Humans of the Fellreev Forest

There are several distinct groups of humans who have an important niche in forest life. Perhaps the least important are the 2,000 woodsmen who have lived here for generations. These are mostly Flan men, with some Oeridian blood, who are foragers pure and simple. Their handful of tiny woodland hamlets are crude and rough, and virtually none of the woodsmen can even read or write. They get by where they can, avoiding any clashes with other forest folk.

Second, there are perhaps a thousand men from the old Rovers of the Barrens who have fled into the northern margins of the Fellreev to escape the marauding horrors of Gibbering Gate and the fiends stalking their homeland. These men are not well-adapted to forest survival and a hundred or so have already been lost to starvation and diseases such as scurvy and tuberculosis, the “rotting cough” as they refer to it. There is little strength to be found in these desperate men and their morale is appalling. Again, they are foragers, but far less successful than the indigenous woodsmen who have little pity for their Flan brothers. The Fellreev is not prosperous enough to permit such pity and the woodsmen have to survive too.

Third, there are actually two groups of “free bandits.” Some totaling 2,000 or less are men from the Bandit Lands who are unallied with the dominant Reyhu group. They live in small bands wherever they can find a niche, scattered throughout the southern forest, with but few in the eastern wood elf lands. They live as raiders, because they lack foraging and forest survival skills. They’ll raid anyone from forest orcs, elves, and other bandits to Iuz’s supply trains headed for the three camps on the southern Fellreev margins. These bandits are poorly equipped, though, with no ready supply of weapons to replace ones long grown blunt or broken, and their lot is increasingly desperate.

The other “free bandit” group of note are men escaped from the Horned Society lands into the western Fellreev. The western forest margins are difficult for Iuz’s troops to penetrate effectively because of the natural and undead barrier of Dahlvier’s County, the difficulties they encounter in Jhanser’s lands, and the mad chaos of the Estates of the Fiends. All these distractions to Iuz’s armies help these men to survive, and with around 2,000 of them in the southwestern forest spur and the western margins as far as Dahlvier’s County, they are not an insignificant force. They blend into the populations of Kindell, Ixworth, and Jhanser’s Lands and can obtain supplies from there. These bandits are loyal to Nezmajen the Hierarch, in Darkpool.

Finally, the most important group by far are the 3,000 bandits who have allied with the wood elves.

A Unique Alliance
Skannar Hendricks, a powerful chieftain of the Reyhu group of bandits, is a lot smarter than most. Fleeing from Iuz, attacked by a band of 200 Dazark encountered on the first day in the forest, his men then took something of a drubbing from the eastern wood elves, though they managed to slay a powerful fighter/mage. He decided that he really needed some allies. The wood elves didn’t seem to want to simply murder the bandits wholesale, so Hendricks talked peace with them.

Incredibly, this alliance has worked. Hendricks’ men include fewer evil, and more neutrally aligned men than most bandit gangs. Likewise the elves have many neutrals. There was some room for understanding, since both hated Iuz and his ores. So, the wood elves have allowed Hendricks’ men to build a couple of strongholds in the Fellreev and after a joint battle against a large force from Fleichshriver in Patchwall, 584 CY, some kind of friendship has been cemented.

The two races have begun to develop a wary respect for each other and teach each other their skills. The elves have shown the bandits the skills of forest hunting and snaring, and how to mount forest ambushes. The bandits brought very good weaponry with them and have given the elves some, and they even managed to bring a hundred good horses which have been bred successfully at Fort Hendricks. Wood elves are now to be seen galloping along the Fellreev margins on raids against Iuz’s supply lines. Skilled rope use and the building of fortified forest villages have also shown the elves talents some of them have found worthy of learning. There’s a mutual admiration in combat skills too. The bandits respect the elves’ agility, speed, and their talent for ambush, while the elves respect the bandits’ brute strength and mastery of two-handed weapon use.

However, it is the intelligence and charisma of Hendricks and the Clanmaster of Fanlareshen which have cemented this alliance, together with Hendricks’ very public proclamations of what penalties will befall any of his men harming any of the elves. Swift execution was meted out to one group who slew and looted the bodies of a wood elf outpost, with their goods and a dozen horses being given to the elves in recompense. The elves now know that Hendricks is a man of his word, and his own men have a very healthy respect for their smart and powerful leader.

Finally, this alliance has some magical strength at its disposal. Elven mages and fighter-mages are not generally of high level, but there are many of them, and Hendricks brought two high-level specialists with him, both of whom provide devastating magical strength in battle. The alliance of elven scouts, spies and ambushers with human battle and strike forces has proven very effective. To date, they have held their lands and even begun to inflict annoying losses to Iuz’s forces in terms of both supplies and casualties.

Carl Sargent. Greyhawk Adventures, Iuz the Evil, 1993

Fellreev Forest

Humans of the Fellreev Forest

Greyhawk Samaryllis Samaryllis