Monday, January 23, 2017

Greyhawk Zombie Apocalypse

I was fiddling around with maps for one project and ended up spending a whole night doing this for fun. On my good friend Anna Meyer's wonderful site, she has a section for blank maps of the Flanaess called "spread and notation" maps. These are for gimmicky maps like the regional "Alignment" or "Resource" maps in the original boxed set folios. Or as Anna writes:
"Spread & Notation maps to keep track of influences, religion, alignments or that pesky undead infestation..."

When I read that I just had to make a zombie infestation map for Greyhawk! One note, this map represents no particular year in the Greyhawk timeline, or perhaps it's a mashup of all the events from 576-591. Either way, what the map below represents is a combination necromantic-viral undead breakout. Figure out how this works in your own game, for now witness the end of the World of Greyhawk as we know it. Warning this is a long article with sources, but it'll be worth reading. Enjoy!

click to enlarge
Empire of Iuz (Red)
1. War with Furyondy has escalated. In response to the Flight of Fiends, the Old One calls for the creation of more undead armies to fight for him. However, Iuz's Boneheart wizards and priests do too good of a job and soon whole human and humanoid populations are infected around Lake Whyestil.
2. Following their only line of retreat northward, many humanoids are changed along the Bone Road and up into their Howling Hills strongholds. See: Iuz the Evil and The Marklands
3. Rampant combat and disease breaks the defensive positions of Furyondy. Clerics and paladins are overwhelmed and the Ferrond people are pushed to the Nyr Dyv where Willip soon becomes a graveyard as refugees flee by boat or barge to Greyhawk and Dyvers.
4. The wide plains of Furyondy, Veluna and the vast Vesve Forest are no shelter as the undead plague spreads out west and south until encountering another zombie outbreak. The undead follow the Velverdyva River and overrun the unsuspecting High Vale.
5. The hardy folk of Perrenland find some respite in their high mountain homes but their hidden realm and Lake Quag is surrounded eventually. From there, the infestation wanders out on the nomad plains unabated.
6. The dour people of Blackmoor, used to dangers, aren't ready for the plague of zombies emerging from the Cold Marshes and out of the Burneal Forest. Zombies wander far afield until they come to the Land of Black Ice to linger and mutate again, while some roam the Dramidj Ocean coast.
7. The fearless Tiger Nomads are no match for these virulent monsters. The advance of undeath does stop momentarily however at the borders of Ekbir. Divine intervention perhaps?

Domain of Greyhawk (Brown)
1. Worshipers of the death god Nerull serving the Hierarchs have long plotted to bring the City of Greyhawk low. The day of reckoning happens at last as the city's extensive catacombs and tombs spill forth a horde of zombies and skeletons at night. The ruins of Castle Greyhawk likewise disgorges undead into the Carin Hills. See: City of Greyhawk Boxed Set or Greyhawk the Adventure Begins
2. Undead rise up from ancient cairns and advancing zombies infect unsuspecting Duchy of Urnst until they clash with waves of undeath from the south and east.
3. The plague turns down the Wild Coast and into the forest where roused undead from the Temple of Elemental Evil adds more fuel to the apocalypse.
4. Fleeing refugees from the north cross into Dyvers and are dismayed to find it also overwhelmed by zombies. The Rhennee stick to their barges and dare not go ashore at dark.

Bright Desert (Orange)
1. For reasons not known (Incablous is suspected), undead rise from the Plain of Spears, an ancient Flan battlefield. These skeletal dead fan out among the desert, managing to infect unwary nomads and eventually surprising Rary who wisely abandoned his tower for another plane of existence. See: Rary the Traitor
2. Undead hordes break through the Abbor Alz to spread uncontested throughout the Celadon Forest and Gnatmarsh where they mutate clouds of insects into carrying the zombie plague.
3. The wave of zombies soon reach Nyrond's coast, taking port towns already swelling with fresh bodies trying to escape by boat across Relmor Bay.

Pomarj (Yellow)
1. Nerull's icy grip even touches the seas as drowned zombies emerge from the waves to overtake and infect the pirate coves and evil clans of the Pomarj. The secretive Slavers cannot hide for long in their mountain holds. See: Greyhawk Adventures hardcover and Slavers
2. The bloated zombie horde continues raiding the coast, crossing into the Principality of Ulek and the Wild Coast until encountering other undead outbreaks nearby.
3. People fleeing across the Sea of Gearnat into the lands of the Iron League and South Province are not safe as more sea zombies wash up on these coasts or overtake anchored ships in harbors. The indomitable city of Irongate holds out the longest by might and magic, that is until the virulent monsters find their way inside by chance. See: The Marklands

Fellreev Forest (Pink)
1. The lich Count Dahlvier rules a domain in the western Feelreev Forest. Acting on signs and portents from his patron Nerull, his personal undead army strikes out in all directions, now virulent and quicker than ever. See: Iuz the Evil
2. In conjunction with the apocalypse, the ancient Flannae graveyard of Nerulls Bane rises to unlife as one horde and marches forth from the woods into the open plains once again.
3. Undead armies from Dahlvier's County funnel between two opposing hordes chasing hapless humans toward the Nyr Dyv coast. Their undead ranks are swollen by more animated skeletons warriors harvested from the battlefield of Steelbone Meadows. Lucky survivors cross the water to the Isle of Walworth where the city of Admundfort becomes a last bastion of civilization.
4. Undead spread eastward through the woods and hills, easily turning the unprepared Rovers of the Barrens.
5. The undead outbreak sweeps across the northern wastes taking anything that moves, easily pressing into the Hold of Stonefist and beyond where barbarians foolishly confront the undead masses in open battle. See: Iuz the Evil and Five Shall Be One

Bandit Kingdoms and Amedio Jungle (Green)
1. Heroes are defeated in the bandit city of Alhaster on the eve of apocalypse, resulting in the prophecized return of demigod of undeath, Kyuss. The zombie-like Sons of Kyuss, soon spread out in all directions using virulent undead worms as a vector. Other twisted undead monsters created by Kyuss issue forth out of the Wormcrawl Fissure to make this horde even more deadly than neighboring outbreaks. See: Age of Worms AP
2. The wormy horde moves north covering areas of the Bandit Kingdoms not already struck, eventually breaking the redoubt of Rookroost last. See: Fate of Istus
3. Beset with refugees and unprepared, the normally peaceful County of Urnst becomes ripe for Kyuss' sons to infect the populace. See: The Marklands
4. With no geographical defense, the horde of Kyuss spreads into northern Nyrond unchecked, swelling their numbers within weeks before being turned north by competing outbreaks to the east and south.
5. The wormy horde follows the flight of humankind into the closed lands of the Duchy of Tenh and the Theocracy of the Pale. where even the faith of Pholtus is not enough to stem this tide of evil. After their populace was subsumed, the plague horde crosses into the realm of the Frost Barbarians who brazenly try to fight back rather than head for the Corusk Mountains for safety.
6. Seeing the fall of the Fruztii, the Snow Barbarians flee into the highlands or out to sea, but are hunted down by Kyuss' monstrous undead. The Ice Barbarians are caught between two outbreaks and can only flee by ship across the Solnor Ocean to parts unknown.
7. Meanwhile in the depths of the Amedio Jungle, Kyuss' old capital of Kuluth-Mar stirs with the return of the demigod of undeath. More Sons of Kyuss wander the jungle to take over unsuspecting Olman and Amedian savages, eventually coming to the coastal city of Sasserine where the unwary populace falls. See: Age of Worms AP, Savage Tide AP
8. The worms of Kyuss spread into the deep jungle and the tropics beyond the scope of sages.
9. Slowed some by island hopping, Kyuss' horde eventually reaches the Scarlet Brotherhood. The coastal towns fall easily, yet the central plateau was defensible for the longest time. Despite this struggle, Kyuss' monsters eventually bore their way into the hidden realm. See: The Scarlet Brotherhood
10. The zombie outbreak continues across the Tilva Strait directed by the will of Kyuss. The jungles of Hepmonaland become fertile new ground to harvest more spawn of Kyuss, uncontested by any other outbreaks save a minor strain of zombies called the Ravenous.

Great Kingdom (Blue)
1. Mad Overking Ivid V was turned into a new type of undead called an animus. Thereafter he made the priesthood of Hextor convert many Aerdy nobility, such as Lord Drax of Rel Astra, into these same intelligent undead. The experiments of the priesthood went awry and soon lesser animus nobles mutate into mindless zombies, soon infecting their own citizens. To make matters worse, Death Knights, still lurking in the kingdom seize upon the opportunity to herd these masses of zombies toward their enemies thus hastening the outbreak. See: Greyhawk Wars, Ivid the Undying
2. In the North Province, a priest of Nerull named Delglath is among those turned into an animus by Ivid. Driven by contempt for life, he encourages the spread of the zombie plague beginning in his home of Rinloru and then out in all directions including the capital Eastfair.
3. To the east, animus warlord Duke Szeffrin was already installed in the war against Nyrond. The animus mutation into viral zombies affected the Duke's cohorts, bringing the ruins of Almor into conflict with friend and foe alike.
4. Vast populations of zombies pushed southward into the lands of the South Province, Sunndi and Idee. Even the dwarves of the Iron Hills were not immune to the bite of these limitless hordes. Only the Vast Swamp stops their advance.
5. Undeath continues to spread through the Adri Forest and driving north to quickly assimilate the humanoids of Bone March before clashing with the Kyuss outbreak.
6. Medegians cower toward the coasts, some escaping by boat at Pontylver but the Holy See is absorbed within days of the outbreak from the ruined capital Rauxes.
7. The isles of the Sea Barons were not immune to the reach of the Animus outbreak. Foolish captains brought too many refugees across who were already bitten and ready to turn, before they realized the danger. The small Barony was quickly lost.
8. Likewise the flotillas of refugees from Pontylver and Dullstrand crossed to the Lordship of the Isles bringing more infected. The largest isles of the Duxchaners were lost eventually though swift intervention by elven warships from the isolated Spindrift Isles manage to destroy any more plague ships who try to cross the Aerdi Sea.

Keoland and Dry Styeppes (Purple)
1. The perfect storm of the zombie apocalypse begins in the southwest as the archlich demigod, Vecna returns again, this time sending out virulent undead from the Rushmoors. Furthermore, swordwraiths march out of the Stark Mounds upon the call of Vecna. Their slain rise as zombies adding to the undead hordes. See: Living Greyhawk Gazetteer.
2. Vecna teleports west into the Dry Steppes. to the stone circles of Tovag Baragu. As the world rages against the zombie outbreak, he opens a gate to his demiplane of Citadel Cavitius and a new horde of zombies marches out. See: Vecna Lives!
3. The Sheldomar Valley is swept by masses of zombies. Even the Knights of the Watch cannot stem the tide once the plague reaches their cities including the port of Gradsul. Many flee across the Azure Sea but everywhere they land they find a new outbreak.
4. The Hool Marsh slows the horde but Vecna's outbreak soon emerges with additional zombie lizardmen into the landlocked Yeomanry and upon the Hold of the Sea Princes where their captains flee on numerous vessels to the neighboring isles and farther out. Only time will tell if the isles hold out.
5. The Plains of the Paynims and Ull are overrun by the second Vecnan outbreak from the south. Many nomads try to out-ride the shambling hordes by travelling west and beyond the Flanaess.
6. The outbreak claims the peaceful satellites nations of Keoland and the elves of Celene are never heard from again. The horde pushes into Veluna and against the Iuz outbreak. The high priest of Rao prays for another miracle and is not answered this time.
7. The Baklunish plains are ravished by the zombie hordes taking the civilized realms of Zeif and countering the Iuzian plague in Ket. Many flee across the ocean to the island domains.
8. The Vecnan outbreak swallows defenseless Tusmit yet is stopped cold at the borders of Ekbir. Is it Istus or Al'Akbar's work? With the zombie apocalypse conquering Eastern Oerik, how long can the Caliph, Xargun hold out as all remaining survivors crowd into his small safe zone?

The End?

11 comments:

Mystic Scholar said...

What? No zombies in the Sea of Dust? Bummer! LOL

Robert Weber said...

Liches in the Sea of Dust. (See Andre Norton's "Quag Keep" for details...)
;)

Mike Bridges said...

Liches or zombies lol. There isn't much for them to infect out there. I took liberties with the Dry Steppes just to get the Baklunish side going. Plus, where else would I put my title graphic? ;)

grodog said...

So, the Lendore Isles are the only safe haven? =)

Allan.

Mike Bridges said...

No Allan, Ekbir, Admudfort and half the Sea Princes and Lordship Isles

Blue Tyson said...

Sons of Kyuss.

Nice.

Alfons H. said...

This is awesome. Very well done.

Mike Bridges said...

Alfons: Thanks! I wonder now what other dangers I can visit on the Flanaess?

Blue Tyson: Yeah I found the inclusion of Kyuss' sons a serendipity to zombie apocalypses. Really, Kyuss alone could wipe out the continent but I shared the fun. Greyhawk has SO MANY undead threats it's crazy.

Angelika Tatsu said...

How about a vampiric apocalypse?

Kevin Smith said...

Intriguing stuff!

Mike Bridges said...

Angelika: Great idea, I will look into that.

Kevin: Yup, looks like the old Bird of Prey crew will have to stay at sea longer...