The river is the broad avenue that first gave the Free City of Greyhawk its location, then its commerce, and now its communications line to the rest of the world.
The Selintan River is placid and wide along its entire length. From Greyhawk City south to Woolly Bay, the river follows a deep channel, marked with buoys for much of its length. Though the river is wide and shallow this entire way, the channel is constant and deep enough to allow even fairly large seafaring vessels to forge upstream. Upstream from the city, only shallow draft vessels can complete the voyage to the Nyr Dyv. However, a significant number of barges and other craft make this journey as well, so the river is busy along its entire length.
The Selintan forms an odd bulge in its western bank near Wharfgate; the water in this bend is stagnant and (in the summer mosquito infested. From Coldeven to Patchwall, the eastern bank – called Barge End – is filled with Rhennee barges and boats that tie up to each other like a huge floating platform. The City Watch does not bother the Rhennee here, making this one of the few spots in the Flanaess where the Rhennee may live undisturbed, if not welcomed. As winter comes on, the Rhennee pole upriver to their annual gathering place on the Nyr Dyv, at an undisclosed location.
The Selintan is Greyhawk’s trade lifeblood. Water travel is always faster than land travel, especially for bulky cargoes, and one response of the Free City’s rulers to the general atmosphere of unease in the post-war year is to increase security along this river. This is somewhat irrational, since there has been no increase in river piracy and no external threat to cargo vessels along the riverway. Still, some of the Free City’s many poor and disgruntled folk might take to ambushing barges if their hunger and disaffection grows too great, so the additional security may be a wise precaution after all.
Downriver, from the Free City to Hardby, Greyhawk watchmen pilot flat-bottomed, punt-like boats along the Selintan at regular intervals (some four per day will pass any spot along the river — exact times change weekly).
Each boat contains men-at-arms led by a junior sergeant. There is a good chance that a gnome (a Lamplighter and nighttime lookout) is on any given boat; gnomes don’t care much for this line of work, and often get riversick even on the tranquil Selintan. These militia are known as “Water Rats” to most, a name they don’t much care for. Patrol boats usually travel no farther than two stops along the route each day: Greyhawk to Fordkeep (currently being built) to Two Ford to Peculiar Manor to One Ford to Hardby.
Parallel to the Selintan runs the River Road, a well-kept, broad highway which is little used for trade, save for short hauls by farmers bringing produce to sale at a village, town, or even the riverside. However, horsemen are not an infrequent sight here, for a fast horse will still beat a river boat when speed is of the essence and there are a number of taverns along the road that have good stabling and accommodation. In some stables, the landlord or a relative has some minor blacksmithing skill.
Notable Settlements and Locations along the Selintan:
Gorge of the Selintan
The heights of the Cairn Hills fall rapidly away here, plummeting more than a thousand feet in places to meet the placid waters of the River Selintan. The river valley, however, is deep and broad, and the river flow is tranquil here, surprisingly for such a steep gorge.
Its width approaches 100 paces, and so it rolls along with a steady majesty that enables even clumsy barges to be poled upstream toward the Nyr Dyv. Only the most leisurely of travelers allow the current to carry them downstream, for it moves little faster than the walk of an old man. The wide bottom of the gorge offers numerous gravelly shelves along the bank, some of them large enough to beach the largest of river craft. However, access from the shore to the lulls themselves is a matter of climbing a cliff. At one point during its course, though the river is 800 feet wide below. the lips of the gorge overhang the water on both sides, stretching to with 100 feet of each other. The only suitable crossing of the river during its run through the Cairn Hills is an ingenious bridge, called simply Stonebridge.