A Brief History of the Flanaess
Notable Organizations and Secret Societies:
- Knights of the Holy Shielding
- Knights of the Watch
- Knight of the Order of the Hart
- Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom
- Rangers of the Gnarley Forest
- The Horned Society
- The Iron League
- The Old Faith
- The Scarlet Brotherhood
Greyhawk Historical Timeline
History of the Greyhawk Wars
Suggested Racial Homelands for this Campaign
Calendar PDF, with individual days:
The Greyhawk year consists of 364 days, split into twelve months of twenty-eight days each, and four seven-day festivals, each placed at three month intervals. Different cultures in the campaign setting have their own names for the months and festivals. The months and festivals are commonly referred to as the Dozenmonth of Luna and the Four Festivals.
Days in Greyhawk are reckoned in weeks of seven days each. The days of the month are: Starday, Sunday, Moonday, Godsday, Waterday, Earthday, and Freeday. Godsday is commonly associated with worship, and Freeday with rest. The remaining days are considered “work days.”
An interesting feature of the Greyhawk calendar is that the days of the week always occur on the same day every year, a result of the year having a number of days divisible by seven.
The months and festivals are based on the cycles of Oerth’s moons, Luna and Celene. Luna has a twenty-eight day cycle, while Celene’s cycle is ninety-one days. Celene is full at the midpoint of each festival, while Luna is full at various times throughout the year. Notably, both moons are full on Richfest 3-5.
A Brief History of the Flanaess
The history of the Flanaess began with only a group of people called Flanne or the Flan. They were simple hunters. In the west, however there were two other races of people: the Suel Imperium and the Baklunish Empire. The two waged war upon one another year after year. This went on until the inevitable refugees began to filter across into the east, the Suel heading into the west part of the Flanaess and the Baklunish (along with a tribe of humans called Oeridians) headed toward the north and very center of the Flanaess.
The war finally ended with fierce magic exchanged, destroying the Suloise and Baklunish lands. The Baklunish homeland was destroyed by the Suel magic and they retaliated by turning the Suel Imperium into what is now the Sea of Dust, by means of the terrible Rain of Colorless Fire. They then settled the east side of the Dramidj Ocean. Sporadic fighting between the Suloise and Oeridian survivors continued to occur all over the central Flanaess, affecting many other cultures unfortunate enough to be in the way.
This went on for two centuries. In the end, the Oeridians controlled most of the Flanaess by forming alliances with the Flanne and demihuman groups against the Suel. From this rose the Great Kingdom that controlled almost all of the Flanaess. It began to fall apart after three hundred years in 254 CY when Ferrond became what is now Furyondy and Veluna. Slowly but surely other states, provinces and countries began to emerge by revolt, civil feuding, and then secession from the Great Kingdom due to brutal taxation.
Meanwhile, in the west, the nation of Keoland also began to rise and expand in power, created by less violent members of the Suel and Oeridian tribes. Keoland grew to an impressive size, reaching from the Crystalmists to the Pomarj, but over time it lost nearly everything it had gained. To the north, the Baklunish had become horse nomads, ruling the northern steppes. Masses of orcs invaded the south and took over the Pomarj. To the northeast of this, the Free City of Greyhawk arose and became the self-proclaimed gem of the Flanaess in 375 CY.
Now rose the malific cambion Iuz the Old, half-demon and half-man. Iuz quickly siezed his own set of lands to the north of the Shield Lands and the Nyr Dyv, forming the horrific, evil Empire of Iuz.
During all this, the Scarlet Brotherhood, isolated in an area called the Tilvanot Peninsula, gathered its strength and grew. The brotherhood’s major goal is to make the Suloise the master race of the Flanaess. Masters of subterfuge and spying, they have subtly insinuated themselves into global politics, including the manipulation of governments through agents. Worst ofall, they have engaged in the frightening practice of cross breeding monsters and humans, to what end is not known.
