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note: destroyed in canon in AC 1006. Information post 1006 given for those who choose to write out the Meteor Strike from their campaigns.
Blackhill, Principality ofby Michael Berry
1,232 square miles
AC 1000 - 27890
AC 1014 - 9300
Towns: (population values are given for AC 1000 and AC 1014)
Selected Villages: (population values are given for AC 1000 and AC 1014)
Silverston: (900/0) is a large village/small town located close to the estate of the Prince of Blackhill
Karburan: (600) is a large village located 16 miles south of Volnay and is a major collection point for locally grown vegetables.
Trintillia: (300) services the large cattle breeding farms 12 miles to the northeast of Silverston.
Lourina: (200) is located in the heart of Blackhills cattle country 20 miles northwest of Silverston.
Sydylys: (500) is a large village along the Red River, halfway between Volnay and Eriadna, and is the center of the horse breeding industry in Blackhill
Laterus: (300) is a major new Thyatin settlement on the site of the old town of Silverston
Somerset (150) is a newly built Fen village and is 1 mile south of the ruins of Karburan.
Urkkahg (100) is a village under construction near the ruins of Trintillia and is to be the first permanent humanoid settlement within the old AC 1000 borders of Glantri.
Lourina (150) is a newly rebuilt Fen village on the site of where the old village stood before being destroyed in AC 1007.
Fontegreca (100) is a newly built Alphatian farming village near the ruins of Sydylys.
AC 1000 - Alphatian 92%, Hattian 7%, Others 1%
AC 1014 - Kerendians 35%, Alphatian 30%, Fen 25%, Hattian 5%, Belcadiz Elf 4%, Other 1%
AC 1000 – Alphatian, Thyatin common (Hattian dialect)
AC 1014 – due to large mix of ethnicities it was ordered by Princess Dolores that Thyatin common would be the official language
AC 1000 - Prince Aendyr Volospin: Count of Silverston, Chancellor of the Princes, Commander of Volospin’s Division AC 1000-1005, Commander Glantrian 5th Army AC 1005-1009. Deceased AC 1009.
Born AC 940, M22, Air Master of 5th Circle, AL - Chaotic.
AC 1014 - Princess Dolores Hillsbury/Synn: Countess of Silverston, Treasurer of the Council. Princess of Blackhill AC1010.
Dolores: Born ? (apparent age 23), M36 (pretends to be lower level), AL - Chaotic
Dragon Form: 22HD Greater Night Dragon. Able to cast spells as a 36th level human wizard via wish.
AC 1000 - Voting Power: 22 at the Council, 41 at the Parliament
Allies: Lady Margaret Hillsbury, Duchess of Fenswick; Lord Emeth Urbaal, Count of Wylon; Lady Arbana Jerbat, Viscountess of Redstone
AC 1014 – Voting Power 18 at the Council, 33 at the Parliament
Allies: Lord Quanil Urbaal, Marquis of Satolas; Lord Bordin, Baron of Nandin, Lord Edward Cleese, Baron of Oxhill
AC 1000 – Volospin’s 4th Banner is stationed Volnay under the jurisdiction of Prince Volospin. They patrol Blackhill and the surrounding area in order to maintain law and order. Prince Volospin also has an elite private guard of 50 at his estate at Silverston. They provide estate security and guard the Prince’s wife and children when not at Silverston.
AC 1014 – Due to the reorganization and re-tasking of the Glantrian army after the Great War no units of the Glantrian army are currently stationed within the Principality. The Grand Army Expansion and Reorganization Act of AC1010 made internal policing and security of the individual principalities the responsibility of the ruling Princes who do not command army divisions. Princess Dolores maintains a police of 250 men (F1) who handle internal policing within the principality and is stationed at Volnay.
