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The Greyhawk Travel Guide, Part I
Posted on Tue, August 24, 2004 by Farcluun
CruelSummerLord writes "How often has the daily life of the Flanaess been examined? The minutiae of politics? The ways that the various professions interact with the world around them? Matters of sanitation? Wealth? Magic and the wilderness?

The Greyhawk Travel Guide, Part I
By: CruelSummerLord
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.


A Guide to both the Adventuring and Sedentary Sides of Life

Many aspects of life in the Flanaess are well-covered by established canon, and adventurers and chroniclers alike can find help therein when dealing with matters of high adventure or deadly political intrigue. However, what has not been covered are the daily aspects of life in the Flanaess. Taken for granted that the Flanaess is set in a “medieval” era, most chroniclers would assume that the standard conditions described in the history books of the “real” world will apply to Oerth.

Assuming such is all well and good, but others may wish to add original details to their descriptions, and in talking about what goes on. This article may or may not be fully accurate in describing all the details of Flanaess life as decided by particular chroniclers. Even if not all its details are used, however, it should be able to fill in those blanks while chroniclers may not think of themselves.

Finally, some additional commentary should be made on both this article and the Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum dispatches: They are only generalizations, and cannot hope to explain everything in one fell swoop. There is racism and violence in Furyondy and Urnst, just as there can be compassion and friendship in a place like Aerdy or the Scarlet Brotherhood. The daily life of a noble in Keoland, while sharing many characteristics with his fellow in Irongate, will nonetheless have its own unique quirks. Two groups of Oeridian peoples, while having the same basic social ideas, have their own degrees, shades, and variations that put a distinct touch on them. In short, if these writings are used, chroniclers should try and keep in mind how they all mesh together, and select the application that suits them best.


-Daily Life

Life of the People
-The life of the rural peasant
-The life of the city-dweller
-The life of the noble
-Sanitation and hygiene
-Social particulars of the Flan
-Social particulars of the Oeridians
-Social particulars of the Suel
-Social particulars of the Baklunish
-Religious life
-Holidays and feast-days
-Law and order
-Justice and retribution
-The definition of wealth among varied societies
-Tavern Llfe
-The place of adventurers in society
-The intricacies of government, and the blending of good and evil
-Corruption, crime, and other illegal dealings
-Women in the adventuring life

The Subtleties of Class and Profession

Magic and Technology
-Wizards and clerics, and their relations with the common people
-How common is magic?
-The limits of technology: What can and cannot be done
-The futility of firearms
-Agriculture and industry

-The granting of priestly spells
-The afterlife
-The gods and Oerth

Travel and the wilderness
-Travel across the Flanaess
-Friendly or hostile reception?
-Roughing it in the adventuring life
-Wilderness groups: Nomads, bandits, and others

The Daily Life of the Farmer

The daily life of the peasant farmer (and all those who have similar rural pursuits, such as miners and wood-cutters) usually consists of nothing but toil and sweat from dawn to dusk, except upon Godsday and Freeday. The men typically work at whatever labor they are occupied in, while women cook and clean the households, take care of the children, and perform other domestic tasks. Physically frail men and hearty women can, of course, swap these tasks. The children will, in any case, typically engage in horseplay and games that are typical for their age.

These poor folk usually live in easily constructed, but not very defendable, homes; these may take a variety of forms, from log cabins and tree-houses, to houses build of stone, timber or thatched wood, or even communal lodges that can house many families at once. Water is typically gathered from nearby ponds, streams and rivers, while food is purchased, given out by feudal lords, or grown by the people themselves. Rather than being paid for in coin, these resources are typically traded or bartered for by the farmer’s produce.

