Through Nyrond and on to Ratik...
Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Addendum: The Aerdy East, Part 3
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NYROND, KINGDOM OF
The mighty kingdom of Nyrond was the home of the Nehrond people, kin and blood-enemies of the Aerdi who settled the empire in the east. Formerly conquered by their evil kinsmen before being liberated, the Nehrond built their kingdom of Nyrond into a powerful force in the eastern Flanaess, allying with the southern states of the Iron League, former provinces of the Aerdi Empire, against the evil festering in the east.
For decades, Nyrond and the Iron League kept the Great Kingdom from spilling back into the central Flanaess, using both military force and subtle stealth to do so. Nyrond’s power continued to grow and expand, even as its Iron League allies prospered. It was in the 570s that Ivid V awarded his cousins, the Chelors, rulership of South Province, expressly commanding them to regain the Iron League states for the empire. In response, Nyrond and the Iron League states strengthened their alliance into the Golden League, a grand military alliance that promised to crush Aerdy once and for all. However, little came of these declarations-both rivals were worn out economically and emotionally.
Or so the Golden League thought. Ivid had been playing a complicated game of diplomacy in his empire ever since he gained the Malachite Throne, and in 583, with the Greyhawk Wars in full swing, the full might of Aerdy came like a hurricane upon the League, a murderous wave that crushed everything in its path.
Almor was smashed and ruined; Sunndi, Idee and Irongate were cut off from their allies by the Aerdi armies. The Scarlet Brotherhood’s underhanded diplomacy further weakened Idee and Onnwal, causing them to fall altogether, even as Irongate and Sunndi were engaged in the most desperate of straits.
Through all this, King Archbold had to throw anything and everything he could against the full force of his enemies, who had systematically destroyed the entire Iron League. Somehow, in some way, Nyrond managed to hold on long enough for the Aerdi force to fall apart and return home as its homeland erupted into chaos.
Nyrond had survived the wars, but at a horrifying cost. Tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians were dead. The treasury was empty, with substantial debts being owed to the Urnst states. Mages, craftsmen and nobles had all fled the carnage for easier lives in the west. Lords were in tax rebellion, and communication between the capital and outlying areas was ruined. Nyrond appeared ready to totally collapse.
King Archbold III somehow managed to hang on through all this, attempting to rebuild his shattered realm. He would not get the chance to try, however-he seemed to suffer a stroke. This was later discovered to be the result of a poisoning by Archbold’s younger son Prince Sewarndt, who attempted to seize the throne with a group of junior military officers. It was only just in time that Crown Prince Lynwerd was able to lead a force back to Rel Mord to save his father, who was bravely protected by the capital’s entire Heironean clergy.
Sewarndt and his cohorts vanished into the wilderness, leaving Archbold a bitter, broken man. He finally cracked under the strain of the war years, suffering a nervous breakdown. He abdicated in 586 CY in favor of his son, Lynwerd, who was subsequently crowned king.
Lynwerd’s first acts upon taking power were to seize the western half of Almor, re-align the command structure of his armies, and reduce taxes to pre-war levels. He also offered a bonus of one gold noble to every Nyrondal family, human or demihuman, who gave birth that year, hoping a baby boom would help restore his country’s population. Lastly, he re-organized Nyrond’s provinces in a way to reward those lords who had remained loyal to the Crown during Sewarndts’ rebellion, and provide increased revenue to the royal treasury.
Lynwerd has proven to be a highly intelligent man and decisive leader, and his successes are noted by all. However, problems with the people of the Celadon Forest, the seizing of Nyrond’s northern lands by the Pale, and the strange affliction which struck Lynwerd’s betrothed, Xenia Sallivarian-have all taken their toll on the young king. He also sees his citizens starving, his roads in ruins, and general society still severely disrupted. Nonetheless, he fights for his people’s future every day, and continues to press on, hoping against hope that his homeland can survive…
Society and Culture: Unlike the western kingdoms of Furyondy and Keoland, where the nobles wield a certain amount of power over the king, Nyrond is a fully centralized monarchy that emphasizes royal supremacy. The various nobles have control over little more than local affairs within their own realms, as the Crown has the authority to override any and all of their decisions, if such is deemed necessary. The nobles’ main function is to serve as the executors of the king’s decisions, and to maintain contact between the outlying areas and the central bureaucracy in Rel Mord, where all the business of government is held.
