Friday, 29 November 2019

History of Oerth, Part 6: The Great Migrations (-457 to -107 CY)

Suel Wizard
The Peoples of the West had rejoined our Narrative. When we first left them, they become a people under singular Empire, had mastered great magics and used them to subjugate those around them. The Flan had fled, but the Suloise had not followed them, content with gathering up all the lands of the West; so they told themselves, neglecting to mention their fear of the dark elves in the mountains to the east. Their doings had been just as turbulent as those of the Ur-Flan. Their Great Houses were ever fighting over the Throne. And while they were occupied thus, the Bakluni freed themselves. Then the Oeridians.

Needless to say, the Suel were not pleased; so, it was not long before they and the Bakluni came to blows. What began as small raids and minor skirmished escalated into widespread hostilities. War had swept the West.  And, if that were not enough, Tharizdun had slipped back into Oerth through ever widening cracks.

The Peoples of the West were on the move. And the Flanaess would never be the same.

-457 CY
Queen Johydee
Freed from their oppressors, Queen Johydee led her people, the Oeridian tribes, east from Ull, fighting north and eastward through the vast savage humanoid hordes employed as mercenaries by the Suel and Bakluni, taking with them those secrets of the Suel they knew or could steal, and what debris the Suel had left scattered about the fields in those days of conquest, for they knew not what may be useful in days to come.
Some Suel fled their increasingly erratic empire, as well, and moved northward through the Kendeen Pass of the Hellfurnaces, coming into mostly peaceful congress with the migrating Oeridians, and open conflict with the native Flan who sought to keep them out. The Oeridians defeated hostile Suel and Flan alike, pushing them to the peripheral, wild places of the Flanaess.
A large number of savage humanoids followed in their wake, infecting the Flanaess with a brutal violence it had previously been spared. (187 OR/ 5059 SD/ 1694 FT)

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

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

-447 CY
Not all were deaf to the prophets’ warnings. The Emperor’s son took heed, for, if seven prophets should face certain death to warn of impending disaster, who was he dispute them. He knew more than most, and heeded their warnings because he’d read the Lament for Lost Tharizdun, that foul scripture penned by that mad priest Wongas, who’d mysteriously vanished into the East a century earlier, and he’d seen with his own eyes what that dark lord demanded at his worship when it had been fashionable to be seen to attend such things, and knew what that Chained God desired even if those other revellers did not.
Zellifar-ad-Zol, son of the Emperor, mage/high priest of Beltar, breaks with his father and takes over 8,000 Suloise loyal to himself, and flees the kingdom, eastward. The ferocity and magical might of the movement scatters the Oerdians in its path, causing the remainder of the Oerdian to migrate. Slerotin, called “the Last High Mage” causes a huge tunnel to be bored into the Crystalmists, through which the Zolite Suel flee. He then seals the tunnel closed at both ends, trapping one lesser branch of the family, the Lerara, inside. The Zolites continue eastward heading toward the southeast as well as to Hepmonoland. [OJ11] (197 OR/ 5069 SD/1704 FT)

-446 CY
The Emperor was not pleased! Traitor! he screamed, when he heard of his son's betrayal. His advisors and courtiers bowed and slunk away from their emperor's wrath, for they knew it all too well, and feared their being heir to it in his son's absence.
 The emperor commands that the Houses Schnai, Cruskii and Fruztii move [and] bring his son, and the "Unloyal" back to face justice. [OJ1] (198 OR/ 5070 SD/1705 FT)

-445 to -423 CY
The Zolites scatter the Flannae before them, and move south to the Tilvanot Peninsula. Zellifar carries with him two of the lesser Binders and the Chief Binder. The three pursuing houses, unable to find the magical tunnel, turned north, where they are met by regrouped Oerdians and fearful Flannae who harry and drive these Suel Houses south. Many are lost and remained in the Amedio Jungle. They eventually [turn] back east and march toward what is now the Rift Canyon. [OJ11] (199-221 OR/ 5071 – 5093 SD/1706-1728 FT)

-424 CY
Kevelli Mauk, leader of the Scarlet Brotherhood, also heeded the warnings of the seven prophets. He gathered his servants and his ten most ardent students, and managed to escape to the Flanaess just before disaster hit. They crossed the Hellfurnaces and found those Suel who’d first fled to the Sheldomar Valley as the Great War began and had already begun to settle there. But those Suel had not held true to the Path of Purity, having already consorted with the lesser Oeridians. They were not entirely without use, Mauk found, for they had news of Zellifar-ad-Zol and those thousands who had followed him into the east. (222 OR/ 5092 SD/ 1727 FT)

-423 CY
Zellifar was not the saviour his followers had imagined; indeed, his reading the Lament for Lost Tharizdun had twisted him and he proved as much a tyrant as his father, so, soon after taking flight, there were those among them who saw that they had traded one cruel emperor for another, and they began to steal away in the chaos he fostered as they were driven further east.
One of Zellifar’s minions, the High Priest Pellipardus, slips away from the Zolites and takes his family. Zellifar does not pursue, fearing that this will take his attention away from the Three Houses of Pursuit: the Schnai, the Fruztii, and the Cruski. [OJ11] (223 OR/ 5093 SD/1728 FT)

-422 CY
Zellifar parleys with the Houses of Pursuit. His Archmage, Slerotin, unleashes a mass enfeeblement on the mages of the three Houses, and a mass suggestion upon the other members of the Houses. Slerotin is blasted by magical energies upon the casting of these mighty spells, leaving the Rift Canyon as the only physical remains of this energy. The remnants of the Three Pursuing Houses flee northeastward.
The Houses of Pursuit have been mind-swept. They have no purpose and no direction and no mages whatsoever after they are hit by these spells. They do not know why they are searching or what they are searching for. They have two binders but do not realize it! As they move aimlessly, they begin to seek a homeland. They do not remember where they came from. The memories of their gods are virtually blotted out.
The three houses that eventually settle in the Barbarian States lose almost all contact with the more ‘civilized’ and good gods of their people. As they begin to multiply and prosper Kord and Llerg become major gods to them but Fortubo, Lendor, Lydia and Jascar are forgotten.
Farther south in Ratik a slightly different mix of peoples assembles. Gods like Phaulkon, Norebo and Phyton are still remembered. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/ 1729 FT)

Invoked Devastation and Rain of Colourless Fire Strike
Rain of Colourless Fire
The Great War had reached its height. Thousands had perished, and thousands would perish still. Each revelled in their atrocities, citing moral and racial superiority, eager to cleanse the land of the filth that tainted it.
In the Suel Empire proper, the Suel mages gather their magical energies and cast the Invoked Devastation. No Bakluni cities survive this blast of magical energy. But Bakluni mages gather at Tovag Baragu, using the arcane powers of the Binders, and drawing upon the energies of their holiest site, withstand these energies and counterstrike with the Rain of Colorless Fire. The remains of this expenditure of energy are now called the Dry Steppes, and the Sea of Dust. The holders of all Four Binders are utterly destroyed but the binders themselves are not. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/1729 FT)

When the Invoked Devastation came upon the Baklunish, their own magi brought down the Rain of Colorless Fire in a last terrible curse, and this so affected the Suloise Empire as to cause it to become the Sea of Dust. [Folio - 5]

The Suloise lands were inundated by a nearly invisible fiery rain which killed all creatures it struck, burned all living things, ignited the landscape with colorless flame, and burned the very hills into ash. [Folio] (224_OR/ 5094 SD/1729 FT)

Cup and Talisman of AI'Akbar:
Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar
This pair of holy relics were given by the gods of the Paynims to their most exalted high priest […] in the days following the Invoked Devastation. It was lost to demihuman raiders and was last rumored to be somewhere in the Southeastern portion of the Bandit Kingdoms. [DMG 1e - 157]
And thus the world was sundered, its rending felt from sea to sea, and all the peoples to the east looked to the west and thought that those great magi and their Binders had brought doom to them all. The skies lit up as never before, and, for a time, there was no night, so bright was the firmament to the west. But the end did not come. The tremors persisted, then faded, the eerie red glow slaked and withdrew to the horizon, and finally below the towering mountains there until it too faded from sight, if not from memory.

