Ket (Greyhawk)


Ket (Greyhawk)

In the fictional "World of Greyhawk" campaign setting for the "Dungeons & Dragons" roleplaying game, Ket is a political state situated in the region of the Flanaess. Because it lies in the only gap in the north-south spine of mountains that divides the Baklunish Basin from the Sheldomar Valley and points east, it is the crossroads of the most direct trade routes between East and West. Due to this, Ket is a nation of caravans and merchants where and peoples and cultural influences from all parts of the Flanaess mix and mingle.

People

The native folk of Ket resemble the mix of cultures that crowd the nation's marketplaces. The people are of Baklunish stock interbred with Suel and Oeridian, resulting in pale yellow, golden-brown, or tan complexions and virtually any hair color possible save the lightest yellows and reds. Racially speaking, Kettites are the least typical of the Baklunish folk.

Government

The ruler of Ket, His Glory and Shield of the True Faith, the Beygraf, is an absolute monarch. The previous Beygraf, Zoltan, was assassinated during the Greyhawk Wars, probably due to political or religious opposition to his unexpected alliance with Iuz. In the power struggle that followed, Nadaid, a respected general, pulled together an alliance of priests, nobles, merchants and military to support his elevation to the throne and thus avert a civil war. At the end of the Greyhawk Wars, Beygraf Nadaid's decision to immediately pull the Ket army out of Bissel, which Zoltan had conquered, was not a widely popular move.

Heraldry

Ket's coat of arms is blazoned thus: "Gules, a scimitar in pale argent, the point to the base".

Ket as a Region of the Living Greyhawk Campaign

In the Living Greyhawk campaign that ran from 2001 to 2008, Ket was assigned to the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. In the months before the official launch of the campaign, the first Ket Triad (three volunteer campaign administrators) worked with a volunteer development team to flesh out a social background and geographical setting for Ket, since previously published material about Ket in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer was limited.

The first adventure set in Ket, "A Favour" [cite book|author= Tyler Bannister |title=KET1-01 A Favour |publisher=Wizards of the Coast|date=May 2001] , unveiled a feudal theocratic pseudo-Persian society of unforgiving laws and harsh punishments, where the literal interpretation of the laws outweighed any considerations of justice or mercy. Slavery existed in several forms, and several races, including elves, were treated as lower than horses. Beygraf Nadaid, the ruler mentioned in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, was still on the throne, having ascended 6 years before during the Greyhawk Wars. Priests of a minor sect that had grown to a national religion were in positions of power, and the national police force known as the Threshers had arbitrary powers of arrest, detention, judgement and sentencing. The culture held horses to be almost as important as citizens, and membership in the army was the highest calling.

Citizens of Ket were expected to accept all aspects of this society as normal. Knowing that many of these details would offend modern sensibilities, several authors of subsequent adventures tried to set up a moral quandary for the players by asking them to capture escaped slaves and return them to captivity [cite book|author= Larry Douglas |title=KET1-05 Search for the Lost |publisher= Wizards of the Coast|date=November 2001] or place the player characters in situations where completing the adventure successfully would require breaking the law. This often resulted in player characters being sentenced to serving time as mining slaves, removing them from the campaign for up to a calendar year of real time. [cite book|author= Chris Chesher |title=KET2-01 Tale of One City |publisher= Wizards of the Coast|date=February 2002]

These adventures proved to be unpopular with most players, who were looking for a more heroic experience, and Ket as a campaign world did not thrive during this period.

In the second year of the campaign, differences of opinion between the Triad and the Living Greyhawk campaign administrators caused the complete Ket Triad to resign. By the time a new Triad was appointed, work on the campaign had fallen behind, and some adventures were hastily written and lacked the regional flavour so carefully delineated by the original Triad. [cite book|author= Chris Chesher |title=KET2-05 Diamonds in the Rough |publisher= Wizards of the Coast|date=November 2002] Over the next year, several people would join and then almost as quickly resign from the Triad, and a lack of a continuing storyline was evident. It was during this period that The Circle considered shutting down the Ket region, much as they would shut down the region of Ratik for inactivity in 2004.

