Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Aerdy East, Part I
|Posted on Thu, July 08, 2004 by Farcluun
|CruelSummerLord writes "
After a lengthy hiatus, the Brother of the Cruel Summer returns with descriptions of all the Aerdy East nations from the Great Kingdom of Aerdy to the County of Idee...
Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Aerdy East, Part I
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
THE EASTERN LANDS OF AERDY
AERDY, GREAT KINGDOM OF
This vast empire that stretched across the length and breadth of the Flanaess, now greatly reduced in size, was at once feared, hated and admired by its neighbors for its power-crazed emperors, blatant racial and class discrimination, and its fearsome military power.
Once thought to be in serious decline due to the large number of half-wits and simpletons that sat upon the ruling Malachite Throne, the power of the Great Kingdom was rejuvenated in a frightful manner when Ivid of the northern Naelax, apparently sold his soul, as well as that of all his future offspring, to gain the Malachite Throne in Rauxes, setting off the Turmoil Between Crowns that wracked the realm with civil war.
Ultimately, of course, Ivid was successful. Ruling for 48 years, he brutally suppressed all Rax sympathizers and dissenters. And yet the Great Kingdom fractured further still, as Irongate and all the southern territories that would one day comprise the Iron League split away from the realm in a violent struggle. Various attempts were made to reclaim both Nyrond and the Iron League states, using both subtlety and strength, but the majority of these failed. The Great Kingdom seemed to settle down and would remain concerned with affairs within her own borders more than that of her former clients.
Until the arrival of Ivid V.
Ivid V was known as an incredibly charismatic and intelligent diplomat, who had a talent for passionate oratory and stirring the emotions of his subjects and vassals. Skirmishes and small-scale battles arose once again, as Nyrond and the Iron League drew ever closer in alliance against their enemy, whose ruler was, it was clear, growing more insane and demented by the year.
Nyrond and the Iron League formed the military alliance of the Golden League, which had as its aim the desire to crush the Great Kingdom once and for all, and “liberate our long-suffering Aerdi kinsmen”. Ivid replied with his own declaration of war, stating that Aerdy would take back what was rightfully hers, and that Nyrond’s Archbold III would hang from the Traitor’s Garden in Rauxes for years to come. However, these declarations were mostly hot air, with both realms having little more to spare financially or mentally for such a lengthy conflict.
Or so Nyrond though. Ivid had put into action a decades-long plan to unite the vast and nightmarishly powerful forces under his writ, through diplomacy, honeyed words and promises of rich lands and rewards. By the early 580s CY, the combined forces of the Great Kingdom struck out in what they knew was to be their last battle against their old enemies.
The horrors of war need not be described at great length here. Nyrond was soon on her own against the Aerdy juggernaut, even as it ground the whole of the Iron League under its mighty wheels, keeping them from sending aid to Nyrond or Almor, its smaller neighbor. The fighting lasted for almost four and a half years, during which time Ivid threw everything the Great Kingdom could muster against its hated foes.
But even as the Great Kingdom seemed to be winning, and its mad emperor’s goals would be realized, cracks appeared all through the Great Kingdom as a whole. Herzog Grenell of North Province grew increasingly furious with Ivid’s iron-fisted domination of the army’s command structure, and deeply resented having to send his best units off to the south while the Suel barbarians bit at his heels. Herzog Chelor of South Province, and High Censor Spidasa of Medegia both saw the sheer weight and power of their efforts driving their coffers and manpower to the breaking point, even as Ivid kept on his monomaniacal desire to crush and destroy all in his path.
He pushed too hard. Imperial soldiers began to fight each other for control of the newly won territories and treasure, and resistance movements were successful in both Onnwal and Sunndi, though the one in Idee was slain before it could do any significant damage. North fought with South, secular soldiers fought their Hextorian clerical allies. Long-standing feuds and ambition for power brought many generals and nobles to attempt to seize power for themselves. The campaign in Nyrond began to sour, as the beleaguered western kingdom some how managed to hold on. Resistance continued in Irongate, Sunndi and Onnwal, leading to fights and low morale.
This fighting continued for some time, before the fights and rivalries shattered the empire into several pieces. Rauxes was engaged in a great conflagration as power-hungry nobles, some of them undead, began to fight for the Malachite Throne, after it was announced by High Censor Spidasa that Ivid was no longer overking. Medegia was sacked and destroyed by deserting soldiers, while Rel Astra closed its doors to the rampage going on outside its walls. The North and South Provinces were soon to organize into separate kingdoms of their own.
Today, the Great Kingdom no longer exists. Ivid’s legacy is a nightmare around Rauxes, the shattered consciousness of himself and his forebears leaking onto the material plane. The empire’s successor kingdoms now both claim to be the true heir to the throne of the Aerdi people, and each threatens the claim of the others. War so soon again is a distinct possibility…
Society and Culture: Aerdi society organized along a classic feudal model, noble houses and the princes that ruled at the top and the common peasants at the bottom. The peasants were all equal on the social scale and the same laws applied to all of them-as serfs and chattel, they could be sold, beaten, or humiliated as the gentry who owned their lives wished. This also applied to slaves purchased in Greyhawk, the Sea Princes or elsewhere; with no human rights, they could be mistreated as they wished. Rebellions of these unfortunates were common, though always put down by a minimum of fuss.
The noble houses were also known as the Celestial Houses, the descendants of the original Aerdi tribes who united into an empire to initially subdue the realm. Each noble house was controlled by a set of princes and dukes, all of whom were generally related to one another. These houses had their own unique characteristics-the magical might of Garastreth, the military power of Naelax, the mercantile strength of Darmen, etc. Each of them had loose control over specific territories, ruling them almost as realms unto themselves though all had to answer to the Overking in the end.
The Overking, within his realm, possessed almost unlimited powers for a long time, and it could be said that he who sat upon the Malachite Throne had the power to do anything to anyone within his realm. The Turmoil Between Crowns forced House Naelax to give more leeway to the provinces, the Ivid overkings could still play games of diplomatic chess with their own nobles, playing off South Province against Rel Astra or North Province against Bone March.
While the individual House princes had final say in their own realms, they had to always use this authority judiciously, as the Overking was always looking over their shoulder. Any slips or errors of judgment could be seized on by the Overking or by jealous members of their own houses, leading to their swift demise. Each Celestial House, except for the Crandens, were subject to power plays and intrigues within their own families, with bribes, diplomatic marriages, and assassinations all common tools used to gain power. If ever there was a society like that described in The Prince, it would surely be that of the Aerdi noble houses.
