Monday, February 16, 2009

Re: The Duchy of Ulek "source document"

Date: Wed, 10 Nov 99 04:55AM PST
From: sander Add To Address Book Add To Junk Mail
Subject: Re: [GREYTALK] The Duchy of Ulek "source document"

> Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1999 17:10:52 PST
> From: Immaculate Image
> Subject: The Duchy of Ulek "source document"

> Before I continue, I first have to credit Steve Wilson, who kindly allowed our Triad to use his Duchy of Ulek article from the Codex as the basis for our own purposes.
> Also if anyone is interested in contributing in any way, especially if you live in GA, get in touch with me.

I'm presently not in GA, indeed, I am quite far from it...

But I just love the Ulek states. There are lots of comments below. I have somewhy a feeling that some of these are due to the insufficent fleshing out of the County and Principality of Ulek.

> Slash it and smash it, baby, 'cause here it is....
> Ruler: His Noble Radiance, Duke Grenowen of Ulek
> Capital: Tringlee (pop. 14,800/ hex S4 -107)
> Major Settlements: Waybury (13,500/Y4 - 107), The Crossroads (4,100/W4 -109), Silverbend (3,200/U4 - 111)
> Population: 28,000

Wait a second. 14800+13500+4100+3200=35600 which is quite a bit more than the total population. Hence the total population should be increased.

> Demi-Humans: High Elves (12,500), Sylvan Elves (5,000), Gnomes (5,000), Tallfellow Halflings (2,500)

Shouldn't humans be listed here? After all, there are 25000 demihumans which leaves only 3000 humans. Unless teh population count is increased (see above).

> Humanoids: None
> Resources: Foodstuffs, Cloth, Electrum, Gems

And the rest of the writeup continues to totally ignore both foodstuffs and cloth, even though these are listed as resources and should thus be important.

> National Alignment: Chaotic Good

[big snip]

> already separate Ulek states and granted them their "independence." The High Elves in the northernmost portion of the province chose Grenowen to be their Duke. It was Grenowen who dared the mountains to the east, and more importantly, the illusion ridden and heavily guarded lands of
>Celene, to bring word of the plight of the elves of Ulek to the queen.

Is there an offical view of Grenowin or even a write-up?

> The High Elves of the northern third of Uleki province established the capitol for their country in one of the old Provincial Seats, in Tringlee.
> After a short while, Keoland welcomed this new government, recognizing the wisdom in local rule.

The wording amlmost sounds like it resulted in civil reforms in Keoland...

> The opening of neighboring Celene proved prosperous for the Duchy.
> Celene's fine products flowed exclusively through the Duchy into the rest of the Flanaess, and this trade, when added to that of the Duchy's own products, brought great wealth into the land. Up until the time of the Greyhawk Wars, the Duchy prospered. It is the most accessible of
> all elven lands to humankind and other demihumans, and this atmosphere has made the Duchy and the Duke popular both in his lands and abroad.

Meaning? Now that the GHW are over and Celene is not so open, what about the trade? As such a trade would also bring additional wealth into not only the Duchy of Ulek but also Celene, the merchants and anybody connected to them are going to be grumbling if it has stopped entirely, and would probably create a fair bit of smuggling. If it continues but is limited by say requiring a special royal permit or somesuch, it would create some smuggling and quite a bit of intrigue.

Which are IMHO excellent story leads.


> southern lands. These nobles are also strongly in support of the Knights of Luna in Celene, and desire to help change Celene's isolationist policies. There is even some radical talk, that the Queen
> should be "forced" into agreeing to aid both Furyondy and Veluna to the north and the Principality of Ulek to the south. The Duke favors a more conservative diplomatic approach with regard to Celene and the solution of these problems.

IMC the Knights of Luna came to be due to advice by a Duchy noble to some nobles of Celene who like the atmosphere in the Duchy quite a bit more than the overly conservative atmosphere in Celene. The problem with providing help to foreign states is that your own forces get to see how others live...


> dwarves, and gnomes of these mountains are supported by the Ulek states, less actively by Celene, and indirectly by small tribes of aarakocra that fly the central spine of the Lortmils. The wealth of the Lortmils
> is great, with excellent gems, ores, and precious metals. Some of the dwarven clan leaders are said to be as rich as princes, and are approached by emissaries from Furyondy and even Nyrond for aid. Dwarves
> are not, however, susceptible to such overtures.

Hmm... Not listed above in resources.

[snip - Rivers]

> Two ancient woodlands grow within the borders of Ulek, the remnants of the once great forest that spanned the length of the Sheldomar Valley from the Dim Forest hundreds of miles to the north, and the Dreadwood which lies hundreds of miles to the south. The Axewood is a small forest
> that straddles the border of Keoland and the Duchy of Ulek some 150 miles west of Tringlee and 60 miles north of Niole Dra. Wood elves and treants dwell here, as well as a number of small sprites (atomies and grigs). The other forest, the Silverwood, lies entirely in the confines

Somebody should work on those.

> of the southern reaches of the Duchy. Lying between the Sheldomar and Kewl rivers, this wood is home to some 3,000 sylvan elves and other demihumans (gnomes and a few halflings). The elves are said to nurture

Forest dwelling halflings?

[snip - additional forest]

[snip - roads, got to check it out on a map]

> ECOLOGY: The forests of the Duchy of Ulek are in a geographical position that tends to give them the best mixture of tree species from both what are considered typically Central and Southern woods in the Flanaess. The following list details the most important species to be found within the
> Duchy: apple, apricot, ash, bay, beech, briar, bronzewood, camphor, cedar, cherry, chestnut, chokecherry, crabapple, elder, elm, fig, galda, grapefruit, gum, hawthorne, hickory, hornwood, ipp, ipt, kara, larch, lemon, lime, locust, mangrove, maple, mulberry, myrtle, oak, olive,
> orange, peach, pear, phost, pine, plum, poplar, roanwood, thorn, tulip tree, usk, walnut, willow, yarpick, and yew. There are also the

The list is extensive. As there aren't for some reason the average temps by months listed [actually, this would be a very usefull information. Climate should always come first before ecology.] it is hard to say whetever all the trees would actually grow there. I am suspicious of apricot, orange, maybe also lemon. And I don't know all the other trees listed 8-(

> semi-intelligent and carnivorous plants to be found in remote areas of the forests. Choke creepers, hangmen trees, giant sundews and kampfults won't hesitate to end the life of an unwary or wounded adventurer.

These invariantly creep up.

> Although the Duchy is a relatively safe land, there are the odd encounters with dangerous life-forms. Humanoids are virtually non-existent within the borders of this country, and large groups of
> humanoids haven't walked the plains of the Duchy since before the Hateful Wars. There do remain hidden pockets of some humanoid races, though none are larger than orcs or bugbears. The smaller races, such as kobolds, jermalaine, xvarts, and goblins tend to fare better, though the
> most common humanoid plaguing the forests are the elusive kech. Igundi, skulks, kenku, adherers, and dopplegangers have also found a niche in various parts of the Duchy.

Way too many humanoids imho, especially considering the population toll of none. Sounds a lot more like 'small numbers of just about any small humanoid race can be occasionally be found'.

> Needlemen plague the Silverwood like few other places in the Flanaess, thriving on the predominence of elves. Also among the tiny creatures of the land are gremlins, fremlins, galltrits, killmouli, and booka, though the latter two are much more tolerable than the members of the gremlin
> family. It is more common to encounter wild herd animals on the plains, and on occasions, their monstrous variants. Predatory animals, such as brown bears, wolves, lions, cougars, and coyotes can also be found in more isolated areas of the Duchy.

Brown bears are omnivores. Cougras would probably live in the lortmils (but seeing as bears and lions live in mountainous areas as well - counsider their former populations in italy, greece and spain) I'm not sure if there would be a niche for cougars. And I would definately leave coyottes out.

> Among the true monsters, there is no shortage of isolated hazards.
> Anhkegs and ant lions are known to grab unwary travelers on the plains, and in the depths of the forest, owlbears can make short work of

Owlbears are cool.


> rumors that a red dragon or two may still lair within the Lortmils, but such creatures would have to be crafty and secretive indeed to avoid the attentions of their eternal enemies, the dwarves. It is highly doubtful that any dragons reside in either the Axewood or the Silverwood. If such
> a beast did, however, it would be unusually intelligent, powerful, and

This all leaves out the various neutral and good dragons. Considering the whole galore of those that exist...

> careful, to be able to avoid the attention of the elves and the good aligned creatures of those woods. Whether or not any Greyhawk dragons have taken up residence in Tringlee or Waybury is another unknown.

> There are no large, stationary bodies of water within the borders of the Duchy, and the Sheldomar River and its tributaries are well traveled and safe. There is an abundance of fish species, and fisherman and

The rivers are first declared safe...

> adventures alike should be aware of the dangers presented by some of the giant members of certain of these fish, notably catfish. In the slower moving shallows below Niole Dra, dragonfish are also a lethal hazard to unprotected feet wading in the water. Nereids and water nagas are not
> unheard of in some of the remote areas of the rivers, especially where the Sheldomar passes through the Axewood. Fortunately, there is not much and then it sounds like nobody would go near the rivers, at least not without arming themselves to the teeth. There aren't all that many remote areas of the rivers either.

> to fear from more exotic and dangerous water-based predators, as there is little room and even less tolerance by the people who inhabit the shore communities for such creatures. Perhaps the most common "monster" that rears its ugly head every so often is the giant snapping turtle,
> and crocodiles bask on the banks of the Kewl below Silverbend. There are

Crocodiles? I am afraid that it would be a bit too cold for crocodiles, or the region (at least the south cost keoland and the principality) are quite a bit warmer than considered before. Note that the critical part here is temperature in the winter. That's why crocodiles don't in real life live on the northern cost of the Mediterannean but do live in Egypt.

> exceptions to this, when some ocean going monster travels north up past Gradsul and into the Sheldomar.

There ius a *long* way up from Gradsul and the water of teh river that may well be somewhat brakish down near Gradsul is definately not so up there, which would discourage the monsters to move too high up the river...

> Sylvan and faerie creatures thrive in this land. Brownies, buckawns, atomies, grigs, sprites, quicklings, pixies, mites, snyads, faux faeries, leprechauns, and stwingers all inhabit the forested areas of
> the eastern Sheldomar Valley, seeming to exist for the sole purpose of harassing the forest's larger two-legged inhabitants. Pseudodragons and

Well, this is a clear case of size-chauvinism.

> faerie dragons also haunt the woods, and dryads, nymphs, and korred reside in remote glens. There is also a significant population of centaurs and voadkyn, and no shortage of treants within the Silverwood.
> A truly lucky soul might even catch a glimpse of the rare unicorn, which also is known to inhabit that rich woodland.

If there is a significant population of centaurs, why aren't they listed in population? Why do they live in the forest? Horses don't normally...


[snip - high elves rule the land, esp. the nobility]

> The Duke and his cabinet is responsible for handling matters which affect the entire realm, such as international relations and trade, and the maintenance of a national military. The local nobility of a given
> area, be they of whatever race, is responsible for all local governance.
> Waybury is of note in this regard, as over the years as it has increased in population it has increased its political influence, and is considered a seat of human influence within the Duchy.

At which point it springs to my mind that

> Three times a year, the Convocation of Lords is held. During this time, matters of national concern are presented to the elven nobility, and they give suggestions to the Duke on how to handle matters. The Duke
> also announces any policies he has decided upon which affect the entire realm. There are also influential advisers of other races that Grenowen may call upon, and the Duke is quite good in tapping the experience and wisdom of others.

Here is a contradiction. Shouldn't the elven be droped from in front of the nobility? Otherwise Waybury and the gnomes and halflings and humans would have no political influence.

> During the month of Lacysnows the third meeting of the year, the Convocation of Branches, is held. Here the nobility votes on whether or

As here is just nobility, not specificly elven nobility the previous paragraphs should be corrected.

> not they will continue to support the Duke by laying switches from the prized ipt trees on the ground in two piles--one for those who favor the Duke, and one for those opposed. Although it is entirely possible for any individual noble house to oppose the Duke actively, this has never
> carried to the point of warfare. The Duke may resign his post at any time he desires, at which point in time a special Convocation of Selection would be called.

How is the succession of the Duke handled?

[snip - the cabinet]

> There are no hostile nations bordering the Duchy, as they maintain good relations with Keoland and The Old Country's other former lands, from the Gran March to the Principality of Ulek. In addition, the Duchy of Ulek maintains a working relationship with many of the dwarven clans of
> the Lortmils and of course, has always had a strong kinship with the elven nation of Celene, though this has been subject to internal strain since the Greyhawk Wars.

The Duchy has quite a lot of gnomes in it's lands. Why not expand and (peacefully) get the dwarves to join in? Indeed, how much are the dwarves concerned who considers the surface area their own?

> Although several hundred miles away, Grenowen is well aware of the danger the Empire of the Pomarj presents to all of the Ulek states, and many troops and adventurers journey southeast from the Duchy to aid the forces of the Principality of Ulek in their struggles with Turrosh Mak.

Also a good reason to prod the Lortmils dwarves to join the Duchy.
Especially as teh Duchy is providing help to other dwarves and is clearly friendly to various races.

> Another tangible threat to the Duchy of Ulek, and all good lands of the Flanaess is the Scarlet Brotherhood. After the Greyhawk Wars, everyone took note of this sinister organization, including Duke Grenowen.
> Lastly, there are those who remember Keoland's imperialistic era, and are wary that a future king might want to return Keoland to its former glory.

Something they share in common with all the other border areas of the Keoland. A good reason for co-operation.

> MILITARY: The military of the Duchy is small but effective, and is noted for its many high elven fighter/mages. The most common activity performed by the army is patrolling the plains of the Duchy, and at most times some 25% of the total force is out on patrol. At any given time,
> the size of the army ranges from 1000 to 2000 strong. Perhaps half of this total is comprised of humans, another quarter high elves, and the

Considering that there may be as few as 3000 humans in the Duchy, a very significant portion of humans are in the military.

> other races of the Duchy make up the balance. About 30% of the total force are comprised of medium cavalry, and heavy and light cavalry make up an additional 15% each. The Duchy is renown for its cavalry, and it serves the needs of the country quite well.

Well, cavalry is not usefull on mountainous or mostly hilly lands or in the forest. The needs of the Duchy for cavalry?

Besides, what exactly is 'medium cavalry' in Flannaess?

> Another 30% of the total force comprises mixed infantry, who serve to defend cities and fixed positions, or hold ground allowing the cavalry to engage an enemy. Elven infantry tend to prefer the long sword and bow, while human troops tend to be crossbowmen and billmen. The
> halflings and gnomes troops use short swords and hand axes (although halfling troops also carry slings). The final 10% are considered specialists, and include rangers and archers from the Axewood and
> Silverwood, as well as priests, mages, scouts and gnomish sappers. These


> forces do not include city guardsmen or personal guards of either the leadership or the nobility.
> In addition to this, each elven noble house (of which their are quite a few) generally has a household force which may number from 30 to 100 men at arms. These troops are armed by the whim or need of the elven lord or lady to whom they owe allegiance. In addition to this, it is possible

This suggests that:
a) nonelven nobility / leaders don't have armed forces
b) towns don't have their own forces

> for Duke to issue the call for the "Grand Host of Ulek". This includes all of the forces of the elven lords and an additional 25 to 50 civilian men or women from each noble's holding capable of bearing arms holding.
> This force may number up to 5,000 strong.

> The Duchy is loath to spend money on mercenaries to train new troops, and instead recruits veterans from the military to spend
Hiring mercenaries for training? A novel thought.

> one-year rotations in training camps as instructors. This saves the Duchy money as well as promoting trust and morale among the army. And rather than maintaining expensive (and unnecessary) fortresses
> throughout the Duchy, patrols normally billet with local city guards or
Especially considering that the local lords are bound to have their own castles and the villages and towns to have their own protections that they can maintain themselves.

> form camps near smaller towns and villages. The primary training base of the Duchy's forces is known as The Crossroads. This fortified town is centrally located at the intersection of the Sheldomar Pike and the Duke's Road, and the wide open grasslands are excellent for training
> young horsemen and raising steeds to serve in the cavalry. The expansive plains of the eastern Sheldomar Valley also provide excellent opportunities to work on combined tactics and maneuvers, including battlefield magic. Most patrols originate from this base, and at any
> given time nearly half of the strength of the army is located here. When

Now take a look at the map, and place 25 dots (1000/2=500, minimum patrol size is 10, and there are bound to be ~250 soldiers in the towns). If the patrols are smaller, place less dots.

> a particular formation or unit is preparing for a tour of the Pomarj border, they will frequently train in this area prior to deploying to the Principality of Ulek.
> Since the Greyhawk Wars, there has been an additional military burden taken up by the Duchy: forwarding a force to assist in patrolling and maintaining the Principality of Ulek's border with the Pomarj. This force is typically about 200 members strong, and is comprised of the
> same percentage makeup as the rest of the army. This force typically rotates every six months and is self-supporting while in Corond's lands, though the Principality is responsible for any additional supplies or medical aid.

Not clear why not hire mercenaries to cover at least part of that burden.
And it sounds likely there would be slightly more gnomes in the force and maybe even dwarves and slightly less so elves.

> The elves of the Silverwood and the demihumans and woodsmen of the Axewood maintain their own patrols within the woodlands, but may request assistance from the army on rare occasions. Since the Greyhawk Wars more effort has

Who is the perceived enemy in there? Keoland? Monster infestations?

> been put forth in recruiting mages and priests to serve in the military, but this has met with limited success. Other than the elven fighter/mages, wizards have little interest in being subject to the whims of some knight on horseback. The predominant faiths within the borders of the
> Duchy don't exactly lend themselves to the war effort either, but this is changing, as a slow and steady influx of immigrants from the Gran March and the Lost Lands have brought their more militaristic clergy
> with them. Such faiths are slowly building a presence especially in and around Waybury.

So the immigrants are mostly settling in and around Waybury? And there are significant amounts of them? Why isn't immigration documented anywhere?

> RELIGION: In keeping with the Duchy's very cosmopolitan and multi-cultural setting, many deities are worshipped here. The Duchy is unique among lands of the Flanaess with respect to the collection of
> Powers venerated by humans. Few and far between are the worshippers of lawful or martial deities, as the Duchy has had a relatively trouble free existence since the end of the Short War. Nature deities such as
> Beory, Ehlonna, Phyton, and Velnius join the brothers Celestian and


> Fharlanghn among the powers venerated throughout the Duchy. Most of the deities favored by bards also suffer no shortage of worshippers in this fair land, as Lydia, Lirr, Myhriss, Olidammara, and even the elven demigod Ye'Cind have followers in the cities.


> The priests within the Duchy are all given respect due their social status as in other lands of the Flanaess, but unlike many other regions, the priests have little political power, and probably don't desire any.
> Political machinations and intrigues generally don't concern the clergy of the aforementioned powers.

That's good. Except that it would mean a lot of pressure by the priesthoods on the nobility to join their ranks, starting already in early youth.



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