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An Overview of Oerik
Posted on Wed, October 01, 2003 by Legate
Scottenkainen writes "The Flanaess is just one part of the larger continent of Oerik. What else is out there has always been a subject for debate, but here is the first attempt to detail the rest of the continent that takes multiple sources into account. So explore the lands of Minaria, Kara-Tur, and the Flanaess again -- or for the first time!

An Overview of Oerik
By: Scottenkainen
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

An Overview of Oerik
by Scott Casper

The continent of Oerik is vast, being the most prominent, if not the most important, on the planet Oerth. It stretches from the titanic Agitoric Ocean in the west to the great Solnor Ocean in the east, from the enchanted Drawmidj Ocean in the north to the stormy Turean Ocean to the south. Oerik can easily be divided into three geographic regions -- Minaria, or western Oerik; Kara-Tur, or middle Oerik; and the Flanaess, eastern Oerik. It is large enough to be further divided into sub-regions, by which Oerik will be summarized below.

Further words must be said on the scope of this summary. The emphases are on major political, demographic, and geographic aspects. There are times when principalities, duchies, and provinces of importance will be noted, but they are purposely given shorter shrift than empires and kingdoms. Likewise, mountains, seas, and lakes will be named, but hills and rivers will often be ignored; and common races will find no mention of rare races around them. This is not an encyclopedia of Oerik -- as fascinating as such a work would be.

This author has taken some liberties. In Minaria, for example, the Shards of Lor actually refers to something different than how it is used here. Minaria and Kara-Tur have been merged with the infamous Oerth map from Dragon Annual #2, with Kara-Tur further inspired by the "Gord the Rogue" novels. It is debatable whether or not Hepmonaland is part of Oerik or a separate continent, and this article will follow the latter position. When proper names occur which cannot be found in any source in the bibliography, they are corruptions of words from various American Indian languages, as seemed appropriate given Gygax's original inspiration for the word "Greyhawk."

Minaria

1. Sundered Empire (Northwest)

This area was once the elven Empire of Neuth. War with the goblins of Zorn, plus internal strife, broke up the empire nearly 2,000 years ago. Since then, the elves have struggled along in competing duchies or united under weak kings. Their human vassal states have grown up into the independent Kingdoms of Immer, Muetar, Hothior, and Mivior. These kingdoms, like the elves, are mired in petty squabbles and frequently raided by the wilder lands surrounding them. Amongst them, Muetar shines for being able to field the best army, while Mivior is a sea power unequalled in Minaria. To the northwest of Neuth, separated from the continent by the Strait of Almiras, is the small Kingdom of Thalos.

Elfland, a demi-plane, intersects with Oerth here, thus many Neuthians are not indigenous to Oerth. These elves, the Goglio-Favre, are closer in nature to their fairy roots than most of Oerth's elves, and half-dryads and half-sylphs are not unheard of. The Minarian humans of Immer, Muetar, Hothior, and Mivior are a peach-skinned, round-eyed people. They are in a feudal state culturally, while north of Immer, their distant cousins are still barbarians in the Wild Reaches. Thalos is a notable exception, being pure-blooded Oerdians. These olive-skinned, round-eyed people settled here from the continent of Aquaria many millenia ago. Lastly, between Neuth and Mivior, there are wild hills where ogres and trolls hold sway. They have produced a smarter crossbreed race that share towns with humans and other races.

This region's most prominent geographic feature is the vast Ravillan Forest. At its center is Lake Melting Star. The Dreamwater River flows from the lake, through the troll lands, and empties out into the Agitoric Ocean. Lake Lared is in disputed territory between Immer and the trolls. Muetar has Lake Carth (though they won it in a war from Immer) and the Yandu River that flows from it. The Yandu becomes Hothior's southeast border before it flows into the Sea of Drowning Men. The Sundered Empire is bordered to the north by the Atkonartok Sea (Thalos guards its mouth), by the goblin nation of Zorn to the east, by the Banished Lands and the Sea of Drowned Men to the south, and by the Agitoric Ocean to the west.

2. The Mountains of the Dwarven Kings (Northeast)

The Wall of Aermac, the Barrier Mountains, and the Odalvs are all names by which the longest and tallest range on Oerik is known. The range is further significant, for not only is it a natural boundary between Minaria and Kara-Tur, but it houses the most important dwarven kingdoms on the continent. The northernmost and larger of the two is Mordengard. Mordengard is perpetually beseiged -- either by the Celestial Imperium to the east or the Tower of Zards to the west. South of Mordengard, buried deep beneath the Barrier Mountains, Ghem is a completely subterranean kingdom. It is the oldest dwarven kingdom on Oerik, and the most spiritual. Whosoever sits on the Alabaster Throne at Ghem is both overking and high priest for all the dwarves of Oerik. In practicality, the reach of the throne is seldom much further than Minaria's borders. West of Mordengard stands the Tower of Zards, home of the lich known as Black Hand. Undead and other foul monsters are his subjects. West of the tower is the goblin nation of Zorn. The goblins must pay tribute to the dwarven principalities of the Nithmere Mountains with one hand, while swearing their allegiance to Black Hand with the other. Lastly, southwest of Ghem, there is the human Kingdom of Pon. Though once a mountain retreat for bandits, Pon has since gained some respectability as a trade route between Meutar and the distant south.

