The Big Picture

Before the Greyhawk Wars, Onnwal was a vibrant trading country, a vital link between Irongate and Idee and the rest of the Flanaess. Onnwalon vessels plied the Azure Sea as far west as the port of Gradsul in Keoland while also travelling as far eastwards as the Lordship of the Isles and beyond. A few brave merchantmen and privateers also travelled to the mysterious jungle continent of Hepmonaland and traded with the natives that they found there. Onnwal’s naval forces patrolled the Gearnat Sea as well as Relmor Bay attempting to check the roving warships of the Herzog of the South Province as well as the pirates (both human and humanoid) operating out of the Pomarj port cities.

An agrarian country, Onnwal produced plenty of food and traded much of it with Irongate in exchange for metals, weapons, and armour. The Iron League was as much a trading pact as a military alliance with trade being carried out between the member states at preferable rates. Due to the far-flung nature of the alliance, most of this trade was carried out by sea, which was quicker, easier, and less costly.

After the Greyhawk Wars the Iron League lay shattered: Irongate alone had managed to remain independent and although Sunndi regained its freedom from the forces of the Great Kingdom, it was virtually cut off from its allies. The Lordship of the Isles had become a puppet-state of the Scarlet Brotherhood and both Idee and Onnwal lay prostrate beneath the heel of the Scarlet Sign. Of the mainland states allied with the League, Almor was no more, blasted and smashed out of existence by the might of the Overking and although Nyrond still stood, it had lost territory and many good men to the tides of war.

Today Idee, or the Principality of Naerie as it is now known, is free of the Brotherhood yoke but part of the United Kingdom of Ahlissa. Therefore its trade practises are almost completely governed by the Royal Guild of Merchants of Aerdy, which is itself backed by House Darmen and the priesthood of Zilchus in Ahlissa. The Free Onnwalons are therefore left with few viable trading partners. Trade has, however, resumed with Irongate: Onnwal sends desperately needed foodstuffs east in exchange for the recognition by Cobb Darg of Jian Destron’s government in exile. A trickle of trade has also resumed with Nyrond, centred on the southern port of Nessermouth and a few brave Onnwalon captains have made the perilous journey to the Free City of Greyhawk. Rebel vessels are however at a premium and most are “reserved” primarily for combat duties.

Taxes

Prior to the Battle of a Thousand Banners and Onnwal’s independence, the Szeks appointed by the Herzog of the South Province taxed the province harshly. The level of taxes and the brutality of their rule were two of the main catalysts that prompted the nation to rise up in arms against their rulers.

This was a lesson well learnt by House Destron. Hence the rulers of Onnwal traditionally taxed their subjects lightly, instead of concentrating the bulk of their attention on the merchants (both foreign and domestic) that passed through Onnwal.

The rulers of the Cantreds, both elected and hereditary, had a duty to collect the taxes required of them by the Szek. The dukes would then pass the taxes collected, minus the amount needed for the upkeep of the Cantreds, onto the Szek who used the monies to maintain and equip the military of Onnwal.

Cantred rulers were responsible for the up-keep of any major roads and port facilities in their Lairdships as well as the funding of sufficient armed forces for security and general law enforcement. In addition, they were required to equip each member of the militia with at least a spear and leather armour.

The Scarlet Brotherhood

The Brotherhood initially undertook a census of its new domains, seizing any property owned by those, not of Suel descent. The remaining populace that was seen to have Suel ancestry were afforded the position of sub-citizen and allowed to keep their assets but were taxed heavily. Some individuals protested bitterly against the levels of taxation levied by Sister Kuranyie. Many were punished, the most notable of these events being the burning to death of 34 farmers in Scant’s Grand Market in 585 CY. This gruesome event quashed the immediate protestations against taxation but redoubled the general populaces’ desire to be free of the burden of Brotherhood rule.

After the Brewfest rebellion, all meaningful attempts to gather taxation by the Brotherhood were abandoned, although their warriors loot and pillage any Onnwalons they come across.

Transport

Prior to the Greyhawk Wars, Onnwal was primarily a seafaring nation. Most travel and movement of trade goods was carried out over the water; either along the coasts of the realm or over the sea.

Travel by road, particularly for merchants, was comparatively rare. Onnwal did have, however, a moderately well-developed network of tracks and trails centred on Scant that linked the settlements of the interior to the coastal areas. A paved road (the Cliffway) also exists that links Scant to Irongate along the Azure Coast.

