Alternate Oerths - Mythic Greyhawk: History, Kingdoms & Cultures


  • In most cases, I refer to the Oerth Journal #1 timeline for details when there are gaps to fill.
  • Oerth is very ancient. Lots of eldritch races lived in the pre-history before the elves began to float to the top some 10-30k years ago.
  • There was a 4e-style Dawn War at some point, before the Gods of Law and the Elemental/Demonic Forces of Chaos (I am undecided on this), where the cosmic status quo was established and started the current Aeon. The elves began to assert themselves sometime in the aftermath of this.
  • Anything before that is unknown even to elves and is basically 'eldritch'. Leave blank to fill in with whatever zany stuff you want. Known Examples: Wind Dukes of Aqaa, The City of Gods.
  • "Prior" to all that was also a 'Mythic' Aeon - Time wasn't quite linear back then, so in many ways this is a lot closer to the present Aeon than other Aeons that exist in linear time. The Dawn War is somehow mixed into this, even though it happens in linear time just before our current Aeon. This is why the people of Oerth know a lot more about the Mythic history of gods and so forth than they do about the Aboleth Reigns, The Age of Kirbyan Magi-Science and other ultra-fantastical former events I may want to seed my adventures with from eldricht pre-history.

Cultures & Kingdoms

Although I like how all these self-governed duchies and counties tell a story of friction between kingdoms and breakaway states (a bit like how Taiwan can't/won't go fully independent from China today), some of all these are getting re-branded as kingdoms. The Flanaess needs more royalty! Tenh and Bissel are obvious candidates as having too few ties to not be their own kingdoms by now.

Aerdy East
The Great Kingdom is politically akin to the holy roman empire, and culturally 'Conan-land' (ie. all the decadent Hyborian cities that Conan might visit, with their eldritch sorceries, fat corrupt rulers and dark gods can be found here) - byzantian/constantinople culture closest real world analogue. At the same time, the whole area seems on the brink of a major civil war.
  • I like North Province for being basically as wicked as Rauxes, but elsewhere. It really drives home the widespread corruption of the great kingdom. And I like the idea of having a corrupt and decadent court to get embroiled in that is not necessarily the court of all courts. You could probably kill the Herzog without blowing all of Aerdi to pieces. Less so for Ivid V.
  • The various members of the Iron League are interesting. They seem like a sort of natural successor to the now failed governance model of Overkings. If a great Aerdi civil war should happen, a confederacy born out of the Iron League seems like a possible outcome. Either way, the Iron League is the place to be for freedom fighting and political maneuvering.
  • The South Province is propably the tipping point in all this. The Herzog is all-or-nothing in on breaking the Iron League. What happens when he fails? Does he go to Rauxes and gets his head cut off by Ivid? Does he join forces with the Iron League to try and save his hide? At what point will Ivid say 'fuck it, I am joining the fray' and mobilise an army to go into Ahlissa to punish the south for its failings and then break the Iron League himself? 
  • Medegia is interesting - a sort of evil theocracy that has the ear of the overking. A kind of wicked Vatican. Much of how it all plays out will probably be shaped by the views coming from the Holy Censor. Turning the brewing conflicts  religious could spice things up. We all know branding heretics and starting inquisitions is a great way to drum up some more war. It seems an apt turn to take at the sunset for Aerdi.
Old Aerdy West
  • Nyrond is basically Carolingia with longevity. Vive la France!
  • Almor is devoted to the Church of the Blinding Light and its existence is almost offensive to the Great Kingdom - Not only as the nearest breakaway realm, but also for flaunting its heterodoxy so close to its borders. A war here would be both territorial and religious. 
  • The Urnst states are middle-to-high medieval Germanics/Bohemians and much like holy roman empire, without the pretence of an empire bit.
  • The Theocracy of the Pale is basically the Children of the Light from Jordan's Wheel of Time. Yeah! This is where we are most likely to have witch and wizard hunts and inquisitions. I am  toying with them having a king who is a complete puppet to the theocracy.
  • Architecture style of Tenh at its finest
  • The Kingdom of Tenh is in fact an ancient Flan kingdom, though it lived through a few centuries of vassalage to Aerdy and Nyrond as a Duchy. I see them as a kind of highly developed Celtic culture that has had to adapt to its high medieval neighbours. Less naked painted warriors and tribal towns and more druids, saxons with celtic symbols and asking "what would celtic architecture look like with a bit more sophistication and durability while staying true to their cultural roots"?
Western Nyr Dyv (Old Ferrond)
I see Old Ferrond as a kind of mainland British Isles. The boxed set writeup on the order of the Hart tells us that Furyondy, Veluna and Highfolk are quite decentralized and have no standing army. I like that. It also suggests that they are more concerned with the Baklunish states and Perrenland than they are with the Horned Society and Iuz. Interesting. 

This, combined with the quite low urban population numbers given for both Veluna and Fuyondy tells me that Old Ferrond was, and is, a bit of a backwater region that was never as developed as its neighbours to the east and south- The furthest province of one former empire neighbouring on the furthest provinces of another former empire. It is perhaps closer to post-roman Britain than to the high medieval one. Its main claim to relevance across the Flanaess is as the birthplace of the Church of the Blinding Light (in Veluna) but otherwise these are the Borderlands of humanity that sit between the lands of Chaos (Horned Society, Iuz, Pomarj) and more civilized lands (Nyrond, Unrst, Sheldomar Valley)
  • Greyhawk was covered in the 1st article on Mythic Greyhawk.
  • Furyondy = England. Complete with Normannic-style (Aerdi descended) ruling class. 
  • Veluna = Ireland, sort of. Fierce old Flannae pagan barbarians, now the most pious converts of the western world. Still in the midst of a culture-religious revolution as ground-zero of the Church of the Blinding Light.
  • What is the deal with Dyvers? Capital of Furyondy, clearly the most developed and culturally advanced metropolis in the region, then just decided to go independent. Why was the capital relocated from Aerdi built Dyvers (pop. 53k) at the crossroads of the Flanaess to a redneck inland backwater like Chendl (pop. 13k)? We know its something to do with the restrictive policies of Veluna - Which tells us that:
    • A: Veluna is the new cultural and ideological driver of the region. This is almost certainly religiously oriented. The Church of the Blinding Light originated in Veluna and the Furyondese masses are engrossed in a puritanical wave of religious reformation.
    • B: Dyvers gentry was having none of that. In fact, most of Dyvers never even converted from the Oeridian pantheon. While the rest of the region was busy reforming and heralding a new age of religious awakening, Dyvers was (and is) having an Aerdi-inspired cultural rennaissance! 
      The King of Furyondy had to relocate because to remain in this cesspool of sin would make him look real bad in the eyes of the masses. In fact, Chendl was built from scratch as the new capital, in the virtuous image of the Church of the Blinding Light. The King thought it would make him, and Chendl, look great. It's not taken off quite as he had hoped.
    • C: The citizens of Dyvers said good riddance when the king started his virtuous new city and left Dyvers alone. Going independent was just a natural consequence of how Dyvers never got on board with the cultural wave of religious reformation and independence from Aerdi that took Veluna and Furyondy by storm. Dyvers still digs the old scene and would probably hapily rejoin the Great Kingdom if not for the sorry state of affairs in Aerdi today and the threat of war it might start. The Aerdi cultural rennaissance has nonetheless turned the city in a direction towards opulence and decadence. Whether noble or commoner, if you have anything to your name in Dyvers, you are meant to flaunt it. It's a city of arts, craftsmanship, creativity and high culture, baroque excess and refined hedonism (nothing like their uncouth neighbours in Greyhawk).
Dyvers by night
"Visit Dyvers" poster 