The area that would be become the Principality of Blackhill was first settled by the Hattians as part of the great Thyatin migration into the highlands in AC 730. The area remained under Hattian control until AC801 when the Von Drachenfels and their followers agreed to move to the northwest and give their lands to their allies, the Alphatians under Halzunthram. Halzunthram in turn parceled out the lands and gave appropriate titles the foremost among his followers. However as the tides of the 40 years war began to swing against Halzunthram some of the Alphatian nobles decided the only way to keep their titles was to switch sides to the rebel side.
With Halzunthram’s capture in AC 828 the 40 Years War came to an end and after tough negotiations the Alphatians were allowed to stay in the new Republic and the Count of Silverston was chosen to represent the Alphatians in the new Council. With the Light of Rad decision in AC 859 the Count of Silverston became a Prince of Glantri and the Principality of Blackhill was created, primarily from annexing the lands of the Viscounties of Volnay and Eriadna.
For approximately the next 150 years the principality was a relative quiet and peaceful area with only minor border skirmishing with the Thyatins to the west, under the rule of the Alphatian Princes of Blackhill. The region was very prosperous and become a leading producer of magically-enhanced vegetables and fruits that became very popular at the capital. The region also became a leading source for livestock and horse. Blackhill also had natural resources in the form of black oil and blackrock which were black stones that burned and were widely used by commoners for heating during the long and often brutal Glantrian winters. The unchecked prosperity and peace of the Principality however was forever shattered with the Great War between Glantri and Alphatia.
For reasons unknown to everyone tensions between Glantri and Alphatia rapidly escalated during the first years of the new millennium till finally war was declared between the nations in AC 1004. With the onset of war the Flaems lobbied again unsuccessfully to have the Alphatians expelled. Though they were under no real threat of directly losing their Principality the Alphatians of Blackhill keenly felt the suspicion of the other factions in Glantri given their ‘turncoat’ past. Much of the political and public was blunted by the Fall 1004 murder of Prince Volospin’s, Serena, in Glantri City at the Silver Tower Inn by ‘Alphatians’ in reprisal to General Torenal’s murder.
At the beginning of the war the Alphatians of Blackhill answered the call of Glantri as all Glantrians did when the AC 1005 draft was instituted and many joined the newly formed Grand Army divisions. Preparations went on in Blackhill, as they did throughout Glantri, for the inevitable Alphatian assault as few held out hope that Thyatis could stop Alphatia. The principality was a prime target for Alphatian ‘terrorists’ who entered Glantri early in the war and summoned monsters and other horrors and set them. With many spellcaters away in the newly formed army divisions Blackhill was terrorized by swarms of monster, including a partially nasty batch of extra-planar creations summoned by the Alphatians. The low intensity hit and run war continued in Blackhill for several years until disaster hit the principality in AC 1007.
Unbeknownst to the Glantrians with all their attention drawn far to the east to Alphatia and the Isle of Dawn where the Thyatin and Alphatian armies fought, the Orc King Thar had set his eyes on Glantri. Using persuasion, threats, and promises of great glory and wealth Thar amassed one of the greatest humanoid hordes in recent history from not the just Broken Lands but from all over the region. In the summer of AC 1007 Thar launched a surprise assault into Glantri but avoided the highly defended and well manned direct approaches up the Vesubian River as well as avoiding the lands of elves and instead struck to the west toward Blackhill. Though substantially increased in size, and despite having been at war for two years already, the Glantrian Army was woefully unprepared for such a massive surprise assault. The Glantrian army at the time only had 8 experienced fully trained pre-war divisions, of approximately 7000 men in total, and most of those were well away from Blackhill training with the newly formed reserve Glantrian divisions that were thought to have the benefit of several years of training before seeing combat, as Alphatia and Thyatis slugged it out to the east, and being employed in defense of the nation. It was a recipe for disaster and a disaster it was for Blackhill.