Peasants can own their own land (in chaotic and/or more democratic societies, such as the Yeomanry) or, more usually, rent it from petty nobles, acting as tenants. The lords will collect their produce, giving them back enough to generally live on, and usually protecting them from ravaging bandits and goblins. How peasants are treated by their lords will vary; the nobles in goodly societies generally have an impromptu social contract with their tenants that requires fair and humane treatment on the part of these lords. Evil societies have no such restrictions, and as such peasants generally tend to be the subject of much more abuse. Serfdom may be imposed even in goodly lands; but in any case, the social conditions generally remain the same, except that evil societies treat their serfs even worse. Free peasants may or may not own weapons-some more lawful societies may forbid their peasants to own swords, maces, or other general combat weapons, though they may move around freely.

A rural peasant generally sees few coins other than a few dozen copper or silver pieces at any given time, for barter is the general form of economy and trade. When they attempt to pay for goods and services, they must typically do so in produce. Those few coins that peasants have in their pockets are typically taken as tax or tithe, though kings and churches will happily accept valuable produce if funds are lacking. As such, peasants generally remain poor, and most have little hope of ever acquiring real wealth. Entertainment generally consists of festivals and parties, replete with contests in drinking, singing, or crafting. Singing, dancing, and gossiping are the general non-competitive activities, and the populations of several villages will often come together for larger fairs.

Wandering circus performers, minstrels and bards, or other traveling entertainers also ply their trade at these gatherings. These gatherings generally occur on Freeday, though some festive gods, such as Olidammara, will have them on Godsday as well. The typical hazards faced by peasants are roving parties of bandits and humanoids, who attempt to seize wealth, produce, and slaves from their ill-gotten raids. Oppressive kings and barons will also use their own soldiers to terrorize their people into submission. Some monsters such as ankhegs or giant beetles will also pose the occasional hazard. Patrols or adventurers are usually sent to deal with these bothers. In addition, most villages generally have roads, or at least dirt-tracks, leading to the main highways of the state, to allow for their protectors to quickly reach them. Few villages are established in remote and out-of-the-way areas, for these are the hiding places of raiders and monsters.

The Daily Life of the City-Dweller

The city-dweller can be a farm laborer, though more usually he is involved in some sort of industry in his city proper-a blacksmith, a wheelwright, weaver, potter, or some other type of craftsman. Others act as innkeepers, coopers, dock workers, city watchmen, and so forth. These people are either self-employed, running a business they own themselves, or have wealthy backers who take a percentage of their profits in return for support in getting the businesses started.

Lower-class businessmen usually dwell in large stone or wooden houses that serve as both places of business and home. The front part of these buildings will be where business is conducted, and where customers are dealt with. The rear section of the building consists of a kitchen, latrine, and one or two bedrooms, where the family is generally expected to live. Wealthier folk may have places of residence separate from their businesses, though only the most well-off folk can afford to pay for two buildings at once. Poorer folk might live in large communal homes that are shared by multiple families. They would all have separate businesses in this case, though they pool their resources to pay for their homes. Depending on the nature of the business, men and women can alternately serve as caregivers or business operators, though women are generally not found in occupations requiring great physical strength. Like their rural counterparts, they too must work from sunrise to sunset.

People who live in a city are subject to all its laws, and must respond to the burgomaster, lord mayor, or whoever else is charged with administering the city. They must also pay taxes according to the rates set not only by the ruler of the city, but the authorities who rule whatever state they belong to, if any. They will, quite obviously, have much more coin than their rural counterparts, and generally are not allowed to pay taxes with trade goods. How city-dwellers are treated will vary-some may enjoy a relative amount of freedom, while others are forced to toil under difficult living conditions in hot, crowded slums.

Social activities concentrate around the tavern and the market-place. The former is a fine place to relax after work, and also to spend some extra silver. Neighborhood taverns tend to be the gathering place for all the people within a certain area, and they are the place that people will gather news, discuss politics, and make other decisions. Town assemblies and meetings are held there, as well. As for marketplaces, they are another area to gossip and visit, and it is here that a city-dweller’s wife or older children will purchase the food, water, and other things that are brought in from rural villages. The cities cannot obtain most resources on their own, and so are dependent on the rural people to bring in trade goods for them to purchase.

