Tuesday, December 8, 2015

5 Reasons to Visit Furyondy

Welcome stalwart fans of the World of Greyhawk as I continue my ongoing feature titled "5 Reasons to Visit...". If you haven't seen my overviews of the Bandit Kingdoms and the Great Kingdom check them out now. Again, for people who have played D&D you should at least be familiar with the classic adventures set in Greyhawk and possibly, some of you also know the setting's gritty details. With 5 Reasons I seek to put a spotlight on five good plots and places in (ideally) each of the nations of the Flanaess. Perhaps a new DM will be intrigued by these locations or an experienced one will be reminded or inspired to revisit these areas. As always, comments, suggestions and additions are appreciated. Enjoy!
1. Castle Ehlenestra: The first thing you should think of when contemplating the Kingdom of Furyondy is knights. The three branches of the Knights of the Hart figure prominently in all the history , politics and adventures based around this land (such as the crusade on the Temple of Elemental Evil by Prince Thrommel). One castle dedicated to this order, Castle Ehlenestra, stands out from the rest. Named for the elven goddess Ehlonna, this castle is first mentioned in the sourcebook The Marklands, Ehlenestra sits is at the western edge of the kingdom and is home to Sharnalem, a ranger swanmay Knight of the Hart who trains tyrgs to hunt down goblinoids. More unusual than it's owner, the internal castle is made of wood, surrounded by a stone wall. Furthermore, there is a walled forest preserve where Sharnalem's sylvan allies such as brownies and beastmen. Castle Ehlenestra is undoubtedly a safe-zone for PCs; a place to seek wisdom, healing and strength before tackling the forces of evil abroad.

2. The Flare Line: The second thing to know about Furyondy is that it has been in a state of war with the Empire of Iuz for decades, and during the Greyhawk Wars era, Iuz the Evil advanced by conquering the northern tip of the kingdom. This led to a no-man's land running from Ehlenestra in the west all the way to the town of Morsten on the Veng River to the east. Along this war-front is the road called the Flare Line where Furyondy's barons and counts are building defenses against Iuz's undead and humanoid hordes. This is an area of tense standoffs, daring sorties and spying missions. The adventure Border Watch is a nice low-level intro to this theater of war. Other hot spots along the Flare Line include the Razing Line a strip of land west of Crockport where Iuz's magicians have despoiled and desecrated the ground making it the perfect place to animate dead. Then there is the Swarming Ground where fort construction is hazardous because the area is infested with Giant Ant Lions. Enterprising DMs could create an entire campaign centered just on this line of defenses and holding them against the tide of evil.

3. Bronzeblood Haunt: The Kingdom of Furyondy is a large, well-settled realm. As such most dangers here come from without (namely Iuz or the Horned Society). There is exceptions however, like the ruins of a castle referred to as Bronzeblood Haunt. Long ago there was a sadistic noble who rumor says consorted with cults and vampires. It became so bad that King Thrommel I had this ruler deposed and his castle reduced to rubble. The entire area unfortunately still has an aura of evil with mysterious mists and unnaturally blood red trees during autumn, No hero to this day has been brave enough to get within miles of this ruin's dungeon to search for whatever was left behind. Bronzeblood Haunt is a perfect opportunity for a DM to create their own old-school dungeon in a location far-removed from most other famous modules and the meta-plot of war in the north.

4. Claw Gorge: Another area of danger within Furyondy's borders is the quarry named Claw Gorge. Located in the west near Castle Greylode, Claw Gorge is vital to the kingdom for its limestone and is worked by a community of gnomes. The rift however, has recently come into trouble as the miners hit upon pockets of corrosive gasses and tunnel complexes where frequent encounters have occurred with monsters such as cave fishers, a behir or worse. Rumors say the mines are cursed or that agents of Iuz have summoned the monsters here. Either way, Claw Gorge is a good place to send characters who are just looking for a break from Furyondy's political-war drama to do some good old fashioned hack and slash action.

5. Chendl: Lastly is the capital of Furyondy, Chendl. This planned city of 15,600 (at it's height) was first detailed and mapped out in the module Fate of Istus, with more recent updates for the wars found in The Marklands. Chendl once boasted to be the most extravagant city in all the Flanaess due to its grand temples and palace, broad avenues and gardens, and its signature feature, a system of canals plied by gondolas (think Venice but inland). All the beauty was smashed during the wars however as Chendl became under siege by the forces of Iuz. During this era (until Belvor IV's counter-crusade) the city is half demolished and every person of worth is rallied to  the defense. While all looks grim for Furyondy's capital, the haughty aristocracy still maintains their high society lives, unabashed by the threats outside or the plight of their own people fighting for them. When running PCs thru this city think the desperation of Minas Tirith, but much less defensible. This can be the launching pad for a series of Furyondy adventures including all the above or perhaps the climax to a story arc leading to the retreat of evil.


Mystic Scholar said...

Oh yeah! I've always liked this region. Nice map!

DaveGuerrieri said...

Another good one, Mort! Filled with great info!

Mike Bridges said...

The Marklands always did have nice maps. I did the roads and trails that you don't get from the Darlene maps. Sort of the only way to upgrade her work in my opinion.

Paul W said...

No mention of Castle Hart from the old Castles boxed set? :( That was one of my great disappointments in the Greyhawk Wars era Furyondy products, that they forgot that wonderfully detailed castle. That boxed set was remarkable, as each stronghold detailed was perfectly suited to the campaign setting it represented (Castle Hart - Greyhawk, Darkhold - FR, Drungar - DL Taladas).