Rather than attack with the whole of his amassed army Thar launched his assault into Glantri in waves to maximize surprise and also hide the true size of his army. Moving by night and avoiding major population centers moving between Erewan and Soth-Kabree the vanguards of Thar’s army fell upon the village of Huledain during a early morning assault that caught the village unprepared and asleep. Only a few escaped the village to spread word of the raids. Rather than stay and sack and pillage as raiders would normally, the van of the Thar’s army moved quickly across the river into Blackhill and the humanoid assault began in earnest. Blackhill was totally unprepared and caught by surprise as Thar advanced his main body of forces through Soth-Kabree into Blackhill the sack of Blackhill commenced. Nothing was safe and nothing was spared in Blackhill, even the Prince of Blackhill’s estate was overrun in spite of a spirited defense as even a Wizard-Prince has limits to the amount of spells he can cast and the army Thar had assembled has been estimated in the recent book on the invasion, All the Warden of the Marches Men written by Aalbanese scholar Karlbob Bernwoodwardstein, to have amassed a horde in the tens of thousands, perhaps as many 50,000 humanoids warriors. The Principality of Blackhill was devastated, towns and villages sacked and burned to the ground, the populations herded into captivity, or the cook-pots, when not outright massacred. All livestock were taken. Once the thrust of Thar’s assault moved north and finally crested at the walls of Glantri City and receded back through Blackhill as the strength of Glantri was finally mobilized and brought to bear upon Thar, there was little left of Blackhill to greet the Glantrian forces entering the principality in pursuit of Thar. It had been picked clean as a source of supply and plunder for the humanoid army and left nearly all in ruin.
Rebuilding for the principality has been a very long and painful experience. Thar’s invasion was compounded a deadly plague that came to Glanti in AC 1008 that, magnified by the lack of clerical resources and wartime conditions, swept the nation killing several hundred thousand. Prince Volospin’s daughter Thylera was among those killed by plague. The priorities of Glantri during the Great War were defense of the nation and the further expansion and training of the Grand Army, not rebuilding shattered areas, especially those who are related to those of your direct enemies. It wasn’t until the end of the Great War when the Council and Legislature began to consider what to do with the principality. It was a complex issue as the Prince of Blackhill, Volospin Aendyr was reported killed in the last days of the war in a duel with an Alphatian arch-mage. It was long thought that Volospin’s heir to Blackhill would be his son Lathan but in a shocking development a new claimant and potential heir came forward in Dolores Hillsbury who claimed to be the product of a liaison between Volospin and the recently deceased Lady Margaret Hillsbury. Even more shocking was the renouncing of the claim to the principality by Lathan several days later. Dolores was then confirmed by the Council of Princes as the next Princess of Blackhill.
The last four years have been difficult ones in Blackhill as the original Alphatian makeup of the Principality was nearly destroyed and the makeup of the principality has been changed beyond recognition. New settlers have flooded into the region to help with rebuilding and in hopes of finding a new life. The area has had surges of Fen settlers hoping to find a new Fen homeland and a true Fen leader. They have been disappointed on both counts as Princess Dolores has no interest in creating one, or being one. The area has also seen waves of Thyatin settlers. The principality has become a mixed ethnicity principality with even, in a shocking display of bad taste to some, humanoids being invited to come to Blackhill and learn to live a domestic civilized life. Rebuilding and immigration into the area continues but still after four years the principality has many many years and lot of hard work to do before it even approaches the grandeur and prosperity of the pre Great War principality.
AC 1000 - Surplus food, exported throughout Glantri.
AC 1014 – Self sufficient
The Red river is navigable along it’s whole length along the northern edge of the principality. The Huledain river, forming the eastern boundary of the principality, is navigable only by river boats up to Silverston and is not navigable to any kind of river traffic upriver from that point.
