Westmarks Campaign Primer
The Grand Duchy of Geoff is a vassal state of the Kingdom of Keoland in the western Flanaess. It is one of the three marcher realms to be invaded by giant forces, Sterich and the Yeomanry to the south being the other two.
Geoff was divided into eleven “high counties” before the giant invasion, some of which are now leaderless due to their ruling families being lost defending them. One of the things to be decided at the Needfest Conclave will be the investiture of new Viscounts to these lands.
The names of the High Counties, their respective capitols, and the names and status of their rulers follow:
- Araul Anterth: Tycha (Tika Town), Melwyn Greatarm (deceased, two younger daughters and other family currently in Hochoch)
- Arweth: Hochoch, Bedwyn the Fat (alive, head of an important merchant family)
- Cymeravon: Oytmeet, Sierra Blackblade (alive, a paladin of Heironeous and diplomat to Keoland)
- Dwyr: Hocholve, Bronwen merch Huw (deceased, no heirs or other family)
- Eryrnyth Gorna, Grand Duke Owen III (personally ruled by the Grand Duke)
- Ffrwythlon Dol: The Lea, Darlon Lea (alive, former leader of the Geoff Rangers, considered a traitor by some, thought to be in hiding with the elves of the Dim Forest)
- Gwyrth Bryn: Dersyth (West Town), Ilan ap Dyved (alive, still in Hochoch with Grand Duke Owen, having recently succeeded his father)
- Of note: The Monastery of Pelor in Radiance is within this county
- Melgorn: Hornwood, Gruffyth of the Crags (missing with no heirs, was considered an uncultured brigand and abandoned his people, may have conspired with the giants)
- Rhwng Coed: Midwood, Talvan of Allitur (missing, but known to be alive through divinations, so Grand Duke Owen refuses to replace him until his fate is determined)
- Rhychdir Rhos: Pregmere, Neirin ap Steffan (deceased, his daughter Rhian and his brother Padarn both vie for his position, but neither claim has been recognized by Grand Duke Owen.)
- Ystrad Cloer: Pwyst’s Rhyd (Pests Crossing), Ffagan Farshot (deceased, had several sons both legitimate and otherwise, many of whom died fighting the giants. Three sons remain and the eldest has claimed his father’s title, and none of the others have contested this)
Geoff is bounded on three sides by mountains. The Barrier Peaks border it to the north (beyond which lies the mysterious Vale of the Mage). The Crystalmist Mountains are to the west (beyond which lies the Dry Steppes, the remnants of the ancient Baklunish Empire), and the low Stark Mounds to the south, beyond which lies Sterich.
Geoff has three great woodlands, the Hornwood in the far southwest, the smaller Oytwood in the central southeast, and a portion of the great Dim Forest in the northeast (the remainder of which is claimed by Gran March and Bissel).
In the east, the border with Gran March is the Realstream, a tributary of the mighty Javan River (the longest in the Flanaess) which flows in from the northeast. Western Geoff is drained by the branches of the Oyt River. The Blue Oyt flows down from a large lake (Lake Mala) in the Crystalmists and through the Hornwood, and the White Oyt flows from the western Stark Mounds. The Oyt and Realstream join the Javan River within the Oytwood, and the Javan continues many miles south into Keoland, and eventually the Azure Sea. One smaller river, the Olvewater, flows down into the northern Javan from Lake Avon Ffyn in the Barrier Peaks. Within that lake is the fabled sacred Isle of Rhun, an island held by the druids.
The Grand Duchy of Geoff is an ancient land, steeped in the traditions of the Flan people who make up the majority of its population. The druids of the Old Faith and bardic loremasters, called scops, are highly regarded by commoner and nobleman alike. They generally follow Beory, Obad-Hai, or Ehlonna (or very rarely Nerull). Other religions of note among the general populace include the churches of Pelor, Allitur, Fharlanghn, and more recently Trithereon. Soldiers from Gran March and the Knights of the Watch or Dispatch favor Heironeous, Pholtus, St. Cuthbert, and Mayaheine. The elves of the three great forests and the dwarves and gnomes of the Stark Mounds obviously regard their own respective pantheons, and occasionally human city-dwellers revere other gods such as Norebo or Phyton especially.
Geoff is a very rustic country where most citizens are farmers or herders. Local coarse breads, stews of mutton or goat, trout and salmon from the rivers, and several varieties of cheese make up the standard diet of both the high and low born. Hard apple or pear cider is the drink of choice for the common man rather than ale, beer or wine. Plum and cherry brandy is also favored.
