Dark Days of Greyhawk
Viscounty of Verbobonc
The Viscounty of Verbobonc is the center of the adventures currently underway…
VERBOBONC, Viscounty and Town of,
Ruler: His Lordship, the Viscount Wilfrick of Verbobonc
Capital: Verbobonc pop. 11,600
Religion(s): Saint Cuthbert (state religion), others all minor (evil gods persecuted)
Demi-Humans: Gnomes (4,000 warriors), Sylvan Elves (2,500 warriors)
Resources: Copper (in the hills), Foodstuffs, Gems (I-IV)
Knights: Of the Realm: 130, Of the Lords: 288 (including Hedge Knights)
Men-at-Arms: Of the Realm: 300, Of the Lords: 430
Yeomen: Of the Realm: 700, Of the Lords: 900
Militia Muster: Of the Cities: 1200, Of the Manors: 2000
Settlements In/Near Verbobonc (usually outside the Viscount’s Control)
Dungeons of Verbobonc
Overview: Long before the coming of humanity, Verbobonc was an elven settlement set on a wooded hilltop overlooking a spot where a minor tributary, Gillendyl’s Run, enters the Velverdyva River’s wide expanse. The small river town featured an impressive elven tower fortress surrounded by yet more tall, thin towers, narrow walkways, lofty houses, and parkways filled with delicate wood and ceramic statuary. Considered a safe haven on the great river, a market place developed along the riverbank attracting goods from near and far.
The local elves shared their lives and livelihood with the good gnomes of the Kron Hills to the south, banding together to battle off threats from the north and east. Verbobonc, then, was a military town, aligned with the gray elves of Enstad, though a political entity unto itself. Her elven patrols ranged into the deep Gnarley Forest to the east, the Kron Hills to the south, and through the Iron Wood to the west. The surrounding hillocks still hold relics of those ancient days, slowly crumbling towers of unsurpassed beauty, troves of buried arrowheads and still-useful armor. It is even said there remain elven Old Places, sacred refuges hidden in the magical folds of wood and hill.
As civilized humans entered the Flanaess and most elves receded into the woodlands, Verbobonc gained more importance as a trade port on the Velverdyva River. At this time, many elves quit Verbobonc, leaving the town to the gnomes and the new arrivals. Humans soon took over the great elven fortress for which the ground dwelling gnomes had little interest. What few elves remained were content with their ipphouses. Thus began a new period in the history of the region, in which the two majority races worked together to improve and grow Verbobonc into a state of its own, not beholden to any greater power.
At the dawn of the first century CY, the two primary races of Verbobonc encircled their growing town with walls. They constructed hundreds of new buildings, mixing a distinctly gnome architecture with the existing elven structures, and more human styles. In this spirit was the slogan “Earth and Stone, Man and Gnome” carved above the city’s east gate, a motto and approach to life that endures to this day.
The viscounty was formally incorporated into Veluna and the viceroyalty of Ferrond in 119 CY. Verbobonc became the primary river port for Veluna, a fact that made it a primary target of Keoish aggression in the 350s CY. By 355 CY the Second Keoland Expeditionary Force had taken Devarnish and fanned out into the lands south all the way to the Lortmils and east passed the Iron Wood and into the Kron Hills. Only Canon Turgen IV of Mitrik’s negotiation of the Treaty of Devarnish saved the remainder of Verbobonc territory from annexation. However, much of the western lands of the viscounty were occupied. The looming Castle Estival, just east of the Iron Wood housed the furthest eastward Keoish garrison. From there the forces of Keoland controlled all trade traveling on the Great Western Road and controlled the western and southern approaches to Verbobonc Town itself. In 415 CY, however, a new governor for the northern Keoland provinces arrived, Commander Berlikyn of Gran March. He initiated a program of grim oppression in the occupied lands, and by 436 CY publicly threatened to violate the Treaty of Devarnish and annex the whole of Veluna, including Verbobonc, in the name of the Keoish crown.
Whether the king of Furyondy decided to act due to the agents dispatched by the Velunese canon in that year, or because the looming threat of Keoland had simply become too large to ignore, act he did. The armies of Furyondy surged into Veluna, battling south of the Velverdyva in a ferocious series of actions soon known as the Short War. Several volunteer companies from Verbobonc assisted a small Furyondian force in isolating the Keoland garrison in Castle Estival, rendering them helpless. The bulk of the Furyondy armies battled to the west through Veluna, the Fals Gap, and capturing all of Bissel in the process by 438 CY.
Following the Short War, Verbobonc grew distant from Mitrik. Its viscount still sent a delegate to sit on the Celestial Order of the Moons, but never again would the people of the Viscounty be considered completely willing vassals. The Velunese College of Bishops, rallied by a contingent of orthodox Cuthbertine Overseers, voted overwhelmingly to break from Furyondy in 446 CY signing an agreement known as the Concordat of Eademer. In these years, the church of St. Cuthbert came into great prominence in Verbobonc, inspired in no small part by the actions of the Cuthbertine Overseers in the College of Bishops. To many in the Viscounty it was taken as a sign of autonomy. Gradually, over time, clerics of St. Cuthbert displaced Raoan clerics in important government roles throughout Verbobonc.
