From: Gary R Welsh
Subject: [GREYTALK] Bandit Kingdoms Notes
There are indeed some grey areas in the recent history of the Bandit Kingdoms. Roger Moore once wrote a post (in two parts) called "Shield Lands Revisted" in which he dealt with some of the inconsistencies involving Shield Lands history. I agree with most of what Roger says, but below are my own notes on the Bandit Kingdoms, with comments:
In the original GH setting (1980/1983), which is set in 576 CY, it is evident that there are no Bandit Kingdoms on the coast of the Nyr Dyv (look at the maps on pp. 44-45 of the Guide). The Shield Lands controlled the coast east as far as the Artonsamay River, and on the other side of that river was Urnst County. At this time, the Shield Lands were in "desperate straits" due to the growing threat of the Horned Society north of them (Guide p. 34). The Bandit Kingdoms reached as far as the "northern verges of the Fellreev Forest" (Guide p. 19). Note also that in the Guide,
it is stated that there are seventeen bandit "minikingdoms" (to use Roger's phrase), as of 576, so that might create a problem with Roger's solution for new Bandit realms (Reyhu and Redhand) to be created later, in 579.
There is news about the north central Flanaess, including the Bandit Kingdoms, given in an article by Gary Gygax in DRAGON #56 (December 1981).
This news brings the Bandit Kingdoms up to date for the spring of CY 579, circa three years after the world described in the Folio/Guide. (Some people, like Gary Holian, will point out that if the Savant-Sage's "Guide" was *completed* in 576, it could not be *current* for that year. It's a valid point, but I will leave it ambiguous and just say the Bandit Kingdoms in spring 579 CY have undergone *at least* three years of change from how they were described in the Savant-Sage's "Guide"). It says here that [recently] Prince Zeech of Redhand staged a major action against the Duchy of Urnst, looting the area near the eastern Cairn Hills. The western bandit lords (of Warfields, Wormhall, Kor [note on Kor at end of paragraph], and Freehold) cooperated with the Horned Society in an attack on the Rovers (spring and summer of 578 CY). However, when the new Duke of Tenh (crowned Needfest 578 CY) crossed the Zumker and invaded Groskopf (spring 578) and news of this reached the bandits in the west, they abandoned their campaign helping the Horned Society and recalled their forces to the east (after Goodmonth 26, 578). Furious over this insolence and abandonment, the Horned Society sent a punitive force into the Bandit Kingdoms. This force occupied Wormhall and Warfields, but was stopped by the Abbarrish at Kor (autumn 578). Near mid-summer, the bandit lords had sued for a truce with Tenh. Accepting their promise not to raid Tenh anymore and with some land ceded to him, Duke Ehyeh III accepted and withdrew his troops. After recruiting and hiring mercenaries, the bandit lords have the troop totals as given in the article (for spring 579 CY), and they are united in their cause of recovering the western lands and taking reprisals against the Horned Society (and it is noted that those estimates may yet still increase due to last minute enlistments).
[Note on Kor: In the article, Gygax refers to Kor as the ruler (Rhelt), and Abbarra as the land, and also the Abbarrish as the people of that land. But in the troop listings, the land is called Kor and the ruler is called Abbarra. I am not sure which is the typo, but I suspect it is the latter. In the reprinting of these troop totals, in DRAGON #63, the land is still called Kor, and the ruler Abbarra. It is a rather arbitrary decision to make, but I went with calling the land Kor and the ruler Abbarra, as per the troop listings and the map, as I think the map is referred to and available moreso than the original article is. I call the ruler's kinsmen -- an entire clan o f assassins and cutthroats -- the 'Abbarrish'. I use Abbarra more as a last name/family name than as a personal/first name.]
The Bandit Kingdoms map published in DRAGON #63 (July 1982) detailed them as they were early in 579 CY. On this map, the Bandit Kingdoms seem to have expanded into former Shield Lands territory (again see Guide pp. 44-45, and compare those maps to map in DRAGON #63). In particular, the area controlled by the Bandit Kingdom of Redhand appears to be "new" as it sits on the northern coast of the Nyr Dyv (but note again, there were seventeen minikingdoms in 576, prior to the territorial acquisition on the shores of Nyr Dyv). It may be reasonable to assume that Redhand came into existence between 576 and 578 -- probably earlier in that period rather than later, considering the size of the fleet Prince Zeech of Redhand had built up and the comments made in the article in DRAGON #56. Reyhu at least isn't new, I assume, since its heraldic coat of arms appears in the Folio/Guide. But Reyhu may have grown, at the expense of the Shield Lands.
Now let us turn to the City of Greyhawk boxed set (CoG), the Greyhawk Wars (GHWars), and Iuz the Evil (ItE). Looking at "The Lands of Iuz" map from ItE (1993), it does not look like Sargent was working from the map published in DRAGON #63. But if I try to make things fit, here's what I come up with: Law's Forge is right at where the Shield Lands bordered Warfields. Stahzer is on the border with Tangles. White Plume Mountain and Plague Fields are on the edge of Reyhu. Alhaster is on the border between the Shield Lands and Redhand. Trallant is in Redhand. Balmund, Sarresh and Sheerwatch are in Reyhu. Wraithkeep is between Rift and Artonsamay. Camp Arnsten is in Dimre. Kinemeet and Hallorn and Splinter Keep are in Tangles. The Leering Keeps are in Rift. Marsakeer is in Rookroost. Steelbone Meadows is between Wormhall and Kor. Fleichshriver is between Freehold and Greenkeep. Scorn and Fort Hend Ricks are in Greenkeep. Fort Skagund is between Greenkeep and Fellands. Senningford is in Fellands. Perdition is between Fellands and Groskopf. Narleon and Groucester are in Groskopf. Note also that in ItE a name name is given to the body of water at the head of the Artonsamay River (Lake Aqal).
In "Shield Lands Revisited" (part 2), Roger Moore suggested Alhaster for Reyhu, and Balmund for Redhand. I think he had Redhand and Reyhu upside down when he wrote this -- the opposites would be more appropriate.
With all of this in mind, below is a Bandit Kingdoms Timeline I'm working on:
Six centuries ago, Stoink established as a garrison town, by the Aerdy (SoOC p. 140).
300-350 Bandit Kingdoms "founded" with waning of Aerdy.
446 Bandit Kings sack Trigol.
512 Armies from the Bandit Kingdoms take Molag.
513 Horned Society founded.
576 Half a dozen bandit lords have most of the control. There are seventeen fiefdoms in all.
577 The Bandit lords wrest a bit of the Nyr Dyv coast and Artonsamay River bank from the Shield Landers. Prince Zeech is established in the newly created fiefdom of Redhand. He sets himself up in Trallant, on the Artonsamay River, and takes the coastal villages east of Alhaster. From here, he begins building a pirate navy.
578 (Needfest) Ehyeh III crowned in Tenh (Spring) Warfields, Wormhall, Kor and Freehold aid the Horned Society in battles against Rovers, Wegwiur, and centaurs. Ehyeh crosses the Zumker, invades the Bluff Hills.
(Summer) After a large battle, word reaches the western Bandit Kings of the Tennese invasion. They recall their troops helping the Horned Society. The Bandit lords sue for peace with the Duke of Tenh. Ehyeh lays waste to Groskopf, and enters Fellands. Horned Society sends punitive force into Warfields and Wormhall.
(Autumn) Hierarchs are stoppped at Kor, due largely to the tenacity of the Abbarrish. Ehyeh makes peace with the Bandit lords, who cede all land between the Griffs and the Zumker to Tenh, and swear not to raid Tenh anymore.
579 (Spring) Bandit lords muster troops, prepare to retaliate against the Hierarchs [troop strengths given current for this time].