Introduction to GRNC 2 – The Retaking of Grabford
A GREAT NORTHERN CRUSADE ADVENTURE from Greyhawkstories.com
The Great Northern Crusade advances! Several months ago, Furyondian and Velunese forces, under the command of Grand Marshal Jemian, crossed the flare line and slammed into the armies of Old One. Fighting under the blessing of Heironeous and assisted by high-caliber magic from powerful mages such as Bigby, the vengeful crusaders made quick initial progress.
By Needfest (CY 586), cold weather, freezing rains, and deep snows hampered the army’s advance, but with Atroa’s warming smile and the promise of warmer weather, the campaign resumes in the spring. The Knights of the Hart have already taken control of the Bone Road west of Grabford and reached the Veng, driving a wedge between the occupied Furyondian cities of Grabford and Crockport. While the Furyondian navy sails out of Morsten to take control of Grabford harbor, the Lady Katarina Walworth and Count Artur Jakartai command the crusaders of the Holy Shielding to lay siege to the fallen capital of Crystalreach County.
The walls of Grabford and the battlements of the city’s forty towers hug the banks of the great Veng River where the the water widens into shallows impassable by large craft and heavy laden ships. Those heavier vessels must enter Grabford’s harbor and make their way through a marvelously engineered canal that snakes through the city before it passes out through the southern wall. Beyond the walls of the city, the canal rejoins the Veng half a mile downstream. Within Grabford, three impressive drawbridges span the canal, allowing even proud-masted sailing ships to pass through its city. The proud citizens of Grabford once enjoyed the sight of the river’s great sailing vessels and laden barges gliding gracefully past their streets, and they profited no small amount from their passage. King Belvor built strong city walls and forty towers, and he garrisoned a thousand of Furyondy’s finest soldiers to guard the strategically significant fords and protect the canal. For all these reasons, Grabford numbered among the proudest cities of the Kingdom, a necessary port of call for every trading vessel that sailed from Lake Whyestil to the Nyr Dyv.
Then came war. (CY 583)
The armies of the Old One descended into Furyondy, laid siege to Chendl, and conquered Crockport. The Furyondian Navy and all the merchant and cargo ships of Lake Whyestil fled the fall of the harbor town (Crockport). Abyssal bats and winged fiends pursued the mariners across the great lake like raging storms, driving ships upon the rocks or spilling them into the lake. Buffeted, burnt, and torn, only a few surviving vessels escaped down the Veng and passed through the canal at Grabford in disgrace. The good folk of the city watched with no small dimay as the tattered navy of Furyondy, and all those noblemen’s trading vessels too, passed through their city in haste. None dared stop at the docks or tarry long enough to drop anchor in the harbor.
Meantime, the forces of the Horned Society drew up on the opposite bank of the river. They waited until the first of Ready’reat (CY 583). As the sun faded in the west, war horns sounded their advance. A host of iron-clad hobgoblins under command of loathsome fiends splashed across the fords and fell upon the city. The men of Grabford closed the Canal Gate and sealed the harbor. Though outnumbered by uncounted multitudes of goblinkind assaulting their gates, they held the walls against the besiegers four long days–until the darkness of Nerull’s night!
Then came rowing up the Veng a haunted galley, The Long Shadow by name. It’s oars stirred up the river mists, and unoerthly pale radiance gave ghoulish glow. Undead of Molag crewed the vessel: skeletons, zombies, ghouls—wights and fearsome nightmares from the Gardens of Necrosis. A leering devil captained over them. Passengers also rode aboard: wraiths and raving ghosts tormented in the Molag’s Sanitorium or summoned in the Cathedral of Nerull. In it’s a hold, a heavy load of twelve stone sarcophagi.
Under cover of darkness and heavy fog, The Long Shadow left the Veng and entered the canal’s mouth. All those horrors disembarked, came shrieking and screaming, leaping from the deck and flying through the air as the ghost ship drew near the city’s Canal Gate. Clouds of bats swirled through the sky, and the terrifying baying of Yeth Hounds announced the arrival of a dark presence. Even the hobgoblin soldiers laying siege to the city cowered and shook at the arrival of their allies. The men on the walls could not endure the wailing wraiths, phantoms, and baleful undead. Some fled, maddened by the terror. Others died at their posts, aged beyond recognition by the touch of ghosts. In short time, the Canal Gate opened, the vampire’s ship entered the city, and the city of Grabford fell before the vampire lord Maskaleyne.
Nearly three years have since elapsed. Today, the Great Northern Crusade prepares to liberate this most strategic prize in The Retaking of Grabford (GRNC 2). Ride with the combined armies of Furyondy and Shield Lands under the standard of Lady Katarina Knight Commander of the crusade and the heroic banner of Count Artur Jakartai. But be sure to bring a cleric. And a few wooden stakes and a good heavy hammer. You’re going to need them.
Artwork by Vince Locke, Living Greyhawk Gazeteer: “Artur Jakartai at the Retaking of Grabford,”
Map of Grabford: Dyson Logos Collection
Sources, The Marklands, Iuz the Evil, The Adventure Begins
For more in this series, see also GRNC 1 – The Devils of Molag