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Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Aerdy East, Part 2
Posted on Fri, July 09, 2004 by Farcluun
CruelSummerLord writes "
The descriptions of the Aerdy East states continue, from Irongate to Medegia...

Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Aerdy East, Part 2
By: CruelSummerLord
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

IRONGATE, FREE CITY OF

The Free City of Irongate has long been the linchpin of the Iron League, its leaders the spokesmen for the organization as a whole. Considered almost impregnable by conventional siege tactics, not even the most determined gnome could build a rock drill large enough to break its thick walls. Any who came against it, whether bandit raiders, humanoid armies, or Aerdi invasions, simply could not pass through its incredible gates and attack its grim, determined individuals.

Out of all the members of the Iron League, Irongate suffered the least damage, though many of its soldiers died on the battlefields of its allies. It was attacked both socially and physically by the Scarlet Brotherhood, their spies having been discovered by Lord Mayor Cobb Darg. The city still stands today, in spite of all its threats.

Society and Culture: The people of Irongate have long had a siege mentality, turning to machinery and construction to defend themselves from their enemies, something that continues to this day, long after the city’s secession from the Great Kingdom. They have little regard for sorcery and the supernatural, and tend to be suspicious of wizards and clerics as such. Slavery is unthinkable to the people of Irongate. In fact, a guaranteed way to start a tavern fight is to accuse a man from Irongate of being a slaver.

The lord mayor of the city is elected for a ten-year term by the city council for a decade-long term, though he can be forced to resign if he fails a no-confidence vote, which can be proposed under certain conditions as noted in the government’s charter. The mayor has more power than do his counterparts in Dyvers or Greyhawk; he is the commander of the military, the executor of laws, and the dispenser of justice. He cannot, however, make laws himself-the council serves in a legislative function as the drafters of laws and the representatives of various commercial, noble, religions or military interests. Other than this, Irongate society is strictly egalitarian, though the tendency to favor human and dwarven males in the seats of power remains the same as it has ever been.

The small villages that extend throughout Irongate’s territory have little self-rule, though they do not particularly care about such issues. As the villages are extensions of the larger city administration, so too do its people consider themselves an extension of the city’s civilization, with the same values and beliefs.

There are wild bands of Flan in Irongate’s hills, just like there are anywhere else in the Flanaess, though these have their territorial rights specifically recognized by treaty with Irongate and Onnwal. Outsiders usually only interact with them when they warn people out of their particular hunting areas. Other than this, they care only for themselves and are content to let the Iron League take care of its own political games, appreciating how Irongate allows them to do the same.

Military Structure: Military experts agree that the glaive-guisarme-wielding heavy foot, dwarven axe and hammer wielders, mixed companies of archers and siege engineers, and other components of Irongate’s mighty military force could stand up to any one of its Iron League partners, and could crush a weaker power like the Sea Princes or Greyhawk. Man and dwarf come together flawlessly to form a well-oiled machine of heavy metal, high morale, and excellent training.

The military commanders of Irongate disdain arcane magic, though some priests are present to act as healers, or to assist in the detection of traps, the silencing of enemy spellcasters, and so forth. Instead, they use sophisticated military machinery, some of which has never been seen before, and Irongate’s sappers and engineers are considered to be without peer in the whole Flanaess. Gnomes have been known to sigh in admiration at these metal behemoths, and then mutter under their breaths in an envious tone.

While no match for the Sea Barons or Sea Princes, the high quality of Irongate’s navy nearly rivals that of the Lordship of the Isles, something that caused much resentment among the Duxchaners in the days when their realm was part of the Iron League.

Ruler: Lord Mayor Cobb Darg appears to be a typical kindly old grandfather, with a jolly laugh and a merry twinkle in his eye. He is very good with anyone young, from children to youths in their early twenties, winning them over with his charm. A very good intuitive judge of character, Darg is a master of winning over older people with a wry smile and a knowing wink.

Darg’s intentions are benign and his emotions sincere, but underneath his jolly exterior is a wry and shrewd judge of character, who does not hesitate to play dirty when the circumstances call for it. Offering outrageously unfair trade deals to certain realms, exposing the seedy past of a political rival, and other dirty tricks are his typical tools, though he would never go so far as to personally injure or harm anyone who is the victim of one of his schemes.

Many who know Darg say he is a strange old bird-he constantly talks and laughs to himself, though he always seems lucid and sane when others speak to him. His other odd habits include a total refusal to drink alcohol, his passion for wood sculpture, and his avid reading habits, which cover everything from elven vice to biographies of the great Aerdi overkings.

