Keoland

Proper Name: Kingdom of Keoland
Ruler: His Peerless Majesty, the King of Keoland,
Kimbertos Skotti (LG male human Rgr15)
Government: Feudal monarchy with rulership that
passes between two or more royal houses that are primarily
descended from ancient Suel nobility with
many Oeridians and some elves, gnomes, or halflings
in Council
Capital: Niole Dra
Major Towns: Cryllor (pop. 8,400), Flen (pop.
11,900), Gradsul (pop. 49,400), Niole Dra (pop. 25,000)
Provinces: More than two dozen major and many
minor duchies, counties, marches, territories, and
baronies
Resources: Foodstuffs, cloth, gold, gems (III)
Coinage: [Keoland standard] griffon (pp), lion (gp),
eagle (ep), hawk (sp), sparrow (cp)
Population: 1,800,000-Human 75% (SOf), Elf 8%
(sylvan 60%, high 40%), Gnome 6%, Halfling 5%
(lightfoot), Half-elf 2%, Dwarf 1%, Other 1%
Languages: Common, Keolandish, Elven, Gnome,
Halfling
Alignments: LG, NG*, N, LN, CG
Religions: Heironeous, Phaulkon, St. Cuthbert, Fharlanghn,
Ehlonna, Lydia, Osprem, Zilchus, Kord,
Xerbo, Norebo, Olidammara, elf pantheon, Trithereon
Allies: Gran March, Sterich, the Ulek states, Geoff
(exiles), Bissel
Enemies: Pomarj, Iuz, Scarlet Brotherhood, nonhumans
and giants in Crystalmists and elsewhere, Sea
Princes (all factions), Celene (greatly disliked), Valley
of the Mage (distrusted)

Overview: Older even than Aerdy in the Flanaess is
ancient Keoland, mainspring of the Sheldomar
Valley. The foundation of Keoland, represented the
birth of the first postmigration human kingdom in
the Flanaess. For nearly a millennium, the Keoish
heartlands have spanned the lands from Gradsul at
the Azure Coast to the Rushmoors in the north,
between the great Sheldomar and Javan rivers in the
east and west. These lands are some of the most
provincial and bucolic in the Flanaess, having been
largely untouched by war and conflict for centuries.
The climate is customarily temperate year-round and
the soils of the central valleys are rich, allowing the
kingdom to grow wheat, rye, and other grains in
great abundance. The country has never been rich in
terms of mineral wealth, and perhaps for that reason
it has always conducted a brisk trade with its neighbors,
to whom it supplies staples such as foodstuffs in
return for hard coin.
The folk of the land can be friendly and generous,
but they are primarily noted for their superstitious
natures, particularly their wariness of foreigners. The
people are a mixture of Suel and Oeridian bloodlines,
well blended for the most part in the provinces of the
nation, except in certain rarefied circles such as the
nobility and other closed societies. Flan still exist in
small pockets in the kingdom, no longer numerous
in the heartlands and now driven to the peripheries
of the valley. The common tongue is spoken here,
but the primary dialect is called Keolandish. The
speech of the common folk is highly recognizable for
its accent.
For most of Keoland's history, the study of magic
was banned to its citizenry, and its practice was
restricted to secret societies and certain nobles. Little
evidence is seen by the casual observer of powerful
wizards' magic, as commoners fear those who practice
spellcraft. Many priesthoods are present in the
realm, though religion was never a dominant force in
the kingdom, either.
Keoland is a true monarchy in that its kings rule
for life and have great powers and authority at their
disposal, but officially the government is a permanent
regency. Ruled in the trust of the noble houses,
the matter of succession has always resided in the
Council of Niole Dra. This deliberative body, composed
of the major nobility and heads of certain longestablished
guilds and societies in the kingdom, has
the responsibility to authorize succession and oversee
matters dealing with the nation's founding
charter. It is the founding charter, penned some nine
centuries ago, that ascribes rights and obligations on
the part of all the citizenry of the country, whether
lowborn or high. The Throne of the Lion, as the
office of the king is referred to in Keoland, is currently
held by Kimbertos Skotti. The monarch is
besieged by factions who constantly demand his
attention, making changes or decisions often
painfully slow in coming. Most of these petitioners
are peers of the realm, who have varied and often
conflicting self-interests.
Over two dozen political subdivisions exist in
Keoland. The major provinces follow, with their capitals
and rulers.
