Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY
Kingdom of Nyrond
Ruler: His August Supremacy, Altmeister of All the Aerdi, King Lynwerd I of Nyrond
Capital: Rel Mord (pop. 34,200)
History of the Land
Nyrond’s foundation in CY 356 marked the beginning of the historical decline of the Great Kingdom. The ruling Aerdi House of Rax was divided. Its junior branch proclaimed the sovereignty of Nyrond, together with other satellite states, which swiftly gained their independence. These included the Urnst states and the Theocracy of the Pale. Nyrond allied with the states of the Iron League, and the old Almorian Lands, against the Overking as the House of Rax in Rauxes degenerated into insanity.
Nyrond’s people were of the same Oeridian stock as the folk of the Great Kingdom, but Nyrond became a bastion of good, powerfully opposed to its evil eastern neighbor. Nyrond was renowned for the skill of its artists and the richness of its court. Nyrond’s became famous for mages of great power. However, it was the kingdom’s armed forces that guaranteed Nyrond’s strength. Its armies were victorious on every field, and its navy dominated Relmor Bay and the Sea of Gearnat.
Shortly before the Greyhawk Wars, a decade ago, a series of incidents occurred which were to threaten Nyrond’s military supremacy. Nyrondese naval vessels and troops began skirmishing with the forces of the Great Kingdom. Ahlissa, the Great Kingdom’s South Province, gave succor to pirates raiding Iron League and Nyrondese vessels. This brought on confrontations, which eventually led to war. Nyrond fought many battles, emerging from the war greatly weakened. In the end the cost was simply too great. Nyrond swelled with an influx of Tenhas driven south by the hordes of Stonefist. While Nyrond drove the invaders back into the Phostwood the kingdom’s losses were startlingly high. Nyrond’s full coffers and large population could have absorbed that, but the eastern campaigns, waged to aid the folk of the Flinty Hills against the marauders from the Bone March, began to drain the country. Massed Aerdi armies invaded Almor, and even Nyrond’s own lands, exhausting even Nyrond’s resources.
The great battle of Karndred’s Meadows occurred towards the end of the war. King Archbold of Nyrond was trying to reclaim as much of the kingdom’s land as he could. Nearly five thousand of Nyrond’s best soldiers fell in a single day against the demented, fiend-driven armies of the Overking. Nyrond fought them to a bloody standstill, but the losses were enormous. The cost is still being felt today, and Nyrond’s future looks grim indeed.
Nyrond today is a very different land from Furyondy, where a hardy kingdom is striving to recover. Nyrond is a tottering kingdom, where morale is very poor. The Nyrondese have very good reasons to fear the future.
Nyrond is a fractured and divided land. Parts of it are thrown into chaos verging on anarchy. The morale of nobility, armies and the common people are likewise all poor in most places. Hunger verging on starvation threatens part of this land. Nyrond’s once bulging coffers are bare. The burdens of taxes and tithes are appalling.
Nyrond lost nearly 60,000 dead in the wars, but over twice this number have fled the nation. They have gone seeking work and food simple safety. Many of these emigrants have included some of the kingdom’s finest artisans and magi.
How has this happened? Why has Nyrond so collapsed when Furyondy, a much less populous and rather less rich state, has managed to hold itself together?
There are many reasons for the terrible decline of Nyrond:
The war against the Great Kingdom cost the Nyrondese armies dear, with almost 70,000 casualties, and it exhausted Nyrond’s coffers, although its navy remains strong. Territory has been lost around the northeastern portion of Relmor Bay, and while the remains of Almor which hold those lands could be retaken by any moderate army, Nyrond has not the strength or will to do so.
Internally, the murderously high levels of taxation, which the King is forced to exact to maintain vigilance against Iuz on the northwest as well as the Bone March humanoids across the Flinty Hills, has made the peasants and common folk rebellious. Tax riots have had to be quelled in and around the major northern trade town of Midmeadow. Some farmers plead that they cannot even afford seed to sow their fields, and many livestock have been killed for food. The vital silver mines of the Flinty Hills still yield their treasure, and this, with aid from Urnst, is all that keeps Nyrond going.
Further, Nyrond has suffered an exodus of many of its best artisans, mages, scholars, and skilled folk, who have left for the richer Urnst states or for the Free City of Greyhawk. King Archbold and his advisers engage in desperate diplomacy from Keoland to the Theocracy, but with so little to offer, Nyrond’s influence is weak. Its major supporters are the Urnst states, who fear Nyrond’s fall, which would leave them with Iuz to the north and anarchy to the east.
Will Nyrond Fall?
The bad news is that Nyrond would surely fall if there were any cohesive force strong enough to topple it. Iuz is not looking to Nyrond for war, because he would have to go through Urnst, and Urnst is strong. The Stonefist men have retreated to the north, in the face of barbarian raids from the east. The Bone March rabble aren’t organized enough to overwhelm Nyrond. They prefer killing gnomes in the Flinty Hills to killing Nyrondese peasants anyway.
The greatest threat to Nyrond could come from the evil ruler of much of Almor, the unspeakable Duke Szeffrin, but his feral eyes are currently turned towards Rauxes. The Duke is eaten away from within by hatred of the insane Overking who destroyed his life and turned him into a cold and passionless creature. But who can say how long Szeffrin will took to the east? Would not overcoming Nyrond give him so much more strength to then march east? Ironically, this is where Nyrond’s poverty helps it. Szeffrin simply does not see Nyrond as worth the bother. There is not the booty and treasure there to make invading it strategically sensible, although this does not mean that occasional raiding isn’t worth his while.
Nyrond’s most likely fate is that it will fall from within, sundered into a score of petty fiefdoms, ranging from chaotic and vengeful princelings to desperate border barons trying to hold the Flinty Hills. Intemperate zealots of Pholtus seek to retire into insular intolerance. The kingdom’s fate still hangs in the balance.
The Western Lands
The western lands comprise the Celadon Forest, the lands around the city of Woodwych, and the Gnatmarsh together with the southern lands around Beetu. These lands were farthest away from the wars, which increases the anger of ordinary people at paying high taxes and tithes since they haven’t directly experienced the threat of war.
The western lands are in deep ferment. The two dominant local rulers, in Woodwych and Beetu, have, in their different ways, deeply alienated most of their people. Folk in these lands are surly and inhospitable, avoiding strangers. They mostly despise their rulers and their king. Bandits and highwaymen are a real hazard in these lands.
Callistor and the Gnatmarsh
Fall of 585 CY:
King Archbold III of Nyrond appeared to suffer a stroke. Divinations revealed that he had been poisoned. Following a short investigation, the guilty party was revealed to be his younger son, Sewarndt. Fighting erupted, but Archbold’s eldest son, Lynwerd, won the day and the throne in Fireseek a year later.