The DZA’s Greyhawk: Morgau and Doresh Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Entry

I didn’t really play much Greyhawk until 3rd Edition D&D came around, so my preferred version of Greyhawk is what’s laid out in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (LGG). As such, I wanted to give my new realm of Morgau and Doresh its own entry into that book. I’ve tweaked the entry for the Pomarj, so most of what is here was written by that books authors – Gary Holian, Erik Mona, Sean K. Reynolds, and Frederick Weining. I certainly have to give them credit, since I’m only adjusting a few things here and there. The bulk of the Overview and History sections were written by one of those fellows, I did the rest. It should also be noted that the events of the LGG take place in CY 591, but my campaign timeline has advanced to CY 598.

Morgau and Doresh, Principalities of

Proper Name: The Principalities of Morgau and Doresh

Ruler: His Eminence the First Prince, Prince Lucan (LN male human vampire, particulars unknown), the Shroud-Eater, Voivode of Voivodes

Government: Feudal monarchy in which all members of the nobility are undead

Capital: Stoneheim

Major Towns: Blue (8,500), Brom (7,700), Fenrill (5,300), Grisal (4,500), Highport (14,400), Stoneheim (12,800)

Provinces: Two principalities, two marchlands, four counties, thirteen baronies, one patrimony gifted to the Order of Knights Incorporeal, and numerous villages and manorial estates run by noble lords, military authorities, or local officials who answer to the First Prince.

Resources: Silver, electrum, gold, gems (I, II), necromantic goods

Coinage: Heart (pp), mark (gp), prince (ep), drop (sp), common (cp); blood marks (see below)

Population: 186,000 – Human 74% (OSfr), Undead (intelligent) 12%, Orc 6%, Hobgoblin 5%, Other 2%, Dwarf 1%

Languages: Common, Darakhul, Keoish, Orc

Alignments: LE*, NE, CE, LN, CN

Religions: Marena*, Erythnul, Hextor, Nerull, Osprem, various humanoid deities

Allies: Ahlissa, Irongate (trading partners only), White Kingdom

Enemies: Celene, Greyhawk, Scarlet Brotherhood, Ulek states

Overview: Perhaps the newest sovereign nation in the Flanaess, the Principalities of Morgau and Doresh occupy the Pomarj peninsula; a long arm of land extending from the Sheldomar Valley to separate the Azure Sea from the Sea of Gearnat. Its western border begins at the foothills of the Lortmil Mountains and the invaded Jewel River on the eastern border of the Principality of Ulek. The northern border is that of the Suss forest.

   Dominating this land are two major features, the rugged Drachensgrab Hills in its central fastness and the dark and foreboding Suss Forest in the west, which separates the Principalities from Celene and the County of Ulek. Neither place is very well populated by humanity, which has generally favored the lowlands along the coasts since the region was first settled.

   Few lands in the Flanaess are as malign as the Principalities aspire to be. The undead masters of the land, called “Elders,” rule here and the living are treated as the lower class. The capital is the city of Stoneheim, a thick-walled citadel that sits in the shadows of the southern face of the peaks of the Drachensgrab mountains. This squat, affluent place was once the center of the mining operation inaugurated by the Keoish throne three centuries ago, and was built largely by dwarven hands from Ulek. It is now held by the Elders as their center of nobility. The city is dominated by Blaskó Castle on its crag in the center of the city. The castle is entirely the domain of the undead; the living are not permitted within, though many skeletons serve the keep and a company of darakhul guards its walls.

   Blue, the peninsula’s third largest settlement, is an anchorage on the eastern tip of the Pomarj. It has a different character, having been an open port and home to pirates and smugglers for centuries. The Elders have strong alliances with the largely human mercenaries there, paying them well to harry the shipping lanes between the Azure Sea and the Sea of Gearnat. A temple to Oloma, the new Queen of Demons, is said to lie somewhere under the city.