By Year 3, some adventures were starting to show a balance between regional flavour and heroic action. [cite book|author= Jim Rea |title=KET3-03 Into Thin Air |publisher= Wizards of the Coast|date=February 2003] However, there was still no real advance in the regional storyline, and the Triad was still suffering from a "revolving door" of personnel.

Year 4 was the time when Ket rebounded in popularity and strong stories. With a long-term Triad finally in place, some changes were made to the campaign setting. Many of the harsh laws that had made play unpalatable were softened. Adventures that revolved around moral quandaries were replaced by adventures with a high moral code and service to the nation. Overt slavery was quietly dropped in favour of "qashari" (mining convicts) and "ushdari" (indentured servants paying off debt). In addition, the Triad made contact with other regional Triads, with notable results. A cooperative storyline between Tusmit (Quebec) resulted in Ket invading Tusmit over some perceived slight. Both the Ket and Tusmit armies were ambushed at the city of Vilayad by a rebel power, and several cooperative adventures between the two regions followed this storyline. In addition, the Ket Triad negotiated with the Triads of four other regions (Bissel, Gran March, Keoland and Furyondy) to bring about a withdrawal of all foreign troops from the open city of Thornward. Within Ket, revelations about the time during the Greyhawk Wars when Ket had allied with the evil Iuz were revealed. [cite book|author= Jim Rea |title=KET4-07 The Darkeye Hour |publisher= Wizards of the Coast|date=November 2004] By revealing the corruption of a former Beygraf that had caused this alliance, players were allowed to distance themselves from that time period and Ket's admittedly evil acts.

Since the start of the campaign, Ket players had not received magical equipment or items as loot. Very few other regions operated under such restrictions, and at international conventions, Ket players were markedly less effective in combat due to a lack of magical equipment. In year 4, the Triad solved this by generously bestowing a free magical weapon or suit of armour at the end of "Water the Meadows". [cite book|author= Stephen Baker |title=KET4-04 Water the Meadows |publisher= Wizards of the Coast|date=October ] While this did not immediately solve the disparity with other regions, it gave players a power boost that was augmented by access to more powerful magical items in subsequent adventures.

In Year 5, the major storyline was an invasion by mechanical monsters called clockwork horrors. This was the result of an adventure in Year 3 called "Broken Faith", in which players were asked to disable a mechanical monster that had come back to life. [cite book|author= Stephen Baker |title=KET3-05 Broken Faith |publisher= Wizards of the Coast|date=October 2003] . Few players had been able to complete the adventure successfully, and the Triad judged that the mechanical monster had escaped. Two years later, the result was the invasion of Ket by an army of these monsters.

In Year 6, the invasion continued, and was finally defeated. [cite book|author= Stephen Baker |title= KET6-07 Good of All |publisher= Wizards of the Coast|date=November 2006] In other developments, diplomatic overtures were made to the elves of the primeval Bramblewood Forest, something that would not have been contemplated a few years before. And at the end of the year, more negotiations with another Triad resulted in the invasion of Ket by an army of Bissel, although the invasion quickly stalled and became a defensive war of attrition.

At the start of Year 7, many player characters had reached 14th or 15th level, placing them on the same power level as archmages and demigods. Yet player characters had only met the country's ruler, Beygraf Nadaid, very briefly once, in the Year 4 adventure "The Darkeye Hour". In addition, virtually every other region of the campaign had seen a change of leadership, often as a result of player action or inaction. However, in Ket, Beygraf Nadaid was almost the only ruler in the entire campaign who had not been deposed, murdered, died of old age or otherwise been removed from power.

(The adventures from Years 7 and 8 are still "in play" until December 31, 2008. To avoid giving away spoilers, this section should not be updated with events and storyline from Year 7 and 8 adventures until after December 31, 2008.)

References

*Gygax, Gary. "The World of Greyhawk" (TSR, 1980).
*Gygax, Gary. "World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting" (TSR, 1983).

*Holian, Gary, Erik Mona, Sean K Reynolds, and Frederick Weining. "Living Greyhawk Gazetteer" (Wizards of the Coast, 2000).

External links

* [http://www.lg-ket.net Ket (Living Greyhawk) website]

Notes


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