The Night Shade of Greyhawk and the Hallowed Revenant Amphoras
The Free City of Greyhawk
The Free City of Greyhawk is the Location of The Night Shade's Assassin's Guild Headquarters and is known as "The Gem of the Flanaess." As of c597 the city is prospering, though the grey hawks indigenous to the city have disappeared, replaced by ravens. Many secrets are held within the city, the most popular being rumors of the Night Shade's activities of late.
Greyhawk, named for the small grey hawks which populate the region, was originally a trading outpost on the Selintan River specializing in local wood and woven garments. In time the town developed strong textile and meat-packing industries. Eventually, Greyhawk came to be ruled by a warlord, who took the title "Lansgraf of the Selintan". His son was then married to the Gynarch of Hardby's daughter. The nuptials formalized a political alliance that served as the basis for rule over the Lanstadt of Selintan, an area that eventually became known as the Domain of Greyhawk.
In 4 CY, Greyhawk came under the domination of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy and remained so while strong Overkings ruled from the Malachite Throne in Rauxes. By the third century CY, the Great Kingdom's influence over the city began to wane as the Overkings fell into evil ways and their hold on distant provinces became increasingly tenuous.
Rise to prominence, decline and recovery
Circa 310 CY, the mage Zagig Yragerne emerged from the Wild Coast and bribed his way into a seat on the Directing Oligarchy. Soon after, the Oligarchs elected Zagig Lord Mayor.
Greyhawk subsequently rose in fame and prominence under the leadership of Lord Mayor Zagig. He instituted legal reform, developed a new currency, fortified the walls, founded the city's first university and embarked on a major building program. Most notably, he directed the construction of nearby Castle Greyhawk.
- later known as Zagyg - became increasingly erratic over time, his rule is generally considered to be the most effective in the Free City's history and brought widespread prosperity to the region. Much to the annoyance of Dyvers and other rival cities, Zagig proclaimed Greyhawk to be the "Gem of the Flanaess," and did much to ensure this moniker was justified. Unfortunately, the "Mad Archmage" suddenly disappeared in 421 CY, leaving no clues regarding his whereabouts, and no heir to inherit the title of Lansgraf.
In 498 CY, after decades of Zagig's absence, the Lanstadt was therefore abolished, the title of Lansgraf permanently retired, and the Free City's Directing Oligarchy assumed political authority. The new Lord Mayor Paerinn officially proclaimed Greyhawk a free city, though it had been effectively independent of the Great Kingdom's rule for over a century.
Soon thereafter, the city lost its claim over Hardby and the Wild Coast, as the leading women of Hardby broke from Greyhawk and established the ruling office of Despotrix. This loss of lands sent the Free City into economic decline, a situation that persisted for several decades. Fortunately, the discovery of treasure in the dungeons beneath Castle Greyhawk and other nearby locales set off a gold rush of sorts, and Greyhawk's economic fortunes recovered substantially in the second half of the sixth century.
The Greyhawk Wars and the post-war situation
The Free City of Greyhawk actually had less direct involvement in the so-called Greyhawk Wars than many political entities across the Flanaess, but because the final truce was brokered in Greyhawk in CY 584, the war has come to be named for the city.
The Wars had several important effects on the city, particularly that the unrest drove Hardby and the Wild Coast cities of Safeton and Narwell to re-submit to the rule of the Directing Oligarchs. However, since it was largely fear of Turrosh Mak's humanoid raiders from the Pomarj that prompted this move, a situation that has been resolved to some extent, the Despotrix and the Wild Coast cities are once again agitating for increased independence.
Also as a result of the Wars, the city has seen an influx of new citizens. Some of these are wealthy diplomats, and some are "nobles" who have contributed significantly to Greyhawk's coffers with the purchase of various counterfeit titles and documents. But many newcomers to Greyhawk are destitute refugees, or are merely using the city as a base for hatching political plots and intrigues across the Flanaess. In particular, there are persistent rumors of covert Scarlet Brotherhood operations in the city.
The post-war outlook for the Free City is therefore mixed. Greyhawk's finances are in the best shape they have been since Zagig's departure, but the city faces significant challenges arising from political instability and increasing criminal activity.
