The History of Obsidian Bay

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About This History

As kingdoms and cities in the Flanaess go, Obsidian Bay is a relative newcomer. Founded in CY 513, the city is just over 80 years old, which is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the centuries-old Free City of Greyhawk or the millennium-old Kingdom of Keoland. Yet that short time, the city has managed to have a significant impact on its corner of the content, bringing an increasingly large slice of civilization to the savage lands of the Pomarj.

This document provides an overview of the city and its history. It attempts to highlight the major events in the city’s life, serving as a primer for newcomers and a refresher for oldtimers.

All dates are given using the “Common Year”, which is the number of years since the crowning of the first Overking of the Great Kingdom in Rauxes. The history of the Flanness dates centuries before this.

Geography

The Pomarj is a subtropical peninsula bounded to the north by the Wooly Bay and to the south by the great Azure Sea. It's western edge is marked by the XXX river, which forms a natural border with the Principality of Ulek. To the north, it is bordered by the chaotic land known as the Wild Coast and the primordial woodland known as the Suss Forest.

The central portion of the Pomarj is dominated by the Drachensgrabs, a series of hills and small mountains that include a handful of volcanic peaks. The rest of the peninsula is given over to rolling hills and plains; the largest of the plains is the "Great Southern Plain", which covers the southeastern region of the Pomarj.

The Pomarj is home to myriad monsters, the most common of which are dragonnes (half-dragon, half-lion creatures), trolls, and wyvrens. Giants, particularly ettins and hill giants, were also indigenous to the region, and are still occasionally encountered. Humanoid tribes, particularly those of orcs and goblins have always been found in large numbers within the Drachensgrabs, though in the modern day they and their kin hold sway over the entire country.

Prehistory

The Pomarj was settled 1,110 years ago by migrating tribes of Oerdian humans fleeing a series of wars in the west between Suel humans fleeing the Rain of Colorless Fire and the natives of the Sheldomar Valley. The Oerdians founded a number of villages after fighting back the humanoid menace, and in subsequent years were joined by peaceful Suel tribesmen. They joined the Oerdians and in several decades, the two races had largely intermingled.

The Twisted Forest

The peninsula suffered one major cataclysm during this time: the arrival of seven Suel archmages fleeing lost battles with their kinsmen in the great valley to the west. They slaughtered their way across the Pomarj, pursued by their enemies, until a final apocalyptic battle within the Drachensgrabs saw them all turned to stone. This battle gave rise to a formation known as the Twisted Forest, and it would play a pivotal role in the Fall of Obsidian Bay more than a thousand years later.

Krovis

Predating the Oerdians and Suel were small tribes of wandering Flan, who viewed the Drachensgrab Mountains as holy, but never settled the land. They did have one lasting effect on the peninsula however: their hero-god Krovis died and was buried in the Drachensgrabs. His body was placed in a great crypt, the location of which was lost to time. Flan prophesies declared Krovis would return again whenever the Flanaess was threatened with domination by a single individual or state. History saw this prophesy realized twice, once during the domination of the Isles of Woe, and again during the Empire of Lum the Mad, both of which rose to power over 1,000 years ago. [1]

It would come true again after the founding of Obsidian Bay.

CY 295-512: The Poor March

For most of its history, the Pomarj was a desolate land inhabited by a handful of humanoid and human tribes as well as numerous monsters.

In 295 CY, an alliance between the Principality of Ulek and King Tavish I of the then-imperialistic Kingdom of Keoland sent an invasion force into the Pomarj and conquered the region. The land was carved 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. Amazing material wealth began to flow from the newly-founded realm as the dwarves of the Ulek and their human allies began exploring and mining the Pomarj peninsula. This region became known as the "Poor March" because it was so far from the Keoish capitol of Niole Dra, which was then considered to be the capitol of learning, culture and power in the Flanaess. [2]

During this time, the dwarves of the Principality construct a wide variety of fortifications and minds. Foremost of these is the dwarven city of Khelez-mar, located deep within the Drachensgrab mountains and constructed upon a much older dwarven mining outpost. Khelez-Mar, as such, traces its founding back to CY 300.

The Three Cities

In CY 305, Highport was constructed atop the foundations of a smaller town exporting the wealth of the Pomarj to the world. 'Source: Living Greyhawk Journal, p. 88.' For a time, Highport was ruled by a human wizard named Count Vejo, who attempted to raise a great humanoid army from the Suss Forest and use it to overthrow the Principality's forces conquer the Pomarj. Unfortunately for him, the Count had been imbibing 'potions of longevity', which at the time added 10 years to an individual's life, but had the slight possibility of negating all previously drunken potions. This finally happened to the count, causing him to die instantly, and with it, his rebellion.

Also founded during this era were the cities of Stoneheim and Blue.