The Grand Duchy of Geoff was recently liberated (in early CY 591) from the giant, ogre, and evil humanoid tribes who had in earlier years swept down from the surrounding mountain ranges to conquer it in CY 583, during the height of the Greyhawk Wars. With the help of several factions, including foreign adventuring guilds (especially the Blackrazor Guild), the Knights of the Watch or Dispatch, and military forces sent by neighboring countries such as Gran March and Keoland, almost the entirety of the country has been freed.
The few larger towns and cities of Geoff suffered greatly under the giant occupation being severely damaged, and their populations enslaved. These faired better than the smaller villages, however, which were often completely destroyed and depopulated, leaving ghost towns behind. The few who survived the attacks and escaped enslavement either fled to the east, or retreated within the various expansive forests of the duchy to seek refuge with the elves. The Hornwood, Oytwood, and Dim Forest became staging areas for guerilla attacks and rescue missions for many years, led by skilled human and elven rangers.
The former Grand Duke of Geoff, Owen II, barely escaped both an assassination attempt and the giantish siege of his capitol city of Gorna, and fled the country for the city of Shiboleth in Gran March where he established a court in exile. There, the beleaguered Duke began slowly rebuilding his devastated army, and called upon his allies for aid, as well as sending agents to various other countries to seek out willing adventurers and ex-patriots. Unfortunately, the armies of his allies were committed elsewhere until the close of the Greyhawk Wars in CY 584, and thus little progress was made until after the Pact of Greyhawk was signed.
Eventually, by CY 586 the eastern city of Hochoch in Geoff was retaken with considerable help from the Knights of the Watch and the army of Gran March. Grand Duke Owen then moved his court there to continue the reclamation efforts, and begin making assessments of the condition of his devastated country through scouting and occasional raids. It was in CY 590 when real progress began to be made, through the efforts of the Steelstorm and Blackrazor adventuring guilds. Grand Duke Owen began focusing his efforts more and more towards promoting these guild’s activities, as their success was just the morale booster his army needed, plus, his political arrangements with both Gran March and the Knights of the Watch were becoming more than he bargained for, as Gran March had all but annexed Hochoch, and the Knights of the Watch enforced martial law, and both groups had designs on the newly liberated lands of Geoff.
Over the course of several months, the towns of Geoff began to be liberated. Many threats other than giants placated the adventurers of the Blackrazor Guild as they made progress, then had setbacks. Whether it was derro, white dragons, the vampiric minions of Zaund, or the rogue archmage Valeron, their exploits are well chronicled and are better told elsewhere.  However, the most important events to come out of this time was the so-called “Night of Storms”, where Grand Duke Owen and almost his entire family were slain by Zaund and his minions, and the assault on the cloud giant fortress of Durengard, where the leadership of the giant forces was eliminated. The Grand Duke’s oldest son and heir became Grand Duke Owen III, and he made many of the Blackrazors into his vassals by creating them as new Barons of his now-liberated Duchy.
For the last ten months, a great rebuilding and resettlement effort has been taking place since the liberation, as well as several smaller offenses to oust the last remaining giant forces. Most of the country’s nobility were lost in the initial giant invasion, or during the various offenses to reclaim the land over the years. This has left a large power vacuum for which many are now clamoring to fill, and many are jealous of the high titles given to foreigners from the adventuring guilds. It is now Needfest of CY 592, and Grand Duke Owen III has summoned his vassals and the other powers that be to a conclave in Hochoch to pay fealty and to discuss the agenda for the coming year.
- Lowen Oakenroot- Keeper of the Stones at Beory's Teeth, an elderly though still spry man, and an adherant of Obad-Hai, wears brown robes.
- Rhoslyn Swiftfoot- younger 1/2 elven woman, the cheif druid of the Oytwood, an adherant of Ehlonna, wears green robes.
- Perth-Arawn the Bloodletter- an older man, the head sacrificer of Geoff, an adherant of Nerull, wears black robes.
- Marchioness Gwenllian merch Lluth- a middle-aged woman, the aunt of the current Grand Duke. She was sent to study under the druids as a young girl on the Isle of Rhun, and hadn't been seen for over 30 years. An adherant of Beory, she wears white robes.
- Briallen Heatherdown- a female druid appointed as the personal advisor of Grand Duke Owen II for matters dealing with the Old Faith. She is an adherant of Beory.
- Earl Ilan ap Dyved- a druid and warrior, he was recognized as the rightful successor of his father by Grand Duke Owen and became the new Earl of Gwyrth Bryn just before the liberation. An ardent "Griffon" politically.