Notable Organizations and Secret Societies
Knights of Holy Shielding
The Knights of Holy Shielding form the elite core of the army of the Shields Lands, which over its 200 year history has known great triumphs as well as great tragedy. Journey back now to the days of yore, when an alliance of lords resulted in the formation of one of the proudest orders of knighthood to set foot upon the battlefields of the Flanaess…
Within the lands north of the Nyr Dyv, the disparate nobles living there were astute enough to know that unless they banded together they would become easy prey to any invaders, in particular to the newly established Combination of Free Lords, a lawless group of robber barons and bandit lords to the north of them. The Earl of Walworth, who possessed a large island within his lands upon which was built the only city of note within the whole of the region, was elected to be the first Knight Commander of their combined forces. This position would become hereditary among the Walworths, and the capitol of the newly formed Shield Lands was officially established (in the mid 300’s CY) at the island city of Admundfort and a religious order of knights was formed. This order of knighthood, known as the Knights of Holy Shielding, would come to form the core of the Shield Lands army.
While the Shield Lands has never formally declared a state religion, nearly 90% of the area’s population worships Heironeous. Originally the religious order known as the Knights of Holy Shielding was solely a Heironean order, but over time room has been made for like-minded folk of differing faiths, though their numbers still remain few. The most common faiths of the order’s non-Heironean members are those of St. Cuthbert, Pelor, Rao, Pholtus, and more recently Mayaheine and Trithereon; the latter group having grown over the last few years since the end of the Greyhawk Wars and the initiation of the War of Reclamation (retribution being an idea the average Shield Lander is currently very open to). The Heironean roots of the order are still exemplified by the phrase “May the axe grow great.” which refers to the hope that the power of Heironeous will once again be felt in the former Shield Lands territories that now lie in enemy hands.
The Knights of Holy Shielding has historically been an insular order, choosing to take care of its own affairs. When Iuz came to power in the north, Furyondy sought to ally with the Shield Lands in common cause against this new threat on their borders. The Shield Landers refused, thinking Furyondy made the offer to mask their intent to annex the Shield Lands. This has caused much bad blood between both nations, and particularly among their knightly orders, and still affects relations to this day. The Shield Lands has suffered greatly in the last ten years due to refusing the aid of its neighbors, a point which is not lost on many Shield Landers. After the Shield Lands fell to the forces of Iuz, the Shield Landers themselves, and the Knights of Holy Shielding in particular, were mostly convinced of the folly of their past thinking, due in no small part to the magnanimity shown to Shield Lander refugees by their southern neighbors. Through much diplomacy and pointed humility on their part, representatives of the Shield Lands succeeded in gathering support for the retaking of the Shield Lands, which has resulted in the retaking of Critwall and the surrounding countryside as well as Scragholme Isle.
The Knights of Holy Shielding adhere to strict standards regarding the admittance of new members to the order. Those seeking admittance to the order undergo a series of tests to determine the strength of their faith and convictions, as well as their combat worthiness. This “Trial of Faith” serves to weed out those without the moral fortitude to uphold the tenets of the Knights of Holy Shielding. Most of the order’s members originally advanced through the army of the Shield Lands, with those showing exceptional faith and courage being accepted to squire for the order, though such individuals are referred to as aspirants rather than squires. In the current day, most prospective aspirants come from temples within the lands of Furyondy, Veluna, and from what little of the Shield Lands that has been retaken. Occasionally a warrior will be accepted by the order as a full knight based upon their exceptional faith and combat ability, or upon the completion of a great deed in the service of the Shield Lands. Such direct admission to the order through the doing of great deeds was once a very rare occurrence, but it has become more common in recent years as there are many opportunities for heroic action in the course of reclaiming former Shield Lands territory.
The Knights of Holy Shielding count among its membership a disproportionate amount of paladins and clerics in addition to the more common membership made up of simple pious warriors of mostly Heironean faith. Those who show an aptitude for mounted combat form a separate group of religious knights within the order. While upholding the highest standards of religious zeal, these pious knights also seek to master the order’s original combat doctrines which are closely based upon their historical predecessor, the Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom. The order diverges from their predecessor in that it combines religious training with combat training. It is mostly these knights that serve as the field commanders of the Shield Lands armies, and also make up the elite heavy cavalry of the Knights of Holy Shielding. In the past, upon formal entry to the order, a Knight of Holy Shielding was given a suit of armor, a shield, two weapons, and a warhorse. Currently, knights are expected to provide their own equipment, which is in effect a personal donation to the cause of reclaiming those lands still under the control of Iuz.
