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    History of the North, Part 9: The Raging Storm


    "Our battle is more full of names than yours,

    Our men more perfect in the use of arms,

    Our armour as strong, our cause the best;

    Then reason will our hearts should be as good."

    Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II (1597-99), Act IV, sc.1, l.154.


    The Raging Storm

    Iuz had rolled across the Far North. Tenh had fallen. Then the Horned Society fell. The Bandit Kingdoms fell or capitulated. The Shield Lands and Furyondy stood against the storm in the west. But not as one. And Nyrond stood vanguard against its raging in the east, enemies to the fore and aft. They gripped their swords and spears, and raised their shields against the coming evil. They did not have to wait for long.
    Furyondy looked to the north and saw doom as it never had. Fear prevailed among the populace, and faith in the Knights of the Hart, as well. However, faith can only gird the shield. Belvor needed nor than just fear and faith; he needed information, not rumours and hersay , if he were to defend against Iuz and his hordes; so he sent spies into Iuz’s empire.

                Iuz’s assumption of power and armament for war did not pass unnoticed. Furyondy’s spies headed back to King Belvor IV with word of the swelling humanoid armies. The news could well have been written in the spies’ blood, though, for most of the human agents were discovered and slain, virtually closing King Belvor’s eyes and ears. When the few spies did reach him, though, the Furyondy king heeded the fate of Tenh and immediately set to building his defense. The citadels along the Veng River were stocked and garrisoned in expectation of immediate attack. Belvor’s vassals raised militia and shifted troops to the Veng border. Emissaries rode to the Shield Lands and Veluna to brace them for war. Belvor was determined that Furyondy would not fall. [Wars - 9]                


                Though ill-prepared, Furyondy was not complacent. King Belvor IV, while raising troops at home, dispatched his most silver-tongued advisors to the southern courts. Ambassadors bore the alarming news to Celene, Bissel, Veluna, the Uleks, and—most important of all—Keoland. With impassioned eloquence, the emissaries warned of dire consequences should the northern kingdoms fall. They urged the nations to ally and thus check the tide of evil, finally and forever. Nor were their words in vain: most of the leaders heeded the call, but wondered how little aid they could provide and how long they could delay before sending it. [Wars - 10]


    The Shield Lands and Furyondy, both, prepared for what must surely come. They ought to have prepared as one, but suspicion will always supplant common sense. Such was the pride of Lord Holmer of the Shield Lands. He was suspicious of Belvor. He thought Belvor intended to annex his little state, the first step to that end sending aid against a threat that had never been much of one in the past. The rabble of the Bandits and the lesser forces of Iuz had never posted a true threat in the past, so why would his Knights of the Shielding need those of the Hart? He would regret his miscalculation.

    Furyondy, which had great experience dealing with Iuz and his armies, dispatched emissaries to Admundfort, offering military and financial support for the grand invasion that surely was to come. [LGG - 14]


    King Belor’s emissaries to the Shield Lands met with an icy reception from Lord Holmer, Earl of Walworth and Commander of the Knights of the Holy Shielding. Relations between the two rulers had always been prickly. Though ostensibly allied with Furyondy, the earl long suspected that Belvor intended to annex the Shield Lands. Thus the messenger’s news of the mustering of Molag struck Lord Holmer as suspicious: he did not entirely dismiss the warning, but suspected King Belvor of overstating the danger. Holmer felt it more perilous to admit powerful knights of Furyondy into his lands to aid in its defense than to face the rabble of the Horned Society with his own knights. 


    Fearing annexation so soon after reclaiming his damaged homelands, Holmer curtly refused these offers and expelled Belvor's agents from his realm. Within months, Iuz's armies, which had savaged the western Bandit Kingdoms, stood on his eastern border. [LGG - 104]


    In the coming of Flocktime, Iuz struck. In the dead of night along the banks of the Veng and Ritensa, the humanoids of the Horned Society launched probing attacks. None made more than small headway against the knights of the Hart and Shielding, but the attacks still achieved their aim. While King Belvor and Lord Holmer peered myopically at their river frontiers, Iuz’s true legions marched east, fording the Ritensa north of the Shield Lands and striking into the Bandit Kingdoms. The petty warlords were easily cowed by Iuz’s might and, given the number of spies recently executed, the evil lord was confident that Belvor and Holmer were blind to his maneuvers. [Wars - 9]


    Outflanked and unable to support resistance on two fronts, the Shield Lands crumpled swiftly. Over 11,000 Shield Landers fell in the invasion, with as many dying in the subsequent occupation. While life under the bandits and Hierarchs had been difficult, at least the rulers had been (in most cases) human. Now, under Iuz, farmers were forced to work for orcs, necromancers, and demons. These creatures knew nothing of mercy, and life in the Shield Lands became that of fearful persistence, of not knowing if the next day would bring death or disfigurement, knowing that it would not bring hope.
    Earl Holmer Falls
    Except for lone fortified keeps and minor pockets of rural resistance, the whole of the Shield Lands fell to Iuz. A daring defense of Admundfort allowed much of the capital's population to flee via ship to Willip, but the evacuation was not completed. Earl Holmer, ever the noble knight, remained with his homeland, only to be carried off to the dungeons of Dorakaa. [LGG - 104]


    Occupied Admundfort was taken by Iuz as the new regional capital, to be administered by a Lesser Boneheart mage, Vayne, and assorted demons. The rest of the country fell to lesser leaders, including several fiends. The fertile lands of the Shield Lands became the breadbasket for Iuz's entire army, much of the physical labor carried out by zombies or humans under the constant threat of murder and subsequent revivification. [LGG - 104,105]


                [Furyondy] sought alliance with the Shield Lands to secure itself against the Old One, but stupidly, the pettyminded rulers of the Shield Lands refused, believing this to be a step in a planned annexation by Furyondy. They paid dear for their foolishness. Iuz feinted an attack westward. Meanwhile, his main body of troops struck far to the east and southeast, into both the Bandit Kingdoms and into the Shield Lands, which they flanked to the east from bases in the old lands of the Horned Society. Admundfort and Critwall fell swiftly. Lord Holmer, who had refused a pact with Furyondy, was taken to meet his fate in the dungeons below Dorakaa. [FtAA - 6]                


                Shield Lands fell swiftly to Iuz as he swept from the west during the Greyhawk Wars. The well-maintained primary roads of the Shield Lands made this conquest easier for the Demipower, if anything. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil - 42]                


                Lord Holmer learned of Iuz’s flanking march only after the humanoid hordes had breached the eastern border. Raging like a grass fire across the open fields of the Shield Lands, they drove on Critwall. When this dark report reached Lord Holmer, he pulled all but a screen of knights from the King Belvor’s emissaries to the Shield Lands river frontiers and personally fought his way back toward the undefended capital, Admund-fort. More than half of the knights fell in the drive toward the island, but those who reached the Nyr Dyv set fire to as many vessels as they could, then sailed across the channel to the capital. Ragged and weary, the remaining knights could not hold the capital before the onslaught of humanoids, though they came across in dories and trawlers. Admundfort and Critwall fell, and so too did Lord Holmer, borne away in clawed hands to the dungeons beneath Dorakaa. [Wars - 9,10]


    Furyondy prevailed where the Shield Landers failed. As Holmer’s forces reeled under the onslaught, Belvor ordered his armies forward into the Shield Lands, where they met stiff resistance. Had he not drawn forces from the Vesve, and had the retreating Shield Landers not joined him, he may not have carried the day.

                The fall of the Shield Lands left Furyondy’s eastern flank exposed, a threat King Belvor moved quickly to block. Lords scoured the countryside, raising vast militias to complement the thin ranks of the Order of the Hart and troops were hurriedly transferred from the Vesve Forest frontier. The newly raised troops and reinforcements confronted the advancing humanoids at the Battle of Critwall Bridge, dealing Iuz’s forces a severe blow. The armies of Furyondy repelled the humanoids and held the Veng River line against further advance. [Wars - 10]


    Iuz Sets His Sights

    Iuz was not finished, though. The conquest of the Horned Society and the Bandit Kingdoms was not enough. Neither was the sacking of the Shield Lands. Iuz had his sights set on the greener pastures of Furyondy. Iuz had his sights set on the whole of the south. He pressed on and lay siege to Chendl.

    Iuz had no intention of letting his string of victories end, however. Using loot captured in the Shield Lands, Iuz hired humanoid mercenaries in the Vesve Forest. The mercenary army descended from the Vesve, overrunning the frontier guard of Furyondy and capturing Crockport. Furyondy’s capital, Chendl, lay open and unguarded across the belly of the land. But for a hasty confederation of Highfolk and knights, Chendl would have fallen by the next dusk. The ragged force of Highfolk and knights refused to grant the orcs an open fight, harrying them instead. Though the orcs’ advance continued, it slowed sufficiently for the defenders of Chendl to prepare. By the month of Reaping, however, Chendl lay surrounded. [Wars - 10]


    Furyondian forces fell back to the capital, surrounding it, stopping the Orcish advance into Fairwain Province.

                The knights had managed to stop the orcish advance into Fainvain and the humanoids could do little more than surround Chendl. The Horned Society’s incursions across the Veng occurred less often and grew less concerted. Best of all, the Canon of Veluna sent word that his forces were hurrying to Furyondy’s side. The news from Nyrond, too-though not the best-at least indicated that the Fists were contained. After considering these encouraging matters, King Belvor rallied his spirit and returned to the fight. [Wars - 11]


    Belvor would not see his capital razed to the ground. Neither would he allow those brave souls defending it sell their souls for naught. He attacked, breaking the orcish ranks, ending the Siege of Chendl.

                Furyondy ’s first task—more political than strategic—was to sunder the siege of Chendl. Gambling on the chaotic nature of the tribes surrounding the city,” Belvor left most of his strength on the Veng border and personally led a picked command of elite units against the siege force. Belvor’s knights were severely outnumbered, but by strategic cunning and sorcerers’ aid, they gained the upper hand. The knights sliced through the humanoid lines and pinned the besiegers to the city walls. In short time, the fields around Chendl became a smoldering graveyard of goblinkind and the way to Chendl was open once more.
    By this time both Iuz and Furyondy were stretched to their limits. The furious pace of the war had exhausted their reserves of trained manpower and supplies. Through the months of Patchwall, Ready’reat, and Sun-sebb, both nations scrambled to reprovision their forces. [Wars - 11]


    Archbold of Nyrond

    Archbold of Nyrond was as hard pressed in the east. The Fists had sundered Tenh, and were raiding Nyrond with impunity. He raised what forces he had at his disposal, mindful of what would happen were he to leave his border with the Great Kingdom undefended, and marched against the Fists occupying the Nutherwood and Phostwood.

    Meanwhile in the east, Archbold III of Nyrond finally rallied himself from the shock of tenth’s defeat. Smarting from accusations that he had allowed the troublesome dukedom to collapse, King Archbold decided to undeniably prove his support for his former colonies. Armed with reports that the Fists were mercilessly pillaging the fallen duchy, Archbold marched north into the Nutherwood. Elven contingents in his army allowed him to easily infiltrate the Phostwood and overwhelm the few Fists posted there. Without further warning, the Nyrondese burst from the forest.
    Unlike the Tenhas though, the Fists did not simply crumble: Archbold found himself facing a determined foe. Angered at the surprise attack, Sevvord executed a few lackluster commanders as examples to the others, then sacrificed Fists to delay the advance as he mustered his forces outside the village of Ternsmay. Though outnumbered, Sevvord held the advantageous ground. In the ensuing battle, neither side could gain the upper hand. After fighting well into the night, the Fists withdrew farther and fortified their position. Though Archbold had emerged victorious, the victory was bitter, for he could risk no further advance into Tenh. He had, however, forced Redbeard into a defensive stance as well. The battle ended in stalemate and the armies spent the next tedious weeks watching their enemies across a mile-wide no man’s land. [Wars - 10]


    By 583, however, war would return to haunt Nyrond. Confident that a personal victory over untrained barbarians would do much to bolster his flagging popularity in Nyrond's northern regions, Archbold led a huge army through the Nutherwood, hoping to strike a telling blow against the 'Fists inhabiting Tenh. Fighting lasted for an entire day. The barbarians fell back to more heavily fortified lands, but the cost to Nyrond was great. More than three thousand soldiers fell before nightfall, and Archbold himself suffered grievous wounds, not least of which to his pride. He had gambled Nyrondal cavalry against the hordes of Sevvord Redbeard and won, but it did not seem like a victory. [LGG - 78]


    The Story Reuven of the Rhennee

    Reuven learned the ways of the forest in the distant Adri, saw combat in Nyrond during the Creyhawk Wars, and picked up a host of thiefly skills in the decrepit city of Seltaren, in the Duchy of Urnst. [RPGA Fright at Tristor - 3]


    584-585 CY

    The orcs of the Bone March sought to crush Ratik, but the defenses of the Kalmar Pass and the walls of Ratikhill had defeated them time and again. So to the Dwarves of the Rakers, and the Gnomes of the Loft Hills. As had the Loftwoods. They could not raze the mountains or the hills, but trees could burn.

                The site of a great Ratikkan victory over Bone March orcs (578 CY), the wood was partly despoiled by nonhumans setting fires (584—585 CY). It is once again a battleground between Ratik in the north and orcs and gnolls in the south. [LGG - 141]


    Dangerous times make for strange bedfellows. The enemy of my enemy, and all that. Thus, the Bandit chieftan, Hendrick, did what he never would have done in times of “peace.” He allied with the wood elves near Fleischriver to battle forces of Iuz. One could not be free of such evil if one were dead, he reasoned.           

    Skannar Hendricks
    Skannar Hendricks, a powerful chieftain of the Reyhu group of bandits, is a lot smarter than most. Fleeing from Iuz, attacked by a band of 200 Dazark encountered on the first day in the forest, his men then took something of a drubbing from the eastern wood elves, though they managed to slay a powerful fighter/mage. He decided that he really needed some allies. The wood elves didn't seem to want to simply murder the bandits wholesale, so Hendricks talked peace with them.
    Incredibly, this alliance has worked. Hendricks' men include fewer evil, and more neutrally aligned men than most bandit gangs. Likewise the elves have many neutrals. There was some room for understanding, since both hated Iuz and his ores. So, the wood elves have allowed Hendricks' men to build a couple of strongholds in the Fellreev and after a joint battle against a large force from Fleichshriver in Patchwall, 584 CY, some kind of friendship has been cemented. [WGR5 - 56]

    Despite Hendrick’s partisan tactics, Iuz held the Bandit Kingdoms well in hand. He could have slaughtered the populace. He could have let his hordes loose to do what they would; but he had plans. He needed to consolidate his lands if he were to conquer further; to do so required wealth. Wealth and food, and trade. And governance. How else would he subjugate the weak? Rookroost, Riftcrag, and Stoink were made regional capitals to do just that.

    In the Bandit Kingdoms, the towns of Hallorn, Riftcrag, Rookroost, and Stoink are regional capitals. Hallorn rules the western Bandit Kingdoms, Riftcrag the Rift and Rift Barrens, Rookroost the region between the Rift and the Bluff Hills, and Stoink the southeastern Bandit Kingdoms. [LGG - 60]


    Steelbone Meadows

    Iuz could not be everywhere, and so he could not control all of his vassals all of the time. Sometimes they went rogue, dispensing murder and mayhem without his sanction. Did this bother Iuz? Not particularly, not if their actions spread, for terror is a weapon, and so long as that terror furthered his ends, he was pleased with what it wrought.

    In late 584 CY, when the Pact of Greyhawk had been drafted and the war was ended but for skirmishing in the far-distant lands of the Pomarj, Ratik, and the margins of the Lost Lands, the priest Bernel of Hallorn commanded a gathering of bandit forces drawn from these western lands at what is now called Steelbone Meadows. Bernel was certainly paranoid, possibly completely insane. Ten thousand bandits gathered to celebrate the war's end, expecting to be given instructions for the new campaigns of pillage they looked forward to after the winter. As most of them slept in their huge tented campsite, Bernel, who believed that the bandit leaders intended to turn against Iuz and reclaim their lands from Iuz's control, had over half of them slaughtered by fiends, ore assassins, and lethal magic. The survivors fled in all directions. They currently eke out a perilous living in these infertile, poor plains lands. Unfortunately, the survivors own chaotic evil disposition prevented them from allying against their oppressor. Many of them turned on each other, claiming that the other had co-operated with Bernel, betraying his fellows to ensure his own survival. Thus, the roaming bandit gangs are as likely to attack and kill each other as they are to strike against Iuz's forces, who rarely patrol these lands any more. Bernel was swiftly replaced by Iuz and is now a prisoner in Dorakaa's dungeons. The new commander at Hallorn has suffered a strange fate of his own. Perhaps the dying curses of the men slain at Steelbone Meadows have affected one victim, at least. [WGR5 - 49]


    In late 584 CY, news from Greyhawk declared an official end to the war, and many warriors gathered in northeast Wormhall to confer with their leaders regarding plans for next year's summer raiding season. After many nights of drunken Brewfest revelry, more than ten thousand bandit men from Abbarra, Freehold, Midlands, Warfields and Wormhall were attacked as they slept by a treacherous (and probably mad) cleric of Iuz, using magic, assassins, and demonic servants. About half of these men escaped, most badly wounded, and fled overland to refuge in Greenkeep, Tangles, or the Rift. All nurse a grim hatred for Iuz and his forces in their homeland. The abandoned campsite, now known as Steelbone Meadows, is overgrown today, with rotting tents, rusted weapons, and scattered bones forming a grim, open graveyard. Though it is likely the massacre went against the wishes of Iuz (who had the mad cleric carried off to an unknown fate), it nonetheless offers a stern warning to those who wish to throw off the puppet rulers installed by the Old One. [LGG - 31]


    The Rook in Shadow
    What remains of the Bandit Kingdoms?


    Abbarra:    [Some] assassins survived (perhaps organized by their former leader, the ruthless Kor (NE male human Asn12) and now prey on Iuz's rare patrols in this area. These "terrorists" strike from hidden bases and live off the land. Abbarra is technically governed from Hallorn, but it is generally ignored by the empire. [LGG - 25]


    Artonsamay, Duchy of the:    Rumored to have been ruled by a puissant noble adventurer of Urnst's Gellor dynasty, Artonsamay was a favorite haunt of thrill-seekers and lawless folk lacking an evil or sadistic bent. None of this, however, served to aid the duchy when Iuz's forces invaded in 583; the realm's castle "capital" was destroyed, and most of the land's residents fled to the County of Urnst, Stoink, or the Rift. Great magic was employed in the battle, and Artonsamay is now mostly uninhabited wilderness (much of it barren) with poor hunting, governed from Stoink. Many, including Countess Belissica, believe that Duke Gellor […] is dead, though the folk of Stoink whisper that no less than Iuz's high priestess, Halga, was seen there, tracking a man bearing an all-too-familiar appearance. [LGG - 26]


    Dimre, Grand Theocracy of:     Dimre is technically governed from Stoink, though it is autonomous in reality. Dimre's clergy preaches that to understand the glory of Light, one must first walk hand-in-hand with Darkness. Its army keeps watch on all borders, allowing none but the faithful to pass into their sacred land. [LGG - 26]


    Fellands:    The bulk of the bandits working with [Xavendra, an oddly refined and graceful cleric of Iuz] have turned to dark religion and evil debauchery. Xavendra has a well-known distaste for orcs, and some suspect she may make a play for independence (despite being a cleric of the demigod) should Iuz's full attention fall elsewhere. [LGG - 26]


    Freehold, Mighty:    The Freehold keep itself was altered in the early months of Iuz's occupation, becoming the grisly castle known as Fleichshriver. Remolded by fiendish hands, the citadel is an imposing reminder of the evil, otherworldly forces that once infested the local countryside. Though passers-by no longer need fear the claw and tooth of marauding demons, strange, haunting screams can still be heard from the seemingly abandoned keep; locals give it a wide berth. Iuz's archmage Null […] of the Greater Boneheart, was known to come here in the past and might do so still. [LGG - 26]


    Defenders of Greenkeep: Greenkeepers escaped the massacre at Steelbone Meadows and withdrew into their corner of the Fellreev. They suffered much from raids by wizards, clerics, and orcs under Iuz, but some hang on, helping and helped by the Reyhu-elf alliance across the river. They avoid the plains to the south. [LGG - 26]

    Grosskopf, Grand Clans of:    
    Grosskopf Raiders
    Many Grosskopf raiders with cavalry skills elected to take Iuz's suggestion that they relocate to the Barrens to fight the Rovers, with whom Grosskopf had clashed for many decades. The raiders live now at the Barrens' regional capital, Grossfort, forming the basis of a sizable army known as the Marauders of the North. Other Grosskopf troops work with allied orcs and goblins at Senningford and Narleon, fighting Stonehold skirmishers and supplying Iuz's troops in Tenh. Grosskopf and Fellands are both now controlled from the regional capital at Rookroost. [LGG - 27]


    Johrase, Kingdom of:    Kinemeet is now primarily an orcish city, its forces charged with controlling the plains for 100 miles or more in all directions. The commander here, usually a gigantic orc or intelligent ogre warrior, reports to either Rookroost or Riftcrag, depending on whim. The commander is replaced about once a year, however, thanks to duels for leadership. The orcs here are warlike in the extreme but loyal to Iuz, despite the fact that they frequently use Johrase shields and flags along with those of the Old One. [LGG - 27]


    Midlands, Stronghold of the:    Most surviving forces were destroyed at Steelbone Meadows, and the temple has been razed. The region is now under the control of Kinemeet's orcs, who usually answer to Graf Demmel Tadurinal [a cleric of Iuz], a toadying [sycophant] stationed in Rookroost. The graf also handles patrols along the Artonsamay. [LGG - 27]


    Redhand, Principality of:    Now that most of the Old One's demonic officers are gone from the land, many believe Zeech and his men are set for a rebellion. Word of this surely has reached Dorakaa, and all eyes watch the debased prince with grotesque curiosity, guessing at his fate should he defy Iuz. Zeech would get no help elsewhere, as he is greatly hated in Urnst and Furyondy. [LGG - 27]


    Reyhu, Great Lands of:    The old Reyhu region is administered by a quartet of clerics of Iuz in Balmund, who in turn report to either Riftcrag or Stoink (their orders are often confused on this point). Their incompetence does not eliminate the fact that the countryside literally crawls with orcs and their allies, and hence is well defended, if only by the sheer number of defenders. Reyhu's celebrated fields lay fallow, its crucial resource completely ignored and turning into wilderness. [LGG - 29]


    Rift, Men of the:    
    The Rift Folk
    Rift folk are mostly as chaotic and evil as the nonhumans, but they are clever and skilled at mountaineering and trap-setting. Many thieves and berserkers are among the warriors here, and Erythnul worship is widespread. Iuz's agents inhabiting Riftcrag made it a regional capital in 584. They keep watch over the canyon from the city and from the Leering Keeps, five citadels perched on the northern edge and eastern end of the enormous chasm. Led by Cranzer […] a powerful member of Iuz's Lesser Boneheart, these forces patrol the Rift, attempting to contain the plar's growing army while continuously assaulting the Tangles with axe and fire. The Rift holds mines that provide the region's best silver veins. Of late, Cranzer has made deals with the Rift bandits in order to make the regular silver shipments personally demanded by Iuz. [LGG - 29]


    Rookroost, Free City of:    Rookroost now governs all plains, forests, and hills between Cold Run and the Zumker River, all Iuzite forces in Tenh, and the plains across the Artonsamay south to the Rift Barrens. [LGG - 29]


    Stoink, Free City-State of:    Currently ruled by the fearless and grossly overweight Boss Renfus the Mottled […]. Stoink sponsors brigand raids into northern Nyrond, and its forces loot the supply trains of the army of Tenha expatriates attempting to retake their homeland under Duke Ehyeh III. Cross-river raids between Stoink and the Urnst fortress Ventnor are increasing, but they have not yet invited an invasion by the County of Urnst north of the Artonsamay. The northern border with Dimre is stoutly defended to prevent raiding by overzealous minor priests. [LGG - 30]
    Looting Supply Lines

    Earldom of the Tangles:    Iuz rules this area from the small town of Hallorn, the earldom's former capital and now one of Iuz's regional capitals. Hallorn was once a grim place filled with little more than zombies, thanks to an insane priest of Iuz and his numerous demonic allies. [LGG - 30]


    Warfields, Unified Bands of the:    
    Rife with Hobgoblins
    Warfields is much less a center of military activity these days, consisting mostly of wilderness and ruined towns. Administered from the regional capital at Hallorn, the land is rife with hobgoblins, and few humans remain. The hobgoblins send many of their number south to fight returning Shield Landers at Critwall. The former Guardian General, an imposing warrior called Hok […], has not been heard from in over five years. [LGG - 30]


    Wormhall:    No one knows the true faces of the lords of Wormhall. Rumors suggest they are ordinary humans, fiends, reanimated lords of old, or worse. The structure and province are named for the tenebrous worms that literally crawl on the walls of the Wormhall, a revolting feature that has led many to suggest magic created by the infamous arch-cleric Kyuss is somehow involved in the affairs of the land. [LGG - 31]



    584 CY  Ket had long coveted the arable lands east of the Bramblewood, and had fought more than one Short War with Veluna and Furyondy and Keoland to gain a foothold there. Iuz had whispered in their ear. Now is your chance, he said. Strike while your enemies are in the North. Ket listened, and sent its forces into Bissel.
                In Goodmonth 584 CY, Ketite cavalry attacked Bissel's watchtowers along the Fals River at the northern end of Bramblewood Gap. Without many of the mercenaries within its Border Companies, who had traveled south and east to battle the Pomarj and Iuz, Bissel fell by mid-Harvester. Ket, encouraged by the Old One, forced Bissel's surrender after the fall of Thornward. The archfiend and the westerners had hoped to use the old margrave, Walgar, a ranger of some renown, as a puppet, but pride would not allow it. After giving up his lands, the aged ruler committed ritual suicide. Graf Imran Tendulkar, a Baklunish religious warrior, took a soft hand to rulership as Walgar's replacement. He and his men attempted (often in vain) to convert the Bisselites to western religions, all the while waiting patiently for the land to accept its new governors. Other nations, understanding Bissel's strategic importance, attempted to break Ket's hold. In a succession of battles, Veluna drove invading forces from the neck of the Fals River Pass and Highfolk gnomes defeated Ketite forces in the Northern Lorridges. Further advances into the nation were halted by Ketite horsemen, often with assistance from the remnants of Bissel's disbanded Border Companies, now bankrolled by western interests. [LGG - 33]                


    The Great Kingdom desired the return of those provinces that had ceded from its oversight. Nyrond had begun the tide of defection. Nyrond was also the most powerful of all those who would defected. Should Nyrond fall, the rest would bend the knee once again, either by choice or by the sword. And so Ivid attacked Nyrond.

                The reports of war, blood, and great conquests being made by the hated barbarians and barely-civilized Fists of the North excited and enraged the overking. Egged on by the priesthood of Hextor, Ivid entered the fray by storming into Nyrond and its ally Almor. [Ivid - 4,5]


    But Ivid was defeated.

    It is a tribute to Ivid's incompetence that a nation with the vast armies and resources that the Great Kingdom had was fought to a standstill by much smaller Nyrond. For all the excellence of the Nyrondese armies, and their superb morale and training, Ivid should have been able to crush them. [Ivid - 5]


    Ivid was livid! Lack of dedication conducts a pogrom, executing servants, sages, and surfs; he executes his generals and nobles, transforming them into undead.

    Ivid personally assumed complete command of all the armies of the Great Kingdom, despite the counsel of his best advisors. Ivid did not just overrule or even sack his generals: he executed them, sparing only his favorites. [Wars - 20]

    Finally, Ivid V decided to create utterly loyal servitors among his generals and nobles. He expediently had them murdered and raised in unique undead forms; each was revived as an animus, an undead being possessing all the skills and talents of the former living person. With the logic of the terminally deranged, Ivid came to see this revivification as a reward for his favored courtiers. [FtAA - 8]


    Reward
    [Ivid] became utterly obsessed about such [disloyalty and betrayal] and ordered appalling reprisals, verging on genocide, against the people of those lands. He saw it as punishment for treachery in not dealing with such affronts to His Imperial Majesty.
    Convinced of treachery among his nobles, he invoked a unique new form of ensuring their obedience. With Hextor's priests and the aid of fiends, he had the nobles slain and brought back to unlife as powerful undead creatures—animuses. He thought that by eliminating their human weaknesses and  he could be certain of the loyalty of wholly acquiescent zombie-leigemen. What he actually had, however, was a large number of very powerful and embittered monsters who retreated to their own lands and simply defied him.
    In response, Ivid began executing as many traitors (the vast majority of them imagined traitors) as he could get his once-elite Companion Guard to lay their hands on. Rauxes was awash with blood; by the end of the wars, its population was barely above half its pre-war total. [Ivid - 5]


    One must strike while the iron is hot. Ivid had taken control of the Aerdian armies, much to the dismay of those generals still untouched by his hellish desire. The Great Kingdom was in disarray, its parts shattered as its herzogs and governors sought to salvage what they might.

    Hearing of massacres in Ivid’s lands, King Archbold in Nyrond counterattacked the Army of the North between Womtham and Innspa. Though Ivid’s animus generals fought well—being themselves unafraid of death—the chaotic heartlands of the Great Kingdom offered no support to the Northern Army. [Wars - 21]


    Almor was not so lucky as Nyrond. [It] was invaded by Ivid in 584 CY and its old capital, Chathold, utterly decimated by the Overking's mages and priests. The animus Duke Szeffrin now rules half of the old Almorian lands, and this creature, formerly a greatly favored general in Ivid's armies, is reputedly one of the cruellest of the animus nobles now holding sway over so much of Aerdy. [FtAA - 27]

    Nyrond, for all its honour and decency, understood when a rabid dog needed to be put down. They took measures for the greater good, as even the most forthright must in such times.
                The crisis reached its climax during the Richfest celebrations of that year. An assassin emerged from the thronging crowds and struck Ivid a mortal blow with a poisoned dagger. When news spread of Ivid’s death, the gloom over the land lifted. The nobles stoked the fires of celebration, joyously preparing for the power struggle to come. [Wars - 21]


    The Great Kingdom was spared that turmoil, however, by an even greater one. Just as the cunning of the mad Overking had saved Ivid from countless threats past, it saved him now from the grave. Secret arrangements, perhaps made with fiends summoned while on the Malachite Throne, resulted in the Overking’s revivification. Ivid V—who had seemed cold and soulless in life-seemed doubly so in death. [Wars - 21]


    The supreme irony is that Ivid himself is an animus now. After an assassin's poisoned and enchanted dagger struck him, only this revivification process was able to prevent his death. Still, the process failed in some crucial respect, as Ivid still has the wasting disease he contracted shortly before the wars. The disease appears to be incurable.
    Ivid the Undying is dying by the day. [Ivid - 5]                


    The North and South Provinces fully secede from the Great Kingdom.
                The North Province seceded, and with the aid of humanoids from the Bone March, succeeded in repelling Nyrondese forces in the Flinty Hills. Wisely, the Nyrondese held off from further massed battles, perhaps sensing the imminent collapse of Aerdy. The North Province's secession did indeed trigger the complete disintegration of the Great Kingdom. Animus nobles across the land (and the few still living) withdrew all support and the remnants of their armies from the Overking. The Great Kingdom was no more; a welter of petty states, ruled by disputatious nobles (many of them undead), was all that was left. An empire that had stretched from Perrenland to the Aerdi Sea had been wholly expunged in less than four hundred years. Sic transit gloria mundi (or its Oeridian equivalent): so passes away the glory of the world. [FtAA - 8,9]



    Herzog Grenell watched as the once Great Kingdom shrank, its power diminished, its lands divided. He declared himself King of his North Province. He knew his reign would be short is sanctimonious Nyrond had any say in the matter, so he marched his armies north to meet what would surely come.

    Grace Grenell, Herzog of the North Province rebelled against his cousin in a desperate attempt to hold his lands against the march of King Archbold. Freed of the mad king, the Herzog and the orcs of the Bone March halted the Nyrondese armies in the rugged Flinty Hills. The Herzog callously sacrificed both human and orcish troops to grind King Archbold’s advance to a halt. Though the Nyrondese could advance no further against the combined armies, Archbold, tantalized by the prospect of ultimate victory, refused to break off his assault. [Wars - 21]


    Grenell was wary. Indeed, he was quite fearful. He did not intend to join the ranks of Ivid’s “most loyal servants.” And if he were to be summoned to Rauxes he most certainly would have been. Therefore, he did what most vainglorious despots would do in such circumstances; he too seceded from the Kingdom.

    The North Province’s defection from the Great Kingdom unleashed the pent-up fears and ambitions of all nobility in the Great Kingdom, both living and animus. The Herzog of the South, among the first nobles rewarded with death and revivification, reasserted his claim to the South Province. The wave spread outward from there: living nobles turned their fiefs into armed camps and animus lords sought to expand their realms. The Overking’s authority collapsed entirely, leaving Ivid with only his personal estates. Thus, the always-fragile Great Kingdom shattered into a hundred petty principalities, dukedoms, baronies, counties, and earldoms. The Aerdi Empire was no more. [Wars - 21]


    His Grace Grennel

    Grenell found himself in a rather precarious position. Not only did he have to watch his southern border. He had to be mindful of Nyrond and the Barbarians, too. To make matters worse, the Bone March was calling in the debt owed for their helping the now North Kingdom attack Nyrond: "We helped you fight Nyrond, now you help us storm Ratik."

                For himself, Grenell doesn't give a fig about Ratik. Unfortunately, no few of his most powerful local rulers care a great deal about Ratik—as do many ordinary folk. Many of them share the same Oeridian-Flan racial mix as the men of Ratik, and they admire the rugged bravery of Ratik's warriors in having kept the humanoids at bay for so long. They are opposed to any plan to conquer Ratik, and some of them are ready to go and fight for Ratik should Grenell dare act against that nation.
    There is another twist to this. The barbarian nations are strongly allied with Ratik. At the present time, their raids are focused on the Sea Barons and they do not often raid most points along the eastern North Province seaboard, save for Bellport. This is because many of the rulers and armies of that eastern seaboard have managed to make a peace of sorts with the fierce Flan barbarians, Prince Elkerst of Atirr being a notable example. Indeed, the barbarians increasingly trade with some North Province coastal towns and villages, and that trade brings much needed wood, furs, and other commodities in short supply in North Province. [Ivid - 44]
       
    There was also the Barbarians to consider. If Grenell attacked Ratik, Barbarian raids would most certainly recommence. His was a precarious balance, as many of the peoples of his northern coast shared familial ties to those Barbarians.


    Kaport Bay
    Kaport Bay is the most rugged of North Province's towns, a whaling station and fishing town of 5,200 souls. Together with its twin satellite villages of Low and High Scarport, this town has a characteristic atmosphere. The people here are hardy men and women with little time for frivolity—or outsiders. They term themselves "Kaportlanders" and are proud of this. Flan blood is strong, and the Kaportlanders are no friends of Grenell and his court. Kaport Bay maintains three stout war galleys used to protect its whaling fleet, not least against the attacks of deep-sea kraken in the Solnor Ocean. Barbarians rarely raided here in the past, given their blood ties with the fair-haired Kaportlanders, and they do not do so now. [Ivid - 56]
     

    In time, the conflict paused. They had no choice. Coffers were empty. Their armies tired beyond comprehension. The combatants dug in, licked their wounds and waited, glaring across the span at hose who glared back, and slavered, whether they were satisfied with their gains or desirous of taking back what was theirs or not. This is not to say that all was calm. Because the Flanaess was not calm. It seethed.

    Nyrond had another threat to contend with: the Bone March humanoids skirmished with Ratik and Nyrond itself. [FtAA - 7]


    What of the northeast? Tension is high. Violence certain. Nevertheless, for all the conflict west of the Rakers and to the south, the Thellonrian Penisnsula had been left largely unscathed.

                
    Seeking Destruction
    Ratik and the Bone March are at each other's throats. [FtAA - 21]

                The humanoids of the Bone March still seek to destroy Ratik, the beleaguered gnomes of the Flinty Hills, and any other territory they can advance into; their "alliance" with the North Province has already begun to disintegrate due to the ill-organized and undisciplined nature of these creatures. They have no leader, and are a quarrelsome rabble, but are numerous and hence dangerous. The Euroz tribe of ores (who rub their faces in the ash of burned victims when preparing for battle) are most numerous in Spinecastle, but their dominance may not last very long. They are known to subject human and demihuman (especially prized) captives to unspeakable degradations and tortures. [FtAA - 24]


                And the barbarians are a law unto themselves, still raiding Aerdi, still supporting the brave folk of Ratik, still deeply hostile to the poisoned words from Stonefist. [FtAA - 10]


                   


    Thus ends the episode of the Greyhawk Wars.

    Ratik and the Thillonrian Peninsula have weathered the Greyhawk Wars, Ratik far better than the Barbarians did, I image. The Barbarians, especially the Fruztii, and maybe the Cruztii, to a lesser extent, have been in direct contact with the Stonehold. The Stonehold has vastly increased their holdings, at the expense of Tenh.

    Even in Peace, treachery reigned:

    On the Day of the Great Signing, however, Greyhawk suffered a great treachery: Rary, one of the Circle of Eight, destroyed his companions Tenser and Otiluke in a great magical battle, then fled. Many suspected that the former Archmage of Ket had hoped to hold the ambassadors hostage, perhaps capturing Greyhawk itself in the process. Instead, he and his cohort, Lord Robilar, went to the Bright Desert to form their own kingdom. Fearing further disruptions, the delegates hurriedly signed the Pact of Greyhawk. Ironically, because of the site of the treaty signing, the great conflicts soon became known as the Greyhawk Wars. [LGG - 16]






    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals.

    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Black-Legion by dominikmayer
    In the Ruins of the Shield Lands, by Joel Biske, from Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Defeat by johnsonting
    Rage by atlantisvampir
    The-Hero-we-need by dominikmayer
    We-die-we-fight-Ms-Orc-14 by bayardwu


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9253 WG8, Fate of Istus, 1989
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 10-26-2021 05:51 am
    History of the North, Part 9: The Raging Storm


    "Our battle is more full of names than yours,

    Our men more perfect in the use of arms,

    Our armour as strong, our cause the best;

    Then reason will our hearts should be as good."

    Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II (1597-99), Act IV, sc.1, l.154.


    The Raging Storm

    Iuz had rolled across the Far North. Tenh had fallen. Then the Horned Society fell. The Bandit Kingdoms fell or capitulated. The Shield Lands and Furyondy stood against the storm in the west. But not as one. And Nyrond stood vanguard against its raging in the east, enemies to the fore and aft. They gripped their swords and spears, and raised their shields against the coming evil. They did not have to wait for long.
    Furyondy looked to the north and saw doom as it never had. Fear prevailed among the populace, and faith in the Knights of the Hart, as well. However, faith can only gird the shield. Belvor needed nor than just fear and faith; he needed information, not rumours and hersay , if he were to defend against Iuz and his hordes; so he sent spies into Iuz’s empire.

                Iuz’s assumption of power and armament for war did not pass unnoticed. Furyondy’s spies headed back to King Belvor IV with word of the swelling humanoid armies. The news could well have been written in the spies’ blood, though, for most of the human agents were discovered and slain, virtually closing King Belvor’s eyes and ears. When the few spies did reach him, though, the Furyondy king heeded the fate of Tenh and immediately set to building his defense. The citadels along the Veng River were stocked and garrisoned in expectation of immediate attack. Belvor’s vassals raised militia and shifted troops to the Veng border. Emissaries rode to the Shield Lands and Veluna to brace them for war. Belvor was determined that Furyondy would not fall. [Wars - 9]                


                Though ill-prepared, Furyondy was not complacent. King Belvor IV, while raising troops at home, dispatched his most silver-tongued advisors to the southern courts. Ambassadors bore the alarming news to Celene, Bissel, Veluna, the Uleks, and—most important of all—Keoland. With impassioned eloquence, the emissaries warned of dire consequences should the northern kingdoms fall. They urged the nations to ally and thus check the tide of evil, finally and forever. Nor were their words in vain: most of the leaders heeded the call, but wondered how little aid they could provide and how long they could delay before sending it. [Wars - 10]


    The Shield Lands and Furyondy, both, prepared for what must surely come. They ought to have prepared as one, but suspicion will always supplant common sense. Such was the pride of Lord Holmer of the Shield Lands. He was suspicious of Belvor. He thought Belvor intended to annex his little state, the first step to that end sending aid against a threat that had never been much of one in the past. The rabble of the Bandits and the lesser forces of Iuz had never posted a true threat in the past, so why would his Knights of the Shielding need those of the Hart? He would regret his miscalculation.

    Furyondy, which had great experience dealing with Iuz and his armies, dispatched emissaries to Admundfort, offering military and financial support for the grand invasion that surely was to come. [LGG - 14]


    King Belor’s emissaries to the Shield Lands met with an icy reception from Lord Holmer, Earl of Walworth and Commander of the Knights of the Holy Shielding. Relations between the two rulers had always been prickly. Though ostensibly allied with Furyondy, the earl long suspected that Belvor intended to annex the Shield Lands. Thus the messenger’s news of the mustering of Molag struck Lord Holmer as suspicious: he did not entirely dismiss the warning, but suspected King Belvor of overstating the danger. Holmer felt it more perilous to admit powerful knights of Furyondy into his lands to aid in its defense than to face the rabble of the Horned Society with his own knights. 


    Fearing annexation so soon after reclaiming his damaged homelands, Holmer curtly refused these offers and expelled Belvor's agents from his realm. Within months, Iuz's armies, which had savaged the western Bandit Kingdoms, stood on his eastern border. [LGG - 104]


    In the coming of Flocktime, Iuz struck. In the dead of night along the banks of the Veng and Ritensa, the humanoids of the Horned Society launched probing attacks. None made more than small headway against the knights of the Hart and Shielding, but the attacks still achieved their aim. While King Belvor and Lord Holmer peered myopically at their river frontiers, Iuz’s true legions marched east, fording the Ritensa north of the Shield Lands and striking into the Bandit Kingdoms. The petty warlords were easily cowed by Iuz’s might and, given the number of spies recently executed, the evil lord was confident that Belvor and Holmer were blind to his maneuvers. [Wars - 9]


    Outflanked and unable to support resistance on two fronts, the Shield Lands crumpled swiftly. Over 11,000 Shield Landers fell in the invasion, with as many dying in the subsequent occupation. While life under the bandits and Hierarchs had been difficult, at least the rulers had been (in most cases) human. Now, under Iuz, farmers were forced to work for orcs, necromancers, and demons. These creatures knew nothing of mercy, and life in the Shield Lands became that of fearful persistence, of not knowing if the next day would bring death or disfigurement, knowing that it would not bring hope.
    Earl Holmer Falls
    Except for lone fortified keeps and minor pockets of rural resistance, the whole of the Shield Lands fell to Iuz. A daring defense of Admundfort allowed much of the capital's population to flee via ship to Willip, but the evacuation was not completed. Earl Holmer, ever the noble knight, remained with his homeland, only to be carried off to the dungeons of Dorakaa. [LGG - 104]


    Occupied Admundfort was taken by Iuz as the new regional capital, to be administered by a Lesser Boneheart mage, Vayne, and assorted demons. The rest of the country fell to lesser leaders, including several fiends. The fertile lands of the Shield Lands became the breadbasket for Iuz's entire army, much of the physical labor carried out by zombies or humans under the constant threat of murder and subsequent revivification. [LGG - 104,105]


                [Furyondy] sought alliance with the Shield Lands to secure itself against the Old One, but stupidly, the pettyminded rulers of the Shield Lands refused, believing this to be a step in a planned annexation by Furyondy. They paid dear for their foolishness. Iuz feinted an attack westward. Meanwhile, his main body of troops struck far to the east and southeast, into both the Bandit Kingdoms and into the Shield Lands, which they flanked to the east from bases in the old lands of the Horned Society. Admundfort and Critwall fell swiftly. Lord Holmer, who had refused a pact with Furyondy, was taken to meet his fate in the dungeons below Dorakaa. [FtAA - 6]                


                Shield Lands fell swiftly to Iuz as he swept from the west during the Greyhawk Wars. The well-maintained primary roads of the Shield Lands made this conquest easier for the Demipower, if anything. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil - 42]                


                Lord Holmer learned of Iuz’s flanking march only after the humanoid hordes had breached the eastern border. Raging like a grass fire across the open fields of the Shield Lands, they drove on Critwall. When this dark report reached Lord Holmer, he pulled all but a screen of knights from the King Belvor’s emissaries to the Shield Lands river frontiers and personally fought his way back toward the undefended capital, Admund-fort. More than half of the knights fell in the drive toward the island, but those who reached the Nyr Dyv set fire to as many vessels as they could, then sailed across the channel to the capital. Ragged and weary, the remaining knights could not hold the capital before the onslaught of humanoids, though they came across in dories and trawlers. Admundfort and Critwall fell, and so too did Lord Holmer, borne away in clawed hands to the dungeons beneath Dorakaa. [Wars - 9,10]


    Furyondy prevailed where the Shield Landers failed. As Holmer’s forces reeled under the onslaught, Belvor ordered his armies forward into the Shield Lands, where they met stiff resistance. Had he not drawn forces from the Vesve, and had the retreating Shield Landers not joined him, he may not have carried the day.