How could it? The tattered remnant of the Suel fled their homeland as the devastation rained down upon them. They crossed the Hellfurnaces into the Sheldomar Valley where the Oeridian tribe of Keogh took pity on them and welcomed them, and together they began to build what would become a vast kingdom, settling swiftly and (so they say) peacefully under the guidance of their seers. They defeated the remnants of Vecna’s Occluded Empire and drove the Flan to the fringes of the Valley.

That’s the story, anyway. But, Mordenkainen wrote otherwise in On The Rise of Magecraft and Modernity. The Suel were not peaceful, he wrote. They’d never been peaceful. Their Houses fought for control of one another even as they established themselves, and even drove their own minor Houses from the Valley altogether. Indeed, the Suel were striking pacts with those Ur-Flan who still held sway over Vecna’s Lands, even as they were seen to fight against them.

Some remained aloof. Or maybe they were just biding their time. Their seers stood apart from such petty struggles, and joined together as “Those Who Must Not Speak,” to serve all the Houses, guiding them. It’s been suggested that the Order was actually founded to keep certain aspects of Suel Magic from the Oeridians, who, as yet, still lacked great sorcerers of their own. However the circumstances of their formation, “Those Who Must Not Speak” were tasked with restraining the spread of magic, and seeking out and stopping those who would unleash such death and destruction as had already been unleashed on them. In time they came to be known as the Silent Ones.

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

-417 CY
The Three Houses of Pursuit move into the Thillonrian Peninsula. They turn to the gods they deem to be strong in the face of the harsh climate; Kord and Llerg. Magic is not practiced, and only priests, wise men and skalds may use it without fear. Witches are not uncommon, but are forced away from “normal” men. The skalds and priests develop a runic alphabet that carries mystic powers.
They do not know where they have come from. Their skalds do not know of the Suel Empire. They have retained memory of their more primitive gods such as Kord and Llerg. Some others like Phaulkon are still remembered but the more civilized gods (Lydia, for example), are forgotten! [OJ11] (227 OR/ 5099 SD/1734 FT)

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

c.-400 CY
The Flan Ahlissan Kingdom was in full “decline” by this time. In the wake of the Ur-Flan and the devastating war with the elves, they’d become a peaceful folk, having reverted to a tribal existence, content to tend their flocks and fields. They were no match for the coming Suel or Oeridians ... militarily. That is not to say that they were a helpless people, either. (244 OR/ 5116 SD/ 1751 FT)

Queen Ehlissa's Marvelous Nightingale: 

Queen Ehlissa's Marvelous  Nightingale
The origin of this artifact is unknown, although the Mage Mordenkainen is reported to have asserted that the Nightingale was made by Xagy and the goddess of volcanic activity, Joramy, some 17 centuries ago. Queen Ehlissa bent all to her will with the enchantments of the device, and throughout her reign […] several Suel [were] banished to margins of the Flanaess. [DMG 1e - 160]

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

-365 CY
Veralos committed the Dark Rites bid them, and the sleeping power rose up from the depths of the Rift Canyon and the city of Veralos was no more. 
When the Aerdy came upon the Rift Valley, all they found were steep cliffs, howling winds, undulant grasses, and dust-devils. They said the dust-devils swooned and wailed. They said their dreams were plagued by visions of untold horrors. And they quit the cliffs of the Rift Canyon before too long, having never raised a single palisade to defend the howling plains or the twisted forests that surrounded it. (279 OR/ 5151 SD/ 1786 FT)

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

Mighty Servant of Leuk-O:

Mighty Servant of Leuk-O
Those who are most knowledgeable regarding ancient artifacts believe that this device is of the same manufacture as the Machine of Lum. The Mighty Servant of the famous General Leuk-O is a towering automaton of crystal, unknown metals, and strange fibrous material. It is over 9' tall, 6’ deep, and some 4' wide. Inside is a compartment suitable for holding 2 man-sized creatures, and there is space for 4-5 others to sit outside. If the possessor knows the proper command phrases, he or she can use the Mighty Servant as a transportation mode, magical attack device, or fighting machine.
 The Mighty Servant regenerates [damage done to it]. [It is reputedly immune to magic.] Acid, cold, fire, heat, vacuum, and water have no effect on the device. [DMG 1e - 159]

Science of Temporal Waves, by Leuk-0 [Dragon #82 - 58]

Machine of Lum the Mad:
Perhaps this strange device was built by gods long forgotten and survived the eons since their passing, for it is incredibly ancient and of workmanship unlike anything known today. The Machine was used by Baron Lum to build an empire, but what has since become of this ponderous mechanism none can say. Legends report that it has 60 levers, 40 dials, and 20 switches (but only about one-half still function). Singly or in combination, these controls will generate all sorts of powers and effects. [DMG 1e  - 159]

The Minds of The Unknown, by Baron Lum [Dragon #82 - 58]

Baron Lum wielded Druniarzth against the Ur-Flan sorcerers until he lost it in the Battle if the Bonewood. Druniarzth is a fell blade, an artifact that exists only to serve Tharizdun and free him from his endless slumber. Lum spent his remaining years trying to recover the sword, the search eventually driving him mad.

