Hinterland of Hardby
While endless plots abound in the City of the Scorned, adventure aplenty awaits brave explorers within hours of the city gates.
Despotrix’s Estate: Despotrix Ilena’s private manor lies in the midst of the rolling countryside northeast of Hardby It is here that the real policies of the Gynarchy are decided. As she has grown frailer in recent years, the Despotrix has spent more time cloistered in her manor house. She now leaves only to attend assemblies of the Gynarchy in Hardby or to stir up trouble at the annual meeting of the Greyhawk Council of Mayors and Manorial Lords. Increasingly, her Didatrix, Javka Gerneskir (NG female human, Rogue L3/Cleric of Lirr L3), deals with the despotrix’s public business and appointments.
Hardfield Manor: Lying a few miles north of the city, this country estate has been in the hands of the Norbelos Family since they bought it from its previous master, one Zagig Yragerne. It is widely whispered that some of the eccentricity of the Yragerne line somehow took hold of the new occupants. The Gynarchs of Hardfield have been without exception reclusive, showing no interest in the politics of the city and only rarely deigning to leave their retreat to attend assemblies of the Gynarchy. The current Lady of Hardfield is Bridara Norbelos (N female human Wizard L9), the oldest living Gynarch.
Minaryn Castle: Some miles out in the Hardby countryside sits the imposing Minaryn Castle, home to Messalina (LN female human Wizard L15), a Throne Knight who serves as magical advisor to Despotrix Ilena. The dark-haired, attractive woman trained at Greyhawk’s University of Magical Arts, but soon fell out of favor with that august body after a particularly heated philosophical argument with its principal, Kieren Jalucian, forced her to relocate to her family’s ancestral castle outside Hardby.
Unpopular with the Gynarchs, Messalina spends most of her days ensconced in her demesne, communicating with Ilena via messenger or magical means in an attempt to keep her influence secret from the prying eyes of Hardby’s numerous factions. The Despotrix considers Messalina’s expertise superior to her own on matters arcane, and defaults to her advisor’s position on a number of important magical issues.
Messalina frequently hires adventurers on missions of diplomacy and exploration into the foreboding wastes of the Bright Desert, an area with which the wizard enjoys great familiarity