Thought by many to be an extension of Ahlissa’s Lantern Road, a well-maintained trail runs down the Storm Coast linking the settlements of Sornhill, Scant, and Killdeer. In the past, this branch of the Lantern Road linked up with the main route that runs along the Ahlissan coast. With the loss of Imperial rule after the Battle of a Thousand Banners, however, the portion that ran through the Headlands fell into disrepair and the road was split asunder. A faint trail does lead from the eastern border of the Eastern Marchlands to Irongate and this is now seeing more traffic as the rebel government strengthens its links with Cobb Darg.

Two trails, collectively known as the Hind Road, traverse the Headlands but are prone to be washed away by summer flooding and are generally in poor repair. With the Occupation, however, many of these roads, particularly those ones in the interior, have fallen into disrepair. The rebels were disinclined to repair them and the Brotherhood did not have the resources or need. Both coasts have moderately well-maintained roads that run the length of the country.

Coinage of Onnwal

Traditionally minted in Irongate and transported to Scant under heavily armed guard, Onnwal’s coinage has remained essentially unchanged since Imperial rule was thrown off circa 447 CY. After the Battle of a Thousand Banners and the creation of the Iron League, the then Szek desired the creation of a new set of coinage to stamp his authority on the new realm. Consequently, his aides designed a set of coins that have remained essentially the same for over 150 years.

Although plans were drawn up by Sister Kuranyie to remake Onnwalish currency in the Brotherhood’s image, she has had neither the time nor resources to put her scheme into effect. Onnwalish coins use the standard d&d3e; conversion rates.

All Onnwalish coins have a hole drilled through them somewhere allowing a strong cord or thin chain to be threaded through them. This tradition originated with sailors crewing trade vessels traversing the Gearnat during the stormy seasons. The sailors were constantly losing coins in gales as pouches were drenched or sea chests smashed open by the violent movements of the ship. Each man would have a chain or leather braid with his name or emblem upon it. Thus there was no argument as to who owned what. Sailors in port often carried their coins around their waist or upon their wrists. Many a sailor has swaggered into port with the soft clinking of coin about him, only to leave several days later a lot quieter!

The Sea Eagle

The platinum coin of the realm is named after Coran Calimbore. As a young lieutenant on one of the Herzog’s ships at the time of the Turmoil Between Crowns, Coran slew the captain of his vessel – a loyalist named Adriali Herzagmor. Assuming command, he led a successful mutiny that spread throughout the fleet and defeated an invasion force sent from Prymp in battle just beyond the Great Harbour of Scant, thus saving the city. He was nicknamed the Sea Eagle, after the huge birds that still inhabit the southern Headlands, for his ability to anticipate what his enemy was planning. The appellation passed into common usage and became the name for the leader of the Onnwalish fleet. Thus it has four meanings within Onnwal.

The Gull

The Gull is the gold piece of Onnwal. Named for the thousands of birds that inhabit the many cliffs and crags around Scant, this coin was the standard used in much of the trade carried out on the peninsula. It has a stylized gull in flight on one side and the Onnwalish coat of arms on the other. It can be found as far afield as Nyrond, The Free City of Greyhawk, Irongate, and even Ahlissa.

The Wader

The Electrum coin of the realm shares its name with the nickname given to the Marram Cranes indigenous to southern Onnwal. Differentiated from normal cranes by their yellow/brown neck markings and their preference for nesting in the thick grasses found in the dunes of the Azure Coast, the Cranes are a familiar sight in the skies above Onnwal. A migratory bird that can be found in Onnwal during the spring and summer months, they feed on insects, molluscs, and small fish that the male finds. The coin bears the heraldic device of Onnwal on one side and a depiction of two Cranes nesting on the other.

The Goose and the Duck

The original Flan inhabitants of Onnwal relied on ducks for eggs and poultry- meat, never having had chickens. The invading Suel brought with them a stock of geese that have, over time, multiplied throughout the populace. The Duck and the Goose were, therefore “honoured” by the incumbent Szek because of the vital role they play in the agrarian economy of the country. As before, the coins bear a representation of their type of bird on one side and the heraldic device of Onnwal on the other.

