year. Marching through passes in the Rakers, they assembled and attacked the works underway at Spinecastle, focusing their assault on the heart of the Aerdi fortifications. The defenders, including the bulk of the elite Aerdi infantry, were quickly outflanked and surrounded. A young Knight Protector of the Great Kingdom, Caldni Vir, a Heironean cavalier from Edgefield, commanded a large cavalry force patrolling the hills when the barbarian force struck. As part of the contingent led by the herzog into the north, he pivoted and headed back to Spinecastle while anticipating orders from his liege to counterattack. When the courier of the herzog delivered orders for Vir to pull back to the south in retreat, he spat in disgust and ordered the standard of the Naelax prince to be trampled in the mud. He then raised the standard of the Imperial Orb and charged.

    Approaching the site of the battle from the north, he descended upon the barbarians from higher ground, and they were unprepared for the hundreds of heavy horse and lance that bore down on them in the next hour. Their lines were quickly broken, and the Imperial Army was rescued to eventually take the day in what would be called the Battle of the Shamblefield. The Aerdi drove the surviving barbarians out of the hills, controlling the land all the way to the Loftwood by the following spring. Overking Manshen recognized the courage of the young knight Vir, and raised him as the first marquis of Bone March. The land was so named for the high price paid for its taking, as the fallen imperial regulars numbered into the thousands. [LGG - 36]

    Thus the Overking named Vir the first Marquis of the Bone March. And thus were the Fruztii broken.

    It is said that the blood of those thousands of unsanctified and unburied Barbarian and Imperial corpses was pressed into the mortar of Spinecastle. It is also said that the Fruztii laid a curse on its unfinished walls. 


    122 CY  Further buffer was required if the new lands were to be protected from further incursions by the Barbarians. The Fruztii were broken, and the Overking wished to capitalize on their weakness. General Sir Pelgrave Ratik of Winetha was commanded to lead an expeditionary force to push the Aerdian frontier back to the foothills of the Griff Mountains. 

    Ratik and his forces inaugurated their expedition by crossing Kalmar Pass, taking the town of Bresht in a blustery winter campaign that cost the Fruztii dearly. After brokering an alliance with the dwarven lords of the eastern Rakers, Ratik proceeded to force a retreat of the Fruztii up the narrow coast and into the northern fastness of the Timberway. He wisely refused to follow them into an obvious trap and instead broke off the pursuit and fortified his gains. He was immediately hailed a hero in the south and his legend grew quickly. [LGG - 89, 90]

    He established a fort overlooking Grendep Bay at Onsager Point that he named Marner, and used it as a base to solidify his gains. He fostered an alliance with the dwerfolk, with the gnomes. And he was also fair with those Fruztii who remained on their freeholds, so long as they declared fealty to the Overking.


    128 CY  The Fruztii and Schnai pooled their strength to launch a concentrated naval attack on Marner. And almost defeated Ratik and his forces for theirs were far greater in number than his, but Sir Percival Ratik knew that he could never defeat fuch a force in the field, so he set the approaches to Marner aflame, forcing the Barbarians into a narrow salient where they were cut to pieces by the siege engines of his fort and a squadron of the Imperial Navy. Bruised, the Barbarians retreat, only to find their longships ablaze.


    130 CY  The Overking was pleased and elevated Pelgrave to Baron, and gifted him the Timberway as his personal fief. His doing so was a small thing, it cost him nothing. And the Timberway was hardly secure and he and Sir Percival knew it; but Percival was pleased, too, nonetheless, and he campaigned hard to defeat what resistance remained there. And so, again, the Overking was pleased. The walled town of Bresht was renamed Ratikhill in honour of Sir Percival’s victory. That too was another small thing that cost the Overking nothing.


    141 CY  Kargoth of Mansbridge was born, a fiesty lad, noted for his bravery and ambition from an early age. He was destined for greatness, most said. They said as much again when he was elevated to the ranks of the Knights Protector.


    166 CY  The east coast of the Great Kingdom had never truly been pacified. Barbarians raided the North Coast unmolested, and piracy was ever a problem on the South Seas. The Overking was losing patience, and he committed forces to deal with it, once and for all time. He set his sights upon putting the Duxchaners to task for their misdeeds.
    Following a particularly terrible attack on Pontylver, during which the shipyards were set ablaze,Overking Erhart II was determined to put an end to the marauding. In 166 CY, he committed the combined navies of the Great Kingdom to breaking the power of the Duxchaners. Old Baron Asperdi's young but powerful naval force from the Sea Barons was brought to bear on them, led by Lord Admiral Aeodorich of House Atirr, then accorded the finest naval captain of the time. The town of Dullstrand was specifically founded to act as a base of operations for the invasion of these southern islands by the Aerdi fleet. [LGG - 71]


    167 CY  Monduiz Dephaar was born in Bellport to noble lineage. He was elevated at a young age to its Barony when his family fell to Fruztii raids along the Solnor Coast.


    168 CY  The naval forces of the Great Kingdom defeated the Duxchan forces in the Battle of Ganode Bay with the naval power of the Sea Barons at the fore. Thus the Duxchan Isles became The Lordship of the Isles.

    Within two years of hotly fought battles in the Aerdi Sea, Atirr and his armada, which was outfitted with mages and powerful clerics of Procan, finally defeated the Duxchaners and their allies at the Battle of Ganode Bay. This won greater fame and praise for the Aerdi admiral, who eventually rose to the throne of North Province some years later. The most militant of the surviving Suel buccaneers retreated to the port of Ekul, on the Spine Ridge of the Tilvanot Plateau, but were no longer a significant factor. The Aerdi settled these islands in large numbers, founding Sulward as the capital, though the population remained largely Suel, particularly on Ansabo and Ganode, where local Suel lords were absorbed into the government of the realm. An Aerdi lord was appointed prince of the new realm and he was made responsible to the herzog of South Province, but given the right to carve up the islands into provinces as he saw fit and award them to his kin. [LGG - 71]


    CY 189 History of the Pyronomicon
    A large and powerful band of adventurers from the Great Kingdom, having learned of the Legend of Harak col Hakul Deshaun and the Pyronomicon, pushed all the way to the great wyrm’s lair intent on dispatching the dragon once and for all, but when they entered the place, it was completely empty. Apparently, Harak col Hakul Deshaun, crafty even by dragon standards, had already relocated to parts unknown; an assumption based on the fact that, without a corpse or sign of struggle to say otherwise, the dragon could not be presumed dead. And with the disappearance of the dragon, so too did The Pyronomicon vanish from the chronicles of men. [Dragon #241 - 78]

    c. 187 CY              As a member of the Knights Protector, Monduiz Dephaar distinguished himself defending against the seasonal Barbarian raids, fighting alongside such heroes as Lord Kargoth. He fought with a fierceness that was frightening to behold, and in time, as his reputation spread up and down the coast, his name came to be known and then feared by the Barbarians. His atrocities were initially overlooked; but eventually they could not be ignored. He was censured by the Knights, but he carried on unabated, then shunned; and in his fury, he left, and settled for a while among the Schnai, where his sword was welcomed, and where he could continue to raid and vent his rage upon the Fruztii.


    198 CY  The Sage Selvor the Younger proclaimed a coming time of strife and living death for the Great Kingdom. Those in power had no ears for such words in their time of unprecedented contentment.

    202 CY  During the reign of Overking Jiranen, Lord Kargoth was reputedly the greatest knight of the day. So, when the standard bearer of the Knights Protector passed into legend, Lord Kargoth fully expected to be named his successor, a fitting tribute to his long and illustrious career. When a much younger Sir Benedor was proclaimed successor, the realm gasped in disbelief, despite it being rumoured that the youth had been touched by the spirit of Johydee. Kargoth’s pride was much wounded. The Banner should have been his, he seethed!  He challenged the young knight in the Court of Essences to a contest of arms, and although fearful, the young knight accepted the challenge. The clearly weaker young knight parried Kargoth’s attacks, never giving up the floor, and held his own until sunset, upon which the challenge was called. Stalemate! According to custom, Kargoth had lost. He refused the young knight’s hand of truce and stormed from court and the sneers of his peers. He vowed revenge.

                

    Kargoth Takes Refuge

    Kargoth took refuge from the deluge that accompanied his flight. He came upon a ruin, and a stair down into the dry darkness beneath it. An ancient shrine greeted his torch upon reaching its base, that and the whispered words of the demon Ahmon-Ibor, the Sibilant Beast. Kargoth knew this beast, Demogorgon, to be a fell fiend worshipped by the decadent Flan until they were pacified by the Aerdy.

    Lord Kargoth

    The whispers promised a plan of revenge and Kargoth was seduced by those whispers, and he swore a blood pact to seal his deal. Tentacles sprung out of the darkness and tore out his eyes, and Kargoth became the first Death Knight. He emerged to discover the Knights Protector riven by the slight given him. And he was pleased.

                Monduiz Dephaar returned to the Great Kingdom upon hearing of his mentor’s supposed disgrace, seeking to join Kargoth in his revenge. Others joined him.

    Dephaar did not see Kargoth’s disfigurement. Kargoth kept it hidden at all times. He kept his distance; he held his meetings in darkened rooms, his incensed ravings woven with belching clouds of acrid incense.

    The whispers instructed him on when it was time to act upon his vengeance. When it was time, he gathered those who sided with him, and raided the Temple of Lothan, and taking its holy artifact, the Orb of Sol, in hand, he bent the Orb’s power to his will. He raised it high, and speaking words of power, summoned the draconic tentacle demon beast Arendagrost, as he was bid. And set it free upon the world. Arendagrost began to cut a swath of destruction from Rel Deven to Rauxes.

    Temple of Lothan

    Sir Benedor rode hard to Rel Deven upon hearing the news. He arrived in time to witness those thirteen knights who’d accompanied Kargoth rise from their death sprawls, their clothing scotched, their flesh burned, their eyes aglow with malevolence. He summoned all of his courage and closed with Kargoth. He attacked with abandon, sure in the knowledge that if he did not, he was lost. Near his end, he managed to wrest the Orb from Kargoth, and instructed by it, he too spoke words of power and he scattered those deathly knights that he once called peers, and began his relentless quest to destroy them.

    His victory came too late for the royal family, though. They had fallen victim to the rampaging fiend. Indeed, one had fallen and was raised by Kargoth in his own image to mock their feeble power, and set him too upon the world.

    Was Benedor successful? No. The Death Knights were swift, and they laid a trail of undead in their wake to slow him.


    The Death Knights:

    Monduiz Dephaar

    St. Kargoth the Betrayer, Lord Monduiz Dephaar, Lady Lorana Kath of Naelax, Prince Myrhal of Rax, Sir Maeril of Naelax, Sir Farian of Lirthan [destroyed by Benedor], Lord Andromansis of Garasteth, Sir Oslan Knarren, Sir Rezinar of Haxx, Lord Thyrian of Naelax, Sir Minar Syrric of Darmen, Duke Urkar Grasz of Torquann, Sir Luren the Boar of Torquann, and Lord Khayven of Rax.

    [History by Gary Holian, Dragon  #290, 291]


    213 CY  Royal Astrologers at Rel Astra proclaimed the coming of the Age of Sorrow, vindicating the discraced Sage Selvor the Younger.

    The new Overking Zelcor began to distance himself from the Knights Protector, for public opinion had swayed against them and their favour.


    233 CY The fell sword Druniazth, servant of Tharizdun, was discovered in the Rift Canyon “by a group of illithids, who traded it to drow merchants in 233 CY. Their caravan, however, was attacked and destroyed somewhere in the Underdark between the Rift Canyon and the Crystalmists and the blade passed out of living memory.” [Dragon #294 - 92]


    247 CY  Lord Kargoth’s castle walls were pulled down by the Knights Protector, and its secrets have remained buried ever since. Rumours persist that he settled on the Isle of Cursed Souls, but if truth be told, Kargoth had only been seen once upon that northern coast, and that during the Flan Festival of the Bloody Moon.


    254 CY  Far from the influence of the Malachite Throne, the Viceroyalty of Ferrond declared independence from the Great Kingdom, and was thereafter called Furyondy. This marks the beginning of the dissolution of the Great Kingdom. Never again would their influence reach as far. But in truth, its influence had not swayed Ferrond for some time.


    The migration of Pholtusians from the Great Kingdom increased with the independence of Furyondy, citing religious persecution. The people there had turned away from the Flan gods, remembering the time of the Ur-Flan and Occluded Empire, and having embraced the gods of Oerid, they no longer wished to be reminded of those times and of Pholtus’ failure. Most travel through Nyrond and settle in the western valleys of the Rakers among the Flan in a semi-independent Flannae state.


    Tenh, still independent of mind, wished a return to their own dominion. They had heard of the Great Kingdom’s fall into depravity and despotism, and encouraged by the its attention being drawn increasingly inward as the Death Knights ran amok and its provinces gradually sought their own council, they declared independence. They prepared for what response might come. And waited.


    300-350 CY         As anarchy crept into the Great Kingdom, more and more of its northern provinces became increasingly independent. And in some cases lawless. Petty fiefs sprang up, their rulers declaring themselves kings and barons and dukes and such. And where ruffians seized power, banditry prevailed. Some banded together and became known as the Bandit Kingdoms, a loose confederacy of tyrants that preyed upon one another and clung together to ward against those who’d wish to annex them.

    The Bandit Kingdoms are a collection of petty holdings. Each little kingdom is ruled by a robber chieftain claiming a title such as Baron, Boss, Plar, General, Tyrant, Prince, Despot and even King. In all there are 17 states within the confines of the area, ruled by 4 to 6 powerful lords, and the rest attempting either to become leading rulers or simply to survive. [Folio - 8]


    The Death Knights had become so powerful in the Great Kingdom that they began to hunt down the Knights Protector. Few came to the Knights’ aid.

    Veralos

    318 CY  Zagig Yragerne sought to find the fabled city of Veralos, for he believed that a culture that could produce Vecna and sunder the Elven Empire must have produced something worth seeking in their time. He and his Company of Seven, a young Murlynd and Keoghtom among them, left to much fanfare, and returning a year later, they claimed to have found and plundered the city, producing a wagon laden with treasures to prove their claim. Their expedition revived the legend of the lost citadel, and indeed, that of the Ur-Flan and their civilization, which had all but been forgotten since their Aerdy conquerors pulled down their ancient settlements and built their new ones on top of them, laying waste to Flan magic, art, and writings.

    320 CY  Nomads began to appear in the North, coming into conflict with the Rovers of the Barrens, but indeed, the northern steppes were so vast, the Rovers remained unaware until what came to be known as the Relentless Horde had already gained a foothold. And, by then, it was already too late to stop them.

    Mixed Oerid-Baklunish nomad bands had gradually moved into and laid claim to the steppe lands beyond the Yatil range, pushing eastwards as far as the Griff Mountains. Border skirmishing with the southern nations went on as these wild horsemen pushed into the Flanaess. Perhaps the civilized states could have stopped their eastward progress had they not been busy fighting with the Aerdi for their independence. [Folio - 6]

     Forced east by the Brazen Horde, the Baklunish Relentless Horde entered the Flanaess, sweeping across the Northlands. They pressed the Rovers of the Barrens east. Victorious, Ilkhan of Tiger Nomads ruled the western steppes under Kha- Khan Ogobanuk, ruler of the Restless Horde. The Wolf Nomads pressed on but could advance no further than the Cold Marshes and the Howling Hills. Their horses could not race across the former, and they met with the Rover’s resolve in the valleys of the latter.

    Following the lead of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, the outer dependencies of Aerdy too began to claim sovereignty. The Great Kingdom, ever riven by inner turmoil, and its increasing decadency, was shrinking. And in its lessened state, it could do nothing to stem the tide.

    Perranders, Velunians, Furyondians and Tenhas achieve success, establishing independent status one after the other in a series of minor but bloody wars. [Folio - 6]


    342 CY  The Council of Nine selected its first Theocrat to rule as a semi-independent leader of the Pale.

    356 CY  The founding of Nyrond marked be beginning of the Great Kingdom’s decline. One might think that the founding of Furyondy marked such, but in truth, though it did mark the beginning of its dissolution, the Great Kingdom had not looked to their Western Provinces for decades, and those provinces had not sought their aid or council for decades, so when the Viceroyalty of Ferrond declared its sovereignty, the Great Kingdom hardly took note. Its attention was firmly focused on the East; so, when its Eastern protectorates began to secede, the Kingdom chose to take note, and to act.

    The House of Rax, ruling Aerdi dynasty, was at the time sundered by an internal feud, and the junior branch, then known as Nyrond, declared it lands free of the rule of the reigning Overking [Portillan] and sovereign. [Folio - 6]

    [T]he ruling dynasty of Aerdy, the Celestial House of Rax, had grown especially decadent. In response, the western province of Nyrond declared itself free of the Great Kingdom and elected one of its nobles as king of an independent domain. Armies gathered from all loyal provinces of Aerdy to suppress this brazen act. [LGG - 14]


    Just as the Aerdi dynasty was marching troops north to deal with Nyrond’s illegal declaration of independence, an allied host of Fruztii and Schnai invaded, threatening to overwhelm the Bone March and Ratik and sweep into the North Province. The Rax Overking Portillan had no choice but to divert his forces headed to contest Nyrond to counter the barbarian invasion. They were successful, but at a great cost. So many perished at in the kingdom’s defence that it had to accept Nyrond’s independence.

