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.
History of the Great Kingdomof Aerdy:
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.
In this merciless nightmare of insanity and cruelty, only a few pockets of resistance fighters, good and valiant rebels, can be found. Made up of rangers, druids, bards, and woodsmen of the great forests of Aerdy and the Lone Heath, they struggle against the growing evil and oppression.
The Millenium Empire. The current year is 585 CY (Common Year). 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.)
What Made For Greatness? And yet, how came that empire to 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?
- Magic of the Great Kingdom
- Logistics of the Great Kingdom
- The Will of the Great Kingdom to Win
- The Great Kingdom’s Wild Cards
A Vengeance From The Past? When the Aerdi swept across the lands of the Great Kingdom, there were certain pockets of powerful, ancient magic which they despoiled and razed with fire and acid or drove down into shadows and twilight.
The sacred sites of the Ur-Flannae, the rare mystics of the Flan people (feared by the Flan far more than by the Aerdi), and the haunts of the Old Elves, were among them. Some of those magics, old beyond knowing, are not wholly lost to the world, but they tend now to take terrible forms.
The most feared by far is the magical sword guarded by the gray elf remnant of the Grandwood. However, the wise and far-sighted see manifestations of this long-repressed magic in the fate of the Great Kingdom. Established by war, force, and brutality in many instances, the Kingdom is doomed to pass into chaos and suffering.
Istus knows, of course; Gwydiesin does; the tiny shriveled elf known as The Spectre does; and, beyond them, perhaps Mordenkainen has some inkling, and it is surely written in Rillikandren’s Book of Hours. But this is getting far ahead of the story.
Such is the history, the peoples, and the destinies of the lands of Aerdy. Its many powers and factions remain for us to understand.
Carl Sargent. Greyhawk Adventures, Ivid the Undying, 1995