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Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Nyr Dyv, Part III
Posted on Wed, May 12, 2004 by Farcluun
CruelSummerLord writes "In the final part of his treatise on the Nyr Dyv, the Brother of the Cruel Summer reveals what he knows and has discovered on the last set of states, from the Shield Lands to the Wild Coast...

Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Nyr Dyv, Part III
By: CruelSummerLord
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

THE SHIELD LANDS

The lords of the north were wicked bandits and criminals, their southern rivals knights brave and true. For many years did the two battle, as the Knights of Holy Shielding were a beacon for good and right, nowhere more so than in their minds. Knight and bandit clashed time and again, carrying on a struggle that has continued since long before the Migrations.
The Knights of the Shield were good and brave, though many, especially Furyondy and Urnst, with their arrogant and prideful attitudes. Great rivalry existed between them and the Knights of the Hart, which may explain Furyondy’s failure to aid the Shield Knights in their time of need.

In what are regarded as the first blows of the Greyhawk Wars, the full might of the Horned Society was brought to bear against the Shield, further supported by the bandits of Warfields and Wormhall. Great defenses did the Shield Knights raise, long did they fight and clash. And yet, always alone, their struggle was ultimately futile. Critwall and Admundfort were taken, all other cities ruined and destroyed. Thousands of Shield Landers fell in these invasions, and the Knights slaughtered almost wholesale.

One cannot describe the modern Shield Lands-there is no such thing. The fertile fields of the south are now in the grasp of the Horned Empire, controlled by bandit and goblin. Critwall and Admundfort are the empire’s new ports, its links to trade upon the Nyr Dyv. This description must, of necessity, discuss the society that existed before the fall, if chroniclers should want it…

Society and Culture: The people of the Shield Lands were good, honest, and brave folk, with a devotion to hard work and clean living. All admirable tendencies, but with all this came gruff arrogance and puritanical disdain for those not of the Shield, especially the men of Urnst and Furyondy, both disliked intensely by the Shield for different reasons. There were many who were not like this, of course, but to speak up a dissenting opinion would, more often than not, bring disdain and scorn upon the speaker.

Slavery was totally illegal, and man, woman and demihuman were all full and equal partners in society. These admirable traits carried through into the government and the army, with daughters inheriting shares of their parents’ estates just as often as sons. Among their own, the people of the Shield were actually quite kind and benevolent. Being forced to eternally clash against their northern enemies, while spurning the aid of their western neighbors, developed a hard edge in many Shield Landers, though they could be trusted in both word and deed.

The government was organized on the military model, run by the Knights of Holy Shielding. The nation was divided into thirty territories, for the thirty Grand Peers that headed the order, claiming various titles such as baron, count, or earl. The Earl of Walworth, being the only noble with an island domain from which to base the navy and to refuge in times of crisis, has been the hereditary commander of both the government and military forces.

Each of the thirty Grand Peers commanded his own section of the army, which was further divided into colonels, lieutenants, sergeants, and so forth. Beneath all these were the common people, who held the knights in great regard, knowing full well that said knight would spit in death’s face to protect them. Content with no government representation, they did little more than feed and house the knights’ every need.

Military Structure: It is a testament to the military efficiency of the Shield Lands that they were able to last so long against their northern enemies. The elite Grand Peers were easily a match for the Companion Guard of the Overking in Rauxes, and the rest of their forces were smartly trained regulars of all races and occupations. No levies were needed from the common folk-the military was a family occupation, with second and third children doing quite well for themselves.
If the Shield Land forces had a weakness, it would have to be the clashes between the knights and those forces send by Urnst and Furyondy.

Many of the latter nations’ soldiers had sympathies with the Knights of the Hart, and their innate bias against non-Furyonds made a bad situation worse. Those Urnstmen that served often resented being sent to aid the “arrogant and pretentious” knights, as they called them. While those soldiers of the County were demure and quiet, those of the Duchy were loud and vocal. These dissenting voices argued constantly with the Grand Peers, putting aside their differences only grudgingly.
Even with this hindrance, the poorly trained armies of most of the bandits were usually crushed with minimal fuss by the knights. Even at its full power, the Horned Empire suffered heavy losses before victory was finally guaranteed.

Ruler: Holmer Walworth, the Knight Commander of the Shield Lands, was a tall and broad man, with both a moustache and hair that grew to his neck, spread out in the old Oeridian style. His piercing blue eyes brought pause to many who faced him, allowing him to cleave them down the middle with his great battleaxe. (Despite being a cleric of Hieroneous, he was permitted to use an axe because, of course, this is the Great Paladin’s favored weapon.) He would dress in low-key clothes with only few checks and patterns when attempting to project calm diplomacy, or appear in full plate armor when he wished to make an impression. This, combined with his intense stare and harsh voice, brought both friend and foe to caution.
Holmer was a curt and arrogant man, supremely confident in the ability of his soldiers. While he had the love of war typical of the Oeridians, and could almost match the Flan in battle-frenzy, he could turn into a kind and gentle soul when dealing with children, who were always his first priority for healing and protecting.

When caught in his more relaxed moods, many people found Holmer quite personable and friendly, and much more willing to take advice than one would expect from someone of his national stature. This may have proved to be his undoing-his prideful generals insisted that he ride out to confront the bandits and Horned soldiers, rather than to wait for them to attack the outlying defenses, such as Torkeep.