The Free City of Greyhawk is located centrally in the Flanaess, which is the easternmost part of the continent of Oerik on the world of Oerth. The city controls a large swath of land along the Selintan River from the Nyr Dyv south to Woolly Bay most of the Cairn Hills, parts of the Gnarley Forest, the northern Wild Coast, and parts of the Abbor-Alz. The entire region is officially known as the Domain of Greyhawk. The Domain is bordered on the east by the Abbor-Alz and its western border lies within the Gnarley Forest. The area south of Greyhawk City along the Selintan is known as the Plain of Greyhawk.
Several settlements fall within the Domain of Greyhawk: Blackstone Diamond Lake Elmshire Ery Crossings Erybend Greatrock Greyhawk City Greysmere Grossetgrottel Hardby Magepoint Narwell One Ford Phandlish Safeton Steaming Springs Two Ford
As of 589 CY, the city itself boasted a population of 69,500, making it one of the largest cities on Oerth. The population for the entire Greyhawk Domain is roughly 160,000, including the larger towns of Safeton (pop. 6,100), Hardby (pop. 5,100) and Elmshire (pop. 4,000).
The Free City of Greyhawk hosts temples and shrines to many deities, including Beory, Boccob, Celestian, Corellon Larethian, Ehlonna, Fharlanghn, Garl Glittergold, Heironeous, Istus, Kord, Kurell, Lirr, Moradin, Norebo, Obad-Hai, Olidammara, Osprem, Pelor, Pholtus, Procan, Ralishaz, Rao, Saint Cuthbert, Trithereon, Ulaa, Wee Jas, Xerbo, Yondalla, and Zilchus. The worship of evil deities and fiends is forbidden, and such cults, though they may have followers, do not have a public presence. Evil religions that have established a base in the city in recent memory include those of Incabulos, Iuz, Nerull, and Vecna.
Executive branch: Greyhawk's Directing Oligarchy elects one of its own to as Lord Mayor, who serves as the head of state in addition to his directorial duties. The current Lord Mayor, Nerof Gasgal, has held office since 571 CY. The Lord Mayor heads both the Directing Oligarchy and the Council of Mayors and Manorial Lords. The chief of state also officially heads the military, though actual command is most often left to the Captain General of the Watch.
Legislative branch: The Free City of Greyhawk is ruled by the Directing Oligarchy, an executive council of twelve to eighteen members representing the City's major professional guilds and the military. In some cases, the Oligarchy may include important wizards or clerics. New Directors are chosen by current council members when a vacancy must be filled.
The Greyhawk Council of Mayors and Manorial Lords is an annual assembleage of leaders from the various baronies and towns in Greyhawk Domain. In theory, this gathering allows citizens of the Domain to have a voice in the governance of the region, but in practice this Council has little real authority.
Judicial branch:Major legal matters in the Free City of Greyhawk are adjudicated by a Judge of Greyhawk, one of eight such officials appointed by the Directing Oligarchy. One of these eight is chosen to serve as Chief judge of Greyhawk, a position currently held by Sir Anton Palmirian who also sits on the Directing Oligarchy and oversees the Guild of Lawyers and Scribes. In cases of great import, three Judges of Greyhawk may preside. Appeals of major cases are always heard by a panel of three Judges of Greyhawk, though the Lord Mayor sometimes sits in place of one of the Judges.
Several roads link the settlements of the Domain of Greyhawk, including the High Road (from Greyhawk City to Elmshire), the Urnst Trail (from the High Road to the Duchy of Urnst), the Western Road (from Ford Keep on the Selintan to Dyvers), and the River Road (south from Greyhawk City along the Selintan).
Much river traffic takes place along the Selintan River, which can accommodate all but the largest sea-going vessels from the Nyr Dyv and Woolly Bay. Smaller vessels ply the Ery and Neen rivers.
Able Carter:The Able Carter is a coach company created by author Erik Mona, and first appeared in the 2000 RPGA adventure module, River of Blood. It has coaching inns in Greyhawk City, Hardby, Diamond Lake, Blackstone, Elmshire, Steaming Springs, Narwell, Safeton, and Dyvers, among other locations.
The Domain of Greyhawk's military forces, though technically under the Lord Mayor's authority, are usually commanded by the Domain's highest-ranking military officer, the Captain General of the Watch, who also sits on the city's Directing Oligarchy. The current Captain General is Tigran Gellner.
Greyhawk's forces consist of several units, including: The Cairn Hills Force, led by Commander Schinus Balint. The Greyhawk Mountaineers, led by Commander Carstane Geronten. The Hardby Marines, led by Commander Wilbrem Carister. The Narwell Headhunters. The Safeton Garrison, led by Commander Turin Deathstalker. The "Water Rats."