                The fall of the Shield Lands left Furyondy’s eastern flank exposed, a threat King Belvor moved quickly to block. Lords scoured the countryside, raising vast militias to complement the thin ranks of the Order of the Hart and troops were hurriedly transferred from the Vesve Forest frontier. The newly raised troops and reinforcements confronted the advancing humanoids at the Battle of Critwall Bridge, dealing Iuz’s forces a severe blow. The armies of Furyondy repelled the humanoids and held the Veng River line against further advance. [Wars - 10]


    Iuz Sets His Sights

    Iuz was not finished, though. The conquest of the Horned Society and the Bandit Kingdoms was not enough. Neither was the sacking of the Shield Lands. Iuz had his sights set on the greener pastures of Furyondy. Iuz had his sights set on the whole of the south. He pressed on and lay siege to Chendl.

    Iuz had no intention of letting his string of victories end, however. Using loot captured in the Shield Lands, Iuz hired humanoid mercenaries in the Vesve Forest. The mercenary army descended from the Vesve, overrunning the frontier guard of Furyondy and capturing Crockport. Furyondy’s capital, Chendl, lay open and unguarded across the belly of the land. But for a hasty confederation of Highfolk and knights, Chendl would have fallen by the next dusk. The ragged force of Highfolk and knights refused to grant the orcs an open fight, harrying them instead. Though the orcs’ advance continued, it slowed sufficiently for the defenders of Chendl to prepare. By the month of Reaping, however, Chendl lay surrounded. [Wars - 10]


    Furyondian forces fell back to the capital, surrounding it, stopping the Orcish advance into Fairwain Province.

                The knights had managed to stop the orcish advance into Fainvain and the humanoids could do little more than surround Chendl. The Horned Society’s incursions across the Veng occurred less often and grew less concerted. Best of all, the Canon of Veluna sent word that his forces were hurrying to Furyondy’s side. The news from Nyrond, too-though not the best-at least indicated that the Fists were contained. After considering these encouraging matters, King Belvor rallied his spirit and returned to the fight. [Wars - 11]


    Belvor would not see his capital razed to the ground. Neither would he allow those brave souls defending it sell their souls for naught. He attacked, breaking the orcish ranks, ending the Siege of Chendl.

                Furyondy ’s first task—more political than strategic—was to sunder the siege of Chendl. Gambling on the chaotic nature of the tribes surrounding the city,” Belvor left most of his strength on the Veng border and personally led a picked command of elite units against the siege force. Belvor’s knights were severely outnumbered, but by strategic cunning and sorcerers’ aid, they gained the upper hand. The knights sliced through the humanoid lines and pinned the besiegers to the city walls. In short time, the fields around Chendl became a smoldering graveyard of goblinkind and the way to Chendl was open once more.
    By this time both Iuz and Furyondy were stretched to their limits. The furious pace of the war had exhausted their reserves of trained manpower and supplies. Through the months of Patchwall, Ready’reat, and Sun-sebb, both nations scrambled to reprovision their forces. [Wars - 11]


    Archbold of Nyrond

    Archbold of Nyrond was as hard pressed in the east. The Fists had sundered Tenh, and were raiding Nyrond with impunity. He raised what forces he had at his disposal, mindful of what would happen were he to leave his border with the Great Kingdom undefended, and marched against the Fists occupying the Nutherwood and Phostwood.

    Meanwhile in the east, Archbold III of Nyrond finally rallied himself from the shock of tenth’s defeat. Smarting from accusations that he had allowed the troublesome dukedom to collapse, King Archbold decided to undeniably prove his support for his former colonies. Armed with reports that the Fists were mercilessly pillaging the fallen duchy, Archbold marched north into the Nutherwood. Elven contingents in his army allowed him to easily infiltrate the Phostwood and overwhelm the few Fists posted there. Without further warning, the Nyrondese burst from the forest.
    Unlike the Tenhas though, the Fists did not simply crumble: Archbold found himself facing a determined foe. Angered at the surprise attack, Sevvord executed a few lackluster commanders as examples to the others, then sacrificed Fists to delay the advance as he mustered his forces outside the village of Ternsmay. Though outnumbered, Sevvord held the advantageous ground. In the ensuing battle, neither side could gain the upper hand. After fighting well into the night, the Fists withdrew farther and fortified their position. Though Archbold had emerged victorious, the victory was bitter, for he could risk no further advance into Tenh. He had, however, forced Redbeard into a defensive stance as well. The battle ended in stalemate and the armies spent the next tedious weeks watching their enemies across a mile-wide no man’s land. [Wars - 10]


    By 583, however, war would return to haunt Nyrond. Confident that a personal victory over untrained barbarians would do much to bolster his flagging popularity in Nyrond's northern regions, Archbold led a huge army through the Nutherwood, hoping to strike a telling blow against the 'Fists inhabiting Tenh. Fighting lasted for an entire day. The barbarians fell back to more heavily fortified lands, but the cost to Nyrond was great. More than three thousand soldiers fell before nightfall, and Archbold himself suffered grievous wounds, not least of which to his pride. He had gambled Nyrondal cavalry against the hordes of Sevvord Redbeard and won, but it did not seem like a victory. [LGG - 78]


    The Story Reuven of the Rhennee

    Reuven learned the ways of the forest in the distant Adri, saw combat in Nyrond during the Creyhawk Wars, and picked up a host of thiefly skills in the decrepit city of Seltaren, in the Duchy of Urnst. [RPGA Fright at Tristor - 3]


    584-585 CY

    The orcs of the Bone March sought to crush Ratik, but the defenses of the Kalmar Pass and the walls of Ratikhill had defeated them time and again. So to the Dwarves of the Rakers, and the Gnomes of the Loft Hills. As had the Loftwoods. They could not raze the mountains or the hills, but trees could burn.

                The site of a great Ratikkan victory over Bone March orcs (578 CY), the wood was partly despoiled by nonhumans setting fires (584—585 CY). It is once again a battleground between Ratik in the north and orcs and gnolls in the south. [LGG - 141]


    Dangerous times make for strange bedfellows. The enemy of my enemy, and all that. Thus, the Bandit chieftan, Hendrick, did what he never would have done in times of “peace.” He allied with the wood elves near Fleischriver to battle forces of Iuz. One could not be free of such evil if one were dead, he reasoned.           

    Skannar Hendricks
    Skannar Hendricks, a powerful chieftain of the Reyhu group of bandits, is a lot smarter than most. Fleeing from Iuz, attacked by a band of 200 Dazark encountered on the first day in the forest, his men then took something of a drubbing from the eastern wood elves, though they managed to slay a powerful fighter/mage. He decided that he really needed some allies. The wood elves didn't seem to want to simply murder the bandits wholesale, so Hendricks talked peace with them.
    Incredibly, this alliance has worked. Hendricks' men include fewer evil, and more neutrally aligned men than most bandit gangs. Likewise the elves have many neutrals. There was some room for understanding, since both hated Iuz and his ores. So, the wood elves have allowed Hendricks' men to build a couple of strongholds in the Fellreev and after a joint battle against a large force from Fleichshriver in Patchwall, 584 CY, some kind of friendship has been cemented. [WGR5 - 56]

    Despite Hendrick’s partisan tactics, Iuz held the Bandit Kingdoms well in hand. He could have slaughtered the populace. He could have let his hordes loose to do what they would; but he had plans. He needed to consolidate his lands if he were to conquer further; to do so required wealth. Wealth and food, and trade. And governance. How else would he subjugate the weak? Rookroost, Riftcrag, and Stoink were made regional capitals to do just that.

    In the Bandit Kingdoms, the towns of Hallorn, Riftcrag, Rookroost, and Stoink are regional capitals. Hallorn rules the western Bandit Kingdoms, Riftcrag the Rift and Rift Barrens, Rookroost the region between the Rift and the Bluff Hills, and Stoink the southeastern Bandit Kingdoms. [LGG - 60]


    Steelbone Meadows

    Iuz could not be everywhere, and so he could not control all of his vassals all of the time. Sometimes they went rogue, dispensing murder and mayhem without his sanction. Did this bother Iuz? Not particularly, not if their actions spread, for terror is a weapon, and so long as that terror furthered his ends, he was pleased with what it wrought.

    In late 584 CY, when the Pact of Greyhawk had been drafted and the war was ended but for skirmishing in the far-distant lands of the Pomarj, Ratik, and the margins of the Lost Lands, the priest Bernel of Hallorn commanded a gathering of bandit forces drawn from these western lands at what is now called Steelbone Meadows. Bernel was certainly paranoid, possibly completely insane. Ten thousand bandits gathered to celebrate the war's end, expecting to be given instructions for the new campaigns of pillage they looked forward to after the winter. As most of them slept in their huge tented campsite, Bernel, who believed that the bandit leaders intended to turn against Iuz and reclaim their lands from Iuz's control, had over half of them slaughtered by fiends, ore assassins, and lethal magic. The survivors fled in all directions. They currently eke out a perilous living in these infertile, poor plains lands. Unfortunately, the survivors own chaotic evil disposition prevented them from allying against their oppressor. Many of them turned on each other, claiming that the other had co-operated with Bernel, betraying his fellows to ensure his own survival. Thus, the roaming bandit gangs are as likely to attack and kill each other as they are to strike against Iuz's forces, who rarely patrol these lands any more. Bernel was swiftly replaced by Iuz and is now a prisoner in Dorakaa's dungeons. The new commander at Hallorn has suffered a strange fate of his own. Perhaps the dying curses of the men slain at Steelbone Meadows have affected one victim, at least. [WGR5 - 49]


    In late 584 CY, news from Greyhawk declared an official end to the war, and many warriors gathered in northeast Wormhall to confer with their leaders regarding plans for next year's summer raiding season. After many nights of drunken Brewfest revelry, more than ten thousand bandit men from Abbarra, Freehold, Midlands, Warfields and Wormhall were attacked as they slept by a treacherous (and probably mad) cleric of Iuz, using magic, assassins, and demonic servants. About half of these men escaped, most badly wounded, and fled overland to refuge in Greenkeep, Tangles, or the Rift. All nurse a grim hatred for Iuz and his forces in their homeland. The abandoned campsite, now known as Steelbone Meadows, is overgrown today, with rotting tents, rusted weapons, and scattered bones forming a grim, open graveyard. Though it is likely the massacre went against the wishes of Iuz (who had the mad cleric carried off to an unknown fate), it nonetheless offers a stern warning to those who wish to throw off the puppet rulers installed by the Old One. [LGG - 31]


    The Rook in Shadow
    What remains of the Bandit Kingdoms?


    Abbarra:    [Some] assassins survived (perhaps organized by their former leader, the ruthless Kor (NE male human Asn12) and now prey on Iuz's rare patrols in this area. These "terrorists" strike from hidden bases and live off the land. Abbarra is technically governed from Hallorn, but it is generally ignored by the empire. [LGG - 25]


    Artonsamay, Duchy of the:    Rumored to have been ruled by a puissant noble adventurer of Urnst's Gellor dynasty, Artonsamay was a favorite haunt of thrill-seekers and lawless folk lacking an evil or sadistic bent. None of this, however, served to aid the duchy when Iuz's forces invaded in 583; the realm's castle "capital" was destroyed, and most of the land's residents fled to the County of Urnst, Stoink, or the Rift. Great magic was employed in the battle, and Artonsamay is now mostly uninhabited wilderness (much of it barren) with poor hunting, governed from Stoink. Many, including Countess Belissica, believe that Duke Gellor […] is dead, though the folk of Stoink whisper that no less than Iuz's high priestess, Halga, was seen there, tracking a man bearing an all-too-familiar appearance. [LGG - 26]


    Dimre, Grand Theocracy of:     Dimre is technically governed from Stoink, though it is autonomous in reality. Dimre's clergy preaches that to understand the glory of Light, one must first walk hand-in-hand with Darkness. Its army keeps watch on all borders, allowing none but the faithful to pass into their sacred land. [LGG - 26]


    Fellands:    The bulk of the bandits working with [Xavendra, an oddly refined and graceful cleric of Iuz] have turned to dark religion and evil debauchery. Xavendra has a well-known distaste for orcs, and some suspect she may make a play for independence (despite being a cleric of the demigod) should Iuz's full attention fall elsewhere. [LGG - 26]


    Freehold, Mighty:    The Freehold keep itself was altered in the early months of Iuz's occupation, becoming the grisly castle known as Fleichshriver. Remolded by fiendish hands, the citadel is an imposing reminder of the evil, otherworldly forces that once infested the local countryside. Though passers-by no longer need fear the claw and tooth of marauding demons, strange, haunting screams can still be heard from the seemingly abandoned keep; locals give it a wide berth. Iuz's archmage Null […] of the Greater Boneheart, was known to come here in the past and might do so still. [LGG - 26]


    Defenders of Greenkeep: Greenkeepers escaped the massacre at Steelbone Meadows and withdrew into their corner of the Fellreev. They suffered much from raids by wizards, clerics, and orcs under Iuz, but some hang on, helping and helped by the Reyhu-elf alliance across the river. They avoid the plains to the south. [LGG - 26]

    Grosskopf, Grand Clans of:    
    Grosskopf Raiders
    Many Grosskopf raiders with cavalry skills elected to take Iuz's suggestion that they relocate to the Barrens to fight the Rovers, with whom Grosskopf had clashed for many decades. The raiders live now at the Barrens' regional capital, Grossfort, forming the basis of a sizable army known as the Marauders of the North. Other Grosskopf troops work with allied orcs and goblins at Senningford and Narleon, fighting Stonehold skirmishers and supplying Iuz's troops in Tenh. Grosskopf and Fellands are both now controlled from the regional capital at Rookroost. [LGG - 27]


    Johrase, Kingdom of:    Kinemeet is now primarily an orcish city, its forces charged with controlling the plains for 100 miles or more in all directions. The commander here, usually a gigantic orc or intelligent ogre warrior, reports to either Rookroost or Riftcrag, depending on whim. The commander is replaced about once a year, however, thanks to duels for leadership. The orcs here are warlike in the extreme but loyal to Iuz, despite the fact that they frequently use Johrase shields and flags along with those of the Old One. [LGG - 27]


    Midlands, Stronghold of the:    Most surviving forces were destroyed at Steelbone Meadows, and the temple has been razed. The region is now under the control of Kinemeet's orcs, who usually answer to Graf Demmel Tadurinal [a cleric of Iuz], a toadying [sycophant] stationed in Rookroost. The graf also handles patrols along the Artonsamay. [LGG - 27]


    Redhand, Principality of:    Now that most of the Old One's demonic officers are gone from the land, many believe Zeech and his men are set for a rebellion. Word of this surely has reached Dorakaa, and all eyes watch the debased prince with grotesque curiosity, guessing at his fate should he defy Iuz. Zeech would get no help elsewhere, as he is greatly hated in Urnst and Furyondy. [LGG - 27]


    Reyhu, Great Lands of:    The old Reyhu region is administered by a quartet of clerics of Iuz in Balmund, who in turn report to either Riftcrag or Stoink (their orders are often confused on this point). Their incompetence does not eliminate the fact that the countryside literally crawls with orcs and their allies, and hence is well defended, if only by the sheer number of defenders. Reyhu's celebrated fields lay fallow, its crucial resource completely ignored and turning into wilderness. [LGG - 29]


    Rift, Men of the:    
    The Rift Folk
    Rift folk are mostly as chaotic and evil as the nonhumans, but they are clever and skilled at mountaineering and trap-setting. Many thieves and berserkers are among the warriors here, and Erythnul worship is widespread. Iuz's agents inhabiting Riftcrag made it a regional capital in 584. They keep watch over the canyon from the city and from the Leering Keeps, five citadels perched on the northern edge and eastern end of the enormous chasm. Led by Cranzer […] a powerful member of Iuz's Lesser Boneheart, these forces patrol the Rift, attempting to contain the plar's growing army while continuously assaulting the Tangles with axe and fire. The Rift holds mines that provide the region's best silver veins. Of late, Cranzer has made deals with the Rift bandits in order to make the regular silver shipments personally demanded by Iuz. [LGG - 29]


    Rookroost, Free City of:    Rookroost now governs all plains, forests, and hills between Cold Run and the Zumker River, all Iuzite forces in Tenh, and the plains across the Artonsamay south to the Rift Barrens. [LGG - 29]


    Stoink, Free City-State of:    Currently ruled by the fearless and grossly overweight Boss Renfus the Mottled […]. Stoink sponsors brigand raids into northern Nyrond, and its forces loot the supply trains of the army of Tenha expatriates attempting to retake their homeland under Duke Ehyeh III. Cross-river raids between Stoink and the Urnst fortress Ventnor are increasing, but they have not yet invited an invasion by the County of Urnst north of the Artonsamay. The northern border with Dimre is stoutly defended to prevent raiding by overzealous minor priests. [LGG - 30]
    Looting Supply Lines

    Earldom of the Tangles:    Iuz rules this area from the small town of Hallorn, the earldom's former capital and now one of Iuz's regional capitals. Hallorn was once a grim place filled with little more than zombies, thanks to an insane priest of Iuz and his numerous demonic allies. [LGG - 30]


    Warfields, Unified Bands of the:    
    Rife with Hobgoblins
    Warfields is much less a center of military activity these days, consisting mostly of wilderness and ruined towns. Administered from the regional capital at Hallorn, the land is rife with hobgoblins, and few humans remain. The hobgoblins send many of their number south to fight returning Shield Landers at Critwall. The former Guardian General, an imposing warrior called Hok […], has not been heard from in over five years. [LGG - 30]


    Wormhall:    No one knows the true faces of the lords of Wormhall. Rumors suggest they are ordinary humans, fiends, reanimated lords of old, or worse. The structure and province are named for the tenebrous worms that literally crawl on the walls of the Wormhall, a revolting feature that has led many to suggest magic created by the infamous arch-cleric Kyuss is somehow involved in the affairs of the land. [LGG - 31]



    584 CY  Ket had long coveted the arable lands east of the Bramblewood, and had fought more than one Short War with Veluna and Furyondy and Keoland to gain a foothold there. Iuz had whispered in their ear. Now is your chance, he said. Strike while your enemies are in the North. Ket listened, and sent its forces into Bissel.
                In Goodmonth 584 CY, Ketite cavalry attacked Bissel's watchtowers along the Fals River at the northern end of Bramblewood Gap. Without many of the mercenaries within its Border Companies, who had traveled south and east to battle the Pomarj and Iuz, Bissel fell by mid-Harvester. Ket, encouraged by the Old One, forced Bissel's surrender after the fall of Thornward. The archfiend and the westerners had hoped to use the old margrave, Walgar, a ranger of some renown, as a puppet, but pride would not allow it. After giving up his lands, the aged ruler committed ritual suicide. Graf Imran Tendulkar, a Baklunish religious warrior, took a soft hand to rulership as Walgar's replacement. He and his men attempted (often in vain) to convert the Bisselites to western religions, all the while waiting patiently for the land to accept its new governors. Other nations, understanding Bissel's strategic importance, attempted to break Ket's hold. In a succession of battles, Veluna drove invading forces from the neck of the Fals River Pass and Highfolk gnomes defeated Ketite forces in the Northern Lorridges. Further advances into the nation were halted by Ketite horsemen, often with assistance from the remnants of Bissel's disbanded Border Companies, now bankrolled by western interests. [LGG - 33]                


    The Great Kingdom desired the return of those provinces that had ceded from its oversight. Nyrond had begun the tide of defection. Nyrond was also the most powerful of all those who would defected. Should Nyrond fall, the rest would bend the knee once again, either by choice or by the sword. And so Ivid attacked Nyrond.

                The reports of war, blood, and great conquests being made by the hated barbarians and barely-civilized Fists of the North excited and enraged the overking. Egged on by the priesthood of Hextor, Ivid entered the fray by storming into Nyrond and its ally Almor. [Ivid - 4,5]


    But Ivid was defeated.

    It is a tribute to Ivid's incompetence that a nation with the vast armies and resources that the Great Kingdom had was fought to a standstill by much smaller Nyrond. For all the excellence of the Nyrondese armies, and their superb morale and training, Ivid should have been able to crush them. [Ivid - 5]


    Ivid was livid! Lack of dedication conducts a pogrom, executing servants, sages, and surfs; he executes his generals and nobles, transforming them into undead.

    Ivid personally assumed complete command of all the armies of the Great Kingdom, despite the counsel of his best advisors. Ivid did not just overrule or even sack his generals: he executed them, sparing only his favorites. [Wars - 20]

    Finally, Ivid V decided to create utterly loyal servitors among his generals and nobles. He expediently had them murdered and raised in unique undead forms; each was revived as an animus, an undead being possessing all the skills and talents of the former living person. With the logic of the terminally deranged, Ivid came to see this revivification as a reward for his favored courtiers. [FtAA - 8]


    Reward
    [Ivid] became utterly obsessed about such [disloyalty and betrayal] and ordered appalling reprisals, verging on genocide, against the people of those lands. He saw it as punishment for treachery in not dealing with such affronts to His Imperial Majesty.
    Convinced of treachery among his nobles, he invoked a unique new form of ensuring their obedience. With Hextor's priests and the aid of fiends, he had the nobles slain and brought back to unlife as powerful undead creatures—animuses. He thought that by eliminating their human weaknesses and  he could be certain of the loyalty of wholly acquiescent zombie-leigemen. What he actually had, however, was a large number of very powerful and embittered monsters who retreated to their own lands and simply defied him.
    In response, Ivid began executing as many traitors (the vast majority of them imagined traitors) as he could get his once-elite Companion Guard to lay their hands on. Rauxes was awash with blood; by the end of the wars, its population was barely above half its pre-war total. [Ivid - 5]


    One must strike while the iron is hot. Ivid had taken control of the Aerdian armies, much to the dismay of those generals still untouched by his hellish desire. The Great Kingdom was in disarray, its parts shattered as its herzogs and governors sought to salvage what they might.

    Hearing of massacres in Ivid’s lands, King Archbold in Nyrond counterattacked the Army of the North between Womtham and Innspa. Though Ivid’s animus generals fought well—being themselves unafraid of death—the chaotic heartlands of the Great Kingdom offered no support to the Northern Army. [Wars - 21]


    Almor was not so lucky as Nyrond. [It] was invaded by Ivid in 584 CY and its old capital, Chathold, utterly decimated by the Overking's mages and priests. The animus Duke Szeffrin now rules half of the old Almorian lands, and this creature, formerly a greatly favored general in Ivid's armies, is reputedly one of the cruellest of the animus nobles now holding sway over so much of Aerdy. [FtAA - 27]

    Nyrond, for all its honour and decency, understood when a rabid dog needed to be put down. They took measures for the greater good, as even the most forthright must in such times.
                The crisis reached its climax during the Richfest celebrations of that year. An assassin emerged from the thronging crowds and struck Ivid a mortal blow with a poisoned dagger. When news spread of Ivid’s death, the gloom over the land lifted. The nobles stoked the fires of celebration, joyously preparing for the power struggle to come. [Wars - 21]


    The Great Kingdom was spared that turmoil, however, by an even greater one. Just as the cunning of the mad Overking had saved Ivid from countless threats past, it saved him now from the grave. Secret arrangements, perhaps made with fiends summoned while on the Malachite Throne, resulted in the Overking’s revivification. Ivid V—who had seemed cold and soulless in life-seemed doubly so in death. [Wars - 21]


    The supreme irony is that Ivid himself is an animus now. After an assassin's poisoned and enchanted dagger struck him, only this revivification process was able to prevent his death. Still, the process failed in some crucial respect, as Ivid still has the wasting disease he contracted shortly before the wars. The disease appears to be incurable.
    Ivid the Undying is dying by the day. [Ivid - 5]                


    The North and South Provinces fully secede from the Great Kingdom.
                The North Province seceded, and with the aid of humanoids from the Bone March, succeeded in repelling Nyrondese forces in the Flinty Hills. Wisely, the Nyrondese held off from further massed battles, perhaps sensing the imminent collapse of Aerdy. The North Province's secession did indeed trigger the complete disintegration of the Great Kingdom. Animus nobles across the land (and the few still living) withdrew all support and the remnants of their armies from the Overking. The Great Kingdom was no more; a welter of petty states, ruled by disputatious nobles (many of them undead), was all that was left. An empire that had stretched from Perrenland to the Aerdi Sea had been wholly expunged in less than four hundred years. Sic transit gloria mundi (or its Oeridian equivalent): so passes away the glory of the world. [FtAA - 8,9]



    Herzog Grenell watched as the once Great Kingdom shrank, its power diminished, its lands divided. He declared himself King of his North Province. He knew his reign would be short is sanctimonious Nyrond had any say in the matter, so he marched his armies north to meet what would surely come.

    Grace Grenell, Herzog of the North Province rebelled against his cousin in a desperate attempt to hold his lands against the march of King Archbold. Freed of the mad king, the Herzog and the orcs of the Bone March halted the Nyrondese armies in the rugged Flinty Hills. The Herzog callously sacrificed both human and orcish troops to grind King Archbold’s advance to a halt. Though the Nyrondese could advance no further against the combined armies, Archbold, tantalized by the prospect of ultimate victory, refused to break off his assault. [Wars - 21]


    Grenell was wary. Indeed, he was quite fearful. He did not intend to join the ranks of Ivid’s “most loyal servants.” And if he were to be summoned to Rauxes he most certainly would have been. Therefore, he did what most vainglorious despots would do in such circumstances; he too seceded from the Kingdom.

    The North Province’s defection from the Great Kingdom unleashed the pent-up fears and ambitions of all nobility in the Great Kingdom, both living and animus. The Herzog of the South, among the first nobles rewarded with death and revivification, reasserted his claim to the South Province. The wave spread outward from there: living nobles turned their fiefs into armed camps and animus lords sought to expand their realms. The Overking’s authority collapsed entirely, leaving Ivid with only his personal estates. Thus, the always-fragile Great Kingdom shattered into a hundred petty principalities, dukedoms, baronies, counties, and earldoms. The Aerdi Empire was no more. [Wars - 21]


    His Grace Grennel

    Grenell found himself in a rather precarious position. Not only did he have to watch his southern border. He had to be mindful of Nyrond and the Barbarians, too. To make matters worse, the Bone March was calling in the debt owed for their helping the now North Kingdom attack Nyrond: "We helped you fight Nyrond, now you help us storm Ratik."

                For himself, Grenell doesn't give a fig about Ratik. Unfortunately, no few of his most powerful local rulers care a great deal about Ratik—as do many ordinary folk. Many of them share the same Oeridian-Flan racial mix as the men of Ratik, and they admire the rugged bravery of Ratik's warriors in having kept the humanoids at bay for so long. They are opposed to any plan to conquer Ratik, and some of them are ready to go and fight for Ratik should Grenell dare act against that nation.
    There is another twist to this. The barbarian nations are strongly allied with Ratik. At the present time, their raids are focused on the Sea Barons and they do not often raid most points along the eastern North Province seaboard, save for Bellport. This is because many of the rulers and armies of that eastern seaboard have managed to make a peace of sorts with the fierce Flan barbarians, Prince Elkerst of Atirr being a notable example. Indeed, the barbarians increasingly trade with some North Province coastal towns and villages, and that trade brings much needed wood, furs, and other commodities in short supply in North Province. [Ivid - 44]
       
    There was also the Barbarians to consider. If Grenell attacked Ratik, Barbarian raids would most certainly recommence. His was a precarious balance, as many of the peoples of his northern coast shared familial ties to those Barbarians.


    Kaport Bay
    Kaport Bay is the most rugged of North Province's towns, a whaling station and fishing town of 5,200 souls. Together with its twin satellite villages of Low and High Scarport, this town has a characteristic atmosphere. The people here are hardy men and women with little time for frivolity—or outsiders. They term themselves "Kaportlanders" and are proud of this. Flan blood is strong, and the Kaportlanders are no friends of Grenell and his court. Kaport Bay maintains three stout war galleys used to protect its whaling fleet, not least against the attacks of deep-sea kraken in the Solnor Ocean. Barbarians rarely raided here in the past, given their blood ties with the fair-haired Kaportlanders, and they do not do so now. [Ivid - 56]
     

    In time, the conflict paused. They had no choice. Coffers were empty. Their armies tired beyond comprehension. The combatants dug in, licked their wounds and waited, glaring across the span at hose who glared back, and slavered, whether they were satisfied with their gains or desirous of taking back what was theirs or not. This is not to say that all was calm. Because the Flanaess was not calm. It seethed.

    Nyrond had another threat to contend with: the Bone March humanoids skirmished with Ratik and Nyrond itself. [FtAA - 7]


    What of the northeast? Tension is high. Violence certain. Nevertheless, for all the conflict west of the Rakers and to the south, the Thellonrian Penisnsula had been left largely unscathed.

                
    Seeking Destruction
    Ratik and the Bone March are at each other's throats. [FtAA - 21]

                The humanoids of the Bone March still seek to destroy Ratik, the beleaguered gnomes of the Flinty Hills, and any other territory they can advance into; their "alliance" with the North Province has already begun to disintegrate due to the ill-organized and undisciplined nature of these creatures. They have no leader, and are a quarrelsome rabble, but are numerous and hence dangerous. The Euroz tribe of ores (who rub their faces in the ash of burned victims when preparing for battle) are most numerous in Spinecastle, but their dominance may not last very long. They are known to subject human and demihuman (especially prized) captives to unspeakable degradations and tortures. [FtAA - 24]


                And the barbarians are a law unto themselves, still raiding Aerdi, still supporting the brave folk of Ratik, still deeply hostile to the poisoned words from Stonefist. [FtAA - 10]


                   


    Thus ends the episode of the Greyhawk Wars.

    Ratik and the Thillonrian Peninsula have weathered the Greyhawk Wars, Ratik far better than the Barbarians did, I image. The Barbarians, especially the Fruztii, and maybe the Cruztii, to a lesser extent, have been in direct contact with the Stonehold. The Stonehold has vastly increased their holdings, at the expense of Tenh.

    Even in Peace, treachery reigned:

    On the Day of the Great Signing, however, Greyhawk suffered a great treachery: Rary, one of the Circle of Eight, destroyed his companions Tenser and Otiluke in a great magical battle, then fled. Many suspected that the former Archmage of Ket had hoped to hold the ambassadors hostage, perhaps capturing Greyhawk itself in the process. Instead, he and his cohort, Lord Robilar, went to the Bright Desert to form their own kingdom. Fearing further disruptions, the delegates hurriedly signed the Pact of Greyhawk. Ironically, because of the site of the treaty signing, the great conflicts soon became known as the Greyhawk Wars. [LGG - 16]






    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals.

    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Black-Legion by dominikmayer
    In the Ruins of the Shield Lands, by Joel Biske, from Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Defeat by johnsonting
    Rage by atlantisvampir
    The-Hero-we-need by dominikmayer
    We-die-we-fight-Ms-Orc-14 by bayardwu


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9253 WG8, Fate of Istus, 1989
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 10-26-2021 05:51 am
    History of the North, Part 8: The Storm to End All Storms

    "Your breath first kindled the coal of wars
    And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
    And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out
    With that same weak wind which enkindled it."

    Shakespeare, King John (1598) Act V, sc.2, l.83.


    Strange Salvation

    Salvation can come from the most unexpected quarters. Iuz had saved the Flanaess — for his own purposes, to be sure; but save it, he did. At a cost. He and Vecna had been hurled into the nether planes, tearing at one another like rabid animals manic from the smell of blood. Were they gone forever? Only a fool would think so.



    582 CY  ‘The mage sits down in front of the five Blades of Corusk and meditates for a minute. His hands move over the blades as he reads the magical writings. A frigid wind comes from the west, blowing the powdery snow in swirling whirlwinds. The words coming from his mouth sound like gibberish to you. As he reads the spell, a loud thunderclap sounds above you. As the echoes of the thunder die down, the swords shake and hum. Suddenly the swords disappear with an abrupt popping noise, and the snow turns to steam beneath them. You all hear a sharp “crack” behind you, and a sudden blast of wind pushes you for- ward. Surprised, the mage stops reading and spins around to see what happened.

    As you turn about, you see a barbarian giant standing before you. Appearing perfectly human, except for his 12-foot height, the man smiles down at you with a kind face. Two huge wolves stand on each side of him: these four beasts eye you with amber eyes. Meanwhile, the troops from the north and the south- west continue approaching.

    “Thank you, my children. You have awakened me from centuries of cursed sleep. In gratitude, I shall grant you your most intimate desires as long as they do not alter the path events are destined to follow. Speak to me.”’ [WGS2 Howl From the North - 41]


    ‘The deity looks over your heads toward the northeast. A smile breaks across his leathery face, showing pearly white, perfect teeth. “Look, the great armies of the Ice Barbarians come to fight at our side. Behind them, the Snow and Frost Barbarians prepare to join the fray. Our peoples are finally as one. This is the way it was meant to be since the dawn of Oerth.” As you turn to look behind you, the faint sound of seal skin drums and mammoth tusk horns reaches your ears. Riding on beasts ranging from horses to musk oxen, the barbarians approach just as the Great God said. The god turns and looks at the approaching enemy armies. A glint of pleasure gleams from his night-black pupils. He heaves a sigh and turns to look at you. “It has begun.”’ [WGS2 - 42]

    Vatun
    Vatun, Great God of the North had returned, and he had a plan for his people. They would conquer the North, as they had always been destined to do. And not just the North, they were destined to conquer the world.

    Vatun's appearance surprised even those most convinced by the rumors of the Five Blades, including the barbarian kings who had used the rumors to further their power. Vatun must have somehow proved his power to these doubtful rulers, for the kings of Fruztii, Schnai, and Cruski each surrendered their ancestral sovereignty to "all-powerful" Vatun. [Wars - 7]


    All the barbarians were inflamed by a rumor that swept their lands: that four of five legendary magical swords, the Swords of Corusk, had been found, and that when the fifth was obtained, a "Great God of the North" would rise and lead them to conquest and greatness. The fifth sword never was found, but one calling himself Vatun and claiming to be the Great God of the North appeared before the barbarians of Fruztii, Schnai, and Cruskii, and they swept west into Stonefist under his leadership. [FtAA  -6]


    It wasn’t Vatun. It was Iuz. And he set them upon the Holds of Stonefist.

    The first strike was a stroke of unusual cunning and ingenuity. Constructing an elaborate fiction about a "Great God Vatun," Iuz managed to ally the barbarian nations together. Deluded by dreams of greatness, the barbarians subjugated the Hold of Stonefist. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil - 3]


    The Barbarians swept across the Stonehold with fierce resolve. They would not be defeated. Vatun had returned and said as much. Sevvord Redbeard, Master of the Hold, desperately tried to fend off their assault, but he could not muster his forces fast enough.

    Even as Vatun appeared before his dread-filled followers, the Fists converged upon them to stop the ceremony. In the brief battle that ensued, Vatun easily routed the Fists and thereby won the prostrate praise of the barbarians. However, instead of completely crushing the Fists, Vatun sought them as allies.[Wars - 7]


    Redbeard was run down, and brought before Vatun for judgement. No one can say what the Great God of the North said to the Redbeard, Vatun cleared the hall of all but him and the vanquished leader, but when the audience was concluded, the Redbeard had committed not only his atamans, but his life to that northern god.

    The Fists were overwhelmed and their leader, Seword Redbeard, underwent a dramatic, if not to say magical, change of allegiance. [FtAA - 6]


    “I have seen the light of a Great Northern God, my brothers,” the Redbeard said to his atamans, “and he showed me the error of our ways! We have spent our strength against the barbarians and the horsemen of the Barrens for too long. We have dribbled it away in small raids, when we should have crushed them under our Fists! Let us not waste it any longer when there is greater loot to be had in the south! The riches of Tenh is ours for the taking! Who’s with me?”

    And although they did not entirely trust the barbarians and their northern god, they trusted in the Redbeard’s strength.

    The Hold of Stonefist remained a threat to Tenh for more than a century, and ultimately brought about its destruction. The first action of the Greyhawk Wars was an invasion of war bands from Stonehold, though this was unlike any previous attack. The Fists had new tactics, and demonic assistance, that overwhelmed the defenses of the city of Calbut, and soon thereafter, Nevond Nevnend. Had the duke been in the city at the time, perhaps he could have rallied his troops to stand; as it was, both citizens and soldiers gave way to panic—though in hindsight, many have suggested that this was demonically inspired fear. The duke and his family fled to the County of Urnst, leaving their nation to the Stoneholders, and the clerics and demons of Iuz.  [LGG - 113]


    The men of Stonefist never conquered [the] castles [of Dour Pentress] and they have no living occupants now. The Fists have no desire to meet the ferocious fen trolls and the eastern lands are virtually unpatrolled by them. All that is known for certain is that madness and plague broke out among the thousands of defenders of these castles as the Fists stormed into Atherstone. Of course, Iuz had a hand in this. Some of the survivors say that fiends stalked the battlements and that black stinking fogs drifted across the walls for a week of unremitting horror. The defenders fled, some insane enough to flee even into the fens, and others from Dour Pentress went across the border to the Brilliant Castles where a few score now serve the Theocracy. The defenders left much behind such as wands, scrolls, magical weapons, magical arrows, and other valuables. Whether the minds and bodies of those entering could survive the ordeal they would face is most uncertain. To be sure, the Fists are wiser than to try. [WGR5 - 70,71]

    The Duke and Duchess of Tenh were as surprised by the fury of the assault as the Redbeard had been. Though their forces fought valiantly to defend their lands, they were stretched thin, having recently fought to clear the Troll Fens. Their army was entrenched upon the Theocracy, and by the time they had marched to face the Fists, their cause was already lost. The Duke and Duchess fled to the County of Urnst, and their people to the borders of Nyrond.

    Within less than two weeks the capital of Tenh had fallen as well, and its duke fled to the County of Urnst. The rhelt of Stonehold was now overlord of Tenh, though under the supernatural control of Iuz, for a powerful and nearly undetectable charm had been placed on Reword. [LGG - 109]


    583 CY  All good things must come to an end. Iuz dared too much. He commanded the Barbarians to attack Ratik, and they began to doubt their newly returned northern god. Raiding the Sea Barons and the North Kingdom was one thing, so too striking Tenh, but they had kin in Ratik. And, for the Fruztii, a friend.

    The Vatun ruse did not last long. Commanding the barbarians to strike into Ratik, a long-time ally of the barbarians, was a mistake by Iuz, some think. Others say that he wished to abandon this part of the Flanaess to confusion, since its role as a ruse and feint was played to the full. In any event, the barbarians began to slink quietly home, though the Fists remained in Tenh and occupy it still. Now Iuz could concentrate fully on the war. [WGR5 - 4]


    In 583 CY, Iuz returned to his homeland. The short absence he had taken to work his deceptions upon the barbarians threatened to reduce his evil empire to turmoil once more. Stung by setbacks in the east and determined to silence internal unrest, Iuz savagely restructured his nation. The straggling human nobles from the old Furyondy houses—worms of men, too weak to oppose Iuz and too morally bankrupt to flee—were deposed or executed. In their stead, Iuz placed unholy things from the Abyss: nabassu, cambions, hezrou, mariliths, and vrock. Somehow he forced them to his will. [Wars - 9]


    Iuz wished to weaken Furyondy’s ties to its western allies. He allied with Ket, for Ket had always coveted the rich lands to the east.

    The decades preceding the Greyhawk Wars were prosperous ones for Ket, but early in that conflict the beygraf allowed his armies to be drawn into the fighting in the central Flanaess. Seeing an opportunity to gain control of his nation's historic rivals in Bissel, Beygraf Zoltan went so far as to ally himself with Iuz the Old. This was done without the approval of the mullahs, but the initial success of the alliance was so overwhelming that their protests were largely silenced. [LGG - 67]



    The Horned Society and Bandits in the Shield Lands

    Conquest and pillage is well and good, but the Hierarch’s knew that such pleasures must wait when their very existence was in jeopardy. Iuz had returned and taken an interest in taking back what he deemed his. It was only a matter of time before he attacked, and they had best be ready. Ever the pragmatic ones, the Bandits were of a like mind. Their armies began leaving the Shield Lands to prepare for the defense of their homelands.

    In the early months of 583 CY, however, the occupiers began fleeing the country, leaving only handfuls of easily defeated bands behind. Though few understood at the time, reports that Iuz's armies were on the march frightened even the cold-blooded Hierarchs, who ordered all armies back to the heartlands to prepare for a defense. By Coldeven, when the Hierarchs were nearly all slain and the Horned Lands quietly fell to Iuz, the battered Shield Lands had been reconquered in the name of Earl Holmer, Knight Commander of the realm. [LGG - 104]


    The Razing of Molag

    Had the Hierarchs prepared earlier, they might have survived. Would they have? Did they? Some suggest that they were not even there, that they had masked their timely retreat with blinds, replacements, or clones. In any event, the Horned Lands fell, like wheat to the scythe.

    The week of the Blood Moon festival in the lands of their most Dread and August Presences, the Hierarchs of the Horned Society, took on an unusual aspect in 582 GY. Never before had the very streets of Molag run awash with blood. With the aid of fiends and his orcish army sweeping across the plains of the Society's lands, Iuz vanquished his old enemies in days rather than weeks. The blow was so decisive that the Hierarchs had no time to call on extraplanar aid before they were massacred. Absorbing the hobgoblin soldiery of the land into his own armies, Iuz swept onwards across the Ritensa to the Shield Lands. [WGR5  - 4]


    Nor did the Lord of Evil stop at rebuilding his own lands, but reached also into the Horned Society to replace leaders there. The Dread and Awful Presences, the Hierarchs, made the task easy for him. The Hierarchs reigned in veiled seclusion, hiding their human identities from their humanoid minions. Rumors that the Hierarchs were fiendish overlords arose among the humanoids of the Horned Society—rumors the Hierarchs fostered to cement their power. Iuz decided merely to make the rumors reality. In the month of Coldeven, at the height of the Blood Moon Festival, the citadels of Molag ran red with blood as Iuz staged his coup. In less than a fortnight, the Hierarchs became creatures of mere legend and Iuz held absolute control over the Horned Society. [Wars - 9]


    By Coldeven, when the Hierarchs were nearly all slain and the Horned Lands quietly fell to Iuz, the battered Shield Lands had been reconquered in the name of Earl Holmer, Knight Commander of the realm. [LGG - 104]


    Bandit Kingdom troops began withdrawing from the Shield Lands, as well.
    They withdrew in early 583, concerned about a sudden change of orders sent to Horned Society troops (caused by Iuz, who had slain most of the Hierarchs and seized control of that realm). Warfields' army joined Iuz's, but it suffered gross losses at Steelbone Meadows massacre and rebelled. Warfields was then invaded and destroyed by Iuz's hobgoblins. Warfields' soldiers and citizens are scattered to the winds. [LGG - 30]


    The Free Lords Fall

    The Horned Lands running with blood, Iuz turned his attention on the Bandit Kingdoms. They had never been particularly loyal to one another, so, when they were finally attacked by a dedicated force they fell over like a line of dominos.

    Mighty Freehold: The realm in the inner crook of the Fellreev Forest, south of the Artonsamay, was named for its sole fortified site, a huge walled keep, The Freehold allied itself with Iuz when the latter invaded in 583, but its forces were treacherously destroyed at Steelbone Meadows the following year. [LGG - 26]


    The United Bands of Warfields: Warfields' army joined Iuz's, but it suffered gross losses at Steelbone Meadows massacre and rebelled. Warfields was then invaded and destroyed by Iuz's hobgoblins. Warfields' soldiers and citizens are scattered to the winds. [LGG - 30]


    Barony of Wormhall: [Wormhall capitulated and] joined Iuz's troops, but they were slaughtered at Steelbone Meadows. Surviving troops and citizens fled into the Fellreev. [LGG - 30]


    Abbarra: A wilderness of rugged plains situated between the Fellreev and Tangles, immediately west of the Midlands, Abbarra was long run by a syndicate of formidable assassins. In a land as chaotic and lawless as the Bandit Kingdoms, the blade of a trained killer is highly prized. Because of this, the Abbarrish have generally managed well as a people, despite the inferiority of their overfarmed land. Abbarra lost most of its able fighting men at Steelbone Meadows in northeastern Wormhall, the scene of a frightful massacre in Brewfest 584 CY brought on by a deranged cleric of Iuz. [LGG - 25]


    Defenders of Greenkeep: Greenkeepers escaped the massacre at Steelbone Meadows and withdrew into their corner of the Fellreev. They suffered much from raids by wizards, clerics, and orcs under Iuz, but some hang on, helping and helped by the Reyhu-elf alliance across the river. They avoid the plains to the south. [LGG - 26]


    Earldom of the Tangles: Iuz rules this area from the small town of Hallorn, the earldom's former capital and now one of Iuz's regional capitals. Hallorn was once a grim place filled with little more than zombies, thanks to an insane priest of Iuz and his numerous demonic allies. [LGG - 30]


    Great Lands of Reyhu: Though Reyhu men invaded the Shield Lands with other Bandit Kingdoms after 579 CY, they feared Iuz and fled from his huge, eastward-moving armies in 583 CY, heading north into the Rift Canyon or the Fellreev, or southeast into the County of Urnst. Reyhu men now raid their old homeland from bases in Urnst, or else hold out in the central Fellreev in alliance with sylvan elves there. [LGG - 29]


    Principality of Redhand: "Prince" Zeech […], an effete renegade Shield Lands lord who broke with his nation in 577, swiftly allied himself and his forces with Iuz in 583. The alliance saved his realm from destruction, though the old lords and soldiers of the realm chafed at taking orders from half-orcs and worse. Redhand's capital is at Alhaster, but Zeech must report to the clerics of Iuz at Balmund, which he hates. Deadly conflicts between "Reyhu" orcs in the north and Redhand humans in the south are becoming common. [LGG - 27]


    Stronghold of the Midlands: By 583, the Midlands and Rookroost were allied. Iuz's armies encountered staunch but ultimately pointless resistance on the Midlands fields. When the defenders fell, the route to the capital lay open, most surviving forces were destroyed at Steelbone Meadows, and the temple has been razed. [LGG - 27]


    Riftcrag: The original bandit force here largely abandoned the city to Iuz's forces in 583, gathering in the deep recesses of the Rift and planning a dark revenge. These forces are augmented by many refugees from Iuz's attacks (notably Reyhu), and they are led by the charismatic self-proclaimed Plar of the Rift, Durand Grossman (NE male human Rog11). Native nonhumans and a few magically controlled monsters round out what is one of the three most active and well-defended resistance forces in the Bandit Kingdoms (the others being in the Fellreev). [LGG - 29]


    Free City of Rookroost: It wisely offered to join Iuz in 583 when the demigod's armies laid waste to the Midlands realm to the south […]. [LGG - 29]
    Kingdom of Johrase: Johrase allied with Dimre and fought Iuz's forces in 583, but it was routed and its men scattered to the east. [LGG - 27]


    The Fellands: The invasion of 583 brought with it new leadership in the guise of Xavendra (CE female human Clrl3 of Iuz) an oddly refined and graceful cleric of Iuz. Lacking the fiends that provided most of her security, the cleric has had to accept former bandits into her circle of leadership in Groucester, (She reports to the regional capital at Rookroost.) The bulk of the bandits working with her have turned to dark religion and evil debauchery. Xavendra has a well-known distaste for orcs, and some suspect she may make a play for independence (despite being a cleric of the demigod) should Iuz's full attention fall elsewhere. [LGG - 26]


    Grand Clans of Grosskopf: In 583, with the troops of Stonefist crowding Tenh and demon-led orc and hobgoblin armies rapidly approaching from the west, Grosskopf capitulated to Iuz. (Some men fled into the Bluff Hills, where they hold out yet.) Many Grosskopf raiders with cavalry skills elected to take Iuz's suggestion that they relocate to the Barrens to fight the Rovers, with whom Grosskopf had clashed for many decades. [LGG - 26,27]


    Duchy of Artsonmay: Rumored to have been ruled by a puissant noble adventurer of Urnst's Gellor dynasty, Artonsamay was a favorite haunt of thrill-seekers and lawless folk lacking an evil or sadistic bent. None of this, however, served to aid the duchy when Iuz's forces invaded in 583; the realm's castle "capital" was destroyed, and most of the land's residents fled to the County of Urnst, Stoink, or the Rift. Great magic was employed in the battle, and Artonsamay is now mostly uninhabited wilderness (much of it barren) with poor hunting, governed from Stoink. [LGG - 26]


    Stoink: Stoink declared for Iuz after witnessing the fate of Artonsamay and Johrase, and Iuz's "capture" of the city had little real effect on its daily life. [LGG - 29]


    Grand Theocracy of Dimre: The appalling failure rate of such endeavors has led many to suggest (in private) that Dimre presents the Pale with a convenient means for disposing of challengers to the status quo. After several embarrassing defeats in the summer of 583 CY, even the armies of Iuz chose to let matters stand, signing a pact of nonaggression and alliance with Dimre. Dimre is technically governed from Stoink, though it is autonomous in reality. Dimre's clergy preaches that to understand the glory of Light, one must first walk hand-in-hand with Darkness. Its army keeps watch on all borders, allowing none but the faithful to pass into their sacred land. [LGG - 26]


    Watching. Waiting.

    What did the rest of the Flanaess do? Very little. Waited, mostly. Some prepared. Perrenland certainly did. When it looked to its borders, Iuz seemed so very close, with only the Vesve to the east and the Wolves to the north to stem his advance. Any allies it might have called upon seemed exceedingly distant just then. It felt isolated, so very alone, so Perrenland signed a formal agreement with Iuz recognizing a neutral stance.

    The destruction of the Greyhawk Wars was diverted from Perrenland's borders by the signing in 583 CY of a formal agreement promising to maintain neutrality toward the bloodthirsty Iuz. Mercenaries were even offered to Iuz, though this act was reviled by Perrenders, and not one man volunteered to serve the Lord of Pain at any price. The pact seemed politically expedient at the time, but it did not please the Cantonal Council. [LGG - 86]




    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WGS2, Howl from the North, WG8 The Fate of Istus, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals.



    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    The-Summoning-of-Israfil by 000fesbra000
    SONS-OF-TALOS-SONS-OF-SKYRIM by shikamaru-no-kage
    Halga, Iuz, and Null at play, by Vince Locke, from Living Greyhawk Gazatteer, 2000
    52-365-Cursed-samurai by snatti89
    Burned-to-Ground by dominikmayer
    Ever-After by kamrusepas
    Medieval-Town by tumhoho
    Watchtower by helmie-d


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9317 WGS1, The Five Shall be One, 1991
    9337 WGS2, Howl from the North, 1991
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 10-22-2021 04:10 pm
    History of the North, Part 7: The Eye of the Storm


    "All was lost,
    But that the heavens fought."
    Shakespeare, Cymbeline (1611), Act V, sc.3, l.3


    Blackness had blotted the North

    Blackness had blotted the North. Iuz pressed Perrenland and Furyondy. The Vesve was under siege. The Hierarchs had “allied” with the Bandits. The Fists were pounding Tehn.
    One would think that the nations of light would bind together and stand united, but lords of those supposedly noble and virtuous nations were but politicians, filled with dark thoughts and distrust. Such suspicion would haunt them later.



    579 CY  Ratik and the seat of Knurl were in dire need of allies. Raids from the ravening hordes of the Rakers had beset them since the Bone March fell, so it came to no surprise that they looked to one another for aid. They met, they parlayed, they negotiated, and while they did, Lady Evaleigh, caught Alain’s eye, and before too long Baron Lexnol’s heir, Alain IV, married Lady Evaleigh, the daughter of the count of Knurl.

    In 579 CY, Lexnol's only son, Alain IV, the heir to the throne of the archbarony, married Lady Evaleigh, the daughter of the count of Knurl. The county was the only surviving province of Bone March, and the union was arranged to improve the lot of both realms. [LGG - 91]

    Alain acquired the dream of uniting Ratik and Bone March, but failed to convince the king of the Frost Barbarians of his plan to drive out the nonhuman tribes. Many whispered that Alain was encouraged in these ambitions by his step-family, particularly the count of Knurl, whose position between Bone March, North Province, and Nyrond was grossly precarious. In certain agreement were the immigrants from Bone March, who were driven from their lands by the invaders. [LGG - 91]

    The Ratik-Fraztii alliance cleared the Kelten Pass to the Hold of Stonefist, pressing the Fists back, but not taking the town of Kelten. Rhelt Seuvord rallied his forces, pushing the Fruztii back into the Griff Mountains.


    Things were not going as well west of the Rakers.

    When the Horned Society appeared after the disappearance of Iuz, affairs in the Shield Lands reached a desperate crescendo. Here were enemies dedicated to vile darkness and evil sacrifice, who had sworn upon the ashen altars of Molag's Hall of Dread that they would march to Admundfort and line the walls with the earl's intestines. Though years passed without significant military activity, the period between 550-570 saw heavy skirmishing along the western banks of the Ritensa River. Great forts such as Torkeep were raised, but such defenses soon proved inadequate. [LGG - 14]

    The Shield Lands ought to have been prepared. Indeed, they had banded together under the Knights of the Shield for just that purpose. But for all their vigilance, they were distrustful.


    The Horned Society and Bandit Kingdoms cometh

    The Horned Society and the Bandit Kingdoms acting in concert, invaded, overran and then carved-up the Shield Lands between the two conniving forces. [CoG FFF]


    In 579 CY, the Horned Society banded together with the lords of the bandit realms Warfields and Wormhall. With hobgoblin and mercenary armies supported by daemons and demodands, the vast host swarmed the western territories, bypassing strongholds and laying waste to villages and farmsteads. Thousands of Shield Landers gathered at Axeport to halt the invasion, but their line was broken and their bodies thrown as fodder to inhuman beasts. [LGG - 104]

    In spring 579, Warfields and Wormhall, directed and aided by the Horned Society, attacked the western Shield Lands; they were joined after their initial successes by armies from Reyhu, Redhand, the Rift, and other minor kingdoms. The Shield Lands fell, and Warfields men looted their way to Critwall and Axeport. [LGG - 30]

    The ravaging of the Shield Lands by both the Bandit Kingdoms and Horned Society in 579-583 CY similarly served to weaken this entire region, leaving the Shield Lands in ruins. Iuz took note of this and made use of it in his grandiose plans for conquest. [LGG - 15]

    The Nomads were always a collection of independent peoples. Only the strong ruled. And only the clever continued to rule. But the Barren Plains are vast, and the peoples there are scattered, and the tribes have always had a mind of their own.

     [Tarkhan ] Bargru went with his personal guard to the lands of the Guchek, the Wild Dog people, whose territory borders the eastern portion of Lake Quag and the uppermost reaches of the Sepias. Jicta, Khan of the Guchek, had failed to appear when summoned for the stroke against the invaders at EruTovar. The Tarkhan underestimated the degree of revolt by Jicta Khan, for Perrenland had subverted the Gucheck by bribes and the promise of aid if the Wild Dog Nomads would declare independence from the Tarkhan of the Wegwiur. This move by Perrenland should have been no surprise, considering the earlier incursions by the Wolf Nomads. In any event, Bargru managed to escape the trap after an ambush, but at the spring of CY 579, the Guchek remained independent and defiant. [Dragon #56 - 19]


    580 CY  Ivid slid ever further into insanity. It is a wonder that he was able to hold what was left of his once great kingdom together. But try as he might, it shrank and shrank, as yet more of it slipped from his grasp.

    Despite creeping insanity, he ably defended his realm from the combined forces of the Golden League (579-580) and civil unrest during the Red Death plague of 581. [LGG - 24]


    The Bone March was displeased. Had the Fruztii not allied with Ratik, they’d have surely overwhelmed the little nation. Ratik could only fortify and man so many passes and still secure the wide expanse of the Loftwoods. If only the pact could be broken.  To break the alliance between Ratik and the Fruztii, the Bone March conspired with the North Province, for they could not enter Marner undetected. Thus, the Seal of Alliance stolen from Ratik's Baronial Vault.

    In 580 CY, intruders from Bone March attempted an audacious act of treachery by stealing the Seal of Marner, an object blessed by the gods of the Suel barbarians that was the symbol of the new Northern Alliance. The plot was foiled when the raiding party was captured in Kalmar Pass before making it back to Spinecastle with their prize. [LGG - 36,37]

    [But] not before news of the theft drove a small wedge between the Fruztii and Ratikans. [LGG - 91]


    A Prophecy of Doom

    Doomsayers have always sown the seeds on impending doom. There are always those who heed their predictions. For them, the sky is always falling. But sometimes, just sometimes those prediction come true. The Declaimers foretold of such doom: in Stroun, they foretold of the fall of Tenh.

    The walled town of Stroun was long famed for its singular mage-priests of Boccob and Istus who were known throughout Tenh as "The Declaimers." Believed to be diviners without peer and to have powers of foreknowledge and precognition, these enigmatic men and women, no more than twenty in number, always refused to attend the courts of Ehyeh or any other noble. They gave their judgements, warnings, and announcements without fear or favor and did so when they deemed the time right. In 580 CY, they stood together in the town square and stated that Tenh would fall within three years. The immediate reaction was one of panic, followed by the building of the town's walls, and then, after a year, gradual amnesia as the words of the robed masters faded from memory. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil - 72]


    The Rovers had a reprieve. The legions of Iuz and the Horned Society were elsewhere, waging war against the Bandit Kingdoms and the Shield Lands. So too the Fists of Stonehold. They wanted their land back. They wanted their pride back too. They saw an opportunity to take back their lost territories, but they were still weak, and they needed help. The Wolves were only too happy to help.

    A former servant of Iuz and now the demigod's implacable foe, Tang had escaped with a small band of cavalry after a daring raid into the Howling Hills with the Wolf Nomads. Crossing the open plain to the Fellreev, Tang and his mercenary band encountered small groups of Rovers, gathering them at the village of Sable Watch. With their aid, together with Wardogs from the Forlorn Forest and beyond, he successfully attacked Iuzite forces in the Barrens, eventually capturing the fort of Hornduran. Most of the Rovers were still without mounts, so Tang made a fateful decision to raid into Stonehold for horses. 

    The town of Vlekstaad was chosen as the target of the Rovers' nighttime strike. With most Fists either in Tenh or fighting the Suel in eastern Stonehold, Vlekstaad had almost no able soldiers in residence. Such defenses as they had were quickly penetrated, thanks to the Wardogs' amazing stealth. The stables of Vlekstaad provided a trove of horseflesh, but escaping with them proved more difficult than Tang had anticipated. He and his companions were trapped by a patrol of Fists and forced to battle for their lives. The expedition might have been lost there had not a young Wa-rdog, Nakanwa Daychaser […] led his own band of warriors on Tang's trail. Trapped between the two forces of Rovers, the Fists were slaughtered, but Tang was mortally wounded. Nakanwa quickly assumed control of the surviving Rovers, ordering them to seize everything of value in the town, including its citizens. The remains of the town were set ablaze, becoming the funeral pyre of Tang the Horrific. 

    With the return of Nakanwa and the wealth of Vlekstaad to the Barrens, new hope rose among the Rovers. Their warriors now had mounts and the people had meat. Perhaps as importantly, the tribes had new members, for the captive children were quickly adopted and the captive women quickly wed. Only time will tell if the razing of Vlekstaad will result in the rebirth of the Rovers of the Barrens. They still remain an elusive people, not revealing their new strength, for they are wary of the vengeance of the Fists. Yet, for the first time since Iuz brought evil into their land, they have real hope. [LGG - 95]

    They had some success against the Horned Society in 580, taking part of the northern frontier, but the gains did not last. [LGG - 95]

    The Rook Restrained

    The Bandits were, if anything, pragmatic. They had allied with the Hierarchs against the Shield Landers, and had gained territories there. But having sent so much of their strength to the Hierarchs, they had left their eastern border open to the Tenha. Ever pragmatic, they sought to strengthen their tenuous bonds, taking daughters to wife, willing or not.

    The eastern Bluff Hills and lands south to the Zumker were held by Grosskopf, long friendly with orcs and their kin, Grosskopf was invaded by Duke Ehyeh Ill's forces in 578 and forced to restrain its banditry. This warrior realm absorbed the Fellands in 581, following a marriage between their ruling families, and raids into Tenh began anew late that year. [LGG - 26]

    Just as Iuz flowed from the north, Bissel found their home front vulnerable from within. They suspected Ket, and strengthened the pass to the Bramblewood, looking to the Highfolk and the Canons od Rao to aid Furyondy in stemming his tide.

    An attempted insurrection by necromancers in 580 CY, possibly tied to the plight of a disgraced, evil wizard-lord known as Evard, led to harsh suppression of fringe groups and zealous punishment of treason and sedition. A general sense of distrust and self-defeatism emerged in Bissel, no doubt encouraged by certain powers that wished to see the nation fall. [LGG - 33]


    581 CY  The Shield Lands had fallen, the combined forces of the Horned Society and the Bandit Kingdoms too much to bear. They had held their line without aid, suspicious of Furyondian aid, and realed under the combined forces’ relentless attack; and before long, they were pressed back unto the borders of the nation that they ought to have trusted in.

    By 581, all but Critwall had fallen to the invaders, who had been joined by other Bandit Kingdoms' troops. The victors carved up the Shield Lands, dividing it into chaotic holdings ruled by bandits, goblinoids, and agents of the Horned Society.

    Though many Knights of the Shield remained in Critwall, hundreds more spread to the good countries of the Flanaess, pleading with their leaders to send armies and aid to their fallen land. The gruff arrogance of the Shield Lands nobles had caused deeper rifts than anyone had imagined, however, and despite faint agreements that something must be done, little came of the recruiting effort. [LGG - 104]


    A Tale of Two Deities

    Not all things go as planned. Sometimes, the most unexpected things can happen, things that even the Old One could never have planned for.
    Vecna was still not satisfied...
    Gradually, Vecna’s cult grew and he assumed the powers of a demigod. The process took a long time—gathering his power, responding to his worshipers, and settling himself among the greater powers. Vecna persevered and eventually reached the point where he was accepted as a minor demigod in the legions of evil.
    Guaranteed immortality, Vecna was still not satisfied. With his scheming mind, he has devised a plan to ascend to greater godhood and humble his rival deities. With his usual long patience, Vecna has been working on this plan for centuries. Working through his avatar or others, the Whispered One has carefully found seven magical items. Each item has been placed in a secret location, the position strategic to his plans.
    These items, when fully powered, will cast a mystical web of energy over all of Oerth, cutting off all other gods from their followers. Already they are creating interference on a local scale. Only Vecna will receive the adulation of his worshipers: the other gods will weaken and leave the path open for Vecna to rise to the fore. Then the Whispered One will open the gates of time and bring forth his faithful followers from the past. Feeding on their devotions, Vecna will become the greatest of gods.
    There is only one difficulty that remains for Vecna—finding his Eye and Hand. They are the final keys to fully empower the web, the final keys that open the gate of time. He knows not where these are. In the final confrontation with Kas, when they were sundered from his body, the gods (perhaps foreseeing his powers) hid them from his senses. Vecna cannot detect their energies; he can only find them by seeing their effects on others, much like finding a boat by the wake it creates. Too many times he has come close, only to have them escape his grasp. This time, he is determined not to fail. [WGA4 Vecna Lives! - 7]

    The Circle of Eight sensed a great danger, but somehow their divinations were blocked. Mordenkainen sent some of his most trusted mages to investigate. And they died. Every last one of them: Bigby, Drawmij, Jallarzi Sallavarian, Nystul, Otiluke, Otto, Rary, and Tenser. Of course, death was not the end of all of them, but that is another tale. Mordenkainen sent others; their path led ever west and the name Vecna was raised time and again. And Kas. And Iuz.
    Their investigations led them to Tovag Baragu, where they came upon an avatar of Vecna, who had opened a portal to Vecna’s past, the ruins of the palace of the Spidered Throne.
    Through the gateway can be clearly seen a great mass of people. They are all surging and milling forward, their attention focused on the window as if they can see through into the present. They, too, seem drawn by Turim’s chant. The first are just preparing to step through the opening. [WGA4 - 66]
    Against such odds, the Circle’s heroes could not hope to win, so they did the unthinkable, they summoned Iuz, for only a demigod could hope to defeat a demigod.


    Iuz Appears to Challenge Vecna
    Whatever the means, Iuz the Old appears to challenge Vecna. This is a threat the [Vecna’s] avatar cannot ignore. The two confront each other and begin a fierce battle at the center of the Stone Circles. […] The two demigods do not simply cast spells at each other, they blast rays from their hands, whirling disks fly from their fingers, explosions burst among the stones, fiery balls scream through the air. In hand-to-hand struggle, their blows sound like thunder in the sky. The unbreakable stones of Tovag Baragu throw shards from the demigods’ strikes. […] [WGA4 - 66]

    [Things] seem to go well for Iuz at the begining of the battle […] the balance of power quickly starts to swing the other way. Vecna is the better strategist and still has the powers of a lich. Worse still, with each blow [Vecna] seems to grow in strength. The gate he has opened to the past is starting to function. Already Vecna’s worshipers are stepping through. Upon entering the present, these men fall to their knees in reverent prayer for their god. […] The worshipers are not lambs. Most are evil fighters whipped into a berserk frenzy. They are not going to be denied. A fierce melee erupts around the gateway. At the start of the battle, 20 warriors have entered the circle. [Every few seconds] five more cross through unless their bridgehead into the future is contained. The warriors fight to the death [and] Vecna seems to have an endless supply of them. [The] only hope is to physically block the gateway or have Iuz try to damage the gate. [Iuz] launches a spell […] at the arch. […] There is a resounding crack, followed by an enraged scream from Vecna. The stone of the gateway splinters and the image in the arch suddenly scrambles […]. Indeed, all the gateways suddenly start to show random scenes, leaping to different planes, times, and places without any control. Tovag Baragu has been permanently damaged. The gateway to Vecna’s time is closed. At the same time, the magical aura shielding Greyhawk starts to weaken. Tovag Baragu was apparently the key power source for the shield. […] [WGA4 - 67]

    A Great Gout of Flame
    [The] demigods [lock] in hand-to-hand combat [and are] hurled as a pair through the gateway. [The] two plunge into the darkness, howling and tearing at each other. A great gout of flame rushes up and bursts out of the gate, sending a fiery blast 40 feet long and ten feet wide. […] Spouting flame and randomly scanning planes and times is how Tovag Baragu remains from now on. Unnoticed in the fiery burst […] two small objects hurtled through the gate to land in the tall grass some distance away—the Hand and the Eye of Vecna. [WGA4 - 67]


    Iuz came, and Iuz battled Vecna, and very nearly perished. He did not perish, though, but if he had, the world might have been in very dire straights. Had Vecna won, he would have severed Oerth from the celestial and outer planes, and it would certainly have plunged into an age darker than it had ever known, an age from which it would never be freed. But, he did not; and it did not. And so, strangely, to our most beleaguered incredulity, we owe a debt of gratitude to Iuz, for if it were not for him, the universe would have been plunged into darkness. But let’s not get carried away, his confrontation with Vecna gave Iuz ideas. He imagined a world which bowed to him, and him alone.


    581-582 CY         What did the Elves know of what transpired? Who can say? They see much and say little. Whatever they knew, they were taking steps. The Highfolk of the Vesve were taking up arms. Celene was closing its borders. And the Elves of the Spindrifts were taking steps to safeguard their mysteries.
    For centuries the Spindrift Isles maintained their independence from all foreign powers, both through strength and through cunning. Perhaps the Scarlet Brotherhood made incursions into the Council of Seven in the years leading up to the Greyhawk Wars, but they were given no time to take advantage of their gains before the high elves took control of Lendore Isle. Elves have always been plagued with mysticism, and those of the Spindrifts had finally succumbed to the cult of Sehanine. The Final Calamity, it seemed, had arrived.
    It was a bloodless revolution, yet catastrophic for the inhabitants of Lendore Isle. They were informed that they must be exiled from the only home they had ever known, in order for the Spindrifts to serve as high elven holy ground. The high elves used powerful phantasms to overcome strong resistance, and threats of imprisonment persuaded most others to cooperate. The humans were given three days to prepare for their removal from the island. In that time, perhaps half of Lo Reltarma's population escaped through the Gate of Glass before the elves could deactivate it; the rest were either exiled to the mainland, the Sea Barons' isles, or other local regions, or were among the few allowed to remain as workers in Lo Reltarma. [LGG - 69]




    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

     Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, WGA4 Vecna Lives, Die Vecna Die, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 56.

    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Orcish-Warrior by voxelkeely
    Prophet-s-Secret by miggymntmyr
    Prophet by crucifiedmajesty
    Quoth-The-Raven-Nevermore by kxg-witcher
    Evil-Unearthed by ralphhorsley
    in-the-moors by aldeboran
    A-Pirates-loyal-Parrots by dominikmayer


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9253 WG8, Fate of Istus, 1989
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    Living Greyhawk Journal
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 10-14-2021 08:17 am
    The Lady has joined her Hero in Avalon


    The Lady has joined her Hero in Avalon

    RIP Marlene Elizabeth Leonard

    January 11, 1937 to February , 2020


    I love you, mom

    I miss you already



    A Lament


    O world! O life! O time!

    On whose steps I climb,

    Tremble at that where I had stood before;

    No more--Oh, never more!

    Out of the day and night

    A joy has taken flight;

    Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar,

    Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight

    No more--Oh, never more!


    Percy Bysshe Shelley

    Posted: 10-14-2021 08:16 am
    History of the North, Part 6: The Storm


    "Now for the bare-pick'd bones of majesty
    Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest
    And snarleth in the gentle eyes of Peace."

    Shakespeare, King John (1589) Act IV, sc.3, l.148.


    Now for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty

    Brutality swept across the North in the wake of The Great Kingdom’s retreat and collapse. The Hierarchs of the Horned Society proved a fitting heir to Iuz’s terror. They plotted and schemed, much as Iuz had, if more calculatingly than that infamous cambion had. They reaped what he had sown, and used the chaos of his passing to great advantage. His return had made little difference to them.
    But Iuz was patient, for all his flailing about in his rage after his release.



    578 CY  Despite his youth, King Ralff II of the Fruztii understood subjugation. His people had turned to their cousins to the east in their hour of need and found the duplicitous hand of the perfidious Schnai. The Schnai had lent their support. Yes, but that help came at a cost: suzerainty. The Fruztii had lost their governance. Indeed, they had lost their pride. Once, they were the terror of the Solnor Sea. Now, they were a subjugated people. The Shnai commanded them, calling their commands guidance. They had learned their lessons well from the diplomats of Shar, long ago.

    No more, he thought. He extended his hand to Ratik and they had taken it, and they had been true to their words. They had stood side by side with his people when the tribes of Schnai had not. Therefore, he turned to Ratik again: Train my people, he said, and when he sent the pride of their youth to Marner, the Archbaron not only trained them in the modern art of War, he equipped them for such. And so, when Ralff looked again to the East, he understood that he had kin there, he had obligations there, but he also understood that he had no friend there.

    The Fruztii sent raiding bands to sea with the Schnai, but due to careful urgings, numbers of mercenary troops also moved southward into Ratik and joined the Baron’s troops there. These Fruztii returned with knowledge of organized warfare and good-quality arms and armor and formed the core of a new standing army organized by King Ralff II in 578. The four companies of foot and one troop of horse actively patrolled and brought most of the realm under order. Chief men and nobles not raiding were prevailed upon to contribute men to patrol their own territories, so that by the end of the year, the frequency of banditry and humanoid raiding bands had been reduced to an all-time low. Even the high country around the head of the Jenelrad River was peaceful, and its Jarl swore an oath of fealty to Ralff. Without actually declaring independence from Schnai overlordship, the King of Fruzti showed that he was again capable of fielding an army capable of either defending his territory or taking another’s. The Schnai conveniently ignored the resurgence, probably hoping that the involvement in Ratik would again reduce the Frost Barbarians to vassal status. [Dragon #57 - 14]


    But Ralff’s gambit was already bearing fruit. Ratik had been hard pressed, and were in dire need of allies. They had held their own of late, thanks to the elves and dwarves and gnomes, but if they were unable to push the orcs and gnolls back from their borders, their days were numbered. Ratik had helped him. He would help Ratik.


    Battle of the Loftwood

    Their expedition into Bluefang-Kelten Pass thus far successful, the Ratik-Frutzii alliance turned their attention south, their aim to destroy the humanoid forces under the Vile Rune orcs of the Bone March.
    The manpower pool of the Archbarony was totally dry in 577. Because of the relatively good relations between the Fruztii and Ratik, the woodsmen and elven warders of the Timberway were moved south to the Loftwood, and new recruits were formed into units of light troops called the Volunteer Borderers.
    The Vile Rune
    The usefulness of the new Volunteer Borderers was proved in the summer of 578 when one of this formation’s patrols discovered that the orc tribe of the Vile Rune was indeed moving northward. In addition to 5,000 tribe members, the force had 2,000 goblins, 1,000 norkers and xvarts, and 1,000 hobgoblins, orgrilIons, gnolls, and ogres. With this detestable agglomeration were nearly 2,000 bandits and brigands serving as mercenaries. Its forerunners were worg mounted goblins, a handful of whom were slain to obtain the intelligence. Thus alerted, the Marshal of the Archbarony laid a trap which the unsuspecting invaders blundered into. The humanoid horde moved north along the fringe of the Loftwood where it butts against the hills. At the northern terminus of the trees there awaited the full army of Ratik, its numbers made to appear three times greater by magical means. The gnomes held the western (hillside) flank, while the light forester troops and elves formed the other arm of the “U,” well concealed in the dense timber. The Battle of the Loftwood saw considerable magical competitions in addition to the standard hand-to-hand combat between the strongest fighters on the opposing forces. The real fighting was between the masses of troops, however, and this was fierce in the extreme. At one point, a score of foreign volunteers saved the day because their leader, Queg, a Fruztii, had prepared an extensive ambush with rocks, tree trunks, pits, and trees to set fire to. This action turned back 250 or more hobgoblins, killing or wounding half of them, so that the flank of the Archbaron’s army couldn’t be turned. Simultaneously, the gnomes on the left flank were nearly broken by a rush of gnolls, bandits, and goblins, and were saved only by the superb slinging of a flanking group of the Hillrunners and the innate tenacity of the gnomes themselves. Finally, the scale was tipped by an attack on the right (of the orc horde) by the elves and foresters. The humanoid invading force broke and fled, and in the rout there was a great slaughter. [Dragon #57 - 14]


    Seuvord Redbeard saw dissention among his Atamans, and knew he had to suppress it. He knew that he could not afford to be embroiled in a civil war. His “nation” was surrounded by enemies: The Rovers were once again increasing in strength to the west, and raids into those Barrens were far more perilous than they had been short years before. And except by all but the strongest of efforts, the passes to Tenh and Fruztii were closed to him. Were civil war to divide his lands, those enemies were sure to fall upon them and destroy them. He needed to unite his people. He also wished his own line to retain the Mastership of the Hold as a hereditary right, so he called a great council at Purmill, with promise safe conduct for all who attended. The Atamans were dubious. And they had right to be. Vlek had promised the very same, and look what happened to the Coltens? They came, but they came with a show of strength. With spears extended, and hands upon the pommels of their swords.

    In CY 578, shortly after Tenh had coronated its new Duke, the Master of the Hold became Rhelt Seuvord I of Stonehold. Several of his cousins took ill from a mysterious flux shortly after the coronation, and about a dozen others were reported fleeing into the Griff Mountains with a small band of loyal followers. [Dragon #57 - 14]


    Hurricane Ivid

    Magic is not the only force that can wreak havoc. Those of the Old Faith can tell you that those who dismiss the forces the natural world do so at their peril. Nature can and will do more damage than mere wizards, indeed, most wizards, arcane or divine. Those who live in the shadow of smoking volcanoes can attest to such, as can those who live on the banks of rivers, and the sea…. Hurricane "Ivid" is one such reminder. It ravaged the Solnor Coast, crippling the Sea Barons’ majesty over the sea-lanes of the north. Trade halted. So did piracy, for that matter. But that was the least of the coastal settlement’s concerns, as they fled before “Ivid’s” landing.

    [Most people of the Sea Barons] recall this three-day storm, which some laughingly called "Hurricane Ivid." [Ivid - 90]


    Nyrond knew all too well that The Great Kingdom would try to take back those lands that were once theirs. They knew that the Kingdom’s first step would surely be to cut them off from the rest of the Iron League. Nyrond could not have that. It was only a matter of time before they would meet upon the waters of Relmor Bay.

    The first major naval skirmishes between the Great Kingdom and the powerful Nyrondese navy took place in Relmor Bay in CY 578. Some say the Nyrondese engineered these skirmishes, preparing for what they considered to be an inevitable war.
    Certainly, Ivid V was making noises at court about reclaiming Aerdy's great imperial heritage, and Nyrond was the first major power heading west. He did have designs on Nyrond, but it may well be that the Nyrondese forced his hand. [Ivid - 4]


    Overking Ivid V was livid when he heard of his fleet’s first skirmish with Nyrond. How dare they, he screamed! What cheek! The Iron League! The Golden League. Iron was meant to be wielded! And the only thing golden about them was that they had all grown fat on the lifeblood of the Motherland! They will pay, he declared, and he called for total war against Nyrond and its allies.

    The reports of war, blood, and great conquests being made by the hated barbarians and barely-civilized Fists of the North excited and enraged the overking. Egged on by the priesthood of Hextor, Ivid entered the fray by storming into Nyrond and its ally Almor. [Ivid - 4,5]


    The Golden League had no choice but to reciprocate and declare war on Great Kingdom.

     [The war spanned] two years, ending in a minor strategic victory for Ivid's field army under the leadership of the Herzog, and seeing the withdrawal of Almorian and Nyrondese armies to the west of the Harp River. [WG8 Fate of Istus  - 69]


    But The Great Kingdom could not wage total war against the Iron League. The Sea Barons needed to remain north to guard the coasts and sea-lanes there, for The Schnai and Cruski began to raid.

    [As per their treaty,] the Schnai agreed to give up the land south of Glot along the east coast. The Snow Barbarians gained more gold and silver, while the Cruski regained their southern harbors. This made the raids into North Province and the Isles of the Sea Barons all the easier next year, and most of the able-bodied men were away on those journeys when the warbands of Stonefist (now Stonehold) rode into the tundra which the King of Cruski claimed. The few wandering tribes of Coltens there welcomed the invaders, while surviving Cruskii headed east as quickly as possible. The returning warriors were enraged at the boldness of the invasion, and it is likely that the attention of the Cruskii will be trained on a war with the Stoneholders in 579. Some 50 ship captains are already pledged to sail, and more are expected. [Dragon #57 - 14]

    Without The Great Kingdom’s oversight, the North slid into a state of endless conflict. The Bandit Kingdoms made forays into Tenh, the Pale, Nyrond, County of Urnst, parts of the Shield Land and Furyondy. They were bold. They were crafty. They were also directed by the Horned Society.

    Bandits in Tenh
    The usual turmoil of competing states preying upon one another and any available neighbor outside the territory sums up activity within the area until CY 578. Bandit groups made forays into Tenh, the Pale, Nyrond, County Urnst, and even the Shield Lands and portions of Furyondy. Most groups were mounted, but the usual number of river raiders and buccaneers from Redhand plied the waters. Prince Zeech’s ships and galleys actually staged a major action against the Duchy of Urnst, managing to slip in through the easternmost portion of the Cairn Hills, loot and pillage, and then escape with their gains. The western bandit lords — General Hok, Guardian of Warfields […]; Oltagg, Baron of Wormhall […]; Kor, Rhelt of Abbarra […]; and the Master of Freehold, Eab Huldor […] — actively co-operated with the Hierarchs of the Horned Society. [Dragon #56 - 27]


    His father fallen at the Battle of Rockegg Pass, Eyeh III, of Tenh was crowned in Nevend Neverond to much fanfare and praise. He was his father’s son, they said; he will see us through these trying times. He had a vision of the trying times ahead as the circlet was raise over and upon his head, and he wondered how he might do just that, for his enemies were many and his allies few.

    At a convocation in Nevond Nevend during Neefest, 578, Ehyeh III was crowned Duke, and the Tennese celebrated greatly. The old Duke’s son was more warlike than his doughty father, and his early training as a fighter on the frontiers made Ehyeh III particularly anxious to secure all avenues against invasion. [Dragon #56 - 27]

    As Ivid clashed with Nyrond and Almor, the Schnai and Cruski raided up and down the Solnor coast, landing warriors, murdering and pillaging, carrying away what they could, leaving broken villages and pillars of smoke I their wake. They howled and bellowed. They laughed, knowing in their hearts that is was what Vatun wished of them.

    [The] Lord High Admiral reacted promptly to the summons of the Overking — this despite some severe raiding from the northern barbarians. Asperdi has recently dispatched a sizable contingent of ships and men to the North Province. In essence, this force represents a squadron of warships to control the sea, while a solid block of fighting men, most of them veterans of skirmishes with barbarian raiders, stiffens the forces of the Herzog. Led by the Admiral’s eldest son, Lord Captain Aldusc, known as a respectable commander and excellent strategist, the convoy reached Bellport about mid-year in CY 578. The warships are now reported to be operating along the coast. Included are no fewer than six large galleys and perhaps a score of other warships. The troops were divided after landing into main and reserve groups. [Dragon #63 - 15]


    The Hierarchs had all but defeated the Rovers. They turned their attention to other fronts, no longer concerned about the nuisance that dwelt there. However, the Rovers and Wolves would not be defeated. They lunged and nipped and darted away, necessitating legions there that could have been better used elsewhere.

    Pressure by the nobles holding the Shield Lands prevented the all-out move which the Hierarchs have long wished to make down the Ritensa River to the northern shore of the Nyr Dyv. The diabolical leaders of the Horned Society would gladly have allowed luz his hoped-for gains to their west, in order that they themselves might take Willip and overrun the Shield Lands. Instead, the Hierarchs, ignorant of luz’s plans, spent themselves in dribblets, first against Furyondy and the Shield Lands and then in defending against mounting incursions of war parties from the north. Just as their forces were about to turn southward again, reacting to the contest between luz and Furyondy, a major raid struck into the Society’s north, and the Hierarchs’ army had to turn around and move with all speed northward. [Dragon #56 - ]
    On that first day of contact there was only light skirmishing, as the Rovers and their allies probed for weaknesses, and the Hierarch in turn attempted to discover just how powerful an enemy he faced. On the next day, kobold and bandit scouts prevented an attack from the forest coming as a complete surprise. The attacking footmen and elves were easily repulsed, while the well-trained humanoid infantry, supported by missile troops and light horse, withstood several determined charges by the other contingent of the invaders. A stand-off of several days’ duration ensued, with Blontug growing progressively more certain that his enemy was not numerous enough to be a real threat, but unable to bring them to battle because his force lacked sufficient mobility. [Dragon #56 - 20]
    A major victory was narrowly missed by the Hierarch, but [their] aim was accomplished. The allied force was beaten and driven off, although cavalry losses on the part of the Society were excessive, and the enemy had established itself firmly in the northern portion of the Fellreev. [Dragon #56 - 21]


    The new Duke of Tenh wasted no time. The Bandits were raiding his western demesnes with increasing brazenness. He attacked what he expected to be the usual disorganized rabble, expecting an easy victory. He was treated to easy victories at first. The Bandits scattered. But as he plunged deeper into their territories, their resolve stiffened.
    The Bandit Kingdoms were never a collective. They had never trusted one another. With good reason: They plotted against one another; they raided one another with abandon. But they stood together when threatened. Even if that meant betraying their mother, their brother, their “ally.” For they knew that if they did not, they would have been put to the sword long before.

    When Rovers of the Barrens overran the northern border of the Horned Society in 578 CY, the Guardian General of Warfields was among those bandit lords who pledged their support to the Hierarchs. [LGG - 29]                


    Duke Ehyeh’s plan was to sweep west to the junction of the Bluff Hills and the Rakers. He then would move north into the hills, clear them in a rapid westward push, and garrison any strongholds found there. He would then swing back southeast to overrun the land between the Bluff Hills and the Zumker. Any bandit forces caught by the move would be trapped and destroyed. With this accomplished, the next move would be to bring a second force across the Zumker, just above the Artonsamay. The two would then handle expected bandit lord reaction, take Rookroost, and secure all of the territory as far west as the Fellreev. Contemplated along with these actions was an even more ambitious plan to begin the next year, which would secure all the land west of the Artonsamayas far as the Tangles. [Dragon #56 - 27,28]


    [News] came from Rookroost that the Zumker had been crossed in force by Duke Ehyeh, and the Tenhese were sweeping through the Bluff Hills to clear them of resistance before turning south toward the open country beyond. The normally independant and warring leaders of the Bandit Kingdoms had rapidly declared common cause against Tenh, and all the units with the Hierarchs’ army rode off, despite the threats and imprecations of Blontug. [Dragon #56 - 21]


    The Fellands were conquered by the forces of Tenh in the spring of 578 CY, and ceased raiding eastward for a time. [LGG - 26]


    [When] the banners of Tenh crossed the Zumker River, laying waste the Barony of Groskopf, and then entered Fellands, the Combination of Free Lords summoned all members to arms to defend the east. When even the western states responded, the Hierarchs were enraged, for they needed the bandit troops to eject the nomad and Rover invaders from the Fellreev Forest and the steppes of the Opicm. In a punitive invasion, the Hierarchs’ forces seized and occupied both Warfields and Wormhall. A very tenacious defense by the Abbarrish, reinforced by the survivors from the conquered territories, and scrapings from Tangles and the Freehold, caused the halt of the Society’s penetration in the autumn of CY 578. [Dragon #56 - 27]


    The [Duke’s] plan worked with precision, but as soon as the Theocrat [of the Pale] got wind of it — and his spy system is legendary — disturbing reports began to reach the young Duke. The Prelate’s growing military strength was at Wintershriven, and the Faithful Bands were being called up. The Tennese companies originally being readied for action elsewhere were sent from Redspan on a long march to reinforce the Yol. Woodsmen were ordered to keep a close watch in the Phostwood Forest. The Duke entrusted the army in action against the bandit states to the redoubtable Marshal laba so the new threat could be under his own command. [Dragon #56 - 28]


    A truce was negotiated with the Duke of Tenh; Groskopf ceded the land between the Griff Mountains and the Zumker to Tenh, and all of the Free Lords of the Combination swore to refrain from raiding Tenh. Thus freed of immediate warfare on their east, all of the leaders turned westward to confront the Horned Society, with the express aim of recovering the lost states and taking reprisals in addition. [Dragon #56 - 27]

    A local legend says the city on the hill will never be conquered, so long as its huge raven population roosts in the city's central square. So far, the prophecy has held true. The city resisted a siege by Tenha forces in 578 CY but was forced by treaty to stop raiding western Tenh. [LGG - 29]


    When the Combination of Free Lords sued for peace near mid-summer, the suit was welcomed, for it ceded a considerable portion of land to the Duchy, guaranteed bandit neutrality, and allowed the Tennese military forces to meet the threat now posed by the Pale. Duke Ehyeh brought a combined army of 4,000 horse and 11,000 foot across the Yol at the edge of Phostwood in Dozenmonth Ready’reat, 578 CY. [Dragon #56 - 28]


    Shortly thereafter, the duke of Tenh's troops crossed the Zumker and threatened Grosskopf. Warfields withdrew its support for the Horned Society, triggering a punitive invasion. The miniature kingdom was controlled by Molag until the Greyhawk Wars. [LGG - 30]


    Iuz was on the move as well. He had lay low for too long, imprisoned beneath Castle Greyhawk, and he was eager to bring misery and mayhem to the whole of the Flanaess. But where to start? He decided, much as the Hierarchs’ had, that he could not wage war in the south with the Nomads nipping at his heels, so, he sent his hordes north to lay siege to Eru-Tovar. It would be a simple campaign. It would take them no time at all, he imagined.

    In the spring of 578, luz actually-sent an army into the north to take the poor town of Eru-Tovar, the only real city of the Wolf people, the pride of their Tarkhan. [Dragon #56 - 18]


    When siege was laid to Eru-Tovar the following month, each commander strove to outdo the other, each wishing credit for taking the Wegwiur stronghold. This lack of co-operation enabled the defenders, numbering only about 3,400 effective troops, to withstand almost ten weeks of siege by a force totalling well over 25,000. The losses by the attackers were compounded by the rival factions often slaying their wounded cohorts if they held loyalty to the opposite commander. [Dragon #56 - 19]


    Tarkhan Bargru of the Wolves took command of his forces and rode against Iuz’ troops to break siege of EruTolvar.

    Following the rise in power of the humanoid hordes of the cambion, luz, the Wegwuir avoided the eare east of the Black Water, spending their aggressive energies upon the Tiger Nomads to the west and even moving south along the Sepia-Uplands to raid Perrenland. In the spring of 578, luz actually-sent an army into the north to take the poor town of Eru-Tovar, the only real city of the Wolf people, the pride of their Tarkhan. As fate would have it, the Chakyiks were themselves interested in a venture against Ekbir, so they were quite happy to conclude a treaty. This freed a horde of 20,000 Wolf Nomads to face the invaders. Tarkhan Bargru himself commanded the force, which consisted of some 2,000 armored lancers (medium cavalry), 10,000 light horsemen, 7,000 light horse-archers, and 1,000 armored crossbowmen on horseback. [Dragon #56 - 18]


    Battle of Black Water Bend

    The Battle of Black Water Bend
    [The Wolf Nomads] arrived outside Eru-Tovar late in the summer, just in time to raise the siege. The army of luz retreated eastward, and then fell back along the Black Water, hoping to withdraw safely to the nearer arm of the Howling Hills where humanoid reinforcements could be picked up in considerable numbers.
    The Tarkhan’s force caught the retiring army of luz along the great north bend of the Black Water. After a close pursuit lasting several days, during which the majority of the light humanoid infantry and goblin cavalry was shot to pieces by the Wegwiur horse-archers, a pitched battle was fought. As usual, the powerful figures in the opposing forces basically neutralized each other, while the troops engaged in combat of the more basic sort. Fortunately for the Wolf Nomads, luz himself was engaged elsewhere and could not intervene. The horsemen once again proved superior to the ill-disciplined masses of invading infantry, and only a few thousand survivors of luz’s ruined army made it to the relative safety of the Howling Hills. Losses by the Wegwiur totalled some 2,000 killed and about twice that number wounded. Of the invading army, some 2,000 humans and 6,000 humanoids were slain, with no prisoners taken. It is assumed that desertion accounts for the balance of the total army initially encamped before Eru-Tovar. (This action is known as the Battle of Black Water Bend and was fought in the Dozenmonth of the Squirrel on the 22nd day, CY 578, or BH 3237.) [Dragon #56 - 19]





    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 56, 57, 63.


