Background for Against the giants
First a note. This is a modification to the standard Greyhawk history for the region. Its purpose is to set the scene.
Sterich is a noble land, ruled by Earl Querchard and a vassal-state of Keoland. In recent months, however, darkness has fallen over that land, as tribes of giants and non-humans have moved down from the mountains into the area, wreaking havoc in their wake. Fell creatures are said to roam the lands after dark, and those folk who do not live in the fortified citadel of Istivin (the capital) keep their shutters and doors barred at night. Villages and farms have been raided and sacked, and people are fleeing towards the Kingdom of Keoland and hoped for safety.
Keoland has had its share of problems lately. Continuous skirmishing with the piratical sea princes to the south, followed by an insurrection of southern lords at “the lack of attention to the people of the realm’ caused a short war, drawing the royal courts attention away from other matters. The war (more a collection of short skirmishes and a few minor sieges) took about two years to settle. The result was the reaffirming of the loyalty of the south to the crown, and a renewed focus on war with the pirates.
This has lead to a military focus on the south of the kingdom, and away from the north, and Sterich. Something has seen an opportunity. Now Sterich is in peril, and Keoland is not in a position to respond.
A call for heroes and adventurers to assist has gone out. You have all received this proclaimation.
“To all who hear this proclamation who are good and strong fighters, mighty and knowledgeable wizards, proverbially wise sages and clerics, masterly rogues who use their abilities in the service of goodness and justice, and others of skill and diverse talent, heed the words of the His peerless Majesty, Kimbertos Skotti, King of Keoland, Lord of the Gran March, Plar of Sterich, and Protector of the South, through this humble spokesman.”
“The land of Sterich has been placed in dire danger that exceeds the abilities of ordinary levies and mercenary troops to contain. Foul witcheries and great malign magicks have conspired to destroy this noble state. It is, therefore, my wish and thus my will that all such goodly men and women and those of demi-human standing hie with all due haste to Istivin to aid in the repelling of this great danger”
“Those who choose to come to the aid of this land in its time of need shall be rewarded with the treasure of the creatures they defeat, without tax or surcharge by the crown. Also, those who join this noble effort will be forgiven debt to the crown and will be pardoned of any criminal acts less than treason or blasphemy on a successful conclusion. Those who choose to abandon this land in its time of need, or to flee or aid the forces of darkness, will be cursed in the eyes of the kingdom, and held as traitors.”
“By my hand, my wish and will, and with the stamp of the signet ring that is the seal of my power
Kimbertos Skotti, King of Keoland, Lord of the Gran March, Plar of Sterich, and Protector of the South.”