Friday, May 15, 2020

Greyhawk A-Z: Cities & Towns

Howdy Greyhawkers! I. As usual I need something to write about this week. I miss an opportunity when we recently talked about artifacts on Legends & Lore, and there is so much being put out in the community I don't know where to start sometimes. So instead I'll do one of my regular columns. If you have seen my A to Z column before just go to the Best of Greyhawkery and follow the links. This week I'm going to muse over various towns and cities of the Flanaess. Let's get to it!

Admundfort: Capital of the Shield Lands. I always pictured this place as an impenetrable fortress-city on a rocky island many miles out in the Lake of Unknown Depths. How could Iuz really take it over, expect by magic or flying? Otherwise, it's the perfect place to defend if you're a Knight of Holy Shielding. Although, if your primary mode of combat is horseback, it must be a pain to travel to shore and back. I imagine the knights hate being called back to see the earl.

Beetu: B-2...Bingo! Joking aside, this Nyrond city of 11,000 is featured in the Marklands, an indispensable source book. Get it! Beetu is a medieval town oppressed by a local count. It's near the Celadon Forest as well, so it's the perfect place to set a Robin Hood style campaign.

Courwood: I always loved the name of this town. I also thought it was part of Celene. I know I'm not the only one, it's got "wood" in the name for Corellon's sake! The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer disagrees. It belongs to the County of Ulek. Boo. What is Courwood's deal? I don't know!

Dorakaa: Capital of the Empire of Iuz. There is no place on Oerth more evil than this city. If you want a taste, get the 2E module City of Skulls. You want an aerial view, check out this map by me.

Exag: Have you heard of the Seeds of Seehan mini-AP? Written by Matthew Conklin and Tom Ganz, this 3-part adventure started in Dungeon #145 and features a write up on the old town of Exag in Perrenland. It's quite an exotic locale. If you can find this article, enjoy!

Fax: Town in the Wild Coast. Short name. Silly name. Maybe it's only silly because it's the shortened form of Facsimile.  I hate fax machines, maybe that's why I can't take the town seriously. There's a town in Wisconsin named Colfax. Gygax tended to use anagrams of people and places close to where he lived in Greyhawk. That's the best I got.

Glot: At a mere 5100 people, the reason Glot is capital of the Ice Barbarians has to be due to the fact it's the least icy part of the Cruskii lands.

Hochoch: The Grand Duchy of Geoff is one land that I've rarely used. I don't know why, it's got so much going on with giants and so forth. Hochoch pre-Giant Troubles is totally unknown to me unless I pick up a copy of AtG:Liberation of Geoff. Also if you're intrigued by Hochoch like me, get this awesome map by Mike Schley.

Irongate: This city in my opinion would be the best place to base an urban campaign in the east. There is alot going on here; dwarves, wizards, Iron League, Aerdian conflict, Scarlet Brotherhood, pirates, etc. It's the Minas Tirith of the Flanaess. If you want to know more check out Denis Tetreault's site Melkot, and the old Irongate Project. There is also an article on the city by Denis and Gary Holian in Dragon #351. Maybe this city project can be resurrected!

Jurnre: Found in the County of Ulek, Jurnre I believe is one of, if not the oldest city founded after the migrations. This, not Courwood, ahem, is the capital of this demihuman realm. There is actually a pretty good write-up with map of Jurnre in Fate of Istus. Don't run the adventure, just use this book as a source for all the wonderful cities in it.

Krakenheim: Capital of the Frost Barbarians. The Thillonrian peninsula (Rhizia) is so underdeveloped, but tiny Krakenheim is the most bad ass city name on the map. You just know those seafaring warriors once fought a kraken on the Grendep Bay. It used to be a great town I gather, but in 576 CY Gygax writes that the Fruztii have never recovered from the Battle of Shamblefield and they are technically under the rule of the Snow Barbarians. A shame.

Leukish: Capital of the Duchy of Urnst. I don't know what Living Greyhawk did with Leukish, but I think it's an excellent place to start if you are running Ghost Tower of Inverness (the Seer and the Soul Gem quest).as well as Maure Castle/ Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure. It's on the Nyr Dyv coast. You can do a lot with this city.

Magepoint: This village of 130 souls is in the module Return of the Eight. Spoilers, this village is comprised entirely of veteran infantry who work for Tenser, whose castle is off the shore from here. I like the idea of a garrison in disguise. Perfect for a wizard domain.

Nevond Nevnend: Capital of the Duchy of Tenh. I like this choice because it's a double-N entry. What little I know about Nevond is found in the book WGR5: Iuz the Evil. I recommend alot of Greyhawk books in this post, but Iuz the Evil by Carl Sargent is the only one that is a MUST HAVE. It covers so much ground. From Vesve Forest to Nevond Nevnend? That's half the map in one book. Get this now. Now this Duchy of Tenh bears no resemblance to DA4: The Duchy of Ten from the original Arneson Blackmoor campaign. There is no Nevond Nevnend, no Flannae, no Bandit Kingdoms next door and definitely no Stonefist. In fact, it's just across a river from Blackmoor! The capital is called Stargmorgan. Owning this book, I can say, while it is impossible to retrofit into the Flanaess, this Ten is much better detailed than what we get from Sargent.

Ogburg: This city of 17k is in the Theocracy of the Pale. I don't know much about it, but given the Pale's reputation of being a bit over-zealous, Ogburg probably makes Beetu look like a nice place to live.

Port Toli: I love this city. In my current Hold of the Sea Princes campaign, it's the home port of the Toli Armada. This faction contends with Monmurg in political intrigue. Port Toli is my version of Casterly Rock in Game of Thrones. Like the Lannisters, the nobles of Port Toli are rich and like to bully around others. I have grand ideas someday write-up this city. So far it's all head-canon though. If you want to know more about my vision of the Sea Princes and the Toli Armada, go download a copy of Oerth Journal #32, there is an article by me on the Unconquered Hold of the Sea Princes.

Quaalsten: This Highvale town is found in Marklands as well and yes, it's named after Quaal of feather token fame. I like this concept a lot. There should be more towns and villages named after heroes; Tenserton, Mordenkainenshire, Gordville, Leomundia, Okay this is harder than I thought.

Rel Astra: If you've been around Greyhawk you probably know Rel Astra is the biggest city in the Great Kingdom, albeit a free city with its own ruler (Drax) and intrigues. This city is possibly the biggest in the Flanaess. Greyhawk is 59,000+ and I think Astra is 61k. The only problem with Rel Astra is it's location. It's on the east coast of the map and there just isn't much for Astrans to do here unless they go around the Scarlet Brotherhood or travel overland through thousands of miles of Flanaess. If Rel Astra was in the South Province it would make a lot more sense. Ah well. I had dreamed of doing a Rel Astra campaign once, with thieves guilds and wizards, then realized it's too much like Greyhawk City, just more evil. Maybe someday I'll revisit the idea.

Spinecastle: This is a minor Furyondian fort in on the front lines of war with Iuz. Nah, just kidding. The REAL Spinecastle out near the North Province and Ratik, is what the Frost Barbarians got slaughtered over long ago. Spinecastle may be the second roughest place to visit besides Dorakaa. If you'd like to know more about this Bone March citadel, go find a copy of Dungeon #148, Gary Holian and Steven Greer's In the Shadows of Spinecastle has you covered.

Tringlee: Capital of the elven ruled Duchy of Ulek. Courwood would've been a cooler name. that's all I got on this one.

Ulakand: What? You've never heard of Ulakand? It's the capital of the toughest nomad nation in the western quarter of the Darlene map! If you want to know more, check out this map and article on Ulakand by me!

Vlekstaad: So you want a remote, rough and tumble place that isn't really like the standard medieval cities in the Flanaess? Vlekstaad and the terrible Fists of Sevvord Redbeard could be a good candidate. This place is like the Ull of the north. Vlekstaad on the coast of the Icy Sea is an interesting base to do some in-depth wilderness adventures. You got frozen waters, imposing mountains, vast tundra and a couple huge forests that look like they've hardly been explored. It's worth a try.

Womtham: A major city in Nyrond near the Duntide River. What do I know about Womtham? Not much, but I do know it's an anagram of old school game designer Tom Wham. Wham's minigames like Elefant Hunt were one of my favorite treats in Dragon Magazine back in the day. You're welcome.

Xia Ulos: I had to pull this one out of The Scarlet Brotherhood. This obscure little town is a redundant port is mainly used by the brotherhood to do maintenance on ships that can't make it back to a bigger port.

Yecha: Capital of the Tiger Nomads. I've never used it, and I'm fairly sure 90% of Greyhawk DMs haven't either. Fortunately for us all, fellow Greyhawker Blake Ryan did a write up on this town last year on Tribality.

Zeif: I love this city. It conjures pictures in my head of an Arabian Nights type story. Grab a copy of Al-Qadim and you can run some fantastic stuff here. Oh, did you know Zeif had a Living Greyhawk group for a few years (Canada)? Check out this old L&L show we did with some of Living Greyhawk: Zeif's principle members. Good times!

That's all for now. Greyhawk has thousands of cities, towns and villages. I could do this same A-Z many times over. But, eh, no thanks! See you all next time.

1 comment:

Jason Zavoda said...

Fantastic article. Reading through it brought back memories of the days when Gygax would put out his Greyhawk updates in Dragon Mag.