The king, in theory, wields absolute power-he can strip any of his nobles of their titles and lands at will, and override the decisions of any of his ministers-though in practice he needs the support of his ministers in making most day-to-day decisions. This privy council has human and demihuman representatives from all reaches of the kingdom, and they are the ones who (in theory) act as the voices of their region’s nobles to the king. Again, actual practice is somewhat different-the ministers consider things in a national rather than regional perspective when working with the king.
Nyrond has no official discrimination in its laws, though some people bear a dislike for elves that stems from conflicts between Nyrond and the elves or Celadon and Gamboge Forests. Foreigners of Urnst or Aerdi descent are also subject to harassment and discrimination in certain places as well. Human and dwarven men have a noted advantage in social status here over women and other races, something that only changes slowly.
Slavery is illegal in Nyrond, at least as it applies to the enslavement of demihumans and most humans. The specific exception to this rule are the Aerdi, who can and are still kept as slaves by the Nyrondese bourgeois. Men are used for physical labor, while women are used as pleasure and (along with children) as kitchen or stable help. In an otherwise wretched Nyrondal economy, there has been a boom in the Aerdi slave markets. Many invading soldiers have remained as prisoners of war, while Nyrondal soldiers coming back from combat at the front brought back civilians as prisoners.
The people of Nyrond are a varied lot. Some are quite friendly and open, while others are disdainful of foreigners in the same way as are certain Furyonds. All retain a strong affiliation with family (a cultural trait inherited from Suel peoples long ago assimilated into the predominately Oeridian society), which extends across provincial and even racial lines to all neighbors. Man has come together with dwarf, and gnome has joined with halfling in an attempt to rebuild the badly damaged kingdom. They also accept those that prove themselves with hard work and dedication, and foreigners who show a genuine desire to join into Nyrondese society are happily accepted by long-established citizens, without any of the exclusionary traits inherent in other realms.
All of the above applies to those traveling to post-war Nyrond, though the people are very bitter about their loss, and their anger at the Aerdi is even more entrenched than before. They are also unfriendly to Urnstmen, as the nations to the west still hold Nyrond’s debts around its neck like a heavy chain, some believe in retaliation for Nyrond’s own heavy-handed diplomacy from before the Wars. The people will still retain their zeal and optimism, and adventurers who fight for them and for the betterment of Nyrondal society will win the acclaim and lasting gratitude of the citizens.
Military Structure: Before the Wars, Nyrond’s army was superior to both those of Furyondy and Keoland, but its strength and power has greatly diminished due to the incredible demands in money and manpower demanded of it by the Greyhawk Wars. Those peasant levies that survived have all returned home, and the elven scouting regiments of Woodverge and Flinthill have quit in protest over Nyrondal mistreatment of the people of the Celadon Forest.
The navy is now no match for that of the Lordship of the Isles, and has run into one difficulty after another in patrolling the nation’s coasts in search of pirates and smugglers. The men and gnomes who worked as siege operators and engineers have had to be dismissed, for the Crown cannot yet afford to keep them on its payroll.
Of those forces that remain, Nyrond’s heavy cavalry remain the core of her forces, with medium foot, archers, and light hillman infantry rounding it out. All of these are well-trained and disciplined, but supplies and equipment are a continual source of stress. Bandits rob supply caravans, communication between the capital and outlying districts is fraught with problems, and the Pale’s forces continue to occupy Nyrond’s northern lands.
Ruler: King Archbold III was known as a good man and a strong leader, if somewhat overbearing and boastful. Deeply proud of his heritage, he took pains to decorate his court with frescoes and murals depicting the many victories of his ancestors. While skilled with a blade, he preferred to wield a heavy flail in battle, simply to distinguish himself from his sword-wielding bodyguards.
Archbold’s quick, terse manner often irritated foreign diplomats, especially those from Urnst and the Pale, though his endless energy and ability to keep a hectic schedule won him the admiration and respect of his nobles and ministers. If anything, government control became even more centralized in the persona of the king under his rule. Archbold insisted on personally examining every document, every order, every manifest, and every proclamation, before he would ever allow them to be released to the public. In his spare time, he greatly enjoyed playing chess and other board games with his sister, though she usually beat him.