Holmer is now dead, though he made a great impression on that cold Patchwall evening when the knights made their last stand. Although slain by the prismatic spray of a wizardly Hierarch, he had flung his axe at the spell-casting mage, cutting the vile fiend in two. Holmer died, though he died bravely, fighting to the very last, as his god would want him to.

Foreign Relations: The gruffness and arrogance of most Shield Landers put off their neighbors. The people of the County of Urnst found them far too blunt and abrupt, while the Furyonds and Urnstmen of the Duchy butted heads with their merchants and ambassadors constantly. Greyhawk and Dyvers were both regarded by the Shield Lands as the homes of greedy, corrupt thieves and patricians, and the two free cities offered similar replies to the northern knights.
Nonetheless, all knew that if convinced of the need for aid, the knights would never hesitate to support their neighbors on the Nyr Dyv. They were hated and loathed by the Horned Society and the bandits to the north, as they proved worthy adversaries to the former and deadly adversaries to the latter.

URNST, COUNTY OF

One of the gathering places of the Suel fleeing their ruined empire were the fertile and rich plains on the east coast of the Nyr Dyv. Unlike their wicked kin, most of these people were weary of centuries of war, and desired simply to live in peace. Urnst grew into a prosperous and tolerant, if occasionally fractious and bickering, nation. The County was created in 189 CY when, after Urnst was incorporated into the Great Kingdom, made a distinct protectorate by Overking Jirenan.
The two Urnst nations were often seen as earth and air, or fire and ice; the people of the Duchy were fiery, outgoing, and bold, while their kinsmen in the County were quiet, demure and unassuming. The County was, in theory, subservient to the Duchy, though in practice it was careful diplomacy that allowed it to remain separate from its exuberant, outgoing neighbor.
Talk of re-unification was manifest in the years leading up to the Greyhawk Wars, however. Duke Karll planned to marry his eldest son, Jolen, to the Countess Belissica, thereby re-creating the old Urnst nation and declaring itself as a kingdom. This union, however, never occurred. Why the lord would choose not to go through with his arranged marriage is indeed puzzling. With the union never occurring, the two nations drifted apart once again.

The Greyhawk Wars brought them back into close cooperation. As war raged across the Flanaess, people fled to the states of Urnst, seeking new lives in places not torn by the savage fighting. The Urnstmen continued farming their fields and working their mines with little fuss, and the armies of the nations were marshaled only to put down roving bandits and looting deserters, and keep the new arrivals in line. Both nations also passed new types of taxes and duties specifically towards their refugees, many of whom were quite wealthy. As a result, both Urnst states are far better off than before the wars. Their economies are strong, and people from all over the Flanaess are indebted to them for giving them shelter in their hours of need.

All is not well, however. The Horned Empire looms upon the northern Nyr Dyv, and neither Urnst state is known for its naval expertise. To the east, the armies of the Theocracy of the Pale loom, having seized and occupied the northern lands of Nyrond. Neither of Urnst’s new neighbors are known for their dedication to the common good for all, and so the people must remain wary…

Society and Culture: The people of the County are known for their politeness and warmth, and also for their gentle, easygoing natures. They greet strangers cordially, although they prefer to keep to themselves. Whereas the people of the Duchy are actively outgoing, those of the County are more insular, having difficulty accepting even those refugees who have settled in as their neighbors. This leads to the people of the County as being perceived as cold and/or prejudiced, when in fact it takes longer for them to accept strangers in their midst than would Keoland or Greyhawk, for instance. Slavery and racial/gender discrimination have never been a part of County life.

Women and demihumans enjoy the same legal rights and freedoms as human males, and indeed the County has been ruled by the women, as opposed to the men, of the Gellor dynasty since Urnst’s founding. There is little actual racism or bigotry in the laws and social values of the people of the County, though they still prefer to maintain their own separate homes and dwellings.

The government is handled along a combination of, ironically, absolutist and democratic lines at the same time. While the Countess has almost absolute power, with few checks or balances, the Gellor women have rarely been forceful enough to wield their authority to its fullest potential. As such, the countess regularly consults both with a council of learned citizens and her ministers, made up of humans and halflings. The Gellor women are famous for their cool tempers and friendly manners, and have rarely been affected by the corruption that absolute power is said to bring.

Military Structure: The County’s navy is efficient but small, and it can hardly call itself a match for the Royal Navy of Furyondy, or any of the maritime powers on the fringes of the Flanaess, such as the Sea Princes or Lordship of the Isles. Three thousand horse and foot, usually light and medium cavalry and infantry handle the guarding of the main roads, increased from two thousand with the influx of new refugees, and bandits seeking the nation’s wealth. They are good-quality military men, though not great.

The levies raised by nobles are also often poorly equipped and trained, wearing only padded armor and carrying a battered sword or pole arm as far as equipment. Demihuman units are trained and commanded by their own races, which can make for communication and coordination problems on the battlefield.

The navy is perhaps the realm’s strongest force, though it is by no means a match for that of Furyondy. It is the only part of the County’s forces which are better than those of the Duchy.

The County’s lack of spending on defense worries some nobles, who insist the Countess increase the strength and morale of her soldiers. The County has long relied on the Duchy for military support, and some more conservative citizens fear ever more encroachment by the Duchy on the sovereignty of the County.

Ruler: With gleaming blue eyes and hair that shines gold or brown depending on the light, Countess Belissica has admirers from all over the Flanaess. She is given to knowing smiles or cold glares when the appropriate mood strikes her, though she remains almost supernaturally calm and serene at all other times. She is rather tall for a woman, standing at nearly five feet and ten inches.

Belissiica is a powerful wizard, as all her foremothers have been. She has little use for fireballs and lightning bolts, preferring to summon invisible servants to aid her in her work, conjure traveling huts when on the road, and casting other non-offensive spells. Her dislike of violence stems from the bloody battles she experienced during her days as an adventurer, and as such she is known to become sick at the sight of blood.

Although mostly friendly and affable, Belissica is known to be very offended if anyone bothers her while she is studying her spell books or important government dispatches. She prefers to do her own writing and work in private, only summoning her ministers and council when she needs to consult them or when she is finished. As a result, she has a tendency to push herself too hard sometimes, and one more than one occasion her attendants have had to carry her to bed, finding her slumped down on her desk in exhaustion.

Foreign Relations: The County has good relations with Greyhawk, though these are businesslike and the two realms have little close contact beyond matters of trade. The Shield Lands were viewed as a realm of arrogance and boasting, if good and honorable, people. Furyondy is another staunch, if distant, ally. The courts of Tenh and the County maintain regular contact, and the platinum trade from Tenh comes through Radigast City.

The Bandit Kingdoms are mostly hated by the County, except for the bands of Reyhu, with whom they share commercial links and blood ties. It is technically illegal to trade with the bandits, but this is often overlooked in return for Reyhu acting as a buffer against both the Pale and the other bandit realms. Nyrond is viewed with mixed emotions-the people of the County have always, on one level, feared annexation from the great power to their east. The people of Urnst and Nyrond have, on personal levels, generally had frosty relations with each other. However, the grave plight of that kingdom was won them the compassion of most of the people of the County, and both citizen and government send funds to Niole Dra.

Quite obviously, the Duchy of Urnst is the neighbor with whom the County is most closely tied. While the two nations get along well and treaties of mutual aid were signed long ago, some County citizens fear that the outgoing and assertive citizens of the Duchy are gaining too much influence in the government and general society, and that the ties between the two states are closer than they would like. Most County citizens do not reject the idea of rejoining the Duchy, although a sizable minority opposes it.

URNST, DUCHY OF

One of the gathering places of the Suel fleeing their ruined empire were the fertile and rich plains on the east coast of the Nyr Dyv. Unlike their wicked kin, most of these people were weary of centuries of war, and desired simply to live in peace. Urnst grew into a prosperous and tolerant, if occasionally fractious and bickering, nation.

The two Urnst nations were often seen as earth and air, or fire and ice; the people of the Duchy were fiery, outgoing, and bold, while their kinsmen in the County were quiet, demure and unassuming. The County was, in theory, subservient to the Duchy, though in practice it was careful diplomacy that allowed it to remain separate from its exuberant, outgoing neighbor.
Talk of re-unification was manifest in the years leading up to the Greyhawk Wars, however. Duke Karll planned to marry his eldest son, Jolen, to the Countess Belissica, thereby re-creating the old Urnst nation and declaring itself as a kingdom. This union, however, never occurred. Why the lord would choose not to go through with his arranged marriage is indeed puzzling. With the union never occurring, the two nations drifted apart once again.

The Greyhawk Wars brought them back into close cooperation. As war raged across the Flanaess, people fled to the states of Urnst, seeking new lives in places not torn by the savage fighting. The Urnstmen continued farming their fields and working their mines with little fuss, and the armies of the nations were marshaled only to put down roving bandits and looting deserters, and keep the new arrivals in line.

Both nations also passed new types of taxes and duties specifically towards their refugees, many of whom were quite wealthy. As a result, both Urnst states are far better off than before the wars. Their economies are strong, and people from all over the Flanaess are indebted to them for giving them shelter in their hours of need.

All is not well, however. The Horned Empire looms upon the northern Nyr Dyv, and neither Urnst state is known for its naval expertise. To the east, the armies of the Theocracy of the Pale loom, having seized and occupied the northern lands of Nyrond. Neither of Urnst’s new neighbors are known for their dedication to the common good for all, and so the people must remain wary…

Society and Culture: The people of the Duchy rival those of Keoland and Furyondy for their outgoing candor. Assertive and confident of their own abilities, the people of the Duchy have inherited the old Aerdy mentality of progress, innovation and assertiveness, even though they are more pure Suel than are their brothers of the County. The people of the Duchy are regarded in some circles as arrogant and pretentious, few would deny that they have a talent for getting things done quickly and efficiently.

This carries through into their general social structure; women and men have particular roles in the family which they pursue with great efficiency. The halflings of the Duchy are also the most frenetic and bold in the Flanaess, mimicking their human neighbors in their accomplishments and drive. Slavery is illegal, and old sexist and racist laws were repealed long ago, or are simply no longer enforced. The people of the Duchy, unlike their reticent kinsmen of the County, are happy to work with the people of almost any land, race or creed to get the job done, and their society, while remaining ethnically homogenous, is socially cosmopolitan as a result.

The duke wields great power over the aristocracy, who can be stripped of their lands and titles at his will. The Duchy is technically organized on strict feudal lines, though in practice this is rarely done, and the nobles restrict any skullduggery to their dealings with foreign lands like Greyhawk and Nyrond. Each of the fifteen low counties is held by a count, who is appointed by vote of the other members of that county’s lesser gentry to take the position for a three-year period. These fifteen counts, who must be of Suel ancestry, make up the Honorable Chamber, a council that advises the duke in the opinions and thoughts of his nobles, also being able to veto certain types of legislation passed by their lord.

Military Structure: As one might expect, the armed forces of the Duchy outshine those of the County in almost every respect. The elite heavy cavalry have made mulch out of rampaging bandits and troublemakers of every sort, while the medium and light cavalry are well-drilled and practiced. The Duchy prefers to use hobilars over foot soldiers, and as such almost everyone in the Duchy, human or demihuman, learns to ride a horse or pony before they become young adults. The Halfling Hobilars of Leukish are usually laughed at by opposing forces, only to find that these diminutive riders act as an almost perfectly-oiled machine in combat.

The army is only average insofar as its quality of archers go, usually relying on human short bow to carry the day, though some elven tribes from the Celadon can send units in time of need. Siege engineering is another weakness, as most of Urnst’s gnomes live within the Cairn Hills and Abbor-Alz, and have little desire to deal with their human sovereign. The navy is decent but unimpressive.

Ruler: Duke Karll is a man of medium, lithe build, looking as if he possesses only average physical strength, but the agility and reflexes of a cat. The latter assumption is true, though Karll has an incredibly strong grip for a man of his size. He dresses very informally when at court, often wearing his forest breeches, sword and dagger instead of proper noble robes and attire.

Karll is known for his ability to cut through bureaucratic red tape, and he speaks firmly and bluntly, eschewing the flowery legal speech used by so many governments. Being brisk and to the point, he can and will dismiss people who he feels ramble on too much, or have simply exhausted his limited patience. While an intelligent and charming fellow, Karll often seems frustrated by the business of running a nation, and he can be found staring onto the prairies from the window of his bed-chamber, simply gazing out over the prairie grasses for the longest periods of time.

Having spent so much time with elves, Karll is fascinated by many of their unique rituals, which they share with some nomadic Flan who dwell with them in the Celadon. He has attended some of these ceremonies, and he has grown to love not only the beauty of nature, but the beauty of the mind, of dreams and visions, of a many-colored land just beyond the reach of human consciousness. In private, he will often drift off into visions of such, though he always keeps his mind focused when directing affairs of state-something he has learned from dealing with the treacherous Hadric, the former mayor of Leukish.

Foreign Relations: Nyrond and Urnst have, despite their current alliance, always had chill relationships with each other. The Duchy always mistrusted the power of its eastern neighbor, and old ethnic conflicts from the past remained in memory, if distantly. Greyhawk is respected as an important trading partner, though City and Duchy argue constantly over contested mines in the Cairn Hills, how to deal with the wild Flan of the hills and mountains, or Greyhawk’s lack of funding for the Duchy’s naval patrols on the Nyr Dyv. The people of each realm see the other as being greedy, grasping and sour folk.

The people of the County fear the Duchy’s encroachment on their lands, though the people of the Duchy do not harbor any thoughts of actual domination or assimilation. They simply see themselves as taking advantage of favorable trading opportunities left open by their quiet cousin to the north. When Urnstmen from the two realms sit down and actually speak to each other, they will find that they have much in common, even if their demeanors are different.

The Horned Empire and Orcish Empire of the Pomarj are both viewed as deadly threats, and the Duchy wants no truck or trade with either of them, being fully ready for an attack should either side try anything. The most disturbing rumors, however, are those of the Scarlet Brotherhood infiltrating the Sueloise aristocracy. The Brotherhood’s policies of making the Suel masters of whatever realm they call home, before tying their loyalties back to Hesuel Ilshar, are said to be seriously considered by some members of the Honorable Council. This no doubt alarms Karll greatly, assuming he actually knows about it.

VELUNA, ARCHCLERICY OF

An example of the better side of humanity, Veluna has ever been a place of safety, peace and goodness for all who would dwell within its borders. It offered friendship and peace to all its neighbors, despite being surrounded by raucous neighbors, except to the east.

The realm of Veluna has long been touched by Rao, serving as a home for Good long before the Migrations ever took place. Rarely engaging in underhanded diplomacy or even fierce economic competition, Veluna was rightly admired by all its neighbors, as it was quick to make peace and offer an olive branch even to its enemies. Even defeated humanoid raiders were allowed to return to their homes in peace, whereas even the people of Furyondy would slaughter these without mercy.

Veluna and Furyondy had long been allies for good, and their greatest children-Jolene of Veluna and Prince Thrommel of Furyondy-were betrothed in 571 CY. Two years later, however, in 573, Prince Thrommel disappeared without a trace and has not been seen since. Anguished, Jolene’s parents called off the marriage, casting a pall over the two nations that yet remains…

Society and Culture: The dwarves and gnomes of the Yatils, the people of Highfolk, and most of the citizens of Veluna are kind, friendly and genial people who welcome strangers and travelers with open arms, treating them as if they are long-parted kin who have only now returned. Travelers who behave themselves and respond cordially will make many friends along the road, as these people are without racism, hatred or greed-for the most part.

