Proper Name: Free Lands of Dyvers
Ruler: Her Excellency Larissa Hunter, Magister of Dyvers (NG female human Fighter L12)
Government: Democratic meritocracy: magister elected for undefined term of office, on the basis of personal achievement, by the Gentry of Dyvers (minor nobles, landowners, and wealthy merchants)
Capital: Free and Independent City of Dyvers
Major Towns: Dyvers (pop. 52,000), Caltaran (870), Maraven (530)
Provinces: Dyvers the city (a major noble fief), plus six lordships (minor noble fiefs) over two villages (Caltaran and Maraven) and surrounding countryside
Resources: Shipbuilding supplies, foodstuffs (fish, meat, cheeses, local ales), clothing
Coinage: [Modified Furyondy] citadel (pp), wheatsheaf (gp), galley (ep), wagon (sp), common (cp)
Population: 128,000—Human 79% (Osfbr), Gnome 8%, Halfling 6% (lightfoot), Elf 3% (high 50%, sylvan 50%), Dwarf 2% (hill), Half-elf 1%, Half-orc 1%
Languages: Common, Rhopan, Gnome, Halfling
Alignments: N*, LG, NG, LN, CN
Religions: Zilchus*, St. Cuthbert, Pelor, Fharlanghn, many others
Allies: Furyondy, Veluna, Verbobonc, Greyhawk (weak)
Enemies: Iuz, Pomarj, orcs of the Gnarley Forest
Overview: The city of Dyvers is located in perhaps the most lucrative trading nexus in all the Flanaess, a fact that has benefited it greatly throughout its long history. The city’s position on the southern banks of the mouth of the Velverdyva River allows Dyvers to capture the flow of trade from markets such as Schwartzenbruin, Highfolk Town, Thornward, and Verbobonc. Of course, trade flows up the Velverdyva, as well, so Dyvers sees much traffic from the Nyr Dyv and her various port cities. Accordingly, Dyvers is a reflection of many cultures—even the common barkeep can make change in a dozen different coinage systems.
The Free Lands of Dyvers consist of approximately 2,000 square miles on the southern bank of the Velverdyva, including four river islands, the verges of the Gnarley Forest, and the northernmost tip of the wooded Kron Hills. The land nearest the free city is suitable for farming and is leased to freemen by the Gentry of Dyvers, a collection of noble families who proudly trace their lineage back to the city’s Aerdi founders. The wild lands beyond the farms are technically owned by the less influential members of the Gentry, but are in fact populated primarily by lawless woodsmen, sylvan elves, and no few fairies, who of course pay tribute to no human lord.
The Free Lands of Dyvers are dotted with small settlements of farmers and fisher-folk, usually no less than 5 miles apart and home to about one hundred people. The more sparsely populated regions have single family farms that grow a few acres of crops and tend a handful of animals. The soil is rich enough that even such meager efforts are adequate to support an average-sized family.
Notable settlements and locations within the Free Lands:
- East Gate Island (Shrockhom)
- Great Crown Island
- Leviathan Rock
- West Gate Island
- Zendrelda’s Tower
The most notable is Maraven, a burgeoning eastern town near the border with the lands of Greyhawk. Maraven straddles the highly traveled Greyhawk Road, and in the past played the Gentry of Dyvers against the Directing Oligarchy of Greyhawk, managing to remain neutral even through periods of heavy skirmishing between the cities. In recent years, however, the Magister of Dyvers, Larissa Hunter, put an end to this intrigue, stationing a castle to the east of Maraven, solidifying a hold on eastern nobles whose support was once tenuous at best.
Dyvers enjoys temperate weather throughout much of the year, with some accumulation of ice on the Velverdyva in deep winter. Due to its immense size and perhaps magical properties, the Lake of Unknown Depths does not freeze in cold weather; Dyvers runs shipping operations year round. Crews are mindful of the monstrous predators of the lake, however, and prepare accordingly.
The elite of Dyvers’ small military forces are the Free Marines, 1,500 well equipped and trained mariners who double as passable cavalry and infantry in times of crisis. Most troops are in the Free Army, roughly three thousand humans carrying either polearms or short spears and shields. The current magister achieved great success in the wars as the captain of this able force.
Districts of Dyvers:
- Dock District of Dyvers
- Old Town of Dyvers
- Trade District of Dyvers
- Royal Grounds of Dyvers
- River Quarter of Dyvers
- The Catacombs of Dyvers
History: Once just a river town, a part of the Gold County of the Ferrand satrapy of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy, the city originally named Dyvar (“deep water”) became a hub for river and lake traffic. Long a trade port, Dyvers was also the capital of Aerdy’s Viceroyalty of Ferrond. In that role, it served as a welcome port to goods and travelers who braved the unexplored shores of the Nyr Dyv. The palace of the viceroy rivaled that of his colleagues in the west, and its domed central structure and austere stone towers have long been cited in travelogues as among the finest examples of Oeridian architecture. As the power of the Great Kingdom waned with its Overking’ s sanity, the Viceroy of Ferrand sought to distance his people from the troubles of Aerdy. In the war that followed to free Ferrand from the Great Kingdom’s control, Dyvers’ s contributions of food, money, weapons, and soldiers proved vital to claiming the eventual victory
By 254 CY, the degradation of the Great Kingdom had grown too profound for the lords of the west. In that seminal year, the heir to Viceroy Stinvri was proclaimed King Thrommel I. The Viceroyalty of Ferrond was no more. In its place stood a vast independent kingdom, Furyondy, with Dyvers as its cosmopolitan capital.
Dyvers had been the region’s capital for more than 150 years. Despite the grandeur of the palace grounds and the long tradition, however, Thrommel and his newly installed court desired a grander seat for their new realm. A short time after the coronation, plans were drawn for a new capital, Chendl, far to the north. By 288 CY, the king had abandoned the “City of Sails” for his new seat of power, the meticulously crafted architectural wonder of Chendl. Despite this change in status, Dyvers continued to prosper as a trade city.
Eventually, Furyondy’s ties with the theocratic nation of Veluna made the leaders of Dyvers increasingly uncomfortable. In the ensuing centuries, Dyvers slid further from the affairs of central Furyondy. The people of Dyvers are a mercantile folk, prone to cutting corners to achieve profit. Furyondy’s relationship with Veluna troubled the freethinking folk of the city, as Veluna’s cleric rulers were highly principled, rather ascetic, and encouraged great donations to church coffers. The Gentry of Dyvers saw Veluna’ s policies as too restrictive. When many cities in Furyondy established a code of “canon law,” replete with church courts stocked with Raoan doctrine and Cuthbertine punishments, the Gentry of Dyvers decided that enough was enough.
Preparing for the worst, they informed the crown of their intention to split from Furyondy in 526 CY. Fortunately, friendly relations between that nation and perhaps because Furyondy feared the growing power of Greyhawk and it needed an ally in the region, Thrommel II, the reigning monarch, allowed the secession to pass unchallenged, so long as taxes continued to make their way into the Furyondian treasury. Both Furyondy and Dyvers viewed the rise of the city of Greyhawk as a financial threat and felt that an independent but allied Dyvers would go far in maintaining fair levels of trade. Dyvers still retains a portion of the colors and symbols of Furyondy’s flag in its own coat of arms.
With the construction of the new port city of Willip, on the Nyr Dyv’s northern shore, much traffic from the north and east was diverted from Dyvers, and the region entered an economic slump. At this time, Greyhawk entered a period of expansion and wealth that served as a mixed blessing for Dyvers. Increased wealth to the southeast meant the creation of new markets and an invigorated flow of goods and coin. It also meant increased territorial ambition on behalf of the Landgraf of Selintan, Greyhawk’s traditional ruler. While both cities grew richer, a bitter rivalry developed. Dyvers, once the center of learning, art, and culture in the west, saw much of its influence sapped by the upstart city that had deemed itself, without bothering to confer with the Gentry, the “Gem of the Flanaess.”
In recent years, Dyvers has gained the unfortunate reputation of being a good place to “get lost”—or, rather, to lose one’s pursuers. After the Horde of Elemental Evil was routed at Emridy Meadows, some adherents to darkness who did not flee to the Wild Coast instead traveled north to Dyvers, bolstering the criminal element in the city. The city was forced to increase its military forces in order to defeat humanoids fleeing the victorious forces of good from the temple. When Iuz, the evil demigod of pain and oppression, invaded the Shield Lands, hundreds of refugees fled south to Dyvers for sanctuary. Iuz’s later attacks on Furyondy caused Dyvers to once again add to its militia, fearing the forces of evil might reach their doorstep. During the Greyhawk Wars (582-584 CY), more refugees arrived from Furyondy and the Shield Lands, as well as from the Wild Coast fleeing Turrosh Mak’s orc armies, from Greyhawk when many lost their homes in the Old City Fire of 584 CY, and even from far-off Tenh and Nyrond.
The aftermath of the Greyhawk Wars brought at least one important change to Dyvers. The city had never enjoyed a warm relationship with Furyondy’s branch of the Knights of the Hart, and when some knights loudly contemplated annexation of the city for King Belvor, public anxiety grew to an all-time high.
As things began to settle down in 585 CY, reports came that members of the Furyondian Knights of the Hart appealed to King Belvor IV to annex Dyvers and the nearby free city of Verbobonc. Verbobonc, loyal to Veluna, hosted a visit from a Velunan representative to assure the populace that their Furyondian allies would do no such thing. However, Magister Margus, the lord mayor of Dyvers, dismissed the possibility of annexation and failed to address the concerns of his constituents. He was recalled from office by a vote later that year. His successor, Larissa Hunter, First Captain of the Dyvers Free Army, was an aggressive patriot. Her enthusiasm and popularity forced King Belvor to send a representative to Dyvers in order to assure the city that it had nothing to fear from the kingdom or the Knights of the Hart, whom Belvor privately told to shut up. Despite that, Hunter is patriotic to a fault, continually rubbing Greyhawk and Furyondy’s noses in minor trade victories, and shortening no few tempers in foreign lands. Still, she has captured the hearts of her people and is a popular sovereign.
Magister Larissa then turned to defend Dyvers’ s eastern border from the domain of Greyhawk, which had hemmed the city in. She dispossessed two minor Dyversian nobles on the eastern border when she learned they planned to switch allegiance to Greyhawk. Turning their property over to another noble family, she directed them to build a castle just beyond the town of Maraven, guarding the eastern road to Greyhawk. This castle, Eastguard, solidified Dyvers’ s eastern border with Greyhawk and ended all talk of losing western lands through defection. Larissa also had the road to Greyhawk improved to increase trade, and warned the directing oligarchy of Greyhawk that the presence of any Greyhawk soldiers within 10 miles of Maraven would be considered an act of war. The oligarchs assured her that Greyhawk had only peaceful intentions toward Dyvers, and Larissa has since been able to turn her attentions inward to promote the welfare of her citizens.
Conflicts and Intrigues: Rhennee Bargefolk now inhabit the four islands of the city’s River Quarter, causing trouble. Two Free Marines ships were captured by pirates late last year; among the missing is a wizard, Rashaman of Safeton, Larissa Hunter’s husband. Outlying farms in the south now suffer raids by orcs, gnolls, and ogres from deep in the Gnarley Forest.