Proper Name: Kingdom of Nyrond
Ruler: His August Supremacy, Altmeister of All the Aerdi, King Lynwerd I of Nyrond (LG male human Ftr14)
Government: Hereditary feudal monarchy
Capital: Rel Mord
Major Towns: Arndulanth (pop. 2,300), Arnford (pop. 3,900), Beetu (pop. 12,100), Borneven (pop. 9,900), Callistor (pop. 4,300), Cordrend (pop. 5,000), Curtulenn (pop. 5,200), Greenplane (pop. 1,600), Hammensend (pop. 9,000), Hendrenn Halgood (pop. 14,800), Kerrinn (pop. 3,500), Midmeadow (pop. 11,100), Mithat (pop. 29,000), Mowbrenn (pop. 20,700), Nessermouth (pop. 3,100), Oldred (pop. 22,000), Rel Mord (pop. 46,500), Swan Bore (pop. 2, 800), Womtham (pop. 19,200), Woodwych (pop. 24,300), Wragby (pop. 7,300)
Provinces: Twelve newly restructured royal provinces, ruled by hereditary nobility of varying rank; considerable confusion exists as many continue to use old provincial names and boundaries
Resources: Foodstuffs, cloth, copper, silver, gems (I-II)
Coinage: Sterling (pp), noble (gp), shinepiece (ep), shield (sp), common (cp)
Population: 2,618,200—Human 79% (Os), Elf 9% (sylvan 90%, high 10%), Halfling 5% (stout), Dwarf 3%, Gnome 2%, Half-elf 1%, Half-orc 1%
Languages: Common, Nyrondese, Old Oeridian, Elven, Halfling
Alignments: LG, LN*, NG, CG, N
Religions: Heironeous*, Beory, Rao, Pelor, Zilchus, Norebo, Pholtus, Ralishaz, Boccob, Delleb, Celestian
Allies: Duchy of Urnst, County of Urnst, Greyhawk, Onnwal (rebels), Irongate, Sunndi, the Pale (barely) Enemies: Scarlet Brotherhood, North Kingdom, Iuz, many evil cults attempting to destabilize kingdom, Ahlissa (gravely distrusted)
Overview: Nyrond has long commanded the central plains east of the County of Urnst. The Nesser-Franz river system to the west provides access to the Lake of Unknown Depths and the Sea of Gearnat, which gives Nyrond access to foreign ports. Nyrond’s eastern border is marked not only by the picturesque Harp River, but also by the Flinty Hills uplands, where hardy hillfolk and gnomes man royal mines, always mindful of the threat of invasion from Bone March. To the north, the deep shadow of the Pale looms large, engulfing many of the king’s subjects in a bitter game of religious politics. The rocky southern coast, along Relmor Bay, is a haven for fisherfolk and pirates alike.
Nyrond’s navy, commanded by Fleet Admiral Hugarnd and stationed along the coast with centers in Oldred and Mithat, patrols Relmor Bay. Longstanding tensions between Ahlissa and Nyrond seem to have cooled, but the area remains a potential military flash point.
Nyrond is a land nearly destroyed by the emotional and monetary costs of war. Major roadways remain in ruin, making travel difficult. In certain provinces, trade is nearly impossible. After a long period of dormancy, the mail service has returned to active duty, and communications were reestablished between the capital and all major nobles.
Desperate times have called for desperate measures for many of Nyrond’s subjects. Banditry is on the rise. Because the country is in such dire economic straits, heavy fines are favored over imprisonment. Debtors prisons, a new development in law enforcement, now dot the countryside.
Nyrond’s armies are commanded by General Myariken, a young buck who is said to be great friends with the nation’s new king. Though many of the peasant and freemen levies have returned to their farms, major regiments remain in Old Almor and Womtham. Special elf scouting regiments, centered in Woodverge and Flinthill, once provided strong service to the crown, but have not filed reports in the last three years.
The local climate is temperate, with moderate snowfall in the winter months. Summers in the nation’s interior tend to be very dry and quite hot, with cool, pleasant evenings throughout much of the year.