The dangers in a city usually come from its inhabitants-bands of drunks or thugs can make travel through dark alleys hazardous. Robbers, burglars, and assassins are persistent dangers in all but the most peaceful cities. Young toughs can simply initiate streets fights with each other, and anyone caught in the middle. City guard and watchmen are marshaled to deal with these threats, while soldiers garrisoned within the city will act to protect it from large parties of determined invaders. Finally, certain monsters can dwell in the sewers of large cities like Greyhawk or Dyvers, and these can pose a rare but very real threat to the unwary.

The Daily Life of the Noble

Nobles, as one might expect, have a considerably easier life than their poorer counterparts. Whether their status is as a result of wealth, social rank, or both, the nobleman generally enjoys much more leisure time, relying on paid employees to do all the grunt work in running their businesses. Whether the possessors of hereditary titles, or simply wealthy folk who have made vast fortunes for themselves, nobles are the ones who control the wealth in any given country and sponsor poorer folk to be able to do their jobs.

Nobles are typically engaged in hunting, jousting, reading, taking part in the performing arts, or attending church in their free time. While their children usually spend all their time doing these activities, having no need to work, the rest of a noble’s time is usually spent reviewing his books, writing correspondence, handling the affairs of whatever political office he serves in. While they have leisure time and much comfort, nobles are often found working hard and stressful jobs, in order to keep their opulent lifestyles intact.

The homes of nobles vary widely-from grand palaces and mansions, to rural estates, to even simple country homes that are very well defended. Eccentrics may dwell in specially constructed dungeons, castles with bizarre designs, or even among their peasant tenants, if they are especially unhinged. Few of them would, however, ever deign to live in a simple lower or middle-class house the kind their employees must dwell in.

It is a remarkable quirk, however, to find many nobles taking up the adventuring life to earn a living. Some famous retired adventurers have been known to build castles and recruit followers, before ingratiating themselves into the social structure of whatever state they pledge to. Aristocrats who lose their fortune through some unforeseen catastrophe may take up the adventuring life in an attempt to restore their fortunes. The younger children of wealthy families, who may inherit very little from their parents’ estates, may take up the trade in order to earn their own fortunes, or simply to earn glory for their family name.

Even if they live in democratic states, like the Yeomanry, it is still common to find the wealthy elite holding political positions: acting as provincial administrators, ambassadors to foreign lands, commanding armies, or serving as part of a government bureaucracy. In return for this work, they are granted tax relief, government recognition of their titles, patronage appointments for their friends, additional wealth and clout, government contracts, etc. Nobles will also often have private farming, trading and banking concerns of their own. Depending on their general alignment, and the laws of their country, they are either cold and indifferent, vicious and cruel, or kindly and generous to the people who dwell on their lands.

The social pastimes of the wealthy elites take the form of huge galas and parties, where the participants try to outdo each other in battles of wit, diplomacy, or swordplay. Much vicious gossip is exchanged here, and a spider web of social intrigue is present even in the most benign of lands, such as that of Veluna. It is always of the highest importance that one should improve his social status, protect his pride, and avoid leaving insults unanswered. Gentlemen will fight duels with one another, and gentlewomen will sign on champions, to deal with whatever insults they may suffer.

The darker side of social noble life leads to debauched parties, where the children of the nobility will engage in the most decadent games, taking part in activities that are never mentioned in polite society. These young rakes are able to engage in these pastimes due to their nearly unlimited sources of income, and also due to the legal protection their parents can get for them if they do cause some sort of scandal.

The dangers of being noble are many. One could be killed in a duel, whether accidentally or on purpose; they could have their reputations ruined by the worst slander; they may be murdered or kidnapped for their money; they are almost always the target of vicious thieves; and they are no less vulnerable to the many magical hazards in society than are their social inferiors. While it is true that there are many nobles who live up to the image of gallant chivalry presented in folk-tales, it should be said that others who fall into absolute wealth and power will suffer all the corruption that comes with it.