    A coalition of Fruzt, Schna and mercenary barbarians mounted a major foray into the Aerdian North Province. The Overking's army, raised to invade Nyrond, swung northeast and soon the invaders were crushed. The end of the campaigning season arrived before any action could be taken against Nyrond. [Folio - 6]


    The Battle of Redspan. Tenha cavalry route Aerdian forces, Tenh duke ends fealty to Aerdian

    Crown.

    Eventually, the Great Kingdom showed signs of decay. When the Nyrondal princes declared the end of their allegiance to the overking, the duke was persuaded to follow suit.The Battle of Redspan signaled the end of the duke's fealty to the overking of Aerdy. The Aerdy force was routed by the Tenha cavalry and pushed down the "Red Road to Rift Canyon" in an action made famous in the ballad of the same name. The army of the Great Kingdom was not actually swept into the Rift Canyon, as the ballad proclaims, but they were so thoroughly defeated that many of the Aerdi officers and soldiers chose exile in the Bandit Kingdoms over the punishments awaiting them at home. [LGG - 113]

                 Theocracy of the Pale, already self-determining, proclaimed its autonomy.

    As the rot of cultural and social decay started to penetrate the Great Kingdom, many of the more devout and outspoken followers of the god Pholtus withdrew from the increasingly corrupt core of the land. Some of these settled between the Rakers mountain range and the Yol River. When Nyrond declared its independence from the Great Kingdom, so did these religious refugees. Thus was the Theocracy of the Pale formed. [WG8 - 47]


    359 CY  Nyrond, unfortunately for the Theocracy of the Pale, did not recognize the Pale’s right to independence. Nyrondal forces marched into Wintershiven, and annexed the newly formed Theocracy of the Pale, and, later, the County of Urnst. While occupied, Wintershiven was burned to the ground, and ultimately abandoned. And so it came to pass that New Wintershiven was founded twenty miles north of the old.

    Some still claim that the invaders razed the city to the ground. Calmer heads disagree, citing nothing more than carelessness: apparently some drunken Nyrondese soldiers set fire to a barn, and the fire spread to destroy the city. [WG8 - 47]

    The occupation was short. Nyrond chose to accept Theocracy and Urnst independence after the treaty of Rel Mord, in return for pledges of mutual protection. The Pale celebrates this day as the Emancipation.


    c.390 CY               History of the Pyronomicon

    The Pyronomicon’s absence from recorded history lasted roughly 200 years before turning up again circa CY 390. This time, the owner was Foltyn, a capable Water Elementalist residing on a small island along the east coast of the Nyr Dyv. Though brilliant within his specialty, Foltyn was not known for his common sense, and he foolishly announced to the world his intention to destroy The Pyronomicon before the Joint Courts of Urnst during Richfest, when both Luna and Celene were full. Needless to say, it seemed like every powerful Fire Elementalist in the Flanaess descended upon Foltyn’s island abode exactly one week before the Midsummer festival, and in a spectacular, fiery display that lit up the night sky over an area some 100 miles in diameter, Foltyn and his island were wiped clean from the face of Oerth. [Dragon #241 - 78]

    403 CY  History of the Pyronomicon
    Although there is no record indicating which Fire Elementalist made off with the tome, it eventually found its way to the city of Greyhawk in CY 403, and into the possession of the sage Warfel II, the head of a generations-old family of scholars. When Warfel II died some years later, The Pyronomicon was passed on to his eldest child, Warfel III, who passed it down to his eldest child who, in turn, passed it on to the next generation, thus quieting the tome’s storied existence. [Dragon #241 - 78]

    Skipping ahead …
    576 CY  History of the Pyronomicon
    So it was until CY 576, when a new wrinkle appeared in the tapestry that is The Pyronomicon’s history. Warfel VI reported that, while poring over an old adventure journal, the very shadows within his study began to coalesce and solidify at a frightening pace, eventually leaping off the walls as twisted and deformed gnomes. With no reason to expect an attack in his very home, Warfel was quickly overwhelmed by the diminutive invaders and rendered unconscious. Upon waking, he found that his entire abode had been ransacked, but upon further inspection, nothing had been taken, save for The Pyronomicon.
    This strange twist of fate did not end there. Elsewhere in the city, and at roughly the same time Warfel’s home was assaulted, a trio of powerful magical items (a sword, a hammer, and a trident, respectively) mysteriously vanished from the magically-protected vaults of their owners. In place of each weapon was a taunting riddle daring the owners to retrieve the items from a hidden location beneath haunted White Plume Mountain. Even more shocking than the weapons’ theft was the individual claiming responsibility. The archwizard Keraptis, thought to have died more than a millennium before, had apparently returned, for the riddles bore his personal symbol. Not surprisingly, Warfel assumed the theft of The Pyronomicon was linked to the theft of the weapons, so when adventurers were recruited in order to recover the weapons, the sage made sure that they kept an eye out for The Pyronomicon as well. But of those few intrepid adventurers who escaped White Plume Mountain with their lives, none indicated that The Pyronomicon was there, or even Keraptis for that matter.
    Consequently, as of CY 585, the location of The Pyronomicon remains a mystery. [Dragon #241 - 78, 79]





    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

     Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine (especially #241, 290, 291, 293), WG8 The Fate of Istus, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box.

    Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Wizard by andrebdois
    The-Secret-Place by freelex30
    No-rolling-back-Dark-souls by anatofinnstark
    Lord Kargoth, by Greg Staples, Dragon 290
    Monduiz Dephaar, by Adam Rex, Dragon 291
    Veralos, by Kelman Andrasofszky, Dragon 293



    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1043 The City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1989
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    2138 Book of Artifacts, 1993
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9253 WG8, Fate of Istus, 1989
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, #1, #11
    LGJ et al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, byt Jason Zavoda
    The map of Anna B. Meyer


    Posted: 09-06-2021 02:10 pm
    History of Oerth, Part 6: Of The Great Migrations


    Suel Wizard

    The Peoples of the West had rejoined our Narrative. When we first left them, they become a people under singular Empire, had mastered great magics and used them to subjugate those around them. The Flan had fled, but the Suloise had not followed them, content with gathering up all the lands of the West; so they told themselves, neglecting to mention their fear of the dark elves in the mountains to the east. Their doings had been just as turbulent as those of the Ur-Flan. Their Great Houses were ever fighting over the Throne. And while they were occupied thus, the Bakluni freed themselves. Then the Oeridians.


    Needless to say, the Suel were not pleased; so, it was not long before they and the Bakluni came to blows. What began as small raids and minor skirmished escalated into widespread hostilities. War had swept the West.  And, if that were not enough, Tharizdun had slipped back into Oerth through ever widening cracks.

    The Peoples of the West were on the move. And the Flanaess would never be the same.

    -457 CY Freed from their oppressors, Queen Johydee led her people, the Oeridian tribes, east from Ull, fighting north and eastward through the vast savage humanoid hordes employed as mercenaries by the Suel and Bakluni, taking with them those secrets of the Suel they knew or could steal, and what debris the Suel had left scattered about the fields in those days of conquest, for they knew not what may be useful in days to come.

    Some Suel fled their increasingly erratic empire, as well, and moved northward through the Kendeen Pass of the Hellfurnaces, coming into mostly peaceful congress with the migrating Oeridians, and open conflict with the native Flan who sought to keep them out. The Oeridians defeated hostile Suel and Flan alike, pushing them to the peripheral, wild places of the Flanaess. 

    A large number of savage humanoids followed in their wake, infecting the Flanaess with a brutal violence it had previously been spared. (187 OR/ 5059 SD/ 1694 FT)


    -448 CY The Year of the Prophets. They read doom in the cards, the bones, and the tea leaves. Within the span of a generation the empire would fall, they predicted. Repent, they cried. Turn from your wicked ways, they plead, warning against worship of the Chained God, and warding against something they named Shothragot. To no avail. The masses laughed and turned their backs on the doomsayers. But it was plain in their eyes that their laughter was false. They turned their backs on their prophets because they knew their emperor was displeased, and they feared their emperor’s wrath more than their prophets’ doom.


    Seven different prophets foretell of the destruction of the Suel Empire within 30 years. The Emperor, Yellax-ad-Zol has all seven drawn and quartered, even though one of the prophets is a High Priest of Beltar. [OJ11] (196 OR/ 5068 SD/1703 FT)


    -447 CY Not all were deaf to the prophets’ warnings. The Emperor’s son took heed, for, if seven prophets should face certain death to warn of impending disaster, who was he dispute them. He knew more than most, and heeded their warnings because he’d read the Lament for Lost Tharizdun, that foul scripture penned by that mad priest Wongas, who’d mysteriously vanished into the East a century earlier, and he’d seen with his own eyes what that dark lord demanded at his worship when it had been fashionable to be seen to attend such things, and knew what that Chained God desired even if those other revellers did not.


    Zellifar-ad-Zol, son of the Emperor, mage/high priest of Beltar, breaks with his father and takes over 8,000 Suloise loyal to himself, and flees the kingdom, eastward. The ferocity and magical might of the movement scatters the Oerdians in its path, causing the remainder of the Oerdian to migrate. Slerotin, called “the Last High Mage” causes a huge tunnel to be bored into the Crystalmists, through which the Zolite Suel flee. He then seals the tunnel closed at both ends, trapping one lesser branch of the family, the Lerara, inside. The Zolites continue eastward heading toward the southeast as well as to Hepmonoland. [OJ11] (197 OR/ 5069 SD/1704 FT)


    -446 CY The Emperor was not pleased! Traitor! he screamed, when he heard of his son's betrayal. His advisors and courtiers bowed and slunk away from their emperor's wrath, for they knew it all too well, and feared their being heir to it in his son's absence.

     The emperor commands that the Houses Schnai, Cruskii and Fruztii move [and] bring his son, and the "Unloyal" back to face justice. [OJ1] (198 OR/ 5070 SD/1705 FT)


    -445 to -423 CY  The Zolites scatter the Flannae before them, and move south to the Tilvanot Peninsula. Zellifar carries with him two of the lesser Binders and the Chief Binder. The three pursuing houses, unable to find the magical tunnel, turned north, where they are met by regrouped Oerdians and fearful Flannae who harry and drive these Suel Houses south. Many are lost and remained in the Amedio Jungle. They eventually [turn] back east and march toward what is now the Rift Canyon. [OJ11] (199-221 OR/ 5071 – 5093 SD/1706-1728 FT)


    -424 CY Kevelli Mauk, leader of the Scarlet Brotherhood, also heeded the warnings of the seven prophets. He gathered his servants and his ten most ardent students, and managed to escape to the Flanaess just before disaster hit. They crossed the Hellfurnaces and found those Suel who’d first fled to the Sheldomar Valley as the Great War began and had already begun to settle there. But those Suel had not held true to the Path of Purity, having already consorted with the lesser Oeridians. They were not entirely without use, Mauk found, for they had news of Zellifar-ad-Zol and those thousands who had followed him into the east. (222 OR/ 5092 SD/ 1727 FT)


    -423 CY Zellifar was not the saviour his followers had imagined; indeed, his reading the Lament for Lost Tharizdun had twisted him and he proved as much a tyrant as his father, so, soon after taking flight, there were those among them who saw that they had traded one cruel emperor for another, and they began to steal away in the chaos he fostered as they were driven further east.

    One of Zellifar’s minions, the High Priest Pellipardus, slips away from the Zolites and takes his family. Zellifar does not pursue, fearing that this will take his attention away from the Three Houses of Pursuit: the Schnai, the Fruztii, and the Cruski. [OJ11] (223 OR/ 5093 SD/1728 FT)


    -422 CY Zellifar parleys with the Houses of Pursuit. His Archmage, Slerotin, unleashes a mass enfeeblement on the mages of the three Houses, and a mass suggestion upon the other members of the Houses. Slerotin is blasted by magical energies upon the casting of these mighty spells, leaving the Rift Canyon as the only physical remains of this energy. The remnants of the Three Pursuing Houses flee northeastward.

    The Houses of Pursuit have been mind-swept. They have no purpose and no direction and no mages whatsoever after they are hit by these spells. They do not know why they are searching or what they are searching for. They have two binders but do not realize it! As they move aimlessly, they begin to seek a homeland. They do not remember where they came from. The memories of their gods are virtually blotted out.

    The three houses that eventually settle in the Barbarian States lose almost all contact with the more ‘civilized’ and good gods of their people. As they begin to multiply and prosper Kord and Llerg become major gods to them but Fortubo, Lendor, Lydia and Jascar are forgotten.

    Farther south in Ratik a slightly different mix of peoples assembles. Gods like Phaulkon, Norebo and Phyton are still remembered. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/ 1729 FT)


    Invoked Devastation and Rain of Colourless Fire Strike

    Rain of Colourless Fire, Erol Otus

    The Great War had reached its height. Thousands had perished, and thousands would perish still. Each revelled in their atrocities, citing moral and racial superiority, eager to cleanse the land of the filth that tainted it.
    In the Suel Empire proper, the Suel mages gather their magical energies and cast the Invoked Devastation. No Bakluni cities survive this blast of magical energy. But Bakluni mages gather at Tovag Baragu, using the arcane powers of the Binders, and drawing upon the energies of their holiest site, withstand these energies and counterstrike with the Rain of Colorless Fire. The remains of this expenditure of energy are now called the Dry Steppes, and the Sea of Dust. The holders of all Four Binders are utterly destroyed but the binders themselves are not. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/1729 FT)

    When the Invoked Devastation came upon the Baklunish, their own magi brought down the Rain of Colorless Fire in a last terrible curse, and this so affected the Suloise Empire as to cause it to become the Sea of Dust. [Folio - 5]

    The Suloise lands were inundated by a nearly invisible fiery rain which killed all creatures it struck, burned all living things, ignited the landscape with colorless flame, and burned the very hills into ash. [Folio] (224_OR/ 5094 SD/1729 FT)

    Cup and Talisman of AI'Akbar:

    Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar

    This pair of holy relics were given by the gods of the Paynims to their most exalted high priest […] in the days following the Invoked Devastation. It was lost to demihuman raiders and was last rumored to be somewhere in the Southeastern portion of the Bandit Kingdoms. [DMG 1e - 157]

    And thus the world was sundered, its rending felt from sea to sea, and all the peoples to the east looked to the west and thought that those great magi and their Binders had brought doom to them all. The skies lit up as never before, and, for a time, there was no night, so bright was the firmament to the west. But the end did not come. The tremors persisted, then faded, the eerie red glow slaked and withdrew to the horizon, and finally below the towering mountains there until it too faded from sight, if not from memory.

    How could it? The tattered remnant of the Suel fled their homeland as the devastation rained down upon them. They crossed the Hellfurnaces into the Sheldomar Valley where the Oeridian tribe of Keogh took pity on them and welcomed them, and together they began to build what would become a vast kingdom, settling swiftly and (so they say) peacefully under the guidance of their seers. They defeated the remnants of Vecna’s Occluded Empire and drove the Flan to the fringes of the Valley.

    That’s the story, anyway. But, Mordenkainen wrote otherwise in On The Rise of Magecraft and Modernity. The Suel were not peaceful, he wrote. They’d never been peaceful. Their Houses fought for control of one another even as they established themselves, and even drove their own minor Houses from the Valley altogether. Indeed, the Suel were striking pacts with those Ur-Flan who still held sway over Vecna’s Lands, even as they were seen to fight against them.

    Some remained aloof. Or maybe they were just biding their time. Their seers stood apart from such petty struggles, and joined together as “Those Who Must Not Speak,” to serve all the Houses, guiding them. It’s been suggested that the Order was actually founded to keep certain aspects of Suel Magic from the Oeridians, who, as yet, still lacked great sorcerers of their own. However the circumstances of their formation, “Those Who Must Not Speak” were tasked with restraining the spread of magic, and seeking out and stopping those who would unleash such death and destruction as had already been unleashed on them. In time they came to be known as the Silent Ones.

    -419 CY Zellifar enters the Griff Mountains alone. None know where he goes or what he does there. [OJ11] (225 OR/ 5097 SD/1732 FT)


    -417 CY The Three Houses of Pursuit move into the Thillonrian Peninsula. They turn to the gods they deem to be strong in the face of the harsh climate; Kord and Llerg. Magic is not practiced, and only priests, wise men and skalds may use it without fear. Witches are not uncommon, but are forced away from “normal” men. The skalds and priests develop a runic alphabet that carries mystic powers.

    They do not know where they have come from. Their skalds do not know of the Suel Empire. They have retained memory of their more primitive gods such as Kord and Llerg. Some others like Phaulkon are still remembered but the more civilized gods (Lydia, for example), are forgotten! [OJ11] (227 OR/ 5099 SD/1734 FT)


    -416 CY Zellifar, last scion of Emperors, teleports from the Griff Mountains back to the remains of the Suloise Empire. He is destroyed by the lingering magics and final throes of conflict in the area. Thus ends the Suloise Empire, mightiest and longest lived of Empires on Oerth, and its reckoning (although some skalds of the Northern Barbarians, and the Scarlet Brotherhood still use it to keep records). [OJ11] (228 OR/ 5100 SD/1735 FT)             


    c.-400 CY              The Flan Ahlissan Kingdom was in full “decline” by this time. In the wake of the Ur-Flan and the devastating war with the elves, they’d become a peaceful folk, having reverted to a tribal existence, content to tend their flocks and fields. They were no match for the coming Suel or Oeridians ... militarily. That is not to say that they were a helpless people, either. (244 OR/ 5116 SD/ 1751 FT)


    Queen Ehlissa's Marvelous Nightingale: 

    Queen Ehlissa's Marvelous  Nightingale

    The origin of this artifact is unknown, although the Mage Mordenkainen is reported to have asserted that the Nightingale was made by Xagy and the goddess of volcanic activity, Joramy, some 17 centuries ago. Queen Ehlissa bent all to her will with the enchantments of the device, and throughout her reign […] several Suel [were] banished to margins of the Flanaess. [DMG 1e - 160]

    -366 CY Not all Flan kingdoms were as formidable. The coming of the Aerdy tribes incited panic among the citizens of Veralos, for it was only a city of artisans, highly skilled in creating the wonders of ages past, magical tablets and statuary and ensorcelled jewelry, even weaponry that was coveted by all the lords of Sulm, Itar, Ahlissa, and Nuria; but alas, they were not skilled in those arms. Legends say that an Ur-Flan prophet came to that ancient citadel of Veralos, and reaping their fear, he persuaded them to seek the succor of an ancient and sinister force. (278 OR/ 5150 SD/ 1785 FT)

    -365 CY Veralos committed the Dark Rites bid them, and the sleeping power rose up from the depths of the Rift Canyon and the city of Veralos was no more. 

    When the Aerdy came upon the Rift Valley, all they found were steep cliffs, howling winds, undulant grasses, and dust-devils. They said the dust-devils swooned and wailed. They said their dreams were plagued by visions of untold horrors. And they quit the cliffs of the Rift Canyon before too long, having never raised a single palisade to defend the howling plains or the twisted forests that surrounded it. (279 OR/ 5151 SD/ 1786 FT)


    The Oeridians swept the Flan aside with ease. They were fierce. They were relentless. And they’d come prepared. They had learned from their former masters, and remembered those lessons well. They studied those Suel books and artifacts they’d taken with them. They tinkered. They failed at first to comprehend what they studied, and then one day they didn’t. Great magics were revealed to them. And the art of artifice. Leuk-O was particularly adept at such studies. And he was a wonderful tinkerer. He recreated those marvelous machines the Suel had used against them with such deadly effect. And he used them well.

    Mighty Servant of Leuk-O:

    Mighty Servant of Leuk-O

    Those who are most knowledgeable regarding ancient artifacts believe that this device is of the same manufacture as the Machine of Lum. The Mighty Servant of the famous General Leuk-O is a towering automaton of crystal, unknown metals, and strange fibrous material. It is over 9' tall, 6’ deep, and some 4' wide. Inside is a compartment suitable for holding 2 man-sized creatures, and there is space for 4-5 others to sit outside. If the possessor knows the proper command phrases, he or she can use the Mighty Servant as a transportation mode, magical attack device, or fighting machine.
     The Mighty Servant regenerates [damage done to it]. [It is reputedly immune to magic.] Acid, cold, fire, heat, vacuum, and water have no effect on the device. [DMG 1e - 159]

    Science of Temporal Waves, by Leuk-0 [Dragon #82 - 58]

    Machine of Lum the Mad:
    Perhaps this strange device was built by gods long forgotten and survived the eons since their passing, for it is incredibly ancient and of workmanship unlike anything known today. The Machine was used by Baron Lum to build an empire, but what has since become of this ponderous mechanism none can say. Legends report that it has 60 levers, 40 dials, and 20 switches (but only about one-half still function). Singly or in combination, these controls will generate all sorts of powers and effects. [DMG 1e  - 159]

    The Minds of The Unknown, by Baron Lum [Dragon #82 - 58]

    Baron Lum wielded Druniarzth against the Ur-Flan sorcerers until he lost it in the Battle if the Bonewood. Druniarzth is a fell blade, an artifact that exists only to serve Tharizdun and free him from his endless slumber. Lum spent his remaining years trying to recover the sword, the search eventually driving him mad.

    -217 CY Founding of the Kingdom of Aerdy.

    The strongest tribe of the Oeridians, the Aerdi, settled the rich fields east of the Nyr Dyv and there founded the Kingdom of Aerdy, eventually to be renamed the Great Kingdom. [Folio - 5] (427_OR/ 5299 SD/ 1881_FT)


    -194 CY Exploration of the Solonor Ocean begins.

    In eastern Oerik, some small but farsighted groups living near the Gull Cliffs of the coast developed some skill at maritime travel. The travelers were of mixed stock, Oerid and Flannae, and part of the newly formed kingdom of Aerdy. The persistent Aqua-erdians generated two major seafaring explorations, both of which successfully returned with news of land far eastward. [Aqua] (450 OR/ 5322 SD/ 1967 FT)


    -171 CY The Battle of Chokestone.

    The Flannae could only watch as the Aerdy flooded into the east, a relentless tide that had no ebb. They sought to parley with these newcomers, for there was an abundance of uncultivated land and room for all. But, the Aerdians saw the fertile lands of the Flannae and meant to take them for their own. The Flan sought to defend them, but their cause was hopeless compared with the fierceness and resolve of the Oeridians.

    They clashed at Chokestone, and the Flan fell. (473 OR/ 5345 SD/ 1980 FT)


    Chokestone
    This place, and the lands around it are deserted, not farmed by anyone. The site is that of a great battle between Aerdi men and a small Flan tribe in -171 CY. The Oeridians were easily triumphant, and an excessively brutal general ordered the torture and sacrifice of all surrendering Flan folk in thanks to Erythnul. The following day, the Aerdi army woke from its camp to find that the land for several square miles around had been stripped of vegetation. Only slate-like stone remained. As they trod upon the stone, it cracked as if it were brittle paper, releasing clouds of oily, choking smoke. Less than a third of the army managed to march away from the accursed area, and those who survived suffered lung infections and disease which brought their lives to very premature ends. From time to time since this slaughter, a huge black smoky serpentine shape has been spotted prowling the lands around Chokestone, slaying any who dare approach the land where the Flan were slaughtered. Astrologer-sages can predict this wandering; it occurs around once every 17 years, with the "snake" manifesting for […] days. At other times, mages will sometimes try to obtain some of the stone for use in making dust of sneezing and choking, but they invariably send servants to obtain it rather than risking entry themselves. [Ivid - 53]

    -122 CY Aqua-erdians struck out east across the Solonor Ocean.

    Disenchanted by a warlike turn of events in their homeland, most of the remaining Aqua-erdians left Aerdy by sea, migrating eastward across the Solnor Ocean. Those who remained became the ancestors of the Sea Barons, now virtually independent, but swearing fealty to the Overking at Rauxes. [Aqua] (522 OR/ 5394 SD/ 2029 FT)


    -110 CY After the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, the Duke of Tenh pledged fealty to the King of Aerdy, giving the Aerdian monarch authority over the duke and his personal holdings in Tenh and the Coltens, thus ending Flan dominion over the Flanaess.

    Not all nobles and officials of Tenh bent the knee to the King of Aerdy, maintaining Tenh’s independence, but without support and armies to field, their declaration was tantamount to posturing. They were living in the Great Kingdom now, regardless their delusions of the supposed continuance of a bygone age.

    After several decades of increasing growth, power, and prestige, Aerdy embarked upon a series of conquests, the greatest of which was the defeat of the Nyrondal cavalry squadrons at the Battle of a Fortnight's Length. [Folio - 5] (534 OR/ 5406 SD/ 2041 FT)


    -107 CY Ur-Flan insurgents attempted to assassinate the King of Aerdy by summoning a "winged horror." It was their last fruitless gasp at freedom.

    It occurred in the year 537 OR (-107 CY), when an attack upon the traveling train of the king of Aerdy was foiled by a group of young men, primarily woodsmen and farmers from a nearby village. Ur-Flan insurgents released a winged horror upon the royal tent city in an effort to assassinate the leader of their conquerors. The young men of the village thwarted the attack, at the cost of most of their lives. The king was so impressed with the courage of the survivors that he raised them up as his "Knight Protectors." [LGG - 157] (537 OR/ 5409 SD/ 2044 FT)


    So ended the Flan kingdoms.
    So began the Aerdian Great Kingdom.

    But what of the Houses of Pursuit? What befell them is as much legend and myth as it is truth.
    Stories tell of a barbarian empire created by the warriors of Vatun, the "Great God of the North." The empire, if it existed at all, lasted only for the lifetime of the first fasstal of the Suelii. Some say Vatun was betrayed by a companion deity, but others blame a rival Oeridian god (Telchur) and his clerics; a few even say that the barbarians proved unworthy, being unable to sustain a mighty god's presence. Regardless, as recorded history dawned in the north, the barbarians' empire was only a tale of old. [LGG - 44]
    Legend has it that should the Five Blades of Curusk be united, Vatun would be freed from his imprisonment and work his revenge against Telchur and the Oerids.

    The Fruztii settled in the lands north of the Timberway and west if the Spikey forests where the climate tended towards a more temperate temperament. They farmed their fertile lands; they harvested the bounty of Grendep Bay; they even mined the eastern Griffs; but they also raided the southern coasts with abandon, for those people were weak, and Vatun taught them to do so, and punished those tribes that did not, sending quakes and high seas and fierce winds until they set sail south once again.

    The Schnai settled the land between the Corusk Mountains and the wide Grendep Bay, with only the Spikey Forest separating them with the Fruztii. Despite their identical climes, the landscape of the Schnai is more rugged than the Fruztii’s, though not so rough as the Cruski’s. The same could be said of the people, who are more factious than the Fruztii, but more united than the Cruski. It was these differences that inevitably brought their kin under their dominion.
    They may not have always been the most powerful of the Suel barbarians, but they never come under the rule of either of their cousin states. Perhaps this is due to the superior seamanship of these barbarians, for they have never been attacked by land. [LGG - 106]

    The Cruski settled further east upon Rhizia, the Thellonrian Peninsula, than any of their kin. Theirs is the coldest and most severe of the Suel barbarian kingdoms. Fiercely independent, they hunted and fished and whaled from their seaside towns and their mountain steadings. And like all of their kin, they built longships, for it was and is their way to raid south, and prey upon those plying their trade at sea.
    The Cruski themselves are a people of pure Suel race, speaking the Cold Tongue as their native language. Though they have always been the least numerous of the Suel barbarians, their royal lineage is the oldest. The king of Cruski holds the title "Fasstal of all the Suelii," indicating his preeminence among the nobles of the Suel race and giving him the right to pronounce judgment on any of them. Politically, this has little real importance, for he has no power to enforce his judgments. However, it is said by some that the god Vatun granted this authority to the fasstal of the Suelii; if Vatun awoke, the full authority of the office would return to the fasstal, and a new barbarian empire would emerge under his leadership. [LGG - 54]

    The Barbarians and the Kingdom of Aerdy were destined to clash.
    And they did.
    But that is another tale.






    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.



    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Deathrite-Shaman by steveargyle
    War-Relic by artursadlos
    Rain of Colourless Fire by Erol Otus, Greyhawk Gold Box, 1983 TSR
    Art of Artifacts can be found in the Book of Artifacts, 1993 WotC


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2138 Book of Artifacts, 1993
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine 82
    OJ Oerth Journal, #1, #11
    Living Greyhawk Journals
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.

    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer 

    Posted: 09-04-2021 01:43 pm
    History of Oerth, Part 5: Of The Peoples of the West


    Automaton-Unearthing

    Let’s look way back shall we?

    The Suloise were a cruel and haughty people who aspired to the power they saw in the Grey Elves. They coveted that power, but as chance would have it, the Elves saw the wisdom of their having released their Magic into the world as folly, and closed their schools. The Suel were enraged. Their relations with the Elves suffered and in time, when the Grey Elves went to war against their dark brethren, they sided with the Drow and Giantkind against their former tutors. The Drow were victorious, but both they and their allies saw their forces all but wiped out. The Suloise did not venture East after that. The Drow were not as the Grey Elves were, and despite their having fought side by side with the Drow, they knew those dark elves were not their friends. So they looked to the North and West for conquest.

    They had learned much while at the knee of the Grey Elves. And they had learned far more since. They sought to know all and sent out missions in all directions to gather up what knowledge they could, some even as far north as the Barrier Peaks to spy upon their past allies, for they knew one must be prepared against the duplicity of the perfidious. They unearthed spells of great power, and they grew adept at artifice. Their foes were no match for them.

    Machine of Lum the Mad:
    Perhaps this strange device was built by gods long forgotten and survived the eons since their passing, for it is incredibly ancient and of workmanship unlike anything known today. The Machine was used by Baron Lum to build an empire, but what has since become of this ponderous mechanism none can say. Legends report that it has 60 levers, 40 dials, and 20 switches (but only about one-half still function). Singly or in combination, these controls will generate all sorts of powers and effects. [DMG 1e - 159]

    Mighty Servant of Leuk-O:

    War-Relic

    Those who are most knowledgeable regarding ancient artifacts believe that this device is of the same manufacture as the Machine of Lum. The Mighty Servant of the famous General Leuk-O is a towering automaton of crystal, unknown metals, and strange fibrous material. It is over 9' tall, 6’ deep, and some 4' wide. Inside is a compartment suitable for holding 2 man-sized creatures, and there is space for 4-5 others to sit outside. If the possessor knows the proper command phrases, he or she can use the Mighty Servant as a transportation mode, magical attack device, or fighting machine.
     The Mighty Servant regenerates [damage done to it]. [It is reputedly immune to magic.] Acid, cold, fire, heat, vacuum, and water have no effect on the device. [DMG 1e - 159]

    -4414 CY              But first, the Suel had to sort out their own House. Only one must rule if they were to stand against their enemies. And they had enemies at all points of the compass. But as some Houses soon discovered, some enemies are closer than one might think. In time, each bowed the knee until there was but one. And so it was that a scion of the House of Rhola was proclaimed the First Emperor of the Suel Empire. Worshippers of Jascar and other Suloise deities of weal, they held their holds with an iron fist. (1102 SD/ -2263 FT/ -1753 BT)


    -2660 CY              The Bakluni took note of their neighbours and saw what power would be needed if they were to keep from being fitted for chains, for the reputation of the Suel was well known to them. A Holy Man, El-Baklun-bar-Gash, prayed for guidance and was sent a vision of massive stone blocks set in five concentric circles upon the shores of Lake Udrukankar. He must build this circle of stone, the vision said, and he was to name it Tovrag Baragu, "The Naval of the Earth." He shared his vision upon waking, and his brethren raced off to all corners of the steppes to gather in those holy men known to them. They raised the stones, and understood them to be the window to all existence. The Suloise did not see, for the nomads were sparse and scattered, and they did believe that such savage nomads could raise such a thing. The Bakluni count the completion of this place as the beginning of the Bakluni calendar. (2856 SD/ -509 FT/1_BH)


    The Suel had their holy men, too. And they, too, were blessed and given favour. Some were so blessed, in fact, that their very essence was infused with their boon, and persists eons after their demise. But beware, for their boon may be your bane.

    The Teeth of Dahlver-Nor:
    If any cleric was more powerful than the renowned Dahlver-Nor, histories do not tell us. The gods themselves gave special powers to him, and these have passed on to others by means of the great relics of Dahlver-Nor, his teeth. Each of the Teeth has some power, and if one character manages to gain a full quarter, half, or all of them, other grand benefits accrue. In order to gain the power of one of these teeth, however, the character must place it into his or her mouth, where it will graft itself in the place of a like missing tooth. The teeth can never be removed once so emplaced, short of the demise of the possessor. [DMG 1e - 161]

    -2328 CY              The Suel were always a cunning and covetous people. Their Houses were always mindful of their place, and each in their wisdom knew that they were better suited for the throne than they who occupied it. But how to unseat those in their way. They plotted and schemed. They whispered into ears, and watched for weakness. They also knew that those whispers should never reach the ears of any who might expose them. One must keep plans close to their chests. And trust no one. And never, never, act openly, for to do so exposed their family to annihilation. And so, assassination became the vehicle of succession in the Empire. Thus, the throne fell to the House of Zolax, worshippers of Beltar. (3188 SD/ -177 FT/ 333 BT)

    -2269 CY              The Years of Conquest and Prosperity

    The Flanae in the southeast, already persecuted and pressed upon by the Suel for decades, were the first to fall; then the Kersi, the long distant descendants of those who first sailed from AnaKeri, to the south; then the Oerid to the north and east. Several unnamed small tribes to the west eventually fell to the Suloise as the Suel reached and stretched until they could reach no more. And with them, all the lands of the known world were under their yoke. Beyond lay only great wastes. But no lands east; the Drow and darker forces, and a fear of other elves, halted their eastern expansion.
    Convinced of their power and their undeniable destiny of dominion over the lesser peoples around them, the Suel began their "Slavery Raids.” They slipped across the Sulhaut Mountains and captured an entire family of Bakluni and took them back to their lands in chains. Such were those first raids, small, a trifling of what were to come, as though to test the resolve of the nomadic Bakluni to the north. None were noticed at first, for the Bakluni were a people scattered across the wide and windy steppes. (3247 SD/ -118 FT/ 392 BH)


    -2266 CY              The Flanae, under the protection of Beory, Pelor and Rao, fled their lands en masse, making a perilous crossing of the Hellfurnaces. They moved north into Eastern Oerik, later called the Flanaess, and were the first humans to inhabitant those lands. Initially, the elves welcomed them. The Dwarves hardly took notice, so fixated were they in their quest for gold and trading bitter blows with the humanoids in the depths of those ancient eroded mountains, the Lortmils. (3250 SD/ -115 FT/ 395 BT)


    -2150 CY              The Flan spread across the Sheldomar Valley, always settling at the foot of Elven settlements for protection. They were still convinced of the coming of the Suel, for they knew that those cruel and greedy people would sulk in their land west of the Hellfurnaces for only so long. So, when they did finally plant the seed of their civilization, they did so high in the Lortmils, where they could look to the West for their former master’s coming. They named their city Haradaragh, after Harad, the holy man who first climbed into the Lortmils to commune with the skies. Pilgrims came to learn his wisdom, calling him Druid (Father, or, Learned One), and those he taught were told to go out into the forests and hills and be as one with the all they surveyed, and they too came to be known as druids. And those who sought to protect and serve them learned their ways and ranged the lands with them.
    The Dwarves took no action against their raising this city in their mountains, for the Flan had settled in a land less rich than theirs, and more importantly, these newcomers had drawn the hated humanoids away from their unending conflict, at least for a time.
    The founding of the first Flannae City in the Lortmil mountains in eastern Oerik, this is counted as year [OJ11] (3366 SD/ 1 FT/ 511 BH)


    -2064 CY              The Great Betrayal.
    The Bakluni had not yet taken note of the Suel’s slave raids. The Steppes were a hostile place, and on occasion, small groups disappeared; what’s more, family units ranged far and were sometimes only seen at the annual gatherings.
    But, after treating with seven nomadic merchant clans at a trade gathering, the Suloise Odiafer attacked the merchants, attempting to take their goods and enslave them. The Bakluni families drew their trains together and fought to the last.
    The Bakluni came upon the field of battle in the months that followed, and reading the signs, looked to the south for those responsible. The tribes had finally taken notice of the Suel, and they knew hatred. (3452 SD/ 87 FT/597 BH)


    -2055 CY              The Suloise armies marched into the northern plains and finding scant resistance at first, claimed all they could see as their domain. The Suloise built their first palisades to defend their newly acquired territories, and then their first fortresses as they gained ever more ground, tall walls that the nomads could neither breach nor scale. They did so until they stood upon the high cliffs of the Dramidj Sea, and for the next 600 years the Bakluni were subjugated by the Suel. (3461 SD/ 96 FT/ 606 BH)


    [-1547 CY             Vecna began his 400 Year War against the Galitholian and the elves.]


