One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
I've got an old writeup of the Red Kingdom I did years ago. Again, not sure if it'd be useful but someone might find it interesting.
(Gilen, Kingdom of)
His Noble Grace, Regent, The Red Duke (for King Aindor II)
Capitol: Gilendel (pop. 19,300)
Demi-Humans: Dark Creepers (total number unknown, but high), Dwarves (few), Gnomes ( uncommon), Red Elves (14,000 +), Thri-kreen.
Humanoids: Ogres(many): Common, Magi, Oni, Wang-liang, Xvarts (many), Orcs, Hobgoblins, Goblins, Bugbears, Gnolls (none to few).
Resources: cloth, gems, spices, iron.
Gilen is a large, semi-settled country protected by the southern extents of the Enllave Mountians. It marks the eastern-most extent of the civilized lands of the Tarquis Gulf, but its people are distinct from those of the city-states further west. While Gilen covers a great area on a map, much of that land is arid or semi-arid grassland, supporting only small villages or nomadic tribesmen.
The official ruler of Gilen is King Aindor II. King Aindor II, however, disappeared over two-hundred and fifty years ago while on a hunting trip into the eastern mountains, and his advisor, the mysterious Red Duke, was appointed regent in his absence. Since then, just enough rumors & leads have surfaced to keep the search for the missing king alive, and the Red Duke (who displays no visible sign of age or infirmity) in charge of the country.
The forces of the Red Kingdom (as Gilen is often called) are primarily light cavalry and light infantry, though the hill tribes contribute a goodly number of slingmen.
THE RED KINGDOM: HISTORY
The lands of the An-Gilen River were settled over two thousand years ago by a refugee tribe from the east. Sharp featured, with red hair and pale skin, the tribesmen were unlike any of the native westerners.
Establishing themselves in the great valley between two low mountain ranges, the Gileni, as they came to be called, slowly civilized themselves, learning from the more advanced peoples of the west, and the nomadic tribes to their east. Eventually, a nation formed.
Ruled by an elite priesthood, this young realm watched the swift disintegration of the western city-states before the attacks of pirates and primitives, and was covetious of the sqaundered treasures. Raiding parties into the western lands became more common as the ever-adaptable Gileni utilized the hit-and-run tactics of the eastern nomads of the Enllaves to seize magic, treasure, and lore from the weakened westerners.
As the western, coastal, cities weakened, so the Gileni priests and their power grew. Their theocracy ruled halfway to the sea in the west, and south to the great mountains that walled off the coastal barbarians. They grew infatuated with their power, paying less and less credit to the deities by whose grace they had effected this progress, granting themselves the glory.
Eleven hundred years ago, this kingdom ended. The gods, no less vengeful or practical than their people, cursed the priests and those who followed them, twisting their bodies and cursing their souls. Overnight, fully one-half the population of the prideful realm disappeared.
Recovery came slowly. Western rulers spied an opportunity, and gleefully reclaimed all they had lost, and demanded tribute. Eastern nomads, ever fickle in their loyalties, raided regularly, even weekly, into the empty lands.
Four hundred years ago, a young man came to power in one of the old tribes. Under his direction, his tribe subdued others, forging alliances and treaties, and reclaiming what had been lost. At the height of his power, Gilendel was founded, a secure, protected seat from which to govern the nascent Kingdom of Gilen. Under the first king, Vayu, roads were begun and fortifications planned. His son, Aindor I, completed and expanded them, and planned more. Aqueducts were built, from the mountains to the arid plains, increasing the arable land and feeding the people, for the first time in many years, without raiding and warfare. King Rydu organized the Atrus Cair, the windwizards, to secure the kingdom from the terrifying desert storms that swept in from the east, and the soaking monsoons that came from the west.
Later kings continued this tradition, and the reigns of Vayu II and the Meirons (I & II), came to be known as the golden era of Gileni prosperity. With the assistance of the few gnomish clans in the area, the Gileni rediscovered the secrets of smithing steel, commanding the market. Spices from the southern plains found favor with the coastal cities, as did the rare gems of the region.
In the thirty-third year of his reign, King Merion II expired in his sleep. As was the tradition, priests of Linil were consulted, and they indicated that the ruler of the Gileni pantheon had called Merion to his final rest, and that to resurrect him would incur the disfavor of the gods. And so, Merion's son Aindor was crowned Aindor the Second.
Aindor made few changes to his father's advisors and consultants, most notably, the appointment of his own personal advisor, the mysterious Red Duke, to the post of First of Seven, the advisory council to the king. Still, the charm and forthright nature of the Red Duke won him favor among all members of the Seven, not to mention lower-ranked nobles and court followers.
Ten months later, Aindor II made a visit to the eastern mountain holding of a minor lord, ostensibly to review the readiness of the troops, though the fine appearance of the lord's eldest daughter had a hand in the affair too. Several days into the visit, the lord and Aindor departed on a hunting party into the mountains in search of a young linnorm rumored to be lairing thereabouts. Four days later, the hunt leader and three of his assistants returned.
Their tale, confused and garbled, spoke of an ambush by magical forces, capture, and separation from the king and the lord. Special care had been taken, it was noted, not to harm either of the nobles, though most of the party was slain after several days, and the huntsman and his comrades survived only through the most daring of feats. Search parties turned up traces of a large force, nearly 100 strong, in the area, but these unaccountable disappeared near a deep canyon. Magical divination proved unable to pierce the veil placed over the huntsmen, and indicated only that the king and the lord yet lived.
Finally, faced with growing confusion in the kingdom, the lords and nobles of the realm gathered to appoint a regent. Assassination (far more attempted than succeeded), slander, and other only slightly less scandalous affairs abounded during the three-week Conclave of Lords, but the result was clear after only a week. At the end of the Conclave, the Red Duke was appointed Regent, to hold and guard the kingdom until the return of Aindor II.
Not much has changed since that time, two hundred and sixty-four years ago. The Red Duke (no longer viewed with such favor) still sits upon the Second Tier of the Ruby Hall as regent. Inquiries to the powers of the Gileni pantheon reveal only that King Aindor II still lives, though not how or where. The kingdom, while no longer infused with the spirit of expansion and prosperity that marked the first century of its existence, has solidified its borders and freed itself of debts to the western city-states. The eastern nomads are once more friendly, at least on the surface.
THE RED KINGDOM: SOCIETY & CULTURE
The newest threat to the Red Kingdom comes not from outside its borders, nor even from the Red Duke -- at least not directly. Since his appointment as regent, the Red Duke has done little to increase the scope and power of the kingdom, though he has not sought to undermine it either. Nobles initially fearful of a tyrannical dictator felt their suspicions wane as first years, then decades passed, and the Duke did no more than maintain the status quo. Over the centuries, this attitude has led to increasing apathy in most of the country. Now, it would be difficult to stir any but the most far-flung citizens into any rapid action. The tribes of Enllaves, always watchful, are beginning to realize that while their semi-regular raids are easily countered, a large strike into the center of the country would catch the populace unawares. On the other side, the nearest city-states are also becoming aware of the slow responses the Gilenians have to any unexpected circumstance, and are pondering how to best turn this to their advantage.
Spurred on by their deities, the priesthoods of the Gileni have not grown as apathetic, and are increasingly finding themselves outer fringe of any gathering, particularly among the nobility. The Red Duke has shown a remarkable dislike for the priests, often refusing to admit them into his presence, or demanding that they keep as far from his as possible -- one of the few times he has been known to grow angry. Some nobles imitate him, but most adhere to the older ways, and consult with the priests whenever advised.
Wizards are rare in the Red Kingdom -- one of the few notable differences from the early years. Aloof, withdrawn, and enigmatic, most wizards distrust the Red Duke, though they cannot say exactly why. Most regions within the Red Kingdom have only one Master Wizard whom all others in the area defer to, and associations of wizards are nearly unknown. The single exception is the Atrus Cair, the windwizards, who continue to guard the kingdom from the ravages of the weather under the mandate issued them by King Rydu. Still, they scorn any association with the Red Duke, and carry on the search for Aindor II in their own ways, and with the assistance of the various Master Wizards.
Fighters and Thieves exist much as before. Conflicts with the tribesmen of the south and east, mercenary jobs in the west, monster hunting in the mountains -- all of these allow for a goodly number of fighters within the Red Kindom. Likewise, traditional thieves, pickpockets, and burglars are found in Gilendel and the larger towns, or as scouts with the merchant trains, or spies in the city-states.
THE RED KINGDOM: PEOPLES
The majority of the citizens of Gilen are Gileni. Two thousand years of relations with the tribesmen and the westerners have altered the appearance of these people, though. While taller and lighter skinned than their neighbors (who are a rich, deep brown), the Gileni are darker than they once were, and red hair far less commmon than black or dark brown. Gileni tend towards straight or curly hair. Their eyes may be brown, black, or blue.
Traditional Gileni wear solid colored clothing with broad stripes, typically around the border. They prefer a knee-length skirt or kilt, or leather pants for riding, and light blouse or vest for the upper body, often with a light half-cloak.
The Gileni tongue, Linili, has become linked to the languages of the eastern tribesmen and the western peoples. It is otherwise unrelated to any other local speech. A speaker of Linili has a 40% chance of being able to decipher any writing over a thousand years old (Old Linili), and only a 5% of actually understanding that older language due to the drift of language and pronunciation. Thieves gain a +40% bonus to reading messages written in Old Linili, provided they can read Linili.
THE RED KINGDOM: GEOGRAPHY
The realm known as the Red Kingdom lies in the relatively fertile lowlands between two small mountain ranges, the Arms of the Wall. It is watered by several minor rivers, which flow west to the Gulf, and one waterway which flows east and south, until it forms a great lake and from there disappears into the earth.
The northern vale, or Old Gilen, is the land of ancient wars and grudges, where spirits inhabit the stones and oracles whisper of fearsome doings in the dark. The Old Folk haunt the night, causing mischievous and thievery, held at bay only by the symbols of Linil and the other major deities of the Gileni pantheon. It is divided into numerous small fiefdoms, all of whom owe at least minimal fealty to the Ruby Throne, and are carefully watched over.
Gilendel: (pop. 19,300 adult males) The political center of the Kingdom of Gilen, Gilendel is a clean, well-maintained city of straight streets and sunlight alleys. By ancient custom, all major thoroughfares are lit after dark.
Gilendel is slowly losing it's position as the foremost city of the kingdom. The growth of trade and travel along the Southern Road from the coastal city-states to Erypt and the eastern lands has established Merraken as the center of business and culture, and little remains to Gilendel but the affairs of goverment and it's hereditary status.
South of Old Gilen are the grasslands, watered by carefully controlled storms, the few rivers, or extensive aqueducts from the mountains. Most of the inhabitants are semi-nomadic, settling during the summer on a traditional farm, and migrating north for the winter season. Those in the villages, or Merraken, sit tight and wait out the winter storms.
The populace of the grasslands is mixed, being composed of Gileni, western outcasts, eastern nomads, and a few dark-skinned southern barbarians.
Merraken: (pop. 37,600 adult males) is the largest city in the Red Kingdom. On the shore of Lake Balkash, Merraken is the last place for supplies, good water, and civilization before the long haul east on the Southern Road to Erypt. Conversely, it marks the eastern limit of the West, and the beginning of civilization to those from the east.
The history of Merraken is long and convoluted. Local lore states that Merraken has been razed eleven times, and will be destroyed twice more before the end of the world. Each and every time it has been born anew -- sometimes as a shorebound city, at other times on the shallow isles offshore, or on giant mats of reeds anchored in the water. Four dynasties have ruled and been deposed. The eastern tribes of the Enllaves have been both lord and despoiler. Now, it falls under the domain of the Red Kingdom.
I was re-reading the 'Beyond the Flanaess' pages again, I read at the bottom of the Celestial Imperium section a blurb about oriental flavor like medieval China or Mongolia, 'but this should not be the direction this area takes.' I thought to myself, 'Byzantium', a mix of east and west, late Roman with an eastern flavor. You may have thought of it yourself, but I thought I would mention it in case you hadn't, it is a possibility for you.
I didn't know the Great Kingdom was supposed to be based on Byzantium :o) they had it hid well in the debauchery I guess. Cohorts of medium and heavy Chinese Infantry, backed up by serious shock heavy cavalry ala the Polish Winged Hussars, sending terror into their enemies. Could be interesting. I'll have to read the article in question.
A psionic mandarin sounds extremely interesting in a weird way, it definitely puts a spin on it. A Shaolin monk with a mind blast!
I agree to the Celestial Imperium having a Chinese cultural influence. When determining the Earth parallel of any given Oerikian culture I use this as a starting point only. This not only keeps on their toes players who think they know how cultures should be (it is always fun to have players learn through playing not to use metagame thinking) but also lets each DM's Greyhawk campaign truly become its own.
Two questions concerning the development beyond the Flanaess: what impact did the Suel Empire have on these Western lands? Was there a Suel migration west as well as Sleortin's eastern exodus?
Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
how much input were you wanting? are you open to ideas concerning io and the backstory / creation history? any particular dragon kingdom you'd like to focus on first?
were you aware of the dragonstar campaign setting? "dragonstar" is completely third party material, and not necessarily greyhawk oriented, but it does have some ideas about what a dragon-run empire might be like that's worth a look-over. _________________ Does the walker choose the path, or does the path choose the walker?
how much input were you wanting? are you open to ideas concerning io and the backstory / creation history? any particular dragon kingdom you'd like to focus on first?
were you aware of the dragonstar campaign setting? "dragonstar" is completely third party material, and not necessarily greyhawk oriented, but it does have some ideas about what a dragon-run empire might be like that's worth a look-over.
I did write an article for the Oerth Journal on Dragon kingdoms of the Flanaess. Thought I would wait and see if it gets printed before diving into more. The first article is an overview of ten dragon kingdoms that have existed in the Flanaess (sort of behind the scenes approach to make it user friendly to other campaigns). The plan was to write five more articles, each one taking a zoomed in view of the four corners of the Flanaess and one focusing on the middle territory. Each is to go into much greater detail of the kingdoms. Depending upon how things went with these, it could be branched out beyond the Flanaess. The article does offer an origin of the kingdoms using Io as a basis. The origin begins on Draconis Island and from there explains how the kingdoms developed on the Flanaess.
I really haven't kept up on what's been going on with the outer reaches of Oerik in the past several months here on Canonfire, so I am not really sure how to answer your questions. I have never heard of Dragonstar. What company put this piece of work out? _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
Alright ... I am going to give this thing a shot.
I am an amatuer cartographer, and I want to make a map ... no ... I am making a map. I have the coasts of all of the major continents already on paper. The old fashioned way: I drew them by hand. They are all as near to perfect as I can make them. And let me tell you, though I might sound like a kook, the fjordlands of the Thillonrian peninsula were actually FUN!
More to the point ... Obviously, there's alot of open area. I want this to look like an antique map where some areas were left intentionally blank, and so, I am alright with that. I am including the Chainmail setting in the Northwestern extreme of the continent, and it is surprising how true they remained to the Dragon Annual #1 map.
Now comes the rub. I know there's alot of stuff that's been done out there that is fan-generated, but still fairly canonical, like the Orietantal and Indian areas that are mid-continent. I am starting a home-game right now that is oriental based. So, there's two things for which I am looking; a.) map and reference material to compile so that I know what names to put into the map that I am doing, and b.) I am looking for Oriental (which includes Indian) stuff in order to run a game with plenty of source material. I am looking to flesh out my game with material for the Olman, Rhenee, and Wolf/Tiger Nomads, as well ... I am looking for anything that can at least be extrapolated from canon sources, or work by Gary Gygax (like his Gord novels), or psuedo-related sources, like Chainmail.
So there's the deal ... I get material to work from, and I make a beautiful map. With the bonus that I get Oriental stuff to run my game from. Guys, this thing is the size of a poster! Not only do I intend to put it on the 'net, but I am going to have prints made, because it's intended to be matted and framed and hung on the wall above my sofa. It's going to be done on parchment-looking paper (not unlike this site's background) and I have been studying antique maps for source material. Below, you will find an example of my work done for a homebrew non-GH campaign from a few years ago that was a matter of only ten or fifteen hours of work.
If anyone can help me out with source material for map or campaign, without me having to scour through hundreds of forum articles, please, please contact me or comment to the post!! I would like to see this stir a little bit of activity here in the forums.
Hello, I'm new to the forum (and I shouldn't be! How the heck did I miss THIS?), but have been gaming for something like 17 years now (yes, I've lost count. Oh well).
Now then, what precisely are we looking for as subjects for the "outer realms" of the Oerth? Are we merely going off of the map from Annual #1, or are you looking for unique information? Do you want entire countries or would smaller areas work (say, one Barony or settlement outside of the Flaeness)?
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