Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY
The Vesve Forest
Wood (Sylvan) Elves: 10,000
High Elves: 3,000
The Vesve Forest is the largest hardwood forest in all of the Flanaess. Its southern half, as well the strip which borders the Sepia Uplands and Clatspurs (Highvale) down to Highfolk Town are relativelyfree of baneful creatures, although inhabited by a fair share of predators.
Since the resurgence of Iuz, the north-eastern quarter of the forest is filled with hateful settlements of evil humanoids, and these tribes and bands press everywhere upon human and demihuman folk elsewhere in these woodlands. Rangers and light troops from Furyondy aid the Highfolk in organized expeditions to check the influx of humanoids and drive them out, but fresh hords frm the spawning grounds of Iuz are apparently endlessly available to replace those slaughtered. The Vesve forest is of critical importance in the future of the Flanaess. Iuz refuses to yeild claim to it.
Some 20,000 human woodmen dwell here. the Elves stand frim here, with 10,000 Wood Elves and about a third that number of High-Elves. They are supported by some 6,000 Gnomes and perhaps half that number of Hobbits.
In addition, 15-20 tribes of beastmen, perhaps a thousand in number, dwell within the Vesve. Their origins are a matter of some curiosity; this region is further north than they would usually inhabit, and their fur is darker and browner than most.
The Vesve yeilds a variety of excellent woods; plant resins used for waterproofing, incenses, preservations, insect-repelling creams and tinctures; and a variety of medicinal berries and herbs. Particularly noteworthy are the stickysecretions of fungi unique to the Vesve Which are used in magical oils.
The Evil Lands
The Evil Lands are divided into three separate sections of the Vesve Forest. Each is ruled by different powers and different perils lurk within their depths.
First, there the lands of Iuz. Note that these are the lands occupied by Iuz’s forces, not those which Iuz lays claim to, which are more extensive. The Pact of Greyhawk did not settle Vesve boundaries. Humanoids in the service of Iuz; mostly orcs, but also hobgoblins, gnolls and a few ogres; are dominant here. They are usually ruled by priests of Iuz, and led in battle by evil humans.
There are almost no woodsmen or elves in these lands, though there are ruined human and elven settlements, especially in the North.
There are a few clans and tribes of humanoids not in Iuz’s service, and some fierce ogres and even trolls, but they are few. Forest patrols of Iuz seek to despoil, ravage and slay anyone they find here. Iuz’s priests have been using Varrangoin and abyssal bats to spy out these lands and attack anyone entering them. Rarely, agents of Vesve elves or Furyondy will enter the southern portions of these lands, trying to gain information about what Iuz’s forces are doing. This is very hazardous.
Iuz uses his forces in the Vesve to harry the good lands to the south. Troops used here are among the most undisciplined and chaotic of those available to Iuz. It is this strategy which gives them an obvious edge over the defenders. It is always harder to defend and protect than to lay waste. If all a conqueror wishes is to destroy, it is hard to stop him.
The second swathe of territory controlled by evil is the goblinoid Vesve. This is occupied by gnolls and hobgoblins who are indigenous forest inhabitants. There are roughly 3,500 hobgoblins and 2,500 gnolls in these lands. Another 1,500 hobgoblins and 1,000 gnolls wander elsewhere in the Vesve. Their attitude towards Iuz are not consistent. Most hate the ores of Iuz’s homeland, but a few have taken service (or been forced into service) with the dire demigod. Iuz’s priests, their orogs military leaders, and evil mages and warriors with them regard these indigenous Vesve humanoids as utterly untrustworthy.
Since Iuz’s field commanders are also chaotic, their policy varies from trying to recruit the evil humanoids to deciding to drive them away or even wipe them out. Note that this area overlaps with Iuz’s own within the Vesve. Both groups contest territory, fight skirmishes, spy on each other, and growl their hatreds into the night.
The third portion of the Vesve under the control of evil is the Badlands. This area was invaded by orc soldiers of Iuz during the siege of Chendl, preparing for a flanking strike to sever the Royal Highway and march upon the Highfolk. Those soldiers who passed furthest south were defeated by Vesve woodsmen, Highfolk elves and infantry from Littleberg.
Within the Vesve elite woodsmen and infantry troops, aided by powerful wizardry, harassed and hammered the orcs and slew nearly 6,000 of them in the Badlands. Neither the orcish shamans and their attendant priests of Iuz, nor the Furyondian mages, held back on the use of very destructive magic. Fire, acid, lightning, defoliating magic, blights and plagues, enervations and clouds of boiling acrid gas filled the Badlands in the four week battle which finally ended in the destruction of the orcish army.
Thus, the Badlands have become blighted, scarred and infertile. Ponds of reeking, fuming acid, smoking tree stumps, drifting clouds of toxic gas and the stench of unburied bodies are among the known hazards of this terrible waste. Even Iuz’s own forces are reluctant to enter it, for the dark magics and energies which the devastations have unleashed, certainly including lyrannikin, menace all who enter here.
The Skirmish Zones
The area shown on the map as the Skirmish Zones notes where most of the continual skirmishing between forces of Iuz, indigenous goblinoids, and elves and men, occur. In this area, Iuz and the Vesve folk battle for dominance. Iuz seeks to strengthen his grip on this territory. The Vesve folk seek to resist and sometimes even mount raids into Iuz’s own territory within the Vesve. There are still some elven and woodsmen communities here, but mostly this part of the Vesve has been evacuated and only patrols of elves and woodsmen enter it from the lands of Good.
The only exception is the portion of skirmish land within the Lands of the Tree. Iuz’s forces work hard to infiltrate this area, as shown, but the grey elves have been very successful in resisting their incursions. Elven and woodsmen
This is the name generally employed for all areas of the Vesve not overrun by Iuz. These areas include:
Wood Elf Lands:
Nearly 80% of all the wood elves of the Vesve live in this area, which overlaps with the homeland of indigenous goblinoids and also has a long skirmish border with Iuz. The Wood elves fight their battles without asking for help. They are renowned for their elven cats, which are fine sentinels, ever alert and hard to detect.
Almost all of the 1,000 shy and gentle beastmen of the Vesve live within these lands. Certain faerie creatures, such as sprites and brownies, dwell here also. Beastmen shun contact with other races save for faerie folk, who often pass on what they have learned from the beastmen to the grey elves and the rangers of Quaalsten. Beastmen hate humanoids and will attack them on sight unless outnumbered. They simply run from encounters with elves or humans (and, prudently, from ogres and trolls).
Lands of the Tree:
This the domain of the Vesve’s grey elves. They suffer a few woodsmen to live within the area if they are of long established human families. The Lands of the Tree are described in more detail under the heading for the Timeless Tree.
This wooded projection of the Sepia Uplands is home to 5,000 of the gnomes of the Vesve, who protect their borders very carefully. Around 500 human miners work here also, and Lord Kashafen of the High Elves maintains 30 or so elven wizards, fighter/wizards and elite fighters here as a gesture of goodwill.
The lands north of the Deepstil River are the province of Wolf Nomads, who hunt game and take wood from this small swathe of forest. However, they visit but rarely and in small numbers, and Iuz’s forces are creeping into this area almost unopposed. Around 500 woodsmen, who are mostly hunters, trappers and fishermen, live here and resist these incursions
The remaining areas of the Vesve have mixed elven and human populations. Some areas of the Vesve are elven clan heartlands, but none of them are of any size. The elves generally tolerate humans traveling, hunting, trapping and sometimes even living on the fringes of their clan lands. The color map does not show dense forest areas. There are pockets of dense forest scattered all across the forest, but none is very sizeable.
Lastly, there are some bandits in the Vesve, a small number (no more than a few hundred in total) who prey on the good folk of the forest whenever they can. They are not generally in the service of Iuz, although one or two groups have been forced into the service of his priests when faced with execution as an alternative. Since such bandits often have a fine knowledge of trails, settlements, spies and woodland lore, they are very useful to Iuz’s interrogators.
The map shows several areas which have very fluid borders, some of which overlap.
Those shown are accurate as for spring, 585 CY. They may change rapidly.
Other Areas: The lands north of the Deepstil River are the province of the Wolf Nomads, who hunt for game and take wood from the small swathe of forest. However, they visit but rarely and in small numbers, and Iuz’s forces are creeping into the area almost unopposed. Around 500 woodmen, who are mostly hunters, trappers, and fishermen, live here and resist these incursions. The remaining areas of the Vesve Forest have mixed elven and human populations. Some areas of the Vesve are elven clan heartlands, but none of them are of any size. The elvves generally tolerate humans traveling, hunting, trapping, and sometimes even living on the fringes for their clan lands. Lastly there are some bandits in the Vesve, a small number (no more than a few hundred in total) who prey on the good folk of the forest whenever they can. They are not generally in the service of Iuz, although one or two groups have been forced into the service of priests when forced with the choice of execution as an alternative. Since such bandits often have a fine knowledge of trails, settlements, spies, and woodlore, they are very useful to Iuz’s interrogators.