    -1545 CY              The Bakluni united under one of their wandering chieftains, one Ali-ben-Onar, in an effort to throw off the Suloise yoke. (3971 SD/ 606 FT/ 1116 BH)


    -1540 CY              Five years later, they won their "First Victory." During the War of Seven Score Nights, one of the Suloise Binders was captured and the war ceased when the Bakluni threatened to use it. The Bakluni claimed all lands north of the Sulhaut Mountains by treaty with the Seul. The family Amirs and Sultans gathered and elected Ali-ben-Onar, by proclamation, "Caliph of All the Families of the Baklun." (3977 SD/ 611 FT/ 1121 BH)


    -1539 CY              The Suel-Bakluni peace was always an uneasy one. The Suel did not suffer defeat easily. They planned to never suffer such again. The House of Zolax began to plot against Bakluni influences and sent out spies into Bakluni lands. They whispered fear into the ears of all those in their fold to ensure that they would never have such dreams as the Bakluni revolt might rouse. (3977 SD/ 612 FT/ 1122 BH)


    -1399 CY              The Emperor Zeeckar looked upon his empire and saw that the blood of the Suel had become tainted, and knew that such taint had been why the Suloise Empire had been much diminished. He decided to strengthen his realm, and declared his “War of Purity.” He selected those Houses he deemed loyal and chose those individuals from within them he saw as most pure and gathered them together for his Great Mission, and set his “The Scarlet Brotherhood,” to the task of returning his People to the Grace they once knew. The Brotherhood were instructed to erase the Houses of Ulmar and Opell, for those western Houses had long interbred with the Lesser Peoples to the west. Both Houses fled the Empire, flying west over the Steppes to the Vast Ocean where they passed out of memory. Zeeckar was pleased, and set his own House and those most loyal to him in their place, for he knew that their Purity was not in question. Then he decreed that the Brotherhood sift those other Houses whose skin was less pale, whose eyes were not as violet or clear. And they did. They then turned on those Houses who suggested that the Brotherhood wielded too much power. Why, asked Zeeckar, were they not loyal to his War on Purity, were they not Pure? The Houses, in patriotic fervour, began to select those best suited to breed. And they held their council behind closed doors and thick walls. And thus they were made Loyal and Pure. (4117_SD/ 752 FT/ 1262 BH)


    [-1151 CY             Vecna was weakened by the energies he expended during his attack on The City of Summer Stars. At his empire's height, Vecna was betrayed and destroyed by his most trusted lieutenant, a human vampire called Kas the Bloody-Handed, using a magical sword that Vecna himself had crafted for him, now known as the Sword of Kas. (4365 SD/ 1000 FT/ 1510 BH)]


    -1079 CY              House Schnai, both fearful of and enraged by centuries of the Brotherhood’s Purity pogroms, conspired with the Schnai and the Cruski, and seized the throne of the Empire after a short struggle, and Ovrung the First began to restore the kingdom to a shadow of its former self. He sought out the Scarlet Brotherhood, set upon cleansing the Empire of them. But the Brotherhood faded into the shadows and bided their time. (4437 SD/ 972 FT/ 1282 BH)


    -1028 CY              The Bakluni were watchful. They saw the Suloise embroiled in their internal struggles, and they struck, sending a series of plagues, some magical and some mundane, across the Sulhaut Mountains into the Empire, and its population there collapsed, with not a family left untouched.  Indeed, many towns were completely emptied, and the border defenses were greatly weakened. This was the first of The Plague Years. (4788 SD/ 973 FT/ 1633 BH)


    -1027 CY              The Bakluni watched as the Suloise population collapsed from the plagues, and saw their weakness. And they knew the time to strike was ripe. They broke the tenuous peace and began to raid across the Sulhaut Mountains. But not for slaves. For revenge. (4889 SD/ 974 FT/ 1634 BH)


    -728 CY Weakened by the Plague Years, the Suel Empire slipped into stagnation, too weak to do more than fend off the ever increasing waves of raids from the Bakluni. The Oeridians saw the Empire’s weakness, and began to dream that they too might someday be free. (4788 SD/ 1423 FT/ 1933 BH)


    -645 CY The Oeridian High Priestess Johydee, of the Aerdi House Crandon, dreamed that one day her people would be free. She put the question as to how this might be done to the gods, and they sent her a vision of Guile. Trick your cruel masters, the vision said, and the visage of a mask resolved before her. And in her cunning, she tricked their oppressors into moulding it, infusing the porcelain with her blood. And in their hubris, they created it in her image, for they meant to mock her. She let them laugh. For she had seduced them. And using her cunning further, she called it to her, for it was a part of her, and used the conduits of Phantasm within it to free the Oeridians from their dark overlords.
    She ultimately became a queen in her own right, though the location of her realm is lost to time. But not her writings, for there is rumoured to be a copy of Mental Impressions of the Retina within the secret archives of in the Great Library of Greyhawk. (1 OR/ 4871 SD/ 1506 FT/ 2016 BH)

    Johydee's Mask: The high priestess Johydee supposedly tricked the powers of evil into making this strange artifact and then wisely used it to overthrow their hold upon her nation. The Mask completely covers the wearer's face and enables him or her to assume the likeness of any human or human-like creature. It also prevents all forms of mind contact, detection or attack. [DMG 1e - 158]




    -627 CY The Suel population had truly begun to recover, but peace had become an illusion. Skirmishes with the Bakluni had become common in the passes, with probes into each other’s territories ever more brazen. (4889 SD/ 1424 FT/ 1989 BH)


    -604 CY The Suloise noble houses were always maneuvering for power, and woe to those who did not anticipate treachery and assassination at court. The first of The Succession Wars began, and the Schnai were removed from the throne. (4912 SD/ 1547 FT/ 2057 BH)


    -563 CY Evil always finds a foothold. Temples devoted to Tharizdun had secretly spread all over the Suel Empire, spilling out over the borders in all directions, their grim devotees eager that their Master’s dark doctrine should find purchase wherever it might be whispered.
    A temple to Tharizdun is located near the Realm of the Highfolk, it is cleared, but a mystic force keeps it from being destroyed. [OJ1] (4957 SD/ 1588 FT/ 2098 BH)


    -505 CY The last of The Succession Wars swept across the Suloise Empire. After 500 years of the throne falling to nine different Houses, the House Zolax regained control of the Imperium.
    Monks from the hidden Temple of Tharizdun in Highfolk returned to the Suloise Empire and began winning converts. (5011 SD/ 1646 FT/ 2156 BH)


    -504 CY Zunid-ad-Zol, the Prince of House Zolax was crowned Emperor of the Seul Peoples. The Scarlet Brotherhood whispered in his ears. We are a great people, they said. We must keep out all the lesser peoples, they said. And he agreed. His first act was to command that the mountain passes be strengthened, that their fortifications were to span from peak to peak, and watchtowers were to be raised high.  The Bakluni protested the construction of fortifications upon what the declared to be their lands. The Backluni have been attacking us for centuries, the Brotherhood whispered. Zunid-ad-Zol accused the Backluni of having raided his lands for centuries, accusing them of having attacked his lands with plague. So whispered the Brotherhood. He declared the Bakluni an enemy of the Suloise Empire. Then he too commanded raids to probe the Steppes. The Bakluni withdrew their ambassador from the Seuloise Empire. And they too began to raise their armies. (5012 SD/ 1647 FT/ 2157 BH)


    -485 CY The Great War began with lightening swiftness when nine thousand Bakluni were slaughtered in the Salhaut Pass. The Suel thrust out into the Steppes with a vengeance they had not known since first conquering the northern nomads. Zunid was pleased, and promised to destroy the Bakluni entirely, even if the majority of mages of his own House died in the process. (5031 SD/ 1666 FT/ 2176 BH)


    -466 CY Both Bakluni and Suloise began to go east into the mountains, recruiting humanoids as mercenaries in their battles for the first time. [OJ11] (5050 SD/ 1685 FT/ 2195 BH)


    -458 CY Heeding their prophets, many Oeridians began moving eastward, coming into contact and conflict with the Flannae. (186 OR / 5058 SD/ 1693 FT/ 2203 BH)


    But what of the Flan? Did they not mount a defence against the Peoples of the West? Their first city, Haradaragh had been built in preparation for the assault of the Se-Ul People that they knew must someday come. Surely they must have been prepared. They were. They had been. But the Se-Ul did not come. They grew lax. And were not prepared for what did.

    The Flan of Haradaragh found that their presence in the Lortmils was left unchallenged by the elves for a simple reason -- the existence of the orcs and goblins of the central peaks. The humans had nearly a century of relative peace in which to build their great capital. During this time, the human miner Bleredd led several explorations of the deep caverns below the mines, and on one such occasion, was ambushed by a goblin scouting party. Separated from his companions, and facing a howling band of goblins, he prepared for his death at their spears. He was amazed to discover that he was no longer fighting alone; a strong faced matron battled at his side with her hammer, slaying the goblins as easily as the most skilled warrior. When the battle was over, Bleredd turned to thank his rescuer and found he was alone again. He there swore an oath that he would find her and repay his debt, unto his dying days if need be. Long and far he traveled, and terrible were the hardships he endured to follow his oath -- all of which have been expounded upon elsewhere.
    Although no written descriptions of the city of Haradaragh have survived, there are cryptic fragments of songs still sung among those of Geoff, Sterich and the County of Ulek who count themselves of Flan descent. These tell of the spectacular visions of sunrise in the high plateaus of the mountains, the great wide boulevards and plazas of the city, the many-stepped pyramids devoted to the Sun-God, the agricultural terraces of the slopes, the labyrinthine walls protecting the city, and the tremendous wealth brought from the mines below. The more tragic lyrics sing of the last days of the city, when the mines boiled forth with rampaging humanoids who slaughtered all who would stand against them.
    The humanoids had known of the presence of the humans within a few decades of the Flannae arrival, but the goblin shamen urged the tribes to wait until the portents were favorable. The goblins and allied orcs patiently waited for the humans to drive tunnels deeper into caverns that the goblins had already reached via other passages. Present-day goblin shamen recall only small fragments of the victorious battle chant, but it speaks of the spear of Maglubiyet waiting in the darkness for the humans. Whether this was an appearance of the avatar, or an epic exaggeration by the shamen, is unknown.
    Although the songs are quite descriptive of the birth and death of the city, they leave out any clear description of its exact location, other than that it must have been among the highest peaks of the range. The mountain dwarves who have roamed the peaks in the centuries since have found no ruins of any such city, and have tunneled for miles without encountering other mining tunnels -- active or abandoned.
    With the destruction of their great city, the few survivors fled into the lowlands, and reverted back to a [simpler], nomadic life. The leaders that later emerged among them forswore any return to the cursed mountains, or any attempt to build great cities again, citing the wrath of the gods.
    When the waves of Oeridian and Suel refugees arrived in the Sheldomar valley region some 1,500 years later, the descendants of the Lortmil Flannae were completely absent of any signs that they had the skill, knowledge and daring to have built a city on the very peaks of the mountains. [OJ2by Sobhrach]

    -448 CY The Year of the Prophets. Seven different prophets foretell of the destruction of the Suel Empire within 30 years. The emperor has all seven drawn and quartered, even though one of the prophets is a High Priest of Beltar. (196 OR/ 5068 SD/ 1703 FT/ 2213 BH)


    -447 CY Zellifar-ad-Zol, son of the emperor, mage/high priest of Beltar, breaks with his father and takes over 8,000 Seuloise loyal to himself, and flees the kingdom, eastward. The ferocity and magical might of the movement scatters the Oeridians in its path, causing the remainder of the Oeridian to migrate, who in turn attack the beleaguered Flanae. The Zolites continue eastward. (197 OR/ 5069_SD/_1704 FT/ 2214 BH)


    -446 CY The emperor sends commands that the Houses Schnai, Cruskii and Fruztii move bring his son, and the "Unloyal" back to face justice. [OJ1] (198 OR/ 5070 SD/ 1705 FT/ 2215 BH)


    -445 to -423 CY  The Zolite scatter the Flanae before them, and move south to the Tilvanot Peninsula. The three pursuing houses, unable to find the magical tunnel, turn north, where they are met by regrouped Oeridians and fearful Flanae who harry and drive these Suel Houses south. (5071 to 199-221 OR/ 5093 SD/ 1706-1728 FT/ 2216-2238 BH)


    The Peoples of the West were on the move. The Great Migration had begun. But what begins as a trickle would eventually become a flood.






    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weinig. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    It should be noted that without Lenard Lakfka there would not be such a detailed account of the Suel Migration, or the Pantheon of Suel Gods, for that matter. I cannot at this time give credit to all those others who’d contributed to it over the years, because I myself am still learning it and who wrote it.


    The Art:
    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Automaton-Unearthing, by 000fesbra000
    War-Relic, by artursadlos

    Sources
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    Book of Artifacts, Dave Cook, 1993
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9027 S2, White Plume Mountain, 1979
    9309 WGA4, Vecna Lives, 1990
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    Dragon Magazine, 82
    OJ Oerth Journal, #1, #2, #11; produced by the Council of Greyhawk, and appearing on their website
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    TSR11348 Return to White Plume Mountain, 1999

    Book of Artifacts, David Cook, 1993.

    Posted: 08-31-2021 05:33 pm
    History of Oerth, Part 4: Of The Dark Age Of The Flan


    Flan warrior

    The Ur-Flan were not idle as Vecna rose to power. They were a greedy and covetous lot, never satisfied to live under the rule of another, so they each sought to carve out their own realms while Vecna threw his forces against the shield of the Elven Kingdoms.

    They were not all so. Some sought refuge from the tyranny of their peers. Thus, Tostenhca was born. Those who sought the Wisdom of Pelor fled from their evil brethren into the high and frigid Griff Mountains, where, to their delight, they discovered a green plateau that was of temperate climate in those days. They came upon the Dwarves, who, wary at first for they knew of the Ur-Flan and their war with the Elves, were convinced of the honour and goodness of these people. And it was with the help of the Dwarves that they carved their city from the greenish-black rock of the mountain, and it was a wonder to behold. Ramps, broad avenues, and good roads of such quality were cut through the mountains that they’ve withstood the ravages of time and are still used today by the local dwarves. Their broad avenues were lined with tall statues, backed by the facades and courtyards of the noble estates that were hued into the rock is such a way as to be sky lit by tapestries of coloured glass. Murals adorned their walls. And gardens bloomed and spilled out over the dappled streets in a floral canopy. Enormous cisterns caught the rains and fed their statues and fountains and pumped running water throughout the city.

    They flattened terraces for the sake of agriculture around it and in the surrounding valleys as they sought and found others as gentle and fertile.

    And what’s more, Pelor shined on them, as their valleys proved rich with gold and jade. Their artisans grew adept in the art of glass, the loom, and the kiln, and as such, they grew rich, and richer still as they traded with Dwarven clans of Ukauric and Ukargic. So rich in fact, that Tostenhca’s central, domed, Temple of Pelor, and the Theign’s pyramid Palace shone brightly with roofs of gold.

    They were ever vigil, for they knew that one day Vecna, or one like him would come. And one day, one did come. But they were blind to it when it did come.

    It is commonly held that the Flan peoples of eastern Oerth were simple tribesmen before the events that led to the Suel and Oeridian migrations. There remain to be explained certain ruins found in the Griff and Corusk Mountains. The massive stone foundations, straight level roads, and flattened or terraced areas of mountainside seem from the proportions of the rarely preserved door- ways to be intended for creatures of human size, and it seems unlikely that elves or humanoids would have had the inclination to produce such works. What is more, the occasional jade carvings and green ceramic figurines found both at these sites and occasionally in rivers flowing out of the mountains show a people of Flannish features and dress, and there remain in the Duchy of Tenh and among the Coltens stories of a powerful mountain state of Flann- ish race. Perhaps the dwarves of the region know more, but if so, they show the typical reticence of demi-human races concerning prehistoric events. One of the greatest works of this ancient people, whoever they were, is the mountain known in Flan as Tostenhca, but more commonly known by the name the Suel barbarians gave it, Skrellingshald. It is a place which has been discovered many times, and as often lost again from human knowledge. [GA - 92]

    Keraptis

    c.-1500 CY           The Ur-Flan wizard-priest Keraptis came to the Golden City of Tostenhca, and unknown to the People, he unleashed a horde of aberrations and monstrosities upon its populace; and then announcing himself to them, he told them that he alone could rid them of the hordes. They were skeptical. They already had an abundance of heroes, and great and accomplished magi, and a temple of divine power that had kept them from harm until then. But had they, Keraptis asked, were they not beset by monsters; had their heroes and magi and priests protected them from the beasts that plagued them still? They had not, said the people of Tostenhca. So, the people agreed that if Keraptis could rid them of the ravaging hordes, they would make him Protector of Tostenhca and lavish him with gold. And he did, with a wave of his hand. Tostenhca paid him his gold. They made him their Protector.

                The Dwarves saw the Evil in Keraptis. But when they tried to warn the Council of Elders of Tostenhca of it, the Council would not hear of it. They were blind to it. He rescued us from Great Evil, they said. Had he, asked the Dwarves He did, said they, and they turned their backs on the Dwarves. And the Dwarves turned their backs on Tostenhca, and guarded the paths from that once good city to theirs’.


    Keraptis warned the People that their great good fortune would being even greater evils upon them, for Evil despises Good. And Keraptis’ Great Evils did. Demons fell upon the city. Then a Wasting fell upon their flesh. And Keraptis demanded an ever-increasing stipend for his protection, for time and again the monstrosities came. Before long, Keraptis was demanding most of the wealth of the Tostenhca and its valleys. And in their fear, they gave it freely.


    Keraptis sent out his warriors out from their heights, gathering in the foothills, and then the plains surrounding them.


    Nearly 1300 years ago, in a time when the Flan tribes still dominated eastern Oerik, the archwizard Keraptis rose to power in the lands abutting the southern Rakers, and while most historians agree that the mage’s kingdom encompassed what is now known as the Bone March, a few scholars believe the territories that later became Ratik and the Pale were part of this empire as well. (651 FT) [Dragon #241 - 77]


    -1151 CY              At his empire's height, Vecna was betrayed and destroyed by his most trusted lieutenant, a human vampire called Kas the Bloody-Handed. (1000 FT)


    But what of the Elves? How did they fare after their disastrous 600-year stalemate with Vecna? They persevered.
    After the Gray Elves last city in the Crystalmists fell, the remnants fled eastward. They, in conjunction with their High Elven and Sylvan kindred, developed the four Elven Kingdoms. The Westernmost of these, the "Realm" of Highfolk in the Yatils and the Vesve was established as a guardian against the Seul and the Drow. This realm was established with the Sylvan elves of the Vesve. Of all the Elven realms, it was the most open to other races, allowing humans, gnomes, halflings and even dwarves to partake of its society. The second Kingdom, Celene, the [High Elven] "heart jewel" of Elvendom, [took in those Gray Elves who fled to their realm]. It, alone of the realms, is always ruled by an elven queen. The third Kingdom, Aliador, was established in the Griff Mountains and the plains to the west to the shores of the Nyr Dyv, it is also called the "Lost Kingdom." This was the Crown of the Elven seat, and was inhabited solely by Gray Elves and their servants. The High King of All Elves had his place here. The Fourth Realm, Arrisa, was established by a council of mages and priests in the southern islands now known as the Spendrifts. It is called "The Secret Realm" and it has been closed for long. Little traffic passes between this realm and the remainder of the Flanaess. And its purpose, until recently, has been hidden (even to the other elven Realms). [OJ1]

    -1142 CY              Despite Vecna's destruction, the three remaining hidden Gray Elven cities of Aliador do not reveal themselves.  [OJ1] (4374 SD/ 1109 FT)


    -1138 CY              Envoys from Celene are sent to contact the three hidden cities of Aliador, they do not return. This is the beginning of "The Sleeping Years". The Elven Realms do not communicate with outsiders and rarely with each other. [OJ1] (4378 SD/ 1113 FT)


    -1034 CY              Vecna’s vast empire collapsed with his passing, and the Flan found themselves lost and leaderless. The Flaneass fell into a Dark Age, where petty states raided and preyed on their neighbours.

    Founding of the Flanae Kingdom of Sulm in the Bright Desert Region. [OJ1] (1117 FT)


    c.-1100 CY           Keraptis ruled Tostenhca with an iron fist for fear for 400 years, but even fear can only surpass a People for so long. His grip was too tight. And when a grip is too tight, that which is held can escape from the cracks. His greed brought his downfall, its grip opening a path for those who aspired to his throne, and he was eventually driven out of Tostenhca.


                    History of the Pyronomicon

    Yet, as is well documented in the little-known Legend of Keraptis, the archwizard was a cruel man, so brutal in fact that, near the end of his reign, he demanded his tormented subjects turn over to him one-third of their newborn children as part of their taxes. The peasants did not take this atrocity lightly, and under the leadership of the high priest Gethrun Shoiraine and his ranger followers, the kingdom of the tyrant mage was sundered. During the resulting chaos, Keraptis and his gnome bodyguards escaped to the south, but in his haste to evade capture, Keraptis was forced to leave behind several objects of particular value. Among them was The Pyronomicon, a huge tome devoted to the lore of Elemental Fire, which Gethrun claimed as his share of the spoils.

    Despite his inability to use the spells it contained, Gethrun retained the book some 50 odd years before turning it over to the elves of the Gamboge Forest. [Dragon #241 -77,78 ] (1051 FT)


    Keraptis waxed and waned in the Northeast, as did Tzunk in the North.

    Legend has it that The Isles or Woe once stood in the Nyr Dyv, but no one can pinpoint their location, their size, or even their number (some say three, some say seven). Who can say? No one has seen them in nigh a thousand years, though some have sought them out. Ancient maps hidden away in a secret room in the Great Library of Greyhawk show their location as southwest of the Scragholme Island upon a much smaller Nyr Dyv, rising from its wasters as though an extension of the Cairn Hills.

    All sources say they were ancient, and they must have been, because they were gone when the People of Aerdy arrived. All sources say that they were highly magical. It is written that Tzunk wrote (or perhaps discovered, as the massive book has also been named Yagrax's Tome) The Codex of the Infinite Planes there, and Tzunk is said to have been a lieutenant of Vecna’s. Even Vecna is said to have built his Black Tower upon one of the Islands, and that he ruled his vast Empire from his “rotted tower” and “spidered throne” there.  Maybe he did; that ancient map indicates a small tower ore lighthouse on one, an open eye with a cat-like pupil placed upon a spindled base.

    But the Wizard Priest Tzunk left no records. Only speculations follow his exploits, dim recollections of his ruling in Vecna’s absence, and of his raising an army to march against the City of Brass. But he was no match for an army of four million efreet. He was bested and brought to the efreeti sultan in chains, his body was cut into a hundred parts, the portions scattered to the winds, burned in fire, dissolved in acidic waters, and buried below the earth. And yet the power of the Codex would not let him die. Rumour has it that there is said to be a tomb holding Tzunk's hands. Constructs with arcane powers guard it, and the tomb itself is filled with magical and mundane traps, secret portals, passages, and mazes. Legends say the hands will animate themselves if uncovered from their burial place and serve their rescuer as divinatory tools but slowly dominating their user in order to seek out the other parts of Tzunk's indestructible, scattered body.

    Mo matter. Those are but rumours and legends, even if the Archmage Marinian of Willip has set out into the Barrens for Blackmoor with evidence of the site of their burial, despite the dire warning that a Sisterhood of Ur-Flan Witches guards it from any who might seek it. But that is another tale.

    What is known is that the Isles are no more, or not upon the surface of the Lake of Unknown Depth, at any rate. The Rhenne have a tale that says that the Elemental Kings took their revenge upon the Isles of Woe, rending the earth with tremor and storm and fire, and that the waters rose as though the world might be taken whole by them, drowning those fell wizard-priests as the price for Tzunk’s ambitions, and as a warning to any who might try their hand against them again. The Rhenne swear that those dire isles rise when Solune and Celene are both new, swallowing up any who might land there. But the Rhenne say a lot of things, and are notorious liars.

    But in time, the Flan gathered themselves up after the tyranny of the Ur-Flan.
    After this several small Flanae kingdoms arise, but none match the might of the Ur-Flanae under Vecna, several northern Flan fearing the both the wrath of the elves and the brutality of another lich-king flee their cities and turn back to tribal systems of government. One exception to this general dissolution is the area under an able Theign named Tenh. He manages to keep his people from scattering, although incursions by roaming monsters and undead into this area are frequent. [OJ1]

    c.-1100 to -400 CY            Another Flan kingdom prospered, the Kingdom of Ahlissa, despite the passing of their beloved Queen Elhissa during the war, reigning over most of the land east of the Nyr Dyv. It remained a peaceful place until the coming of the Oeridians. (1051-1751 FT)


    But what of Keraptis?


    Keraptis with Blackrazer

                Homeless, the wizard and his followers fled to the cities of the south and west. But wherever Keraptis went, his reputation preceded him, and he found no other settlements willing to accept his "protection." During these travels, which lasted most of three centuries, the wizard acquired several implements of surpassing power. The secret gnomish conclave from which he drew his bodyguard gave him the hammer called Whelm. In return for aid that would enable them to crack their divinely ordained prison, the mythical Cyclopes presented Keraptis with the trident named Wave. While future-communing with the last living entities of a dying multiverse, he received the sword called Blackrazor. But true immortality still eluded his grasp. [Return to White Plume Mountain - 3]

    [Historical Development of Keraptis: Erik Mona, Lisa Stevens, Steve Wilson]

    c.-800 CY              Keraptis, ever scheming for more power, ranging far and wide in search of secrets, discovered the lava tubes beneath White Plume Mountain.
    Three hundred years after leaving Tostenhca, Keraptis learned of a great volcano called White Plume Mountain, in which still-living druids of the Elder Age guarded the secrets of immortality. Within the volcano, the wizard found a tangled maze of lava tunnels and an ancient druid serving as the sole protector of Elder secrets. The two fought a titanic battle for ownership of White Plume Mountain and its ancient mysteries, but in the end the wizard prevailed. After casting the druid's remains into a sea of magma, the triumphant Keraptis penetrated to the Druid's Fane, a secret chamber protected by molten rock.
    There, among other treasures of ancient sorcery, he found the archetypal iceblade Frostrazor and an enigmatic statuette. Keraptis used the figurine’s power to pronounce a heinous curse that laid waste to distant Tostenhca, thus exacting his revenge at last. Thereafter, Keraptis focused all of his vast faculties on the problem of death. He embarked on a dozen separate research efforts, all aimed at achieving eternal life without the need for constant magical maintenance and healing. It was one such project, empowered by the four enchanted implements he had obtained, that eventually allowed Keraptis to step forth from the Prime Material Plane into a distant shadowy realm where, he hoped, he would leave behind the constraints of mortality forever. [RtWPM - 3,4]  (1351_FT)

    c.-700 CY              The Flan Kingdom of Sulm fell, destroyed by its last king. The king, Shattados, used the power of a dark artifact known as the Scorpion Crown in an attempt to gain perpetual dominion over his subjects. Instead, the crown turned Shattados into a gigantic scorpion and his people into manscorpions and (possibly) dune stalkers. A few became asheratis instead due to the grace of Geshtai. (1451 FT)


    -600 CY History of the Pyronomicon

    The elves, in turn, held the tome for more than 500 years, until the coming of the Oeridians. The Oeridians, in their efforts to subdue all who would stand against them, roused the ire of a great red wyrm that had been lairing near the border where the Rakers, the Gamboge, and the Flinty Hills meet. It seems that a large Oeridian force lured the dragon out and away from its abode while a much smaller unit emptied out the place. In its rage, Harak col Hakul Deshaun, as the Oeridians later named the dragon, which loosely translates to “he who comes with fire and fury,” rampaged across the countryside, destroying anyone it found. Eventually, its wrath fell upon the elves of the Gamboge, and when all was done, Harak col Hakul Deshaun was the new owner of The Pyronomicon. For generations thereafter, the land within 50 miles of Harak’s lair was carefully avoided by humans and demihumans alike, and in time, the legacy of Harak col Hakul Deshaun became little more than myth. This situation could not last forever, of course, and soon enough, the abandoned lands were reclaimed and settled anew. [Dragon #241 - 78] (1551 FT) 


    -563 CY Evil always finds a foothold.

    A temple to Tharizdun is located near the Realm of the Highfolk, it is cleared, but a mystic force keeps it from being destroyed. [OJ1] (4957 SD/1588 FT)


    We must pause to now consider what was happening in the East, as events there would draw the Peoples there back into the narrative of the Flanaess.




    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Special thanks to Erik Mona, Lisa Stevens, Steve Wilson for the work on the historical development of Keraptis in Return to White Plume Mountain,
    Special thanks to Βικτώρια Κανελλοπούλου (Maria Viktoria Kanellopoulou) for allowing her most excellent artwork to grace this work. See ladyloth for more.



    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    the-hunter by ladyloth
    Keraptis and Blackrazer details, by Wayne Reynolds, Return to White Plume Mountain, 1999


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988

    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9027 S2, White Plume Mountain, 1979
    9309 WGA4, Vecna Lives, 1990
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    Dragon 241, November, 1997
    OJ Oerth Journal #1, #11
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 08-30-2021 07:22 am
    History of Oerth, Part 3: Of Vecna


    Vecna
    And now, back to the history of the Ur-Flan. You can’t talk about the Ur-Flan without delving deeply into Vecna.

    Vecna is very much a figure of mystery. He dates back to a time of near-prehistory in Greyhawk, before the migrations, before the wars between Suel and Baklunish, perhaps even before the ascendancy of the Suloise Empire itself. He is a figure more of legend than fact and, like all legends, there are embellishments, exaggerations, distortions, contradictions, and confusions attached to his name. [WGA4 Vecna Lives - 6]

    -1746 to -1711 CY             Vecna is said to have been born as a member of the Untouchable caste in the Flan city of Fleeth, in the Sheldomar Valley. He was initially trained by his mother, Mazell, in the arts of witchcraft before she was executed by the government of Fleeth for the crime of practicing unsanctioned magic, forbidden to the Untouchables. Vecna was devastated. He was enraged. He had nothing but the love of his mother and they had taken that away from him for harmless tinkering. Vowing revenge, Vecna eventually assumed a mastery of the dark arts achieved by no mortal before or since. Some say this achievement was due to direct tutelage by Mok'slyk the Serpent (I’m going on a limb and suggest that Mok’slyk might have been a Yuan-ti priest-magi), believed to be the personification of arcane magic itself.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself. He ran away. Or tried to. Young and inexperienced, he was easily apprehended. He was deemed harmless, but the government of Fleeth understood that young rage can become future vendetta, so they sold him to a caravan of settlers setting out for the North who needed hostages for the Glitter King. And he was used for just that.


    And Vecna was accepted as such, even though the Ur-Flan supposed deception of sending Untouchables in the place of their own was well known by the Grey Elven King Galitholian Glitterhelm. But Galithonian took no steps to let that be known; he didn’t want the hostages as a shield against any future aggression of the Ur-Flan, he never expected that they’d ever be much of a threat to his People; he wanted the children to mould them, to teach them, to guide the Flan back onto the Path of Light.


    Vecna impressed the king with his intelligence so much that the king took it upon himself to teach the young Flan, himself, in the arts of court and language and diplomacy, and when Galithonian discovered that the boy was already versed in the Art, he was both surprised and pleased. He saw, in his hubris, the vehicle in which his scheme could find its end. He took Vecna aside and trained him further in it.


    Vecna as an apt pupil. He excelled in everything. So pleased was Galithonian, that he allowed Vecna to read as widely as he wished. And he did. Left unsupervised, he discovered an ancient Seul book entitled "The Fate of Tilorop" in the libraries, a book the elves had kept as a warning to themselves of how Men (and indeed, Elves) could be swayed by the Darkness. They kept it as a reminded of their own folly in how widely they had taught Men in Magic. And the result. Had Galithonian had read it. But it was old and dusty, and Galithonian was sure in his own wisdom and saw no need to consult such things. Vecna read that book, and was reminded of his rage and desire for revenge. And within it, he came to know of the rage and power of Tharizdun. And unbeknownst to Galithonian, Vecna was seduced.


    Venca was given leave to return to his homeland, where he challenged the High Chieftain and kills him. He erected his Black Tower, and beneath it, his Dark Cathedral. He began gathering in the surrounding tribes by pitting one against the other, and then coming to their aid, each in turn. He taught them hate and a lust for power and conquest, and in time, they too saw the goodness in such things.

    In his time, Vecna was considered the mightiest of all wizards, unsurpassed in his knowledge of all the arcane arts. From the loneliest chamber of a black tower, he ruled over a now-forgotten nation. Some say his realm was beyond the great mountains to the west. Another theory holds his tower once rose from the very depths of the Nyr Dyv. A few writers even go so far as to claim Vecna’s dominion extended over another plane and that he was ultimately destroyed by a revolt of the greater powers that dwelled there! [WGA4 Vecna Lives - 5]

    But Vecna found the spark of youth leaving him. That would not do, he thought, and he undertook arduous researches into the nature of life itself in his hidden temple.  (404 to 440 FT)

    With time, like all things human (although some tales claim he was half-elven. Vecna grew old and neared death. The black oblivion caused no terror in hi, only anger and rage. He was determined not to die and in his conceit came to believe that immortality was not merely possible, but was is right. He began a search for the ultimate power needed to overcome the Greater Power, Death. [WGA4 Vecna Lives - 6, 7]

    Vecna

    c.-1710 to -1683 CY             Vecna succeeded in becoming a lich. And having subverted his people, he gathered in a humanoid host to increase his holdings. He struck north first, expanding into the Barrens.


    Vecna shields his presence from the Elves by use of magic. He studies "The Fate of Tilrop" and was driven by an insatiable lust to live as long as the elves. His established towns on the model of the Gray Elves, and began to experiment with his Ur-Flanae for the "Ultimate Solution to Death." Several undead are created. [OJ1] (441-468 FT)


    c.-1669 to -1566 CY         Vecna’s great and terrible Occluded Empire of the Whispered One expanded, stretching across the Flannaes from Perrenland across the plains to the extent of the Barrens, and across the Nyr Dyv, as far south as the Wooly Bay. He vowed to destroy the elven kingdoms as they acted to restrain his reign of terror. (482 to 585 FT)


    He knew that someday the Elves would rise against him, and he knew of their power, and he also knew of the power of the Ur-Flan magi, so he prepared himself. Not only did he gather in new and greater magics, he forged a sword from the stuff of stars, one he knew to be the match of his tutor’s, the Glitter King’s. (469 FT)

    As a sign of Kas’s authority (and to protect his lieutenant from the intrigues of others), Vecna forged the sword of Kas, a magical weapon like none ever known. ale-spinners say its iron was taken from the heart of a frozen star and forged in flames stolen from the sun. Though dull and unadorned, it shimmered with evil. Its edge could bite any metal and its blade never dulled. When Kas wielded it, no man could withstand him.

     Fashioned by Vecna’s hand, the sword was evil, even when compared to its creator. It whispered to Kas in secret voices, feeding the warrior’s pride and vanity. “You are greater now than your master,” it said. “You are the true ruler of all his lands.” Slowly it seduced him, urging him to usurp Vecna’s throne and send the arch-lich to death forever. And gradually Kas came to believe its words. [WGA4 Vecna Lives - 7]

    Vecna’s prediction proved true. Galitholian raised a host to suppress him. Vecna met them and drove them from the field. (482-576 FT)


    Celene fielded an army to assist Galitholian. But Vecna foresaw their coming and was prepared. He called upon Tharizdun and unleashed a burning that created the Bright Desert. Celene retreated. (580 FT)


    With Galitholian in his mountains and Celene in full retreat, Vecna lay siege to the city of Fleeth with an army of arcane spellcasters and undead. Legend has it that Vecna was nearly slain in this battle by clerics channeling the power of Pholtus, the god of light. The clerics unleashed a great burst of light, which hit Vecna primarily on his left side. Vecna was rescued and brought to safety by one of his wizard generals, a cambion named Acererak, who would one day himself become a mighty demilich.


    Vecna eventually recovered. On the verge of conquering Fleeth, certain citizens of the city came before him to beg for mercy. They offered up the entire city and her wealth if only Vecna would spare the lives of her citizens. When Vecna was not satisfied, the officials offered their own lives. Vecna gave one of their number, Artau and his family, over to his lieutenant, Kas, who spent the entire day torturing and murdering them before the other officials. Still unsatisfied, Vecna slaughtered all within the city, and had their heads stacked before the officials, with those of their family members prominent. Vecna then granted his mercy, granting the officials leave to depart, and promising them his protection for the rest of their lives. (585 FT)


    “The morning after the Feast of Himar, certain citizens of Fleeth came out of the town and entreated upon the besiegers to speak with Lord Vecna, the Whispered One, in his spidered pavilion. They told him they were ready to place the city and all their possessions at his discretion, provided their lives were spared. The Whispered One replied that he could not agree to such terns, nor indeed to any others, and that he would see the heads of all Fleeth stacked before him.

    “Hearing his terrible utterance on their fate, these same burghers beseeched him to mercy, offering themselves if he would spare the good people of Fleeth. Perhaps the Whispered One was amused, for he ordered them to place one of their number, his family and slaves into Lord Vecna’s hands.

    “Lots were taken and an upright burgher, Goodman Artau, called his family from within the walls. ‘Join me, for the Great Lord has granted us safety to leave this land,’ he told his wife, seeking to ease her mind. Reassured by his gentle words, she and her children passed through the gate to join her husband. Pleased, the Whispered One gave them all over to Kas the Hateful.

    “For a day, the burghers watched Goodman Artau and his family die at the hands of Kas. When at last it was done, the burghers pleaded to take their leave, certain their city had been saved. But the Whispered One turned to his barons and spoke to them. ‘My lords,’ he said, ‘the people of this city are ready to surrender it at my discretion, on condition that their lives are spared. However, I will not make peace with them on these terms, nor any others, except with your consent.’

    “‘Our sagacious master,’ replied the barons, ‘we advise, and even beg you, to accept the terms they offer.’ But the Whispered One did not listen. That very day the mangonels and war-wizards were set up outside the walls. The assault went on for about five hours and then the wizened lord broke the walls of Fleeth with a wave of his hand.

    “By the dawn, the heads of citizens were stacked before the burgers. Their own wives and children stared at them foremost. This was the humor of Vecna, and as his final cruelty, he allowed these burghers to depart in peace and guaranteed their safety for the remainders of their sorrowful lives.”

    -from The Chronicle of Secret Times by Uhas of Neheli [WGA4 Vecna Lives - 3]


    c.-1566 to -1150 CY         Vecna’s Flan Empire reached its fullness, spanning the continent. (586 to 01_FT)


    Tzunk, High Wizard Priests of the Isles of Woe discover the Codex of Infinite Planes. During the nation's height, the High Wizard-Priest had used the powers of the Codex to conquer the surrounding realms, and even other planes, but the same forces that brought so much power also brought much destruction and woe. It is said that at one point, the danger presented by the dominion of the Isles of Woe became so great that the sleeping hero Krovis emerged from his tomb to do battle. 


    Tzunk sets out to conquer the City of Brass. He was no match for an army of four million efreet. He was bested in battle and brought to the efreeti sultan in chains. His body was cut into a hundred parts; the portions scattered to the winds, burned in fire, dissolved in acidic waters, and buried below the earth. And yet the power of the Codex would not let him die.


    In the northern wastes beyond the Barrens, there is said to be a tomb holding Tzunk's hands. Constructs with arcane powers guard it, and the tomb itself is filled with magical and mundane traps, secret portals, passages, and mazes. If uncovered from their burial place, legends say the hands will animate themselves, serving their rescuer as divinatory tools but slowly dominating their user in order to seek out the other parts of Tzunk's indestructible, scattered body. 


    -1547 CY              Vecna knew he would never be secure in his Empire so long as the Elves stood against him. He took the war to them. The first elven city fell, marking the beginning of the 400 Year War. (604 FT)


    -1230 CY              Vecna had destroyed all but five of the Elven Cities in the Griff Mountains. Despite valiant attempts by Celene and the Highfolk, no aid reached Galitholian. (921 FT)

    Galitholian Glitterhelm

    -1163 to -1169 GY            Galitholian marched out to meet Veca. They faced one another, their armies arrayed behind them. Gallitholian demanded single combat between them. Vecna agreed, revealing his black sword forged of stars, and Galitholian was afraid. He was right to be, for it was on that day that Galitholian’s spirit died. (988-994 FT)

    -1156 CY              Vecna, pleased by Kas’ cruelty and skill, elevated Kas to be his chief lieutenant, and blessed him with Tharizdun’s kiss, turning Kas into a vampire of great power. He then gifted Kas his fabled sword. (995 FT)

    -1154 CY              The City of Summer Stars finally fell, but Vecna’s armies were broken on its walls. (997 FT)

    Points of Legacy from the War with the Elves

    Darnakurian's Doom

    At the heart of what is now the Coldwood, a great and majestic elven city once stood. Crafted from living woods, marble, silver, and even ice, the City of the Summer Stars was home to perhaps 2,000 gray elves. They were an introverted, studious, mystical people, and they sought no dominion outside their homelands. The spells and lore known to them is virtually beyond comprehension in the Flanaess now. By a wave of her hand, Queen Sharafere could make winds ripple through all the endless miles of the great forest, and summon unicorns, treants, and the beasts and birds of the forest to her glittering palace. 
    The City of the Summer Stars received emissaries from the Ur-Flannae. Those necromancers and wizards spoke honeyed words, but Sharafere saw the lust for magical power in their hearts and sent them away. In their rage and desire to possess the magic of the elves, the Ur-Flannae brought their own magic to assault the city. Fire and acid rained down from the skies. Fiends stalked the forests. Bulettes, xorn, and other monsters erupted from the very earth to strike at the foundations of the city. Sharafere knew the city could hold against this assault, but the forest around was screaming its agony at the defoliation and slaughter which covered thousands of square miles. The undead and monsters of the invaders seemed countless in number; the elves slew thousands and still the Ur-Flannae mounted wave after wave of attack. Sharafere's eldest son, Darnakurian, could take no more. A peerless enchanter, he called on many sources of power, even across the planes. From corners of the void dark voices came to him, seducing him with the promise of supreme power—power which could destroy the Ur-Flannae and save the city and the forest. Darnakurian grew gaunt and sleepless, barely ceasing his work to memorize more spells he needed in his race against time. Finally, he crafted the appalling sword the elves named Hunger. Marching to the throne room, he presented it in triumph to his mother as the instrument by which the elves could triumph and banish their evil foes. Sharafere was appalled. The weapon's evil was apparent to her, hidden beneath the waves of magical power which emanated from it. She ordered him to destroy the malign sword, at which Darnakurian was aghast. Driven half-mad with bitter anger at what was happening to the forest and frustration at the thought that his endless work was valueless in his mother's eyes, he raised the sword and slew her in the Palace of the Heavens. Looking down at her body, the enormity of his crime came over him and the elf-prince was plunged into madness, his mind broken. He fled into the forest and came upon a conclave of necromancers. Then his doom came upon him in earnest. Darnakurian slew thousands in a matter of hours. The circle of destruction his sword emanated cut a great swathe of horrific deaths before him as he charged the Ur-Flannae and drove them in terror from the forest. Finally, the elf-prince took himself back to the city. So weak was he by now that the sword controlled him utterly, and it drove him to slay his own people in the hundreds. Every gray elf alive in the City of Summer Stars either fled, never to return, or perished in that single day. [Ivid - 74]


    The Sentinels

    At the heart of the Coldwood the old City of the Summer Stars has simply disappeared. The magic of the elves has faded, and the city with it. Some say that its ruins can be found within the Fading Grounds, but the portal to it within the Coldwood is unknown. All of the city is gone from Oerth—save Darnakurian's own keep. The elves named this Bitterness, a word with a more intense double meaning than in the Common tongue. It refers both to the dreadful tragedy of the prince, and also to the intensely bitter chill which gives the Coldwood its name. The Coldwood generally has temperatures below zero, but within five miles of Bitterness the temperature is virtually unbearable, all vegetation is frozen into stark, leafless forms—killed by the black permafrost which covers everything here.
    No living man has ever entered Bitterness. Within it, Darnakurian's form is still alive—in some sense. A powerful temporal stasis spell, crafted by the last of the great gray elf wizards before they fled the city, imprisons him inside. He still holds Hunger on his lap as he sits frozen, staring out blindly into the great marbled hall of his home. No living man (or other sentient creature) is going to get anywhere near Bitterness if the guardians who prowl the margins of the Coldwood have their way. These gray elves are known as the Sentinels. [Ivid - 74, 75]


    -1151 CY              Vecna was weakened by the energies he expended during his attack on The City of Summer Stars. At his empire's height, Vecna was betrayed and destroyed by his most trusted lieutenant, a human vampire called Kas the Bloody-Handed, using a magical sword that Vecna himself had crafted for him, now known as the Sword of Kas. Only his left hand and his eye survived the battle, perhaps because of the previous events in Fleeth.

                At last, emboldened by the sword’s sweet voice, Kas struck at his lord. No man saw the battle, but with its end Vecna’s dark tower crumbled into dust, leaving only the sword and a pile of ash. The body of Kas was never found. Of Vecna, all that remained were his lifeless Hand and Eye. [WGA4 Vecna Lives - 7]   


    Sword of Kas:  There is recorded this additional information regarding the lich, Vecna: "When Vecna grew in power he appointed a most evil and ruthless lieutenant to serve as his bodyguard and right hand. This henchman was the lord, Kas, and for him Vecna found a weapon of potency, a long and thin flatchet of dull gray metal; a sword of unsurpassed hardness with sharp point, keen edges, and magical properties. For a long, long time Kas faithfully served the lich, but as his power grew, so did his hubris, for his Sword was constantly urging him on, saying that Kas was now greater than Vecna himself, and with the might of the Sword to aid and direct him, Kas could rule in Vecna’s stead. Legend says that the destruction of Vecna was by Kas and his Sword, but at the same time Vecna wrought his rebellious lieutenant’s doom, and the world was made brighter thereby."
                Although the powers and effects of the Sword are only hinted at, there can be little doubt that Kas became the most renowned swordsman of his age because of it. [DMG 1e - 161]


    Eye of Vecna:   Seldom is the name of Vecna spoken except in hushed voice, and never within hearing of strangers, for legends say that the phantom of this once supreme lich still rooms the Material Plane. It is certain that when Vecna finally met his doom, one eye and one hand survived. The Eye of Vecna is said to glow in the same manner as that of a feral creature. It appears to be an agate until it is placed in an empty eye socket of a living character. Once pressed in, it instantly and irrevocably grafts itself to the head, and it cannot be removed or harmed without slaying the character. The alignment of the character immediately becomes neutral evil and may never change. [DMG 1e - 157]
             
               The Hand of Vecna: The arch-lich Vecna supposedly imbued both his hand (left) and his eye with wondrous and horrible powers enabling them to persist long after his other remains mouldered away into dust. Tales say that the Hand appears to be a mummified extremity, a blackened and shriveled hand, possibly from a burned body. If the wrist portion is pressed against the stump of a forearm, i.t will instantly graft itself to the limb and become a functioning member with [great] strength in its grip. The Hand will eventually turn the alignment of the host character to neutral evil as explained hereafter.

                The host [...] may use any minor power without fear, but as soon as a major power of the Hand is used, he or she awakes a spirit of great evil. When a primary power is used, the host will instantly become neutral evil very evil. The Hand can be severed from the host at any time before its powers are used…, but [with each] use [it becomes] less likely [until] there is no possibility of [ever] removing the Hand […]. [DMG 1e - 157]


    Vecna did not stay gone forever, and returned to Oerth as a demigod of magic and secrets. But that is a story for another day. (1000 FT)






    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.


    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, Ivid the Undying, the Oerth Journal, and Ivid, the Undying (Sargent, Carl, WotC {TSR}, 1995 as noted.



    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Dream by baxiaart
    Vecna
    Reflections-before-the-battle by candra
    The Hand and Eye of Vecna, by Daniel Frazier, from the Book of Artifacts, 1993


    Sources
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    2138 Book of Artifacts, 1993
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9309 WGA4, Vecna Lives, 1990
    11662 Die Vecna Die! 2000
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    OJ Oerth Journal, #1, #11
    Shadis 50, August 1998

    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda 

    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 08-30-2021 07:18 am
    History of Oerth, Part 2: Of The Ur-Flan Kingdoms


    The Flan

    Where did we leave off? The Se-Ul had allied with the Drow against the Grey Elves. The Grey elves had quit the Hellfurnaces after a costly defeat in their war with the Drow and giantkind. The Drow may have been victorious, but their victory over the Grey Elves had all but wiped them out. They retreated into the depths of Oerth to recover, leaving the Crystalmists and Hellfurnaces to giantkind. The Suloise slinked back within their borders, their army all but destroyed.

    This is here the Flan join our narrative:

    -2269 CY              The Flan originally dwelt where all humankind did in times of yore, in the western shadow of the Southern Crystalmists. They traded with the Suloise and prospered by that trade. But as the Suel grew cruel and powerful, so too did they subjugate the peoples around them, and soon the Flan found themselves in thrall within a vast Suloise Empire. The Secrets of Magic were forbidden to them. Their faith was surpassed, and then banned outright.


