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The North

Known History
The Empire long ago labeled the land now under Blackmoors 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 Norths 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 Blackmoors 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. Svennys sword Maroon also speaks Gnome, and Menanders 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 Eggs 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 emperors 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 Citys 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?

perhaps the only man in Blackmoor who still speaks a Goblin dialect. It is perhaps unfair to judge the Norlanders based on the actions of their most infamous expatriate, but one can at least note that they appear to love their freedom with a passion. The North is a wild territory. Humans live, work, and raid by day, goblins by night; and both upon themselves and each other. 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. The land appears more settled just outside. Someone, or something, built one road from Trollgate and Ohmfet each; the latter road branches into two. All three veer away from each other, as they exit the map to the north. That means that to the Eggs north there are at least three sizable towns with which the Egg desires contact. Bartertown started as a wooden fort; it now has four roads radiating from it. Here, close to Buccaneer Bay, the adventurer may yet find independent settlements. Before the Shallows sunk, the elven Redwood Forest used to span the isthmus.6 Now most of its majestic trees are either underwater or rotting away in the Glades. What remains of the northern Redwood has been subject to intense and irresponsible logging for the pirates of Bartertown. Recently, the northerners have stopped logging; now they shun the northern Redwood as the Gremlin Forest. The human population of Blackmoor has no clue if any elven settlements have survived, nor what a gremlin might be. They also wonder if the Egg is behind the strange sorceries to be found therein. Svensons Freehold once guarded Wolfs Head Pass, a solid outcropping of rock from the apparently bottomless depths of a swampy inroad of the sea.7 When the Shallows were dry land, it sat northeast of the castle along the road to the Egg of Coot surrounded by an elven forest (probably the Redwood).8 Although Svenny has long abandoned it, there is a good chance that his old Freehold may still be standing, perhaps in Elkhorn Island. The Cimieras may refer to chimerae. And mermen dwell in the Black Sea.9

The Egg
Since the sinking of the Shallows, the further north has been cut off from the North. The squabbling tribes have been supplanted by the Realm of the Egg, which arose in the same cataclysm that sunk the Shallows (and, incidentally, the Sinking Lands between the Glades and Bone Island) 10. This event occurred around the year 970.11 No-one is quite sure what the Egg is. The few who have seen it remember little. Many suspect that it is not of this world,12 just from the sheer extent of its power and evil.13 Blackmoorian authors frequently label the Egg demonic, evil, and it; and they call its seductions a science. The Egg has summoned vast hosts of subplanar evil, so many that elves and dwarves have crafted swords against the loathsome valarauki. Timothy Curlytops Bane of the North is merely the most famous. The good news is that the Balrogs have been largely driven from Blackmoor over the years. No man knows what it is but all know its game. It wasted no time in recruiting fellow travelers among the squabbling hordes of goblin and human. It mounted a number of invasions against both Ten14 and Blackmoor, sacking the Castle twice before 1000.15 The Egg was stymied in a more 6 JG p. 12 7 JG p. 17 8 JG p. 18 9 DA4 p. 34. Sup. II has a long spiel on the denizens of the ocean. 10 JG map. 11 There are men who remember when that was open sea (DA1 p.42), implies that there are not many of those men left; they are old men. Since this is a mediaeval (and dangerous) setting, men old in 1025 would have been born 925-975. The Egg rose 935-985. JG has more information, which seems to place the Egg at least 40 years prior to a year-1000 present day, but this wont do (see TimeLine). 12 DA1 p. 62: 13 Dave Arneson, in his First Fantasy Campaign produced by the Judges Guild, drew up a thinly-veiled description of a power-mad, entirely egotistical blob (p. 14). Most believe that he had directed this satire against that old coot, E. Gary Gygax. It is therefore to be treated as a political cartoon using fantasy elements; not much can be extracted from it. The Egg should be treated as something like It from Camazotz (A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine de LEngle). 14 JG p. 16 15 JG p. 18. Another time, Captain Krey gave Lieutenant Soukup (Egg) a map of Blackmoor Dungeon, but the Dungeon proved too powerful (p. 13).