One of his most favorite activities is to donate huge sums of money from his own personal coffers for humanitarian causes both at home and abroad. Nothing seems to make him laugh more than seeing a poor family whose house is about to be foreclosed on be informed that all their debts have been cleared by a mysterious benefactor. The only thing more amusing than the looks on their faces would be their puzzlement at who could have spared them. Quirky acts of charity like this are Darg’s secret passion and hobby, especially when those he helps try to track him down and thank him-searching in vain, of course.
This is Darg’s first secret, although he has a second one that he keeps unknown from everyone, except his human friend and court archmage Elayne Mystica; he is a gold dragon. A wyrm at least ‘very old’ in age, Darg passes himself off as an ex-adventuring warrior and thief who entered politics after retiring. His incredible hoard is stored in a securely trapped room on the Ethereal Plane, which only he and Mystica may enter without setting off the deadly magical traps Darg has set up. It is from here that he makes his acts of charity. Due to his regular sources of income as a lord mayor and a venturesome merchant who loves risk, he does not fret about giving away some of his excess coin.

It is unknown from whence Darg came, or how long ago he began amassing his fortune, though he seems to know a great deal about the far lands of the Baklunish West, especially the Sultanate of Zeif. (In his human guise, Darg passes this knowledge off as lore he gained while traveling in those distant lands during his adventuring days.)

Foreign Relations: Irongate sends money to aid the struggling economies of all its remaining Golden League partners, especially Nyrond. The people of all these lands thus mention Darg in whatever prayers they utter. Regular trade relations are maintained with the western nations and free cities, except for the Sea Princes, whose Scarlet Brotherhood masters are avowed enemies of Irongate.

The Scarlet Brotherhood and its puppet realms of the Sea Princes and Lordship of the Isles are Irongate’s greatest enemies, and its own navy has standing orders to attack ships from either realm, or from the Scarlet Brotherhood itself, if they are encountered. Unlike some of its allies, Irongate carries on no trade with the evil Suel. Before the Wars, however, regular trade was conducted with the Sea Princes, and the Lordship was a valued ally and fellow League member.

While a hated foe of the old Great Kingdom, Irongate has, along with its allies, opened trade with Ahlissa. They are more aware than anyone of Ahlissa’s potential to conquer through economic subterfuge as opposed to physical invasion, and so the relationship between the two realms is very strained, despite their mutual desire for profit.

LORDSHIP OF THE ISLES

The Lordship of the Isles was, before the Wars, a very prosperous archipelago nation, that controlled trade through the Tilva Strait, acting as the maritime power of the Iron League in its clashes against the Great Kingdom. While criticized by some of the loftier people in the other League states as a tyrannical and bigoted nation, their rulers overlooked such tendencies in favor of the mercantile and military advantages the Lordship brought them as an ally.

Oeridians descended from the conquering Aerdi were thought to be the dominant social class in the Lordship, ruling from the capital of Sulward. However, the Suel of Duxchan, the original colonizers of the nation, were always gaining power at the expense of their ostensible social betters. Always the naval strong point of the Lordship, its Suel peoples took more and more economic and political power from the Oeridians of Sulward as time went on, much to the latter’s consternation.

As Duxchan regained the authority and influence it once had, the Lordship began to clamor more and more for open confrontation against the Great Kingdom, as opposed to the skirmishing and spying favored by the other states. When the firebrand Prince Latmac Ranold became the new ruler, he immediately ordered a massive build-up of his navy. He then proceeded to openly confront the traditional enemies of Duxchan and the Lordship of the Isles, the Sea Barons who lived off the east coast of Aerdy, near Rel Astra.

While Ranold’s initial attacks were very successful, the Sea Barons began striking back with a fury, eventually confronting the Lordship at the Battle of Medegia in 572 CY. The Barons sank four of the Lordship’s finest warships, and looted three full cogs of men, booty and equipment. Ranold himself faced Admiral Sencho Foy of the Sea Barons in one-on-one combat, and lost a hand and eye for his trouble.

Worse than the physical scars, the mental scars slowly began to eat away at Ranold’s sanity. No longer the brilliant, lucd politician he once was, he sank into alcoholism and drugs, letting his government fall apart as he lay drunk in the streets of Duxchan. Needless to say, Ranold was cursed roundly by his own kin, and made a virtual pariah. The Suel Duxchaners were embarrassed and humiliaited, determined to have their revenge.

Their chance came during the Greyhawk Wars. Ranold had prepared to send the Lordship’s navy to support Nyrond and Irongate against Aerdy in Relmor Bay, but the fleets were never dispatched. Virtually overnight, the Scarlet Brotherhood had taken over the government, aided and abetted by the Duxchaners, who felt ties to the red-robed monks both in kinship and temperament.