Sheldomar Valley

  • Keoland is a southern, mildly benign, high medieval Russia, but a bit closer to the romantic ideals of Russia that Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky et al wanted it to be.
    I imagine an ancient Suel ruling class (this is where the suel Zolites under Slerotin fled to and settled just before the Rain of Colorless Fire to try and do civilization a better way than the corrupt suel empire. Slerotin would there also found the Silent Ones of Keoland) and a mostly Oeridian middle and lower class.
  • I see the other sheldomar states like Geoff, The Gran March, Bissel and Steric as similar to the slavic states and engaged in much the same dynamic with Keoland that Russia's neighbours have traditionally been engaged in with Russia. Most of the populations are flan (with the urban population being more Oeridian) with Oeridian nobility and the odd Suel house from the time of Keoland imperialism.
  • I am unsure what to make of Yeomanry. A warrior state where warriors (and, tangenially, craftsmen) elect their leaders. Sounds Spartan. They are predominantly Flan - Perhaps some sort of Celtic/proto-Germanic kingdom that did stayed true to its tribal warrior heritage while the world around them went feudally medieval. 
  • The Ulek states are a bit of an oddball - Three independent states all named similarly and all of them demi-human. Outside of Celene (which is just across the Lortmils from Ulek) and the town of Highfolk, these are also the only demi-human states on the map. It strikes me as a kind of Tolkienesque "last stand" region for demi-humans in a world where humans have taken over. Their existence also seem more defined by the struggles with the humanoids of the Pomarj than with humans, of which a brief (and seemingly voluntary) vassalage is the only notable event, which was cast off with relative ease when it no longer suited.
    My take is that the "principality / duchy / county" thing is just a crude human attempt to classify the demi-human confederation of Ulek, which is a compact of demi-human refuges formed before the human migrations.
    I am thinking elves and dwarves fought a war way back when, and part of the peace treaty was establishing a peace territory where dwarves and elves would live co-dependent on each other as well as the human vassals who wished to live there (and of course, the gnome and halfling vassal communities). A distinctly not-human solution to a geopolitical crisis.
    The original Dwarven and elven kingdoms that helped build Ulek have since then disappeared (except for Celene), but the young Peace Territories of Ulek still stand. 
  • The sea princes (Barbary Coast) are suel and the best slavers in the flanaess. They sell a steady supply to Aerdy.
Baklunish West
The orient. The Baklunish West seems to be considered the most pressing threat to the lands of the Sheldomar Valley and Old Ferrond, given that both the Knights of the Watch and the Knights of the Hart are formed primarily as a vanguard against the west.
  • Ekbir, Zeif & Tusmit are all super exotic and in many ways more sophisticated than the east. A lot of the splendor and magic of the old bakluni empire was actually preserved here.
  • Ull is totally Dothraki. yeah!
  • I see the Paynim plains as a bit of a chaotic wasteland - Think the Seven Serpents gamebook from Fighting Fantasy.
  • Ket is an oddball. A cultural melting pot, trade center between west and east - But mostly a military menace to its neighbours in the Flanaess. I think it's meant to be Iberian, but I am not sure that's a good look for what I want. Maybe Iberia-as-imagined-by-Jack-Vance where the baroqueness is dialled up to 10 would work. By extension this also means Ket has the highest number of ostentatiously eccentric wizards per capita in the Flanaess. Yeah - Suddenly we know what Rary is like just based on him being from Ket. 
  • I am making The Horned Society is considered a greater threat than Iuz to the lands of Men. The former is aggressive and seems to have no shortage of humanoids to join its banners, whilst Iuz is a less known and ill understood slumbering force.
  • I know Perrenland is meant to be fantasy Switzerland, but I don't particularly like it. You've got this somewhat isolated mountain-valleys kingdom, that has been populated by strong Flan warrior clans since before the migrations. This is, alongside Tenh, one of the few remnant Flan kingdoms left. It should be steeped in mythic fabric and pre-medieval lore.
    Not Switzerland, but  the Scottish Highlands, the version the Romans feared enough to build Hadrian's Wall. How did they beat back the migrations? I am thinking ancient pacts with the Dwarves of the Yatils and the elves of the Vesve.  Perrenland is the an artifact of pre-migration Flannaess, of barbarian clans that have been somewhat civilized by pacts of equilibrium with the demi-humans they share the continent with.
    Perrenlander mercenaries are still esteemed across the Flanaess and a popular career choice among those clanholders who wish to see what the world looks like outside the time capsule that is Perrenland.

  • Oeridians are so vast an ethnic group, it is akin to "European". They see themselves as a chosen people favored by the gods (the Oeridian pantheon being the major bastion of Law in this age lends some credence to this view), who followed prophecy to migrate to the Flanaess. Their overwhelming success has only validated their view as the righteously and divinely appointed rulers of the Flanaess. 
  • I am making the Snow/Frost/Ice viking barbarians Flan in origin. There is no real story to be told in them being Suel and lots in them being Flannae.
  • Elsewhere, Flan typically means Celtic or slavic style barbarian.
  • Except for the noble houses of Keoand, Suel is by now a wicked remnant of a people that should have died out but live on somehow on the outskirts of the Flanaess as exotic people of ill repute (Hold of the Sea Princes, Scarlet Brotherhood).
    This is what the Father of Obedience looks like in Mythic Greyhawk
  • Bakluni are of course super exotic orientals.


  1. (whispers)

    The Scarlet Brotherhood is said to deal in black lotus, sourced from secret places in the Amedio Jungle.


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