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    Canonfire :: View topic - Conflicts before the Greyhawk Wars
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    Conflicts before the Greyhawk Wars
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:07 am  
    Conflicts before the Greyhawk Wars

    We're about to play Against the Giants in 576 CY (our ongoing campaign is set in 596 CY), and a friend of mine came up with an interesting question, what are the conflicts that were active between 576 and 596? I remember Dragon mag had some articles on battles of that period but I am sure you can help me without even checking :)
    More specifically his question was - could we understand the war was about to happen from these conflicts?
    GreySage

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    Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:15 am  

    The Greyhawk City boxed set never explicity says it, but it heavily hints at the fact that the Horned Society attacked and overthrew the Shield Lands. This information is canonized somewhere, but I don't know where. There are Knights of Holy Shielding in Greyhawk City recruiting soldiers and money to retake the Shield Lands. This was successfully accomplished prior to Iuz initiating the Greyhawk Wars.

    Iuz's armies had already gained much ground in the northeastern Vesve Forest years before the Greyhawk Wars technically began. His armies were also in a constant state of battle with the Wolf Nomads within the Howling Hills.

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    Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:22 am  

    Not sure about conflicts although the giant raids into Sterich in the Against the Giants series certainly foreshadow what is to come in the Wars.

    Iuz is obviously a continuing menace in the north and the Hierarchs threaten the Shield Lands as I recall just before the Wars (GH City Boxed Set).

    Scarlet Brotherhood agents appear increasingly widely prior to the Wars, most notably in the WG8 Fate of Istus adventures. There is also a reference in the '83 boxed set that humanoid legions are being gathered for future conquest by the Brotherhood so that may have been noticed by someone.

    As to Aerdy, there is a war with Nyrond and the Iron League (termed the Golden League IIRC), again referenced in the GH City Boxed set.

    The signs are there I would suggest but all could have been (and presumably were) misread as local skirmishes by the rulers of the time. Your PCs may read things differently though. Wink
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:39 am  
    Re: Conflicts before the Greyhawk Wars

    MToscan wrote:
    We're about to play Against the Giants in 576 CY (our ongoing campaign is set in 596 CY), and a friend of mine came up with an interesting question, what are the conflicts that were active between 576 and 596? I remember Dragon mag had some articles on battles of that period but I am sure you can help me without even checking...


    -They were in EGG articles titled something like "News from the Flaneass" in IIRC Dragon #56-63 (the same issues that had the Moore articles on the demi-humans/humanoids and their deities).
    GreySage

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    Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:11 pm  

    At the time of the publication of The City of Greyhawk boxed set, the Hierarchs had successfully ousted the majority of the Shield Landers from their homes with a small group holding out at Admundfort. A contingent, led by Lady Valderesse (paladin of Heironeous) and her hulking warrior (later relabeled as a paladin, too) comrade, Artur, are in the city desperately seeking allies to aid in their cause.

    Sometime thereafter (following months), it is my understanding that Iuz (unbeknownst to everyone) goes through with his ruse as Vatun before the barbarians, secures them to his cause (esp. Sevvord Redbeard), and unleashes barbiarian hell on Tehn. Nobody expected this to become the spark that would ultimately unfold into the 'Greyhawk Wars,' and most folks in the Central and Western Flanaess considered it a 'remote' issue.

    Iuz subsequently deposes the Hierarchs in Coldeven of that following year (springtime) during the Bloodmoon Festival, absorbs their human and humanoid rabble into his own troops, then smashes into the Bandit Kingdoms and joins them to his cause, as well. This gives Iuz the 'manpower' and resources to then fully doom the Shield Landers...

    The "giant troubles' were not anticipated and seemed an unrelated event to all that was going on (it seemed).

    -Lanthorn
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    Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:00 pm  

    Yes, I finally get to use my timeline search engine! So, the database is not complete yet, but I found the following results:

    Everyone is fighting everyone.

    Alright, I need to be a little more specific. I searched from 576 to 582 CY for events I had categorized as military. I will summarize the results here:

    c 575: Nryond and the Great Kingdom begin naval skirmishes.
    577: Tenh fights Stonefist, loses Duke Eyeh II, but secures Rockegg Pass.
    Ice and Snow barbarians step up their raids on North Province.
    Iuz invades the Vesve forest.
    Sea Barons defeat a Snow Barbarian raiding force.
    Onwal engages in naval skirmishes with South Province.
    578: Needfest: Nyrond, Almor, and the Iron League declare war on the
    Great Kingdom.
    The Rovers invade the Horned Society
    Tenh invades the Bandit Kingdoms.
    Furyondy burns Iuz' nascent Whystil Lake fleet.
    Ratik defeat the Vile Rune orcs at the Battle of the Loftwood.
    Wolf Barbarians destroy an Iuzian invasion force.
    Captain General of Medegia killed in the Grandwood.
    Stonefist attacks the Ice Barbarians
    579: Bandit Kingdom and Horned Societ forces invade the Shield Lands.
    Griffith Adarian repels an invasion of the Adri forest.