Those who meet Archbold after his abdication will encounter a sad, pitiful shell of the great figure he used to be. He wonders whether all his hard work, all his vigor and determination were for nothing, as the kingdom he loved so deeply seems to be falling apart at the seams. He almost appears in public anymore, preferring to remain at his private estate in Rel Mord, and rarely receives visitors, except for his son Lynwerd.
King Lynwerd is a man who has the energy and talent of his father, as well as his ability to make quick decisions that usually turn out to be right. Shorter than his father, with thicker, slightly darker hair, Lynwerd is a surprisingly kind and gentle man, surprising many who expect to have to deal with the same brashness and hard manners of his father. Although blessed with great power and authority, he has little personal need for it, freely reducing his own personal expenses and those of his court to divert all-important resources to the treasury.
Lynwerd is a good man who cares for his people, though since his beloved Xenia fell into a coma, he has become grim and joyless. More than once, he has pushed himself too hard for his own good, and nearly had a nervous breakdown because of it. He can rebound from stress very well, though it makes his nerves standing on edge with those descended from Aerdy or Urnst, and priests of Pholtus, the god whose soldiers are occupying his northern lands. Against these people, he is likely to lose his temper and order the unfortunates thrown out of his court.
Foreign Relations: Nyrond was well thought of by Greyhawk, Keoland, the Ulek states, Tenh, Almor, and the Iron League states, though all these realms learned to step warily when dealing with the powerful state. Nyrond was a generally benevolent power on the international scene, though it never hesitated to use its clout and strength to get its way in matters of diplomacy and trade. Almor, Onnwal, and Irongate were all, to varying degrees, also nervous about the Nyrondese troops in their lands, fearing that they would act as agents of Nyrond’s heavy-handed diplomacy.
This diplomacy made for chill relations with the Urnst states. Although technically allies, Nyrond and the Urnst states still harbor the memory of certain conflicts from previous centuries, though the kindly people of the County are inclined to show more charity to their eastern neighbors than they would otherwise. The nervousness previously expressed for Nyrondese troops by Irongate and Onnwal wile have changed to gratitude after the Wars, for these soldiers are said to be the primary protection of those realms from hostile powers like Ahlissa or the Scarlet Brotherhood.
Nyrond was the mortal enemy of the Great Kingdom before the Wars, and feels much the same way towards the newly formed Great Kingdom of Northern Aerdy, called “North Kingdom” for short. While Ahlissa and its new overking still evoke no trust from Niole Dra, Lynwerd sees access to the vast treasure vaults of House Darmen as critical to his country’s economic recovery. Thus he has allowed trade to go between the two former enemies, though many in both kingdoms protested this act. Nyrond is fortunate that contact with its other allies remains strong, and they all send as much aid as they can.
The situation between Nyrond and the Theocracy of the Pale could explode into all-out war, something the kingdom could ill afford at this point. After sending some of its forces north to attack Tenh, the Pale send another army south into northern Nyrond, battling and defeating the kingdom’s forces in that territory. The Pale’s troops continue to occupy the northern land, and are already claiming it for their country. This land is still disputed and certainly not lost to the theocracy, though the weakened kingdom can ill afford a major struggle at this point.
Finally, Nyrond retains an alliance with the gnomes of the eastern Flinty Hills, even though these still claim their independence from the kingdom. The gnomes of the western hills are pledged to the Crown, and are deeply worried that the Pale will choose them as its next target for an attack. They desperately seek aid, though Lynwerd has been able to send little more than food and blankets.
ONNWAL, FREE STATE OF
The Free State of Onnwal has never been a great power in the Flanaess, content to offer financial and naval support to the military powers of the Iron and Golden Leagues. Known for its relative modesty and lack of desire for international attention, Onnwal was regarded by most as a friendly power, if sleeping and introverted, a realm that could always be counted on to fulfil its obligations, willing to take a secondary role in the League’s affairs.
The free state’s isolated position and lack of humanoids and raiders within its borders made an excellent place for those seeking peace and retirement, but could not travel to Highfolk or Veluna to find it. Its riches also made it a valued trading partner to all except the Aerdi lands. While its land armies were poor, its marines were of very good quality.
