Stonefist, Hold of

Ruler: His Most Grim and Terrible Might, the Master of the Hold, Sevvord Redbeard (Iuz)
Capital: Vlekstaad (pop. 1,950)

The original Stonefist, one Vlek Col Vlekzed, founded his chiefdom around CY 430. Vlek was cast out from the Rovers of the Barrens for banditry, deceit, and murder, but a small number of warriors and their families followed this harsh and brutal but charismatic man. Revenge strikes against the Rovers brought him more followers from the ranks of the disaffected, corrupt, evil, and homicidally insane. An extraordinary later exploit-despoiling part of Tenh, heading down into the Bandit Kingdoms to recruit more followers, fending off a retributive strike from the Tenhas, kidnapping more bandits for followers, and finally establishing a fortified camp base added to Vlek’s charisma and reputation.

Vlek ruled by terror and brutality, but his people loved him for it. After his death, the Mastership of the Hold became a semi-hereditary position and title. Vlek‘s descendants (he had 351 sons by his scores of wives), if they survived to maturity, had to compete in a bi-annual “Rite of Battle Fitness.” The winner became a warband chief (with the option to challenge the Master). The surviving losers joined the standing warbands-the “Fists”-as sub-chiefs and leaders of raiding parties.

From this mix of settled and semi-nomadic people, Vlek‘s descendants created a fierce and savage raiding force. It is little wonder that Iuz sought to use this machinery of war. Sevvord Redbeard was magically ensnared by Iuz’s fiends, but what Iuz whispered to him was very much to his taste, anyway. Redbeard’s brutal massacres in Tenh only enhanced his reputation, and his Fists swagger across their own lands, those of Tenh, and part of the old Bandit Kingdoms in the bargain.

Seword may be little more than a pawn of Iuz now, but Iuz is careful not to make this obvious to the strong, independent Fists and their chiefs. Iuz does not dispatch fiends, Boneheart leaders, or hobgoblins openly into Stonefist or Tenh. His control is exerted purely through Seword, and this suits Iuz, since diluting his own forces by having to assign more of them here would not be wise. If Iuz’s magical control could somehow be identified and broken, it is intriguing to think upon the consequences.

The people of Stonefist are a cruel, bloody bunch with little sense of honor or decency. They are arrogant, contemptuous bullies, always seeking new victims to rob, rape and pillage.

Stonefist, Hold of

Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY Juan