The Knights of Holy Shielding are currently based out of Critwall, Scragholme Island, and the recently liberated island city of Admundfort. In addition to gathering funds to aid in the conquest of the Lost Lands, the Knights of Holy Shielding also seek to purchase warships for the purpose of patrolling the northern shores of the Nyr Dyv, and to guard Shield Lander Merchant vessels plying those waters as well.
The Knights of Holy Shielding were the backbone of the army of the Shield Lands, but after the war they were left with nothing to defend. In 587 CY they began a battle that is still ongoing to reclaim the Shield Lands. Many of the knights are involved in that fight but some are out around Greyhawk, Dyvers, the Duchy of Urnst and Furyondy working as mercenaries and sending their incomes back home to support the war effort.
The Knights of Holy Shielding are paladins and young men hoping to join their ranks usually start as squires. A paladin must be of at least seventh level and be capable of proclaiming some heroic deed. They are well respected in their homeland but have become hated and despised by Iuz and his following with whom they battle to reclaim the Shield Lands.
Knights of the Watch
These were the best of the best from the armies of Bissel, Gran March, Geoff and Keoland. They were there to protect from Baklunish threats from the west. Once their number was 6,500 but now due to the giant invasion of Geoff and the attack from Ket into Bissel their number is now only 2,500. They use traditional warfare techniques that cost them dearly when dealing with the humanoids, giants, and groups from Ket.
The Knights of the Watch are divided into two groups. The first is referred to as the Watchers. They stand on their traditions and see no reason for changing them. The second is called the Dispatchers. They tend to split into scouting parties and ambush humanoids in Geoff that shouldn’t be there.
They both fight to protect Gran March and Keoland, but while the Knights of the Watch wait for enemies to come, the Knights of Dispatch actively go out and attack them.
Knights of the Order of the Hart
This group of knights was designed to make sure that Furyondy, Veluna and High Folk kept their freedom. The nobles and lords of these areas kept their own men-at-arms and guards but to gather them together took time and this problem was solved with the Knights of the Order of the Hart who vow to always be battle ready. They are divided into three branches.
The Knights of Furyondy that hold 170 men to their 200 before the war. These guys aren’t really trusted by Dyvers and Verbobonc even though the Knights are trying to protect their trade. They feel that the knights would be happy to see them become a part of Furyondy.
The Knights of Veluna number at 120 and used to house nothing but seasoned veterans of seventh level or higher, but have begun accepting war clerics, human paladins of at least fifth level and human and half-elven priests of at least sixth level.
The Knights of the High Forest consists completely of elves and has only 45 members. They fight in the Vesve forest and also trade, although they aren’t merchants they need the money.
The Knights of the Order of the Hart spend their time drilling, protecting the strongholds and are well respected by the people of their nations. They do have a bit of a rivalry going on between themselves and the Knights of Shielding thinking them foolish for missing Iuz’s attack on their country and refusing aid from Furyondy until it was too late.
Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom
the Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom (also known as the Order of Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom) is the most fabled chivalric order in the Flanaess. Once well-respected, powerful, and influential, the order is now regarded as but a shadow of its former self. However, many other knightly orders of the Flanaess have modeled themselves after the Knight Protectors of old, including the Knights of Holy Shielding and the Knights of the Hart.
The Knight Protectors are the greatest defender of the common weal in the Great Kingdom, striving to embody all the greatness of Aerdy. The order seeks to restore the Great Kingdom to its former glory, under the just hand of a lawful monarch.
The code of the Knight Protectors is known as the Rules of Parslin. The order values law, honor, and valor.
The order’s old heraldry consisted of the crowned sun of Aerdy guarded by a red arrow and a white axe, but this device is no longer used.
Rangers of the Gnarley Forest
This group consists of more than two hundred rangers. They come from all over to protect the vast expanse of the Gnarley Forest. There is no set order of command except for several Ranger Knights that gather every two to three months to exchange information. Young rangers are taken in under one of these Knights and trained although rangers of any skill level may join by finding one one of these Ranger Knights, be interviewed and pass several woodland tests.
The rangers are a close group and will come to one another’s aid as soon as possible. Even the animals of the Gnarley Forest seem to cooperate with them by dragging wounded rangers to safety or alerting to possible dangers. Their main goal is to control lumbering in the wood, flush out bandits and protect the people of the Gnarley Forest.
They also must stay close the the forest. Any extended leave of over six months must be approved by a Ranger Knight and long journeys away without good cause will usually result in the ranger being asked to turn in his/her insignia of oak leaves.
The Horned Society
The Horned Society is a secret society devoted to evil and devil worship. The name can also be applied to a former independent nation of the Flanaess, formerly part of Iuz’s kingdom.
The Iron League
the Iron League is an affiliation of states that opposed the Great Kingdom of Aerdy. It formed in late 447 CY as a reaction to Ivid V becoming Overking of Aerdy. Idee, the Free City of Irongate, and Onnwal were charter members of the organization.
The Lordship of the Isles later joined the Iron League in 448 CY, and the County of Sunndi in 455 CY. Sunndi has urged the town of Dullstrand to join the league, but as of the current campaign setting of 590 CY, Dullstrand has remained aloof.
The Old Faith
The Old Faith is the chief druidic order in the Flanaess. Though strongly associated with the faiths of Beory and Obad-Hai, the Old Faith also encompasses other deities, principally those concerned with natural phenomema. A quartet of gods representing the seasons is common, though the identities of these deities vary from culture to culture.
The Old Faith has divided the Flanaess into nine separate regions, each under the dominion of a Great Druid. These regions are known colloquially as the Baklunish West, the Bitter North (“Old Blackmoor”), the Western Nyr Dyv (“Old Ferrond”), the Sheldomar Valley (“Old Keoland”), the Empire of Iuz (“Northern Reaches”), the Thillonrian Peninsula (“Barbarian North”), the Old Aerdy West (“Old Nyrond”), the Old Aerdy East (former Great Kingdom), and the Isolated Realms.
All druids of the Old Faith within a specific region are organized into a Circle.
Adherents of the Old Faith hold trees, particularly oak and ash, and the sun and the moons as sacred. Druids of the Old Faith believe they must protect trees, plants, and crops from destruction; to a lesser extent, they protect their human followers and animals as well. They recognize that humans, humanoids, and animals need food and shelter, and don’t begrudge them the right to hunt or practice agriculture if they do so responsibly. Druids of the Old Faith may not destroy woodlands or crops, though they may work to change the nature of these things if they feel it is worth the effort to do so. For example, an Old Faith druid could cleanse a corrupted wood of its evil taint, but the Old Faith is strongly neutral in alignment, believing that Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos should exist in balance.
The Old Faith holds itself aloof from worldly affairs, being primarily concerned with the cycles of nature: life, death, and rebirth. They view all things as part of a great cycle, with Good and Evil only temporary phases. Only when the cycle itself is threatened do they feel called to action.
Druids of associated deities make up the priests of the Old Faith. Common symbols are oak leaves, holly leaves, and mistletoe. Druids of the Old Faith have their own secret language known as Druidic; it shares roots with the Flan tongue, but is much more specialized, dealing mostly with the natural world and the growth of plants. Many druids also learn the languages of centaurs, elves, gnomes, green dragons, hill giants, lizardfolk, manticores, treants, and fey.
Druids of the Old Faith prefer to live in sacred groves, in small, simple houses built of logs, stone, or sod. At higher levels, they generally dwell in building complexes in woodland areas.
The Old Faith’s lowest-ranked clergy are known as Aspirants, who seek admission to the order. Next are the Ovates, who read auguries and perform minor administrative tasks. Next are the Initiates of the First Circle, followed by higher ranking Initiates of the Second through Ninth Circles. Above these ranks are those who have the right to the title of Druid. There are only nine Druids to each region. Above the nine Druids are three Archdruids, who answer to the Great Druid of their region. Admission to the ranks of Druid, Archdruid, and Great Druid is only granted via trial by combat. It is said that above the Great Druids stands a single Grand Druid, whose dominion includes the entire Oerth. Former Grand Druids are said to make up an inner circle of ascended mystics known as the Heirophants of the Cabal, though their existence is not remarked on outside the Old Faith hierarchy.
Old Faith services take place at megalithic stone circles or woodland groves. Oak groves are particularly common, but ash is also held sacred, and deklo and usk groves are also sometimes used. Each type of tree has a different meaning among the Old Faith, and so the different groves serve very different purposes.
In ancient times, the Old Faith druids allied themselves with dark magic-users of the Ur-Flan such as Vecna, electing not to challenge their depraved, evil rites and spells. The Old Faith still preserves some of their magical secrets. Vecna, however, betrayed them, and many died when the lich twisted their powers over nature into powers of undeath.
