“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles
is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The Scarlet Brotherhood had designs on the Flanaess. And
had taken measures, quietly, as was their way, understanding that the word can
truly be more lethal than the sword. The right words. In the right ears. And
the right time. This required patience. And perseverance.
It was because of such words that the Bone March fell. And
with such words, the agents of the Brotherhood had revived dreams of glory and
plunder in the hearts and minds of the Schnai. And with such words they had
made inroads into the dark heart of Hepmonaland, and gathered in their kin, to
the unbeknownst misfortune of that kin.
It was not terribly difficult. It was mainly telling the
listener what he wanted to hear. Raid here. Conquer there. You have a greater
destiny than this.
And now they had arrived in the courts of the Iron
League, in Sunndi, in Onnwal, in Idee, and in Irongate.
And the Duxchan Isles. Their red robes had long been seen
in the streets of Duxchan, and Mahan, Shulof and Sulward, for they, like the
Schnai, were kin.
One would think that the Scarlet Brotherhood
was a strict and ordered society, and in that thought, one would be correct. It
was; far more than most in fact. This is not to say that all within it were
pulling in the same direction, so to speak. There was division within the
Brotherhood. Secrets abounded.
The recent alliance between
the Oriental monks and the Scarlet Brotherhood contained the seeds of division,
despite similar alignments, philosophies, and even symbolic colors. At the root
of the difficulty is the Scarlet Brotherhood’s program for racial superiority.
[…] Initially their superior knowledge of martial arts allowed the Orientals to
maintain something of a balance of power, but that advantage has been gradually
eroded, while the need to maintain Suelites in exposed public positions has
distanced them from the centers of power within the Scarlet Brotherhood. […]
Even now [the Kara-Tur] confine themselves to the inner quarters of Hesuel
Ilshar and go forth among general members of the population cowled and in long
robes that conceal the color of their skins.
Several other factors have
recently combined to put Hesuel Ilshar in a state of foment. Among these are
the news of turmoil in the Flanaess (which causes some factions to press for
immediate action), and the approaching millennium of the Scarlet Brotherhood’s
foundation, which many consider to be a sign that they should either reform, or
go forth and conquer, or both. Last but not least, a golden box has appeared in
the inner courts of Hesuel Ilshar at the very place which once opened onto
Kara-Tur. The highest representatives of the monkish order, both Oriental and
Suel, have received visions intimating that the box must be kept secret and
safeguarded from all others, even those within the Scarlet Brotherhood; that it
contains an essence vital to the continuation of the known order. [WG8 - 109,110]
The casket […] mysteriously one
night next to the Central Compound of Hesuel Ilshar. […] It is decorated with
intertwining dragons. […] [It] is
presently concealed in the Garden of Meditation. [WG8 - 110]
The casket contained the
spirit of Morgoroth, a minion of Istus sent to test and evaluate the peoples of
the Flanaess. As to why, and to what end, who can guess the intentions of
Istus, for hers is the inexplicably woven web of fate.
The Holy Land of Shar was
most assuredly a structured, well ordered society. But not all castes within
were satisfied with their lot.
Within the Scarlet
Brotherhood, there are the obvious divisions according to city quarter and
according to profession (the [Silent Death, the Aesthete, the Cloaking Shadow],
and the more diffuse orders of [Arms and the Arcane]). The fact that the
highest leadership remains within the hands of those trained as monks is a
source of unhappiness for all those of other professions (calling a monk
“father” is particularly galling to them). In addition to this, there are the
more fundamental divisions according to what might be called political
philosophy. [WG8 - 110]
The Pure Suels wish to
eliminate the Kara-Tur, and the ancient and heretical houses of Rhola and
Neheli of Ulek and Keoland.
The Strong Hand wish immediate
domination of the Flaneass, beginning with predominately Suel nations.
The High Unity are the most
moderate, and secret faction, believing that the Shar should take in what
strength there might be gained from other human races, and to gain skills they
might from the elves and dwarves.
Finally, there are the Millennialists,
whose doctrine states that “at the millennium of the Foundation a great miracle
will occur which will be the beginning of a purified and strengthened Scarlet
The descendants of the
original monks from Kara-Tur amount to a faction in themselves. They are
increasingly uncomfortable and isolated, and many of them have come to believe
that their ancestors were wrong to embrace a foreign country [….] [WG8 - 110]
Indeed, there were even factions
within the Kara-Tur: The Sapphire Celestials, the Black Order, The Golden
Monks, and the Scarlet Order.
With the passing of the
"Millennium" date predicted by Huro for the Scarlet Brotherhood, when
nothing oerth shattering occurred, the Millennialist Party begins to decline.
They assumed that the Foundation referred to the inception of the
Brotherhood in 5091 SD, and thus the millennium date would be 6091 SD, or 576
CY. However, no earth-shattering miracles occurred in that year, and this
faction’s membership has dwindled away since then, although a few steadfast members
cling to Huro’s writings, claiming that they were misinterpreted. [SB - 17]
Vigils were held at the Ziggurat of Black for such a sign, none
forthcoming. Prayers made. Sacrifices as well. But for naught. Silence met the
millennium. And incredulity. Had they been forsaken?
Ziggurat of Black:
This strange place appears to
be a tower of stacked black metal disks, each five feet high and smaller than
the one below it. 75 feet across at the base and 40 feet tall, it is surrounded
by an odd time-inverting effect—within 100-foot-diameter hemisphere of the
tower, it is the opposite time of day as the land beyond the hemisphere. In
other words, if it is late afternoon outside the hemisphere, near the Ziggurat
it is approaching dawn. Also, the sun and moon are switched within this zone,
so when it is high noon outside, the darkened area has the moon directly
overhead. The effect is no illusion—undead and other creatures affected by
sunlight are harmed when the hemisphere is in daylight, and creatures and
spells enhanced by night work normally when the hemisphere is dark.
The Ziggurat itself is pitted
and tarnished as if from great age. It is terribly cold to the touch, capable
of peeling off bare skin on even the warmest days. Scrying and sounding have
determined that there is a hollow space within the object, but no entrances
have been discovered and no wizards have volunteered to teleport blindly into
it. Those who spend too much time near it experience blurred vision and
terrible nightmares about spiraling downward into blackness. The Scarlet
Brotherhood believes the Zigguarat may be connected to Tharizdun and are trying
to learn more about it. [SB - 33]
Despite the silence that met the
Millennial’s vigil, there was a spark of hope that the people of Shar had not
been abandoned after all. During their vigil, the Order of Arcane discovered
the Weeping hexagram. The faithful wondered: Is this the sign we have been
[The Weeping Hexagram] was
discovered by the Scarlet Brotherhood in 6091 SD in a cavern near the Ziggurat
of Black. It was a ten-foot-diameter ring of black iron inset with a bowed
hexagram; it seeped blood when exposed to sunlight. Believed to be tied in some
way to the mysterious god Tharizdun, the Brotherhood began exploring and cataloguing
its magical abilities, which included the ability to create darkness, animate
the dead, attack minds with phantoms and summon creatures from other planes. [SB - 86]
The discovery of the Weeping
Hexagram did indeed prove to be the omen the Millennials believed. Or so they
said. And so too did many of the Order of the Arcane believe it to be.
Having recently discovered a
resonance between the Weeping hexagram and the Ziggurat of Black, the Office of
Sorcery is investigating the possibility of using the two as some sort of power
source, utilizing the artifacts’ supposed link to Tharizdun; the Office of
Sorcery is enthusiastic about the possibility of creating wide-scale madness
and freezing temperatures in other parts of the Flanaess, though the Office of Faith
advises caution. [SB - 24]
and artifacts aside, the Brotherhood knew that to place too much faith in such
things was folly. Their course had been set by the Father of Obedience, and
thus far he had steered them true. The path to success lay within subterfuge
and manipulation; and they had made great strides, thus far.
Brotherhood did not succeed in all their endeavours of seduction. They
failed utterly in their seduction of the Cruski.
came with tales of the lost glory of the Suel race and its ruined empire. They
told how the Cruski were descended from an Imperial House, the noble and loyal
servant of the last Suel emperor.
King Cralstag knew well that his ancestors, be they slaves or scoundrels, were never
the lapdogs of an emperor who stank of magic. So he told the Scarlet Brothers,
and before all in his court, as his judgment on their words. For this, the
Brothers murdered him soon thereafter—not with clean blade or strength of arms,
but with hidden venom in his cup.
king's nephew, Lolgoff, knew the old king's judgment and the manner of his
death. When the Brothers were brought before him, they spoke words of praise
and honor for the dead king, and they smiled. Lolgoff smiled too, as he cut
them apart with the old king's sword, for he honored Cralstag in deeds, not
words. As king and fasstal, Lolgoff pronounced his judgment: The Brothers of
the Scarlet Sign should receive only death in the kingdom of Cruski. [LGG - 55]
they had failed in Fruztii, if not so completely, for they retained a foothold
in Djekul, its jarl despondent of his kin having fallen under Ratik’s shadow.