None of this helped, however, when the forces of the Great Kingdom invaded here like in so many other places. Its armies passed through the Headlands to attack, and its hamlets and villages were ruined, put to the sword by Scant. At the same time, the Scarlet Brotherhood had upset the government and attacked with its bloodthirsty southern savages, who ravaged the realm, finding more determined resistance from its fellow invaders than the native defenders.
When all was said and done, the Scarlet savages and Aerdi knights had been driven away, but they left a ruin in their wake. The national road system, as well as almost every hamlet and settlement besides Scant, was smashed and wrecked. Szek Ewerd Destron had been slain, and his young son and heir Jian had much work to do in trying to rebuild the realm, made more difficult by the animosity of the renegade enemy units that remained, and the problems suffered by the other Iron League states. Ravaged and beaten, it was only through the intervention of Irongate that Onnwal was not seized by Ahlissa. The tiny realm’s fortunes are indeed grim…
Society and Culture: The people of Onnwal have always been known as quiet, friendly, and retiring, if not particularly worldly or interested in affairs beyond their own hometowns. They were decent but dull, as many people described them. Its main contributions to the Iron League were funding from its rich platinum and gem deposits, as well as its friendly relations with the nomadic Flan that roamed the Headlands. These latter folk were welcome as fellow citizens by their Oeridian and Sueloise fellows, though they paid no taxes and had no representation in government. Punishment for crimes was very harsh, both by the government and the people as a whole, who hated lawlessness and chaos. Most people never went more than a week’s march from their hometowns, usually going to Scant and then returning home again. The people of Onnwal stressed conformity, and had little tolerance for dissidents and radicals in their midst Adventurers were usually distrusted and unwelcome anywhere except Scant.
Almost all the power of the realm was centered in the szek and his bureaucracy. Few other nobles except the lords mayor of the towns and villages existed, simply because there was not much more power to be shared. Mining and commercial interests had influence at court, though even then they had to heed the szek’s wishes, lest they be cut off from the rich mineral trade and agriculture that Onnwal offered.
Women and demihumans had equal social status in Onnwal, though most of the people who ran the government were still human and dwarven males. Slavery was rendered illegal in Onnnwal decades ago, and even those who hold poorer people in harsh working conditions (like certain mine owners, for instance) receive both political and social sanction.
Military Structure: Onnwal’s small force of regulars was decent but unimpressive, and its levies poorly trained and coordinated. Its navy was superior to that of Nyrond, but still second-rate compared to Irongate and the Lordship of the Isles. The Iron League did not rely on Onnwal or its people to lead the bulk of the attack.
Where the free state did the greatest good was to contribute siege engineers, technical expertise, and food and wealth to the more powerful nations. While the people of Irongate were greater pure craftsmen, the people of Onnwal had the greatest technical ability in design. These particulars reflect the abilities of dwarves and gnomes, respiectively, and both realms were comparable to their demihuman counterparts in laws and social structure.
Ruler: Szek Ewerd Destron was known for his regal, austere manner, more befitting the king of a major power like Nyrond or Furyondy than the ruler of a small free state. Considered snobbish by some, he was certainly able to muster the wits, airs and behavior of the grand nobles he liked to emulate, though he never had the contempt for the lower classes that most noblemen exhibit. He was also very loquacious, able to sound like he knew what he was talking about on almost any subject, often giving rousing speeches to his guests from other realms. This, compared with his high-handed and imperious manner, made most people dislike him intensely.
A master swordsman, Destron favored the greatsword over any other blade, and viewed axes, maces, spears and other such weapons as crude instruments, fit only for the lower classes. He loved military parades, pomp and circumstance, even if his forces could never match those of the great powers. Interested in athletics and riding competitions, he was a passionate student of the military history of all parts of the Flanaess.
Szek Jian Destron, Ewerd’s son and the ruler in modern times, is considerably more genial and friendly than his dislikable father. While he shares his father’s passion for the military, he is much more realistic about his realm’s powers and abilities. As such, he is always reaching out to others, low- or high-born, to assist him and offer their advice. His willingness to listen to his people makes him popular, though it seems that sometimes he is desperate to seek the approval of others, and prove, mostly to himself, that his confidence in his abilities is justified, which leaves some of his supporters uncertain.
A noted workaholic, Jian uses the gifts for sword and speech he inherited from his father to inspire his people, and he does a considerably better job of it than Ewerd. However, he is noted for lacking the strength of perseonality that his father had. While it made the elder Destron unpopular, it also marked him as a man of decisiveness and initiative. The ravaged people of Onnwal still support Jian, though many are uncertain about his ability to rescue his nation from its current crisis. He is putting forth a sincere effort, however, so most people seem willing to trust him for now.
Foreign Relations: Outside of the Great Kingdom, Onnwal never had any major enemies before the Greyhawk Wars. Its closest allies were, of course, its fellow Iron League states, though it carried on trade with most of the other mercantile powers of the Flanaess. This network of alliances made it difficult for any particular trading partner to deal with Onnwal unfairly, as the others would take exception to any negative treatment of this valued ally. The same holds true after the Wars as well, with the exceptions below.
After the Greyhawk Wars, Onnwal is the enemy of the Scarlet Brotherhood, obviously. It also distrusts Ahlissa, as soldiers from the former South Province were the ones to nearly tear the country apart. Still, like all the other Iron League states, Onnwal is trading with the United Kingdom, because the simple
need to recover its fortunes demands it.
Above all else, however, Onnwal fears the Orcish Empire of the Pomarj, which is directly to the west. Should Turrosh Mak ever build up a strong navy, it is quite likely that he could take the rich lands of Onnwal with a minimum of fuss. Onnwal’s navy remains strong, but should this fall, the rest of the realm would follow swiftly.
RATIK, ARCHBARONY OF
Before the Wars, the Archbarony of Ratik was one of the few remaining provinces of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy. Despite the mad and tyrannical regime in Rauxes, Ratik was always a loyal client state, even though it became much more goodly in its laws and outlook as time went on. While paying taxes to Rauxes and serving loyally, it was also strongly allied to the Sueloise Frost Barbarians of the north, whose respect they had won through hard combat. Ratik was alos closely tied to its southern neighbor, the Bone March, the only other Aerdi province to avoid the horrific moral decay that afflicted the other imperial provinces.
When the humanoid hordes destroyed Bone March in 563 CY, Ratik was able to prevent itself suffering a similar fate, though it could not save its sister realm. No help from Rauxes was forthcoming-the court at Rauxes did not approve of the social changes taking place within the Archbarony. Grenell, the Herzog of North Province, also used his considerable influence at court to prevent aid from being sent, for he was no friend to his northern neighbors.
An armed truce existed for over a decade, with the humanoids occupying Bone March and attempting to invade Ratik, which defended itself with help from the Frost Barbarians. Ratik could protect itself, but it could not free Bone March from the humanoid marauders that occupied it. Attempts to convince the Snow and Ice Barbarians to help the Ratikkans against their enemies proved fruitless.
Bone March’s expatriate citizens took Ratik as their new home, and its nobles soon joined the aristocracy of the archbarony. Alain, son to Archbaron Lexnol and heir to the throne of Ratik, married Lady Evaleigh, the daughter of Count Dunstan of Knurl, the last surviving major noble of Bone March. He strongly encouraged his new in-laws to re-take his old homeland, something that would happen all too soon.
When the Greyhawk Wars came, the humanoid chiefs were caught up in war with one another. Ratik took the opportunity to invade the northern part of the March and attempt to re-take it, supported by its exiled citizens. This alliance was successful in re-capturing the northern half of the realm, including the central cities of Spinecastle and Johnsport.
However, one great catastrophe afflicted Ratik-Alain was apparently slain by gnolls in the initial attack on Spinecastle, thrown from his horse and eaten alive. When he heard of his son’s fate, Archbaron Lexnol collapsed, and developed a severe palsy that left him confined to bed. Left unable to rule, Evaleigh was declared the new Archbaroness, even as her father was made the provisional Marquis of Bone March.
