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    Keoish Intelligence Report from the City of Greyhawk
    Posted on Mon, July 21, 2014 by LordCeb
    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


    Servants of the Lion Throne,


    A 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.


    Now 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. 


    While 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.      


    In 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)   


    His 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.   


    The 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.        


    Recently, 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.


    As 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.   


    The 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 happening.


    Our 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! 


    This 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.     


    Finally, 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!


    For 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 agent.


    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. 


    The 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 important) opportunities.


    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 OldManReaver

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