The Wall of Aermac is the most prominent geographic feature here, though the Nithmere Mountains are a lesser range encircling Zorn. Several rivers flow southwest down from the Barrier Mountains into the inland Sea of Zett, bordering Pon. North of Oerik, the Odalv Mountains continue over a landbridge to the arctic continent of Hyperboria. To the east are the Suhfeng provinces of Chukei and Trazig. To the south is the Blasted Desert. To the west are the Wild Reaches, Immer, and Muetar.

3. Shards of Lor (West)

Many millenia ago, the Lloroi Empire stretched from one side of Minaria to the other. A war between the gods left their empire decimated, leaving mostly desert and wastes behind. These are collectly known as the Shards of Lor. The Waste of Vahkaka is known for its fields of bones and the undead that prowl them. Yet there are places that team with life as well. The Banished Lands are infested with gnolls -- the only ones known this far west on Oerik, while some brave human settlements, including the City of Freeport, cling to the south bank of the Yandu River. The oasis-based Kingdom of Shucassam is the wealthiest in all Minaria, controlling various trade routes through the deserts. They try to live as those in the northern kingdoms do, despite the stark difference in climates. To the southwest, the Kingdom of Rombune lies on the coast of the Agitoric Ocean and seems largely untouched by the devastation inland. Just as Pon was settled by bandits, Rombune was settled by pirates. Those who still practice piracy, despite the efforts of Mivior's navy, are based on the Westward Isles off the coast of Rombune. South of Rombune is the Kingdom of Afgaar. It is a hot, dry land where the native Minarians (who once called this Oxyer) live as slaves to the Girionese who migrated here from the south. The Silkien Islands lie off the west coast of Afgaar. East of Afgaar is the Sultanate of Yannagyhara. Its people are mainly Girionese, for Yannagyhara lies on the border between the main continent and the sub-continent of Girion.

Rombune marks the farthest south where Minarians are in the majority. The Girionese are a dusty-hued, dark-haired people. Their urban culture bears much in common with the Baklunish of the Flanaess, while their rural culture is more primitive.

Though dominated by deserts and wastes, this region is punctuated with mountains, most notably the long Skanekwentaranen Mountain Range. Its north end lies in Shucassam, and it curves to the southwest into Afgaar. Afgaar is the only place on Oerik where cotton is known to grow, and the Girionese make the Minarians toil on large cotton plantations. South of Afgaar is Padilla Bay which, with Yannagyhara, delineates the border between Minaria and Girion. The region is bordered by the Sundered Empire to the north, the east half of the Shards to the east, the sub-continent of Girion to the south, and the Agitoric Ocean to the west.

4. Shards of Lor (East)

Few regions of Oerik are more desolate and lonely than here. The Withering is a desert so impossibly hot that the effect is attributed to some fell magic. The Blasted Desert would appear normal if not for the scorched craters sometimes revealed by sandstorms. There is only some relief to be found in the small, isolated Kingdom of Moonrune. They simply prefer to be left alone.

This region is bordered by the Kingdom of the Mountain Dwarves to the north, the Suhfeng Province of Pterak to the east, the sub-continent of Girion to the south, and the west half of the Shards to the west.

5. West Girion (Southwest)

West Girion is dominated by the Land of Gazzohla. The Girionese have settled here to become rice farmers and maintain some large towns. What they are known for, however, is taming wyverns for use in battle. Off the west coast of Gazzohla is the Island of Bomgol. Bomgol is one of the most culturally advanced Girionese states, and is near-equal to Mivior in terms of naval presence on the Agitoric. Southeast of Gazzohla is the Land of Sama, where the Girionese live as barbarians. Off the south coast of Sama are the Moving Islands. The mobility of the islands is not rumor but fact. They are believed to be gargantuan tortoises.

The Girionese of Gazzohla need their wyverns, for they share the land with the evil yuan-ti, or snakemen. Near the center of Gazzohla are the ruins of a yuan-ti civilization, such as can be found scattered across the south end of Oerik. Though Bomgol's population is mostly Girionese, there is an outpost on the north end of the island maintained by the Kingdom of Reiken on Aquaria. So far, the two cultures have remained well-segregated except for trade.

Gazzohla is a vast tropical swamp. Sama is all mountainous jungle. This region is bordered to the north by the Shards of Lor, by East Girion to the east, by the Kaweras Sea to the south, and the Agitoric Ocean to the west.

