Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Artifacts of Greyhawk

Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 13:47:29 EST
From: Gary Welsh
Subject: Artifacts of Greyhawk

Lately, I have been thinking about doing my own timeline for the ancient eras of Greyhawk, and the legend and history of the various artifacts and relics linked to Greyhawk. This is not intended to be canonical, but is purely IMC. In this timeline, I have tried to be true to the old, 1st ed. sources, which may not be to everyone's taste, but that is the flavor I am aiming at.

The beginning of time predates any of the calendars, including the Suel Dominion. The elves, gnomes and dwarves have a very long oral history, with songs, poems and sagas from thousands of years ago. In these early times which are partly history and mostly myth, the demihumans have stories about the "Age of the Gods" when the gods supposedly walked the Oerth, and they and their minions established realms and battled for supremacy. No one knows how long this "Age of the Gods" was, or just when it ended. One of the stories that might be from this era could be the Battle of Pesh, in which the Wind Dukes of Aaqa (deities of Law) battled with the Queen of Chaos. According to the early stories, the "King of the Gods" sat at the Throne of the Gods, in a gigantic, cavernous hall in an immense mountain somewhere. One reason given for why the "Age of Gods" ended is that the deities did not want to destroy Oerth with their conflicts, and so withdrew to the Outer Planes.

The oldest calendar dates back to the beginning of the Suel Dominion. The Suel Calendar was applied to a time of which not many records were kept, so its beginnings are also shrouded in myth and legend. All that is known is that the priests and astrologers did develop an increasingly accurate calendar, and retroactively applied their "Year One" to a great event in their own cultural history. After that, for thousands of years, the Suel Dominion evolved into a great and powerful and rich civilization, which moved through several eras, before coming to an end due to the Rain of Colorless Fire in 5094 SD.

In the year 1053 SD, the Olven Calendar begins (OC). It may be that the elves began accurate timekeeping after learning about the Suloise Dominion calendar. Before that, they may simply not have cared much about linear timekeeping and the recording of particular events. The Olven Calendar records the early history of the Realms of the Sun and the Moon in the Flanaess (Sunndi and Celene). The current year (576 CY) on the Olven Calendar is 5038 OC.

In the year 2856 SD, Baklunish nomads established a holy site on Lake Karnoosh, which began the Bakluni Histography. The Baklunish would over the centuries transform from nomads to semi-nomads and finally into a wealthy, enlightened culture that extended from the Dry Steppes to the Sulhaut Mountains to the Drawmij Oceann and west to lands that are now a wasteland. Numerous river valleys, which are now gone, supported vast, glittering cities of a huge and rich Bakluni empire. In 5031 SD, the inevitable happened, and the two great empires collided in wars that lasted for decades and ended with the Twin Cataclysms.

In 3250 SD, the Flan people of the Flanaess began counting their own time.
The Ur-Flan, Almeks, and Olman people had all been accomplished astrologers and stargazers. The Flannae Timechart was just one of such calendars that came into use -- the one used by the people of the north. The Flannae have often been cited as not being city-dwellers and empire-builders. And that is true, compared to the scale of other people. But the Flannae had their villages, ziggurats, holy sites, and hengestones, as well as stone tablets and hide scrolls which they used to record history in their own fashion. The current year (576 CY) is 2726 FT, as it is still kept in Tenh and parts of Geoff, where the Flan strains are still quite strong.

The Oeridian Record begins scant decades before the migrations of that people began in earnest. It is no doubt dated from the time of a great leader, who began to lead the people to the east. Only 160 years after this Record begins, the Suel-Baklunish wars began. The humanoid hordes were brought in from the far west to serve in the wars, and this pushed the Oeridians to the east. From Ull, they began migrating into the Flanaess. The Oeridians no doubt began keeping a calendar which they borrowed from the Bakluni or the Suel, and instituted their own "Year One." A couple of hundred years later, the Oeridians across the Flanaess were all using this Record, until the Overking of the Aerdy inaugaurated the Common Year One in 645 OR. As Aerdy expanded and conquered, the Calendar of the Common Year came into much broader use.

AXE OF THE DWARVISH LORDS: This artifact dates from the "Age of the Gods" when the legendary figure known as first Dwarven King forged this weapon in the volcanic fires with the aid of a patron god, probably Fortubo or Moradin. It passed from dwarven monarch to dwarven monarch, probably in the Crystalmist or Sulhaut Mountains, until it was lost in the Invoked Devastation (implies that the ancient dwarf monarchy was in or close to the location of the ancient Bakluni empire). It shows up now and again, but now it is supposedly cursed.
BABA YAGA'S HUT: This artifact is indigenous to another Prime Material Plane, from a world parallel to Oerth. The owner may be an alter ego of Iggwilv, the witch Baba Yaga.
CODEX OF THE INFINITE PLANES: In the past, a wizard-priest [Yagrax?] of the Isles of Woe found this artifact and used it to dominate the lands around the Nyr Dyv. It is rumored these massive powers also caused the Isles of Woe to sink. The Codex survived this disaster, and was later used by the archmage Tzunk in his effort to conquer the City of Brass on the Elemental Plane of Fire.
CROWN, ORB AND SCEPTRE OF MIGHT: Each of the three main moral alignments had
its own champions -- Good, Neutrality and Evil. It is said that the great deities of the past created these items of regalia for their viceroys or chosen representatives on Oerth, so that there was an Emperor of Good, of Neutrality, and of Evil. These artifacts date from the late period of the "Age of the Gods", when the gods were beginning to battle each other through mortal representatives.
CRYSTAL OF THE EBON FLAME: This artifact may or may not be related to the Plane of Shadow, or the Realm of the Shadowking. No one knows for sure.
CUP AND TALISMAN OF AL'AKBAR: In the years following the Invoked Devastation,
the gods of the Paynims gave their lawful good high priest these precious artifacts. However, they were lost to demihuman raiders, and were last reported to be somewhere in the southeastern Bandit Kingdoms (Stoink? Dimre? Johrase? Artonsamay? Reyhu?).
EYE AND HAND OF VECNA: Not much is known of this greatest of evil liches, but
it is thought that he ruled a land somewhere on the Flanaess during or before the time of the Great Migrations. In any case, it is thought he was brought low due to the treachery of his trusted lieutenant, Kas, and an enchanted sword which he'd given the warrior. These two evil relics still exist, however, and from time to time pop up to cause havoc once again.
HEWARD'S MYSTICAL ORGAN: This huge pipe-organ is named after the quasi-deity,
Heward, and is mentioned in the Fables of Burdock. It is a great, cumbersome device, probably existing in some extradimensional space somewhere -- possibly accessed by the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk.
INVULNERABLE COAT OF ARND OF TDON: This chain shirt was worn by the legendary
priest Arnd, an Old Oeridian of some forgotten town in the far west. It probably dates from a time prior to the beginning of the Oeridian Record.

No comments: