Walls of alien 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 on the northeastern edge of the Gelugon Range. An alien place, it is caught in a time rift. At a random day and time every year, Black Forge Keep shifts between the world of Bal-Kriav and a world of a different age, a place its inhabitants call Oerth. The source of this rift is a device called the Prism of Black Forge. It is one of two Prisms of Worlds created by a half-Tragaran Modron named Tome. The other, "one to get their, the other to get back," is in an open area of Paradomea City. The latter allows travelers to cross-over to a different time and world where if they tarry more than one cycle, become attached to their new "home world". The Prism of Black Forge works in reverse, allowing one-way passage from Oerth to Bal-Kriav; and also suffering the growing feeling they belong to the strange world around them.
Beyond the rifts, the keep is home to those that built this great bastion, a ghostly legion, and things of another time and world. Explorers of the keep all speak of ghostly apparitions of dwarves, not related to the Dulun-Khâl in any way, alien yet similar. Workers and soldiers, they move about the battlements, carrying on the activities that they once did in life. Those that have penetrated deeper, scoring victory, stacking bags of coin and loot, all say that on return with wagons and beasts of burden, they must re-battle all they thought were destroyed.
In the Year 1500, a special branch of the Pharêthôn made their way into Black Forge. Under the guidance of Dax, a First Dead, they searched for ancient lore. They used their dark to read the bones, only to find most unreadable for age and something else. Other bones, many very old, spoke 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 that hurls twin bolts of lightning and perhaps the most feared of all, an undead dwarven king named Grunger Wirebeard, moving through stone like an earth elemental, with the touch of death, wielding an impossibly sharp dwarven-axe named Wirebeards Revenge.
When the war had ended, and our armies walk upon a road of skulls, I shall return to Black Forge.
The League of Ten, users of the Prism of Black Forge, were the first to record their expedition into the keep. Their journal, now on display in Nuciregmas, says the greatest mystery of Black Forge Keep is a rune stone telling the tale of the Wirebeard Clan.
Deep we went, following veins rich with gold, silver, and gems. Traces of mithril spurred us deeper. We became enemies of the ebon brothers, deep dwelling goblins, and trolls with skin the hardness of stone.
Two cycles have passed, back again to the riches of another world. The mithril ends at the banks of a dark green sea. Across this Green Nebulous we make friends and more enemies.
Ten cycles have passed, more mithril is found. Engineers destroy an ancient stone dam, releasing a dark ichor into the sea below. Now exposed, a lattice-work of mithril, and a mesmerizing purple spire. With hammers and screws, compelled by its glow, the mithril is forgotten.
I have become an abomination. I travel the stone like an Xorn, drinking the life essence of those once dear to me.
- Grunger Wirebeard, dwarven vampire king - "The Purple Shard"
- Prism of Black Forge
- The Purple Shard