Iuz, Empire of
Proper Name: Empire of Iuz
Ruler: Iuz the Old, Lord of Evil, Lord of Pain, etc. (evil demigod/cambion)
Government: Imperial theocratic dictatorship; empire directly but inconsistently ruled by an evil demigod and managed by his priesthood and other spellcasters
Major Towns: Delaquenn (pop. 3,000), Dorakaa (pop. 40,000), Greenreach (pop. 3,500), Grossfort (pop. 3,500), Ixworth (pop. 3,000), Izlen (pop. 2,500), Kindell (pop. 4,000), Molag (pop. 4,000, ruined). All towns in the Bandit Kingdoms and Barrens, and in the conquered portion of the Shield Lands, are also part of this empire (see Bandit Kingdoms, Rovers of the Barrens, Shield Lands)
Provinces: (general regions, not actual provinces) Land of Iuz, Horned Lands (ex-Horned Society), Shield Lands, Bandit Lands (ex-Bandit Kingdoms), Barren Lands (old Rover lands); actual situation is complex and detailed later
Resources: Furs, electrum, silver, foodstuffs; resources scarce, not exported
Coinage: Gold skull (gp), bright skull (ep), serpent (sp), common (cp), dullbone (bronze piece, 10 bzp = 1 cp), flat (iron piece, 10 ip = 1 bzp). Old coinage is often used (at reduced value) from the old Shield Lands, Horned Society, and various Bandit Kingdoms, with stolen coinage from Furyondy, Tenh, the County of Urnst, Wolf Nomads, etc. Some orc and hobgoblin tribes also mint their own crude and varied coinage, usually of silver, copper, or iron.
Population: 700,000—Orc 45%, Human 25% (Ofsb), Hobgoblin 10%, Halfling 5%, Half-orc 3%, Gnome 2%, Other 10%
Languages: Orc, Common, Goblin, Halfling
Alignments: CE*, NE, LE, CN
Religions: Iuz*; all others are aggressively suppressed, particularly cults of Nerull and Vecna, and any Good religions (especially St. Cuthbert, Pelor, and Heironeous)
Enemies: [in alphabetical order] Ahlissa, Bissel, Bone March (for tribal and religious reasons), Celene (inactive), Circle of Eight, County of Urnst, Duchy of Urnst, Dyvers, Flinty Hills, Frost/Ice/Snow Barbarians, Furyondy, Gran March, Greyhawk, Horned Society, Keoland, Ket, Knights of Holy Shielding, Knights of Luna, Knights of the Hart (all branches), Knights of the Watch, Kron Hills, North Kingdom, Nyrond, Onnwal (all factions), Pale, Perrenland, Pomarj (for tribal and religious reasons), Ratik, Scarlet Brotherhood, Shield Lands, Sterich, Stonehold, Sunndi, Ulek states, various Tenh factions, Veluna, Verbobonc, Wolf Nomads, Yeomanry, and all religions of Oerth excluding Iuz’s. In short, most sane beings of Oerth count Iuz as their mortal enemy; all fear and hate him.
Overview: The Greyhawk Wars began as a result of a dangerous gambit of Iuz, the so-called Old One, who has for so long dominated the north-central plains of the Flanaess. No single being can claim personal responsibility for as much bloodshed as can the Old One, a vicious, scheming creature who revels in his own debased wickedness. Though Iuz is a Power unto himself, his political might is given form by a chaotic though nonetheless effective dominion known as the Empire of Iuz.
Attempts to mark out lesser political boundaries within the empire prove difficult at best. The following general political regions are recognized by mapmakers as part of Iuz’s territory, though they do not seem to be actual provinces in the empire. At the start of 591 CY, Iuz’s regional capitals in the Homeland, Horned Lands, and Barren Lands include the following. (Major holdings in occupied nations are covered in the individual entries of those nations.)
- Land (often Homeland) of Iuz
- The Horned Lands
- The Shield Lands
- The Bandit Kingdoms
- The Rovers of the Barrens
Though the above accurately summarizes the assumed divisions of Iuz’s political power, the actual situation is more complex and confusing. Since 584 CY, Iuz has designated certain towns and cities within his empire as “regional capitals,” starting with Riftcrag, Rookroost, and Stoink in the old Bandit Kingdoms. However, the exact areas these capitals control were never specifically outlined by Iuz, and those placed in charge of those capitals hold only as much territory in Iuz’s name as their human and nonhuman armies can conquer and intimidate.
Lately, several other regional capitals have appeared, serving as strongholds and garrisons in increasingly troubled regions. Each regional capital (other than the imperial capital, Dorakaa) is ruled by a spellcaster of Iuz’s Greater Boneheart or Lesser Boneheart, or else a particularly powerful human or half-fiend. Lesser Boneheart rulers are typically chaotic evil humans who are wizards or clerics (of Iuz) of levels twelve to seventeen; a few are believed to be undead. Greater Boneheart rulers are spellcasters of levels eighteen and up.
In the core Homeland and Horned Lands, the climate is universally bleak. Some claim that Iuz himself controls the weather here, and its dark character reflects the spirit of the tyrannical demigod. Cloud cover is a constant menace, particularly during battle, as Iuz’s nonhuman troops have little trouble seeing in the dark and gleefully press that advantage upon a blinded enemy. The concept of mercy is alien to the countless warriors under Iuz’s banner. Exact numbers are impossible to determine, but reliable estimates place the total number of soldiers under Iuz’s command at thirty thousand (mostly orcs, but some ogres, hobgoblins, humans, and assorted sentient detritus). No one knows how many demons survived the Flight of Fiends in 586 CY; few have surfaced.
The Fellreev Forest has increasingly become a center of anti-Iuz resistance. However, the factions here are mutually hostile and do not cooperate. Human, nonhuman, and undead forces of the old Nerull-worshiping Horned Society are gathered under Hierarch Nezmajen (NE male human Cleric of Nerull L15) in the north-central Fellreev and across the southwestern spur, particularly around Ixworth and Kindell. A powerful alliance of Reyhu bandits and sylvan elves rules the south-central Fellreev under a Reyhu lord, Skannar Hendricks (CN male human Fighter L15). Independent orc bands, groups of sylvan elves, Flan foresters, Rover refugees, and renegade bandits roam the woodland as minor groups. The eastern Fellreev, across the Cold Run, is supposedly controlled by Iuz’s orcs at Fort Skagund, but they are often raided by renegade bandits, most from the old “kingdom” of Greenkeep, which followed Olidammara. A large group of sylvan elves, lately reinforced by Rover forest tribes, holds the woods just east of Lake Aqal. Finally, a rogue lich named Dahlvier (NE male human (undead) Wizard L18) rules a small independent region between the western Fellreev and its southwestern spur, on the west side (“Dahlvier County”).
Folks and Factions of the Empire of Iuz:
- The Priesthood of Iuz
- Underlings of Iuz
- Fiendish Warriors of Iuz
- Pacts with Tanar’ri and Iuz
- Iuz and the Drow
- Humanoids of the Empire of Iuz
- Humans in the Empire of Iuz
History: In the era of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, the northlands between the Opicm River and the Fellreev Forest, as far north as Blackmoor and as far west as Perrenland, were known as the Northern Reaches. This collection of petty baronies was under nominal vassalage to the viceroy in Dyvers. Though imperial records depict the north as a peaceful land spotted with the holdings of benign lords, historical evidence suggests that the region was a lawless, bandit-ridden refuge for amoral nobles wishing to escape the gaze of Rauxes and Dyvers without ceding their claim to aristocracy. As of 479 CY, what would become known as the Land of Iuz was only a collection of petty fiefs, with chiefs of minor bandit warbands and clans fighting each other for control of small swathes of barren land. One of these minor despots died in that year and his “son,” Iuz, took control of a few hundred chaotic, vicious bandits. That was just the beginning, but then Iuz was no ordinary bandit’s “son.”
Within the year, uncertain whispers changed to screams of terror. Whoever, or rather whatever, Iuz was, he was certainly no human; his cruelty and capacity for inflicting human suffering seemingly knew no bounds. Before news of his villainy had spread to the south, Iuz controlled the three fiefs neighboring his original holding, and exhibited no signs of a waning political ambition. Furyondy’s King Avras and his northern margraves entreated their kinsmen from the south for aid, but fell upon bitter internal political squabbling. Meanwhile, Iuz conquered the westernmost Bandit Kingdoms, declaring the walled city of Molag his “Summer Capital.” By 500 CY, it appeared as though the unchecked might of Iuz would threaten the whole of the Flanaess. States as far south as the Principality of Ulek drew up contingency plans in case Furyondy fell.
Then, in 505 CY, Iuz vanished, leaving no signs of his whereabouts. His generals and advisers, untrustworthy and despicable to a man, soon set to warring, attempting to carve out a bit of land for themselves once it became certain that their powerful master would not return (something made uncertain on a semi-regular basis, as several “false Iuzs” appeared in this period, most often ambitious illusionists or minor fiends with delusions of grandeur). Even as the realm was carved up, however, Iuz’s legend grew. The orcs of the northlands, who had known Iuz for generations of their short lives and had named him the Old One, worshiped him as a god, claiming that his strange disappearance was naught but an ascension to the afterlife. Soon, loyal and opportunistic humans joined the ever-growing Cult of Iuz, a movement aided by the fact that the Old One’s clerics found themselves imbued with powerful magical ability.
The landholders of the south, however, calculating generals and unholy men at the vanguard of the push against Furyondy, looked upon the growing Cult of Iuz with ill ease. They already had dedicated themselves to fell powers of the lower planes. In 513 CY, they officially broke from the realm of Iuz, taking Molag as their capital and fortifying land as far north as the headwaters of the Opicm River. The southern lords called themselves the Horned Society, assumedly in tribute to their various infernal masters.
The next half-century saw a great deal of consolidation of power in the north. Iuz’s priesthood eliminated all significant enemies in the capital, Dorakaa, and exterminated most “independent” lords throughout the land. An uneasy peace was established with the Hierarchs of the Horned Society, as sporadic skirmishing with the hated elves of the Vesve Forest and against the uncivilized nomads of the northwestern plains continued. In 570 CY, Iuz returned to Oerth, taking residence in Dorakaa as a god made flesh. Thousands of those who had been “unfaithful” (and hundreds more, for good measure) were murdered upon his order as a sign of his displeasure with the changes made in his absence. Their remains formed the basis for the Road of Skulls, a grisly thoroughfare from the capital to the Howling Hills.
In 582 CY, Iuz triggered the Greyhawk Wars in an attempt to stir unrest in the Thillonrian barbarian lands. As the wars continued and expanded, the Old One made stupendous gains in Tenh, the Horned Society, the Bandit Kingdoms, the Shield Lands, the Barrens, and Furyondy. As the wars came to a close, Iuz’s armies gripped much of the northern Flanaess. Few believed that the Old One would allow a simple treaty to slow the growth of his empire, despite appalling food shortages and the complete breakdown of supply lines. Such considerations meant little to Iuz, as many of his armies were personally administered by powerful demons summoned from the Abyss.
The use of the Crook of Rao by Canon Hazen of Veluna, in 586 CY, had dire repercussions for Iuz’s armies. Bereft of their powerful masters, many lesser non-humans and ambitious human generals attempted to stage coups throughout the occupied lands, even as rebel bandits and indigenous populations took advantage of the Flight of Fiends to strike back at their oppressors.
Only the threat of Furyondian incursion during the Great Northern Crusade unified Iuz’s warring factions, though by 588 CY most of occupied Furyondy had been lost to the forces of King Belvor and Canon Hazen. Now embroiled in what Furyondy has termed a “permanent and unalterable state of war,” Iuz’s attention has been drawn to his southwestern border, perhaps at the expense of holdings in Tenh, the Barrens, and the old Bandit Kingdoms. Though bereft of the bulk of his demonic aid, Iuz’s armies are far more numerous than those of his enemies. They not only follow the Old One, but worship him, believing that to fail their infernal master is not only to fail their liege, but their god, as well.
The Empire and the Flanaess
Iuz signed the Pact of Greyhawk, buying himself time to rebuild his forces. He has an ambassador, Pyremiel Alaxane, in Greyhawk and in the unlikely event of Iuz using diplomacy, it would be conducted through Pyremiel. Iuz does not have any formal diplomatic ties with any Flanaess state and holds most in contempt.
Iuz is apprehensive of the Scarlet Brotherhood. He fears that the Elder Brothers may be attempting to empower Tharizdun, the Dark God, which is definitely not what Iuz wants to see achieved. At this time, Iuz does not have the spies and agents abroad who would be necessary to keep track of the Brotherhood’s actions. As the entry for the Shadowclaw spies in The Marklands shows, agents of Iuz abroad are relatively few in number and not overly powerful. The best of them are the Boneshadow, the outer echelon of Iuz’s Boneheart, described in the Villains and Heroes chapter of this book, but they are few indeed. Thus, Iuz does not yet have direct ways of countering the Brotherhood. This worries him.
Iuz does not fear any of the good-aligned nations of the Flanaess, regarding them all as relatively weak and unable to oppose his strength. He does not concern himself with Aerdi, seeing it is torn asunder, without any organized power. Iuz regards Ket as a nation of fools whom he will eventually subjugate even though they allied with him in the Greyhawk Wars. The rest of the Flanaess is simply potential land for conquest so far as Iuz is concerned. All in good time. . . .
Iuz and the Powers of Greyhawk
Iuz has been able to rise in power so swiftly in part because no great Power of Oerth has struck out against him. There is an important reason for this. Iuz has the Prime Material as his home plane, and Oerth as his home world within that plane. Other Powers dwell elsewhere and look over many worlds on the Prime Material. Thus, they do not give Oerth the undivided attention Iuz does, and it is almost a Law of the Powers that they do not intervene directly in the Prime Material to strike at a deity which has its being there. The key word, of course, is directly.
Rather, the good Powers of Greyhawk empower their servants to oppose Iuz. To this end, they grant spells and special powers, such as those of priests and the protection from evil and healing skills of paladins. If they did more, then evil deities would regard it as fair game to do more likewise. Oerth would become a battleground of the Powers and might ultimately be destroyed. On Oerth, even the appearance of a Power’s avatar is extremely rare. Oerth is a world where mortals suffer, triumph and perish without the Powers favoring or opposing them by direct action.
There is one exception to this non-intervention law. St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel has been allowed to strike against Iuz, when his avatar assisted those imprisoning Iuz in 505 CY. That St. Cuthbert would wish to fight Iuz is not unexpected. Of the “martial” lawful good Powers, Heironeous has his great struggle with his hated brother Hextor, while other lawful good Powers are more peaceable and kindly; guiders and protectors rather than warriors. But St. Cuthbert is a doughty, tough fighter, and he hates Iuz’s chaotic evil nature. That he was allowed to strike against the Old One is surprising. He could only have done so if powerful evil Powers agreed to this, for all Powers must agree to such an action. Istus could tell us that Incabulos cared not, but that Nerull’s croaking voice was decisive in giving permission.
One final point bears stressing here. On Oerth, if a Power acts directly with the permission of the other Powers (and the Greater Powers are the ones who really count), that Power and its allies are then indebted to the others. When evil Powers allow a good Power to act directly, good Powers may at some later time have to stand back and allow an evil Power the same opportunity. Small wonder that such direct actions are rare! Whether St. Cuthbert can, or would wish to, appear to combat Iuz again, only Istus can say.
As for the Old One, of course, he hates good Powers with a passion. St. Cuthbert is his greatest nemesis, obviously, but he has no special enemies among the rest. Iuz regards neutrally-aligned Powers as pathetic, fence-sitting irrelevants. But when it comes to evil Powers, ah, then Iuz the Old grows truly terrifying in his malefic rages and fear.
Iuz hates and fears Nerull. Many of the Hierarchs served The Reaper, and Iuz fears the wrath of the sickle-wielding one. Iuz knows rationally that Nerull is unlikely to act directly because of the loss of one small land in the many worlds where he reaps his grim harvests, but still Iuz fears. Above all, Iuz fears Tharizdun, the buried Dark God, and those who would free him from his slumber of ages and raise him to become undisputed overlord of all evil Powers of Oerth. Iuz simply spits derision against other evil Powers, even Incabulos.
Iuz plays a difficult and dangerous game with Lolth, tanar’ri Queen of Spiders, goddess of the drow. Drow attend Iuz’s court and Lolth has an ambassador-priestess there. Eclavdra and Iuz smile and bow to each other, but they dance a deadly pavane together.
So, Iuz has his own domain and other Powers cannot, or choose not to, act against him. However, Iuz still has a few spots of special weakness. He daily scries his soul gem, hidden by Zuggtmoy’s servants, paranoid that something might happen to it. Also, the secrets of the Soul Husks of the Howling Hills gnaw at Iuz’s soul, or the remains of what was once his soul. Philidor the Archmage, the Blue Wizard, looks calmly out over Iuz’s lands from the Vesve Forest, biding his time. Iuz is an emperor now, but he is not invulnerable.
Conflicts and Intrigues: Though some remain, the loss of the bulk of Iuz’s fiends has resulted in low morale, revolts, and disorganization within an already chaotic regime. Iuz himself is currently puzzled with a piece of advice given to him by an agent of his father, Graz’zt: One member of the Boneheart seeks to murder the Old One and take his place. A powerful cult of the Old One currently inhabits the Abbor-Alz hills near Hardby, seeking out information on the whereabouts of Lord Robilar, who tried to murder Iuz upon his release from Castle Greyhawk in 570 CY.