Evaleigh’s first act was to declare her realm’s independence from Rauxes, as the Great Kingdom tore itself apart. She then set about trying to help re-organize and re-build Bone March, while at the same time trying to win over the trust of her suspicious and cynical citizens. Evaleigh’s slowness to act and indecisiveness has made the demihuman and barbarian allies of Ratik suspicious and uncooperative, even as her own people accuse her of being a puppet of her father, wanting a native lord to take the throne. The realm is at peace, though it suffers from much social unrest…
Society and Culture: Ratik’s culture was originally one of toughness and strength; only those who could cut it in the harsh climes of the north were viewed as worthy of harvesting the realm’s riches and having a prominent place in society. Decisiveness, strength, and hard work were considered principal virtues, and disputes were more usually solved with fists and swords than in courts of law. Men who were insulted would attempt to claim vengeance against their offenders, women would send their fathers, husbands, or brothers as champions to avenge them. The honor and status of each man and his family was also very important. Home and family life was patriarchal, with women considered fit only to care for the home and raise children. The dwarves and gnomes of the surrounding mountains were viewed as the humans’ best friends.
A noble house was in control of the realm in a classic feudal model, with an archbaron acting as its head. The richest and strongest landowners acted as aristocracy. Each of these lords was head of an extended clan, and these clans made up the population of Ratik as a whole. Feuds between single men could extend to whole branches of two different families, and it was up to impartial third parties to end conflicts before they got out of hand.
These clans held no official power, though they exercised great influence on national politics through the opinions and whims of their members. Each clan was represented on the Council of Great Lords, which also had dwarves representing their people. Other races did not (and do not) receive any voice on this council. The council was (and is) considered the voice of the people, that can override the authority of the archbaron if he (or she) is deemed to be making bad decisions. In extremis, it can even, in theory, remove the archbaron from power, though this has never actually been done.
Over time, however, these attitudes changed. Being strong of arm and will remained important, as did the belief that only “worthy” people could have a position of power in society, but soon more emphasis was placed on honesty and honor, with loyalty to a man’s extended family becoming more important than individual status.
The attitudes towards women and weaker members of society changed as well-women demanded and were given greater powers in society-each gender now had important roles where it reigned supreme, not unlike gnomish society. Weaker members of society were viewed as being protected by all. Although they could not hope to become dominant members of the community, they were protected and treated well by all-any who picked on them were severely punished. Dwarves and gnomes have much the same attitudes as their human kinsmen-among these three peoples, race is of little matter, though the same does not apply to halflings and elves.
It was also much easier for these weaker people to gain strength-once they had all the necessary qualities, they were accepted as full and loyal members of society. Halflings and elves, formerly mistreated and shunned by the old regime, were now accepted by their human and dwarven neighbors, if not loved, and received much better treatment than before.
The kinshp groups remained, and they still feuded, but new conventions and social expectations were developed that kept the bloodshed to a minimum, even as legal justice, dispensed by clan leaders, gained authority. In short, Ratik became more open and compassionate to its weaker citizens, while still maintaining the rough character it needed to survive in the hostile north.
Two traits has always remained the same, however-Ratik’s distrust of outsiders, and its insistence on keeping traditions and old laws alive. The citizens of the dwarf and gnome holds of the surrounding mountains, the Frost Barbarians, and Bone March are regarded as equals by Ratikkans, but all others will receive cold treatment until they prove their might and ability in word and deed. Even people of friendly realms must still prove themselves to the more narrow-minded Ratikkans. However, once a Ratikkan accepts an outsider as a friend, he will keep his friendship and loyalty to the death. The old system of government described above remains as it always has.
In adhering to old traditions, certain Aerdi customs are kept alive, although modernized-women cannot hold official positions of authority if there is a male heir that can take their place, for instance. However, modern custom adds that if no male heir exists, the woman may stay in power. This explains why Lady Evaleigh remains in power, even though most people would prefer to see a native, and male, noble take power.
Military Structure: Ratik’s military power is good, consisting mostly of light contingents of human spearmen, slingers and crossbow archers that are well-adapted to fight on any type of rough terrain, in any type of weather. The only cavalry is light, and is the weakest part of an otherwise impressive force. strong,
The demihuman forces consist of well-trained heavy dwarf and gnome foot wielding mace, axe, and shield. High-quality siege engineers and the rare giant badger cavalry were also provided by the gnomes in times of urgency. These forces cannot be matched either by Ratilk’s humanoid enemies to the south or barbarian allies and enemies to the north.
Ratik’s navy is comparable to that of Urnst in quality-good enough to perform its stated purposes (guarding against most pirates and sea monsters) but it could not defend against a sea invasion by the Sea Barons or Ice Barbarians. Consisting of only about twenty ships and naval siege equipment at Marner to defend the city from naval attackers, Ratik’s navy can in no way be compared to that of the great southern sea powers.