6. East Girion (Southeast)

East Girion is a hodgepodge of oddities. It is dominated by the Poisonous Desert of Yyng-Go. Unless Yyng-Go was a colony of the Lloroi, its devastation and deadliness is a total mystery. North of the desert, the Girionese live a semi-nomadic life in Kelga. To the northeast, in a valley surrounded by mountains, is Anuwin, peopled by the last surviving Lloroi. To the east are the Wastes of Folma, a slightly more habitable continuation of the desert. To the southeast is the Land of Ulhig, where the Girionese eke out a poor, but civilized existence. South of the desert is a peninsula, almost a separate island, which is known as the Witchlands. Here, wicked tribes of the Girionese serve the Scarlet Witch King, said to be the same witch who long ago built the Tower of Zards in the north. This Scarlet Empire preys on both Ulhig and Sama.

Yyng-Go is populated by intelligent ghouls. The Lloroi were Suhfeng once -- a brown-hued, almond-eyed race -- but now seemingly touched by something alien.

Kelga is steppes. At its east end is Spirit Lake, a holy place for the Girionese. Yyng-Go is literally poisonous -- the strongest of men will die within a week of breathing its air. Folma is both the name of the wastes and the mountain range it interrupts as they reach from Anuwin in the north to the peninsula of Ulhig in the south. The Witchlands are a desolate, rocky place scattered with mountains and great crevices. At its center is Bitter Lake, the waters of which live up to its name. This region is bordered by the Shards of Lor to the north, by the Land of Khemit in Kara-Tur to the east, by the Turean Ocean to the south, and West Girion to the west.

Kara-Tur

7. Tayanuchi (Far North)

Tayanuchi is a name shared by both a mountain range that marks the northern border of the Suhfang Empire and the marshlands to the northwest of the mountains. Unofficially, all the wildlands north of the Suhfang Empire have become known as Tayanuchi.

Savage tribes of Suhfeng barbarians have found refuge in the hills overlooking the marshes. Their neighbors to the east are tribes of hobgoblins. The hobgoblins admire the Suhfeng (some tribes have adopted the look of their armor and weapons) and some work as mercenaries for the empire. West of the hobgoblin tribes is a primitive kingdom called Urozthuda, populated with orcs. The orcs are raiders, scorning the Suhfeng and their culture.

8. Suhfang Empire (North)

Kara-Tur, or Middle Oerik, is unique compared to its neighboring regions for having had no cataclysms in its known history. This has allowed both prosperity and rigidity to flourish here. Also known as the Celestial Imperium, the Suhfang Empire is the oldest government on Oerik. Fourteen provinces are under the emperor's control, enforced by his lords, and managed by a vast bureaucracy. The most prominent provinces are Chukei, Trazig, and Pterak in the west; Wang Kuo and Hungste in the middle; and Chomur, Behow, and Sa’Han in the east.

8a. Chukei is the oldest province in the empire. The Tayanuchi Mountains enter the province from the north, but most of the province is on the flat, arid Chukei Plateau. The Suhfeng here tall, brown-haired horsemen. Their land borders the Wall of Aermac, and the army of Chukei has been repeatedly given the impossible task of storming the dwarven cities there.

8b. Trazig is is mostly salt plains and hills that are mined for iron. Still, Trazig is a rising star in the empire. Its horsemen are fierce warriors, and the physically largest Suhfeng in the empire. Known as the "Storm Riders," they have proven more successful against the dwarves of Ghem than their northern cousins.

8c. Pterak's salt plains in the north give way to a fertile river valley in the south that, in turns, flows into the Celestial Sea to the east. In turn, the wall may have helped spare Pterak from the devastation the Llorei suffered. The Suhfeng here enjoy more trade, prosperity, and hence more culture than the provinces to the north, but their cosmopolitan airs annoy the richer provinces of Wang Kuo and Hungste to the northeast and east respectively. Over the foothills of the Odalv Mountains, the Dragon Wall long was built long ago to hold back the Llorei Empire. To the south, the Wu Pi Te Shao Mountains form a natural boundary between the Celestial Imperium and Khemit.

8d. Wang Kuo is home to the Imperial City where the Celestial Emperor is seated, and is likewise the most densely populated province in the empire. Numerous tributaries and canals from the Chan Lu River keep the rolling hills here fertile. Wang Kuo drips with culture and sophistication. The Kyrios Dynasty has ruled for 400 years.

8e. Hungste consists of lush, fertile plains that border the Celestial Sea. It is known mainly for two things -- its silk industry and its navy. It is from Hungste's ports that most of the Imperial Navy launches in their centuries-old vigil against the navy of Khemit.

8f. Chomur is hilly in the west, gradually flattening to the east into what is also known as the Dry Steppes. Chomur has vascillated between being a trade partner and an enemy of the Baklunish people depending on the whims of the emperors over the millenia. The Chomurans are wary of the steppes, having suffered badly from the Red Death the last time they held them. They have a wall of fortresses (though not as great as the Dragon Wall) protecting their northern border from the greater enemy -- the orcs of the north.

8g. Behow is an arid, almost desert-like land. Its people are impoverished, nomadic or clustered around a few oasis towns. Many more had long ago fled east and mingled with the Steppe Nomads. All this was engineered by the Celestial Imperium as punishment, for the people of Behow stubbornly cling to a peculiar monotheism, unapproved by the Suhfang Empire. At least they are shielded from their eastern neighbor, the deadly Sea of Dust, by the Sulhaut Mountains that circle round the ashen desert.