    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Rule-of-One-Liberty by juggernaught9900
    Orc-warrior by padawana
    hot-tower by aerroscape
    Dead-and-Getting-deader by anatofinnstark
    War-Horse-Speedpaint by benedickbana


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9253 WG8 Fate of Istus, 1989
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    Living Greyhawk Journal
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 10-11-2021 07:26 pm
    History of the North, Part 5: The Coming Storm

    "Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water."
    Shakespeare, Henry VIII (1613) Act 4, sc.2, l.45


    Evil Rises Again and Again

    The forces of weal and good had much to celebrate. Iuz was no more. Iggwilv’s tyranny had been vanquished. But more than even these great victories, they had stood against a great menace that had hitherto lurked in a quiet corner of the world.
    However, no reprieve lasts forever. Evil rises again and again, and all must be vigilant, for it rises in the most unexpected places. One might expect that it takes root in tangled forests and fetid swamps, but that is not true; it festers in the hearts of the lustful, the wrathful, in avarice and vanity, pride and vainglory. And in the soul of the defeated. Thus, the greatest Evil might rise up in the most unlikely places, a village, or a hamlet, unseen.

    c.550 CY     A collection of hovels and their slovenly inhabitants formed the nucleus for the troubles which were to increase. A wicked cleric established a small chapel at this point. The folk of Hommlet tended to ignore Nulb, even though it was but six miles distant. [T1 The Village of Hommlet - 2]

    The village of Nubb began to fester with all manner if evil folk, culminating with the founding of the soon infamous Temple of Elemental Evil. The troubles began soon thereafter. Local caravans, gnome clans and the neighboring village of Hommlet, became easy targets for bandits from that region. [The Battle of Emridy Meadows, by Mike Bridges]


    568 CY  News of this evil quickly spread to the Viscounty of Verbobonc to the ears of Prince Thrommel IV, Marshall of the combined armies of Furyondy and Veluna […]. Compelled to take up the quest, the Prince left his concerns to the north and promptly called upon his most pious knights, clerics, and his own picked guards to bring down this profane temple.  [The Battle of Emridy Meadows, by Mike Bridges]                


    569 CY  The Battle of Emridy Meadows

    By 568 CY, it became clear that the villains had established an army, and the following year saw a great battle between this horde and the forces of Verbobonc, Veluna and even Furyondy. Elves from the Gnarley proved vital to the success for the side of weal, and the Horde of Elemental Evil was scattered at the Battle of Emridy Meadows. Powerful mages and clerics sealed the temple with arcane bindings, claiming to have trapped a powerful demon within the golden doors of the edifice. For a time, peace returned to the lands of Verbobonc. [LGG - 132

    ]

    The Battle of Emridy Meadow

    The Battle of Emridy Meadows highlights this growing realization of mutual interests. Contingents of men-at-arms and cavalry from Furyondy and Veluna, together with a force of dwarves from the Lortmils, gnomes from the Kron Hills, and an army of elven archers and spearmen fought together against a vast horde of humanoids (ores, gnolls, and ogres predominantly) and evil men. The opposing forces met on the grassy fields south of the Velverdyva river several leagues below the city of Verbobonc. The allied forces were closing upon the stronghold of the evil creatures, a huge, walled fortress known as the Temple of Elemental Evil, not far from the unfortunate village of Hommlet, when elven scouts reported that a huge army was approaching from the south. The Marshall of Furyondy, leader of the combined forces, ordered a withdrawal northwards to a position scouted earlier. Ught cavalry skirmishes were sent out to screen the withdrawal, and no real fighting took place that day.

    When the horde of evil creatures marched forth next dawn they were confronted by the senied ranks of the allied army. The pikes of Furyondy and Veluna were arrayed so that their flank was secured by the Velverdyva, in the center were the banners of horse, and on the allied left were deployed bands of dwarves and gnomes, with a few units of elven archers placed in the intervals between. The humanoids fell immediately upon the left, while the men in the evil ranks rode to engage the center and right. The hordes of ores, gnolls, and ogres thrust aside their hated foes and rushed to encircle the balance of the allied army. Thus the fatal trap was sprung, for the whole allied army pivoted, squadrons of knights driving into the rear of the onrushing horde of evil, and squares of elves emerging from the Gnarley Forest on the left to seal the pocket. Trapped in a pocket, with the bend of the Velverdyva at their backs, and the human and demi-human army forming the chord of the arc, the packed mass of evil humans and humanoids fought hopelessly. After the great slaughter inflicted, the army went on to besiege the Temple of Elemental Evil, and it fell in a fortnight. The Demoness Tsuggtmoy (or Zuggtmoy) was imprisoned in the ruins of the place, with special wards to prevent her escape. Only a few of the wicked leaders of the Temple managed to escape, and it is suspected that these individuals were responsible for the subsequent kidnapping and total disappearance of the Prince of Furyondy. [Folio - 6,7]


    So great was the slaughter, so complete the victory of good, that the walled stronghold of the Temple of Elemental Evil fell within a fortnight, despite the aid of a terrible demon. The place was ruined and sealed against a further return of such abominations by powerful blessings and magic. [T1 - 2]


    Prince Thrommel summoned all his mages and clerics to cooperate in creating great seals to bind this evil within the deepest parts of [Zuggtmoy’s] dungeon. Four pairs of large bronze doors, starting with the Grand Entrance to the Temple, were each bound with heavy iron chains and their seals filled with softened metal. Lastly runes were carved into the bronze portals bearing adjurationsof arcane and holy power. With the final spells in place, Evil was contained at last. [The Battle of Emridy Meadows, by Mike Bridges]


    One would be naďve to believe that Evil had been destroyed. If we have learned nothing from History, it is that victory is not enough. Evil hides. Evil lurks.

    In recent years, Dyvers has gained the unfortunate reputation of being a good place to "get lost"—or, rather, to lose one's pursuers. After the Horde of Elemental Evil was routed at Emridy Meadows, some adherents to darkness who did not flee to the Wild Coast instead traveled north to Dyvers, bolstering the criminal element in the city. In part because of the aftermath of that conflict, the Gentry of Dyvers live in fear of Turrosh Male's Pomarj "empire" and have even charted out wholesale evacuation plans for the city in the event of invasion (the populace fleeing to either Furyondy or Verbobonc). [LGG - 41,42]

    History is not just the waxing and waning of nations and fell gods. History is much more than that; it is the triumphs and tragedies of everyday folk who sometimes rise high, and those who do not, even those who are swept up and sometimes aside by events that sweep in and out of their lives.

    History of Keiren’s Journal

    Just Another Day in the Hellfurnaces
    Keiren Jallucian was an adventurous youth before rising to the seat of Master of the Greyhawk Guild of Wizardry, and later, President of the city’s Society of Magi. He was prudent and practical, as well, which is why he survived as many harrowing adventures as he did. He kept a series of meticulously detailed journals and adventure logs that documented his experiences; but despite his keen forethought, he had one fault back then: He did not go home often. Adventuring can be a perilous ordeal, and sometimes you have to drop what you’re carrying if you wish to live so see another day. Such was the case when a number of his catalogs were lost in 561 CY during an expedition to the Hellfurnaces. He had to admit that he could not recreate them from memory; there were too many encounters; too many curiosities, details, too many details.

    Not all were destroyed. One volume turned up in the hands of a Keoish wizard, who later gave it to House Rhola in exchange for access to their family library. They had possession of it for but a single season before ordering a servant to remove it from the household. Apparently, “visions” indicating death surrounded the book.

    The servant did not dispose of the book, as ordered to, but decided that he could make a quick coin off it. He did not; he was slain while on his way to a book dealer.

    Kieran’s journal surfaced again in 569 CY, plucked from a wizard’s corpse at the Battle of Emridy Meadows.

    At this point, its trail becomes a little sketchy, as there are too many rumours about its whereabouts. Reports claim that it surfaced in Veluna City, yet others in Celene. None are denied, none are confirmed, either.

    It is an odd thing, that book; it looks more like a satchel or handbag than a book, the wooden covers and spine encased in a heavy, hardened reddish leather (that Akastilan {more on him later} claimed is red dragon skin). Keiren scoffed at that when asked.

    From Greyhawk Grimoires, Keiren’s Journal, by Robert S. Mullin [Dragon #268 - 70-72]


    570 CY  You can not keep a good man down, can you? Though few knew it, Iuz had been freed from his imprisonment beneath Castle Greyhawk.

    Whether this was by error or perhaps design on the part of Robilar, who secretly carried a pair of highly unusual dispelling magics about himself on that fateful day, sages cannot say. What is known is that at the moment of Iuz's being freed, Archmage Tenser arrived on the scene together with Bigby the mage and a powerful fighter going by the unlikely name of Neb Retnar. Tenser had learned of Robilar's plan, feared that Riggby was being duped, and came post haste to prevent their action. Tenser and his cohort began battling the freed, enraged demigod. Riggby at once aided the assault. Robilar and Quij considered flight and felt their chances would be best if they made odds of four against one into six against one. Iuz was very nearly destroyed in that conflict, escaping to the Abyss just before Bigby would have destroyed him with his infamous crushing hand spell. He left behind him a backwash of chaotic evil magic which altered the alignment of Retnar, left Riggby catatonic for days, and caved in a large part of Castle Greyhawk's deepest dungeon complexes. Since that time, Iuz has always protected himself with a carefully secreted soul gem hidden on an unknown, unbelievably well-guarded Abyssal plane. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil - 5]


    Rage of Iuz

    He seethed. He raged. He could think of nothing but revenge. Against those who’d imprisoned him, against that overblown pup Robilar who’d tried to kill him, against Bigby who almost had. Indeed, against all of the Flanaess. And he was far more powerful than when Cuthbert had locked him away.

    He returned to Dorakaa, and finding his fiefs disloyal, he exterminated most of the “independent” lords of the lands he still claimed as his own.  Their bones, along with those other “unfaithful” he murdered, lengthened his Road of Skulls.

    After his release, Iuz was filled with a desire for vengeance and conquest. Sixty-five years of banishment had concentrated his mind wonderfully. With a savagery and cruelty allied to plans formed over many long years of thought, Iuz acted to gather together the warring bandits and humanoids of his land with an iron grip. He drew together his Boneheart, a Greater and Lesser circle of spellcasters, six in each echelon. His agents began to scour the Flanaess, seeking arcane evils and relics. Iuz readied his forces for a great war. [WGR5 - 3]

    Iuz and the eight other demi-gods released; they were not happy. Can you blame them?

    The seeking of treasure in Castle Greyhawk itself had unintended consequences. Iuz was suddenly freed from imprisonment in the dungeons under Zagig’s old castle in 570 CY, to the great consternation of those in Greyhawk who saw the half-fiend briefly when he emerged from the ruins. He then returned by magic to his old kingdom in the north. Several members of the Circle of Eight attempted to prevent Iuz’s escape but were unsuccessful. Other powerful beings, some of demigod status and some demon lords, appeared around this time, also apparently freed from captivity by their own muggles or the careless intervention of adventurers such as Lord Robilar of Greyhawk, a Wild Coast warrior who diplayed a bad habit of setting evil monstrosities loose from their magical bonds. Every powerful being freed from Castle Greyhawk blamed Zagig personally for his or her imprisonment and vowed revenge as they fled to recover from their ordeal. [TAB - 61]


    Far be it from Iuz not to hold a grudge.

    Once again Iuz rules, and his forces gather for fell purposes. Iuz has vowed to bring ruin upon Tensor the Archmage and Lord Robilar and the others who tried to slay him when his prison was sprung. [Folio - 12]

    When Iuz was freed in 570 CY, he had great plans for the Flanaess. Risen to the power of a demi-god, Iuz has achieved more than a few of his initial goals. [FtAA - 29]


    Nyrond saw, clearly, the Overking's preparations for a great war against the western state. Yet, when the first blow came, it did not come from Rauxes. It came from luz; meddling fools managed to release the fiend from his imprisonment in Castle Greyhawk in 570 CY, only a year after the forces of good in Furyondy and Veluna celebrated the sack of the notorious Temple of Elemental Evil in the Gnarley Forest. Their celebrations would not last many years. [FtAA - 5]


    571 CY  Stories are fruit upon the tree. They ripen over time. Sometimes epic tales have such paltry beginnings.

    The Story Reuven of the Rhennee

    [A] wandering band of Rhennee bargefolk came to Tristor upon the Yol River. The gypsies camped at the edge of town and pawned exotic medicines and poultices to the simple farming folk. Certain bottles of this medicine somehow spoiled, turning from a foul-tasting drink to a deadly poison. Two people died, and a young man was left both blind and paralyzed from the waist down. The town constable arrested the Rhennee and awaited the arrival of a judge, but the villagers soon stormed Tristor’s jail. After a brief scuffle, they ushered the bargefolk outside of town to a small hill, upon which stood a lone oak tree. There, each Rhennee was given a mock trial, found guilty, and lynched. As proper servants of Pholtus, however, the townsfolk of Tristor were not without mercy. They decided to spare one of the gypsies, a lad of four summers known as Reuven. After forcing the boy to watch the murder of his family, the villagers admonished him to give up his wicked ways and to abandon Tristor forevermore. The town buried the Rhennee near the oak tree. Within a year, they had put the madness behind them. The lone Rhennee boy, however, could not let the incident rest. As each year passed, his hatred of the people of Tristor grew like an inescapable malignancy. He wandered the Flanaess for years, gathering funds in exchange for hard work, learning a number of trades all the while. [RPGA Fright at Tristor - 3]


    573 CY  Iuz was not the only one with designs on the North. The Horned Society most certainly did, too. Oddly, so did the Scarlet Brotherhood. Why would they, you ask? Because The Brotherhood never thought small. They were wont to prepare for a future in which the whole of the Flanaess would be remade in their image.

    Does anyone truly know when The Scarlet Brotherhood began affecting the course of the Flanaess? Could it have been when the Prince of Furyondy-Provost of Veluna disappeared? Maybe. They had been plotting a very long time; so it stands to reason that if they did, then this might not have been their first strike. Or was it? No clues were left behind when the Prince vanished.

    The Prince, betrothed to the daughter of the Plar of Veluna, and serving as Provost of that state, as well as Marshall of Furyondy, was of key importance to the forces of good. [Folio - 8]

    At the time, few connected the appearance of these sagely, monastic advisers to the disappearance of Prince Thrommel of Furyondy, or to any number of political developments throughout the Flanaess. The arrival of the Brothers of the Scarlet Sign did trigger curiosity, of course, and in short order spies were sent to the Tilvanot. [LGG - 96]

    But was it the Brotherhood? It is far more likely that the masters of the sundered Temple of Elemental Evil were to blame, taking vengeance on that worthy paladin for his meddling in their affairs. But then again, the Brotherhood were always amicable with those who furthered their ends, weren’t they?


    The Scarlet Brotherhood had designs further afield than The Sheldomar Valley and the Azure Sea. They had watched the nations of the Flanaess and its peoples for a very long time, and began inveigling their way into the courts and halls of all the lands wherever they found the descendants of the Suel migrations.

    The Suelii called themselves by names in the Cold Tongue, too: Cruski, the Ice Clans, who are the most noble and brave; Schnai, the Snow Clans, who are the most numerous and strong; and Fruztii, the Frost Clans, who are the bulwark and first in battle. They battled with each other over the long years since Vatun lay down in the cold, but they would always join their hosts together when an outsider threatened. The Schnai perfected the art of building longships, and the Fruztii found adversaries for the barbarian nations to fight and plunder. The Cruski joined with their cousins on many of these raids, taking special joy in fighting their particular rivals, the Sea Barons of Aerdy.

    Scarlet Whispers Call

    This was the life of the barbarian Suel for hundreds of years, through victories and losses. Their freedom was undiminished, but it was subtly threatened several decades ago. Travelers from the south came to call at the courts of the barbarian Suel. Calling themselves the Brothers of the Scarlet Sign, they claimed to be kin of the Fruztii, Schnai, and Cruski. By blood, perhaps they were kin, though distantly—but, in spirit, they were the same devious manipulators who claimed to rule the ancestors of the northern Suel. They came with tales of the lost glory of the Suel race and its ruined empire. They told how the Cruski were descended from an Imperial House, the noble and loyal servant of the last Suel emperor.

    Old King Cralstag knew well that his ancestors, be they slaves or scoundrels, were never the lapdogs of an emperor who stank of magic. So he told the Scarlet Brothers, and before all in his court, as his judgment on their words. For this, the Brothers murdered him soon thereafter—not with clean blade or strength of arms, but with hidden venom in his cup.

    The king's nephew, Lolgoff, knew the old king's judgment and the manner of his death. When the Brothers were brought before him, they spoke words of praise and honor for the dead king, and they smiled. Lolgoff smiled too, as he cut them apart with the old king's sword, for he honored Cralstag in deeds, not words. As king and fasstal, Lolgoff pronounced his judgment: The Brothers of the Scarlet Sign should receive only death in the kingdom of Cruski. [LGG - 55]


    574 CY  The Fruztii consulted with Ratik concerning what wonders may be hidden within their mountains, eager to see whether the lore of their skalds was to be found in the dusty tomes the southerners worshiped so. So, Ratik consulted the Library in Marner, and those sages and wizards employed there, and within those dusty tomes they exhumed references to lost cities of the Flan, to ancient relics of the dwerfolk, and to sunken cities of the Solnor Sea. And of course, they dug up references to dragons and the hordes they amassed. All these they brought to the attention of the Fruztii, and the Fruztii listened with great interest. And armed with this knowledge, the Fruztii and those scions of Ratik brave enough to accompany them, they climbed into the Griffs and the Corusks in search of such things.


    575 CY  Where the Schnai sent promises and warriors to support the Fruztii front lines as a rear guard of the Bluefang-Kelton Pass, Ratik did one better. Although already hard pressed in the south with the orcs and gnolls, they understood that they must also secure their north, so, they sent battle hardened troops to stand shoulder to shoulder with their northern kin. The Fists came, as they knew they must, and they came with ogres and orcs and gnolls, and the alliance held the pass against them. But holding the pass was not enough. Securing it was essential, as was securing the lands north of it.

    Kelten Pass

    The Battle of Kelten Pass, as the Fist called it, only served to divide the Atamans of Stonefist. Were it not for Vlek’s iron rule, the Hold might have fallen into strife.

    The Coltens, despite generations of servitude to the invaders, have slowly emerged as a competing form of leadership, offering their method of election of the most popular warrior as an alternative to the Rite of Battle Fitness. So many aspiring leaders were slain in the often useless raids of the latter method that its proponents have grown scarce. When Ratik and the Fruztii made peace, the subsequent battles for the Kelten Pass brought several telling defeats to “fists” led by the descendant warband leaders. The Hold was then divided between those who followed the laws laid down by Vlek Col Vlekzed, and those who claimed that Stonefist’s methods are no longer appropriate and the Coltens Feodality should be restored. The nomads and settlers west and around the Frozen River championed the ways of Stonefist. The population around Kelten and the Hraak Forest wished to establish new forms of leadership. [Dragon #57 - 13]


    The successful alliance of the Barony of Ratik and the Frost Barbarians has caused much consternation in Bone March. A joint Ratik-Fruztii army wreaked havoc within the March after the signing. Leaders of the humanoids have determined that the northern alliance must be dissolved. [WoGG - 29]


    Duke Ehyeh of Tenh understood the need to strengthen his borders, what with the dangers of the Fists to the North, and with raiding Rovers there as well. South lay the Bandits and the aspirations of the Theocracy of the Pale. The Pale could one day be the greater enemy, for they were organized and strong. And fanatical in their devotions that he and his people did not share.

    In CY 575, Duke Ehyeh II began an active campaign to clear the Troll fens and border area on the west bank of the Yol. Considerable numbers of fortifications were built, and this two-year effort was deemed a general success. The Theocrat of the Pale concentrated his attentions south and eastwards because of the strong show by the Tennese. [Dragon #56 - 27]


    576 to 582 CY     The alliance between Ratik and the Frost Barbarians was mutually beneficial. Not only had they begun to secure the Fruztii’s northern pass, they had begun to make gains against the Bone March to the south, too. But at a cost. They were small nations, their resources were limited, and were the orcs not soundly defeated, and soon, they knew all might be lost.

    The humanoids so soundly defeated in the campaign of 575 were again raiding over the border, and the gnomes of the Lofthills (west of Loftwood) were being continually besieged. Losses from the campaigns in Bone March and with the Frost Barbarians could be replaced by mercenaries and volunteers from foreign lands only. [Dragon #57 - 14] 


    The Frost Barbarians had not turned their backs on their cousins, the Schnai and Cruski, for they had common cause. They each hated the Hold of Stonefist, as did their distant cousins, the Zeai, the whaling Sea Barbarians who dwelt upon the far Brink Isles and Tusking Strand, east of the Black Ice. And the Snow and Ice Barbarians shared common cause against the North Province and Sea Barons, for life was harsh upon the Thillonrian Peninsula, and thought their seas were plentiful, their slim growing season could not support them.
    The Schnai noticed their Fruztii cousin’s absence from the seas. And they saw their cousin’s increased reliance upon Luxnor of Ratik. But they were not worried. Let them break themselves upon the Fists and the Bone March, the Schnai said. They will weaken beyond recovery, and will be forever under our suzerainty when Ratik finally fell, for fall it must, in the end.
    And in the Fruztii’s absence, the Schnai increased their raids on the Great Kingdom, knowing that they need not share the spoils with them.
    The Schnai were not the only ones to note the Fruztii’s increased presence in the northeastern theatre. Tenh had heard of the Frost Barbarian’s alliance with Ratik, they had heard of their joint strike into the Bluefang-Kelten Pass, and they sent emissaries to treat with them, for, as they explained to them, we have common cause against the Fists of Stonehold, and the Fruztii listened.

    576 CY  Bonded by blood, and having shed blood to protect one another, the Fruztii and Ratik ratified their bond in the eyes of both their gods, for they knew that their only hope of their standing against their enemies, they would need to stand as one.

    This symbolic parchment was endorsed and blessed by the gods of both Ratik and Fruztii, and the superstitious Frost Barbarians place great store in its safety. [WoGG - 29]


    Plague has a nasty habit of cropping up here and there, without warning. Of course, were there warning, plague would never gain a foothold, would it? And of course, sometimes symptoms take a while to take root. But all it takes is a sneeze, and before you know it, the victim is complaining about lassitude and fever. Red blotches appear, and then there is panic in the street. The Red Death had returned. And it was as lethal as it had been a century earlier.

    But what can be done? How is it spread? Physical contact? Air? Water? Or by some other mysterious agency. The name Iuz is whispered. The Horned Society. Even Keraptis.

    Plague abroad in Rookroost—or that's what a large percentage of its populace believes. A week ago, the city was as disease free as a city like Rookroost ever is. Now scores are suffering from a malady that has herbalists and clerics puzzled . . . and worried.

    The word on the streets is that the Red Death has returned. [WG8 Fate of Istus - 6]


    History of Keiren’s Journal

    The journal next surfaced in Admondfort, its owner known for wandering the shores of the Nyr Dyv. Akastilan claimed to have found it in the Cairn Hills, but he was known to spin a tale, and likely wrestled it from a hedge wizard. He promptly traded it in Urnst.

    Keiren was made aware of the volume’s surfacing, and has stated that it focuses on his experiences in the Amedio Jungle.

    According to Keiren’s obserations, not every Amedio tribe is hostile to outsiders and, in fact some are quite friendly to visiters who come in peace. Several pages describe how one tribe even took him on a tour of an ancient Olman ruin, leading to his discovery of a lost spell. Although the original was etched into the surface of an immovable stone slab, the Journal contains a reproduction. The spell, calle Lightning Serpent, is one of two spells inscribed in the Journal, though both are unique. The other Kieren’s Curse Ward, is clearly of Kieren’s devising.

    In any event, Kieren’s Journal is an invaluable source of information for those who would learn more about the Amedio Jungle and its people.

    From Greyhawk Grimoires, Keiren’s Journal, by Robert S. Mullin [Dragon #268 - 70-72]


    The Rovers were wont to increase their strength; but, their young warriors were impatient, and their elder chieftains remembered the days of old when the peoples on their borders quaked with fear upon hearing the thunder of their horses’ hooves.

    The young tribesmen who matured into warriors during the last two generations avoided their old battling and hunting grounds along the Fellreev Forest and the plains of the Dulsi, for they feared the might of luz’s hordes. Instead, these nomads and woodland hunters withdrew to the steppes and other sites to the north and east. Their numbers increased, and they practiced their fighting skills against the men of the Hold of Stonefist and the savages and humanoids they met on raids into the Cold Marshes. Despite the difficulties of communication, the western tribes of the Rovers of the Barrens actually made alliances with the Wegwiur. In 566 there were a few light raids into the northeastern edge of the Fellreev. [Dragon #56 - 28]


    577 CY  Bellport grew tired of the repeated raids by the Schnai, and demanded the protection due them as a city of the North Province and the Great Kingdom. Lord Captain Aldusc was dispatched from Asperdi of the Sea Barons with a squadron of warships and troops to do just that.

    The warships are now reported to be operating along the coast. Included are no fewer than six large galleys and perhaps a score of other war ships. The troops were divided after landing into main [joining Herzog Grenell] and reserve [defending Bellport's landward approaches] groups. [Dragon #63 - 15]

    Although the Schnai had not raided as far and as often as the Fruztii had in their days of glory, they were no strangers to such things; indeed, they were the most accomplished of seafarers, and they were truly as fierce as their cousins, as were the Cruski. They increased their raids, and their longships swept down the coast, striking the North Province and the Baronial Isles both, luring those who chased them or sought to stop them far out to sea where they could lose them with ease.
    But not all were so lucky.
    It was only a matter of time before the Schnai had their noses bloodied. They had underestimated the Sea Barons, and in their hubris and folly were dealt a defeat as they had not yet faced.

    During the season of 577, much minor activity took place along the coast of North Province and off the northern end of the Island of Asperdi. Some raiders were met and actions were fought; some slipped through, some turned elsewhere. Reportedly a squadron of seven Schnai longships were set upon whilst sinking the hulks of two provincial merchants, the vessels Marntig and Solos. Guided by the smoke and flames, a flotilla of Baronial warships surprised the barbarians. Three of the Schnai were rammed and sunk. In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the barbarians’ fleet was captured, but the three remaining longships escaped after jettisoning all of their captured cargo.

    In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the barbarians' fleet was captured. Jarl Froztilth, leader of the Schnai, many of his men, and the captured ship were all taken to Asperdi. News of this success was said to have greatly heartened the Herzog. [Dragon #63 - 16]


    The Schnai recalled how once they and the Fruztii were the terror of the seas, and they wished the southerners to fear them so again. So, the Schnai treated with their cousins, the Cruski. And the Cruski were glad to treat with them, for the Schnai held what was theirs. The Schnai gave up the lands south of Glot along the east coast [and] the Cruski regained their southern harbors. This made the raids into North Province and the Isles of the Sea Barons all the easier next year, and most of the able-bodied men were away on those journeys when the warbands of Stonefist (now Stonehold) rode into the tundra which the King of Cruski claimed. The few wandering tribes of Coltens there welcomed the invaders, while surviving Cruskii headed east as quickly as possible. The returning warriors were enraged at the boldness of the invasion. [Dragon #57 - 14]

    The Cruski and Schnai negotiated their treaty, with the Schnai agreeing to give back the lands south of Glot along the east coast to the Utsula Highlands.

    The attention of the Cruski was directed wholly to the south, where choice plunder could be gained during the summer raiding season. After a particularly successful venture in 577, the Cruski and Schnai sat down together to bargain on a division of the spoils. In the end, the Schnai agreed to give up the land south of Glot along the east coast. The Snow Barbarians gained more gold and silver, while the Cruski regained their southern harbors. [Dragon #57 - 14]              


    Iuz looked upon the expanse of Whyestil Lake and understood its use. Dorakaa lay upon its northern shore, Chendl lay within a day’s march of its southern. He looked to the south and knew that Furyondy ruled its waves from Crockport and he seethed. He coveted. Moreover, he realized that it had only been by the grace of Graz’zt that he had not had to fend off their fleets, or had his seat of power razed to the ground. He commissioned forty galleys to be built at Dorakaa.

    After a period of rebuilding and strengthening his domain, the Lord of Evil set his mind upon the lands to the south. Various pacts and treaties were concluded with the none-tooloved Horned Society, thus assuring no immediate trouble from the east. Groups of humanoids — gnolls and flinds, orgrillons, bugbears, and even ogres — under human leadership were sent across the Dulsi River to first occupy the nearer portion of the Vesve Forest, and then work south to harass the border of Furyondy. luz caused a fleet of 40 galleys to be built at Dorakaa in 577. With this force he hoped to wrest control of Whyestil Lake from King Belvor, thus exposing all of the northern portion of Furyondy, from the Vesve along the Crystal River to the Veng and then to the Whyestil, to easy invasion. To facilitate this move, luz joined forces with the resurgent followers of Elemental Evil, believing that such a threat on the Kingdom’s southern border would distract the Furyondians from his much more ambitious plans in the north. While his forces were being readied, luz ordered his northern contingents to capture EruTovar and thus stop any possible move by the Wolf Nomads upon the upper portion of his realm while his invasion of the south was in progress. Leaving the execution of his will to trusted underlings, luz himself went far to the south to stir up trouble. [Dragon #56 - 19]


    Belvor was having none of it, though. He sent his Fleet to Dorakaa, destroying the majority of the Iuzan galleys under construction.


    The Fleet Aflame


    The intelligence network of Furyondy discovered the plan to wrest control of Whyestil Lake from their navy, and before the luzite army stood before Eru-Tovar, King Belvor’s fleet staged a daring raid upon Dorakaa. The majority of the galleys being built were burned in the stocks, and seven of those which had been completed and outfitted were captured, while another five were sunk. [Dragon #56 - 19]


    Duke Eyeh II of Tenh turned his attentions to the north, for the Fists flowed from Rockegg Pass each and every spring. He marched north to meet them, and although successful in repelling their savage attack, he fell in what came to be known as the Battle of Rockegg Pass.

    In 577, the Duke began early actions to the north, working into the mountains and fortifying the southern end of Rockegg Pass, some 20 leagues above Catbut. The Duke was himself killed in fighting against the Holders, whose units of “fists” resisted with great ferocity the closing of the pass. Despite the death of their leader, the Tennese (now under Marshal laba) finished what their liege had willed, thus effectively securing the Duchy on two sides. [Dragon #56 - 27]


    The Wolf Nomads were of a mind with the Rovers. For too long, the nations of the South had held dominion over lands they claimed as theirs. The Wolves wanted them back. So too did the Rovers. So, they came together to treat at the Great Beast Hunt to speak on it, and to plan.

    A Conclave of the Clans
    By CY 577, a conclave of all the clans staged a great beast hunt in the central portion of their territory, with many visiting Wolf Nomads taking part in the sport. The census sticks showed that clan warrior strength was as follows:

    In attendance were:

    11 tribes of the Great Stags, counting 5,200 warriors;

    eastern area Bear Paws 1,150, 4 tribes;

    Southeastern area Red Horses 2,700 6 tribes;

    Northwestern area Black Horses 3,350 8 tribes;

    Northwestern area Gray Lynx 1,450 5 tribes;

    Northern woodlands area Horn Bows 1,800 4 tribes;

    West central area Sly Foxes 850, 4 tribes;

    Southern woodlands area Wardogs 3,100 fighting society;

    All tribes White Wardogs 950 fighting society;

    North tribes only.


    At the great conference, the Rovers agreed to a plan to make war upon the Horned Society to attempt to regain their lost territory around the Opicm and in the Fellreev. The help of the Wolf Nomads was not promised, but the Rover tribes knew it would certainly come if possible. The Sly Fox Clan, always on good terms with the sylvan elves of the Fellreev Forest, were to harass the enemy from the woodlands, while the western clans, the Red Horse, Black Horse, and Horn Bows, rode south and made war upon the hated peoples of the Horned Society. Chada-Three-Lances […] was made War Sachem, and in the spring of 578, he led some 6,000 warriors on a campaign to accomplish the recovery of the lost lands. With the force went a party of about 900 centaur warriors. The latter had been displaced from their territory in and around the western end of the Fellreev, so they were more than eager to take part. [Dragon #56 - 22,23]


    Not all Shield Landers were of like mind. Some were petty. Some were greedy. Some wondered why they stood alone against the evils to the north. Prince Zeech was one such. Though brave, was not at all honorable. He saw how the Bandits took what they wanted while he was held back from taking what he thought could be his, like a horse held to rein, so he broke his ties with the Shield Lands and formed the Bandit Kingdom Principality of Redhand from what was once the province of Alhaster.

    The [Bandit Kingdom’s] only coastal "kingdom," Redhand holds a section of the north coast of the Nyr Dyv, from the old Shield Lands to the mouth of the Artonsamay. "Prince" Zeech [a cleric of Hextor], an effete renegade Shield Lands lord who broke with his nation in 577 […]. [LGG - 27]






    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Special thanks to Mike Bridges for his “The Battle of Emridy Meadows.”

    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, T1, The Village of Hommlet, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, From the Ashes Boxed Set, The Aventure Begins, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 56, 57, 268.


    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Viking by iamtretre
    Battle-For-Azeroth by astri-lohne

    Volcano-Guardian-Siren-Splash-art-illustration by adriengonzalez
    Rage by rhysiaint

    Iuz, by Eric Hotz, from WGR5 Iuz the Evil, 1993

    Reuven, by Eric Hotz, from RPGA  The Fright at Tristor, 1993
    Archway by tacosauceninja
    Donner-Lake by chateaugrief

    Red Death, by Karl Waller, from WG8 Fate of Istus, 1989
    Visions-in-the-fire by dominikmayer
    Front-Line by dominikmayer


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9026 The Village of Hommlet, 1979, 1981
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    RPGA The Fright at Tristor, 2000
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    Living Greyhawk Journal
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 10-09-2021 09:17 am
    History of the North, Part 4: A Pause Before the Storm


    The Pause Before the Storm

    Iuz had fallen, and Iggwilv’s tyranny had been short-lived. One would think that they had been working together, that each relied on the other’s success. The timing would suggest just that. Maybe they had. Each had leant an ear to Graz’zt’s whispers. Both had designed on the Vesve Forest. But thankfully, both had fallen short. And both were in chains, one beneath Castle Greyhawk, the other in the Abyss.
    This is not to say that the North was peaceful, because in truth, it was not and had never been. It is a harsh land, not given to pastoral pursuits. It has always been rife with raiding and banditry. New Evils were bound to rise up. And they did.

    513 CY  Despite Iuz’s absence, Evil still flourished everywhere in the North. A new name was whispered in the taverns and inns, in the courts and halls of those who held sway: The Horned Society. It was said that it was a foul haven of deviltry. And like Iuz before them, it had designs on the North. It did. First, it must gather its forces if it were to fester.

    Deprived of their lord [Iuz], the euroz and jebli armies massing on Furyondy's borders rapidly dissolved. The barbarous creatures fought the regents of Iuz and won for themselves the east and west shores of Whyestil Lake. East of the lake, savage chieftains and unscrupulous humans founded the Horned Society. [Wars - 3]


    Hierarchs of the Horned Society

    515 CY  The Horned Society were not the only ones to have designs on the North in Iuz’s absence; indeed, so did the petty despots that were once under Iuz’s heel. They each and all sought to expand south, for that was where the riches lay, and that was where the yet untapped sources of slaves lay. However, they could not march south, not whilst the Nomads and the Rovers were ever a nuisance to them, raiding across the Cold Marches and Howling Hills. So, they put aside their differences and gathered as one and marched north to put an end to that nuisance, once and for all.

    The Nomads and Rovers darted in and out of their armies’ reach, and revelled in their early successes, but as those armies marched ever north and as the Barrens open to their maneuvers were squeezed ever smaller, the Rovers had no choice but to turn and fight. The inevitable battle did not go well for the Rovers. They massacred at the Battle of Opicm River. A few escaped, but the once proud and fierce Rovers had been brought low, and all they could do was hide, and prey for a day when they could take their revenge.

    The Nomads were more fortunate. They did not have the Icy Sea and the Corusks blocking their flight. Or the Fists of the Stonehold at their back, either. They broke into smaller bands and slipped away into the vast expanse of the northern plains and the tangles of the Boreal Forest, and vanished as though they were one with the wind and the trees.

    At the great battle of Opicm River, the might or the Rovers of the Barrens gathered to war upon a combined host from the land of luz and the newly formed Homed Society. The wardog soldiers and light cavalry of the Rovers were decimated and scattered, and many of their chieftains were slain. Perhaps three or four clans of but a few tribes each are all that now remain of the force which once sent the tumans of the Wolf Nomads flying back across the Dulsi without their gray-tailed banners. [WoGA - 33]


    There were those who remained loyal to Iuz, though, for they knew the Old One could return, would return. They knew they must survive were they to be of use to their absent master when he did, so, they feigned allegiance, and added their strength to that gathering, their aim to placate those who would otherwise take His lands, and as they seemed to lend aide, they held back, all the while watching their foes weaken. They bided their time, and waited.


    520 CY  The Barbarians had little concern for what might be going on beyond the Griff Mountains. True, they always looked to the Kelten Pass and the Hold of Stonefist, for there were always raiding parties of Fists that managed to cross those imposing peaks between the snows, but they were few in number, and not of great concern.

    Skrellingshald

    Their relative security aside, they understood that one day those Evils to the West might come; so, they searched for uncharted passes that might be hidden from them. And they searched for fabled Skrellingshald, for the elder wives wove tales of the wonders that one might find there. But where was it? None could say, but those fancy tales told of a becalmed climate and rich soils, and steeply walled, easily defended, paths to it. That in itself made it worth seeking. But did it ever actually exist? Were they indeed just fancy tales?

    Most believed just that. Nevertheless, there were those who thought differently. There was always a kernel of truth in even the wildest of fables, they believed, and so, they shouldered packs and girded themselves for the great dangers that lurked in those peaks. Few ventured into them, fewer returned.

    The Sinister Lost City

    Hradji Beartooth was one who had. He returned with wonders and curiosities, and with what they hoped was a tale to tell. They expected him to gather the clan around the hearth and regale them with his exploits and heroism. However, he did not speak on it. Not a word. Moreover, neither did those who had staggered out of those lofty mountains with him.

    What? You have never heard of Skrellingshald? Maybe you have, for Skellingshald is what the northern tribes called that long forgotten city of Tostenhca.

    Hradji returned later that year with a diminished following and with greatly increased wealth which consisted largely of […] golden spheres. He quite naturally refused to disclose the location of the mountain, as he planned to gather a stronger force for the next season and return with still greater booty. Unfortunately, Hradji and the majority of his men died within the year, some of them as soon as they arrived home. What is more, all those who had any prolonged contact with the gold similarly sickened and died. Hradji’s heir disposed of the hoard by trading it to merchant interests in the Great Kingdom, and reputedly the curse still circulates as the coin of that land, although this last may be a tale fabricated to weaken the Emperor’s currency. [GA - 93]


    521 CY  Iggwilv need not be present to affect her world. She had left tomes and artifacts behind, and they were much sought after. It was only a matter of time before they surfaced. 


    History of the Nethertome

    [The] Nethertome was absent from recorded history, its whereabouts and owner unknown. Then, in CY 521, it turned up in the library of Thillion “Flamefingers” Dern, an aged Bisselite mage who died without an heir. During the auction of Thillion’s belongings, the tome was sold to one Gelvin Torlar, a mage who, at the time he bought it, did not have the magical wherewithal to employ its secrets. Surprisingly, Gelvin held the book against all comers, even in those early years when his personal might was lacking and those who wished to seize the tome for themselves assailed him on what seemed a weekly basis. By the end of the decade, however, the constant battle to hold the tome had exhausted Gelvin’s funds and magical resources, and he was forced to sell the Nethertome for a mere pittance, else starve or be slain in a spell duel. Although Gelvin made it known that the Nethertome had been sold, the actual transaction took place secretly. Thus, the buyer’s identity was never learned, and the Nethertome vanished once again. [Dragon #225 - 52]


    522 CY  Not all news was bad. Indeed, some kingdoms were hale and prosperous, their lines of succession secure, the transfer of power smooth and free of strife. Such was the case in Furyondy, where King Belvor III took the throne. Of course, courts everywhere are notorious for schemes and political maneuvering; even the best of them.

    As pressure from the north ebbed, Prince Belvor III, King Avras’s son, energetically courted the Order of the Hart. By playing on the suspicions of the Great Lords of the south, Belvor III swung the Order of the Hart into the royal faction. [Wars - 3]


    The Burning Cliffs

    523 CY  The North has always been a harsh land. What spoils there are have always gone to the bold, and the lucky. Storrich of the Hold of Stonefist was bold. But he was not lucky, and he was forced to flee.

    None of these more recent reports has been sufficient to spur the practical northern peoples into any sort of action or investigation, and it was quite by accident that anything more was discovered. In 523 one Storrich of the Hold of Stonefist failed in an attempt to advance himself by less than traditional methods. Poisoners are not highly regarded even in that grim country, and so Storrich and his followers were obliged to flee. Since the season was summer and the Ice Barbarians would not be likely to let his ship pass unmolested, Storrich and his pursuers turned westward. Unfortunately for Storrich and his men, the pilot of the ship ran it aground offshore the Wastes, and Storrich’s company was obliged to take to the land, the pursuit still hot on their heels. As a last desperate measure Storrich attempted entry into the Burning Cliffs region, risking a stone path that he and his men found leading into the smolder. Storrich’s pursuers turned back at this point well satisfied, and informed the Master of the Hold that they had driven Storrich to his death, having waited some days for him to attempt a return and having seen nothing. It proved to be untrue. [GA - 97]


    Volcanic Vision

    525 CY  Storrich surfaced in Dyvers spouting outlandish tales.

    Two years later Storrich appeared in Dyvers, and being a rather loquacious individual he soon disclosed his story- several stories, in fact, some of them mutually contradictory, but it is possible to piece together a relatively plausible scenario from his boastings. The general outline of the story was that Storrich’s company happened on a city of fire-loving creatures, and managed to steal some valuable gold and jewelry. The subsequent conflict, and the flight southward through the flames and fumes claimed all of Storrich’s following, as only he was protected from the full effect of the Burning Cliffs (apparently by magical effects of certain of his possessions). The identity of the creatures which Storrich robbed is uncertain; his claims gradually grew more diverse. At various times they were elementals, devils, demons, and harginn, and even efreeti. Unfortunately these discrepancies were never resolved. Within a month of his arrival Storrich died of a choking fit at a banquet. There were no other survivors to corroborate Storrich’s story, but it is clear that he had somehow acquired a great wealth of jacinth and gold. He spent liberally in his last weeks of life, and still left behind a considerable trove. [GA - 97]


    526 CY  It is a wonder that Dyvers is not the jewel of the Flanaess. Indeed, it was the focus of government and commerce in the West of the Great Kingdom until the Vicecounty of Ferrond seceded. It was a port then, and is a port now. And rightly so. It was well situated as such: on the Nyr Dyv, at the mouth of the Velverdyva, it was central to all trade north and south, and east and west. It was truly the wonder of the West. “All roads lead to Dyvers,” it was said. All the peoples of the Flanaess did indeed come to Dyvers, and all the peoples of the world have made their home there. It is a secular place, the worship of coin far more prevalent than that of Pholtus and Rao by a Gold County Mile. And so it came as no surprise that Dyvers grew uncomfortable with Furyondy’s close ties with Veluna.
                The city was originally a part of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond and contributed heavily to the war which saw the institution of the Kingdom of Furyondy. Because of the alliance and close ties with Veluna, whose policies the Gentry of Dyvers see as restrictive, the city declared its independence. King Thrommel II allowed this act to pass unchallenged. [Folio - 21] 

                The people of Dyvers are a mercantile folk, prone to cutting corners to achieve profit. Furyondy's relationship with Veluna troubled the freethinking folk of the city, as Veluna's cleric rulers were highly principled, rather ascetic, and encouraged great donations to church coffers. When many cities in Furyondy established a code of "canon law," replete with church courts stocked with Raoan doctrine and Cuthbertine punishments, the Gentry of Dyvers decided that enough was enough. Preparing for the worst, they informed the crown of their intention to split from Furyondy in 526 CY. Perhaps because Furyondy feared the growing power of Greyhawk and felt it needed an ally in the region, Thrommel II, the reigning monarch, allowed the secession to pass unchallenged. [LGG - 41]


    537 CY  King Belvor III of Furyondy died quietly in his sleep; or so the story goes. He had made a few enemies though, so who can say?
    Some nobles accused the Great Lords of assassination despite the fact that the Dread and Awful Presences -- the Hierarchs of the Horned Society -- claimed their magic wrought the king's death. A commission of wizards and priests led by Lord Throstin of the Hart determined that King Belvor died naturally in his sleep. The Great Lords were exonerated, but the Hierarchs never withdrew their claim: the deed only increased their standing in the Horned Society. [Wars - 25]
    After his father's death, Belvor IV used his monarchial power to force the Great Lords back into the fold as [his father had]. Though his reign was relatively short, Belvor's (III) coalition lasted, holding the fractious kingdom together during the years of his son's regency. [Wars - 3]


    c.550 CY               Hradji Beartooth braved the dangers of the Griff Mountains because he knew his people might need a haven. He also knew that his people sorely needed what wonders Skrellingshald might have wielded to keep them safe those eons past, no matter whether it was arcane or not, for the Fruztii had been decimated during the Battle of Shamblefield, and were a shadow of their former selves.
    Not so the Schnai. They had not spent themselves against the shields of the south. They had taken to the seas instead. And so, when the Fists of the Stonehold had swept out from the Griff Mountains, the Frutzii had little choice but to treat with their cousins to the East. Help us fortify the passes, they pled. And the Schnai were only too willing to help. They sent warriors to strengthen the Bluefang-Kelten Pass. But not so many as did the Fruztii, for they sent longships to Krakenheim to protect their poor cousins from what retaliation might come from the Great Kingdom’s North Province and the fleets of the Sea Barons. And the Fruztii found themselves under the suzerainty of the Schnai. Their king was but a puppet. And they chaffed under their cousin’s rule.
    While the Fruztii were historically the most persistent in their raids upon the Aerdy, the Schnai explored the seas and the northern isles. Their discovery of Fireland during the early years of Fruztii raids southward was a great distraction. Rather than seek conquest in the Flanaess, they chose to explore the Lesser and Greater Isles of Fire, while they built settlements on the more habitable islands of Sfirta and Berhodt. They would inevitably return home with tales of monsters and giants, and of treasures almost obtained. [LGG - 106]


    c. 556 CY              The Fruztii had asked for held, and they cousins were only too pleased to “come to their aid,” but before too long, the Fruztii understood their folly, for the Schnai had taken control of teir ports, their Great Hall in Krakenheim, and their king. They had fallen under the suzerainty of the Schnai, and there was nothing they could do to stop it.
    The Fruztii have never recovered from the Battle of Shamblefield, and have been under the suzerainty of the Schnai for the past two decades – and several times previously as well. The supposed figurehead placed upon the throne of the Fruztii has, however, built his kingdom carefully, and in actuality it is now independent in all but oath. [Folio - 10]


    558 CY  The Scarlet Brotherhood set out to stir up trouble for the Great Kingdom. They sent agents into the Rakers and whispered into the ears of the Euroz, the Kell, the Eiger, and others, to encourage the orcs and the gnolls there to raid the Bone March, for if Ivid’s attention was in the north, they might once again gain influence in the south. (6074 SD)


    Orcs on the Bone March
    559 CY  Humanoids began raids into Bone March. These were limited in scope at first, for the orcs and gnolls did not fully trust the red-robed agents that whispered in their ears. They are not prepared, the whispers said. They look to the barbarians to the north and have not guarded against you, they said. But the orcs were cautious. For they knew not what these red-robed whisperers hoped to gain. And because they had heard the whispers of Men before, and knew that Men had always used their people to blunt the swords of their enemies with orcish blood. The gnolls were less cautious, for the whispers promised them blood, and they do so love the smell of it.


    560 CY  Finding resistance limited, the orcs and gnolls made more forays into Bone March, striking widely so as to keep the Marquis’ forces rushing to and froe across the breadth of his lands to defend against them, never once conceiving that the orcs were acting far more strategic than they ever had before. They were a savage species, after all.
    Hordes of humanoids (Euroz, Kell, Eiger and others) begin making forays into the Bone March, and these raids turned into a full scale invasion the next year. [Folio - 9]


    And still the orcs came...
    561 CY     The forces of Marquis Clement tired. And still the orcs came. And when the orcs found no resistance, the whisperers said, “The time is ripe. He has not the strength to defeat you!” The orcs still did not trust the whisperers from Shar, but they saw the truth in their words. And so the tribes flowed from their mountains into the Bone March and laid waste to all that stood against them.
    They flowed out into the Theocracy of the Pale, and into neighbouring Nyrond. They flowed out into Ratik. Because that was what the agents of Shar instructed them to do. But the greatest of their hosts spilled out onto the Bone March, for the agents of the Brotherhood knew that turmoil within the Great Kingdom was so great that it could not muster effective opposition. And because they had parleyed with Herzog Grace Grennell of The North Province, and he had promised to delay his defense. But also because they’d parlayed with others, far darker in purpose than Grennell.
    Thus, the orcs and the gnolls made great gains into the March in so little time. But not so in the Theocracy of the Pale, Nyrond, or Ratik, for there resistance was stiff, swift and sure.


    563 CY  The Bone March fell to the humanoids and all humans in that area were either enslaved or killed, Lord Clement among them, as he was held up within the walls of Spinecastle, waiting for succor from Ratik and the North Province, when it fell after a prolonged siege, virtually overnight. Survivors say that the orcs and gnolls had nothing to do with its fall, that it fell from within, that dark forces rose up from its very foundations, causing those within to throw open the gates in their haste to flee, and only then did the humanoids gain entry. It was the castles’ curse, they said, making some gesture they thought would ward off the Evil they said they saw that day.
    The hordes did not hold the castle for long; for they too were struck by such horrors that drove them from its halls. While within, they were driven mad; and those that survived said that blood flowed from its walls, that rooms rippled and disappeared, and that they were induced to strike one another down. Retreating from Spinecastle’s horrors, they never again entered it.
    The Knight Protectors of the Bone March were overwhelmed by the hordes, and those who could fled to Ratik, bolstering the defenses of Ratikhill.
    This land fell to the horde of invaders [Euroz, Kell, Eiger and others], its lord slain, and its army slain or enslaved. Humans in the area were likewise enslaved or killed, and the whole territory is now ruled by one or more of the humanoid chiefs. [Folio - 9]


    The Euroz orcs and the gnolls continued to flow out of the Rakers, betraying and attacking the North Province in their blood frenzy, even as Spinecastle held out against them.
    Grennell expected as much and was prepared. He met them within the March, and drawing them into defensive redoubts, he slowed their advance, and then halted it altogether. And having done so, he parleyed with them and allied with them against Nyrond and Almor, for he believed that such a force could not be defeated until it had blunted itself against hard resolve, and he much rather it do so against that of other lands and not his. Then he would turn on the humanoids, and take their spoils as his own.


    What did the Scarlet Brotherhood think about their success? They were elated. They were infuriated. The orcs slaughtered their agents along with all the other humans, for the orcs understood that those red-robed whisperers were not their friends. They understood that they were pawns in a greater game that was not their own. And they recognized the scent of slavery when they smelled it.


    The Death Knight Lord Monduiz Dephaar made good use of the chaos that ensued, craving a kingdom for himself out of the lands surrounding his stronghold somewhere in the Blemu Hills in the wake of the collapse of the Bone March, and even now commands legions of humanoids and bandits, who call him Dreadlord of the Hills.
    Both Prince Grenell of the North Kingdom and the humanoids of Spinecastle gave the Dreadlord wide berth.


    565 CY  Ratik was in need of allies. Their most stalwart ally, Marquis Clement of the Bone March had fallen and his lands were in the thrall of orcs and ogres and Death Knights. Tenh was beset by Stonefist and the Theocracy of the Pale, and indeed, the Fists had raided Ratik’s very north. Their only “ally” was the Theocracy of the Pale, if having a common enemy could necessitate their being allies, for the Theocracy was, if anything, hostile to all who weren’t blind adherents to the Faith of their Blinding Light, and the people of Ratik were not.
    But they were not entirely without hope. They had kin. Of a sort. The Fruztii had passed them by in their raiding. Why? They’d been enemies once, after all. Because the Fruztii had kin within their domain, and their kin had become a people of Ratik.
    Marner gathered those elders of Fruztii descent and asked them, “Will your brothers to the north treat with us?” After much talk and deliberation, the elders agreed that the Frutzii would. The Fruztii wished to be free of the Schnai. They were beset upon by the Fists. And their strength had been broken upon the shield of the Great Kingdom.
    But who? They chose Korund of Ulthek, for his mother was of Fruztii decent and his father was the Ward of the North. And Korund sailed north to visit his kin north of the Timberway. And with their aid, he secured a meeting in Djekul. And then in Krakenheim, where His Most Warlike Majesty, King Ralff listened carefully and was intrigued.
    Soon, Marner came to Krakenheim, and Krakenheim came to Marner.
    “Where else might we find allies,” His Valorous Prominence, Lexnol, the Lord Baron of Ratik asked.
    The Fruztii pondered this question. Fireland, they said.

    Fireland
    In 565 CY, the explorer Korund of Ratik sailed with a number of barbarian friends to Fire-land, returning with a crude map made with respectable instruments and a bit of magic. From this, the Savant-Sage and I have concluded that Fire-land is a collection of islands. No single island is great enough to be a continent, though the largest might be the largest island on Oerth. The whole surface area of Fire-land would likely cover less than one million square miles. We would so like to have a more accurate and recent assessment! [TAB - 11]


    566 CY  The Rovers may have been defeated by the Horned Society at the Battle of Opicm River, but they could still be a thorn in its side. Pride dictated that they spit in the face of defeat. Pride dictated that they regain their lost lands. They allied with the Weigweir and together, they began raiding northeastern edge of Fellreev. 
    The young tribesmen who matured into warriors during the last two generations avoided their old battling and hunting grounds along the Fellreev Forest and the plains of the Dulsi, for they feared the might of luz’s hordes. Instead, these nomads and woodland hunters withdrew to the steppes and other sites to the north and east. Their numbers increased, and they practiced their fighting skills against the men of the Hold of Stonefist and the savages and humanoids they met on raids into the Cold Marshes. Despite the difficulties of communication, the western tribes of the Rovers of the Barrens actually made alliances with the Wegwiur.
    In 566 CY there were a few light raids into the northeastern edge of the Fellreev. In a few years, wardog parties were reported in the forest west of Cold Run. [Dragon #56 - 27]


    c.570s    One should never underestimate the powerful. The Circle of Eight never did. They knew that Iuz and Iggwilv might return, and they prepared for that day.

    Iggwilv
    Iggwilv reappeared in the late 570s, after the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth were rediscovered and her vampire-warrior daughter Drelzna was destroyed. Iggwilv, who had apparently regained her old powers – and then some – on other planes or worlds, attempted to attack the Flanaess with a vast army of fiends and monsters. She was thwarted by Tenser, who sent heroes to recover a lost artifact (the Crook of Rao) that blocked her extraplanar forces from entering the Prime Material Plane on Oerth. Iggwilv thereafter secretly assisted her son Iuz with his empire building. When she tried to recapture Graz’zt, she was herself caught and imprisoned in the Abyss. 
    [Rot8 - 55]


                
                History of the Nethertome
                Nonetheless, it is known that the Nethertome did not accompany her on the journey to her Abyssal prison, but the current whereabouts of the book cannot be confirmed. It is generally believed that luz turned it over to one of his Boneheart wizards, and most fingers point to Jumper or Null, as the Nethertome would be most useful to them in their work at Fleichshriver. [Dragon #225 - 52]





    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, Return of the Eight, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 56, 225.


    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Black-and-White-159 by haiashouster
    The-Nine-The-Lord-of-the-rings by anatofinnstark
    The-Lost-City by artofjokinen
    Deaths-Remnant by adamburn
    Red-sketch by noahbradley
    Volcanic-Vision by noahbradley
    Ms-Orc-Queen by bayardwu
    Orc-rider by zsoltkosa
    Viking-Metropolis by ourlak
    Iggwilv by nyaka-n


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    9576 Return of the Eight, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 10-05-2021 04:59 pm
    History of the North, Part 3: The Rise of Iggwilv and Iuz


    The Forgotten North

    The North lay forgotten. The South was beset by turmoil. It was mired in petty wars. It had little interest in the goings-on of such remote regions; besides, what if banditry plagued it, what if petty kingdoms had sprung up across its breadth? If people lived there. It was too vast and too cold and too far away to be of any concern.
    Had they taken the time to concern themselves; because if they had, then maybe, just maybe, they would have been able to stem the tide of horror and misery that would eventually sweep across the whole of the Flanaess. But such is hindsight.




    446 CY  Far from the North, the South Province seceded from the Great Kingdom. This may seem a small thing to the North, and it was, but it having done so shifted the attention of the Great Kingdom eve further away from the North’s continued stability.

    After the withdrawal of Nyrond from the Great Kingdom, the slide became precipitous. Buffoons and incompetents sat upon the Malachite Throne, and their mismanagement split apart the Celestial Houses. This period of degeneration culminated in the Turmoil Between Crowns, when the last Rax heir, Nalif, died in 437 CY at the hands of assassins from House Naelax. The herzog (great prince) of North Province, Ivid I, then laid claim to the throne. The herzog of South Province, Galssonan of House Cranden, broke with Rauxes and joined a widespread rebellion in the south. Years of civil war ensued, and only the intercession of dispassionate houses such as Garasteth and Darmen brought about the final compromise.

    The tyrannical Ivid I assumed the Malachite Throne at the price of granting greater autonomy to the provinces, notably Medegia, Rel Astra, and Almor. The recalcitrant herzog of South Province was quickly deposed and replaced by a prince from House Naelax, who sought immediately to bring the southern insurgents back into line. In 446 CY, the herzog granted an audience to representatives of Irongate, who went to Zelradton to air their grievances. The offer turned out to be a ruse, and the ambassadors were imprisoned, tortured, and executed for Overking Ivid's enjoyment. The whole of the south arose again in violent rebellion, and one year later formed the Iron League and allied with Nyrond. [LGG - 24]


    450 CY  Dunstan I of Nyrond realized that once the The Great Kingdom had finally stabilized, he would need allies. His borders needed to be secure. But mostly, he would need allies to come to his aid when called. Who better than those who had recently seceded for its tyranny?

    He called the Great Council of Rel Mord, and representatives from Almor, the Iron League, the Duchy of Urnst, and Greyhawk arrived to treat with him. They did, but there was a cost. He need withdraw Nyrondal troops from the Pale and the County of Urnst, for those who would ally with him would not do so if he too occupied lands not his, for they would not throw off the yoke of one Overking only to treat with another. They came to an accord, and roundly condemned the Great Kingdom.

    By 450 CY, Aerdy had survived two distinct civil wars. Ivid and his court had defeated their enemies in the aristocracy, and had entrenched themselves in the empire's political machine. With a stabilized foe, Dunstan realized in his old age that he still needed willing allies, should Aerdy take the offensive. In Harvester, he called the Great Council of Rel Mord. Delegates from every Nyrondal principality and subject state attended, as did representatives from Almor, the Iron League, the Duchy of Urnst, and even Greyhawk. After a month and a half of negotiation, Dunstan the Crafty withdrew Nyrondal troops from the Pale and the County of Urnst, and realigned the internal borders of his subject lands. Furthermore, he publicly threw his considerable support behind the Iron League, and rebuked the Great Kingdom of Aerdy as a "corpulent reanimated corpse, spreading contagion and sorrow to all that it touches."  [LGG - 77,78]                


    Swift Justice

    From its “Emancipation,” The Theocracy of the Pale was not a tolerant land; indeed, it never had been. It chaffed under the lack of self-determination and freedom they themselves denied any who didn’t proscribe to their narrow view: that was only one god, Pholtus, henceforth known as The Blinding Light, and that there was only one Truth and that was His. Nyrond saw otherwise, and had seen fit to exert their authority to that effect. The Theocracy determined that no other authority would supress their Truth again. They were the Chosen of The Blinding Light, selected by the god Himself, and governed by His priests. His Word was Law, and woe to those who deviated from His path. The Theocrat demanded that an “Inquisition” be enacted, heretics were rooted out, imprisoned and even slain. Those not of the faith were discouraged from entering their domain, lest they spread their false gods among the faithful. Judgement was always swift when “under the Question,” for the defendant was always considered Sinful until proven Innocent.

    Not all were pleased with the Council of Nine and its inquisition. A splinter group rebelled against Wintershiven, claiming that faith was a personal path, not to be interfered with by the State and the Council. The Council saw the matter differently. They swiftly put down the heretical clerics with a division of the army personally led by three members of the council. And thus the Church Militant was born, the paramilitary body of warrior priests responsible for ensuring the purity of doctrine and safeguarding church properties, especially the Basilica of the Blinding Light.

    They and the Council did not always see eye to eye.


    453 CY  The North has always been a place of mystery. Its seas are adrift with archipelagos of ice. Its shores burn. And there were wonders there that few had seen, let alone explained. Some sought to. One of those was Sormod, who mounted an expedition to the Land Beyond the Black Ice.

    Some years ago a fragmentary document was recovered from Blackmoor Castle which gave substance to the widespread accounts of a land “beyond the black ice where the sun never sets.” While a firm description of the land itself was lacking, the parchment gave explicit directions for finding it among the wastes of the Black Ice. This information fell into the hands of one Sormod, a merchant and adventurer from Perrenland who was visiting Eru-Tovar, where the parchment surfaced for sale at the bazaar. The romantic Sormod mounted an expedition as soon as he could gather the backing, and departed from Dantredun in Richfest of CY 453. [GA - 100]


    Beyond the Black Ice
    460 CY  Was Sormod successful. Yes and no. He and his party explored further than had anyone from the Great Kingdom ever had before. They discovered that others had already broken the trail they followed. What they found there was beyond all expectation. And as one might expect, they found greater dangers than they had expected, as well. 
    In CY 460 there surfaced in the city of Greyhawk a volume purporting to be the personal journal of one Henriki Ardand, the expedition’s magician. Whether true or false, it is a most marvelous tale. Henriki tells of the difficult passage over the sooty ice, where the expedition was endangered by subterranean hot springs of the same sort that underlie Blackmoor. These apparently weaken the ice and make passage over it a risky business, apt to result in a sudden downward drop as a cavern collapses under the weight of travelers. In places too, there are small volcanoes, which blacken the snows newfallen on the ice. Between these dangers and the jumbled areas of collapsed ice, as well as certain “iceworms” (most probably remorhaz) and the hostile dark-furred bugbears of the region, the progress of the expedition was rather slow and several members were lost or refused to go on. At last, however, they reached a range of low peaks jutting just above the ice as their directions had described. What greeted them on the other side must first have appeared to the surviving members to be a paradise. Henriki calls it the Rainbow Vale.
    After a region of mists the explorers saw before them a green and fertile bowl of land, warmed and lighted by a sunlike body floating half a mile above its center. Several large islands of land likewise drifted about it, some of them large enough to hold small rivers whose cascades of droplets caused Henriki to name the valley as he did. Below the miniature sun was a central lake, beside which the members of Sormod’s group could see several clumps of broken reddish towers.
    Sormod and his band descended the steep cliffs into the valley’s forests, passing first through birch, fir, and sablewood, then through oak and beech woodlands where they stopped to gather uskfruit and yarpik nuts, then past magnolias and fig trees, and down to the shores of the lake where they found palm and deklo trees flourishing in the steamy heat. Curls of vapor could be seen rising from the area of the lake beneath the valley’s illuminator. They camped beside one of the skyborn waterfalls near the ruins they had seen from the valley’s rim, and discovered to their surprise that the buildings were of deeply rusted iron. Finally they pitched camp. Perhaps exhausted by the long journey, or drowsy in the unaccustomed heat, the watchmen slept.
    Sormod’s party was neither particularly weak nor poorly equipped, but they had little chance unwarned against the sudden onslaught that overtook them: goblins, bugbears, and giant spiders, some of the latter of astounding size and speed and fiendish intelligence. The camp was scattered, and Sormod, Henriki, and the other survivors watched in horror as their companions were bundled away and hauled up on ropes of spider-silk to the nearest of the floating islands.
    Henriki and the others managed to regroup, and for some weeks they cautiously explored their surroundings. They discovered a group of human primitives who evidently worship the spiders and their humanoid henchmen, and they also found many inexplicable constructions of metal and glass in the ruins. Without their equipment they did not wish to risk an overland journey, but they discovered from conversations with one of the friendly cavemen that there was a tunnel leading southward which eventually would reach the surface. Assured of an escape route, they mounted a raid on the sky-island to which their companions had been taken, using Henriki’s remaining powers. They dis- covered no sign of their comrades, but they did find some very large statues of spiders in a grove beside the spider-village, each decorated with large diamond eyes. They took these and fled. 
    The long passage southward through the tunnels claimed yet more members of the group, in some cases to heat exhaustion as they passed the warm springs. Eventually, however, they emerged south of the Black Ice at the headwaters of the Fler. From there they passed through the Burneal Forest, where Sormod was lost to a poisoned arrow in a dispute with forest tribesmen. The survivors (including Henriki, a priest of Pharlagn from Schwartzenbruin, and two Wolf Nomads) divided the treasure between themselves and dispersed, none willing again to risk the terrors of the land beyond the Black Ice. [GA - 100]

    Tales of succession and exploration are well and good, you say; but what so they have to do with Iggwilv and Iuz? Be patient. This is where Iggwilv joins our narrative.
    Where did she come from? I cannot say, for she has been decidedly closed-lip about her origins. Perhaps Perrenland, but that is unlikely, for someone there would surely have taken note of the rise of so powerful a wizard.  Perrenland is a small place, all things considered, bounded by mountains on all sides, save one, and it is cut off from the rest of civilization there by savage tribes to the north. It is akin to a village, in many ways, most notably in that everyone knows everyone else’s business. The again, no other region had taken note of her rise, either.
    The Witch Queen of Perrenland
    Iggwilv first appeared in historical chronicles of Perrenland in 460 CY. Even then she was a powerful wizard, a master at fiend-summoning, planar exploration and necromantic magic. She had already summoned and bound the demon lord Graz'zt and given birth to a son by him: Iuz, adopted as an infant by a petty lord north of Whyestil Lake. [Return of the Eight - 55]

    The Archmage Iggwilv first made her presence known circa CY 460. Shortly thereafter, she conquered the fledgling nation of Perrenland, ruling it for a decade from her secret lair in the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.
    Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
    It is often said that much of Iggwilv’s power came as a result of her discovery of that fell place and the treasures it contained. Nonetheless, power is what she had, and she used it well. Oddly, some learned historians claim that Iggwilv was an accomplished necromancer, even a specialist in that field. How these noted scholars substantiated such a theory is a mystery, for Iggwilv had long borne the reputation of one who associated with fiends, and such creatures were heavy among the ranks of her servants. The very fact that she managed to summon and bind Graz’zt himself would seem to suggest that conjuration, rather than necromancy, was her forte. [Dragon #225 - 51]

    c. 476 CY              The peoples of the North were as curious about faraway lands as those to the south were sometimes curious about theirs. Indeed, there were adventurous souls who travelled to those more temperate climes and were seduced by them. Some few even settled there. So it came to pass that Uroch came to the site of Elredd, and founded its city upon its steep cliffs.
    There has been a settlement of some sort on the site of Elredd for more than a thousand years. The city itself came into being only a century or so ago, however. It was founded by a warrior named Uroch, who hailed from the Wolf Nomads [....] [WG8 - 37]

    467-469 CY         Plague swept the lands, beginning in Rookroost and fanning out faster than a man could run. It arrived as all plague does, suddenly: one week they were disease free, or as free from such as any populace ever is, and then scores were afflicted the next. The afflicted complained of lassitude, joint pain, and headache; soon, red boils appeared and the headache grew crippling. Hours later copper coins rested atop eyelids. Poultices, infusions, leeching were ineffective; indeed, even magics and the ministrations of the clergy proved useless. Thousands died; and just as swiftly as it began, it disappeared having burned itself out. Rookroost was ever vigilant of The Red Death’s return. But as in all of these cases, vigilance lasts only as long as a generation before it becomes the grist of old-wives’ tales and fairy fancies.
    Old records describe a plague that decimated the Bandit Kingdom's population as it swept across the Flanaess some four score years ago. [WG8 - 6]
    A bardic song talks of a 'wasting disease' that swept Oerik nearly a century ago. [WG8 - 40]

    476 CY  The Hold of Stonefist is an unforgiving land. It was born of deceit and violence. It has poor soil, a growing season shorter than any save Blackmoor. Only the Coltens have ever shown any inclination to till the land, to fur, and to fish. The rest proved as cruel and restless as their master. They wished to roam and raid widely, for to do otherwise invited subjection. Vlek Stonefist knew this, for he believed the same. Thus, he set about occupying his people in the manner to which they were accustomed: raiding. The Rovers were poor, and they moved about too much to be easy prey, so he set his people upon the Tenh. When they mobilized against his “Fists,” he sent them over the mountains to raze the Fruztii and Ratik. He sent raiding parties north against the Cruski. Resistance was everywhere, but the Fruztii, gravely weakened by having repeatedly thrown their might against the shield of the south were ill prepared for attacks from the north. The Fists grew ever bolder, so the Fruztii began to raise palisades against them, but they no longer had the strength to man the breadth of the Fists’ onslaught. The Frost Barbarians parlayed with their cousins, and together, they came to an accord, they must ally against the Hold of Stonefist.

    The Dark Prince of Shadows
    479 CY  When was Iuz born? Where did he come from? No one knows. It is said that he was the son of a forgotten despot of a petty fief. In truth, only the wild ruled that rocky, heathered marsh. It was a petty land, ruled by a petty man, who when he died in 479 CY, few if any mourned him. His dismal patch of marsh fell to his son, a boy who was named Iuz. Was he the despot’s son? Few deny the claim. None believe it.
                The lord died in 479 CY, and Iuz – probably trained and supported in secret by his [true]  parents – took over the estate. [Rot8 - 55]
                The truth?
    Iuz was born of a human mother, the necromancer Iggwilv, and a great tanar'ri lord, Graz'zt, ruler of several Abyssal planes. The young cambion tanar'ri soon used his powers to great effect. Realizing that his warriors could not hope to triumph by simple force, Iuz began to ally his men with other minor clan leaders to beat off stronger enemies. Of course, those allies always ended up suffering most of the casualties and their leaders died in battle with astonishing predictability. Slowly, the size of Iuz's warband increased. Celbit and Jebli orcs of the Vesve margins began to join. The human scum serving Iuz didn't like the orcs overmuch, but they soon saw how their enemies liked them even less. And of course, there was Iuz's magic. Many cambions wield magic, but that of Iuz, aided by his mother, was far more powerful than anything the competing hordes could muster. Iuz had control of the entire Land of Iuz in little over a decade. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil - 3]

    Few took note of this new presence in that secluded northern waste, despite the tales of refugees that fled south of slavery and ghastly abominations, the risen dead, and the road of skulls that stretched from Dorakaa to the Howling Hills. The fiefs always fought one another. Petty lords rose, and fell with regularity. This Iuz would do just the same, they imagined. He had risen. He would fall in due course. And if he didn’t, his was a secluded land of no consequence. What harm could he do?
    [The] land now called Iuz was a fractious collection of independent fiefs. The petty princes who ruled these plots of land vied to inherit the lands of Furyondy, which at that time reached far north. Among these princes was a paltry despot of the Howling Hills, who died in that year and left the land to a son of questionable origin – Iuz. Oddly, rumors alternately described the "son" as an old man and a 7-foot-tall, feral-faced fiend. [Wars - 2]

    Iuz was not content with his little patch of marsh. He was destined for greater conquest. So said his mother. So said his father, before he was whisked away. Iuz sent his hordes out. Conquer, he commanded. Pillar! Kill! And they did.
    Iuz's domain began to spread like mold upon an overripe peach, primarily due to his use of humanoid tribes. Most human princes considered orcs and goblins vermin-ridden inferiors, an attitude best typified by His Eminence Count Vordav, who swore to "burn on sight any hovel of those miserable scum." Though this attitude allowed the petty princes to "maintain a false sense of purity for the old Aerdi traditions," it also meant their armies were quickly overmatched by Iuz, who made full use of orcish cruelty and fecundity. [Wars - 3]

    c.480 CY               Iggwilv had designs. Perhaps Graz’zt had whispered sweet dreams of conquest in her ears. She began launching attacks into Perrenland from her base in the “Lost Caverns.”
    In her unpredictable fashion, Iggwilv created an empire from her base in the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, named for a legendary wizard of old and hidden in the Yatils. In 480 CY, Iggwilv sent her humanoid and barbaric human minions out to conquer and loot surrounding territories. [Rot8 - 55]

    481-491 CY         Perrenland was ill prepared for Iggwilv. They had grown lax, secure behind their mountain passes, and their appeasing the Nomads with trinkets and wine. And Iggwilv flowed out of the mountains here and there, without warning, seemingly without plan, and without rest.
    Perrenland was enslaved from 481 to 491 CY; all Lake Quag was taken; and her raiders pushed at the southern boundaries of the Wolf Nomad lands, perhaps with the assistance of troops supplied by Iuz to the east. Uninterested in the administration of her new lands, she stripped them of their treasures to support research into new magic. [Rot8 - 55]

    c.490 CY               Arch-mage Iggwilv sent her evil minions to conquer the lands around her abode. So successful was she that the Marches of Perrenland were subjugated for a decade, and great indeed was the loot brought to Iggwilv's lair in answer to her insatiable demands for treasure. Legend states that the arch-mage gained much of her prowess from discovering the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, where in was hidden magic of unsurpassed might. It is certain that lggwilv ruled her domain from these caverns. There she also conducted arcane experiments and rituals, trying to further increase her powers. [S4 - 2]

                These experiments were her downfall, for during one she accidentally freed the demon Graz'zt, whom she had imprisoned and forced into servitude. There was a terrible battle, and although the demon was forced to flee to the Abyss, lggwilv was so stricken from the contest that her powers and strength were forever lost. With the wane of her evil, lggwilv's realm was sundered. Her former henchmen and slaves stole her treasure and scattered to the four winds in the face of enemy armies. The arch-mage, however, used the last of her power to prepare a hiding place in the caverns for her remaining wealth. Legends say that this included several tomes of great power and the fabled lamp called Daoud's Wondrous Lanthorn. What else might be hidden no one knows, for no one has yet discovered Iggwilv's hoard. [S4 - 2]

                Iggwilv’s reliance on fiends to increase her power eventually caused her downfall. During the course of one of her malevolent rituals, she made a critical mistake that accidentally freed Graz’zt from his captivity, and a spectacular battle ensued. In the end, Iggwilv was triumphant, forcing Graz’zt to flee to his Abyssal home, but she paid a dear price for that victory. The wounds she suffered reached far beyond merely the physical, damaging her psyche to such a degree that much of her personal power was torn from her.
                When the news of Iggwilv’s condition reached her oppressed subjects, they immediately took up arms and marched on her secluded abode. Her minions realizing that the reign of their queen was ended, scattered before the oncoming armies and took with them the bulk of her amassed fortune. Among the items stolen by her former servants was the Nethertome.  [Dragon #225 - 51]

    The Nethertome
    The Nethertome is divided into several chapters. Like Iggwilvs Fiendomicon, most of it deals with the lower planes (and the tanarri in particular). The beginning chapters give a highly detailed and surprisingly accurate treatise on the Blood War, though it has an obvious bias favoring the Abyssal fiends. The next handful of chapters describe the chaotic nature of the Abyss, methods of “safe” travel through its infinite layers, and most importantly, areas that should be avoided by mortals. Several more chapters describe the denizens of the Abyss, the tanar'ri in particular. These chapters describe their politics, psychology, and general behavior with astounding clarity, almost as if it had actually been written by a tanar’ri. In many places, individual tanar’ri are named. The most notable, and most oft referred to, is Graz’zt, of course. The last chapter contains a modest and seemingly incomplete assortment of wizard spells, two of which are unique to the Nethertome.  [Dragon #225 - 52]



    Daoud's Wondrous Lanthorn:
     This artifact is wrought from the finest yellow gold. Its beautifully crafted framework is set with huge jewels and crystal lenses. An unwavering pure flame burns within. The faces are normally fitted with the crystal lenses, but the jewels are actually additional lenses, fashioned to fit the four faces of the lanthorn. The lanthorn's magical powers change, depending upon which of the gem lenses are fitted to it, as well as upon the continued burning of the lanthorn's magical flame. [S4 - 20]


    Prison of Zagig:
     Only five of these brass devices are believed to exist. Each is nearly identical, appearing to be nothing more than a small, well-made bird cage. Normal handling or examination will not reveal it to be magical. [S4]

    505 CY  Just as Iggwilv had descended upon Perrenland, so did Iuz upon Furyondy. Furyondy could have sundered Iuz, had they acted with concert and speed, but greed and ambition being what they are, the lofty lords had proven their worth in those early day. The opted for self-interest, when they ought to have opted for security. But who knew then what Iuz might become? Them! Had they been vigilant! Had they been true!
    A three-way split had grown in the ranks of nobility. The most powerful faction was the Great Lords of the south, who used Iuz's threat to lever their lands from the king's control. Second in power was the Order of the Hart, which grew in unity and strength to oppose Iuz's border raids. Least in power was King Avras III with his estates and kin. [Wars - 3]

    505 CY  King Avras of Furyondy took note of the doings of Iuz, for what king wouldn’t be concerned about the rise of Evil on his border. The Vesve was already hard pressed by this Iuz, as orcs and hobgoblins bearing Iuz’s mark had penetrated their canopy and were laying waste to all they encountered. Avras mustered his troops and sent them north. But even as they engaged his vile forces, the armies of Iuz had already begun to break apart. For Iuz was not to be found. And it was his tyranny that had held them together.
                But neither Furyondy nor Vesve was directly involved in the banishment of Iuz, generally dated to 505 CY. [WGR5 - 3]

    St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel has been allowed to strike against Iuz, when his avatar assisted those imprisoning Iuz in 505 CY. That St. Cuthbert would wish to fight Iuz is not unexpected. Of the "martial" [...] Powers, Heironeous has his great struggle with his hated brother Hextor [....] But St. Cuthbert is a doughty, tough fighter, and he hates Iuz's [...] nature. That he was allowed to strike against the Old One is surprising. He could only have done so if [the other] Powers agreed to this, for all Powers must agree to such an action. Istus could tell us that Incabulus cared not, but Nerull's croaking voice was decisive in giving permission. [WGR5 - 6]

    Other blows beset [Iuz]. His mother offended Graz'zt, who drew her to the Abyss and imprisoned her there; Iuz's growing alliance with Zuggtmoy, tanar'ri Lady of Fungi, never had the chance to grow to fruition. Within Iuz's own lands, many factions struggled for power when their master left. Tanar'ri and gehreleth came to odds with each other and decided to leave the barren lands to their own fate. Orcs and evil humans began to squabble and fight. Chaos reigned, and the good folk of Furyondy and the Vesve breathed a sigh of relief. [WGR5 - 3]

    510 CY  Avarice has been the undoing of many a man, and Sandor, lord of Polvar, province in eastern Ket, was no different.
    In 510 CY the last of the Euroz and Jebli tribes were driven forth from the Lortmil Mountains. One particularly large horde made the ill-advised attempt to reach the Yatil Mountains by crossing the gap from the Lorridges. Unfortunately for these creatures they had been preceded by lesser bands, and the combined cavalry of Bissel and Veluna stood ready to stem the tide. A large part of the force was destroyed, but the remainder survived by dint of a ferocious counterattack and entered the southern Yatils. There they were harassed by halfling, human, and elven forces raised by the locals, who were not at all of a mind to allow such prolific and ferocious creatures a foothold. The horde finally turned southward in an attempt to reach the Barrier Peaks region by passing through the Bramblewood Forest. Here they met their final and fatal opponent, one Sandor the Headstrong, the young lord of Polvar province in eastern Ket.
    Unlike the other harriers of the goblin/orc horde, the lord of Polvar was not particularly concerned that they would settle in his lands (clearly they did not desire to do so). He was motivated instead by rumors that had filtered into Ket after the earlier engagements: that the cartloads so fiercely protected by the horde’s leader (the half-orc Urgush) represented a great store of gems and precious metals garnered during the horde’s years in the Lortmils. Sandor was determined that such a prize should not escape, and he pursued the host in a series of forced marches which unfortunately exhausted his footsoldiers to the extent that many fell behind and the remainder could not bring about a decisive attack against Urgush’s resistance. The chase led through the Bramblewood and into the hills, Sandor’s force gradually regaining strength and Urgush’s growing fewer. In desperation Urgush turned up an unknown valley, determined to make a final stand. Here disaster met both sides.
    An Omen
    There are numerous hot springs in the northern Barrier Peaks and in the Yatils, and they are widely known and generally appreciated by the Kettites, so Sandor was not surprised or particularly worried when he began to pass through the outlying regions of a system of geysers, full of white frothy stone and colored pools and pits. He only slowed his cavalry over the difficult terrain. A supremely confident man, he was not much disturbed either when scouts reported a number of nearby lakes of a blood-red color said to be unlucky by Kettite peasants. The wains of the humanoid horde were in sight, and obviously bogged down. Sandor prepared his men for a hard pressing attack, hoping to disperse the horde and take their prize, when the ground began to tremble.
    With terrible swiftness, a powerful wind swept down the valley, tumbling the orcs on their faces and oversetting the precious carts. A wealth of gems could be seen to spill from them. Sandor’s force had barely begun to comprehend this when they too were bowled over. Only those on the upper slopes, where Sandor had been organizing the crossbowmen, were spared. None of the others rose again, even so far as their knees. Farther down the valley trees were snapped at the base by the strange wind. Geysers triggered by the earlier tremors spouted into the air.
    Sandor sent a cautious group of scouts into the ruined valley, but they fainted well before they had descended to the floor. He himself attempted the descent, and had to be dragged back out of the area by the rope which he had the foresight to attach to himself beforehand. Sandor and some of the scouts recovered, as did some of those who had been on the valley’s middle slopes. But all others were lost and the invisible poison barred further entry. After two fruitless days Sandor yielded to the demands of his much reduced force and made his way back to Polvar, swearing each of his men to secrecy concerning the location of the treasure and vowing to return. No sooner had Sandor recovered at Polvar than he set out again, being careful to put under his command all those who had first seen the valley. The sight of the wealth of the Euroz and Jebli tribes had inflamed his desires, and he was certain that with certain magical treasures he had acquired he and his force would return with wealth sufficient to make Polvar a nation in its own right. He never returned. [GA - 97]

    511 CY  Evil was on the rise across the lands. It rose from the marshes and fens just as it had flowed out of the mountains, unexpected, and en masse. What stirred the trolls so, none can say, though the name Iuz was whispered more than once. It’s the Old One, they said, nodding knowingly. But Iuz was imprisoned, as those privy to such information knew, so it couldn’t have been him. Other names were whispered alongside his: Keraptis, for one, for all the Tenha know it, and all expect him to return.

    Battle of Dour Prentess
    These identically-designed castles were the bulwarks of Tenh's defenses against the Troll Fens. Each castle was built with a curtain wall defense, inner castle walls, and a castle keep. In addition, mages with wands of fire defended them and great stone chutes were mounted along all walls to shower oil on attacking trolls which was then set ablaze with fiery arrows from the expert longbowmen of Pentress. High Pentress was home to the paladin Henschel Pentress, great-grandson of the noble who paid for these castles to be built. Dour Pentress was so named because of a spectacular siege-battle there in 511 CY when over two thousand trolls surrounded the castle, cutting it off from supplies in a Troll Winter, for a period of over three months before it was relieved. [WGR5 - 70]




    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.
     Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, From the Ashes Boxed Set, The Adventure Begins, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 225.


    The Art:

    Iuz, by Eric Hotz, from WGR5 Iuz the Evil, 1993
    The-Necronomicon by marcsimonetti
    Daoud's Wondrous Lanthorn, from S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, 1982
    Prison of Zagig, by Jeff Easley, from S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, 1982
    Redwater-Lake by skoggangr


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    2138 Book of Artifacts, 1993
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9038 S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, 1982
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon 225
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda 

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 10-03-2021 02:31 pm
    History of the North, Part 2: A Myth of Unity


    The Far North

    All empires crumble. They begin with a single conquest, and before long, want and avarice overwhelm them. They grow fat on their power and plunders, and in time, they collapse under their own weight, as they must, for their grasp always exceeds their reach.
    They conquer, and then conquer again, further and further afield until the crown can no longer contemplate the vastness of its territories. They are too far-flung; the distances are too vast; they sprawl out to this horizon and that, and beyond those, again. Where is that again, it asks? Tenh? The Quaglands? The minutiae of the day-to-day governance of so vast a territory overwhelms it, and it must then rely on its governors, for who knows their lands better than they? So long as the taxes are collected, what of it?
    That’s all well and good until the governors take umbrage with sending the crown their gold, receiving naught in return.

     Anarchy crept into the Great Kingdom
    300-350 CY         Anarchy crept into the Great Kingdom, and more and more of its northern provinces became increasingly independent. Some became lawless. Many became lawless. Petty fiefs sprang up, their rulers declaring themselves kings and barons and dukes and such. Where ruffians seized power, banditry prevailed, and they became known for such. Such were the Bandit Kingdoms, which called themselves a confederacy—a fancy word for what they might have been; but in truth, they could never be, because they preyed upon one another even as they clung together to ward against those who would annex them.
    The Bandit Kingdoms are a collection of petty holdings. Each little kingdom is ruled by a robber chieftain claiming a title such as Baron, Boss, Plar, General, Tyrant, Prince, Despot and even King. In all there are 17 states within the confines of the area, ruled by 4 to 6 powerful lords, and the rest attempting either to become leading rulers or simply to survive. [Folio - 8]


    310-360 CY         The fiefs north of the Nyr Dyv looked to their borders, both north and east, and discovered that they were bounded by villainy and evil. Something must be done, they realized, otherwise they would be pillaged and sundered by it. A vanguard of lords and knights came to the fore and banded them together, promising to keep them safe. The knights became the Knights of the Shield, and the lands took their name, becoming the Shield Lands.
    When the Bandit Kingdoms began to grow powerful, the petty nobles of the north shores of the Nyr Dyv banded together in a mutual protection society. [Folio - 15]


    When similar circumstances resulted, ultimately, in the formation of the lawless Combination of Free Lords to the north, the southern nobles banded together, forming the "Shield Lands" as a bulwark against the depredations and chaos of the north. Since the earl of Walworth commanded Admundfort, at the time the only notable city in the region, he was chosen as the knight commander of the combined forces of the nobles. Within a handful of years, the new capital saw the formation of the Knights of Holy Shielding, a Heironean order that both formed the core of the new national army and served as an example of good, clean living through dedication to strict, militaristic goals. [LGG - 104]


    Veralos
    318 CY  The North was vast. And for all its peoples, for all its scattered states, and for all its history, it was largely undiscovered. Few saw the foundations of the Ur-Flans kingdoms, but they were there for those tenacious enough to find them. Why, some would ask. They were swept aside, and of no concern. But not everyone was so foolish. Some knew what power they wielded, what wonders they forged before the rise and fall of Vecna. Zagig Yragerne was one of those. He wished to find the fabled city of Veralos, for he believed that a culture that could produce Vecna and sunder the Elven Empire surely must have produced a great many artifacts worth seeking. So, he and his Company of Seven, a young Murlynd and Keoghtom among them, left to much fanfare to do just that, and returning a year later, they claimed to have found and plundered the city, producing a wagon laden with treasures to prove their claim. Their expedition revived the legend of the lost citadel, and indeed, that of the Ur-Flan and their civilization, which had all but been forgotten since their Aerdy conquerors pulled down their ancient settlements and built their new ones on top of them, laying waste to Flan magic, art, and writings.


    The Relentless Horde
    320 CY  The Great Kingdom had not been vigilant in the North, but neither did it rule the North in its entirety, either. And even if they had, they most certainly could never have truly conquered it. Or defended it. Neither could the Rovers of the Barrens. And they had roamed it even before they had ever heard the name Vecna.
    Nomads swept into the North from the West, but the northern steppes were so vast, the Rovers remained unaware of the Relentless Horde until it had already gained a foothold in their lands. And, by then, it was already too late to stop them.
    Before too long, they had cut off Blackmoor and the Quaglands from the rest of the Great Kingdom.
    Mixed Oerid-Baklunish nomad bands had gradually moved into and laid claim to the steppe lands beyond the Yatil range, pushing eastwards as far as the Griff Mountains. Border skirmishing with the southern nations went on as these wild horsemen pushed into the Flanaess. Perhaps the civilized states could have stopped their eastward progress had they not been busy fighting with the Aerdi for their independence. [Folio - 6]


    The Relentless Horde pressed the Rovers of the Barrens ever east. Because they must. They had little choice; they too were being harried from the west, themselves forced ever eastward by the Brazen Horde, who were conquering the whole of the Paynims.
    Soon, Kha-Khan Ogobanuk, ruler of the Restless Horde, had conquered most of the Plains. Ilkhan of Tiger Nomads ruled the western steppes in his name. The Wolf Nomads pressed on but could advance no further than the Cold Marshes and the Howling Hills. Their horses could not race across the former, and they met with the Rover’s resolve in the valleys of the latter.
    The Tiger Nomads were driven from the southern plains by the invading Brazen Horde almost three centuries ago. Thrown together with the Wolf Nomads, and other bands of mixed Oerid and Baklunish refugees from the plains, they arrived in the northern steppes in defeat and disarray. Yet, within a few years, they grew strong enough for their ilkhan to command the whole of the western steppes under the great Kha-Khan Ogobanuk of the Relentless Horde (c. 320 CY) [LGG - 114]


    Following the lead of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, the outer dependencies of Aerdy too began to claim sovereignty. The Great Kingdom, ever riven by inner turmoil and its increasing decadency, was shrinking. And in its lessened state, it could do nothing to stem the tide.
    Perranders, Velunians, Furyondians and Tenhas achieve success, establishing independent status one after the other in a series of minor but bloody wars. [Folio - 6]


    The Quaglands
    Even as Furyondy broke free of the Great Kingdom, they sought to lay claim to the Quaglands. But the Quaglands were isolated, cut off from the rest of the South except through mountain passes. Always a fiercely independent people, they had no wish to be or remain under their dominion.
    Rebellions were endemic from the beginning of the Great Kingdom's presence in the Quaglands. Most Aerdi bailiffs were practical overseers, not given to excesses of taxation or punishment, but the intractable natives seemed unable to learn obedience in any form. Nor, it seemed, could they learn unity, as decades of Aerdy rule turned to centuries. Many mountain and lowland tribesmen eventually served in the military of Ferrond, then in Furyondy after 254 CY; from this they gained the experience and discipline necessary to mount a successful rebellion.
    They took the first appearance of the Relentless Horde in the north (c. 320 CY) as the opportunity to break free of the yoke of their overseers. The bailiffs and the troops loyal to them were expelled, and the distracted kingdom of Furyondy was unable to spare the forces necessary to put down this last rebellion. [LGG - 86]


    342 CY  The Theocracy of the Pale chaffed under the dominion of the infidel. Neither Nyrond nor the Great Kingdom followed the path of the blessed Blinding Light, so what right did they have to determine their destiny of the Faithful! The Council of Nine selected its first Theocrat to rule as the semi-independent leader of the Pale. And bided its time.
    Ceril the Relentless, […] greatly revered as a patron saint of the nation […] founded the Council of the Nine, which organized the government of the early nation and chose the first theocrat from their number in 342 CY. Together, they fashioned a government in accordance with their strict interpretations of doctrine. The Palish considered themselves far removed from the politics of the overking and his court, whom they continued to fear and mistrust despite their separation. [LGG - 82]


    345 CY  The Quaglands soon discovered that being part of a greater whole had its benefits when it was taken from them. The Hordes were sweeping across the North, and they as they pled for aid from the Aerdi and Dyvers, they were cut off. None came.
    Hostilities were inevitable; the Tigers were warlike and desperate for lands to call their own; but if anything, the Quaglanders were crafty, and adroit at dealing with this new threat.
    The nomads were indeed a threat to the Quaglands freeholders, and the Sepia Uplands saw many bloody skirmishes between the two peoples. Even the death of the nomads' Kha-Khan Ogobanuk and the division of the horde into twin nations (345 CY) did not completely end the hostility. [LGG - 86]


    Tiger Nomad
    Over the next century, the Tiger Nomads maintained their independence from the Wolf Nomads, but were unable to increase their territory; thus, a certain stability was achieved, despite chronic warfare. Raids into Perrenland and Ekbir continued as well, though the Perrenders became so skilled at negotiating with the nomads that often, raids would turn into exchanges of horses for liquor. Unfortunately, the nomads' consumption of liquor might turn any barter session into an attack, so the maneuver was hardly foolproof—but at least drunken nomads were more easily defeated. 
    [LGG - 115]


    With their cousins, the Wolf Nomads, they were the terror of the north, from the Dramidj coast to the Griff Mountains. When KhaKhan Ogobanuk made his final journey to the invisible realm in 345 CY, the ilkhan of the Tiger Nomads withdrew from the Relentless Horde, forming his own nation of Chakyik. [LGG - 114]


    [The Tiger Nomads] warred with the Flan tribes of the Burneal, whom they called the Uirtag, as well as the Guryik people from the Land of Black Ice. [LGG - 114]


    Luckily for the Quaglands, the Nomads were far from unified. 
    The Wolf Nomads consider themselves the true heirs of the great Relentless Horde that once challenged all the nations of the northern Flanaess. Led by the mighty Kha-Khan Ogobanuk, the host encompassed both the Wolf and Tiger nations until 345 CY. All the lands west of the Griff Mountains were under their sway, though by the end of the khakhan's lifetime the territory east of the Fellreev Forest was already lost. After Ogobanuk was laid to rest in the Howling Hills, the Wolf and Tiger Nomads became separate nations, though still bound by language and tradition. Both the ilkhan and tarkhan have followed the kha-khan's decree and studied the art of beguilement, for any ruler who cannot deceive his enemies is not clever enough to lead a free people. [LGG - 133]


    The Short War
    c. 350 to 360 CY     The Short War:
    Keoland looked to their north and saw the vacuum the Great Kingdom’s retreat had created there. The Hordes were sweeping across the North. Newly formed Furyondy had shown itself to be less than unified. And Ket was increasingly belligerent. Keoland realized that they were vulnerable, for what prevented the Bakluni from rushing in from Ket? Nothing! They had done as much in the Quagmands, after all. And in due time, Ket did just that, and Keoland marched out from the Gran March to secure what had not been considered such until then.
    Keoland held sway from the Pomarj to the Crystalmist Mountains, while her armies pushed into Ket and threatened Verbobonc and Veluna City (c. 350-360 CY). The Ketite expedition came to grief in successive battles (Molvar, Lopolla), while an alliance between Veluna-Furyondy ended the Keoish threat in that quarter (Short War). Coincidentally, the Olvenfolk within the boundaries of Keoland objected to the warlike policies of the King and began expelling royal garrisons in the Ulek Provinces and Celene. In the ensuing struggle, the freemen of the western portion sided with the demi-humans. Raiders in the far south took advantage of these conditions to harry the Keoish coast from Gradsul to Gryrax. [Folio - 12]


    Bissel has long been the gateway between three worlds (the Baklunish West, the Sheldomar Valley, and the rest of the Flanaess), and as a result has been repeatedly invaded, conquered, and settled by a variety of Oeridian, Suloise, and Baklunish peoples. Some present-day villages and trade routes were established before the ancient Baklunish-Suloise Wars. The area shows the influences of many cultures, but the inhabitants tend to be untrusting of foreigners and keep to themselves. The land was eventually brought into Keoland (c. 302 CY), its troublesome peoples forcibly subdued by the Knights of the March, Keoish forces invaded Ket and Veluna from Thornward through 350-360 CY. [LGG - 32]


    356 CY  The founding of Nyrond marked be beginning of the Great Kingdom’s decline. One might think that the founding of Furyondy had marked such, because in truth, the Great Kingdom had already begun to lose its furthest protectorates; but it had not looked to its Western Provinces in decades; nor had those provinces sought their aid or council, so when the Viceroyalty of Ferrond declared its sovereignty, the Great Kingdom hardly took note. It had grown myopic. Its focus was inward, its attention was rooted in the East, and that was where its interests lay; so, when its Eastern protectorates began to secede, the Kingdom rose from its stupor and took note.
    The House of Rax, ruling Aerdi dynasty, was at the time sundered by an internal feud, and the junior branch, then known as Nyrond, declared it lands free of the rule of the reigning Overking [Portillan] and sovereign. [Folio - 6]


    [T]he ruling dynasty of Aerdy, the Celestial House of Rax, had grown especially decadent. In response, the western province of Nyrond declared itself free of the Great Kingdom and elected one of its nobles as king of an independent domain. Armies gathered from all loyal provinces of Aerdy to suppress this brazen act. [LGG - 14]

     

    Fate Takes a Hand
    Sometimes Fate takes a hand. Nyrond should have fallen. But just as the Aerdi dynasty was marching north to deal with Nyrond’s illegal declaration of independence, an allied host of Fruztii and Schnai invaded, threatening to overwhelm the Bone March and Ratik. The Rax Overking Portillan diverted his forces to counter the barbarian invasion. Had he not, the March and Ratik would have fallen and the Barbarians would have swept into the North Province. They did not. The Aerdi held the line. The Aerdi pressed the Barbarian back into the sea. But at a great cost. So many perished in the Kingdom’s defence that Portillan no longer had the strength to put Nyrond to heel. He had no choice but to accept Nyrond’s independence.
    A coalition of Fruzt, Schna and mercenary barbarians mounted a major foray into the Aerdian North Province. The Overking's army, raised to invade Nyrond, swung northeast and soon the invaders were crushed. The end of the campaigning season arrived before any action could be taken against Nyrond. [Folio - 6]
    Of course, Fate may not have had hand in it, at all. Nyrond surely knew that the Kingdom would not take their declaration of independence lightly; surely they knew that the Kingdom would retaliate. So it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that Nyrond may have sent emissaries to the Thillonrian Peninsula, informing the Barbarian tribes that the North Province might soon be vulnerable. And the Northern tribes just may have listened. Stanger things have happened. Of course, no one can say for certain if this really happened. But the timing is suspicious. Then again, sometimes Fate takes a hand, doesn’t it?


    The Battle of Redspan
    Nyrond’s secession was just the beginning. They pressed Tenh to join them in revolt, convincing them that this was the time to rise, that true freedom could be theirs. Tenh did not need much convincing. Tenh had always believed that they were independent of the Great Kingdom, had always believed that they were self-determining, but until then, they had never brazenly declared themselves so, fearing retribution, for the Great Kingdom was vast and strong, and they were small. They saw that now was the time to do so. The Aerdi were hard pressed, the Aerdi were weakened, so if not then, when? They rose up with Nyrond, and the Tenha cavalry routed the Aerdian forces at Redspan. And when that was done, the Duke of Tenh ended his fealty to Aerdian Crown.
    The Battle of Redspan
    Eventually, the Great Kingdom showed signs of decay. When the Nyrondal princes declared the end of their allegiance to the overking, the duke was persuaded to follow suit. The Battle of Redspan signaled the end of the duke's fealty to the overking of Aerdy. The Aerdy force was routed by the Tenha cavalry and pushed down the "Red Road to Rift Canyon" in an action made famous in the ballad of the same name. The army of the Great Kingdom was not actually swept into the Rift Canyon, as the ballad proclaims, but they were so thoroughly defeated that many of the Aerdi officers and soldiers chose exile in the Bandit Kingdoms over the punishments awaiting them at home. 
    [LGG - 113]


    The Theocracy of the Pale, already self-determining, proclaimed its autonomy in the wake of Nyrond’s successful bid. There was little risk to doing so, they thought; the Kingdom would not reach them without crossing newly independent Nyrond. They were free and clear, they thought. They prepared for the possibility, nonetheless.


    As the rot of cultural and social decay started to penetrate the Great Kingdom, many of the more devout and outspoken followers of the god Pholtus withdrew from the increasingly corrupt core of the land. Some of these settled between the Rakers mountain range and the Yol River. When Nyrond declared its independence from the Great Kingdom, so did these religious refugees. Thus was the Theocracy of the Pale formed. [WG8 - 47]


    c. 357 CY        "And then it started like a guilty thing; Upon a fearful summons" [Hamlet]
    Evil and decadence had corrupted the heart of the Great Kingdom. All knew it. They had cavorted with nether worlds and grown cruel.
    It was at this time that the evil began to grow within the rulers of the Great Kingdom. The House of Rax became decadent, its policies ineffectual and aimed at appeasement. The powerful noble houses took this as their cue to set up palatinate-like states, and rule their fiefs as if they were independent kingdoms. [Folio - 6]


    359 CY  Nyrond, the Theocracy of the Pale soon discovered, did not recognize the Pale’s right to self-determination. In its hubris, Nyrond did not see itself as divisible as it had the Great Kingdom. Nyrondal forces marched into Wintershiven, and annexed the newly formed Theocracy of the Pale, and, later, the County of Urnst. While occupied, Wintershiven was burned to the ground, and ultimately abandoned. And so it came to pass that New Wintershiven was founded twenty miles north of the old.
    Some still claim that the invaders razed the city to the ground. Calmer heads disagree, citing nothing more than carelessness: apparently some drunken Nyrondese soldiers set fire to a barn, and the fire spread to destroy the city. [WG8 - 47]
    The occupation was short. Nyrond chose to accept Theocracy and Urnst independence after the treaty of Rel Mord, in return for pledges of mutual protection. The Pale celebrates this day as the Emancipation.


    Latavius of Rookroost
    371 CY     The Bandit Kingdoms had never been stable. Only the strong ruled there, and woe to any who let their guard down. Robber Baron Latavius of Rookroost found that out, as many others had before him. He forgot that even as he kept his friends close and his enemies closer, that they were still his enemies, no matter what their title.
    [Rookroost's] founder was an Oeridian robber baron named Latavius, and under his dominion the city enjoyed its most dynamic period of growth. [When] Latavius died suddenly -- under rather suspicious circumstances -- the throne of Rookroost was taken over by the former commander of Latavius's personal bodyguard. [WG8 - 3]


    c. 400 CY              Stalemate is inevitable when combatants are evenly matched; attrition takes its toll, and before long, they dig in and wait for the other to “make a mistake.” They probe. They flank. But in the end, they fortify. Keoland raised sturdy walls to protect the Fals Road at Thornward; just as Ket raised Avernand to anchor its line of forts to either side of the Irafa Road. And there they watched. And waited.
    After suffering defeats in Ket during the Short War, Keoland pulled back and made Bissel the "Littlemark," the kingdom's northernmost domain. Thornward, now a town of respectable size, was established as its capital to check Ketite expansion south and east of Bramblewood Gap; it grew into a major trade center between Baklunish west and Oeridian/Suloise east. Bissel also profited greatly from trade between Keoland and Furyondy through the Fals River Pass, and Mitrik became the destination of much overland and river traffic. Knights of the Watch have had much influence here over the last 190 years, serving in the margrave's court and armies. [LGG - 32,33]

    The Flan in the Yatils
    The Quaglands finally threw off the yoke of Dyvers. Furyondy had claimed them, but the freeholders discovered that there was little benefit to being within its fold. Furyondy offered little aid, yet demanded that the Quaglanders pay their taxes and fill the ranks of their legions. It was only a matter of time before they realized that Furyondy needed them more than they had ever needed Furyondy. If the ever had. 
    The original Flan tribes dwelling in the Yatil Mountains were far more warlike and fierce than most of their fellows elsewhere in the Flanaess. Would-be invaders were absorbed by these powerful clans. Attempts at expansion into Perrenland were vigorously resisted by the inhabitants. These attempts brought the various clans together in a loose association under the banner of the strongest of their number, Perren. [Folio - 13]


    Nomad raids continued for many years in the north, while Ket several times invaded the Wyrm's Tail and nearly took Krestible. The Quaglands and Yatil freeholders defended their borders tenaciously, but lacked the strength to make themselves truly secure. A plan was then devised to unite the defenses under a single leader, while allowing clan holdings to remain relatively independent. The freeholds were marked into eight cantonments, joined by oaths of mutual armed assistance called the Covenant of Concatenation. The leaders of these collected states elected the strongest of their number, Perren, to be their voormann, c. 400 CY. Such was their devotion to this great warrior and statesman that he was elected voormann five consecutive times; after his death, the young nation adopted his name.[LGG - 86]

     

    430 CY  Few looked to the North. It was cold. It was savage. It had little of value, so thought the South. And so, it was left to its own devices. Thus, only the strong ruled. Vlek Col Vlekzed was one such.
    Vlek Col Vlekzed
    Who was he? Where did he come from? Some say that he was a Rover, who after years of plundering the lands around his, had fled to the northern peninsula with those Rovers and bandits who followed him. He was reckless and fierce, and took the lands of the Colten Feodality for his own, having lured them to their deaths on the pretense that they were to treat and come to an accord of peace.
    Others contend that he was one of the Colten Atamans, and that he seized control of all their lands when he betrayed his peers, slaughtering them while they revelled in his Hold, besotted on his wine. Still others contend that he was from Tenh. Wherever he came from, and however he came to control the Atamans, he drew them into his fold, and collectively, they came to be known as the Hold of Stonefist.
    The inhabitants of the area, the Coltens Feodality, were tricked into negotiation with Vlek. These negotiators and their escorting force were slaughtered, the remainder of the Coltens host routed by surprise and ferocity, and Vlek settled down to rule over the whole territory. [Folio - 16]

    The Coltens folk had no place in this hierarchy, and many fled to the Hraak Forest, or beyond the Big Seal Bay and the northern thrust of the Corusks to dwell in the Taival Tundra, in the land of the Ice Barbarians). [LGG - 109]


    The inhabitants of the area, the Coltens Feodality, were tricked into negotiation with Vlek. These negotiators and their escorting force were slaughtered, the remainder of the Coltens host routed by surprise and ferocity, and Vlek settled down to rule over the whole territory. [Folio - 16]


    437 CY  The Great Kingdom continued to tear itself to pieces during the Turmoil between Crowns. The North took little note. Rauxes and Rel Astra were distant lands, and few Northerners had ever heard their names.
    This name is given both to the decade of internal schisms under the rule of the last Rax overking, Nalif, and to the civil war which followed Ivid's ascension. [Ivid - 4]


    The Second Short War

    438 CY  The Second Short War

    Ket, Keoland, and Furyondy continued their savage dance. Keoland wished to expand its influence north, and had little use of Rao and the Blinging Light of Pholtus. Furyondy had no desire to cede its hard won lands to southern kings. Ket wished to drive the infidels from the Barrier Peaks and Yatils. The borders were fluid, rarely found in the same place from year to year, short war to short war.
    Furyondy vs. Keoland, ends Keoish influence in Veluna and wrests Littlemark from beneath Keoish control. Littlemark becomes a tributary state of Furyondy for a few decades. [Folio - 9]


    Bissel was conquered by the combined forces of Furyondy and Veluna in 438 CY, which ended Keoish influence in western Veluna. The throne in Chendl kept Bissel's office of the margrave, but replaced the ruling family with nobles sympathetic to the affairs of the east. [LGG - 33]


    c.440s-460s         Torn by its turmoil, the Great Kingdom began to break apart. Beginning with the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, the other western satellite states followed suit, Veluna, Bisset, Keoland. At first the Malachite Throne took no action. But as the tapestry of state continued unravelling, it had little choice but to rise from its stupor and take action, lest it lose the entirety of its lands. But try as it might, it could not stem the tide. The Iron League formed. Nyrond seceded. Alain II of Ratik declared his fief an arch-barony, not entirely willing to completely sever ties with the mother country, as yet. But in truth, he ruled Ratik as though it was indeed independent, as did the Marquis of Bone March. What choice did they have? The Crown was embroiled in what came to be known as the Turmoil Between Crowns, and it took no interest in the administration of its provinces.




    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

     Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 293.

    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Omen by cenyn
    Veralos, by Kelman Andrasofszky, Dragon Magazine 293
    Atilla-the-hun by miguelcoimbra
    JUDICATOR-LET-THERE-BE-NOTHING by mitchellnolte


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 09-27-2021 02:34 pm
    History of the North, Part 1, Arrivals


    The North

    Much had happened in the North, more than one might expect. It’s surprising how many peoples chose to settle in that unforgiving land. The Elves had prospered there, so had the Flan. There had been peace there for many years before the Ur-Flan had swept in and swept aside all who stood against them. Then they too prospered there.
    Some might think that they were lesser than those who came after them, because, were they all that powerful, surely they would still rule all of the Flanaess, surely they would have brushed aside the martial fury of the Oeridians. They would have had they been interested in worldly affairs. They were not. They were concerned with extending life. With immortality. They were concerned with attaining power not seen since eldritch times.
    Were the Ur-Flan wiped out? Those lesser ones, yes. But not all. No, not all. There were many who survived the coming of the Kingdom of Aedy.
    We should hope that we never draw their attention ever again.

    Keraptis

    Some two thousand years ago, the wizard Keraptis established himself as "protector" of Tostenhca--a grand mountainside city of wide streets and towering ziggurats. But the wizard, who had extended his lifespan far beyond that of most mortals in his search for immortality, became more and more corrupt with increasing age. Over four centuries, the cost of his protection grew ever more burdensome, until eventually Keraptis was taking a piece of everything that the people of Tostenhca grew, made, or sold. With the announcement of yet another levy—one-third of all newborn children—the people rose as one, ousting Keraptis and his personal bodyguard of deranged gnomes. Homeless, the wizard and his followers fled to the cities of the south and west. But wherever Keraptis went, his reputation preceded him, and he found no other settlements willing to accept his "protection." During these travels, which lasted most of three centuries, the wizard acquired several implements of surpassing power. The secret gnomish conclave from which he drew his bodyguard gave him the hammer called Whelm. In return for aid that would enable them to crack their divinely ordained prison, the mythical Cyclopes presented Keraptis with the trident named Wave. While future-communing with the last living entities of a dying multiverse, he received the sword called Blackrazor. But true immortality still eluded his grasp. Three hundred years after leaving Tostenhca, Keraptis learned of a great volcano called White Plume Mountain, in which still-living druids of the Elder Age guarded the secrets of immortality. Within the volcano, the wizard found a tangled maze of lava tunnels and an ancient druid serving as the sole protector of Elder secrets. The two fought a titanic battle for ownership of White Plume Mountain and its ancient mysteries, but in the end the wizard prevailed. After casting the druid's remains into a sea of magma, the triumphant Keraptis penetrated to the Druid's Fane, a secret chamber protected by molten rock.
    There, among other treasures of ancient sorcery, he found the archetypal iceblade Frostrazor and an enigmatic statuette. Keraptis used the figurine’s power to pronounce a heinous curse that laid waste to distant Tostenhca, thus exacting his revenge at last. Thereafter, Keraptis focused all of his vast faculties on the problem of death. He embarked on a dozen separate research efforts, all aimed at achieving eternal life without the need for constant magical maintenance and healing. It was one such project, empowered by the four enchanted implements he had obtained, that eventually allowed Keraptis to step forth from the Prime Material Plane into a distant shadowy realm where, he hoped, he would leave behind the constraints of mortality forever. Keraptis quit the volcano some five hundred years past. No one knows whether he achieved his ultimate goal or still pursues it in some far, dim dimension. Whatever his fate, Keraptis never came to White Plume Mountain again. [Return to While Plume Mountain  - 3,4]

    Masterless, the company of gnomes loyal to Keraptis continued to abide within the active volcano, living off the gargantuan fungal gardens that the wizard had magically grown inside the caverns. Generations were born, only to live out stale, sunless lives and finally die within the mount a in. At last, some one hundred years ago, an invasion fractured the placid flow of days beneath White Plume. Lured by tales of treasure, several powerful heroes calling themselves the Brotherhood of the Tome burrowed into the sealed-off chambers of the volcano and stole the wizard’s four implements of power: Wave, Blackrazor, Whelm, and Frostrazor. The theft of these weapons trapped Keraptis in his shadowy realm, preventing his return to the Prime Material Plane. The residents of White Plume realized that more attacks might follow now that outsiders knew about the complex inside the mountain. Seeking protection, the gnomes opened the sealed caverns wherein Keraptis had conducted his research. Though they uncovered many wonders, it was the discovery of Keraptis-imprints that changed life under White Plume Mountain forever. As part of his research into immortality, Keraptis had tried for some time to embody himself as a being of pure thought in the matrix of a certain kind of spell. In that way, he reasoned, he could live forever in the minds of others. Though he ultimately abandoned this idea, the fruit of his research—several variant copies of the spell on scrolls — still remained. Each of these dweomers (called Keraptis-imprints or K-imprints) incorporated a full or partial copy of the wizard’s persona and knowledge, though all were in some way damaged or incomplete. Upon finding these scrolls in an opened chamber, an over-eager gnome immediately memorized one of them, thereby installing a copy of the absent wizard‘s consciousness in his own mind. Believing himself to be Keraptis, he rose up and began to gather back the stolen weapons of power that the ancient wizard had owned. [RtWPM - 4]
    Historical Development of Keraptis: Erik Mona, Lisa Stevens, Steve Wilson

    Thingizzard, Witch of the Fens

    c.-800 CY              There were those who arrived without fanfare. Thingizzard, Witch of the Fens, was one such; she was already dwelling in The Great Swamp, north of White Plume Mountain, when the Elder Druid arrived, so who can say from whence she came. She certainly can’t. 

    Thingizzard was already living in the Great Swamp when Keraptis descended on White Plume Mountain some thirteen hundred years ago. Though the wizard thought nothing of attacking the volcano’s Elder druid guardian, he chose not to trifle with the Witch of the Fens. It may well be that Keraptis thought her insignificant, but it is more likely that he left her alone because of his phobia concerning undead. Though she is not human, Thingizzard appears as an old woman with pure white hair. She doesn’t know her own origins and doesn’t care to learn them; her only interest is maintaining the peculiar” ecology” of the Great Swamp. In fact, regular infusions of Thingizzard’s necromantic potions have made this place what it is. The witch pours these concoctions into the water regularly to nurture her ”children” — the  bog mummies. She can call these creatures to her defense at any time [….] Not only is the Witch of the Fens very strong […]), she [can] also […]: animate dead, […] control weather, curse, dream, [and affect the minds of any within her sight.] In addition, her knowledge of herbalism and potion brewing rivals that of the most respected mages in the land. [RtWPM - 15]


    Tharizdun Heretic

    -563 CY Evil always finds a foothold. The Sueloise acolytes of Tharizdun had ventured out long before the Reign of Colourless Fire, spreading their master’s word of hopelessness and oblivion to any who might listen. Most found their message abhorrent. Just so the Highfolk. The Olven knew much after so many millennia, and they knew Tharizdun’s message well, and were ever vigilant against it.

    The Temple was built in a previous age, a secret place of worship to Tharizdun, He of Eternal Darkness. It drew the most wicked persons to it, and the cult flourished for generations, sending out its minions from time to time to enact some horrible deed upon the lands around. However, a great battle eventually took place between Tharizdun and those opposed to his evil. Unable to destroy him, they were strong enough to over- come his power and imprison him somewhere, by means none have ever been able to discover. Thus Tharizdun disappeared from the face of the earth, and from all of the other known planes, and has not been seen again since. [WG4 - 3]


    A temple to Tharizdun is located near the Realm of the Highfolk, it is cleared, but a mystic force keeps it from being destroyed. [OJ1] (4957 SD/1588 FT)


    After a time his servants returned again to the Temple, deserted as it was of any manifestation of their deity. Amongst these wicked folk were many powerful magic-users and clerics. All sought with utmost endeavor to discern what had happened to Tharizdun, so that he could be freed and returned to rule over them once again. All attempts were in vain, although the divinations and seekings did reveal to these servants of Eternal Darkness that a “Black Cyst” existed below the Temple. By physical work and magical means they delved downward to reach the Black Cyst. What they discovered there dismayed and disheartened them. In the hemisphere of black needlerock (floating as if by levitation) a huge form could be seen. Was this the physical manifestation of Tharizdun? None could tell. The misty form was black and indistinct and enclosed in vaporous purple energy as well. No ritual, no spell, no magic could pierce the enigma. As time passed, the seekers ritualized their attempts to determine if this was their imprisoned deity. An altar of black needlerock was constructed directly under the 12’ long form so that it seemed to rest upon the stone. As generations passed, various other things necessary to survival in the Black Cyst were formalized into a paeon of lament and worship for Tharizdun, and endless services to awaken the being were conducted by route. Then, as time continued to pass, even this ritual grew stale and meaningless. The clerics of Tharizdun began to pilfer the hoard of beautiful gems sacrificed to him by earlier servants – 333 gems of utmost value [….] Replacing these jewels with stones of much less value, the former servants of this deity slipped away with their great wealth to serve other gods and wreak evil elsewhere. 

    In the end only a handful of faithful clerics remained to repeat the daily ritual of attempted awakening. Some of this handful were slain by monsters, others eventually grew old and died. The last High Priest [Wongas], alone, wandered off into the place reserved for his remains in the dungeon, for alone he was unable to take his proper place in the Undertemple. Thus, a century ago, [Wongas] died, and the Temple was without inhabitant of human sort. [WG4 - 3]


    Black Cyst

    “You have dared all and descended the spiralling purple steps formed by the strange column of gray smoke, lilac light, and jet black. This swirling, pulsing column of radiation has opened a means of entrance to somewhere far beneath the surface of the earth - or perhaps to some place not of this earth. All of you feel the press of time, a sense of urgency. How long will this strange gate remain open? You all hope not to learn the hard way as you hurry down a seemingly endless flight of “steps” made of the purple radiance. Ten minutes seems more like ten hours, but at last you have come to what must be your final goal, for the stairs of light give way to more mundane ones of black stone…. [WG4 - 29]


    -458 CY    The people of Oerid had been freed of the oppressive Suel. Their queen Johydee tricked them into teaching her their magic, and into moulding a most singular mask, whose clay had been secretly infused with her very lifeblood. And once free, they chose to leave their homeland west of the Barrier Peaks, for they knew the nature of the Suel.

    About the year 180 OR, the council of [headmen] of this Oeridian tribal confederation, heeding the advice of their shamans, chose to lead the Oeridians out of their ancestral homeland and make them a migrant folk. Some of their gods had said the Oeridians were destined for unsurpassed greatness as a people, and the source of their power lay in the east. [TAB -55]

    Abandoning their lands to the Baklunish and pursued by humanoid marauders who cared for nothing but looting and murder, the Oeridians headed for the great pass between the Barrier Peaks and Yatil Mountains. They crossed through the Tuflik Valley (now Ket) in 187 OR and began their generations-long trek to glory across the Flanaess. [TAB - 55]

    The fierce Oeridian tribes likewise moved east, thrusting aside Flan and Suloise in their path. The Oerid migrations were similar in cause to those of the Suel, in that the Baklunish-Suloise Wars, and the hordes of Euroz and associated humanoid groups used as mercenaries by both sides, tended to pillage northwards and eastwards, driving the Oerids before them. [Folio - 5]


    A Vision of Doom
    -448 CY The Year of the Prophets. They read doom in the cards, the bones, and the tea leaves. Within the span of a generation the empire would fall, they predicted. Repent, they cried. Turn from your wicked ways, they plead, warning against worship of the Chained God, and warding against something they named Shothragot. To no avail. The masses laughed and turned their backs on the doomsayers. But it was plain in their eyes that their laughter was false. They turned their backs on their prophets because they knew their emperor was displeased, and they feared their emperor’s wrath more than their prophets’ doom.

    Seven different prophets foretell of the destruction of the Suel Empire within 30 years. The Emperor, Yellax-ad-Zol has all seven drawn and quartered, even though one of the prophets is a High Priest of Beltar. [OJ11] (196 OR/ 5068 SD/1703 FT)


    -447 CY Not all were deaf to the prophets’ warnings. The Emperor’s son, Zellifar, took heed, for, if seven prophets should face certain death to warn of impending disaster, who was he dispute them. Small wonder: Zellifar knew more than most. He heeded their warnings because he’d read the Lament for Lost Tharizdun, that foul scripture penned by that mad priest Wongas, who’d vanished mysteriously into the East a century earlier. And he’d seen with his own eyes what that dark lord demanded at His worship, when it had been fashionable to be seen to attend such things, and knew what that Chained God desired even if those other revellers did not.

    Zellifar-ad-Zol, son of the Emperor, mage/high priest of Beltar, breaks with his father and takes over 8,000 Suloise loyal to himself, and flees the kingdom, eastward. The ferocity and magical might of the movement scatters the Oerdians in its path, causing the remainder of the Oerdian to migrate. Slerotin, called “the Last High Mage” causes a huge tunnel to be bored into the Crystalmists, through which the Zolite Suel flee. He then seals the tunnel closed at both ends, trapping one lesser branch of the family, the Lerara, inside. The Zolites continue eastward heading toward the southeast as well as to Hepmonoland. [OJ11] (197 OR/ 5069 SD/1704 FT)


    The Suloise Migration soon followed. Not all were as powerful or as cruel and depraved as their ruling houses, and they soon learned that those not as powerful or as cruel were as dispensable as slaves. They were thrown into the war with the Bakluni, and they died in that war while their high Houses looked on, not risking their own sons. And so, they fled. And they brought their own cruelty and depravity with them. (5069 SD)

    The Oeridians were not alone in their drive eastward. Suloise refugees fled in many directions from the cruelties of their tyrannical and war-ravaged empire. Many Suloise crossed the Crystalmists through the Kendem Pass, which they called the Harsh Pass, braving every sort of monster and privation to seek the fabled security of the uncivilized lands beyond. [TAB - 55]


    -446 CY The Emperor was not pleased! Traitor, he screamed, when he heard of his son’s betrayal. His advisors and courtiers bowed and slunk away from their emperor’s wrath, for they knew it all too well, and feared their being heir to it in his son’s absence.

     The emperor commands that the Houses Schnai, Cruskii and Fruztii move [and] bring his son, and the "Unloyal" back to face justice. [OJ1] (198 OR/ 5070 SD/1705 FT)


    -445 to -423 CY  The Zolite scatter the Flanae before them, and move south to the Tilvanot Peninsula. The three pursuing houses, unable to find the magical tunnel, turn north, where they are met by regrouped Oeridians and fearful Flanae who harry and drive these Suel Houses south. (5071 to 199 to 221 OR/ 5093 SD/ 1706 to 1728 FT/ 2216 to 2238 BH)


    -423 CY Zellifar was not the saviour his followers had imagined; indeed, his reading the Lament for Lost Tharizdun had twisted him and he proved as much a tyrant as his father, so, soon after taking flight, there were those among them who saw that they had traded one cruel emperor for another, and they began to steal away in the chaos he fostered as they were driven further east.

    One of Zellifar’s minions, the High Priest Pellipardus, slips away from the Zolites and takes his family. Zellifar does not pursue, fearing that this will take his attention away from the Three Houses of Pursuit: the Schnai, the Fruztii, and the Cruski. [OJ11] (223 OR/ 5093 SD/1728 FT)


    -422 CY Zellifar parleys with the Houses of Pursuit. His Archmage, Slerotin, unleashes a mass enfeeblement on the mages of the three Houses, and a mass suggestion upon the other members of the Houses. Slerotin is blasted by magical energies upon the casting of these mighty spells, leaving the Rift Canyon as the only physical remains of this energy. The remnants of the Three Pursuing Houses flee northeastward.

    The Houses of Pursuit have been mind-swept. They have no purpose and no direction and no mages whatsoever after they are hit by these spells. They do not know why they are searching or what they are searching for. They have two binders but do not realize it! As they move aimlessly, they begin to seek a homeland. They do not remember where they came from. The memories of their gods are virtually blotted out.

    The three houses that eventually settle in the Barbarian States lose almost all contact with the more ‘civilized’ and good gods of their people. As they begin to multiply and prosper Kord and Llerg become major gods to them but Fortubo, Lendor, Lydia and Jascar are forgotten.

    Farther south in Ratik a slightly different mix of peoples assembles. Gods like Phaulkon, Norebo and Phyton are still remembered. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/ 1729 FT)


    Rain of Colourless Fire

    Invoked Devastation and Rain of Colourless Fire Strike

    The war waxed, and in their fury and despair, the Suel and the Bakluni used ever more powerful magic to defeat their enemy, until mere armies were nothing more than a mass of bone and blood to be ground down, and melted into the soil. Their magics grew until the Suel set the Invoked Devastation upon the Bakluni and the Bakluni gathered about the Tovag Baragu and called down the Rain of Colorless Fire in retaliation. Their lands withered and died, and burned, and before long, those once great empires were no more, and those people who survived the fury were fleeing for their lives, for those who tarried, surely died. They were met by their former thralls, who remembered their past bondage, and took steps to prevent their falling into such again.

    These were joined after the Rain of Colorless Fire by a flood of weary survivors who walked through the Crystalmists by way of the Passage of Slerotin. This magically engineered tunnel, which was recently rediscovered and is now being exited at the border of present-day Yeomanry. Though the new land they entered was green and fertile, most Suloise pressed eastward, eager to put as much distance between themselves and their decaying empire as possible. [TAB - 55]

    Some of the Suloise attempted to cross north of the Nyr Dyv, but they were driven back by tribes of warlike Oeridians who had followed the Velverdyva River downstream, still seeking their destiny. Many of these Oeridians settled along the Velverdyva, forming the core of the land that would be later called Ferrond by the Great Kingdom, and Furyondy and Veluna today. [LGG]


    Zellifar enters the Griff Mountains alone

    -419 CY Zellifar enters the Griff Mountains alone. None know where he goes or what he does there. [OJ11] (225 OR/ 5097 SD/1732 FT)


    -417 CY Yellax-ad-Zol was enraged by his son’s betrayal and had sent out three of his most loyal Houses to slaughter his son’s followers and to drag his son back in chains. They had only just left when the Colourless Fire burned their homeland; they had seen the fire fall beyond the Crystalmists; they had seen the Hellfurnaces open up and spit their own molten rain into the sky. And though they continued their pursuit, as they were bid, they knew that they would never return.

    The Three Houses of Pursuit move into the Thillonrian Peninsula. They turn to the gods they deem to be strong in the face of the harsh climate; Kord and Llerg. Magic is not practiced, and only priests, wise men and skalds may use it without fear. Witches are not uncommon, but are forced away from “normal” men. The skalds and priests develop a runic alphabet that carries mystic powers.

    They do not know where they have come from. Their skalds do not know of the Suel Empire. They have retained memory of their more primitive gods such as Kord and Llerg. Some others like Phaulkon are still remembered but the more civilized gods (Lydia, for example), are forgotten! [OJ11] (227 OR/ 5099 SD/1734 FT)


    -416 CY Zellifar, last scion of Emperors, teleports from the Griff Mountains back to the remains of the Suloise Empire. He is destroyed by the lingering magics and final throes of conflict in the area. Thus ends the Suloise Empire, mightiest and longest lived of Empires on Oerth, and its reckoning (although some skalds of the Northern Barbarians, and the Scarlet Brotherhood still use it to keep records). [OJ11] (228 OR/ 5100 SD/1735 FT)


    Stories tell of a barbarian empire created by the warriors of Vatun, the "Great God of the North." The empire, if it existed at all, lasted only for the lifetime of the first fasstal of the Suelii. Some say Vatun was betrayed by a companion deity, but others blame a rival Oeridian god (Telchur) and his clerics; a few even say that the barbarians proved unworthy, being unable to sustain a mighty god's presence. Regardless, as recorded history dawned in the north, the barbarians' empire was only a tale of old. [LGG]
    Their skalds sang epic tales of that time. They said that were the “Five Blades of Curusk” united, Vatun shall be freed from his imprisonment and work his revenge against Telchur and the Oerids. But those were mere tales of fancy. Everyone knew as much. Had Vatun existed, no mere southern god could have displaced him with such ease. But the old songs dwelt deep in their hearts. They’d been sang to them since they’d lain a-cradle. And so they raided the southern seas and the southern coasts, awaiting Vatun’s triumphant return. For that was what Vatun had commanded them to do.
    And Vatun punished those tribes that did not, sending quakes and high seas and fierce winds until they set sail south once again.

    The Spikey Forest

    The Fruztii settled in the lands north of the Timberway and west if the Spikey forests where the climate tended towards a more temperate temperament. They farmed their fertile lands. They harvested the bounty of Grendep Bay. They even mined the eastern Griffs. But they also raided the southern coasts with abandon, for those people were weak.

    The Schnai settled the land between the Corusk Mountains and the wide Grendep Bay, with only the Spikey Forest separating them with the Fruztii. Despite their identical climes, the landscape of the Schnai is more rugged than the Fruztii’s, though not so rough as the Cruski’s. The same could be said of the people, who are more factious than the Fruztii, but more united than the Cruski. It was these differences that inevitably brought their kin under their dominion.
    They may not have always been the most powerful of the Suel barbarians, but they never come under the rule of either of their cousin states. Perhaps this is due to the superior seamanship of these barbarians, for they have never been attacked by land. [LGG - 106]

    The Cruski settled further east upon Rhizia, the Thellonrian Peninsula, than any of their kin. Theirs is the coldest and most severe of the Suel barbarian kingdoms. Fiercely independent, they hunted and fished and whaled from their seaside towns and their mountain steadings. And like all of their kin, they built longships, for it was and is their way to raid south, and prey upon those plying their trade at sea.
    The Cruski themselves are a people of pure Suel race, speaking the Cold Tongue as their native language. Though they have always been the least numerous of the Suel barbarians, their royal lineage is the oldest. The king of Cruski holds the title "Fasstal of all the Suelii," indicating his preeminence among the nobles of the Suel race and giving him the right to pronounce judgment on any of them. Politically, this has little real importance, for he has no power to enforce his judgments. However, it is said by some that the god Vatun granted this authority to the fasstal of the Suelii; if Vatun awoke, the full authority of the office would return to the fasstal, and a new barbarian empire would emerge under his leadership. [LGG - 54]

    Post Devastation:

    Centuries ago Vecna rose. And Vecna fell. Epic sagas could and have been sung of his dark deeds and exploits. His Occluded Empire lingered long after his passing, as have the cursed tomes he studied and laid down. But none have endured as did his Hand and his Eye, for they were a part of him, and still are.


    The Eye and Hand of Vecna

    Each time one of these artifacts has surfaced, disaster and ruin have followed. Paddin the Vain used the Hand to start the Insurrection of the Yaheetes, a rebellion the Emperor of the Malachite Throne later crushed. With the Hand's power, the so-called Vecna II held monstrous sway over Tyrus for 100 years. The Eye was instrumental in the extermination of the house of Hyeric, once the ruling dynasty in Nyrond, and Miro the Paladin-King was corrupted by the power of the Hand. Each time, the Hand and Eye have failed their owners at some crucial moment.

    Over the years, a cult of worshippers has arisen to venerate the vile Lord Vecna and work to pave the way for his return. For this cult, the Eye and the Hand are powerful relics worth obtaining at any cost. Their servants are always watchful for any reappearance of the Eye or Hand, eager to track down and snatch them up from whomever possesses them.

    The most recent of these reappearances occurred only a few years past, just prior to the great wars that engulfed the Flanaess, when both the Eye and Hand fell into the clutches of the cult. This event was marked by foreboding failures of magic and evil omens across the land. Fortunately by all accounts, the Eye and Hand were cast through the dimensional portal of Tovag Baragu on the Dry Steppes and lost in some unrecorded void of the outer planes. [Book of  Artifacts - 35]


    The Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar

    Indeed, artifacts are slippery things. They pass from hand to hand with a rapidity that baffles the mind. Or, maybe not. They can be dangerous to own, and lethal to play with. A boon, and a bane, both. Such was the case with the Cup and Talisman of Al’Akbar, last rumored to be in Bandit Kingdoms, where they likely fell into the hands of someone of neither lawful, not of good, temperament. They have likely divested themselves of him, for they have minds of their own, artifacts, and fell into the hands of someone more suited to them, or someone who could transport them to someone or somewhere else, if not.

    This pair of holy relics were given by the gods of the Paynims to their most exalted high priest of lawful [and] good [temperament] in the days following the Invoked Devastation. It was lost to demihuman raiders and was last rumored to be somewhere in the Southeastern portion of the Bandit Kingdoms. The Cup is made of hammered gold, chased with silver filigree, and set with 12 great gems in electrum setting [….] [DMG 1e - 157]


    Unfortunately, the miraculous powers of the Cup and Talisman did not bring happiness to the people or peace to the temple. When travelers returned to their distant homelands with tales of these two wonders, emperors, kings, and warlords coveted the items. Driven by greed and fear, they marched their armies and sent their agents, to seize the treasures. Just what battles occurred and who won them is an answer lost with the names of those who warred for the artifacts. Perhaps one rose victorious over the others only to have the two treasures seized from him. Perhaps they were stolen by bandits in the chaos of war. All that is known is that when the wars finally ceased, the Cup and Talisman had disappeared forever. Even today, though, the legend of their miraculous power lives on in expressions such as "cured by the cup" for any miraculous healing or "By the star of Akbar," an oath to ward off disease. [Book of Artifacts - 30]


    c.-400 CY              Once they were on the move, it was only a matter of time before the Oerdian and Suloise settlers arrived in the Flanaess.

               The inhabitants of this region have always been fiercely independent. During the Migrations, the warlike Flan tribes of the Yatil Mountains absorbed most of the Oeridian, Suloise, and Baklunish invaders flooding the great Yatils pass called the Wyrm's Tail, though several Flan tribes were driven from the lowlands by Oeridians who established freeholds for their own clans. [LGG - 85]


    -366 CY    Not all Flan kingdoms were as formidable as the Ur-Flan were. And in the wake of those wizard-priests, they had settled into as far more peaceful and pastoral existence. And so, the coming of the Aerdy tribes incited panic among the citizens of Veralos, for it was only a city of artisans, highly skilled in creating the wonders of ages past, magical tablets and statuary and ensorcelled jewelry, even weaponry that was coveted by all the lords of Sulm, Itar, Ahlissa, and Nuria; but alas, they were not skilled in those arms. Legends say that an Ur-Flan prophet came to that ancient citadel of Veralos, and reaping their fear, he persuaded them to seek the succor of an ancient and sinister force. [Dragon #293 - 90,91] (278 OR/ 5150 SD/ 1785 FT)


    -365 CY     Veralos committed the Dark Rites bid them, and the sleeping power rose up from the depths of the Rift Canyon and the city of Veralos was no more.

    When the Aerdy came upon the Rift Valley, all they found were steep cliffs, howling winds, undulant grasses, and dust-devils. They said the dust-devils swooned and wailed. They said their dreams were plagued by visions of untold horrors. And they quit the cliffs of the Rift Canyon before too long, having never raised a single palisade to defend the howling plains or the twisted forests that surrounded it. [Dragon #293 - 90,91] (279 OR/ 5151 SD/ 1786 FT)


    The Oeridians swept the Flan aside with ease. They were fierce. They were relentless. And they’d come prepared. They had learned from their former masters, and remembered those lessons well. They studied those Suel books and artifacts they’d taken with them. They tinkered. They failed at first to comprehend what they studied, and then one day they didn’t. Great magics were revealed to them. And the art of artifice. Leuk-O was particularly adept at such studies. And he was a wonderful tinkerer. He recreated those marvelous machines the Suel had used against them with such deadly effect. And he used them well. [D82, D299]

    Restless and driven, great pre-Aerdy commanders of warfare such as Andorann, Leuk-O, with his massive magical juggernaut, and Tuerny the Merciless conquered vast swathes of land because this was what they had to do. No matter how rich and fertile any particular land might be, there was always an imperative to expand further, to head beyond, to conquer the vastness of the Flanaess and gain the longed-for glory of triumph and rulership. [Ivid - 6]


    The Oeridians brought a handful of magical artifacts of extraordinary antiquity with them. Until its rumored destruction by the earth elementals of Al-Fasrallah, the Mighty Servant of Leuk-O—a huge war machine/juggernaut resistant to damage from weapons and magic—and the similar machine of Lum the Mad wreaked havoc on opposing armies. Orbs of dragonkind were used to capture dragons from the Griff-Corusk Mountains and press them into service. The effects of a squadron of dragons creating magical fear in a wide swathe was decisive in many a battle. Of course, such artifacts as these and the crystal of the ebon flame and Johydee's mask are well known to sages and students of history. Other artifacts of equal power of non-Oeridian origin are known to them also. But the timing of the use of the artifacts the Oeridians possessed, and the employ of planar travel and teleportation to move them from one site of battle to another with great speed, made the artifacts devastating in the hands of Oeridian combat mages. [Ivid - 7]

    Orb of Dragonkind:         It is written that when certain of the good deities conspired to devise means to easily control the evil dragons plaguing mankind, demon servants of evil changed the magical forces involved so as to include all of dragonkind and then caused the Orbs fashioned to have inimical properties as well. In all, [eight] globes of carven white jade were made, [one] each for each age in a dragon's life span. The smallest is but [three] inches in diameter, the largest is about [ten] inches across. Each is covered with bas reliefs of entwined dragons of all sorts, the whole being of incredible hardness, and somehow imprisoning the very essence of all dragons. [DMG, 1e - 159]


    -217 CY In time, the Aerdy conquered all the lands east of the Nyr Dyv; indeed, most of the Flanaess was theirs, save the Sheldomar Valley, the Thillonrian Peninsula, and the Tilvenot Peninsula.

    The strongest tribe of the Oeridians, the Aerdi, settled the rich fields east of the Nyr Dyv and there founded the Kingdom of Aerdy, eventually to be renamed the Great Kingdom. [Folio - 5]


    -110 CY Battle of a Fortnight's Length

    After several decades of increasing growth, power, and prestige, Aerdy embarked upon a series of conquests, the greatest of which was the defeat of the Nyrondal cavalry squadrons at the Battle of a Fortnight's Length. [Folio] (534 OR/ 5406 SD/ 2041 FT)

    Theirs was no longer just the Kingdom of Aerdy. In their hubris, they named their domain The Great Kingdom, for theirs was the greatest in their memory, surpassing even the breadth of that once vast Suloise Empire.

    Thereafter, Aerdy was known as the Great Kingdom, whose monarch held sway from the Sundi swamplands in the south, westwards along the shores of the Telfic Gulf and the Sea of Yar, to the Nyr Dyv and from thence northwards through the Shield Lands and beyond the Tenh. [Folio - 5]


    After the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, the Duke of Tenh pledged fealty to the King of Aerdy, giving the Aerdian monarch authority over the duke and his personal holdings in Tenh and the Coltens, thus ending Flan dominion over the Flanaess.

    Not all nobles and officials of Tenh bent the knee to the King of Aerdy, maintaining Tenh’s independence, but without support and armies to field, their declaration was tantamount to posturing. They were living in the Great Kingdom now, regardless their delusions of the supposed continuance of a bygone age.


    The duchy joined in a short-lived alliance with the Nyrondal princes until the Battle of a Fortnight's Length. In the wake of that defeat, the duke of Tenh pledged fealty to the king of Aerdy, giving that monarch authority over the duke and his personal holdings in Tenh and the Cohens. Neither the Convocation of Knights and Marshals, nor any of the other nobles or landholders, ever endorsed the duke's pledge. They considered Tenh to be an independent realm, though they chose not to test the Great Kingdom's claim on the field of battle, effectively bowing to Aerdy for over four centuries. [LGG - 112,113]


    1 CY       With his Declaration of Universal Peace, the first Overking was crowned in Rauxes.

    The first Overking was Nasran from the House of Cranden. Proclaiming universal peace, Nasran saw defeated Suloise, Flan and rebellious humanoid rabbles of no consequence and no threat to the vast might of Aerdy. [Ivid - 3]

    But for all his well-meaning words, all power was to be his, and all Houses were to bend the knee to his magnificence.

    However, it quickly became clear to all the noble houses of the Aerdi that power in the Great Kingdom was being centralized in the hands of the rulers of Rauxes, and that the fortunes of the Great Kingdom would now rest with them. The needs and intrigues of the Celestial Houses would soon become subordinate to the politics of the Malachite Throne. [LGG - 23]


    c. 100 CY                The fell sword Druniazth, servant of Tharizdun, had passed from hand to hand in its quest to release its master. Those who wielded it were themselves wielded, used and discarded as each in turn were found wanting, until, centuries after being lost by Baron Lum the Mad at the Battle of the Bonewood, it came to one who would not be so used, and it was cast into the Rift Canyon as she sought to rid herself of its influence.


    108 CY  Overking Manshen desired to secure his northern border. The Fruztii Barbarians were a constant threat, and he meant to pacify the North once and for all.


    In the spring of 108 CY, Aerdi forces massed in the frontier town of Knurl. With Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom in the vanguard, the force swept northeast, between the Rakers and the Blemu Hills, in a march to the sea. By autumn, after having been met with relatively light resistance, the Aerdi succeeded in uprooting most Fruztii encampments, and the foundations of a great stronghold were laid at Spinecastle. The Aerdi freed Johnsport in a pitched battle with the barbarians before the onset of winter. Sensing that this would be only the first phase of a long struggle, Aerdi commanders summoned thousands of contingents from North Province over the objections of the herzog, a Hextorian who had wanted to lead the forces into battle himself.

    With the defeat of the Fruztii at Johnsport, the call went out that winter, and thousands of their kinsmen poured south along the Timberway the next year. Marching through passes in the Rakers, they assembled and attacked the works underway at Spinecastle, focusing their assault on the heart of the Aerdi fortifications. The defenders, including the bulk of the elite Aerdi infantry, were quickly outflanked and surrounded. A young Knight Protector of the Great Kingdom, Caldni Vir, a Heironean cavalier from Edgefield, commanded a large cavalry force patrolling the hills when the barbarian force struck. As part of the contingent led by the herzog into the north, he pivoted and headed back to Spinecastle while anticipating orders from his liege to counterattack. When the courier of the herzog delivered orders for Vir to pull back to the south in retreat, he spat in disgust and ordered the standard of the Naelax prince to be trampled in the mud. He then raised the standard of the Imperial Orb and charged.

    Approaching the site of the battle from the north, he descended upon the barbarians from higher ground, and they were unprepared for the hundreds of heavy horse and lance that bore down on them in the next hour. Their lines were quickly broken, and the Imperial Army was rescued to eventually take the day in what would be called the Battle of the Shamblefield. The Aerdi drove the surviving barbarians out of the hills, controlling the land all the way to the Loftwood by the following spring. Overking Manshen recognized the courage of the young knight Vir, and raised him as the first marquis of Bone March. The land was so named for the high price paid for its taking, as the fallen imperial regulars numbered into the thousands. [LGG - 36]

    Thus the Overking named Vir the first Marquis of the Bone March. And thus were the Fruztii broken.

    It is said that the blood of those thousands of unsanctified and unburied Barbarian and Imperial corpses was pressed into the mortar of Spinecastle. It is also said that the Fruztii laid a curse on its unfinished walls. 


    113 CY  The North was a mystery to most in the Flanaess, a bitter cold, savage land where monsters and barbarians dwelt. Bards sung sagas of what might have once been tall tales, myth, or even what might have been. Alisedran had wondered as much, and so, he set his mind to discovering how tall those tales actually were. He mounted an expedition to those wild lands, and a year later, he returned and published On Sledge and Horseback to the Barbarians of the North, an exploration of that far region, and about a curiosity, a mysterious hanging glacier that now bears his name. Where might that mysterious glacier lie? Who knows? The barabarians and the dwarves are rather closed-lipped about it. [Dragon  #191 - 68, #243 - 90, #265 - 58, FTAA - 67, WGR4 - 93]


    The Ice-Shard Tome

    The Ice-Shard Tome


    Finally, the book contains an accurate map to the Hanging Glacier of Alisedran, with notation in no language known in the Flanaess, either current or ancient. [Dragon #243 - 89]


    The Hanging Glacier of Alisedran

    Another sight believed to be a holy place for Telchur and for over 450 years, is the Hanging Glacier of Alisedran. This structure, found in 113 CY by the explorer after whom it is named, supposedly lies somewhere in the Corusk Mountains. Though the priests of Telchur still search for it, the barbarians of the Thillonrian Peninsula bear them no great love and have made the search a fruitless one to date. [Dragon #265 - 58]


    122 CY  Further buffer was required if the new lands were to be protected from further incursions by the Barbarians. The Fruztii were broken, and the Overking wished to capitalize on their weakness. General Sir Pelgrave Ratik of Winetha was commanded to lead an expeditionary force to push the Aerdian frontier back to the foothills of the Griff Mountains.

    Ratik and his forces inaugurated their expedition by crossing Kalmar Pass, taking the town of Bresht in a blustery winter campaign that cost the Fruztii dearly. After brokering an alliance with the dwarven lords of the eastern Rakers, Ratik proceeded to force a retreat of the Fruztii up the narrow coast and into the northern fastness of the Timberway. He wisely refused to follow them into an obvious trap and instead broke off the pursuit and fortified his gains. He was immediately hailed a hero in the south and his legend grew quickly. [LGG - 89,90]


    He established a fort overlooking Grendep Bay at Onsager Point that he named Marner, and used it as a base to solidify his gains. He fostered an alliance with the dwerfolk, with the gnomes. And he was also fair with those Fruztii who remained on their freeholds, so long as they declared fealty to the Overking.


    128 CY  The Fruztii and Schnai pooled their strength to launch a concentrated naval attack on Marner. They almost defeated Ratik and his forces, for theirs were far greater in number than his. But Sir Percival Ratik knew that he could never defeat such a force in the field, so he set the approaches to Marner aflame, forcing the Barbarians into a narrow salient where they were cut to pieces by the siege engines of his fort and a squadron of the Imperial Navy. Bruised, the Barbarians retreat, only to find their longships ablaze.


    130 CY  The Overking was pleased and elevated Pelgrave to Baron, and gifted him the Timberway as his personal fief. His doing so was a small thing, it cost him nothing. And the Timberway was hardly secure and he and Sir Percival knew it; but Percival was pleased, too, nonetheless, and he campaigned hard to defeat what resistance remained there. And so, again, the Overking was pleased. The walled town of Bresht was renamed Ratikhill in honour of Sir Percival’s victory. That too was another small thing, and that too cost the Overking nothing.

                The overking was sufficiently impressed with the victory that in 130 CY he elevated Pelgrave Ratik to the aristocracy, granting him the title of baron and the new lands as a personal fief. The family of Ratik gained the status of a minor noble house within the Great Kingdom, The walled town of Bresht was renamed Ratikhill in honor of the new baron, and it quickly prospered from trade with Spinecastle passing through Kalmar Pass. [LGG - 90]                


    167 CY  Monduiz Dephaar was born in Bellport to noble lineage. He was elevated at a young age to its Barony when his family fell to Fruztii raids along the Solnor Coast.


    c.         187 CY              
    Monduiz 
    As a member of the Knights Protector, Monduiz Dephaar distinguished himself defending against the seasonal Barbarian raids, fighting alongside such heroes as Lord Kargoth. He fought with a fierceness that was frightening to behold, and in time, as his reputation spread up and down the coast, his name came to be known and then feared by the Barbarians. His atrocities were overlooked, initially; but eventually they could not be ignored. The Knights censured him, but he carried on unabated, then shunned; and in his fury, he left, and settled for a while among the Schnai, where his sword was welcomed, and where he could continue to raid and vent his rage upon the Fruztii.


                198 CY     The Sage Selvor the Younger proclaimed a coming time of strife and living death for the Great Kingdom. Those in power had no ears for such words in their time of unprecedented contentment.


    200 CY     Leukish founded.

    Leukish began as a trading post between Ferrond and Nyrondal. Later the Duchy of Urnst's own treasures, precious metals and stones, were discovered, and the city flourished as the duchy's size and wealth grew. [WG8 - 58]


    213 CY  Royal Astrologers at Rel Astra proclaimed the coming of the Age of Sorrow, vindicating the disgraced Sage Selvor the Younger.


    The new Overking Zelcor began to distance himself from the Knights Protector, for public opinion had swayed against them and their favour.


    233 CY The fell sword Druniazth, servant of Tharizdun, was discovered in the Rift Canyon “by a group of illithids, who traded it to drow merchants in 233 CY. Their caravan, however, was attacked and destroyed somewhere in the Underdark between the Rift Canyon and the Crystalmists and the blade passed out of living memory.” [Dragon #294 - 96]


    254 CY  Far from the influence of the Malachite Throne, the Viceroyalty of Ferrond declared independence from the Great Kingdom, and was thereafter called Furyondy. This marks the beginning of the dissolution of the Great Kingdom. Never again would their influence reach as far. In truth, its influence had not swayed Ferrond for some time.


    Thrommel I crowned in the city of Dyvers. 

    The heir to Viceroy Stinvri (the Viceroyalty had become hereditary some years previously) was crowned in Dyvers as Thrommel I, King of Furyondy, Prince of Veluna, Provost of the Northern Reaches, Warden General of the Vesve Forest, Marshall of the Shield Lands, Lord of Dyvers, etc. [Folio - 10]                


    The migration of Pholtusians from the Great Kingdom increased with the independence of Furyondy, citing religious persecution. The people there had turned away from the Flan gods, remembering the time of the Ur-Flan and Occluded Empire, and having embraced the gods of Oerid, they no longer wished to be reminded of those times and of Pholtus’ failure. Most travel through Nyrond and settle in the western valleys of the Rakers among the Flan in a semi-independent Flannae state.

    [Their message] is simple: "There is now only one hope of salvation, Pholtus of the Blinding Light. Only those blinded to iniquity and its lures can hope to prevail in these terrible times. Look at how the rich live while you travail to pay their taxes; is this right? But this is how Nyrond is. Hence, Nyrond must be changed, and we're the men to do it, just as we are the men to root out the evil within these lands which matches the evils of Iuz and Aerdi outside." [WGR4 The Marklands - 66]


    Tenh, still independent of mind, wished a return to their own dominion. They had heard of the Great Kingdom’s fall into depravity and despotism, and encouraged by the its attention being drawn increasingly inward as the Death Knights ran amok and its provinces gradually sought their own council, they declared independence. They prepared for what response might come. And waited.


    Chendl
    283-288 CY         The capital of Furyondy had always been Dyvers. Dyvers was prosperous, Dyvers was sprawling, and Dyvers, as one might expect of a thriving port, could be, and was, a den of vice and iniquity. Steeped in profit and pleasure, Dyvers had grown secular, and Thrommel III had desired a devout and shining city befitting the glory of The Blinding Light. He had Chendl remade, and moved his court and government there, to be closer to the Archclericy at Voll.

    [S]everal decades after Furyondy as such was formed, the king, Thrommel III, decided he needed a new capital. Thus, a new Chendl was built: a beautiful wealthy, clean, and peaceful city, a city of wide canals and graceful temples. It took five years for the city to progress from plans to reality, and thereafter it has remained unchanging . . . perfect. [WG8 - 83]








    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, Return to White Plume Mountain, WGR4 The Marklands, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, From the Ashes Box Set, The Adventure Begins, Book of Artifacts, The Oerth Journal, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 82, 191, 243, 256, 265, 293, 294, 299.


    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    P-E-A-C-E by huseyinkara
    Keraptis, by Wayne Reynolds, Return to White Plume Mountain, 1999

    Hag by jay-emery
    Heretic by morkardfc

    Vision-in-the-Flames by cobaltplasma

    Rain of Colourless Fire, by Erol Otus, World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980

    The-Frozen-Tundra-Of-Arbistoma by tacosauceninja

    Little-Winterberg by martinamm

    Hand and Eye of Vecna, from Book of Artifacts, 1993

    Forbidden-Tome by 1157981433
    Glacier by mndcntrl

    Monduiz Dephaar, by Adam Rex, from Dragon #291, 2002
    Bastion by oliverbeck


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 09-25-2021 12:42 pm
    History of the Oerth, Part 11, Of The Winds of War


    The Hold of Stonefist

    War can come from the most unexpected places. Who would have thought that the first blow to fall in a war that would engulf the known world would land in the Hold of Stonefist? No one.
    But such was the case.


    579 CY  

    The mage sits down in front of the five Blades of Corusk and meditates for a minute. His hands move over the blades as he reads the magical writings. A frigid wind comes from the west, blowing the powdery snow in swirling whirlwinds. The words coming from his mouth sound like gibberish to you. As he reads the spell, a loud thunderclap sounds above you. As the echoes of the thunder die down, the swords shake and hum. Suddenly the swords disappear with an abrupt popping noise, and the snow turns to steam beneath them. You all hear a sharp “crack” behind you, and a sudden blast of wind pushes you forward. Surprised, the mage stops reading and spins around to see what happened.
    As you turn about, you see a barbarian giant standing before you. Appearing perfectly human, except for his 12-foot height, the man smiles down at you with a kind face. Two huge wolves stand on each side of him: these four beasts eye you with amber eyes. Meanwhile, the troops from the north and the south-west continue approaching.
    “Thank you, my children. You have awakened me from centuries of cursed sleep. In gratitude, I shall grant you your most intimate desires as long as they do not alter the path events are destined to follow. Speak to me.” [WGS2 - 41]


    ‘The deity looks over your heads toward the northeast. A smile breaks across his leathery face, showing pearly white, perfect teeth. “Look, the great armies of the Ice Barbarians come to fight at our side. Behind them, the Snow and Frost Barbarians prepare to join the fray. Our peoples are finally as one. This is the way it was meant to be since the dawn of Oerth.” As you turn to look behind you, the faint sound of seal skin drums and mammoth tusk horns reaches your ears. Riding on beasts ranging from horses to musk oxen, the barbarians approach just as the Great God said. The god turns and looks at the ap- proaching enemy armies. A glint of pleasure gleams from his night-black pupils. He heaves a sigh and turns to look at you. “It has begun.” [WGS2 - 42]


    Vatun, Great God of the North had returned, and he had a plan for his people. They would conquer the North, as they had always been destined to do. And not just the North, they were destined to conquer the world.

    Vatun's appearance surprised even those most convinced by the rumors of the Five Blades, including the barbarian kings who had used the rumors to further their power. Vatun must have somehow proved his power to these doubtful rulers, for the kings of Fruztii, Schnai, and Cruski each surrendered their ancestral sovereignty to "all-powerful" Vatun. [Wars - 7]


    All the barbarians were inflamed by a rumor that swept their lands: that four of five legendary magical swords, the Swords of Corusk, had been found, and that when the fifth was obtained, a "Great God of the North" would rise and lead them to conquest and greatness. The fifth sword never was found, but one calling himself Vatun and claiming to be the Great God of the North appeared before the barbarians of Fruztii, Schnai, and Cruskii, and they swept west into Stonefist under his leadership. [FtAA - 6]


    It wasn’t Vatun. It was Iuz. And he set them upon the Holds of Stonefist.

    The first strike was a stroke of unusual cunning and ingenuity. Constructing an elaborate fiction about a "Great God Vatun," Iuz managed to ally the barbarian nations together. Deluded by dreams of greatness, the barbarians subjugated the Hold of Stonefist. [WGR4 Iuz the Evil - 3]

    The Barbarians swept across the Stonehold with fierce resolve. They would not be defeated. Vatun had returned and said as much. Sevvord Redbeard, Master of the Hold, desperately tried to fend off their assault, but he could not muster his forces fast enough.

    Even as Vatun appeared before his dread-filled followers, the Fists converged upon them to stop the ceremony. In the brief battle that ensued, Vatun easily routed the Fists and thereby won the prostrate praise of the barbarians. [Wars - 7]

    Redbeard was run down, and brought before Vatun for judgement. No one can say what the Great God of the North said to the Redbeard, Vatun cleared the hall of all but him and the vanquished leader, but when the audience was concluded, the Redbeard had committed not only his atamans, but his life to that northern god.

    The Fists were overwhelmed and their leader, Seword Redbeard, underwent a dramatic, if not to say magical, change of allegiance. [FtAA - 6]


    “I have seen the light of a Great Northern God, my brothers,” the Redbeard said to his atamans, “and he showed me the error of our ways! We have spent our strength against the barbarians and the horsemen of the Barrens for too long. We have dribbled it away in small raids, when we should have crushed them under our Fists! Let us not waste it any longer when there is greater loot to be had in the south! The riches of Tenh is ours for the taking! Who’s with me?”

    And although they did not entirely trust the barbarians and their northern god, they trusted in the Redbeard’s strength.

    The Hold of Stonefist remained a threat to Tenh for more than a century, and ultimately brought about its destruction. The first action of the Greyhawk Wars was an invasion of war bands from Stonehold, though this was unlike any previous attack. The Fists had new tactics, and demonic assistance, that overwhelmed the defenses of the city of Calbut, and soon thereafter, Nevond Nevnend. Had the duke been in the city at the time, perhaps he could have rallied his troops to stand; as it was, both citizens and soldiers gave way to panic—though in hindsight, many have suggested that this was demonically inspired fear. The duke and his family fled to the County of Urnst, leaving their nation to the Stoneholders, and the clerics and demons of Iuz.  [LGG - 113]


    The men of Stonefist never conquered [the] castles [of Dour Prentress] and they have no living occupants now. The Fists have no desire to meet the ferocious fen trolls and the eastern lands are virtually unpatrolled by them. All that is known for certain is that madness and plague broke out among the thousands of defenders of these castles as the Fists stormed into Atherstone. Of course, Iuz had a hand in this. Some of the survivors say that fiends stalked the battlements and that black stinking fogs drifted across the walls for a week of unremitting horror. The defenders fled, some insane enough to flee even into the fens, and others from Dour Pentress went across the border to the Brilliant Castles where a few score now serve the Theocracy. The defenders left much behind such as wands, scrolls, magical weapons, magical arrows, and other valuables. Whether the minds and bodies of those entering could survive the ordeal they would face is most uncertain. To be sure, the Fists are wiser than to try. [WGR5 - 70,71]


    The Subjection of Tenh

    The Duke and Duchess of Tenh were as surprised by the fury of the assault as the Redbeard had been. Though their forces fought valiantly to defend their lands, they were stretched thin, having recently fought to clear the Troll Fens. Their army was entrenched upon the Theocracy, and by the time they had marched to face the Fists, their cause was already lost. The Duke and Duchess fled to the County of Urnst, and their people to the borders of Nyrond.

    Within less than two weeks the capital of Tenh had fallen as well, and its duke fled to the County of Urnst. The rhelt of Stonehold was now overlord of Tenh, though under the supernatural control of Iuz, for a powerful and nearly undetectable charm had been placed on [Redbeard]. [LGG - 109]


    All good things must come to an end. Iuz dared too much. He commanded the Barbarians to attack Ratik, and they began to doubt their newly returned northern god. Raiding the Sea Barons and the North Kingdom was one thing, so too striking Tenh, but they had kin in Ratik. And, for the Fruztii, a friend.

    The Vatun ruse did not last long. Commanding the barbarians to strike into Ratik, a long-time ally of the barbarians, was a mistake by Iuz, some think. Others say that he wished to abandon this part of the Flanaess to confusion, since its role as a ruse and feint was played to the full. In any event, the barbarians began to slink quietly home, though the Fists remained in Tenh and occupy it still. Now Iuz could concentrate fully on the war. [WGR5 - 4]


    581 CY  Not all things go as planned. Sometimes, the most unexpected things can happen, things that even the Old One could never have planned for.

    Gradually, Vecna’s cult grew and he assumed the powers of a demigod. The process took a long time—gathering his power, responding to his worshipers, and settling himself among the greater powers. Vecna persevered and eventually reached the point where he was accepted as a minor demigod in the legions of evil.

    Guaranteed immortality, Vecna was still not satisfied. With his scheming mind, he has devised a plan to ascend to greater godhood and humble his rival deities. With his usual long patience, Vecna has been working on this plan for centuries. Working through his avatar or others, the Whispered One has carefully found seven magical items. Each item has been placed in a secret location, the position strategic to his plans.

    These items, when fully powered, will cast a mystical web of energy over all of Oerth, cutting off all other gods from their followers. Already they are creating interference on a local scale. Only Vecna will receive the adulation of his worshipers: the other gods will weaken and leave the path open for Vecna to rise to the fore. Then the Whispered One will open the gates of time and bring forth his faithful followers from the past. Feeding on their devotions, Vecna will become the greatest of gods.

    There is only one difficulty that remains for Vecna—finding his Eye and Hand. They are the final keys to fully empower the web, the final keys that open the gate of time. He knows not where these are. In the final confrontation with Kas, when they were sundered from his body, the gods (perhaps foreseeing his powers) hid them from his senses. Vecna cannot detect their energies; he can only find them by seeing their effects on others, much like finding a boat by the wake it creates. Too many times he has come close, only to have them escape his grasp. This time, he is determined not to fail. [WGA4 Vecna Lives! - 7]


    The Circle of Eight sensed a great danger, but somehow their divinations were blocked. Mordenkainen sent some of his most trusted mages to investigate. And they died. Every last one of them: Bigby, Drawmij, Jallarzi Sallavarian, Nystul, Otiluke, Otto, Rary, and Tenser. Of course, death was not the end of all of them, but that is another tale. Mordenkainen sent others; their path led ever west and the name Vecna was raised time and again. And Kas. And Iuz.

    Tovag Baragu

    Their investigations led them to Tovag Baragu, where they came upon an avatar of Vecna, who had opened a portal to Vecna’s past, the ruins of the palace of the Spidered Throne.


    Through the gateway can be clearly seen a great mass of people. They are all surging and milling forward, their attention focused on the window as if they can see through into the present. They, too, seem drawn by Turim’s chant. The first are just preparing to step through the opening. [WGA4 - 66]


    Against such odds, the Circle’s heros couldn’t hope to win, so they did the unthinkable, they summoned Iuz, for only a demigod could hope to defeat a demigod.

    Iuz came, and Iuz battled Vecna, and very nearly perished. He didn’t perish, though, but had had he, the world might have been in very dire straights. Had Vecna won, he would have severed Oerth from the celestial and outer planes, and it would certainly have plunged into an age darker than it had ever known, an age from which it would never be freed. But, he hadn’t; and it hadn’t. But Iuz didn’t win either. He and Vecna plunged into the portals of Tovag Baragu. What became of them? The heroes couldn’t say.

    And so, strangely, to our most beleaguered incredulity, we owe a debt of gratitude to Iuz, for if it were not for him, the universe would have been plunged into darkness. But let’s not get carried away, his confrontation with Vecna gave Iuz ideas. He imagined a world which bowed to him, and him alone.


    584-585 CY         The Loftwood burned. The orcs had attacked Ratik and been thrust aside. Little Ratik! In their rage, the orcs set their wood ablaze. And when the men of Ratik rushed to save their precious trees, the orcs meant to set them ablaze, too.

    The site of a great Ratikkan victory over Bone March orcs (578 CY), the wood was partly despoiled by nonhumans setting fires (584—585 CY). It is once again a battleground between Ratik in the north and orcs and gnolls in the south. [LGG - 141]


    584 CY  The Bone March skirmishes with Ratik and Nyrond.

    Bone March is now steeped in discord, ruled by a coalition of invading nonhuman tribes, particularly orcs, gnolls, and ogres. Humanity, which once thrived here, is generally enslaved and subject to the capricious whims of petty bandit chiefs and nonhuman warlords who raid Ratik and even North Kingdom at will, going as far as Nyrond and the Flinty Hills to pillage. [LGG - 35]

    Despite the fact that those tribes abut the North Kingdom still raided those towns with impunity, the Bone March still expected the debt of their having helped the North Kingdom by attacking Nyrond to be paid: "We helped you fight Nyrond, now you help us storm Ratik." They and the North Kingdom shared a border, and common interests, were mentioned. Grennell could not help but notice the implied threat.

    Grennel

    For himself, Grenell doesn't give a fig about Ratik. Unfortunately, no few of his most powerful local rulers care a great deal about Ratik—as do many ordinary folk. Many of them share the same Oeridian-Flan racial mix as the men of Ratik, and they admire the rugged bravery of Ratik's warriors in having kept the humanoids at bay for so long. They are opposed to any plan to conquer Ratik, and some of them are ready to go and fight for Ratik should Grenell dare act against that nation.

    There is another twist to this. The barbarian nations are strongly allied with Ratik. At the present time, their raids are focused on the Sea Barons and they do not often raid most points along the eastern North Province seaboard, save for Bellport. This is because many of the rulers and armies of that eastern seaboard have managed to make a peace of sorts with the fierce [Suel] barbarians, Prince Elkerst of Atirr being a notable example. Indeed, the barbarians increasingly trade with some North Province coastal towns and villages, and that trade brings much needed wood, furs, and other commodities in short supply in North Province. [Ivid - 44]


    Kaport Bay

    Kaport Bay is the most rugged of North Province's towns, a whaling station and fishing town of 5,200 souls. Together with its twin satellite villages of Low and High Scarport, this town has a characteristic atmosphere. The people here are hardy men and women with little time for frivolity—or outsiders. They term themselves "Kaportlanders" and are proud of this. Flan blood is strong, and the Kaportlanders are no friends of Grenell and his court. Kaport Bay maintains three stout war galleys used to protect its whaling fleet, not least against the attacks of deep-sea kraken in the Solnor Ocean. Barbarians rarely raided here in the past, given their blood ties with the fair-haired Kaportlanders, and they do not do so now. [Ivid - 56]


    Grennel thought on what might happen if he honoured his debt to the orcs. If he attacked Ratik, the Barbarian raids would surely recommence. His was a precarious balance. And besides, he’d already aided the orcs when he sent agents to liberate the Seal of Marner from the Baronial Vault. And they did, and they passed the Seal on the orcs waiting in the Kelmar Pass. It wasn’t his fault the orcs had lost the Seal to the Ratikkans pursuing them.

    Besides, hadn’t he already helped them enough?

    The influence of North Province (now North Kingdom) has led to greater organization and military effectiveness among these barbaric tribes. [LGG - 35]


    Trade shrank as the Tilva Strait closed, and piracy had plagued the seas north of it since, if the reduction of trade could actually be conceived as its cause, for indeed, the Solnor Coast had always been beleaguered by pirates and privateers.

    In truth, the Scarlet Brotherhood controled the sea lanes between the Aerdi Sean and the Densac Gulf, and the Azure Sea.

    Spindrift Sound itself is navigable, but shipping is menaced by the Scarlet Brotherhood and the activities of a few pirates based on the eastern Medegian coast. [LGG - 68]


    Frolmar Ingerskatti
    The Lordship of the Isles quickly became a hotbed of intrigue. The new prince, a little-known Suel lord named Frolmar Ingerskatti of Ganode, immediately withdrew the Lordship from the Iron League and set about lending his naval forces to the maneuvers of the Scarlet Brotherhood, including the blockade of the Tilva Strait that continues to the present day. 
    [LGG - 72]


    The Brotherhood commands the southern seaways, with naval blockades in the shark-infested waters of the Tilva Strait, and in the so-called "Southern Gates" of the Azure Sea, between the Amedio Jungle and the Tilvanot Peninsula neat the Olman Isles. [LGG - 98]


    Ratik understood its peril, and it began an ambitious project, one that taxed its resources, but was deemed essential by Luxnol. What good would minding the nations finances do were they slaughtered by the orcs and gnolls to the south, and the Fists to the north. Castles and fortresses and redoubts sprang up along the Kelmar Pass and the Flinty Hills, and in the northern Timberway. More rose up within the Kelten Pass, for surely the Fists would come again.

    Ratik is developing an ambitious castlebuilding program, constructing strong keeps along its southern margins not far from the foothills of the eastern spur of the Rakers. They are digging in for a long struggle against the humanoids of the Bone March. Ratik is seeking mercenaries to defend the builders during the coming spring and summer. [FtAA - 73]


    c.586-591 CY      Grennell wondered about the tactics of the orcs, for in truth, they had developed a cunning and patience hitherto unknown to those savage tribes, and strategies he had not taught them. Rumours abounded that the hierarchs of the Horned Society were not dead after all, that a few, if not all, had escaped Iuz’s wrath, and were now headquartered along the coast of the Pomarj, or even in the Bright Desert or Rift Canyon. Rumours persisted that they had found their way into the Bone March.

    The Hierarchs of the Horned Society
    The Hierarchs and the rest of the leadership of the Horned Society were presumed destroyed in Coldeven 583 CY, during the night of the Blood-Moon Festival. Demonic forces sent by Iuz slew the Hierarchs there and allowed Iuz to quietly take command of their nation. It is possible that one or more Hierarchs survived the incident and is attempting to rebuild the organization, but most assume that the group is no longer a threat. Still, Arkalan Sammal, the renowned sage of Greyhawk, made an interesting appraisal based on reports gathered by the old sage in recent years. The society, he claims, survives in the present day and has metamorphosed from a group centralized within a single nation to one with its secret tendrils buried across the Flanaess. "The Horned Society must surely have known that the return of Iuz would spell its ultimate downfall," he reasons. "It would have planned for this eventuality, most likely by moving its operations out of Molag before the Old One's axe fell." Rumors during the last five years have placed the group's headquarters along the coast of the Pomarj, in Bone March, or even in the Bright Desert or Rift Canyon. Most people no longer care, for Iuz is now perceived as the true threat. However, suggests Arkalan, the Horned Society has become even more dangerous since its dispersal. As the Archmage Mordenkainen was heard to comment last year during a conclave in Greyhawk, "Are their members now dozens, hundreds, thousands? Where are they headquartered? What do they plot? Can we rest assured of the death of the Unnamable Hierarch? To the one who could answer these questions would go the thanks of a free people." 
    [LGG - 156,157]


    Fellreev Forest: This entire expanse of birch and scrub oak is claimed by Iuz, though the Old One enjoys little power here. Most of the forest is ruled by clans of sylvan elves allied with Reyhu refugees since the Greyhawk Wars. A significant force of undead is also here, rumored to be led by an escaped Horned Society Hierarch. Iuz gains little by sending traditional soldiers here, so he uses the Fellreev as a hunting ground for trained monsters. [LGG]


    586 CY  The Flight of Fiends

    In Coldeven 586, Canon Hazen of Veluna employed the Crook of Rao, a powerful artifact, in a special ceremony that purged the Flanaess of nearly all fiends inhabiting it. Outsiders summoned by Iuz, Ivid, or independent evils fell victim to this magical assault, which became known as the Flight of Fiends. [LGG - 16]


    No one knows how many demons survived the Flight of Fiends in 586 CY; few have surfaced. [LGG - 61]


    Alain IV, Archbaron Lexnol’s son, was never a patient man. He had a vision the Bone March and Ratik as one, just as his father and the Marquis Clement had intended, and had discussed. He vowed to make it so. And thus, he launched a raid to repatriate Bone March.

    It failed.

    Disastrously.

    Bone March is now steeped in discord, ruled by a coalition of invading nonhuman tribes, particularly orcs, gnolls, and ogres. Humanity, which once thrived here, is generally enslaved and subject to the capricious whims of petty bandit chiefs and nonhuman warlords who raid Ratik and even North Kingdom at will, going as far as Nyrond and the Flinty Hills to pillage. Nomadic bandit gangs, survivors and descendants of the onceproud human culture, prey on one and all. Only the small, autonomous county of Knurl is secure at present, aside from a handful of nearly forgotten gnome strongholds in the Blemu Hills. [LGG - 35]


    Infighting soon broke out between several of the nonhuman tribes, and the sides remained stalemated until 586 CY, when Alain IV, Archbaron Lexnol's son and heir, launched a raid into the fallen realm that was composed in large part of expatriates of the march, it was a doomed mission. The unusually organized nonhumans laid a trap for the force in the hills north of Spinecastle. Horrified survivors who escaped back to Ratikhill reported that the trapped raiders were dragged from their horses, torn apart, and eaten alive before their eyes. Raids into the archbarony from Bone March have resumed. [LGG - 37]


    Baron Lexnol collapsed from the news and was rendered unfit to rule. Lady Evaleigh, Alain’s wife, understood that were he to fail, Ratik would be lost, so she hid his infirmity at first, ruling in his proxy. But the state of his health could not be hidden forever. And soon, she dropped the pretence of her speaking on his behest and became Her Valorous Prominence, Evaleigh, the Lady Baroness of Ratik. Not all were pleased. The Fruztii had loved the old Baron, and the Schnai were less inclined to treat with a woman, especially one as young as she.

    Upon hearing of his son's demise, old Baron Lexnol collapsed. He awakened the next morning with a shock of white hair and a palsy that confined him to bed. Lady Evaleigh, now widowed, assumed the throne and has guided Ratik through the trouble that has befallen it. Raids from Bone March have become progressively stronger and more organized the last few years. Her father's realm, the county of Knurl, was attacked a few months ago and was only saved by the snows of winter. [LGG - 91]


    Across the Solnor Sea

    Trade need be found if the markets to the west were closed to the East. Maybe there were markets to the east? There was the rumoured Fireland. And there had to be other lands east of there. There was only one way to find out. Small Fleet from Asperdi (Sea Barons) sets sail across the Solnor Ocean.

    Ships from resource-hungry lands of the eastern Flanaess are striking out in search of trading partners, hoping to rebuild from the wars. The Sea Barons and the east coast city-states of Rel Astra, Ountsy, and Roland are now exploring the mini-continent of Hepmonaland, returning with fantastic tales and riches. (Many fall prey to disease, pirates, monsters, and privateers from the Scarlet Brotherhood and Lordship of the Isles, however.) Several major kingdoms full of new peoples are said to lie in this tropical land, some rumored to be at war with the slave-taking Brotherhood. [TAB]


    Several ships captained by half-elven smugglers joined a flotilla of the Sea Barons in their journey over the Solnor. They had an ulterior motive. The half-elves were reportedly searching for the last members of the dispossessed Council of Five of Lendore.

    In the years since the Greyhawk Wars, some of the surviving exiles have joined together with half-elven captains on the Medegian coast. It is an open secret that they are smugglers, willing to transport any cargo for a price. Several of these ships secretly accompanied the flotilla of the Sea Barons in their voyage over the Solnor in 586-589 CY. The Spindrift exiles were thought to be searching for the last members of the Council of Five, who had fled across the waves when the clerics of Sehanine usurped their authority. It is not clear what benefit they seek by contacting their deposed leaders, but the half-elves clearly wish to return to their birthplace and free it of the magical affliction of Sehanine. [LGG - 69,70]


    588 CY  What became of Vecna and Iuz? Who can say? But where Vecna could not be scyed, Iuz somehow remained upon Oerth. Iuz’s empire remained intact. And his tyranny marched on, unabated.

    But, all good things must come to an end. The fiends had fled and Iuz was stretched thin, tasked not only with administering his newly acquired empire, but beset with rebels and banditry and the persistent attacks of those who didn’t appreciate his desire to remake the whole of Flanaess in his own image.

    The use of the Crook of Rao by Canon Hazen of Veluna, in 586 CY, had dire repercussions for Iuz's armies. Bereft of their powerful masters, many lesser nonhumans and ambitious human generals attempted to stage coups throughout the occupied lands, even as rebel bandits and indigenous populations took advantage of the Flight of Fiends to strike back at their oppressors. [LGG - 62]


    It was inevitable that he would lose control of Sevvord Redbeard of Hold of Stonefist. He cared not for that cold and distant land. It had little of value, except grist for the mill. And he knew that it would continue to slip into the state of chaos it has always courted. So, he turned his back on the Stonehold, so as to focus on the conflict that really mattered, Furyondy.

    Sevvord flew into a rage when he awoke and realised that he’d been played a puppet to another’s schemes. He fumed! He raged! And all those within his gaze cowered from his anger. He gathered Fists from across Tenh, and killed every cleric of Iuz he could find, impaling them on posts and leaving them to rot in the wind. He and his slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands, of Tenha slaves when he could not find enough Iuzian clerics to sate his need. He wished to kill more, to line every road with the spiked corpses of an entire nation as a warning to any who might ever try to subjugate him again. However, he had not the time. He need return home. When he ran out of slaves, he left a rearguard to occupy Calbut and marched to drive the hated barbarians from his homeland. He would paint the Kelten Pass with their blood, he promised, and its flowing would thaw the Frozen River for all time.

    For six years after the invasion, the Stoneholders held the Tenha enslaved. The evil of Iuz was present throughout the land as well, though never in plain sight. Perhaps this state of affairs would have persisted indefinitely had not an unnatural rage come upon the rhelt of Stonehold, during a meeting in the ruins of the duke's palace at Nevond Nevnend. [LGG - 113,114]

    By means not yet known, Iuz's charm-like control of Sevvord Redbeard was broken in mid-588 CY. Enraged at the abuse he suffered, Redbeard vowed revenge. [TAB - 22]

    In an astonishing turn of loyalty, he gave the command to put the clerics and agents of Iuz to the sword, also letting his warriors murder Tenha slaves out of hand. [LGG - 114]

    Iuz priests, soldiers, and advisors in the area were slaughtered on sight, and Tenh was plunged into bloodshed once again. The Master then ordered a looting of Tenh and a retreat to Nevond Nevnend and Calbut. Stonefist warriors meant to keep this area so as to guard Thunder Pass (called Rockegg Pass by the Tenha), the route through the Griff Mountains back to Stonefist. Reports were already filtering back to the Stonefist troops that a force of Ice and Snow Barbarians was raiding and burning its way across the Hold, and all wished to go home and do battle. [TAB - 22]

    The Fists then withdrew from all but the northernmost part of Tenh, which they still hold. Armies from the Pale and forces loyal to the exiled duke quickly crossed the borders, battling each other for possession of the southern and eastern regions of the duchy, including the Phostwood. [LGG - 114]

    There are 20,000 Stonefist men in Tenh, with conflicting desires. On the one hand, rulership of this fertile land is good, but on the other, their instincts are to pillage, maraud, decimate, and then go home with all the loot they can carry. Instead, they stay here as slave drivers. Spending days overseeing slave farmers is not exactly what Fist men find exciting. The Stonefist nation is young, born in adversity and constant marauding. Constant movement on attack and retreating to defensive fortifications after that attack, not occupying their conquests, is what makes the Stonefist men feel comfortable. There is another problem weighing on the minds of the Fists. Since the sham of the "Great God Vatun” was exposed and barbarian shamans and priests have begun to see that Iuz was behind it all, the Fists face more hostility and raids from their traditional foes, the eastern barbarians. No longer are these two uneasy allies. Having occupied Calbut and secured Thunder Pass is useful to the Fists, but keeping men in Tenh when they are needed to defend Stonefist against the barbarians is irksome. Many seek to go home, putting Tenh through one last ordeal of slaughter and pillage before they go. In the interim, many are restless and bored, prone to drunkenness and mindless violence against the Tenhas. [WGR4 - 67]

    [A] many-sided war began in Tenh, involving the mutually hostile forces of Iuz, Stonehold, the Pale, and Tenha expatriates. The war goes on today. [LGG - 16]


    590 CY  The fleet from the Sea Barons had set sail three long years earlier and had not yet returned. Had they found Fireland? If they had, that is a tale for another day. But in truth, whether they had found Fireland or not, Fireland found Ratik. One day, much to Marner’s surprise, a longship from Fireland sailed into its port, its flanks scorched, its sails torn and tattered.

    From Distant Fireland
    In Marner, capital of Ratik, a lone long ship sailed into port in late 590 CY. The pale barbarians aboard the ship spoke a dialect of the Cold Tongue and claimed to be from a distant northeastern island called Fireland. They came with four other ships in search of help for an undisclosed problem facing their people; their other long ships were sunk by sea monsters or Ice Barbarian raiders. The aged explorer Korund of Ratik can supply maps and some information to anyone wishing to return to Fireland with these barbarians, but he is too infirm to travel and is growing senile as well. Frost Barbarians believe “Firelanders” are descended from sailers from the Thillonrian Peninsula who settled there centuries ago; the barbarians wish to establish contact with them. The glaciated land is called Fireland for its volcanoes, visible for many miles at night as red fountains in the sea.
     [TAB - 38]


    Ratik:     Alain was not the only one to desire the freedom of the Bone March. Lady Evaleigh wishes the same, for her father’s city of Knurl is hard pressed and in need of succour. And in truth, war will continue between the Bone March and Ratik, as it must, for each cannot rest while the other exists. The Bone March shall never forgive Ratik or the Frost Barbarians for their incursions into its territory.

    In 590 CY, a full-scale assault over the Blemu Hills into Knurl was also attempted, but failed. Thus far, the defenses of the count have held firm, but he expects another wave of attacks this year. [LGG]


    Humanoid tribes and bandit gangs appear to be cooperating of late. Masked advisors were seen by spies in the councils of the orcs and gnolls at Spinecastle. Treasure seekers have entered the abandoned keep at Spinecastle, but few have returned alive. Without aid from Ratik, Count Dunstan of Knurl might ally with Ahlissa or North Kingdom to save his realm. [LGG - 37]


    Ambassadors from the Scarlet Brotherhood were spied in Djekul. Ratik wants to expand the alliance against Bone March and North Kingdom to include the Snow Barbarians, but the Schnai will negotiate only with Lexnol. Agents of the Sea Barons have approached Evaleigh to gain access to Marner. A half-orc spy working for North Kingdom was discovered in Ratikhill but escaped. [LGG - 91]


    Frost Barbarians:              Nobles from Ratik have great influence at court but are not always trusted. Scarlet Brotherhood agents are well received but bring strange news and promises. Merchants from the Lordship of the Isles have a growing presence, offering unusually generous trade deals that make some jarls suspicious. Hundgred's court is growing isolated from other northern barbarian nations. [LGG - 45]


    Snow Barbarians:             An intermittent war smolders with Stonehold. King Ingemar generously feasts and rewards his chaotic jarls to insure their loyalty. Frost Barbarian jarls also being feted to gain their friendship and influence; this is viewed as blatant bribery, but it works. The king receives Scarlet Brotherhood agents at court, but privately says he does not trust them. [LGG - 106]


    Ice Barbarians:  Royal hatred of the Scarlet Brotherhood grows, as does distrust of the Frost Barbarians. Stonehold accuses the Ice Barbarians of attacking Vlekstaad. There are secret parlays between the Snow and Ice Barbarians for raids against the Sea Barons and possibly the Lordship of the Isles. [LGG - 55]


    Stonefist:            Rhelt Sevvord is the absolute master of these people, and his troops are expected to obey him without question. The punishment for disobedience is slow death, though the rhelt always rewards his loyal troops with plunder and captives. So far, Reword Redbeard has maintained his personal authority and become the most important figure in his nation's history since Stonefist himself. Still, many feel that his time has passed, and wait for a leader who will be strong enough to challenge him. [LGG - 109]

    Revenge is widely sought against the northern barbarians for the burning of Vlekstaad, but Iuz's forces are hated even more. Conspiracies are suspected between Iuz and several war band leaders to gain control of Stonehold. Murders of war band leaders (by their fellows) are on the rise. [LGG - 110]


    The Sea Baron Fleet returned from expedition across the Solnor.

    Ships from resource-hungry lands of the eastern Flanaess are striking out in search of trading partners, hoping to rebuild from the wars. The Sea Barons and the east coast city-states of Rel Astra, Ountsy, and Roland are now exploring the mini-continent of Hepmonaland, returning with fantastic tales and riches. (Many fall prey to disease, pirates, monsters, and privateers from the Scarlet Brotherhood and Lordship of the Isles, however.) Several major kingdoms full of new peoples are said to lie in this tropical land, some rumored to be at war with the slave-taking Brotherhood. [TAB - 38]

    The Sea Barons do not desire a permanent alliance with the Cities of the Solnor Compact, distrusting Drax's motives, but they feign friendship. The Sea Barons fear assassination or worse by the Scarlet Brotherhood, and treat with strangers in their lands harshly. Expeditions launched to the mysterious south in the last few years have returned with tales of fantastic wonders and riches. [LGG - 100]


    Rovers of the Barrens:   The Rovers are a feeble folk now, but they still mount small raids into neighbouring lands. They spend most of their time hunting bear, wolf and northern deer. They fish the Icy Sea. They harvest pine and fur from the Forlorn Forest. They hunt deer and bison. They lay low. As they must. For they must rebuild their strength, as they did after the Battle of Opicm River.

    A secret alliance with the Wolf Nomads is being negotiated. Scouts are searching for survivors from the scattered war bands, including allied centaurs and elves. Horses are supplied to tribes loyal to new war sachem, Nakanwa. All forces of Iuz that hunt Rovers (including Grossfort) are closely watched, to be either avoided or destroyed. [LGG - 95]


    Iuz:         Iuz retains a precarious hold on the East. The Bandit Kingdoms chaff under his rule. The remains of the Rovers of the Barrens and the remnents of Tenh strain against his rule. Stonehold has no love for Iuz, and he must resort to influence and stratagems to retain control when that does not appeal to his paranoid and visious self, who’d rather rule by bane magics and brute force.

                    Though some remain, the loss of the bulk of Iuz's fiends has resulted in low morale, revolts, and disorganization within an already chaotic regime. [LGG - 63]


    Now embroiled in what Furyondy has termed a "permanent and unalterable state of. war," Iuz's attention has been drawn to his southwestern border, perhaps at the expense of holding in Tenh, the Barrens, and the old Bandit Kingdoms. Though bereft of the bulk of his demonic aid, Iuz's armies are far more numerous than those of his enemies. They not only follow the Old One, but worship him, believing that to fail their infernal master is not only to fail their liege, but their god, as well. [LGG - 62,63]



    Did I not mention Vecna? How thoughtless of me. Last we saw of him, he was imprisoned in the Shadowfell after an epic battle with Iuz back in 581 CY. But, ever the paranoid soul, Vecna would never have lived as long as he had were he not a cagy one. He knew that one day he might be defeated. He knew that one day he might need a means of return. And he prepared for such a day. And that day had come.
    He’d been plotting. He’d been scheming.
    And he wanted revenge. Against Iuz.

    "No matter how powerful a being is, there exists a secret that can destroy him. In every heart is a seed of darkness hidden from all others; find that evil seed, and your enemies are undone. Strength and power come if you know and control what others dare not show. Never reveal all that you know, or your enemies will lake your seed, too." [LGG - 186]


    Vecna

    Despite Vecna’s entrapment in the Demiplane of Dread, long-laid plans have come to fruition. In Vecna’s quest to achieve full and permanent godhood, he instigated several alternative strategies in the millennia of his existence. Many of these designs have played out with little to recommend them, but elements of more sinister schemes continue to move unnoticed.

    One such plan has promise at this point. Sometime during the span of years before his imprisonment, Vecna went to a lot of trouble secretly fabricating two tablets inscribed with a true dweomer in the Language Primeval. Then he buried them in a plausible archeological site. […]

    Though any of a handful of demipowers would have served Vecna’s purpose, the corpse king Iuz took the bait. Having stolen the tablets from their original discoverers several years ago, Iuz has slowly brought his considerable resources to bear on the tablets. The more Iuz learned, the more the ancient formula seemed, to him and all his divinatory means, an ancient dweomer of stupendous strength, whereby a demipower might bootstrap itself to full ascension! […]

    The tablets lie. [Die Vecna Die - 2,3]


    Iuz enacted the formula, and the formula drew the power from him, a conduit to Vecna, who then had the means to break free from the Shadowfell and emerge with the power of a greater god. Vecna then entered the city of Sigil, where he came perilously close to rearranging all existence to his whims. When Vecna was ejected from Sigil by a party of adventurers, Iuz was freed and Vecna returned to Oerth greatly reduced in power, though still a lesser god.


                   


                   







    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

    Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, WGA4 Vecna Lives, Die Vecna Die, WGS2 Howl from the North, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine.


    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Stillness-And-The-Fading by ardak
    Failed-Crusade by seven-tenth

    Vatun, by Ken Frank, from WGS2 Howl from the North, 1991
    Tovag Baragu, by Ken Frank, WGA4 Vecna Lives!, 1990

    Portrait-of-a-Rogue by kirin12090

    Pirate-Wizard by kashivan

    Battle Looming by David Shong

    The Death of Alain IV, by Joel Biske, from Living Greyhawk Gazatteer, 2000
    Ocean-Wind by nele-diel

    Arrival Again by David Shong

    Vecna by juliedillon



    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1043 The City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1989
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    2138 Book of Artifacts, 1993
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9253 WG8, Fate of Istus, 1989
    9317 WGS1, The Five Shall be One, 1991
    9337 WGS2, Howl from the North, 1991
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
    9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
    11442 Bastion of Faith, 1999
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon Magazine
    OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda 

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 09-20-2021 06:09 pm
    I'm published!


    Oerth Journal #31

    Although I'm likely known for my History of Oerth posts, I'm deviating from the norm to announce weird and wonderful news. I'm published!

    I've been writing for years, and have completed two novels and a handful of short stories, none of which could be considered Fantasy, or even speculative in any shape or form. I wrote contemporary stories, and turn of the century novels, one set in Timmins, my hometown, in the year of its birth, and the other a faux history of my great grandfather's supposed experiences in the Great War. I say "supposed history" because he never once spoke about his experiences while in uniform.

    This is not to say that I'm not acquainted with fantasy or Dungeons and Dragons, because I most certainly am. I read science fiction when I began reading, and then Lord of the Rings in my early years of high school. I picked up Gary Gygax's "Gord" of Greyhawk novels, and the original Dragonlance trilogies as they came out. I must say that I tired of the Forgotten Realms novels rather quickly, even as I continued to buy and read them for many years. I preferred the Black Company series to them. Time passed, my friends who played D&D moved away, and the game slipped into the past. That's likely a similar story to many readers of this blog.

    I swapped fantasy for classics and histories and literary novels like Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Faulkner, and a host on Canadiana I won't bore you with since you've likely never heard of Findley and Robertson and so many other Canadian authors, and there I stayed until relatively recently, when the nostalgia bug hit me.

    I was "lured" back to D&D by a friend at work. We played for about a year, then not as we had a hard time finding players not on shiftwork, or inclined to play with a couple of middle-aged old farts. But the desire remained. I browsed my old modules, and felt the tingle of nostalgia. 5e was fine, it's good in fact, but it was those old books of my glory years that brought on those feelings of love and longing. I've a reverence for those old books. That's probably the memory of the love of old friends, but there you have it. I got the bug, and began watching YouTube videos of Matt ColvilleSeth SkorkowskyRPGmodsFanCritical Rolecaptcorajus, and AJ Pickett. I also watched a few streams too, like Lord Gosumba's game and Return to the Bandit Kingdoms and the like.

    And then Legends and Lore, where I was inspired by a number of Greyhawk contributors who'd never lost the love of that old setting. I thought that maybe I could take a stab at contributing to the Greyhawk community, too.

    So, I began a blog. But I had to delve deep into all those old sourcebooks to refamiliarize myself with Greyhawk. Did I really know it, back then? Not really. It was intimidating. It seemed so much work to flesh it all out, when I leafed through its pages. So I created my own stuff, doing exactly what Gary Gygax wanted me to do with the Greyhawk setting; the funny thing is that my homebrew world was almost identical to Ratik and the North Kingdom and the Thillonrian Peninsula. Was I having a Freudian moment when I was brewing it? Maybe.

    Oerth Journal #31

    Long story short, I submitted some of my stuff to Greyhawk Online, and I soon saw my work posted on a website that was not my blog.

    Then the unthinkable happened: they asked me to contribute to the Oerth Journal. My deadline? About 2 weeks. I ought to have panicked. I'd never written fantasy before. But I didn't. I had 1400 words of a short story written within a few hours. And a 1st draft a few days later. I rewrote. I refined. I had a few people read it and make suggestions. Actually, only one person made suggestions. I completed the last rewrite and sent it in for rejection.

    But they did not reject it. They published it! Wonders never cease. So, here it is! I give to you my first published work of worry (we writers are a particularly self-denigrating sort, always convinced that no one will actually like what we've done). But don't just read my story; there's lots of creative material within. And don't stop there, download all 31 issues if you're a fan of that wonderful old setting.
    You must be. You're reading a blog called "Greyhawk Musings," after all.



    Posted: 09-17-2021 11:17 am
    History of Oerth, Part 10: Of The Fog of War


    Fruztii Barbarian

    Iuz was loose upon the land. But he was not alone. The Horned Society had risen in his absence. Banditry had sprung up as prolific as spring flowers across the breadth of the north. The sun that had once shone across the Great Kingdom had set, and in its twilight, that once celestial nation lay in disarray, riven by schemes and betrayal. Orcs had sundered the Bone March. The high seas of the Solnor Coast were beset with conflict and piracy.
    And those east of the Rakers found themselves ever more isolated.

    574 CY  The Fruztii consulted with Ratik concerning what wonders may be hidden within their mountains, eager to see whether the lore of their skalds was to be found in the dusty tomes the southerners worshiped so. So, Ratik consulted the Library in Marner, and those sages and wizards employed there, and within those dusty tomes they exhumed references to lost cities of the Flan, to ancient relics of the dwerfolk, and to sunken cities of the Solnor Sea. And of course, they dug up references to dragons and the hordes they amassed. All these they brought to the attention of the Fruztii, and the Fruztii listened with great interest. And armed with this knowledge, the Fruztii and those of Ratik brave enough to accompany them, they climbed into the Griffs and the Corusks in search of such things.


    The History of The Ice-Shard Tome

    While searching for the lair of a white dragon, the barbarians chanced upon an illusion-cloaked dungeon entrance and ventured inside. There they fought evil, cold-dwelling creatures and passed through strange areas of chilling, life-sapping vapor. Finally, they reached a great ice-encrusted chamber. While the intruders were busy digging out a chest from the ice, their activity awakened the dungeon’s most dangerous guardian: a massive automaton fashioned—so swear the barbarians—of steel-hard ice.

    Although the golem slew two of their number, the barbarians were ultimately triumphant and claimed the icy dungeon’s treasures as their own. Among the hoard was the book that was to become known as the Ice-Shard Tome. Of the book’s owner there was no sign. [Dragon #243 - 89, by Anthony Nixon and David Head.]

    The Frost Barbarians were distrustful of wizardly magic and eager to sell what came to be known as the “Ice-Shard Tome” upon returning from their expedition into the Corusk Mountains to Crylandren, a wizard of Marner.

    He copied what he wished from the book before selling it, and over the next few years, the Ice-Shard Tome was sighted variously in Rel Astra, Rauxes, and Rel Mord, moving ever deeper into central Flanaess. On its journey the tome acquired both its popular title and a sinister reputation.


    The Kelten Pass

    575 CY  Where the Schnai sent promises and warriors to support the Fruztii front lines as a rear guard within the Bluefang-Kelton Pass, Ratik did one better. Although already hard pressed in the south with the orcs and gnolls, they understood that they must also secure their north, so, they sent battle hardened troops to stand shoulder to shoulder with their northern kin. The Fists came, as they knew they must, and they came with ogres and orcs and gnolls, and the alliance held the pass against them. But holding the pass was not enough. Securing it was essential, as was securing the lands north of it.


    The Battle of Kelten Pass, as the Fist called it, only severed to divide the Atamans of Stonefist. Were it not for Vlek’s iron rule, the Hold might have fallen into strife.

    The Coltens, despite generations of servitude to the invaders, have slowly emerged as a competing form of leadership, offering their method of election of the most popular warrior as an alternative to the Rite of Battle Fitness. So many aspiring leaders were slain in the often useless raids of the latter method that its proponents have grown scarce. When Ratik and the Fruztii made peace, the subsequent battles for the Kelten Pass brought several telling defeats to “fists” led by the descendant warband leaders. The Hold was then divided between those who followed the laws laid down by Vlek Col Vlekzed, and those who claimed that Stonefist’s methods are no longer appropriate and the Coltens Feodality should be restored. The nomads and settlers west and around the Frozen River championed the ways of Stonefist. The population around Kelten and the Hraak Forest wished to establish new forms of leadership. [Dragon #57 - 13]


    The successful alliance of the Barony of Ratik and the Frost Barbarians has caused much consternation in Bone March. A joint Ratik-Fruztii army wreaked havoc within the March after the signing. Leaders of the humanoids have determined that the northern alliance must be dissolved. [WoGG - 29]

    Knight of Ratik


    576-582 CY         The alliance between Ratik and the Frost Barbarians was mutually beneficial. Not only had they begun to secure the Fruztii’s northern pass, they had begun to make gains against the Bone March to the south, too. But at a cost. They were small nations, their resources were limited, and were the orcs not soundly defeated, and soon, they knew all might be lost.

    The humanoids so soundly defeated in the campaign of 575 were again raiding over the border, and the gnomes of the Lofthills (west of Loftwood) were being continually besieged. Losses from the campaigns in Bone March and with the Frost Barbarians could be replaced by mercenaries and volunteers from foreign lands only. [Dragon #57 - 14] 


    Zeai upon the Icy Sea

    The Frost Barbarians had not turned their backs on their cousins, the Schnai and Cruski, for they had common cause. They each hated the Hold of Stonefist, as did their distant cousins, the Zeai, the whaling Sea Barbarians who dwelt upon the far Brink Isles and Tusking Strand, east of the Black Ice. And the Snow and Ice Barbarians shared common cause against the North Province and Sea Barons, for life was harsh upon the Thillonrian Peninsula, and thought their seas were plentiful, their slim growing season could not support them.

    The Schnai noticed their Fruztii cousin’s absence from the seas. And they saw their cousin’s increased reliance upon Luxnor of Ratik. But they were not worried. Let them break themselves upon the Fists and the Bone March, the Schnai said. They will weaken beyond recovery, and will be forever under our suzerainty when Ratik finally fell, for fall it must, in the end. 

    And in the Fruztii’s absence, the Schnai increased their raids on the Great Kingdom, knowing that they needn’t share the spoils with them.

    The Schnai weren’t the only ones to note the Fruztii’s increased presence in the northeastern theatre. Tenh had heard of the Frost Barbarian’s alliance with Ratik, and they’d heard of their joint strike into the Bluefang-Kelten Pass, and they sent emissaries to treat with them, for, as they explained to them, we have common cause against the Fists of Stonehold, and the Fruztii listened.


    576 CY  Bonded by blood, and having shed blood to protect one another, the Fruztii and Ratik ratified their bond in the eyes of both their gods, for they knew that their only hope of their standing against their enemies, they would need to stand as one.

    This symbolic parchment was endorsed and blessed by the gods of both Ratik and Fruztii, and the superstitious Frost Barbarians place great store in its safety. [WoGG - 29]


    577 CY  Bellport grew tired of the repeated raids by the Schnai, and demanded the protection due them as a city of the North Province and the Great Kingdom. Lord Captain Aldusc was dispatched from Asperdi of the Sea Barons with a squadron of warships and troops to do just that.

    The warships are now reported to be operating along the coast. Included are no fewer than six large galleys and perhaps a score of other war ships. The troops were divided after landing into main [joining Herzog Grenell] and reserve [defending Bellport's landward approaches] groups. [Dragon #63 - 15]


    Although the Schnai had not raided as far and as often as the Fruztii had in their days of glory, they were no strangers to such things; indeed, they were the most accomplished of seafarers, and they were truly as fierce as their cousins, as were the Cruski. They increased their raids, and their longships swept down the coast, striking the North Province and the Baronial Isles both, luring those who chased them or sought to stop them far out to sea where they could lose them with ease.

    But not all were so lucky.

    Some raiders were met and actions were fought; some slipped through, some turned elsewhere. Reportedly a squadron of seven Schnai longships were set upon whilst sinking the hulks of two provincial merchants, the vessels Marntig and Solos. Guided by the smoke and flames, a flotilla of Baronial warships surprised the barbarians. Three of the Schnai were rammed and sunk. In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the barbarians’ fleet was captured, but the three remaining longships escaped after jettisoning all of their captured cargo.

    In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the barbarians' fleet was captured. Jarl Froztilth, leader of the Schnai, many of his men, and the captured ship were all taken to Asperdi. News of this success was said to have greatly heartened the Herzog. [Dragon #63 - 16]


    The Schnai recalled how once they and the Fruztii were the terror of the seas, and they wished the southerners to fear them so again. So, the Schnai treated with their cousins, the Cruski. And the Cruski were glad to treat with them, for the Schnai held what was theirs. The Schnai gave up the lands south of Glot along the east coast [and] the Cruski regained their southern harbors. This made the raids into North Province and the Isles of the Sea Barons all the easier next year, and most of the able-bodied men were away on those journeys when the warbands of Stonefist (now Stonehold) rode into the tundra which the King of Cruski claimed. The few wandering tribes of Coltens there welcomed the invaders, while surviving Cruskii headed east as quickly as possible. The returning warriors were enraged at the boldness of the invasion. [Dragon #57 - 14]


    The History of the Ice-Shard Tome

    Crylandren’s corpse was found shortly after selling the Ice-Shard Tome, his corpse frozen, his veins reputedly filled with ice. The windows to his study were thrown open, despite that winter being the bitterest in living memory. Rumors persist that the tome is under some kind of curse, that a powerful, extraplanar mage has been tracking the book, slaying those who have handled it, but always failing to possess it himself. A list of similar deaths follow in its wake, always grisly, if never substantiated. [Dragon #243 - 89]


    578 CY  Despite his youth, King Ralff II of the Fruztii understood subjugation. His people had turned to their cousins to the east in their hour of need and found the duplicitous hand of the perfidious Schnai. The Schnai had lent their support. Yes, they had. But that help came at a cost: suzerainty. The Fruztii had lost their governance. Indeed, they’d lost their pride. Once, they were the terror of the Solnor Sea. Now, they were a subjugated people. The Shnai commanded them, calling their commands guidance. They had learned their lessons well from the diplomats of Shar, long ago.

    No more, he thought. He extended his hand to Ratik and they’d taken it, and they’d been true to their words. They’d stood side by side with his people when the tribes of Schnai had not. And so, he turned to Ratik again: Train my people, he said, and when he sent the pride of their youth to Marner, the Archbaron not only trained them in the modern art of War, he equipped them for such. And so, when Ralff looked again to the East, he understood that he had kin there, he had obligations there, but he also understood that he had no friend there.

    The Fruztii sent raiding bands to sea with the Schnai, but due to careful urgings, numbers of mercenary troops also moved southward into Ratik and joined the Baron’s troops there. These Fruztii returned with knowledge of organized warfare and good-quality arms and armor and formed the core of a new standing army organized by King Ralff II in 578. The four companies of foot and one troop of horse actively patrolled and brought most of the realm under order. Chief men and nobles not raiding were prevailed upon to contribute men to patrol their own territories, so that by the end of the year, the frequency of banditry and humanoid raiding bands had been reduced to an all-time low. Even the high country around the head of the Jenelrad River was peaceful, and its Jarl swore an oath of fealty to Ralff. Without actually declaring independence from Schnai overlordship, the King of Fruzti showed that he was again capable of fielding an army capable of either defending his territory or taking another’s. The Schnai conveniently ignored the resurgence, probably hoping that the involvement in Ratik would again reduce the Frost Barbarians to vassal status. [Dragon #57 - 14]


    Battle of the Loftwood
    Battle of the Loftwood

    Their expedition into Bluefang-Kelten Pass thus far successful, the Ratik-Frutzii alliance turned their attention south, their aim to destroy the humanoid forces under the Vile Rune orcs of the Bone March.


    The manpower pool of the Archbarony was totally dry in 577. Because of the relatively good relations between the Fruztii and Ratik, the woodsmen and elven warders of the Timberway were moved south to the Loftwood, and new recruits were formed into units of light troops called the Volunteer Borderers. [...]

    The usefulness of the new Volunteer Borderers was proved in the summer of 578 when one of this formation’s patrols discovered that the orc tribe of the Vile Rune was indeed moving northward. In addition to 5,000 tribe members, the force had 2,000 goblins, 1,000 norkers and xvarts, and 1,000 hobgoblins, orgrilIons, gnolls, and ogres. With this detestable agglomeration were nearly 2,000 bandits and brigands serving as mercenaries. Its forerunners were worgmounted goblins, a handful of whom were slain to obtain the intelligence.

    Thus alerted, the Marshal of the Archbarony laid a trap which the unsuspecting invaders blundered into. The humanoid horde moved north along the fringe of the Loftwood where it butts against the hills. At the northern terminus of the trees there awaited the full army of Ratik, its numbers made to appear three times greater by magical means. The gnomes held the western (hillside) flank, while the light forester troops and elves formed the other arm of the “U,” well concealed in the dense timber. 

    The Battle of the Loftwood saw considerable magical competitions in addition to the standard hand-to-hand combat between the strongest fighters on the opposing forces. The real fighting was between the masses of troops, however, and this was fierce in the extreme. At one point, a score of foreign volunteers saved the day because their leader, Queg, a Fruztii, had prepared an extensive ambush with rocks, tree trunks, pits, and trees to set fire to. This action turned back 250 or more hobgoblins, killing or wounding half of them, so that the flank of the Archbaron’s army couldn’t be turned. Simultaneously, the gnomes on the left flank were nearly broken by a rush of gnolls, bandits, and goblins, and were saved only by the superb slinging of a flanking group of the Hillrunners and the innate tenacity of the gnomes themselves. 

    Finally, the scale was tipped by an attack on the right (of the orc horde) by the elves and foresters. The humanoid invading force broke and fled, and in the rout there was a great slaughter. [Dragon #57 - 14,15]


    Seuvord Redbeard saw dissention among his Atamans, and knew he had to suppress it. He knew that he could not afford to be embroiled in a civil war. His “nation” was surrounded by enemies: The Rovers were once again increasing in strength to the west, and raids into those Barrens were far more perilous than they had been short years before. And except by all but the strongest of efforts, the passes to Tenh and Fruztii were closed to him. Were civil war to divide his lands, those enemies were sure to fall upon them and destroy them. He needed to unite his people. He also wished his own line to retain the Mastership of the Hold as a hereditary right, so he called a great council at Purmill, with promise safe conduct for all who attended. The Atamans were dubious. And they had right to be. Vlek had promised the very same, and look what happened to the Coltens? They came, but they came with a show of strength. With spears extended, and hands upon the pommels of their swords.

    In CY 578, shortly after Tenh had coronated its new Duke, the Master of the Hold became Rhelt Seuvord I of Stonehold. Several of his cousins took ill from a mysterious flux shortly after the coronation, and about a dozen others were reported fleeing into the Griff Mountains with a small band of loyal followers. [Dragon #57 - 14]


    Magic is not the only force that can wreak havoc. Those of the Old Faith can tell you that those who dismiss the forces the natural world do so at their peril. Nature can and will do more damage than mere wizards, indeed, most wizards, arcane or divine. Those who live in the shadow of smoking volcanoes can attest to such, as can those who live on the banks of rivers, and the sea…. Hurricane "Ivid" is one such reminder. It ravaged the Solnor Coast, crippling the Sea Barons’ majesty over the sea lanes of the north. Trade ground to a halt. So did piracy, for that matter. But that was the least of the coastal settlement’s concerns, as they fled before “Ivid’s” landing.

    [Most] people [of the Sea Barons] recall this three-day storm, which some laughingly called "Hurricane Ivid." [Ivid - 90]


    579 CY  Baron Lexnol’s heir, Alain IV, marries Lady Evaleigh, the daughter of the count of Knurl.

    In 579 CY, Lexnol's only son, Alain IV, the heir to the throne of the archbarony, married Lady Evaleigh, the daughter of the count of Knurl. The county was the only surviving province of Bone March, and the union was arranged to improve the lot of both realms. [LGG]

    Alain acquired the dream of uniting Ratik and Bone March, but failed to convince the king of the Frost Barbarians of his plan to drive out the nonhuman tribes. Many whispered that Alain was encouraged in these ambitions by his step-family, particularly the count of Knurl, whose position between Bone March, North Province, and Nyrond was grossly precarious. In certain agreement were the immigrants from Bone March, who were driven from their lands by the invaders. [LGG - 91]

    The Ratik-Fraztii alliance cleared the Kelten Pass to the Hold of Stonefist, pressing the Fists back, but not taking the town of Kelten. Rhelt Seuvord rallied his forces, pushing the Fruztii back into the Griff Mountains.


    580 CY  The Bone March was displeased. Had the Fruztii not allied with Ratik, they’d have surely overwhelmed the little nation. Ratik could only fortify and man so many passes and still secure the wide expanse of the Loftwoods. If only the pact could be broken.  To break the alliance between Ratik and the Fruztii, the Bone March conspired with the North Province, for they could not enter Marner undetected. Thus, the Seal of Alliance stolen from Ratik's Baronial Vault.

    In 580 CY, intruders from Bone March attempted an audacious act of treachery by stealing the Seal of Marner, an object blessed by the gods of the Suel barbarians that was the symbol of the new Northern Alliance. The plot was foiled when the raiding party was captured in Kalmar Pass before making it back to Spinecastle with their prize. [LGG  - 36,37]

    [But] not before news of the theft drove a small wedge between the Fruztii and Ratikans. [LGG - 91]




    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

     Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 57, 63, 243.

    The Art:

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    Viking Repose by sebmckinnon
    Snow by all-my-life-i-dream
    Medieval-Knight by lijinbo78
    Vikings by kristmiha
    North-war by castaguer93


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    Dragon 57, 63, 243
    LGJ et. al.
    Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
    Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda

    The map of Anna B. Meyer

    Posted: 09-16-2021 08:34 am
    History of Oerth, Part 9: Of A Rumour of War


    Chaos Has Risen

    The Great Kingdom has all but collapsed under the weight of its own wickedness. New powers have taken to the field in the wake of its collapse, each eager to snap up what is unclaimed. But in the absence of law and order, chaos has risen. Evil is sweeping the land.
    Two names will enter the fray: Iuz and Ivid, and the Flanaess will fall into such tyanny as it had not known since the name Vecna was whispered by those under the weal of his Occluded Empire.

    505 CY  King Avras of Furyondy took note of the doings of Iuz, for what king wouldn’t be concerned about the rise of Evil on his border. The Vesve was already hard pressed by this Iuz, as orcs and hobgoblins bearing Iuz’s mark had penetrated their canopy and were laying waste to all they encountered. Avras mustered his troops and sent them north. But even as they engaged his vile forces, the armies of Iuz had already begun to break apart. For Iuz was not to be found. And it was his tyranny that had held them together.

    But neither Furyondy nor Vesve was directly involved in the banishment of Iuz, generally dated to 505 CY. [WGR5 Iuz the Evil - 3]


    St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel has been allowed to strike against Iuz, when his avatar assisted those imprisoning Iuz in 505 CY. That St. Cuthbert would wish to fight Iuz is not unexpected. Of the "martial" [...] Powers, Heironeous has his great struggle with his hated brother Hextor [....] But St. Cuthbert is a doughty, tough fighter, and he hates Iuz's [...] nature. That he was allowed to strike against the Old One is surprising. He could only have done so if [the other] Powers agreed to this, for all Powers must agree to such an action. Istus could tell us that Incabulus cared not, but Nerull's croaking voice was decisive in giving permission. [WGR5 - 6]  


    Other blows beset [Iuz]. His mother offended Graz'zt, who drew her to the Abyss and imprisoned her there; Iuz's growing alliance with Zuggtmoy, tanar'ri Lady of Fungi, never had the chance to grow to fruition. Within Iuz's own lands, many factions struggled for power when their master left. Tanar'ri and gehreleth came to odds with each other and decided to leave the barren lands to their own fate. Orcs and evil humans began to squabble and fight. Chaos reigned, and the good folk of Furyondy and the Vesve breathed a sigh of relief. [WGR5 - 3]


    511 CY  Evil was on the rise across the lands. It rose from the marshes and fens just as it had flowed out of the mountains, unexpected, and en masse. What stirred the trolls so, none can say, though the name Iuz was whispered more than once. It’s the Old One, they said, nodding knowingly. But Iuz was imprisoned, as those privy to such information knew, so it couldn’t have been him. Other names were whispered alongside his: Keraptis, for one, for all the Tenha know it, and all expect him to return.


    Battle of Dour Prentess

    Dour Pentress was so named because of a spectacular siege-battle there in 511 CY when over two thousand trolls surrounded the castle, cutting it off from supplies in a Troll Winter, for a period of over three months before it was relieved. [WGR5 - 70]

    513 CY  Despite Iuz’s absence, Evil flourished everywhere in the North. A new force rose up and took the name of The Horned Society, a foul haven of deviltry. And like Iuz before them, they had designs on the North. But first, they must gather their forces were there plans to come to fruition.

    Deprived of their lord [Iuz], the euroz and jebli armies massing on Furyondy's borders rapidly dissolved. The barbarous creatures fought the regents of Iuz and won for themselves the east and west shores of Whyestil Lake. East of the lake, savage chieftains and unscrupulous humans founded the Horned Society. [Chronological History of Eastern Oerik, by Keith Horsfield]


    The Horned Society

    515 CY  The Horned Society sought to make great gains in Iuz’s absence, and indeed, so did the petty despotic fiefs that were once under Iuz’s heel. They each and all sought to expand south, for that was where the riches lay, and that was where the yet untapped sources of slaves lay. But they could not march south, not whilst the Nomads and the Rovers were ever a nuisance to them, raiding across the Cold Marches and Howling Hills. So, they put aside their differences and gathered as one and marched north to put an end to that nuisance, once and for all.

    The Nomads and Rovers darted in and out of their armies’ reach, and revelled in their early successes, but as those armies marched ever north and as the Barrens open to their maneuvers were ever squeezed smaller, they had no choice but to turn and fight. The inevitable battle did not go well for the Rovers. They were all but massacred at the Battle of Opicm River.

    The Nomads were more fortunate. They did not have the Icy Sea and the Corusks blocking their flight. They did not have the Fists of the Stonehold at their back, either. They broke into smaller bands and slipped away into the vast expanse of the northern plains and the tangles of the Boreal Forests and vanished as though they were one with the wind and trees.

    At the great battle of Opicm River, the might or the Rovers of the Barrens gathered to war upon a combined host from the land of luz and the newly formed Homed Society. The wardog soldiers and light cavalry of the Rovers were decimated and scattered, and many of their chieftains were slain. Perhaps three or four clans of but a few tribes each are all that now remain of the force which once sent the tumans of the Wolf Nomads flying back across the Dulsi without their gray-tailed banners. [Greyhawk Gold Box]

    There were those who remained loyal to Iuz, though, for they knew the Old One could return, would return. They knew they must survive were they to be of use to their absent master when he did, so, they feigned allegiance, and added their strength to that gathering, their aim to placate those who would otherwise take His lands, and as they seemed lend aide, they held back, all the while watching their foes weaken their selves. They bided their time, and waited.


    520 CY  To the east, those upon the Thillonian Peninsula had little concern for the doings of those across the Griff Mountains, excepting those few Fists who managed to cross those imposing peaks. Their relative security aside, they understood that one day those Evils to the West might come; so, they searched for what uncharted passes might be hidden from them. And they searched for fabled Skrellingshald, for the elder wives wove tales of the wonders that one might find there. But where was it? None could say, but the fancy tales told of a becalmed climate and rich soils and steeply walled, easily defended, paths to it. That in itself made it worth seeking out. But did it ever actually exist? Or was it just the grist of fancy tales?

    Most scoffed. It was just the stuff of fancy, they said. But there were those who thought differently. There’s a kernel of truth in even the wildest of fables, they believed, and so, they shouldered packs and girded themselves for the great dangers that lurked within those peaks. And of those who did, few returned.

    Skrellingshald

    Hradji Beartooth was one who had. He returned with wonders and curiosities and what they hoped was a tale to tell. They expected him to gather the clan around the hearth and regale them with the tale of his exploits and heroism. But he didn’t speak on it. Not to a single soul. And neither did those who’d staggered out of those lofty mountains with him.

    What, you’ve never heard of Skrellingshald? Maybe you have, for Skellingshald is what the northern barbarians called that long forgotten city of Tostenhca.

    Hradji returned later that year with a diminished following and with greatly increased wealth which consisted largely of […] golden spheres. He quite naturally refused to disclose the location of the mountain, as he planned to gather a stronger force for the next season and return with still greater booty. Unfortunately, Hradji and the majority of his men died within the year, some of them as soon as they arrived home. What is more, all those who had any prolonged contact with the gold similarly sickened and died. Hradji’s heir disposed of the hoard by trading it to merchant interests in the Great Kingdom, and reputedly the curse still circulates as the coin of that land, although this last may be a tale fabricated to weaken the Emperor’s currency. [GA - 93]


    c.550 CY               In truth, Hradji Beartooth, although as ever distrustful of magic as all Fruztii, had braved the dangers of the Griff Mountains because he knew his people might need a haven, and that they sorely needed what wonders Skrellingshald might have wielded to keep them safe those eons past, for the Fruztii had been greatly weakened by the Battle of Shamblefield, and were a shadow of their former selves.

    Not so the Schnai. They had not spent themselves against the shields of the south. They had taken to the seas instead. And so, when the Fists of the Stonehold had swept out from the Griff Mountains, the Frutzii had little choice but to treat with their cousins to the East. Help us fortify the passes, they pled. And the Schnai were only too willing to help. They sent warriors to strengthen the Bluefang-Kelten Pass. But not so many as did the Fruztii, for they sent longships to Krakenheim to protect their poor cousins from what retaliation might come from the Great Kingdom’s North Province and the fleets of the Sea Barons. And the Fruztii found themselves under the suzerainty of the Schnai. Their king was but a puppet. And they chaffed under their cousin’s rule.

    While the Fruztii were historically the most persistent in their raids upon the Aerdy, the Schnai explored the seas and the northern isles. Their discovery of Fireland during the early years of Fruztii raids southward was a great distraction. Rather than seek conquest in the Flanaess, they chose to explore the Lesser and Greater Isles of Fire, while they built settlements on the more habitable islands of Sfirta and Berhodt. They would inevitably return home with tales of monsters and giants, and of treasures almost obtained. [LGG - 16]


    555 CY  The turmoil in the Great Kingdom settled once Ivid V was crowned Overking. But much to the displeasure of the Scarlet Brotherhood, the new Overking banished all foreign advisors from the courts of his nation. The Brotherhood had lost its foothold in Suundi, so they took measures that they hoped would distract the Overking. Indeed, they hoped for far more than that. 6071 SD


    558 CY  The Scarlet Brotherhood set out to stir up trouble for the Great Kingdom. They sent agents into the Rakers and whispered into the ears of the Euroz, the Kell, the Eiger, and others, to encourage the orcs and the gnolls there to raid the Bone March, for if Ivid’s attention was in the north, they might once again gain influence in the south. 6074 SD


    559 CY  Humanoids began raids into Bone March. These were limited in scope at first, for the orcs and gnolls did not fully trust the red-robed agents that whispered in their ears. They are not prepared, the whispers said. They look to the barbarians to the north and have not guarded against you, they said. But the orcs were cautious. For they knew not what these red-robed whisperers hoped to gain. And because they had heard the whispers of Men before, and knew that Men had always used their people to blunt the swords of their enemies with orcish blood. The gnolls were less cautious, for the whispers promised them blood, and they do so love the smell of it.


    560 CY  Finding resistance limited, the orcs and gnolls made more forays into Bone March, striking widely so as to keep the Marquis’ forces rushing to and froe across the breadth of his lands to defend against them, never once conceiving that the orcs were acting far more strategic than they ever had before. They were a savage species, after all.


    561 CY  The forces of Marquis Clement tired. And still the orcs came. And when the orcs found no resistance, the whisperers said, “The time is ripe. He has not the strength to defeat you!” The orcs still did not trust the whisperers from Shar, but they saw the truth in their words. And so the tribes flowed from their mountains into the Bone March and laid waste to all that stood against them.

    They flowed out into the Theocracy of the Pale, and into neighbouring Nyrond. They flowed out into Ratik. Because that was what the agents of Shar instructed them to do. But the greatest of their hosts spilled out onto the Bone March, for the agents of the Brotherhood knew that turmoil within the Great Kingdom was so great that it could not muster effective opposition. And because they had parleyed with Herzog Grace Grennell of The North Province, and he had promised to delay his defense. But also because they’d parlayed with others, far darker in purpose than Grennell.

    Thus, the orcs and the gnolls made great gains into the March in so little time. But not so in the Theocracy of the Pale, Nyrond, or Ratik, for there resistance was stiff, swift and sure.


    563 CY  The Bone March fell to the humanoids and all humans in that area were either enslaved or killed, Lord Clement among them, as he was held up within the walls of Spinecastle, waiting for succor from Ratik and the North Province, when it fell after a prolonged siege, virtually overnight. Survivors say that the orcs and gnolls had nothing to do with its fall, that it fell from within, that dark forces rose up from its very foundations, causing those within to throw open the gates in their haste to flee, and only then did the humanoids gain entry. It was the castles’ curse, they said, making some gesture they thought would ward off the Evil they said they saw that day.

    Spinecastle


    The hordes did not hold the castle for long; for they too were struck by such horrors that drove them from its halls. While within, they were driven mad; and those that survived said that blood flowed from its walls, that rooms rippled and disappeared, and that they were induced to strike one another down. Retreating from Spinecastle’s horrors, they never again entered it.

    The Knight Protectors of the Bone March were overwhelmed by the hordes, and those who could fled to Ratik, bolstering the defenses of Ratikhill.

    This land fell to the horde of invaders [Euroz, Kell, Eiger and others], its lord slain, and its army slain or enslaved. Humans in the area were likewise enslaved or killed, and the whole territory is now ruled by one or more of the humanoid chiefs. [Chronological History of Eastern Oerik]

    The Euroz orcs and the gnolls continued to flow out of the Rakers, betraying and attacking the North Province in their blood frenzy, even as Spinecastle held out against them.

    Grennell expected as much and was prepared. He met them within the March, and drawing them into defensive redoubts, he slowed their advance, and then halted it altogether; and having done so, he parleyed with them and allied with them against Nyrond and Almor, for he believed that such a force could not be defeated until it had blunted itself against hard resolve, and he much rather it do so against that of other lands and not his. Then he would turn on the humanoids, and take their spoils as his own.


    What did the Scarlet Brotherhood think about their success? They were elated. They were infuriated. The orcs slaughtered their agents along with all the other humans, for the orcs understood that those red-robed whisperers were not their friends. They understood that they were pawns in a greater game that was not their own. And they recognized the scent of slavery when they smelled it.


    The Death Knight Lord Monduiz Dephaar made good use of the chaos that ensued, craving a kingdom for himself out of the lands surrounding his stronghold somewhere in the Blemu Hills in the wake of the collapse of the Bone March, and even now commands legions of humanoids and bandits, who call him Dreadlord of the Hills.

    Both Prince Grenell of the North Kingdom and the humanoids of Spinecastle gave the Dreadlord wide berth.


    565 CY  Ratik was in need of allies. Their most stalwart ally, Marquis Clement of the Bone March had fallen and his lands were in the thrall of orcs and ogres and Death Knights. Tenh was beset by Stonefist and the Theocracy of the Pale, and indeed, the Fists had raided Ratik’s very north. Their only “ally” was the Theocracy of the Pale, if having a common enemy could necessitate their being allies, for the Theocracy was, if anything, hostile to all who weren’t blind adherents to the Faith of their Blinding Light, and the people of Ratik were not.

                    But they were not entirely without hope. They had kin. Of a sort. The Fruztii had passed them by in their raiding. Why? They’d been enemies once, after all. Because the Fruztii had kin within their domain, and their kin had become a people of Ratik.

    Marner gathered those elders of Fruztii descent and asked them, “Will your brothers to the north treat with us?” After much talk and deliberation, the elders agreed that the Frutzii would. The Fruztii wished to be free of the Schnai. They were beset upon by the Fists. And their strength had been broken upon the shield of the Great Kingdom.


    Korund of Ratik

    But who? They chose Korund of Ulthek, for his mother was of Fruztii decent and his father was the Ward of the North. And Korund sailed north to visit his kin north of the Timberway. And with their aid, he secured a meeting in Djekul. And then in Krakenheim, where His Most Warlike Majesty, King Ralff listened carefully and was intrigued.

    Soon, Marner came to Krakenheim, and Krakenheim came to Marner.

                “Where else might we find allies,” His Valorous Prominence, Lexnol, the Lord Baron of Ratik asked.

                The Fruztii pondered this question. Fireland, they said.


    Fireland

                 In 565 CY, the explorer Korund of Ratik sailed with a number of barbarian friends to Fire-land, returning with a crude map made with respectable instruments and a bit of magic. From this, the Savant-Sage and I have concluded that Fire-land is a collection of islands. No single island is great enough to be a continent, though the largest might be the largest island on Oerth. The whole surface area of Fire-land would likely cover less than one million square miles. We would so like to have a more accurate and recent assessment! [TAB - 11]


    566 CY  The Rovers may have been defeated by the Horned Society at the Battle of Opicm River, but they could still be a thorn in its side. Pride dictated that they spit in the face of defeat. Pride dictated that they regain their lost lands. They allied with the Weigweir and together, they began raiding northeastern edge of Fellreev. 

    The young tribesmen who matured into warriors during the last two generations avoided their old battling and hunting grounds along the Fellreev Forest and the plains of the Dulsi, for they feared the might of luz’s hordes. Instead, these nomads and woodland hunters withdrew to the steppes and other sites to the north and east. Their numbers increased, and they practiced their fighting skills against the men of the Hold of Stonefist and the savages and humanoids they met on raids into the Cold Marshes. Despite the difficulties of communication, the western tribes of the Rovers of the Barrens actually made alliances with the Wegwiur.

    In 566 CY there were a few light raids into the northeastern edge of the Fellreev. In a few years, wardog parties were reported in the forest west of Cold Run. [Dragon # 56 - 28]


    570 CY  Though few knew of it, Iuz had been freed from his imprisonment beneath Castle Greyhawk.

    Whether this was by error or perhaps design on the part of Robilar, who secretly carried a pair of highly unusual dispelling magics about himself on that fateful day, sages cannot say. What is known is that at the moment of Iuz's being freed, Archmage Tenser arrived on the scene together with Bigby the mage and a powerful fighter going by the unlikely name of Neb Retnar. Tenser had learned of Robilar's plan, feared that Riggby was being duped, and came post haste to prevent their action. Tenser and his cohort began battling the freed, enraged demigod. Riggby at once aided the assault. Robilar and Quij considered flight and felt their chances would be best if they made odds of four against one into six against one. Iuz was very nearly destroyed in that conflict, escaping to the Abyss just before Bigby would have destroyed him with his infamous crushing hand spell. He left behind him a backwash of chaotic evil magic which altered the alignment of Retnar, left Riggby catatonic for days, and caved in a large part of Castle Greyhawk's deepest dungeon complexes. Since that time, Iuz has always protected himself with a carefully secreted soul gem hidden on an unknown, unbelievably well-guarded Abyssal plane. [WGR5 - 5]


    Iuz

    He seethed. He raged. He could think of nothing but revenge. Against those who’d imprisoned him, against that overblown pup Robilar who’d tried to kill him, against Bigby who almost had. Indeed, against all of the Flanaess. And he was far more powerful than when Cuthbert had locked him away.

    He returned to Dorakaa, and finding his fiefs disloyal, he exterminated most of the “independent” lords of the lands he still claimed as his own.  Their bones, along with those other “unfaithful” he murdered, lengthened his Road of Skulls.

    After his release, Iuz was filled with a desire for vengeance and conquest. Sixty-five years of banishment had concentrated his mind wonderfully. With a savagery and cruelty allied to plans formed over many long years of thought, Iuz acted to gather together the warring bandits and humanoids of his land with an iron grip. He drew together his Boneheart, a Greater and Lesser circle of spellcasters, six in each echelon. His agents began to scour the Flanaess, seeking arcane evils and relics. Iuz readied his forces for a great war. [WGR5 - 3]




    One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”

    Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.

     Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 56, 293.

    The Art

    All art is wholly owned by the artists.
    It's Medieval Time by kozivara
    knight-full-plate-armor Wallpaper
    Elsest Fortress by aikurisu
    Spinecastle, by Kalman Andrasofszky, Dragon 293
    Viking by matejko77
    Viking Metropolis by ourlak
    Iuz, Age of Conan


    Sources:
    1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
    1043 The City of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1989
    1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
    1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
    2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
    2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
    9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
    9386 WGR3, Rary the Traitor, 1992
    9398 WGR4, The Marklands, 1993
    9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
    11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood, 1999
    11742 Gazetteer, 2000
    11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
    WGR Ivid the Undying, 1998
    Dragon 56, 293
    OJ Oerth Journal, produced by the Council of Greyhawk, and appearing on their website
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