In the early 500s CY Verbobonc forces assisted their gnome-friends in the Kron Hills. Gnome volunteers from the Kron in turn assisted their relatives in the Lortmils during the Hateful Wars, when the dwarves and gnomes of the mountains forced out nearly all the major humanoid tribes. Verbobonc forces helped patrol those areas of the Kron left unprotected by the gnomes fighting away from home and protecting their southern frontiers from humanoid incursions.
The trading town might have fallen from the gaze of history if not for the development, in the late 550s of a nexus of evil southeast of the town, in the Kron Hills. This outpost, the infamous Temple of Elemental Evil, soon became a beacon for vile men and humanoids from across the Flanaess. These evil forces began raiding the overland caravan routes which pass through or near Hommlet, thus threatening this avenue of trade between Dyvers and Verbobonc as well as the local hill folk and gnomes. The raids did not appear alarming at first, but gradually increased over time. Efforts by the Gnarley rangers, mounted patrols from Verbobonc, local woodsmen, and gnomes from Ostverk apparently checked, but did not stop, the spread of outlawry and evil. In the year 560 CY various troubles began to crop up between the Viscounty and the Kron Hill gnomes. Trade goods disappeared on their trek from the Kron Hills to Verbobonc City, gnome merchants reported being harassed by Verbobonc patrols, Verbobonc patrols reported defeating humanoid raiding parties paid by gnomish coin, and gnome claims of human raids on their caravans. Worst of all was an attempted assassination of Prince Jimm of the Gnomes of the Kron Hills, a resident of Verbobonc City. All of these troubles proved to be the doings of an agent from the Temple of Elemental Evil. He was revealed and chased out of the city.
By 568 CY, it became clear that the Temple villains had established an army, and the following year saw a banding together of the forces of good to clear the Verbobonc lands of its evil scourge. Contingents of men-at-arms and cavalry from Verbobonc, Furyondy, and Veluna, together with a force of dwarves from the Lortmils, gnomes from the Kron Hills, and an army of elven archers and spearmen gathered together against the vast horde of evil men and humanoids based at the Temple of Elemental Evil. The opposing forces initially met on the grassy fields south of the Velverdyva River and several leagues to the east of Verbobonc Town. The allied forces of good maneuvered against the evil forces, closing upon the stronghold of the evil creatures, the walled Temple near Nulb, not far from Hommlet. Elven scouts reported that a huge evil army was approaching from the south. The Marshall of Furyondy, leader of the combined forces, ordered a withdrawal northward to a position scouted earlier. This new position would afford more open ground for the heavy cavalry and pikemen to effectively operate. Light cavalry skirmishers were sent out to screen the withdrawal, and no real fighting took place that day.
The horde of evil creatures and men marched forth the next morning into the Emridy meadows northwest of Nulb. These meadows were so named from the Emridy Run, a small tributary of the Imeryds Run, which enters the larger river from the west. The allied army waited with formed ranks, pike-men from Furyondy, Veluna and Verbobonc were arrayed so that their right flank was secured by the Emridy Run; in the center were the banners of horse, and on the allied left were deployed bands of dwarves and gnomes, with a few units of elven archers place in the intervals between. The flank of the demihumans protected by the Imeryds Run. The humanoids fell immediately upon the allied left, while the men in the evil ranks rode to engage the allied center and right. The hordes of orcs, gnolls, and ogres thrust aside their hated foes and rushed to encircle the balance of the allied army. But, this fell into the Marshall of Furyondy’s planned trap. The whole human portion of the allied army pivoted backward to the left as the demi-humans pivoted backward and right, and a large contingent of previously screened heavy cavalry charged into the right flank of the humanoids. Meanwhile, squares of elves emerged from the Imeryds Run where they had remained hidden until this moment. Trapped in this pocket with the pike-men now advancing into their left flank, the cavalry in their front, the demi-humans on their right and the elven squares at their rear, the packed mass of evil humans and humanoids fought hopelessly. When the great slaughter was finished, the allies went on to besiege the Temple of Elemental Evil itself. It fell after a fortnight. Powerful mages and clerics sealed the temple ruins with arcane bindings, claiming to have trapped a powerful demon within its golden doors.
The peace was short lived. The so-called “Second Rising” of the Horde of Elemental Evil surprised no one. Viscount Wilfrick, alerted to the growing evil by agents in the south, ordered the construction of a castle at the sleepy Village of Hommlet. In the late 570s, dozens of parties of adventurers sallied forth against the temple. After much loss of life, the horde seemed at last to have met defeat; though the evil that was scattered simply seemed to plant itself in other places.
(more to come)