Axewood, Barony of
Linnoden
Baron Anladon of Neheli (LG male half-elf
Ftr8/Wiz2)
Cryllor, County of
Cryllor
Count Ignas Manz (LN male human Ftr16)
Dorlin, Duchy of
Dorglast Castle
Duke Cedrian III of Neheli (CN male human Wiz7/
Ftr2)
Flen, County of
Flen
Countess Allita Elgarin (N female human Clr5 of
Xerbo)
Good Hills, Union of the
Black Top
First Speaker Blaif Rinnar (NG male gnome Ftr6/
Rog2)
Gradsul, Duchy of
Gradsul
Duke Luschan VIII of Rhola (LN male human Wiz9/
Ftr2)
Grayhill, Barony of
Dourstone
Baron Markos Skotti (NG male human Ftr7)
Middlemead, March of
Middlebridge
Margrave Kharn (LN male human Ftr3)
Niole Dra, Royal Capital and District of
Niole Dra
Lord Mayor Pugnace Dillip (LN male human Ari6)
Nimlee, County of
Craufield
Countess Lissen Rheyd (NG female human Clr8 of
Lydia/Ftr2)
Salinmoor, Viscounty of
Seaton
Viscount Cronin Secunforth (LN male human Ftr4)
Sedenna, March of
Plampton
Margrave Erlich Derwent (LN male human Ftr11)
History: The Chronicle of Secret Times is a book banned
by the Keoish crown, a strange set of affairs for a
work that is said never to have existed. Nonetheless,
numerous apocryphal copies are said to be in certain
clandestine collections, including the Great Library
of Greyhawk. The book's sometimes lyrical prose
tells of the Suloise survivors of the Rain of Colorless
Fire, beginning with how Slerotin, the Last Mage of
Power, led twelve tribes out of ruin and into the
valley of the Sheldomar. As the story continues, the
Magus, nearly consumed and at death's door from his
exertions, bids the most powerful noble houses to set
aside their rivalries and unite to make a home in this
valley and be at peace with its inhabitants. He prophesizes
that they will one day combine with a noble
people and together will lay the foundations of an
exalted kingdom. Slerotin enjoins them to look for
signs and portents, and to act upon them in the
noblest tradition of their ancestors. The Last Mage of
Power then quits the ken of mortals in a thunderclap
that levels the surrounding trees and scatters them
into the form of a glyph pointing toward the northeast,
or so the tale goes.
History records that it was only a few years after
their arrival in the Flanaess that the refugees fought
each other and went their separate ways, disregarding
the Last Mage's words. The powerful Zelrad
family withdrew to the northeast, departing from the
Sheldomar Valley entirely to settle in what became
South Province of the Great Kingdom. The tales also
recount how the vile House Malhel fled toward the
Dreadwood and was consumed by its own evil after
trying to summon up powers of the earth in a desire
to resurrect the Suel Imperium. Similar groups suffered
other malign fates, while others fled across the
Azure Sea, never to return.
The remaining Suel Houses fought the local Flan
and abundant nonhumans for control of the rest of
the land, which was dominated by the near-mythical
Empire of Vecna in the north. The nobles of
House Rhola made for the Azure Coast, where in
-368 CY they founded the city of Gradsul. While
they began settling the southern coastal lands, the
nobles of Neheli took their chances in the northern
valleys, heeding the apparent words of the Last
Mage and striking for the northeast. Their much
feared Seers, who were among the few powerful
apprentices of Slerotin to survive the cataclysm,
closely advised the leaders of Neheli in all things.
Niole Dra was founded by them within ten years of
Gradsul's creation. The next few seasons brought
many changes to the land, as the Oeridian tribes
entered the Sheldomar Valley from the north after a
great upheaval appeared to bring down the Empire
of Vecna from within. The Oeridians were the first
people to encounter the Neheli, settling with the
latter peacefully.
Keoland was officially founded in the year 303 OR
(-342 CY), a union between the Neheli, Rhola, and
minor Oeridian nobles who came to control large
swaths of the central valleys between the holdings of
the Suel. This series of disjointed states between the
rivers Javan and Sheldomar became one nation after
a series of brief struggles with the Flan. Niole Dra
was taken as the capital and its first king, a nobleman
of House Neheli, was chosen to rule by a consensus
of the peers of the realm.
