Greyhawk: Return to the Classic
Celestial Houses of Aerdy
The Celestial Houses, or Royal Houses, are the noble families that have ruled the Kingdom of Aerdy and its successor states. There are other noble families in the Aerdy lands, but historically a handful of them have dominated.
Baron Asperdi of Atirr won the lands of the Sea Barons around 102 CY, and the largest island in that chain was named for him. House Atirr ruled North Province from 134 CY-223 CY, making their capital the city of Atirr until House Naelax regained the throne. The reign of House Atirr over North Province was comparatively enlightened, and the region thrived under its hand. The Atirr were famed explorers. Under the leadership of Admiral Aedorich Atirr they charted the shores of Hepmonaland.
This house is thought to have become extinct, with its lands passing to Torquann and Naelax.
The prudent and noble Cranden were the first Royal House to rule the Great Kingdom. Their reign over the Kingdom of Aerdy began with Grand Prince Almor I, with Grand Prince Nasran of Cranden becoming the first Overking. Their rule ended when Manshen left the House of Cranden and became the first of the Rax-Nyrond Overkings. After losing the throne, the Cranden tended to become either aloof and neutral sages, violent and chaos-loving blackguards, or – rarely – lawful and benevolent scholars and priests accepting of their fate. Many of the most knowledgeable sages in the Flanaess belong to House Cranden.
They continued to dominate Almor and the South Province for centuries until Almor’s secession and a failed attempt to ally the South Province with the Iron League caused their prestige in the Great Kingdom to plummet. House Naelax attempted to extinguish them entirely, but the other Celestial Houses united to preserve them. They continue to resist the evil of the Naelax, and many lesser Cranden princes still retain sympathies for Iron League lands such as Irongate and Sunndi. The Cranden princes are almost entirely concentrated around the city of Rel Deven at present.
The wealthiest of the Celestial Houses by far, the Darmen have devoted themselves to trade. Though thought flighty by the other houses, it was a Darmen, Prince Xavener, who took the throne of the Overking in the United Kingdom of Ahlissa.
The House of Garasteth is feared for its wizards and scholars, its eldritch secrets. They are hard, cold, and cruel, less interested in temporal power than the pursuit of knowledge and their role as the self-proclaimed guardians of Oeridian culture. They founded and continue to control the city of Rel Astra, and Lord Mikar of Garasteth was the first grand prince of the Kingdom of Aerdy, though the throne had moved to the possession of the House of Cranden by the time the nation became known as the Great Kingdom. In 102 CY they laid claim to the Sea Barons and nearly went to war with House Atirr over them. Famous members of the family include Drax.
One of the most bitter feuds in Aerdy’s politics has been between the houses of Garasteth and Torquann.
House Naelax came to power with the coronation of Ivid I and the Overkingship remained in their hands until the fall of Rauxes. Major landholders, the militaristic Naelax were granted control of North Province early in the history of the Great Kingdom. They were known for their large-scale fortifications and their vanity. After Ivid I became Overking they became known as the “fiend-seeing” house, for their pact with Baalzephon. They were historically great rivals of the House of Rax-Nyrond.
The calculating Rax line is officially extinct, though there are said to be some illegitimate descendants of Nasri, and Jaran Krimeeah is said to be of the line of Rax according to some sources.
The House of Nyrond was the junior branch of this family, and went on to found the Kingdom of Nyrond.
The Torquann are a generally dour lot, traditionally aloof from inter-house scheming, concentrating more on repressing their subjects with brutal taxation and draconian laws. Racially, they’re a mixture of Oeridian, Flan, and Suloise. They dominate the trade of the Aerdy provinces on the Solnor coast.
Famous members of House Torquann include Saint Kargoth the Betrayer and Prince Elkerst, ruler of the city of Atirr.