When I first got into the World of Greyhawk I was tantalized by the Suel and Baklunish empires. These two great behemoths were the superpowers of the ancient world and they wielded magics that could, and would, reshape the world. But where were these empires located and how large were they?
Our first real understanding of their size came from Dragon Annual 1, in the article Beyond the Flanaess by Skip Williams (pgs 72 – 73). Here the Baklunish Empire and the Suel Empire were drawn out for players to see for the first time along with a slew of other nations that existed beyond the typical confines of the world that players explored. But the map was an odd thing.
As you can see from the above illustration by Dave Sutherland the western edge of the map has changed significantly from what more modern players would recognize as the Flanaess. The east looks small and insignificant by comparison while the western lands seem strange, jutting out at practically every turn. It’s a wild place that feels somehow more alien and disjointed from its more familiar half.
The scale of the continent has changed and our perspectives have to change as a result to fully understand how large the two empires truly were because in the Sutherland map they seem fairly small things. To help myself understand this difference I transposed the two empire’s boarders onto a blank map of Eastern Flanaess that I pulled from the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer.
Here the scale of our map has been brought back into focus with traditional maps of the Flanaess which focus almost exclusively on the Eastern Flanaess; and it becomes clear that the two ancient empires dwarfed nearly all the nations of the east. The sprawling Baklunish Empire seems to cover a huge portion of the map and compared to most modern nations it would certainly dwarf them; however, the Great Kingdom’s borders at its height would certainly have given the Baklunish Empire a run for its money in sheer size .
Now the reason why I find this interesting is two fold. First it provides us with a context for where those great empires existed; and second, it gives the logical confines of the ruins of their major cities. We can, of course, find smaller outposts outside of their borders but by defining where the borders were we can help build our own versions of Greyhawk in a more realistic way.
These ancient empires are the forefathers of our adventures today. Their old fortresses, dungeons, and religious sites are the ruins we explore. Their architecture haunts our understanding of the world we live in and by grounding them we provide ourselves with a firmer footing in the world we explore.
 To determine the Great Kingdom’s borders at the height of its powers I used the defined areas from the Greyhawk Wiki “. . . At its greatest extent, the Great Kingdom stretched from the isles of the Sea Barons in the east to the Viceroyalty of Ferrond in the west; and from Sunndi in the south to Ratik in the north . . .” (Great Kingdom, Greyhawk Wiki). I was unfamiliar with the Viceroyalty of Ferrond’s borders so I again used the Greyhawk Wiki for guidance: “. . .The Viceroyalty of Ferrond consisted of the modern-day states of Furyondy (Furyon), Highfolk, Perrenland (the Quaglands), the Shield Lands, Veluna (Voll), and the hilly regions northeast of the Vesve Forest, known then as part of the Northern Reaches . . .” (Ferrond, Greyhawk Wiki).
Williams, Skip. “Beyond the Flanaess” DRAGON ANNUAL 1. TSR, Inc. USA. pgs 71-72. DIGITAL.
Holian, Gary and Erik Mona, Sean K Reynolds, Frederick Weining. Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. Wizards of the Coast. USA. pg 3. PRINT
“Great Kingdom.” Greyhawk Wiki, 11/11/2020. https://ghwiki.greyparticle.com/index.php/Great_Kingdom#Geography
“Ferrond.” Greyhawk Wiki, 11/11/2020 https://ghwiki.greyparticle.com/index.php/Ferrond