By -242 CY, Keoland had expanded beyond the
Good Hills, allied with the inhabitants there, and
entered a period of rapid expansion characterized
largely by the peaceful annexation of new lands and
territories. Sterich was soon founded in the west,
followed in -161 CY by the Gran March, as the
kingdom expanded the northern border beyond the
city of Shiboleth to Hookhill. The Order of Knights
of the Watch was awarded the fief to defend the
northern borders by the duke of Dorlin. In -96 CY,
the Yeomanry was brought within the kingdom,
and its freeholders were given a voice in council in
Niole Dra.
The expansion of Keoland came to a slow halt by
the middle of the first century CY, after the death of
King Malv III of the Rhola. In 49 CY, the throne
reverted to House Neheli, where it remained for
nearly two centuries. A long stagnant period in
Keoish history ensued, during which the country
remained a benevolent, if slumbering and introverted
land.
Keoland awoke from its long slumber during what
is generally regarded as its imperial phase, beginning
in the late third century of the common era. When
the last Neheli king died without issue in 286 CY, the
summer conclave of the following year recognized
the ascension of the first Rholan king in more than
two centuries, King Tavish I. Tavish, the duke of
Gradsul, was the scion of his house and its most formidable
leader. He was determined to make the aspirations
of Keoland rival that of the Aerdi and the nascent
Furyondy, both of which already dominated the
neighbors of Keoland and its rivals in the north and
across the Azure Sea.
Tavish immediately brought a cosmopolitan air
and youthful dynamism to sleepy Niole Dra when
his court assembled the following year in the capital.
He quickly reversed the course of the nation and
raised armies in great numbers. He accelerated
castle-building across the frontiers of the nation and
abolished certain magical prohibitions that had stood
for centuries amid the strong opposition of the
anchorites of the Lonely Tower, the Silent Ones.
Tavish's early maneuvers were subtle efforts to
marshal the resources already at his fingertips by
treaty. In 289 CY, Keoish forces verged on the Fals
Gap, where the city of Thornward was founded by
the Knights of the Watch as a northern outpost to
ward and tax the trade roads between the Baklunish
and Furyondy. While a brief skirmish was fought
with the Baklunish of Ket, large-scale actions were
as yet unknown. In 292 CY, Tavish negotiated a
treaty to formalize the union of the Ulek states to
Keoland, bringing them into closer cooperation
with the Throne of the Lion. Keoish ambassadors
were dispatched even to Enstad, and distant outposts
were soon tolerated by Celene and its fey
court. Tavish accomplished the near total confederation
of the Sheldomar Valley, from the Crystalmists
to the Azure.
Following the death of Tavish the Great in 346 CY,
the throne was taken by his eldest son, Tavish II
(called The Blackguard), a move that was grudgingly
approved by the Council of Niole Dra. During the
early summer of 348 CY, the new king made his socalled
"Wealsun Proclamation," over the objections
of the members of the Council. In it, he asserted the
manifest destiny of the Keoish to hegemony over the
Sheldomar Valley and all its borders. Within a handful
of years, Keoland had marched armies into western
Veluna and annexed the Pomarj from the prince
of Ulek.
Using the added support he gained from early victories
in Veluna, Tavish II quickly drove the ill-prepared
rulers of Ket to the Tusman Hills. In late 362
CY, he ordered the extension of a formal trade road
from Thornward to Molvar and eventually to
Lopolla. Earlier the previous year, the Yeomanry
had closed its borders to the Keoish, withdrawing
its forces in protest against the "wars of aggression,"
while Celene expelled royal garrisons from within
its borders. The Ketite expedition began unraveling
within a few years. The next three decades were rife
with fits and starts that amounted to a slow retreat
to Bissel.
By the year 400 CY, the forces of Keoland had completed
their final withdrawal to Thornward, fortifying
the Fals Gap and making Bissel the northern
frontier of the kingdom. Keoland's aggressions took a
lengthy hiatus under the rule of Duke Luschan, the
new regent who had no stomach for war. In 414, the
old regent became ill and died, and his young
nephew assumed the title Tavish III. In 438, the
Small (sometimes called the Short) War between
Furyondy and Keoland ended Keoish influence in
Veluna. Furyondians and their armies advanced on
Thornward and south to nearly the city of Hookhill,
as the Knights of the Hart captured Bissel before
Tavish III reinforced the northern border in disgust.
Keoland's influence north of the Gran March came
to a complete end.
Troubles for the Throne of the Lion continued
unabated in the south. In 433 CY, Tavish III's errant
younger brother and the heir to the duchy of Gradsul
disappeared, and reports placed the duke as lost in
the Amedio, the victim of pirates or other foul play.