Sanitation and Hygiene

People, even in a “medieval” setting, have enough common sense to groom themselves and bathe at least once a week; so the possibility of disease and infection is thus greatly diminished. Even the poor can have a quick dip in a local pond or horse-trough, using homemade soaps or herbs to clean themselves up. The wealthy will, of course, have their own personal heated bathtubs and saunas to clean themselves up in. Rural people are more likely to be clean than city people, though even the poorest street urchin is able to use a rain barrel to clean himself in once a week or so, if there is no other means available to him. Almost everyone can be counted on to be able to keep their teeth clean, even if they must turn to the clerics who work among the poor to help them.

In other worlds and at other times, one has noted how people will throw their sewage and waste products into the very same rivers and lakes they rely on for drinking water. Thankfully, no one in the Flanaess-man, dwarf, orc or giant, good or evil, magical or mundane-is stupid enough to do this. In fact, this is the one universal characteristic all the races and peoples of the Flanaess share. Even the crude, unwashed orcs and goblins will not foul their own nests-each and every race, large and small, has found various ways to dispose of their waste rather than throw it into the nearest water supply. As a result, people have little to fear from drinking natural water of any kind.

In the cities, this is a bigger problem, though even then garbage is usually disposed of in some other way than tossing it off the pier. Whether used to make fertilizer or dyes, waste is always safely disposed of. Furthermore, all clerics can cast spells to purify food and water, regardless of how powerful they are or who they work with. Thus, even the poorest bum has little to fear from the diseases and parasites that might otherwise infect his food and water.

Social particulars of the Flan

The Flan, as one may expect, use many ceremonies and rituals in their social activities. The ritual exchanging of gifts, punches, or pipe-smoking are all commonplace and acceptable customs, and are often used to mark the beginnings and ends of a social gathering. In between, song and dance, using either old or new styles of music, is done with a ritualistic intent; they often serve to mark the passage of a child into adulthood, to thank the gods for a fruitful hunt or harvest, or to stir up the famous Flan battle-frenzy before a battle, to name but a few functions.

The telling of oral tales is very important to the Flan, and indeed their elders are renowned for being able to recite tales word for word, even though they may have heard them long ago. These stories can sound similar to Oeridian or Sueloise myths, involving particular creatures or characters, but they always involve the natural world in one way or another.

When dealing with other peoples, the Flan are famous for attempting to incorporate any other rituals and greetings that people may use into their own ceremonies. Certain groups, particularly the more isolated, nomadic groups, may also refuse to deal with outsiders unless they agree to perform the ceremonies the Flan demand of them. Once they do, however, these Flan are quite happy to deal with them as they would their own people.

Social particulars of the Oeridians

The Oeridians have their own song and dance ceremonies, but these are rarely used for anything other than festive purposes, eschewing the religious significance they have for the Flan. The rites of passage that ceremonies mark for the Flan are commemorated in different ways; for instance, one may mark a young man or woman’s eighteenth birthday with a large feast or party, or simply engage in straightforward prayers to their gods in thanks for a fruitful harvest or battle victory.

Not being particularly fond of myths and tales, the Oeridians prefer to write down all their moral lessons in straightforward book form-the reader is instructed specifically and to the point, without wasting time trying to discover what the author is trying to tell them through allegory and allusion. Their plays, artwork, and heroic epics are all noteworthy, but are not nearly as famous as those of the Suel, the dwarves, or the elves.

Oeridians tend to work hard and play hard, reflecting their fighting character. Some groups pour out their aggressive energy in team sports, at which they are known to excel. Others will engage in fistfights with each other on the open streets, being both quick to anger and quick to forgive their kinsmen. Passion comes into their disputes and discussions quite readily, as it does among the dwarves. Unlike the dwarves, however, some groups succeed in tempering their passion with their reason quite admirably.

It is among the Oeridians that personal honor is most important. A man’s reputation can be very important to him, and if it is soiled, he will take great pains to restore it. The Oeridians are very proud of the personal stature and heritage, and do not appreciate either one being dragged through the mud.

Social Particulars of the Suel

The Sueloise might be considered the most “artistic” of the peoples of the Flanaess, for they place a great value on the visual and performing arts-painting, sculpture, music, dance, etc. Depending on where this takes place, these might be widely varied-tap dancing in Urnst and Sunndi, as opposed to the elaborate ballroom-type favored by the nobles of South Province, or Ahlissa. A pointillist school might carry the day in the Lordship of the Isles, while a realist or neo-realist type is famous in Keoland. One’s skill at their chosen artistic craft could go far to determine how popular and accepted they are by their peers, even if these are not artistically inclined themselves.

The Suel are also famous for their emphasis on academic learning. A man may earn great social status in primarily Oeridian lands if he is a powerful athlete, but it is the wizard and the academic who are truly respected in Sueloise circles. Those who cannot become highly educated are often scorned by the more elitist of their peers, and teased and abused, not with insults and fists, but with word games and puns.

The Sueloise also have a greater cohesiveness as a race than do the other peoples of the Flanaess. Even the people of Sunndi or the Lordship of the Isles can have some friendly interaction with the barbarians of the distant Thillonrian Peninsula, although their cultures and moralities may be completely different. On the other side of the coin, racial hatreds between the Sueloise can be far worse than among other races, in a similar fashion to the dwarves-the Sueloise of the Sea Barons get on better with their Aerdi neighbors on the Solnor Coast, as opposed to their Sueloise neighbors to the north or south.

Social Particulars of the Baklunish

The Baklunish do not practice the large-scale ceremonies and festivals used by the Flan, but they do observe many small taboos and rituals that would seem trivial to any other observer. For instance, they will enter a house with the right foot forward (to avoid offending spirits that are said to live in the house) and avoid cursing the weather (since the weather is thought to be determined by the gods, and any criticizing of their work gravely offends them). Outsiders in Baklunish lands have often made the most embarrassing and offending gaffes to their hosts by not honoring these customs.

The Baklunish are, along with the dwarves, the most tradition-bound of all the Flanaess peoples. Their taboos, their use of Ancient Baklunish in certain functions, their twice-daily prayers, and the household study of religious and philosophical texts are all done to honor their ancestors, and the people who originally created these traditions. Baklunish who travel into foreign lands are often astounded by the lack of these traditions in other societies (save for certain Flan peoples), and are left thinking that these peoples’ ancestors are very angry at them all the time.

Curses and angry shouting are almost unheard of in purely Baklunish settings. Those easterners who observe the high functions of state in Ekbir, Zeif, or any other Baklunish realm will find that everything is conducted with the utmost politeness. It is believed among the Baklunish that being able to outwit your opponents in debates, or trap him with words, is a better way to conduct business than by simply resorting to loud, angry shouting. Even two viziers who might be trying to assassinate each other will always remain cordial and even friendly to one another, though each knows of the other’s murderous intentions.

Religious Life

The gods are very real in the Flanaess, and their agents are active at all levels of society. Powerful clerics may be the leaders of their faith in a particular country, or famous adventurers, while others spend their whole lives working in the slums of a city or in an outlying village, ministering to the poor and serving both as healer and spiritual adviser.

Most non-clerical humans express their religion most fervently on Godsday, when they travel to churches and temples to worship. Otherwise, they may offer prayers when engaged in activities related to their god’s areas of control, and try to live according to the god’s tenets, but otherwise give little attention to such matters.

Demihumans almost exclusively worship the gods of their own pantheons, as well as those human gods who are accepted by their deities as well. Ulaa, for instance, is respected by Moradin as an ally, so it is commonplace and acceptable for dwarves to worship her. Otherwise, demihumans who do not worship “their” deities are subject to social sanctions and punishment, in the same way that are dwarves who willingly take up the arts of human wizardry.