Invasion!

A prelude of the fate that was to befall the Poor March occurred when Khelez-Mar fell to a greedy necromancer and his fanatical orc followers in CY 595. It would not be free again for nearly 100 years.

A handful of years later, the elven kingdom of Celene allied with the dwarves of the Principality of Ulek to launch an invasion of the Lortmill Hills. This conflict, fought from CY 598 through CY 510, came to be known as the Hateful Wars and it saw massive numbers of orcs, goblins, hobgoblins and other humanoids and goblinkin driven from the Lortmills.

Unfortunately for the Pomarj, these humanoids had to go somewhere. In CY 510, the surviving humanoids, who still numbered in the tens of thousands, swept out of the Suss Forest and into the Pomarj, overwhelming the humanoid and demihuman defenders there. Within a few short months, the entire region had fallen to the humanoid masses. [3]

CY 513: The Founding of Obsidian Bay

As the invasion raged on the Pomarj, a new adventuring group known as the Griffins Guild was forming in the Free City of Irongate, a dwarven stronghold located near the throat of the Onnwal peninsula, across the Sea of Gearnet from the Pomarj. Founded in CY 594, the guild rose to fame fighting the orcs and goblins of the central Onnwal reaches, the pirates already operating out of Blue, and the horrors lurking deep in the Bright Desert.

By the time of the Pomarj invasions, they were also heroes of the Iron League, a loose alliance of free nations opposed to the increasingly sadistic and depraved actions of the faltering Great Kingdom. They engaged in various overt and covert actions on behalf of the League, missions which brought them into contact with heroes among the member states of Onnwal, Nyrond and the Lordship of the Isles.

As the humanoids raged, the greatest heroes of the guild, notably guildmaster Samuel "Battleaxe" Longriver, the archmage Robertson, the elven lord Willow Wind and Johann the Destroyer, militant cleric of St. Cuthbert, urged the league to intervene and prevent evil from gaining such a massive stronghold in the very heart of the Flanaess.

Their request was denied. "The Iron League is a defensive alliance," the leaders of Nyrond said, "and we have not been attacked by the humanoid scum there." Others argued invading the former Poor March might provoke the ire of the slumbering Kingdom of Keoland, and spark a war that Nyrond and her Iron allies could not afford.

The Landing

The Griffins Guild could not ignore this evil. Over the next several months, they planned their own private counter-invasion, drawing together hundreds of loyal men and heroes from around the central Flanaess, and on Coldeven 27, CY 513 this force landed on the southern shore of the Pomarj. The place they chose was an excellent natural harbor with a near by hill that could be shaped into a defensible plateau. Moreover, it was surrounded by rich volcanic soil, making it ideal for farming ... assuming it could be held.

The heroes immediately built a fortress and stockade on the central hill, ringing it with additional fortifications. They immediately took the fight to the Black Tongue gnoll tribe, which had conquered the area. Several bands of orcs counterattacked, thinking they could drive the heroes away as easily as they had the Poor March's previous defenders.

They were wrong.

The magical might of the Griffins Guild and their allies proved to be too much for the orcs, and the village of Obsidian Bay survived. The following years saw the arrival of dwarves from the Ulek and Poor March expatriates from Keoland who were eager to reclaim their fallen lands. The population of the village grew, turning it into a small town.

The Obsidian Maze

It was the discovery of the legendary Obsidian Maze in the depths of the Drachensgrabs in late CY 513 that truly secured the city's future. The Obsidian Maze's origins are lost to time, but it was believed built by a powerful -- but insane -- Ur-Flan archmage thousands of years previously. The Ur-Flan were an ancient people who ruled much of the Flanaess three thousand years ago until the rise of the lich-lord Vecna.

Adventurers from around the Flanaess had spent years chasing rumors of the Maze in the Drachensgrabs until it was finally found by Griffins Guild team led by the archmage Robertson and Johann the Destroyer.

Explorations of the Maze revealed all the legends about it to be true: it had dozens of levels, some of which lay deep within the UnderOerth, others of which extended to other planes of existence. Terrible horrors lurked within the Maze, but so did great treasures. As first the Griffins Guild, and then other bands of adventures, began exploring and plundering the Maze, a tremendous flow of riches began to pour into Obsidian Bay. It's fame grew, and suddenly hundreds of people were coming to seek their fortunes in the frontier city.

CY 521: The Obsidian Tower

CY 570: Rise of the Slave Lords

CY 583-584?: The Greyhawk Wars

CY 587: The Fall of Obsidian Bay

CY 588: The War of Exile

CY 590s: The Great Expansion

place holder text.

References

  1. See the Pomarj and Die!, Dragon #167, p. 10
  2. Living Greyhawk Journal, p. 88
  3. Source: Greyhawk Gazetteer