The campaign that I've been thinking about running for the last few months will be based in the Prelacy of Almor; a small state formerly situated between the Kingdom of Nyrond and the Great Kingdom of Ahlissa. Now if you're like me then it's likely that the only thing you knew about the Prelacy of Almor is that it was utterly destroyed by the Great Kingdom during Ivid the Undying's expansion and what wasn't conquered by him was absorbed by Nyrond. Or you could be like my lovely bride and just laugh every time I try to say Almor with my southern drawl bastardizing it into a terrible mess of false consonants and invented vowels. Regardless of where your knowledge about the Prelacy of Almor begins I'd like to discuss how I'm using the little state and where I'm envisioning the campaign going as it progresses.
Prior to the Greyhawk Wars the Prelacy of Almor really didn't have a lot of attention paid to it in the published materials for the setting. In truth the only real information that I could find on the state was found in the 1983 Boxed Set where it's description is fairly short and uninspiring:
. . . Originally a clerical fief of Aerdy, Almor grew in power and independence as the Great Kingdom became weak and decadent. The various petty nobles and the Lord Mayor of the town of Innspa swear allegiance to the reigning prelate - usually a high priest. The state is only loosely organized, but it has a strong spirit of freedom and justice based upon religious precepts. The peoples are mainly farmers and herdsmen and fisherfolk. In the far north there are some foresters. Militia contingents bear crossbow, spear, or polearm (fauchard or glaive most commonly). Standing forces number around 5,000 total horse and foot, plus the nobility and gentry. The Prelacy is strongly supported by Nyrond as a buffer between that realm and that of the Overking, and pay a stipend to help support the standing army of Almor . . . (Gygax)
The only enlargement on the state's description that I could find prior to the Greyhawk Wars came from a Rob Kuntz article in Dragon Magazine #65, Greyhawk's World: News, Notes, and Views of the Greyhawk Campaign (pg. 11 - 12), which discusses the efforts of Almor and Nyrond to block the Great Kingdom's expansion of its boarders. This paucity of information on the Prelacy of Almor is a blessing as it allows me to build the state in a way that not only suits my purposes but provides me with a loose enough framework that I can let my players really push the story in any way that appeals to them without the Canon Nazi in my head screaming out, "THEY CAN'T DO THAT!"
Now after the Great Kingdom expands the Prelacy of Almor recieves more attention but I have no interest in exploring that era at this time. For my purposes it becomes far less interesting when you already know the outcome of the war; when you know that your only hope is to salvage through the ruins of hamlets and towns looking for the bits and pieces that you can sale to ruthless traders. No, it's far more exciting when you can explore the intrigue of states waging a cold war and steadily bringing up the temperature. That side of things makes my mind race with excitement and has gotten me to begin working on a new campaign for the first time in months - and that means I need to chase and nurture it once I've caught it.
Gygax, Gary. A Guide to the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Setting, A Catalogue of the Land of Flanaess Being the Easter POrtion of the Continetn Oerik, of Oerth. Random House. United States of America. 1983. Print.
Prelacy of Almor Series
The Prelacy of Almor, Part 1: Where It All Begins