A new noble, Prince Frolmar Ingerskatti, became the new lord. He withdrew his state from the Iron League, began displacing Oeridians in positions of authority and power in favor of loyal Suel, and literally threw Ranold to the sharks. Ingerskatti is now the bright hope of both the Scarlet Sign and the Suel of Duxchan, who yearn for vengeance upon the Sea Barons…

Society and Culture: Before the Greyhawk Wars, one could expect Islanders to be self-centered, uptight, and inward-looking, though they were not explicitly evil. Openly materialistic and selfish, the Lordship took pride in its ability to make coin off everything from spices to slaves, and its ability to act as an open market to all powers (except, of course, for the Sea Barons.) Human males, especially Sueloise, were those who dominated the positions of power in the realm, with only a small number of women and demihumans (usually elven or halfling) who carved out their own niches in the power structure. Slavery is both legal and commonplace.

Heritage was and is important to the Islanders-they can trace their ancestry back further than almost any other human people in the Flanaess, except, perhaps, for the Aerdi. An Islander could also trace which Sea Barons his ancestors had killed-feuds between particular Duxchaner and Sea Baron families have gone on for centuries in this way. Their affinity for family history also leads them to take a dim view of any landlubbers who come from the mainland. Every Islander child learns to swim and sail before the age of seven, and their parents scoff at any foreigners who do not.

Independent foreign pirates are welcomed and tolerated in Lordship ports, though they may not attack those ships who pay the government for safe passage through their waters. These pirates could enjoy some of the same rights and protections as the native citizens, so long as they had no truck with the Sea Barons. The enmity between the Lordship and the Sea Barons often spilled over into rivalries between the pirate gangs that both nations gave sanctuary to.

Before the arrival of the Scarlet Brotherhood, the ruling prince had powers that were almost absolute, though in practice princes gave their lords a great deal of attitude. A spider-web-shaped hierarchy of power delinated power from the prince down to his barons, who in turn had their own particular network of rules and authority for affairs within their own island. The prince controlled all military and economical affairs, while the barons handled judicial and religious matters on their own islands. However, the prince could override any of his barons if he saw fit, using both the power of his position and the sentiments of other lords to pressure dissidents into action.

Under the Scarlet Brotherhood, this power structure remains in place, though Brotherhjood sympathizers have entrenched themselves in the prince’s bureaucracy. The current prince, Frolmar Ingerskatti, still has the power and ability to influence government decisions, though ultimately the monks answer to the Father of Obedience on the Tilvanot Peninsula. The power structures of the Suel counts are being infiltrated by Brotherhood influence at an alarming rate, as well. Those realms and baronies controlled by Oeridians are not dealt with in this way-Ingerskatti usually deposes the Oeridian when he can, and then replaces the former noble with one of his Suel cronies.

Most common citizens do not seem to particularly mind the Scarlet influence-many of the Suel are willing to listen to the Brotherhood’s ideas of racial supremacy. The Lordship’s demihumans have been in a position of weakness long before the arrival of the Scarlet Sign, and those few elves and halflings wealthy enough to own their own plantations have curried favor with the Brotherhood any way they can. The large Suel population has made the Brotherhood’s entry into society relatively easy, and they are inclined to listen to the promises of their “kinfolk” with great interest. Conditions are mildly oppressive, but tolerate by the populace, because these are how they have always been to begin with.

Military Structure: The Lordship of the Isles has no land army worth speaking of-those units that existed were few and ill-trained. However, its navy is incredibly powerful, and naval experts across the Flanaess debate over whether it is the Lordship of the Isles or the Sea Barons that are now the Flanaess’s pre-eminent maritime power, with the fall of the Sea Princes. In any case, the navies of Keoland, Urnst, Nyrond, et al. are hopelessly outclassed by the Lordship, who cannot stand against it in the make of ships nor the training of crews.

Ruler: Prince Latmad Ranold was a large, hulking fellow with a short haircut and goatee, dressed in high-collar robes with gaudy bandanna designs that show off the nobility of his Duxchan line. With a cutlass in one hand and a falchion in the other, he was a fearsome opponent to behold, and even more so to fight. The styles of cutlass and falchion, thought different by most swordsmen, were flawlessly united by Ranold’s steady hands.

A loud, blustery bully, Ranold loved making long haranguing speeches at the top of his lungs, whether addressing his people or the other rulers of the Iron League. Blatantly and unabashedly nationalist, he took great pleasure in deriding the Sea Barons and their families, saying to all that would listen that their ancestry was crossed with swine. Any who challenged him were happily challenged by Ranold’s huge fists.

