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, consisting of the region north of Whyestil Lake, south of the Cold Marshes, and between the Opicm and Dulsi Rivers.
Settlements and Locations within the Land of Iuz:
Two important conquered regions lie adjacent to the Homeland. Iuz recently dominated the Howling Hills west of the Dulsi River, a land long held as sacred ground by the Wolf Nomads. This haunted, blood-soaked region is administered by Urzun orcs from Fortress Kendragund, in the eastern hills. The second territory is the northeastern Vesve Forest, a site of continuing warfare ruled from the regional capital of Izlen.
Bandit Lands, that realm once dotted with the so-called Bandit Kingdoms, west of the Artonsamay and Zumker and partly bounded by the Bluff Hills, Fellreev, and Ritensa River. These days, this area is not actually a province as such, instead being broken into huge warlord fiefs centered around four regional capitals (see Bandit Kingdoms).
Barren Lands, also called the Barrens, Barren Plains, or Northern Barrens. These cool grasslands lie south of the Wastes and the Icy Sea, and north of the Fellreev Forest. The Bluff Hills, western Griffs, and Forlorn Forest mark its eastern borders, and the Opicm River and Cold Marshes the western end. No towns lie here, except sprawling Grossfort. Iuz’s human and nonhuman troops have difficulty living off the land, and frequently can be found at each other’s throats. Though Iuz once thought the Barrens completely under his control from Grossfort, the situation recently grew more problematic (see Rovers of the Barrens).
The Horned Lands, Horned Lands, the region once ruled by the Horned Society between Whyestil Lake, the Veng and Ritensa Rivers, and the Fellreev. Once the demesne of the proud and villainous Horned Society, this area has lately been divided into two fiefs, east and west, to better combat Furyondy’s guards and raiders from the Bandit Kingdoms. Most of the evil humans who once lived here have fled, leaving the land to hobgoblins, orcs, and other evil nonhumans (see Horned Society).
Shield Lands, the fertile region east of the Ritensa, north of the Nyr Dyv, and southwest of the Rift Barrens. A fraction of this area around Critwall and Scragholme Island was retaken during the Great Northern Crusade by ex-Shield Landers, but most of the region remains firmly in the hands of Iuz’s occupying forces (see Shield Lands).
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.
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.)
Delaquenn rules western Horned Lands between the Veng River and the eastern shore of Whyestil Lake, sharing a border with Furyondy along the Veng River. Many nonhuman survivors of the Great Northern Crusade live here and passionately hate Furyondy, desiring to invade it again as soon as possible. The ruler is known to be an old vampire from Aerdy named Maskaleyne,a puissant wizard once of House Naelax.
Dorakaa rules the Homeland of Iuz and north shore of Whyestil Lake. Iuz’s mighty capital, Dorakaa, would not be out of place in the heart of the infernal Abyss. Even after the Flight of Fiends, demons walk the grim battlements, occasionally leaping from their height to savage a passer-by, sometimes upon orders, but more frequently because they like the way blood feels between their fingers and teeth. The city is always overcast with black clouds in a 4-mile radius. Beyond the city’s massive Iron Gates, clerics in gore-splattered robes lead armored contingents of orcs and goblinoids through a chaotic jumble of streets, past buildings in horrible disrepair, trampling the bones of the freshly dead. Though the city retains the docks that once made it one of the most lucrative stops in the Northern Reaches, no trade comes to Iuz. The Old One imports only what his armies plunder; his chief export is misery.
The Old One resides in a skull-bedecked stone palace that dominates Dorakaa’s skyline, a dark edifice that also houses the Legion of Black Death, Iuz’s elite orc, human, and fiend army. Not far from the palace is the demesne of the Lord of Pain’s administrators, a cabal of wizards and clerics known as the Boneheart. The Boneheart Citadel and Iuz’s palace are the center of the cancer that inflicts the northern Flanaess. Given the defenses of Dorakaa, little hope exists of destroying that cancer in the near future.
Grossfort rules all of Barrens except for the far eastern end. The troops (“Marauders of the North”) are primarily human and made up of Grosskopf bandits who moved in from the Bluff Hills. Though sent here to fight surviving Rovers and plains centaurs, these evil bandits lately have begun adopting Rover mannerisms and tactics in the Barrens, and they often attack small groups of nonhumans from other forts. Grossfort, once a large open military camp, is now a walled town with huge horse and cattle herds and some outlying farms. The city is supposedly ruled by the archmage Jumper of the Greater Boneheart, but he rarely comes here of late.
Izlen rules the Iuz-controlled northeastern end of the Vesve Forest and west coast of Whyestil Lake. High Priestess Halga, of Iuz’s Greater Boneheart, is the ruler. Izlen’s nonhuman forces, under Panshazek the Vile, battle the Vesve elves and assorted forces of Philidor the Blue, a mysterious archmage who appeared in the Flanaess less than a decade ago. Philidor has been little seen since the Great Northern Crusade, but peculiar spells and magical constructs undoubtedly of his creation cause great trouble for orcs in the woodlands.
Molag rules the eastern Horned Lands to the Ritensa River. It holds the border with Furyondy, but suffered terrific damage during the Great Northern Crusade and is still attacked at irregular intervals. Molag is dominated by hobgoblins and humans. Though mostly ruined, it is still very powerful defensively; the town has an extensive system of under-ground tunnels. It is set on a low hill two miles east of the Veng River. The current military commander is unknown, as so many (often successful) assassination attempts are made here by Furyondians. Iuz’s High Priestess Althea, the nominal ruler of the city and land, comes here annually despite the attempts on her life.
In the Bandit Kingdoms, the towns of Hallorn, Riftcrag, Rookroost, and Stoink are regional capitals. Hallorn rules the western Bandit Kingdoms, Riftcrag the Rift and Rift Barrens, Rookroost the region between the Rift and the Bluff Hills, and Stoink the southeastern Bandit Kingdoms. Admundfort was designated the regional capital of the Shield Lands in 587 CY, but the island is almost completely cut off from the empire by a naval blockade.
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.
Folks and Factions of the Empire of Iuz:
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. 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 (see Dahlvier’s County).
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.
Spawn of Evil
The Empire Today
The Obsessions of Iuz
The Empire and the Flanaess
Iuz and the Powers of Greyhawk
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.