Most Warlike Majesty, King Ralff of the Fruztii, did not see it as such. Bonded
by blood, and having shed blood to protect one another, the Fruztii and Ratik
ratified their bond in the eyes of both their gods, for they knew that if they
were to have any hope of standing against their enemies they would need to
stand as one.
This symbolic parchment was endorsed and
blessed by the gods of both Ratik and Fruztii, and the superstitious Frost
Barbarians place great store in its safety.
[WoGG - 29]
c. 577-578 CY
Why had the Scarlet Brotherhood sent
emissaries to the Iron League? Because they had designs upon them. But also
because as they had been watching the accelerating downward spiral of the once
Great Kingdom with concern. They required a buffer to such chaos and
potentiality and the Iron League were already one such, and it suited their
plans that they remain so. For now.
After pursuing his own aims
for most of 577, the Holy Censor [of the See of Medegia] decided obedience to
the Malachite Throne would be a better course to follow. Severe losses in
manpower due to the successes of his enemies, coupled with threats of a punitive
invasion by the Overking’s forces, brought about this change of attitude.
During the remainder of the
year, and well into CY 578, the See has been a hive of frenzied activity.
Spidensa, His Equitable Nemesis of Medegia, is now heavily into the councils of
Ivid. Past transgressions evidently forgiven, the arch-cleric has been named
Imperial Constable, with instructions to gather an army and send it deep into
the heart of Sunndi. [Dragon #63 - 16]
The Scarlet Brotherhood had not failed in
their seduction of the Schnai. You were once the greatest nation upon the
Solnor, they said. The Schnai agreed. Go forth and be so again.
These whispers were very much to the Schnai’s liking.
Bellport grew tired of the repeated raids by
the Schnai, and demanded the protection due them as a city of the North
Province and the Great Kingdom. Lord Captain Aldusc was dispatched from Asperdi
of the Sea Barons with a squadron of warships and troops to do just that.
The warships are now reported to be
operating along the coast. Included are no fewer than six large galleys and
perhaps a score of other war ships. The troops were divided after landing into
main [joining Herzog Grenell] and reserve [defending Bellport's landward
approaches] groups. [Dragon #63 - 15]
Although the Schnai had not raided as far
and as often as the Fruztii had in their days of glory, they were no strangers
to such things; indeed, they were the most accomplished of seafarers, and they
were truly as fierce as their cousins, as were the Cruski. They increased their
raids, and their longships swept down the coast, striking the North Province
and the Baronial Isles both, luring those who chased them or sought to stop
them far out to sea where they could lose them with ease.
But not all were so lucky.
During the season of 577, much minor
activity took place along the coast of North Province and off the northern end
of the Island of Asperdi. Some raiders were met and actions were
fought; some slipped through, some turned elsewhere. Reportedly a squadron of
seven Schnai longships were set upon whilst sinking the hulks of two provincial
merchants, the vessels Marntig and Solos. Guided by the smoke and flames, a
flotilla of Baronial warships surprised the barbarians. Three of the Schnai
were rammed and sunk. In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the barbarians’
fleet was captured, but the three remaining longships escaped after jettisoning
all of their captured cargo.
In hand-to-hand action, the flagship of the
barbarians' fleet was captured. Jarl Froztilth, leader of the Schnai, many of
his men, and the captured ship were all taken to Asperdi. News of this success
was said to have greatly heartened the Herzog. [Dragon #63 - 16]
The Schnai had been humbled. They recalled
how they and the Fruztii had once been the terror of the seas, and they wished
the southerners to fear them so again. So, the Schnai treated with their
cousins, the Cruski. And the Cruski were glad to treat with them, for the
Schnai held what was theirs. The Schnai gave up the lands south of Glot along
the east coast [and] the Cruski regained their southern harbors. This made
the raids into North Province and the Isles of the Sea Barons all the easier
next year, and most of the able-bodied men were away on those journeys when the
warbands of Stonefist (now Stonehold) rode into the tundra which the King of
Cruski claimed. The few wandering tribes of Coltens there welcomed the
invaders, while surviving Cruskii headed east as quickly as possible. The
returning warriors were enraged at the boldness of the invasion. [Dragon #57 - 14]
Chelor III, of the South Province, was every
bit as ambitious as any of House Naelax. He too had dreams of conquest and
empire, and strove to gather in what lands he might in the ensuing chaos.
