Saturday, August 3, 2019

Greyhawk Wars Redux

Greetings Greyhawk enthusiasts! Today's topic comes with a map of the ENTIRE Flanaess. I was mulling over a subject while trying to banish thoughts of not being at Gen Con 2019 and then it dawned on me, how about a "What If" scenario? I've done similar premises in the past, it's fun to tinker with world-wide events and what was more game changing to the World of Greyhawk than the 2E Greyhawk Wars! For those who don't know the events an geo-political changes that happen post-wars and through 591 CY then check out this timeline. Surprisingly the "Greyhawk Wars occurred in a short span (582-584). This study is not trying to replicate this timeline however or give a frame for how long the war unfolds, just the alternate reality results. So without further ado here is what the Greyhawk Wars would've looked like if Iuz had defeated Furyondy!

Here is a reference to the colored regions on this altered Darlene map:

Scarlet: Scarlet Brotherhood
Crimson: Empire of Iuz
Green: Alliance of Good
Yellow: Baklunish Empire
Light Blue: Rel Mord Pact
Gray: Remnants of the Great Kingdom
Light Purple: Rhizia

Empire of Iuz: The front line of much of the Greyhawk Wars was fought between the demigod Iuz and the stalwart forces Furyondy, Veluna (and exiled Shield Lands). Iuz smashed the kingdom in this event by fielding his best forces; summoned demons, undead hordes and the Legion of Black Death. The Old One's alliance with Ket proved a distraction for Veluna and Bissel, yet the beygraf of Ket was double-crossed when the return of the Witch Queen Iggwilv was revealed. Aiding her son in conquest, she used her old base of power in the Yatils to marshal even more evil might and retook unaware Perrenland as well as absorbing Ket and Highfolk. The advance of Iuz through Furyondy and Veluna was halted at the Velverdyva river by the desperate valor of Dyvers and Verbobonc. A new Alliance of Good would soon emerge to give them relief.
Elsewhere, the Wolf Nomads was brought to heel by enchantment and superstition rather than by the sword. Finally, with a horde of horsemen at his disposal, Iuz stopped his empire's advance to see who might be his next opponent. Interestingly Blackmoor in this exercise goes unnoticed by all factions. Meanwhile in the east, the Bandit Lands held their territory as they watched the empire lose the Duchy of Tenh to the Theocracy of the Pale. A late alliance with the orc city of Garel Enkdal in the Griff Mountains provided a buffer for the rise of the mighty barbarian realm of Rhizia.

Scarlet Brotherhood: In this scenario the secret society reveal themselves through stealth and murder in the lands of Idee, Medegia and the Lordship of the Isles. Their efforts at a coup in Onnwal were reversed by the quick wits of the Iron League. Focusing their military might just in the east, the Scarlet Brothers pushed deeper into Aerdian lands taking Sunndi and the South Province. The naval might of the Lordship was utilized in a victorious sea war against the beleaguered Sea Barons who also were contending with the raids of Rhizia. Through intimidation and reasoning the Brotherhood gained the alliance of Rel Astra, Menterey and Roland who chose enlightened subjugation to barbarian razing or undead despotism.
The Brotherhood had been searching, colonizing and recruiting the savages of the Amedio and Hepmonaland jungles for decades prior to their invasions. The onset of the Greyhawk Wars in the north had forced the Father of Obedience to move up his plans, thus the Sea Princes and much of the Jeklea Bay were never affected. An alliance with the Slave Lords and Turrosh Mak of the Pomarj did make for good timing however. The Orcish Empire was stalled at the north Wild Coast and by the Principality of Ulek. Their pirate fleets combined with the Brotherhood's other ports however, prove to be trouble for the besieged lands of Onnwal and Irgonate.

Alliance of Good: Desperate times make for strange alliances. The threat of Iuz and Iggwilv now at their doorstep, coupled with the second front of the Scarlet Brotherhood, the Kingdom of Keoland made a truce with all its former satellite states, including the Hold of the Sea Princes to build up their naval might and bolster the Knights of the Watch. The timely interference of adventurers made sure no Giant Troubles would plague the lands along the western mountains in this time. Farther afield, the lands of Verbobonc and Dyvers were rescued from destruction at the hand of Iuz by the arrival of good forces united from the Lortmils, Kron Hills, Lorridges, the Uleks and even the reluctant return of the Kingdom of Celene to action.
Facing the threat of Iuz across the Nyr Dyv, the Domain of Greyhawk had to shed its neutrality and joined in a great council of Good nations at a signing in the City of Greyhawk. In this scenario Archmage Rary is a hero, using the traitorous events in his home of Ket to inspire him to advocate and mastermind an Alliance of Good along with Tenser and other wizards, clerics and luminaries. Rary still moves his tower and base of operations to the Bright Desert. The Alliance brings the Suel ties of Keoland and the Duchy of Urnst together, along with the wisdom and arcane might of the demi-human realms combined with Dyvers and Greyhawk. The alliance also offered succor to the surrounded realms of Onnwal, Irongate and the Iron Hills, a source of highly sought after weapon-craft. The caveat to the Alliance of Good was that another alliance of nations, fighting the same enemy, refused to join in. They are the Pact of Rel Mord.

Pact of Rel Mord: This alliance, or as others call it the Kingdom of the Pale, was a result of Nyrond's lack of resources and exhaustion from fighting the Great Kingdom and the threat of Iuz's banditry. The Theocracy of the Pale had remained aloof in the early stages of the war, only protecting their own borders. Once Tenh was overrun and refugees poured in from there and Nyrond, they had to take action. The priesthood of Pale converted much of these refugees and turned their energy into retaking the Duchy of Tenh and securing the Artonsamay River. Northern Nyrond had long desired to be annexed by the Pale and conditions during the war led to Nyrond losing effective control of these lands, while they were more focused on defending the blighted remains of Almor.
Once the Scarlet Brotherhood took the South Province (Ahlissa) and began overtures to the southern coast of Nyrond is when the king had enough. He met with the Palish representatives and the Countess of Urnst in Rel Mord to forge a pact of defense. This had been planned in advance by the Pale it said, indeed it was the Pale stubborn and self-serving voice at the council in Greyhawk that led to the Pact's refusal to join the Alliance of Good.

Great Kingdom: Mad Overking Ivid, the Death Knights, Duke Szeffrin, Delgath, Grenell, etc. all continued to lead the once Great Kingdom into the ash heap of history. They had started with a strong campaign against their old rival of Nyrond, but soon fell into disarray as the Scarlet Brotherhood came on the scene and wiped out half the Iron League where they couldn't. To make matters worse, the Aerdians were soon raided and occupied by a vast barbarian horde from the Thillonria Peninsula. These berserk warriors had not been a major threat since the Battle of Shamblefield and the construction of Spinecastle. Now it seemed a new cause had united these tribes to not just plunder, but conquer and settle the northern ports and marches. Even the Sea Barons, at war abroad with the piratical Duxchaners, could not have anticipated the amphibious assaults on their home islands by Rhizian long ships. From there, Rel Astra and the other coastal cities capitulated with the Brotherhood rather than be annihilated. The rest of Aerdy, especially the capital of Rauxes fell in on itself.

Rhizia: The Thillonria Peninsula is home to the barbarians of the Bitter North, but the Suel people of the these lands refer to themselves as Rhizia. Through time, various tribes, snow, ice or frost had held the upper hand, but none could unite them all, it was prophesized until the Great God of the North could be freed from his ancient imprisonment. In this scenario, a band of adventurers fulfill this event by bringing the five Blades of Corusk together and summoning Vatun to Oerth. It was no trickery though. Inspired by the direction of their divine patron, the kings and thanes of Rhizia formed an Althing, a type of democratic council of rulers and land owners, to guide their new land to war against the coming tide of Iuz, Stonefist and their old enemy; Aerdy. The appear of a god in the Flanaess certainly got Iuz's attention and checked his activities in the west.
Vatun would not stay long, but his divine wisdom was clear. Rhizia must fight. The gains in the south were swift and brutal, aided by Ratik whom was eager to put down Bone March. Before the Great Kingdom could recall forces from the fight against Nyrond, they had lost half the North Province. Meanwhile the rise of orcs in the Griffs and the liberation of Tenh by the Pale brought the Rhizian advance to a halt after Stonehold was overrun. Now at a pause, Rhizia is wary not of Iuz, but of the emissaries of the Scarlet Brotherhood who now seek to form an alliance of Suloise ancestry.

Baklunish Empire: Another holy destiny was fulfilled in the Baklunish West, as the enigmatic Mahdi of the Desert emerged from the Dry Steppes at the fore of a massive horde of Paynim nomads and dervishes. The prophecy told this person, who would possess divine proof of his ancestry, would be the next Padishah of the Baklunish Empire. They first swept through lawless Ull, who were at first hostile to this religious figure, but then receptive when it became apparent they could make war on the civilized Baklunish lands instead.
As the Mahdi army grew to a size not seen since the Brazen Horde, the lands of Zeif levied their forces to fend off the advance. Ekbir and Tusmit however had already been in contention with the wicked return of Iggwilv and the treachery of Ket. Their high priests and monks knew the Mahdi prophecies well, so in a hallowed convention, the Mahdi met with the sultans and rulers of the west (even the Tarkhan of the Tiger Nomads) in Ekbir City. Whatever happened that day satisfied all parties as the Mahdi's claim was irrefutable and rather than civil war, all bowed to the new Padishah. For his first proclamation, the Padishah turned his gaze east. Would he now fight the Baklunish's ancient enemy the Suel or the demigod tyrant to the north?


grodog said...

I love these well-thought-out alternate Oerth "what if" scenarios---great job Mike!

I'll have to print this to save alongside Montand's 2001 future Oerth piece!


Mike Bridges said...

Haha thanks Allan. Good company.

Thomas Kelly said...

It's like "The Man in the High Castle" Greyhawk style.

Mike Bridges said...

Hah, definitely. I love alternate histories. Even if its already fictional.

RPGrandPa said...

I just recently returned to AD&D (classic 1st edition of course) but I decided to return home to the World of Greyhawk. For some reason I have always loved the Greyhawk Wars time period & Post Greyhawk Wars, it gives the setting a dark & gloomy feel. I love those type settings because it allows the players characters to step in and make a small difference.

I stumbled on this blog and have read it 3 times now, I really like it although it saddens me to see Furyondy and Veluna gone. I guess in order to shake things up those two nations needed to go. I am considering using what you have here for my personal campaign setting "if that's ok" but I love your line of thinking with this. Well done!

Mike Bridges said...

RPGrandPa: thanks for the comment and kinds words. Absolutely use everything you find on Greyhawkery. That's why I share things from my own campaign. This particular article was a think-piece on if Iuz wins. If you browse around farther and see my 2E Greyhawk Wars series, you'll know IMC, Furyondy and Veluna are resounding victors. I've always loved the GHW too. As a fan of Tolkien, it reminds me often of the War of the Rings. Gondor vs Mordor especially. To have a demigod and his kingdom at your doorstep is high adventure.
Good luck in your campaigns going forward!

RPGrandPa said...

Hey Mike, sorry for the long delay but yea Can you point me in the direction of your personal campaign? I would love to read all about it. I personally am going with a post war setting but have not settled on how I want things to be atm.

RPGrandPa said...

yea you can delete this post, but cannot seem to find your campaign anywhere on this blog. Any links to it?
PS whats funny is my campaign blog is on my own blogspot page haha nice nice

Mike Bridges said...

RPG: I'm sorry, I assumed you had found my "Best of Greyhawkery" page. The tab is at the top of the home page.

Scroll down to 2E Greyhawk wars and also I have many articles based on my Sea Princes campaign as well as maps and other nonsense. I used to serialize all my Sea Princes game sessions weekly, but that got difficult and I stopped doing that several years ago. I hope that link helps!

James said...

yea somehow I totally missed it lol

James said...

Jesus! Dude lol how long did it take you to do all this? Makes my blog feel small and shamed lol NICE WORK! Very Nice Work!

Mike Bridges said...

James: Thanks man! Sometimes the words flow better than others. I've also had alot of practice shading maps with layers so thats actually the most enjoyable part of the process. Sometimes a long post takes a couple days to write though. Like when its a long article I'll write it then come back the next day and proof read it for mistakes or add stuff I forgot. Practice makes perfect.

Mike Bridges said...

James: And now I'm realizing you mean my entire blog's body of work lol. I'm close 1000 posts. It's taken all of 10 years, but alot of my comics and Canonfire/Oerth Journal articles go back farther to 2002 I bet. Persistence is how you do it. I set a 2-3 post a week schedule and kept throwing content out. Some posts are more popular than others, you never know. When ideas are dry I'd promote other blogs or D&D news articles. You find ways to keep it going, especially if you belong to an active fan community like Greyhawk.

RPGrandPa said...

Well, MAD PROPS to you. Your blogspot is actually teaching me a lot as I work on my own. I have it set on private atm, working on the blog as a whole, fleshing my campaign setting out. YOU will be the first to see it before it even goes live lol I will get you granted access to it to look at.
I would however love to know what you used to do your color shading of your map. I want to do my campaign a little different and would want to shade my like you have yours but a little different. So would love to discuss this with you at length if you would like to shoot me an email at
I am also working on my opening adventure for my future campaign for my group. I am converting the Keep on the Shadowfell trilogy over to greyhawk and I plan to place it between Hardby and the Abor Alz mountains (a little closer to the mountains than Harby).

In closing I just want to say, when I first got the D&D itch (after a couple years being afk) you and this Blog is what inspired me to jump back on my campaign blog. You have something very special here, and not to sound like I am someone special, I am proud of you as a Greyhawk fan for all you have done here. Wizards of the Coast has basically shoved this setting to the side to let it die off and it is people like YOU that keep it alive for the rest of us. Nothing but love and I mean that man.
PS I really do wanna learn how you did your map to be able to do my own, or hell I can even HIRE you to do my own map for me if need be :) shoot me an email.