The Chronicles of Keoland - Introduction
Date: Fri, June 13, 2008
The Chronicles of Keoland is a history of the greatest surviving bastion of the Suel told reign by reign from the founding of the kingdom. The Kings of Keoland form the organizational structure for each entry but within each entry is found a history much broader than that associated with the ruling monarch. Each reign is a separate post, 30 some in all. This first is a general introduction, acknowledgment of those who have contributed to Keoland's development and certain details that are germane to each of the entries to follow.
The Chronicles of Keoland - An Introduction
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
Precis of Adventure
The Chronicles of Keoland is a 33 part series of which this Introduction and Forward is the first. Each entry hereafter will examine in chronological order the reign of one of Keoland’s kings (referenced in the Living Greyhawk Journal #1 Table of Keoish Kings). Each entry is set up in encyclopedic format with the following subheadings:
Ruler - Name and popular titles
House - Lineage and house rank
Reign - Chronological reign and dates
Fate - Death, Disappearance, Exile
Queen - Royal consort
History - Common or historical details of reign
Sub Rosa - Secret history of reign
Magic - Magical history of reign
Magical Exemplar - Example of magical practice from reign
Religion - Religious history of reign
Religious Exemplar - Example of religious practice from reign
Tournaments - Discussion of tourney practices from period
Honors, Grants, Decrees and Orders - Honorifics dating from period
Literature - Discussion of literature of period with sample tomes
Wine - Discussion of vintages originating in the period
Arts - Discussion of dominant art forms of the time
Treasures - Valuables, magical and otherwise, from the period
Coinage - Complete list of mintings, grading and appearance
Each entry is intended to provide specific details of the period.
Taken together, the entries provide a thoroughgoing look at the history and cultural of the time. Adventure hooks are included in all but the most abbreviated entries. The intent is not just to provide historic detail but to provide detail that can be used as a jumping off point for present day adventures.
Many conspiracies, alliances, antagonisms or rivalries that date from hundreds of years ago still exist in various ways. Indeed, the greatest conspiracy in the history of Keoland, and a direct threat to its continued viability as a nation state, plays out over the entire history of Keoland’s 32 kings - and the curtain has yet to come down upon the final act. Lesser events, seemingly confined to the past, still resonate in the corners of Keoland if not necessarily always within the corridors of power. Wheels turn within wheels and spawn adventures.
There are treasures magical and mundane to be pursued. Many of the items of yore are lost and might be recovered. Other items, if stolen, would need to be recovered. There are powerful tomes that might be acquired, valuable works of art, rare wines and fantastic treasures to be pursued. New holidays, pageants and rituals are introduced, all ripe with possibilities for adventure. New villains, heroes and monsters, and some that may be by turns all three, are presented. There are honors to be had in service to king and country or at tourney. There is adventure.
The details in each entry will provide not only multiple adventure possibilities but a level of consistent, interconnected (within and between reigns, and over generations) detail that will allow DMs to present Keoland to their players with a level of depth or verisimilitude that is found nowhere else in such abundance.
Of Kings and Canon
The Chronicles of Keoland incorporates canon but is not in its entirety canon. Some details are canonical. Some details are reasonably derived from canon. Most details are entirely new inventions.
The goal of the Chronicles of Keoland is not to establish “the facts.” Each and every DM is free to and should modify the information presented for his or her own campaign. As written, the Chronicles of Keoland present one view of Keoland’s long history. That history is certainly long enough and sufficiently convoluted for there to be different interpretations and different versions. There are enough open ends presented that a DM should have no difficulty adding their own material, modifying the material presented or completely changing any particular parts that may be necessary in a given campaign.
In this sense, the Chronicles of Keoland is a “living document.” Indeed, in its writing, and responsible for not a few open ends, are any number of “alternate versions” perhaps akin to a “director’s cut" or the extras on a DVD. These are not presented but the point is that such easily could be. Every DM is invited to create their own “Director’s Cut,” if they should so choose.
A Note on Coinage
Presented for each King of Keoland is a complete list of all coin mintings, to include individualized descriptions of the various coins. Most obviously useful as dungeon trappings that can signal dates, these coins are also useful in imagining the economic history of Keoland, one of the “Director’s Cut” features that mostly got left on the cutting room floor for space considerations. While it is immediately possible from the historical and coinage entries to grasp the basic economic situation of a given reign, the coinage entries are at least as useful as dungeon dressing and valuables themselves. For this latter purpose, it is necessary to devise a method of valuing old coins. Rather than repeat this information for every reign, it is presented here.
Uniformity of Coin Weights
The Flanaess enjoys unprecedented international monetary stability. From the Solnor Ocean to the Sea of Dust a uniform set of weights and measures provides a common and universally recognized medium of exchange in the Platinum Piece (PP), the Gold Piece (GP), the Electrum Piece (EP) the Silver Piece (SP) and the Copper Piece (CP). While regional variances in nomenclature will be found, coinage is uniformly made of but five precious metals or alloys in but five uniform weights and measurements. There is no issue of varying rates of exchange between currencies. There is no widespread debasement of the coinage. There is no currency manipulation. There is no significant problem with counterfeiting. This remarkable stability allows international trade to take place between countries, peoples and regions with a frequency and ease unheard of in other comparable histories.
Several theories attempt to account for this uniformity. Most popularly, the influence of preexisting demi-human currencies of a uniform nature are said to have influenced later human inhabitants of the Flanaess. Of course, this begs the question of how demi-human currencies, notably those of elves and dwarves, came to be uniform among themselves. Almost as popularly, the rise and long historical reign of Imperial Aerdi is said to have created a defacto uniformity to which those regions not absorbed into the empire conformed themselves. Less popularly, the Suel peoples are credited with introducing the concept of a uniform currency, a holdover from the destroyed Suel Imperium. Whatever the case, uniformity and the economic stability it engenders are notable facts of economic life in the Flanaess.
The practical differences between a coin of a particular metal or alloy from one region and a similar specimen of another are, then, nonexistant. No one in Tenh or Sunndi or Steirch or Ket bothers with whether the gold or silver pieces they exchange for goods and services are of local origin or international. A gold piece is a gold piece is a gold piece, and so forth. That coins will vary in their proper nomenclature by region and will be variously marked or engraved is of no practical consequence to any but the numismatist, antiquarian or historian. It is to these latter sort that details do matter and a particularly rare or fine coin of a sought after type may fetch more, perhaps much more, than its face value. It is essential to note in this regard, however, that a rare coin worth a great deal is only worth such a sum to one who appreciates rare coins. To the tavern keeper, it is just another coin of its type. It is wise to proceed cautiously and to not readily imagine that any single coin represents a fortune. It likely does not, even if the coin is unusual, for most do not appreciate such subtleties and a buyer willing to pay more than the face value for the coin may be rarer than the coin itself.
The Sheldomar Valley is home to the oldest tradition of minted money in the Flanaess, whether human or demi-human. Dominated by the coinage of Keoland, the Sheldomar yet sees any number of other national coins in its commerce. Nowhere else in the Flanaess, with the possible exception of Old Aerdi, is such a wide historical coinage found. To the numismatic collector, the coinage of the Sheldomar is first among but one near equal.
Grading, Scarcity and Price
Coins are graded on a 7 point scale as:
Fair (1.25X= Y)
Very Good (2X=Y)
Very Fine (10X=Y)
Uncirculated (UC) (25X=Y)
The increasing gradations reflect the condition or preservation of the images and letters incised or stamped onto the coin.
Likewise coins are placed on a 6 point scale to reflect their scarcity:
Very Rare (10Y)
Antique coins are those coins now all but out of circulation and nearly impossible to find except in collections or the most ancient of hordes. Unique coins are those coins of which fewer than a dozen examples are known to exist.
While no definitive prices may be given for rare coins for reasons set out, supra, as a rule of thumb a rare coin will have a value equal at least its face value in GP (X) multiplied by a factor that reflects its condition, yielding a sum (Y), multiplied by a factor that reflects the scarcity of the coin, as noted above. So, for example, a unique, uncirculated gold piece would be worth: (25x1)x1000=25,000gp.
If it is desired to make rare coins more valuable, the sum arrived at by the above method may be further multiplied by a factor which reflects the age of the coin (Z). For every 200 years of age, the multiple would increase:
0 to 200 Years - 1Z
200 to 400 Years - 1.5Z
400 to 800 Years - 2Z
800 to 1000 Years - 2.5Z
1000 to 2000 plus Years - 3Z
2000 to 3000 Years - 4Z
3000 plus Years - 5Z
So, for example, the unique, uncirculated gold piece worth 25,000gp from above would be worth 50,000gp if it were 400 or more years old.
The Chronicles of Keoland has taken just over a year and a half to write, with some notable stops and starts for research or just plain exhaustion. Along with the previously published Guide to the Viscounty of Salinmoor, it is possible to begin an immediate campaign in Keoland without further preamble. This is precisely what I have done to good result. I hope all who read this will find the Chronicles an interesting read and a useful game aid. Any questions or comments may be directed to me at GVDammerung@yahoo.com.
As you begin to read the individual entries, a word about story arcs. Please recall that each of the Chronicle entries, and sub-entries, are frequently interrelated. Sometimes the relationship is between the present and previous entry or the present and next entry but there are also story elements that skip multiple entries. For example, a prominent family may fall out of favor for 200 years only to rise again to prominence and seek to reclaim its past glory. Patience is called for when a story arc may not be concluded within any single entry. As much as possible, I have tried to make the Chronicles a historic tapestry rather than only collection of self contained reigns. I think I achieved a reasonable compromise between conclusiveness and broader continuity in each entry but probably not to everyone’s particular taste.