Veluna, more than almost any other state in the Flanaess, has very strict customs and “laws” covering such things as hospitality to strangers, repayment to victims of crimes, and relations between the clergy, secular nobility, and common people. Foreign travelers are usually excused from most of these niceties, although those who behave boorishly towards their hosts will soon be thrown out on their ears, as both guest and host should be respectful and behave themselves.
These laws are a combination of the laws held by the original Flan tribes that dwelled here, Oeridian social customs, and the dictates of the church. The church of Rao in Veluna rules far more benevolently than does its counterpart in the Pale, enforcing standards neither in doctrine nor in ritual. The calming and level-headed influence of Rao’s clergy has softened even hard-edged religions like those of Zilchus and St. Cuthbert, bringing virtual religions harmony to the nation.
The common folk and the clergy both live much as described above, though the secular nobility of the Celestial Order of the Moons are somewhat different. Although the rest of the Velunese engage neither in hard economic competition or complicated diplomatic maneuvers, these people are more practical, realizing that being too honest and friendly will lead to the nation being exploited by its neighbors.

As such, they are hard bargainers and strong negotiators, staring down their counterparts in Ket, Keoland, Dyvers, Greyhawk and Furyondy without blinking. These nobles live, as nobles always do, in splendor and luxury. Yet they are neither hoarders nor misers-although they keep most of their fortunes for themselves, these nobles donate more generously to charity than do their counterparts in almost every other state. As such, the common folk and of Veluna enjoy one of the highest standards of living in all the Flanaess, compared to peasants elsewhere. While the merchants will give generously to charity, they will still take hard action with foreign governments, or even their own religious leaders, if necessary.

The church of Rao governs Veluna with both fair and firm laws. Criminal punishments usually consist of some form of repayment or service to the victim, as prisons, tortures, and execution are all anathema in the nation’s legal system.
While the Velunese are well-regarded by their neighbors, their overwhelming kindness and affability has led to a sense of naivété that con men and swindlers in neighboring lands shamelessly exploit. Those raised entirely within the shelters of Mitrik or Veluna City often need to be enlightened on the nature of the rest of the world, lest they be too easily tricked and fooled if one takes them beyond their borders.

Military Structure: As one might expect, Veluna’s armed forces are no match in numbers or quality for those of Furyondy. Nonetheless, it is still of good quality when clashing against Bissel, Ket or Perrenland, based around a skilled core of heavy cavalry, backed up with gnome sappers and elven archers. Veluna’s troops are mostly well-drilled and experienced, though attempting to train the gentle folk of peasant levies is a continual problem, as most of these have difficulty hunting rabbits, let alone slaying bandits or orcs. Veluna’s troops would also be at a disadvantage in swampy or marshy terrain, as both cavalry, hobilar and foot are of the heavy type-those few light troops who exist are usually unreliable.

Ruler: Archbishop Hazen is a man whose hair has turned white with age, his frame bent and stooped with apparent ill health. Nonetheless, any who gaze into his bright eyes or hear his strong voice will not doubt his wisdom or charisma for a second. He is said to be capable “of calming mad Fists with soft words and rousing untrained shepherds to battle with inspirational speeches”, and has been observed doing both during his long career. No longer able to properly fight physically, he is still able to defend himself with a staff of the serpent given to him by Rao himself, as well as a selection of wands and spells.
Hazen is a man who has had to overcome many obstacles to get where he is today-more than once in his youth, he nearly broke down out of grief and sadness. Rao and Hieroneous have, however, always given him the strength to carry on, and he offers this same aid to any who ask it of him, from lovelorn shepherd-boys to mighty generals with the lives of thousands in their hands. His sharp judge of character and ability to see into the true hearts of those he speaks to, have seen him
counsel mighty storm giants and offer comfort even great ki-rin and lammasu.

While he is a good and friendly man in government, caring for his people as if they were his children, he is often restless, fretting over this and that for no apparent reason. This attention to detail helps policy decisions, but it can be a great headache to those around him who are not familiar with his quirks. In spite of such minor flaws, his heart is pure and true, offering an emotional support for the exhausted King Belvor of Furyondy. At least once a week, Hazen prays to the gods of both men to bring Thrommel home, attempting to locate him with divinations. Sadly, although Hazen knows that Thrommel is still alive, he cannot, for all his power, find the missing prince.

Foreign Relations: The common Velunese can usually walk without molestation in any of the neighboring states, even those hostile to the secular noble classes. As they are so well-regarded by their neighbors, any who attempt to rob, mug or otherwise molest Velunese citizens are usually beaten senseless by enraged locals, before their own goods are taken as compensation to their victim, in addition to his or her own possessions.

Furyondy and Veluna get on well in almost all matters, although the nobles of both countries are engaged in direct
mercantile competition with one another. Ket, Perrenland, and Bissel all hold the nobles in varying levels of contempt, openly scorning and insulting them. They do, however, regard the clerical hierarchy much better, knowing that prisoners of war taken by Veluna will be treated kindly and fairly. This has won the respect and admiration of even the hard people of all these nations, and only a rogue or bandit will generally harm a Velunese Raoan cleric, as everyone else knows that that cleric may save their life one day. Relations with Highfolk are always peaceful and friendly, the same going for the dwarves of the Yatils.

VERBOBONC, VISCOUNTY AND TOWN OF

Many small counties, baronies and other miniature realms exist around the Flanaess, but none of them are as famous as the Viscounty of Verbobonc, a small realm west of Dyvers, ostensibly owing fealty to Veluna. A rich but small realm, it was little known and ignored by adventurers, as it was thought to have nothing to offer them in the way of danger and adventure. This peace, of course, was what attracted Zuggtmoy and Iuz here in the 570s CY, giving rise to the cult of Elemental Evil, which became as a cancer into an otherwise relatively peaceful land, with only a dozen humanoid lairs or so in its midst.

The Temple and its vile masters threatened all the lands around for several years, until it was finally brought to its knees by a group of brave adventurers, as so often is the case in the Flanaess. Dozens of bardic accounts detail the actual outcome of what happened at and to the Temple, so I shall not waste time speculating upon it.

Instead, one should consider the political aftermath in Verbobonc after the Temple’s defeat. Viscount Wilfrick had to make significant political concessions to gather the support of his nobles, most of whom were staring north across the Nyr Dyv to Furyondy, always fearful of annexation by that kingdom. As a result, most of the human lords have more authority than they ought to, with a weakened central authority the result. Wilfrick could not persuade the lords to relinquish their jealously guarded autonomy, and thus he became more and more depressed and withdrawn, before finally dying in his sleep in Harvester of 587 CY.

The situation only worsened with the appointment of Wlfrick’s only son, the Right Honorable Sir Fenward Lefthanded, in Sunsebb of that year. A notorious miser, he withdrew patrols into the Gnarley Forest and Kron Hills, which he determined were too costly for the small realm. The gnomes of the Kron Hills protested in anger, and Fenward revealed his bigoted nature when he made an ill-thought comment of how “the craven little moles can take care of themselves.”

The gnomes, predictably, were livid when they heard of this. Refusing to pay their taxes until patrols were restored, Fenward threatened them with attack unless they paid what they owed, plus another half in penalties and interest. Fenward’s messenger returned from his delivering these words to the gnomes with his nose broken, which of course was all the response the gnomes needed to offer.

The situation grew worse over the following months, with Fenward preparing to marshal his forces on the guards before a shocking discovery was made; papers were found in Fenward’s study that linked him to the Scarlet Brotherhood, involved in a plot to choke off river trade along the Velverdyva river. Fenward was thus slain by his guard while resisting arrest for treason.

With the Viscounty in disarray, the local lords all began waging a war of words with one another, each stating that he should take the throne. The famous Rufus and Burne managed to delay these tensions long enough for a new viscount of Wilfrick’s line to be found; a forgotten bastard named Landgard, born of a tryst between the viscount and an elfmaid of the Gnarley Forest during the former’s days as a patrol leader.

Landgard’s shaky position was bolstered by Rufus and Burne, who were unluckily recalled to Furyondy in 588 CY. The venerable Bishop Haufren of St. Cuthbert still supports him, and thus his rule is now stronger than it might be otherwise. But the problems are many-patrols have not been restored, the local lords bicker among themselves, the gnomes of the Kron Hills are still in rebellion, and Haufren is only growing older as the years pass. The young viscount has a difficult task ahead of him…

Society and Culture: Being a moral descendant of Veluna, most of the common folk of Verbobonc are kindly and honest, although much more conservative than their kinsmen in the Archclericy proper. As Veluna grew more liberal over the past few decades, more and more of the conservative element of Velunese society migrated here, bringing their moral codes with them. As a result, while life in Verbobonc is mostly safe and pleasant, it has a strong social stigma of conformity, and staying affiliated with “one’s own”. New residents are not considered as part of the community by their neighbors until they have spent at least a generation there, and only then if they have behaved like their neighbors.

The conservatism of the people extends into their choice of religion as well. Most of the people follow the Old Faith, and St. Cuthbert also enjoys a strong and loyal following. As a result, law enforcement in Verbobonc is harsh, efficient, and strict. Outsiders and newcomers to the community are punished more severely than established local families, unless these people have done something to be accepted by the natives.

All the common folk of the viscounty are equal in social status, though every village has its respected elder farmers who mediate disputes and act as spokesmen when dealing with the government and with outsiders. Most farmers are well off, although they will certainly donate excess feed, hay or cattle to those families less well off, even those still shunned as “outsiders”. The people believe strongly in sharing their wealth (measured in hay and cattle instead of gold and silver) with those less fortunate.

Above the peasants sits a council of local lords who each rule one of the fourteen freeholds and fiefs that make up the realm. These men often have an inflated sense of their own worth, attempting to exercise more weight in their jurisdictions than they ought to. The extra power extracted from Wilfrick means that each territory essentially decides its own affairs, believing that the viscount should only act as mediator between them and diplomat to the outside world.

Since the Temple of Elemental Evil brought the viscounty, especially the village of Hommlet, such fame, adventurers have come calling in ever greater numbers, especially concerning rumors that the Temple may rise once again. The locals have mixed feelings about such people-some of them cause as many problems as they solve, but they understand that the adventurers are what keeps them from having to deal with monsters in the hills and forests themselves. Adventurers will thus often be asked to investigate one matter or another, and those who do so successfully will be accepted much more quickly than they would be otherwise.

Military Structure: The secular standing forces of the viscounty are more impressive than one would expect, often bolstered by rangers from the forests, clerics from Veluna, and spare demihuman troops from the surrounding settlements. Although the forces of such small realms are often poorly trained and equipped, Verbobonc is an exception because of past deadly battles with the monsters of the Kron Hills, Gnarley Forest, and Lortmil Mountains, not to mention the Horde of Elemental Evil. The First Army of the Church of St. Cuthbert, though clad only in leather armor and wielding only clubs, are as well-trained and disciplined as a typical Furyondian soldier.