Onnwalish Exchange Rates

  CP SP EP GP PP
Copper Duck 1 1/10 1/50 1/100 1/1000
Silver Goose 10 1 1/5 1/10 1/100
Electrum Wader 50 5 1 1/2 1/20
Gold Gull 100 10 2 1 1/10
Platinum Sea Eagle 1000 100 20 10 1

Merchants Active in Onnwal

Though before the Greyhawk Wars Onnwal was a prosperous trading nation, the nature of its feudal society meant that power remained firmly in the hands of the land-owning nobility. Thus while Onnwal’s and particularly, Scant’s, merchants were wealthy they wielded little political clout. This was mainly because the nobility discouraged the formation of a Merchant’s Guild, preferring to keep the merchants divided into rival, competing houses and companies. This was aided in large part by the Temple of Zilchus – which had strong ties to the nobility. The trade priests made no effort to organize the merchants and spoke out against those who did. Mercantile life in Onnwal, therefore, tended to be fiercely competitive – with each individual house or trader vying with the others for the best markets and profit margins. Such was the fractious nature of Onnwalish merchants that the popular phrase “to squabble like a Scant trader” was coined, meaning a noisy and boisterous dispute.

The Merchant House of Carbani

A prominent merchant family based in Scant before the Wars, the Carbanis are in fact native to the city of Blue in the Pomarj. The founders of the family were a group of unrelated merchants and burghers of that city who were fortunate enough to be able to flee the port before it fell to the Orcish hordes in 521 CY. Finding safe haven in Scant, the refugees banded together with what resources they had sealing their pact with intermarriage and forging the group into one united, if sprawling, family. Through much hard work and effort, the Carbanis regained much of their lost wealth and established themselves as one of the richest merchant families in Scant. However, they never forgot their lost homeland and have been unwavering foes of the humanoids and pirates of Blue and the Pomarj ever since. They have repeatedly urged the Szeks of Onnwal to send their forces to reclaim Blue.

The Carbanis were once more forced to flee to escape the rule of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Led by Tygeld Carbani, they escaped to Nessermouth in Nyrond. Having already had the experience of losing everything – the Carbanis had prudently distributed their assets widely across the eastern Flanaess – from Dyvers to Rel Mord – rather than concentrating all their wealth in one place. Thus, unlike many Onnwalish merchants, they managed to survive the invasion with a substantial portion of their fortunes intact. Tygeld has used this money to purchase two vessels, which he has loaned to Jian Destron to ferry supplies from Nyrond to Killdeer. Furthermore, he has also made several large loans in coin to the Szek.

Larea Farmoor

A wealthy and powerful merchant of Scant, Larea conducts her business unhindered by the Brotherhood. It is unknown why the Brotherhood has allowed her to continue in business, but she does urge compliance with their edicts in Scant. Due to her perceived collaboration with the Brotherhood, Larea is not welcomed in Rebel-held ports and now deals via the free ports in the Hezarin Isles.

Muamman and Sons

Based in Killdeer and led by the crafty and financially astute Dwarf Morathor Muamman, this company had considerable pre-war interests that included guano mines, warehouse property, a fleet of three ships, a small distillery, and a company of renowned Dwur builders. Muammon has returned to Killdeer in the wake of that town’s liberation and has set about rebuilding his business interests. He has contributed to the building of a temple to Mayaheine in Killdeer. Muamman hates the Ahlissans with a passion and will not trade with them describing them as a “curse in a silk purse”.

Royal Guild of Merchants of Aerdy

Although this trading organization has no known agents active in Onnwal at this time, it has just created tentative business links with Irongate. Tensions are known to be high on both sides however the Ahlissians seem extremely keen to trade with the Dwur and humans of Irongate for steel and other mineral resources. In exchange, they offer luxury goods that have become in the last few years all too scarce in the capital of the Iron League. As the Merchants of Aerdy are in effect run by Overking Xavener, and are therefore opposed to the Brotherhood, some observers expect the rebels to open trade with this rich and powerful organization in the future.

The House of Feralen

The House of Feralen was once the main human dealer in iron and steel goods in Onnwal. Surprisingly, the advent of war has seemingly not affected their ability to get hold of large quantities of quality metals. Many of their competitors are curious about this sudden source of fine grade steel and do not believe the tale being spun by the House Feralen of a new vein being tapped in an isolated mine. They have some mines of their own but these are nowhere nearly as rich as the tightly guarded Dwur mines of the Headlands. Bankruptcy seems imminent for this family, their mines only able to stave off that inevitable day.

The House of Galthrena

The House of Galthrena appears to be a family of humble, if affluent merchants. However, rumours have persisted of their involvement in many illegal activities, none of which have ever been proven.

Derl Galthrena, the aging and stern patriarch of the family, leads the house and has made the unpopular choice of naming his daughter Helana Galthrena as his successor. The extended family lived in a palatial mansion near Longbridge, which was then occupied by the Brotherhood Kesh of Longbridge before the liberation of the town. Derl has since reclaimed the half-burned shell of the house. The Galthrena has cultivated close ties with several noble families.