-217 CY
Founding of the Kingdom of Aerdy.
The strongest tribe of the Oeridians, the Aerdi, settled the rich fields east of the Nyr Dyv and there founded the Kingdom of Aerdy, eventually to be renamed the Great Kingdom. [Folio - 5] (427_OR/ 5299 SD/ 1881_FT)

-194 CY
Exploration of the Solonor Ocean begins.
In eastern Oerik, some small but farsighted groups living near the Gull Cliffs of the coast developed some skill at maritime travel. The travelers were of mixed stock, Oerid and Flannae, and part of the newly formed kingdom of Aerdy. The persistent Aqua-erdians generated two major seafaring explorations, both of which successfully returned with news of land far eastward. [Aqua] (450 OR/ 5322 SD/ 1967 FT)

-171 CY
The Battle of Chokestone.
The Flannae could only watch as the Aerdy flooded into the east, a relentless tide that had no ebb. They sought to parley with these newcomers, for there was an abundance of uncultivated land and room for all. But, the Aerdians saw the fertile lands of the Flannae and meant to take them for their own. The Flan sought to defend them, but their cause was hopeless compared with the fierceness and resolve of the Oeridians.
They clashed at Chokestone, and the Flan fell. (473 OR/ 5345 SD/ 1980 FT)

This place, and the lands around it are deserted, not farmed by anyone. The site is that of a great battle between Aerdi men and a small Flan tribe in -171 CY. The Oeridians were easily triumphant, and an excessively brutal general ordered the torture and sacrifice of all surrendering Flan folk in thanks to Erythnul. The following day, the Aerdi army woke from its camp to find that the land for several square miles around had been stripped of vegetation. Only slate-like stone remained. As they trod upon the stone, it cracked as if it were brittle paper, releasing clouds of oily, choking smoke. Less than a third of the army managed to march away from the accursed area, and those who survived suffered lung infections and disease which brought their lives to very premature ends. From time to time since this slaughter, a huge black smoky serpentine shape has been spotted prowling the lands around Chokestone, slaying any who dare approach the land where the Flan were slaughtered. Astrologer-sages can predict this wandering; it occurs around once every 17 years, with the "snake" manifesting for […] days. At other times, mages will sometimes try to obtain some of the stone for use in making dust of sneezing and choking, but they invariably send servants to obtain it rather than risking entry themselves. [Ivid - 53]

-122 CY
Aqua-erdians struck out east across the Solonor Ocean.
Disenchanted by a warlike turn of events in their homeland, most of the remaining Aqua-erdians left Aerdy by sea, migrating eastward across the Solnor Ocean. Those who remained became the ancestors of the Sea Barons, now virtually independent, but swearing fealty to the Overking at Rauxes. [Aqua] (522 OR/ 5394 SD/ 2029 FT)

-110 CY
After the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, the Duke of Tenh pledged fealty to the King of Aerdy, giving the Aerdian monarch authority over the duke and his personal holdings in Tenh and the Coltens, thus ending Flan dominion over the Flanaess.
Not all nobles and officials of Tenh bent the knee to the King of Aerdy, maintaining Tenh’s independence, but without support and armies to field, their declaration was tantamount to posturing. They were living in the Great Kingdom now, regardless their delusions of the supposed continuance of a bygone age.
After several decades of increasing growth, power, and prestige, Aerdy embarked upon a series of conquests, the greatest of which was the defeat of the Nyrondal cavalry squadrons at the Battle of a Fortnight's Length. [Folio - 5] (534 OR/ 5406 SD/ 2041 FT)

-107 CY
The Ur-Flan
Ur-Flan insurgents attempted to assassinate the King of Aerdy by summoning a "winged horror." It was their last fruitless gasp at freedom.
It occurred in the year 537 OR (-107 CY), when an attack upon the traveling train of the king of Aerdy was foiled by a group of young men, primarily woodsmen and farmers from a nearby village. Ur-Flan insurgents released a winged horror upon the royal tent city in an effort to assassinate the leader of their conquerors. The young men of the village thwarted the attack, at the cost of most of their lives. The king was so impressed with the courage of the survivors that he raised them up as his "Knight Protectors." [LGG - 157] (537 OR/ 5409 SD/ 2044 FT)
So ended the Flan kingdoms.
So began the Aerdian Great Kingdom.

But what of the Houses of Pursuit? What befell them is as much legend and myth as it is truth.
Stories tell of a barbarian empire created by the warriors of Vatun, the "Great God of the North." The empire, if it existed at all, lasted only for the lifetime of the first fasstal of the Suelii. Some say Vatun was betrayed by a companion deity, but others blame a rival Oeridian god (Telchur) and his clerics; a few even say that the barbarians proved unworthy, being unable to sustain a mighty god's presence. Regardless, as recorded history dawned in the north, the barbarians' empire was only a tale of old. [LGG - 44]
Legend has it that should the Five Blades of Curusk be united, Vatun would be freed from his imprisonment and work his revenge against Telchur and the Oerids.

The Fruztii settled in the lands north of the Timberway and west if the Spikey forests where the climate tended towards a more temperate temperament. They farmed their fertile lands; they harvested the bounty of Grendep Bay; they even mined the eastern Griffs; but they also raided the southern coasts with abandon, for those people were weak, and Vatun taught them to do so, and punished those tribes that did not, sending quakes and high seas and fierce winds until they set sail south once again.

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

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

The Barbarians and the Kingdom of Aerdy were destined to clash.
And they did.
But that is another tale.

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

The Art:
Prophet by taradaradara
War-Relic by artursadlos
Rain of Colourless Fire by Erol Otus, World of Greyhawk Gold Box, 1983
Art of Artifacts can be found in the Book of Artifacts, 1993
Greyhawk map detail, by Darlene, from the World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
Dungeons-and-Dragons-Control-Flames by leesmith

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed Set, 1991
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
2138 Book of Artifacts, 1993
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Ivid the Undying, 1998
Dragon Magazine 82
OJ Oerth Journal, #1, #11
Living Greyhawk Journals
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer 

Friday, 22 November 2019

History of Oerth, Part 5: The Peoples of the West (-4414 to -423 CY)

Before The Machine of Lum the Mad
Let’s look way back shall we?

The Suloise were a cruel and haughty people who aspired to the power they saw in the Grey Elves. They coveted that power, but as chance would have it, the Elves saw the wisdom of their having released their Magic into the world as folly, and closed their schools. The Suel were enraged. Their relations with the Elves suffered and in time, when the Grey Elves went to war against their dark brethren, they sided with the Drow and Giantkind against their former tutors. The Drow were victorious, but both they and their allies saw their forces all but wiped out. The Suloise did not venture East after that. The Drow were not as the Grey Elves were, and despite their having fought side by side with the Drow, they knew those dark elves were not their friends. So they looked to the North and West for conquest.

They had learned much while at the knee of the Grey Elves. And they had learned far more since. They sought to know all and sent out missions in all directions to gather up what knowledge they could, some even as far north as the Barrier Peaks to spy upon their past allies, for they knew one must be prepared against the duplicity of the perfidious. They unearthed spells of great power, and they grew adept at artifice. Their foes were no match for them.

Machine of Lum the Mad:
Perhaps this strange device was built by gods long forgotten and survived the eons since their passing, for it is incredibly ancient and of workmanship unlike anything known today. The Machine was used by Baron Lum to build an empire, but what has since become of this ponderous mechanism none can say. Legends report that it has 60 levers, 40 dials, and 20 switches (but only about one-half still function). Singly or in combination, these controls will generate all sorts of powers and effects. [DMG 1e - 159]

Mighty Servant of Leuk-O:
The First Mighty Servant
Those who are most knowledgeable regarding ancient artifacts believe that this device is of the same manufacture as the Machine of Lum. The Mighty Servant of the famous General Leuk-O is a towering automaton of crystal, unknown metals, and strange fibrous material. It is over 9' tall, 6’ deep, and some 4' wide. Inside is a compartment suitable for holding 2 man-sized creatures, and there is space for 4-5 others to sit outside. If the possessor knows the proper command phrases, he or she can use the Mighty Servant as a transportation mode, magical attack device, or fighting machine.
 The Mighty Servant regenerates [damage done to it]. [It is reputedly immune to magic.] Acid, cold, fire, heat, vacuum, and water have no effect on the device. [DMG 1e - 159]

-4414 CY
But first, the Suel had to sort out their own House. Only one must rule if they were to stand against their enemies. And they had enemies at all points of the compass. But as some Houses soon discovered, some enemies are closer than one might think. In time, each bowed the knee until there was but one. And so it was that a scion of the House of Rhola was proclaimed the First Emperor of the Suel Empire. Worshippers of Jascar and other Suloise deities of weal, they held their holds with an iron fist. (1102 SD/ -2263 FT/ -1753 BT)

-2660 CY
The Bakluni took note of their neighbours and saw what power would be needed if they were to keep from being fitted for chains, for the reputation of the Suel was well known to them. A Holy Man, El-Baklun-bar-Gash, prayed for guidance and was sent a vision
of massive stone blocks set in five concentric circles upon the shores of Lake Udrukankar. He must build this circle of stone, the vision said, and he was to name it Tovrag Baragu, "The Naval of the Earth." He shared his vision upon waking, and his brethren raced off to all corners of the steppes to gather in those holy men known to them. They raised the stones, and understood them to be the window to all existence. The Suloise did not see, for the nomads were sparse and scattered, and they did believe that such savage nomads could raise such a thing. The Bakluni count the completion of this place as the beginning of the Bakluni calendar. (2856 SD/ -509 FT/1_BH)

The Suel had their holy men, too. And they, too, were blessed and given favour. Some were so blessed, in fact, that their very essence was infused with their boon, and persists eons after their demise. But beware, for their boon may be your bane.

The Teeth of Dahlver-Nor:
If any cleric was more powerful than the renowned Dahlver-Nor, histories do not tell us. The gods themselves gave special powers to him, and these have passed on to others by means of the great relics of Dahlver-Nor, his teeth. Each of the Teeth has some power, and if one character manages to gain a full quarter, half, or all of them, other grand benefits accrue. In order to gain the power of one of these teeth, however, the character must place it into his or her mouth, where it will graft itself in the place of a like missing tooth. The teeth can never be removed once so emplaced, short of the demise of the possessor. [DMG 1e - 161]

-2328 CY
The Suel were always a cunning and covetous people. Their Houses were always mindful of their place, and each in their wisdom knew that they were better suited for the throne than they who occupied it. But how to unseat those in their way. They plotted and schemed. They whispered into ears, and watched for weakness. They also knew that those whispers should never reach the ears of any who might expose them. One must keep plans close to their chests. And trust no one. And never, never, act openly, for to do so exposed their family to annihilation. And so, assassination became the vehicle of succession in the Empire. Thus, the throne fell to the House of Zolax, worshippers of Beltar. (3188 SD/ -177 FT/ 333 BT)

-2269 CY
The Years of Conquest and Prosperity
The Flanae in the southeast, already persecuted and pressed upon by the Suel for decades, were the first to fall; then the Kersi, the long distant descendants of those who first sailed from AnaKeri, to the south; then the Oerid to the north and east. Several unnamed small tribes to the west eventually fell to the Suloise as the Suel reached and stretched until they could reach no more. And with them, all the lands of the known world were under their yoke. Beyond lay only great wastes. But no lands east; the Drow and darker forces, and a fear of other elves, halted their eastern expansion.
Convinced of their power and their undeniable destiny of dominion over the lesser peoples around them, the Suel began their "Slavery Raids.” They slipped across the Sulhaut Mountains and captured an entire family of Bakluni and took them back to their lands in chains. Such were those first raids, small, a trifling of what were to come, as though to test the resolve of the nomadic Bakluni to the north. None were noticed at first, for the Bakluni were a people scattered across the wide and windy steppes. (3247 SD/ -118 FT/ 392 BH)

-2266 CY
The Flanae, under the protection of Beory, Pelor and Rao, fled their lands en masse, making a perilous crossing of the Hellfurnaces. They moved north into Eastern Oerik, later called the Flanaess, and were the first humans to inhabitant those lands. Initially, the elves welcomed them. The Dwarves hardly took notice, so fixated were they in their quest for gold and trading bitter blows with the humanoids in the depths of those ancient eroded mountains, the Lortmils. (3250 SD/ -115 FT/ 395 BT)

-2150 CY
The Flan spread across the Sheldomar Valley, always settling at the foot of Elven settlements for protection. They were still convinced of the coming of the Suel, for they knew that those cruel and greedy people would sulk in their land west of the Hellfurnaces for only so long. So, when they did finally plant the seed of their civilization, they did so high in the Lortmils, where they could look to the West for their former master’s coming. They named their city Haradaragh, after Harad, the holy man who first climbed into the Lortmils to commune with the skies. Pilgrims came to learn his wisdom, calling him Druid (Father, or, Learned One), and those he taught were told to go out into the forests and hills and be as one with the all they surveyed, and they too came to be known as druids. And those who sought to protect and serve them learned their ways and ranged the lands with them.
The Dwarves took no action against their raising this city in their mountains, for the Flan had settled in a land less rich than theirs, and more importantly, these newcomers had drawn the hated humanoids away from their unending conflict, at least for a time.
The founding of the first Flannae City in the Lortmil mountains in eastern Oerik, this is counted as year [OJ11] (3366 SD/ 1 FT/ 511 BH)

-2064 CY
The Great Betrayal.
The Slave Raids
The Bakluni had not yet taken note of the Suel’s slave raids. The Steppes were a hostile place, and on occasion, small groups disappeared; what’s more, family units ranged far and were sometimes only seen at the annual gatherings.
But, after treating with seven nomadic merchant clans at a trade gathering, the Suloise Odiafer attacked the merchants, attempting to take their goods and enslave them. The Bakluni families drew their trains together and fought to the last.
The Bakluni came upon the field of battle in the months that followed, and reading the signs, looked to the south for those responsible. The tribes had finally taken notice of the Suel, and they knew hatred. (3452 SD/ 87 FT/597 BH)

-2055 CY
The Suloise armies marched into the northern plains and finding scant resistance at first, claimed all they could see as their domain. The Suloise built their first palisades to defend their newly acquired territories, and then their first fortresses as they gained ever more ground, tall walls that the nomads could neither breach nor scale. They did so until they stood upon the high cliffs of the Dramidj Sea, and for the next 600 years the Bakluni were subjugated by the Suel. (3461 SD/ 96 FT/ 606 BH)

-1547 CY
Vecna began his 400 Year War against the Galitholian and the elves.

-1545 CY
The Bakluni united under one of their wandering chieftains, one Ali-ben-Onar, in an effort to throw off the Suloise yoke. (3971 SD/ 606 FT/ 1116 BH)

-1540 CY
Five years later, they won their "First Victory." During the War of Seven Score Nights, one of the Suloise Binders was captured and the war ceased when the Bakluni threatened to use it. The Bakluni claimed all lands north of the Sulhaut Mountains by treaty with the Seul. The family Amirs and Sultans gathered and elected Ali-ben-Onar, by proclamation, "Caliph of All the Families of the Baklun." (3977 SD/ 611 FT/ 1121 BH)

-1539 CY
The Suel-Bakluni peace was always an uneasy one. The Suel did not suffer defeat easily. They planned to never suffer such again. The House of Zolax began to plot against Bakluni influences and sent out spies into Bakluni lands. They whispered fear into the ears of all those in their fold to ensure that they would never have such dreams as the Bakluni revolt might rouse. (3977 SD/ 612 FT/ 1122 BH)

-1399 CY
The Birth of the Brotherhood
The Emperor Zeeckar looked upon his empire and saw that the blood of the Suel had become tainted, and knew that such taint had been why the Suloise Empire had been much diminished. He decided to strengthen his realm, and declared his “War of Purity.” He selected those Houses he deemed loyal and chose those individuals from within them he saw as most pure and gathered them together for his Great Mission, and set his “The Scarlet Brotherhood,” to the task of returning his People to the Grace they once knew. The Brotherhood were instructed to erase the Houses of Ulmar and Opell, for those western Houses had long interbred with the Lesser Peoples to the west. Both Houses fled the Empire, flying west over the Steppes to the Vast Ocean where they passed out of memory. Zeeckar was pleased, and set his own House and those most loyal to him in their place, for he knew that their Purity was not in question. Then he decreed that the Brotherhood sift those other Houses whose skin was less pale, whose eyes were not as violet or clear. And they did. They then turned on those Houses who suggested that the Brotherhood wielded too much power. Why, asked Zeeckar, were they not loyal to his War on Purity, were they not Pure? The Houses, in patriotic fervour, began to select those best suited to breed. And they held their council behind closed doors and thick walls. And thus they were made Loyal and Pure. (4117_SD/ 752 FT/ 1262 BH)

-1151 CY
Vecna was weakened by the energies he expended during his attack on The City of Summer Stars. At his empire's height, Vecna was betrayed and destroyed by his most trusted lieutenant, a human vampire called Kas the Bloody-Handed, using a magical sword that Vecna himself had crafted for him, now known as the Sword of Kas. (4365 SD/ 1000 FT/ 1510 BH)

-1079 CY
House Schnai, both fearful of and enraged by centuries of the Brotherhood’s Purity pogroms, conspired with the Schnai and the Cruski, and seized the throne of the Empire after a short struggle, and Ovrung the First began to restore the kingdom to a shadow of its former self. He sought out the Scarlet Brotherhood, set upon cleansing the Empire of them. But the Brotherhood faded into the shadows and bided their time. (4437 SD/ 972 FT/ 1282 BH)

-1028 CY
The Plague Years
The Bakluni were watchful. They saw the Suloise embroiled in their internal struggles, and they struck, sending a series of plagues, some magical and some mundane, across the Sulhaut Mountains into the Empire, and its population there collapsed, with not a family left untouched.  Indeed, many towns were completely emptied, and the border defenses were greatly weakened. This was the first of
The Plague Years. (4788 SD/ 973 FT/ 1633 BH)

-1027 CY
The Bakluni watched as the Suloise population collapsed from the plagues, and saw their weakness. And they knew the time to strike was ripe. They broke the tenuous peace and began to raid across the Sulhaut Mountains. But not for slaves. For revenge. (4889 SD/ 974 FT/ 1634 BH)

-728 CY
Weakened by the Plague Years, the Suel Empire slipped into stagnation, too weak to do more than fend off the ever increasing waves of raids from the Bakluni. The Oeridians saw the Empire’s weakness, and began to dream that they too might someday be free. (4788 SD/ 1423 FT/ 1933 BH)

-645 CY
The Oeridian High Priestess Johydee, of the Aerdi House Crandon, dreamed that one day her people would be free. She put the question as to how this might be done to the gods, and they sent her a vision of Guile. Trick your cruel masters, the vision said, and the visage of a mask resolved before her. And in her cunning, she tricked their oppressors into moulding it, infusing the porcelain with her blood. And in their hubris, they created it in her image, for they meant to mock her. She let them laugh. For she had seduced them. And using her cunning further, she called it to her, for it was a part of her, and used the conduits of Phantasm within it to free the Oeridians from their dark overlords.
She ultimately became a queen in her own right, though the location of her realm is lost to time. But not her writings, for there is rumoured to be a copy of Mental Impressions of the Retina within the secret archives of in the Great Library of Greyhawk. (1 OR/ 4871 SD/ 1506 FT/ 2016 BH)
Johydee's Mask

Johydee's Mask: The high priestess Johydee supposedly tricked the powers of evil into making this strange artifact and then wisely used it to overthrow their hold upon her nation. The Mask completely covers the wearer's face and enables him or her to assume the likeness of any human or human-like creature. It also prevents all forms of mind contact, detection or attack. [DMG 1e - 158]

-627 CY
The Suel population had truly begun to recover, but peace had become an illusion. Skirmishes with the Bakluni had become common in the passes, with probes into each other’s territories ever more brazen. (4889 SD/ 1424 FT/ 1989 BH)

-604 CY
The Suloise noble houses were always maneuvering for power, and woe to those who did not anticipate treachery and assassination at court. The first of The Succession Wars began, and the Schnai were removed from the throne. (4912 SD/ 1547 FT/ 2057 BH)

-563 CY
Evil always finds a foothold. Temples devoted to Tharizdun had secretly spread all over the Suel Empire, spilling out over the borders in all directions, their grim devotees eager that their Master’s dark doctrine should find purchase wherever it might be whispered.
A temple to Tharizdun is located near the Realm of the Highfolk, it is cleared, but a mystic force keeps it from being destroyed. [OJ1] (4957 SD/ 1588 FT/ 2098 BH)

-505 CY
The last of The Succession Wars swept across the Suloise Empire. After 500 years of the throne falling to nine different Houses, the House Zolax regained control of the Imperium.
Monks from the hidden Temple of Tharizdun in Highfolk returned to the Suloise Empire and began winning converts. (5011 SD/ 1646 FT/ 2156 BH)

-504 CY
Zunid-ad-Zol, the Prince of House Zolax was crowned Emperor of the Seul Peoples. The Scarlet Brotherhood whispered in his ears. We are a great people, they said. We must keep out all the lesser peoples, they said. And he agreed. His first act was to command that the mountain passes be strengthened, that their fortifications were to span from peak to peak, and watchtowers were to be raised high.  The Bakluni protested the construction of fortifications upon what the declared to be their lands. The Backluni have been attacking us for centuries, the Brotherhood whispered. Zunid-ad-Zol accused the Backluni of having raided his lands for centuries, accusing them of having attacked his lands with plague. So whispered the Brotherhood. He declared the Bakluni an enemy of the Suloise Empire. Then he too commanded raids to probe the Steppes. The Bakluni withdrew their ambassador from the Seuloise Empire. And they too began to raise their armies. (5012 SD/ 1647 FT/ 2157 BH)

-485 CY
The Great War began with lightening swiftness when nine thousand Bakluni were slaughtered in the Salhaut Pass. The Suel thrust out into the Steppes with a vengeance they had not known since first conquering the northern nomads. Zunid was pleased, and promised to destroy the Bakluni entirely, even if the majority of mages of his own House died in the process. (5031 SD/ 1666 FT/ 2176 BH)

-466 CY
Both Bakluni and Suloise began to go east into the mountains, recruiting humanoids as mercenaries in their battles for the first time. [OJ11] (5050 SD/ 1685 FT/ 2195 BH)

-458 CY
Heeding their prophets, many Oeridians began moving eastward, coming into contact and conflict with the Flannae. (186 OR / 5058 SD/ 1693 FT/ 2203 BH)

But what of the Flan? Did they not mount a defence against the Peoples of the West? Their first city, Haradaragh had been built in preparation for the assault of the Se-Ul People that they knew must someday come. Surely they must have been prepared. They were. They had been. But the Se-Ul did not come. They grew lax. And were not prepared for what did.

The Flan of Haradaragh found that their presence in the Lortmils was left unchallenged by the elves for a simple reason -- the existence of the orcs and goblins of the central peaks. The humans had nearly a century of relative peace in which to build their great capital. During this time, the human miner Bleredd led several explorations of the deep caverns below the mines, and on one such occasion, was ambushed by a goblin scouting party. Separated from his companions, and facing a howling band of goblins, he prepared for his death at their spears. He was amazed to discover that he was no longer fighting alone; a strong faced matron battled at his side with her hammer, slaying the goblins as easily as the most skilled warrior. When the battle was over, Bleredd turned to thank his rescuer and found he was alone again. He there swore an oath that he would find her and repay his debt, unto his dying days if need be. Long and far he traveled, and terrible were the hardships he endured to follow his oath -- all of which have been expounded upon elsewhere.
Although no written descriptions of the city of Haradaragh have survived, there are cryptic fragments of songs still sung among those of Geoff, Sterich and the County of Ulek who count themselves of Flan descent. These tell of the spectacular visions of sunrise in the high plateaus of the mountains, the great wide boulevards and plazas of the city, the many-stepped pyramids devoted to the Sun-God, the agricultural terraces of the slopes, the labyrinthine walls protecting the city, and the tremendous wealth brought from the mines below. The more tragic lyrics sing of the last days of the city, when the mines boiled forth with rampaging humanoids who slaughtered all who would stand against them.

The humanoids had known of the presence of the humans within a few decades of the Flannae arrival, but the goblin shamen urged the tribes to wait until the portents were favorable. The goblins and allied orcs patiently waited for the humans to drive tunnels deeper into caverns that the goblins had already reached via other passages. Present-day goblin shamen recall only small fragments of the victorious battle chant, but it speaks of the spear of Maglubiyet waiting in the darkness for the humans. Whether this was an appearance of the avatar, or an epic exaggeration by the shamen, is unknown.
Although the songs are quite descriptive of the birth and death of the city, they leave out any clear description of its exact location, other than that it must have been among the highest peaks of the range. The mountain dwarves who have roamed the peaks in the centuries since have found no ruins of any such city, and have tunneled for miles without encountering other mining tunnels -- active or abandoned.
With the destruction of their great city, the few survivors fled into the lowlands, and reverted back to a [simpler], nomadic life. The leaders that later emerged among them forswore any return to the cursed mountains, or any attempt to build great cities again, citing the wrath of the gods.
When the waves of Oeridian and Suel refugees arrived in the Sheldomar valley region some 1,500 years later, the descendants of the Lortmil Flannae were completely absent of any signs that they had the skill, knowledge and daring to have built a city on the very peaks of the mountains. [OJ2, by Sobhrach]

-448 CY
The Year of the Prophets. Seven different prophets foretell of the destruction of the Suel Empire within 30 years. The emperor has all seven drawn and quartered, even though one of the prophets is a High Priest of Beltar. (196 OR/ 5068 SD/ 1703 FT/ 2213 BH)

-447 CY
Zellifar-ad-Zol, son of the emperor, mage/high priest of Beltar, breaks with his father and takes over 8,000 Seuloise loyal to himself, and flees the kingdom, eastward. The ferocity and magical might of the movement scatters the Oeridians in its path, causing the remainder of the Oeridian to migrate, who in turn attack the beleaguered Flanae. The Zolites continue eastward. (197 OR/ 5069_SD/_1704 FT/ 2214 BH)

-446 CY
The emperor sends commands that the Houses Schnai, Cruskii and Fruztii move bring his son, and the "Unloyal" back to face justice. [OJ1] (198 OR/ 5070 SD/ 1705 FT/ 2215 BH)

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

The Peoples of the West were on the move. The Great Migration had begun. But what begins as a trickle would eventually become a flood.

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

It should be noted that without Lenard Lakfka there would not be such a detailed account of the Suel Migration, or the Pantheon of Suel Gods, for that matter. I cannot at this time give credit to all those others who’d contributed to it over the years, because I myself am still learning it and who wrote it.

The Art:
Tovag Baragu map, by Steve Beck, from WGA4 Vecna Lives!, 1990
The Ancient Flannae, by David A. Roach, from The Adventure Begins, 1998
Johydee's Mask, by Daniel Frazier, from Book of Artifacts, 1993
Prophet by taradaradara

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
Book of Artifacts, Dave Cook, 1993
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9027 S2, White Plume Mountain, 1979
9309 WGA4, Vecna Lives, 1990
9399 WGR5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
Dragon Magazine, 82
OJ Oerth Journal, #1, #2, #11; produced by the Council of Greyhawk, and appearing on their website
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
TSR11348 Return to White Plume Mountain, 1999
Book of Artifacts, David Cook, 1993.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

History of Oerth, Part 4: The Dark Age Of The Flan (-1500 to -563 CY)

Flan warrior
The Ur-Flan were not idle as Vecna rose to power. They were a greedy and covetous lot, never satisfied to live under the rule of another, so they each sought to carve out their own realms while Vecna threw his forces against the shield of the Elven Kingdoms.

They were not all so. Some sought refuge from the tyranny of their peers. Thus, Tostenhca was born. Those who sought the Wisdom of Pelor fled from their evil brethren into the high and frigid Griff Mountains, where, to their delight, they discovered a green plateau that was of temperate climate in those days. They came upon the Dwarves, who, wary at first for they knew of the Ur-Flan and their war with the Elves, were convinced of the honour and goodness of these people. And it was with the help of the Dwarves that they carved their city from the greenish-black rock of the mountain, and it was a wonder to behold. Ramps, broad avenues, and good roads of such quality were cut through the mountains that they’ve withstood the ravages of time and are still used today by the local dwarves. Their broad avenues were lined with tall statues, backed by the facades and courtyards of the noble estates that were hued into the rock is such a way as to be sky lit by tapestries of coloured glass. Murals adorned their walls. And gardens bloomed and spilled out over the dappled streets in a floral canopy. Enormous cisterns caught the rains and fed their statues and fountains and pumped running water throughout the city.

They flattened terraces for the sake of agriculture around it and in the surrounding valleys as they sought and found others as gentle and fertile.

And what’s more, Pelor shined on them, as their valleys proved rich with gold and jade. Their artisans grew adept in the art of glass, the loom, and the kiln, and as such, they grew rich, and richer still as they traded with Dwarven clans of Ukauric and Ukargic. So rich in fact, that Tostenhca’s central, domed, Temple of Pelor, and the Theign’s pyramid Palace shone brightly with roofs of gold.

They were ever vigil, for they knew that one day Vecna, or one like him would come. And one day, one did come. But they were blind to it when it did come.

It is commonly held that the Flan peoples of eastern Oerth were simple tribesmen before the events that led to the Suel and Oeridian migrations. There remain to be explained certain ruins found in the Griff and Corusk Mountains. The massive stone foundations, straight level roads, and flattened or terraced areas of mountainside seem from the proportions of the rarely preserved door- ways to be intended for creatures of human size, and it seems unlikely that elves or humanoids would have had the inclination to produce such works. What is more, the occasional jade carvings and green ceramic figurines found both at these sites and occasionally in rivers flowing out of the mountains show a people of Flannish features and dress, and there remain in the Duchy of Tenh and among the Coltens stories of a powerful mountain state of Flann- ish race. Perhaps the dwarves of the region know more, but if so, they show the typical reticence of demi-human races concerning prehistoric events. One of the greatest works of this ancient people, whoever they were, is the mountain known in Flan as Tostenhca, but more commonly known by the name the Suel barbarians gave it, Skrellingshald. It is a place which has been discovered many times, and as often lost again from human knowledge. [GA - 92]

c.-1500 CY
The Ur-Flan wizard-priest Keraptis came to the Golden City of Tostenhca, and unknown to the People, he unleashed a horde of aberrations and monstrosities upon its populace; and then announcing himself to them, he told them that he alone could rid them of the hordes. They were skeptical. They already had an abundance of heroes, and great and accomplished magi, and a temple of divine power that had kept them from harm until then. But had they, Keraptis asked, were they not beset by monsters; had their heroes and magi and priests protected them from the beasts that plagued them still? They had not, said the people of Tostenhca. So, the people agreed that if Keraptis could rid them of the ravaging hordes, they would make him Protector of Tostenhca and lavish him with gold. And he did, with a wave of his hand. Tostenhca paid him his gold. They made him their Protector.

The Dwarves saw the Evil in Keraptis. But when they tried to warn the Council of Elders of Tostenhca of it, the Council would not hear of it. They were blind to it. He rescued us from Great Evil, they said. Had he, asked the Dwarves He did, said they, and they turned their backs on the Dwarves. And the Dwarves turned their backs on Tostenhca, and guarded the paths from that once good city to theirs’.

Keraptis warned the People that their great good fortune would being even greater evils upon them, for Evil despises Good. And Keraptis’ Great Evils did. Demons fell upon the city. Then a Wasting fell upon their flesh. And Keraptis demanded an ever-increasing stipend for his protection, for time and again the monstrosities came. Before long, Keraptis was demanding most of the wealth of the Tostenhca and its valleys. And in their fear, they gave it freely.

Keraptis sent out his warriors out from their heights, gathering in the foothills, and then the plains surrounding them.

Nearly 1300 years ago, in a time when the Flan tribes still dominated eastern Oerik, the archwizard Keraptis rose to power in the lands abutting the southern Rakers, and while most historians agree that the mage’s kingdom encompassed what is now known as the Bone March, a few scholars believe the territories that later became Ratik and the Pale were part of this empire as well. (651 FT) [Dragon #241 - 77]

-1151 CY
At his empire's height, Vecna was betrayed and destroyed by his most trusted lieutenant, a human vampire called Kas the Bloody-Handed. (1000 FT)

But what of the Elves? How did they fare after their disastrous 600-year stalemate with Vecna? They persevered.
After the Gray Elves last city in the Crystalmists fell, the remnants fled eastward. They, in conjunction with their High Elven and Sylvan kindred, developed the four Elven Kingdoms. The Westernmost of these, the "Realm" of Highfolk in the Yatils and the Vesve was established as a guardian against the Seul and the Drow. This realm was established with the Sylvan elves of the Vesve. Of all the Elven realms, it was the most open to other races, allowing humans, gnomes, halflings and even dwarves to partake of its society. The second Kingdom, Celene, the [High Elven] "heart jewel" of Elvendom, [took in those Gray Elves who fled to their realm]. It, alone of the realms, is always ruled by an elven queen. The third Kingdom, Aliador, was established in the Griff Mountains and the plains to the west to the shores of the Nyr Dyv, it is also called the "Lost Kingdom." This was the Crown of the Elven seat, and was inhabited solely by Gray Elves and their servants. The High King of All Elves had his place here. The Fourth Realm, Arrisa, was established by a council of mages and priests in the southern islands now known as the Spendrifts. It is called "The Secret Realm" and it has been closed for long. Little traffic passes between this realm and the remainder of the Flanaess. And its purpose, until recently, has been hidden (even to the other elven Realms). [OJ1]

-1142 CY
Despite Vecna's destruction, the three remaining hidden Gray Elven cities of Aliador do not reveal themselves.  [OJ1] (4374 SD/ 1109 FT)

-1138 CY
Envoys from Celene are sent to contact the three hidden cities of Aliador, they do not return. This is the beginning of "The Sleeping Years". The Elven Realms do not communicate with outsiders and rarely with each other. [OJ1] (4378 SD/ 1113 FT)

-1034 CY
Vecna’s vast empire collapsed with his passing, and the Flan found themselves lost and leaderless. The Flaneass fell into a Dark Age, where petty states raided and preyed on their neighbours.
Founding of the Flanae Kingdom of Sulm in the Bright Desert Region. [OJ1] (1117 FT)

c.-1100 CY
Keraptis ruled Tostenhca with an iron fist for fear for 400 years, but even fear can only surpass a People for so long. His grip was too tight. And when a grip is too tight, that which is held can escape from the cracks. His greed brought his downfall, its grip opening a path for those who aspired to his throne, and he was eventually driven out of Tostenhca.

History of the Pyronomicon
Yet, as is well documented in the little-known Legend of Keraptis, the archwizard was a cruel man, so brutal in fact that, near the end of his reign, he demanded his tormented subjects turn over to him one-third of their newborn children as part of their taxes. The peasants did not take this atrocity lightly, and under the leadership of the high priest Gethrun Shoiraine and his ranger followers, the kingdom of the tyrant mage was sundered. During the resulting chaos, Keraptis and his gnome bodyguards escaped to the south, but in his haste to evade capture, Keraptis was forced to leave behind several objects of particular value. Among them was The Pyronomicon, a huge tome devoted to the lore of Elemental Fire, which Gethrun claimed as his share of the spoils.
Despite his inability to use the spells it contained, Gethrun retained the book some 50 odd years before turning it over to the elves of the Gamboge Forest. [Dragon #241 -77,78 ] (1051 FT)

Keraptis waxed and waned in the Northeast, as did Tzunk in the North.
Legend has it that The Isles or Woe once stood in the Nyr Dyv, but no one can pinpoint their location, their size, or even their number (some say three, some say seven). Who can say? No one has seen them in nigh a thousand years, though some have sought them out. Ancient maps hidden away in a secret room in the Great Library of Greyhawk show their location as southwest of the Scragholme Island upon a much smaller Nyr Dyv, rising from its wasters as though an extension of the Cairn Hills.
All sources say they were ancient, and they must have been, because they were gone when the People of Aerdy arrived. All sources say that they were highly magical. It is written that Tzunk wrote (or perhaps discovered, as the massive book has also been named Yagrax's Tome) The Codex of the Infinite Planes there, and Tzunk is said to have been a lieutenant of Vecna’s. Even Vecna is said to have built his Black Tower upon one of the Islands, and that he ruled his vast Empire from his “rotted tower” and “spidered throne” there.  Maybe he did; that ancient map indicates a small tower ore lighthouse on one, an open eye with a cat-like pupil placed upon a spindled base.