8h. Sa’Han is a mountainous region, with the Halla Mountains rising dramatically from the jungles and swamps around them. The Halla Mountains separate Sa'Han from the Sunelan Coast to the east. Although Sa'Han and the Suhfang Empire are culturally similar now, they were bitter enemies in the distant past. It is rumored that Sa'Han still has a line of kings hiding in exile, perhaps concealed by Sa'Han's heretical monasteries that face constant persecution.

8i. Lungdou is an island inhabited by dragons, avoided by both the Suhfeng and the Khemitians.

9. Khemit (Southwest)

Khemit is an extension off the east end of the subcontinent of Girion. The mainland is mostly jungle, with remnants of a yuan-ti empire scattered inside it. The rest of Khemit is on a series of increasingly smaller islands as they move east, nearly cutting off the Celestial Sea from the Turean Ocean. The islands are grassy and fertile.

Khemit, or Erypt as it was known under earlier dynasties, is a pharoah-ruled kingdom where the pharoahs are demi-gods and great marvels are built on the backs of entire slave populations. The Khemitians are excellent sailors and their navy has been equal or superior to the Celestial Imperium's navy for centuries. Clashes on the Celestial Sea are near commonplace, though outright warfare between the two people has been less frequent. Their armies wield powerful clerical magic, which offsets the imperium's heavy use of invocation magic.

The native Khemitians are a sandy-hued, dark-haired, round-eyed race. They share the land with two other peoples -- Girionese and Oerdians. The Girionese are forcibly imported as slaves from the west. The Oerdians sailed this far 700 years ago, having circled partway round the continent from Thalos. Though the Oerdians were pressed into slavery, the Khemitians were impressed enough to make the Oerdians soldiers. It was an Oerdian army that entered the Celestial Imperium, only to be chased west into the Flanaess.

Khemit is bordered to the north by the Celestial Imperium. This border is elusive, with both factions claiming much of the Celestial Sea. To the east and south is the Turean Ocean. Khemit has only a small presence on the ocean, and the resurgence of the Scarlet Empire in Girion has made the long journey back to Thalos a perilous trade route.

10. Sunela (Southeast)

Though this peninsula curves sharply east and lies south of the Flanaess, most cartographers agree that this region is part of Kara-Tur. The Empire of Sunela consists of 11 principalities and duchies that were all once on the southern frontier of the Suloise Empire. Though spared from the Rain of Colorless Fire thanks to geography, Sunela has had centuries of political instability and warfare, the latter mainly with the Niphonese of the Niphos Archipelagos.

The Suloise are a tall, almost albino-pale race with light hair in tight curls. They are technologically, magically, and culturally sophisticated, yet poor sailors. After centuries of isolation from the Flanaess, Sunela has yet to send ships around the Amedio Jungle. Rather, Sunela has begun to enjoy some trade relations with their western neighbor, the Suhfeng Province of Sa'Han. The Niphonese are half-elf, half-Olman, the latter being a sub-race of human that once had a small empire in the Amedio Jungle to the north.

Sunela is bordered by the Sea of Dust to the north, the Azure Sea to the east, the Turean Ocean to the south, and Sa'Han to the west.

Flanaess

11. Baklunish Basin (Northwest)

This region is dominated by the Plains of the Paynims. In the heyday of the Baklunish Empire a millenium ago, these plains were the urban center of the empire. Now this is mostly wide open space bereft of places of interest. Only to the north, along the coast of the Drawmidj Ocean, are there remnants of the once-great Baklunish Empire -- the Sultanate of Zeif, Caliphate of Ekbir, and Tusmit. Out of these former frontier towns has grown some semblance of the empire that was, fueled mainly by Zeif's gem mines and Tusmit's gold mines. The Celestial Imperium would love to acquire a foothold in the Flanaess by taking the Baklunish Basin, and it would be within their power to do so if the gods were not so protective of the remaining Baklunish states. The last time the empire tried to invade, the gods unleashed the plague called the Red Death on them. They have yet to try again.

The Baklunish are a golden-hued, dark-haired people. Some are almond-eyed, suggesting old contact with the Suhfeng. Like the Girionese of Minaria, the difference between urban, cultured Baklunish and rural, nomadic Baklunish is striking.

The Baklunish Basin is mostly cut off from the rest of the Flanaess by the Yatil Mountains, the Barrier Peaks, and the small Ulsprue Range. Ekbir and Tusmit share the Udgru Forest. The Drawmidj Ocean is magically warm, and the north wind keeps the basin almost sub-tropical in climate. The Invoked Devastation the Suel used against the Baklunish to end their war destroyed all traces of the old empire in the plains, but the ground remains fertile and lush grasses grow throughout. The Baklunish Basin is bordered by the Drawmidj Ocean to the north, the Lands of Iuz to the northeast, the Sheldomar Valley to the southeast, and the Dry Steppes to the southwest. The Plains of the Paynims gradually merge with the Dry Steppes the farther one goes west.