Humans do not worry so much about these details, and worship the deities of other peoples and races freely. Some clerics will admonish those of their own people who do not worship the “correct” gods, but are quite willing all the same to accept converts from other races.

Every god has their own rituals, duties and ceremonies to be performed, which they expect their clerics to adhere to. However, as many of these tasks tend to tie down adventuring clerics, these people are excused from the routine duties of a temple, and are free to travel, so long as they tithe a goodly part of their income to the church. They should also seek out converts if necessary, though only certain deities, such as Pholtus and St. Cuthbert, are engaged in aggressively trying to do this. Even their adventuring clerics are given some leeway in these matters.

Religion is not a be-all and end-all thing; the gods are not actively involved in their worshippers’ affairs, as are the gods of Faerun on Toril, for instance. While there is commonly accepted canon for each god, different churches can have strikingly different interpretations of these tenets, and accordingly different behavior. One need only look at the Dark Light cult of Dimre (evil), the One True Path of the Pale (neutral), and the Blinding Light (good) cults, all of whom serve Pholtus, but all interpret the same holy books and scriptures differently. And yet, the god seems to grant spells freely to all these people, punishing them only if they violate his edicts as interpreted by their church. What might be acceptable to a Dark Light cleric, for example, would be blasphemous to one of the One True Path, who would be stripped of his spells as a punishment.

Evil faiths can also be tolerated in good areas, as they might serve constructive purposes to the community: Priests of Nerull might conduct death rites and funerals, contact the spirits of the dead on behalf of their loved ones, act as avengers for the dead, or be undertakers. Syrul's followers could be used by governments or political groups to spread rumours and lies about their enemies. Incabulos's clerics could sell poisons and antidotes, treat the diseased and dispose of plague victims. Hextorians could make valuable war leaders under the right circumstances. Vecna's followers could keep or give secrets, or provide secrecy for those who need it. Pyremius’s followers may sell poisons or treat poison victims, and act as food tasters for the wealthy and paranoid. And, of course, they can perform marriages, do healings, give blessings, and all the other niceties clerics do.

Not every evil cleric is bent on hellish schemes to destroy or rule the world; those members of evil faiths who operate in goodly lands generally tend to be more restrained in their behaviour and have less overtly evil dogma and interpretation of their deity’s purposes and teachings. All these evil clerics will accept donations from those who wish to propitiate their vile deities, as well. When people suffer from nightmares, death, or any other “evil” aspects of life worshipped by the evil gods of the Flanaess, they may donate to the evil priesthood in return for some sort of treatment, or for the clerics to pray to the evil deity on their behalf so that the problems may be lessened or even ended.

Goodly clerics can have these variations as well. Some less militiant followers of Trithereon may work with a government to protect the common people against abuse, as they do in Sunndi. Some followers of Hieroneous might view the lowly peasants with contempt. Cuthbertines beat those bad influences on the people they try and keep on the straight and narrow road of good as opposed to the people themsleves. Followers of Hieroneous or Ulaa, who would always treat human and dwarven women and children with gentle kindness might have no qualms about slaughtering orc or goblin women and children.

Holidays and feast-days

Every country celebrates Godsday, the fourth day of the week, which is given as a day for all people to worship whatever gods they choose. Those of no particular religious persuasion, such as atheists, or those whose god has to do with a particular trade (such as Zilchus in commerce, Xerbo in sailing and ocean business, Kurell in thieving, etc.) will usually spend this day working as they would any other, out of apathy for the gods or the belief that they are venerating their deity by carrying on in activities he or she is concerned with, respectively. For all others, varying temple services are conducted, and once these are finished, people will generally go to rest, do menial household tasks, or engage in quiet research and reading.