But the Wizard Priest Tzunk left no records. Only speculations follow his exploits, dim recollections of his ruling in Vecna’s absence, and of his raising an army to march against the City of Brass. But he was no match for an army of four million efreet. He was bested and brought to the efreeti sultan in chains, his body was cut into a hundred parts, the portions scattered to the winds, burned in fire, dissolved in acidic waters, and buried below the earth. And yet the power of the Codex would not let him die. Rumour has it that there is said to be a tomb holding Tzunk's hands. Constructs with arcane powers guard it, and the tomb itself is filled with magical and mundane traps, secret portals, passages, and mazes. Legends say the hands will animate themselves if uncovered from their burial place and serve their rescuer as divinatory tools but slowly dominating their user in order to seek out the other parts of Tzunk's indestructible, scattered body.

No matter. Those are but rumours and legends, even if the Archmage Marinian of Willip has set out into the Barrens for Blackmoor with evidence of the site of their burial, despite the dire warning that a Sisterhood of Ur-Flan Witches guards it from any who might seek it. But that is another tale.

What is known is that the Isles are no more, or not upon the surface of the Lake of Unknown Depth, at any rate. The Rhenne have a tale that says that the Elemental Kings took their revenge upon the Isles of Woe, rending the earth with tremor and storm and fire, and that the waters rose as though the world might be taken whole by them, drowning those fell wizard-priests as the price for Tzunk’s ambitions, and as a warning to any who might try their hand against them again. The Rhenne swear that those dire isles rise when Solune and Celene are both new, swallowing up any who might land there. But the Rhenne say a lot of things, and are notorious liars.

But in time, the Flan gathered themselves up after the tyranny of the Ur-Flan.
After this several small Flanae kingdoms arise, but none match the might of the Ur-Flanae under Vecna, several northern Flan fearing the both the wrath of the elves and the brutality of another lich-king flee their cities and turn back to tribal systems of government. One exception to this general dissolution is the area under an able Theign named Tenh. He manages to keep his people from scattering, although incursions by roaming monsters and undead into this area are frequent. [OJ1]

c.-1100 to -400 CY
Another Flan kingdom prospered, the Kingdom of Ahlissa, despite the passing of their beloved Queen Elhissa during the war, reigning over most of the land east of the Nyr Dyv. It remained a peaceful place until the coming of the Oeridians. (1051-1751 FT)

But what of Keraptis?

Keraptis with Blackrazer
            Homeless, the wizard and his followers fled to the cities of the south and west. But wherever Keraptis went, his reputation preceded him, and he found no other settlements willing to accept his "protection." During these travels, which lasted most of three centuries, the wizard acquired several implements of surpassing power. The secret gnomish conclave from which he drew his bodyguard gave him the hammer called Whelm. In return for aid that would enable them to crack their divinely ordained prison, the mythical Cyclopes presented Keraptis with the trident named Wave. While future-communing with the last living entities of a dying multiverse, he received the sword called Blackrazor. But true immortality still eluded his grasp. [Return to White Plume Mountain - 3]
[Historical Development of Keraptis: Erik Mona, Lisa Stevens, Steve Wilson]

c.-800 CY
Keraptis, ever scheming for more power, ranging far and wide in search of secrets, discovered the lava tubes beneath White Plume Mountain.
Three hundred years after leaving Tostenhca, Keraptis learned of a great volcano called White Plume Mountain, in which still-living druids of the Elder Age guarded the secrets of immortality. Within the volcano, the wizard found a tangled maze of lava tunnels and an ancient druid serving as the sole protector of Elder secrets. The two fought a titanic battle for ownership of White Plume Mountain and its ancient mysteries, but in the end the wizard prevailed. After casting the druid's remains into a sea of magma, the triumphant Keraptis penetrated to the Druid's Fane, a secret chamber protected by molten rock.
There, among other treasures of ancient sorcery, he found the archetypal iceblade Frostrazor and an enigmatic statuette. Keraptis used the figurine’s power to pronounce a heinous curse that laid waste to distant Tostenhca, thus exacting his revenge at last. Thereafter, Keraptis focused all of his vast faculties on the problem of death. He embarked on a dozen separate research efforts, all aimed at achieving eternal life without the need for constant magical maintenance and healing. It was one such project, empowered by the four enchanted implements he had obtained, that eventually allowed Keraptis to step forth from the Prime Material Plane into a distant shadowy realm where, he hoped, he would leave behind the constraints of mortality forever. [RtWPM - 3,4]  (1351_FT)

c.-700 CY
The Flan 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. (1451 FT)

-600 CY
History of the Pyronomicon
The elves, in turn, held the tome for more than 500 years, until the coming of the Oeridians. The Oeridians, in their efforts to subdue all who would stand against them, roused the ire of a great red wyrm that had been lairing near the border where the Rakers, the Gamboge, and the Flinty Hills meet. It seems that a large Oeridian force lured the dragon out and away from its abode while a much smaller unit emptied out the place. In its rage, Harak col Hakul Deshaun, as the Oeridians later named the dragon, which loosely translates to “he who comes with fire and fury,” rampaged across the countryside, destroying anyone it found. Eventually, its wrath fell upon the elves of the Gamboge, and when all was done, Harak col Hakul Deshaun was the new owner of The Pyronomicon. For generations thereafter, the land within 50 miles of Harak’s lair was carefully avoided by humans and demihumans alike, and in time, the legacy of Harak col Hakul Deshaun became little more than myth. This situation could not last forever, of course, and soon enough, the abandoned lands were reclaimed and settled anew. [Dragon #241 - 78] (1551 FT) 

-563 CY
Evil always finds a foothold.
A temple to Tharizdun is located near the Realm of the Highfolk, it is cleared, but a mystic force keeps it from being destroyed. [OJ1] (4957 SD/1588 FT)

We must pause to now consider what was happening in the East, as events there would draw the Peoples there back into the narrative of the Flanaess.

One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.
Special thanks to Erik Mona, Lisa Stevens, Steve Wilson for the work on the historical development of Keraptis in Return to White Plume Mountain,
Special thanks to Βικτώρια Κανελλοπούλου (Maria Viktoria Kanellopoulou) for allowing her most excellent artwork to grace this work. See ladyloth for more.

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
the-hunter by ladyloth
Keraptis and Blackrazer details, by Wayne Reynolds, Return to White Plume Mountain, 1999

1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
2023 Greyhawk Adventures Hardback, 1988
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9027 S2, White Plume Mountain, 1979
9309 WGA4, Vecna Lives, 1990
9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
Dragon 241, November, 1997
OJ Oerth Journal #1, #11
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer