Introduction to Greyhawk

Castles, cataclysm and captives

Although Faerun is the most famous setting in D&D, Greyhawk is actually the original setting from which D&D took place and most of the early modules take place there. While little lore of the earea was originally given, the focus was on the adventures and Gygax’s infamous mega dungeon, “Castle Greyhawk” was set here though the location isn’t considered canon.


The world of the Greyhawk setting is known as Oerth and is analogous of our own planet. The continent detailed on Oerth is known as Oerik and its Eastern-most portion is known as flaeness, a reversed version of Earth’s own Europe with west being east and east being west.

Near the centre of Flaeness and just South of Nyr Dyv (the lake of bottomless depths) is the Free City of Greyhawk. It’s a prosperous city due to its position along the Selintan river which leads out to the Azure Sea and provides profitable trade links. It also gains great prosperity from the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk which stands just a couple of miles from the city.

The Great Kingdom covers a large portion of the Eastern continent of Flaeness. It had previously covered the entire continent, but much like the Roman Empire, it dwindled in influence to only cover a portion of the continent, becoming a place of great evil that ignores all outside of its borders. It is mainly populated by the Oeridian people.

Furyondy is a kingdom in the western portion of Flaeness and is generally seen as a powerful force for good. It is, however hampered by Iuz, a half-demon who rules a kingdom directly North of Furyondy. Iuz is generally regarded as a demi-god by those of his kingdom and has many worshipers as such.


About a thousand years ago, there were 2 great empires in Western Flaeness, the Suloise and the Baklunish. Both were constantly at war. The war reached epic proportions with the Baklunish eventually calling down a colourless rain of fire upon the Suloise that destroyed anything it touched turning the empire into The Sea of Dust.

The Suloise retaliated with the “Invoked Devastation”. No one knows exactly what that devastation was, but it resulted in the same thing, the destruction of an entire empire. There’s much disagreement over which empire made the first move. Some say that artefacts of great power can be found within the ruins of the Sea of Dust, but the hostile nature of the area means many do not survive long enough to know if this is true. These cataclysms led to people of the destroyed empires fleeing eastward and driving out the native Flan people. About this same time, a group called the Oeridian also migrated to the same area.

A few decades ago, the half-demon Iuz was captured and locked in Greyhawk Castle by Zagig, the Mayor of the Free Town and builder of Castle Greyhawk. Unfortunately, he was released by a pair of unwitting adventurers known as Robilar and Tenser. Since that time, Iuz has been reconsolidating his Kingdom. Zagig has since gone missing.

Published by DM Ben

Ben is an experienced dungeon master and player who's been immersed in the D&D universe since he was a teenager over 20 years ago. When he's not writing for Dungeon Mister, Ben loves creating fiendish puzzles and devious dungeons for his players. He's an especially big fan of the Ravenloft and Dragonlance settings.