People of Greyhawk

The last tax census of the City of Greyhawk and its domain was conducted in 590 CY, by members of the Guild of Lawyers, Scribes, and Accountants. Official census figures, as always, should be taken with a grain of salt, as many groups within the city and domain have reason to inflate or minimize their population results. On the whole, however, these forces balance out most of the time, so the total population figures are reasonably accurate. The following table gives a rough idea of the growth that the City and Domain of Greyhawk have experienced in recent years.

Greyhawk’s Estimated Population

Year City Domain*
575 CY 58,000 75,000
580 CY 60,000 78,000
585 CY 66,500 84,000
590 CY 69,500 91,000

*For census purposes, the “Domain” is that area held by Greyhawk before the Greyhawk Wars. It does not count the northern Wild Coast with the towns of Narwell and Safeton, nor Hardby, Elmshire, or the depths of the Cairn Hills and Gnarley Forest.

At present, in 591 CY, about 76% of the residents of the city (just over 52,000) are native-born. Native Greyhawkers are descended primarily from Oeridian and Suloise settlers, the Suloise side having been established here far longer than the Oeridians who came after Greyhawk was made a part of the Great Kingdom. Native Greyhawkers also have a mix of Flan, Baklunish, and Rhennee ancestry from the many groups of merchants, refugees, and tradesmen who have moved here in the past, giving the people a wide variety of physical features and cultural backgrounds. This makes Greyhawk’s character very cosmopolitan and its people particularly unconcerned with matters of race, though they are highly aware of social status and perceived wealth. The invasion of the Wild Coast has damaged this accepting attitude to the degree that visiting humanoids are generally suspected of being spies for Turrosh Mak’s Orcish Empire of the Pomarj.

Another 18.5% (about 12,800 people) are humans who moved to Greyhawk from other areas of the Flanaess. This group primarily includes Rhennee bargefolk and various immigrants and refugees from Furyondy, Dyvers, Veluna, Verbobonc, the Wild Coast (mostly Narwell and Safeton), the Duchy and County of Urnst, the Ulek states, Nyrond, the Bandit Kingdoms, and the “lost lands” of Almor, Tehn, the Shield Lands, and the Wild Coast city of Fax (which fell to the Orcish Empire). Most of theses immigrants arrived in the last decade as a result of the Greyhawk Wars.

Small pockets of close-knot immigrants from more distant lands exist in the Foreign Quarter, particularly from the Baklunish states to the far west, Perrenland, and Keoland. Individuals from everywhere else in the Flanaess come and go on a daily basis. It is not unusual to hear languages other than Common spoken in the Foreign and River Quarters, Clerkburg, or the Old City, and small shrines or temples to little-known deities appear in the oddest places. It is interesting that though most immigrants retain their old cultural ways, they regard themselves as true citizens of Greyhawk as strongly as native-born citizens.

Humans make up about 94.5% of the total population of the city. The next largest group is the halflings, most of them immigrants from Elmshire or with close family ties there. Halflings are nearly all of the hairfoot sort, with stouts in the minority and tallfellows almost unknown. They make up about 2.5% of the census (about 1,700 individuals). Halflings cluster largely in the Burrow Heights neighborhood of the Foreign Quarter, adjacent to the Deep Ditch of the Millstream, where they maintain their own Watch patrols and temples. However, halflings can be found in every quarter of the city, often living among humans with few other halflings nearby. Most halflings in Greyhawk are employed in crafts and service guilds, particularly as bakers, cooks brewers, carpenters, tailors, gardeners, clerks, accountants, and other jobs in the high-lower or middle class. Few are found in jobs requireing great strength or endurance.

About 1.5% of the city’s people are half-orcs, though one would not konw this just by looking at them. (This figure was determined by magical divination.) Half-orcs have no unifying cultural traits, and they attempt in all ways to blend into the human environment around them. Nearly all of the 1,000 or so half-orcs present reside in the Old City or River Quarter, and they fall within the lower class. Many do have strong positions within the Union of Laborers, the Union of Sewermen and Streetcleaners, the Guild of Embalmers and Gravediggers, and other distasteful or hard-labor guilds, and some have careers in the Guild of Thieves or Beggar’s Union. Two have entered the Guild of Assassins now that Turin Deathstalker, a notorious orc-hater, has left town.

Half-orcs are less numerous then they were only a decade ago, largely thanks to public prejudice against anyone with orc features following the Orchish Empire’s strike into the Wild Coast in 584 CY. Some half-orcs left the city following several unsolved murders of their kind and general public harassment of them, but those with strong human features who could “pass” in Greyhawk stayed on, keeping a low profile around human refugees from the Wild Coast. This prejudice settled down in the late 580s and is at a low ebb now, but it is unwise to proclaim orc ancestry in these troubled times.

Half-orcs are nearly always born under unhappy circumstances following the invasion of a human area by orc raiders. A large number of half-orcs came to Greyhawk in the years following the collapse of the Pomarj in 513 CY, unable to find acceptance among orcs or humans in their ravaged homeland and desiring more opportunities than were available along the Wild Coast. These Pomarj refugees formed the core of Greyhawk’s half-orc citizenry, and the current population is made up almost entirely of their descendants. For some reason, half-orcs tend to marry other half-orc even when they are “passing” and unaware that their partners are also half-orcs. Their offspring are considered half-orcs but nearly always have human physical features (if somewhat hairier). Some grow up completely unaware of their actual nature.

Dwarves make up the third largest nonhuman group in the city at about 1% of the population (700 individuals). Nearly all of Greyhawk’s dwarves are hill dwarves who migrated here from various clan holds in the Cairn Hills. Abbor-Alz, Lortmil Mountains, Kron Hills, and the Principality of Ulek. Most Greyhawk dwarves belong to crafts guilds and are largely found as smiths, miners, soldiers, masons, and architects. Greyhawk’s dwarves tend to be more outgoing than others, from their long association with humans, but they still tend to live in small enclaves, sometimes buying or renting a group of houses in a row along a street. Most dwarves live in the Artisans’ or Foreign Quarters or in Clerkburg, with perhaps a hundred or more packed along Smith Road to either side of the Guildhall of Architects and Stonemasons in the Artisans’ Quarter. Other enclaves exist along Craftsmans Way, around the Guildhall of Jewelers and Gemcutters and in Burrow Heights in the Foreign Quarter. It is thought that some dwarves have (illegally) been excavating cellars and tunnels below their homes in the Artisans’ Quarter, but no one has yet checked on this possibility.

Greyhawk’s dwarves maintain strong interests in the politics and current events of their ancestral homes. News of the ongoing war against the Orcish Empire in the Principality of Ulek is intensely sought after by all dwarves, regardless of their place of origin. The situation around Safeton is of only barely less interest, and they also seek out news about humanoid raiders from the Gnarley Forest lair of Blackthorn and the Cairn Hills lair of Harrgrek Kukulend, near Karakast.

Gnomes make up about 0.5% of Greyhawk’s citizenry, some 350 in all. the gones of Greyhawk are more outgoing than dwarves but, like dwarves, generally live in enclaves of their own among their human neighbors. Most gnomes live in the Burrow Heights area, in the southern part of Clerkburg, or in the Artisans’ Quarer. Gnomes are nearly always in the middle class and work in skilled positions in crafts guilds, though some work in the fine arts as artists or performers. Many gnomes came here from the Kron Hills and Lortmils, having served in the Hateful Wars, and their families have strong warrior traditions and assertive mannerisms.

Elves and half-elves are very rare now in Greyhawk, almost never numbering over 100. Many went to Celene after the Greyhawk Wars. Elves who stay here are nearly always nobles or highly skilled workers, though rustic elven hunters from the Gnarley Forest pass through the city at times. Humans and elves simply do not cross company very often; the sylvan elves to the west are as strongly isolationist as the gray elves of Celene. Those elves and half-elves who do live here are highly visible, attract attention wherever they go, and are known to all: Fioranna Aielestriel, the former ambassador from Nyrond who has stayed in the city; Jawal Sevemain, the drow librarian of the Guild of Wizardry; Vesparian Lafanel, said to now be the guildmaster of all assassins in the city; Elraniel Tesmarien, a Nyrondese grey elf and sage who lives in Clerkburg; and the late Ren o’ the Star, the murdered half-elf guildmaster of the Union of Merchants and Traders. Melf, Prince Brightflame of Celene, puts on an occasional appearance in town as well, and other local elves are ambassadors, wizards, master archers, rich merchants, and so on.

Because of their high profiles and active habits, elves and half-elves are believed to be far more common in Greyhawk than they really are. They live in almost every quarter, usually in fine and tasteful surroundings, but many prefer to inhabit whole floors or houses by themselves or with servants. Elves are more likely to rent lodgings than buy property, as they tend to be on the move often.

On any day, a handful of other nonhumans are in town, ranging from a centaur hunter and forester from Celene’s Welkwood to a hulking half-ogre in the Union of Laborers, kept as a sort of mascot and heavy lifter. Anyone looking like an orc or other humanoid is immediately pointed out by the citizenry and might be arrested by the Watch or Militia for later interrogation. Various nonhumans disguised as humans are almost certain to live undetected among the citizenry; this group includes dopplegangers, Greyhawk dragons, lycanthropes, certain powerful undead such as vampires, and other polymorphed or shape changed beings. These are rare in the extreme, but might have an influence over events out of proportion to their tiny numbers.

Roger Moore. Greyhawk, The Adventure Begins. 1996


People of Greyhawk

Greyhawk Samaryllis Samaryllis