Osmund-Davizid writes "
Following the signing of the Pact of
Greyhawk, the City of Greyhawk
became the diplomatic center of the Flanaess.
Needless to say, this has also made Greyhawk the center of much
intrigue. Here is the report of a King’s
Agent who is working undercover for the Keoish embassy.
Keoish Intelligence Report from the City of Greyhawk
of the Lion Throne,
sleeper awakes. My status as a King's
Agent has been properly activated and I await further orders from your
excellencies. As per my standing orders,
here is my intelligence report that I have gathered in the time prior to my
activation, as well as the status of my initial activities.
that the flames of war have died down, the difficult task remains for us to
ensure a lasting cessation to hostilities (with the Lion Throne firmly
established in a dominant position, of course).
(Note 1) To this effect, I have
established an intelligence network in the City of Greyhawk, working out of the
Grand Theatre. Reluctantly, I must use
my beloved theatre to further more devious schemes then the noble pursuit of
enriching culture. But without the
securing of our nation, art and culture in the world would be threatened, so my
services are at the Lion Throne's disposal.
the Keoish embassy complex serves as the public face of our diplomacy, the
years I spent cultivating my agents out of the theatre will now bear fruit in
our secret operations. I see from the
choice of ambassadors that we are running the standard bluff: appoint an obvious buffoon to project the image of a Keoland that is
aloof from the "great game" while having sleeper agents like myself
to do the dirty work. (Note 2) So be it.
Our Embassy: Our embassy is located in a
complex of apartments with the ambassadors of the other powers, in Greyhawk's
high quarter. Our erstwhile ambassador
makes full use of the nearby gambling establishments and other distractions,
cementing his reputation as a fool.
Nothing truly important is trusted to him, but I think it is only a
matter of time before competing agents or even local thieves rob him of what little
information he possesses.
accordance with the Pact of Greyhawk, each signatory nation can have an
ambassador and up to four attaches with full diplomatic status, but there are
no limits to how much supporting staff can be effectively on the payroll. This secondary staff is the source of much
mischief among the various embassies. In
our case, Ambassador Skiari wastes diplomatic status on his own bodyguards and
staff, while leaving the secondary staff to being menial servants (cooks,
butlers, and the like). Meaning that all
our real operations (and in effect real diplomatic work) are done sub rosa.
Other Ambassadors: My Lords, it is important to keep in mind
some diplomatic realities when evaluating our relationship with other
nations. That is, we have our allies,
but only to a certain degree (Note 3).
In many respects, Keoland’s relative geographic isolation means that, in
matters of debate, we are diplomatically isolated as well. However, this apparent isolation gives us
freedom of action that some of the other players lack.
For example, Greyhawk’s official position with regards
to international relations is of strict neutrality. In practice, I have discovered that this is
not necessarily true. The mercantile
interests of the city, by their nature, favor freedom and thus the goodly
aligned nations. The gruesome empire of
Iuz and the humanoids of the Pomarj are antithetical to the business practices
of the great merchant princes, so while in theory the Free City is open to all
comers, the nations of Furyondy, Veluna, Urnst, and the like are favored by the
oligarchy. We can weigh in with those
interests to gain favors to the various members of the oligarchy and merchant
leaders. Trade (legitimate and
otherwise) is the real life blood of Greyhawk, and the more subtle influence we
can make behind the scenes will result in more power in the halls of diplomacy.
Operations: We cannot be content to
limit our actions to mere grubbing about with the merchants, I am still an
adventurer at heart, and Keoland has many unique opportunities to make some
gains for relatively little risk.
Search and salvage. The hills and marshes around Greyhawk have many secret
burial grounds, tombs, and mysterious magical ruins that would be worth
sponsoring some local treasure seekers to raid them for loot. Every trove uncovered is a cut that goes to
helping our own forces retrench and rebuild.
I am setting up operations to hire out parties to retrieve such
treasures and have made a handsome profit from one expedition already. Many parties sponsored have not returned, but
the profit from but a few successes easily pays for the rest with enough left over
to send a steady trickle back to Niole Dra (Note 4).
Pranks. With the representatives and interests of
many nations in such close proximity, a certain amount of international
shenanigans is to be expected. So long
as the incidents are minor, the local authorities look the other way and there
is no major diplomatic blowback. I have
conceived a campaign of low level harassment of our diplomatic rivals that
would afford us some small opportunities with minimal risk. To wit, I have found the most obnoxious,
irredeemable, and belligerent pest in the city and have turned him loose in the
direction of our erstwhile colleagues (after getting out of the way to watch
the resulting chaos ensue). (Note 5)
best success thus far has been using a little balm I have named “Who,
me?”. This liquid is clear and can be
sprayed on a passer-by’s clothes without attracting any undue attention. The trick is that it smells worse then an
orc’s latrine. I made up a batch of the
stuff, gave it to the gnome, and set him loose.
He managed to get some balm on the pants of Elskan Samarade right before
a Director’s meeting. The Furyondian
ambassador was so embarrassed by the stench that he had to leave the meeting
early, and thus we were able to slip in a quick amendment to the Northern Lands
Mercantile Agreement that put our sponsored trading company on the list of
“most favored traders” for the next five years.
This little operation has been tried again, but it backfired in that it
made the ambassador for Iuz, Pyremiel Alaxane, actually smell better! So I will be judicious in when we launch this
particular mission again.
Slag Iron. One operation that our erstwhile official ambassador,
Sir Almerian Skiari, managed to initiate on his own was a plan to help us get
rid of some large supplies of giant "slag iron". A little background information is in order:
in our battles with the giants who have invaded Steich and Geoff, our forces
have managed to capture a supply depot of the giants. This supply included much in metal worked
weapons and armor. The problem being
that this particular horde was made using giantish forging processes, making it
extremely difficult to melt down and reforge for use by our men. In short, this horde was more trouble than it
was worth, and we were content to simply keep it out of the hands of our
enemies. Our ambassador let it slip to
the ambassador of Nyrond that we had this supply of metal lying around, and the
next thing we know, he had promised delivery of said goods in exchange for diplomatic
favors. Now Nyrond is desperate enough
to take whatever they can get, even this giantish "slag iron", so we
will need to found a caravan or fleet to ship the metal to Nyrond and have a
strong party to defend it against the perils associated with such an
undertaking (Note 6).
Intelligence: My cell gathers information
using several general techniques. We
eavesdrop on the well connected during the runs of our plays at the Grand
Theatre, our popular actors are sought after for parties and engagements where
they ply the patrons there for information, and simple bribery (Note 7) of
guild members and bureaucrats has yielded much in the way of mercantile, trade,
and military intelligence. The following
bits of information is from what I have been able to collect thus far.
Red Oracle of Greyhawk is not in the possession of the Lord Mayor! It is troublesome that this device, a crystal
ball which can divine queries regarding the Horned Society, has evidently
vanished right before the Greyhawk Wars.
While our intelligence seems to indicate that the Horned Society’s
leadership was decimated in the opening stages of the war, the loss of this
divination device suggests that agents of Iuz stole and used the oracle before
the wars. While most intelligence
reports indicate that the Horned Society is no longer a threat, I believe that
we should expend resources to attempt to recover this item and use it to
determine what we can about any remaining agents of the hierarchs.
the ambassador of Nyrond, Sir Ranald Immanen, has been making a series of minor
accidents. He has been exhibiting inappropriate
behavior at crucial times that is not at all like him. It leads me to suspect that the infamous Cursed
Ring of the Great Kingdom was somehow slipped on his finger. If that is the case, then the Great Kingdom’s
agents are more competent and clever then given credit for. This development bears close watching.
a matter of practicality, there is a permanent state of war between the City of
Greyhawk and the forces of the Pomarj.
This fact does not contradict any portion of the Pact of Greyhawk,
therefore Keoland has a mutual interest with Greyhawk that we are free to act
on. I recommend that our overt
diplomatic efforts focus on bringing about some mutually supportive actions with
the forces of Greyhawk moving against the Pomarj from the north, and us from
the west. The Ulek states do not have an
official ambassador, but I know of an ex-officio agent that we can approach
with discrete overtures in this matter.
Baklunish nations do not currently have official representation in
Greyhawk. But the ambassador of Iuz has
been making secret progress in petitioning the oligarchs to allow for a
provisional embassy for Ket to be established in a few months, provided that
certain trade agreements are made between the Free City and the Beygraf. This would bring Iuz an ally in the Free City
and should be opposed, but the merchant interests in Greyhawk are winning over
the voices of reason. The Beygraf was
instrumental in aiding Iuz during the war, and the invasion of Bissel is still
a blight on our national honor. The
Knights of the Watch are committed to preventing any such establishment from
taking place. Politics may force us to
restrain those doughty fellows from overt efforts to stop this from happening,
but if we can expose the Iuzite backing behind this Baklunish delegation, we
may be able to rouse the common people of Greyhawk against such a thing from
main effort should be to spy on our ancient enemies, the Scarlet
Brotherhood. I believe that the cell
that operates currently is the ambassador and his staff. But there are certainly additional agents that
pose the greater threat. Currently, the
Brotherhood has several new arrivals to its embassy that will no doubt plague
us at every turn. The most serious
threat is not some assassin or necromancer, he is far worse - the Brotherhood
has deployed a lawyer!
fiend in human form is known as Father Legate, a lawyer-sage of incredible
skill and ability (Note 8). He leads the
Brotherhood's legitimate goals, and is being very successful at it; worming his
way into the Greyhawk Guild of Lawyers and Scribes, debating with scholars at
the universities, establishing legal precedence for Brotherhood letters of
marque, and cementing the Brotherhood's sea blockade as a legal entity for
"keeping the peace along the waterways of the Azure". This line of legalistic flimflammery has its
successes and has only increased the Brotherhood's stranglehold on the southern
seas. How to oppose such an adversary is
a problem, I am hoping to try to discredit him somehow, or else bring to light
incidents where the Brotherhood are violating their own treaties, thus
rendering them void.
there is the matter of running my own cover, the Grand Theatre in the Garden
Quarter. there are endless hijinks
between us and the low brow follies of the Royal Opera House. That is beyond the scope of this report. Suffice it to say, my work in making this
theatre the premier establishment for sophisticated performance art has opened
up many opportunities for me to mix with important personages and thus chances
for our intelligence agents to exploit.
I confess that I am torn about using art in the advancement of such
underhanded dealings, but I have seen and heard of how the likes of Iuz and the
Scarlet Brotherhood treat cultural icons from the people they conquer. Whenever I reflect on what is at stake should
powers like these succeed, my resolve is strengthened to oppose such evil in
whatever manner necessary!
the Lion Throne! Kahari Kellainen (Note 9)
1: The events described in this intelligence
report occur shortly after the Pact of Greyhawk was signed. Details can be modified as needed to reflect
different time periods.
2: The official Keoish ambassador, Sir Almerin
Skiari, is an egotistical boor. He is
unaware of the existence of a sleeper intelligence cell in Greyhawk, which is
precisely the way the intelligence community of Keoland wants it. Skiari's distractions with gambling and
carousing are a becoming the subject of much gossip in Greyhawk, making a fair
screen for the true agents to operate.
3: For example, Veluna and Furyondy both have
long memories from the Short War of many years ago. The rule of King Tavish II and other
expansionist dynasties have made those nations mistrustful of Keoish
ambitions. From the Keoish point of
view, it is worth noting that Keoland did send a sizable contingent in support
of these nations in the latter stages of the Greyhawk Wars, forces that could
have prevented Ket or Geoff from being invaded.
The Furyondy rejoinder is that the support came very late in the war to
do much good, while Keoland thinks that their contributions are being discounted. Therefore there is a split between otherwise
good nations that should be aligned with each other. All this mistrust only aids the true villains,
and indeed the villains are aware of these issues and exploit them.
4: Other nations have sponsored expeditions of
their own. Popular destinations include
the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk and the Star Cairns. PCs may find themselves in competition with
rival groups hired by other nations (or even the same patron, as some embassies
will no doubt hire multiple parties to go after the same treasures on the
theory that many will not make it back).
These patronages are often secret, and done through intermediaries, to
the point that a party of goodly aligned PCs may discover that their ultimate
patron is siphoning their recovered treasures to Rauxes or Dorakaa.