    The Suloise were the Flan’s first glimpse of power. They chaffed to be free of it. But they learned from it, too. But that’s a tale for another day.


    The Years of Conquest and Prosperity begin.


                    No major foe opposes the might of the empire of the Suloise, although they do not push Eastward, because of some fear of the elfin hosts. Magic is rigorously pursued. Old grey elven texts are discovered and studied. The might and haughtiness of the Elves is copied in manner in the courts, but their wisdom is not. Slavery becomes common and widespread in the Suloise lands; this continues for many centuries. The Flan in the southeast (just west of the Hellfurnaces), the Oerid to the east, the Kersi to the south (the long distant descendants of those who first sailed from AnaKeri), the Bakluni to the north, and several unnamed small tribes to the west; become the slaves of the Suel. The entire of the western half of Oerik is controlled by the Suel. Drow and darker forces halt the eastern expansion. [OJ11] (3247_SD/-118 FT)           


    -2266 CY              Living under the yoke of the Suel could not have been easy. Or safe. Suloise mages wielded unspeakable power, and fell Lords vied for control of the Land for centuries in one Regency or Succession war after another, where surfs and thralls made a convenient source of grist for the mill and fodder for the magics that would inevitably be flung into the ranks of those amassed conscripted armies. The Suel found the Flan to be an especially talented light cavalry, and used them as such.


     Horrors rose from the earth as had hitherto never been seen by Elves or Men. The Flan were terrified of their masters. And truly awed by them. They also understood the wisdom of being free of them, if they wished to survive. It took them centuries to work up their courage, but they did. They fled across the Crystalmists and made first contact with the elves in the Sheldomar Valley. This is not to say that the elves and they weren’t already familiar with one another, they were; this is to say that they now met the elves as supplicants. The elves took pity on the refugees and welcomed them. The Flan looked upon the cities of the Elves and were awed. These were not the cities of the Suel; those were pale imitations of what they espied now. There were truly works of wonder, where one could not differentiate the works s of Elves for that of Nature herself.


    Prior to humans coming to the eastern part of the continent, great Elven empires had thrived. The City of Summer Stars, The City of Autumn Leaves, The City of Winter Snow, and the City of Spring Waters reigned over the wide expanse of the East. (I invite you to check out Mike Bridges article on the Elven Civilizations in his blog, Greyhawkery.)


    The Flannae, under the protection of Beory, Pelor and Rao flee their lands in mass, making a perilous crossing of the Hellfurnaces. They move north into the lands of Eastern Oerik, later called the Flanaess, as the first human inhabitants of the area. Initially, they are well received. [OJ11] (3250 SD/ -114 FT)


    The Flan looked upon the works of Elves and sought to know the mysteries of the earth itself, with many dedicating their lives to such studies, and erecting crude stone circles where they found the forces of Nature to be the strongest. Their holy sites grew larger and more sophisticated over time, until even the elves marveled over the ingenuity of these Men, the Flan.


    Harad, the Holy Man of Haradaragh
    -2150 CY              The Flan spread across the Sheldomar Valley, always settling at the foot of Elven settlements for protection. They were still afraid of the coming of the Suel, for they knew that those cruel and greedy people would only sulk in their land west of the Hellfurnaces for only so long. So, when they did finally plant the seed of their civilization, it was high in the Lortmil Mountains, where they could look to the West for the Suel’s coming. They named it Haradaragh, after Harad, the holy man who first climbed into its heights to commune with the skies. Pilgrims came to learn his wisdom, calling him Druid (Father, or, Learned One) and those who he taught were told to go out into the forests and hills and be as one with the all they surveyed, and they too became known as druids. And those who sought to protect and serve them learned their ways and ranged the lands with them.
                    The founding of the first Flannae City in the Lortmil mountains in eastern Oerik, this is counted as year [OJ11] (3366 SD/1 FT)


    The Elves having already taught the Suloise magic, were wary to do so with the Flan. But the Flan were far more kindred to the elves than the Suloise ever were, the Flan lived as one with nature as the elves did. So, in time, they selected those Flan who not only showed great promise in the Art, but those who did not seem to wish to bend Nature to their will. The Elves, in their hubris, mistook desire with reverence, and reverence with ambition. The chose the Ur-Flan to whom they would reveal their secrets.


    The Uri-Flan (an ethnic group of the Flan people, more formally known as the Ur-Flannae) learned their lessons well. They proved most adept at the Art of Magic, as adept as their Se-Ul pupils once were.


    They proved as ambitious as those Se-Ul mages, too. They remembered the works of the Suloise mages and sought to recreate those wonders, to ensure that they would never fall prey to the Suloise ever again. What they did fall prey to was their own ambition. They sought Dark secrets and their pleas were heard by Dark beings who seduced them with even darker ambition.


    The Ur-Flan rose to power and soon the Flan tribes are ruled by them. Exact details of the Ur-Flannae are difficult to determine as they mostly vanished during the Great Migration.  What is known is that they were small in number, evil, and known to be powerful wizards. Feared, or at least respected, by their Flan kin, they were known to follow the teachings of Nerull in many regions (most notably Perrenland). They had a strong association with necromancy magic, many of whom later becoming undead.


    Three of the greatest of the Ur-Flannae mystics are said to be buried beneath the Isle of Cursed Souls. The Northern Adepts of Old Blackmoor are believed to have been Ur-Flan wizards, though their magic was primarily protective in nature. Poems of the Northern Adepts have been passed down that contain the secrets to strengthening abjuration spells.


    -1990 CY              The Flan wizard, Galap-Dreidel builds Inverness to protect his "Soul Gem." [OJ1] (3526_SD/161 FT)


    -1750 CY              The Grey Elves grew wary of the Ur-Flan as their settlements spread across the continent. They had seen the corruption of the Se-Ul peoples and they had recognized the Ur-Flan’s fall from grace. But they still had hopes that the Flan would find they way back, for just as the Ur-Flan had sought and found Darkness, so too had the Flan found their way to the blessings of the Old Ways.


                    
    Galitholian Glitterhelm
    So, they kept watch. And they sought to keep the Ur-Flan in check, endeavouring to guide them back into the Light. They demanded hostages for land, and the Ur-Flan, eager to grasp more and more, sent members of the Untouchable Caste to them, “raising them up” and “adopting them,” claiming them to be true scions of Ur-Flan noble families. Decidedly dispensable ones.


    The Boy
    One such settlement on eastern shore of Nyr Dyv were bid by the Grey Elven King Galitholian Glitterhelm to do the same and send “servants” to his kingdom in the Griff Mountains. A boy was among them.

    The boy’s name was Vecna. 3766 SD/402 FT




    This seems a good spot to pause to consider those Flan kingdoms that had sprung up across the continent.

    Ur-Flannae Kingdoms:

    Ahlissa: The ancient Flan kingdom of Ahlissa was founded c. -2100 CY by the legendary Queen Ehlissa the Enchanter. This state lasted some 1700 years (several hundred years watched over by Queen Ehlissa herself), reaching its apex at -1100 CY (probably at the passing of Ehlissa), but was crumbling by the time the Aerdi reached it in approximately -400 CY, 700 years later.


    Sulm:    The Bright Desert. The Kingdom of Sulm came to prominence circa -1900 CY after it was bolstered by the necromantic adepts of Caerdiralor, who taught them dark secrets and promised wealth and glory in exchange for the favor of the Sulmi royal house. Throughout its history, the kingdom spent much of its time crushing its neighbors, the rival kingdoms of Durha, Itar, Ronhass, Rhugha, and Truun. Only the Kingdom of Itar was strong enough to stand against Sulm, though it, too, would eventually fall.


    After centuries of expansion, Sulm began its slow decline circa -1400 CY, some say due to the influence of Nerull and other dark powers. Kyuss was a powerful priest of Nerull during Sulm's imperial age, shortly before its destruction. He was exiled for his profane experiments on undead in the sacred mortuary city of Unaagh, and traveled with hundreds of followers to the Amedio Jungle.


    Circa -700 CY the Kingdom of Sulm fell, destroyed by its last king. The king, Shattados, used the power of a dark artifact known as the Scorpion Crown in an attempt to gain perpetual dominion over his subjects. Instead, the crown turned Shattados into a gigantic scorpion and his people into manscorpions and (possibly) dune stalkers. A few became asheratis instead due to the grace of Geshtai. The land itself was even changed, transformed into a vast wasteland now known as the Bright Desert.


    The Isles of Woe:             A now-lost archipelago in the Lake of Unknown Depths, once ruled by wizard-priests. Depending on the tale, the number of islands in this chain varies between three and seven, but is usually said to be three. The capital of this tyrannical domain was known as Heraan.

    In a 900-year-old map now in the Great Library of Greyhawk, the islands are shown in the eastern region of the great lake, appearing to be extensions of the Cairn Hills. If this map is accurate, the size of the Nyr Dyv was smaller in those days. The island upon which Admundfort now sits was much larger, and two islands that do not now exist stood southeast of Scragholme Island. However, there are reasons to doubt the authenticity of this document.


    Veralos was contemporaneous with ancient Flan nations such as Sulm, Itar, Ahlissa, and Nuria, it seems likely that the Isles of Woe were also populated by the Flan people. Furthermore, the Isles must have sank before the Great Migrations, as Veralos itself lasted until that period.


    Itar:        Only the Kingdom of Itar was strong enough to stand against Sulm, though it, too, would eventually fall.


    Nuria:   Potentially Nyrond and Almor.

    Veralos:               At the Rift Canyon, encompassing Tenh and the Pale. North of the Nyr Dyv and the Isles of Woe, the city of Veralos is said to have encompassed a hundred or so buildings, spaced tightly together and surrounding a wall made from the same stone as the canyon. Much of the citadel is built into the canyon wall itself. Veralos traded magical wonders, including magic tablets, statues, jewelry, and weapons.


    Sites of Note:

    The Causeway of Fiends
    This unnatural geographical feature is shunned by all save the most fearlessly evil. A great pathway of granite slabs, up to 25' wide and 12' high, descends in a perfectly orderly formation down to the sea from a half-mile inland, with the causeway heading to the Isle of Cursed Souls (known to some as the Isle of Lost Souls). Extraordinarily, this causeway is never submerged by the tides, even though sea water might stand 80' or more high either side of it shortly before it rises to the shoreline of the magical Isle. The whole causeway radiates intense evil, and magic, if such is detected for. During the fullness of Celene, fiends of many kinds stalk the causeway. Tanar'ri and baatezu rend at each other, tearing each other apart. They gleefully attack anything foolish enough to approach within a half-mile or so of the causeway. The fiends appear to be bound to that distance, however, and cannot travel farther inland. Usually, but a handful of fiends will appear at full moon. Very rarely—perhaps once every 80 years or so—countless numbers of lemures, manes, dretches, and least fiends of all kinds will appear as great legions driven on by a few greater fiends in an orgy of mindless slaughter and destruction. Stone fragments from the causeway have, rarely, been taken and enchanted by men of great evil to craft dark magical artifacts. This is surpassingly dangerous. One tiny slip in a process which might take dozens of spells and months of time will leave the enchanter helpless in the face of a gate opening and a powerful fiend emerging, enraged, to slay him. Some of the oldest books of Flanaess Oeridian mages give riddles and allusions to the work of Ur-Flannae mystics with this ghastly substrate. But such artifacts are lost to Oerth—perhaps. In more modern times, only Delglath of Rinloru is known to have crafted any items from the stone of this atrocious place. Even masters of the dark arts such as Xaene and Karoolck would hesitate to follow his example. Across the causeway lies the Isle of Cursed Souls, which is avoided by all sea vessels. In a radius of roughly 10 miles, it is said that the very rocks of the sea bed will rise and hole any vessel approaching more closely. Further, any lost at sea will become bound to the isle as ghosts, tormented by unknowable horrors for eternity. Sailors will jump overboard into stormy seas with a prayer to Procan for their souls rather than enter these waters. Intelligent sea dwellers such as sea elves, selkie, or dolphins warn ships away from the area. The isle itself appears only to have the ruins of an ancient monastery or mansion house atop its sheer cliffs, but distant scrying reveals an intensity of evil and magic beneath that site which is powerful enough to threaten insanity to the diviner studying the place. In texts which are now no more than a rumor in the night between old sages, the place is said to be the last resting place of three of the greatest of the Ur-Flannae. If this is true, the perils below it do not bear even thinking about. [Ivid - 53]

    The Gull Cliffs
    Apart from the small dwarf and gnome settlements here, the Gull Cliffs are riddled with caves and natural passageways. There are certainly several magical locations. The best-known is the Fading Ground of the Blood Obelisk of Aerdy (From The Ashes, Campaign Book) but there are also said to be at least two burial chambers of Ur-Flan mages or necromancers. Many come seeking them, but they have not yet been located even by the most penetrative magical scrying. There are also traveler's tales of an albino clan of gnomes far below the hills, said to be extraordinarily swift of movement and able to meld into stone as a natural ability. One or two claim they are guardians of some site sacred to a gnomish deity, others that they restructure deep passageways to the Underdark to keep intruders and adventurers away from some site of dark magic, possibly a temple of Tharizdun. [Ivid - 100]



    And to think that I thought the Flan were boring.


    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.



    The Art:
    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Thungar by Gonzalo Kenny
    Little-Gifts by Manuel Castanon
    Reflections-before-the-battle by candra
    Declan by charlie-bowater

    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9309 WGA4, Vecna Lives, 1990
    11662 Die Vecna Die! 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    OJ Oerth Journal, #1, #11
    Shadis 50, August 1998
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 08-28-2021 10:20 am
    History of Oerth, Part 1: Of The Grey Elves and The Suloise Empire


    Our History Begins with the Elves

    I thought I would be able to research the history of Ratik and its neighbours sequentially, beginning with the Greyhawk Folio, continuing on with the Gold Box, then to the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, etc. That was incredibly naïve of me. The history of the Flanaess was not laid down in that manner; it evolved in leaps and bounds over decades, and not sequentially, either. Its lore grew in fractals, haphazardly through modules at first, then rather meticulously in sourcebooks. Let’s not forget the reams of articles written about the setting in Dragon and Dungeon magazine.


    I invite you to search out and memorize Steven B. Wilson’s “History of Oerth” and and Len Lakofka’s “History of the Suloise” in the Oerth Journal, Steven B. Wilson’s later GREYCHONDEX, and Keith Horsfield’s “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.” Doing so can only enrich your campaign. They’re detailed. Their exhaustive. But, their source materials’ publication dates bounce around like jack rabbits. I discovered that I would have to do the same if I were to really understand the events that led to the Common Era. What can I say? The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that.

    The history I will begin to lay out here will be more a more focused one, only concerning those peoples who would ultimately settle in the far northeastern corner of Flanaess. But, after searching though those indexes for what each had on Ratik and its neighbours, and for those Oerth-shaking events of Flanaess’s past that moulded all events that followed them, I discovered that they were just bullet points and that I would have to take my exploration slowly, diving into the source material of each dated event to discover what actually happened. I’m okay with that. Doing so will only make me more familiar with that world we love and admire so much.

    So, I must read broadly. Maybe I need to read everything.

    And so, down the first rabbit hole I go!

    A long time ago, there were the Flan…. And the Suloise…. And of course, there were the Elves….

    Suffice it to say, Great things happened in the dawn of time. There certainly were great and greater civilizations that rose and fell prior to the coming of the Elves and the Dwarves, as I speculated on prior to this post. There were Dragons, most certainly; the elves wrote of them.  But what of others? Who else may have risen to power in the eons before the Elves walked the earth? The Yuan-ti? Bullywugs? Slaadi? Lovecraft’s Elder beings? Whoever, or whatever, might have walked the earth, those tales have been lost to time.

    Our history begins with the Elves.

    In the beginning there were the Elves and the Dwarves. They did not love one another, but they agreed to stand together against their common enemies: the humanoids, the evil giants, trolls, and primitive man.

    In time, the Seven Elven Fathers learned to tap energies from other planes of existence and created what they called “New Magic.” Cherbon, chief among them, claims that he was visited by an ancient and wizened elder, who advised him that New Magic could be a path to great evil and conflict; but Cherbon, in his wisdom, dismissed the warning as the insane ramblings of a madman.  Cherbon then said that the elder transformed himself into a platinum coloured beast that took wing and flew into the heavens. He named the beast Draggonus: flying monster.

    The Grey Elves were not an idle lot. New Magic intoxicated them and they quickly unlocked the secrets to greater power. They kept a watchful eye on their enemies, most notably the primitive men. Their spies reported that Men were worshipping Demonic and Diabolic Beings, and they were not pleased. They kept closer watch.

    It came to pass that the Grey Elves met with Men and discovered that they were not the primitives they found centuries before. But for all their long lives and long memories, the Elves were not without their faults; they were vain and haughty, and in their wisdom they were prone to hubris; they took no heed that those humans has once worshipped Evil elder beings.

    -6416 CY             The first of a group of traveling Grey Elves, exploring the South Central portion of Oerth, meet with tribal leaders of the Se-Ul (the People of Ul). They strike up a friendship and the elves began tutoring the humans in mathematics, language, art and non-clerical magic. The Se-Ul proved apt students and soon were constructing cities and delighted the elves both with their creativity and their productivity. The cities of the Se-Ul were patterned similar to those of the Grey Elves set mountain fastness, but these occupied the plains and river deltas of the southlands. [OJ1] (-900 SD/-4264 FT)


    ...and soon were constructing cities...

    And their talent for magic promised to be as great.

    And like the elves before them, they made mistakes. A young Se-Ul mage erred while demonstrating a spell at the limit of his skill, killing those around him. This awful incident caused the elves to rethink the wisdom of their having taught magic to Men so widely. They closed down their magic schools and many of the elves departed the Se-Ul cities for their mountains cities. The Se-Ul chaffed at this and were not pleased. They plead with the elves to return and teach them more. But their pleas fell on deaf ears. The tension between men and elves grew.

    Time passed, and as spiteful children might do, the Se-Ul turned their backs on the elves. They found new friends. They met the Kersi, a beautiful dark-skinned people from an Island called AnaKeri in the south, the Orid to the east, then the Flan tribes to the southeast, and the Bakluni to their north, and they began to look to Men and not Elves for trade.

    -6067 CY              The Suel began systemized trading with the tribes to the north and east. The Bakluni in the northern plains and the Flan who dwelt just west of the mountains were among these. Sea trade routes to AnaKeri are developed. The Thirteen Cities of the Suel develop into separate city-states, but all are ruled by a single council of lords under the watchful eye of the grey elves, watchfulness that men begin to dislike intensely. [OJ11] (-551 SD/-3915 FT]
             

    Kendaris' Unrequited Love

    Great prosperity blessed the Se-Ul, and Elves and Men become more distant still; so much so that when Kendaris, a young elven mage, fell in love with the Se-Ul ambassador’s daughter and asked her father for her hand, the ambassador laughed in his face. Kendaris was enraged. He decided to get revenge, and he decided that the instrument of his revenge would be the Se-Ul, themselves. He trained nine disreputable Se-Ul mages, greedy for more power, magic hitherto restricted to Men. Then he set them loose. The Nine attacked the ambassador, killing him. But they also killed Kendaris’ love as well. Then the Se-Ul mages turned on Kendaris, killing him too. And wrought terror and mayhem throughout the land until they too were brought down. But two slipped away and escaped to the north into the lands of the Bakluni, where they set up shop and spread their magic further.


    -5775 CY              The Grey elves departed the lands west of the Crystalmists after the events of the Nine Mages. They had grown to dislike the Se-Ul, but the true reason was that they’d begun to wage a great war with their dark cousins in the East. Smoke and ash begins to rise up from the mountains, where the Grey Elven cities stood, and the Southern Crystalmists were renamed The Mountains of Fire, and The Mountains of Hell. (-259 SD/-3393 FT)


    -5739 CY              The Se-Ul grew cruel. They cities began to wage war against one other, and as each one fell to the might of those who were stronger and luckier, one city grew in prominence: ReAtryniBa. Once all the Se-Ul cities were under its control, the ReAtryniBa was renamed Seula, the City of the Seuloise. Then the “Seuloise” began to subjugate the peoples around them.

    Relations between the Se-Ul city states, deteriorate. The last council of the cities is held. Each city arms itself against the other. [OJ1] (-223 SD)


    Tharizdun
    -5537 to -4463 CY             The Suel continued to gain greater power, but it cost them dearly. They trapped Genies with bindings. They imprisoned Elemental Kings. The Elementals struck back and placed a curse over the Suel lands. The Dead rose all over the Empire. The Nine Binders were hidden away. The Emperor died without an heir and the Regency Wars began and the Great Houses tore the Empire apart for centuries as they vied for control of it. Travel outside the Empire ground to a halt as the Regents and Houses exerted more control over their people. The Cult of Tharizdun rose, the worship of Good and Neutral Gods was suppressed, then banned outright as the worship of Tharizdun took hold of the Empire. The Empire was wooed by the Drow and they fell in with them against the Grey Elves. That alliance would cost them though. In fact, it would almost destroy them. [OJ1, OJ11] (-21 – 1005 SD/-3385 to -2359 FT)


    -5011 CY              Arinanin and Tilorop mount a campaign against the Regency, but are defeated in the Second Regent War. Tilorop uses arcane energy to transform himself into the first lich on Oerth. Arinanin is blessed by Tharizdun to become the Oerth’s first vampire. His creation plagues all of mankind to this very day. (505 SD/-2859 FT)


    -4666 CY              The last of the Grey Elven cities in the Crystalmist Mountains is discovered and is destroyed by a concerted effort on the part of the drow/Suloise and giantkind. The defense of the city is so great, however, that drowkind and giantkind is also nigh exterminated. The Suloise army, which aided in the destruction of the elven city, is destroyed to a man, and no word of them can be obtained. The remnant of the elves flee eastward to the interior of the eastern portion of the continent.  (850_SD/-2514 FT)

    The Suel Rise Up
    -
    4616 to -4516 CY             After years of quiet plotting the remaining chief houses of the Suel rise up in unison to overthrow the Priest Regent. This is commonly referred to as the Century War of the Houses. (900 to 1000 SD/-2464 to -2364 FT)


    -4514 to -4511 CY             Using the Binders Alberk drives Arinanin and the priesthood of Tharizdun from the Suel Empire. The Council of Noble Families is formed to rule the Suel and the Binders are distributed among nine of them. Alberk is unaware of whom the Binders hold prisoner; he only sees them as items of great power to be used in his struggle to save the empire from evil. (1002 to 1005 SD/-2362 to -2359 FT)


    -4463 CY        The Grey Elves retreat from the Hellfurnaces and rebuild their civilization in the East.

    The four “Elven Realms of the East” are established, and a new calendar is used for the first time among the elves to count the days of these realms. Highfolk is established in the Northwest to guard the northern ways, Celene the Central Kingdom, Aliador in the Griff Mountains, and Lendore in the Southeast Aerdi Sea (then called the Lendore Sea). (1053 SD/-2311_FT)


    The Suel were injured, but they were not done. In fact, they were just getting started.

    But our narrative need shift now to another People, as the Suloise were decidedly focused on the West, and ours must now look East of the Crystalmists.



    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Special thanks to the contributors to the Oerth Journal, without whose efforts, this piece would not be possible.


    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.

    Elven-City-in-Forest by ferdinandladera

    Assyrian-Nineveh by iraqi-pictures

    Inanna-Colored-Graphite by dee-morgan999

    Wraiths by dmckay20

    Alexander-Magnus-by-Tom-Lovell by alexanderaeternus


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    OJ Oerth Journal, #1,#11
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B. 
    The map of Anna B Meyer

    Posted: 08-28-2021 10:11 am
    A Hero has passed into Legend today.



    A Hero has passed into Legend today.

    Edgar Elmer Leonard

    October 20, 1936 to November 12, 2019


    I love you, Dad.

    I miss you already.


    Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


    Dylan Thomas


    Posted: 08-28-2021 10:09 am
    Speculation On The Prehistory of Ratik and Its Environs


    I suppose there’s much speculation about events prior to the chronicled timeline. It’s a mystery to me, as yet. What do I know at present? Demi-humans ruled the Flanaess prior to the Flan entering the field. I’ve read passages about Elven and Dwarven civilizations, but little to nothing about what Gnomes or Halflings were up to before the Great Migrations. I expect more reading may expose clues to those centuries and eons past. But I’ve already come across a few cryptic hints in the Greyhawk Adventures [GA] hardcover (if you don’t have a copy, I highly recommend that you pick one up from DMs Guild):


    Regarding The Pinnacles of Azor’alq:

    The difficulty of the terrain, and the mists, numerous waterfalls, and thick vegetation at first conceal the fact that the Pinnacles are not natural formations, or even shaped ones, but are composed of titanic blocks. On rare occasions one encounters openings leading to the interior of these constructions. There is no report of what may be found if one ascends or descends the broad stairways leading away from these bat-haunted cave mouths, or rather doorways. [GA - 89]

    That has a particularly Lovecraftian feel to it. It’s definitely reminiscent of the description of the city of the Elder Ones in Lovecraft’s novella “At The Mountains Of Madness.”


    Regarding Skrellingshald (Tostenhca):

    Attir also discovered a book sealed against the water in a lead casket. All of these were returned to the court at Rauxes in honor of the Overking. The patient Atirr hoped to study them further in his retirement. He declared the book in particular to be most interesting, being among other things a recording in a lost language of “an ancient history together with magical secrets.”

    Tragically, Atirr was never to attain his goal. [GA - 95]

    Could that book be the Necronomican? The Greyhawk Adventures hardcover says that it’s a libram of ineffable damnation and a book of vile deeds, but you can make it whatever you’d like. And I’d imagine that the Necronomicon could very well be just such things.


    Regarding The Sinking Isle:

    The Sinking Isle has haunted the waters near the Isles of the Sea Barons from time immemorial. The earliest Oeridian tribes to fish the Solnor there knew of it; the Flan before them had legends of it; the seagoing elves of Lendore Isle have tales yet more ancient. Neither our own civilization nor even that of the Elvenfolk was the first in the Flanaess; there were others in times so far past that the very shape of the lands has since changed. The Sinking Isle is a reminder of them. [GA - 93]

    So, what came before? A Yuan-ti Empire? A draconic one? Bullywugs? Slaadi? Lizardmen? Deep Ones?


    Gary Gygax definitely wanted the Dungeons and Dragons to have a Lovecraftian feel. Lovecraft’s tales were mentioned in the DMG’s Suggested reading list, after all. And his love of Lovecraftian descriptions certainly makes its way into the prose of his earlier modules:


    From “Steading of the Hill Giant Chief”:

    WEIRD ABANDONED TEMPLE: This room is of faintly glowing purplish green stone, carved with disturbing shapes and signs which seem to stare out from the walls and columns, to shift position when the watcher's back is turned. Touching the walls makes one chilled, and contact with a pillar causes the one touching it to become nauseous. At the far west end of the temple is an altar of pale, yellow-gray translucent stone. It feels greasy to the touch, but it has no effects upon those who touch it. Behind this altar is a flight of low, uneven steps which lead to an alcove with a concave back wall of purplish-black, glassy appearing substance. If any creature stands before this wall and gazes upon it for one round, a writhing amorphous form of sickly mauves and violets will be seen stretching its formless members towards the viewer. [G1 - 7]

    He meant the passage to be creepy, and it is. And these are just lingering aftereffects, as this temple was abandoned, and not fully functioning. We need not imagine what it might have been like when it was active because the “Hall of the Fire King” tells us so.


    From “Hall of the Fire Giant King”:

    TEMPLE OF THE EYE: Note the illusion walls which screen this area. This place is illuminated by a strange swirling light which seems to be part of the very air of the place. Eddies of luminosity drift and swirl here and there, causing the whole scene to be strange and uncertain. Distances and dimensions are tricky to determine in the shifting light of rusty purple motes and lavender rays. Globs of mauve and violet seem to seep and slide around. The ceiling of the Temple is out of visual range, 50' at the lowest, and well over 65' where it vaults upwards. [G3 - 9]

    This temple is far more lethal than the other. It is Evil. It is sensitive to presences within. Insanity beacons. Doom beckons. The Elemental evil may even reach out from the veil and drag some unfortunate character to his death.


    Gary most definitely had Lovecraft in mind as he crafted his G1-3, D1-3 adventure path. The subtext was also in Village of Hommlet and largely the focus of The Temple of Elemental Evil before it took a back seat to Lolth and Zuggtmoy. I’d hazard a guess that Gary’s Elemental Evil God is actually meant to be Azathoth, whose introduction somewhat parallels the Elemental Evil’s:

    [O]utside the ordered universe [is] that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes. [The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, H.P. Lovecraft]

    Gary’s mature warning reminds us that Evil never leaves us. It lurks in dark corners and untraveled places, in fetid swamps and dank dungeons, in sleepy hamlets like Hommlet and Orlane, and in isolated and passed over coastal towns like Saltmarsh and Innsmouth, cultivated by such unexpected peoples as Lareth the Beautiful, rising again and gain regardless how many times it’s thought destroyed.


    Personally, I think Gary was slipping this idea into most of his earlier work.

    From “The Keep on the Borderlands”:

    CHAPEL OF EVIL CHAOS: This place is of red stone, the floor being a mosaic checkerboard of black and red. The south wall is covered by a huge tapestry which depicts a black landscape, barren trees, and unidentifiable but horrible black shapes in silhouette — possibly demons of some sort — holding aloft a struggling human. A gray sky is torn by wisps of purple clouds, and a bloody moon with a skull-like face on it leers down upon the scene. Four black pillars support the domed ceiling some 25' overhead. Between these columns, just in front of the tapestry, is a stone altar of red veined black rock, rough-hewn and stained brown with dried blood. Upon it are 4 ancient bronze vessels — a shallow bowl, a pair of goblets, and a ewer, a vase-shaped pitcher.

    … any character possessing them will not part with them or sell them nor allow others to handle them.

    … the character will rapidly fall under the influence of a demonic spell and within 6 days become a servant of chaos and evil, returning to this chapel to replace the relics, and then staying as a guard forever after. [B2 -22]
    The description of this temple is too similar to those others to be a coincidence.

    Where's all this going? I don't know. Thoughts are gathering in my head. And I've only just begun to read the reams of source material that graces my shelves.

    If you don't have the above mentioned modules, you should seriously consider getting them. They may be old, but they are fantastic stories, worth playing, worth spending the time to adapt to whatever system you happen to be playing. Where can I get them, you ask? DM's Guild, of course.
    Links below:
    World Of Greyhawk Folio
    World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting
    G1-3 Against the Giants
    D1-2 Decent into the Depths of the Earth
    D3 Vault of the Drow
    B2-The-Keep-on-the-Borderlands
    T1-The-Village-of-Hommlet
    T14-Temple-of-Elemental-Evil
    N1-Against-the-Cult-of-the-Reptile-God
    U1 The-Sinister-Secret-of-Saltmarsh



    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Special thanks to James Ward for his work writing, and compiling the material within the covers of Greyhawk Adventures, without which this piece would have been impossible. 


    The Art:
    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Greyhawk Adventures cover, by Jeff Easley, 1984


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9034 B2 Keep on the Borderlands, 1979
    9059 D1-2 Decent into the Depths of the Earth, 1981
    9021 D3 Vault of the Drow, 1981

    9058 G1-3 Against the Giants, 1981

    9063 N1, Against the Cult of the Reptile God, 1982
    9026 T1 Village of Hommlet, 1979
    9147 T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil, 1985
    9062 U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, 1981
    The map of Anna B. Meyer 


    Posted: 08-28-2021 09:59 am
    A Beginning...


    Does the world need another Greyhawk blog? You bet it does. For those of you who campaign in the setting, you know that Greyhawk doesn't get the love it deserves as the setting that started it all off.
    Some would argue that Dave Arneson's Blackmoor was the first setting of OD&D, and they'd be right; but most of the first adventure modules  were set in Greyhawk. One could even argue that Basic D&D was originally set in Greyhawk too before The Known World was created by Tom Moldvay. The monochrome edition of "In search of the Unknown" specifically states that suggested locations for the module were Ratik, Tenh, or the Pale. And "Keep on the Borderlands" could be connected to Quasqueton by the collapsed tunnel within, so it too could be placed in Greyhawk. Moreover, Greyhawk was referenced again and again in the AD&D Players' Handbook and DM's Guide. The Forgotten Realms may be the most popular setting; it certainly has the most novels set in it; it certainly has more sourcebooks dedicated to it; and it most likely has been the most supported setting over the decades. But it's Greyhawk that holds the grognards' hearts.

    That said, what do I hope to do here? I was inspired by the continuing love for the setting by others of the Gaming community. Much more was added to it during 3rd edition when Living Greyhawk fanned out over the globe and OSR licensing permitting fan content. And even more has been added since. I'm giving a shout out to Anna B. Mayer (that's a sample of Anna's wonderful map, a labour of 20+ years), Mike BridgesJoe Bloch, and too many more to name here. Gary Gygax opened up a can of worms when he invited us to make it ours. Many have. And I hope to do the same. I'm going to try to flesh out a small corner of the Flanaess and see where that takes me.

    Where to begin...? Ratik. It's isolated. It's surrounded by Barbarians to the North, the Rakers to the West, the Bone March to the South, and an altogether trackless sea to the East. Pirates scour those seas, sea monsters dwell in their depths, too. Giants dwell on high. Ratik has few allies, yet it perseveres. What's not to like? So, Ratik it is!

    There's little written about it. Some may argue the point, but there is little canon. Living Greyhawk didn't contribute that much to it either, from what I've read.

    I expect the going to be slow. I've been away from the setting for a while. There's much reading to be done from decades past. There's much pen and papper mapping to be done. Cultures and communities to think on and scatter about. But mostly, there's this techy stuff to master.

    Then what? If all goes well, there's the Thellonrian Peninsula, the lands of the Fruztii, Schnai, and Cruskii, to tackle, and the Holds of Stonefist (Stonehold) too. That ought to keep me busy for a while. Then maybe I'll head East, or South. But that's for another day.

    I hope you'll be patient. I hope you'll be supportive. I hope that you'll embrace my little project.

    Thanks for now. Long live Greyhawk!





    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.


    Great contributions were made by David Cook, Tom Moldvay and Stephen R. Marsh, who penned the Basic and Expert Sets of Dungeons & Dragons.



    Sources:

    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979

    9023 In Search of the Unknown, 1979

    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980

    9034 Keep on the Borderlands, 1980

    9043 Isle of Dread, 1981

    Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, 1981

    Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set, 1981

    The map of Anna B. Meyer 


    Posted: 08-28-2021 09:53 am