Iron League Campaign: Overview

One of the things that always fascinated me about the World of Greyhawk was the series of articles produced by Gary Gygax and Rob Kuntz back in the early 1980’s that detailed events in the Flanaess. Mostly there were details about troop strengths and movements, battles that had taken place on both land and sea, and political machinations. (Which, as an aside, actually fit in beautifully with the events that were later laid out in Greyhawk Wars and From the Ashes, despite many fans’ deprecation of those works.) There were also other fantastic events sprinkled in there, some of which were picked up with and run with by later authors (the transformation of Lendore Isle in the Spindrift Isles being a prominent example).

But the notion that there were armies constantly on the move, and the states on the beautiful Darlene map weren’t static entities but fluid things whose borders were constantly ebbing and flowing, with marriages and wars making real changes to the map, that really stuck with me.

Most specifically, several of the articles detailed the efforts by the Great Kingdom to put down its hostile southern neighbors of the Iron League and re-absorb them into its own polity. We heard how both Herzog Chelor, ruler of South Province, and His Equitable Nemesis of Medegia, Imperial Constable Spidasa, were competing to see which of them could bring the wayward territories of the Iron League– consisting of the free city of Irongate, Onnwal, Idee, Sunndi, the Lordship of the Isles, and the dwarf-king of the Iron Hills– under their sway. Both of them, of course, were also under close scrutiny from the Overking in Rauxes because their loyalty had as of late not been all that it could have been. Wonderful stuff. (Bear in mind this takes place around 578 CY, two years after the publication of the Gazetteer.)

As I’ve said before, I always thought that would make a terrific game; maybe a wargame, or even a board game. There’s certainly enough there to keep a regular D&D campaign in swing for years. But especially, I think it would make a terrific setting for a miniatures wargame campaign. Maybe both. The major players would be:

  • Herzog Chelor Herzog of South Province (Aerdy)
  • Holy Censor Spidasa of Medegia (Aerdy)
  • Szek Eward Destron of Onnwal (Iron League)
  • Lord High Mayor Cobb Darg of Irongate (Iron League)
  • King Holgi of the Iron Hills (Iron League)
  • Count Fedorik Eddri of Idee (Iron League)
  • Count Hazendel of Sunndi, Olvensteward of the South (Iron League)

And possibly the following as well:

  • The Marshal of the Southern and Western Provinces of the Great Kingdom (Aerdy)
  • Constable Mayor Drax of the Free City of Rel Astra (Aerdy)
  • Lord High Admiral Sencho Foy of the Sea Barons (Aerdy)
  • Woodsmen and olvenfolk of the Grandwood Forest (Iron League)
  • Prince Latmac Ranold of the Lordship of the Isles (Iron League)  
  • The Councils of Five and Seven of the Spindrift Isles (neutral)
What strikes me is how well balanced the major players are. Both the Iron League and Aerdy sides total approximately 60,000 troops each (broken out into different types, obviously– order of battle coming soon). 
Now, naturally, something like this would be a serious undertaking. A regular D&D adventure campaign, with everything that entails, run concurrently with a miniatures wargame campaign that included both land and sea battles. With everything integrated. Large-scale battles would be decided by tabletop miniatures wargames, using Field of Glory for land battles and my own homebrew system (based on Avalon Hill’s “Trireme”) for sea battles. 
So this isn’t an official announcement or anything, but merely some musings at this point. Perhaps later they’ll turn into a real announcement…

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

3 thoughts on “Iron League Campaign: Overview

  1. Mostly unrelated, but that first Dragon you have pictured is one of my absolute favorites. The “AD&D module” advertised on the cover is Larry DiTillio’s “Chagmat”. It, along with issue 57’s Wandering Trees, is one of my top two quick-I-need-an-adventure-now modules.

    Also, one of the bandits on the inside looks disturbingly like one of my gaming buddies of the time.

  2. I was also fascinated as a teen with the Iron League reports in Dragon. I even devised a system to wargame them out on the Greyhawk map, with strategic movement and abstracted battles.

  3. I too love those articles, and a mass combat system or wargame based around these articles would definitely be something I would purchase. Hint hint!

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