Between the peasants and the noble princes was a free society of scholars, merchants and gentlemen, who lived and operated as they might in any other kingdom. Independent minor gentry and the lesser Celestial Houses (such as House Haxx) were the top of this middle section, leading down to clergy, merchants and freemen, in roughly descending order. Of these middle groups, only the gentry and clergy of Hextor were permitted to sell slaves, though even the lowest freemen were able to purchase them.
Aerdy’s laws were blatantly racist, sexist and classist, favoring human males over every other resident in the kingdom. Women, except in those territories ruled by certain houses (such as Garastreth and Cranden) were viewed as objects or property of their husbands, and the only legal protection offered to them was that that their husbands or fathers could obtain for them.
Demihumans suffered blatant discrimination in Aerdy’’s legal code, although some wealthy dwarves were able to bribe their way to more equitable treatment. Humanoids received as many legal rights as one could expect their kind to receive among civilized kingdoms, with orcs and hobgoblins being the most favored. Aerdy had a sizable minority of orcs, goblins, and other evil humanoid races, even some giants, among its population, all of which enjoyed better treatment than an elf, woman or halfling might expect in similar circumstances.
Military Structure: When the full military force of the Great Kingdom was roused for battle and set in the charge, it was an unstoppable hurricane of destruction that no other country’s army could stand against. Highly disciplined and trained units existed among the units of all the provinces, and the Overking’s Companion Guard consisted of a unit of warriors and wizards without equal in the personal guards of any other Flanaess ruler. Human, humanoid and monster all had their own units and divisions in this army, each one being commanded by leaders of their own race and trained in tactics that made best use of the race’s particular talents.
Thankfully, the diplomatic intrigues of the Great Kingdom prevented its great strength from coming to bear, at least until Ivid V was able to finally unite all the bickering factions underneath him into a cohesive unit. This full force was able to fight against the demihumans of the Adri Forest, Rieuwood, Glorioles and Iron Hills, the combined forces of every state in the Iron League, and the full strength of Nyrond all at the same time. Ivid’s mistake was perhaps dispatching his troops against all his enemies at once-had he sent his armies to face any of them one-on-one, even mighty Nyrond would have fallen in a matter of months.
There was only one weak spot in the Great Kingdom’s otherwise invincible forces-its navy. While serviceable, years of neglect had made it weaken to the point where Nyrond and Irongate, even without the support of the Lordship of the Isles, could defeat it easily. Neglected for decades, the decrepit imperial fleet was something both Ahlissa and Northern Aerdy had to deal with when they declared independence.
Ruler: Ivid V, the man whose mad ambitions nearly brought the whole of the eastern Flanaess to ruin, was a man of middling height but very strong build. Long, flowing brown hair flew back from his sharp, scowling face, set with two eyes that glowed with the black fires of insanity. A great wizard and renowned cleric, Ivid projected an aura of madness, power and charisma all at once.
The last Overking of Rauxes was the latest in a line of condemned souls, for Ivid I had sold not only his own soul, but those of all his sons, to gain the Malachite Throne. This knowledge festered at the back of his great-great-grandson’s head, that as soon as he died, he would join his forefathers in their punishment. Ivid was thus given to fits of brooding and depression, while at other times he had an almost nihilistic bent of self-destruction, eager to cause as much havoc and chaos as he could before the time of his judgment came.
Ivid’s insanity took years to manifest itself, unlike in his father. In his youth, he was a strong and decisive leader, ably defending his realm from the attacks of the Golden League and adroitly balancing the competing factions of the noble houses. However, insanity slowly crept over the overking, causing him to commit random fits of destruction with lightning bolts and fireballs. He would also stand alone in his court, allowing the different voices in his head to speak through him, giving each a different way of talking as they all argued with one another out loud.
Despite his growing insanity and (secret) desires to go down in a blaze of glory, one could occasionally catch Ivid in a moment of weakness, almost of deep sadness. He could be given to striking odd poses and reciting soliloquies reflecting upon his fate and place in the world, the inspiration of a million tales, all of which had the same ending-an ending which culminated in his ruin. After these moments of poetry, however, his voices would begin to argue with one another again, with a harsh and loud voice ordering the gentler and softer side of Ivid’s personality to retreat into some corner.
When he had his brain in proper working order, Ivid was a master of the silvered tongue and honeyed word, a man of great charisma and persuasiveness, some say enhanced by magic. He could be alternately friendly and encouraging, livid and enraged, or subtle and menacing as the situation dictated. His network of spies gave him knowledge of almost all those he received in his court, allowing him to surprise and confound them by revealing his knowledge of the most intimate details of their lives. His loud speaking voice made for inspirational speeches that could rally thousands to his banner, making them drive themselves on in pursuit of his goals.
Some say that Ivid is now dead, the final victim of his madness. Others say he still survives in Rauxes, now an animus similar to Drax of Rel Astra. One tale also claims he has ascended to serve his patron god Hextor, becoming a pit fiend as reward for years of devoted service. This chronicler cannot hope to speculate, except to be certain that, before the magical chaos that consumed Rauxes, a definitive announcement that Ivid was removed from the Malachite Throne was pronounced by the high priest of Hextor in Aerdy. It is anyone’s guess as to what Ivid’s fate is, if indeed he has one at all.
Foreign Relations: As one might expect, the Great Kingdom was hated and loathed by all its neighbors in Nyrond, Almor and the Iron League, who clashed with it both on a military and diplomatic level. Other realms such as the Urnst states, the Sea Barons, Sea Princes, Keoland, and Greyhawk all dealt with Aerdy, though none of them had any real trust for it. The various provinces within the kingdom could have differing relations with the central government at Rauxes, depending on the state of the intrigue and politics among the Celestial Houses at a certain point, though North Province grew more and more alienated from the capital as time went on, and House Darmen grew more and more influential in South Province, under the influence of Prince Xavener, the scion of Darmen, who only managed to avoid having his house’s resources plundered for the war effort through fast talk and incredible luck.
AERDY, NORTHERN KINGDOM OF (Formerly North Province)
The North Province of the Great Kingdom was held by House Naelax, much as was the Malachite Throne. However, a schism developed within Naelax that saw the branch of the house ruling North Province grow more and more distant from its kin in Rauxes. They answered Ivid’s call to arms, hating their enemies to the south and east as much as any other part of the Kingdom. However, when cracks appeared throughout Aerdy’s power structure, leading to a breakdown in military organization and communication, North Province was the first to declare its independence, fully and unilaterally, even before Rauxes was consumed in the magical phantasmagoria that now swirls around it.
Herzog Grenell, the ruler of North Province, held no love for his demented cousin in the south. Long frustrated over Ivid’s refusal to allow funding of an army to capture Bone March, he was forced to make alliances with some of the humanoid chiefs that conquered the march-an effort that had only mixed results at best, until the beginning of the Wars. By then, Grenell had swayed most of the southern chiefs to his allegiance, and they fell into fighting with their northern rivals. Ratik managed to attack and capture the northern half of Bone March, with the intent of restoring its old regime. North Province and its allied humanoids, however, captured the southern half of the march, holding it as far north as the Blemu Hills.
North Province’s modest military gains were incorporated into the new Great Kingdom of Northern Aerdy, which soon dispatched its own ambassadors to Greyhawk, Keoland, Ulek, and various other western states, who proclaimed that they answered to no one in Rauxes, but the new Overking-His Grace Grenell. The Great Kingdom of Northern Aerdy is usually referred to as North Kingdom or Northern Aerdy to differentiate it from the old regime in Rauxes. It has little support among any of its neighbors, who all hate and distrust it. This, of course, matters little to Grenell…
Society and Culture: While the old Great Kingdom’s laws were discriminatory against women and demihumans, in Northern Aerdy they are outright bigoted. Human males are favored in every aspect of society, from inheritance laws to religious practices. The many humanoids and giants who dwell within North Kingdom also benefit from special civil protection, affording them rights that not even the peasants have.
If anything, the lot of the peasants and common folk is even more miserable than it was under the reign of the old Great Kingdom. They are literally the property of the nobles, who can do whatever they like to them. Slavery is both a domestic industry, and one of Northern Aerdy’s largest imports. Serf and slave revolts are quite common, and always brutally punished with flogging and burnings at the stake. What passes for a middle class in Northern Aerdy generally has to make do living under heavy taxes and dangerous social conditions. While protected to a certain extent by law, they must obey the commands of the nobles who rule whatever province they live in. Failure means death, though they are only hung when executed. The lower classes are treated much more severely.
Northern Aerdy is what one might call a “police state”; many different books are banned, and burned if they are found within the realm’s border. The harassment of travelers and lower-classed citizens by city guards is quite common, and the guards benefit from considerable legal protection if their victims fight back. The soldiers and police of Northern Aerrdy have a strong reputation for ‘sticking together’, so that someone who crosses the guards in Winetha will find that they must also deal with the guards of Eastfair or Luvern, who will teach them a lesson on behalf of their brethren of the first city.
Few other states of the Flanaess, except of course for the Pale, have such a close association between church and state as does Northern Aerdy. Overking Grenell is the high priest of Hextor, making him both the religious and secular ruler at the same time. His priesthood is afforded great liberty to do whatever they like, short of harming a noble. They may override the rulings of any secular judges, and act as judge, jury and executioner if the accused happens to be poor, a woman, a demihuman, or a combination thereof.
Grenell benefits from absolute power in his realm; there are no checks or balances on his authority as there are in Ahlissa, for instance. Ministers exist to advise him on their areas of expertise, but they may not sign any warrant, issue any proclamation, or make any government functions without Grenell’s prior approval of their actions. Failure to do so usually results in the hapless minister being sacrificed by Grenell himself, if he ever finds out (and he usually does.) Most of the nobles are of Grenell’s own House Naelax, and they know better than to argue with their liege’s commands. Even more so than in Nyrond, the nobles benefit from few rights or protections, as they must fully bow down to the authority of the central government.
Military Structure: North Province’s armies were generally not as fine as those of South Province, though they benefited from fewer layabouts and unreliable fools in their midst. The core heavy cavalry and foot are professional and well-trained, whether man, orc or ogre, and in general all of the troops, even the peasant levies, are of good enough quality to be a match for the soldiers of a realm like Ulek or one of the Bandit Kingdoms. The main problems come with some of the giants and humanoid barbarians, who serve in their own separate battalions. These troops are prone to ignore their pre-battle orders and charge into melee wildly, potentially causing chaos among their professional brethren. On the other hand, this can be as much of an asset as a defect, as these units make highly effective shock troops. These tendencies continue in independent Northern Aerdy.
Northern Aerdy is currently engaged in a massive struggle around the ruins of Rinloru, which was ruined by the Great Kingdom’s chaotic armies in the Greyhawk Wars. One of Ivid’s animuses, Delglath the Undying, has become a powerful priest of Nerull, using magic to revive almost the whole of the population of Rinloru to undeath as his armies. His mad desire to turn the whole Great Kingdom into an empire of undeath under Nerull frighten the whole of the Aerdi lands, and there is grave concern that unless the hard-pressed Northern Aerdy troops and adventurers can destroy him, the situation will spiral out of control.
North Province’s navy is poorly equipped and trained, with not much money available to restore it, as military funds have gone by necessity to build up the land forces. Out of all the realms of the eastern Flanaess, Northern Aerdy is by far the most vulnerable to attack from the Sea Barons, Snow Barbarians, or any other such power.
Ruler: Grenell, the new scion of House Naelax after the removal of Ivid V from that position, is a man of middling height, with oily shoulder-length black hair and a perpetual shade of beard on his chin, generally dressed in blood-red and midnight-black robes of checks or plaids, in the typical Oeridian style. Despite his apparently slovenly appearance, one can see by his tangible aura of power that he is every inch the tyrant, lord and king that his reputation describes him as. Although he speaks slowly, in halting speech, his words are enough to stop a glabrzezu dead in its tracks, even when he does not back them up with magic. His eyes are like those of a dead thing-lifeless, reflecting the gaze of any who meet them back at the observer.
Grenell’s talents are many-he is a Grandfather of Assassins as well as a high pirest of Hextor. Never without his magical flail, whose heads are cast as the Symbol of Hate and Discord, he wields it with more skill even than his personal bodyguard. His talents are many, ranging from poison lore to battlefield command. Commanding both great charisma and a frightful reputation, most men do not think twice about listening to their overking. Those that do usually do not live long enough to think a third time.
Grenell has no wife or children officially, considering marriage an encumbrance he can do without. His carnal pleasures, when he engages in them, usually take place amid disgusting orgies, the activities of which are too distasteful to recount.
Foreign Relations: Northern Aerdy is hated by all of its neighbors for its wicked nature, which appals even the less than moral people of the Sea Barons and Rel Astra. It purchases slaves from Greyhawk and carries on a small amount of trade with the Sea Barons, Keoland and the Scarlet Brotherhood-ruled realms of the Sea Princes and Lordship of the Isles, though none of these realms will suffer Northern Aerdy’s diplomats within their borders.
AHLISSA, UNITED KINGDOM OF (Formerly South Province, Idee)
Ivid’s mad dreams caused him to destroy his own realm from within, making terrible enemies of his kinsmen. As rebel factions and soldiers turned on one another, causing the Great Kingdom to collapse in a frenzy of destruction and looting, Graf Reydrich eventually seized control of the Great Kingdom’s South Province, trying to consolidate his realm’s gains in Idee and Sunndi. After the archmage’s disappearance, Sunndi was lost, and a coalition of power-hungry nobles seized power for themselves, led by Xavener, the dashing young scion of House Darmen, whose incredible financial resources allowed them to buy off most of their enemies, or at least bribe their soldiers into rebellion, before Darmen seized their holdings. The forces of South Province had shattered all resistance before them in Idee and Sunndi, seizing both realms for their own, though Commandant Osson would later liberate the latter.
The union of princes was damaged by rivalries and infighting, though they knew better than to let these tear them apart, for they knew that both their kinsmen and North Province and their enemies in the Golden League wanted their heads on pikes. Negotiations went on for a year and a half, until surprising revelations were made; South Province was no more, and in its place would rise the United Kingdom of Ahlissa. Its first Overking was Xavener, the charismatic noble, whose House Darmen was the fountain of both wealth and power within the new realm.
At Xavener’s coronation, the intrigues of high Aerdi society became all too apparent when Graf Reydrich, believed assassinated, reappeared and demanded control of the fiefdom of Ahlissa. Xavener cheerfully relented, also making Reydrich his court archmage. In return, however, Xavener demanded the protection services of Reydrich in making certain deals with drow and demons, both of whom Reydrich had been dealing with during his “hiatus” from South Province.
Reydrich was immediately called upon to fulfill the first of his duties by slaying certain members of House Naelax who attempted to have Xavener assassinated. The guilty parties were reported by their household slaves as having vanished during the night, leaving only a smell like a thousand rats in their beds. Those remaining Naelaxians immediately pledged their undying loyalty to Xavener, who seemed to take the whole matter in good-humored stride, who said that he considered the matter closed and had no illusions about the sincerity of his nobles, giving a knowing wink and smile at his courtiers when he said this.
Society and Culture: (If one is searching for guidelines on South Province, he or she is advised to consult the section on the old Great Kingdom. South Province was much like the rest of that empire before its collapse.)
Ahlissa has yet to sink into the depths of utter depravity that reached by the old Great Kingdom or Northern Aerdy (alias North Kingdom, formerly North Province.) People can and do travel freely, and the peasants are not ground into the dirt by their noble owners, though both slavery and serfdom are still both legal and rampant. Women and demihumans will find that while the most blatantly racist and sexist laws of the old Great Kingdom are no more, there is still a distinct slant of preference for the human Oeridian male in the kingdom’s power structures and intrigues.
Whatever other disputes the nobles who formed Ahlissa have among themselves, they all wished to have greater latitude to run their own affairs rather than have anything and everything they wanted overrun by the Overking. The nation’s new charter specifically grants the rights for the nobles to negotiate trade between their own principalities, conducted within Ahlissa’s borders; to control education within their own domains; have greater freedom of religion than was permitted in the old Great Kingdom; to set their own tax rates, with the central government taking in a minimum amount of revenue monthly; and to be able to override the Overking’s decisions and declarations by a three-quarters majority. All these conditions weigh the overking down considerably, though Xavener cheerfully signed the declarations without so much as a protest.
The general social structure has changed little from the old Great Kingdom; the noble houses each have their own territories and autonomy within the kingdom, and they retain their taste for murderous intrigues and power games. In the old regime, where only the greatest Celestial Houses could play a role in national politics, with their poorer counterparts simply trying to avoid being trampled underfoot; but the many small baronies, duchies and counties now collectively wield as much influence as any of the great houses, with two seats on the king’s privy council.
The middle class has more rights than was formerly granted them under the old Great Kingdom, though in return for these they are tied more closely to their noble lords. The lot of the peasants has changed little, most of them remaining poor and oppressed, with few civil rights; but the noble princes are less inclined to act as brutal tyrants than are their counterparts in Northern Aerdy or the old Great Kingdom.
The overking is the Grand Prince of House Darmen, the founding house of the kingdom and its source of economic power. There are the above limits on his power as it relates to dealing with his nobles, and he must have a privy council consisting of appointed nobles from across the kingdom to advise him; but the overking still has the final word on all national matters, relations with other realms, trading duties and tariffs, the military, and most matters of national (as opposed to princely dominion) law.
Humanoids, unsurprisingly, are a sizable social minority, and they have special legal protections dwarves and elves do not. As a social class, they are usually to be found in the military, metal crafting, police, and other such roles if they enter the civil service. Despite the tolerated presence of these beings, liaisons between human nobles and their humanoid counterparts are severely punished. Almost all the realm’s half-orcs are thus of low social rank, as society does not care about such things in the lower classes.
Even if Ahlissa is not as bad as the old Great Kingdom (yet), the fact that it considers itself an empire is known to all and lost on no one. Observers think that the vast commercial potential of House Darmen will be used to subvert foreign nations economically, as opposed to by force of arms. These warnings have not, however, stopped many realms from opening trade with the kingdom, eager to get a piece of House Darmen’s incalculable riches for themselves.
Military Structure: While not the unstoppable titan of destruction that the Great Kingdom’s military was, Ahlissa retains the frightfully dangerous heavy cavalry it had in its years as the South Province, and human and humanoid men-at-arms, especially the heavy foot, are also formidable enemies in close formation. Archers and siege engineers are unfortunately not so prevalent; only some modestly-skilled men and gnomes are available for these functions. The army has abandoned its use of peasant levies, as these have proven worthless time and again.
Ahlissa is reputed to have almost a dozen battle-wizards at its disposal, a truly dangerous number, some even as powerful as the eighth or ninth rank. They can have as many as two or three wands with them as well, further demonstrating their abilities.
Ahlissa is currently building up its navy in Prymp which was allowed to decay by the naval officers of the old South Province regime. Xavener has executed and replaced these men, and is paying out of his own personal coffers to ensure that his navy becomes the best in all the Flanaess.
Ruler: Herzog Chelor was a man who looked like an overweight, greasy, pompous slob-and his behavior confirmed this impression. Rude, crude, vulgar and nasty, he had a habit of laying into his servants with a willow switch for minor offenses such as the spilling of wine, the undercooking of a meal, or retaliation against one of his children’s mischievous pranks, which they loved to play on the hapless slaves in their household.
