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The Flanaess is the eastern part of the continent of Oerik, one of the four continents of the fictional world of Oerth in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game. The Flanaess has been the setting of dozens of adventures published between the 1970s and 2000s and continues to be the central focus of the campaign world.
In late 1972, Dave Arneson demonstrated a new type of game to a group of gamers in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, including game designer Gary Gygax. Gygax agreed to develop a set of rules with Arneson and get the game published; the game eventually became known as Dungeons & Dragons. Gygax designed a set of dungeons underneath the ruins of Castle Greyhawk as a testing ground for new rules, character classes and spells. In those early days, there was no "Flanaess"; the world map of "Oerth" was developed by Gygax as circumstances dictated, the new cities and lands simply drawn over a map of North America. Gygax and his friend Rob Kuntz further developed this campaign setting, and by 1976, the lands within a radius of 50 miles had been mapped in depth, and the lands within a radius of approximately 500 miles were in outline form. In addition, more distant lands had been roughly sketched out to accommodate various adventures. (For more information about the first days of Gygax's home campaign, see Greyhawk.)
Following yet more work, in 1978 Gygax agreed to publish his world and decided to redevelop Oerth from scratch. Once he had sketched out the entire planet to his satisfaction, one hemisphere of Oerth was dominated by a massive continent called Oerik. Gygax decided to concentrate his first efforts on the continent of Oerik and asked TSR's printing house about the maximum size of paper they could handle; the answer was 34" x 22" (86 cm x 56 cm). He found that, using the scale he desired, he could fit only the northeast corner of Oerik on two of the sheets. This corner of Oerik became known as "the Flanaess", so named in Gygax's mind because of the peaceful people known as the Flannae who had once lived there. Gygax also added many more new regions, countries and cities, bringing the number of political states to 60:
Needing original placenames for all of the geographical and political places on his map, Gygax sometimes resorted to wordplay based on the names of friends and acquaintances. For instance, Perrenland was named after Jeff Perren, who co-wrote the rules for Chainmail with Gygax; Urnst was a homophone of Ernst (his son Ernie); and Sunndi was a near-homophone of Cindy, another of Gygax's children.
From Gygax's prototype map, Darlene Pekul, a freelance artist in Lake Geneva, developed a full colour map on a hex grid. Gygax was so pleased with the end result that he quickly switched his home Greyhawk campaign over to the new world he had created.
This map formed the basis of the World of Greyhawk when it was published as the 32-page The World of Greyhawk folio in 1980.
Gygax also developed a thousand-year history for the Flanaess that involved a series of cultural and military invasions: the peaceful Flannae had been pushed out by the warlike Suloise; the Suloise in turn had been pushed out by the noble Oeridians, who set up a Great Kingdom of peace and prosperity. However, by 576 CY (the year Gygax chose for his setting), the Oeridian empire had grown decadent and evil, and many subservient regions were rising up in rebellion.
In 1992, after Gygax had been forced out of TSR, the storyline of the Flanaess was moved forward a decade by the From the Ashes boxed set, which dealt with the aftermath of wide-ranging conflict known as The Greyhawk Wars. In 1998, the storyline was advanced even further, to 591 CY, by The Adventure Begins softcover. The massive multiplayer Living Greyhawk campaign, which started in 2001, used The Adventure Begins as a starting point, and advanced the timeline of the campaign ahead one year for each of real-world time. For example, in 2002, the campaign year was 592 CY. In 2003, it was 593 CY.)
As well as being home to a number of demihuman and humanoid races, it is also inhabited by the Suel, Bakluni, Oerid, and Flan subraces of humanity. The Oerid once inhabited the plains of Central Oerik, but moved into what is now known as Ull starting 1,235 years ago. The Oeridians settled in much of the Flanaess, often conquering and assimilating the Flan natives and Suel settlers, though some lands, such as the Sheldomar Valley and Vale of Luna, were settled more peacefully.
The Flanaess can be broken down geographically as follows: the Baklunish Basin in the northwest, the Empire of Iuz in the north, the Thillonrian Peninsula in the northeast, the Sea of Dust in the far west, the Sheldomar Valley in the west, old Ferrond and its southern frontier (including the City of Greyhawk) at the center of the Flanaess, old Sulm and the Aerdy frontier to the east, the old Great Kingdom to the far east, and the Amedio Jungle to the southwest.
Aerdy properly refers to the now-defunct Kingdom of Aerdy. Sometimes "Aerdy" is used in reference to the Oeridian tribe which founded the kingdom, though the proper term for the tribe is "Aerdi" (// AIR-dee) (which is also the adjectival form). "Aerdy" can also be used in reference to the Great Kingdom of Aerdy, the imperial successor state of the Kingdom of Aerdy.
The ancient Flan kingdom of Ahlissa was founded over 1,700 years ago by the legendary Queen Ehlissa the Enchanter. Modern Ahlissa is generally located in the southeastern portion of the Flanaess, and is one of the largest countries on the subcontinent. Ahlissa is a feudal empire with hereditary rulership, and is currently ruled by His Transcendent Imperial Majesty, Overking Xavener I, Grand Prince of Kalstrand, Crowned Head of House Darmen.
In 586 CY King Lynwerd I of Nyrond seized the western half of Almor (// AL-mawr), placing it under his protection and creating the Almorian Protectorate, and appointing a governor to administer the new province.
The Amedio Jungle is a large stretch of tropical rainforest located in the southwestern Flanaess, on the continent of Oerik. Lying east of the Hellfurnaces, the Amedio extends over 300 leagues south from its northernmost point at Jeklea Bay. The border of the Amedio Jungle and the Hellfurnaces was the setting of Dungeon's Shackled City Adventure Path. This adventure detailed the history of the region between Jeklea Bay, the Amedio, and the Hellfurnaces, going back 3000 years to the time of the spellweavers' domination of the area. In that time, a battle between the Abyssal hordes and the forces of good took place around what is now the city of Cauldron.
The Baklunish Basin is the northwestern portion of the Flanaess. Consisting chiefly of remnants of the ancient Baklunish Empire, the human peoples of these lands are known as the Baklunish. The most important parts of this region include the nations of Ekbir, Ket, Tusmit, Ull, and Zeif, as well as the Dry Steppes and the Plains of the Paynims. Though not technically part of the Baklunish Basin, the lands of the Tiger and Wolf Nomads are sometimes included, as they are populated by people of Baklunish stock.
The basin is bordered to the east by the Crystalmist Mountains, Yatil Mountains, and Barrier Peaks, and to the south by the Sulhaut Mountains. To the north, it is bordered by the Dramidj Ocean and to the west its limits are defined by the Tyurzi Mountains.
The Bandit Kingdoms are generally located in the central portion of the Flanaess. They are governed by various petty dictatorships theoretically owing fealty to Iuz.
Bissel, properly known as the March of Bissel, is a political state of the Flanaess.
Modern Bissel is generally located in the western-central portion of the Flanaess. It is bordered by the Barrier Peaks to the north and west, by the Dim Forest to the south, and by the Lorridges to the east.
As of 591 CY, the most populous towns are Thornward, and Pellak (pop. 2,300). Thornward itself was once the capital of Bissel, but is now a town governed jointly by Bissel, Gran March, Ket, and Veluna (resulting from an agreement known as the Thornward Division).
As of 591 CY, the population of Bissel totaled 123,880 persons, over 80% being humans of Oeridian, Suel, and Baklunish descent. Approximately 10% of the population is dwarven, with other humanoid races making up the remainder of the population.
The most widely spoken languages in Bissel include Common, various Baklunish dialects, and Dwarven.
Bissel is a feudal monarchy, and ruled by His Lofty Grace, Larrangin, the Margrave of Bissel, and owing fealty to Gran March and Veluna. The margrave is chosen by the leadership of the Knights of the Watch.
In the Living Greyhawk campaign, Bissel corresponded to New England (the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine).
The country itself is divided into twenty-six knight-baronies, eight townships, and one capital township, for the national capital of Pellak.
Bissel's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Per pale indented gules and argent, over all a tower sable.
Bissel is noted for producing foodstuffs, cloth, gold, and low-quality gems from mining operations.
The original Blackmoor began life in the early 1970s as the personal setting of Dave Arneson, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, first as a setting for Arneson's miniature wargames, then as an early testing ground for what would become D&D. Though published in booklet form by Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) in 1975, as the second supplement to D&D (the first being Greyhawk), Blackmoor actually predates Greyhawk as a campaign setting, a fact which Gary Gygax acknowledged in the foreword to the Blackmoor supplement.
Blackmoor as a location within the Greyhawk setting came about both as an inside-joke by Gygax, and as a way for him to acknowledge his fellow writers' creations (Len Lakofka's Lendore Isles occupy a similar position in the world). Having certain locations exist across the campaign settings of multiple DMs also became a convenient way to explain how player characters such as Mordenkainen (Gygax's character) and Robilar (Rob Kuntz's character) could be adventuring in Blackmoor's City of the Gods at one sitting, while exploring the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk the next.
Modern Blackmoor is generally located in the northwestern portion of the Flanaess. It is a small and inhospitable realm lying almost completely within the boundaries of the northern reaches of the Cold Marshes. The Burneal Forest forms a western boundary of sorts, while the Land of Black Ice does the same to the north.
As of 591 CY, the population of Blackmoor totaled 110,000 persons. Almost 40% of these inhabitants are humans of predominantly Flan and Oeridian stock, although some Suel and Baklunish can be found as well. Another 20% comprise orcish tribes that roam the region (some under the control of the Egg of Coot, some not). A slightly smaller percentage of halflings is also present, while elves, gnomes, half-orcs, half-elves, and other races make up the remainder of the population in increasingly smaller percentages.
As of 591 CY, the most populous town is Dantredun (pop. 700) on the edge of the Burneal. Blackmoor Town, the original capital of the archbarony, was conquered and destroyed in 541 CY by the "Egg of Coot", a mysterious being with a significant amount of magical power at his disposal. The "town" that serves as the Egg's home contains a number of automata (some reports place the number as high as 200), though very few living beings (if any) reside there
The actual structure of Blackmoor's government is unknown. His Luminous Preponderancy, Archbaron Bestmo of Blackmoor claims the title of "archbaron", and with it, rule over the ten underbaronies of the region. However, Teuod Fent, formerly of the Bandit Kingdoms, has claimed Ramshorn Castle as his own, and with it the title of "baron". Nonhuman tribes also roam the area, though their allegiances are usually only to themselves. The national capital is Dantredun (the seat of Bestmo's power).
The Bone March is a political state of the Flanaess. The Bone March is generally located in the eastern portion of the Flanaess. It rests in the narrow strip of land bounded by the Rakers in the west and the Teesar Torrent in the east, and curving around to encompass Johnsport on the coast of the Solnor Ocean. The cool, rocky farmland of the Bone March is relatively poor and never supported a dense population or large cities. Its farmlands are now desolate wilderness.
As of 591 CY, the population of Bone March totaled 310,000 persons, though only a large minority are human (mainly Oeridian stock, but some Suel and Flan as well). About 20% of the population are orcs, and nearly the same number are halflings; gnomes, Elves, half-orcs, half-elves, and dwarves make up decreasing numbers of the remaining citizens.
As of 591 CY, the most populous towns are Knurl (13,500), Spinecastle (pop. 6,300(?)), and Johnsport (pop. 3,500(?)). The numbers above do not take into account the large number of other uncounted goblins, gnolls, etc.
The most widely spoken languages in Bone March include Common, Old Oeridian, Orc, Halfling, Gnomish, and Elven. Goblin, Gnoll, and other nonhuman languages are spoken as well, due to the large numbers of those races present in the land.
Bone March was formerly a feudal marchland of the Great Kingdom, and ruled by His Nobility, Clement, the Marquis of Bone March; since 563 CY, it has been controlled by a conclave of nonhuman chiefs. The national capital is Spinecastle. Bone March's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Gules, three shin-bones, two in saltire, surmounted by one in pale, argent.
Bone March is noted for producing silver and low- to average-quality gems. Bone March's coinage is based on Aerdy's standard, and consists of the platinum orb (pp), gold ivid (gp), electrum noble (ep), silver penny (sp), and copper common (cp).    
The Bright Lands, properly known as the Empire of the Bright Lands, is a dictatorial political state of the Flanaess.
The boundaries of the Bright Lands are contained entirely within the bounds of the Bright Desert. The Abbor Alz form the northern and eastern borders, while the Woolly Bay and the Sea of Gearnat form natural boundaries to the country's west and south.
As of 591 CY, the population of the Bright Lands totaled 26,500 persons, the vast majority (almost 80%) being humans of mainly Flan descent. Dwarves account for the next largest group, with the remainder of the population (barely 1%) consisting of mostly centaurs.
There is no state sponsored religion within the country. Among the Flan tribesmen, worship of Beory, Obad-Hai, and Pelor is most common. Geshtai and Istus are most popular with the few Paynim in the region, while a few scattered goblin tribes worship Maglubiyet and other deities of the goblin pantheon.
The most widely spoken languages in the Bright Lands are Flan and Ancient Suloise (by the native tribesmen), and various Baklunish dialects (by the Paynims).
The Empire of the Bright Lands is a dictatorship with Rary of Ket as the head of state. The realm functions as a minor city-state administered from Rary's tower in the Brass Hills. Rary maintains his power with the assistance of Robilar, a powerful warrior who serves as commander of Rary's forces in the Empire.
The state's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Gules, a gauntlet proper gripping a crescent or; on a chief azure three mullets argent.
The Bright Lands does not currently produce its own coinage.
Celene, properly known as the Faerie Kingdom of Celene, is a political state, and the most prominent elven nation, of the Flanaess.
Celene is bordered by the Kron Hills to the north, the Lortmil Mountains to the west and southwest, and the Jewel River to the east and southeast. It is a hereditary feudal monarchy ruled by a grey elven king or queen. The current monarch is Her Fey Majesty, Queen Yolande, Perfect Flower of Celene, Lady Rhalta of All Elvenkind. Yolande has been queen since 361 CY, when the elven princes of the realm assembled to choose a leader to unite the elves against expansionist Keoland.
The national capital is Enstad.
Celene's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Purpure, a tree proper.
The modern County of Ulek is generally located in the southwestern portion of the Flanaess, and is considered part of the Sheldomar Valley region. It is bordered by the Lortmil Mountains to the north and east, by the Old River to the east and south, and by the Kewl River to the West. As of 591 CY, the most populous towns are Jurnre (pop. 13,100), Kewlbanks (pop. 10,900), and Courwood (pop. 7,800).
As of 591 CY, the population of the County of Ulek totaled 370,000 persons, the majority (almost 80%) being humans of Oeridian, Flan, and Suel descent. Gnomes are the next most populous group (8%), followed by halflings (6%, predominantly of the lightfoot variety), with the remainder being a mix of elves, dwarves, half-elves, and half-orcs.
The County of Urnst is situated on the east coast of the Nyr Dyv, and bordered by the Duchy of Urnst to the southwest, The Kingdom of Nyrond to the south and east, and the Bandit Kingdoms to the north. The County of Urnst's capital is Radigast City. The state's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Vert, a swan argent.
The Duchy of Urnst, properly known as the Duchy Palatine of Urnst, is a political state of the Flanaess.
As of 591 CY, the most populous towns are Leukish (pop. 22,300), Nellix (pop. 13,400), Seltaren (pop. 9,800), Nyrstran (pop. 8,600), Pontyrel (pop. 7,550), and Goldplain (pop. 6,700).
As of 591 CY, the population of the Duchy of Urnst totaled 751,850 persons, the vast majority (almost 80%) being humans of mainly Suel descent. Elves, gnomes, halflings, dwarves, half-elves, and half-orcs make up the remainder of the population.
The most widely spoken languages in the Duchy of Urnst include Common, Halfling, and Elven.
The Duchy of Urnst is an independent feudal monarchy (theoretically owing fealty to the old Great Kingdom) with hereditary rulership currently held by His Most Lordly Grace Karll Lorinar, the Duke of Urnst, Warden of the Abbor-Alz. The Honorable Chamber is a contingent of noble and high-born Suel that serves as the Duke's advisors. The national capital is Leukish.
The Duchy of Urnst's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Vert, a brown bear rampant proper.
The Duchy of Urnst is noted for producing a variety of foodstuffs, and mining operations produce silver, electrum, gold, platinum, and gemstones of all qualities.
The Empire of Iuz is classified by the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer as an "imperial theocratic dictatorship." Though Iuz holds all power, his rule is inconsistent. Iuz's priesthood and other spellcasters manage the affairs of the empire in his name. Iuz and his servants have more control over some regions of the empire than others.
The capital of the empire is the city of Dorakaa.
The Empire of Iuz consists of five loosely defined political regions, though they are not considered actual provinces.
Also called the Homeland of Iuz, this region lies mainly between the Dulsi and Opicim Rivers, south of the Cold Marshes, and north of Whyestil Lake.
Once referred to as the Bandit Kingdoms, this region lies west of the Zumker and Artonsamay Rivers, east of the Ritensa River, and is bounded in part by the Fellreev Forest and Bluff Hills. This region is actually made up of a number of warlord fiefs.
These grasslands south of the Icy Sea and the Wastes are also known as the Barrens, the Barren Plains, or the Northern Barrens. North of the Bandit Lands, the Barrens' eastern border is formed by the Forlorn Forest, western Griff Mountains, and the Bluff Hills. Their western border is formed by the Cold Marshes and Opicim River. Once ruled by the nomadic Flan tribes known as the Rovers of the Barrens, these people are but a shadow of their former glory.
This region is bound by Whyestil Lake, the Veng and Ritensa Rivers, and the Fellreev Forest. These lands were for a time ruled by the Horned Society, before Iuz once again took control during the Greyhawk Wars.
Bordered by the Ritensa river, Nyr Dyv, and Rift Barrens, this land was ruled before the Greyhawk Wars by the chivalrous order known as the Knights of Holy Shielding. Though a western portion of the Shield Lands were reclaimed in the Great Northern Crusade of 586-588, the majority of the area is still under Iuz's control.
The Viceroyalty of Ferrond consisted of the modern-day states of Furyondy (Furyon), Highfolk, Perrenland (the Quaglands), the Shield Lands, Veluna (Voll), and the hilly regions northeast of the Vesve Forest, known then as part of the Northern Reaches.
The Frost Barbarians, properly known as the Kingdom of Fruztii, is a political state of the Flanaess. The people themselves are sometimes referred to as simply the Fruztii. The lands of the Frost Barbarians are located in the far northeastern portion of the Flanaess, on what is known as the Thillonrian Peninsula. They occupy the coastal plains between the Griff and Corusk Mountains and the Grendep Bay. Their lands are separated from those of the Snow Barbarians by the Spikey Forest, while the Timberway Forest forms their southern border against Ratik. As of 591 CY, the most populous towns are Krakenheim (pop. 4,500) and Djekul (pop. 3,100). The most popular deities among the Frost Barbarians are Kord, Llerg, Norebo, Xerbo, Vatun, and Syrul.
The Frost Barbarians maintain a hereditary feudal monarchy, currently ruled by His Most Warlike Majesty, King Hundgred Rälffson of the Fruztii. The Frost Barbarians are also party to a political alliance with Ratik, known as the Northern Alliance. The Frost Barbarians' coat of arms is blazoned thus: Ermine, a roundel azure.
Furyondy, properly known as the Kingdom of Furyondy, is a feudal kingdom of the Flanaess, and a successor state of Ferrond. The Kingdom of Furyondy is a hereditary feudal monarchy. The power of the kingship is limited by the Noble Council. Since 288 CY, the nation's capital has been Chendl. Modern Furyondy is bordered by the Nyr Dyv to the east; by the Veng River, Whyestil Lake, and the Vesve Forest to the north; and by the Velverdyva River to the south and west. The most widely spoken languages in Furyondy include Common, Velondi, Elvish, and Halfling.
In the Living Greyhawk campaign, Furyondy corresponds to the state of Michigan.
Geoff was first described in 1983 in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting, where Geoff is properly known as the Grand Duchy of Geoff, and is a ducal political state of the fictional continent called the Flanaess.
Besides being in literature and serving as a potential land of adventure for players of the Dungeons and Dragons campaign, the Grand Duchy of Geoff was selected by The RPGA and Wizards of the Coast as a region for its Living Greyhawk campaign (2000–2008). As a result, thousands of role-players enjoyed adventures and other gaming events held in Geoff.
The modern Gran March is generally located in the western-central portion of the Flanaess, and is considered part of the Sheldomar Valley region. It is bordered by Bissel to the north, the Lortmil Mountains to the north and northeast, the Lort River to the east, Sheldomar River and the Rushmoors to the south, and the Realstream River to the west. As of 591 CY, the most populous towns are Hookhill (pop. 7,500), and Shiboleth (pop. 5,900).
As of 591 CY, the population of Gran March totaled 254,600 persons, the vast majority (almost 80%) being humans of mainly Suel and Oeridian descent. Elves are the next largest group (8%, mainly Sylvan), followed by dwarves (5%), halflings (3%), and gnomes (2%); a mix of half-elves, half-orcs and other races makes up the remainder of the population.
The most widely spoken languages in Gran March include Common, Keolandish, Elven, and Dwarven.
Gran March is a feudal monarchy, ruled by His Most Resolute Magnitude, Magnus Vrianian, Commandant of Gran March; the commandant is chosen by a vote of nobles and knights every five years. The current state owes minor fealty to Keoland, and oversees the current government in Bissel. The government and nobles are strongly militarily oriented, with many connections to the Knights of the Watch. The national capital is Hookhill.
Gran March's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Argent; on a chief party per pale gules and azure, in dexter a lion rampant sable, in sinister a sword per bend sinister of the second.
Gran March is noted for producing a variety of foodstuffs, cloth, copper, and high-quality gems.
The Gran March maintains its military through universal male service. All males are conscripted at the age of fifteen, while female service is still optional. The standing army can be reinforced by a number of specialist militia companies, including archers, cavalry, and pikemen.
Gran March is also a playable region in the RPGA's Living Greyhawk campaign. Players who join the RPGA can create characters (PCs) from Gran March and advance in level as they explore the region through adventures ordered from the RPGA for home play or at gaming conventions.
Keoland, properly known as the Kingdom of Keoland, is one of the oldest political states in the Flanaess. The state was founded -342 CY (303 OR via a union of the Suel houses of Rhola and Neheli, and minor Oeridian nobles which had also settled in the Sheldomar Valley.
Bordered by the Javan River to the west, the Azure Sea to the south, the Sheldomar River to the east, and the Rushmoors to the north, Keoland is the largest nation in the Sheldomar Valley. The climate is normally temperate year-round.
As of 591 CY, the population of Keoland totaled 1,800,000 persons, the vast majority being humans of chiefly Suel and Oeridian stock. Elves, gnomes, halflings, and dwarves, make up perhaps 20% of the total population.
The most widely spoken languages in Keoland are Common, Keoish, Elvish, Gnomish, and Halfling.
The Kingdom of Keoland is a feudal monarchy. Though the monarch rules for life, succession is determined by the Noble Council of Niole Dra. The result is that the crown usually passes between two or more noble houses of the land. The national capital is Niole Dra. Keoland is split up into some twenty-seven major and minor duchies, counties, marches, territories, and baronies.
As of 591 CY, Keoland's chief of state is King Kimbertos Skotti of Grayhill, who has ruled since 564 CY. The office of the king is known as the Throne of the Lion in Keoland. In the Living Greyhawk campaign, in late 598 CY King Skotti was killed by an assassin after a battle for the fate of Keoland.
The Council of Niole Dra, often called the Court of the Land, is made up of major nobility and heads of favored guilds and societies of Keoland. Numbering approximately 100 persons, the Council deals with questions of succession, levies provincial taxes, and ratifies any changes to the kingdom's founding charter.
Keoland's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Gules, a lion rampant sable.
In addition to its well-worn roads, Keoland boasts much river traffic along the Javan and Sheldomar. The port city of Gradsul is the largest on the Azure Sea.
The royal navy, based at Gradsul, is led by the duke of that province, Luschan VII, who acts as the Lord High Admiral of Keoland.
Keoland is also protected by the independent Knights of the Watch and the Knights of Dispatch.
Simon Garfield commented that Keoland "has a distinctly aristocratic flavor with its many baronies, duchies and earldoms".
Because Ket lies in the only gap in the north-south spine of mountains that divides the eastern Flanaess from the western Baklunish Basin, it is a nexus of important trade routes, a nation of caravans and merchants where peoples and cultures from all parts of the Flanaess mix and mingle. Various editions of material published about this region between 1980 and 2000 have changed its character from a self-serving state sometimes at odds with its neighbors to an aggressive and evil military state, and back again.
Unlike the cities of Greyhawk and Dyvers, which were created during Gary Gygax's original Greyhawk home campaign, Ket was created by Gygax specifically for the World of Greyhawk folio published in 1980, set in the year 576 CY. In this edition, Gygax portrayed Ket as a belligerent nation often at odds with its neighbors. Since Ket lay between Baklunish lands to the east and Oeridian lands to the west, it was considered a buffer state and a crossroads of trade and culture; its people were a mix of human races (although Baklunish culture predominated), and the court and military showed strong influences from both east and west. Other than trade, its resources were silver and gems. Militarily, Ket had been both the victim of invasion and an aggressor seeking new territory. Much of southern Ket was covered by the Bramblewood, a vast primeval forest that had one main road "and possibly some secondary tracks". Ket lay on a high plateau, and two major rivers, the Tuflik and the Fals, originated within Ket before flowing off the plateau to the north and south respectively. Ket's coat of arms in the 1980 edition was blazoned thus: Gules, a scimitar in pale argent, the point to the base.
Just prior to being forced out of TSR in 1985, Gygax had authored two Gord the Rogue novels. In 1987, he wrote the third book of the series, Sea of Death. The second chapter is set in Ket, and it highlighted the Ket that Gygax had originally envisioned: The capital, Lopolla is crowded, noisy, grimy, decadent and dangerous. The only people living in the empty countryside are Bedouin-like nomadic tribes.
In 1990, the Greyhawk Wars boxed set advanced the Greyhawk timeline to 585 CY, and described a war that had recently engulfed the Flanaess. As described in the Greyhawk Wars game, Ketite horsemen had invaded and conquered neighbouring Bissel, and Ket was considered Evil.
Following TSR's takeover by Wizards of the Coast, Greyhawk was reset to 591 CY. Ket was again merely the belligerent state, rather than being Evil. Its evil beygraf was assassinated, and a new beygraf seized power just in time to prevent an attack on Ket's forces in Bissel by Gran March. Ket's forces were then voluntarily withdrawn from Bissel.
In 2001, in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, Ket's description and details of its history and society were greatly expanded:
In the run-up to the start of the Living Greyhawk campaign, Ket was assigned to all of Eastern Canada except Quebec (specifically the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) However, the volunteers fleshing out Ket for the campaign, instead of extrapolating the material that had been published by WotC over the past three years, created a pseudo-Persian feudal theocracy with unforgiving laws and harsh punishments, where the merciless and literal interpretation of statutes and decrees outweighed any considerations of justice or mercy.
During the Living Greyhawk campaign, several major storylines emerged:
The Land of Black Ice is an arctic wasteland located in the northwestern Flanaess, north of the Burneal Forest and Blackmoor, east of the Drawmidj Ocean, and west of the Icy Sea. The land gets its name from the vast sheet of blue-black ice that covers it as far as the eye can see.
The only humans living near the area are the Baklunish Guryik folk on the Drawmidj coast, and the Suloise Zeai, or Sea Barbarians, who dwell on a section of Icy Sea coastline known as the Tusking Strand. Within the Land of Black Ice proper are said to dwell all manner of horrid arctic monsters, so few humans enter the region. Tales are told of wights, frost men, evil spirits, black-skinned trolls, and blue-furred bugbears inhabiting the wasteland.
The fabled City of the Gods is said to lie just outside the Land of Black Ice, near Blackmoor. Those few who have entered the city and escaped alive, among them Mordenkainen and Sir Robilar, tell tales of an artificially warm city of tall iron buildings, powerful magic, and strange automatons.
Legends tell of another region beyond the ice, a land of lush jungles and an unmoving sun. Such legends give some reason to believe that the Oerth is hollow, containing another world within the inside of the globe, to which entry is gained via great openings in the poles.
Nyrond, or more properly the Kingdom of Nyrond, refers to one of the largest good-aligned states in the Flanaess.
In 356 CY, the opportunist junior branch of the Aerdy Celestial House of Rax-Nyrond declared independence from the Overking of the Great Kingdom. Weakened by warfare against the likes of Ferrond, Perrenland, and Tenh, the scions of House Rax nonetheless amassed a large retribution-minded army to teach the upstart "kingdom" a lesson. At this moment, a coalition of Fruztii, Schnai and mercenary barbarians invaded North Province, distracting the Overking's army and allowing Nyrond critical time to entrench and train its military to repulse Aerdy military actions. For the next two centuries relations between the two states varied from open war to preparing for war.
In 584 CY, during the Greyhawk Wars, Nyrond halted an invasion by the Great Kingdom after Ivid V's forces devastated Almor. Thereafter the Great Kingdom fell apart in magical disaster and civil war. Nyrond was in nearly as bad shape. After King Archbold III suffered a poison-induced stroke at the hands of his younger son in the fall of 585 CY, said son, Prince Sewarndt attempted to seize power. Sewarndt's coup was thwarted by his older brother, Crown Prince Lynwerd, who took the throne after Archbold abdicated in Fireseek of 586 CY, possibly the most popular decision of his time as ruler.
Under Lynwerd, Nyrond has been slowly recovering, though times are good only by comparison to Archbold times. Lynwerd did take over much of Almor in 586 CY as the Great Kingdom fell apart.
Nyrond lies between the Nesser River and Franz River to the west, the Harp River and Flinty Hills to the east, Relmor Bay to the south, and the Theocracy of the Pale to the north.
Nyrond is ruled by King Lynwerd, who appoints all lesser officials.
Nyrond's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Quarterly; 1st and 4th, ermine; 2nd and 3rd, gules, a sun radiated or.
In the Living Greyhawk campaign, the following events took place in Nyrond: In early 595 CY another major revolt was successfully led by Sewarndt. He captured the capital city with the assistance of supernatural allies, and in the course of the assault he committed patricide. In autumn 595 CY, several campaigns around the country, led by Lynwerd's supporters and loyal nobles, succeeded in recapturing nearly all major provinces and cities. The reconquest ended in Sewarndt's death at the hands of his brother at the very gates of the Royal Palace in Rel Mord.
Lynwerd is married to Queen Xenia Sallavarian of the Duchy of Urnst. Their daughter and heir was born in 595 CY.
At the height of the Great Kingdom, the Head of the Church of Pholtus was given the title of Holy Censor, which brought duties of oversight of the court system. Later Overkings turned against the church and removed this title, prompting many Pholtus worshippers to begin feeling persecuted and flee to the area which now is the Pale. Fighting with the early settlers was Ceril the Relentless, who founded the Council of the Nine. In 342 CY, the first Theocrat of the Pale was chosen by the Council, though the land remained theoretically under Great Kingdom rule. But in 356 CY, Nyrond declared independence, claiming the Pale, which then tried to seize its own independence, but failed, remaining under Nyrondian rule.
In 450 CY, the leaders of the cult of Pholtus convinced the King of Nyrond to grant them independence in return for promises of mutual aid and assistance. This proved a hollow assurance, as the Pale's government has largely followed a policy of leaving its neighbors to be killed and then trying to bully them into handing over lands to it. It thus remained neutral in the Greyhawk Wars. In 588 CY, the Pale's forces invaded and seized eastern Tenh.
The native folk of the Theocracy of the Pale are primarily Flan/Oeridian hybrids, and are considered particularly handsome by folk from all corners of the Flanaess.
The Pale is a theocracy administered in the name of Pholtus, god of Light, Resolution, and Law, and is the official religion of the Pale.
The Pale's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Purpure, a pale ermine between an increscent dexter and a mullet of six points sinister or.
The Plains of the Paynims, also known as the Paynims, is a political state and may also refer to the tribes of nomadic horsemen who live there. The plains are situated in the Baklunish Basin region of the Flanaess, west of Ket and south of Zeif. The native folk are Baklunish with mixed racial characteristics absorbed from subjugated travelers or settled merchants. There is no central authority; the government consists mainly of tribal khans and amirs ruled by progressively more powerful nobles (orakhans, ilkhans, or shahs) and royalty (padishahs, tarkhans, or kha-khans). There is great variation in governments between nomadic tribes. The coat of arms is blazoned thus: Gules, a scimitar per bend sinister or, in dexter chief a cross moline in saltire of the last.
The Pomarj can refer either to a large peninsula located in the central Flanaess, or to the Orcish Empire of the Pomarj, located in the same region.
Before the Great Migrations, the Pomarj was mainly a desolate region populated by primitive Flan tribespeople who revered equally primitive deities of earth and sky. Eventually, small numbers of outcast Suel settled the region. The region received little notice from the rest of the world for centuries, remaining largely isolated.
In 295 CY, King Tavish I of Keoland and the Prince of Ulek, seeking to exploit the Pomarj's mineral wealth, raised an army to invade and subjugate the region, an endeavor which was accomplished in the span of a few years. The Pomarj was divided up into roughly a dozen small baronies, which were awarded to favored families of the Keoish throne. These subfiefs were administered by and under the protection of the Principality of Ulek. Over the next few decades, mining brought great wealth to these petty barons. In 305 CY, the town of Highport was constructed on the north coast to share these riches with the rest of the Flanaess.
In 461 CY, the Principality of Ulek had withdrawn from Keoland to gain palatinate status. The barons of the Pomarj at this time, being subjects of the Prince of Ulek, had no voice in the Council of Niole Dra. Dissatisfied with their position, the Pomarj barons broke with the Principality of Ulek in 463, declaring their own independence. The barons ejected the Prince's dwarven garrisons and declared Highport their capital. Despite this apparent unity, however, each baron ruled his state independently, and feuds were common. Many barons assigned themselves grandiose titles, such as archbaron, duke, or prince. The baron of Suderham, even went so far as to dub himself "King of the Drachensgrabs."
In 498 CY, the Hateful Wars began as an alliance between Celene and the Ulek States, who sought to drive the orcs, goblins, and other evil humanoids from Lortmil Mountains. The Prince of Ulek invited the former barons of the Pomarj to join the alliance, but the lords of the Pomarj refused, fearing reabsorption into the Principality and seeing little reason to involve themselves in what they viewed as chiefly a conflict between non-humans. By 510 CY, the Hateful Wars were over, but this conflict would have great repercussions for the Pomarj.
In 513 CY, hordes of surviving orcs, goblins, and other evil creatures from the Lortmils, having few places to hide from their elven and dwarven foes, fled to the Pomarj, emerging from the Suss and falling upon Highport in a destructive rage. In a matter of months, all of the other former baronies, save the hidden city of Suderham, also fell to the humanoid invaders.
Over the next few decades, the Pomarj became essentially a backwater filled with orcs, goblinoids, and other evil creatures, as well as a haven for human bandits, pirates, slavers, and other criminals. Various humanoid tribes carved out territories. Any good humans left lived as slaves, or else waged a losing guerrilla war against the invaders.
By 574 CY, the last king of Suderham was assassinated by the Slave Lords, who turned the town into their base of operations. The Slave Lords managed to bring much of the Pomarj under their control, but by 580 CY their power was broken.
During the Greyhawk Wars of 582-584 CY, a powerful orc chieftain named Turrosh Mak united the Nedla and other humanoid tribes of the Pomarj, and invaded the surrounding lands, bringing much of the Wild Coast and the Principality of Ulek under his control. Mak named his "empire where none has stood" the Orcish Empire of the Pomarj. Though much of the land west of the Jewel was reclaimed by the Principality of Ulek in 586 CY, Mak continues to hold power in the region, and his empire shows no signs of decline.
The Pomarj proper is a peninsula dividing the Azure Sea from the Sea of Gearnat. It is bordered by the Jewel River to the west, the Suss Forest and Woolly Bay to the north, with the Straights of Gearnat to the east and the Azure to the south. The borders of the Empire are slightly larger, extending north along the Wild Coast, stopping only a few leagues south of Safeton. The Empire's western border once stretched as far as the foothills of the Lortmil Mountains, but much of this land has since been reclaimed by the Principality of Ulek.
The peninsula is dominated by the Drachensgrabs, a range of hills which ascend to the height of mountains at their highest point. The soil of the land is poor, making cultivation of crops difficult.
The most widely spoken languages in the Pomarj are Orcish, Common, and Goblin.
The Orcish Empire of the Pomarj is a dictatorship which oversees various humanoid tribal leaders. The dictator's power is enforced by his large personal army made up of warriors from his own orcish tribe. The national capital is Stoneheim.
The Orcish Empire of the Pomarj is made up of numerous territories, the vast majority ruled by non-human tribal leaders.
As of 591 CY, the Pomarj's chief of state is His Most Ferocious Majesty, the Despot Turrosh Mak, who has held power since the Greyhawk Wars.
The Pomarj's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Argent, a medusa's head caboshed gules. This device was traditionally used by the goblins of the Pomarj, before being adopted by Turrosh Mak's government. In addition to the state's official heraldry, several of the humanoid tribes have traditionally carried their own devices:
The Pomarj has no standard national coinage, but a number of official and unofficial currencies do exist, minted by most cities, towns, and powerful non-human tribes. Note that some of these currencies are out of date.
The roads of the Pomarj are not well-maintained, which is not surprising for a nation ruled by orcs. The land does boast a few ports however, including Highport and Blue.
The Pomarj can field large numbers of non-human troops, and many are trained at the capital city of Stoneheim. The Pomarj has no navy to speak of, though a number of pirates and mercenaries are employed to harry the shipping lanes of the Sea of Gearnat and the Azure Sea. It is rumored that the Pomarj can also call upon the Scarlet Brotherhood for aid.
The Rovers of the Barrens, also known as the Barrens, and properly known as Arapahi (translated as "People of the Plentiful Huntinglands"), is a political state of the Flanaess. The name also applies to the tribes of nomadic horsemen who dwell within these lands.
The Scarlet Brotherhood most often refers to the Great and Hidden Empire of the Scarlet Brotherhood, a nation located on the Tilvanot Peninsula in the southeastern Flanaess, though it can also refer to the secretive organization which rules that land. The Scarlet Brotherhood is described in great detail in the sourcebook The Scarlet Brotherhood (1999), by Sean K. Reynolds.
The Sea of Dust is a vast desert of ash and dust bound by a number of mountain ranges, including the Sulhauts to the north, the Hellfurnaces to the east, and a spur of the Tyurzi Mountains to the south.
The Sea of Dust was first described in print in Quag Keep by Andre Norton, who wrote the book with Gary Gygax giving her information on the Greyhawk setting in which it was set. It was described more formally and familiarly in The World of Greyhawk folio (1980) with the description repeated in the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting a few years later. The Sea of Dust was described in much greater detail in Sea of Death, a non-TSR novel written by Gary Gygax in 1987, and in Greyhawk Adventures, published by TSR in 1988. There has been a little more information published since then in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, and elsewhere. The detail about thri-kreen packs was mentioned in Thri-Kreen of Athas, which had a short section on the thri-kreen of Oerth.
