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Maldin's Greyhawk

The Arcane Chronologies of Greyhawk

Version 2.0
by Denis Tetreault


Here you will find a chronology of important magical/wizardly events. I preface the following with the comment that it represents what I've developed for my campaign as it has evolved over 18 years, and in no way represents any statement of Greyhawk "canon". While it is mostly compatible with published GH "canon" - I'm a stickler for details! ;-) - it does, in places, clash with other sources such as the Oerth Journals, and with Gary Gygax's original home campaign as reported by Rob Kuntz and Gary himself on the Greytalk list and from other sources. But that's part of what makes Greyhawk great... we, as DM's, make it our own. I have had some pleasant surprises though, such as when I found out over a year ago that Eric Mona and Gary Holian had independently come up with almost the same decisions as I on an improved composition of the Ring of Five! As the saying goes... "Great minds think alike"... or was it "Fools seldom differ"? I could never remember. ;-)

Of course, this timeline, the OJ timelines, and all other timelines produced by other people (including "official" TSR timelines) can all be considered as "rumor" and DMs can pick and choose which individual entries they wish to represent as "the truth". Unlike most other timelines that people have produced, I've included specific references where possible so that DMs can make their own decisions.

As my personal campaign serves as the baseline for the timeline it may be important to point out a few things. As a matter of convention, I use the Suel Calender (eliminates the pain of negative years, the lack of a CY 0 year, among other reasons unique to my campaign). For conversion purposes CY 1 = SD 5516. Because my campaign has run for so long, and again for reasons unique to my campaign, it is in the year SD 6099 (CY 584) and the Greyhawk wars are only just beginning (the equivalent of SD 6097/CY 582 in the From the Ashes Boxed Set).

I use Spelljammer materials, and thus have incorporated significant events from the SJR6 Greyspace accessory. Also, as the major thread tying my campaign together, some of what follows hinges on the history of the elder-artifact (my term, see my Artifacts page) known as the Codex of the Infinite Planes as described in the article by the same name that I posted to Greytalk on Feb 15, 1997. I've noted below (with a "[CotIP]") where more detail on that entry can be had by refering to my description elsewhere on this website. More detail can be had on the Rain of Colorless Fire and Invoked Devastation on my Secrets of the Twin Cataclysms page. Also, I've adopted the HarnWorld (®Columbia Games) material about the Earthmasters and the "Godstones" they left behind into my campaign world. Those people who choose not to use this material may just ignore all such references, or substitute inter-planar gates of different or unknown origins as replacements.

The Timeline

Note : ~ = approximately, I have not set a definite date yet  (CY date pure conversion and not meant to represent a specific year)
~ -15,000 SD, -20,000 CY Earthmasters appear on Oerth, build Skrellingshald and Tovag Baragu

~ -10,000 SD, -15,000 CY  Earthmasters disappear, Greela destroyed by enemies of the Earthmasters [CotIP]

~ -5000 SD, -10,500 CY  Elves arrive on Oerth through Godstone

~ -2000 SD, -7500 CY  Illithids destroy Anti-Liga [CotIP, SJR6:Greyspace 26], stories of Anti-Liga handed down by elves

-1785 SD, -7300 CY  Dwarves arrive through Godstone  

1 SD, -5515 CY Suel gods arrive on Oerth and "establish" the Suel people
(reason: atmosphere of Kule stripped away [CotIP], survivors escape to Oerth through Godstone, begin a pre-Suel "Dark Ages")
~ 2500-3000 SD, -3016 to -2516 CY  Suel people advance sufficiently to begin dabbling in magic again.

2856 SD, -2660 CY  the early Bakluni tribes discover Tovag Baragu and begin settling around it

~ 3800 SD, -1716 CY  the Flannish high priest Kyuss performs experiments at the Necropolis of Unaagh [WGR3:Rary the Traitor 27]

~ 3900 SD, -1616 CY  the fall of the Flannish kingdom of Sulm [WGR3:Rary the Traitor 15]

~ 4000 SD, -1516 CY  the Great Suloise Empire is formed

~ 4400 SD, -1116 CY  Xagy (=Zagy?) is active during the reign of Queen Ehlissa (Baklunish Empire?)
[1stEd. DMG 160, Book of Artifacts 78]
4710 SD, -806 CY  Vecna born

4800 SD, -716 CY  Vecna becomes a lich

4870 SD, -646 CY  Rise of the Neheli Dynasty in the Sheldomar Valley, Vecna's rule ends [WGA4:Vecna lives! 7, 22]

~ 4900 SD, -616 CY  Xodast imprisons Zol [WG7:Castle Greyhawk 97] and creates the Bringer of Doom using the Codex [CotIP]

5031 SD, 485 CY  Beginning of the Baklunish-Suloise Wars

5089 SD, -427 CY  Ilkben, Grand Wizard of the Baklunish Empire, acquires the Codex [CotIP]

5091 SD, -425 CY  founding of the Scarlet Brotherhood [WG8:Fate of Istus 105]

5094 SD, -422 CY  the Invoked Devastation/Rain of Colorless Fire
As the Suel's Arcane Council call down the Invoked Devastation using the artifact known as the Bringer of Doom, the Wizards of the Final Retribution, led by Ilkben, use an artifact (created by Ilkben using the Codex) to tap into Tovag Boragu and call down the Rain of Colorless Fire [CotIP] The ensuing maelstrom summons Incabulos to Oerth for the very first time. Note: this is my own history and is different than most other theories (including Gygax's original campaign ideas).
5210 SD, -306 CY  the Insurrection of the Yaheetes [WGA4:Vecna lives! 22]

5245-5255 SD, -271 to -261 CY  rise and fall of the Empire of the Isles of Woe - rule of Yagrax [CotIP]

5299 SD, -217 CY  Founding of the Kingdom of Aerdy

5350-5450 SD, -166 to -66 CY  approximate rule of Vecna the 2nd [WGA4:Vecna lives! 22]

5450 SD, -66 CY  Quaal builds Quaalsten
[can't remember where I got this one from, but I believe it derives from an official TSR source because I have no other reason to set it as such - Quaal is not currently active in my campaign]
5489 SD, -27 CY  Lothrim the Foulspawner visits Oerth, brings WoG orcs back to Harn

5516 SD, 1 CY  Overking crowned in Rauxes [Folio WoG Gazetteer]

5615 SD,  100 CY  Viceroyalty of Furyondy established [Folio WoG Gazetteer]

5670 SD, 155 CY  Atirr Aedorich discovers the Sinking Isle [Greyhawk Adventures 93]

5713 SD, 198 CY  "Selvor's Shooting Star" sighted over the eastern Flanaess [Greyhawk Adventures 91]

5716 SD, 201 CY  Elves destroy the Planet Borka during the Unhuman Wars [1st Dragon Annual 46, and CotIP]

5810 SD, 295 CY  Zagig born

5835 SD, 320 CY  Castle Greyhawk begun by Zagig [WGR1:Greyhawk Ruins 3]

5900 SD, 385 CY  Zagig acquires the Codex [CotIP]

5908 SD, 393 CY  Greyhawk Guild of Wizardry founded by Zagig [City of Greyhawk Boxed Set: Folk, Feuds, Factions booklet 16]

5926 SD, 411 CY  Last public sighting of Zagig

5935 SD, 420 CY  Fraz-Urb'luu imprisoned by Zagig

5936 SD, 421 CY  Castle Greyhawk mysteriously abandoned
Due to Zagig's increasingly focused research, lack of attention to day-to-day matters in the huge castle complex results in several unattended "experiments" going wrong. Many died, some escaped.
5937 SD, 422 CY  Zagig founds the Ring of Five
Zagig's research into the advanced principles of magic procedes far enough that he realizes he needs help. After careful thought he then assembles a group of powerful mages, choosing members with differing alignments for reasons relating to the type of research he was planning; the group consists of Zagig (N), Keoghtom (NG), Tuerny (CE), Daern (LN) and Evard (NE) (this list is different than the inappropriate list given in WGR1). Together they created numerous magic items, among other accomplishments. Through this research, and with help from the both the Obelisk [WGR1:Greyhawk Ruins 67] and the Codex [CotIP], several members were to later achieve immortality.
5968 SD, 453 CY  Sormod mounts an expedition to the Rainbow Vale [Greyhawk Adventures 100]

~5977 SD, 462 CY  rule of Halmador the Cruel, using the artifacts of Vecna [WGA4:Vecna lives! 9]

5994 SD, 479 CY  might of Iuz grows

5996 SD, 481 CY  Iggwilv disappears

6002 SD, 487 CY  Marchanter Melkotia born

6004 SD, 489 CY  extradimensional invasion of the Scarlet Brotherhood's capital city, Hesuel Ilshar [WG8:Fate of Istus 105]

6020 SD, 505 CY  Iuz imprisoned by Zagig and the Ring of Five
In my campaign, they used the Codex [CotIP] perhaps with some outside help [WGR5:Iuz the Evil 5 lists Zagyg, St.Cuthbert, Heward, Murlynd, Keoghtem and Kelanen, though I personally do not use this explanation in my campaign]. As for the complete list of the Nine "Demigods", I use Iuz [get it? ;-) "I use Iuz"], Wastri, and Olidammara as powers native to Oerth, and an as-yet-to-be-determined solar, heirarch modron, baatezu lord, tanar'ri lord, yugoloth lord, and slaadi lord in a sort of arcane planar-magic equation. The official list from Gygax's original campaign as reported by Rob Kuntz is Obad-hai, Olidammara, Hextor, Celestion, Iuz, Ralishaz, Trithereon, Erythnil, and Heironious.
6025 SD, 510 CY  Tzunk acquires the Codex while exploring Castle Greyhawk [CotIP]
In my campaign, the anti-divinational power of the Codex has an almost "anti-history" effect. As a result, references to Tzunk seem to be unnaturally fragmentary and much much older (pre-Rain of Colorless Fire, in fact) then he really is. Other DMs may wish to move Tzunk back to that ancient time. I had personal campaign reasons to place Tzunk here. There is no official canon that places Tzunk in any particular time... just that it was "a time in the past".
6027 SD, 512 CY  Mordenkainen born

6028 SD, 513 CY  Rary born, Rise of the Horned Society

6034 SD, 519 CY  the Pits of Azak-Zil discovered [Greyhawk Adventures 91]

6035 SD, 520 CY  Hradji Beartooth rediscovers Skrellingshald [Greyhawk Adventures 93]

6039 SD, 524 CY  the Pits of Azak-Zil abandoned

6040 SD, 525 CY  Storrich of the Hold of Stonefist reappears in Dyvers [Greyhawk Adventures 97]

6042 SD, 527 CY  Tenser born

6045 SD, 530 CY  Drawmij born

6051 SD, 536 CY  Bigby born, Maldin born

6055 SD, 540 CY  Otto born

6056 SD, 541 CY  Large Luigi climbs the Needle
(He therefore has no knowledge of events after this date) [SJR5:Rock of Bral 78, SJR2:Realmspace 49]

6060 SD, 545 CY  Otiluke born

6063 SD,  548 CY  Marchanter disappears

6066 SD, 551 CY  Jallarzi born  
Fraz-Urb'luu released from Castle Greyhawk by Mordenkainen and Riggby [my unique selection][according to Rob Kuntz in OJ#5, Fraz-Urb'luu was released by Erac's Cousin and Ayelerach in Gygax's home campaign]
 6070 SD, 555 CY  the Citadel of 8 founded
This group consisted of fellow adventurers early in their careers and includes: Mordendainen (Mu), Bigby (Mu), Riggby (Pr), Yrag (Fi), Felnorith (?), Vram (?), Vim (?), and Digby (?) [Gygax's official list]
6078 SD, 563 CY  the Circle of 8 founded
Founded by Mordenkainen, with Bigby and additional associates as a wizard-only group, for a purpose higher than "adventuring". This group originally consists of Mordenkainen, Bigby, Rary, Leomund, Bucknard, Melf, Drawmij, Nystul [my unique list]
6084 SD, 569 CY  Battle of Emridy Meadows, Circle of 8 helps seal the Temple of Elemental Evil

6085 SD, 570 CY  Iuz released from Castle Greyhawk by Tenser's adventuring party (Tenser, Robilar, Merlynd, Terik)

6086 SD, 571 CY  while exploring Castle Greyhawk again Tenser's party discovers the Isle of the Ape

6089 SD, 574 CY  Bucknard retires from the Circle of 8, Tenser replaces him

6090 SD, 575 CY  Mordenkainen saves Cloud Giants from dragons

6091 SD, 576 CY  Leomund retires from the Circle of 8, Otto replaces him

6094 SD, 579 CY  after years of disagreement, Melf quits the Circle of 8, Otiluke replaces him

6098 SD, 583 CY  Mordenkainen goes into semi-retirement, Jallarzi replaces him

6099 CY, 584 CY  Present year in my campaign
In my campaign the Duchy of Tenh has just been attacked.... Big Things are afoot!


Other Notable Timelines

    What makes a wizard's name memorable? Certainly not just the creation of new spells. Countless new magics have been developed by innumerable practitioners of the art, most of which have faded from the history books. However high-profile service to one's profession often results in fame, and there are few actions of higher profile than service to the following two institutions. It is no coincidence that these names are familiar to most aspiring mages. [The following information is not official.]

Most recent Presidents of the Society of Magi, City of Greyhawk

6095-present SD, 580-present CY Otiluke

6091-6095 SD, 576-580 CY  Kieren Jalucian (interim President)

6081-6091 SD, 566-576 CY  Tenser

6066-6081 SD, 551-566 CY  Mordenkainen

6062-6066 SD, 547-551 CY  Leomund

6048-6062 SD, 533-547 CY  Serten

Most recent Guildmasters of the Greyhawk Wizards Guild

6078-present SD, 563-present CY  Kieren Jalucian

6061-6078 SD, 546-563 CY  Bucknard

6042-6061SD, 527-546 CY  Sandellen Ax

What Next?

    Future revisions of this timeline may incorporate more of Len Lakofka's and Steve Wilson's amazingly detailed Oerth Journal timelines, though some of it is mutually exclusive (e.g. the earliest Suel histories and the use of some personages such as Tuerny, Tzunk, etc. conflict with my campaign; Steve does not have Sulm early enough, etc.), and I won't be granting Vecna a 600 year kingdom. ;-) Also, if I someday acquire the Rod of Seven Parts boxed set and there are firm dates published within that, I would like to add the Wind Dukes stuff.

    And, of course, as my campaign evolves I may rethink some of my timeline. For example, in light of information in the Return of the Eight adventure, an adventure that was published long after I created my original timeline, I may eventually re-evaluate Tuerny's role in my campaign. Also, if anyone can present a strong argument, and a good story, I may certainly include the ideas of other people.

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This page last modified on December 20, 2004