Monday, June 27, 2011

Folio Project: The Great Kingdom

Even in those kingdoms who never saw occupation by the Aerdians, the Great Kingdom occupies much of the legendry and myths of the nobility.  To them it represents the shining ideals of civilization and what a just king should truly be.  Of course this varies wildly from country to country, and the image of them in the Shield Lands is different from the image of them in the Yeomanry but both are exceedingly positive.  The truth of the history of the Great Kingdom is actually little known, despite the claims of some scholars.  Today it is more the province of bard's songs than scholarly works.

Still there is a general sense of the thrust of Aerdian history.  Once they were noble and just.  They rescued the land from the barbarism of the Flanae and erected a civilization in stone atop it.  This is even the belief in those countries that are predominately Flan in character.  The nobility in these regions often have fictive genealogies that "reveal" that they are truly the descendants of this or that Overking.  Cynically, what is truly important about the Great Kingdom is its precedent.  It gives voice to the ambitions of greedy kings on their sullen thrones.

Most tales say that the kingdom began its terrible descent into decadence with the reign of Vennax of Nalks, also known as Vennax the Mad.  His reign saw the construction of Stonehell -- that terrible prison which lies on the border between the Bandit Kingdoms and the Shield Lands -- and the constructions of the squat temples to the great toad demon that served as his seal.  He was known for his capricious nature and bizarre perversions, which are far to dark to retell here.

The Kin of Nalks still hold the title of Overking.  Ivid V is a fitting heir to his ancient ancestor.  While the power of Aerdy has waned in recent decades, Ivid is unfortunately not shackled with the weakness of his forefathers.  While mercenaries have traditionally served in the armies of the Great Kingdom since the beginning of the downfall, Ivid has forced more peasants into imperial levies and made more nobles regain the practice of arms.  He wants Vennax's empire once again.  Still the hold of the mercenaries will not be something easily shaken.  They have considerable clout with many of the Aerdian nobles and clerics.  If they're going to go they will not do it without a fight.

Noble dress for Aerdians is quite exquisite.  They wear beautifully crafted golden and silver jewelry that is often imported from the holds of the finest craftsdwarfs.  They favor dark and vivid colors in dress, particularly greens, oranges, blacks and reds.  Only those of the house of Nalks are allowed to wear the deep, royal purple that so many associate with Aerdy.  Oddly, while this color is associated with even the just kings who once may have ruled, it was actually introduced by one of Vennax's strange decrees.  Most Flanae, and even other Oredians, find modern Aerdy clothing and habits to be a symbol of their decadence and effeminacy.

The architecture of the Great Kingdom is usually very large.  It's often domed and always columned and arched.  They usually decorate these with mosaics of precious stones or frescoes in gaudy colors.  This of course ignores the buildings and clothing of the peasants which are the thatched huts and colored linen one is likely to find anywhere in the Flanaess.  They putter about their fields and hide in their homes when the nobles go by just as one might expect them to do in Furyondy or Urnst.


  1. Vennax of Nalks (or rather Vennax Nalks' Kin) is a really stupid Gygax-style corruption of my name.

  2. Sweet. I have fond memories of Greyhawk and this is a nice spin on an area I hadn't considered much back in the day. Love the Folio Project.