A good trail exists between Volnay and Eriadna which continues past Volnay to Lizzieni in the Principality of Caurenze. A fair trails lead from Silverston to Eriadna, and from Volnay to Karburan (Somerset in AC 1014)
Prior to the Great War Blackhill was a leading producer of fruits, vegetables, horses and cattle. Lucrative natural resources such as oil, and blackstone provided the principality with lots of trade revenue. Since the end of the Great War extraction and explotation of its natural resources has been slow to restart. The horse and cattle industries were destroyed with near total losses to both during Thar’s invasion. Only fruit and vegetable production has fully restarted and are used primarily for trade and consumption within the principality, production of the magically enhanced varieties has only restarted in the last year.
Blackhill Monthly Financial Ledger (figures from AC1000)
Main resources: 1 vegetable (fruits & vegetables), 1 mineral (black stone & tar pits)
9 hexes: clear; rural; pop. 10080; tax 1008 dc
3 hexes: clear, river; rural; pop. 5040; tax 504 dc
1 hex: clear, river; suburban; pop. 1680; tax 504 dc
5 hexes: hill; rural; pop. 1400; tax 140 dc
4 hexes: hill, river; rural; pop. 1680; tax 168 dc
Eriadna: large town; pop. 5500; tax 2200 dc
Volnay: small town; pop. 2500; tax 750 dc
Total population: 5500 large town, 4180 small town/suburban, 18200 rural
Tax Income: 5274 dc
Resource Income: 21096 dc
Standard Income: 28376 dc
Council Tax: 10950 dc
Net Cash: 15420 dc
Overhead (65%): 10023 dc
Available Cash: 5397 dc
With 316440 XP/year, in 7 years Volospin Aendyr could have gained up to 1898640 XP, limited to a rise in one level per year for dominion XP, thus rising from M22 to M29 before the destruction of his Principality in AC 1007
Alternative: With 63,288 XP/year, in 7 years Volospin Aendyr gains 443016 XP rising from M22 to M25.
Blackhill Monthly Financial Ledger (figures from AC1014)
Main resources: 1 vegetable (fruits & vegetables), 1 mineral (black stone & tar pits)
9 hexes: clear; rural; pop. 2800; tax 280 dc
3 hexes: clear, river; rural; pop. 1400; tax 140 dc
1 hex: clear, river; suburban; pop. 500; tax 150 dc
5 hexes: hill; rural; pop. 400; tax 40 dc
4 hexes: hill, river; rural; pop. 500; tax 50 dc
Volnay: small town; pop. 3500; tax 1050 dc
Total population: 4000 small town/suburban, 5100 rural
Tax Income: 1710 dc
Resource Income: 6840 dc
Standard Income: 8880 dc
Council Tax: 3486 dc
Net Cash: 5064 dc
Overhead (65%): 3292 dc
Available Cash: 1772 dc
After a bit of an excursion into the astral plane. The Piazza’s roving food critic, Micky the Mage has returned and with his latest culinary adventures. This time we find him in Blackhill.
Hey food lovers! What is there to say about poor Blackhill. What a tragedy, the only thing that could have been worse might have been some dipshit Immortal thought of dropping a meteor on the place. To see such unique cultural element of Glantri nearly wiped away. How tragic. Anyhow since I am still getting caught up on all my mage-mail in my inbox, for this installment covering Blackhill I am going quote an article of an old colleague of mine who wrote a piece summarizing Blackhill’s culinary traditions way back in AC 1003 for Good Towerkeeping magazine for those interested in what the culinary traditions of Blackhill were like prior to the Great War.
‘The Principality of Blackhill holds a unique place in the Glantrian culinary tradition as the Alphatians of the region rarely eat meat and base their meals around the wide variety and abundant fruits and vegetables of the region. While perhaps simple and not as complex as some regions cuisine might be, the food of Blackhill shares a connection with oddly enough the one culture it finds so little in common with, the cuisine of the Caurenzians with an emphasis of good fresh, high quality ingredients and not gilding the lilly.’
