Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Knighthoods of Greyhawk

There has been alot of talk about knighthoods at our weekly Thursday night Greytalk and it got me thinking about different eras of the Flanaess and which would be best to set a Game of Thrones-ish knight-based campaign. Gygax's baseline setting of the 570's is decent enough and has many nations on the brink of war, then the 580's has the Greyhawk Wars boiling over resulting in many boundary shifts. The 590's undos some of these changes, but the climate for some knightly drama is lousy in my opinion unless its in the west. No, the best era to run knights is in the historical era of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy from 1 CY through 446 CY (The founding of the Iron League). The sweet spot I believe is around 200-254 CY. I'll explain why:

After 300 years of existence the Great Kingdom is at its height. From the Solnor Ocean in the east all the way to the Yatils in the west and from Sunndi in the south to the marches in the north such as Blackmoor. The kingdom has become vast and hard to keep together without adventuresome knights. There is plenty of old hostilities and new ones in the making.

203 CY sees the powerful Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom shaken by the treachery of Sir Kargoth and his thirteen knightly conspirators. They become the first death knights.

213 CY is the official start of Aerdy's decline, the so-called "Age of Great Sorrow" where Aerdian rule becomes weak regarding its outer dependencies. This sets up the drama to unfold for any campaign centered on knighthoods and nobility. Over the next 40-150 years the Great Kingdom begins to chip away starting with the far away Viceroyalty of Ferrond which eventually splits off in 254 CY. Here is the home of the Knights of the Hart (Furyondy, Veluna and Highfolk) who will later see the Kingdom of Keoland's Knights of the Watch inch up on their borders. Another more contemporary rival to the Hart however is the Knights of Holy Shielding whose lands lay between Ferrond (later Furyondy) and the rest of the kingdom in the east.

As you can see from the map below (by Kwint from the Canonfire forums) this is almost the same Flanaess we're used to except it is from a time before the rise of Iuz in the north and the revelation of the Scarlet Brotherhood in the south. The centrally located Greyhawk City is also here albeit as a smaller mining-trade town, not yet free of the Aerdy. It is also a time before the creation of Castle Greyhawk, but there is still many more ancient adventure sites in abundance.

The red areas show the scope of the campaign, where knights have to travel long distances to administer their laws, attend court, participate in tourneys or push the frontiers of the kingdom farther. Divide player character knights between different orders and across this extensive area and the intrigue is only heightened. I will be sure to discuss more on this subject in the future.



Doug Young said...

Refresh my memory - is Greyhawk still a possession of the Great Kingdom in 130 CY?

Lord Hobie

Mike Bridges said...

I believe so. It was not declared free of the GK until 498 CY, but had been virtually autonomous for a 100 years prior, including the rule of Lord Mayor Zagig.

Charlie said...

Where did you read the bit about the death knights? I want to dig deeper into that topic

Mike Bridges said...

I would search for info on them at the sites greyhawkonline.com or canonfire.com
Gary Holian has written extensively on them. There was two articles on them in Dragon #290 and 291 if you can located those PDFs.