The Wild Coast
History of the Flanaess
The well-documented history of the Flanaess begins just over one thousand years ago, when the great conflict between the ancient Suloise and Baklunish empires forced massive migrations eastward across, around, and even under the western mountain ranges. This resulted in the mixture of races and cultures that defines the modern Flanaess.
It is generally agreed that prior to about one thousand years ago, the human occupants of the Flanaess were a peaceful but primitive people called the Flannae, for whom the subcontinent was later named. Also extant were a variety of demi-human races. For the most part, at that point in time, each kept to their own interests and conflict was local and subdued. It is clear from various ruins and stories, however, that a much more dynamic civilization had existed previously.
Tales of the era before these migrations are fragmented and poorly understood. Did the great races of humans, elves, dwarves, and the like arise by fiat of the gods, or journey here from elsewhere? Did the elves raise humanity to civilization, or did humans achieve this on their own? Did the Flan once have their own empires and civilizations? If not, then who built the oldest tombs in the Cairn Hills, the half-buried ruins in the Bright Desert, or the deserted stone cities in the Griff Mountains? Where were the fabled realms ruled by Johydee, the Wind Dukes of Aaqa, Vecna the Whispered One, the High Kings of the dwarves, or the elven King of Summer Stars? What became of the mysterious Isles of Woe, and who dwelled there? Answers to these questions no one knows with any certainty.
Cataclysm and Migration
The root cause of the animosity between the Suel Imperium and the Baklunish Empire is lost in time, but the end result of their final war haunts even the modern day. After decades of conflict, the Suloise Mages of Power called down the Invoked Devastation upon the Baklunish, resulting in an apocalypse so sudden and thorough that its actual effects remain unknown. Entire cities and countless people were simply wiped without a trace from the face of Oerth, leaving few signs of the once-great civilization that thrived from the Sulhaut Mountains to the Dramidj Ocean.
With revenge their only recourse, a cadre of Baklunish wizard-clerics gathered in the great protective stone circles known as Tovag Baragu. With a final, terrible curse they brought down the Rain of Colorless Fire upon their hated enemies. The skies above the Suel Imperium tore asunder, and everything beneath this glaring rift in the heavens was burned into ash, even the very stones and soil. So terribly did these attacks plague the world that they have come to be called the Twin Cataclysms, a term understood by nearly every resident of the Flanaess. The Dry Steppes and the Sea of Dust are the lingering reminders of the unbridled magical powers once wielded, but now (perhaps for the better) lost to our knowledge.
Before the Cataclysms, the Oeridians, a confederation of barbaric tribes in close proximity to the warring empires, regarded the increasingly destructive wars between their neighbors (and the accompanying raids from humanoid mercenaries in the employ of both sides) as a sign to also migrate eastward, in search of their ultimate destiny. They were the first large group to enter the lands of the Flan, which they termed the Flanaess.
Suloise refugees soon followed, sometimes working with the Oeridians to pacify the land, but more often warring with them over which race would dominate it. For over two centuries, Suel and Oeridian fought for control of the region from the Crystalmists to the Solnor Coast. Many Suloise were debased and wicked, and fortunately they lost most of these battles and were pushed to the periphery of the Flanaess.
Though some Baklunish folk also migrated eastward, many more fled north toward the Yatil Mountains, or to the shores of the Dramidj Ocean, thereby escaping the Invoked Devastation and where their ancient cultures still flourish to this day.
The same humanoid mercenaries the Oeridians had sought to avoid also found themselves swept up by these migrations. Many of the foul creatures that now plague the Flanaess arrived following the Oeridians and Suel. These renegade mercenaries trailed after human migrants in search of plunder, food, and slaves, which they still seek even today.
Keoland and Aerdy
The most successful union of Suel and Oeridian came in the Sheldomar Valley, where Keoland was founded eighty years after the Twin Cataclysms. The Suel Houses of Rhola and Neheli joined with Oeridian tribes on the banks of the Sheldomar and pledged themselves to mutual protection and dominion of the western Flanaess, an agreement that set the course of history for the region for the next nine centuries. Of all the new realms formed during those tumultuous days, only Keoland remains.
Farther east, the most powerful of all Oeridian tribes, the Aerdi, reached the Flanmi River. From there they spread outward again, conquering indigenous peoples and fellow migrants alike. In time, the kingdom of Aerdy ruled the whole of the eastern Flanaess and moved its borders westward. One hundred and ten years after the defeat of the last meaningful threat to Aerdi sovereignty, at the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, the leader of Aerdy was crowned as overking of the Great Kingdom. Overking Nasran also marked the birth of a new calendar, and with the Declaration of Universal Peace, the sun arose in the east on the first day of the first Common Year. The writ of imperial Aerdy eventually encompassed holdings as far west as the Yatils, controlling the southern Nyr Dyv with a small garrison at an insignificant trading post known as Greyhawk.
