Heroes of Greyhawk
The Kingdom of Furyondy was established as the Viceroyalty of Ferrond around 100 CY by the Great Kingdom of Aerdi, which was then at its peak. Ferrond, populated by Oeridians, Suloise and Baklunish, who settled here after the Baklunish-Suloise Wars, was much larger than Furyondy is now. It originally incorporated most of modern-day Veluna, Highfolk, the old Shield Lands, Dyvers and a goodly part of modern Perrenland. Its capital was the city of Dyvers.
As political and financial power became more and more centralized in the hands of Ferrond’s rulers, it was only a matter of time before the Viceroyalty began to struggle for its independence. An endless series of skirmishes with Aerdi forces, combined with careful political maneuvering, brought Thrommel I to the throne in 254 CY and the Kingdom of Furyondy was born. Thrommel and his descendants had to allow their original set of vassal states independence over the following decades and centuries. Bissel was annexed for a time during Furyondy’s expansionist phase, but with the secession of Voll (now Veluna) Bissel could not be retained within Furyondy’s fief. Early in the fourth century CY the Shield Lands took form, the local rulers banding together to oppose the growing cohesion of the Bandit Kingdoms and then proclaiming their independence. Perrenland had always been governed more in name than in practice, and was formally proclaimed independent in 400 CY. The Highfolk, always chaotic of bent, were allowed self government to the point where the Furyondian king’s authority in that land was reduced to a formality. Although the town of Highfolk is technically a part of Furyondy, and there has never been a treaty formally proclaiming its independence, no Furyondian king would try to exercise his rulership there. Finally, Dyvers became a Free City in 526 CY, still paying taxes and tithes to Furyondy.
During these many years Furyondy was rarely engaged in warfare, the Short War with Keoland in the early Fifth Century CY being a rare exception. With a shortage of external enemies, and given its fine armies and exceptional naval strength on the Nyr Dyv and Whyestil Lake, Furyondy’s kings felt secure in letting go of their old vassal states. Just as Furyondy freed itself from Aerdi, why shouldn’t other states become independent of Furyondy? Because of that enlightened attitude, the former vassal states generally kept warm relations with Furyondy. This was especially true of the Highfolk, and of Veluna, a growing power of good closely allied with Furyondy. Perrenlanders were suspicious of Furyondy,but knew the value of their trade route through the valley of the Velverdyva and through the fertile rivers and plains of the Kingdom. Furyondy was a better place to trade than Ket.. The Shield Land nobles were an exception, always fearing a re-annexation of their lands by Furyondy, a fear they paid for dearly when war came.
Furyondy’s lands were ruled by seven noble houses during those early times. Six of those families survive today. When Furyondy was a great, sprawling state, the king needed powerful local noble-vassals; but as decades went by and the lands shrank, the nobles kept their taste for strong local rulership and gradually they became almost as powerful as the king himself. The courts of Furyondy’s dukes and barons rivaled the splendor of the king’s. Although the nobles were all legally granted their lands by the king, they ruled each of the seven provinces of Furyondy much as they pleased. Indeed, the king of Furyondy did not directly control any lands of his own. This would prove a source of strife and trouble for successive kings in the hard years to come.
The rise of Iuz, who united a rabble of humanoids and petty rulers after his mysterious appearance in 479 CY, was not noted by Furyondy for some years, but as refugees fled to the northern provinces of Crystalreach and Kalinstren the tales they told were so terrible that eventually they had to be attended to. These refugees spoke of massacres, a road of skulls built to Dorakaa, watch-towers belching smoke, fire and acid into which slaves disappeared by the score. Such horrors made the northern nobles, and the king, shiver, Iuz’s disappearance in 503 CY was met with a sigh of relief. The current king, Belvor II, was all too happy to forget about the fiend. When Furyondy failed to build strong defenses to the north while the times allowed it. Southern nobles refused to pay extra taxes needed for such work. So, when Iuz reappeared some sixty-seven years later, his malign eyes turned to the great southern state, Furyondy was unprepared. Iuz’s armies outflanked Furyondy as they destroyed the Heirarchs of the Horned Society, swelled their ranks with the humanoids and evil men of that land, and carved through the Shield Lands like a knife through butter. Belvor IV, the wise king of Furyondy, was fully alerted now but the rulers of the Shield Lands declined offers of help, fearing Furyondian intrigue. It was a minor miracle that most of the population of Admundfort was evacuated, mostly to Willip, before they suffered the dreadful fate of most other Shield Landers.
Furyondy fought Iuz for nearly two years, having to watch Ket strike into and then subdue Bissel, cutting off aid from southern nations who also had to face the giant troubles of the Lost Lands. The northern cities of Crockport and Grabford were lost and the capital city Chendl was besieged for months. The naval strength on Whyestil Lake was decimated, and only the most desperate defense in the northern provinces and the Vesve Forest stopped the advance of Evil. The Highfolk fought with savage bravery against the pitiless hordes of evil priests, undead, monsters and humanoids which Iuz hurled against them. Their stubborn courage finally ground the enemy to a standstill. Furyondy lost over 28,000 men in the Wars, and much wealth and resources, but Belvor’s final assaults north of Chendl inflicted grievous casualties on the forces of Iuz. If Furyondy was desperate to sign the Pact of Greyhawk, so was Iuz.
The current date is New Years Day, 595 CY. The nation has suffered a serious loss of fighting manpower, but it has also gained from an influx of refugees and warriors from other nations. The Shield Landers, of whom some 11,000 were evacuated to Furyondy, are the most important group. Furyondy has lost territory to the north, including some vital fertile land south of Whyestil Lake (and the fish resources of the lake itself), which has reduced gross food production by about eight percent. To the east, the Veng river is too dangerous for most merchants to sail, so trade has been adversely affected. However, Furyondy has generally not lost too much of its lands and productive resources. It is down, but certainly not out. Furyondy is, however, faced with a desperate need to spend far more money than it did before the War. Chendl itself is in a state of considerable disrepair. Several vital northern castles have been lost and building more along a new northern frontier will be time consuming and very expensive. There is also a pressing need to hire mercenaries for the defense of the Kingdom and to aid the Highfolk, which is also a drain on finance. The Southern nobles have long grumbled about their taxation load, which, in truth, has never been great. Now they are a little more willing to support the king, but there are strong tensions between the different provinces and Belvor’s impatience with some of his nobles makes more than one fear that the king may try to depose the noble houses and centralize rule of the lands. Furyondy is still a strong and vital kingdom. While some of its people are still bemoaning their losses in the wars; this· is no nation of cowards or fainthearts. Rather, Furyondy needs to buy time, to marshal its resources, build new defenses, steel its people and collective will, and whip dissident nobles into line behind a valorous and capable king. Whether it will have that time, Istus alone knows.