Saturday, November 24, 2012

Life of Keres (Burrower Wars Part III)

Summoning the Burrowers

As the Burrower Wars raged on, Keres would often think back to the events of his life having lead up to this point. While Keres was human, his true parentage was unknown. As a young child, he was discovered by a tribe of Brute-Men, the Qullan who raised him as their own. Perhaps it was growing up with the Qullan that made him feel different. He felt even more like a stranger among other tribes, the powerful Garls, the dangerous Fey or the Human Tribes.

Instead explored the mysteries of the Shamans. The Qullan had always regarded Keres as a holy child. As he grew older he began wandering into the Great Glaciers. This is where he found the weapon. The Carnifex Scythe. This artifact from the Cthonian Age was where he first encountered real power. And from that point on, he knew that he wanted more.
The Carnifex Scythe

Looking back at his life, his biggest achievement was climbing the mountain top to the Throne of the Gods. From that point on it was easy. Tricking the God, Temrin, back to his lair and killing him with the Carnifex weapon. He drew power from Temrin's blood, which he drank. Also, he kept the god's still glowing heart in a medallion around his neck.

Using these two sources of power, Keres could summon the Burrowers, in order to destroy the world. From this destruction he hoped to drain infinite power. But there was something wrong in his memories. A person appeared now and then. A human. He wondered if this human had actually been there, but the face appeared him the memories of Keres in many stages of his life. Who was he though? This mysterious figure. 

Keres had been wondering about this Mystery Figure for a while now. Would he see him again? Unfortunately, the next time the Figure appeared, it would be too late for Keres to do anything about it. "You!" he said, as the Figure appeared in front of him. 

"Who are you, thief?" Keres asked, noticing that the Figure held the Temrin Medallion in his hand. But the  mysterious man simply vanished in thing air. With a grim smile on his face. 

Instantly, Keres felt the mind-link to the Burrowers disappear. That day, his armies began to fail. Months later, all was lost.


The mysterious figure returned to his own time. Khoronus, General of the armies of King Robert of Geneva had climbed the mountain to the Throne of Gods centuries after Keres. The Throne olds the secrets to Time Travel, allowing Khoronus to thwart Keres' plans. With Keres explosed, the Gods intervened. 

Some believe that Khoronus placed the Heart of Temrin near the Bramwald Forest, where was later constructed the Bramford Abbey, whose monks claim it still resides there today. Then he left the world. A new God of Time had been born. But it is said that he left behind a means to travel through time, so that others could explore such mysteries in later centuries. 

Behind the Curtains: Additional Comments.
In this installment I wanted to explore how the Burrower Wars came to an end. Also, hinted in this material are clues to Khoronus' quest fore Immortality. The connection between Khoronus and Bramford Abbey is a round about nod to some of the work of Fred Weining on Greyhawk's Blackmoor. In addition this article allowed me to take a closer look at the different groups becoming involved with the Burrower Wars. 

This series of articles has sparked some really helpful discussions. Thanks for great ideas provided by Aegir and Yatzronomo on the Comeback Inn, and everyone in this thread on The Piazza, especially Ripvanwormer for suggestions to the Carnifex Scythe.  

Image Sources


Gygax Magazine and TSR Games

Interrupting the ongoing series with a news flash.

I first heard about TSR Games and Gygax Magazine over at The Piazza. Apparently this new company will be publishing a new old school focused magazine in print and electronic formats. Gary's two sons, Luke Gygax and Ernie Gygax are involved in this projects as are Tim Kask, Jayson Elliot, Jim Wampler, James Carpio and several others. Gail Gygax has stated that the project is not supported by the Gygax estate.

More information can be gleamed from Loremaster, the Gamers & Grognard's blog as well as The Piazza discussion.

Looks to me like with the good people involved in this project, this could become very interesting. I hope that they will offer the possibility of print subscriptions overseas. With the disappointing announcement about Kobold Quarterly folding recently, this could be a good time for their launch too.

I wish the Gygax boys the best! :)


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Murder of Temrin (The Burrower Wars Part II)

Many believed that the Long Winter was a punishment by the Gods for allowing the Dark Races to gain dominance during the Cthonic age. As the Ice Age came to an end, Humans, Brute Men and Dwarves stumbled clumsily around in the Melting Lands.

