Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY
The Cairn Hills
The Free City now has far more extensive control here than before the war, due to its treaty with the Duchy of Urnst. The current border shows this area deemed to be the sphere of interest of the Free City. This does not mean that Greyhawk controls all the land shown; certainly, there are some wild and rugged hillmen who owe no allegiances and pay no taxes to anyone, and some hazardous areas the Greyhawk militia do not patrol.
The Cairn Hills are generally regarded as a northern spur of the Abbor-Alz, stretching north
to the Nyr Dyv (as is obvious). Their character becomes increasingly differentiated from the Abbor Alz the farther north one travels, becoming less sharply undulating and lower. The hills are granitic and contain large quartz deposits and important resources, although the surface soil is usually shallow and of poor fertility.
In all, there are some 6,000 gnomes in the Cairn Hills. The greatest concentration of them is found in the northernmost hills west of the Selintan, where they mine gems
The large majority of the halflings of the Cairn Hills dwells along the southern shores of Midbay and the northern fringes of the hills abutting this area. The relative poverty of the hills here, in terms of mineral resources, is the major reason that everyone else has been happy to allow the halflings to settle. While the shores of Midbay are too shallow for Nyr Dyv boat traffic, the halflings dwelling there have been able to make good use of their skills with light leather and bark canoes. They have fished Midbay’s waters very successfully
The dwarven population of the Cairn Hills is small, perhaps no more than 1,200 in total. They are virtually all found in the southern hills abutting the Abbor-Alz. Clan distinctions are weak within each large community (at Greysmere and Karakast); since the total population is small, the dwarves band together and minimize clan distinctions. Cairn Hills dwarves are notoriously insular. They have little regard for Greyhawk or Urnst, feeling themselves fully capable of self-defense, and refusing point-blank to pay any taxes or tribute. To them, humans should be grateful that the dwarves even take any of their ores and metals to the squalid human cities for sale.
Around 2,500 simple hillsmen scratch a living in the Cairn Hills. They are usually dwellers in very small villages, where many of their dwellings may be little more than tents. They are most commonly found in the northeast Cairns and the central southern lands bordering on the Mistmarsh. Some of the latter hunt and trap game around the fringes of the Mistlake and harvest swamp hay and reeds for building materials, fuel, and fodder. For the most part, they survive on galda fruit, livestock herding (sheep and goats), deer and pig hunting, and a little fishing in the hill streams.
Hillsmen are poor people, used to a hard way of life. They are fearful of oursiders and try to evade contact with them, although they do rarely trade in small market villages on the flanks of the hills over in the Duchy of Urnst, trading livestock for utensils, woven cloth, and other basics.
There are no more than a score groups of bandits in the Cairn Hills, simply because there isn’t much for them to make off with-the hillsmen are too poor, the dwarves too secluded in their citadels, the gnomes too numerous and strong. Bandits can really make any kind of a living only by ambushing trade caravans in the hills, and these tend to be well-protected. The bandits are likewise well aware of the growing presence of the Greyhawk militia.
Orcs, hobgoblins, and goblins may all be found in the Cairn Hills, although they are rare indeed north of the Mistlake, where determined gnomes have played a major role in hunting them down and killing them. The caves around the Abbor- Alz mountains are their major retreats, and they compete here with dwarves for living space. The goblinoid races are -less aggressive than usual, given their small numbers (which are not exactly known), and they always retreat to their lairs by day, emerging only at night to forage for whatever they can get. Goblins in particular are poorly armed and have very low morale since the other goblinoid races regard them as a soft target and often hunt them at night. The only important exception to this general picture is the orcish citadel of Harrgrek Kukulend
Commander of the Cairn Hills: Schinus Balint
The expanded Cairn Hills militia has eight bases: three well fortified keeps, four forts, and one housed garrison.
Blackwall Keep and Marsh Keep
Each town is ruled by a Greyhawk-appointed Governor-Mayor. The mines are leased to proprietors, and there is a balance between mining and prospecting operations. The garrison at Diamond Lake organizes policing in these towns, in consultation with the Governor-Mayors.
Tales and Whispers
1. A Charming Place:
At an unknown location in the hills, hidden within a cave complex, stands a seven-foot stone statue of Wee Jas, Suloise goddess of magic. Its origins are unknown, but any wizard casting a charm spell here has a greatly superior chance of success. Wizards bring monsters here to charm them, especially if the monster is powerful and otherwise has a good chance of resisting the charm.
2. The Walking Stone of Eyes:
Rumors sometimes circulate concerning a green-purple boulder, some eight feet in diameter, which is capable of standing on two rocky “legs” and moving around. Periodically, a vast number of stony, eyelike appendages burst forth from the boulder and stand out on flexible, stony antennae, as if spying out the terrain. The boulder doesn’t attack anyone, and appears impervious to magical attacks.
3. The Choking City:
A cairn complex has been discovered that is virtually a necropolis, nearly a mile in length. Some of the buried city is comprised of tombs. Much of it, however, appears to be a normal city of people going about their business-but these people were at some point instantaneously petrified, so that they (and all they possessed) were turned to stone. As the figures are exposed to some days of sunlight, the stone figures develop the texture of old papyrus and crumble to flaky dust. Both such decomposed figures, and the city, are dangerous because the dust inflicts a horrible, rotting fungal disease similar to mummy rot. The city is currently sealed up by a group of Greyhawk militia, with wizards using stone to flesh spells and other variants to ascertain what riches might be obtained from the property in the ruins.
A small clan of gnomes have discovered a few score small, utterly smooth, black, pebblelike stones which, if held in the hand of a wizard, can grant extra spellcasting power
The gnomes selling the stones are fearful and eager to sell at reasonable prices. One rumor says that a wizard using ESP discovered that the gnomes freed a tanar’ri by taking the stones. The fiend is stalking the Hills, and is headed for other sites, where adventurers might slay it and find stones of their own-and perhaps another Fiend to slay . . .
5. Caves of Milk:
A set of catacombs with milky, opaque, mineral-rich waters has been discovered. The catacombs contain many oozes and slimes, but the gray oozes here have within their bodies pearl-like stones of surpassing beauty, often slightly pink or blue in hue.
6. Bandits in the Hills:
An upsurge of banditry in the northeastern Cairn Hills is ascribed to straggler-refugees from the Bandit Kingdoms who have fought their way through the old Shield Lands, shipped across the Nyr Dyv, and started to terrorize folk in the Cairns. It may be that Iuz’s forces deliberately let them go, hoping they would cause havoc to the south. There is a bounty offered for their heads, but they are worth more alive, for Greyhawk’s rulers believe they could be useful in the Penal Militias of the Wild Coast or as forced labor in the quarries and workhouses of Greyhawk itself.