Sunday, June 21, 2020

2E Greyhawk Wars Campaign: Aerdi Civil War

Howdy Greyhawk military history buffs! I hope you're ready for another installment of my old 1990's 2E campaign. Yes my players used to get heavily involved in the politics and wars of the FlanaessIf you're just visiting this column for the first time go back and read from my list of wars below (It might make more sense if you read the Iuz-Furyondy War after I fill in the middle wars). Once you are caught up, revel in the climax of Juma Dain's lifelong quest to earn his birthright, the Malachite Throne in the Aerdy Civil War. As always I've made a keyed map so you can follow along with the narrative. Enjoy!

Great North War 605 CY to 609 CY
Great Kingdom War of Succession 610 CY to 611 CY
Pomarj-Celene War 610 CY to 613 CY
3-Month aka "Scarlet" War 613 CY
Schnai Civil War 615 CY
Aerdy Civil Wars 615-616 CY
The Greyhawk Wars aka "The Bandit War" 617 CY to 618 CY
Battle of Bellport Harbor 623 CY
Iuz-Furyondy War 627 CY to 629 CY (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

Aerdy Civil War



Jul 615 CY

A): The barbarian hero Cromwell sailed to Asperdi Isle as a secret envoy for Rhizia. There, he met with aging Admiral Sencho Foy and began to plot a rebellion against the despotic Overking Grenell ruler of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy and his Holy Censor, Spidasa of Medegia1. Despite decades of hostilities with the barbarian lands, the leader of the Sea Baron pledged his navy to help overthrow Grenell and put young prince Juma Dain (Naelax) on the Malachite Throne.

Aug 615 CY

B): Cromwell is lost at sea during a storm on his way to treat with the Lordship of the Isles.

Fall 615 CY

The Juma Rebellion had hoped to make an alliance with the Iron League given their common enemy2. Furthermore, the realm of Ilshar while friendly to Juma’s cause was embroiled in their own internal strife and were not able to send aid either3. This set-back delayed the rebel’s plans as they continued to reach out to the various Houses of Aerdy.

C): While discord and intrigue raged in the Great Kingdom, with Grenell accusing his nobles of plotting a coup, a secret build-up of forces was in fact happening in the Sea Barons4. 

Spring 616 CY

D): The deadliest of Grenell’s loyal animus nobles, Duke Szeffrin conquered the languishing Prelacy of Almor in a short campaign marked by terrible magic and wanton slaughter. A concerted effort by the Kingdom of Nyrond saved many Almorian refugees and held off any further advance by the undead warlord.

Summer 616 CY

The Aerdy Civil War officially broke out across the kingdom as loyalties shifted and popular opinion of Juma Dain’s claim to the line of Ivid grew stronger. 

E): Juma’s Rebellion marched on Rauxes. Ferried by longship and Sea Baron warships at Rel Astra, the coalition of Rhizians and Aerdians were granted passage through the domain by the mayor in exchange for free city status. A second fleet led by Vorlag Konig and Admiral Foy dispatched to Medegia to take the Holy See by surprise. Spidasa’s censorial armies had been vigilant however, and a capable fleet of warships were ready to block their landing.

F): In a surprising turn, Cromwell arrived at Medegia with a fleet of elven warships from the Spindrift Isles. This unexpected reinforcement easily smashed through Medegia’s blockade allowing the rebellion to sweep inland and after several skirmishes, the See was conquered. Spidasa however, was in Rauxes.

G): The main forces of Juma then met and were joined by outlaw elves of the Grandwood Forest5.  The elves showed the rebel army the fastest path through their homeland to reach the capital Rauxes unprepared. By the time Juma’s army was within sight of the city, their numbers were augmented by allied contingents arriving from Roland, Ountsy, Winetha and Torrich. Overking Grenell had raised the city’s defenses and called the dread Companion Guard to his gate, but there was no time to levy more forces from his loyal vassals abroad6.

