“To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire;
and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace.”
But where their migrations were peaceful, there were those whose weren’t. The Olman were ever warlike, and forever cruel wherever they might settle. They would abide no others in sight of their settlements, even if those others had settled those lands long before them. Those Tuov would have to make way, they reasoned, if they could not make proper use of those lands that were destined to be Olman. The Tuov were of a different opinion.
As were those Baklunish and Oerid that found themselves in the path of Suel expansionism.
c. -1000 CY
|The Earth Dragon|
Ages ago, before humans laid claim to this monstrous peninsula, an ancient spirit, the Earth Dragon, rise to claim this land its own. In those early days of the Flanaess, the Earth Dragon was but one of many spirits worshipped by the primitive people of the Pomarj. It was the elemental spirit of Mount Drachenkopf the great mountain lying in the heart of the Drachensgrab Hills, and it was said to dwell deep in the heart of that mountain. Like other spirits of the land, the Earth Dragon demanded sacrifices from the local tribesmen. Those tribes that sacrificed to the Earth Dragon prospered, while those that did not were destroyed by avalanches and earthquakes. […]
Before the great migrations that transformed the Flanaess, the nomadic Flannae were the only humans to live in this sparsely populated land. The tribes of Flannae that wandered the Sheldomar Valley knew of the Earth Dragon and respected its power. But, since the Drachensgrab Hills made travel difficult, the Flannae tended to avoid the region, leaving sacrifices of food and wine only when they needed to ensure safe passage. [Slavers – 120]
c -1000 CY
Just as the Flan were migrating into the Pomarj, so too were the Olman beginning their mass migration from Hepmonaland unto the Olman Islands, and into the Amedio jungle, and beyond, into the southern seas.
They had little choise. The Tuov struck back at the warlike Olman, loath to accept their northern neighbour’s raids and subsequent slaughters any longer. And as the Tuov pressed the Olman ever further back into their jungles, they were horrified to discover the dark depravities the Olman had sunk to.
The monsters of Alocotla spread into the countryside, diluting their tainted blood with the remaining humans, eventually drawing all of them into the cold embrace of the serpent-men. The human aspects of the yuan-ti of this nation have Olman traits, while their snake parts are predominately dark green with red or black patterns.
Although most Olman fled Hepmonaland when invading Tuov proved too strong, those of Alocotla stayed and fought, managing to retain control of much of their territories. They fought occasional wars against the neighboring city0states, spied on their Xapatlapoan cousins, and seemed mostly content to rule their own lands. [SB – 47]
|The Shores of the Amedio|
Though uninhabited by civilised cultures now, the Olman discovered evidence that this was not always so.
The Olman had discovered remnants of the troglodyte culture and declared that their civilization had fallen because the gods judged them lacking. [SD – 63]
The Isle of Dread
|The Isle of Dread|
The Olman have lived on the Isle of Dread for countless ages in small villages separated from the body of the island by a gigantic wall. [Dragon #351 – 70]
The Olman are a remarkable people whose traditions remain unsullied by the rising forces of commerce, industry, and corruption.
The human tribes of the Olman have existed on the Isle of Dread as far back as their stories stretch. Decended from the once-great Olman theocrats of the sprawling city-state of Thanaclan, their capital city is now nothing more than a mist-shrouded ruin filled with horrors that have driven mad the stoutest men. Their dieties of old are now worshiped as powerful totems, granting the dark-skinned natives power over life and death. Seven tribes live southeast of the Great Wall on the Isle of Dread: Burowoao, Dawa, Kirikuka, Mora, Panitube, Tanaroans, and Usi. [Dragon #352 – 70,71]
The Olman are divided into four clans, each of which venerates a fierce animal: the elk, hawk, tiger, and sea turtle. Each clan has its own proud traditions and rituals, but each comes to the defense of the others in times of crisis. While the leader of each clan is male, the leader of each village is female, ensuring a balance of power and opinions. Olman are not afraid if outsiders, instead finding them curious and almost foolish with their determination to explore the deadly island. [Dragon #351 – 71]
While they are dedicated to their tribes, numerous individuals have left over the years to explore the world beyond. [Dragon #351 – 70,71]
Other Olman tribes exist beyond the wall, but no peaceful contact has been recorded with these cannibalistic savages whose war drums herald only slaughter and madness. [Dragon #352 – 71]
|The Black Heart of the Amedio|
They adapted to the Amedio’s harsh life, not so dissimilar to what they once knew in Hepmonaland. Before long, their scattered settlements took shape and form, until they had truly become a nation again.
