Thrice The Brinded Cat
The Free City of Greyhawk
Greyhawk, named for the small grey hawks which populate the region, was originally a trading outpost on the Selintan River specializing in local wood and woven garments. In time the town developed strong textile and meat-packing industries. Eventually, Greyhawk came to be ruled by a warlord, who took the title “Lansgraf of the Selintan”. His son was then married to the Gynarch of Hardby’s daughter. The nuptials formalized a political alliance that served as the basis for rule over the Lanstadt of Selintan, an area that eventually became known as the Domain of Greyhawk.
In 4 CY, Greyhawk came under the domination of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy and remained so while strong Overkings ruled from the Malachite Throne in Rauxes. By the 3rd century CY, the Great Kingdom’s influence over the city began to wane as the Overkings fell into evil ways and their hold on distant provinces became increasingly tenuous.
Circa 310 CY, the mage Zagig Yragerne emerged from the Wild Coast and bribed his way into a seat on the Directing Oligarchy. Soon after, the Oligarchs elected Zagig Lord Mayor.
Greyhawk subsequently rose in fame and prominence under the leadership of Lord Mayor Zagig. He instituted legal reform, developed a new currency, fortified the walls, founded the city’s first university and embarked on a major building program. Most notably, he directed the construction of nearby Castle Greyhawk.
Although Zagig—later known as Zagyg—became increasingly erratic over time, his rule is generally considered to be the most effective in the Free City’s history and brought widespread prosperity to the region. Much to the annoyance of Dyvers and other rival cities, Zagig proclaimed Greyhawk to be the “Gem of the Flanaess,” and did much to ensure this moniker was justified.
Unfortunately, the “Mad Archmage” suddenly disappeared in 421 CY, leaving no clues regarding his whereabouts, and no heir to inherit the title of Lansgraf.
In 498 CY, after decades of Zagig’s absence, the Lanstadt was therefore abolished, the title of Lansgraf permanently retired, and the Free City’s Directing Oligarchy assumed political authority. The new Lord Mayor Paerinn officially proclaimed Greyhawk a free city, though it had been effectively independent of the Great Kingdom’s rule for over a century.
Soon thereafter, the city lost its claim over Hardby and the Wild Coast, as the leading women of Hardby broke from Greyhawk and established the ruling office of Despotrix. This loss of lands sent the Free City into economic decline, a situation that persisted for several decades. Fortunately, the discovery of treasure in the dungeons beneath Castle Greyhawk and other nearby locales set off a gold rush of sorts, and Greyhawk’s economic fortunes recovered substantially in the second half of the 6th century.
The Free City of Greyhawk actually had less direct involvement in the so-called Greyhawk Wars than many political entities across the Flanaess, but because the final truce was brokered in Greyhawk in CY 584, the war has come to be named for the city.
The Wars had several important effects on the city, particularly that the unrest drove Hardby and the Wild Coast cities of Safeton and Narwell to re-submit to the rule of the Directing Oligarchs. However, since it was largely fear of Turrosh Mak’s humanoid raiders from the Pomarj that prompted this move, a situation that has been resolved to some extent, the Despotrix and the Wild Coast cities are once again agitating for increased independence.
Also as a result of the Wars, the city has seen an influx of new citizens. Some of these are wealthy diplomats, and some are “nobles” who have contributed significantly to Greyhawk’s coffers with the purchase of various counterfeit titles and documents. But many newcomers to Greyhawk are destitute refugees, or are merely using the city as a base for hatching political plots and intrigues across the Flanaess. In particular, there are persistent rumors of covert Scarlet Brotherhood operations in the city.
The post-war outlook for the Free City is therefore mixed. Greyhawk’s finances are in the best shape they have been since Zagig’s departure, but the city faces significant challenges arising from political instability and increasing criminal activity.
The Free City of Greyhawk is located centrally in the Flanaess, which is the easternmost part of the continent of Oerik on the world of Oerth. The city controls a large swath of land along the Selintan River from the Nyr Dyv south to Woolly Bay most of the Cairn Hills, parts of the Gnarley Forest, the northern Wild Coast, and parts of the Abbor-Alz. The entire region is officially known as the Domain of Greyhawk. The Domain is bordered on the east by the Abbor-Alz and its western border lies within the Gnarley Forest. The area south of Greyhawk City along the Selintan is known as the Plain of Greyhawk.