The Waymen of the Storm Coast

A small group of like-minded individuals, the majority of this group’s business ventures were either destroyed or appropriated by the Brotherhood. The Waymen dealt in the import of wood suitable for shipbuilding from Nyrond and, more rarely, Sunndi. They currently deal exclusively with Jian Destron; shipping desperately needed supplies to the rebel stronghold at Killdeer. In the past, members of this group have even funded expeditions to Hepmonaland to gather rare hardwoods for special projects. The Waymen’s current leader is Fabriga Farwanderer a portly, middle-aged, ex-military man known for his iron will, inflexibility, and patriotism.

The House of Zelthred

This merchant dynasty has existed since the time of Aerdi rule, almost constantly growing in wealth and prestige. Formerly based in Scant, they now reside in Killdeer. Like most of the other Merchant Houses, they were set back by the invasion and liberation, losing their patriarchal leader Golomus Zelthred to the Scarlet Brotherhood. The loss of this great leader has split the once united house into several small, petty, squabbling camps divided along family political lines, each out to get the other.

The Rebels seized several of the families’ cogs in order to boost the strength of their navy before their true ownership was ascertained. Unfortunately, both vessels have since been sunk. This act has earned Jian the animosity of much of the family. The House of Zelthred’s device is a Royal Blue sail and Yellow Sunburst. They were known in many ports, principally for their luxury goods, especially gems and ceramics.

Yornal Kataga

A native of Irongate, this astute, self-made man, settled in Onnwal around 565 CY and purchased a large plantation outside Longbridge, well-irrigated and possessed of fertile soils. Yornal grew sugar cane interspersed with limes on his estates and was soon producing a clear spirit that became known simply as Yornal.

Instantly popular in the environs of Longbridge, the drink had become much sought after throughout the peninsula prior to the Greyhawk Wars. His workers put much of Yornal’s estate to the torch in the face of the advance of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Yornal himself was imprisoned by the Brotherhood until he gave up the location of his secret storage facilities. Released during the fighting in Longbridge, Yornal has returned to his ruined estates where he is thought to be rebuilding his shattered mercantile empire.

Pirates of the Gearnat and Azure Seas

As befits sea-lanes that have traditionally seen heavy use by merchants and trading companies, the Azure and Gearnat Seas have long been infested with pirates, privateers, and slavers. Many of these individuals, like Blidg Fanger, operated with relative impunity from the port of Blue in the Pomarj but many others have their base of operations much closer to Onnwal.

The Storm Isles, located in the Gearnat, and the Hezarin and Saernedd (Serpent) Isles, in the Azure, are used by pirates and like individuals as bases to strike at passing shipping. Some work for the Scarlet Brotherhood, others have sided with the Resistance. The vast majority, however, cares little for the struggle wracking the mainland and will strike at any vessel they find.

Baren Harnsheer

A pirate without a ship and outwardly poor in appearance, Baren is extremely bitter. He travels the Isles stirring up resentment against Wuthur the Wild. He has been rumoured to have dealings with the Brotherhood.

Black Kristoph

A man feared by all that know him, Kristoph is known to prey on mages and to covet magic above all else. An elderly but extremely charismatic man, he is arrogant and vicious. His ship, the Reaver, is crewed by a crew fanatically loyal to him. Black Kristoph had such a large bounty on his head before the Wars that even fellow pirates attempted to collect it. His last vessel, the Black Ram, was sunk beneath him and in the ensuing fight he lost his right hand to Wuthur the Wild.

Jokra of Blue

A Half-Orc that operates mainly around the Storm Isles and the Storm Coast, she deals in soma seed and retchweed. Known to have some small skill with magic, she is ever hungry for knowledge both magical and mundane.

Wuthur the Wild

This powerful warrior captains the Sea Serpent, a cog that can be found prowling the seas around the Storm Isles. He preys on any vessel that crosses his path and, as a result, both sides in the conflict bear him enmity. He acquired the Sea Serpent from Baren Harnsheer, who is known to hate him, after a duel. Wuthur has a wide collection of enemies including Huthor Draug and Black Kristoph. In 591 CY, Wuthur signed a pact with Szek Jian granting him a pardon from his past crimes in return for a Letter of Marque to attack the shipping of the Brotherhood and their allies. Wuthur is also expected to come to the aid of the Free State if asked and vice versa. Whether the pirate has any intention of honouring this agreement is a matter of some speculation and doubt in many quarters.

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