recent invasion; 16 and, when it tried again just before 1018, it lost a whole navy. It became aware that it needed better tactics. Its strength, as of the end of 1024, was rated: City Army Trollgate 500 Castle Ohmfet 600 Harbol Eggs Nest

Civilian 3000 6000

The Eggs small empire17 probably extends from the Firefrost and the dangerous Amber Channel north and east at least to the Forest of Dunland. 19 This would also give it control over the Goblin Hills. The Egg rules 15,000 free, 5000 slaves. Since the 11,000 free and slave humans outside the cities can hardly live within that barren, stinking tongue of land, 20 they must live to its north. The free subjects are mostly oppressed serfs, if anything even worse off than the slaves. Recently the Egg has built a road from the Blasted Lakes to the northern tower overlooking Blinkdog Bay, and has erected the fearsome Castle Trollgate to guard it.21 As for that tower, and for the road continuing from it to the north, none know who built them nor of what has come of the tower. But since Coots road goes out of its way to reach it, presumably the Egg has or had some use for it Assuming 20% militarization of all 20,000 subjects (which leaves no room for a militia), the Egg can put 2900 more humans into the field. The soldiers guard the walled ports of Harbol and the Nest, and the north of the Realm. Many of the slaves are destined for the invasion force.22 The Eggs citadel is within its formal capital, the Nest,23 but rumours tell of an island in the Blasted Lakes which may be the true source of its power.24 The Forest of the Druj is a haunted land; its name has become known only recently. 25 It appears that the Afridhi gave it this name, because druj is the Afridhi word for deceit and for the horrific undead spirit of deceit. It is hard to believe that anyone, even an Afridhi warrior, could enter the forests of the Realm and return.26 But the name stands as proof The Eggs empire is so small and fragile, it dare not waste its free human subjects in its expeditionary forces. The Eggs invasion force has historically been one of slaves, allies, and agents; to-day, it trains an army of human slaves and mercenaries [and] many clans of orcs.27 Whatever free subjects there are, serve as high-level heroes and generals. Since the Egg has endured at least two recent defeats, it has had to focus its energies into reasserting its primacy. 28 It is true that nothing has been heard of the northern barbarians for the last decade. Even so, the Skandaharians were able to found Bartertown during the last decade and hold it;29 one would conclude that the Egg has yet to overcome the barbarians to its east. Its agents, meanwhile, may have perpetrated some unnamed mischief between the rescue of Rissa Aleford and the start of the City of the Gods exploratory mission; or maybe they are just lying low.30 There are three that we know about: 16 DA1 p. 4: This happened not long before the Emperor ordered Uthers arrest (and, implicitly, before the Afridhi raided). I posited that Uther gained the throne in 1005 and that the Afridhi raided in 1013. 17 DA1 p. 42 18 DA4 p. 11 19 Dunland is another name of significance to RPGers. They were Sarumans weak-willed allies in The Lord of the Rings. 20 DA1 p. 42 21 Note DA1-4 map v. JG map. 22 DA1 p. 55. I would say cannon fodder but I dont think the Egg uses cannons. 23 DA1 p. 42 24 JG Players Map. 25 The DA map named it first. 26 Druj is a Persian term. My speculations assume that the Afridhi religion is a kind of twisted Zoroastrianism. 27 DA1 p. 55 28 from Uthers kidnapping (DA1 p. 7) through to Uthers rescue (p. 55) 29 DA1 p. 43. This incidentally fixes the JG map (including an unnamed Bartertown and an extra city in the Ramshead region) to the year 1015. 30 Compare DA2 p. 2: agents flooded the land with DA3 p. 2 they were active.

