Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY
The Free City of Greyhawk
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
Rise to prominence, decline and recovery
In approximately 310 CY, the mage Zagig Yragerne emerged from the Wild Coast and bribed his way into a seat on the Directing Oligarchy. Approximately 320 CY, the Oligarchs elected Zagig Lord Mayor of the city.
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.
Although Zagig — 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” disappeared in 421 CY, leaving no clues regarding his whereabouts, and no heir to inherit the title of Landgraf.
In 498 CY, after decades of Zagig’s absence, the Landstadt was therefore abolished, the title of Landgraf 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 other 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, however, particularly in that the unrest drove Hardby and the Wild Coast cities of Safeton and Narwell to re-submit to the rule of the Directing Oligarchs. This situation is unstable, however, as it was largely fear of Turrosh Mak’s humanoid raiders from the Pomarj that prompted this move, and the Despotrix and the Wild Coast cities once again agitate 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 situation 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.
City of Greyhawk Index
The Free City of Greyhawk is divided into eight Quarters. The Thieves’ Quarter, the Slum Quarter, the Artisan’s Quarter, Clerkburg, the Foreign Quarter, the River Quarter, the Garden Quarter, and the High Quarter. Generally speaking, the poorest sections of town are to the south, on lower ground, while the wealthier quarters are to the north, at higher elevation. The Thieves’ and Slum Quarters are known collectively as Old City, while the other six quarters are referred to as New City.
Areas of note immediately outside the city walls include Shacktown, Barge End, and the Stone Ring.