Ranold was seemingly able to drink an endless amount of grog and wine without any apparent ill effects, though he was known to hate ale. He also demonstrated a great acumen for business, proud of the investments he could make in almost any kind of commercial interest, which he used to collect expensive works of art, or to commission portraits of himself or his ancestors.

Prince Frolmar Ingerskatti is the epitome of the smooth-talking, affable, and generous politician. A white-blonde haired, middle-sized and thin fellow who is impeccably dressed in blue at all times, he strikes all who see him as having a veneer of charisma, authority, and knowledge. Not unlike Overking Xavener of Ahlissa, his winning smiles and friendly manner leave people knowing that he is manipulating them, and playing on their emotions, but at the same time making them enjoy it and feel natural feelings of friendship towards him.

In theory, the Scarlet Brotherhood and its hand-picked Sueloise operatives direct the realm, though Ingerskatti’s political acumen and charm give him far more influence over national affairs than his counterparts in the Hold of the Sea Princes. Even the monks in the scarlet robes find themselves won over by his honeyed words, and his nearly pure Sueloise background does nothing to discourage this.

Ingerskatti is not an evil man, being as willing to favor law or freedom, or good or evil as his needs and whims dictate. When making decrees on his own, or in conference with his lords, he always keeps three things in mind. The first is his own personality, wealth and status, which must remain known and respected for him to wield any authority. The second is his relation with the Scarlet Sign and the directions coming from Hesuel Ilshar, which he must always heed les he lose his head. Finally, there is the general welfare of the nation, which he has been working fervently to repair since the Greyhawk Wars.

Knowing full well that the Lordship’s reputation took a beating during the Greyhawk Wars, and that other nations tend to be suspicious of Islanders as a result, Ingerskatti’s main goal has been to restore the great maritime trade that the Lordship enjoyed while it served as a member of the Iron League. Its economy has benefited handsomely from trade with Greyhawk, the Principality of Ulek and Keoland, as well as its blockade of the Tilva Strait.

Foreign Relations: Before the Greyhawk Wars, the Lordship was much like Greyhawk in that it accepted all races, religions and coins, being more concerned with the bottom line than anything else on the international scene. Even before the arrival of the Brotherhood, the Lordship maintained a blockade of the Tilva Strait to extract tolls from ships passing through. Its only close allies were its fellow states of the Iron League, and to a lesser extent Nyrond. The Great Kingdom and Sea Barons were its worst enemies, though it had a fierce naval rivalry with the Sea Princes.

After the rise of the Scarlet Brotherhood, that power is now the Lordship’s only ally. It is now hated and loathed furiously by its former Iron League counterparts for its treachery during the Wars, with whom it now clashes. It is also no friend to Ahlissa, whose shipbuilding programs and trading networks threaten the Lordship’s own.

Before, above and beyond anyone else, however, the mortal enemy of the Lordship is the Sea Barons, something that remains unchanged under the Scarlet regime. Eternal enemies in war, diplomacy and commerce, the Islanders, particularly the pirate families of Duxchan, have always resented their second-class status to the Sea Barons in wealth and war.

Lendore Isle was a normal trading partner of the Lordship. Cordial relations persisted between the realms, but Lendore held no trust for its southern neighbor, preferring not to receive any visitors except merchants.

MEDEGIA, SEE OF

The clerical see of the Great Kingdom, Medegia was occupied by whichever religion held most favor with the Malachite Throne at any given time. Originally given to Pholtus, Medegia was reassigned to Zilchus by Overking Toran II. It was then given to Hextor by Ivid I after the Turmoil Between Crowns. Medegia was, in a way, the seat of the kingdom’s moral conscience; its morals, ethics and beliefs were a mirror of those held by the kingdom. As it went from law and good, to glory and profit, and finally to tyranny and evil, Medegia was like a miniature version of Aerdy as a whole, changing as the kingdom itself changed.

In the Greyhawk Wars, Medegia answered Ivid V’s call as did the rest of the kingdom, though it suffered the worst out of any part of Aerdy when the royal army’s command structure fell apart and the Great Kingdom collapsed into anarchy. Demolished and looted by renegade soldiers, the whole of the see was ruined, turned into a wilderness where anarchy ruled. Only bandit chiefs, humanoids, and ex-army officers rule over it now, but both Ahlissa and Rel Astra desire to reclaim its fertile fields…

Society and Culture: When under the rule of the church of Hextor, Medegia was the epitome of the Hextoran philosophy. The clergy of Hextor and its allies were the only group in the realm with any political power, their words being the only form of law and order. Underneath this protected class were the masses of peasants, craftsmen and merchants who were taxed almost bloodless by the clergy, who demanded money, carnal pleasure, and military service in return for their permitting the hapless commoners to live another day. Peasant rebellions were an annual event, always brutally crushed and ground beneath the iron heel of the tyrannical high priest of Hextor, who was the nominal ruler of the see.

Unless the whim of the clerics led them to enforce what passed for law in the hive of evil, the commoners had no legal protection whatsoever, even from each other. A man could murder his neighbors and seize their farms by force, and they would be considered his for as long as he could defend them, or until the Hextorians came to claim their share of his spoils. The ruling elites had no sympathy for those commoners who could not defend what was theirs, viewing the perpetual chaos among the lower classes as a way of weeding out the weak and allowing the strong to survive. Apart from the power afforded Hextorians, only might could make right in Medegia

Commoners who showed particular talent at combat and tyranny were recruited into the church, and thus automatically privileged to do whatever they wanted to their former compatriots. A true sense of hopelessness pervaded those commoners who could not leave their homes without the clergy’s permission, and their malaise was reflected in the general sulleness of the population as a whole. Adventurers who traveled to Medegia could count on being attacked by desperate peasants seeking food, gold, weapons, anything to help them live for another day. Often, heroes who would normally strike down such thieves would find that their opponents were simple peasants who had families at home, trying to acquire the strength they needed to survive. Sadly, few of them were ever able to get this.

Military Structure: The See’s order of knighthood is commonly known to be for sale as a status symbol to those wealthy enough to purchase it, and so they are viewed with utter contempt. The See did not rely on these “knights” to defend it anyway, as its well-drilled hobilars, goblin worg-riding cavalry, and medium foot were all capable professionals, if not able to be compared to the armies of Furyondy or the Great Kingdom as a whole. As one might expect, the army enjoyed heavy support from clerics and blackguards in the service of Hextor, creating a core force that is both fearsome and well-trained. Even Medegia’s levies were dangerous, as the commoners had to fight each other to survive.

Ruler: Spidasa, the Holy Censor of Medegia and the chief cleric of the Great Kingdom as a whole, appeared as a withered, white-bearded old man who appeared bent with age, his eyes sunk into the back of his squared head. These eyes, however, glowed with a red flame, the focal point of a tremendous aura of power and evil that radiated from his whole self. Despite his age, he was fully dressed in black armor, tainted with blood-red markings all over it. The four-headed flail he wielded was blessed by Hextor himself, the spiked heads turning into hydra heads covered in poisoned spines. Even the lightest strike from this weapon could be fatal, due to the lethality of the weapon’s venom.

Spidasa had a flair for reading and enjoying macabre poetry and plays, with dark, nihilistic themes. Often taking the stage himself, he would turn his ritual sacrifices to Hextor into improvised theater, which always ended with his flail feasting on his hapless victims. He also enjoyed playing the pipe organ, writing chilling tunes that matched his dark soul perfectly.

Foreign Relations: As part of the larger Great Kingdom, Medegia had the same relations with outside powers as did the kingdom as a whole. It got on well with Rauxes, North Province, and South Province, but it clashed both physically and politically with Rel Astra, a city that had grown more and more out of favor with the Naelax regime in Rauxes as time went on.

The See’s greatest enemy, however, was the dissident peoples of the Grandwood Forest, who constantly harassed and clashed with the troops of the Censor. It also ran into problems with the troops of Rel Astra or Rauxes, being led by the people of the Grandwood into clashing with its fellow imperial soldiers, who all the while seemed able to escape whatever plots Medegia wove against it.

"
 
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Re: Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Aerdy East, Part 2 (Score: 1)
by Tedra (tedra@cableone.net) on Fri, July 09, 2004
(User Info | Send a Message | Journal) http://myweb.cableone.net/tedra
I was very happy to see this second part posted so quickly after the first! I must say I have found myself referring quite often to your Addendums for information and ideas. You do excellent work, CSL.



Re: Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Aerdy East, Part 2 (Score: 1)
by mortellan on Sat, July 10, 2004
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Incredible detail. I loved the part about Spidasa the most, he just oozes evil!



Re: Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Aerdy East, Part 2 (Score: 1)
by Osmund-Davizid on Sun, August 01, 2004
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I'll second the above sentiments. Great series! As a whole, I liked best the details on each of the rulers (especially Spidasa). It's those little things that makes the world a lot more believable and interesting.

The series as a whole is a five rating from me. Terrific job!

O-D




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