Ruler: Archbaron Lexnol was a huge beast of a man, who kept his thick black hair and beard cropped short, though wild and uncombed. His fierce, weatherbeaten face spoke of a man who had seen a hundred fights and never been bested, and his stride was of a man at home both in the wilderness and in his noble court. With his glaring black eyes and scowling face, he looked like a fierce old grizzly bear, though those who knew him best could always see the lights of compassion beneath the gruff demeanor.
Lexnol was a man who encouraged the social changes his nation underwent during his reign, and practiced what he preached. Strong, hard-edged, and distrustful of outsiders, Lexnol was still warm-hearted towards those he called friend, protective of those who could not protect themselves, and honorable to a fault. Never known to lie, Lexnol’s up-front and honest way of speaking won him the respect of all who he met, especially his own people. It also gave him an edge in dealing with foreigners.
Lexnol was more open-minded towards others than were most of his people, and professed a genuine interest in other cultures and beliefs, something that won him the respect of his neighbors. It was this that allowed him to make his critical alliance with the Frost Barbarians that strengthened his position against the humanoids to the south.
Lexnol was close friends with King Ralff of the Frost Barbarians, and held Count Dunstan in contempt, seeing him as the lily-livered coward he truly is. He did not have much respect for his daughter-in-law Evaleigh either, who he considered flighty and foolish, a poor match for his son. While he disapproved of their marriage, Lexnol still respected his son’s choices. While he was decisive in making policy decisions, he hated the thought of preventing others from making their own decisions about their own lives.
Arcbaroness Evaleigh is a slim young woman with long, silky brown hair and an agreeable cream-and-white complexion. Despite being very short, barely over five feet, few men can resist her charms. Evaleigh takes pleasure in asserting her femininity, keeping her hair long and her hips curved, a tactic meant to put men at ease or off-guard. She also uses winks and grins to win them over. When she needs to deal with women, Evaleigh uses her natural skills as a conversationalist and diplomat to win their trust.
Winning the trust of her people has proven very difficult-Evaleigh is seen as someone who will use her charms and charisma to get what she wants, without giving serious thought to the consequences of her actions, or the welfare of those affected by her decisions. She has exhibited little of the honor and force of personality that endears Ratikkan leaders to their citizens, trying to effect compromise and consensus in a realm that typically respects single decisions and strong leadership.
This has been a source of stress for Evaleigh-she truly wants to do good for her adopted people, to honor the memory of her husband. It has been a constant struggle for her to adapt herself to what her people want, and it seems at times that she does not want the stresses of ruling a nation-she is there only out of a sense of duty and honor to her husband, and not out of any sincere desire to be there. It may be that Evaleigh is more like her people than either of them believe-her honesty and good heart are reflections of their own, though she seems to lack the strength needed to win them over. Despite her unpopularity, she works hard at her job, and has the support of a small minority of citizens, especially the realm’s elves and halflings, who had a difficult time even under Lexnol.
Foreign Relations: Ratik had good, if distant, relations with the rest of the Great Kingdom before the Greyhawk Wars, except for Bone March and North Province. It was close friends and allies with the former, and bitter enemies with the latter. After the wars, it will be the enemy of Northern Aerdy, and Overking Grenell’s desire for Ratik’s lands has become all too obvious. When Bone March is re-established, the two realms will rekindle their close alliance. Ratik has a similar cordial relationship with most of the independent dwarf and gnome lords surrounding it, who reflect its national attitudes. It is, however, enemies with certain evil dwarf clans in the Griffs.
When it comes to the Suel barbarians of the north, Ratik is close friends and allies with the Frost Barbarians, with the citizens of both realms holding each other in the highest of esteem, trading and intermarrying constantly. Relations are essentially neutral with the Snow Barbarians, and nearly hostile with the Ice Barbarians, for the seafaring Cruski constantly use their fearsome longships to raid and plunder the archbarony. These relations are the same at any time before or after the Wars.
Ratik trades with Rel Astra and the Sea Barons, though it has little regard for either realm. These nations reply in kind, and independent Sea Baron pirates still harass Ratikkan shipping. Otherwise, Ratik is netural to all other nations, keeping normal trading and diplomatic relations.