ARTS AND LITERATURE
It was often said the lifeblood of the people of Blackhill was music. The greatest musicians of Glantri were nearly all from Blackhill. Blackhill was also home to many of the leading instrument craftsmen. Especially prized were the lutes of the wizard Rickenbac with their trebly tone with their custom finishes applied magically to give his lutes what came to be called a sunburst finish rather than the traditional natural wood finishes found in lutes.
Blackhill architecture was very much influenced by Alphatian styles and featured open air architectural designs with lots of open spaces and breezeways with large windows to let air in during the warm summer months.
The Alphatians of Blackhill were very insular and proud of their blood lines and rarely wed non-Alpahatians. The few that do marry out of their kind do tend to be wed those of Hattian descent, as they have a long history of interaction socially and politically.
Social life for most Blackhillians, both low and high class, revolved around the many musical festivals that were hosted in Blackhill. The most popular were the free concerts sponsored by wealthy patrons on Sundays in which hundreds, even thousands in the large towns, would attend.
Eriadna was the heartbeat of economic and social life in Blackhill situated where the Huledain River meets the Red River. It was the entry point for nearly all visitors and trade from the east coming from Glantri City, Nyra, and Erendyl over the Potiorek Bridge spanning the Huledain River. Eriadna had a large river port handling traffic going up and down the Red River. Eriadna had the most concert halls per capita of any town or city in Glantri prior to the destruction of the town in AC1007. The most famous was the Musisal, the world famous design by IM Sky, the famous mainland Alphatian architect who spent 5 years in Blackhill overseeing its completion in AC 910.
Today little is left but rubble from the old town of Eriadna. In AC 1012 Princess Dolores helped secure a grant from the Glantrian Parliament to begin rebuilding on the site of Eriadna. Clearing the rubble and preparing the site for rebuilding took nearly a year to complete. Construction of a brand new town started the next year and is said to reflect the priorities of the Princess and not only be the center of commerce that it once was, but also a major defensive strongpoint. Construction of the defensive works is expected to take at least one more year. Once completed it is expected that Princess Dolores will rename the town. Some new settlers have moved into newly constructed tenements and started new businesses but it will likely be many years before Eriadna regains its prominence economically.
While Eriadna was the cultural and economic center of life in the principality, Volnay was the political and military center of life in Blackhill. A strongly built town with high walls and stout defensive works it was home to the military garrisons that policed the principality as well as being the traditional seat of the seneschal of the principality when one was appointed by the ruling Prince of Blackhill. Very little of the town was given to cultural interests other than a few concert halls mandatory of any Blackhill settlement. Given its position on the trade route west it had a thriving trade quarter but the rest of the town was given to military and support functions. Volnay was the only part of Blackhill to avoid destruction during Thar’s invasion as it was able to hold off Thar’s westward moving vanguard for long enough until reinforcements arrived from the west.
Today Volnay is home to 90% of the surviving Alphatian population of the principality and has now become the leading economic and cultural center of the principality and has grown in size as new settlers come into the principality. Expansion of Volnay took priority over the clearing and reconstruction of Eriadna and among the first priorities was construction of a suitable port to handle river trade. Finished in AC 1012, the new port quarter has many berths for river boats and a large warehouse district.
Silverston was the home of the Aendyr family since AC 801, and the seat of power in the principality since AC 829. A large town grew around the estate providing services to the estate and growing into a economic power in it’s own right due to the large deposits of blackrock found in the area. The Aendyr estate was a vast, majestic complex covering 100’s of acres. All of which is now gone and lies in ruins.
Princess Dolores has shown no interest in rebuilding the estate, not even any interest of living in Blackhill as she maintains permanent residence at the Capital. The town itself is slowly rebuilding as new settlers, mainly Thyatins, seek to extract and exploit the area’s natural resources
Coat of Arms:
History of House Silverston by Harri Mäki
The Economy of Blackhill by Aleksei Andrievski
Glantrian Political History by Harri Mäki and Giovanni Porpora
Champions of Mystara (Synn) by TSR