From 213 CY on, the Aerdi overkings grew lax, caring more for local prestige and wealth than for the affairs of their vassals in distant lands. This period was called the Age of Great Sorrow. As each sovereign passed, he was replaced with a more dimwitted and less competent successor, until the outer dependencies of Aerdy declared their independence. The viceroyalty of Ferrond led the way, becoming the Kingdom of Furyondy. Other regions also broke away from the ineffectual government of the overking over time, creating their own governments after achieving success in their wars of rebellion.
By 356 CY, the ruling dynasty of Aerdy, the Celestial House of Rax, had grown especially decadent. In response, the western province of Nyrond declared itself free of the Great Kingdom and elected one of its nobles as king of an independent domain. Armies gathered from all loyal provinces of Aerdy to suppress this brazen act. At this time, however, barbarians from the Thillonrian Peninsula raided the Great Kingdom’s North Province, forcing the overking to divert troops from the western front. Nyrond easily survived what few troops could be spared to put down their rebellion, and has since thrived.
The Kingdom of Keoland itself awoke from a long slumber in the third century, expanding to dominate its neighbors. This short-lived Keoish empire lasted almost two centuries before far-flung wars and internal strife laid it low. The outer dependencies declared their autonomy, and Keoland once again resumed its peaceful isolation.
The Ivids and Iuz
The darkest chapter in the history of Aerdy began in 437 CY. In this year, the upstart House Naelax murdered the last Rax overking, inaugurating a series of gruesome civil wars called the Turmoil Between Crowns. Within a decade, Ivid I of Naelax was recognized as the undisputed overking of all Aerdy. As Ivid was rumored to be in league with powerful evil Outsiders, the Malachite Throne of the Great Kingdom became known as the Fiend-Seeing Throne, and the once mighty and upright empire became a bastion of evil and cruelty.
The lands of the Flanaess soon became acquainted with an altogether less subtle form of evil with the rise of Iuz, in the Northern Reaches loosely aligned with Furyondy. In 479 CY, a minor despot in the Howling Hills left his domain to his ‘son’, a creature known as Iuz. Within a handful of years, Iuz had conquered his neighbors, setting up a small realm for himself. Tales told by refugees entering Furyondy spoke of unmitigated evil: Iuz was building a road paved with human skulls from the Howling Hills to his capital, Dorakaa. Worse, divinations and rumors marked Iuz as the offspring of an unholy union between necromancer and demon; he was understood to be a half-fiend towering 7 feet in height, driven by a thirst for blood, destruction, and conquest.
Political struggles within Furyondy prevented the king from acting decisively in this period, when the evil of Iuz might have been permanently checked. Instead, the cambion lord flourished until 505 CY, when he quite inexplicably seemed to vanish from Oerth. In Iuz’s absence, orc tribes and disloyal former subjects squabbled for control of his lands, allowing the forces of good some rest for a time. Three developments kept Furyondy and its allies from complacency.
First, part of Iuz’s leaderless realm soon broke away to be ruled by a nearly equal evil, the Horned Society. While a division of power certain to complicate Iuz’s plans for empire, the Horned Society is itself a blight upon the land and a serious danger to the forces of good.
Second, faithful orc and human servants of Iuz became zealots dedicated to their absent lord. In time, the leaders of these cults devoted to Iuz have shown themselves capable of wielding great magical power. This realized Furyondy’s worst fears that Iuz, albeit missing, may indeed have achieved the immortal power of a demigod, able to wield unholy powers in absentia through a depraved and wicked priesthood.
Third, the notorious Horde of Elemental Evil arose, a collection of cultists and villains headquartered at an unwholesome temple raised to the south, not far from the city of Verbobonc. The Horde was the puppet of the demoness Zuggtmoy, Iuz’s abyssal consort, who instructed it in bizarre, evil teachings at the behest of her absent lover. The Horde’s banditry was finally vanquished in 569 CY at the Battle of Emridy Meadows, where Prince Thrommel of Furyondy led forces from Furyondy, Veluna, Verbobonc, and other realms to victory, magically imprisoning Zuggtmoy in the lowest reaches of her own ruined temple.
Today, the state of affairs in the Flanaess is confused indeed. Humankind is fragmented into isolationist realms, indifferent nations, lands fallen to evil, teeming hives of humanoid tribes, and a handful of states striving for good. A pall of evil and madness slowly darkens the land, but all hope is not yet lost. This is a time for heroes.