Using powerful magic at their disposal, the gates of Rauxes was breached and Grenell’s personal army spilled forth to stall the onrushing Aerdian rebel army. Juma however rode with a heroic entourage including his father Valkaun Dain and the entire Night Shadow order. Their experience at sacking Rauxes years ago proved useful, as the barbarians entered the city by other means during the battle. Hacking their way to the palace, they at last faced Overking Grenell in his court room. Even with the infernal powers of the Malachite Throne at his disposal and the profane magic of Censor Spidasa at his side, Juma and his compatriots killed the two villains after a long and bloody combat8.

 The fall of Overking Grenell sent shockwaves through Rauxes and the battle raging outside came to a calm. Aerdians laid down their weapons or took a knee as banners started to go up proclaiming Juma as the victor. In a short ceremony in the ruined court room that night, Overking Juma was coronated and sat on the Malachite Throne. Those nobles who had fought with or against his cause then knelt and swore their fealty. Juma’s first act as overking was to dissolve House Naelax and he would rule as the first of House Dain9

H): In the aftermath, Juma granted Rhizia permanent rule over Spinecastle, Bone March and the lands surrounding the North Province town of Kaport Bay. This new domain was then renamed Norheim. Most of the nobility in the Great Kingdom immediately fell in line with the young regent. Only two did not swear fealty. Herzog Chelor still disputed Juma’s legitimacy and asserted Ahlissa’s independence of the throne. The other was the murderous Duke Szeffrin who still lorded over the blighted land of Almor, and openly dared the new overking to face him in person10. Many vile Aeridan troops rallied to his banner fearing harsh reprisal under the rule of Juma.

Fall 616 CY

I): As Juma consolidated the Great Kingdom, an angered Valkaun Dain (along with ally Archmage Mortellan) decided to personally end the threat of Duke Szeffrin. Using their considerable magical resources, the pair dropped into the duke’s palace to slay the monstrous animus noble. They had not heard the legends of Szeffrin however, as they found his transformation into an animus gave him iron-like skin and the coup-de-grace came when Valkaun was beheaded by the Duke’s vorpal sword. Mortellan was forced to retreat, bringing the corpse of his friend back with him. Consulting their friend Wyrth of Pelor, the elven wizard used a favor to resurrect the warrior11.

J): A renowned high priest of Pelor, Brother Wyrth traveled to Almor at first to aid the suffering populace still trapped there, but soon raised a peasant rebellion against Duke Szeffrin’s occupying army. Juma meanwhile mobilized the best cavalry in Aerdy and with Grandwood elves and Rhizian thanes riding at his side, assailed Szeffrin’s realm. This time in a climactic battle, the fearsome duke was slain by a combined heroic effort, including the unmasked Valkaun Dain. Almor was liberated and immediately rejoined the Great Kingdom as its displaced people rebuilt and rejoiced that at last the wickedness of the Great Kingdom was finally over.

Footnotes:

1.      The Sea Barons had been reinstated to their titled lands after King Orvung’s withdrawal during the Schnai Civil War earlier that year, but Grenell punished the once mighty Sea Barons by putting them under the control of Spidasa.

2.      The Iron League was busy dealing with the resurgent rule of Herzog Chelor of Ahlissa. This would prove to be a great aid to Juma’s Rebellion in the end.

3.      Spidasa visited Ilshar that spring and incredulously tried to buy the land away from the Archmage Mortellan. This offer was rebuffed, but it is speculated the true intent of the Censor was to sow dissent among the occupied Suel who had been ruled by the Scarlet Brotherhood for so many centuries. By summer 616 CY Lord Angus Ulrich had to put down a coup perpetrated by a cell of monks who had returned.

4.      Rhizian longships began to stealthily slip into Asperdi Isle from Bellport and Johnsport while Juma Dain made the isles his staging area. Here he met with emissaries of many principalities and marchlands in Aerdy, most notably Prince Lakaster of Winetha and representatives of the Solnor Compact (Rel Astra, Roland, Ountsy).