The Sea of Dust is dominated by powdery gray ash immediately west of the Hellfurnaces. More ash is added every year. It becomes less ash-clogged toward the Sulhauts, where ruined fortifications and walled cities of the Suloise can still be seen. These ruined buildings have the characteristic high-angled look still favored by Suel-descended peoples in places such as the Lendore Isles and the Sea Princes.
The central region of the Sea of Dust is the most alien. Rather than gray ash, the substance of the Sea is a white, caustic powder that blows around and causes those who do not protect their mouths and noses with damp cloths to cough blood. Mixed with water, it forms a strong lye. The light reflecting off the white dunes will blind those who do not protect their eyes with slitted visors or masks. Glassy depressions in the central Sea are said to correspond to former cities of the Suel.
In the southwest of the Sea of Dust there is a small amount of rainfall, and here various groups of nomads are able to survive. The dust of this region is dry soil rather than an alien alkaline material or ash, and it is extraordinarily productive for a time after the occasional rain.
The majority of the Sea of Dust is without water on the surface and has no plant life on the surface. In areas where the dust or ash lies thinner above the more stable earth the occasional vampire cactus is able to survive; their seeds were brought to the area by migrating birds. Deep beneath the dunes, some waters still flow, and burrowing creatures have been able to access it. Thus, certain creatures live in tunnels beneath the dust, including boring beetles, bulettes, giant centipedes, meenlocks, derro, horgar, jermlaines, osquips, purple worms, giant rats, myconids, snyads, and ankhegs.
In the foothills of the Hellfurnaces, firenewts and fire lizards hunt. In the same region a short, stocky human people cover their bodies with a foul-smelling wax in order to protect themselves from caustic dust and burning sun. This matches the description of the Hek people from the adventure All That Glitters.
Giant snakes and arachnids of various kinds can also be found in the desert.
The majority of the derro race still dwells beneath the Sea of Dust, having survived the Rain of Colorless Fire thanks to the protection of hundreds of feet of earth. A major community of them lives in the Forgotten City.
Some of the nomads are of Suel descent, but most are a tall, slender, curly-haired people with blue-black skin and slanted eyes with origins to the south. They are rich in gold and gems looted from the ruined cities of the Suel.
Stories are told of packs of thri-kreen roaming the wastes of the Sea of Dust.
The nomads move frequently between wells, as they are prone to dry up or grow salty when overused.
The dustlakes, or Ktosor-hep as the local nomads call them, are pools of dust anywhere between half a mile and six miles across that have been made magical by contact with the buried towns and cities of the Suel. While the wavelike dunes of the Sea of Dust do resemble the form of a watery sea, the dustlakes are completely liquid, able to support boats, swimmers, and divers just as water does. Unlike water, they are somewhat breathable for those wearing fine cloth masks, as the fluid somehow permits the passage of air between the grains of dust. The nomads require boys to dive to the bottom and bring back a trinket from the ruins in order to be accepted by their tribes as full men.
The Forgotten City, once the capital of the Suel Imperium, lies buried somewhere in the center of the desert.
This great basin was formerly home to the ancient Suel Imperium, a nation of fertile lands extending some one-thousand miles west and south, before it was destroyed by the Rain of Colorless Fire in -422 CY. The Rain of Colorless Fire was sent by the Baklunish Empire to the north, in retaliation for the Invoked Devastation which destroyed all but the remnants of that empire.
The Sheldomar Valley refers to the large swath of fertile land in southwestern Flanaess, bordered by the Barrier Peaks to the north, Crystalmists and Hellfurnaces to the west, Azure Sea to the south and the Lortmils to the east. The valley is named after the Sheldomar River, which runs through a good portion of its length.
A number of nations make up the Sheldomar Valley, the largest being the Kingdom of Keoland. Other notable realms include Bissel, Geoff, the Gran March, the Hold of the Sea Princes, the Ulek States, the Valley of the Mage and the Yeomanry.
The Star Cairns are a series of stone warrens that were used in antiquity by Suloise mages as magical research centers. The Star Cairns is also the name of a 1998 adventure module in which players can explore the site.
The Star Cairns are located to the southeast of the Free City of Greyhawk in the foothills of the Abbor-Alz. The cairns were originally set in a "V" pointing south with the apex near the town of Ul Bakak on the border of the Bright Desert. However, due to the magical disruptions of the cataclysm that brought an end to their use, the southernmost cairn is not apparent much of the time, as it is shifting between planes. The area was chosen by the Suloise mages due to a confluence of ley lines that enhanced the magic properties of the area, easing their research.
The Star Cairns were the brainchild of a court mage of the Great Kingdom, Murtaree, who was given a copy of Kevelli Mauk's Tome of the Scarlet Sign, written just prior to the Rain of Colorless Fire that eradicated the Suel Imperium, and which served as the manifesto for the Scarlet Brotherhood. Murtaree came across his copy of the book in 167 CY.
The book affected Murtaree immensely, and inspired him to attempt his own revenge on the Baklunish people, and he soon gathered other Suel who were of a similar disposition, and took them to the Abbor-Alz, where they built five underground bunkers across the landscape in an area that was rich in magical energy. There the mages conducted research and began the construction of a major magical weapon. Murtaree attempted, and failed to become a lich about this time and died in 174 CY.
The Cairns were devastated and abandoned in 198 CY, as a meteor strike summoned from the heavens by Lyzandred hit the Abbor-Alz, disrupting careful experiments in one cairn, ripping it from the Prime Material Plane (to return only sporadically). The surviving mages left the area, many leaving for the Great Kingdom.
Since then, the four remaining cairns have been employed by different groups of beings for different purposes. In particular, the Armor Research Cairn has been used in the past by the wealthy of Greyhawk and Hardby as a communal tomb, although the practice has by and large ceased.
The cairns are also the resting place of the components of an artifact known as the Doomheart, a weapon of great power that has the capability of casting a cone that disintegrates all in its path (and which was so dangerous to its wielder that the mages also crafted a massive juggernaut to carry the weapon).
The Star Cairns had been mentioned as early as From the Ashes, which presents them as burial sites for high-level Suel mages. Carl Sargent, the sourcebook's author, seemed to point in the direction of the missing fifth cairn being a teleporter between the other four that went haywire and teleported itself. From the Ashes also suggested that the cairns were meant to be arranged in the shape of a pentagon or star.
The Star Cairns had been mentioned as early as From the Ashes, which presents them as burial sites for high-level Suel mages. Carl Sargent, the sourcebook's author, seemed to point in the direction of the missing fifth cairn being a teleporter between the other four that went haywire and teleported itself. From the Ashes also suggested that the cairns were meant to be arranged in the shape of a pentagon or star.
Sterich, properly known as the March of Sterich, is a political state generally located in the southwestern portion of the Flanaess. It lies in a broad basin formed by the Stark Mounds to the north and northwest, by the Crystalmist Mountains to the west, and by the Jotens to the south. It is separated from the Kingdom of Keoland by the Javan River. Sterich is ruled by Marquess Resbin Dren Emondav, a lawful neutral female human. The national capital is Istivin. The native folk of Sterich show strong Flan racial characteristics, tempered by Suel and Oeridian influences. Sterich's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Per fess dancetty gules and sable a lion rampant counterchanged..
Sulm refers to an ancient Flan kingdom which once occupied much of the Bright Desert, in the days when it was a fertile land. The ancestors of the Sulmi were nomads who lived in the grasslands where the Bright Desert lies today, living in harmony with the land and worshipping spirits of earth and air. Like most of the nomads in the region, they slowly became more sophisticated under the influence of the demigod Vathris. The Kingdom of Sulm came to prominence circa -1900 CY after it was bolstered by the necromantic adepts of Caerdiralor, who taught them dark secrets and promised wealth and glory in exchange for the favor of the Sulmi royal house. Throughout its history, the kingdom spent much of its time crushing its neighbors, the rival kingdoms of Durha, Itar, Ronhass, Rhugha, and Truun. Only the Kingdom of Itar was strong enough to stand against Sulm, though it, too, would eventually fall. After centuries of expansion, Sulm began its slow decline circa -1400 CY. Kyuss was a powerful priest of Nerull during Sulm's imperial age, shortly before its destruction. He was exiled for his profane experiments on undead in the sacred mortuary city of Unaagh, and traveled with hundreds of followers to the Amedio Jungle. In circa -700 CY the Kingdom of Sulm fell, destroyed by its last king. The king, Shattados, used the power of a dark artifact known as the Scorpion Crown in an attempt to gain perpetual dominion over his subjects. Instead, the crown turned Shattados into a gigantic scorpion and his people into manscorpions and (possibly) dune stalkers. A few became asheratis instead due to the grace of Geshtai. The land itself was even changed, transformed into a vast wasteland now known as the Bright Desert.
Sunndi is a political state situated in the region of the Flanaess.
In 1980, a brief paragraph about the County of Sunndi was published by Gary Gygax in the World of Greyhawk folio (TSR 9025). (The name "Sunndi" was a near-homophone of Cindy, one of Gygax's children.) In this edition, Sunndi's population was listed as 50,000+, and its ruler was identified simply as the Count of Sunndi. Three years later, an almost identical paragraph appeared in Gygax’s World of Greyhawk boxed set (TSR 1015); however, the ruler was now identified by name as Count Hazendel.
After Gygax left TSR in 1985, a boxed set called From the Ashes advanced the campaign world to 585 CY, the year after the end of a continent-wide war that had taken place 582-584 CY. During the wars, Sunndi had been overrun by the armies of Ivid the Undying, but had managed to regain its independence.
Wizards of the Coast took over TSR in 1997 and revived the moribund Greyhawk setting for their new Third Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. The storyline was advanced to 590 CY, and now dealt with the new alliances and problems that had developed in the wake of the Greyhawk Wars. Sunndi's current state at that time was a feudal hereditary monarchy of eighteen counties ruled by Olvenking Hazendel from the capital city of Pitchfield.
Sunndi's population numbers about 125,000, of which 79% are human of Oeridi and Suolise extraction, 9% are gray elves, 5% are mountain and hill dwarves, 3% are gnomes, 2% are halflings, 1% are half-elves, and 1% are other races. These races live in harmony and mutual self-defence.
No single religion dominates this region, but significant deities worshipped include Pelor, Trithereon, Lydia, the Oeridian agricultural gods, the elvish, dwarvish and gnomish pantheons, Ulaa, Fortubo, Jascar, Norebo and Boccob.
Sunndi is a warm and fertile land in the southeast corner of the Flanaess, lying between the Rieuwood Forest and Glorioles Mountains to the north, the Hestmark Highlands to the east, the Pawluck River to the west and the Vast Swamp to the south.
Although this is an easily defended land, its defensive strength is also its weakness, since it has no easy trade outlet for its grain, gold, electrum and gems other than the narrow Highland Trail through the Hestmark Highlands to the port of Dullstrand. And the Vast Swamp is both a blessing and a curse, for although it defends Sunndi's southern border, it is also home to disease, strange monsters and warlike bullywugs that emerge from the fens every 15–20 years.
Given its subtropical location, Sunndi's climate is warm year-round, with plentiful rainfall in the autumn and winter, and humid heat during the spring and summer. Snow is a sure sign of magical evil afoot.
A thousand years ago, Suloise refugees fleeing from the ruin of the Twin Cataclysms entered the fertile lands south of the Rieuwood and befriended the indigenous gray elves. Later invasions by Oeridian raiders conquered the Suloise/elven alliance, but time was on Sunnndi's side and gradually the Oeridians were integrated. After Aerdy conquered all Oeridian lands following the Battle of a Fortnight's Length in -110 CY, Sunndi was made a part of the South Province of the Great Kingdom. One of the overkings subsequently made Sunndi a separate fief within the South Province, ruled by a Count who swore fealty to the Herzog (prince) of South Province. Since the Count was appointed by the Herzog, the post was usually granted to the Sunnd noble who promised to extract the most tribute from the county to send to the Herzog. The result was oppressive taxation and overfarming, as well as suppression of non-human races.
When the Iron League was formed by the Free City of Irongate, Idee, and Onnwal in 447 CY in opposition to the Great Kingdom, Sunndi rebelled against its masters, drove the herzog's soldiers out of Sunndi and joined the League in 455 CY. The gray elf Count Turentel Esparithen formed a government based on mutual respect for all peoples of Sunndi. The herzogs of South Provinces attempted to retake Sunndi several times over the next century without success. However, in 577 CY, South Province received the backing it needed from the mad overking Ivid the Undying, and successfully invaded. At the same time, bullywugs attacked from the Vast Swamp, pulling needed troops from the northern defences. Although the bullywug invasion was contained and the monsters driven back into the swamp, the South Province army took advantage of the divided Sunnd forces, and finally took the capital of Pitchfield in 583 CY. It seemed that the battle for Sunndi was over, for nothing now stood between the herzog and Sunndi's fertile lands. However, a newly re-dedicated Sunnd army under the hero Osson met the South Province army at the Battle of Rieuwood and was triumphant, although an attempt by Osson to follow the herzog's troops across the Thelly River into South Province failed and the Sunnd army was forced to retreat back to Sunndi.
Although Sunndi had regained its independence, the fall of Iron League members Idee and Onwaal to South Province in 586 CY reminded Sunndi how tenuous freedom could be. In 589 CY, Count Hazendel declared to be Sunndi a fully independent kingdom, and proclaimed that all old ties with the Great Kingdom were forever severed. Hazendel became Olvenking Hazendel the Defender. The few Aerdy-descended noble houses that remained in Sunndi were ordered to rename themselves and swear allegiance to the crown. In 590 CY (the year of the current campaign setting), eighteen scions from both human and nonhuman noble houses have been appointed to a Congress of Lords to advise the olvenking. Sunndi had been subdivided into eighteen counties, and each lord of the Congress has been appointed count of one of these new regions. Increased raids by monsters from the Vast Swamp remind the Sunnd government of the historic cycle of bullywug invasions, and Hazendel has ordered the construction of new forts along the edge of the swamp against an expected invasion within the next few years. Investigation suggested that followers of Wastri, upset by the good relations between humans and nonhumans in Sunndi, and especially repelled by the thought of an elf on the throne, may be behind the new round of attacks.
The Thillonrian Peninsula, also known as Rhizia in the Cold Tongue, is a geographical area in the northeastern portion of the Flanaess. A cold, mountainous land, this region is best known for being the home of the nations of the Frost, Ice, and Snow Barbarians, as well as the nation of Stonehold. The peninsula is dominated by the Griff-Corusk mountain range, and is surrounded by the Icy Sea and the Solnor Ocean.
The native folk of Ull are more or less pureblooded Baklunish.
Veluna, properly known as the Archclericy of Veluna, is a theocratic political state of the Flanaess.
The Archclericy of Voll, originally a vassal to the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, became known as Veluna and claimed independence from the Great Kingdom of Aerdy in 254 CY. The Kingdom of Keoland began a series of occupations of Veluna in 350 CY, only to be ultimately driven out in 438 CY by the forces of Furyondy. In 446 CY, in an agreement known as the Concordat of Eademer, the Velunese College of Bishops voted overwhelmingly to break from the kingdom of Furyondy, establishing the current state known as the Archclericy of Veluna.
Because the moon of Luna held special significance for the original Flan tribes in the area, the region is also sometimes known as the "Vale of Luna", or more simply, "The Vale".
Modern Veluna is generally located in the western-central portion of the Flanaess. It is bordered by the Velverdyva River to the north and east; by the Fals River to the north and west; and by the Lortmil Mountains and the Kron Hills to the south. Most of the original forests in the Vale have been clear cut to make way for farmland, or to supply lumber for building projects. The only remaining woodlands of any note are the Ironwood, the Dapple Wood and the Asnath Copse. As of 591 CY, the most populous towns are Mitrik (pop. 16,200), Veluna City (pop. 11,100), and Devarnish (pop. 7,900).
As of 591 CY, the population of Veluna totaled 668,800 persons, the vast majority (almost 80%) being humans of mainly Oeridian descent. Elves make up another 10% (mostly of the high elf variety), while the remainder of the population consists of gnomes, halflings, dwarves, half-elves, and half-orcs.
The most widely spoken languages in Veluna include Common, Velondi, Flan, Elven, Halfling, and Gnome.
The Archclericy of Veluna is a theocracy devoted to the worship of Rao, and ruled by the Canon of Veluna, a powerful Raoan cleric advised by the College of Bishops and the Celestial Order of the Moons. The Canon is selected by the College of Bishops and approved by the Celestial Order when the old Canon steps down or passes on. Power to remove the Canon is shared between the College and the Celestial Order. The national capital is Mitrik.
Veluna is divided into eight dioceses for the purpose of administering both church and secular functions. Seven of the dioceses are jointly ruled, half of the governing power being held by a bishop of Rao (appointed by the Canon), and the remaining power given to the most powerful secular noble family in each diocese. The eighth diocese, that of Veluna City, is governed by the Canon himself, though an archbishop is appointed to administer it.
As of 591 CY, Veluna's chief of state is Canon Hazen.
In the Living Greyhawk Campaign, in early 594 CY Canon Hazen was slain by the lich Herion. Priffin Truft, the Archbishop of the Royal College, was chosen as his successor.
Veluna's bicameral legislature consists of the College of Bishops and the Celestial Order of the Moons.
The College of Bishops is a council that advises the Canon and maintains various religious functions in Veluna. The College consists of the Bishop of Rao from each of Veluna's seven dioceses, the Archbishop of Veluna City, the rulers of the local churches of Saint Cuthbert and Heironeous, the High Priest of the Knights of Veluna, a representative from the elven churches, and other members appointed by the Canon.
The Celestial Order of the Moons consists of 15 members: two representatives from the ruling secular noble families of each diocese, and a representative from the Viscounty of Verbobonc. The nobles retain all voting power, while the representative from Verbobonc serves only as an advisor. The Order is presided over by the Archbishop of Veluna City, though he serves no other 'official' capacity.
Veluna's coat of arms is blazoned thus: Sable, quarterly a crescent or, over all a mullet of four points argent.
Veluna is noted for its foodstuffs, and mining operations to produce copper, silver, and gold.
Verbobonc, properly known as the Viscounty and Town of Verbobonc, is a semi-independent nation of the Flanaess. Though Verbobonc owes fealty to the Archclericy of Veluna, it is nearly autonomous in practice. In the Living Greyhawk campaign, Verbobonc corresponds to the states of Illinois and Indiana. It pioneered a system for allowing Living Greyhawk player characters to develop towns, open businesses, and establish strongholds, something previously beyond the scope of the Living Greyhawk campaign. Player-created towns tend to reflect the personalities of the player characters who pool their resources to "found" a town.
Little more than a collection of five major city-states for most of its history, the Wild Coast has long held a reputation for being untamed. Prior to the Greyhawk Wars, each city-state controlled its own affairs. However, things changed once Turrosh Mak gained control of the Pomarj. In 584 CY, Mak's forces marched north, taking the towns of Elredd, Badwall, and Fax, thus conquering the entire southern Wild Coast. The remaining towns of Safeton and Narwell escaped destruction only by swearing fealty to Greyhawk, resulting in the northern Wild Coast being absorbed into the Free City's domain.
The Wolf Nomads, properly known as the Wegwiur, is a political state of the Flanaess. The name also applies to the tribes of nomadic horsemen who dwell within these lands.
The Wolf Nomads are descended from the Relentless Horde, which swept into the area around 320 CY. After the death of the Kha-Khan Ogobanuk, the Tiger Nomads split from the Horde and the Wolf Nomads came to be ruled by a ruler known as the tarkhan. Since then, the tarkhans have ruled according to the decrees set forth in the Great Yassa of Ogobanuk, which describes the traditions of illusion, leadership, and the proper way of nomadic life.
The Wolf Nomads have opposed Iuz since he first appeared on the borders of his lands. Iuz claimed the Howling Hills, where the Wolf Nomads have traditionally buried their honored dead, including Ogobanuk himself. They defeated him at the Battle of Black Water Bend just before the Greyhawk Wars, breaking the Old One's siege of Eru-Tovar. After the wars, Tang the Horrific encouraged them to invade Iuz's kingdom, and many of the cambion's nonhuman troops were slain.
The lands of the Wolf Nomads are situated in the Bitter North region of the Flanaess, north of Perrenland on the far shore of Lake Quag.
The native folk of the Wolf Nomads are primarily Baklunish with a great deal of genetic mixture with the Rovers of the Barrens, to the east. As a result of these Flan characteristics, Wolf Nomads have slightly darker complexions than their Tiger Nomad cousins. Each Wolf Nomad warrior must capture a wild wolf cub as a rite of manhood, raising it to be his companion. "Civilized" Wolf Nomads in Eru-Tovar sometimes simply buy wolf cubs.
The Wolf Nomads revere the Baklunish deities Geshtai and Istus. From long-ago contact with the Oerids, some of whom also became part of the Relentless Horde, they revere Telchur and the Black Wolf, their name for Kurell. Ancestor worship is prevalent among them as well.
In Rose Estes' novels, the Wolf Nomads revere a deity they call the Great She Wolf, whom they refer to as the "mother of us all."
The Wolf Nomads speak Ordai, a language closely related to that of their Paynim ancestors.
The Wolf Nomads' coat of arms is blazoned thus: Sable, three wolves courant in pale gules..
The modern Yeomanry is located in the southwestern portion of the Flanaess. It is nestled entirely within a broad basin bounded by the Jotens to the north, the Crystalmist Mountains to the west and south, and the Little Hills to the east. The valley passage between the Little Hills and the Tors leads directly into the Hool Marshes. A long cave system known as the Passage of Slerotin tunnels under the Hellfurnaces from the town of Dark Gate in the Yeomanry, finally emerging over 200 miles away into the Sea of Dust.
In the mid-1970s, Gary Gygax created a campaign world called Greyhawk for the new fantasy roleplaying game called Dungeons and Dragons that he was helping to develop. In the 1980 TSR publication World of Greyhawk (TSR 9025), he included a brief timeline of twenty-one historical events that described a thousand years of history in order to explain how his world—the Flanaess—had arrived at its present state of affairs. There were five major cultures involved in this timeline, each of them with their own calendar system:
One of the major events of Gygax's timeline was an invasion by the Oeridian people, which forced other cultures to the peripheries of this land and led to the formation of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy. The first emperor marked the start of this new empire with a new universal calendar, Common Year Reckoning.
Gygax calculated all events that had taken place before 1 CY as negative numbers, and since there was no 0 CY—the year previous to 1 CY was -1 CY—this forced an extra calculation when attempting to convert Common Year dates prior to 1 CY to the other calendar systems. However, by the start of Gygax's campaign (set as 576 CY), the Common Year Reckoning was used almost universally by most cultures, making conversions to the other calendar systems by dungeon masters largely unnecessary.
Except in the far north, temperatures reach below zero only in the winter months of Sunsebb and Fireseek and sometimes at night in late autumn and early spring. Even then temperatures seldom dip far below 0. The northeast and central regions of the Flanaess are the coldest, with winters extending into Ready'reat and Readying. The warm currents of the Dramidj Ocean moderate the climate of the lands that border it. Summer typically lasts five or more months. Prevailing winds blow from the northeast in winter and autumn and from the southeast the rest of the year. Wintry northern winds are sometimes known as "Telchur's breath," while easterly winds are sometimes called "Atroa's laugh." Plentiful rainfall supports bountiful agriculture throughout most of the Flanaess.