So great was the internal disruption of Nyrond as a result of the Greyhawk Wars that, in late 590 CY, King Lynwerd restructured Nyrond’s provinces. He did this in a manner that rewarded those lords who remained loyal to his father during his brother’s brief revolt, and his system also provided increased revenue to the Royal Treasury. Much confusion has resulted from this reorganization, though Lynwerd believes it will benefit the realm from 592 on. Nyrond’s new provinces, which came into effect on Needfest 1, 591 CY, are named below, with their capitals and rulers.
Almorian Protectorate Mithat, Governor Younard (LG male human Ftr13)
Brackenmoor, County of Beetu, Count Romadnen Beremen (N male human Clr5 of Zilchus)
Eventide, Viscounty of the Shantadern, Viscount Estward Ventrose (CN male human Rog11/ Ftr3)
Flinthill, Duchy of Arndulanth, Duke Grevin Damar (LG male human Ftr5)
Gamboge, Earldom of Borneven, Earl Larapel Klendern (NG male human Rog2)
Justcrown Province Rel Mord, King Lynwerd I (LG male human Ftr14)
Korenflass, Duchy of Oldred, Duke Regurd Korenflass (N male human Ftr8)
Mowbrenn, County of Mowbrenn, Count Cunal Huldane (NG male human Rgr9)
Orberend, Duchy of Hendrenn Halgood, Duke Arnon Orberend (LG male human Pal10 of Pelor)
Womtham, Royal Duchy of Womtham, Duke Finelann Boomgren (LN male human Ftr3)
Woodverge, March of Midmeadow, Sir Weynoud Aspranth (LG male human Clr7 of Heironeous)
Woodwych, Barony of Woodwych, Baroness Verin Talnith (N female human Rgr4)
Regions of Nyrond:
- The Western Lands of Nyrond
- The Southern Coast of Nyrond
- The North-Central Lands
- The South-Central Lands of Nyrond
- The Northern Lands of Nyrond
- The Eastern Lands of Nyrond
- Across the Border of Nyrond – The Former Lands of Almor
- The Almorian Borderlands of Nyrond
History: Though modern Nyrond has existed for fewer than three hundred years, the cultural roots of the nation span nearly a millennia. The last of the major Oeridian kingdoms to fall to old Aerdy, Nyrond’s defeat at the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, in 535 OR (–109 CY), signified the ultimate supremacy of Aerdy.
Nyrond’s foundation in CY 356 marked the beginning of the Great Kingdom’s historical decline. The ruling Aerdi House of Rax was divided. Its junior branch proclaimed the sovereignty of Nyrond, together with other satellite states, which swiftly gained their independence. These included the Urnst states and the Theocracy of the Pale. Nyrond allied with the states of the Iron League, and the old Almorian Lands, against the Overking as the House of Rax in Rauxes degenerated into insanity.
Nyrond’s strategic importance to the Great Kingdom did little to encourage just treatment at the hands of the Aerdi. The ruling house of the land was made subservient to the eastern House Rax, which ruled the territory from an impressive series of castles and fortresses, centered with the imposing palace at Rel Mord.
Though not as vile or ruthless as some of their counterparts to the east, the Rax nobles exhibited insufferable arrogance. When eventually that house gained the Malachite Throne in Rauxes, Nyrond became ever more important to the affairs of the overking.
Increased attention meant higher taxes and greater headaches for the local landholders. When Ferrond rebelled in 254, the overking needed soldiers to fuel violent skirmishes on the borderlands north of the Nyr Dyv. He drew from the armies of Nyrondal nobles with little concern for the ultimate futility of their charge. Thousands of Nyrond’s men and women fell in those conflicts. Perhaps due to incompetence from Rauxes, or perhaps because Nyrond offered a convenient scapegoat on which the overkings could heap their frustrations regarding the loss of Furyondy, life in Nyrond was far from ideal.
For a full century, the nobles of Nyrond’s junior branch looked upon the affairs of their Rax cousins with open contempt. Finally, in 356 CY, bickering between the Aerdi and Nyrondal nobles exploded into violent political conflict; the local lords declared Nyrond free of the overking’s rule and named one of their own number, the wily Medven I, king of Nyrond. Every Nyrondal lord sponsored troops to an enormous gathering on the nation’s eastern border. All watched the Flinty Hills and Harp River, expecting the banners of the overking behind every hillock.
