The World of Ark

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Glittering Isles of Greyhawk: Kings and Queens

(and other "Lesser" Folk)

From the great hall of the King of Hahntar (pictured above) to the small and smoke filled longhouses of Schnai Chiefs, the Glittering Isles are rife with all manner of rulers. Some are well known all over the islands, while others are known only as far as the reach of their own sword. Here can be found some of the most prominent:

The Demi-Human and Humanoid Realms

Halstaf Grom; King of Barak: King Halstaf (LG dm F12) is from a long line of proud and strong Dwarf Kings. The Clan Grom has ruled the various clans of the Dwarf Lords and the relatively young Kingdom (being less than 1,500 years old) since before they even arrived in the Glittering Isles by way of the Underdark. Halstaf is an aging King, 12th of his line; soon expected to do as his forefathers chose to do and retire to cloistered life with the clergy of Moradin and allow his eldest son to take the crown.

Gelnin; High Councilor of Bellor: High Councilor Gelnin (LG gm C10) is an elected leader of the Gnome Chiefs from the Vale of Bellor. He has held the position for three terms and is currently mid-way into his fourth term (each term being for 10 years). He is very conservative in his dealings with surrounding lands; but is very favorable in his alliances with the other demi-human nations.

Raldo "the Axe" Halfkindle; High Hero of Merra: Raldo Halfkindle (NG hafm F10/T12) is one of the most famous adventurers in all the Glittering Isles; and though a Halfling, is greatly feared and respected by even the orcs of Krimba-hai. Raldo is an elected War Leader for the Halflings of the Vale of Merra, having a say really only in the defense of the combined family villages and towns of the tiny realm; though when the Halfling Council is deadlocked, his vote can break any tie in decision making.

Ye'Arendel, King of the Faerie Realm of Ye'Cind: Ye'Arendel (N em D11/MU10) is cousin to the Demi-God Ye'Cind, and ruler of that realm which Ye'Cind once dwelt primarily within. Ye'Arendel is the third ruler of the Faerie Elves of the Glittering Isles, and has done so for over 300 years. He is a very reserved and long-thinking elf; much famed for his diplomatic demeanor and calm in any storm. The religiously minded Faerie Elves of his realm are in truth primarily seen to by Ye'Arendel's Queen-Consort Ya'Alla (CG ef C14); while the King sees to the needs of the land itself and the preservation of nature's natural course. King Ye'Arendel has been known to turn particularly harsh in his treatment of those who mistreat any land he lays claim to protection of.

Sark, War-King of Krimba-hai: The Warlord Sark (LE 1/2om F15) rules the orcs of Krimba-hai with an iron will. Not even originally from Krimba-hai (being from the City of Widdershin), Sark began his service to the orcs a decade ago as a mercenary general against the humans of Hahntar. His ruthless cunning and near genius intellect allowed him to quickly climb the ranks and his vicious slaughter of the previous King's entire brood (King, sons, nephews and cousins all!) followed by taking to wife every female previously married to those killed has cemented his position as supreme leader of the orcs. Many fear this man.

The Human Realms

Agreth Vawn, High Lord of the East Corsairs: Agreth (N  Sfo hm F9//T6) is a "noble" of the Corsair Islands, and leader of the lesser of the two naval powers among the Corsairs. While his domain is one of the least of all the Glittering Isles, those that follow him have become wealthy and are the match of their West Corsair adversaries in ship to ship combat and mercantile interests alike. If Agreth continues his current ways, he may eventually convince many of the West Corsairs to follow him instead of the ruthless High Lord Tayg.

Tayg Vithkam, High Lord of the West Corsairs: Tayg (CE Sfo hm F7//A8) is a follower of the Guildmaster of Assassins in Widdershin; and few oppose him because of this common knowledge. He is a ruthless sea captain, and utterly depraved in his blood-lust and penchant for wanton destruction. He is the primary slaver of the whole Glittering Isles, and this coupled with his constant piracy has made him a rich man who pays his dues to his Guildmaster and is thus nearly untouchable. He is getting older though, and many whisper that his own followers wish for the day his sword is too slow and someone kills him so that the Corsairs of the Glittering Isles can again be united under one leader.

Halfred O'Dale, King of the Land of Dales: Halfred (LG So/elf hm F9) is the elf-kin descendant of a long line of Elf-Friend Lords and then Kings of the Land of Dales. He is a fast ally of the elven people of Ye'Cind and a cool trade partner with the Free Seaholds; his only other neighbor. His small realm is ably defended by free Yeomen Militia and Country Knights all of whom he leads in battle. He strives to continue the traditions of all men being free within his kingdom, and so there are no serfs within the Dales; though there are still many nobles who rent out their lands to yeomen farmers just as the King does.

Aldorn Hahn, King of Hahntar: King Aldorn (LN SOf hm F13/NM) is an aged and besotted man barely able to sit his throne due to a horrible injury that left his mind addled nearly a decade ago; a wound inflicted upon him by then General Sark of Krimba-hai. Aldorn's rule is a farce now, his half-dozen sons being half his stature in capability and manipulated by the powerful Royal Knights of Hahntar or else the religious leaders of the small kingdom. On rare occasions his mind clears; but these are only tormented times for him as he realizes the state of his Kingdom due to his own weakness. He has ordered faithful knights on numerous quests to find powerful magic to cure his ills during these times though.

Jom Kellson of Jomshold: Jom (CN Suel hm Bar16) is one of the most powerful Schnai warriors in the history of that people; though he is not originally of noble birth in his homeland. He came to the Glittering Isles with only a ship full of followers six years ago, and is now one of the most feared men known because he has so quickly united all the petty Schnai chieftains under his banner. He is openly vocal about his plans to conquer all lands he can before he dies in battle so that his Word Fame lasts for generations to come. He keeps all the Glittering Isles guessing as his ships can often dislodge raiders anywhere, including the Faerie Realm of Ye'Cind; but currently his desire is to crush all opposition in The Warholds before uniting its warriors under his rule for a full invasion of the northern bounds of the Kingdom of Hahntar.

Gwydion, Seneschal of Widdershin: Gwydion (NE Sof hm T11) is the elected leader of the Free Seaholds of the Glittering Isles and de facto Mayor of Widdershin as well. While keeping a public facade of respectable governance of what remains of the Kingdom of Pellham (supposedly for the Royal Line, now extinct) the man is a ruthless manipulator without many who equal his ability. To the general public, he is a vital and humble servant to their needs; but those "in the know" both fear him and steer clear of his machinations. His vast wealth keeps even the Guildmaster of Assassins (Alindor Peele, LE Sof hm A14) in his pocket and under his influence alongside such worthies as the Lord Sorcerer Ballug (CN Sof hm MU9) and High Priest of Lendor (Darus, LN Sfo hm C12).

Shaena, High Autarch of Xalmak: Shaena (LN Sfo hf M6//C9//MU15) is an excessively reclusive ruler of the oldest of human realms within the Glittering Isles. She is the titular head of the "Ruby Wraiths" monastic priesthood of Wee-Jas; though that organization is headed by her servant clergy by appointment. Shaena, though very old, is still a vibrant woman with great wisdom and intellect matched by few indeed. Audiences with her are never given as "unclean" individuals are thought to endanger her closeness to The Goddess. Her great power has thus far precluded infiltration of her people by the Scarlet Brotherhood though; and the agents of the Kingdom of Shar are executed summarily when found in Xalmak.

Lesser Rulers of the Glittering Isles can be found in all the lands (and surrounding seas!) of the Glittering Isles. The High Freeholds (that clannish land north of the Free Seaholds) are ruled by clan chiefs that range in abilities; but most are Fighters of levels 8+ with some few being thieves as well. The Warholds are a patchwork land being quickly conquered by Jom of Jomshold; but the few remaining rulers are Fighters or Thieves of varying levels; though all are at least level 8 or higher. There are many "Petty" Lords of this realm or that; but even some of these are more influential than their title might warrant. One such is the sinister "Baron" Krell of Krell's Gate who intentionally causes the confused state of being vassal to both the King of the Dales and the High Council of the Free Seaholds while also fostering a close relationship with the Wildrunners of the realm of Ye'Cind.

Many nobles throng the lands of the Glittering Isles; as well as Merchant Lords, independent Wizards, hopeful Clerics and more. Of the 150,000+ souls that inhabit these lands, over 2,000 are "rulers" of one stripe or another...there is ample room to create any sort of individual you like for your own Glittering Isles of Greyhawk campaign!