5: The gnome in question is one Noblock (See
Folks, Feuds, and Factions from the City of Greyhawk boxed set for details),
whose sense of humor gives all gnomes a bad name. He is motivated to insult people just for the
sake of doing it, and the high brow members of the ambassadorial entourages
provide natural targets for his mischief.
The fact that Noblock would do similar pranks like this all on his own
makes him the perfect foil for the pretentious ambassadors and oligarchs that
Keoland is constantly forced to deal with.
Because Noblock already has a terrible reputation for similar behavior,
it is unlikely that any of his stunts can be traced back to Keoish agents. This is just one example of the type of low level
operation that can be initiated by some party of adventurers for a Keoish
6: This "slag iron" is a cache of
giant sized weapons and armor made by hill giants using a particular mix of
iron, coal and methodology that renders it extremely difficult to melt down by
human techniques. Dwarves may make
better use of it by using their techniques of melting and remelting the iron to
work out the many impurities. For
practical purposes, the effort that it takes to reconstitute this material is
so high that it is not cost efficient.
But the Nyrondese are desperate enough that any shipment of materials is
a good deal for them.
amount of slag iron that Keoland has captured and has available for trade is dependent
on the needs of the campaign, but should be suitably large enough to present a
challenge to any adventuring party tasked to escort it to Nyrond. The nature of the material makes it more
likely that a sea fleet will be required to move it all to Nyrond. This trip should be filled with hazards: the
Scarlet Brotherhood blockade, the sahuagin empire, sea monsters, and bad
weather would plague such an expedition.
The success of the venture should be dependent on the amount of iron
that makes it to a safe Nyrondese port.
This mission is however, likely a violation of the Pact of Greyhawk in
that it involves sending a major supply of weapons from one signatory nation to
another. Should the ambassadors of the
Scarlet Brotherhood or the Great Kingdom discover this mission, there could be
major repercussions, so stealth and guile are required for this mission as well
as raw power.
7: Bribes can be the standard monetary ones, but
the spymaster has several bottles of rare Keoish brandy for more subtle (and
8: This fellow is an ordinary man with
exceptional abilities in the area of human laws and customs. The big advantage that he brings to the
Scarlet Brotherhood is that he is indeed doing everything above the board and
legally, lending credibility and credence to the Brotherhood's efforts. Of course, many merchants and politicos see
these actions for what they are: self
serving stunts for the Brotherhood to amass more power. But with every lecture and treaty signed,
Father Legate secures more leverage for the Brotherhood and the good nations
are faced with the quandary of having to abide by the laws as written. See the adventure card "A Diplomatic
Incident" from the City of Greyhawk boxed set for a possible scenario
involving Father Legate's arrival in Greyhawk.
It can be modified to be set before or after the Greyhawk Wars.
9: Kahari Kellainen is a half-elf priest of
Lirr, the goddess of prose and art. The
tale of how such a man came to be a Keoish sleeper agent is a remarkable
one. While the primary tasks of a priest
of Lirr are to promote and appreciate art in all its forms, the faith also
risks life and limb to prevent art and lore from being destroyed. Kahari led a party of adventurers into the
Hold of the Sea Princes years ago in order to rescue several Amedio natives
from slavery. These individuals were the
equivalent of bardic masters in the oral tradition of Amedio lore. Should they have been slain while in slavery,
much priceless cultural lore would have been forever lost. These natives also had value to the Keoish
government as their information concerning the dispositions of Sea Prince
forces that proved invaluable to the Keoish fleet. As a reward for the rescue, Kahari was given
a large grant of money and contacts with the Keoish government, who pointed him
in the direction of the Free City. He
was left alone to be a sleeper agent if ever required. For years, nothing was required of him, so he
threw himself into his theatrical work with all his passion. Then the Greyhawk
Wars began, and Kahari found his status abruptly changed from being a sleeper
agent to becoming one of the busiest intelligence agents on Oerth.
SOURCES: The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, From the Ashes,
Greyhawk Adventures, City of Greyhawk boxed set, Greyhawk Adventures hardcover,
Canonfire Articles – Grand Sheldomar Timeline by Samwise, Keoish Brandy by