The old king attempted to salvage some dignity in a
doomed expedition to reclaim the south, culminating
in the Siege of Westkeep, 453 CY. In a prolonged
battle against the insurgents, King Tavish III was
himself slain.
The king's surviving son was crowned Tavish IV,
assuming the throne immediately following the
death of his father on the battlefield. Recognizing the
disastrous policy that had propelled the dependencies
of the kingdom to fly apart and resulted in the
death of his brothers and father, young Tavish IV
reversed the course of the nation. He recalled and
disbanded expeditionary forces from the frontiers,
sending home men who had not worked their ancestral
lands for their entire lives. In 460 CY, the Yeomanry
League was formally recognized as an independent
realm and relations were reestablished.
However, despite the best efforts of Tavish IV, many
of these changes came too little and too late for
others. In 461 CY, the realms of Ulek and Celene severed
formal ties with Keoland, the former gaining
complete autonomy. Two years later, seeing their
opportunity, minor Suel nobles in the Pomarj forswore
their fealty to the prince of Ulek and took
Highport as their capital. This act went unchallenged
in Niole Dra, which was tired of war.
In 488 CY, a prematurely aged Tavish IV died without
issue, a lonely and broken monarch. The Throne
of the Lion fell to an heir of the House Neheli the
next year, who promptly turned a blind eye to foreign
affairs. Keoland soon reverted to the more
peaceful, even complacent state from which it had
departed for nearly two centuries. This sudden introspection
drifted into isolation a few years later when
the Keoish monarch refused to engage in the Hateful
Wars that raged between the Ulek States and the
nonhumans of the Lortmils and Suss Forest. When
the Suel barons of the Pomarj suffered a crushing
invasion at the end of the conflict, their pleas for
assistance fell upon a suddenly oblivious bureaucracy.
Illness and misfortune befell the Neheli line
over the next few decades to such disquieting proportions
that, by the late 550s, it became doubtful it
could put forward an heir to old King Trevlyan III
when he suddenly passed away in 564 CY.
The Council of Niole Dra entered into prolonged
debate the following winter and emerged with a surprising
announcement. The new king was introduced
as Baron Kimbertos Skotti of Grayhill, an
obscure ranger lord from a small province near the
Dreadwood with little-known blood ties to the
throne. Lashton of Grayhill (LN male human Wiz19),
an archmage of some notoriety and exceeding ambition,
came to serve the new Royal Court as its magical
councilor. He was seen by some as an extremely
influential schemer, perhaps too much so when the
kingdom was ill-prepared for the Greyhawk Wars
and giant invasions that plagued the westlands beginning
in the early 580s.
Because the court delayed in sending reinforcements,
seeking to extract additional concessions
from the supplicants, Keoland failed to avert the disaster.
Giants descending from the Crystalmists
attacked the valley nations of Geoff, Sterich, and the
Yeomanry, throwing those realms into chaos. The
Treaty of Niole Dra was hastily signed in 583 CY by a
befuddled King Skotti. It allied Keoland to its neighbors
to address the threat posed by the nonhuman
invasions from the Pomarj and the Empire of Iuz in
the north.
A series of misfortunes soon befell the kingdom,
despite its half-hearted efforts to help its countrymen.
A naval force from the Lordship of the Isles,
under the control of the Scarlet Brotherhood,
attempted an invasion of Gradsul in 584 CY. The
invasion had to be forcibly repelled by Duke
Luschan, who lost a quarter of his ships in the effort.
In 588 CY, Sterich was finally freed from its captors,
after three years of struggle, but the cost of the effort
was staggering. In early 590 CY, forces from Keoland
invaded the Hold of the Sea Princes and captured the
stinking fortress city of Westkeep in what many considered
a foolhardy act. A further clash in the Hold is
expected soon, unless calls from Keoish nobility in
the Council of Niole Dra to give up the potentially
ill-fated expedition in the south do not cause Skotti
to withdraw his forces.
Conflicts and Intrigues: Relations between
Keoland and the Prince of Ulek are strained from the
latter's economic alliance with the Lordship of the
Isles, so support of the latter's Pomarj campaign
remains tepid. Duke Luschan wants to build a dozen
new frigates to contend with naval threats on the
Azure Sea, and he courts an alliance with Irongate.
Rumors come out of Dorlin about cases of madness
in certain families of the Neheli. Monsters plague the
southern frontier.

Kingdoms of Flanaess