Miklos Haruska, the head of the Thieves Guild in Vestfold. This one is on the payroll of Wizards Cabal, and in addition the Egg learnt about the Temple of the Frog through him. Amulet of Magic and Thought Transfer Philo Holbytyn. The saddest case, perhaps. He will take Timothys seat on the Regency Council on the next election for Chief of the Halflings, and betray it. Eye of the Egg Baron Bascom Ungulian and his wife. One can only hope that they have died It also maintained a network in Ten, but the Afridhi, during their brutal conquest, all but destroyed it. The religious polarization of Afridhi-Tenian society ensures that there is no longer room for a third supernatural party. Over decades [the Egg] has drawn men to its lair and bound them to its evil will, 31 to which wicked mages have proven particularly susceptible. For loyal henchmen, the Egg has at least: Moorkok the Slayer, seduced from the highest echelons of the Skandaharians. He was a famous warleader and one of the few Skandaharians who can ride a horse. Now a Prince of the Egg and general of the next invasion. 6 bronze golems; Eye of the Egg The lich-lord who geased Philo into betraying the Regency Council is still alive, if you can call it that. Once it was a murderous, possibly Tenian sorceror who sought out the Egg as a youth. It has only recently died in the Eggs service,32 having reached level 21. As a result, this creature is exceedingly youthful for its kind; it was born a mere 37 years hence!33 Pterodactyl pets, allied tribesmen, orcs, undead. Probably goblins, trolls.

The Egg has enemies, of course. It appears that Skandros has been particularly effective at ferreting out Eggs men from his own network of agents, and has even foiled a few of the Eggs plots. In late 1024, Skandros the Strangler was in hiding from the Egg at least as much as from Blackmoor.34 After all, he reasons, the worst Uther can do is torture him. The Egg doesnt much like the Flying Monk either, but it hates the Great Svenny. It has offered to crown the being who brings the Great Svenny before him.35 Incidentally, this means that the Egg is competing against the orcs of Blackmoor. The orcs, Skandaharians, and many Norlanders are by no means allied with the Egg; if not for the dwarves and humans of Blackmoor, they would gladly see it destroyed. The Egg cannot subvert the Gators nor the Frog as long as they remain stubbornly monotheistic. The Egg would especially love some influence in the City of the Gods. It is sending agents to promise Bork Riesling that it can help float the FSS Beagle. Never much for moral scruples, it is also seeking to seize a few weapons (and captives) for magical experiments. The Egg has been observing Blackmoors orc populace with great interest, partly because their cousins in the further north are already in the Eggs party, but mostly because Blackmoors orcs are otherwise surrounded by enemies. The tribe of the Black Hand has been pursuing an almost genocidal vendetta against the dwarves of the Northern Delving. Orc and Dwarf tribes have been sucked into this conflict from all over Blackmoor. Should the dwarves gain the upper hand, or the rest of Blackmoor get involved, the orcs may call upon the Egg for aid. The Egg would be only too happy to answer. Above all, it is seriously considering committing its resources to quelling the Tenian rebellion. If the Egg does nothing, the Afridhi will be gone, which in itself does not concern the Egg overmuch. However, at that time the Duchy will once again be able to mount raids upon Egg territory, and Blackmoors position will be that much stronger. Also, the Egg will have no influence on Tens new government. With the Eggs unearthly aid the Afridhi could well stand to win against their rebellion, and conquer Blackmoor besides. Then the Eggs partisans could mount a quiet coup and take the reins. 31 DA1 p. 42 32 This lich was mortal many years ago, when it (he!) geased Philo (DA1 p. 56). But these are tiredhalfling and human years, not lich years; the wizard did not get at him until Philo had already made a name for himself during the rebellion. The mage probably took Philo in the course of the Eggs incursions, between 1014 and 1019. 33 I needed to make this lich as low-level as possible, by the simple principle of not-making-the-Eggany-more-invincible-than-it-already-is. Given this base, why not take it further? Lets make this NPC memorable: a young lich who is still a young man! 34 DA1 p. 60 35 JG p. 17; DA1 p. 51. This offer has been standing for twenty-five years.

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