Greetings visitors. This guide assumes that you have my map of Hardby in your hot little hands. If not, visit Tottie's Maps in Trade Town and ask Tottie for the latest version. You can also pick one up at the Cartographer's Guild in Greyhawk City.
First, let me say that I unashamedly LOVE Hardby. It's far from the hustle and bustle of Greyhawk, but we have excellent security and lovely outlooks on The Bay that Greyhawk just doesn't have. If you're coming from Greyhawk, down the River Road, the first thing you'll notice on your right are the beautiful Hardby Farmlands. These Farmlands have been passed down from generation to generation by some of Hardby's finest agrarians. Mostly, they farm wheat and corn; but sometimes cotton. Say hi to Spiro The Armless Farm Begger if you see him on the road. Toss him a coin or two if you've spare.
As you weave through the farmlands, you will eventually see Hard Bay ahead of you, and of course the sprawling harbour of Port Hardby. From atop Little Hill you'll see that the town winds in a bit of a horseshoe pattern. You'll see the Docks District and Old Fish Town in the foreground; then The Great Wall (more on that later); whilst in the background you'll see the new town rise gently upwards over (and on) Big Hill. Atop Big Hill is the Palace Of The Gynarch (she who rules us kindly).
Behind Hardby you'll see the Abbor-Alz mountain range. Nobody goes there. Ever. Who would?
To the south, you'll see the Bright Desert. You don't want to go there either.
Eventually, you'll reach The Main Gate [#1 on the Map]. Here, you will be asked nicely to part with 2gps Entrance Tax by the Hardby Marines stationed there. If you don't pay you don't get in. If you try to jump the wall, the kind Marines will surgically remove your bollocks for free.
Whilst you're at the gate, take the time to admire The Great Wall. This massive 50ft high structure is made out of sandstone, and was built over 280 years ago to encircle the Old Town (now called Old Fish Town - or just Fish Town). The Hardby Marines patrol vigilantly along the top of the wall, and there are pretty lookout towers situated every 50 yards or so. If you ask nicely, one of the guards might let you go up and take a look from the top. If you don't ask nicely, they'll hit you and tell you to bugger off.
Just inside the gate you'll see the Visitor's Information Centre. Say hi to Old Buck, the blind thief. He's a wealth of knowledge about Hardby and he'll tell you some of her history if you want to be bored for hours. In case you wish to avoid Old Buck, here's a potted history below :
A POTTED HISTORY OF HARDBY
Hardby has evolved over the centuries almost in parallel with Greyhawk City. Its major role is as a sea port, where seagoing deep-draft vessels unload their cargoes to be transported by road up to Greyhawk (the Selintan is too narrow for most of these vessels).
For two centuries, Hardby was ruled by The Gynarch (a female autocrat who is voted into place by the Merchants and Militia's Guild when the old Gynarch dies). Although the Gynarch still "rules", her power has dwindled much since Hardby came under the "protection" of Greyhawk City in 570 CY. This "protection", however has *not* been bad for Hardby, and the present Gynarch, Lady Isabelle Andrews, bleeds Greyhawk's coffers and "protection" for all it is worth. She is about 45 years old, and is very intelligent. She can go head to head with Nerof Gasgal any day (and does). She lives in The Palace up on Big Hill [#10 on the Map].
During the Greyhawk Wars, orcs from The Pomarj continually tried to attack Hard Bay, but were repulsed by the vigilant Hardby Marines (seagoing soldiers with extraordinarily high levels of bravado). This has earned The Marines much respect in Hardby, even though most of them come from Greyhawk City and are a part of Greyhawk's presence in the town. Five years ago, the Marines were made honorary members of the Hardby Merchants and Militias Guild, and they can now make policy in Hardby and elect the Gynarch should the present one pass away.
The last few years has seen a rise in threats from the Bright Desert. Hardby residents fear an attack by Rary The Archmage (who has his base in the desert). The marines are currently (slowly) building a wall along the eastern side of the town - but it hasn't got very far yet.
The Hardby museum has also just opened, and features paintings of the town over the centuries, as well as stuffed heads of some of the more common monsters that have been slain in and around the region (mostly the Abbor-Alz). There is also a record of some of the more successful and unsuccessful raids on the (now) famous Star Cairns, as well as accounts of attempts on the Tomb Of Lyzandred The Mad Lich. Very interesting.
Only those places of CURRENT importance are listed below. There are, of course many other shops and personal dwellings cramped into the perimeter of Hardby proper. They're just not listed (or mapped) here.
1. MAIN GATE : Already explained.
2. HARDBY MARINES (Main Docks) : This is where the ships of the Hardby Marines are stationed. There are also barracks here for the Marines, etc. Commander William B. Gunster is the officer in charge.
3. HARDBY PILOT'S OFFICE : This office is run by the grim-faced old-timer rivermen who manage Hard Bay and advise on weather and other things. It is presently overseen by Pilot-Officer Zubarich.
4. BARRACKS OF THE HARDBY MILITIA : These guys work in closely with the Marines and form the land-based component of Hardby security. Captain Arthur Crayne is the officer in charge. There is also a courthouse and prison dungeons on this site.
5. MAIN DOCKS : This is where lots of goods are off (and on) loaded. There are many warehouses in this district - too many to be shown on the map.
6. These are well guarded gates into the New Town, though you don't have to pay to pass through them once you've recieved a letter of entry from Gate #1. If you're stopped by Militia in New City, and you are recognised as a stranger, you will often be asked to produce your Ticket Of Entry. Failure results in detainment.
7. THE OLD BOAR'S TOOTH TAVERN : Drinking hole of the Mountaineer Militia (from Storm Keep) when they're in town. There is a "landing platform" on the flat roof of this Inn for the militia to land (and park) their huge griffons. It gets a little crowded here on pay days :-) Also several "parking attendants" have been eaten by angry griffons of late.
8. THE SALTY FISH TAVERN : Where the sailors drink.
9. OLD WAREHOUSES : These appear on the outside to be old warehouses, but underneath they actually store most of Hardby's relics and gold. It is not guarded directly, but there are alarms that would bring militia running in 30 seconds.
10. THE PALACE OF THE GYNARCH.
11. YE OLDE MAJICK SHOPPE : Little magic shop with some magic scrolls, potions and some other goods associated with magic. Owned and run by Mage Harkker Andressian.
12. THE BILLORY : Local name for "The Shop That Sells Everything" from armour to weapons, etc. A few magic weapons can be found here as well at various times. Run by The Consortium Of Merchants.
13. TEMPLE OF PELOR : A small temple dedicated to Pelor. Does have healing at a price. Overshadowed quite a bit by the huge Temple Of Akwamom (God Of The Seas). Run by Sister Mary Illuminati.
14. BLACKSMITHS GALORE : Stables and blacksmithing done for a reasonable price.
15. TRADER'S TAVERN : Tavern where many merchants gather to swap tales and make up stories. Good gossip found here! Owned and run by the dwarf Gili Fenderman.
16. THE ABBOR INN : Tavern frequented by many adventurers seeking treasure and reknown in the Abbor-Alz mountains or the Bright Desert. Reasonable prices. Owned and run by Taro and Suzie Dickerspleen.
17. THE HARDBY MERCHANT'S GUILD : Also doubles for the local Thieves' Guild. Head Merchant here is Masterman Garvey Pop. Head of the Thieves' Guild is Mistress Gabby Quickly. Pop and Quickly are currently a hot item.
18. THE END OF THE ROAD : A low-life tavern frequented by gutter snipes and thieves.
19. PALACE GATES AND BARRACKS.
20. HARDBY MUSEUM AND WAR MEMORIAL.
21. HARDBY LIGHTHOUSE.