The Scarlet Brotherhood
This group makes it’s home on the Tilvanot Peninsula. Their one driving goal since it’s founding a thousand years ago is to have the Suel recognized as the master race throughout the Flanaess. Apparently there was a premonition of doom right before the Rain of Colorless Fire descended upon the Suel Empire. One man named Kevelli Mauk that had founded the Brotherhood three years prior had enough time to gather ten of his students along with their slaves, the Tome of the Scarlet Sign (the Brotherhood’s manifesto) and use a now lost artifact called Lendor’s Matrix to teleport them all to the western side of Hellfurnaces just before the fall of the Rain of Colorless Fire.
They, over time, eventually made there way down into the Tilvanot Peninsula where they reside. They believe that by their physical perfection, the early birth of their empire and their mastery of magic that they are the superior race. They are a people where assassins and thieves are as common place as farmers and merchants on the main land.
Greyhawk Historical Timeline
History of the Greyhawk Wars (long..)
Suggested racial homeland locations
Aasimar: Diamond Lake, any human settlement, Free City of Greyhawk
Changeling: Diamond Lake,any human settlement of medium to large size, Free City of Greyhawk
Dwarves: Diamond Lake,Graysmere Fortress, Karakast Fortress, Free City of Greyhawk
Elves: Diamond Lake, Gnarley Forest, Celene (southwest of Gnarley Forest), Free City of Greyhawk
Gnomes: Diamond Lake, Grossettgrottell, Free City of Greyhawk, Kron Hills (west of Gnarley Forest)
Halflings: Diamond Lake, Elmshire, Free City of Greyhawk
Half-orcs: Diamond Lake, any human settlement of medium to large size, Free City of Greyhawk, Bandit Kingdoms, Horned Society, orc-hold of Harrgrek Kukulend
Humans: Diamond Lake, Free City of Greyhawk, or just about anywhere
Tieflings: Diamond Lake, any human settlement of medium to large size, Free City of Greyhawk
The Oeridians (sometimes called the “Oerid”) are a race of humans living in the Flanaess. Having once inhabited the plains of Central Oerik, they moved into what is now known as Ull starting 1,235 years ago; the Oeridians were driven eastward into the Flanaess by orcs and goblins used as mercenaries by the Baklunish Empire and the Suel Imperium. 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’ most powerful modern empire, the Great Kingdom of Aerdy, was founded by a warlike Oeridian tribe known as the Aerdi. Other notable Oeridian tribes include the Vollar of modern Veluna and the Nyrondal of Nyrond.
“Unmixed” Oeridians are most commonly found in Furyondy, Perrenland, the Shield Lands, North Kingdom of Aerdy, the See of Medegia, Onnwal, and Sunndi.
Suloise is generally used in reference to the Suloise people, (sometimes called the “Suel”), a race of humans living in the Flanaess, though the term may also refer to the language and culture of said people.
The Suel began migrating to the Flanaess in large numbers circa -447 CY, from the Suel Imperium. The numbers of the Suloise Migration increased dramatically after the Invoked Devastation and the Rain of Colorless Fire in -422 CY. The Suel settled in many regions of the Flanaess, often competing with the native Flan and migrant Oeridians, as well as non-human inhabitants such as the elves and dwarves.
Though people of Suel descent can be found nearly anywhere in the Flanaess, notable lands that contain a significant number of Suel include the Thillonrian Peninsula, the Scarlet Brotherhood, the Lordship of the Isles, the Sea Barons, the Sheldomar Valley, and the Urnst States. The Lendore Isles were once home to a large contingent of Suel, but most humans have been expelled from that land since the cult of Sehanine Moonbow gained control after the Greyhawk Wars.
Purebred Suel typically have pale skin, with albinism being far more common than among other races. Violet and pale blue eyes are common, with gray and deep blue less common. Hair color is fair, from several shades of blond to light red, and is often kinky in texture.
Suloise fashion favors solid colors, with parti-colored garments marking higher social station. Emblems, tokens, or similar affectations (typically in hues contrasting their clothes), often mark status or affiliation with ancient Suel houses and traditions. The ancient Suel often wore loose-fitting pantaloons covered by a baggy blouse, but their fashion has adapted to various climes in the centuries following the Great Migrations.