The Crown Provinces of Furyondy
Date: Fri, August 19, 2005
Topic: Greyhawk Gazetteer
In Chendl, the County of Crystalreach and the Barony of Willip, King Artur of Furyondy holds sway. These are the Crown Provinces of Furyondy and each displays a unique character. None is more unique perhaps that the Barony of Willip, particularly the City of Willip. Rising to the challenge of Dyvers and the City of Greyhawk, Willip is home to a new elan, a new style of knight and a new culture that has the potential to transform both Furyondy and the Flanaess.
Visit the great Chendl Listfaire. Fight beside the ferocious Crystalreachers. Dare accept the cavalier challenge of a Knight of Willip, but only if you imagine your wit is as sharp as your blade. A Furyondy of adventures you never dreamed awaits!
The Crown Provinces of Furyondy
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
The Crown Provinces of Furyondy - A Brief Descripton
The Crown Provinces refers to those three domains controlled by the King of Furyondy. Each is directly tributary, owing fealty, to the King. These are Fairwain Province, dominated by the capital of Furyondy - Chendl, the County of Crystalreach, ancestral home of King Artur, and the Barony of Willip, title to which is invested in the royal heir, the Dauphin.
Fairwain Province and Chendl
Chendl is the capital of Furyondy and it dominates Fairwain Province. Heavily damaged in the Greyhawk Wars, no expense has been spared by King Artur in restoring Chendl. Always a planned city, Chendl is now less so because the destruction during the Wars was random and of varying intensity. The rebuilding effort has, as a consequence, given the city something more of a character than it previously had possessed.
Nicknamed the City of Light and the White City, Chendl has strict building codes that require all public and other large buildings to be made of white marble. The walls of the city are likewise covered in decorative white marble, overlaying granite blocks. Every house must be freshly painted white each year above any second story. Roofs may only be made of white or gray slate. The result is a bright, airy city that gleams in the sun.
Boulevards are wide and tree lined. Secondary streets are also wider than are normally to be found in the Flanaess. Alleys are more like the alcoves of a great mansion than the dim, grimy mazeworks found in similarly sized metropolises. The effect is an unavoidable lifting of spirits. While Chendl has its share of crime and poverty, it is of an altogether different mein. There is no general squalor in a thieves or slum quarter. That is reserved for the faubourg.
As a planned city, Chendl has done poorly in accommodating population growth inside its walls. The answer has been the creation of a faubourg outside those walls. Before the Greyhawk Wars, the Fauborg had the character of any largish city of the Flanaess, except that it lay outside the white walls of Chendl proper. The Wars, however, saw the almost complete destruction of the old Faubourg. The new Faubourg is a rough and tumble, hodgepodge of construction. Ramshackle dwellings predominate in a maze of small passages, allies and a few rutted and guttered streets barely worthy of the name. King Artur has engaged in a major public works project to return the Faubourg to a more reputable and respectable mein but the going has been slow. In only a few areas is the old burgher style returning.
Beyond the Faubourg, Fairwain province is lovely in its pastoral splendor. Resplendent in all seasons, it has a lyric beauty. Practically, its farms are sufficient to provide for itself, Chendl and the Faubourg. Each fall, the Chendl Listefaire brings thousands of visitors to the province for the grandest tourney and fair in all Furyondy, ensuring Chendl a economic vitality it might otherwise lack. The damage of the Wars is now all but vanished in the countryside. Fairwain Province is Furyondy’s crown and Chendl the greatest jewel set therein.
The County of Crystalreach
Before assuming the throne of Furyondy, Artur was Count of Crystalreach. Upon taking the throne, Artur maintained his former county as a tributary title to the crown. As the King’s personal holding, Crystalreach gives Artur an economic and military base that all prior King’s of Furyondy did not enjoy. This is not lost of the general populace. When Artur speaks of unity, he is speaking not merely as King but as a significant landholder as well. This is in addition to the fact that Crystalreach is the chief front against Iuz, not some more protected domain.
In the wars with Iuz, Crystalreach has been repeatedly a battle ground. This has played havoc with the economy and infrastructure, destroying each and forcing an almost constant process of rebuilding and fortification. If there is an upside to this course of events, it is that the people of the Crystalreach are beyond veterans. They fight with hard won skill but also with a ferocity that can border on the savage. Any noble with thoughts of rebellion against Artur must pause and consider such an opposition force. Artur commands the personal loyalty a military trained by resistence to Iuz and successful against the Old One, and but for these stalwarts, others, now protected by them, would have the pleasure of direct conflict with Iuz’s forces.
The populace of Crystalreach is entirely devoted Artur as Count and as much as King. Not a stay at home leader, Artur leads from the front. In major engagements, it was not uncommon to see Count Artur riding along the front lines directing the course of battle or swept up within it, sword carving a bloody brand into Iuz’ formations. Though more reserved as King of Furyondy, Artur will still take the field and is always accompanied by his Knights of Fury. The effect on the yeomen and peasants of Crystalreach cannot be underestimated. They fight with a morale befitting knights. No Crystalreach unit has ever broken in combat and fled.
