I'm starting up an Age of Worms campaign, so the 1st level PCs are in Diamond Lake in the Cairn Hills, and I want to incorporate as side-treks some of the Kyuss-related stuff from Exemplars of Evil and Elder Evils.
I'd like to place the Tolstoffs' keep and domain somewhere reasonably close to Diamond Lake so Katarina, at least, can interact with the PCs early on, but I'm at a loss as to where to put it. There is mention of an oppressed and, I think, unnamed village near the keep.
Would it make sense to place this anywhere in the Cairn Hills? Are there any existing villages I could place the keep nearby that wouldn't contradict too much canon? The grimness of the place probably makes more sense for the Great Kingdom or, honestly, Ravenloft, but I'd prefer to keep the PCs' travels short at first and I don't want any planar jumps.
(I confess to being a little confused on how the nobility and lords of the outlying areas of Greyhawk relate to the city's government and Lord Mayor. Did anything like this ever happen historically, where nobles and knights swore fealty to an elected mayor of a city? Yet we know this must be what happens in Greyhawk due to the existence of Lord Robilar, and few other named nobles.)
On the Anna map, there's a small unnamed valley due east of Diamond Lake on the road to Wavenair and Blackwall Keep. Might be a good spot to drop your petty noble in.
Placed there, Tostoff Keep and it's oppressed village would be far enough from the City to have a measure of independence, and the villagers would stay because of the dangers of the Cairn Hills.
Odds are the holding would well predate Greyhawk's expansion into the area. For whatever reason, the petty nobles decided to 'ally' with Greyhawk rather than fight... and perhaps face overwhelming magical support.
Huh. I never thought about noble families predating Greyhawk's freedom but that's actually a great explanation for their presence, they've been grandfathered in with only a few "nouveau riche" like Robilar over the years.
Yeah, I imagine Rolibar got his title for becoming extremely rich and powerful.
If I remember my Greyhawk history right, the local area was once part of Furyondy, and before that part of the Great Kingdom. As these nations lost influence in the area, some nobles would flee, but others would stay to protect their hereditary estates. If they can cut a deal with the new government - or just be a sufficiently difficult nut to crack - they can parlay their prior claim into the structure of the new government. There might be several such petty barons, baronets, and lords scattered around the current Greyhawk lands.
Blackwell Keep can't work because it's a major location already in Age of Worms, but at first I thought Marsh Keep would be perfect. Then I saw some timeline stuff about it being built during the Greyhawk Wars (way too recently) and basically being a purely military location.
But the "edge of the large, stinking swamp" was a good catch and I started to really want to use the Mistmarsh, so I did some googling of Mistmarsh maps and saw the one in the Doomgrinder, which has a few marshmen village located in it. Since there's supposed to be an oppressed village right outside the keep, my thinking now is one of those marshmen villages would fit the bill and the keep itself is sort of forgotten by most of the surrounding areaŚmaybe the Tolstoffs claim dominion just over the primitive marsh folk. But the local lizard men are spooked by the place and the stay away.
Thanks, both of you for your thoughts and suggestions!
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