Most sought away from the Ice as it reminded them of all of those who had frozen to death. Keres, Shaman of the Qullan Tribe, saw it differently. Unlike his tribesmen, he did not fear death. Instead he was drawn to it. His anger was against those Gods who had taken power from the world. He believed that some of that ancient power was still buried beneath the ice. Keres was right.

As the Glaciers began to melt, some of the things hidden beneath the ice once again resurfaced. The object Keres discovered in the Ice was nothing less than an artifact from the Cthonic Age. Charged with its immense power, Keres began to form his plan.

Travelling to the highest mountain peak, Keres came upon the Throne of the Gods. There he fasted and prayed until Temrin, God of Time heard his prayers. Keres told Temrin of the artifact he had found. The Shaman told the God that he would show him this artifact if he came with him to the place where he had hidden it. Temrin accompanied the Shaman suspecting no threat from a mere mortal.

Once they were back in his lair, Keres made sure that Temrin had stepped into the circle of blood that the Shaman had drawn on the ground. When Keres produced the artifact, Temrin was eager to see this discovery from a past age. He was taken by surprise, when Keres drove the weapon right through the God. Power flowed from the dying God into Keres' body. The God of Time was dead.

Behind the Curtains:

  • Temrin and his death were first mentioned in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor D20 Campaign Setting.
  • The Throne of the Gods was first mentioned in the First Fantasy Campaign (JG) by Dave Arneson.
  • The Cthonic Age was first mentioned in Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Burrower Wars

With the end of the Age of the Cthonians, a Great Winter came upon the world. During this Ice Age, many of the ancient races perished. The ancient evils who had ruled in the previous Age were now either banished or had fallen into unnatural sleep becoming from now on known as the Sleeping Ones.

Although The Long Winter was hard for everyone, smaller races such as the humans and Dwarves were better at adapting than many other ancient races. Two races of humans came out of the Ice Age. Some resembled modern man, and others were of a more primitive breed. Brute Men they were called, and what they lacked in wisdom they made up for with physical strength. But it was their weak minds that would be their undoing.

During this age, a human shaman named Keres became fascinated with Death. Using his spirit magic, this Shaman was able to lure a God named Temrin into this world. Wielding a weapon that had been trapped in the Ice since the Cthonic Age, Keres murdered Temrin, drawing his power into himself. Upon the site of Temrin's murder would later be built a construction called the Temple of Id.

Keres the Shaman, used the power he had drained from Temrin to awaken the ancient Sleeping Ones trapped deep beneath the ground. Although they were still trapped, these Burrowers were slowly beginning to dig their way out. But even without reaching the surface, their minds could travel much faster.

In the north, both Humans and Brute Men had only mastered tools of stone, but the superior intellect of Humans allowed them to withstand the mental corruption of the Burrowers. Many of the Brute Men, however, became the unwilling slaves of those evils below. These corrupted Brute Men began to wage wars on Humans and Brute Men alike.

Raging on for two centuries, the Burrower Wars brought unthinkable destruction to the world. Even Dragons, usually oblivious to the affairs of the lesser races, were drawn into action. As a powerful Burrower known as Iscranin was about to emerge near the North Pole, it was attacked by the Great Dragon Yealaletherveri. Yealaletherveri died, but only after preventing the Burrower's escape.

The Gods now realized how serious the situation was. Learning of the murder of Temrin, it was agreed that intervention into the Mortal World was permitted. The Burrowers were returned to deep sleep. This marked the end of Brute Men in the North. The Burrower Wars had also weakened the position of Dragons, who were soon driven into the mountains by Giants. The Age of Men was still centuries away.

What happened to Keres the Shaman is not known. Some say he was punished by the Gods. Others say he had become a God himself.

Edit: See also Garls of Blackmoor here


Behind the curtains: Did I make up all of this?
What I like to do is combine information from different sources. The Burrower Wars were introduced in the Hollow World Boxed Set and expanded upon by OldDawg. I decided to combine this with the murder of Temrin as described in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor D20CS as well as elements of the history of Blackmoor from Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor (such as the Cthonian Age). Iscranin and Yealaletherveri appear in the novel Son of Dawn and are placed into context in the History of Dragonkind by Simone Neri. 

More discussion of this article here.


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