Lord Blackfair's Manor
Lord Blackfair I established himself as the premier commander of cavalry in Greyhawk’s long history. Of course. that was some 200 years ago and the campaigns in which he distinguished himself were not historically significant, falling as they did during the reign of the Mad Archmage, Zagig Yragerne. Nonetheless, that worthy ruler awarded his war hero an impressive and strategic plot of land, for it lies at the confluence of the Ery and Neen Rivers. It is fully three miles across, roughly circular in shape, and includes land on all sides of the fork in the river.
Lords Blackfair II, III, IV, V, VI, and the currently titled Lord Blackfair Vll have continued their ancestor’s interest in riding mounts. The manor is now the primary breeder of the fastest, most durable medium war horses across the breadth of the Flanaess. The lord is a hospitable enough landowner, with an overriding passion for horses. A visitor who knows horseflesh, and is willing to listen to the host expound at great length on a variety of horse-related topics, will be royally treated at Blackfair Manor.
The lord is a thin and wiry man with a black beard, now turning to gray. Still a royal servant of Greyhawk, he is concerned about sightings of lizard men reported from the Mistmarsh. Thus Car the city directors have expressed no alarm, and his own excursions have come back empty handed (though a pair of watchmen mysteriously disappeared from one detachment). Lord Blackfair invites visitors that he likes to share the hospitality of his manor house. Others are left to room at the inn on his estate.
The stables now hold over 100 breeding mares, some two dozen stallions, and perhaps 200 fillies and colts in various levels of training. The purchase price for one of the young horses is double the asking price in the High Market of Greyhawk, but generally considered worth it. For those who take their horses very seriously, the Blackfairs may consider parting with a breeding mare, for 2,000 – 3,000 gold, approximately. Some of the stallions can be had for as little as 10,000 gp, while others have fetched five times
that amount. The stud of the herd, called simply Father Black, is not for sale, though it is rumored that the lord has been offered more than 100,000 gold for that horse.
The lord’s manor overlooks the river and the pastures. Behind stretch a ring of tenant farms, larger than the average, upon which are grown winter fodder for the horses as well as food for the entire estate. The Blackfair Manor is a virtual palace of some 30 rooms, plus servants’ quarters (there are two dozen servants) and a small garrison quarters. These three buildings are surrounded by a courtyard and a wall. Entry is gained through a small gate house. Twenty men-at-arms serve the lord at all times, while 150 peasant farmers will answer the call in an emergency.
Besides the scattered farms, Blackfair boasts a mill on the riverbank, a tavern frequented by the farmers and watchmen, another tavern and boarding house for visitors with more money, and a nearby smithy, carpentry shop, bakery, and tackshop /saddlery. The saddler, Tonsel Ralls, is an artisan 32 of some repute. He does work for private customers in his spare time, though he primarily tends the rigging needs of his lord.