- Rhys (Reese) of the Ash- An old man thought to be more than 70 years old. His hair is long and snow white, and he keeps it tied at the neck. Rhys is thin and weather beaten from years of traveling. He dresses simply, but always carries a harp with him. As one of the lorekeepers of Geoff, Rhys speaks at least a dozen languages and knows countless tales as well as a command of the history of the country. Many of the bards in Geoff were instructed by Rhys. He knows many of the secrets of the druids and is on good relations with the fey.
- Colwyn ap Ffagan- a younger bard, and the current Chancellor of Geoff. He is also a contender to become the Viscount of Ystrad Cloer, the county where there are many Blackrazor holdings and baronies (Pest's Crossing is the county seat).
- Development: Colwyn had become overwhelmed by the duties of being Chancellor, and thus was offered the position of bardic advisor to Grand Duke Owen instead. Merdan Zalehar has become the new Chancellor. This also allowed Dylan of the Hornwood, Colwyn's older though illegitimate half-brother, to become the new Viscount of Ystrad Cloer, thus the issue of succession was decided as well.
- Morwenna the Fair- a teacher of dance, and a skilled musician, she performed for the Conclave on the third day when religeous and cultural issues were discussed. Originally from Araul Anterth, she has been asked to instruct Ffionna Ebontress, the new young Countess, on the traditions of Geoff since the Countess was raised in Keoland.
- Ninian ap Ioseff- Raised in an isolated mountain lake "monastery", he was schooled in the Gyric techniques of bardic memory from an early age. For many years now he and his trusted pony Iona, have traveled far and wide in his quest to learn more about everything. Ninian has just recently returned to Geoff after having spent the last decade instructing at Greyhawk City's Grey College.
Cuthalion Strongbow- a 1/2 elven ranger from the Dim Forest recently appointed as the new First Ward of the Geoff Rangers. He maintains a training camp in the southern Dim Forest village of Argel to instruct war orphans to become rangers.
Hywel (Howell) Endav- a young ranger from Dwyr, Geoff's only county within the Dim Forest. He is one of the leading suitors seeking the hand of Countess Ffiona Ebontress.
Dylan of the Hornwood- the eldest surviving son of Ffagan Farshot, recently invested as the new Viscount of Cloer.
Darlon Lea- The former Count of Ffwythlon Dol and First Ward of the Geoff Rangers. Unhappy with the Gran March Army of Liberation fortifying southern Arweth and its conflict with the grey elves in the Oytwood, Darlon fed sensitive military information to the grey elves and sponsored saboteurs to destroy some of the fortifications. His activities were brought to light and has been declared a traitor to Geoff. Darlon has supposedly fled to the Dim Forest, where he remains in hiding to this day.
Cadell "Townsent"- Once a bardic student, he left his schooling to search for a lost relative (his uncle) after the giant invasion. Unsuccessful, he spent some years studying in Greyhawk and trying to seek aid for his fallen country. He recently returned to Geoff with the Geoffite scholar Ninian ap Ioseff, and the two wish to start a school in the vein of Grey College in Geoff.
Knights of the Watch
- Watcher Gundar Kevitz, Unrelenting Sphinx- During the reconquest, Gundar commanded the frontline forces of the Knights of the Watch and the armies of Gran March. He was named as Knight Protector of Hochoch once that city was liberated, and is the highest ranking Knight in Geoff. He has just been re-assigned to reclaim the fortress of Caer Hocholve to use as an outpost for Gran March forces patrolling the Dim Forest. He is known to be somewhat accepting of the traditions of Geoff, which hasn't endeared him to the more "orthodox" Watchers.
- Watcher Nikos Gwalchen, Conquering Gorgon- The son of the former Commandant of Gran March, Nikos is to replace Watcher Kevitz and oversee the construction of Northhill Keep, which is to be the new headquarters of the enitire Order of the Knights of the Watch. He recently arrived in Geoff, having been in Bissel fighting the Kettites around Thornward since the Greyhawk Wars. Nikos is also one of the suitors of Countess Ffiona Ebontress.
- Justiciar Watcher Lattimer Voss, Righteous Hellhound- The head of security for the Order's Chapterhouse in Geoff, and a follower of Pholtus. He previously held the post of Commander of the City Guard in Hookhill.
Knights of Dispatch
- Dispatcher Gilead Olis,Viscount of Melgorn, Commander of the Army, Stalwart Manticore- Before the Liberation, Gilead Olis was the commander of the forces fighting from The Lea. He organized the strikes against the giants, including the coordination with various adventuring guilds, the Geoff Rangers, and eventually the Army of Liberation. He was made Viscount of Melgorn and Commander of the Army as reward for his outstanding service throughout the giant invasion. He is both a Ranger, and a Paladin of Allitur, the Flan goddes of propriety and ethics.