5.       The elves of the Grandwood had long been oppressed by Medegia and Rauxes. Their leader met with and was impressed by Juma Dain, seeing his northern upbringing and dedication to Vatun as a vast improvement over the tyranny of his ancestors. Juma promised an alliance would mean Grandwood could be free again.

6.      North Province glad that Grenell was in Rauxes, new Herzog stalled in response. Ahlissa busy with Iron League, Chelor ignores Grenell’s call. Many other marchlands remain neutral to see what will happen.

7.      Cromwell had washed up their hidden shore after the storm. After a short imprisonment, Cromwell’s quest to serve Juma Dain had convinced the reclusive elves that now was the time to break their silence and help break the generations long line of evil overkings.

8.      Unfortunately, history doesn’t tell the names of all the heroes that joined Juma in his taking of the palace. It is said, devils and strange 6-armed skeletons were summoned to defend the overking.

9.      After the coronation of Juma, Valkaun Dain retired to Greyhawk City to live at the newly finished Three Towers fortress, built by Mortellan and him over the ruins of Zagig Yragerne’s own Castle Greyhawk; the source of all their wealth and magical power. Valkaun would become leader of the mounted Cairn Hills Force and Mortellan began to neglect Ilshar and Pomarj while trying to secure all of Zagig’s secrets.

10.   Juma survived an early assassination attempt during the first autumn of his reign. It was never discovered who paid for the assassins, but most suspected Duke Szeffrin including the former-adventurer Valkaun Dain who took the attack very personally.

11.   When Valkaun was brought back from death, he made his comrades keep his return a secret for he had many enemies. Valkaun would go about his business in disguise under a new name for a time.

Commentary:

There was a definite lack of information on this particular war. The notebook with the climatic battle is lost to me, but if it ever turns up I will revise the story. For now, much of the actions of characters like Juma, Cromwell, Valkaun, etc. was created from my best recollection, or entirely new to fit the narrative. 

I have a vague recollection of the big boss Grenell and Spidasa battle. I mainly remember Grenell used a magic polearm, which is rare in my games. I really couldn't remember if Spidasa was killed or captured, so I'm going with dead since there is no further notation about him. 

My main memory is Valkaun dying at the edge of Szeffrin's vorpal blade. My friend Jayson was stunned when his PC got one-shot killed (gotta love 2E). His barbarian had a Sword of Sharpness and he was used to mowing down anything in his path. Szeffrin was tailor made to beat Valkaun. Once. Mortellan played by our friend Brian was also stunned. His archmage probably could've beat the duke, but he didn't want to chance dying. Brian personally would've loved to see Valkaun stay dead because of their rivalry, but he and Jayson usually got wound up by my villains. So when they teamed up they were always a force to be reckoned with! 

Speaking of animi. I didn't like that Carl Sargent created yet another undead to populate the Great Kingdom. I much rather would've used the Death Knights, which never featured in my 2E game.

Wyrth was played by Brian's younger brother Pat. Being a part-time new player he was stuck playing the cleric of course. Hanging with Valkaun and Mort though, meant Wyrth power levelled and had all the best gear (he famously copied  whatever items Valkaun wore). Wyrth was noted for being a hoarder of money so him being involved in the Almor liberation was probably to make money somehow. Wyrth woud not factor much into any of the other war naratives. Pat later got bored of Pelor and changed to Nerull which was fun for me, but was yet another problem that poor Valkaun had to deal with.

Juma and his kingdom was pretty much NPCed after this campaign. We continued to do more with Greyhawk City and Rhizia but as you will see in the next installment, Mort and Valkaun could not escape being involved in another war. Until next time!

  

2 comments:

Lord Gosumba said...

Oh My Gosh Epic Once again!!!

Mike Bridges said...

Yeah, it's gonna get even more bloody in the next installment too!