12. Lands of Iuz (North)

Geographically characterized by lakes, forest, and grasslands, one would think this place ideal if it wasn't dominated by an evil demi-god. Iuz, Lord of Pain, God of Evil rules this region from the small kingdom that bears his name and he has subsequently snatched up his neighbors -- the Horned Society, the Rovers of the Barrens, the Shield Lands, and the Bandit Kingdoms. Lands further east and west were under his sway for a short time, but the greedy half-demon has not been able to hold them. Two lands closer to home, so to speak, that have not been under his sway bear mentioning. To the north of the Land of Iuz is Blackmoor. Though seemingly little more than a desolate tundra with few inhabitants, this Blackmoor is just the shadow of a larger, more important Blackmoor on another world. The secrets of the other Blackmoor, including the City of the Gods, arouse both curiosity and fear in the old demi-god. Lastly, nestled into the Yatil Mountains is Perrenland. Whether the fierce-fighting Perrenlanders are too tough for Iuz, or he holds back because Perrenland was once the capital of his mother's empire (she is Iggwilv, the arch-witch), none but Iuz can say for certain.

The first to fall was the Horned Society, a land to the southeast of Iuz inhabited by hobgoblins that had been ruled by devil-worshipping humans. To the northeast, the nomadic Flan known as the Rovers of the Barrens also came into his domain. Quick to follow were the Bandit Kingdoms, a chaotic land of shifting political alliances, south of the Barrens. The last to fall were the Shield Lands, the northern reaches of Old Ferrond. Iuz covets all of Old Ferrond, particularly Furyondy.

The Rovers of the Barrens, the men of Blackmoor, and the Perrenlanders (though the latter are not so pure-blooded) are all Flannae. The Flannae are the oldest human race native to the Flanaess, a people with deep bronze skin (though the Rovers are copper-toned), round eyes, and dark wavy or curly hair. The men of the Shield Lands and Bandit Kingdoms are Oerdians. The Oerdians are believed to have migrated to the Flanaess from Kara-Tur centuries ago, but actually those early Oerdian tribes had been expelled from the Celestial Imperium as undesirables (ironic, considering what a lasting presence the Oerdians have had everywhere else on Oerik). The Land of Iuz is populated mainly by orcs, goblins, and other humanoid monsters.

The Empire of Iuz is bordered to the north by the Barren Wastes that make up the coast of the Icy Sea. To the east, beyond the Fellreev Forest are the Flan lands surrounding the Thillonrian Peninsula. To the southeast, beyond the Nyr Dyv (Lake of Unknown Depths) are the Urnst states that were once the frontier of the Great Kingdom. To the south is Furyondy, one-time capital of Old Ferrond, and Iuz's fiercest enemies. To the west is the Vesve Forest and the Yatil Mountains, where elves and men respectively resist Iuz's forces. To the northwest, beyond the coniferous Burneal Forest, is the Land of Black Ice (a magically frozen landbridge to the arctic, literally made of black ice).

13. Thillonrian Peninsula (Northeast)

This area is dominated by three mountain chains -- the Corusk Mountains, the Griff Mountains, and the Rakers. No magically warm bay keeps this corner of the Flanaess temperate -- the mountains serve as homes to the Snow, Ice, and Frost Barbarians. On the land-side of the peninsula are, from north to south, Stonehold, Tenh, and Pale -- a monarchy, a recently-conquered vassal state, and a monotheistic theocracy respectively. The whole region is known for bloody warfare.

Their real names are the Kingdoms of Schnai, Cruski, and Frutzii respectively, and this hidden nobility testifies that these men are barbarians by choice and not by nature. A millenia ago, they were tribes of Suloise fleeing the Rain of Colorless Fire. That they fled so far suggests that more than aggressive Flannae drove them onwards -- perhaps guilt for some role in the Baklunish-Suloise Wars. Regardless, the good gods of the Suel Pantheon hear their prayers, so they are either innocent or have atoned. It is worth noting that the regions that surround them are entirely Flan.

The Thillonrian Peninsula and the Flan lands that surround it are bordered to the north by the cold, northern waters of the Solnor Ocean. The Ocean circles the land to the west, but the peninsula curves around Grendep Bay to the southwest. To the south is the Bone March, a lost frontier of the Great Kingdom, the Flinty Hills, and the Gamboge Foerst that forms the south border of the Pale. To the southwest are the Urnst states, and to the west is the Empire of Iuz (more specifically, the Bandit Kingdoms and the Barrens. To the northwest, beyond Stonehold, is the Icy Sea.

