Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Tomb of Goroth

Goroth the Mighty, Slayer of Kings, son of the war god himself, lived centuries before the founding of the Empire. He was the Hand of Death for three separate Kelmorian kings. So feared was Goroth that neighboring monarchs often capitulated rather than face him in battle.
When he finally did meet his demise, it was not on the field of battle, but in the bedroom of his lover, slain by his own Shield Bearer out of jealousy.
A great tomb was built by his last lord, Belmorca. It was extravagant for it's time, carved in runes and etched in gold leaf. So loved was Goroth that twelve of his finest warriors agreed to be buried alive to guard him in the afterlife.
Goroth's tomb sat undisturbed for centuries and it is only recently that rumors have surfaced that some misguided adventurers unsealed his crypt. It seems Goroth has had a troubled sleep. He has awakened, they say, bent on recovering the lost kingdom he once so loyally served.
Early depiction of Goroth slaying King Delos III

Monday, March 14, 2011

the Bugbear Clans

Bugbears, probably the most dangerous of the goblinoid races, are scattered around most of the lands Beyond the Wall. At the Empire's zenith, bugbears, like most monsters were hunted to near extinction. They have made a dramatic comeback in recent centuries thanks to their strong clan ties and high birth rate. Whole clans are often hired as mercenaries by particularly evil or desperate warlords of the Wilds.
Bugbears are a warlike bloodthirsty creatures, created in antiquity some say, as assault troops for a mad emperor. If true, it is quite ironic, as bugbears have been in the forefront of many of the Great Incursions.
Adventurers Beyond the Wall are just as likely to run into these cunning brutes guarding a treasure horde in some dark hold as haunting a great wood. Either way, they are a deadly opponent, in need of a wide berth. Captives are taken only as food, to be eaten alive.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Wailing Tower

In a time shortly after the Wall was built, the great wizard Hurstis wandered out into wilderness. He had been a great man. He had been instrumental in the expansion of the Empire, and it's quick decline.
Hurstis had appeared when the Empire was at war on all its borders. He helped then Emperor Milleus hold one front, while another was assaulted, both through his use of battle magic and more subtle means. His duels against foes of the Empire are legendary. He strode as a god on the battlefield.
Soon, the new expanded borders were secure and peace reigned throughout the Empire. But, as in all things, it was not to last.
Hurstis saw this new, golden age quickly tarnish through corruption and decadence. He felt betrayed by the man he had helped, and not a little angry at the Emperor's ingratitude.
When a strong new leader emerged from the ranks of the Imperial Guard, Hurstis saw a chance to replace Milleus. With the help of the aging wizard, Kormac the Usurper took the Iron Throne.
I was a horrible mistake.
Where Milleus had been corrupt and lazy, Kormac was brutal and tyrannical. Rather than try to fix yet another mistake, Hurstis fled beyond the borders of the Empire, deep into the wilderness beyond the Wall. There he built a tower.
He raised it from the ancient rock, embued it with his power, and waited out his remaining years in meditation and study. But, alone, surrounded by monsters and wastelands, he went mad.
The lands around Hurstis's tower still bear the scars of his fury. Trees and rocks are twisted as if in horrible agony. The ground is cracked and scarred. The tower itself is  avoided by monster and freebooter alike. A faint cry echoes from its ancient confines. Is it the wind, or the terrible melancholy of a mad man?