    There is no information on other regions because EGG wrote no further articles in this vein. These entries are all from Dragon Magazine.

    Actually, the way these campaigns are represented, the Greyhawk Wars do not completely fit. I look at the GHW as like WWI... a lot of pent-up tensions waiting for "some fool thing in the Balkans/Thillonrian Peninsual" to start everything. Thus, tensions would be high, but recent large scale conflict would be absent. It is hard to imagine the Fists getting the drop on Tenh with this history, or Iuz on Furyondy, or the Nyrondese being so unprepared. The Living Greyhawk Gazeteer tries to reconcile some of these, but I have not yet entered it in the database. I think these writing were more a glimpse into the wargaming side of EGG, as many of them have very specific troop lists as well. They could be used, on a reduced scale, to set the tensions for the upcoming wars, but as written, they are too large in my opinion.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:15 am  

    tarelton wrote:
    ...Actually, the way these campaigns are represented, the Greyhawk Wars do not completely fit. I look at the GHW as like WWI... a lot of pent-up tensions waiting for "some fool thing in the Balkans/Thillonrian Peninsual" to start everything. Thus, tensions would be high, but recent large scale conflict would be absent...


    -Nothing in western Europe, but you had the Italo-Turkish War and two Balkan Wars in the three years before AUG 1914.

    tarelton wrote:
    ...They could be used, on a reduced scale, to set the tensions for the upcoming wars, but as written, they are too large in my opinion.


    -Even at the time, I assumed that things calmed down pretty quickly between Nyrond and Aerdi, without a major clash of arms.

    tarelton wrote:
    ...It is hard to imagine the Fists getting the drop on Tenh with this history, or Iuz on Furyondy, or the Nyrondese being so unprepared...


    -IIRC, the Dragon article portrayed Tehn's fight as a hard battle, ending in the slaughter/rout of the Fists. This could be a case of the loser learning more than the winner. Plus (IIRC), Greyhawk Wars and From the Ashes portrayed the capture of Calbut as a case of treason, or at least gross incompetence. So it goes.

    As for Nyrond in 577-579, it turned out to be a minor border/sea scuffle rather than an all-out war with the Great Kingdom. They weren't distracted by Stonefist's conquest of Tehn, and their Iron League allies hadn't been stabbed in the back by the Scarlet Brotherhood. In a real war, the Great Kingdom had more resources than Nyrond. It might be something of a testimony to Nyrondese competence (and an Almorian speed bump) that they weren't overwhelmed before Aerdi imploded.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:46 pm  

    You make a very good point about the Balkan and Italo-Turkish Wars. I could see a version of the fighting in Ratik, Tenh, the lands of the Wolf Nomads, and the Rovers fitting this mold of 2nd tier wars.

    However, the summary I provided was very general... that was because EGG provided a good amount of depth to his articles, which makes a lot of the campaigns more consequential than fit that concept of minor wars raising tensions, to whit:

    There is a full-scale battle in Idee between Dwarfking Holgi Hirsute and South Province.
    The Horned Society invades the Bandit Kingdoms.
    Eyeh III invades the Pale(!)
    Eyeh III forces the Bandit Kingdoms to surrended land and cease raiding.
    North Province suffers some sort of defeat in the Blemu Hills.
    Nyrond drags the Urnst states into the war.
    Onwal destroys a major part of South Provnince's navy.
    South Province "blunts" the armies of Almor and Nyrond.


    These events are not small scale fighting on the periphery or border clashes, but major engagements between the great powers. I would personally dial down a lot of the conflict between the Great Kingdom and Iron League/Nyrond to intense skirmishing to keep tensions high, but not the full-scale Great Power war that EGG had going on. Secondly, the muddle that is Iuz, the Horned Society, the Bandit Lands, Furyondy and the Shield Lands still perplexes me. In the timeline, Iuz is getting pretty agressive, taking a good chunk of the Vesve and the western shore of Whystil lake... there is no way that goes unnoticed in Furyondy. In fact, Furyondy raids Iuz's ports on the lake, burning his fleet at the quays. That kind of thing is an act of war where I come from, so it puts Iuz and Furyondy in a full scale war iby 578.

    Even more confusing is the "occupation/conquest" of the Shield Lands by the Horned Society and the Bandit Kingdoms discussed in the City of Greyhawk Boxed Set around 578. The [/i]The Living Greyhawk Gazeteer tried to explain it, but even that explanation was weak. Basically, the Horned Society takes the Shield Lands, Iuz stages his coup in Molag, there is confusion so the Horned Society and Bandits leave, and then a few months later re-invade?!? I just do not buy that one. Grewyhawk wars implies a very different situation, with Holmer being in control of the whole nation when Belvor approaches him for an alliance, not recently restored to power by a surprise power vacuum.

    Basically, I think EGG really liked wargames... heck, I do too, though I lean towards Napoleonics and Age of Reason stuff. He wrote those articles with an eye towards creating scenarios for Chain Mail. So far, so good. The problem is that a cosntant state of intense warfare is fine for some campaigns, but it does not really work for most. When others began to develop Greyhawk, they adapted the parts that fit their conception (a campaign world at the precipe, but not in the throes of a war). Regrettably, it was done in a very
    ad hoc manner, resulting in the Shield Lands debacle, et.al. I would look at the articles that EGG wrote as suggestions of hwere conflicts of lesser intensity were occuring, but I would hesitate to say they fit well with later additions... or perhaps later versions do not fit Gygax's vision. Either way, there is a pretty large gulf between them.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:59 am  

    tarelton wrote:
    ...In the timeline, Iuz is getting pretty agressive, taking a good chunk of the Vesve and the western shore of Whystil lake... there is no way that goes unnoticed in Furyondy. In fact, Furyondy raids Iuz's ports on the lake, burning his fleet at the quays. That kind of thing is an act of war where I come from, so it puts Iuz and Furyondy in a full scale war iby 578...


    -I've always figured that Furyondy and Iuz had always been at war of sorts, even in Iuz's abscence, sort of like 17th and 18th century powers in the New World. The Brits and French were fighting each other in North America before the 7 Years' War started up. A guy named George Washington had a hand in it. Or another analogy could be North Korea's "solidarity" war with North VietNam in the late 1960s. Or just about anything involving Israel since 1973. Or Iraq March 1991-February 2003. Anyway, it's basically tit for tat. No big deal by the standards of the Flaneass. The unusual thing about the Greyhawk Wars wasn't that Iuz and Furyondy started fighting (they'd always been doing that), but that it went full scale i.e., what had been a war of retaliation and limited objectives turned into total war, with the overthrow of the enemy as the objective. The next unusual thing was the peace of Greyhawk, which was actually supposed to stop the fighting entirely, including the border skirmishes.

    As if. Razz

    tarelton wrote:
    ...Eyeh III invades the Pale(!)...


    -I remember the preparations, but I don't remember anything about a full-fledged invasion (I'll take a look when I get a chance). I suspect it was a minor border incursion. It obviously didn't go anywhere.

    tarelton wrote:
    ...that was because EGG provided a good amount of depth to his articles...


    I mean that there are no large scale land battles between the major powers (Nyrond and Aerdi).

    tarelton wrote:
    ...Onwal destroys a major part of South Provnince's navy...


    -Naval stuff always has a different conotation from land wars. We fought a war with France 1798-1800 on the sea, but no one ever considers it to be one of our the "big" wars.

    tarelton wrote:
    ...There is a full-scale battle in Idee between Dwarfking Holgi Hirsute and South Province...
    North Province suffers some sort of defeat in the Blemu Hills.
    Nyrond drags the Urnst states into the war.
    South Province "blunts" the armies of Almor and Nyrond...


    -The stuff between South Province and Medegia vs. the Iron League might have been serious for the participants, but a sideshow of the big show, such as it was. As for the big show, armies can get blunted without a major battle or even a seriously skirmish e.g., supply issues, or just the deterrent power of an enemy force. The 18th and early 19th century is full of examples. IIRC, the article on Almor and Nyrond discusses preparations for a big clash with the Great Kingdom, but no major battles. (Again, I'll take another look, but I've read it ?dozens? of tiem since 1980-whatever, and that's the impression I've always had. Anyway, my take: The 577-579 thing was sort of a wet firecracker. A lot of preparation, lots of maneuvering, but a fizzle when it came to a major confrontation between the major powers; something bigger than the War of Bavarian Succession, but less than one of the "big" wars.

    tarelton wrote:
    ...He wrote those articles with an eye towards creating scenarios for Chain Mail...The problem is that a cosntant state of intense warfare is fine for some campaigns, but it does not really work for most. When others began to develop Greyhawk, they adapted the parts that fit their conception (a campaign world at the precipe, but not in the throes of a war). Regrettably, it was done in a very [/i]ad hoc manner, resulting in the Shield Lands debacle, et.al. I would look at the articles that EGG wrote as suggestions of hwere conflicts of lesser intensity were occuring, but I would hesitate to say they fit well with later additions... or perhaps later versions do not fit Gygax's vision. Either way, there is a pretty large gulf between them.


    -IIRC, the first Gord book ends in late 578, about the time that the articles cover. The climactic battle involves a small force (either Aerdian or North Provincial) which gets ambushed by Adri foresters. There is something like that in the articles (again I'll have to check. There was also a battle of the Grandwood with a similar result; I incorporated the the prepartion for that battle IMC sometime after I went WOG). The assumption at the end of the book was that that skirmish was the end of the campaign, such as it was. Anyway, a small border skirmish, in which a small "army" (5,000 men?) has a bad day, ends the campaign for that year. Not exactly the Eastern Front. I think that's perfectly in line with what EGG wrote in his articles, and what has since been worked into canon, at least as far as the Nyrond & Almor (Golden League) & Iron League vs. the Great Kingdom thing goes.

    tarelton wrote:
    ...that was because EGG provided a good amount of depth to his articles...Basically, I think EGG really liked wargames...


    -I still love those articles (I plan on having a PC participate in the battle of the Loftwood as a tiny cog in a big machine). They were one of the things which decided me to move my campaign to the WOG, and I've never looked back. EGG started as a conventional war gamer; so did I: Napoleonic, ACW, WWII, mostly. I was reading [i]Wargamer's Digest
    long before Dragon. I think the WD was the first place I ever saw D&D referenced. Anyway, EGG was a lot stronger on the politico-diplomatic down, strategic, and grand tactical stuff than he was on the nitty gritty small scale stuff of comabt and survival, probably because he read a lot, and that sort of thing helps more with the big picture tahn the worm's eye view. The former shows up in those articles and the whole WOG, while the later shows up in the unfortunate game mechanics of the original D&D and AD&D1 and somewhat comic book attitude to being a sword swinger.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:36 pm  

    I went back and checked.

    Onwall vs. South Province naval battles:

    -In 577, "...no decisive engagement occurred however..." (my italics, Dragon #57 p. 16)

    -In 578, "...raiding ships from Ahlissa were caught in Dunhead Bay by 4 warships" and brought considerable headache to Herzog Chelor... (Dragon #57, p. 16)

    To me, sounds like routine naval skirmishing.

    Holgi's defeat of South Provincials:

    -In 578, Most of Irongate's light infantry performed screening and recon' missions; 1,000 participated in Holgi's defeat of South Provincials (Dragon #57 p. 16)

    -In 578, the Iron League "...drove the surprised Herzog's troops into a defensive position to the north, where their superior cavalry made it impossible for the League's forces to overwhelm them." (Dragon #57, p. 15)

    -In 578, the [Count of Idee's] troops were mauled when the dwarves were late in arriving during the pursuit of the retreating Provincials." (Dragon, p. 16)

    To me, sounds like one interesting, but indecisive, battle, and then a stalemate until the end of the year.

    I forgot to find the issue with Nyrond and Almor, but IIRC, it mostly talks about how many troops they will have in 579, and what they plan to do with them. My guess is, that the war fizzled out before anything major happened.

    Tehn's invasion of the Pale:

    -In Readyreat 578, the Tehnnese crossed the Yol River with 15,000 men, south of Wintershriven, and stayed for the winter, threatening the Pale.

    Again, doesn't say they tried to follow through in 579. I suspect they cut a deal when the Faithful Bands came out in force. (Dragon #56, p. 21).

    For Iuz:

    -In 578, Iuz built a navy to take Whitesyl Lake, and the Furyondians conducted a preemptory raid to take it out. (Dragon # 56, p. 19)

    -In 578, Iuz retook part of the northern Vesve. (Dragon #56, p. 19)

    Again, sounds like par for the course. No serious attempt to overthrow the other.

    FWIW, I choose to think of this as as ongoing stuff which flares up, and burns out quickly every few years, normally without decisive result or serious losses on either side.
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