The people of the viscounty have managed to channel the energy of the most aggressive adventurers into supplementing the standing armies and carrying out particular missions on their behalf. The quality and success of these people varies considerably, of course, though generally they seem to work well.

Ruler: Viscount Landgard bears a striking resemblance to his father, such that if Wilfrick had himself been an elf, it would be impossible to tell them apart. A gaunt, thin fellow with inquisitive eyes and a tightly drawn face, it often seems as if Landgard is very stressed and harassed with his role as viscount. In fact, he has little love for it-he has only taken the position out of a sense of duty to his father, and a genuine desire to remedy Verbobonc’s problems and mend the rifts caused by his predecessor, even if his own personal joy is diminished by these responsibilities.

Landgard’s lowly heritage is revealed in his plain, straightforward speeches and general manner, using neither colloquialism nor metaphor to soften his words. Although ambassadors from surrounding realms, as well as his own lords, mock him for this, his honest manner has won him great popularity with even the most conservative farmers in his realm, seeing someone akin to them in manner and in mind running the realm.

Viscount Wilfrick, if one visits Verbobonc during his rule, will find that he is a genial, affable fellow, although perhaps too much so for his own good. He has been criticized for his lack of spine in dealing with his more forceful lords, and in not disciplining his troublemaking son Fenward enough. Some of the older people lament the death of his older brother Ivan, who was said to be more intelligent and forceful than his younger sibling-Wilfrick only took up his position after Ivan was squashed by a stone giant’s boulder in his adventuring days. Wilfrick is a tall, burly fellow who looks better suited to chopping down trees than to be running a state government. His coal-black hair and ice-blue eyes give further emphasis to his ability as a warrior, though he acts more the part of the gentle giant when in civilized company.

Wilfrick is a dangerous opponent in melee combat, wielding a longspear with the best of them. In personal dealings with other men, however, he is much gentler and less violent, only given to physical violence when dealing with half-orcs. He can alternately be a violent warrior one moment and a tender father and husband the next, depending on where he is and what is required of him. Unfortunately, he has never been able to join those qualities in the necessary way to keep his lords in check. He tends to knuckle under far too easily, and often asks his lords for help when he would be better off ordering them into the fray.


Foreign Relations: The viscounty’s obvious enemies are any who sympathize with Elemental Evil, and they have little love for the Horned Empire or Iuz, either. Verbobonc resents its second-class status compared to Dyvers, although the residents of the former hold their tongues and do not speak their minds when dealing with the latter, as maintaining the goodwill of the Gentry is critical. When dealing with Veluna, or the demihumans of the surrounding forests, hills and mountains (except for the Kron Hills, of course), the people of the Viscounty are happier and friendlier than when dealing with any others.

Verbobonc is technically an ally of Furyondy, though the viscounty and its citizens have no love for the imperialists in the larger kingdom, especially those that manifest in Furyondy’s branch of the Knights of the Hart. The latter have constantly prodded King Belvor into taking the path of empire, taking as one of the first conquests the rich territory to the south. Individual Furyonds are treated as is any other foreign visitor, though the official delegates and representatives of the Furyond Crown often receive chill treatment from the locals. Most Furyonds, as a result, consider Verbobonc and its citizens puritanical and rude.

WILD COAST

Before the Greyhawk Wars, the lands south of Greyhawk, north of the Pomarj and east of Celene were known as the Wild Coast-a place where rogues, adventurers, vagabonds, and malcontents from other states made their homes. Known alternately as the home of freebooting heroes and wicked bandits, it was admired by rogues around the Flanaess, and hated by its neighbors for its raiding and celebrating, both of which often led the residents to harass the civilized folk surrounding them. Although all its neighbors would send in punitive expeditions to deal with certain troublemakers, no one ever seriously attempted to rule the whole, due to the lack of resources the place held, and the fiercely independent spirit of its people.

All the daring and gumption in the world were of little help when Turrosh Mak marshaled his forces during the Greyhawk Wars. The various armed groups in the Coast were as apt to fight each other as they were their neighbors, and were no match for the iron discipline and brilliant strategy of the orcish half-breed and his foul minions. The southern areas of the Coast were sacked and ruined, with only bad weather saving the northern towns of Safeton, Hardby and Narwell. All three were seized upon by Greyhawk, their streets occupied by the armed forces of the Free City. None of the towns give a warm reception to their new masters, and all of them have their own ways of subverting the authority of Greyhawk and the authorities of the Free City. The long tradition of freedom in the Wild Coast burns still in the hearts of all those who dwell there, and they intend to take it back…

Society and Culture: The Wild Coast contained a wide variety of personalities and alignments, from the humanoid-allied men of Elredd and the pathetic slobs of Narwell to the bold and daring bandits of Fax and the strong will of Hardby.
It can be said that, except for Narwell, the denizens of the Coast are more evil as one travels southward, towards the Pomarj. The major towns of the area each have distinctive characteristics, but all the peoples of this area have one unifying characteristic-a disdain for central authority and a desire to live their lives as freely as they want. This has come about due to the fact that almost all those who travel to the Wild Coast usually do so seeking adventure and a place to escape the suffocating influence of a royal court or holy church. The various settlers who have made the Coast their home and lived here for generations have inherited these same traits from their parents.

Small fishing and logging villages, petty aristocrats, bandit holds and other such settlements are scattered all around the Coast, though most people tend to live in one of the major towns of the realm, each of which has their own distinctive characteristics, which one would see if they traveled to the Coast before the Wars…

Hardby is a town where women are the dominant gender, concentrated in the power and authority of the Despotrix, a female wizard whose family dominates the area and has arranged the laws to blatantly favor women for positions of authority, and gives any of these gentlewomen the right to detain, arrest and jail a man who offends them with chauvinistic or lewd behavior.
The local men have long since learned to mind their manners and keep their eyes firmly focused on their own mates, lest they suffer some punishment. They are also very loyal to their womenfolk, and will happily beat any other man, especially if he is from Narwell, who offends the feminine population of the town.

Safeton is a town with a strong military bent. Commanding by far the best troops and militia of any Wild Coast settlement, this is the one town whose central authority is strongly concentrated, thus causing many of its neighbors to give it a wide berth. However, this law and safety makes it an attractive stopping point for merchants, who often do not feel safe anywhere else.

Narwell is a town universally scorned and disdained by its neighbors. Populated by lazy, arrogant drunks, the town consists mainly of rat-infested shacks built from garbage and driftwood, held together crudely with clay and mud. People openly throw their refuse into the streets, turning them almost into open sewers, where diseased dogs and seagulls pick at “choice” morsels.
These sewer-streets are the homes of most of Narwell’s men, who can usually be found sleeping off an alcohol-induced haze. The slobs who call this town home act rude and pompous to anyone who visits their home, and those who have met them usually leave wondering what smells worse-a garbage midden rotting for months in the summer sun, or a man from Narwell.

Fax enjoys a much better reputation, being the home of one of the largest and most famous bandit troupes outside the Bandit Kingdoms and the Lone Heath in Aerdy. These gentlemen robbers are renowned for their merry nature and courteous attitude towards guests, especially those of the female persuasion.

They are famous for being one of those rare bandit gangs that operates under a written charter and code of honor, which they are expected to honor to the letter-cheating at cards or stealing another man’s share of the booty leads to a beating of the guilty party, while attempting to rape a captive woman leads to the death of the cur who perpetrates such a foul deed. This, in addition to their only robbing those travelers of obvious wealth, has earned them admiration from the common folk in the lands all around the Nyr Dyv.

Badwall is generally leaderless, with the largest and most powerful gangs of thieves, whether good or evil, ruling the town until they are displaced by their rivals. Shifty and dangerous rogues are the major population of this town, though the town is governed by the code of “honor among thieves”. This strange code is known by all those rogues who dwell along the Wild Coast, with its peculiar points of honor and duty.

An example of such would be debt collection-it is perfectly alright to send a press gang to collect unpaid debts from a debtor, as long as the man’s wife and family remain untouched. If these innocents are harmed, then the scoundrels who did the vile deed will be marked by all the other rogues of the city for certain death. This bizarre code allows for open assaults and knife fights between rogues in broad daylight, but sets those who prey on women, children or other innocents up for sure death.

Eldredd has no such code governing it-it is a place ruled by organized crime, with as many humanoids and giants among its population. Often compared to Stoink and Rookroost of the Bandit Kingdoms, this town is a place where brigands haul their ill-gotten goods, s***** of every sort gather, and there is little that can be said about it that could not also suit Erelhei-Cinlu, Molag, Stoink, or Vernport of the Sea Barons.

One thing all areas of the Coast have in common is their ignorance of race or gender (except for Hardby, of course.) There is no discrimination against someone for being a woman or a halfling, not even in the vile town of Elredd. Any who can impress their peers with their ability will earn the respect and/or admiration of everyone around them, especially if they can outfight those who appear physically stronger than them. The people of the Coast do not seek to restrain the talents of anyone based on their physical appearance, and so unique individuals who could not express themselves at home can often find an outlet for their abilities here.

After the conquest of Turrosh Mak, the Coast will have become much like the Orcish Empire of the Pomarj insofar as society and culture. Of these cities, only the town of Elredd will have really survived, as the rulers of that city offered to pledge allegiance to Mak and give him information on the defenses of their neighbors, if he would leave them in peace. Mak agreed, and thus the rest of the

Military Structure: As there was no organized government ruling the people of the Coast, they had a hodgepodge of defenders and militia units defending them. These range from the men of Narwell clad in fiy-infested padded armor and wielding rusty short swords to the well-drilled men of Safeton, dressed in chain mail, and carrying pike and broad sword. None of these groups were a match for Mak’s forces in any case.

Foreign Relations: The Wild Coast had a great reputation among all those who sought freedom and excitement, but those states who were its neighbors had little regard for it. The elves of Celene were infuriated at Coast bandits raiding their people and delving into elven burial tombs. Greyhawk and Dyvers were always having to deal with Coast rowdies coming into their cities and stirring up trouble. Even Onnwal and the Duchy of Urnst were forced to deal with Coasters who relished causing mayhem among their stuffy civilized neighbors. None of these mourned when the Coast was ground under Mak’s heel, Greyhawk taking the chance to seize Narwell, Hardby and Safeton. All three towns benefited from the protection of Greyhawk’s soldiers (and Narwell is being renovated to actually be a fit place to live) though none of these cities appreciate the dominance of the Free City in their affairs.

The authorities of the surrounding states have had to deal with Wild Coast residents whose revelry and raiding brings them no end of headaches, and even the friendly folk of Verbobonc and the Ulek states want more than ever to send the troublemakers back where they came.

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