Chelor was a man who perpetually appeared as if he was going to explode into a killing frenzy, for the strains of his position weighed greatly on him. He was under tremendous pressure from Rauxes to break the Iron League and regain those renegade nations who broke away from South Province; though most of his attempts were only modestly successful, with Iron League adventurers spoiling his best-laid plans.
Although seen as an incompetent tactician and ruler, (at least before the Greyhawk Wars), Chelor was a compulsive gambler with a pronounced lucky streak; he could easily triple the wealth he carried in his purse after a night at cards and dice. His favorite games were known to be poker and gin rummy, though he also loved risky games such as pin-finger or poison-tasting. While not the total debauch that Grenell was, he still took great pleasure in intoxicants, women, gambling and wine, indulging in all four as often as possible.
Graf Reydrich, during the brief time he “ruled” South Province, was widely feared for his erratic mood swings and violent temper, as well as the power he wielded as one of the few Grand Wizards in the entire Flanaess. Tall and imposing, thickly built, his face was still surprisingly gaunt and narrow, bearing twin eyes that blazed with fire when he was angry, and smoldered menacingly otherwise, subtle contempt promising hellish tortures to any who crossed him. He was thought to have dealings with the drow of Erelhei-Roban, something that he brought with him to his role as Xavener’s magical counselor. His past is mostly unknown, though he was known to be of the branch of his house, Naelax, whose souls Ivid I sold to gain the Malachite Throne.
Although Reydrich could probably destroy Xavener if he wanted to, the overking holds him in check with secret information that he seems to hang over the archmage’s head; this is indeed true. Reydrich is the direct descendant of Ivid I’s brother, who refused to sign Ivid’s infernal contract. This brother was chased from the kingdom, his family nearly destroyed in one of Ivid’s purges; only much later did they return, subtly returning themselves into House Naelax. Reydrich is deeply embarrassed by his treasonous ancestors, who intermarried with certain nobles from Nyrond-and Reydrich continues to have the blood of that people on his mother’s side. Reydrich’s fury would know no bounds if this secret was revealed, and so Xavener has been using it to blackmail the wizard into serving him. He hates Xavener passionately, but can do nothing against the overking, knowing full well that Xavener could disgrace him overnight if he wished.
Overking Xavener I, Grand Prince of House Darmen, is a smiling, affable gentleman with a kindly face, lean, athletic build, and the tanned skin and brown hair that so personifies the Oeridian race. He seems to radiate an almost tangible aura of charisma and charm, always ready with a joke or a compliment to break the ice with anyone he meets. Even distrustful ambassadors from Greyhawk, Keoland or even Nyrond have found themselves almost won over by their host, who seems to know more about affairs in their own realms than they do.
Underneath Xavener’s charming personality and affable demeanor lurks a heart that can be as cold as the Black Ice itself, complemented with a brilliantly calculating political mind that knows how to use both his natural and material gifts to perfect advantage. As the head of House Darmen, Xavener’s personal wealth exceeds that of any score of dragons one can name, with an almost unthinkable twenty-one permanent magic items to his credit. He spends his wealth freely, giving bribes and patronage as freely as a kindly old uncle might give candy to nephews and nieces. This, combined with his personal charm, leads many people, even in the murderous world of Aerdi power games, to feel gratititude towards them, and to be inclined to return his good favors in the future.
Xavener is a man of bizarre constrasts. He can order the execution of entire families one minute- as he did to certain naval officers in Prymp who had allowed South Province’s navy to decay-and then pay off the debts of an impoverished family of serfs who are about to lose their homes. Alternately willing to kill a man in cold blood, and buy candy for the man’s children afterwards, there is always a method to Xavener’s seeming madness.
He has a great eye for rising talent; the person he helps one year might become a formidable wizard or warrior ally, whether at home or abroad. Whenever he does use his largesse to benefit someone, he will be thinking of how to put this indebted person to use at a future date. Even so, there does seem to be a genuinely humane side to the overking-though he carefully hides and manipulates it to his own advantage.
Xavener is also an accomplished painter and musician, able to create beautifully evocative waterfall scenes on his canvas, then write a harmonious, gentle song on the lyre or flute to stir the emotions of those who view it. Many of the paintings in his court are of his own creation, and carefully placed magic mouth spells, triggered whenever someone observes the painting they are tied to, play Xavener’s music softly into the ears of the viewer who sees his work.
Xavener is not given to subtlety or secrecy in his dealings-almost everyone he comes in contact with knows of his patronizing ways and what he does with the contacts and friends he makes. However, he is so charming-and so protected by his network of contacts-that even if anyone should try and cross him, they would find themselves having to deal with many other people who owe the overking favors, and will go to great lengths to defend him.
Foreign Relations: Ahlissa’s economy is currently in tatters, though the great fortunes of House Darmen make it, in the eyes of many, the nation that will recover most quickly from the financial excesses of the Greyhawk Wars. However, this is chilled by Ahlissa’s poor relations with most other countries. The Scarlet Brotherhood is known to be among the Suel families in the realm’s nobility, and spies from the old Iron League states are suspected everywhere.
Xavener approved trade with Nyrond and the Iron League, feeling that the movement of trade and capital will rebuild his realm’s economy-and give him economic leverage to use in those realms in the future, if need be. While Ahlissa’s former enemies have responded in kind, the situation remains tense, as some Ahlissan nobles attempted to seize the battered Onnwal, and the defeated realm of Idee has been all but absorbed into the kingdom. Factions on both sides are livid at the peace made between their nations, though a major war is something not even they desire at the moment.
Ahlissa maintains friendly but distant trading relations with the Duchy of Urnst, the Principality of Ulek, Keoland, and Greyhawk, and is a valued customer in the slave trade of the Free City. None of these realms, however, are so foolish as to think that Ahlissan diplomats that come into their lands have entirely benign intentions.
Aside from the Scarlet Brotherhood, there is only one realm that can truly call itself Ahlissa’s avowed enemy-Northern Aerdy, formerly North Province. Both realms consider themselves empires, and they both threaten the other’s claim to be the true heir to the Aerdi legacy. War is almost certain between these two titans, as the rich lands between the Adri and Grandwood Forests are claimed by them both.
ALMOR, PRELACY OF
The Prelacy of Almor was a quiet, unassuming state in the affairs of the Flanaess, one of those few nations that fully accepted freedom and justice based upon mutual tolerance. Though it stood at the center of the conflicts between the Golden League and the Great Kingdom, it offered succor, support and healing to both sides and acted as a mutual diplomat to mediate between the two great powers.