When not fighting Iuz, the County of Crystalreach is reasonably prosperous for its northern clime. Given the opportunity, the County is agriculturally self-sufficient but, in recent history, has had to import foodstuffs because of the near constant fighting. The terrain is generally flat with widely separated copses of trees. These latter are something of an obsession; maintained in a meticulous fashion, they serve as infantry redoubts and archery platforms that the Reachers use to advantage when Iuz crosses the Veng. They are much fortification as wild life preserves that ensure game for noble hunts.
The County seat is in Grabford, which is home to the largest fishing fleet on Lake Whyestil. Barons hold Mortsen, Moatshield, Fendrelan and Herldarn in a tight alliance of forces. Two Viscounties, Gullkeep and Terlisean, deserve special mention. Gullkeep is a naval fortress with a fortified harbor that serves as the linchpin of the Northern Line of Crockport, Gullkeep and Grabford that secures the Whyestil shore. Terlisean controls the strategic Terlisean Bridge over the Crystal River, the only crossing of significance between Herechel and Brancast.
Mention should also be made of the castle at Greatwall. A bastion against which Iuz’s forces broke in waves during the late Wars, Artur is refurbishing and expanding Greatwall as the eventual home of the Knights of Fury. Construction is ongoing with completion not likely for several more years.
The Barony of Willip
A virtual palatinate state during prior years, the Barony of Willip has been kept by King Artur, in the aftermath of the Furyondian Civil War, as a royal possession to be vested in the crown heir, the Dauphin. Home and fleet headquarters of the Furyondian navy, the decision to hold the Barony of Willip to the crown is not without merit for it gives the king more effective control of royal forces. The decision is also not without controversy. The royal acquisition of the Barony of Willip is seen as naked acquisitiveness, out of character with Artur’s pronouncements of a new Furyondy. Such comments are, however, muted somewhat by Artur’s enlightened administration and significant spending in the fief.
Artur and Lady Calthene have yet to publically acknowledge having produced an heir, although rumors of as many as three children circulate. The Barony of Willip is thus ruled by Artur from Chendl. In practice, however, the Barony has enjoyed virtually no royal commands that have adversely impacted traditional freedoms. Rather, the Lord Mayor of Willip, the Viscount of Herechel and the Lords of Keristen, Sendrift, Walthain and Dianrift have seen generous royal patronage. This combination has earned Artur a more than grudging respect but at the cost of an expectation of continued special treatment. The true test of Willip’s loyalties will, of course, come when a Dauphin is invested as Baron.
The City of Willip, proper, has blossomed in Artur’s reign. The royal navy, heavily damaged during the Wars and Belvor’s subsequent campaigns, has been more than rebuilt. Artur has seen the Arsenal expanded, refurbished and transformed into a direct projection of royal power in the East. In turn, this has helped propel the local economy. The Lord Mayor has been quick to seize the opportunity presented.
Long a poor relation of Dyvers and the City of Greyhawk, Willip is now challenging these ancient seats of commerce and civilization. Willip is a fast rising commercial power, not the least because of comparatively little fear of pirates thanks to the resurgent Furyondian navy’s quick response to trouble. Favorable taxes and tariffs are, as well, transforming the City of Willip into the gateway to Furyondy, displacing Stalmaer and Libernen not entirely unintentionally and not entirely without resistence.
The greatest boom and boon to the City of Willip is, however, in its patronage of the arts. Theaters, opera houses, concert halls and art galleries, both public and private, are common. The level of culture in the City of Willip is arguably the highest in the Flanaess, with new works being regularly produced to high acclaim both within Furyondy and the greater Flanaess. So great is the attraction of easy patronage from the upper levels of Furyondian society that the City of Willip is attracting many newcomers from Dyvers and even the City of Greyhawk. While most of these are lesser lights, some boast significant talents and reputations that proceed them.
A society is forming in Willip that is martial in the feudal sense but refined and educated unlike anything the Flanaess has yet seen. The term the local nobility and gentry have coined is cavalier society, to be distinguished from the commonly understood society of knights and cavalier chivalry as a particularly educated variety of chivalry. The contrast in styles is most readily upon display at tourneys when the southern knights of the Duchy of the Reach stand side by side with the cavalier knights of Willip. Both are stylish, flashy and most puissant, but the styles and flash are of different sorts, with the cavalier knights being more understated, witty and urbane while the Duke’s knights of the Reach are suave, gallant, and clever to a fault. The rivalry between the two groups is intense but friendly and marked by not a little mutual respect. Other knights are forced to better themselves and adapt lest they be but an afterthought when the Reachers and Willipts enter the room, to say nothing of when together they lay on. Even the Knights of Fury must work to keep up when Knights of the Reach and those of Willip set to upstaging each other.
An interesting third player in this contest of wits, skill and courtesy are a growing number of elven knights who are coming to Furyondy, many late of Prince Brightflame’s service. Something of the style of the southerners and the easterners and their rivalry is attractive to these elven knights, who seem equally amused and intrigued by the mannered goings on. The Reachers and Willipts for their part are for the refined company, particularly as the elves can in all ways keep up and give a good account of themselves.
While still developing and evolving, of this new society two things may be surely said. It is neither dull nor boring. The chivalrous and swashbuckling exploits of the flowering of knighthood in Furyondy gives constant inspiration to bards, poets, storytellers and playrights. A vital circle is thus created that is quickening all levels of society in the land.