The Flanaess is a dangerous place for the unwary or the unprepared. Sources of peril and death lie at every turn. In the World of Greyhawk, characters have to contend not only with their foes but also (sometimes) with the very land itself. Dare to join us for closer look as we piece together legends, adventurer's tales, and the rants of the mad concerning these perplexing locales.
Many places of mystery are detailed in World of Greyhawk sources. The hardback Greyhawk Adventures features extensive descriptions of the Pinnacles of Azor’alq, the Sea of Dust, the Pits of Azak-Zil, Skrellingshald, the Sinking Isle, the Twisted Forest, the Burning Cliffs, Csipros Erd – The Geysers of Death, the stone circles of Tovag Baragu, Rigodruok – the Rainbow Vale, Esmerin and Turucambi.
Further places of mystery, including Fading Lands, the Beauteous Cones of the Baklarran, the Hanging Glacier of Alisedran, the Moonarch of Sehanine, the Singing Stones of the Vesve, the Storm Lake of Amedio, the Ship of Fools, the Blood Obelisk of Aerdy, the Caves of Deadly Shadows and the Stone Citadel of Dawn are discussed in the From the Ashes boxed set. The World of Greyhawk Glossography also describes Slerotin’s Passage and the Jungle of Lost Ships in some depth. Finally, the Living Greyhawk Journal details the Belching Vortex of Leuk-O, the Fabled City of Dar-Kesh Anam, the ruins of Spinecaste, the lost Flan citadel of Verlaos, the Dragonshead Barrows and the Hool Beacons.
The Forsaken City of Rauxes
For 600 years, Rauxes stood as the capital of the Great Kingdom, bearing witness to both the empire’s greatest glories and its most savage depravity. In 586 CY, Rauxes’ long reign as imperial capital came to an end when Patriarch-General Pyrannden of Hextor announced to a stunned imperial court that Ivid V was no longer overking. Within minutes, a ferocious magical battle broke out on the streets of the imperial city as rival princes desperately vied for the Malachite Throne. What happened next none can say, but its effects are well known. Rauxes was cut off from the surrounding lands by a shimmering magical field that enveloped the city.
Since that day, debate has raged among the learned as to Rauxes’ fate. Some say it has become a Fading Land, while others, including Mordenkainen it is whispered, argue that the vast magical energies unleashed in Rauxes’ death throes have torn a rent in the planes into which the city has fallen.
These scholarly arguments over the fate of the city have not troubled the fortune hunters attempting to plunder the legendary wealth of the overkings. However, of the many who have passed through the Shimmering Wall surrounding the city, none have returned – save perhaps one.
In Brewfest 593 CY, the bard Finnadrel of Delaric (CN male human Brd6) was pulled half-drowned from the Flamni near Orred. He claimed to have escaped what he called the, “War Without End,” raging within the ruins of Rauxes. Though the bard painted a dramatic picture, doubt was cast on his account when it was discovered he was wanted in Delaric for defrauding investors in his last theatrical production in 591 CY. Nonetheless, reports that the Ahlissan soldiers warding the margins of the Forsaken City have been assailed by all manner of strange otherworldly creatures emerging from the Shimmering Wall have convinced some of the truth of Finnadrel’s tale.
Until 565 CY, the lands surrounding the keep that would become known as Ice Spire were as fertile as any other in South Province. A keep was constructed on the very tip of the Tusk Peninsula among the gaunt, tumbled remains of an abandoned hill fort. Serving as a lighthouse to warn shipping away from the dangerous promontory stretching far out into Dunhead Bay, this tower was a vital location in the defence of South Province. The coastal cliffs here are riddled with sea caves, coves and hidden rocks that lurk beneath the waves ready to shatter any vessels that approach too close to shore. Smugglers used this lonely, haunted coastline for their own ends and the imperial fleet based in Prymp often skirmished with warships hailing from Nyrond, Irongate, and Onnwal.
Llarendenn Shillashta (LE male human Wiz12), a mage of note charged with tending the magical beacon atop the keep, became interested in the ancient histories of the area and, some say, delved too deeply into the forbidden lore of a civilization old even before the coming of the Aerdi. What he discovered in the caves below the keep nearly thirty years ago is unknown, but its effects were devastating. In an instant, the keep and the lands for half a score miles south were transformed into a frozen wasteland.
Herzog Chelor sent a strong force of men to investigate the following year but only two members of the expedition survived – both incurably insane.
The lands surrounding Ice Spire, as the tower is now named, are cloaked in a perpetual cold so fell that it is impossible to survive without arcane protections. Deep snow, patches of treacherous ice, and unnatural predators all conspire to make travel here perilous in the extreme. In the Spring and Autumn months, travel along the peninsula is impossible. Storms rushing in from the Gearnat further lower the temperature and whip up great blizzards that can kill an exposed man in minutes.