History does not speculate on whether the Suel barbarians who then surged south through Bone March and into North Province did so at the behest of Nyrond silver or by their own estimation of Aerdy’s critical situation. Regardless, they presented the sitting overking with a difficult option: crush the rebellion in Nyrond or lose the whole of North Province.
Aerdy’s failure to significantly oppose Nyrond’s independence left the fledgling nation with a huge army and great ambition. Within three years, the famed Nyrondal cavalry had marched into and annexed the newly formed Theocracy of the Pale, burning Wintershiven to the ground. A later foray into the County of Urnst met with equal (if less violent) success, and further expansion met resistance only at the Nesser River, where galleys flying the flag of the duke of Urnst halted Nyrondal progress.
Nyrond’s people were of the same Oeridian stock as the folk of the Great Kingdom, but Nyrond became a bastion of good, powerfully opposed to its evil eastern neighbor. Nyrond was renowned for the skill of its artists and the richness of its court. Nyrond’s became famous for mages of great power. But it was the kingdom’s armed forces that guaranteed Nyrond’s strength. Its armies were victorious on every field, and its navy dominated Relmor Bay and the Sea of Gearnat.
The new “Grand Empire of Nyrond” watched, bemusedly at first, as Aerdy’s House Rax degenerated. The failure to crush separatist movements in Ferrond and Nyrond had castrated the Rax overkings, who now seemed to exist only to appease the increasingly independent palatine states of Medegia, North Province, Bone March, and Ahlissa. The Turmoil Between Crowns, initiated in 437 with the assassination of Overking Nalif, changed bemusement to horror. Within nine years, the Malachite Throne had fallen to the debased House Naelax. With chaos and madness ruling from Rauxes, Nyrond’s King Dunstan I knew that no enemy of Aerdy would ever be safe again. Nyrond, he noted, needed allies, and it needed them quickly.
Though he could not pledge public support due to the threat of retaliatory strikes from Ivid I’s Northern Army, amassed near Innspa, Dunstan I attended the conference in Chathold that resulted in the formation of the Iron League. There, he privately assured the new partners that any enemy of the League was also an enemy of Nyrond. Dunstan made good on that pledge, sending weapons and warships (though no troops) to aid besieged Irongate at the Battle of a Thousand Banners, the following year.
By 450 CY, Aerdy had survived two distinct civil wars. Ivid and his court had defeated their enemies in the aristocracy, and had entrenched themselves in the empire’s political machine. With a stabilized foe, Dunstan realized in his old age that he still needed willing allies, should Aerdy take the offensive. In Harvester, he called the Great Council of Rel Mord. Delegates from every Nyrondal principality and subject state attended, as did representatives from Almor, the Iron League, the Duchy of Urnst, and even Greyhawk. After a month and a half of negotiation, Dunstan the Crafty withdrew Nyrondal troops from the Pale and the County of Urnst, and realigned the internal borders of his subject lands. Furthermore, he publicly threw his considerable support behind the Iron League, and rebuked the Great Kingdom of Aerdy as a “corpulent reanimated corpse, spreading contagion and sorrow to all that it touches.”
Thereafter, Nyrond entered a period of supremacy. Castle-building programs dotted the central plains with fortifications, cities expanded, and commerce boomed. The nation gained a reputation for powerful mages and skillful artisans. As evil grew in the east, Nyrond became a reflection of the good folk of the eastern Flanaess.
Shortly before the Greyhawk Wars, a decade ago, a series of incidents occurred which were to threaten Nyrond’s military supremacy. Few years went by in which the navies of Nyrond and Aerdy did not clash in Relmor Bay. However, in 579 CY, reacting to increased militarism on behalf of Ivid and Herzog Chelor of Ahlissa, the Great Kingdom’s South Province, Nyrond, Almor, and the Iron League banded together to form the Golden League, a military union that presented a declaration of war against the Great Kingdom in late Needfest. Ahlissa gave succor to pirates raiding Iron League and Nyrondese vessels. Not to be outdone, Aerdy followed up with its own decree, stating that Rel Mord would fall within the year and the treacherous King Archbold III would pay for the sins of his rebellious ancestors. For all the bravado, only two years indecisive battles and skirmishes came of the affair. In the end the cost was simply too great, both nations were spent financially and emotionally.
Nyrond swelled with an influx of Tenhas driven south by the hordes of Stonefist. While Nyrond drove the invaders back into the Phostwood the kingdom’s losses were startlingly high. Nyrond’s full coffers and large population could have absorbed that, but the eastern campaigns, waged to aid the fold of the Flinty Hills against the marauders from the Bone March, began to drain the country. Massed Aerdi armies invaded Almor, and even Nyrond’s own lands, exhausting even Nyrond’s resources.
By 583, however, war would return to haunt Nyrond. The great battle of Karndred’s Meadows occurred towards the end of the war. King Archbold of Nyrond was trying to reclaim as much of the kingdom’s land as he could. Confident that a personal victory over untrained barbarians would do much to bolster his flagging popularity in Nyrond’s northern regions, Archbold led a huge army through the Nutherwood, hoping to strike a telling blow against the ‘Fists inhabiting Tenh. Fighting lasted for an entire day. The barbarians fell back to more heavily fortified lands, but the cost to Nyrond was great. More than three thousand soldiers fell before nightfall against the demented, fiend-driven armies of the Overking. Nyrond fought them to a bloody standstill and Archbold himself suffered grievous wounds, not least of which to his pride. He had gambled Nyrondal cavalry against the hordes of Sevvord Redbeard and won, but the losses were enormous and it did not seem like a victory. The cost is still being felt today.
Months later, as Ivid’s Northern Army converged on Innspa and Almor seemed certain to fall before the might of the Glorioles regiments, Archbold called upon his lords to provide him with an army never before seen in Nyrond’s long history. Crops would wither in the fields, bandits would be free to prey upon the roadways; to Archbold, the very survival of Nyrond was at stake. As 583 came to a close, the king met in Oldred with representatives of Almor, Onnwal, Idee, Sunndi, the Pale, the County of Urnst, and Irongate. There, all but the Pale signed the Eastern Pact of Alliance, a treaty meant to ensure the containment of Ivid’s armies.
The Scarlet Brotherhood soon took Idee and Onnwal from the alliance. Irongate and Sunndi, geographically isolated and deeply enmeshed in their own struggles with the Scarlet Sign and Aerdy, were impotent to back up their promises of aid. Almor burned like dry wood following Commandant Osson’s eventual defeat. By the end of 584 CY, Nyrond could count only on aid from the Urnst States to protect it against Ivid’s mad bid for revenge.
Nyrond lost nearly seventy thousand soldiers in the Greyhawk Wars, but over twice this number also fled the nation. Though her armies held off Aerdy’s siege, they did so at terrible cost. Archbold had expended the nation’s entire treasury, and had depleted much of his family’s wealth. Hideously in debt to the Urnst States, the king faced a future of ruined fields and horrible food shortages. Nearly half of his holdings were in tax rebellions. Many of the nation’s best mages, craftsmen, and nobles fled Nyrond for easier lives to the west. Whether Nyrond would fall was never an issue. The question was simply that of timing.
Remarkably, that issue would be decided by Archbold’s own son, the young Prince Sewarndt. In the fall of 585 CY, King Archbold appeared to suffer a stroke. Clerics from around the land convened in Rel Mord, finally determining that he had been poisoned. Within hours of the discovery, Prince Sewarndt and a group of military officers attempted to seize the throne. Only the intervention of the capital’s entire Heironean clergy saved the crown and the king. By the time Archbold’s older son, Crown Prince Lynwerd, could lead an army to his father’s side, Sewarndt and a handful of his cohorts had vanished into the Nyrondal countryside.
Sewarndt’s treachery shattered whatever resolve Archbold had clung to during the difficult war years. A wholly broken man, he abdicated in favor of Crown Prince Lynwerd in Fireseek, 586 CY.
In his first year on the throne, Lynwerd seized the western half of Almor, realigned the command structure of his armies, and reduced taxes to prewar levels. While the latter did much to boost the morale of his lords, it has done nothing to pull Nyrond from the bitter clutches of poverty.
