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The World of Greyhawk Timeline is a list of fictional historical events that either explain the history leading up to the present state of the World of Greyhawk Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, or that enumerate further developments described in campaign products published by either TSR, Inc. or Wizards of the Coast.

Development of the original timelineEdit

The original campaign setting of Greyhawk was a home campaign world invented by Gary Gygax in 1972 while playtesting the game that would become Dungeons & Dragons.[1] In the beginning, the entire "world" consisted of a single dungeon underneath an abandoned castle. This world eventually grew to encompass a nearby city and then some neighboring states, but since Gygax, and eventually his co-DM Rob Kuntz were making up the story as they went, there was no need for an elaborate historical background.[2] Although Gygax referred to Greyhawk in many of his columns, magazine articles and D&D adventures, the overall world remained his personal home campaign for several years.

In 1979, Gygax made the decision to publish the world of Greyhawk, but in order to do so, he made substantial changes to his home campaign world. Rather than using his own map, which was simply a map of the United States overwritten with his cities, towns and regions, he sketched out a new world called Oerth,[3] then concentrated on one corner of one continent, a place called the Flanaess. In order to quickly explain the current state of the world, and the motivations of various states and important characters, Gygax delineated twenty-one historical events that bracketed a thousand years of "pre-history" leading up to the "present" time of 576 CY (Common Year Reckoning). Gygax resisted the urge to fully outline a detailed timeline in order to give players as much leeway as possible when designing their own home campaigns: "The history is given briefly, and most states are only outlined generally so as to allow as much personal input as possible from DMs who decide to acquire and use it."[4]

For the next few years, Gygax was the arbiter of all events that occurred in Greyhawk until he was ousted from TSR in 1985. TSR took over creation of new events for his world, and a re-visioning of the campaign in 1992 resulted in an extension of the end of the timeline from 576 CY to 585 CY.[5] In 1996, Wizards of the Coast bought TSR, and several years later, again reset the campaign, resulting in a further extension of the timeline to 591 CY.[6][7] From 1985 to 2003, newly published material added more "backstory" to the Greyhawk history, subsequently adding many items to Gygax's original timeline.

The Greyhawk timelineEdit

A summary of historical events, by Common Year Reckoning.[8]

c -1900

  • The Kingdom of Sulm comes to prominence.

c -1400

  • The Kingdom of Sulm begins to decline.

c -700

c -594


  • Lyzandred discovers a portal to a demiplane closely aligned to Oerth and transforms it into a storehouse of magical objects best kept from evil hands. (Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad 2)




  • First employment of humanoid mercenaries. (Guide 9)





  • Foundation of the Kingdom of Aerdy. (Guide 9)



  • The Common Year is established as the system of reckoning by Grand Prince Nasran I of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy in 645 OR (1 CY), when he declares universal peace throughout his the land, and takes the title of Overking. At this stage the borders of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy extend all the way to the City of Greyhawk. (Guide 9)










c. 320


c. 355


  • Kingdom of Keoland at peak. (Guide 9)

375 The Free City of Greyhawk achieves its first period of greatness under the rulership of Zagig Yragerne. (Player's Guide to Greyhawk 10)




  • Keoland and Furyondy go to war, resulting in the secession of the Keolandish regions of Gran March, Bissel and the Yeomanry.


  • Assassination of nearly all of the House of Rax, with the exception of Ivid I who accedes to Malachite Throne.

450 The County of Urnst gains independence from Nyrond at the Council of Rel Mord. (Player's Guide to Greyhawk 6)




  • Might of Iuz grows. Humanoid invasions become common. (Guide 9)

c 495

  • The City of Greyhawk nationalizes the Cairn Hills smelting trade. (Dungeon #124.62)

c 496






  • Obmi is granted his freedom by king Snurre Ironbelly, and continues to serve as an advisor to the fire giant king.










  • Events of The Temple of Elemental Evil. T-1-4



  • A series of regional conflicts erupts into the continent-wide battle that eventually becomes the Greyhawk Wars.
  • The Duchy of Tenh is conquered by the Fists/Northern Barbarian armies. (From the Ashes 6)
  • Before a planned assault on Ratik, the Northern Barbarians mutiny, refusing to fight any further for a "god" they have lost faith in. (From the Ashes 6)



  • The Battle of Innspa marks the peak of the Aerdy invasion of Nyrond. The battle results in a decisive defeat of the Great Kingdom's armies. Mass executions follow, ordered by Ivid V. (unbeknownst to much of the Flanaess, Ivid murders loyal generals and turns them into undead servants. Ivid is subsequently assassinated by remaining generals, and risen as an undead animus by priests of Hextor.) Mass killings of the Aerdy populace instigated by Ivid. (From the Ashes' 8)




  • Events narrated in the novel White Plume Mountain[9].




c 963

  • Pluffet Smedger the Elder examines a centuries-old copy of volume 3 of Catalogue of the Land Flanaess, being the Eastern Part of the Continent of Oerik, of Oerth, by the Savant-Sage of Greyhawk. This volume, entitled A Guide to the World of Greyhawk, is discovered in the library of the Royal University of Rel Mord. Smedger is impressed by the Guide's freshness and thoroughness. (Glossography 2)
  • In this era, magic is not a lost art, but apparently a fading one. (Glossography 2)


See alsoEdit


Template:No footnotes

  1. Rausch, Allen (2004-08-19). "Magic and Memories: The Complete History of Dungeons and Dragons". Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  2. Gygax: "I did indeed create details for the PC party on the spot, adding whatever seemed appropriate, and as Rob played and learned from me, he did the same, and when we were actively co-DMing we could often create some really exciting material on the spot, if you will.""Gary Gygax: Q & A (Part IX, page 81)". EN World. 2005-12-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  3. Q: "In Dragon 315, Jim Ward talks about the origins of the Greyhawk setting, and is quoted as having said: 'He [Gygax] had the whole world mapped out'. Does this mean you have material about the rest of Oerth hidden in your basement?" Gygax: "Yes, I had a sketch map of the remainder of the globe..." "Gary Gygax: Q & A (Part IX, Page 33)". EN World. 2005-06-21. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  4. Livingstone, Ian (August/September 1979). "White Dwarf Interview : Gary Gygax - the man who made it all possible". White Dwarf (London: Games Workshop) (14): 23-24. 
  5. From the Ashes: Atlas of the Flanaess, TSR, 1992, p. 39 
  6. Moore, Roger E. (1998), Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins, TSR, p. 31, Template:Citation/identifier 
  7. Holian, Gary; Mona, Erik; Reynolds, Sean K.; Weining, Frederick (2000), Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, Wizards of the Coast, p. 110, Template:Citation/identifier 
  8. All events in Gygax's original timeline had six different dates due to the six different calendar systems used by the great civilizations of Gygax's world. However, for ease of use, this timeline uses only the Common Year (CY) reckoning.
  9. White Plume Mountain, by Paul Kidd, published 1999, ISBN 0-7869-1424-6

Additional readingEdit

  • Wilson, Steve. "Greychrondex." Available online: [1]

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