   Highport, on the northern coast, is the largest city in the Principalities, though fewer than fifteen thousand people live in the former capital. The Prince has begun to rebuild the city, and has restored the markets and shipyards that once made it an important commercial center. Prince Lucan has established trade relations with Irongate and Ahlissa, which now flows through Highport. The city has grown over the last 10 years, as word of the orc’s exodus has spread and legitimate trade has begun to revitalize the city. The city’s good fortunes have a dark side, however. Where once drow and darker things walked in the late hours of night, now the society of the undead walk openly, conducting their business as they please.

History: Prior to the great migrations a millennium ago, the Pomarj was largely a desolate place inhabited by primitive Flan tribes who worshipped powers of earth and sky. Its poor soil and fell reputation caused it to be avoided by all but the most desperate of these newcomers, and it was eventually settled by small numbers of Suel who were unwelcome elsewhere and had no choice but to contend with the harsh terrain and its inhabitants. They called these heights the Suenha, until they learned from the Flan their original name: the Drachensgrabs, literally the Tomb of the Dragon. Legends held that great powers of the earth slept beneath these hills. Along the coast of the peninsula and north to the mouth of the Selintan, small communities formed away from the birth and expansions of vast kingdoms across the Flanaess.

   It was not until the late third century CY, when Keoland inaugurated its imperialistic phase, that there was renewed interest in the region. The Pomarj and its hills were long suspected by the dwarves of Ulek as having great mineral wealth just waiting to be claimed and exploited. In 295 CY, an alliance between the prince of Ulek and King Tavish I of Keoland produced an invasion force that crossed the Jewel River and conquered and subjugated the region within a few short years. The land was carved up into a dozen small baronies and awarded to favored families of the crown to be ruled as subfiefs under the protection of the prince of Ulek. These barons became extremely wealthy from the mineral riches extracted from the mines over the next few decades. In 305 CY, Highport was constructed atop the foundations of a smaller town in order to exploit this wealth with the rest of the world.

   More than a century and a half later, the power of the Keoish Throne waned after years of conflict. The barons of the Pomarj had no voice in the Royal Council at Niole Dra, instead they were subjects of the prince of Ulek. The latter withdrew from the kingdom to gain palatinate status from Keoland in 461 CY, and the barons of the Pomarj broke with the prince of Havenhill two years later to declare their own independence. They took the city of Highport as their capital and ejected the dwarven garrisons to begin ruling their petty states largely independently, even from each other. Some took the title of arch baron, duke, or prince, one going so far as to call himself the King of the Drachensgrabs.

   A few decades later, conflict broke out in the Lortmils between the elves, dwarves, and men of the region and the orcs and goblins. This was the beginning of the Hateful Wars, and the prince of Ulek appealed to the former baronies of the Pomarj to join the alliance for the strength derived from mutual defense and greater numbers. The Pomarj lords met in Highport the following year to discuss their response, but they saw little reason to involve themselves in what they considered an internecine conflict between essentially nonhumans. Further, they feared being reabsorbed into the Principality of Ulek, distrusting the motives of the prince and so turned their backs on the alliance.

   With the defeat of the orc and goblin armies at the hands of the hosts of Ulek and Celene at the end of the war in 510 CY, the inevitable came to pass. With nowhere else left to retreat, the angry and beaten survivors fell back in the only direction not fortified against them. In 513 CY, these ravaged and vengeful armies emerged from the Suss and descended upon Highport in a frenzy of destruction. The city was quickly sacked and burned; much of its population was put to the sword. Within mere months, the orcs had driven out the local lords and taken over most of the former baronies of the Pomarj.

   So began the quick decline into decadence. The orcs and goblins carved up the realm into small territories ruled by individual tribes and chieftains. Human bandits and privateers still frequented the major cities and towns, but the countryside became unsafe to travel.

   Anarchy persisted for decades until the mid 560s, when a group arose to seize control of large swaths of the Pomarj and put it under central authority. Calling themselves the Slave Lords, these humans brokered deals with the orc chieftains and began fostering an illicit trade in flesh. However, in 579 CY, the dominion of these lords crumbled. Reports indicated that a volcanic eruption in the mountains destroyed their hidden fastness.

   In the early 580s, a new leader emerged to unite the tribes, a rabble-rousing half-orc named Turrosh Mak. During the Greyhawk Wars, he inspired the orc tribes of the Pomarj to reclaim their “birthright” in the Lortmils. This precipitated a successful invasion of the Wild Coast and the Principality of Ulek; nearly half of those two realms were annexed by Mak. States as far away as Furyondy and Urnst were concerned over the rising strength of the new leader, who took the last five years to consolidate his holdings.

   War between the Pomarj and the dwarves of Ulek continued unabated, and some of the land west of the Jewel was recaptured by the Pomarj in a major battle in 586 CY. Mak then began to build an orc and human pirate navy with which to extend his power across the sea. His goal was to overcome the elven kingdom of Celene. His ally Stalman Klim began to rebuild the Slave Lords, but their plans were thwarted by heroes and the two were killed in the conflict. Many nations of the Flanaess breathed a collective sigh of relief at the death of Mak, knowing that his hold over the humanoids was what made them cooperate. Their relief was short lived, however, for even as Prince Corond and his armies, along with the Knights of Luna, began taking back border territories from the humanoids, a secret alliance of the undead made itself known and began conquering the Pomarj from the interior out to the borders.

   This alliance, between the darakhul ghouls of the White Kingdom and a cabal of vampires, had been making plans for this invasion for years. The vampire Lucan had placed several members of his vampiric lineage, called the Shroud-eaters, in key positions throughout the Flanaess to enable a takeover to create a nation the vampires could rule openly. Most of these machinations failed, but the workings of the vampiress Sabina von Strand, in life a noble of the Poor Marches, were successful. She infiltrated the Slavers and organized a heroic resistance to the organization that eventually created the power vacuum Lucan needed to bring his armies to bear.

   Lucan and his strain of vampires had taken refuge in the White Kingdom of the ghouls. When the humanoids began fighting each other, the time was right for the hordes of the undead to emerge from the Underdark. They descended upon the Pomarj with a fury, and added their vanquished foes to their undead armies. The remnants of Mak’s empire fled to the Suss Forest and the Wild Coast, and by the beginning of 587 Lucan was in control of the peninsula.

   The Shroud-eaters established themselves as the aristocracy and divided the realm amongst them. Sabina, for her part, was made a Countess, but the titles of Prince and Princess went to Lucan’s blood-children, older vampires named Thurso Dragonson and Hristina. Lucan established the worship of the ancient blood goddess Marena as the state religion. The gold mines were reopened, and Lucan began to rebuild what the humanoids destroyed. He improved roads, rebuilt the ports, and created a system of fortresses to protect the western border, all built with profits from the mines. He began to make trade agreements with Irongate and Ahlissa, and eased piracy attacks against their interests.

   Generally, Lucan is seen as improving the nation, but the common people are not the ones who benefit from these initiatives. Many undead overlords are cruel (if not murderous) to their subjects, and the priestesses of Marena can be equally so. The blood tax paid to the vampires can destroy the lives of their subjects, but the blood marks that represent the debt are traded amongst the Elders more than any other currency, and can be collected at any moment.

Conflicts and Intrigues: Prince Lucan seeks to bring more people to the Principalities to maximize the blood tax. Envoys have been sent to Greyhawk, Onnwal, Urnst, and the Sea Princes to establish relations. Rhennee Attloi have been seen and are thought to be the spies of the First Prince. Princess Hristina, Grand Marshall of the Ghost Knights, seeks to claim the Suss Forest for her liege. The drow vampire Margrave Fandorin wages a winter campaign against the Principality of Ulek on his western border; the cold does not bother his undead troops. Prince Dragonson’s power within the Principality is precarious. He relies on the support of his barons and lives in alternating fear and arrogance, depending on his degree of confidence in their support.

 

DISCLAIMER: This post references intellectual property copyrighted by Wizards of the Coast and Kobold Press. It is used here as part of a personal campaign that is not being sold or distributed, and should not be seen as a challenge to those copyrights. I’m just doing what DMs do and using different sources to put together a good home campaign.

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