Although a member of the Eastern Pact of Alliance, Almor took a non-combative role in the business of diplomacy, often attempting to use its gentle reputation to cool the hot tempers of certain Iron League rulers, such as Latmac Ranold of the Lordship of the Isles. Almor’s benevolent reputation left it mostly overlooked by the Aerdi soldiers and raiders in favor of attacks directly into the Iron League states or Nyrond itself. Even the wounded Aerdi were given food, water and healing when they needed it, never thinking of harming the good people of this region.
In an act of ugly treachery, all this good work was forgotten by the Aerdi when Ivid’s mad desire to go down in a blaze of glory led him to marshal the whole of the Great Kingdom’s forces against his enemies to the west. Almor was the first of the goodly states to fall, ground virtually to dust by the iron heel of the Great Kingdom’s armies. Almor’s poor army was nothing before Ivid’s charge, and the entire realm would have been ruined had it not been for the arrival of Nyrondese, Onnwal and Irongate troops later that year.
Fighting lasted from 581 CY until 585, when the Pact of Greyhawk was signed. Almor still clung to life in its capital of Chathold, which had somehow been defended by the prelacy until the very end. But the countryside and all its farms and pastures were laid waste. Before the small realm could hope to regain control over its former territory, Nyrond and the new kingdom of Ahlissa occupied the eastern and western marches of the realm, leaving the southwestern coasts under the control of Chathold, the west under Nyrond, the east under Ahlissa, and the northlands remaining pure wilderness. The Almorian government was moved to Rel Mord, though the territories controlled by the two realms remained separate.
Today, the people of Almor are attempting to rebuild and reclaim their homelands, though it is desperately slow going, especially with the problems among the other states of the former Golden League. However, Almor still stands a greater chance of returning to life, unlike Idee, the Shield Lands, Bissel or the Sea Princes…
Society and Culture: The kindly people of Almor were quiet and unpretentious, assuming the best in everyone they meet, and leaving their doors and gates unlocked. Thieves and bandits still plagued the populace, as they do in every realm, but grateful soldiers from both Nyrond and Aerdy would harshly punish those who disrupted the peaceful lives of the people. The people of the Prelacy believed hospitality to be their most sacred duty, and so offered free food, shelter, and medical attention to people from all sides, regardless of alignment, and even the rapacious Aerdi felt a level of gratitude for them.
Almor was a theocracy held by the priesthood of Pelor, a god taken by the Oeridian and Suel peoples that make it up from the original Flan tribes who lived in this land so long ago. This particular branch of Pelor’s church stressed forgiveness and reconciliation over vengeance and armed conflict, preferring to de-emphasize Pelor’s combative aspect. They worshipped Rao in all but name, and this latter god enjoyed a good following as well.
The influence exerted by the calming, gentle gods permeated the whole of Almorian society, making it almost the religious duty of the people to act in freedom and justice, without regard for race or gender. Although few demihumans lived in Almor, those who did were always made to feel welcome. Those malcontents and miscreants who stepped out of line and committed crimes were swiftly punished, usually being made to haul dung or garbage, work in the fields of the people they had wronged, or give a tithe of grain, cattle or wool to their victims. The concepts of torture chambers and executions, present even in other goodly realms like Keoland, Ratik and Geoff, had no place here.
The people of Almor’s reputation for hospitality gave them a good reputation to all their human and demihuman neighbors, though it also showed the minor flaws of the people. Firstly, their innate willingness to trust any and everyone who showed up at their door meant that criminals fleeing justice could hide out in Almor until the heat died down. These people did not always repay the kindness shown them by their hosts, either. This was made painfully clear when the Aerdi, who had for years been given good treatment by Almor, showed no remorse in burning it to the ground.
The other problem was in the innate friendliness and curiosity shown by the people of Almor. People who prefer to keep their own counsel, people with hidden secrets, and those who preferred privacy and solitude were often never left alone by the locals, who thought nothing of stopping on the road to gossip for an hour or two.
Military Structure: Almor’s armed forces were, by national Flanaess standards, poorly equipped and trained, better suited for fighting off marauding orcs and goblins than facing professionally disciplined soldiers, such as those of their neighbors. Militia forces were clad in leather or padded armor and wielded longbow and battleaxe (in the north) or polearm and spear (in the south.) These were even worse off than the light cavalry and infantry, plus some medium forces provided by the nobles and gentry, which were only of fair to middling quality. None of these could hope to stand long in an all-out battle against another human army, for Almor had been at peace for decades, using its benevolent reputation as a friend to all to protect itself from attack.
Ruler: Prelate Kevont is a tall, thin man whose balding hair has now vanished completely with age, giving him a slight stoop that causes his shoulders to hunch ever so slightly, though only the very sharp-eyed will notice this. Like his people, he is a good and gentle man, though the thought that someone his people had helped for so long (the Aerdi) could turn on them like treacherous vipers. As a result, he has a marked distrust for anyone of Aerdi descent, though he does his best to remain civil.
Despite not being particularly charismatic, he has always inspired his people with his oerthy wisdom and affable manner, which make him accessible in a way quite unlike most other high and noble people. He is a skilled sculptor, specializing in carving chess sets out of ivory, rare hardwoods or mother-of-pearl, spending all of his spare time at this, though he rarely has time to indulge himself anymore with his realm in such dire straits.
Kevont has acquired two unfortunate flaws since the Wars ended. He is much quicker to jump to conclusions about people, particularly those of obvious Aerdi ancestry, and is harder to convince of good intentions and sincerity than before. His other problem is his noticeable turn towards wine to drown his sorrows. He of no harm or danger when drunk, but in slurred speech he will reveal the true depth of his sorrow and sadness to those who will listen. His growing problem has left some of his underlings thinking that they should remove him from his position and take power themselves-not out of any greedy or malicious intent, but simply because of the damage that the people’s morale would suffer if they knew the extent of their leader’s problems.
Foreign Relations: Almor was officially the enemy of the Great Kingdom and its provinces, though the citizens of both countries rarely carried this enmity into personal contact. A beloved and devoted ally to all the Golden League states, it was nonetheless scorned in some circles for its refusal to take a hard stance against the Aerdi. The standing army Nyrond kept in Almor to supplement its own poor forces was cause for alarm among some Almorian citizens themselves, fearing encroachment and/or assimilation into that kingdom.
Almor has only one true enemy-the Pale. The Pale assailed Almor as a land of weak-willed heretics, unwilling to use the clerical gifts of the gods on a proper mission of preaching and conversion. Troublemaking clerics of Pholtus would occasionally cause a ruckus in Almor, though in general they were of a little threat. The Palish hosts occupying Nyrond’s northern lands are of grave concern, however-they will almost certainly threaten any attempts by Almor to re-establish itself in the east.