Chelor, third of that name to rule the once-greatest fief of Aerdy, scion of
the House of Naelax-Selor, spent two years securing his base of power. In 577,
Chelor sent troops from the Thelwood (at the head of the Thelly River) along
the east bank of the Thelly. At the junction of the Grayflood, these soldiers
crossed the Thelly and swept along the south bank, securing all of the land
between the river and the Glorioles and Hestmark Highlands to the point where
the Flanmi is joined by the Thelly. Despite leaving garrisons throughout the area,
the force under General Reynard’s command grew from 2,000 horse and 5,000 foot
to 3,000 and 7,000 respectively. Vacillating petty nobles hastily bowed to the
Herzog, abandoning the Censor and sending contingents with the Provincial army.
Furthermore, recruiting, mercenaries, and irregulars (brigands and bandits)
allowed the Herzog to place over 3,000 troops in garrisons and still field a
growing and more effective force. [Dragon #57 - 15]
577 CY, however, Herzog Chelor's forces crossed the Thelly, seizing Sunndi's
northeast frontiers in a series of bitter charges. [LGG - 111]
Chelor’s forces crossed the Greyflood and
pressed into the Downs, and then further, into the Rieuwood. The elves and
dwarves stood with Sunndi at Rieuwood against the might of the South Province
and held against his greater force.
This forest lies entirely within northern
Sunndi. Its mighty ipp trees stretch between the Hollow Highlands and the
foothills of the Glorioles. It is heavily patrolled and defended by gray elves
and many rangers, in case Ahlissa ever invades across the Grayflood. This was
the site of two major battles in 577 (failed invasion by South Province) and
583 CY (Osson's liberation of Sunndi). [LGG - 141]
It was a small miracle that Sunndi held
against the Herzog. They were stretched thin, oh so very thin, to the point of
breaking, for they were defending north and south. If not for the elves and
gnomes and dwarves, they would surely have fallen.
[Around 6088 SD (572 CY)] Wastri and his
followers began an active campaign against Suundi; the Hammer of Demihumans
sent more and more minions into Suundi’s south, destroying all demihumans and
unbelievers they met. This campaign peaked in 6093 SD (577 CY), after which the
gnomes of the Hestmarks and elves of the Menowood pushed back, eventually
reducing the raids from the swamp to fewer than five per year. [SB - 5]
was confident of a quick and inevitable victory against Sunndi, so he sent his
fleet against Onnwal, too.
naval actions were fought in 577 between Onnwalish ships and Provincial ones.
These battles took place in both Relmor Bay, where the Herzog wishes to close
off trade between Nyrond-Almor and the Iron League, and in the Sea of Gearnat.
No decisive engagement occurred, however. [Dragin #57 - 16]
The Battle of Loftwood
Their expedition into Bluefang-Kelten Pass
thus far successful, the Ratik-Frutzii alliance turned their attention south,
their aim to destroy the humanoid forces under the Vile Rune orcs of the Bone
March. [D57 - 14]
clashed with Nyrond and Almor, the Schnai and Cruski raided up and down the
Solnor coast, landing warriors, murdering and pillaging, carrying away what
they could, leaving broken villages and pillars of smoke I their wake. They bellowed
and howled. They laughed, knowing in their hearts that is was what Vatun wished
[The] Lord High Admiral reacted promptly to the summons of the Overking
— this despite some severe raiding from the northern barbarians. Asperdi has
recently dispatched a sizable contingent of ships and men to the North
Province. In essence, this force represents a squadron of warships to control
the sea, while a solid block of fighting men, most of them veterans of
skirmishes with barbarian raiders, stiffens the forces of the Herzog. Led by the Admiral’s eldest son, Lord
Captain Aldusc, known as a respectable commander and excellent strategist, the
convoy reached Bellport about mid-year in CY 578. The warships are now reported
to be operating along the coast. Included are no fewer than six large galleys
and perhaps a score of other warships. The troops were divided after landing
into main and reserve groups.