14. Sea of Dust (Far West)

The Twin Cataclysms were neither the first nor the last disasters to befall an area of Oerik, but they arguably made the largest impact. The Invoked Devastation that razed every building of the Baklunish Empire sent its people fleeing north to the shores of the Drawmidj. The Baklunish -- the people best poised on Oerik to bring Kara-Tur and the Flanaess together -- became isolationists. The greater impact was made by the Rain of Colorless Fire, for it literally disintegrated the Suel Empire and left nothing but an enormous basin of ash ringed by volcanoes in its wake. Nothing natural can live here long, where one can choke on the ash in the air. Still, one could say that the disaster-forced migrations of the Suel refugees into the Flanaess have done more to change the nature of one-third of the continent than the cataclysms themselves did.

The Sea of Dust is bordered to the north, beyond the Sulhaut Mountains, by the Dry Steppes. To the east, beyond a range of active volcanoes once known as the Hadarna Mountains, is Jeklea Bay and the Amedio Jungle. The Amedio Jungle continues south of the Sea of Dust, and the Sunelan Peninsula is there as well. West of the Sea of Dust is the Celestial Imperium and the Province of Behow.

15. Sheldomar Valley (West)

The Sheldomar is a lush, fertile valley punctuated with forests, hills, and marshes. The mountains surrounding it, instead of providing safe haven, are often the Sheldomar's greatest threats. The Hateful Wars were fought against humanoid monsters in the Lortmils, and more recently giants invaded the west end of the valley from the Crystalmists.

When the Baklunish-Suloise Wars were reaching their apex, Suel refugees crossed the Crystalmist Mountains into the Sheldomar Valley, thereby escaping the Rain of Coloress Fire that decimated their empire. What happened next was just as remarkable -- the migrating Suloise got along with the native Flannae instead of killing or enslaving them. Then Oerdians came to the region, and there still was no fighting! Out of this human melting pot grew the Kingdom of Keoland. Keoland gradually took on imperialistic trappings as they decided to force their peace and prosperity on their neighbors. This both expanded and divided Keoland into the states found in this region today.

North of Keoland are Gran March, Bissel, and Ket, all former marches of the expanding and contracting Keoish Empire. East of Keoland are the three Ulek states -- the elven Duchy of Ulek, the human County of Ulek, and the dwarven Principality of Ulek. The first two were vassal states of Keoland until their independence. The dwarven princes, in theory, are vassals to the dwarven king in distant Ghem, but they had long paid tribute to Keoland. Southwest of Keoland is the Hold of the Sea Princes, still partially occupied by the forces of the Scarlet Brotherhood. West of Keoland are the Yeomanry, Sterich, and Geoff. The first is an independent state, and the most democratic civilized realm on Oerik. The second two are marches of Keoland that still struggle to recover from an invasion of giants years earlier. North of Geoff is the Valley of the Mage, home to a reclusive god masquerading as a human wizard.

The Sheldomar is bordered to the north, beyond Ket, by the Yatil Mountains. To the east, past the Gran March and the Ulek states, stand the Lortmil Mountains. To the south, past the Hold of the Sea Princes, is Jeklea Bay. To the west , past the Yeomanry, Sterich, Geoff, and the Valley of the Mage are the Crystalmist Mountains and their spurs, the Jotens and the Barrier Peaks.

16. Old Ferrond & Frontiers South (Middle)

When the Oerdians came to the Flanaess, they answered a "manifest destiny" to reach the east end of the continent. Those that did established the Great Kingdom, but in their wake they left many behind who chose to settle down, some marrying into the indigenous cultures. This region between Lake Whyestil Lake and Woolly Bay was one such spot where the Oerdians quickly became the majority. Much like Keoland, the people of Ferrond exemplified all that was best about the various human cultures then in the Flanaess.

Ferrond does not exist today, except as the name of a local dialect, but centuries ago it was a viceroyalty that marked the Great Kingdom's west border. Today, the Kingdom of Furyondy, the Archclericy of Veluna, Highfolk, and Perrenland are all allies but independent of each other. Dyvers, once the capital city of Ferrond, is now an independent citystate. The Viscounty of Verbobonc is practically independent of Veluna (in all but name). The Shield Lands were once part of the viceroyalty, but have since fallen to Iuz. Many of these lands are tranquil and peaceful, but mainly because Furyondy bears the brunt of Iuz's attacks for them. The Furyondese, chivalrous to a fault, bear it well.

South of Old Ferrond, past the Nyr Dyv, is a frontier coastline that partially circles Woolly Bay. The Wild Coast, west of Woolly Bay, never outgrew its frontier nature until it was too late. Now it is overrun by humanoid monsters from the Pomarj, a long-lost territory of Keoland at the south end of the coast. In strong contrast to the Wild Coast, the Free City of Greyhawk grew from a small trading town in the Cairn Hills into the largest, most-powerful citystate in the Flanaess -- and perhaps all of Oerik. Of course, it had help. The mad demi-god Zagyg lived much of his mortal life here and helped shape its destiny. Other gods have vested interests in the city as well.

Old Ferrond is bordered to the north by the Empire of Iuz and to the east by the Urnst States. South of Ferrond if Woolly Bay, and south of that is the Azure Sea. West of Ferrond, beyond the Lortmils, is the Sheldomar Valley.

