The Former Great Kingdom of Aerdy

The Great Kingdom is sundered, collapsed into chaos after the terrible Greyhawk Wars. An insane overking, advised by a malefic priesthood and conversing with fiends atop his malachite throne, slew and revivified many of his local noble rulers as animuses, undead creatures of cold, hateful passions.

Great armies once the envy of the Flanaess wander the lands as freebooting mercenaries and pillagers, stripping the once-abundant treasures of this great nation. More than 300 years of slow degeneration and decline have climaxed in an appalling tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children have perished, and many more will follow in the years ahead.

It is more than 2,000 years since the original inhabitants of the Flanaess, the Flan tribes, were driven from their lands by Oeridian and Suloise invaders fleeing magical cataclysms far to the west.

Only much later, some 700-800 years ago, the strongest of the Oeridian tribes, the Aerdi, settled the rich lands to the east of the Nyr Dyv and founded the Kingdom of Aerdy. A century and more of growth saw the Great Kingdom expand, with the Flan driven north and the Suloise driven south to the margins of the Densac Gulf. At its height, the kingdom stretched from the lands of the Sea Barons to the borders of modern Perrenland, and from Sunndi to the south to the forbidding Griff-Corusk mountains in the north.

The Aerdy calendar dates from the crowning of the first overking, Nasran of the House of Cranden, in Rauxes in CY 1. Proclaiming universal peace, Nasran saw defeated Suloise and Flan—rebellious humanoid rabbles of no consequence and no threat to the vast might of Aerdy. The high history of the Aerdi people is a tale very long in the telling. Hundreds of warriors, mages, seers, and others are much more than footnotes to that history. Aerdi history before the founding of the Great Kingdom is a rich, fabulous tapestry; and the lands the Aerdi came upon were hardly bereft of legends, wonders, and luminaries of their own. Those histories, however, would fill books on their own. So it is the Great Kingdom’s own history we consider here.

The ruling house of Aerdy became the Rax-Nyrond House after the death of Nasran’s grandson, Tenmeris, in CY 75. Tenmeris’s Queen, Yalranda, was a formidable diplomat and mediator who had done much to support her husband and was the true power behind the throne. Tenmeris, it was said, had a brain as small as his flatulent belly was vast.

Yalranda was accepted as the only overqueen in Aerdy history because of her prowess in establishing dynastic marriages between the royal houses of Aerdy and her uncanny gift for forging alliances (and because of her strange, magical allure and ability to calm angry or confused nobles). That she died young, at age 40, is one of Aerdy’s great tragedies.

Her eldest son, Manshen, broke with tradition and took the name of the Rax-Nyrond Royal House. This house was to rule for nearly 400 years. (Aerdi Royal marriages involved the lesser party taking the familial name of the more elevated partner of the marriage, so that any spouse of the Crandens normally became a Cranden.)

History of the Great Kingdom:

What Made For Greatness?
To be sure, part of the reason for Aerdi’s former dominance was the weakness of the Flan opposition when the Oeridians arrived. Divided, not many in number, with few demihumans outside of specific enclaves, the Flan were readily overcome. However, the Oeridians also kept the Baklunish people marginalized to the northwest of the Flanaess and drove the Suloise to the uttermost southern margins. They overcame all comers and rivals. How so?

Peoples of the Land of Aerdy
Later sections will say much more about particular factions (royal houses, social classes, etc.). What follows here is a simple introduction to the peoples of the Aerdi lands, a foundation for later, more detailed accounts.

The Royal Houses of the Great Kingdom
There are literally thousands of Aerdi men calling themselves “princes.” The politics of the royal houses of Aerdi are subtle and complex, often confusing to outsiders.

Historically, a handful of royal houses have formed the aristocracy of Aerdy. Their relative importance has in some cases waxed and waned historically, in others stayed the same. Some royal houses are strongly identified with land holdings in a particular area, such as the Crandens in Almor, and the Torquanns in southeastern Aerdy. Others have been primarily identified with “spheres of concern,” such as the aggressive, soldiering Naelax and the House of Darmen, always to the fore in commerce and trade.

Nobles, Merchants, and Peasants

Trade, Taxes and Money
Although most lands are chaotic now, some trade, barter, and semblance of civilized dealings goes on. People still eat, grow food, produce goods, and try to sell and barter them, and local rulers certainly try to tax everything.

Power in the Great Kingdom
The royal houses already have been considered, of course, and the gazetteer chapters give details for individual lands within Aerdy. Here, an overview of the power held by priesthoods, fiends, merchants and guilds, mages and sages, special and secretive power factions, and the like is given.

The Great Kingdom and Other Nations
Political dealings between Aerdy and other nations are effectively suspended. Certainly, there are imperial ambassadors at the courts of a few other nations and in Greyhawk City, but it is mutually understood that they no longer speak with any authority.

Only a handful of other nations are important vis a vis the situation in Aerdy. The barbarian states are important because of their raids on North Province and against the Sea Barons. Nyrond is significant because of its fear of Aerdi invasion and its tense standoff with Szeffrin in Almor. The Scarlet Brotherhood already extends its tendrils into southern Aerdy, and the probable initial goals of the Brotherhood are the capture of the Sea Barons and the subversion of South Province.

The Former Great Kingdom of Aerdy

Greyhawk Samaryllis Samaryllis