main force […] has moved to join Herzog Grenell. In addition to providing a
solid infantry block, the light units are reputed to be fine scouts and adept
at raiding. [Dragon #63 - 15]
reserve force has stayed in Bellport to assure that a secure base is
maintained. [Dragon #63 - 15]
time granted to Herzog Grenell was indeed fortunate for him, as it allowed the
integration of the new units into his army and enabled them to be trained to
some degree. With the addition of the contingent of troops from the Sea Barons,
the Herzog’s array again approaches a strength of 10,000, and attaining that
size would likely prompt the Herzog into initiating a campaign of his own. If
the humanoid bands do not immediately force the issue, Grenell might well turn
the tide of affairs. If there are major moves from the north, then even the
presence of the troops from the Sea Barons may not suffice to stem the tide of
invading humanoids bent on sacking the whole land. [Dragon #63 - 15]
See of Medegia entered the fray, further taxing Sunndi’s defence. Why? Because
they were bid to do so. And in truth, the Holy Censor wished to take the lands
of Sunndi as his own.
pursuing his own aims for most of 577, the Holy Censor decided obedience to the
Malachite Throne would be a better course to follow. Severe losses in manpower
due to the successes of his enemies, coupled with threats of a punitive
invasion by the Overking’s forces, brought about this change of attitude.
the remainder of the year, and well into CY 578, the See has been a hive of
frenzied activity. Spidensa, His Equitable Nemesis of Medegia, is now heavily
into the councils of Ivid. Past transgressions evidently forgiven, the
arch-cleric has been named Imperial Constable, with instructions to gather an
army and send it deep into the heart of Sunndi. There are many tracks through
the Hestmark Highlands, and at least one pass through the Glorioles, and by midyear
the following troops were said to be marching towards these heights [.]
has it that the Overking does not believe this army will actually be able to
accomplish the penetration of Sunndi. But the mere attempt, however costly to
the Holy Censor [of Medegia], will serve to bleed Sunndi and her allies as
well. The threat will also occupy troops that could otherwise be used to
confront Herzog Chelor’s array led by General Reynard. [Dragon #63 - 16]
The Great Kingdom took to the
sea. Or more specifically, Relmor Bay. Were they posturing? Were they
presenting a show of force? Or were they en route to Onnwal, in aid of Chelor’s
assault of the Iron League. Whatever its intent, Nyrond engaged the Great
The first major naval
skirmishes between the Great Kingdom and the powerful Nyrondese navy took place
in Relmor Bay in CY 578. Some say the Nyrondese engineered these skirmishes,
preparing for what they considered to be an inevitable war.Certainly, Ivid V was making
noises at court about reclaiming Aerdy's great imperial heritage, and Nyrond
was the first major power heading west. He did have designs on Nyrond, but it
may well be that the Nyrondese forced his hand. [Ivid - 4]
Nyrond’s action pleased Ivid V.
He had been looking for an excuse to attack Nyrond. It need be punished for its
having begun the unraveling of his once and still glorious empire. As did
Onnwal and Idee and Sunndi and the Duxchans. They had the audacity to call
themselves the Iron League, alluding to they might and invincibility, and the
so-called Golden League, intuiting that theirs were the greater, if not the
greatest and most illustrious of nations, when those titles should rightly, and
only be held by his very own.
The reports of war, blood, and great conquests being made by the hated
barbarians and barely-civilized Fists of the North excited and enraged the
overking. Egged on by the priesthood of Hextor, Ivid entered the fray by
storming into Nyrond and its ally Almor.
[Ivid - 4,5]
Ivid V declared that the Great Kingdom and the nations of the Iron
League were hereby in a state of war. Nyrond had little choice but to
During CY 578 (late Needfest)
a proclamation of war was issued against the Great Kingdom and her satellites
by the Kingdom of Nyrond, the Prelacy of Almor, and their allies. This, in
conjunction with the various military activities already in motion, makes the
southern and eastern portions of the Flanaess as busy as the marketplace at
Rauxes, and the masterless men gather round as a pack of famished wolves
clusters near weakened prey. [Dragon #65 - 77]
Chelor III was displeased with his armies inability to defeat the
lesser strength of Sunndi, dismissing the excuses of terrain and the guerrilla
tactics used by the enemy; so much so that he decided to take matters into his
Chelor himself took the
field, gaining the territory between the Grayflood and Rieuwood. The amassed
army, under the command of General Reynard, crossed the northern Hollow
Highlands, hoping to cut off all of Sunndi from her allies in Irongate, Onnwal,
Almor, and Nyrond. The invasion achieved only modest gains, however, thanks to
an allied force of nearly twenty thousand men, dwarves, and gnomes. Though
fighting continued in the region, with guerilla raids staged from the Rieuwood
and the hills, Ahlissa held on to its gains.
[LGG - 111]
The Iron League was now
forced to guess which army would strike where. Would each move southward? Would
one move across the northern Hollow Highlands to join the other? Could they aim
at taking the Iron Hills and Hollow Highlands preparatory to a campaign against
ldee next year?
Men of Sunndi harassed the
flank of General Reynard’s force from the safety of Rieuwood, but this was a
mere annoyance, and late in the summer, the general led his force across the
arm of the Hollow Highlands. The plan was to march the combined force south
into Idee, not stopping until reaching the Azure Sea. This move would
effectively sever half of ldee and all of Sunndi from Irongate, Onnwal, and aid
from Nyrond and Almor. [Dragon #57 - 15]
So went the first engagements. It was a vicious, brutal war. It could
be said that there was little glory to be had. Few fought with honour. Sunndi
learned that soon enough; quarter was not received; so, none was given. Such is
the way when orcs and hobgoblins and demons are put to the field.
Luckily for Sunndi, their foe was hardly unified.
The Overking intends that, one way or another, the Iron League will be
fatally crippled through thrusts against Sunndi and Idee. Spidensa is a willing
tool, for he apparently can’t lose either way. If the war goes in favor of the
Great Kingdom, Medegia will have contributed substantially to the victory. If
it fails, the Holy Censor can’t be blamed, as he will (ostensibly) have
committed his every available unit to the plan.
In actuality, it is believed
that the cream of Medegia’s troops are remaining with the Holy Censor. There
are no fewer than 6,000 “guards” of various sorts at the capital city [of
Mentrey], and about 1,000 more at Pontylver. These troops can follow up a
victorious foray into Sunndi, cover a retreat, or see to the arch-cleric’s
The Holy Censor would likely have given the Overking more wholehearted
cooperation had lvid allowed his new Imperial Constable to conscript troops
from Rel Astra, command a contingent of the Overking’s own soldiers, and
assault Sunndi without interference from Herzog Chelor’s forces. The Holy
Censor disdains the Herzogal troops and wishes to conquer the south himself, to
bring that area the “light” of his rule.
Chelor is reportedly not unaware of this double-dealing. He has, it is
said, asked lvid to send a Marshal (one of the strongest of the Demonic Knights
of Doom) to inspect the See and report on its readiness to furnish more troops
for the campaign, should the effort be protracted. Discovery in this manner
would, of course, humiliate and possibly disgrace the Holy Censor. Already some
of his eastern nobles have deserted, abandoning the arch-cleric for service
with Reynard. Such an inspection would force Spidensa to yield up his reserves,
and in all likelihood they would fall to the command of Herzog Chelor.
Therefore, the Holy Censor is using all of his influence and wiles to avoid the
Herzog’s attempts to maneuver him into this highly vulnerable position.
Ivid, also reputedly aware of less than full cooperation on the
Censor’s part, does not wish a rebellious servant in yet another quarter, being
pressed from three sides already. Therefore, it is most likely that the Holy
Censor will be kept in line by the continued threat of an inspection and
allowed to proceed in his own fashion, since the force he has volunteered is
probably sufficient to meet the desired goals of the Overking.
The Holy Censor is himself troubled by news that the dwarves, gnomes,
and hillmen of the Glorioles and Hestmarks are responding to his invasion in a
most warlike manner and massing to smash any attempted movement through their
And worse still is the news from the north. In Grandwood Forest, a raid
by wood elves and foresters has dealt a severe blow to Medegian troops holding
the west bank of the Mikar River. An estimated force of more than 3,000 sylvan
elves and men lured a host of nearly 5,000 humanoids and somewhat fewer men
(mostly levies but also some 300+ picked cavalry) away from their encampment
and deep into the forest. Captain General Gahru, commander of the Censorial
army, blundered into a carefully hidden trap laid about 4 leagues west of his
camp. Thinking that he was pursuing marauding raiders who had come upon him
unawares, the Captain General pushed ahead, engaging in light skirmishing
against an enemy who was always just out of reach . . . until the trap was
The trap consisted of two elements: an area of nearly impassable
terrain, and well-placed units of elves and men. When missiles from bow, sling,
and crossbow began to rain upon Gahru’s now closely bunched troops, it was too
late. A panic ensued, and the army virtually disintegrated when it was attacked
by a reserve of some 2,000 forester infantry. No humanoid prisoners were taken.
Captain General Gahru is missing and presumed slain. Early reports said that
less than 20% of the army survived, but later that month (Wealsun 578)
stragglers brought the total of survivors to slightly over 30%. Most casualties
were humanoid, since these troops were most ardent in pursuit of the “fleeing”
With the continued hostile activity in the Grandwood as a menace to the
Censor’s southern campaign plans, he has had to strike a pact with a fellow
Constable, Drax, the Mayor of Rel Astra. In return for sworn support for Rel
Astra’s continued independence of direct control by the Malachite Throne, Drax
has agreed to furnish support for the Censor’s tattered forces guarding the
forest’s borders. The Rel Astran contingent is said to number some 2,000 men
and 1,000 humanoids — although orcs and like troops are not currently eager to
enter The Grandwood. [Dragon #63 - 16,17]
If war was not enough, piracy was on the rise. And why not? If I were a
pirate, I’d be dancing a jig of delight. Navies were occupied. And rapidly
Onnwal would have none of that. Troops needed safe passage, as did the
materials of war. Food. Pay. Gold. Piracy could not be tolerated, and their
convoys secured, even if that meant that ships need be diverted from the
defence of their coasts.
Doing so was difficult. It was taxing. And Onnwal still needed to
support they allies, lest their allies cease to support them.
Coupled with the usual
freebooting and piratical activities common to the waters around and the waters
frequented by the shipping of Onnwal, Count Elverd (of the House of Destran)
had no easy time. CY 578 was better, with victories over the Pirate Blidg
Fanger fought near Blue (Pomarj) with a huge amount of loot captured, and then
a squadron action off Norland Point when raiding ships from Ahlissa were caught
in Dunhead Bay (between Onnwal and South Province) by four warships. The latter
brought considerable irritation to Herzog Chelor, for Onnwalish vessels then
began raiding in Relmor Bay and along the coast of Ahlissa from Prymp to Galdol
below the Tusk [….] This caused the Provincials to withhold several thousand
troops from the army being mustered at Zelradton. [Dragon #57 - 16]
The war ground on, a gruesome
affair with not end in sight. Villages burned, the smoke rising across the
horizon. Bodies lay strewn across the fields, clogging ditches; the dead often
risen to blunt the defenders’ resolve.
War has been a steady diet of
the Overking’s realm for several years. Allies are few, but include the Herzog
of South Province, the See of Medegia, certain tribes of humanoids to the north
[…] and certain factions of the Sea Barons, although the latter—as a whole—are
not trustworthy. Ivid has become obsessed with extending his lands in order to
form a “Greater Aerdi Empire” ever since his declaration of war against Almor
and Nyrond The Herzog’s subsequent blunting the armies of the Golden League […]
has added fresh fuel to his megalomania. [WG8 - 69]
[The war spanned two years],
ending in a minor strategic victory for Ivid's field army under the leadership
of the Herzog, and seeing the withdrawal of Almorian and Nyrondese armies to
the west of the Harp River.
[WG8 - 69]
thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable
sources for this history were the DMG 1e, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The
World of Greyhawk Gold Box, From the Ashes Box Set, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer,
Ivid the Undying, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine.
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
Hersuel Ilshar, by Daniel Horne, from WG4 Fate of Istus, 1989
1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed
1043 The City of Greyhawk
Boxed Set, 1989
1064 From the Ashes Boxed
1068 Greyhawk Wars Boxed
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide,
1st Ed., 1979
2023 Greyhawk Adventures
9025 World of Greyhawk
9253 WG8, Fate of Istus, 1989
9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil,
9577 The Adventure Begins,
9578 Player’s Guide to
11374 The Scarlet
11621 Slavers. 2000
11742 Gazetteer, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk
Ivid the Undying, 1998
OJ Oerth Journal, appearing
on Greyhawk Online
LGJ et. al.
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
map of Anna B. Meyer