Kevont and his people do not know what to make of the shattering of the Great Kingdom and the newly formed kingdoms of Northern Aerdy and Ahlissa that sprang from it. Both realms have proclaimed themselves empires, something which quite obviously sends chills down the spines of the Almorians, for they know they would have little power to resist Ahlissan expansion should that kingdom further expand into Almor’s old territory.
As of now, some Almorians have entered trade with the Ahlissans, as the vast treasure stores of House Darmen would be an invaluable aid to getting the ruined prelacy back on its feet, though the older clerics of Pelor are hesitant to fully accept such aid, knowing full well the prices the Aerdi of Darmen may demand in return…
The Bone March, one of the few areas of the Great Kingdom not wholly given to evil, was a just and prosperous realm before its collapse in 563 CY to a mass of humanoids that overwhelmed its defenses within a matter of months. These humanoid tribes carved the land up into their own fiefs and territories, having a loose council that dominated the whole area.
The Archbarony of Ratik to the north was strong enough to defend itself against Bone March, but could not hope to drive the humanoids from their conquered territories. The men of that realm and the humanoids occupying Bone March fought each other constantly, in a stalemate that persisted until the Greyhawk Wars.
By the time of the wars, Grenell of North Province had succeeded in winning over most of the southern humanoid chiefs to his banner, leaving them able to battle their northern rivals, who were suffering from an attack by the armies of Ratik. Bone March soon fell once again, only this time it was the men who were the conquerors. The northern half of Bone March was resurrected as the old realm, although its southern half was incorporated into Northern Aerdy. Count Dunstan, the last surviving Bone March noble, has taken over as the leader of a provisional government set up until the fate of Clement, the last marquis of the March, is determined…
Society and Culture : Those who travel to Bone March when it is divided up among the humanoids will find a wild, hazardous realm where the only law is that dictated by the sword. Travelers must beware of being held up by bandit gangs, or getting caught up in raids between rival humanoid groups. The large towns, such as Spinecastle and Johnsport were ruled by the biggest and strongest humanoid chieftains, who woud allow anyone to enter, though only after paying hefty entrance fees. Greedy and unethical merchants would find that the humanoids of these large towns would pay handsomely for anything they needed and could not raid for. Adventurers who came to explore the ruins beneath towns like Spinecastle were allowed to enter without cost, though upon their exit they would have to pay very heavy treasure taxes before being allowed back out again!
Other than this, visitors would find a realm that was essentially like any mountain or swampland dominated by humanoids; the humanoids being allowed free reign over their human slaves. Each humanoid tribe, regardless of race, had its preferred raiding areas, over which the chiefs had ultimate authority. There was a loose confederation of chiefs that met annually at Spinecastle, though in practice these meetings only served to mediate long-standing arguments between various tribes, rather than to develop anything resembling coherent national policy.
The restored realm of Bone March is essentially the same as the society that existed before its fall, as most of the population consists of march expatriates who have returned home. Hardworking and honest, they are not given to very friendly conversation except with their own neighbors, as they still tended to retain the Aerdi distrust of outsiders. They are not, however, evil in any sense of the word, simply preferring to keep their own counsel and preferring it if others did likewise. While there arre no actual laws protecting the rights of the common people, their lot was much, much better off than their unfortunate kin in the rest of the Great Kingdom. The nobles of Bone March are not inclined to abuse the powers they had over their people, preferring to act with them in a spirit of cooperation unheard of in most Flanaess realms with a dominant aristocracy.
The marquis enjoys almost unlimited power over his domain, though in practice he does not act without the consensus of his vassals and tenants, or at least does not make his decisions before consulting them. It is truly remarkable how the people of Bone March and their kin in Ratik have avoided the moral decay that became so prevalent among the Aerdi in the south-while not the most kind and open people, the Bone Marchers are fair and honest. No racial or sexual discrimination was ever part of Bone March when it was ruled by humans. Slavery was technically legal when the march was part of the Great Kingdom, though it was frowned upon in practice. Now, in an independent march, it is fully illegal.
Military Structure : The humanoids sponsored a haphazard array of fighting forces-some of good quality, some not. No full army was ever organized-each tribe had to rely on their own warriors to defend themselves. The forces of the restored human regime are still shaky and untested, though the militaristic dwarves and gnomes of the Rakers are training these new armies for the attacks they are certian will come from Northern Aerdy.
Ruler : Marquis Clement, the last marquis to rule before Bone March’s fall in 563, was a just and honorable man, a spiritual descendant of the Aerdi lords of old. A rather short man with a thick black moustache, he was known to be an expert in the broadsword over any other type of blade, and had developed his own peculiar fighting style which involved him using the opponent’s shield to his own advantage.
Clement had a professional interest in history, and decorated his court and armed forces along the lines of the classical Great Kingdom from the second century CY. It was clear to those who knew him that Clement wished to preserve the old Aerdi traditions and expand them back into the southern realms that had abandoned them. He was profoundly saddened by how far the Aerdi people had fallen, and knew, rationally, that he could not change them, though he always held faith that a new light would come for the Aerdi people. Although presumed killed in the humanoid invasions, no one has ever been able to find his body or divine whether he truly is dead. Some say that he still lives, preparing to retake his position when the time is right.
Clement was never without the key of Spinecastle, his symbol of office. This mithril and platinum key confirmed upon its holder the right to rule over Bone March, and no one, not even the direct blood heir of the marquis, could hope to command the people’s trust and respect without it. Count Dunstan (see below) has been unable to locate it, and some say that Clement lives still, getting ready to seize his position once more.
Count Dunstan of Knurl, the last known surviving Bone March had his city destroyed by Northern Aerdy in the Greyhawk Wars, but he has done quite well for himself in becoming the new Marquis of Bone March. He is, however, only the marquis as head of a provisional government, to rule until the Key of Spinecastle is reclaimed. Some say Dunstan is trying to find the key for himself, that he may install his line permanently in the march, perhaps unitiing it with Ratik, where his daughter Evaleigh now rules.
Dunstan is a man of few words, though when he speaks, he always manages to get his point across. Preferring to wield a mace rather than the traditional sword, he is known for his ability as a leader and commander, though few consider him as good as Clement ever was. Although he has a brave, gruff exterior, he seethes inwardly, for he knows that, without the Key of Spinecastle, the people will never fully accept him as their liege. They tolerate his presence as head of a provisional government, but should Clement ever return, Dunstan will have no way of retaining his hold on power. In truth, Dunstan can be very unsure of himself at times, almost to the point of cowardice, and he is apparently looking for the key as much to prove his own worth to himself as to make a legitimate claim upon the march’s rulership.
Foreign Relations: Bone March was hated and loathed by all its human and demihuman neighbors when ruled by humanoids, though Grenell would entertain some of the chiefs at Eastfair when he merely ruled North Province. The human realm is well thought of by Ratik and the dwarves and gnomes of the Rakers, and has distant though friendly relations with the Frost Barbarians, though it had few dealings with the Great Kingdom territories to the south. In fact, the old realm was looked upon with contempt by most of the Aerdi nobles of the south, who considered the march and its people to be weak fools who had no spine for the harsh realitites of their land. They considered the realm’s original fall to be all but certain, and never bothered to send aid in response to Clement’s pleas.
IDEE, COUNTY OF
The County of Idee was a realm that was often overlooked in the general escapades of the Flanaess, its main source of danger coming from the attacks of South Province to the north. Despite its small size, Idee profited greatly through trade with its fellow Iron League states, Dullstrand, Nyrond, and several states of the western Flanaess.
Apart from its own clashes as part of the Iron League, Idee was a realm that knew little strife or danger from rampaging humanoid hordes or crazed wizards, and it turned into a peaceful and civilized realm. Its rulers, the Eddri family, were known as good and honest folk.
Idee had constructed a long line of fortresses to defend itself from South Province raids and attacks, but these could not hold against the Aerdi hosts that rampaged from the north in the Greyhawk Wars. Count Fedorik Eddri bravely took the field, and fought fang and claw against his enemies, providing a heroic example of leadership to his people.
Ultimately, however, the numbers of the Ideeans were limited, while the Aerdi hosts-supported by humanoids, giants and monsters-just kept on coming. And valuable assets had to be recalled to the interior to defend against an attack by the savages of the Scarlet Brotherhood, who had been sneaked into Idee by corrupt court officials who had fallen prey to the promises of the Scarlet Sign. These ill-trained ruffians were crushed within a month, but that ill-fated attack proved to be Idee’s undoing.
As Herzog Chelor tore a path of destruction through Sunndi, a secondary force attacking Idee finally caused the nation’s defenses to break. The Aerdi would go on to seize Naerie within the year, and were already using Idee as a base from which to attack Irongate, the elven forests, and the demihumans of the Hollow Highlands. The Aerdi nobles went swiftly to work;; the banners of the independent county were torn, their shields smashed and ruined. The boar’s head of South Province flew from the ramparts of the count’s old palace, and the whole area was firmly in the control of Graf Reydrich in 585 CY. Reydrich maintained his holdings in Idee even as civil war tore the Great Kingdom apart, and after his disappearance, Idee was seized by House Haxx (a lesser house that hoped to win favor with House Darmen) and declared for the United Kingdom of Ahlissa when that realm was established.
The people of Idee, and especially the Eddri family, dream of reclaiming their homeland, though the nation’s defeat at the hands of its decades-old foe was heartbreaking. As much as he made his proclamations, the former Count Fedorik had grown old and tired, exhausted by the years of fighting. Like the Shield Lands, Idee seems to have little hope of recovering…
Society and Culture: Idee was a land that consisted almost entirely of humans, with demihumans living in the Rieuwood or the Iron Hills. Laws thus tended to favor humans over demihumans, although certainly never in a way that could be called racist; there was only a minimal number of demihumans within the realm as a whole, and these were comfortable following Idee’s laws in general.
The people of Idee were very laid back, almost sleepy and complacent, some might say. They had a “live-and-let-live” attitude emulated by few other states in the Flanaess. This was reflected in their laws, which were much more loosely defined and open to interpretation, as opposed to, say, Irongate. The stratified social structure of most other former Great Kingdom realms did not take hold in Idee-the old laws based on kinship groups and collective punishments or remunerations.
Idee’s society was enviable for its encouragement of diversity and friendly acceptance of all ideas and cultures, even when its native society was relatively homogenous. There were few distinct social classes within the realm, its social organization based more on the extended kinship groups created when the Oeridians first came into this realm. Women were regarded as equals, demihumans cheerfully accepted without comment. It goes without saying that slavery was completely and totally illegal.
Even now, when the realm is part of the United Kingdom of Ahlissa, some of these tendencies still shine through despite the choking shadow of Aerdi social oppression. Members of House Cranden are marrying into House Haxx, and under their influence, the suffocating attitudes of the rest of Ahlissa are moderated, if they cannot be prevented.
Military Structure: Idee’s great strengths were in siege warfare and cavalry. It had a long line of fortresses and castles guarding the northern reaches of its border with South Province, and clashes between the two sides were frequent and bloody. Sadly, despite the great training of the inhabitants of these castles, backed by technical support from the Iron Hills and Irongate, they simply could not stand up to the endless assaults of their enemies.
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|Re: Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Aerdy East, Part I (Score: 1)|
by CruelSummerLord on Fri, July 09, 2004
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|Thanks a lot, Tedra. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately, somehow the last part on the County of Idee got cut, so I'll include the last few bits here:|
Ruler: Count Fedorik Eddri resembled the classic Oeridian in every way, from his dark brown hair to his bright gray eyes, from his jolly nature to his explosive temper. A master with sword, mace and battleaxe, Fedorik was always at the forefront of any attack, more than ready to lead his troops by example. His fierce grin and eagerness to leap into battle led many to theorize that he had Flan blood in him, for his actions were those of a man who suffered from Flan battle-frenzy.
On the field, Fedorik was harsh, cold, and blunt. He had little tolerance for fools, and was an obsessive perfectionist when it came to training and tactics. He would privately lament the state of his navy, though his fiery speeches would always inspire courage and bravery in public.
In private, or when drinking with his men, Fedorik’s personality changed completely. He was a jolly and affable fellow, quite good with children, though he still had to watch his temper on these occasions. In addition to his great skills with sword, mace and axe, Eddri was an expert dart and knife-thrower, using his excellent reflexes to make up for his (relative) lack of physical strength. He could throw over- or under-hand, blindfolded or even backward while looking in a mirror.
Foreign Relations: Idee was, quite obviously, close allies with Sunndi, the Lordship of the Isles, Onnwal, Irongate, the demihumans of the Iron Hills, Rieuwood and Hollow Hightlands. It also had friendly though distant relations with Greyhawk, Keoland, the Sea Princes, and the Principaility of Ulek. Apart from the Great Kingdom, it was not considered to have any true enemies, although its naval forces did clash with the Slave Lords and other raiders from the Pomarj.