Walls of mighty construction, thick squat towers overlooking a vale of steaming putrid ichor, skies torn with lightning and billowing blackness, the sound of bellows and the pounding of hammers echoing from the ghosts of another time.
- Tavder Godsmiter, caravan guard - "Black Forge"
Black Forge is a haunted dwarven keep along the northeastern side of the Gelugon Range. An alien place, it is caught in a rift between two worlds, an anomaly called an intra-system shift. Sometimes, it shifts between between where it is now on the world of Bal-Kriav and a place on the world of Oerth.
Located in the courtyard of the keep is a Prisms of Worlds.
Explorers of the keep have witnessed spectacles of ghostly apparitions of dwarves moving about the battlements and carrying on the activities that they once did in life. Some groups have penetrated deep into the interior of the place, only to find that on returning to the place, all the slain creatures have been restored to their former states.
In the Year 1500, a group of undead priests and warriors got into this place. The group was part of a special branch of the Pharêthôn. Under the guidance of Dax Jagg, they searched for ancient lore. Knowing the history of the place, Dax planned to set-up shop on Oerth if things went bad for the Black Tide.
The Pharêthôn came upon many corpses, some animal, others beasts, and a few humans and humanoids. Death priests pried the secrets of the fallen, or at least some before they themselves became holders of secrets. They learned of a powerful dracolich named Memmourn holed up in a large grotto, a powerful shade named Breezull wielding spell energies of the likes of an master arcanist, a mummy lord named Threllkell which hurls bolts of lightning like the furious strokes from Mjolnir, and perhaps the most feared of all, an undead dwarven king named Grunger Wirebeard, one who moves through stone like an earth elemental, carries the touch of death, and wields an impossibly sharp, double-headed mithril axe named Wirebeards Revenge.
A serious drain on the Black Tide's war effort, then hotly engaged with the forces of the Farinteen Alliance, Dax left the keep for another time.
When the war had ended, and our armies walk upon a road of skulls, I shall return to the Black Forge.
- Dax Jagg, member of the Dead Council - "Vow To Return"
When the forces of the Black Tide were consolidating their rule over the Lands of Purity, the giants of Surticon severed the communication lines between Black Tide forces in Hells Womb and those in the Lands of Purity. Called the Artery War (1546 - 1554), Dax returned to Black Forge, only to be called away to defend the Black Tide capital city of Ugidreth.
The adventuring band League of Ten were the first people to come to Bal-Kriav from Oerth. They came to Black Forge by way of its Prism of Worlds.
Their journal, now on display in Nuciregmas, says the greatest mystery of Black Forge is a rune stone that tells of the fall of the Wirebeard Clan. The work was penned by their king, Gunger Wirebeard:
Deep in the rock we dug, veins rich with gold, silver, and gems. Traces of mithril spurred deeper mining and encounters with our ebon brothers, goblins, and trolls with skin the hardness of stone.
The mithril ended near the banks of a dark green sea. We made boats to transport the skilled miners and the riches across this Green Nebulous.
More mithril was found in other directions. Engineers broke an ancient stone dam that kept the dark ichor from leaking into the cold sea below. A thundering tide of black stagnant water flooded the tunnels. At the bed of a dry pool was a beautiful purple crystal. We searched, then applied hammers and screws, urged on by a glow that beckoned us to come and see its beauty.
Then sleepless one night, I was thinking of what riches might lay within this purple shard. I journeyed down full with mead, lone I was, and found an opening where 300 prying Wirebeards could find none. I entered to find not riches, not a beautiful light, not even guardian fiends, a hollow, down into a writhing river of emptiness. I returned with others, and though my faith was strong with Naraz-Nâru, it could not support the feeling of emptiness.
I became some abomination, strength greater than even the strongest dim-witted human, I mingled with stone like the xorn, I drank the life essence of those dear to me, I became a walker of death with a group of followers that were harder than even the hardiest of dwarves - but even they fell against the goblin hordes - bands of giants, orcs, gnolls, trolls and bugbears that united against Clan Wirebeard, bah! These bands hated each other- something far more sinister produced this pact of evil.
Now I drift about these ruins and deep caverns. The Pool of Emptiness grew weak in time, the last vestiges of life in the place were gone. But it will grow strong again, and spread it's hatred. While I grow more darker and stronger, still it's servant, these are my last sane thoughts...
- Grunger Wirebeard, dwarven vampire king - "The Purple Shard"