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The Cairn Hills are a range of hills that form the boundary between the Domain of Greyhawk and the Duchy of Urnst, though Greyhawk controls most of them. They are named for the hundreds of tombs and burial grounds, the remnants of a bygone era. burial sites within them. Some of these cairns precede the arrival of the demihumans and Flan, while others are of more recent creation. Many are filled with traps to discourage grave-robbers. Most were looted long ago, but some still remain to be exploited by new generations of adventurers. In addition to old corpse-loot, platinum, gold, and electrum are mined in the Cairn Hills.


The local flora is mainly tough grasses, alpine plants, galda trees, and evergreens, as well as the rare psychotropic kalamanthis plant. Local animals include mice and other rodents, wild pigs, and grass-eating deer.


The hills are populated by some 6,000 gnomes, 4,800 halflings (especially around Elmshire), 1,200 dwarves and 2,500 “hillsman” humans. There are also about twenty bands of human bandits and brigands.


When Suloise settlers first arrived in the Cairn Hills a few hundred years ago, they discovered numerous tombs built by the Flan and by other, far older civilisations. Knowing very little of these ancient peoples, the architects of these tombs were simply referred to as the Cairn Builders.

The wealthiest explorers of the Cairn Hill tombs became the city’s first nobility, and Greyhawk quickly became associated with easy wealth and fabulous archaeological artefacts from long-dead civilisations. But the wealth didn’t always come easy, as many surprises in the form of bound demon guardians, relentless constructs, and ingenious magical wards and traps. 


Notable Locations