Freeday is a day of rest. All tradesmen, government workers, farmers, and others take this day to rest and relax from the week’s labors, and very little work gets done. Even clerics take this time for themselves, as even the most devoted minister to the poor needs to relax in order to avoid burning out. The obvious exception to this day of rest, of course, are innkeepers and barmaids, who are kept awake into the small hours of the morning servicing customers. Freeday is inevitably the best day for all tavern owners across the Flanaess, and barmaids love it more than any other, for it is also when customers tend to drink the most, and thus become much more generous when tipping.

The four feast-days of Needfest, Growfest, Richfest, and Brewfest are all important in their own ways. Apart from offering a welcome excuse for people to dance and party, the feast days are also used for ceremonial purposes

Growfest, for instance, is generally celebrated by farmers and others who follow agricultural or nature deities. Druids view it as the holiest night of the year. City folk usually take it as a time to engage in some revelry, but they do not celebrate it with the intensity that their country-dwelling kin do. A few fairs might be held, but otherwise this is the least important holiday to city-dwellers.

Richfest is the time to celebrate the greatness of the year’s crops, but also serves a variety of other symbolic functions for differing nations. It is at this time, for instance that the Pale celebrates Emancipation Day, the day they were released from Nyrond’s short-lived empire. Geoff used it as one of the most ceremonial times of the year to relive the old Flan traditions of their ancestors, and prayed to the Flan gods in particular for their continued blessing and protection. Elves celebrate Richfest as a time to celebrate nature and all its blessings, as opposed to Growfest, where they pray for the continued favor of the deities of nature. Orcs and goblins love Richfest, as it takes place in the height of the campaign season, and raids are generally at their worst this time of year. The humanoids and giants, when they gain enough loot and treasure, will celebrate in their own feasts, which are usually orgies of drunkenness and violence.

Brewfest is the time that all farmers gather their crops and store them for the winter, and people begin to bunk down in anticipation of deep snows. Whereas Richfest has many meanings to many people, Brewfest instead offers a wide variety of activities and ways of celebration. Everything from the Feast of Fools in Greyhawk to the Overking’s Benevolence in Ahlissa (also celebrated in the Great Kingdom-a day where the Overking grants one silver penny from his own personal treasury to all those poor who travel to pay homage to him, and also buys the poor people food for the celebration, in addition to letting his own personal retinue of clerics treat them) are noted. Dwarves enjoy this holiday most of all, for to them it is the time when the last merchant caravans head back to or come from the human and gnome cities, which always brings a hoard of coin for the dwarven lords. The Baklunish nomads celebrate this time with elaborate sacrificial ceremonies, dances to welcome the winter and pray that it will show mercy on them, and various competitions, including tiger-wrestling and running barefoot races.

Needfest is the New Year celebration. Although other holidays have greater favor among certain peoples, Needfest is the most popular in the Flanaess as a whole. Any and every people, regardless of race or alignment, celebrate this day, in the wildest and weirdest ways possible. Dwarfs and orcs alike eat and drink to excess; the Tenha, Geoffites, and other Flan peoples perform their most elaborate dances, powwows, and ceremonies; elves engage in solemn prayer; all the gnomes of a given region gather together in parties resembling vast family reunions; the Furyonds engage in mock battles and fights in recognition of their proud military history, and so forth.

Other different holidays are recognized at different times, but these are strictly on a local or national basis; only the ones mentioned above are celebrated across the Flanaess. And it should be noted that, even at this time, evil nations such as the Aerdy states, the Horned Empire, and the Scarlet Brotherhood can have their own peaceful and friendly parties and festivals, though in some cases these will have much more horrifying ceremonies (such as the ghoulish Bloodmoon Night, celebrated by the Horned Empire every Coldeven 13).
Law and Order

The actual intent, letter and spirit of various societies varies widely, and so it is impossible to give more than a few broad generalizations in this setting. However, one can note the overall trends among both humans and demihumans, in addition to the various distinctions offered by national character and alignment:

Obviously, such crimes as theft, arson, rape, and murder are considered felonies no matter where one goes. Egalitarian countries obviously tend to prosecute the guilty involved in these crimes to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of the criminal’s wealth or social status, although racial and gender distinctions may still play a part. Countries that have a clear distinction between nobility and commoners generally tend to treat nobles more lightly than the common folk, forcing them to pay heavy fines rather than face jail time, execution, or maiming. Of course, in some realms, the nobles can do whatever they like to the commoners, and it is the latter that are prosecuted for a crime if they retaliate…

A trial can be carried out in different ways. Lawful countries will have many courthouses set up for these very purposes, and may even be divided according to who they try-city guilds, the nobility, the commoners, demihumans, etc. Chaotic countries may choose to eschew the courts and carry out their own form of justice, whether through communal discussion or as a vigilante mob, even in rare cases executing those adventurers or servants that fail or displease them. The nomadic Flan societies often have elders mediate the discussion, with the community then ordering restitution of some sort, or exile in the most serious cases. Elves act in the same way, while halflings vote as a community on how to punish offenders, and whether they are guilty or innocent. Gnomes have private meetings between the victim and the offender, while dwarves have lengthy and long-established legal traditions that often culminate in execution, or the shearing of the offender’s beard.

Sadly, distinctions between man and woman, noble and commoner, and human and demihuman are prevalent almost everywhere, although egalitarian countries severely curtail them. In short, women are generally tried more lightly and judged more leniently than men, and may be sent to work as cloth-workers or scullery maids. They may also be afforded fewer legal rights than men in general, or be considered the ward or even the property of their husband.

Nobles are often permitted to do things that peasants and serfs are not-several lands forbid commoners from owning such weapons as swords, spears, maces, and so forth. They may also hunt more freely than peasants, who must often make do with their own farm stock. Nobles are often treated more leniently for certain crimes, and allowed to pay fines rather than serve jail time. If they assault commoners, restitution is more usually paid to the victim’s community and/or the noble controlling it. If the situation is reversed, the sentence is usually a heavy jail sentence.

In cases where certain demihumans are favored by the law, such as humans in Dyvers or dwarves in the Principality of Ulek, they may also receive lighter treatment than those races who are not so fortunate. They may also be given freer reign in cities, and be allowed to go about without bonding their weapons or having to pay full taxes on their wealth and goods. For those who are not so fortunate, such as dwarves in Celene or elves in Gran March, the situation is reversed-they may be subject to police harassment, higher taxes and prices in shops, and more trouble with officials.

Any special protections afforded by the law, however, are null and void when one is tried for the most serious of offenses, that threaten the basis of the state. Counterfeiting, sedition and treason, assassination, the smuggling of contraband, and belonging to a banned cult are all grounds for the harshest punishment possible, regardless of who one is, except in the rarest of cases. Even the influence of a powerful ally may not be enough to send someone to jail for the rest of their lives, or to have them lose a hand, an eye, or even their head…
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Re: The Greyhawk Travel Guide, Part I (Score: 1)
by Tedra ( on Tue, August 24, 2004
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I spy with my little eye, another excellent series on it's way by CSL. ;)

Re: The Greyhawk Travel Guide, Part I (Score: 1)
by mortellan on Tue, August 24, 2004
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Marvellous research and writing, I can't wait for part 2.

Re: The Greyhawk Travel Guide, Part I (Score: 1)
by cwslyclgh on Tue, August 24, 2004
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nice, well thought out and written. good job :)

Re: The Greyhawk Travel Guide, Part I (Score: 1)
by Kirt on Wed, August 25, 2004
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Agree with this or not (and I think, after I read it, I will have a lot of both), this deserves a 5 out of 5 just for its ambition and scope.


Re: The Greyhawk Travel Guide, Part I (Score: 1)
by AntStiller on Thu, August 26, 2004
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Amazing! Thank you so much for your work ... your timing is impeccable. :)

Re: The Greyhawk Travel Guide, Part I (Score: 1)
by botch on Thu, August 26, 2004
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great piece of work!

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