One of Lynwerd’s first acts after deposing those disloyal to his father was to convene a secret council of lords and advisors who declared that Lady Astra Callistor—not Sewarndt- shall be Lynwerd’s successor to the throne of Nyrond in the event of Lynwerd’s death. Although the new act of succession was not widely publicized, a mole planted in Lady Astra’s household learned of its promulgation.
A terrible tragedy struck Lynwerd and his kingdom in 589 CY. A long-planned marriage between King Lynwerd and Lady Xenia Sallavarian, a distant cousin of Circle of Eight member Jallarzi and Duke Karll of Urnst, was scheduled to take place during Richfest of that year. In Wealsun, Lady Xenia was touring Rel Mord on foot when she collapsed of heatstroke. She has not been seen since, and many suspect the worst, detecting sorrow and a grim hardness in their king.
In 590 CY, the Witches of the Bright captured Lady Astra Callistor and took her to the hidden towers built by Canimarr. The witches had moved much of their operations into the Gnatmarsh shortly after learning of the secret plans of succession. Their existence was known to the locals who sometimes referred to them as the Gnatmarsh Coven. The Witches of the Bright soon made the acquaintance of Prince Sewarndt. The Prince and the Coven began to work together. The death of King Lynwerd was in their mutual interest. Lady Astra remained the captive of the witches for four years until she was rescued by adventurers.
IWith starvation commonplace and sedition the language of the people, Lynwerd initiated a number of radical policy shifts designed to improve the well-being of the country. He first trimmed the size of his court, releasing from service some 397 “functionaries,” three standing chamber orchestras, a 30-boy choir, several dozen clerics, eighteen archivists, and a well-known and extremely popular talking bird from the Amedio Jungle. A general restructuring of Nyrond’s internal political boundaries followed, and it seems as though the “Reformer King” has only begun to heal his wounded nation.
Upon Lady Astra’s return to Rel Mord, Lynwerd openly acknowledged that she – now known as Princess Astra Callistor was to be his successor to the throne if he did not bear an heir.
Fate was similarly unkind to the woman betrothed to Lynwerd – Xenia Sallavarian. Unknown to most, she was whisked away to the royal palace, where she remained in a comatose like state for years. Although her condition was clearly unnatural, all of the best divine and arcane spellcasters in the kingdom were unable to help her.
Xenia’s final rescue came when a group of adventurers was able to determine the true source of Xenia’s condition and stopped the responsible culprit. However, Xenia’s recovery was complicated by the machinations of a rival for Lynwerd’s affections. Fortunately, adventurers came to the rescue of the Kingdom of Nyrond yet again and Xenia recovered from her comatose state. She and Lynwerd were married immediately afterward.
In the evening on the last day of 594 CY, Rel Mord was invaded and conquered by forces loyal to the traitor Prince Sewarndt. With the help of Onyxgate, the invading force appeared magically inside the walls of the city and quickly demolished the city’s defenses. Within hours the throne was occupied by Sewarndt, calling himself Emperor. When it was apparent that Rel Mord would fall, King Lynwerd fled. He and Xenia, with the help of the Grey Seer, teleported away and have not been heard from since that day.
Unfortunately for Lynwerd and Queen Xenia, Sewardnt’s coup occurred during a personally inopportune time. The queen was six months pregnant when the royal family fled Rel Mord. Xenia’s stamina began to deteriorate soon after the royal family fled to the Barren Keep, and the King’s remaining available advisors and healers have confined her to bed.
With the clerics of Heironeous off on the borderlands of Almor to face down Onyxgate, Lynwerd contacted Durinken. Durinken declined to attend the queen because Sewarndt has threatened fifty of Durinken’s charges with the purpose of keeping the Raoan high priest under his thumb. Concerned that Xenia would not survive childbirth, Lynwerd caused an agent of the Grey Watch to dispatched to disguise himself as Durinken.
In 595 CY, King Lynwerd and Queen Xenia Sallavarian gave birth to their daughter and heir to the throne of Nyrond.
Conflicts and Intrigues: Extreme poverty encourages otherwise lawful folk into illicit occupations. Rumors abound that an illegitimate son of the king has surfaced among the witches of the Gnatmarsh.
Olman Islands (see Scarlet Brotherhood)