The starting year of the Amedio Olman calendar is -805 CY, the year the Olman of the Amedio themselves the true Olman nation. [SB – 64]
As this region varies little from season to season, the calendar is based on cycles of Luna and Celene, which the Olman call Mazlateotl and Apocatequil. Each nation adopted different names for the months and days based on their own patron gods and high priests, so there are too many variants to list, although numerically the calendars are identical. [SB – 64]
c. -800 CY
|Early Olman Amedio Settlements|
The new Olman empire extended from the southernmost jungles of the Amedio through the Olman Islands and also onto the northern part of Hepmonaland, as well as a few scattered settlements on the Tilvanot peninsula. [SD – 62]
Several hundred tribes live in the Amedio Jungle, each regularly warring with, conquering and being absorbed by others. As such, little effort is made for a distinct totem or symbol for each tribe, with individuals choosing a favorite animal or color as their personal icon. Only Telaneteculi, Hucanuea and Xamaclan retain true heraldic symbols: a bat-like humanoid on a field of green, a jaguar’s head on a mottled brown and green, and an eye superimposed on a ziggurat, respectively. [SB – 62]
The Red Death has been with the peoples of Oerth for a very long time, indeed.
When did it begin sweeping the land and culling its people? That has been lost to the fog of Time. But its first recorded appearance was devastating. The Suel prayed for protection, wondering why their gods had forsaken them so. When prayer failed them, their lamentations did little better, nor the burning of incense, nor the wards of blood painted upon their lintels, nor the thick black columns of smoke curling up into the heavens from the innumerable sacrifices pledged of goat, of sacred calf, nor even of their firstborn sons. Soon, they took to cowering within their huts and their palaces and estates, wondering how long it might be before every last one of the chosen people would fell victim to its burning.
The empire slips into stagnation. Numerous plagues sweep through the Seul Empire, some magical and some mundane. The population falls by over 40%. Many towns are completely emptied, and the border defenses are greatly weakened. This is the first year of those known as "The Plague Years." (4788 SD) [OJ1]
|The Olman Refused To Go Willingly|
As the Tuov swept north to drive out the Olman, they built fortifcations to defend their newly conquered lands. The northernmost fort was Anatal, built in -720 CY at the base of the Fyalo hills, at the edge of the jungle close to the sea. [SB – 47]
The Oeridian High Priestess Johydee using her Mask, breaks the Oeridian free from Seul domination. (1 OR\-645 CY) [OJ1]
Free at last, the Oerid vowed that they would never be subjugated again. The Suel sent what troops they could spare, but no number proved enough against the fury of the Oeridians.
After repeated attempts by both the Seul and Bakluni to regain control of the Oeridian tribes, Johydee breaks the Oeridians away from the control of the Seul. The tribes swear the Oath of Unity. This oath places allows for the common defense of Oeridian tribes under one War Leader, the First War Leader (styled Herzog) is Chenil of Aerdy. (4871 SD) [OJ1]
The Red Death had left the Imperium vulnerable, and the Bakluni knew it. And they meant that the Suel should pay for their raids upon Bakluni territories, their conquering, their slaving, and their supposed racial superiority.
The population begins to recover, but the Bakluni peace begins to break down. Raids become frequent. (4889 SD)
Strife is rife within the Imperium. The people are displeased with their nobility—that is no matter, as the people invariably always are, and are of no account—but more importantly, the Great Houses of the Suloise nobility were not pleased with the state of their state.
The first of the Succession Wars. The Schnai are removed from the throne. (4912 SD) [OJ1]
c. –600 CY
|A Need for Stealth|
Most [Olman tribes of the Amedio] use the blowgun, which was developed by [them] about 1200 years ago; it is commonly used when stealthy attack is needed. [SB – 65]
Sulm was a tainted land, an evil land. One wonders if that might be the legacy of Galap-Dreidel and his wicked ways. Mayhaps it is. More likely, Sulm was doomed by the hubris and sins of its rulers; and that Galap-Dreidel, wherever he had flown to, looked on at the folly of his successors and laughed at their foolishness, and their myopic vision.
Shattados, mage-king of Sulm and his entire people are translated into Scorpion Men. (4948 SD/1583 FT) [OJ1]
Finally, after a long slide into decadence, the land's last king, a sorcerer named Shattados, appealed to one of his wicked deities for a boon, a magical item which would enable him to be his people's unquestioned ruler.
The last of the Succession Wars. After 500 years with the succession falling to nine different Houses, the House Zolax regains control of the Imperium. (5011 SD) [OJ1]
The Bakluni withdraw their ambassador from the Seuloise Empire when Zunid-ad-Zol, the Prince of House Zolax is crowned Emperor of the Seul Peoples. (5012 SD) [OJ1]
|Regular Mass Sacrifices|
Chetanicantla was once the capital of the Amedio Olman empire. It and the other city-states prospered in typical Olman fashion, with frequent raids into the countryside and regular mass sacrifices to the Olman gods, until -490 CY when Emperor Tloqasikukuatl was assassinated by priests of Zaotzilaha. This plunged the empire into open warfare between the noble houses and priests, each ordering their personal guards into the frey. [SB – 65]
Other cities became involved [….] The imperial army retaliated […] and went on to sack the cities [….] [SB – 65]
The city-states prospered for over 500 years, but eventually they turned on each other in a series of destructive internal wars over control of certain mines, choice of emperor and religious differences. [SB – 62, 63]
The Olman of the Amedio worship the same gods as their cousins in Hepmonaland. Regional differences account for minor name changes or differences in appearance. Two points to note are alternate names for two Olman powers. The god Tezcatlipoca is worshipped under a different aspect by some Amedio Olman; as god of the moon and lightning, he is known as Apocatequil. The bat-god Camazotz is worshipped as Zotzilaha, who includes an aspect of vampirism and the underworld. [SB – 64]
Two empires cannot remain posed on the brink of conflict forever. Sooner or later, something’s got to give. Tensions rise as they stare one another down, each sure the other will break the precarious peace. If there had ever been peace, and not just a pause.
Beginning of the Baklunish-Suloise Wars. (5031 SD) [WOGA – 9]
Just over one thousand years ago, two ancient western empires, the Suel and the Baklunish, were enmeshed in titanic conflict. The root of animosity between them is lost, but the result of their final war haunts even the modem historian. [WOGG 3e – 3]
The beginning of "The Great War." Nine thousand Bakluni are slaughtered in the Salhaut Pass. Munid promises to destroy the Bakluni entirely, even if the majority of mages of his own house die in the process. (5031 SD) [OJ1]
Emperor Ad-Zol sends 9000 troops across the mountains to punish the black-haired northerners. Bakluni Padishah Ramif sent similar number to meet these troops. Battle of Fields of Padyr fought to inconclusive end.) [OJ1]
|The Great War|
—from the Journal of Kavelli Mauk [SB – 2]
The Suel Peoples, mainly fleeing from the great wars in the Suloise Empire, moved northwards through the Kendeen (Harsh) Pass of the southern Crystalmist Mountains (now known as the Hellfurnaces) and spread out in all directions. [Folio – 5]
Endless war is a taxing affair. It wastes a nation’s youth and bright future. Better that the Oerid and the orcs and hobgoblins shed their blood rather than those regals to the north and south who employed them, those very same nobles reasoned.
First employment of humanoid mercenaries. WOGG – 9
Both Bakluni and Seuloise began to go east of the mountains, recruiting Humanoids as mercenaries in their battles for the first time. (5050 SD) [OJ1]
Oerid migrations [at] peak point. (187 OR) WOGA – 9
Heeding their prophets, many Oeridians began moving eastward, coming into contact and conflict with the Flanae. (5058 SD/ 1693 FT) [OJ1]
The fierce Oeridian tribes likewise moved east, thrusting aside Flan and Suloise in their path. The Oerid migrations were similar in cause to those of the Suel, in that the Baklunish-Suloise Wars, and the hordes of Euroz and associated humanoid groups used as mercenaries by both sides, tended to pillage northwards and eastwards, driving the Oerids before them. [Folio – 5]
“Listen to me
Ooh war, I despise
'Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears, to thousands of mother's eyes
When their sons go off to fight and lose their lives…”
--Excerpt from War, by Edwin Starr, 1970
Songwriters: Whitfield Norman Jesse, Strong Barrett
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 Isle of Dread map, by Robert Lazzaretti, from Dungeon #143, 2007
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
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11374 The Scarlet Brotherhood, 1999
11742 Gazetteer, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazeteer, 2000
Ivid the Undying, 1998
Dragon Magazine, 351
OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
LGJ et. al.
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer