The North

Known History
The Empire long ago labeled the land now under Blackmoor’s control as “that dark and bloody ground”, or perhaps “the Northern Marches”. It has always been a battlefield; for every enemy Thonia conquered, another appeared beyond its reach. One hastens to add that times then were not nearly as hard as they are to-day. The Egg of Coot had not yet arisen, and, accordingly, north of Maus a narrow isthmus about 50 miles wide barred the Skandaharians of the Skandaharian Sea from the Raiders of the East. But the northern barons certainly had their share of battles. Orc raiders and human bandits, to say nothing of the piratical depredations of the Skandaharians and the Unwanted, conspired to make the barons’ lives somewhat more interesting in the North than, say, in the plush provinces of inner Thonia. But perhaps the North’s most dangerous external threat came from the further North, where just across the isthmus roam hordes of humanoids and barbarians. Fortunately the Redwood spanned the isthmus in those days, shielding the Empire from any landward attack.1 The first explorers were very brave to dare the North (they even penetrated the Sturgeon Channel), although their maps suffer from lack of detail. Since then, other explorers have found Elkhorn Island and other isles around here (Bear Island and Bartertown island were already known). Other new discoveries include the Trolltop bay, the Druj Forest bay, the Cimieras bay, the Weirding Wood bay and all the forests, hills, and rivers.2 The prevailing winds from the Black Sea have recently changed to the southwest, shielding the northern landmass from the appalling weather for which it was once famed.

That there are goblins in the north seems to be well documented; there is even a highland called the “Goblin Hills”. In addition, many of Blackmoor’s older swords understand a variety of humanoid tongues which have not been heard there in decades. The White Sword of the Church speaks Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, and Ogre. Svenny’s sword Maroon also speaks Gnome, and Menander’s Woodhold speaks Goblin, Hobgoblin, and Ogre. Obviously, they speak the tongues of those races with which they have been in contact. Since there are hardly any vestiges of those races in Blackmoor (everyone knows Blackmoor is filled with orcs, but what is not known so well is that there are few if any of these others), one concludes either that they have been eradicated from the North, or else that they came from elsewhere.3 This is not to say that the north is devoid of orcs. Orcs fought at the Battle of Glendower, far from the havens of the Stormkillers and Crystal Peaks.4 Also, the Egg’s champion Moorkok the Slayer has been obliged to learn their language fluently, for the “many tribes” which he leads. As for humans, it is almost certain that they have lived in the lands north of the Black Sea for millennia, if not in what we would consider “civilization”. Leave aside the Realm and Bartertown, both new to the area. The infamous Marfeldt the Barbarian came to Blackmoor “some years” ago,5 and his accent is close to, but not exactly, Skandaharian. He also seems to resemble the Skandaharians in aspects physical (“at least”, some will add, quietly). Marfeldt further interests the scholar by being 1 JG p. 12. Before I found JG, I could not assume that the Redwood extended so far. I had an emperor build a grand stone wall, perhaps not so much to guard the Empire as to proclaim to its enemies, “THIS LAND IS OURS; PLEASE REMAIN CONTENT WITH YOURS”. It is a predictably Thonian solution to the problem, one James Mitchener also thought up and posted on the web, with the emperor’s name “Joxolon”. ( But this is no longer tenable. 2 Although scout vessels had observed the mouth of the Snake River. 3 There are a few puzzles; for one, the City of the Gods contain not only an ogre, but also a “thoul”, a weird hobgoblin-troll-ghoul amalgam (DA3 inside cover). Since the City’s droids do not have anything like that sort of range, such evidence has been dismissed. Most likely, the ogre and the thoul came from the Hills of Gor. Goblins, Kobolds and what have you in Blackmoor Dungeon came from an Egg invasion force led by King Funk I. These are just beginning to spread throughout the lower dungeons. 4 DA1 p. 48-49 5 He came to Blackmoor “about a year ago” according to JG. 994?

Timothy Curlytop’s “Bane of the North” is merely the most famous. Gary Gygax. Since this is a mediaeval (and dangerous) setting. sacking the Castle twice before 1000. Many suspect that it is not of this world.7 When the Shallows were dry land. Captain Krey gave Lieutenant Soukup (Egg) a map of Blackmoor Dungeon. 62: 13 Dave Arneson. they are old men. The Egg has summoned vast hosts of subplanar evil. The North is a wild territory. It is perhaps unfair to judge the Norlanders based on the actions of their most infamous expatriate. as they exit the map to the north. Recently. Humans live. goblins by night. The land appears more settled just outside. What remains of the northern Redwood has been subject to intense and irresponsible logging for the pirates of Bartertown. II has a long spiel on the denizens of the ocean. which arose in the same cataclysm that sunk the Shallows (and. The Egg rose 935-985. work. Svenson’s Freehold once guarded Wolf’s Head Pass. now they shun the northern Redwood as the “Gremlin Forest”. but this won’t do (see TimeLine). E. The squabbling tribes have been supplanted by the Realm of the Egg.6 Now most of its majestic trees are either underwater or rotting away in the Glades. so many that elves and dwarves have crafted swords against the loathsome valarauki. It wasted no time in recruiting fellow travelers among the squabbling hordes of goblin and human. not much can be extracted from it. close to Buccaneer Bay. 34. 17 8 JG p. 13). All three veer away from each other. It mounted a number of invasions against both Ten14 and Blackmoor. perhaps in Elkhorn Island. Here.42). They also wonder if the Egg is behind the strange sorceries to be found therein. and raid by day. 12 7 JG p. The good news is that the “Balrogs” have been largely driven from Blackmoor over the years.9 The Egg Since the sinking of the Shallows.11 No-one is quite sure what the Egg is. 18 9 DA4 p. entirely egotistical blob (p. incidentally. And mermen dwell in the Black Sea. Both the Egg and Bartertown are new arrivals to the area and all signs of civilization in the JG/DA1/DA4 map are connected with them. in his First Fantasy Campaign produced by the Judges Guild. it sat “northeast of the castle … along the road to … the Egg of Coot” surrounded by an elven forest (probably the Redwood).15 The Egg was stymied in a more 6 JG p. the elven Redwood Forest used to span the isthmus. nor what a “gremlin” might be. The “Cimieras” may refer to chimerae. it now has four roads radiating from it. the northerners have stopped logging. Bartertown started as a wooden fort. . a “solid outcropping of rock from the apparently bottomless depths of a swampy inroad of the sea”. The Egg should be treated as something like It from Camazotz (A Wrinkle in Time. Sup. which seems to place the Egg at least 40 years prior to a year-1000 “present day”.perhaps the only man in Blackmoor who still speaks a Goblin dialect. That means that to the Egg’s north there are at least three sizable towns with which the Egg desires contact. and both upon themselves and each other. Most believe that he had directed this satire against that old coot. the latter road branches into two. Another time. 10 JG map. the “Sinking Lands” between the Glades and Bone Island) 10. the adventurer may yet find independent settlements. Someone. 11 “There are men who remember when that … was open sea” (DA1 p.8 Although Svenny has long abandoned it. 16 15 JG p. but one can at least note that they appear to love their freedom with a passion.12 just from the sheer extent of its power and evil. Madeleine de L’Engle). implies that there are not many of those men left. No man knows what it is… but all know its game. Before the Shallows sunk. It is therefore to be treated as a political cartoon using fantasy elements. and they call its seductions a “science”. the further north has been cut off from the North. 14). 14 JG p. and “it”. or something. The human population of Blackmoor has no clue if any elven settlements have survived. JG has more information. 18. “evil”. drew up a thinly-veiled description of a power-mad. men “old” in 1025 would have been born 925-975. but the Dungeon proved too powerful (p. there is a good chance that his old Freehold may still be standing. built one road from Trollgate and Ohmfet each. This event occurred around the year 970.13 Blackmoorian authors frequently label the Egg “demonic”. The few who have seen it remember little. 12 DA1 p.

the Skandaharians were able to found Bartertown “during the last decade” and hold it. serve as high-level heroes and generals.000 free.recent invasion. 4: This happened not long before the Emperor ordered Uther’s arrest (and. implicitly. They were Saruman’s weak-willed allies in The Lord of the Rings. It became aware that it needed better tactics. 11 19 Dunland is another “name of significance” to RPG’ers. Even so. JG map. and has erected the fearsome Castle Trollgate to guard it. Recently the Egg has built a road from the Blasted Lakes to the northern tower overlooking Blinkdog Bay. This incidentally fixes the JG map (including an unnamed Bartertown and an extra city in the Ramshead region) to the year 1015. 7) through to Uther’s rescue (p. 17 DA1 p.000 free and slave humans outside the cities can hardly live within that “barren. 55) 29 DA1 p. But since Coot’s road goes out of its way to reach it. Since the 11. The soldiers guard the walled ports of Harbol and the Nest. Since the Egg has endured at least two recent defeats. because druj is the Afridhi word for “deceit” – and for the horrific undead spirit of deceit. none know who built them nor of what has come of the tower. 2: “agents flooded the land” with DA3 p. 30 Compare DA2 p. to-day. meanwhile. the Egg can put 2900 more humans into the field. as of the end of 1024. The “free” subjects are mostly oppressed serfs. 5000 slaves. stinking tongue of land”.22 The Egg’s citadel is within its formal capital. it lost a whole navy. allies. 42 24 JG Players’ Map. 43. Its agents. 16 and. It is hard to believe that anyone.30 There are three that we know about: 16 DA1 p. it has had to focus its energies into reasserting its primacy.29 one would conclude that the Egg has yet to overcome the barbarians to its east.27 Whatever free subjects there are. My speculations assume that the Afridhi religion is a kind of twisted Zoroastrianism. 42 18 DA4 p. 22 DA1 p. its name has become known only recently. or maybe they are just lying low. before the Afridhi raided). 25 It appears that the Afridhi gave it this name. it dare not waste its free human subjects in its expeditionary forces. The Egg rules 15. when it tried again just before 1018. . 25 The DA map named it first. 28 It is true that nothing has been heard of the northern barbarians for the last decade.26 But the name stands as proof … The Egg’s empire is so small and fragile.21 As for that tower. 20 DA1 p. it trains an army of “human slaves and mercenaries… [and] many clans of orcs”.000 subjects (which leaves no room for a militia). 55 28 from Uther’s kidnapping (DA1 p.23 but rumours tell of an island in the Blasted Lakes which may be the true source of its power. The Egg’s invasion force has historically been one of slaves. 55. 23 DA1 p. 26 Druj is a Persian term. 20 they must live to its north. 27 DA1 p. and agents. the Nest. Many of the slaves are destined for the invasion force. and for the road continuing from it to the north. if anything even worse off than the slaves. even an Afridhi warrior. I posited that Uther gained the throne in 1005 and that the Afridhi raided in 1013. could enter the forests of the Realm and return. Its strength. 2 “they were active”. was rated: City Army Trollgate 500 Castle Ohmfet 600 Harbol Egg’s Nest 18 Civilian 3000 6000 The Egg’s “small empire”17 probably extends from the Firefrost and the “dangerous” Amber Channel north and east at least to the Forest of Dunland. and the north of the Realm. presumably the Egg has or had some use for it… Assuming 20% militarization of all 20. I would say “cannon fodder” but I don’t think the Egg uses cannons. 19 This would also give it control over the Goblin Hills. may have perpetrated some unnamed mischief between the rescue of Rissa Aleford and the start of the City of the Gods exploratory mission. 42 21 Note DA1-4 map v.24 “The Forest of the Druj” is a haunted land.

and many Norlanders are by no means allied with the Egg. 60 35 JG p. Once it was a murderous. He was a famous warleader and one of the few Skandaharians who can ride a horse. The Egg would especially love some influence in the City of the Gods. between 1014 and 1019. seduced from the highest echelons of the Skandaharians. why not take it further? Let’s make this NPC memorable: a young lich who is still a young man! 34 DA1 p.35 Incidentally.Miklos Haruska. possibly Tenian sorceror who sought out the Egg as a youth.34 After all. Probably goblins. The mage probably took Philo in the course of the Egg’s incursions. Amulet of Magic and Thought Transfer Philo Holbytyn. but the Afridhi. if not for the dwarves and humans of Blackmoor. at that time the Duchy will once again be able to mount raids upon Egg territory. and conquer Blackmoor besides. the Afridhi will be gone.32 having reached level 21. but mostly because Blackmoor’s orcs are otherwise surrounded by enemies. and betray it. when it (he!) geased Philo (DA1 p. but it hates the Great Svenny. during their brutal conquest. . If the Egg does nothing. trolls. 33 I needed to make this lich as low-level as possible. However. all but destroyed it. the head of the Thieves’ Guild in Vestfold. It appears that Skandros has been particularly effective at ferreting out Egg’s men from his own network of agents. The Egg cannot subvert the Gators nor the Frog as long as they remain stubbornly monotheistic. the worst Uther can do is torture him. it is seriously considering committing its resources to quelling the Tenian rebellion. they would gladly see it destroyed. Enemies The Egg has enemies. The tribe of the Black Hand has been pursuing an almost genocidal vendetta against the dwarves of the Northern Delving. of course. perhaps. the Egg has at least: Moorkok the Slayer. The orcs. Skandros the Strangler was in hiding from the Egg at least as much as from Blackmoor. “Over decades [the Egg] has drawn men to its lair and bound them to its evil will”. undead. 6 bronze golems. Orc and Dwarf tribes have been sucked into this conflict from all over Blackmoor. One can only hope that they have died… It also maintained a network in Ten. and Blackmoor’s position will be that much stronger. Eye of the Egg Baron Bascom Ungulian and his wife. Never much for moral scruples. if you can call it that. 56). by the simple principle of not-making-the-Eggany-more-invincible-than-it-already-is. this means that the Egg is competing against the orcs of Blackmoor. allied tribesmen. Above all. As a result. In late 1024. It has only recently “died” in the Egg’s service. He will take Timothy’s seat on the Regency Council on the next election for Chief of the Halflings. It has offered to crown the being who brings the Great Svenny before him. orcs. 51. or the rest of Blackmoor get involved. It is sending agents to promise Bork Riesling that it can help float the FSS Beagle. not lich years. partly because their cousins in the further north are already in the Egg’s party. The Egg has been observing Blackmoor’s orc populace with great interest. the Egg will have no influence on Ten’s new government. Should the dwarves gain the upper hand. The religious polarization of Afridhi-Tenian society ensures that there is no longer room for a third supernatural party. the wizard did not get at him until Philo had already made a name for himself during the rebellion. Also. 17. Skandaharians. This offer has been standing for twenty-five years. and in addition the Egg learnt about the Temple of the Frog through him. Now a Prince of the Egg and general of the next invasion. 31 DA1 p. which in itself does not concern the Egg overmuch. The Egg doesn’t much like the Flying Monk either. he reasons. The Egg would be only too happy to answer. Eye of the Egg The lich-lord who geased Philo into betraying the Regency Council is still “alive”. it is also seeking to seize a few weapons (and captives) for magical experiments. With the Egg’s unearthly aid the Afridhi could well stand to win against their rebellion. The saddest case. the orcs may call upon the Egg for aid. For loyal henchmen. 42 32 This lich was mortal “many years ago”. this creature is exceedingly youthful for its kind. Then the Egg’s partisans could mount a quiet coup and take the reins. and has even foiled a few of the Egg’s plots. 31 to which wicked mages have proven particularly susceptible. DA1 p. Given this base. This one is on the payroll of Wizards’ Cabal. it was born a mere 37 years hence!33 Pterodactyl pets. But these are tiredhalfling and human years.

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