17. Old Sulm & the Aerdi Frontier (East)

Where the Woolly Bay meets the Sea of Gearnat, a little desert sits along the coast. Beyond the Abbor-Alz hills that surround the desert is a lush forest and a wet marsh. How did this desert come to be?

Long before the Oerdians came to the Flanaess, Sulm was here. Sulm was the most powerful kingdom of the Flannae, situated on the shores of the Sea of Gearnat. Like so many empires of old, this one was destroyed by a powerful artifact of evil called the Scorpion Crown. Now, where the cities of Sulm once stood, there is just the Bright Desert. Sulm was forgotten, until recent times when an archmage and his henchmen united the tribesmen of the desert (the descendents of Old Sulm) in a search for the Scorpion Crown.

Sulm's territories to the north and east survived, but the native Flannae fled the region. When the migrating Oerdians and Suloise came here they found overgrown ghost towns, but since neither people were particularly superstitious, they simply moved in and built over the old settlements. This led to the founding of Urnst and, to the east, Nyrond and Almor. All were, at first, west provinces of the Great Kingdom. Nyrond was most favored amongst them, a huge fief awarded to one of the royal houses of Aerdy. Almor benefited from its proximity to Rauxes, the empire's capital. Only Urnst suffered the displeasure of the overkings, eventually being broken into two smaller fiefs for only a count and a duke. Like so many territories of the once-Great Kingdom, Nyrond, both Urnsts, and Almor all won their independence. Ivid the Undying, last of the overkings of the Great Kingdom, tried to wreak a terrible vengeance on these states. Almor was destroyed, and Nyrond was taxed until all the strength went out of it fending off the armies of Aerdy. After the wars, Nyrond has begun to recover, and Almor is ever so slowly being rebuilt.

North of the County of Urnst are the Bandit Kingdoms. East of Almor is the Adri Forest, and beyond that the North Kingdom. South of Nyrond is Relmor Bay. West of the Bright Desert is Woolly Bay.

18. Old Great Kingdom (Far East)

Having endured enslavement by the Khemitians and humiliation by the Suhfeng, the Oerdians pressed eastward. Something inside them said they were heading home, but what they found were scattered Flan kingdoms and the Solnor Ocean. The Oerdians declared that destiny had led them here to build a great kingdom -- though some dissenters believed their journey led further east. Those boats that made the ocean crossing reached the continent of Aquaria, on the far side from where their people's journey had begun long ago. Meanwhile, the founding of the Great Kingdom required the indigenous Flannae be driven off, enslaved, or killed. Yet, out of these barbaric origins, something good grew. The Great Kingdom expanded less by warfare than by assimilation, for everywhere it brought order and prosperity. It seemed a magical age, and it was, though a diabolical magic. The royalty made deals with devils to ensure prosperity, and as they forfeited their souls their empire became corrupt and wicked again. Territories from Ferrond all the way back to Almor broke away one by one, though the Kingdom remained the dominant force in this area for years thereafter. Now the Kingdom has fallen. The capital city is (literally) lost. The loss of the throne has led to remarkably little civil war, though both the north and the south remnants of the empire aspire to replace it.

The North Kingdom intends to carry on as the old Kingdom had, or will when its internal power struggles subside. The new overking needs many more troops, and is willing to court the Bone March to get them. The Bone March had been a territory of the Great Kingdom once before it fell into the hands of orcs and worse monsters. Not the best of allies, but the North Kingdom cannot afford to be fickle. Even the Sea Barons on their islands off the coast have failed to pledge their support.

The Kingdom of Ahlissa plans a different tact. Backed by a wealthy royal family, this overking has been buying allies from former enemies. The former South Province once consisted of (known today as) the Principality of Ahlissa, the Kingdom of Sunndi, and Onnwal, but poor leadership from a succession of herzogs drove Sunndi, Onnwal, and an area formerly known as Idee into secession and collusion with the dwarven citystate of Irongate. This Iron League repelled Ahlissan armies for years, but they recently found themselves beset by other foes -- first the Slave Lords of the Pomarj and then the Scarlet Brotherhood. Onnwal was partially claimed by the Brotherhood, and the other members were impoverished from their years of resistance. The promise of funding from the new overking proved to be an irresistable lure. Even Nyrond, with equally drained coffers, has been tempted. And yet, all Ahlissa has accomplished so far is to buy itself an air of respectability. Its plans for domination, like its northern rival, have yet to see fruition.

Meanwhile, far to the south, the Scarlet Brotherhood has moved from obscurity to widespread threat. This Suloise religious sect based on the Tilvanot Peninsula struck quickly just a few years ago and took hold of the coastal regions of the Hold of the Sea Princes and Onnwal. Rumor has it that they were searching for magical artifacts that would help awaken a sleeping god.

And while all this has been going on, the Citystate of Rel Astra has sat quiet. Positioned between North Kingdom and Ahlissa, Rel Astra has been quietly drawing allies to itself. This Solnor Compact, comprised of Rel Astra, the Sea Barons, and the free cities of Ountsy and Roland, has not sat idle on purpose. Rel Astra recently had to deal with some pesky dragons -- nothing its powerful ruler could not handle, but enough to delay his machinations.

The Old Great Kingdom is bordered to the north by the Rakers and Grendep Bay past North Kingdom. To the east are the islands of the Sea Barons, the Lendore Isles (beseiged by foul elves), the Lordship of the Isles to the far south; and beyond those chains the Solnor Ocean. To the southeast is the Aerdi Sea and to the southwest is the Azure Sea. To the west are the Sea of Gearnat, Relmor Bay, and the Kingdom of Nyrond.

19. Amedio Jungle (Southwest)

East and south of the Sea of Dust is a dense, tropical jungle called the Amedio. Sunela has some outposts in the west part of the jungle, but its main inhabitants are the Amed, a dark brown-skinned, round-eyed people. The Amed are the savage descendents of the Olmans, another lost civilization of Oerik. The Olmans had long ago warred on the yuan-ti and drove them from the Flanaess, but warfare with the Tuov of Hepmonaland was their undoing before either the Oerdians or the Suloise came to the Flanaess.

The Amedio Jungle is bordered to the north by the Sea of Dust and Jeklea Bay. To the east is the Azure Sea. To the south is the Turean Ocean. To the west is Sunela.

Location Sketch: (click to enlarge)

Bibliography

Bambra, Jim. All That Glitters.... Lake Geneva, WI.: TSR, 1984.
Gemmell, Michael A. "Michael A. Gemmell's Minaria RPG Materials Page" at http://www4.sympatico.ca/mgemmell/MinariaRPG.html.
Gygax, Gary. A Guide to the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Setting. Lake Geneva, WI.: TSR, 1983.
Gygax, Gary. Sea of Death. New York, NY.: Berkley Publishing, 1987.
Holian, Gary, et al. Gazetteer. Renton, WA.: Wizards of the Coast, 2000.
Holian, Gary, et al. Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. Renton, WA.: Wizards of the Coast, 2000.
"Talmeta". "Sunela, the Suloise Empire-in-Exile" at http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=173&mode=&order=0&thold=0.
Various authors. Kara-Tur: Volume I. Lake Geneva, WI.: TSR, 1988.
Williams, Skip. "Beyond the Flanaess" in Dragon Annual #1. Lake Geneva, WI.: TSR, 1997.
Wilson, Steven B. E-mail correspondence from 7/9/2003.

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Re: An Overview of Oerik (Score: 1)
by Mekorig on Wed, October 01, 2003
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Guauu...great work...very usefull. Now i had more places to trouble my players. :P



Re: An Overview of Oerik (Score: 1)
by Herald on Thu, October 02, 2003
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WOW!!!

Very Nice. I wonder what a fan based source book on some of these new areas would look like?



Re: An Overview of Oerik (Score: 1)
by Graf on Fri, October 03, 2003
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The selection of the name Kara-tur is a bit weird, given that it's the name of unrelated Oriental Adventures products from WotC. Was it in the original Gord books? (sorry, only read the first one)



A Couple of Responses (Score: 1)
by Scottenkainen on Fri, October 03, 2003
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Several of the sources for this summary, as Rich points out, are fan-based material. There is a plethora of Flanaess-related material out there, of course. By happy coincidence, good sites on Minaria (from the Divine Right board game) seemed to spring into existence while I was writing this. I remain surprised by the small amount of fan-produced Kara-Tur material I found online.

I do not believe the Gord novels ever refer to Kara-Tur by name. The Suhfeng and Su'Han are mentioned in Sea of Death, and it is no stretch to suggest they are oriental in flavor.

Lastly, though I'm much pleased to see this article so professionally framed for posterity, I wonder why the title was changed from Oerik Summary to An Overview of Oerik?



Re: An Overview of Oerik (Score: 1)
by Tzelios (b_steelio@hotmail.com) on Mon, October 13, 2003
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Dear Scott,

I think there is a historical misconception concerning the Oeridians of Thalos. You say that Thalites came from Aquaria many millennia ago. This cannot be true.

In Egg of the Phoenix we see that before the human colonists arrived at Arrowhead Bay, only demi-humans were living in Aquaria, battling with the forces of Elemental Evil [I12, p. 2]. And in Doc`s Island, we see that Oeridians (with Flannae slaves) from the Gull Cliffs, unlike the rest of Oeridians, developed sailing ability, and discovered a continent eastward across the Solnor, in 450 O.R. (450-644=-194 C.Y.). Due to their exceptional marine travel skill, they were called Aquaerdians, and the continent they discovered they named it Aquaria. After the war in their homeland, they migrated from Flanaess to colonize Aquaria, in 522 O.R. (-122 C.Y.). Those Oeridians that remained are the ancestors of the Sea Barons. [R4, p. 4]. Do you agree that you erred?

Sincerely,

tzelios



Comment 08 1721 (Score: 1)
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Re: An Overview of Oerik (Score: 1)
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